The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَْهُم مَْسْئُولُونَ

And stop them, for they shall be questioned.[1]

Ibn Shahr Aashoob narrates from Sunni sources and others from Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq al-Sha’bi, A’mash, Saeed Ibn Jubair, Ibn Abbas, Abu Noaim al-Isfahaani, al-Haakim al-Haskaani, al-Naziri and a group of the Ahle Bait (a.s.), ‘And stop them, for they shall be questioned’ about the mastership of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and their love.[2]

Shaykh Toosi (r.a.) has narrated in his Amaali through his chains from Abdullah Ibn Abbas who recounts, ‘I requested, ‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! Advise me.’ He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘Love of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) is obligatory upon you. I swear by the One Who has raised me with truth as a prophet, Allah will accept any good deed from a servant till He questions him about the love of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) while He knows the most. If (the servant) came with his mastership, his deeds will be accepted as they are. But if he did not come with his mastership, he will not be asked about any other thing, then he will be ordered to proceed to the Hell.’’[3]

Traditions in this chapter from both the sects are numerous and that a person will not be allowed to cross the Bridge (الصراط) and enter Paradise except with the passport of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib’s (a.s.) mastership and that of his Ahle Bait (a.s.).

In Ghaayah al-Maraam, Sayed Haashim Bahraani (r.a.) has mentioned — in this chapter — twenty traditions from Sunni sources and eighty from the Shias.

From amongst the traditions narrated from the Sunni sources is what he has quoted from Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad, a leading personality of the Ahle Sunnah, in his book ‘Kitaab Fazaael Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)’ on the authority of al-Hasan al-Basri from Abdullah who says, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) declared, “On the Day of Judgment, Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) will sit on the Firdaus — which is a mountain on the pinnacle of Paradise — and above him (a.s.) will be the Throne of the Lord of the Worlds; from it sprout the rivers of Paradise and are distributed in the various gardens. He (a.s.) will be sitting on a Chair of Light while the (river) Tasneem will be flowing before him (a.s.). He (a.s.) will not allow anybody to pass the bridge except the one who has with him the permit of his mastership and the mastership of his Ahle Bait (a.s.). He (a.s.) will sit on the Paradise, cause his (a.s.) lovers to enter the Paradise and his (a.s.) enemies the Hell.”’[4]

This proves the distinction of Imamate and Caliphate for the Ahle Bait (a.s.) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and exclusion of all others from this coveted status.

Explanation: Verily, our masters Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the infallible Imams (a.s.) from his (a.s.) descendants, did claim the position of Imamate for themselves and announced that it is their special right. If the Ummah obeys them, they will establish their claim but if they deprive them and keep them away from their status, they will be patient till Allah judges for them. They never paid allegiance to others, willingly and of their own accord. The proofs of the defiance of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) before the usurpers of Caliphate are clearly recorded, some of which are as follows:

(a)        Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) seeking of help from the Emigrants (مهاجرين) and the Helpers (انصار) at night, his (a.s.) arguments against them, his (a.s.) not paying allegiance to Abu Bakr but due to coercion and the non-fulfillment of the promise by the Ummah to help him (a.s.) except for four persons. In fact, it is chronicled in the Saheeh al-Bukhaari that he (a.s.) did not pay allegiance to Abu Bakr till the lifetime of Hazrat Fatemah (s.a.) and that she (s.a.) lived for six months after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.).[5]

(b)        Rejection of the Holy Quran compiled by Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in a way that none from the Muslims were aware of it except the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Although, he (a.s.) was the first to compile it on the command and will of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), the most knowledgeable of the Ummah as per their consensus and one of the two weighty things (ثقلين) who will not separate from the Holy Quran nor will the Holy Quran separate from him. Yet, they rejected the Holy Quran which he (a.s.) had compiled on the command of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) as it was revealed by Allah through the trustworthy angel of revelation Jibraeel (a.s.). The only cause of this rejection was their opposition to him (a.s.).

It cannot be argued that they did not accept the Holy Quran compiled by him (a.s.) because he (a.s.) was the sole witness and none partnered him (a.s.) in this important task. Consequently, the testimony of a sole witness is not acceptable and legally, they accepted from him (a.s.) only that verse for which two witnesses were available.

