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A COMMENTARY ON THE QURANIC VERSE OF THE

DIVINE AUTHORITY OF IMAM ALI


AND HIS INFALLIABLE PROGENY (PEACE BE UPON THEM)

AYATULLAH AL SAYYID MURTADHA SHIRAZI

In the Name Of Allah, The Merciful, The Beneficient


Introduction This booklet is a translation of a series of Arabic lectures in regards to the commentary of the verse of Wilayah (Surah Al Maidah: verse 55) which were delivered by His Eminence Ayatullah Sayyid Murtadha Al-Shirazi at the Hawza Ilmiyya Al Zainabia in Sayeda Zainab, Syria. The goal of this work has been to unveil a glimpse of the reality of the status of the Prince of Believers - Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (Peace be Upon Him) and the rightful Imams from his progeny. These vicegerents of Allah were not only oppressed during their lifetimes, but after their martyrdoms as well. Apart from the injustices carried out on Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) and the assault on his pure and chaste wife Fatima Al Zahra the daughter of the Prophet of God (peace be upon her) after the death of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), certain personalities fuelled by an intense malice against him either due to jealousy of the status bestowed upon him By Allah, or due to the inability to withstand his justice rallied together to distort the pages of history that were overflowing with the merits of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib. Not only did they fabricate prophetic traditions to divert the nobility attributed to him to other undeserving people, but they invented hundreds of others to attempt to stain his infallible character. And when they were still not satisfied, they distorted the present traditions and interpretations to demean his glorified status. Hence these rogue personalities committed open blasphemy and as a result, they deviated millions of people from the right path and reaped the wrath of the Almighty. This work examines the verse from a grammatical point of view giving the reader an insight of the precision and eloquence of the Arabic Language and the Quran. The central point of debate revolves around the !%") which according to a majority of works is incorrectly word Wali (# $ translated as !friend" or !helper" and sometimes as !guardian". This may be done for a number of reasons: negligence, lack of command over the Arabic language or hidden motives other than that. The accurate definition of this word as per the most renowned Arabic lexicons is: A master or ruler who possesses authority over the matters of the people. In light of the Qur$anic context, the intended definition is: A master who possesses divine authority over the corporeal and incorporeal matters of the people rather over all mankind. This definition is derived
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from the fact that the Almighty Creator begins by asserting that He Himself is the Wali The One who possesses absolute authority over all creation, and He out of His Glory and Wisdom has delegated this authority to certain dignified infallible personalities. Hence, this is the intended meaning of the word Master (wali) as is demonstrated by the Sayyid during his commentary. It is imperative as well to note that many words in the Arabic language have multiple meanings some of which have commonalities across their various meanings, while others are unrelated. The word Wali is one of those words with multiple meanings. So how do we know what the intended meaning is? We do so through the context of the sentence or situation in which it is used. The Sayyid will make it extremely clear beyond any doubt as to the intended meaning of the word Wali is as per the above definition. As an ending note, I dedicate this humble translation to the oppressed Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her), and to the Leader of our age - Imam Al Mahdi; the much awaited saviour of mankind (May God hasten his reappearance) who shall replace the earth with justice after it is filled with injustice. May God soon grant us the blessing of cooling our burning eyes by lifting the veil between us and Him (peace be upon him), and in the mean time keep us steadfast as we patiently wait. Mohamed Abbas Panju Hawza Ilmiyya Al Zainabia 8th Rabi Al Awwal 1431

In the Name Of Allah, The Merciful, The Beneficient


C&'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%" C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 %93$:E C!* *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >F !'# ?%+%" # >E C@!* # ,F AE 7$!%" /%6E # %B! &'# G$!/%HO!* # ,# - $>E C@!* %ID0$J E C&$KCL *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >C!'# ?%+%" %>E C@!* E CM%'%N%3 9 D< %" %"

