The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ

Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.[1]

In the exegesis of this verse in Ghaayah al-Maraam, twenty-four traditions have been recorded from Sunni references.

Tradition One:  al-Tha’labi narrates from al-Sudi from Atabah Ibn Abi Hakeem and Ghaaleb Ibn Abdullah, “The word of Allah – the High – ‘Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow’ refers to Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) because when a beggar came to him (a.s.) while he (a.s.) was bowing in prayers, he (a.s.) gave him his ring.”

Then al-Tha’labi says, “Informed us Abu al-Hasan Muhammad Ibn al-Qasem al-Faqeeh from Abdullah Ibn Ahmad al-Sha’raani from Abu Ali Ahmad Ibn Ali Ibn Rezeen from al-Mudhaffar Ibn al-Hasan al-Ansaari from al-Seri Ibn Ali al-Warraaq from Yahya Ibn Abd al-Hameed al-Hamaani from Qais Ibn al-Rabee’ from al-A’mash from Ebaayah Ibn al-Rab’ee from Abdullah Ibn Abbas (r.a.) who while sitting at the edge of (the fountain) of Zamzam said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said’ when a person entered wearing a turban. Now, Ibn Abbas had not even said ‘‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said’ but that the person ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said’. So Ibn Abbas said to him, ‘I ask you for the sake of Allah, who are you?’ He uncovered his turban from his face and said, ‘O people! Whoever knows me, then indeed he has known me. But whoever does not know me, then (he should know) that I am Jandab Ibn Junaadah al-Badri Abuzar al-Ghaffari. I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) with these two ears (and if I lie) these ears should become deaf and I saw the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) with these two eyes (and if I lie) these eyes should become blind. He (s.a.w.a.) says, ‘Ali is the leader of the good people, the killer of the transgressors, helped is the one who helps him and forsaken is the one who forsakes him’. One day, I was praying the noon prayers with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) when a beggar entered the mosque and asked for alms. Nobody gave him anything. As a result, the beggar raised his hands towards the skies and invoked, ‘O Allah! Be a Witness that I begged in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), but none gave me anything.’ At this juncture, Ali (a.s.) was praying and was in the state of bowing. He (a.s.) indicated to the beggar with the little finger of his right hand and this was in front of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). When he (s.a.w.a.) completed his (s.a.w.a.) prayers, he (s.a.w.a.) raised his head towards the skies and prayed, ‘O Allah! (Prophet) Moosa (a.s.) asked you, ‘He said: O my Lord! Expand my heart for me, And make my affair easy to me; And loose the knot from my tongue; (That) they may understand my word; And give to me an aide from my family; Haroun, my brother; Strengthen my back by him; And associate him (with me) in my affair.’[2] So, You send down upon him (a.s.) as the Quran has spoken, ‘He said: We will strengthen your arm with your brother, and We will give you both an authority, so that they shall not reach you’[3]  O Allah! I am Muhammad, Your Prophet and Your Chosen One. O Allah! Expand for me my heart, make my affair easy to me, give to me an aide from my family, Ali; strengthen my back with him.’

Abuzar said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had barely completed his invocation, when Jibraeel (a.s.) descended from the side of Allah – the High – and said, ‘O Muhammad! Read.’ He (s.a.w.a.) enquired, ‘And what should I read?’ He (a.s.) said, ‘Read: “Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.[4]

Tradition Two: From the book ‘al-Jam’o bain al-Sehaah al-Sittah’ of Rezeen, Part 3, in the exegesis of  Surah al-Maaedah under the saying of Allah – the High –  “Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow” from Saheeh al-Nesaai from Ibn Salaam who narrates, “I came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and said, ‘Verily, our people are furious with us because we have testified in Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). They have taken an oath that they will not speak with us. So, Allah – the High – revealed, “Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.” Thereafter, Belaal called out for the noon prayers. The people commenced the prayers and were between prostration and bowing when a beggar asked for alms and Ali (a.s.) gave his ring while he (a.s.) was in a state of bowing. The beggar informed the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), who recited for us the verse, “Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow. And whoever takes Allah and His apostle and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant[5][6]