The above argument is absolutely baseless and absurd because he (a.s.) was not a witness but the executor of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) will in its compilation as it was revealed. As a result, the opinion of the executor of the will is final and binding even if he is alone and there is no question of taking numbers into consideration. Even if we demean ourselves and accept for the sake of argument that he (a.s.) was a witness, it would still be obligatory to implement his (a.s.) testimony due to his (a.s.) infallibility and purity as per the document of the Verse of Purification (آية التطهير). It is not at all permissible to refute the testimony of the one whose infallibility is established.

(c)        The usurping of Fadak and removing the laborers of Hazrat Fatemah (s.a.) by falsely attributing a tradition to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that, ‘We Prophets do not leave any inheritance and whatever we leave behind should be given for public charity’; their arguing with Hazrat Fatemah (s.a.) and seeking proof of her (s.a.) claim; refutation of testimony of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) despite the fact being clear for them that none has the right to demand proofs from those in whose favor the Verse of Purification was revealed. Allah — the High — had testified for his (a.s.) immaculateness and infallibility and the testimony of such a person should never be rejected. Moreover, Fadak was in the possession of Hazrat Fatemah (s.a.) and by all legal means, no proof is ever demanded by the one in possession. Then, is this not but plain opposition and can there be anything clearer than this?

(d)       The burial of Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (s.a.) taking place during the night, the concealment of her (s.a.) grave and Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) not allowing Abu Bakr and Umar to be present during her (s.a.) funeral rites and prayers, according to her (s.a.) will, which clearly shows her (s.a.) dissatisfaction against the two.

(e)        The entreaties and implorations of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) with the members of the Council (شورى) and his (a.s.) arguments in front of them about his innumerable virtues and excellences,[6] proving that the truth was for him (a.s.) exclusively and distinctly right from the beginning of Caliphate and that his (a.s.) allegiance was not except through coercion and compulsion. These entreaties and implorations are quite elaborate and both the sects have narrated them in their books.

(f)        His (a.s.) complains against the preceding caliphs in his (a.s.) sermons in a number of places[7] so much so that Ash’ath Ibn Qais asked Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), ‘O son of Abu Taalib! What prevented you from fighting and striking with your sword when the people were paying allegiance to the brother of Taim Ibn Murrah, the brother of Adi and the brother of Bani Umayyah.[8] For, since the time you have stepped in Iraq, whenever you have spoken, you have always mentioned that, ‘By Allah! Surely I have more right upon the people than the people themselves and I was always oppressed.’ He (a.s.) retorted, ‘Since you have said, now listen to the answer. Neither cowardice nor fear of death nor the lack of my knowledge that what is with my Lord is better for me than the world with all its trappings prevented me from this (i.e. fighting against the previous caliphs). But it was the command of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and his (s.a.w.a.) covenant with me that stopped me. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) informed me of what the Ummah will do to me after him (s.a.w.a.). Then, none knew him (s.a.w.a.) better than me and none was more certain about him (s.a.w.a.) than me of what they will do when I saw it. Nay, according to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), I was the most certain of what I saw and I witnessed. Then I asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), ‘What do you advise me during these circumstances?’ He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘If you find helpers, challenge and fight against them. But if you do not find helpers, restrain yourself and spare your blood till you find helpers to uphold the Book of Allah and my Sunnah.’ He (s.a.w.a.) informed me that the Ummah will soon forsake me and follow other than me. He (s.a.w.a.) informed me that I was unto him (s.a.w.a.) as (Prophet) Haroon (a.s.) was to (Prophet) Moosa (a.s.) and that the Ummah after him (s.a.w.a.) will soon become like the followers of Haroon (a.s.) and like the calf and its followers. Then Moosa (a.s.) said,

يَا هَارُونُ مَا مَنَعَكَ إِذْ رَأَيْتَهُمْ ضَلُْوا. أَلاَ تَتَْبِعَنِ أَفَعَصَيْتَ أَمْرِي.

“…O Haroon! What prevented you, when you saw them going astray, So that you did not follow me? Did you then disobey my order?”[9]

قَالَ ابْنَ أُمَْ إِنَْ الْقَوْمَ اسْتَضْعَفُونِي وَكَادُواْ يَقْتُلُونَنِي.

