The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ

“O Apostle! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people…”[1]

In Ghaayah al-Maraam, nine traditions from Sunni sources have been mentioned under the exegesis of the aforementioned verse.

Tradition One: al-Tha’labi in his exegesis under this verse records, “Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Its meaning is, ‘Convey what has been revealed to you concerning the excellence of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’. And in another manuscript, he (a.s.) said, ‘O Messenger! Convey what has been sent to you concerning Ali (a.s.).’ He (a.s.) said, ‘Thus it has been revealed’. Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (a.s.) has narrated, ‘When this verse descended, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali (a.s.) and said, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too.’[2]

Tradition Two: Again, he records, “Informed me Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Muhammad al-Qaazi from Abu al-Husain Muhammad Ibn Uthman al-Nasibi from Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn al-Husain from Hassaan from al-Kalbi from Abu Saaleh from Ibn Abbas concerning the saying of Allah – the High – “O Apostle! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; …” he said, ‘It was revealed concerning Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was ordered to convey regarding him (a.s.). So, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali (a.s.) and said, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too. O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master, be enemy of the one who takes him as an enemy.[3]

Tradition Three: In Kashf al-Ghummah from Zirr Ibn Abdullah, who said, “We used to recite during the era of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), “O Apostle! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord that Ali is the master of the believers.  “…and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people…”[4]

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

I say: It is appropriate to discuss three points over here:

A) The noble verse descended concerning the mastership of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) at Ghadeer-e-Khumm.

B) What the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has conveyed over here in the glory of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).

C) What the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has conveyed in his (a.s.) glory is explicit in Imamate and Caliphate.

Now, for the details:

A) Traditions from both the sects are numerous terminating at the Ahle Bait (a.s.), Ibn Abbas, Jaaber, Abu Saeed al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah that the verse was revealed only concerning him (a.s.) at Ghadeer-e-Khumm.[5] In fact, the traditions from our sources ending at the Ahle Bait (a.s.) are consecutive, along with the fact that the noble verse establishes from two aspects that the order was from Allah – the High – and that the order to convey was naught but mastership.

Explanation: From the noble verse, two things become quite obvious:

1)      The preparations of Allah – the High – in what He sent down in this instance was far more than the preparations He had made for all other revelations on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), to the extent that if the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would not convey this message specifically, his entire Prophethood would be rendered null and void.

2)      The conveyance of this message was difficult for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) because he (s.a.w.a.) feared that the people would refuse to accept it and would trouble him (s.a.w.a.) for it. Allah – the High – also threatened him (s.a.w.a.) in case of non-conveyance of the message by His – Mighty and Majestic be He – saying,‘…and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message…’. It is irrational to use such terms except for matters that are extremely tough on the addressee.  

It is known that there was nothing difficult for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) in conveying what his (s.a.w.a.) had revealed on him (s.a.w.a.) from his own side. Rather, the difficulty and problem lied from the side of the people. Therefore, Allah – the High – had assured him (s.a.w.a.) of protection by saying, “…and Allah will protect you from the people…” Each of the aforementioned points establishes that the matter was pertaining to mastership and caliphate.

Explanation: Surah al-Maaedah was the last chapter to be revealed on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and hence, it abrogated all the earlier verses and nothing abrogated it.[6] Therefore, his (s.a.w.a.) fear was not from the polytheists because those who did not submit to both of them were already subjugated at the time of the descent of the verse. Rather, this fear was from those who had accepted Islam from their tongues but their hearts had not acknowledged faith. From the traditions and the history of their (hypocrites’) conditions it becomes clear that the thing which these so-called Muslims denied was the mastership of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). There was nothing that was heavier on them than the acceptance of his (a.s.) mastership. They did not object to prayers, fasting, Hajj, holy war, Khums, poor-rate and other Islamic laws. Yes, they did refuse to pay the Khums because of mastership as well. The incident of al-Haarith Ibn al-No’maan al-Fehri – narrated by both the sects – would suffice in this regard.[7]

To put it briefly, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) called out to the people at Ghadeer-e-Khumm, they gathered. He (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali (a.s.) and proclaimed, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too.’ The news spread like wild fire in cities, till it reached al-Haarith Ibn al-No’maan al-Fehri, who came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) on his she-camel and reached the desert. He descended from his she-camel, tied her and came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) while he (s.a.w.a.) was sitting with some of his companions. He said, ‘O Muhammad! You ordered us on Allah’s behalf that we testify ‘there is no god but Allah’ and that ‘you are the Messenger of Allah’, we accepted. You commanded us that we pray five times a day, we accepted it from you. You ordered us to pay the poor-rate, we accepted it. You commanded us to fast the whole month, we accepted. You ordered us to perform the Hajj, we accepted. But you were not satisfied with this till you raised your cousin and granted him superiority over us by saying, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too’. Now, was this command from your side or from Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He?’