He (r.a.) has continued the traditions till he says,

Tradition Ten: Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad concerning the reply of Moaviyah’s letter to Amr Ibn al-Aas. Amr Ibn al-Aas wrote, “Indeed, you know O Moaviyah, what has been revealed in his book concerning Ali (a.s.) of the verses that comprise of his virtues and in which none can equal him (a.s.). Like His saying, “They fulfil vows[7], “Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow[8]Is he then who has with him clear proof from his Lord, and a witness from Him recites it and before him[9] and Allah – the High – said, “Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah[10] and indeed Allah –  the High – said to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), “Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives.[11][12]

Tradition Eleven:  Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad in a chain that terminates at Ibn Abbas (r.a.) narrates, “Abdullah Ibn Salaam entered and with him were a few people from his nation who had believed in the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! Our houses are far and we don’t have any place to sit and talk except this place. When our people saw that we have believed in Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), they drove us away and decided not to sit with us, not to give their children in marriage to us and not to talk to us. Indeed, to bear all these things is difficult for us.’ The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to them, ‘Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.

Thereafter, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) went towards the mosque while the people were in states of standing and bowing (in prayers). He (s.a.w.a.) spotted a beggar and asked him, ‘Did anybody give you anything?’ He said, ‘Yes, a ring of gold.[13]’ The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) enquired, ‘Who gave it to you?’ The beggar pointed to Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and said, ‘That person who is standing in prayers.’ Again, he (s.a.w.a.) asked, ‘In which state did he give you?’ The beggar replied, ‘He gave me while he was bowing.’ On hearing this, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared the greatness of Allah by saying ‘Allah-o-Akbar’, then recited the verse, ‘And whoever takes Allah and His apostle and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant.[14]

Hassaan Ibn Thaabit recited the following poem,

‘O Aba Hasan! May my life and blood be sacrificed for you

And so does everything that flies and walks

Will my praise and writings go waste?

Never does praise in the way of God go waste 

So, you are the one who donated while you were bowing

May the lives of the nation be sacrificed for you, O best of those who bow!

Then, Allah revealed about you the best of mastership

And amongst it are the clear laws of the Shariah’[15]

Then, he (r.a.) has continued the traditions till its end.

There is no dispute amongst the Muslims that this verse was revealed concerning our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) as has been explained by Ibn Shahr Aashob[16]. Hence, there is no need to cite more narrations from their (Sunni) sources. To invoke divine blessings, we shall state a few traditions from our sources:

In the book of al-Kaafi, narrating from our master Imam Sadeq (a.s.) concerning the verse of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – “Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believed” He (a.s.) said, ‘He implied, ‘They have more authority upon you i.e. they have more right than you upon your lives and your wealth.’ ‘those who believedrefers to Ali and the Imams (a.s.) from his descendants till the Day of Judgement. Thereafter, Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – has described them by saying, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was bowing during the Noon prayers; he had prayed two units of prayers and was in a state of bowing. He was wearing a robe, the value of which was one thousand Dinars. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who received it as a gift from al-Najaashi (the Ethiopian Emperor), made him (a.s.) wear it. The beggar came and said, ‘Salutations be on you, O friend of Allah and who has more authority upon the believers than they themselves! Give charity to the destitute. He removed his robe and indicated to the beggar to take it. So Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – revealed this verse concerning him and the bounty of his children was made out of his bounty. So, whoever of his children has attained the position of Imamate, for him is such bounty, and they too donate while they bow.

The beggar who had begged for alms from Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was from the angels and those who ask the Imams (a.s.) from his descendants, are also from the angels.[17]

Again, in al-Kaafi, from our master Imam Sadeq (a.s.) from his father (a.s.) from his grandfather (a.s.) concerning the saying of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – ‘They recognize the favour of Allah, yet they deny it[18], he (a.s.) said, ‘When the verse   Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believewas revealed, a group from the companions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) gathered in the mosque of Madinah. They said to each other, ‘What do you say about this verse?’ Some of them replied, ‘If we deny this verse, we deny all of them and if we believe in it, then it’s a disgrace for us when Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) has authority over us.’ They said, ‘We know that Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is truthful in whatever he (s.a.w.a.) says. But we will turn away and will not obey Ali (a.s.) in whatever he (a.s.) orders us.’ Thus, this verse descended, They recognize the favour of Allah, yet they deny it’, that is, the mastership of Ali (a.s.) while the majority of them denies this mastership.’”[19]

