That which proves this is a tradition of Basairud Darajaat from His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) that he said:
One day the Messenger of Allah (S) said twice in the presence of his companions: “O Allah, show my brothers to me. Companions who were around him asked: Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of Allah (S)? He replied: No, you all are my companions, and my brothers would be those people at the end of the time who would believe in me without having seen me, the Almighty Allah has informed me about their and their fathers’ names before they will emerge from the loins of their fathers and the wombs of their mothers. For each of them, it would be more difficult to guard their religion than walking on thorns in the darkness of the night or holding embers; they would be lamps in darkness, the Almighty Allah would save them from every mischief and evil.”1
Allamah Majlisi has quoted a similar tradition in the thirteenth volume of Biharul Anwar.
Also in Biharul Anwar in another tradition it is narrated from Auf bin Malik that he said:
One day the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “If only I could see my brothers.” Abu Bakr and Umar said: “Are we not your brothers even though we brought faith on you and migrated with you?” He replied: “You brought faith and migrated. If only I could see my brothers.” Again they repeated their words. So the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “You are my companions; and my brothers would be those who come after you; who would believe in me and have affection for me, they would help me and testify to me without having seen me, thus if only I could see my brothers.”2
On this point the discussion is about two aspects:
First: On the evidence of this tradition in favor of our aim: I say: The Messenger of Allah (S) introduced brotherhood and explained the branches of perfection of faith. And previously we mentioned that praying for His Eminence, the Master of the Time (as) is a sign of perfection of faith and its cause in man – because it increases the faith of the supplicant.
In the second tradition he has described brothers to have qualities that are superior to all other believers which consists of love, help, faith without having seen His Eminence and there is no doubt that all these factors are present in Dua for reappearance of our Master of the Time (aj) because this act is help of Prophet, love for him, seeking his pleasure and testifying to his veracity and these are the different evidences in the traditions.
Second: In the description of the mentioned brotherhood we have understood from the traditions that it is having two possibilities:
1. It could imply real truthfulness and friendship, as its requirement is love and helpfulness of a friend to another in his absence or presence since brother is in the meaning of friend. – as mentioned in Qamoos and this usage is very common in Arabic language.
That which proves this is a tradition in Biharul Anwar quoted from Ghaibat of Tusi from Muawiyah bin Wahab from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Fortunate are those who would get to live during the time of the Qaim of my family while they would follow him before his reappearance. They would love his friends and remain aloof from his enemies, and they would have the faith in the guardianship of the Imams preceding him. They are my friends and devotees and the most respected people in my view.”3
2. It denotes brotherhood of faith between Muslims, and brotherhood is not achieved till two brothers share a special partnership, and there is no doubt that this matter could not become lasting except by faith. Thus if faith is proved in this aspect, brotherhood would also be proved with regard to the Holy Prophet (S). Allah, the Mighty and Sublime says:
آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ
“The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles.” (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:285)
It is from this aspect that in the report of Abdul Aziz bin Muslim from His Eminence, Imam Ali Reza (as) it is mentioned that he said: “Imam is a kind friend.”
Without any doubt this position will not be obtained only by being companions of Prophet or Imams, rather it requires a perfect and complete faith, such that if this matter is realized nothing else would make any difference whether one brother meets another or not, just as the relationship of brotherhood between two brothers is not broken by separation of time and place and if this condition is not there for anyone, his being a companion and contemporary of the Prophet or the Imam would not be of any use to him and to relate it to a brotherhood of faith is not correct.
Since most of the companions of the Seal of the prophets were lacking in this quality and did not have except verbal testimony, His Eminence declined to give them the status of brotherhood and the evidences of this aspect is that in the second tradition the questioners were made aware of the condition.
From the above discussion, it becomes clear that the proofs on which Sunnis rely to prove their superiority are weak as it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا
“He being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: Grieve not, surely Allah is with us.” (Qur’an, Surah Taubah 9:40)
They have argued about his excellence on the basis of this same companionship of the Holy Prophet (S).
