The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

فَمَنْ حَآجَْكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءنَا وَأَبْنَاءكُمْ وَنِسَاءنَا وَنِسَاءكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَْ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَْعْنَةُ اللهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ

“But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and we ourselves and you yourselves, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.”[1]

In Ghaayah al-Maraam, it has been recorded from al-Ikhtesaas of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) from Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan Ibn Ahmad i.e. Ibn al-Waleed, from Ahmad Ibn Idrees from Muhammad Ibn Ahmad from Muhammad Ibn Ismaaeel al-Alawi from Muhammad Ibn al-Zabarqaan al-Daameghaani al-Shaikh, who reports that Imam Abu al-Hasan Moosa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.) said, “The Ummah — its good as well as bad – is unanimous concerning the tradition of al-Najraani when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) called him for malediction, none was present in the cloak except the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ali, Fatemah, al-Hasan and al-Husain (peace be on them all). So Allah — Blessed and High be He — declared, “But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and we ourselves and you yourselves …” So, the interpretation of ‘our sons’ are al-Husain (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.), ‘our women’ implies Fatemah (s.a.) and ‘ourselves’ refers to Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.).” [2]

The Ahle Sunnah have narrated through authentic chains of narrators that Moaviyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan said to Sa’d, “What prevents you from abusing Abu Turaab (Ali)?”  He retorted, ‘Since I remember three things said by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), I will never abuse him (a.s.). For, if I had even one of these (three), it would have been dearer to me than red-fur camels.

I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) say when he (s.a.w.a.) left him (a.s.) behind in some of the wars, when Ali (a.s.) asked him (s.a.w.a.), “O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! Have you left me behind with women and children?” The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) assured him (a.s.), “Are you not satisfied that you are unto me what Haroon was to Moosa except that there is no Prophet after me?’

I heard him (s.a.w.a.) say on the Day of Khaibar, “Tomorrow, I will give the standard to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him.” All of us longed for this honour but he (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘Call Ali.” When Ali (a.s.) was brought, he (a.s.) was suffering from conjunctivitis (sore eyes). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) applied his saliva to his eyes, handed over the standard to him (a.s.) and Allah gave victory at his hands.

When the verse ‘…say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and we ourselves and you yourselves, then let us be earnest in prayer…’ was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) called Ali, Fatemah, al-Hasan and al-Husain (peace be on them all) and invoked, “O Allah! These are my Ahle Bait.” [3]

I say: The Ummah is undivided, without exception, on the fact that the people of the cloak are only the five holy personalities (peace be on them all), as has been brought to our attention by our master al-Kazem (a.s.). Traditions of both the sects are consecutive on this count.[4] The usage of the plural tense in each of the phrases of the verse does not in any way negate this fact despite the non-plurality of the women and the selves. For, the usage of the plural tense for one person over here as a mark of respect and reverence is well-known. Moreover, the usage of the plural tense over here is only for explaining that both the disputing parties should in all propriety should invite their special one of their family members of all the three categories to the place of malediction, regardless of the multiplicity of people of each category or otherwise. Then, his (s.a.w.a.) bringing forth Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) for ‘our sons’, Hazrat Siddiqah Taherah (s.a.) as ‘our women’ and our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) for ‘ourselves’ reveals that they were the most chosen and distinguished of his Ahle Bait (a.s.) and that none could match them in superiority that he (s.a.w.a.) could call him along with them (a.s.). So, the noble verse establishes that those whom the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had chosen for malediction with the Christians on the order of Allah — Mighty and Glorified be He — and had taken them under the cloak were the most beloved and closest of creatures to Allah — the High — and to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). It also proves that of these (five holy souls) our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was the most distinguished and closest as Allah — the High — had declared him (a.s.) to be the ‘self’ of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as there is no scope to bring him (a.s.) as other than ‘ourselves’.[5]

This fact is not contradicted by the mention of ‘ourselves’ after ‘our sons’ and ‘our women’ as it only further endorses the increase in status from the distinguished to the most distinguished, from the high to the highest. Had it come before the other two, it could have been interpreted as an emphasis for the pronoun, so again the aim would have been nullified.

Indeed, it has become clear for you that the noble verse proves that the position of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is that of the ‘self’ of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This reality has been further enhanced by the tradition that has been narrated by both the Shias as well as the Sunnis that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said to the Bani Valeeyah, “O Bani Valeeyah! Restrain yourselves or else I will send a person to you like ‘my self’; he will kill your fighters and imprison your offspring. And he (s.a.w.a.) implied Ali (a.s.).