From Al-Ehtejaaj of Shaikh Tabarsi (r.a.) in the letter of Imam Abul Hasan III Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Haadi (a.s.) to the people of Ahwaaz when they asked him (a.s.) about the issue of compulsion (جبر) and freewill (تفويض). He (a.s.) wrote, “The Ummah is unanimous and there is no dispute amongst them concerning the fact that the Holy Quran is the truth; there is no doubt in it, near all the sects. In this consensus, they are right and in the verification of what Allah has sent down, they are guided. As the saying of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) goes, ‘My Ummah will not gather on any deviation’[20]. Thus, he (s.a.w.a.) informed that on whatever the Ummah is unanimous and they do not oppose each other, will be the truth.

This is the meaning of the tradition, not as the ignorant interpret it and not like what the opponents believe in the falsification of the judgment of the Book and following the laws of forged traditions and fabricated narrations, and following the lowly, destructive desires that are at variance with the text of the Book and the realization of the clear, illuminating verses. We ask Allah that He gives us the Grace for rectification and guides us towards guidance.

When the Book has testified the truth of a tradition and its veracity, a group from the Ummah denies it, disputing it with a tradition from these forged traditions. Consequently, due to their denial and refutation of the Book, they become deviated.

The most correct tradition the veracity of which is endorsed by the Book is the tradition on which the Ummah is unanimous that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘Surely, I leave behind amongst you two successors: the Book of Allah and my progeny. Till you fasten unto both of them, never will you be deviated after me and surely both of them shall not separate from each other till they meet me at the Pond.’

The last words from him (s.a.w.a.) in this are bearing exactly the same meaning of his (s.a.w.a.) saying, ‘Surely, I leave behind amongst you two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my progeny, my Ahle Bait (a.s.). They shall never separate from each other till they come to me at the Pond. Till you fasten unto both of them, you will never be deviated.’ We found the documentary testimonies of this tradition in the Book of Allah like His saying, Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.[21]

The narrations of the scholars are unanimous that this verse is concerning Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) who gave charity while he (a.s.) was in a state of bowing. He (a.s.) thanked Allah for this and the verse descended in his favour.

Then we found the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had indeed explained it for his (s.a.w.a.) companions with these words, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master. O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and You take him as an enemy, who takes Ali as his enemy.’ He (s.a.w.a.) also said, ‘Ali will repay my debts and fulfil my promises. He is my successor upon you after me.’ And his (s.a.w.a.) saying when he (s.a.w.a.) appointed Ali (a.s.) as his (s.a.w.a.) successor in Madinah. He (a.s.) asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! Are you leaving me behind for women and children?’ He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘Are you not satisfied that you are unto me as Haroon was to Moosa except that there is no prophet after me?’

So we came to know that the Book testifies with the verification of the traditions and the realisation of these testimonies. Hence, it is necessary for the Ummah to acknowledge them since these traditions are in conformity with the Quran.

When we realised that these traditions are in harmony with the Book of Allah and the Book of Allah is in consonance with these traditions, a guide towards them, following these traditions becomes compulsory. None will dispute this but the obstinate and the mischievous ones.”[22]

Again from Al-Ehtejaaj in a tradition from Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), he records, “The hypocrites asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), ‘Is there anything remaining for your Lord to make compulsory for us after what He has already done? Let Him mention it that our souls are at peace that there is nothing remaining.’ So, Allah revealed concerning this, ‘Say: I exhort you only to one thing,…’[23] that is, mastership. Then Allah revealed, Only Allah is your Master and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.

There is no dispute amongst the Ummah that on that day none paid the poor-rate while he was bowing except one man. Had his name been mentioned in the Book, they would have dropped it along with what they dropped from his remembrance. This – and all things similar to it – is from the secrets whose proofs are mentioned for you in the Book so that the distorters may remain ignorant about its meaning and it should reach to people like you. And at this juncture, Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – said, ‘…This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion;… [24][25]

Explanation: It is possible to reconcile between what is narrated in al-Kaafi that the thing given as charity was a robe and what is narrated in other traditions and is also famous amongst the Shias as well as the Sunnis that it was a ring. Possibly, he (a.s.) had given a robe in the Noon prayers while bowing and in some other prayer, he (a.s.) had given a ring while bowing and the verse descended after the second giving.