Here I would like to quote the statements of Shaykh Mufeed Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Muhammad an-Noman (t.s.):
The venerable Shaykh Ahmad bin Abi Talib Tabarsi in his book Ihtijaaj quoting from Shaykh Abu Ali Hasan bin Muhammad Riqqi from Shaykh Mufeed Muhammad bin Muhammad an-Noman who relates that that it so happened at Ramla in the year 423 A.H: One year I saw in a dream that I was walking by the side of the road and I saw some people gathered around in a circle. I asked: What has happened? They replied: They are surrounding a man who is relating a story. I asked: Who is that man? They replied: Umar bin Khattab. So I pushed the people aside and came to the front to see a man talking to the people, nothing of which I could understand. I interrupted his dialogue and asked: O Shaykh, what is the evidence of the superiority of your friend, Abu Bakr Ateeq bin Abi Qahafa from the verse:
“He being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave…”
He replied: The superiority of Abu Bakr can be proved from this verse in six ways:
First: It is that the Almighty Allah has mentioned the Holy Prophet (S) and He has also mentioned Abu Bakr as the second of the two when He said:
“He being the second of the two…”
Second: He has described the two of them to be present at one and the same place when He said:
“when they were both in the cave…”
Third: It is that they added Abu Bakr to the Messenger of Allah (S) by mentioning his companionship so that the two of them could be together in this position of honor.
“when he said to his companion…”
Fourth: It is that kindness and sympathy of the Holy Prophet (S) was in his favor since his status deserved this as He says:
Fifth: It is that he informed him that the Almighty Allah is with both of them equally, friend of both of them as He said:
“surely Allah is with us…”
Sixth: It is that He informs that tranquility descended on Abu Bakr because in no way can his tranquility be separated from that of the Holy Prophet (S), and He said:
“So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him…”
These are the six points in this verse that prove the merit of Abu Bakr, that neither you not anyone else can refute.
I told him: Now that you have stated the evidence of the superiority of your friend, I would by the help of Allah make it ash that is blown away by the wind on a windy day (that is, I will disprove all of it in the most convincing way).
As for your claim that: The Almighty Allah mentioned the Holy Prophet (S) and made Abu Bakr to be the second of the two with regard to His Eminence. It means that two persons were present there. Now this is no kind of merit because we see a believer with a believer and a believer with a disbeliever, so togetherness cannot be used as proof of superiority.
As for your saying that: the Almighty Allah has described them to be together in the same place (in a cave) and this also like your previous claim has no merit because just as it is possible to count together a believer and a disbeliever in the same way a believer and a disbeliever can happen to be together at one and the same place. And also the Masjid of the Holy Prophet (S) is superior to the cave and we see that believers, hypocrites and disbelievers often came together there. It is this the Almighty Allah has mentioned in the verse:
فَمَالِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا قِبَلَكَ مُهْطِعِينَ .
عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ.
“But what is the matter with those who disbelieve that they hasten on around you, On the right hand and on the left, in sundry parties?” (Qur’an, Surah Maarij 70:36-37)
Also the Ark of Nuh (as) carried the Prophet, the Satan and quadrupeds; on the basis of this, commonality of place as you claim, is not worthy of any merit.
As for your argument: “With the mention of companionship of Abu Bakr in addition to the Holy Prophet (S)” is weaker than the first two claims because the title of companion is applicable to the believer as well as a disbeliever and the evidence of this is the following verse of Qur’an:
قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا
“His companion said to him while disputing with him: Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you from dust, then from a small seed, then He made you a perfect man?” (Qur’an, Surah Kahf 18:37)
Also the word of companion is applicable to man as well as an animal – the evidence of this is the saying of the Arabs – as the Holy Qur’an is revealed in that language and the Almighty Allah has said that:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ
“And We did not send any apostle but with the language of his people.” (Qur’an, Surah Ibrahim 14:4)
Thus a poet says:
Indeed the ass is a good journey companion of another ass, but when we remain alone with the ass, it is a friend.
Also non-material things are said to be companions of living things. For example it is said about the sword:
I went to visit Hind while I was in no way afraid, because my companion was one that silences the tongue.
Thus when companionship is possible between a believer and a disbeliever, between a rational being and an animal and an animal and a non-living things how can you prove the superiority of your friend by this?