He (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘By the One there is no god except Him! Surely this was from Allah.’ al-Haarith turned towards his mount, grumbling, ‘O Allah! If what Muhammad says is true, then rain upon a stone from the sky or bring forth upon us a painful chastisement’. He had not reached his mount when Allah – the High – struck him with a stone that fell on his forehead and came out from his backside, killing him instantly. At this juncture, Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – revealed, “One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall; the unbelievers — there is none to avert it…[8]

So, it has become clear that the thing which was commanded to be conveyed from the Lord – the High, the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) feared from the people in its conveyance, Allah – the High – promised him (s.a.w.a.) protection from them and the extreme emphasis on its conveyance to the extent of regarding it as equal to the entire religion is nothing but mastership and Caliphate. For, the conveyance of any other thing like the Islamic laws was not a cause of fear for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from the people.

Just as such importance and emphasis is not appropriate but for a thing like mastership and not other Islamic laws, nothing enjoys as much reward as this mastership i.e. if this is left, then everything is forsaken. Such importance is relevant only for mastership and Caliphate because the religion is protected from being squandered by the appointment of a Caliph and his determination from the side of Allah – the High. And if this significant thing is forsaken, religion will be exposed to destruction through increase or decrease.

There is no harm in mentioning the interpretations that are contrary to the traditions and their explanations.

In Majma’ al-Bayaan, it is written: Many interpreters have different views in this regard.

It is said: Surely, Allah – the High – sent the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with a message, which he (s.a.w.a.) felt was difficult to accomplish and feared the Quraish. Hence, Allah dispelled this fear with this verse – al-Hasan.

It is said: This verse intended to do away with the speculation that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) concealed a thing from the revelation due to dissimulation (تقية) – Aayeshah.

And so on and so forth.[9]

Al-Ayyaashi narrates in his exegesis through his chain of narrators from Ibn Abi Umair from Ibn Udhainah from al-Kalbi from Abu Saaleh from Ibn Abbas and Jaabir Ibn Abdullah, both of whom said, ‘Allah ordered Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) to appoint Ali (a.s.) for the people and inform them of his (a.s.) mastership. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) feared that they may say, ‘He has favoured his cousin’ and will taunt him for the same. Allah revealed the verse for him and he (s.a.w.a.) declared his (a.s.) mastership on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm.[10]

This tradition has been informed to us in its totality by Abu al-Hamd from al-Haakem Abu al-Qaasim al-Haskaani vide his chain of narrators from Ibn Abi Umair in the book ‘Shawaahed al-Tanzeel’.[11]

I say: The view of al-Hasan is not contrary to the contents of the traditions. At the most, he has not determined the moment of descent (شأن النزول), either due to his ignorance of the place of its occurrence or fear of the people or being in harmony in what is more important. Apparently, it is either of the last two reasons. In fact, it is the last one as is apparent from the narration of al-Ayyaashi through his chain of narrators from Ziyad Ibn al-Mundhir Abu al-Jaarood, the founder of the Zaidiyyah Jaaroodiyyah sect, who says, ‘I was with Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Ali (a.s.) in the desert while he (a.s.) was conversing with the people. A person from the people of Basrah called as Uthmaan al-A’shi stood up and narrating from al-Hasan al-Basri said, ‘O son of Allah’s Messenger! May I be held your ransom! al-Hasan al-Basri has narrated a tradition to us. He thinks that the following verse was revealed concerning a person but did not inform us about that person “O Apostle! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message,…” Its interpretation: Do you fear the people? Allah will protect you from the people.’ Imam Abu Ja’far (a.s.) replied, ‘What is (wrong) with him? May Allah not complete his religion!’ End of what we intend.[12]

As for the narration from Aayeshah, it is as far from the verse as the distance between the sky and the earth. Since, even if it is assumed that whatever has been mentioned is correct, the wordings should have been, ‘O people! The Messenger has conveyed what has been revealed from his Lord’ all in the past tense. He should not have commanded His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) to convey and threaten him (s.a.w.a.) if he forsakes. Perhaps even attributing the tradition to Aayeshah seems like an error.

Now, it is appropriate to draw the attention to some of the peculiar characteristics of the noble verse.