This is proved by what has been narrated by al-Hamweeni from Sunni sources vide the chain of narrators terminating at Ammar Ibn Yaasir (r.a.) that he (a.s.) was bowing in a recommended prayer and a beggar asked him (a.s.). He (a.s.) removed his ring and gave it to the beggar after which the verse descended.[26]

The ring – as per what Ammar al-Saabaati has narrated – from Imam Abu Abdillah al-Sadeq (a.s.) was embedded with a ruby stone, weighing five mithqaal, and its ring was silver weighing four mithqaal.[27] What has been narrated in some Sunni traditions that the beggar said ‘He gave me a silver ring’ is perhaps a mistake and committed due to oversight.

I say: Indeed, it has become clear for you from what we have explained that there is no dispute amongst the Muslims concerning the fact that this noble verse was revealed in favour of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).

It has also become quite apparent that the phrase ‘…those who keep up prayers…’ has a special application and not a general meaning for whoever pays the poor rate while in a state of bowing. For, he does not have a special merit by which some of the believers are distinguished; leave alone the propriety of limiting the mastership to him (a.s.). So, the derived attribute in the incident is merely taken as an introduction, not as a subject which revolves around a judgment which will be applicable for anybody who pays the poor rate while in a state of bowing. Thus, necessarily it is an introduction of a special personality who is the subject of the judgment.

None has been introduced in the traditions from both the sects, notwithstanding their abundance and copiousness – rather their consecutiveness – except our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). There is no scope for wavering or hesitating in its application for our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).

The plural tense used in the verse does not contradict this application because such usage for reverence and respect is customary. Moreover, the usage of the plural tense also indicates another fact. That is, his (a.s.) belief is the most complete in precedence, steadfastness and certainty in the levels of faith; his (a.s.) obedience for Allah – the High – is the most perfect vis-à-vis sincerity in degrees of obedience, focusing only on the attention of Allah – the High – and devoid of any trace of greed and fear, as has been narrated from him (a.s.), ‘I neither worshipped You because of fear of Your Fire nor due to the greed of Your Paradise. Nay, I found You worthy for worship and hence I worshipped You.’[28] Therefore, the use of the plural terms indicates towards this very meaning. To equate him (a.s.) with all the believers implies the perfection of all the degrees of belief and that the greatest levels of obedience were found in him (a.s.). He (a.s.) was positioned at the highest levels of certainty, belief and the most complete levels of obedience. Texts of both the sects in numerous instances have proved this fact. For example, the saying of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) when Ali (a.s.) came out to fight against Amr Ibn Abdawud, ‘Total belief has come out to fight against total polytheism.’[29] And that he (a.s.) is the most beloved creature in front of Allah – the High – and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) in the tradition of the roasted bird.[30] And in the battle of Tabuk, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘Tomorrow, I will give the standard to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him; he is firm, not fleeing. He will not return till Allah grants victory at his hands.’[31] And many other similar accepted texts that are a testimony to his (a.s.) condition. Anybody who has even a faint knowledge about his (a.s.) condition will not doubt about these facts.

When it has become apparent for you what we have explained, then know that the noble verse is clear and explicit in the distinction of total mastership, great leadership and caliphate for our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). For, the master – regardless of its numerous meanings like owner of the affair, friend, lover and helper – returns to its most popular meaning which is the first one. Hence, one who controls the affairs of an immature child is his master, the master of a woman is who regulates the affairs of her marriage, the master of someone’s blood is he who can demand retaliation, the master of covenant (crown-prince) is the one who owns the covenant of rule, etc.

In Majma’ al-Bayaan: Al-Mubarrad says in the book ‘al-Ebaarah’ about the attributes of Allah, “The original Master is the One Who has the greatest authority i.e. He is the most worthy and its like is Maula.”

