Hadith-e-Tashbeeh: An Analysis

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Hadith-e-Tashbeeh is among the more important traditions regarding the excellence and immediate Imamat and Mastership of Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s), which has reached us through both the Ahle Tasannun and Shia sources.

Tashbeeh in Arabic refers to likening to or equating a person with another person in a quality / attribute.

Text of Hadith-e-Tashbeeh

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) informed:

‘Anyone who wishes to cast a glance at Israafeel in his awe, at Mikaaeel in his position, at Jibraeel in his majesty, at Adam in his peace and reconciliation, at Nuh in his countenance, at Ibrahim in his association (with Allah), at Yaqoob in his grief, at Yusuf in his visage, at Moosa in his invocations, at Ayyub in his patience, at Yahya in his abstinence, at Isa in his in conduct, at Yunus in his asceticism and at Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) in his features and manner then he should look at Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). Surely in him are ninety excellences from the excellences of the prophets. Allah has gathered them in him and they have not been gathered in anyone other than him.’

In a series of articles we will discuss Hadith-e-Tashbeeh from reliable and prominent scholars and books of the Ahle Tasannun, then discuss the veracity of this tradition in proving the immediate Imamat of Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and finally refute the objections that skeptics like Muhaddith-e-Dehlavi have raised against the tradition.

Hadith-e-Tashbeeh from Ahle Tasannun sources

Some self-proclaimed scholars of the Ahle Tasannun like Muhaddith-e-Dehlavi have falsely claimed that Hadith-e-Tashbeeh cannot be traced in the traditions of Ahle Tasannun. As we will go on to see, the tradition is not only reported in their books, but the number of sources is so high that one begins to wonder about the scholarly status of those who reject this tradition for want of references.

Hereunder is an indicative list of the books of Ahle Tasannnun that have recorded Hadith-e-Tashbeeh:

  1. Al-Inaabah by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal – Imam of the Hanbali sect which has followers like Ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhaab
  2. Al-Arbaeen fi Usool al-Deen p. 313 by Shah Waliullah Dehlavi father of Muhaddith Dehlavi
  3. Waseelah al-Muta’abbideen vol. 5 p. 168
  4. Al-Manaaqib by Ibn Maghaazeli
  5. Mataalib al-Sol p. 61 by Muhammad Ibn Talhah al-Shaafa’ee
  6. Kiafaayah al-Taalib chap 23 by Haafiz Ganji Shaafe’ee
  7. Zakhaaer al-Uqbah p. 93 by Mohibuddeen Tabari
  8. Jawahir al-Akhbaar by Sayyed Ali Hamadaani
  9. Yanabi al-Mawaddah vol. 2 p. 307 by Shaikh Sulaiman Qunduzi al-Hanafi
  10. Al-Dalaael Ala Tas’heeh al-Fazaail chap 18 by Shahabuddeen Ahmad
  11. Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Maarefah al-Aimmah p. 123 by Ibn Sabbagh al-Maaliki
  12. Asna al-Mataalib fi Manaqib Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) by Ibrahim Ibn Abdullah Wassabi al-Shaafe’ee
  13. Al Arbaeen fi Manaaqib Ameeril Momeneen (a.s.) by Jamaluddeen Ataullah Ibn Fazlullah
  14. Waseelah al-Ma’aal fi Manaaqib al-Aal (manuscript)
  15. Miftaah al-Najaat fi Manaqib Aal al-Aba (manuscript) by Badakshani
  16. Maarif al-Ula fi Manaaqib al-Murtuza (manuscript)
  17. Rauzah al-Nadiyyah – an explanation of Tohfah al-Alawiyyah by Muhammad Ameer San’aani
  18. Miraat al-Momineen (manuscript) by Waliullah Lukhnawi

Evidently, Hadith-e-Tashbeeh has been narrated by several reputed scholars of the Ahle Tasannun in their books/manuscripts, including by Shah Waliullah Dehlavi. Therefore, the doubts cast by skeptics like Muhadith-e-Dehlavi lack merit and are only rooted in bias, prejudice and bigotry.

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