A large number of great Sh¢`ah interpreters and Sunni scholars have narrated the narration of Manzilah under verse 142 of S£rah A`r¡f which deals with Moses going to the appointed place to talk to God and the appointment of his brother, Aaron, as his successor.
The narration goes like this: The Prophet(s) headed for the battlefield of Tab£k.() He was informed that Byzantium had organized a large army to attack °ij¡z, Mecca and Medina and stop the further spread of Islamic ideology in their territory. The Prophet headed for Tab£k with a large army and left `Al¢ (s) at home in Medina.
`Al¢(s) told the Prophet(s): Will you leave me among the children and women and refuse to let me come and take part in the Holy War and receive a great honor?
The Prophet(s) replied:
ألاَ تَرْضَى أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إلاَّ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ نَبِيٌّ بَعْدِي؟
“Are you not content that you are to me in the same capacity Moses’ brother, Aaron was to Moses with the exception that no other Prophet would come after me?”
The above expression is recorded in the most famous books of narrations of the Sunni scholars, i.e. ¯a¦¢¦ al-Bukh¡r¢ and ¯a¦¢¦ Muslim. In ¯a¦¢¦ al-Bukh¡r¢’s account, the whole narration is recorded, but in ¯a¦¢¦ Muslim’s account the whole narration is recorded only once and the second time only the following sentence is recorded:()
أَنْتَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إلاَّ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ نَبِيٌّ بَعْدِي.
This narration is recorded in most Sunni books including the traditions of Ibn M¡jah, that of Tirmidh¢, and the Musnad of Ahmad, and many other books. The number of close Companions of the Prophet(s) who have mentioned this narration is more than twenty. They include J¡bir Ibn `Abdull¡h An¥¡r¢, Ab£-Sa`¢d Khudr¢, `Abdull¡h Ibn Mas`£d and Mu`¡wiyah.
In the History of Baghdad, Ab£-Bakr Baghd¡d¢ narrates from `Umar Ibn al-Kha§§¡b the following tradition: Umar saw a man cursing `Al¢ (s), and Umar said: “I think you are a hypocrite because I have heard the Prophet(s) say:
إنَّمَا عَلِيٌّ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إلاَّ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ نَبِيٌّ بَعْدِي.
`Al¢ is to me like Aaron is to Moses with the exception that there is no Prophet after me.”()
The interesting point is that, in accordance with the authentic books on narration, the Prophet(s) used the above sentence not only in the event of Tab£k, but on seven other occasions.
1. In “the first gathering of the pact of brotherhood i.e. the day on which a pact of friendship was made among his followers, the Prophet (¥) chose `Al¢(s) as his closest friend and repeated this sentence.
2. In “the second gathering of the pact of brotherhood” in which the pact was made between the Emigrants (muh¡jir£n) and the Helpers (An¥¡r), the Prophet(s) repeated the above sentence.
3. The Prophet(s) repeated the same sentence once again when he ordered that all the doors that opened up to the Great Mosque of the Prophet(s) be closed and only `Al¢’s home could have direct access to the Mosque.
4. He repeated the same sentence once more in the war of Tab£k. He also repeated it on three other occasions, the records of which are presented in the books of Sunni scholars.
If we could analyze the above narration without any prejudice or pre-judgment, we could easily come to the conclusion that `Al¢(s) occupied all the positions that Aaron possessed among the Ban¢-Isr¡’¢l, without the position of prophethood, of course. This is because we observe that no pre-conditions have been mentioned in the narrations. Therefore, the following conclusions could easily be reached:
1. `Al¢(s) was the most knowledgeable after the Prophet(s) [Because Aaron had such a position].
2. `Al¢(s) was the Prophet’s helper, his special aide, and an associate in the Prophet’s program. This is because all these positions and attributes are confirmed for `Al¢ in the Holy Qur’¡n.()
3. `Al¢(s) was the successor to the Prophet(s) because nobody else could fill such a position in the same way that Aaron had filled these positions and had helped out his brother Moses(s).