So, the word ‘Master’ (ولي) is in the meaning of the one who has the most authority (اولي), as is apparent, notwithstanding the contexts over here. But when the contexts are considered, then it becomes clear and over here, it is for two reasons:

First: Just as the master is added to the one whom he needs to take his place is a specified context near the knowledgeable people about the intention of the owner of the affair like the guardian of the child, the guardian of the woman, etc. in a way that none will imply these guardians to be their lover or helper or friend or neighbor. The only certain meaning which can be derived from it is the owner of the affair.

Similarly, considering as master the one whose authority is established for the opponent from the aspects of wisdom, law or custom, is a determined context near them in the implication of the owner of the affair.

Don’t you see when you say, ‘The master of the subjects is the king and his crown-prince and successor’ nobody implies that it means lover, helper, etc. Rather, it is decisively clear that the reference is to the owner of the authority. The same applies in this discussion. For, the sovereignty of Allah – the High – is established upon the creatures as an intellectual necessity. The same holds true for His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) upon the Ummah on account of his messengership and caliphate of Allah – the High. Thus, master over here implies owner of the affair. The phrase, ‘…those who believe, those who keep up prayers…’ followed by the conjunction ‘and’ in the verse and preceded by Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) shows the common factor of mastership between the three. Therefore, it is determined that the established mastership is for the one who paid the poor rate while bowing is the mastership of Allah – the High – and that of His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) in the meaning of having the most authority, maximum right and ownership of the affair.

Second: The element of limitation i.e. the word ‘only’ (اِنَّمَا) which according to all Arabic litterateurs is used for confinement and limitation. So, the word ولي in all its other meanings is not confined to Allah alone, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the believers who established prayers and pay the poor rate while bowing. Thus, the only meaning in which the element of limitation will be truly applicable will be that of the mastership of the affairs and possessing the maximum authority.

Objection: Apparently, considering the context of the preceding four verses i.e. “O you who believe! Don’t take the Jews and the Christians as friends…”[32] and the verse is joined by two more verses i.e. “O you who believe! Don’t take those who take your religion as a mockery and a joke…” till His saying, “…and those who disbelieve as friends…”[33], over here, the  word ‘ولاية’ implies love because here, prohibition is for ولاية of Jews, Christians and unbelievers. Obviously, prohibition in such a case can be made only for love, and not for mastership and authority because the believers did not take the aforementioned people as the ‘possessors of authority’ that they would be prohibited from it. Thus, it is determined that ولاية, always implies love. Also, limitation over here is merely metaphorical, not real.

Answer: Mere usage of the word ولي in the preceding or following verses is unrelated with this verse in the meaning of lover is not the cause of deriving the same meaning for the word in this verse as well. Also, in the preceding and the following verses too, it is appropriate to interpret the word in the meaning of ‘possessors of authority, and the ones who possess more authority and more right’. It is guidance for the believers that the master of your affairs is Allah – the High, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the believer bearing the described qualities in the verse. You are under the mastership of their affairs. You don’t have any choice in taking the love between you and between those who disbelieve in them. It is obligatory upon you to obey your masters, to follow their commands and to refrain from what they prohibit. Therefore, the verse emphasizes and highlights the preceding and following prohibitions.

Then, to disregard the limitation is not possible except in case of descent and revelation[34] because, essentially disregarding the alphabets is only on account of following what is added to it. Thus, anything which is not intended to be limited, the elements of limiting words will not be used for it.

Limiting the ولي to Allah – the High, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the believer with the described qualifications, if it was revealed with taking the ولي in the meaning of love or helper, would be correct only if their love and affection descended in the position of all those whose love is obligatory from the believers. And this will not be complete till the believer who has been described with the desired qualities in the verse is close to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), his (s.a.w.a.) Caliph and His Proof upon His servants; otherwise, there is no scope for descent.

To make him (a.s.) as an associate to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) in limiting the love for him and the presence of Caliphate in him (a.s.) through the noble verse necessitates his distinction through it due to the absence of divine texts for the caliphate of the three caliphs, along with the confessions of the opponents. Moreover, limiting mastership after Allah – the High – and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) to the believer possessing the mentioned characteristics, even if it was through descent, is not in consonance and harmony with them (the three caliphs) being eligible in front of Allah for the eminent position of Caliphate. In fact, in this case it becomes necessary that they be associated with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) like the believer with the mentioned traits has been associated.