I say: The usage of the term ‘Messenger’ instead of ‘Prophet’ and its like because it is appropriate for the level of conveyance the mention of the attribute of messengership. Specially, since the conveyance was of extreme significance like in this case. The usage of the scale تفعيل instead of اِفعَال denotes the extreme significance of the message to be conveyed to the people and hence the scale used proves the description of the position through the source and not the scale of اِفعال which merely denotes the joining of the source with the position. The passive voice used in the verb اُنْزِلَ (what has been revealed) is to indicate that the complete importance shown in the verse is only for the position of the sent message, notwithstanding its relation to the subject. Thereafter, Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – says, ‘…from your Lord…’ as an explanation that the revelation of this important affair is from the side of Allah – the High – to repel any speculation whatsoever of the ignorant from the Ummah. From the noble verse it can be understood that the descent of this important affair was prior to its actual occurrence. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) delayed its conveyance fearing mockery of the ignorant from them and was waiting that the protection from Allah – the High – comes to him (s.a.w.a.). Allah emphasized its conveyance through this verse, threatened His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) in case of forsaking its conveyance and granted him (s.a.w.a.) protection from the people.

In the traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.), it has come that the verse of mastership was revealed on the Day of Arafah but the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) feared from his people, the hypocrites and the evil that they would disperse and return to their ignorant ways. Jibraeel (a.s.) requested him (s.a.w.a.) that he (s.a.w.a.) should seek protection from his Lord against the people. He (s.a.w.a.) waited for Jibraeel (a.s.) to bring the protection against the people from Allah – May His Name be Majestic. This was delayed till he (s.a.w.a.) reached Majid al-Khaif, where he (a.s.) brought the verse of mastership but not protection. Again, he (s.a.w.a.) postponed its conveyance till he (s.a.w.a.) reached ‘Keraa’ al-Ghameem’ between Makkah and Madinah, when Jibraeel (a.s.) came to him (s.a.w.a.) and ordered him (s.a.w.a.) about the thing which had come from the side of Allah but did not bring the protection.

He (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘O Jibraeel! Verily I fear my people that they will deny me and they will not accept my saying concerning Ali (a.s.).’ Saying this, he (s.a.w.a.) resumed his journey. When he (s.a.w.a.) reached Ghadeer-e-Khumm – three miles before al-Johfah – Jibraeel (a.s.) came to him at approximately five hours past noon with divine reprimand, reproach and protection against the people. He (a.s.) said, ‘O Muhammad! Surely, Allah – the High – conveys salutations to you and says to you, “O Apostle! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people…”

B) Traditions from both sects are consecutive that he (s.a.w.a.) provided divine evidence on the mastership of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) during his return from the last pilgrimage at Ghadeer-e-Khumm and declared, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too.’ In Ghaayah al-Maraam[13], eighty-nine traditions have been recorded from Sunni sources, some of which are as follows:

Tradition One: From the Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal who records, “Narrated unto us Affaan from Hammaad Ibn Salmah from Zaid Ibn Ali Ibn Thaabit from al-Buraa Ibn Aazeb, ‘We were with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) in his journey. We dismounted at Ghadeer-e-Khumm and were invited for congregational prayers. A place beneath a tree was cleaned for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). He (s.a.w.a.) performed the noon prayers, after which he (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali (a.s.) and asked, ‘Don’t you know that I have more authority upon the believers than they themselves?’ They all replied, ‘Yes.’ He (s.a.w.a.) enquired again, ‘Don’t you know that I have more authority over every believer than his ownself?’ They all responded in the affirmative. Thereafter, he (s.a.w.a.) raised the hand of Ali (a.s.) and said to them, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too. O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who takes Ali as his enemy.’ Then Umar met him (a.s.) and said, ‘Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Taalib! You have become the master of every believing man and woman.’[14]

Tradition Two: Ahmad Ibn Hanbal records, “Narrated unto us Affaan from Abu Awaanah from al-Mughairah from Abu Ubaidah from Ibn Maimoon Ibn Abdillah who says, ‘Zaid Ibn Arqam said while I was listening, ‘We dismounted along with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) at a valley called as the valley of Khumm. He (s.a.w.a.) ordered for prayers and performed it. Thereafter, he (s.a.w.a.) addressed us – while a shade was provided for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) with the help of a cloth under a tree. He (s.a.w.a.) asked, ‘Don’t you know or don’t you witness that I have more authority upon a believer than his own self?’ They all replied, ‘Yes.’ He (s.a.w.a.) declared, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too. O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who takes Ali as his enemy.’[15]

Tradition Three: Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Hanbal records, “Narrated unto us Abdullah Ibn Noaim from his father who said that Husain Ibn Muhammad and Abu Noaim both said that narrated unto us Qatar from Abu al-Tufail, ‘Ali (a.s.) gathered the people at al-Rohbah and said, ‘O people! I ask you for the sake of Allah, any Muslim man who has heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) say on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm what he has heard should stand up.’ Thirty people stood up.’ Abu Noaim says, ‘Many people stood up and bore testimony that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) took his (a.s.) hand and said to the people, ‘Do you know that I have more authority upon the believers than they themselves?’ They all replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)!’ He (s.a.w.a.) declared, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, Ali is his master too. O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who takes Ali as his enemy.’[16]

Then he has continued the traditions till its end.