Verily, your master i is Allah, His Prophet, and the group of believers those who establish prayers and give charity while they are bowing in prayer. Whosoever yields to the authority of Allah, His Prophet and those who believe, then they are the party of Allah who shall be triumphant.ii
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Creator of everything within the realm of existence, The One who appoints Prophets and Saints as guides. May He shower His blessings upon our master the seal of all prophets- Muhammad Al Mustafa and upon his blessed and pure progeny whom God favoured with infallibility from any sin or fault. And may He deprive His mercy from those who oppressed them. It is recorded in authenticated narrations, that one day Abd Allah Ibn Abbas was seated by the spring of Zamzam narrating traditions on authority of the Blessed Prophet (PBUH)iii to the people. (Envision yourself back in history 1400 years or more, present in this divine atmosphere by the well of Zamazam, within the vicinity of the blessed Ka`aba, receiving knowledge and guidance from this much revered companion who was granted the epithet - fountain pen of the Islamic Ummah! iv when suddenly a person who was fully veiled, and perhaps just his eyes being uncovered, approached the gathering and sat himself in the middle of the multitude of listeners. Each time Ibn Abbas would recount a tradition, this unknown veiled personality would loudly affirm it and comment over it. Through his words, actions, body language, tone of voice and general behaviour, it seemed as though this anonymous person possessed an ocean of knowledge within his heart. Hence, elements of his character were unveiled through his speech and actions.
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Please refer to the introduction for the definition of the word master Quran, 5:55-56 iii An acronym to denote Peace Be Upon Him and His Progeny iv An expression to signify the numerous number of prophetic traditions memorized and recorded by him
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Ibn Abbas was astonished at the apparent wisdom displayed by this unknown personality. It was clear that this person did not want to be known since he had veiled himself; hence Ibn Abbas beseeched him by the sake of God to identify himself. And perhaps, the reason for his insistence was not solely for quenching his own curiosity over the identity of this person, but as well as to introduce a second witness to the masses, who would attest to the veracity of the traditions he was narrating. This person therefore unveiled himself and declared: !Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize me, then let it be known that I am Jundab Ibn Junadah Al Badri" i.e. Abu Dhar al Ghaffari an extremely well known personality in Islamv. Abu Dhar then went on to relate a certain tradition on the authority of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). We shall centralize our attention towards the content of this narration, and while we do so, we should keep in mind the following factors: 1. Significance of the content of the narration. 2. Significance of the narrator (Companion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who participated in the battles of Badr, Uhod, Khaybar, Khandaq, etc with the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and was praised by him as being one of the most truthful people) 3. Significance of the presence of whom it is being narrated (Ibn Abbas an exceptionally revered narrator of Prophetic traditions, and exegete of the Quran) 4. Significance of the place in which it is being narrated (within the confines of the blessed spring of Zamazam and the Holy Kaaba) Abu Dhar said: !I heard the Prophet with my own two ears, and saw him with my own eyes say that Ali Ibn Abi Talib is the chief of all righteous people! a reference to the Quranic verse:

As for the righteous, they shall drink of a Cup mixed with Kafurvi Ali is the chief of all righteous people It is the righteous that deserve to be the most exalted of all mankind. Therefore, according to the narration,
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Y+'F L/C) /%P# Q*%0$< C&/C) ZROSC) D9$< C&'# T%UDV%3 %+*%UDTW* E C&$X

(This detailed introduction has been presented so as to keep in mind an important concept that an individual is often recognized through his actions and characteristics he is not necessarily recognized by his name or face. The fact that Abu Dhar was knowledgable was discovered through his behaviour not by the people knowing that he is the famous Abu Dhar which is why he said after unveiling his face !whoever recognizes me knows me"This concept adds a great deal of value in understanding the relationship between Imam Ali and not only this Quranic verse, but many others it is not necessary to mention by name his high position in the Quran, but it is sufficient to do so by describing him by his supreme conduct) vi Quran, 76:5

