The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

وَلَمَّا ضُرِبَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ مَثَلًا إِذَا قَوْمُكَ مِنْهُ يَصِدُّونَ

And when a description of the son of Marium is given, lo! Your people raise a clamor thereat.[1]

In Ghayah al-Maraam: Muhammad Ibn Yaqoob from a number of our companions from Sahl Ibn Ziyaad from Muhammad Ibn Sulaymaan from his father from Abu Baseer who narrates, “While the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) was sitting one day, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) entered. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, “Verily, in you there is a similarity with Eesaa Ibn Maryam. If some groups from my Ummah would not say about you what the Christians have said about Eesaa Ibn Maryam, I would have said a thing about you by which the chiefs of the people would not have passed by you except that they would have taken the dust of your feet, seeking blessings from it.” (On hearing this), the two Arabs, al-Moghairah Ibn Sho’bah and a group of Quraish were livid. They said, ‘He is not satisfied to strike an example for his cousin except that of Eesaa Ibn Maryam (a.s.).’ So, Allah revealed on His Prophet (s.a.w.a.),

وَلَمَّا ضُرِبَ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ مَثَلًا إِذَا قَوْمُكَ مِنْهُ يَصِدُّونَ. وَقَالُوا أَآلِهَتُنَا خَيْرٌ أَمْ هُوَ مَا ضَرَبُوهُ لَكَ إِلاَ جَدَلًا بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ خَصِمُونَ. إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَ عَبْدٌ أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ مَثَلًا لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ. وَلَوْ نَشَاء لَجَعَلْنَا مِنكُم مَّلاَئِكَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ يَخْلُفُونَ.

“And when a description of the son of Marium is given, lo! your people raise a clamor there at. And they say: Are our gods better, or is he? They do not set it forth to you save by way of disputation; nay, they are a contentious people. He was naught but a servant on whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the children of Israel. And if We please, We could make among you angels to be successors in the land.”[2]

Al-Haarith Ibn Amr al-Fehri was furious and prayed, ‘O Allah! If this is the truth from You, then You rain upon us a stone from the sky or bring forth a painful chastisement.’ Allah revealed the saying of al-Haarith on him (s.a.w.a.), and as a result, the following verse descended,

وَمَا كَانَ اللهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

“But Allah was not going to chastise them while you were among them, nor is Allah going to chastise them while yet they ask for forgiveness.”[3]

Then he (s.a.w.a.) said to him (al-Haarith), ‘O Abu Amr! Either you repent or you leave.’ He replied, ‘O Muhammad! You are giving to all the Quraysh whatever is in your hands; consequently, the Bani Hashim have become venerable before the Arabs as well as the non-Arabs.’ The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) explained, ‘This is neither in my hands nor yours. Rather, it belongs to Allah – the Blessed and the High.’ He argued, ‘O Muhammad! My heart is not willing to repent but I am departing from you.’ He called for his she-camel and mounted it. He had barely reached the outskirts of Medina, a stone fell on his head splitting it into two. Instantly, a revelation descended on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

سَأَلَ سَائِلٌ بِعَذَابٍ وَاقِعٍ. لِّلْكَافِرينَ لَيْسَ لَهُ دَافِعٌ. مِّنَ اللهِ ذِي الْمَعَارِجِ.

“One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall. The unbelievers — there is none to avert it. From Allah, the Lord of the ways of Ascent.”[4]

The narrator said, ‘May I be held your ransom! We do not read it like this.’ Imam (a.s.) replied, ‘This is how Allah has revealed it through Jibraeel on Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and this is how, by Allah, it is written in the Book of Fatemah (s.a.).’ Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) informed the hypocrites around him, ‘Go to your companion because indeed whatever he had asked for has come to him. Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – said

وَاسْتَفْتَحُواْ وَخَابَ كُلُّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ

“And they asked for judgment and every insolent opponent was disappointed.”[5][6]

And indeed it has been narrated in the discussion of position (منزلة) from the sources of the Sunnis as well as our sources through chains of narrators terminating at Jaaber Ibn Abdullah al-Ansaari who recounts, “When Ali (a.s.) came from the victory of Khaibar, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) told him, ‘O Ali! If some groups from my Ummah would not say about you what the Christians have said about Eesaa Ibn Maryam, I would have said a thing about you by which the chiefs of the people would not have passed by you except that they would have taken the dust of your feet and the residue of your cleanings, seeking cure through it. But it suffices for you that you are unto me like Haroon was to Moosa except that there is no prophet after me. You will fulfil my responsibility, hide my concealable parts, fight for my Sunnah, and tomorrow in the Hereafter, you will be the closest of the creatures to me, and you will be my caliph at the Pond. And surely your followers and your lovers will surround me – their faces white – I will intercede for them so they will be in Paradise as my neighbours. O Ali! Your war is my war, your peace is my peace, your happiness is my happiness, you will repay my debts and fulfil my promises. Verily, the Truth will flow on your tongue and will flow on your heart and will be with you and in front of you and be fixed before you. Faith is mixed with your flesh and your blood just as it is mixed with my flesh and my blood. One who hates you will not come to me at the Pond and the one who loves you will not be hidden from it.’ (On hearing these excellences and merits), Ali (a.s.) prostrated before Allah – the High – and said, ‘All Praise is for Allah, Who obliged me with Islam, taught me the Quran, made me beloved unto the best of people, the most respectable of the creatures, the most venerable of the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth before his Lord, the seal of the Prophets, the chief of the messengers, the chosen one of Allah from all the worlds, an obligation from Allah – the High – and as a grace upon me.’ The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to him (a.s.), ‘O Ali! Islam will not be recognised after me but through you. O Ali! Indeed Allah has made the progeny of every Prophet from his loin and my progeny from your loin. So, you are the dearest of people before me and the most honourable of them before me. Your lovers are the most revered by me than my Ummah.’[7]