Tradition Eight: Ahmad Ibn Hanbal records, “Narrated unto us Ibn Numair from Abd al-Malik Ibn Atiyyah al-Aufi who says, ‘I came to Zaid Ibn Arqam and said, ‘My maternal uncle reported to me on your authority a tradition in favour of Ali (a.s.) on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm. I would love to listen it from you.’ He replied, ‘O people of Kufa! You are in what you are in (i.e. you are not trustworthy).’ He said, ‘You will not reach any harm from me.’ He answered, ‘Yes. We were at al-Johfah when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) emerged at noon holding the hand of Ali (a.s.) and enquired, ‘O people! Do you not know that I have more authority upon the believers than they themselves?’ They all replied, ‘Yes.’ He (s.a.w.a.) declared, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too.’ I asked, ‘Did the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) also say, ‘O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who takes Ali as his enemy.’ He retorted, ‘I am only informing you what I have heard.’[17]

Tradition Twenty-Five: From al-Jam’ Bain al-Sahaah al-Sittah from Part III from the collection of Abu al-Hasan Rizeen al-Abdari – Imam al-Haramain – in Manaaqeb of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.), which is to the extent of one-third of the book of Saheeh Abu Dawood al-Sajistaani – a book of Sunan – and from Saheeh al-Tirmidhi from Abi Surhah and Zaid Ibn Arqam that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) proclaimed, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too.’[18]

Tradition Twenty-Eight: Abu al-Hasan al-Shaafei records, “Informed us Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Taawaan from Abu al-Khair Ahmad Ibn al-Husain Ibn al-Sammaak from Abu Muhammad Ja’far Ibn Muhammad Ibn Nusair al-Jildi from Ali Ibn Saeed Ibn Qutaibah al-Ramli from Hamzah Ibn Rabeeah al-Qarashi from Ibn Shawdhab from Matraq al-Warraaq from Shahr Ibn Hawshab from Abu Hurairah who said, ‘Whoever fasts on the eighteenth of Dhilhajj, the reward of sixty months of fasting will be written for him. It is the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) took the hand of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and asked, ‘Don’t I have more authority upon the believers?’ They all replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)!’ He (s.a.w.a.) proclaimed, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too.’ Umar Ibn al-Khattaab said, ‘Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Taalib! You have become my master and the master of every believing man and woman.’ Thereafter, Allah – the High – revealed, ‘Today I have perfected for you your religion.’[19]

Tradition Forty: Ibn al-Maghaazeli records from Ahmad and the chain of narrators terminates at Zaid Ibn Arqam, who said, “Ali (a.s.) implored the people in the mosque saying, ‘I ask you for the sake of Allah, any man who has heard the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) say, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too. O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who takes Ali as his enemy.’ I was amongst those who concealed (the truth) and as a result, lost my sight.[20]

Tradition Forty-One: Ibn al-Maghaazeli records from Ahmad, “Informed us Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Taawaan from al-Husain Ibn Muhammad al-Alawi al-Adl al-Waaseti reaching to Atiyyah al-Aufi who says, ‘I saw the son of Abu Aufa in the foyer after he became blind. I asked him about the tradition.’ He replied, ‘O people of Kufa! You are in what you are in (i.e. you are not trustworthy).’ I said, ‘May Allah better your condition! I am not from them. You will not face any disgrace from me.’ He asked, ‘Which tradition?’ I responded, ‘The tradition of Ali (a.s.) on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm.’ He informed, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) came to us in his pilgrimage on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm holding the arm of Ali (a.s.) and asked, ‘O people! Don’t you know that I have more authority upon the believers than they themselves?’ They all replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)!’ He (s.a.w.a.) proclaimed, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too.’[21]

Tradition Fifty-One: From the book ‘al-Ansaab’ of Ahmad Ibn Yahya Ibn Jaaber al-Balaadhari in Part I concerning the virtues of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). He writes, ‘Ali (a.s.) said on the pulpit, ‘I ask you for the sake of Allah of a man who has heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) say on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm, ‘O Allah! You take him as a slave who takes Ali as his master and take him as an enemy who takes Ali as his enemy’ but that he should stand up and testify.’ Sitting beneath the pulpit were Anas Ibn Maalik, al-Buraa Ibn Aazeeb and Jurair Ibn Abdullah al-Bajalli. He (a.s.) repeated his imploration but none replied. He (a.s.) cursed, ‘O Allah! Whoever conceals this testimony while he is aware of it, do not take him out of this world till he sees a sign by which he is recognized.’ Consequently, Anas became a leper, al-Buraa became blind and Jurair turned apostate after accepting Islam. He came to the mountains and died in the house of his mother.[22]