The Narration of Yawm al Dar [The Day of invitation to his Home]
Based on Islamic history, the Prophet(s) was commissioned in the third year of his prophethood to make known and declare openly his call to Islam. This is clearly stated in S£rah al-Shu`ar¡', verse 214:
وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الأَقْرَبِينَ.
And warn your nearest relations. [Qur’¡n 26:24]
After this, the Prophet(s), invited his close relatives to his uncle Ab£-±¡lib’s house, after having had their meal, he started to say: O Children of `Abd al-Mu§§alib. I swear to God I know of no one among the Arabs who could have brought anything better than I have brought for you. I have brought for you prosperity here and for your future. God has ordered me to invite you to my religion. Who among you will assist me in being my brother, helper, and successor?
No one showed any interest except for `Al¢(s) who was the youngest. He rose up, saying: “O Messenger of God. I will be your assistant in this affair.”
The Prophet(s) put his hand around `Al¢’s neck and said:
إنَّ هَذا أَخِي وَوَصِيِّي وَخَلِيفَتِي فِيكُمْ فَاسْمَعُوا لَهُ وَأَطِيعُوا.
“This brother of mine is my helper, and successor. Listen to him and obey his commands.”
That ignorant tribe not only refused to accept such recommendations but also started making fun of him.
The above narration, known as Yawm al-D¡r or “the day of invitation to his home,” is explicit and quite well known and has been recorded by many Sunni scholars, including Ibn Ab¢-Jurayr, Ibn Ab¢-°¡tam, Ibn Mardawayh, Ab£-Na`¢m, Bayhaq¢, Tha`lab¢, ±abar¢, Ibn al-Ath¢r, Ab£’l-Fid¡’ and a host of others.()
If we impartially study the above narration, we will find out more facts related to the issue of Wil¡yah and `Al¢’s caliphate, since this narration explicitly refers to `Al¢’s Wil¡yah (successorship to the Prophet).
THINK AND ANSWER
The Thaqalayn and Noah’s Ark Narrations
One of the most famous narrations for both Sunni and Sh¢`ah scholars is the Thaqalayn Narration.
This narration is recorded directly from the Prophet by a large group of the Prophet’s close companions, and according to some sources the number of these narrators was thirty persons from among them.()
This narration is recorded and mentioned by a great number of interpreters, narration experts and historians. There is therefore no doubt concerning the authenticity or the validity of this narration.
The distinguished scholar, Sayyid H¡shim al-Ba¦r¡n¢, in his book, called “Gh¡yat al-Mar¡m,” relates this narration with thirty-nine documents from Sunni scholars and eighty documents by distinguished Sh¢`ah scholars. Further research has been carried out by another researcher named Mir °¡mid °usayn al-Hind¢, who has narrated this narration from nearly two-hundred Sunni scholars and has collected his research concerning this issue in six large volumes.
Among those who recorded this narration were the following: Ab£-Sa`¢d Khudr¢, Ab£-Dharr al-Ghif¡r¢, Zayd Ibn Arqam, Zayd Ibn Th¡bit, Ab£-R¡f¢`, Jubayr Ibn Mu§`im, °udhayfah, Samarah al-Aslam¢, J¡bir Ibn `Abdull¡h An¥¡r¢, and Ummu-Salamah.
According to Ab£-Dharr al-Ghif¡r¢, the narration is as follows:
“While holding the door of the Ka`bah, he looked at the people, saying: I have heard the Prophet (s) saying,
إنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَيْنِ كِتَابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتِي، وَإنَّهُمَا لَنْ يَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّى يَرِدا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ.
“I leave you two weighty things: the Holy Qur’¡n and my Household. And these two will never separate till they both arrive at the Kawthar Pond near me. Therefore take care of these two.”()
This narration is recorded by the most reliable Sunni scholars, such as ¯a¦¢¦ al-Tirmidh¢, Nas¡’¢, Musnad A¦mad, Kanz al-`Umm¡l and Mustadrak al-°¡kim.