Ali Ibn Talib (peace be upon him) is at the peak of exaltation, and is the most exalted of those exalted men! He is the demolisher of falsehood victorious is the one who supports Ali (Peace be upon him), because Allah the Almighty supports him, and similarly, disgraced is the one who tries to discredit Ali (peace be upon him), since Allah disgraces him. Thereafter, Abu Dhar continued by narrating the following event: !I entered the Mosque of the Prophet (PBUH)vii and saw a beggar come into the mosque as well and loudly ask for charity while the Prophet (PBUH) was engrossed in prayers. (Now imagine yourself at the Mosque of the Prophet and try to sense the spirituality of the atmosphere and envision the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Ameerul Mu`mineenviii Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Peace be upon him), together with a number of believers engaged in prayers.) Simultaneously, a beggar shouts out for charity without even considering the fact that those, whom he is seeking from, are engaged in prayers. It apparently seems that this person may have been extremely impatient, hence explaining his subsequent anger. Despite the beggar seeing the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) and the rest of the people occupied in worship, he vented out his anger by raising his face towards the heavens and cried out: !O Lord! Bear witness that I asked for charity in the mosque of your Prophet, and nobody responded to my plea." However, at this moment, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) extended out his hand making a gesture to the beggar with his ring finger indicating that he may take the ring as charity. The beggar proceeded to take the ring as a form of charity that he had sought out to receive. It should be noted here that it would be more appropriate for the beggar to exercise some sort of patience and at least wait till the Prophet and his companions had completed their prayers, which is why Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) did not initially give his ring in charity because it is not social etiquette for someone to interrupt another person$s communication with the Almighty Lord in order to have a request fulfilled. However, when The Imam saw that the honour of the Prophet$s Mosque was exposed to possible disgrace he immediately gestured to the beggar to take his ring as charity. This is because the beggar loudly complained to Allah the Almighty with the words !O Lord! Bear witness that I asked for charity in the mosque of your Prophet, and nobody responded to my plea", and the fact that a lot of historical events are recorded without taking into consideration the actual context and
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A reference to Masjid Al Nabawi in present day Medina, Arabia A title exclusively bestowed upon Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) which translates as: !The Prince of Believers"
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surrounding circumstances, this incident may later down the generations have been recorded as a shameful episode whereby a beggar once entered the mosque of the Prophet seeking charity but was totally ignored and returned back empty handed without the mention that the Prophet and his companions were engaged in prayer. This by the way, is not a far fetched possibility especially since you may well be aware that there were numerous people despite being in the midst of the Prophet$s presence, they were in reality from his enemies, while others were prejudiced and had a tendency to distort fact. Therefore the Imam at this juncture took no chance and gestured to the beggar to take his ring as charity. Thereafter the Divine Prophet (PBUH) turned to make a request but what did he ask for? note that a person$s wisdom may be determined from the quality of the favour he seeks i.e. in that he requests for some thing that will fulfil his needs. Since the Prophet (PBUH) is the wisest of the wise, the most knowledgeable of all people, the most perfect in understanding and foresight, and the most brilliant in intellect, he will request for a favour that is in accordance with his intellect, wisdom and splendour. As the Prophet (PBUH) completed his prayer, and the golden opportunity (to give the charity) had passed, he turned towards the Almighty supplicating: "O God! Musa the son of Imran supplicated to you saying: "O my Lord! expand the power of insight in my heart; and make easy this mission for me; and remove the impediment from my speechix, So they may understand what I say; And appoint for me a minister from my family; my brother Aaron; through him strengthen me; and bestow him with a share in my missionxThe Holy Prophet (PBUH) begins beseeching God by making reference to the supplication of Prophet Musa who was one of the Ulul azmxi, just like the Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself, hence he uses the same supplication as a preface to present his own request. Prophet Musa sought from Allah by the sake of his honour - and this is the Holy Prophet Muhammad al Mustafa (PBUH) who is seeking a request from his Lord by the sake of his honour, while he is more honourable and elevated in rank than Prophet Musa, rather he is the most elevated of all mankind, in fact he (PBUH) is elevated over all creation i.e. look at the divinity of the personality who is supplicatingHe (PBUH) said: "O Lord! I am your Prophet, the one who you purified, O my Lord, expand the power of insight in my heart, and make my mission easy for me, and make Ali my successor, through whom you will add strength to me."
ix x