“He said: Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me,…”[10]

قَالَ يَا ابْنَ أُمَْ لاَ تَأْخُذْ بِلِحْيَتِي وَلاَ بِرَأْسِي إِنِْي خَشِيتُ أَن تَقُولَ فَرَْقْتَ بَيْنَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلَمْ تَرْقُبْ قَوْلِي

“He said: O son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard nor by my head; surely I was afraid lest you should say: You have caused a division among the children of Israel and not waited for my word.”[11]

He only meant that Moosa (a.s.) ordered Haroon (a.s.) when he (a.s.) appointed him upon them, if they deviated and he found helpers, then he should fight against them but if he did not find helpers, then he should restrain himself, spare his blood and not to create divisions amongst them. (Similarly), I too fear that they will say the brother of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has created divisions in the Ummah and did not wait for my (s.a.w.a.) word. Verily, I take a covenant from you that if you did not find helpers, restrain yourself and spare your blood and the blood of your Ahle Bait (a.s.) and your followers (Shias). When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) expired, the people stood before Abu Bakr and paid allegiance to him while I was busy (burying the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)). I had taken upon myself not to wear the cloak — except for prayers — till I compile the Book (the Holy Quran). Thereafter, I took Fatemah (s.a.), held the hands of my two sons, Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) and did not leave anyone from the people of Badr and the pre-eminent ones from the Emigrants and the Helpers but that I implored unto them of my right for the sake of Allah. I called them to my help but none from the people responded except four: al-Zubair, Salman, Abuzar and al-Miqdad.’

This is the narration of Ghaayah al-Maraam from Kitaab Sulaym Ibn Qais.[12]

(g)        The sermon delivered by Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.) in the court of Muawiyah, a lengthy sermon, in which he (a.s.) mentioned a number of excellencies and virtues of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), his own and those of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Thereafter, he (a.s.) said, ‘Surely, Muawiyah Ibn Sakhr thought that I considered him eligible for caliphate and do not regard myself as suitable for the same. Indeed, Muawiyah has lied. By Allah! I have more authority on the people than the people themselves in the Book of Allah and the tongue of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) except for the fact that we Ahle Bait (a.s.) will always be terrorised, oppressed and persecuted since the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) expired. Then Allah is (a Judge) between us and the one who usurped our right, descended on our necks, made the people climb our shoulders, deprived us of our rights of the spoils of war and its booty as prescribed in the Book of Allah and prevented our mother Hazrat Fatemah (s.a.) what the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had decreed for her (s.a.)… till the end of the sermon.[13]

Briefly, the dispute of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) with the usurpers of Caliphate and Imamate concerning the eligibility of this esteemed position is clearly recorded. Now, the matter comes to the point that the Ahle Bait (a.s.) were either true in their claim or they lied (we seek refuge in Allah)? Obviously, the liar is hated and despised by Allah — the High — and his mastership and love will neither be obligatory nor questioned about on the Day of Judgment. While, from the perfection of faith in Him and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) is that none will be allowed to pass the Bridge (الصراط) except with the mastership of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and only after obtaining permit and clearance from them (a.s.). Thus, it is established that they (a.s.) are the truthful ones and if they (a.s.) are the truthful ones, then it is established that Imamate and Caliphate is exclusively for them (a.s.) and their distinction.

[1] Surah Saaffaat (37): Verse 24.

[2] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 259 narrating from al-Manaaqeb.

[3] Al-Amaali, vol. 1, p. 103, Chapter 4.

[4] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 262; Manaaqeb al-Khaarazmi, p. 31.

[5] Saheeh al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 177 (1378 A.H. Edition).

[6] Kitab Sulaym Ibn Qais, vol. 2, p. 636; al-Ghadeer, vol. 1, p. 159 published by Daar al-Kotob al-Islaamiyyah.

[7] Refer the Sermon of al-Shiqshiqiyyah in Nahj al-Balaaghah.

[8] Referring to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthmaan — Translator.

[9] Surah Taha (20): Verse 92-93.

[10] Surah A’raaf (7): Verse 150.

[11] Surah Taha (20): Verse 94.

[12] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 72; Kitaab Sulaym Ibn Qais, vol. 2, p. 663 with minor differences in some of the sentences.

[13] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 44, p. 63 narrating from al-Amaali of Shaykh Toosi (r.a.).