Tradition Eighty-Four: Ibn Abi al-Hadeed records in his Sharh, “A group of our teachers from Baghdad have mentioned that a number of companions, Taabe’een (those who saw the companions but not the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) and traditionalists were deviated from Ali (a.s.) thinking evil about him (a.s.). From them is the one who concealed his (a.s.) virtues and merits and helped his (a.s.) enemies, inclining towards the world and sacrificing the Hereafter. From these was Anas Ibn Maalik. Ali (a.s.) implored at Rohbah al-Qasr – or at Rohbah of the Grand Mosque at Kufah, ‘Who from you has heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) say, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too.’ Twelve people stood up and testified to it. Anas Ibn Maalik was from those who did not stand. Ali (a.s.) asked him, ‘O Anas! What prevents you from standing up and testifying? You were indeed present over there.’ He replied, ‘O Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)! I have become old and have forgotten.’ Ali (a.s.) cursed, ‘O Allah! If he is a liar, then inflict white spots on his forehead which cannot be hidden by the turban.’ Talhah Ibn Umar reports, ‘By Allah! I could clearly see the white spot between his eyes (forehead).’

Uthmaan Ibn Matraf narrates that a person asked Anas Ibn Maalik in the last part of his life about Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). He replied, ‘I have taken an oath that I will not hide a tradition which you have asked me concerning Ali (a.s.) after the day of al-Rohbah. He (a.s.) is the chief of the pious on the Day of Judgment. By Allah! I heard this from your Prophet (s.a.w.a.).’[23]

I say: From those who have hidden the news, nay, have ordered to deny the tradition of Ghadeer-e-Khumm despite knowing about it is Abu Hanifah, one of the Imams of the Sunnis.

Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) has recorded in his Amaali vide his chain of narrators reaching till Muhammad Ibn Naufil Ibn Abid al-Sairafi, who said, “Abu Hanifah al-No’man Ibn Thaabit came to us. We mentioned Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and our discussion revolved around Ghadeer-e-Khumm. Abu Hanifah remarked, ‘I have told my followers, ‘Don’t acknowledge Ghadeer-e-Khumm in front of them (Shias) lest they defeat you.’ On hearing this, the face of al-Haitham Ibn Habeeb al-Sairafi changed and he asked, ‘Why you don’t acknowledge it? Is it not available with you, O No’maan?’ He replied, ‘It is available with me and indeed I have narrated it too.’ He enquired, ‘Then why don’t you acknowledge it while Habib Ibn Abi Thaabit has narrated unto us from Abu al-Tufail from Zaid Ibn Arqam that Ali (a.s.) implored for the sake of Allah at al-Rohbah whoever heard him (a.s.).’ Abu Hanifah responded, ‘Don’t you see there has been so much deliberation on this topic to the extent that it has created tension amongst the people?’ al-Haitham shot back, ‘So should we deny Ali (a.s.) or refute his saying?’ Abu Hanifah answered, ‘We neither deny Ali (a.s.) nor do we reject his (a.s.) statement but you know that some people have indulged in exaggeration concerning him (a.s.).’ al-Haitham retorted, ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) speaks about him (a.s.) and sermonizes concerning him (a.s.) while we fear from them and are scared about the exaggeration of an exaggerator or about the opinion of a speaker.’[24]

It is apparent from the traditions that after the three caliphs came to power, most of the people concealed the virtues and merits of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), inclining towards them, specially the tradition of Ghadeer due to its explicit nature and its elaborate evidence on the distinction of his mastership and caliphate.

It has also become evident for you that the likes of Anas Ibn Maalik, Zaid Ibn Arqam and al-Buraa Ibn Aazeb, who were known for their companionship of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), were from those who concealed their testimony in particular to the tradition of Ghadeer during the reign of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and in his (a.s.) presence despite his (a.s.) implorations; to the extent that he (a.s.) cursed them. Consequently, Anas became a leper and others became blind and related the tradition later. Then, what will you say about the masses, notwithstanding the paucity of the pious in all times and the inclination of the people towards the rulers and kings? Nevertheless, all praise is for Allah – the High – that the tradition of Ghadeer was manifest despite the great efforts to conceal it; so much so that it has attained the status of consecutiveness (تواتر) even amongst the Sunnis.

After narrating eighty-nine traditions from their sources, Sayyed Hashim Bahraani (r.a.) writes in Ghaayah al-Maraam, “Muhammad Ibn Jurair al-Tabari – the author of Taareekh – has recorded the tradition of Ghadeer-e-Khumm and brought seventy-five chains of narrators for it. He has even written an exclusive book on the subject title ‘al-Wilaayah’, despite being a Sunni. Abu al-Abbas Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Saeed Ibn Uqdah has mentioned about Ghadeer-e-Khumm, written a special book on it and mentioned hundred and five chains of narrators for it.”[25]

The poems of Hassaan Ibn Thaabit – a companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – compiled on this day (of Ghadeer) are quite popular. Proponents as well as opponents have recorded these in their narrations.