Meaning increase for me the power of eloquence in my speech A reference to the prayer of Prophet Musa mentioned in the Quran:20:25-35 xi The prophets who were bestowed with a divine book and comprehensive code of life

Notice the chain of events that occur a beggar comes to the mosque and the request he makes is granted. On the other hand, the supplication that prophet Musa made in accordance with his grandeur and high status which was granted is mentioned; and now, the Holy prophet (PBUH) in accordance to his elevated status and prominence seeks from Allah the Almighty to make Ali (Peace be upon him) his successor, a means of support for him, and to make him an integral part of his mission (prophet hood). Therefore, the following verse was revealed as an acceptance to the supplication of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): C&'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%" C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 %93$:E C!* *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >F !'# ?%+%" # >E C@!* # ,F AE 7$!%" /%6E # %B! "

Verily, your masterxii is Allah, his Prophet, and the group of believers those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer xiii This event highlights the reason for the revelation of the above quoted Qur$anic verse. This narration is recorded in numerous Shi$a traditions, and is renowned amongst the other school of thoughts and recorded in their sources of ahadith as well. The late Marjae Sayyid Abdul A`ala Sabzawari (May God have mercy on him) has mentioned those traditions in his work of tafseer xiv (The Imamiya scholars are unanimous in regards to the prestige and the event surrounding the revelation of this verse. As well, a large number of scholars from the Ahl-al Sunnah have narrated the same tradition in major sources of ahadith. As well, a majority of the companions such as Ibn Abbas, Abu Dhar, anas Ibn Malik, Ammar Ibn Yasser, Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al Ansari, Salamah, Abi Raafi`, among others have recounted this event. As for the scholars of tafseer who mention this narration, they include Ahmad, Al-Nisa`i, Al-Tabari, Al-Tabarani. Scholars of philosophy in their books too have narrated this incident and accepted its validity. There is unanimity over this tradition among all the companions who were present during the time of revelation, the Tabi`eenxv, scholars of narrators, subsequent generation of Quranic exegetes such as Zamkhashari in Kishaaf, Tafseer of Abi Hiyan, and so on and so forth.)

Refer to the definition of !master" as stated in the introduction. Quran, 5:55 xiv Tafseer Mawahib Al Rahman, Volume 11, commentary on verse 55 of Surah Al Maeda xv Immediate generation of Muslims born after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
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Three possible interpretations for the Quranic verse After having recounted the circumstances surrounding the revelation of the blessed verse, we shall now analyse it with precision. We will begin with the second part of this verse. There are three possibilities as to the intended meaning: !and the group of believers those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer.

&'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%" C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 93 % : $ !* C *'; E #<= % 93 % : $ !* C" E %

The First interpretation: The above part of the verse refers to, and describes Imam Ali Ibn Abi talib (Peace be upon him) as per the circumstances and reason for its revelation in the first place. As previously mentioned, there is absolute unanimity between shia and sunni scholars of tradition in regards to this issue, except for a minority of biased individuals who have been misguided as a result of their enmity towards the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them)xvi. Therefore, we may conclude by reaffirming that this verse was revealed upon Imam Ali Ibn Abi talib (Peace be upon him) The Second interpretation: This refers to the opinion of the minority of prejudiced individuals, who state that this is a general verse applicable to each and every Muslim. Therefore, according to this view, each and every Muslim from each and every corner of the world is the master as described in the verse: !those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer" The Third interpretation: This opinion being the most accurate is that it was revealed in honour of twelve personalities whom Allah the Almighty has appointed as guides and leaders over all his creation. In fact, this verse has not been revealed in honour of one personality only, rather, in addition to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, it includes Imam Hasan Al Mujtaba, Imam Husayn The Martyr of Karbala, and Imam Ali Zaynul Abideen, and Muhammad Al Baqir, and Imam Jaffar Al Sadiq, and Imam Musa Al Kadhim, and Imam Ali Al Ridha, and Imam Mohammad Al Jawad, and Imam Ali Al Hadi and Imam Hasan Al Askari, and Imam Al Mahdi the awaited saviour of mankind (May God hasten his re-appearance) (peace be upon them all).
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In any case, the fact that a minority of certain biased people reject a given narration, this does not weaken the strength of the narration in any way, rather it strengthens it, due to the principle that the truth (of a given narration) is determined by consensus among the scholars, and a small misguided exception does not violate authenticity.

