The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

إِنَْمَا أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِكُلِْ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ

“You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people.”[1]

Buraid al-Ajali narrates from Imam Muhammad al-Baqer (a.s.) about the saying of Allah — Mighty and Majestic be He — ‘You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people’ who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is the warner. For every era, there is a guide from us who guides them to what the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has brought followed by the guides after him (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.) and the successors, one after the other.’[2]

The author of Ghaayah al-Maraam has recorded that Ibraheem Ibn Muhammad al-Hamweeni, a celebrated scholar of the Ahle Sunnah, has written in his book Faraaed al-Simtain concerning the excellences of Ali al-Murtaza (a.s.), Hazrat Fatemah (s.a.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.). He writes, ‘Informed us our teacher, al-Allaamah Najm al-Deen Uthmaan Ibn Muwaffaq from al-Muayyad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Toosi from Shaykh Abd al-Jabbaar Ibn Mhammad al-Jawaari al-Bayhaqi from al-Imam Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Ahmad al-Waahedi who said, ‘The verses that show that Ali (a.s.) is the successor of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is the saying of Allah, ‘You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people’.’[3]

He has also mentioned from Ibraheem al-Hamweeni through his chain ending at Abu Hurairah al-Aslami who said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) say, ‘You are only a warner’ he (s.a.w.a.) placed his hand on his chest. Then he (s.a.w.a.) put his hand on the hand of Ali (a.s.) saying, ‘(there is) a guide for every people.’’[4]

He has also narrated from Tha’labi through his chain of narrators that terminates at Ibn Abbas, who said, “When this verse was revealed the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) on his own chest and said, ‘I am the warner’ and indicated with his hand to the shoulder of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and declared, ‘You are the guide, O Ali, through you the believers will be guided.[5]”

Traditions relating this concept are abundant and aplenty from both the sects; especially the narration of Ibn Abbas under this verse relating this concept is quoted copiously by both the sects, as has been mentioned in Ghaayah al-Maraam[6].

Ibn Shahr Aashob says, “Ahmed Ibn Muhammad Ibn Saeed — famous as Ibn Oqdah — has compiled a book under the verse ‘You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people’ that it was revealed concerning Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)[7].

Consecutive traditions too from both the sects are indicative of the attributes of the holy Ahle Bait (a.s.) that they (a.s.) surely are with the Book, which will neither separate from them nor shall they separate from it and there is no protection from deviation except by fastening unto them (a.s.)[8].

Also, there are traditions aplenty that are quoted by both the sects that ‘the likeness of my Ahle Bait (a.s.) is like the ark of Nuh (a.s.); whoever boards it will be saved and whoever lags behind will be drowned’[9].

The reason for this suggestion is clear: If the guide about whom Allah — the High — has informed in His Book is from other than the Ahle Bait (a.s.), fastening unto him will certainly be a protection from deviation, a cause for salvation, an associate and companion for His majestic Book, along with the fact that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) did not associate anybody with the Book except his Ahle Bait (a.s.) and made it quite clear that these two shall not separate from each other. That is, the knowledge of the Book will not be found with anyone except them (a.s.). He (s.a.w.a.) has also ordered the entire nation to fasten unto them through his (s.a.w.a.) saying, “….till you fasten unto both of them, you will never deviate….” He (s.a.w.a.) has also limited salvation to fastening unto them (a.s.) alone by saying, “…whoever lags behind it will be destroyed.”

The couplet of Hassaan Ibn Thaabit, a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), is famous

You are only a warner for the people

And Ali is a guide for every nation

Know that the verse also proves the need of the Ummah for a guide, whom Allah — the High — has appointed as a guide for them because He — the High — has limited the attribute of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) only as a warner.

It is apparent that religion and Islam will not be perfected merely by warning because warning is only the cause of laying the foundation and simply laying the foundation is not the cause for survival. For, it would still be exposed to destruction and shortcomings. Therefore, the presence of a controller, protector and guide, who will guide it in the coming centuries, is necessary for its continued existence. Hence, Allah — the High — says, “….and (there is) a guide for every people.” That is, just as I have appointed a Prophet as a warner and laid the foundation of religion through him, I have perfected it, strengthened it and completed My bounty upon the people by appointing a guide for every nation in the centuries to come, through whom the guided ones will be guided. He will repel from religion the distortion of the exaggerators, the plagiarism of the people of falsehood and the interpretation of the ignorant. Thus, the verse under discussion establishes the following facts:

A)    The need of a guide after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the continued existence of religion and its protection from destruction and shortcomings.

B)    The status of guidance is like that of warning[10]. Surely, it is a divine position and status, where people’s choice and selection is inadmissible.

C)    He follows in the step of Prophethood because while one is the founder, the other is the cause of its survival. Thus, both (Prophethood and Imamate) are from the principles of religion. As a result, recognition of the guide, acknowledgment of his position and following him is as much obligatory on the people as is the recognition of the warner and acknowledgement of his messengership and his obedience.

Now, since it is clear for you that this position and status is from an exalted, divine position, it must also have become apparent that the recognition of its owner (i.e. the guide) is not possible except through the warner (s.a.w.a.) and there is no way for the people to his recognition except from his (s.a.w.a.) side. Thus, introduction of the guide for the people becomes a necessity for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and according to the traditions of both the sects; none has been introduced by him (s.a.w.a.) except our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and his immaculate descendants (a.s.). So, this proves that by ‘guide’, only he (a.s.) is implied, certainly and definitely. Moreover, the Hadith-e-Saqalain, on which both the sects unanimously agree, and the tradition ‘the likeness of my Ahle Bait (a.s.) is like the ark of Nuh (a.s.) confirm that the guide has to be from the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and cannot be an outsider.

