The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

يَا أَيُْهَا الَْذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَْقُواْ اللهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ الصَْادِقِينَ

“O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the true ones.”[1]

Imam Baqer (a.s.) says, ‘He has meant us only.’[2]

Imam Reza (a.s.) says, ‘The truthful ones, they are the Imams whose obedience has been verified.’[3]

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) declared in a gathering of the emigrants (مُهَاجِرِيْن) and the helpers (اَنْصَارْ), “I ask you for the sake of Allah! Do you know that when this verse was revealed, Salmaan asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), ‘Is this verse general or particular?’ He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘As for those who have been ordered, then it is for the general believers who have been commanded thus; but as for the truthful ones, it is particular for my brother and my successors after him (a.s.) till the Day of Judgment.’” They all said, ‘By Allah! Yes (we have heard).’[4]

Traditions abound from our sources and those of the Ahle Sunnah that the truthful ones are the immaculate Ahle Bait (a.s.) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

The author of Ghaayah al-Maraam has brought ten traditions from our sources and seven from those of the Ahle Sunnah.[5]

I say: The evidence of the word ‘truthful ones’ in the noble verse being specific for the pure and infallible Imams (a.s.) of the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and not in the general application for all truthful ones lies in the abundant traditions narrated from both the sects. For, had the word ‘truthful ones’ been generally applicable for all the levels intending every believer and anybody who had the trait of truth of whatever level, it would be necessary to replace the word ‘with’ (مَعَ) with the word ‘from’ (مِنْ). Moreover, it is obligatory on every believer to refrain from lying and be from the truthful ones. So, the usage of the word ‘with’ (مَعَ) instead of ‘from’ (مِنْ) clearly suggests that it implies a special position and the word ‘truthful ones’ a particular group.

It is known that this position is a complete position because those who qualify for it must be necessarily followed by all the believers. Such a perfect level will not be applied for anybody except those who possess the qualities of infallibility and purity in which falsity and lie in speech and deed are not at all admissible. Now, in the Ummah the only ones whom Allah — the High — has purified and kept away from them all uncleanness, they are the Ahle Bait (a.s.) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), according to the Verse of Purification (آيَةُ التَْطْهِيْر) and the general consensus of all Muslims. Had the word ‘truthful ones’ implied other than the infallible ones, it would essentially entail that the infallible ones have to follow those who are not infallible and may also speak lies due to ignorance or negligence, a situation regarded as evil by human wisdom. Thus, it is determined that the ‘truthful ones’ implies the immaculate ones those who possess and encompass all the levels of truth in speech as well as deed. Needless to state, such a position does not hold true for anybody except the Ahle Bait (a.s.) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), those who Allah has kept away from all uncleanness and purified them, a purification. The statement of Imam Reza (a.s.), ‘The truthful ones, they are the Imams whose obedience has been verified’ indicates towards this very reality.

In the aforementioned tradition, Imam Reza (a.s.) has drawn our attention that the proof of the truthful ones being the Imams (a.s.) is that Allah — Purified and Transcendent be He -, after ordering the believers to observe piety, has ordered them to be with the truthful ones. Being with them will not be applicable except being under their obedience and being cautious from defying them. Imamate and leadership does not mean anything except the obligation of obedience of Imam on the follower from His side. Nay, there could not be a term closer to the meaning of Imamate than to order the believers that they be with him because the reality of following implies the follower treading in the footsteps of his leader and does not separate himself from him.

Objection: Obligation of obedience does not necessarily suggest Imamate; like it is obligatory upon a child to obey his father and for a wife to obey her husband, although neither the father nor the husband enjoy the position of Imamate.

Answer: The sweeping commandment for the believers to obey without any room for exception necessitates the lofty position of Imamate, as opposed to the necessity of obedience for a particular person like a father or husband, where the facets of obedience are particular and limited. Therefore, it does not necessitate Imamate, as is apparent.

The order to the believers to ‘be with the truthful ones’ is universal since Allah — the High — ordered them to observe piety and followed it up with the conjunction of ‘being with the truthful ones’. Surely, the order for piety includes one and all without limitation and restriction. Thus, it is clear that since Allah has brought the two commands together i.e. ‘observing piety’ and ‘being with the truthful ones’, the latter is also equally general and sweeping. Consequently, none has the right to overtake the truthful ones from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) viz. Ali (a.s.) and his pure descendants (a.s.).


[1] Surah Taubah (9); Verse 120.

[2] Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 208.

[3] Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 208.

[4] Kamaal al-Deen, p. 264; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 33, p. 149.

[5] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 248.