The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:
وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَا
“And ask those of Our apostles whom We sent before you…”
In the interpretation of the above verse, three traditions have been narrated from Sunni sources in Ghaayah al-Maraam.
Tradition One: Ibraheem Ibn Muhammad al-Hamweeni, a celebrated Sunni scholar, narrates, “Informed me al-Shaikh al-Haafiz Shahrdaar Ibn Sheerwayh Ibn Shahrdaar al-Daylami from Ahmad Ibn Khalaf from al-Haakem Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Abdillah al-Bayye’ from Muhammad Ibn al-Mudhaffar from Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ghazwaan from Ali Ibn Jaaber from Muhammad Ibn Khaaled al-Haafez Ibn Abdillah from Muhammad Ibn Fadhl from Muhammad Ibn Sooqah from Ibraheem from al-Aswad from Abdullah Ibn Masood, who chronicles, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘An angel came to me and said, ‘O Muhammad! And ask those of Our apostles whom We sent before you on what they have been raised? He said, ‘On your mastership and the mastership of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.).’”
Tradition Two: Abu Noaim al-Mohaddith al-Isfahaani records in Hilyah al-Awliyaa in the interpretation of His saying, “And ask those of Our apostles whom We sent before you…”, “The night he (s.a.w.a.) was taken for Me’raaj, Allah gathered him (s.a.w.a.) and the other Prophets (a.s.) and ordered, ‘Ask them, O Muhammad, ‘on what (principle) were you raised?’ They replied, ‘We have been raised on the testimony that there is no god but Allah and in the acknowledgement of Your Prophethood and the mastership of Ali (a.s.).”
Tradition Three: Abu al-Hasan al-Faqeeh Ibn Shaadhaan via Sunni sources from Ibn Abbas chronicles, “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘When I was taken to the heavens, when my path with Jibraeel (a.s.) to the fourth heaven came to an end, I saw a house made of rubies. Jibraeel (a.s.) said to me, ‘O Muhammad! This is the Bait al-Ma’moor, which Allah – the High – has created fifty thousand years prior to the creation of the heavens and the earths. Stand up, O Muhammad, and pray in it.’ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘Allah gathered the Prophets (a.s.). Jibraeel (a.s.) made them stand in a row behind me and I led them in prayers. When I concluded the prayers with the salutations, someone came to me from the side of my Lord and said to me, ‘O Muhammad! Your Lord conveys salutations to you and says to you, ‘Ask the Messengers (a.s.), ‘On what (principle) were you raised before me?’ The Messengers (a.s.) replied, ‘On your mastership and the mastership of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). This is the (meaning) of His saying, “And ask those of Our apostles whom We sent before you…”
The traditions from our sources are truly plenty in number. Indeed, the first two of the aforementioned traditions – on the authority of Ibn Masood and Ibn Abbas – are also mentioned from our sources.
From among the traditions from our sources are:
The one narrated by Muhammad Ibn Yaqoob from Muhammad Ibn Yahya from Salmah Ibn al-Khattaab from Ali Ibn Sabt from al-Abbas Ibn Aamer from Ahmad Ibn Darn al-Amshaani from Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Rahmaan from Abu Abdillah (a.s.), who said, “Our mastership is the mastership of Allah, Who did not send any Prophet except on it.”
The one narrated by Muhammad Ibn Hasan al-Saffaar – in Basaaer al-Darajaat – from Yaqoob Ibn Yazeed from al-Hasan Ibn Mehboob from Muhammad Ibn Fudhail from Abu al-Hasan (a.s.), who said, “Ali’s (a.s.) mastership is written in all the Books of the Prophets (a.s.). Allah did not send any Prophet except with (the acknowledgement of) the Prophethood of Muhammad and the mastership of his successor Ali (a.s.).”
When the exegesis of the aforementioned verse has become clear through the traditions of both the sects, know that it proves the distinction of Imamate and Caliphate of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and his immaculate sons (a.s.).
Elaboration: Surely, the mastership of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), on which Allah has raised the Prophets (a.s.), if it is in the meaning of having the authority of executing the affairs – as is apparent – then indeed it proves that his caliphate is from Allah – the High – and from His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and is well documented in the Holy Quran as well as all the heavenly books. So, the divine testimony for his caliphate and Imamate is the cause of his distinction for this coveted position since there is no scope – in the presence of divine texts and testimony – to turn to someone else other than him (a.s.) vide the selection of the Ummah and to give preference to that person over Ali (a.s.).
And if it is in the meaning of love and affection, then the Prophets (a.s.) have been raised on it and it (Ali’s (a.s.) mastership) follows the mastership and Messengership of the Chief of the Prophets (s.a.w.a.). Again, it proves that it is closest source through which Allah – Blessed and High be He – can be beseeched after Divine Monotheism (Taheed) and acknowledgement of the Messengership and Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). Which in turn proves that Ali (a.s.) is the most superior of the creatures after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), superior even to all divine Prophets (a.s.) and Messengers (a.s.).
Now, whoever enjoys such an elevated status and position, it is absolutely impermissible to sideline him (a.s.) and replace him (a.s.) with a person whose spent a major part of his life worshipping idols. Is it allowable to give preference to the one who indulged in polytheism for a definite period of his life to the one whose position and status in front of Allah – the High – is higher than all the divine Prophets (a.s.) barring the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)? No! Of course not! Certainly not! Whoever considers this as allowable has certainly acted in contravention to the judgement of his essential nature.