Thereafter, the usage of the indefinite article for the word ‘guide’, which precedes Allah’s saying ‘and… for every people’ proves the presence of a number of guides and that for every people, there will be one guide after another, as has been brought to our notice by the statement of Imam Muhammad Baqer (a.s.), “For each era, there will be guide from us (Ahle Bait (a.s.)), who will guide them to what the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has brought.” The word proving the multiplicity of guides in such a compound verse is clear. Don’t you see that your sentence, ‘For every nation there is a scholar’, ‘for every person from these there is a dinar’ will not be correct except with the presence of more than one scholar and one dinar. Moreover, this is not contrary to what is found in a number of traditions vis-à-vis the interpretation of this verse for Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the revelation of the verse in his glory, as he (a.s.) is the first and most perfect of its applications.

It has also become clear that the opinion of some of the whimsical interpreters recorded by Shaikh Tabarsi (r.a.) that ‘guide’ refers to Allah[11] is incorrect, notwithstanding the fact that Allah is indeed a Warner as well as a Guide but through His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and his infallible successors (a.s.). So, if it is intended that He is a guide through a channel, then it is correct and valid.

But there is no scope for separation then between the warner and the guide and if it’s purported that that He is a Guide without any means, then it’s certainly wrong because He has denied conducting the affairs except through their causes and means. Also, if Allah – the High- guides without any means and channels, He can as well warn without any medium.

Briefly, that the word establishes the presence of multiple guides is extremely clear and apparent, without an iota of doubt. Yet, for further explanation, I would like to state that:

The noble verse proves the need of the Ummah for a guide after the warner, namely the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) because if one guide in a century was enough for the nations to follow in the coming centuries, the non-necessity of a guide after him (s.a.w.a.) would be obligatory as he (s.a.w.a.) himself was a guide in his (s.a.w.a.) century, which is contradictory. Thus, it is known that for every era and century, there should be a guide, a reality that cannot be accomplished but through the multiplicity of guides. Also, the guides after our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) are not but the infallible progeny (a.s.), whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has described that they (a.s.) are with the Holy Quran and the Holy Quran is with them (a.s.) and that the earth will never be devoid of them (a.s.) through his (s.a.w.a.) declaration, ‘…they shall not separate from each other till they meet me at the Pond.[12]”

When this concept is clear for you, it will become even more apparent that mastership and Imamate is not for anyone but our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and his immaculate descendants (a.s.) because Imamate revolves around guidance and it is necessarily unwise for the guide to be a follower of the one who is not guided except through him (the guide). Allah the Almighty says,

أَفَمَن يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِْ أَحَقُْ أَن يُتَْبَعَ أَمَْن لاَْ يَهِدِْيَ إِلاَْ أَن يُهْدَى فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ

“….Is He then Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge?[13]”

Objection: It can possible be argued that the word guide is the conjunction of the word warner, as has been narrated by Shaikh Tabarsi (r.a.) on the authority of some of the Sunni interpreters[14]. Thus, the meaning would then mean that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is the warner and guide of every nation.

Answer: Along with being contrary to the apparent composition and against the explanatory traditions from both the sects, it would become necessary to join a genitive clause with the word guide, not warner, if it (the conjunction) was related to both of them (i.e. if the word guide would be a conjunction of warner). From the point of argument, it would be necessary that it should have been, “You are only a warner and guide for every nation.” In this case, it would necessarily imply that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is a guide for every nation and not a warner, which obviously is wrong. Since, warning and guidance without means both would be particular for the one who lived in his (s.a.w.a.) era and through his means it would include every time and every people. Thus, there is no scope for separation between the two with the particularization of his guidance for every nation, without his warning. Hence, it is determined that the genitive noun is a predicate that has preceded the word ‘guide’ and the conjunction is of one sentence with another sentence (not of one word with another word).

All Praise is for Allah Who explained the truth for the one who has a heart or he gives an ear and he is a witness.

[1] Surah Ra’d (13): Verse 7.

[2] Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 191; Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 2, p. 214; Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 235.

[3] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 235 narrating from Faraaed al-Simtain.

[4] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 235 narrating from Faraaed al-Simtain.

[5] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 235

[6] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 237

[7] Al-Manaaqeb, vol. 3, p. 83; Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 237

[8] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p.211

[9] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 237-240

[10] That is, the guide mentioned in the verse does not imply a guide in its absolute meaning i.e. anybody who guides, even if it may be in some of the divine laws because in this case, a need will not necessarily arise. Therefore, here the term ‘guide’ refers to a person whom the Ummah needs in all its affairs and problems, which in turn depends on his having the knowledge of all that is available in the Book, his protection from carnal desires and not following vice instead of virtue, being the follower of the chosen Prophet (s.a.w.a.). None recognizes him except Allah — the High — and thus, it is obligatory on Him to appoint him as a standard for the people so that He may complete His proof through him. — The Author (r.a.)

[11] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 6, p. 278

[12] Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 211-225

[13] Surah Yunus (10): Verse 35

[14] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 6, p. 278