These are the twelve divinely appointed Imams of the Muslims and the embodiment of the Holy Quran - the second of the two weighty things after the Holy Quran. This is in conformity with the saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): "I leave behind for you two weighty things The Divine Book and my progeny in so long as you hold on to both of them, you shall never go astray. Verily, these two (i.e. the Divine Book and the Blessed Progeny) shall never separate until they return to me to the Pond of Kawthar!xvii This third interpretation is the most accurate one. It does not negate the first interpretation, since it is inclusive of it, rather, it reinforces it and expands the circle of those to whom the verse honours and describes. With the Will of Allah the Almighty, we shall prove the validity of this interpretation from the construction the verse itself, as well as from the abundance of traditions in regards to this verse. Hence we will establish the fact this verse refers to, and is restricted to the twelve Divinely appointed Imams after the Holy Prophet (PBUH); the first of them being Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, and the twelfth being the awaited Imam Al Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance) (peace be upon them all) Six proofs negating the view that the part of the verse: (and the group

of believers - *'# ;%<=

%93$:E C!*%" ) is applicable to all Muslims

We shall prove the invalidity of this interpretation using the verse itself by examining its construction from a number of dimensions. Firstly, it contradicts the majority of renowned and authentic interpretations who have narrated the initial cause of revelation in regards to this verse. However, upon contemplation, I am able to deduce five additional dimensions that invalidate this theory, and perhaps, if we were to ponder and contemplate further, one may be able to derive further evidence underlining the invalidity of this assumption. Secondly, from a grammatical point of view, it is common knowledge that the word /6 % BE %! (which is commonly translated as !verily") is a particle of restriction i.e. as per the rules of Arabic Grammar when the word /% 6E %B! is used in a sentence, the subsequent predicate is confined to limitation it denotes

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Apart from the numerous shia sources in which this tradition is mentioned, it is also narrated by Ibn Hajar Al Makki, among others.

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restriction imposed upon the predicatexviii. Therefore, the grammatical dissection of the verse would be as follows:

*'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*


3rd predicate of the sentence

% "
Particle denoting conjunction

>F !'# ?%+


2nd predicate of the sentence

"
Particle denoting conjunction

>E # C@!*
1st Predicate of the sentence

,F # AE 7$!%" #
Subject of the sentence

/%6E %B!
Particle of restriction

A similar replica of the analysis if translated in English as per the rules of Arabic grammar would be as follows:
Verily Particle of restriction Your Master Subject of the sentence (is) Allah 1st Predicate of the sentence And His Prophet 2nd Particle predicate denoting conjunction of the sentence and Those who believe 3rd predicate Particle of the denoting conjunction sentence

Therefore, as per the above analysisxix, it is very clear that the predicate in reference to !and the group of believers - *'; #<= %

93 % : $ !* C" E %

." is one that is

restricted. Therefore, not each and every Muslim from each and every corner of the world is entitled to be a Wali (Master); rather this authority is limited or restricted to a certain number of believers. Else, there is no use nor any benefit in utilizing the word ( /% 6E %B! ). As a matter of fact, it will point towards a flaw in speech and the Holy Quran is above that- it is a divinely sent Book, eloquent in its expression, and free from any error, grammatically or otherwise. To elaborate further, let us say for example that there are ten people in a mosque, and from them, only Zayd happens to be a scholar. In this case, it will be correct to say: (,P;< \/(!* ]3^ /[*) which would translate as: Verily, Zayd is the scholar among them. However, if each and every one of the ten people in the mosque were scholars including Zayd, then according to
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Refer to Sharh Ibn Aqeel, chapter of mubtada and khabar. This is a standard grammar text authored by the renowned grammarian Ibn Maliki, and expounded upon by Ibn Aqeel xix Refer to the Dictionary of Grammatical Analysis of the Holy Quran, authored by Shaykh Muhammad Fahim Abu Qubayya, and prefaced by the Grand Mufti of Egypt Dr. Mohamed Sayed Tantawi