In the narrations of al-Hamweeni and Muwaffaq Ibn Ahmad, it is recorded, “Hassaan Ibn Thaabit said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! Allow me to say a few couplets concerning Ali (a.s.) that you may listen to them.’ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘Say with the blessings of Allah.’ Hassaan Ibn Thaabit stood up and said, ‘O Chiefs of Quraish! Listen to my saying as a testimony from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) concerning the established mastership.

يناديهم يوم الغدير نبيّهم          بخمّ وأسمع بالرسول مناديا

وقال فمن مولاكم و وليّكم       فقالوا ولم يبدوا هناك التعاميا

إلهك مولانا وأنت وليّنا            ولا تجدن في الخلق للامر عاصيا

فقال له قم يا علي فإنني          رضيتك من بعدي إماماً و هاديا.

On the day of Ghadeer, their Prophet called out to them

At Khumm and how hearing were the people to the Messenger as an announcer

And he asked, ‘Who is your master and your leader?’

They replied while they did not manifest any delusion then.

Your God is our master while you are our leader.

And you will not find amongst the creatures anyone disobedient to the command

So he (s.a.w.a.) said to him (a.s.), ‘Stand, O Ali! For surely I am

Satisfied with you as an Imam and guide after me.[26]

Briefly, there is no doubt whatsoever in the origin of the tradition and none denies it except an obstinate and arrogant person. There is no need to mention the traditions from our sources but we will seek divine blessings by stating only one of them as a token.

It has been recorded in Ghaayah al-Maraam from Ibn Baabwayh (r.a.), “Narrated unto me my father (r.a.) from Ahmad Ibn Idrees from Yaqoob Ibn Yazeed from Muhammad Ibn Abi Umair from Muhammad al-Qibti who narrates, ‘Imam Ja’far Ibn Muhammad al-Sadeq (a.s.) said, ‘The people became negligent of the saying of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) concerning Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) at the fountain of Umm-e-Ibrahim just as they were negligent of his (s.a.w.a.) saying on the day of Ghadeer-e-Khumm that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) was at the fountain of Umm-e-Ibrahim and with him (s.a.w.a.) were his companions when Ali (a.s.) entered. They did not give way for him (a.s.). When he (s.a.w.a.) saw that they are not giving way for him, he (s.a.w.a.) reprimanded them saying, ‘O people! This is my Ahle Bait (a.s.). You are taking them lightly while I am alive amongst you! By Allah! Even if I go away from you, surely Allah will not go away from you. Verily, the two fragrances of Paradise are for the one who follows Ali (a.s.), accepts his mastership, submits to him (a.s.) and to the successors from his progeny. It is obligatory upon me that I cause them to enter in my intercession because they are my followers. And whosoever follows me, he is from me; a tradition emanating from my father (Prophet) Ibrahim (a.s.) because I am from Ibrahim and Ibrahim is from me. My superiority is superiority for him and his superiority is a superiority for me while I am superior to him (a.s.), a fact verified by the saying of my Lord, ‘…a progeny of each other and Allah is all-Hearing, all-Knowing.[27][28]

C) This noble tradition (of Ghadeer-e-Khumm) is explicit concerning the Imamate of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and his immediate succession to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and no doubt whatsoever can be entertained about it. Therefore, the earlier ones began hiding the tradition or denying it on any pretext which they found and did not narrate it as an argument in its proof. As for the later ones, when they saw that despite the intense efforts of their predecessors in concealing the tradition, it has acquired the status of consecutiveness and it was not possible for them to deny it. Even if some opponents have refuted it – as has been narrated – they fabricated some arguments as evidences. Thus, their debates were based on the following reasons:

1)         The word ‘Maula’ has numerous meanings like leader, slave, neighbour, ally, emancipator, helper, lover, friend, etc. There is no clear context over here that denotes the intention of having the authority of execution as mentioned by the Shias. Therefore, the word will be used in its general meaning and it will not be correct to specify any single meaning for it.

2)         Fakhr al-Raazi has argued that the word ‘Maula’ has not come either literally or customarily in the meaning of the one having authority. Hence, there is no question of using it in that sense.[29]

3)         Even if we accept the tradition being an evidence for Imamate and Caliphate, there is no proof for it being an evidence of Ali (a.s.) being the immediate successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for it to contradict the Sunni creed. For, his (a.s.) Imamate in its totality is acceptable to both the sects. Hence, the tradition establishes nothing more than his (a.s.) Imamate.