Objection:  Such limitation will not be complete as per your ideology too, whether effectively or through descent, because Imamate and Caliphate is not limited to one person, as per your belief. Rather, the number of Imams – according to you – is twelve, like the number of months and the number of the grandsons of the Bani Israeel.

Answer: Limitation of mastership would not have been correct vis-à-vis our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) if the Imamate of each of the twelve Imams (a.s.) would have been at par horizontally with each other, like the rights of the partners with regards to their shareholdings. But when the Imamate of each one of them is in the vertically order, that is, there will be only one Imam in each era, or that every following Imam (a.s.) will be the successor of his predecessor, hence it will not be out of place to limit mastership in this arrangement due to the return of the mastership of the following Imams (a.s.) to the mastership of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). Therefore, it will be correct to limit mastership to our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) because the Imamate of all the Imams (a.s.) returns to his (a.s.) mastership. Similarly, it will be correct to limit the mastership to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) in the sense that the mastership of all the Imams (a.s.) returns to his (s.a.w.a.) mastership. Correspondingly, it will correct to limit the mastership to Allah – the High – because He is the Origin in mastership and the mastership of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and that of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the infallible Imams (a.s.) emanates from the mastership of Allah – the High.

Yes, it is incorrect to limit mastership in the arrangement which does not return to His mastership. Thus, limitation will be incorrect as per the creed of the opponents, those who regard our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) to come after their caliphs. But as for our religion, he (a.s.) is the first of the caliphs and the chief of the successors (a.s.). Thus, limitation is complete and there is no shortcoming in it whatsoever.

All Praise is for Allah, it has become extremely clear from what we have explained that the noble verse is explicit in proving the distinction of Imamate for our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).

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

[1] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 55

[2] Surah Taha (20): Verses 25-32

[3] Surah Qasas (28): Verse 35

[4] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 104

[5] Surah Maaedah (5): Verses 55-56

[6] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 104

[7] Surah al-Insaan (76): Verse 7

[8] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 55

[9] Surah Hud (11): Verse 17

[10] Surah al-Ahzaab (33): Verse 23

[11] Surah al-Shura (42): Verse 23

[12] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 104; Manaaqeb of al-Khaarazmi, p. 200

[13] In the tradition of Imam Sadeq (a.s.), it is said as ‘ring of silver’.

[14] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 56

[15] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 105; Manaaqeb of al-Khaarazmi, p. 265

[16] Manaaqeb-o-Aale Abi Taalib (a.s.), vol. 3, p. 3

[17] al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 288

[18] Surah al-Nahl (16): Verse 83

[19] al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 427

[20] Refer Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 2, p. 225 and vol. 28, p. 104; al-Mo’jam al-Mufahharas le Alfaaz al-Hadith al-Nabawi, vol. 1, p. 367.

[21] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 55

[22] Al-Ehtejaaj, vol. 2, pp. 251-253

[23] Surah al-Sabaa (34): Verse 46

[24] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 3

[25] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 109 narrating from Al-Ehtejaaj, vol. 1, p. 601 (al-Uswah publication)

[26] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 106 narrating from Faraaed al-Simtain

[27] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 109

[28] Awaali al-La’ali, vol. 1, p. 404 and vol. 2, p. 11

[29] Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 1, p. 272 and in it is ‘Total Islam has come out against total polytheism’

[30] Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 471-477

[31] Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 465-470

[32] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 51

[33] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 57

[34] Explanation: Verily, the limitation of mastership in the meaning of love for Allah – the High – and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) will be correct only if it implies that the love of all  the believers with each other vis-à-vis belief and faith returns to the love of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) because the origin is only Allah – the High – and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). And the believer, who has been associated with His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), if he is an Imam whose obedience is obligatory, belief will not be complete except with the acceptance of his mastership and fastening unto his rope. So, it is correct to limit love in him too because he is an origin in belief just as the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is an origin in it. Otherwise, there is no scope for the limitation of love in it because of the non-return of the love of the believers to His love. – Author (r.a.).