I say: Traditions in this regard are copious. In Ghaayah al-Maraam, he has mentioned over here seven traditions from our sources and thirteen from their sources.[8]

Tradition One: Abu Noaim al-Haafiz al-Isfahaani in his book titled ‘Nozool al-Quran Fi Ali (a.s.)’ writes, “The saying of Allah – the High, “And when a description of the son of Maryam is given, lo! Your people raise a clamour there at.” Rabee’ah Ibn Naajid narrates, ‘I heard Ali (a.s.) say, ‘This verse was revealed concerning me.’[9]

Tradition Two: Muhammad Ibn al-Abbas vide Sunni sources narrates, “Narrated unto us Abd al-Aziz Ibn Yahya from Muhammad Ibn Zakariyya from Makhdaj Ibn Umar al-Hanafi from Umar Ibn Qaaed from al-Kalbi from Abu Saaleh from Ibn Abbas who says, ‘The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was with some of his companions when he (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘Now, the one similar to Eesaa Ibn Maryam in my Ummah will call upon you.’ Abu Bakr entered. They asked, ‘Is he the one?’ He (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘No.’ Umar entered. They enquired, ‘Is he the one?’ He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘No.’ Then, Ali (a.s.) entered. They asked, ‘Is he the one?’ He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘Yes.’ Some people said, ‘Certainly, the worship of Laat and Uzzaa was easier than this.’ Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – revealed the verse, “And when a description of the son of Marium is given, lo! your people raise a clamor there at. And they say: Are our gods better, or is he? They do not set it forth to you save by way of disputation; nay, they are a contentious people. He was naught but a servant on whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the children of Israel. And if We please, We could make among you angels to be successors in the land.”[10]

Tradition Three: Muhammad Ibn al-Abbas says, “Narrated unto us Muhammad Ibn Sahl al-Attaar from Ahmad Ibn Umar al-Dehqaan from Muhammad Ibn Katheer al-Kufi from Muhammad Ibn al-Saaeb from Abu Saaleh from Ibn Abbas who said, ‘A group of people came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and said, ‘O Muhammad! Surely Eesaa Ibn Maryam enlivened the dead; so you too give life to the dead for us.’ The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked, ‘Whom do you intend (to bring to life)?’ They said, ‘We intend so and so’ who had died recently. He (s.a.w.a.) called Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and said something to him which we did not know. Then he (s.a.w.a.) said to him (a.s.), ‘Go with them to the dead person, call him by his name and the name of his father.’ He (a.s.) went with them till they reached the grave of that person. He (a.s.) called out, ‘O son of so and so!’ The corpse stood up. They asked him and he went back to his grave and lied down. The people returned saying, ‘Surely, he (a.s.) is from the wonders of Bani Abd al-Muttalib’ or its like. So Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – revealed, ‘And when a description of the son of Marium is given, lo! Your people raise a clamour there at.’[11] i.e. they make noise.

Then he continued the tradition till the end.

When it has become clear for you that this noble verse proves that in the Ummah of the Seal of the Prophets (s.a.w.a.) there is someone similar to Eesa Ibn Maryam (a.s.), who gives life to the dead with the permission of Allah and cures the blind and the lepers with the permission of Allah and who is none other than our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), it will become apparent for you his distinction for Caliphate and Imamate.

Explanation: Indeed this position is an elevated one from the various positions of mastership. For, even if it is not exactly the status of Imamate by itself, it is necessarily from its pre-requisites and consequences. Such evidence from the texts is in reality a proof for Caliphate and Imamate. It is here that some people started making noise as has come in the recitation of the Ahle Bait (a.s.), ‘they clamour there at’ i.e. they laugh as has been explained in some of the traditions.[12] Essentially, there is no scope to turn to anybody else other than him (a.s.) in the presence of the textual evidence.

Verily these traditions that are narrated by both the sects are explicit that after mentioning the numerous virtues and excellences of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) like the tradition of position (حديث منزلت), the position of brotherhood, that he (a.s.) is the most beloved of people to Allah – the High – and to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), that he (a.s.) is with the truth and the truth revolves around him (a.s.) wherever he (a.s.) goes and many other innumerable virtues, merits and excellences, yet he (s.a.w.a.) did not express and relate all the virtues, excellences and merits in their entirety fearing that a group from his Ummah might turn away and talk about Ali (a.s.) like the Christians believed about Eesaa Ibn Maryam (a.s.)!!!

When one enjoys such a position, how can he be given preference who indulged in the filth of polytheism for a considerable period of his lifetime?



[1] Surah Zukhruf (43): Verse 57

[2]     Surah Zukhruf (43): Verses 57-60.

[3]     Surah Anfaal (8): Verse 33.

[4]     Surah Ma’arij (70): Verses 1-3.

[5]     Surah Ibraheem (14): Verse 15.

[6]     Al-Kaafi, vol. 8, p. 57; Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 452.

[7]     Refer Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 109-152.

[8]     Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 424-426.

[9]     Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 424.

[10]    Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 424.

[11]    Ibid.

[12]    Refer Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 9, p. 53 and Tafseer al-Qummi, p. 611 (al-Hijri edition) and Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 426.