I say: The conjecture that the word ‘Maula’ is a common word, which is apparent. As for its scale, then it is on the scale of مفعل which in all instances denotes time or place. And as for its root, then it is made from و-ل-ي which as stated in al-Misbaah al-Munir[30] is in the meaning of proximity and he has not stated any other meaning for it. After stating this, he has mentioned the instances of its usage.

The truth is that it implies nearness sans distance, literally or conceptually, as has been witnessed by the frequency of instances of its usages. From the instances that are in conformity with its literal closeness is the friendship between the two verbs because it implies the bringing of either of them behind the other without any distance or gap. Like you say, ‘news followed each other’ or ‘what is as follows’ i.e. what is near to each other, or ‘they followed each other’ i.e. they came after each other’. Now, from the occasions that denote conceptual proximity is the closeness between two persons denoting love, help and authority. So on and so forth. For, these are the causes of conceptual proximity between two sides and each one of them is the opposite of the other for the proximity of kingdom and authority. Nay, they the opposites then; at the most, both vary from each other in their sides. Thus, one of them has the rope of authority in his hand while the other has it in his neck.

As for the application of the term توليin the meaning of ‘turning away from a thing’, then it is on account of the preposition ‘عن’ because the conjunction of a thing is turning away from it, just as the inclining towards it implies. So, the original meaning is proximity and the conjunction is preserved in all cases. It will not change with the change of the meaning. Only the special extolled characteristics will change on the original meaning with the changes of instances and the change of transitiveness with the preposition ‘عن’ and its ilk. Thus, the ignorant thinks that the meaning changes in the instances and the word will be common amongst various meanings.

When this has become clear for you, it will become even more obvious that there is no scope for what they think of brevity due to the non-multiplicity of original meanings in which the word is used that brevity will be allowed in the usage in the absence of determined context.

This was with regards to the original meaning.

As for the special extolled characteristics with varying instances, the matter is even clearer with the usage of the word ‘Maula’ for ‘the owner of authority’, ‘the executor of authority’ by its own self, regardless of the circumstance, as the word returns to it in application, regardless of the circumstance about the peculiarity of the instance. Indeed, al-Mubarrad has elaborated it – as per what the author of Majma’ al-Bayaan[31] has narrated as you know – and the completeness of its usage and manifestation. Rather, its explanation in it with regards to its instance. For, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is the one who has more authority upon the believers than they themselves. When he (s.a.w.a.) declared before the Ummah, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too’, nothing will be understood from it except mastership and divine authority. Like a king who says to his subjects, ‘Of whosoever I am his master, my son or my brother or my cousin is his master too’. From this declaration, nothing will be comprehended except mastership of authority and determination of a caliph for himself and its explanation. In fact, it is a complete explanation with regards to the beginning of the tradition, where the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) first took the affirmation, ‘Don’t I have more authority upon you than you yourselves?’ The question over here is not but for confirmation. So, he (s.a.w.a.) first took the confirmation of his (s.a.w.a.) mastership upon them from the side of Allah – the High – by their saying, ‘By Allah, yes’. After their acknowledgment of mastership, he (s.a.w.a.) declared, ‘Of whosoever I am the master, Ali is his master too’. Now, which context will be clearer and more evident than this that the application in this instance will be nothing but mastership and divine authority?!!

What we have explained will not contradict some traditions where the beginning of the tradition has not been mentioned for the sake of brevity or on account of forgetfulness or for any other reason whatsoever. For, its mention in most of them is sufficient for validity and for it becoming the context for the determination of the mode of mastership to become objectionable due to the beginning of the tradition or its absence, lest its absence be understood as downgrading of reliability and validity on grounds of contradiction because there is no contradiction in them at all.

From what we have understood it has become apparent that there is no brevity in the tradition. Even if we accept the general usage of the word ‘Maula’ for the aforementioned three reasons: (a) the application of the word itself in the meaning of the one having authority, (b) Its determination apparently and clearly vis-à-vis its instance and (c) the beginning of the tradition as discussed above.

As for the argument of Raazi, it is nothing but sheer skepticism in the evident because if he intends the non-application of ‘Maula’ in the meaning of the one having authority, literally and customarily, he has not intended from it the meaning of the one having authority in their usages, even if it is due to absoluteness, it is clearly invalid. For, application of the word ‘Maula’ for a chief and owner of a slave, the one who has more authority than the slave in his affair, is from the known applications that cannot be refuted. In fact, this is the meaning that is immediately understood from it. And if he intended from it the non-usage of the scale of مفعل (which is used to denote time or place) in the superlative sense, then it is correct but of no avail to him because the application of the term ‘Maula’ for chief and the owner of the affair who has greater authority to exercise is in the sense that it is the place of authority for the slave, as he is taking from the continuous rope for his greater authority in the concerned affair; not because it has come on one scale in the meaning of another lest it be claimed that it is not popular in this meaning, literally or figuratively.