In some versions of this narration the word “Thaqalayn,” two weighty things, is recorded. However, in others version the word Khal¢fatayn, meaning two successors is used. These two, however, are semantically identical.
It is worth mentioning that, according to sources on traditions, the Prophet(s) had related this on several occasions.
In the narration recorded by J¡bir Ibn `Abdull¡h An¥¡r¢, we read that the above speech was given to the people during Hajj pilgrimage, on the day of `Arafah.
In the narration recorded by `Abdull¡h Ibn °an§ab, it is said that this speech was given to the people at Ju¦fah, a location between Mecca and Medina a designated site for some pilgrims to don the garb of ihram.
In the narration by Umm-Salamah, the place where the speech was heard was Ghad¢r Khumm.
In yet other narrations, it is mentioned that it was made by the Prophet during his last days while on his deathbed. And according to another narration, he made this speech from the pulpit in the city of Medina.()
According to a narration recorded by the most famous Sunni scholar, Ibn °ajar, in his book called al-¯aw¡`iq al-Mu¦riqah, the Prophet of Islam (s), after having said this, took `Al¢’s hand and raised it, saying: “This `Al¢ is with the Qur’¡n and the Qur’¡n is with `Al¢; They are inseparable until the day when they meet me at Kawthar.”()
Thus, it becomes clear that the Prophet(s) had made this statement on significant occasions and had taken every opportunity to do so is order to stress that it shouldn’t be forgotten.
The following points should be noted:
1. Presenting the Holy Qur’¡n and the Household as two caliphs or two weighty things is a clear reason why Muslims should never let go of these two, especially when we see that it emphasizes that “if you do not leave these two, you will never go astray.”
2. Mentioning the name of the Holy Qur’¡n along with the name of the Prophet’s Household indicates the fact that in the same way that the Holy Qur’¡n would never lead anyone astray the respectable and Honorable Household would always remain intact and flawless.
3. In some narrations, it is recorded that on the Day of Judgment the Prophet will ask the people about their treatment of the two weighty things.
4. However we interpret the word Household, `Al¢(s) would always stand out as a prominent figure and member of this family, and in accordance with some reliable sources, he never strayed away from the Holy Qur’¡n. Furthermore, we see in many narrations that at the time of the revelation of the verse of Mub¡halah, the Honorable Prophet of Islam (s) called `Al¢, F¡§imah, °asan and °usayn [May God praise them all] and said: These are the members of my Household.
5. Although the issues related to the Resurrection Day are not clear to us due to the fact that we are encompassed in the walls of this world, we understand from the narrations that Kawthar is a special river in Paradise with special qualities reserved only for the sincere believers, for the Prophet(s), the Infallible Ones and their followers.
From what we have read so far concerning this issue, we will come to the conclusion that the leaders of the Muslims after the Prophet(s) are the Imams from this Household.
One of the interpretations made on one of the Prophet’s statements, reported by both the Sunni and Sh¢`ah scholars, is the content of what is called “the Narration of Noah’s Ark:”
In this narration according to Ab£-Dharr: the Prophet(s) had said:
ألاَ إنَّ مَثَلَ أَهْلِ بَيْتِي فِيكُمْ كَمَثَلِ سَفِينَةِ نُوحٍ؛ مَنْ رَكِبَهَا نَجَى وَمَنْ تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهَا غَرِقَ.
“My Household resembles Noah’s Ark, those who heed their instruction shall be saved and those who separate themselves from them shall be drowned.”()
This well-known narration emphasizes the obedience of people towards `Al¢(s) and the Prophet’s Household(s).
Considering the fact that Noah’s ark was the only safe place during that tremendous storm, it becomes clear that after the stormy events that took place within the Muslim community after the demise of the Prophet(s), the Muslims have no other option than resorting to the Prophet’s Household(s).
THINK AND ANSWER