In Ghaayah al-Maraam, it is recorded on the authority of Ibn Abi al-Hadeed: A famous tradition from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) that he (s.a.w.a.) said to the Bani Valeeyah, ‘Restrain yourselves, O Bani Valeeyah, or else I will send to you a man equal to myself; he will kill your fighters and imprison your offspring.’ Umar Ibn al-Khattaab said, “I did not desire chieftainship (as much as I desired) but on that day. I raised my chest before him in the hope that he (s.a.w.a.) will say, ‘he is the one’.” But he (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali (a.s.).”[6]

This fact (that Ali (a.s.) is the self of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) has been further supported by the tradition recorded in Ghaayah al-Maraam from Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad through his chain of narrators from Anas Ibn Maalik that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, “There was not a Prophet but that there was his equal in his Ummah; and Ali is my equal.”[7]

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal chronicles in his Musnad: Informed us Abu Ghaalib Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Sahl al-Nahvi directly reaching to Sa’d Ibn Hudhaifah from his father Hudhaifah Ibn al-Yamaan, who says, “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) read the formula of brotherhood amongst the Emigrants and the Helpers. He (s.a.w.a.) was reading this formula between a man and his equal. Then, he (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and declared, ‘He is my brother.’ Hudhaifah said, ‘So, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is the chief of the Muslims, the leader of the pious and the messenger of the Lord of the worlds; there is none like him (s.a.w.a.) or equal to him (s.a.w.a.). And Ali (a.s.) is his brother.’[8]

When it has become clear for you that the position of Ali (a.s.) is the self of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), his (a.s.) distinction and exclusivity for the position of Caliphate and Imamate must have also become evident for you. It is essential that the caliph and successor of a person is the one who should be like and equal to his predecessor, enjoy the same position as that of his predecessor in order to succeed him and take his place; otherwise, caliphate and deputyship has no meaning.

After proving this position and status for our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) vis-à-vis the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) through the document of the noble verse, it is irrational[9] to deprive him (a.s.) of caliphate as this deprivation would be contradictory as his (a.s.) appointment for caliphate would be an emphasis and indication to the establishment of this position.

Moreover, a person’s caliphate of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) from the aspect of his messengership and mastership necessitates the obligation of his obedience for the people and their paying allegiance to him because his possessing the qualities of his predecessor establishes his eligibility for caliphate and his being worthy for it, so that a thing is not put in a place which it does not deserve. Bearing the quality of the predecessor has many levels of varying degrees and the strongest of levels and the most complete of degrees beyond which cannot be imagined is when it can be said that the successor has reached to the level where he is equal to the self of his predecessor. This equality is in all absoluteness, without restriction of a particular quality or trait. So, whoever has reached to this level vis-à-vis his predecessor certainly deserves to be his caliph.  It is unwise and irrational to turn away from him and refer to somebody else who does not possess these traits, in the presence of such a caliph and successor.

Also, after it has become clear for you that the noble verse proves that the People of the Cloak are the closest of creatures and the most beloved of them to Allah — the High — it will also become apparent for you that it is not wise and rational to deprive them of caliphate and hand it over to someone else. For, it is logically impossible to accept that the distant will become the master of the close one. So, it has become evident that the noble verse establishes the distinction of Caliphate and Imamate for our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) from various aspects and the difference amongst the reasons is obvious for the one who deliberates.

Objection: The reasoning of His saying ‘ourselves’ for his (a.s.) Caliphate and Imamate is acceptable. But there is no proof for Caliphate and Imamate belonging exclusively to him (a.s.) because the verse by no means rejects the presence of another person as the ‘self’ of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) too. Therefore, there should be no objection to the caliphate of the three caliphs as well.

Answer: The evidence of Caliphate for him (a.s.) through the documents of the noble verse refutes the Caliphate for other than him (a.s.) through allegiance or through the consensus of the elite of the masses (اهل الحل و العقد)because in the presence of the divine texts, there is definitely no room for allegiance or opinion of the elite. According to the consensus of the Ummah and the believers of the three caliphs, their caliphate was not based on divine texts. Rather, the caliphate of the first caliph was through allegiance, the second through the appointment of the first and the third through the Consultative Council formed by the second caliph, in their opinion.

Moreover, if their position was that of the ‘self’ of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he (s.a.w.a.) would have definitely included them among the People of the Cloak for the malediction because Allah — the High — commanded His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to invite those bearing the stated qualifications for the malediction. Therefore, not inviting them for the malediction clearly establishes that they did not enjoy this position and status.

[1] Surah Aale Imraan (3): Verse 61

[2] Al-Ikhtesaas, p. 56;  Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 304

[3] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 302 narrating from al-Fusool al-Mohimmah from Saheeh Muslim and Sunan al-Tirmidhi

[4] Refer Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 257-300

[5] There is no scope to interpret ‘ourselves’ for anybody else other than our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) because according to the consensus of the Muslims, those whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had called for malediction against the Christians were none except our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (s.a.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.). To interpret him as ‘the self’ of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)  in any of the following ways will be incorrect:

a)        It necessitates that the mention of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is invalid due to his being included among those invited for malediction, as per the consensus of the Muslims.

b)       It necessitates the unity of the inviter and the invitee, a view whose incorrectness is clear.

c)        It necessitates the addition of the phrase by Allah — the High — “ ourselves and yourselves” while there was no need for it, as it follows the phrase ‘Say: Come, let us call…’ — The Author

[6] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 455

[7] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 455; Manaaqeb al-Khaarazmi, p. 85

[8] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 455

[9] His (a.s.) enjoying the position of the self of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) cannot be assimilated with the deprivation of caliphate from him (a.s.) because caliphate is one of the facets of this position; in fact, it is the most manifest and evident facet. For, if he (a.s.) enjoys the position of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) but not in mastership and Imamate, which is its best condition, it will be absolutely incorrect to call him (a.s.) as the self of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). — The Author