To conclude, the application of the word ‘Maula’ for the one having greater authority is like its application on one who frees, friend, neighbour, ally, helper, cousin or any other word that can be used to denote the place of authority. Thus, it is meaningless to accept all the instances and reject this instance in particular, despite it being the most manifest and most popular of all applications.

As for the third argument, it will suffice to dispel what we have explained repeatedly that the divine evidence on the Imamate and Caliphate of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is sufficient to establish his (a.s.) distinction for it because there is no scope for allegiance, appointment by another, Consultative Council and other things in the presence of a divine evidence from the side of Allah – the High – and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). Moreover, the general nature of his (a.s.) mastership in the noble tradition under discussion for those who were under the mastership of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and the non-exception of the Caliphs from it despite their presence in the addressed congregation, establishes the immediacy of the succession. For, there is no mastership for the one who will come later over the one who will come first. Had they been prior to our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in mastership, it would have been obligatory to exclude and except them from this announcement.

The strangest thing over here is the narration of some of the ignoramuses. That is, the word ‘Maula’ in this noble tradition refers to the one who has authority in inheritance and hence, there is no evidence for the Shiite belief in it. For, the manifestation of the word in usage, explanation, application and beginning as the one who has greater authority – as you know – is an obstacle from the application of any other meaning.

Also, the authority of inheritance is limited to three: Authority to emancipate, the authority to stand guarantee in a crime and the authority of Imamate; and whatever we have mentioned is not in harmony with any of these.

For, if the authority of Imamate is intended, then it is the verification of the aim, not its rejection. If the authority to stand guarantee in crime is intended, then it is null and void from two aspects:

A)    The onus of standing guarantee in a crime will not be allowed in the case of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) because from his stipulations is that he (s.a.w.a.) will not be a predecessor for a guaranteed one, whether from the aspect of genealogy or as a cause. In the presence of this condition, he (s.a.w.a.) will be the owner of wealth only on account of Imamate and mastership. Hence, there is no ground to prefer the authority of guarantee with regards to him.

B)    The authority of surety in a crime will not essentially go beyond the guarantor, as per the consensus of the Muslims. Therefore, there is no reason for him (s.a.w.a.) to appoint anybody else as the inheritor.

And if the authority to emancipate be intended, then it is on account of the group of those who emancipate from the side of his father and al-Abbas, his sons and Aqeel will also be included in this group. As a result, it will not be distinct to our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). Over here, the group from the side of the father and mother will not be given preference over the group from his father, that it be said, ‘al-Abbas and his sons were prevented from it because of their relationship only from their father’. Nay, the demand for giving preference to the nearest is the proof of authority for al-Abbas only. Giving preference to his cousin from the side of his father and mother over his paternal uncle, it will only be in the case of the mother being included as a party to the inheritance, as in the case of genealogical inheritance.

But as for the inheritance of authority which revolves around the father only, there is no scope for giving preference to the cousin over the paternal uncles from the side of his father.

Briefly, this ignorant has just heard the authority of inheritance without fully comprehending it that he can follow himself what he is saying.



[1] Surah al-Maaedah (5): Verse 67

[2] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 334 narrating from Tafseer al-Tha’labi

[3] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 334 narrating from Tafseer al-Tha’labi

[4] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 334 narrating from Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 1, p. 437 (Tehran Edition). In it is ‘Zirrr from Abdullah’

[5] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 3, p. 223; Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 334-335

[6] Tafseer al-Ayyashi, vol. 1, p. 288

[7] Ghaayah al-Maraam, pp. 397-398.

[8] Surah al-Maarej: Verses 1,2

[9] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 2, p. 223

[10] Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, p. 331

[11] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 2, p. 223; Shawaahed al-Tanzeel, vol. 2, p.381

[12] Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, p. 333

[13] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 79

[14] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 79 narrating from Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

[15] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 79

[16] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 79

[17] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 79

[18] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 81; Manaaqeb of Ibn Maghaazeli, p. 24

[19] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 82

[20] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 83; Manaaqeb of Ibn al-Maghaazeli, p. 23

[21] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 83

[22] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 84

[23] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 89

[24] Amaali of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.), p. 26, Session 3

[25] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 89

[26] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 87; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 37, p. 112 and 150; vol. 38, p. 267

[27] Surah Aale Imraan (3): Verse 34

[28] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 90; al-Amaali of Shaikh Saduq (r.a.), p. 98, Session 23

[29] Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Raazi, vol. 12, pp. 26-30

[30] Al-Misbaah al-Munir, p. 840

[31] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 3, p. 209