As for your saying that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “Grieve not.” Not only is it not an excellence it is also a scolding; and that which proves the mistake are the words of His Eminence that:
“Do not be sad” is a prohibition. And the grieving of Abu Bakr was either an act of obedience of disobedience. If it was obedience the Holy Prophet (S) refrained him from obediences, while he instead ordered and commanded obedience. If it was disobedience which the Holy Prophet (S) prohibited, this verse would be an evidence of his disobedience since the Holy Prophet (S) has stopped him from it.
As for your His Eminence saying:
“…surely Allah is with us…”
The Holy Prophet (S) informed that the Almighty Allah was with him and he has used the plural form of ‘I’ (that is ‘we’) as is found in many verses of the Holy Qur’an. For example the Almighty Allah says:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” (Qur’an, Surah Hijr 15:9)
Also it is said about it that Abu Bakr said: O Messenger of Allah (S), my sorrow is for your brother, Ali Ibne Abi Talib that what happened to him. The Holy Prophet (S) told him: Grieve not, surely Allah is with us. That is, Allah is with me and Ali.
As for your saying that: Tranquility descended upon Abu Bakr. This is leaving the apparent meaning of the verse, because on the one the Almighty Allah sent down His tranquility, the same person Allah, the Mighty and Sublime helped with His hosts. The apparent meaning of the verse is that:
“So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see…”
Thus if Abu Bakr is said to be the recipient of tranquility he would also have to be the one who is strengthened with hosts, while such a thing would tend to deprive the Holy Prophet (S) of his prophethood.
In addition to this if you had not spoken in support of your friend it would have been better because the Almighty Allah sent down His tranquility on the Holy Prophet (S) at two other instances when believers were also present with His Eminence. He included them also and said:
فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ
“But Allah sent down His tranquility on His Apostle and on the believers, and made them keep the word of guarding (against evil).” (Qur’an, Surah Fath 48:26)
At another occasion He says:
ثُمَّ أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ جُنُودًا لَمْ تَرَوْهَا
“Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Apostle and upon the believers, and sent down hosts which you did not see.” (Qur’an, Surah Taubah 9:26)
However in the verse of the cave His tranquility is restricted to the Holy Prophet (S) as He says:
“So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him…”
Thus if there had been a believer with him He would have included him also in His tranquility as we have seen in those two verses. On the basis of this, exclusion from His tranquility would prove exclusion from faith. Now he could not reply to this and people dispersed from him and I awoke from my sleep.4
3. Meaning of brotherhood: Brotherhood is subject to original creation and the essence of man. Such that these believers who bear the above-mentioned qualities were created from the leftover clay of the Prophet and the Imams (as). So from the aspect of essence they are brothers as Allamah Majlisi has mentioned in Miraat al-Uqool quoting from Maani al-Akhbaar of Shaykh Sadooq through his own chain of narrators that Abu Baseer said:
I came to His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) while a co-religionist was with me. I said to His Eminence: “May I be sacrificed on you, O son of Allah’s messenger, I have become aggrieved and sorrowful without any apparent reason.” He replied: “That sorrow and grief reaches you from our side, because if happiness and sorrow comes to us it also pervades you. Because we and you are created from the effulgence of the Almighty Allah. Thus He made our essence and your essence to be same. And if your essence is released just as it was taken, we and you would have been similar. But your essence was intermingled with that of your enemies and if it had not been so, you would never have committed sins.”
The narrator says: I asked: “May I be sacrificed on you, would our essence and effulgence return to its original purity?” His Eminence replied: “Yes, by Allah, O servant of Allah, say: show me these rays dispersing from the Sun, are they connected to it or separate?”
I said: “May I be sacrificed on you, they are separate from it.” He said: “Is it not that when the Sun sets these rays go back to it just as they had began?” I replied: “Yes.” He said: “By Allah our Shias are also like that, they are created from the effulgence of Allah and they would revert to Him and by Allah you all would be joined to us on the Judgment Day.
We would intercede and our intercession would be accepted. You would intercede and you would receive intercession and there will be none among you but that the Hellfire will be raised to his left and the Paradise would be raised up to his right. Thus He will admit his friends to Paradise and send His enemies to Hell.”
Allamah Majlisi says: Ponder upon this tradition because it is having wonderful secrets.