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Arabic Language, it would be incorrect to say: verily Zayd is a scholar- and if it is used in such a context, it denotes lack of eloquence, since the grammatical disposition of the particle (/[*) (Verily) denotes restriction i.e hence in such a context, it indicates exclusivity of a certain individual differentiating him from the rest of the other individuals. Therefore, by saying: !verily Zayd is a scholar" (,P;< \/(!* ]3^ /[*) it implies that the people other than Zayd, are not scholars, hence Zayd has been distinguished from the rest through the usage of the particle (/[*) Similarly, if it was said: !Verily Zayd came to me" # (%'()*+ ,-./0123 /4567-9) then this would mean that only Zayd came to me and not Zayd and a second person Amr. Likewise, if the intended meaning is Zayd and Amr came to me, and it is said: !verily Zayd came to me" - (%:;<*+ ,-./=>?3 /@AB7-9) then this will denote a mistake in speech and demonstrate lack of understanding of the principles of Arabic language which in itself is eloquent and precise in its expressions. Therefore, the usage of the particle of restriction (/[*) (verily) is a clear indication that !those who believe" is a reference to a limited number of people. They are the authoritative guardians while the rest of the people fall under their leadership. In conclusion, the usage of the restrictive particle is an extremely clear indication that this certain class or number of people is restricted, and that the affair of guardianship is limited to them. They are an exclusive group of personalities distinguished with authority - and this is an indication towards the divinely appointed Imams. Thirdly, from the point of view of Arabic language as well, it is clear that the word (# ,F AE 7$!$ # _ ) represents a grammatical construction known as

(`/ab*) (Al-Mudhaf). To comprehend the implication of this rule in Arabic


grammar, it should be understood that this construction represents a possessive case in which there is a co-relation between two nounsxx. Therefore, the Quranic expression (, #A F7 #!$$ E _ ) is constructed of two nouns (#$%&'()

- meaning guardian and (,)) which denotes the pronoun !your" in its plural
form a plural referring to the 2nd person (i.e. the ones being addressed to in the speech)
In Arabic language, pronouns fall under the category of a noun refer to Sharh Ibn Aqeel, chapter one

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In accordance to the rules of Arabic grammar and basic logic, the possessive construction indicates that the phrase is composed of two independent nouns. Therefore, if each noun is independent then we deduce that (#)*+'() i.e. the master is a separate entity and the pronoun represented by (,)) - over whom the authority is exercised, is a separate identity. For example, if it were said :(C9 DFHI/JKLMNOPQRSTUVW) i.e. God created you i.e. it is composed of two nouns that are co-related in the construction of the sentence, but they are independent in identity whereby God (the Creator) is one entity and !you" (the creation) are another entity different from God more clearly, the Creator is a separate entity from the created. Similarly, in the expression (c83]d) (your friend) follows the same construction pattern of (Al-Mudhaf), in that it is composed of two nouns: friend + you whereby, !you" are one separate entity, while your !friend" is another separate and independent entity. As per the rules of grammar, this is the understanding of all words following the pattern of (`/ab*) (Al-Mudhaf), then how can the meaning of ,A F7 #!$$ E _ mean that each believing Muslim is the master of each believing Muslim? I.e. they are masters of one another. This interpretation contradicts the established rules of grammar and basic logic. The master who has authority has to be one separate entity, while the one upon whom the authority is exercised, is another separate entity as demonstrated in the above examples. The scope of the plural pronoun !you" (,)) is important as well. It refers to all of you (2nd person - plural) who are being addressed to by the Holy Quran. Since the Quran is a book of guidance for all Muslims, rather for all mankind, the impact of this verse is that, the Almighty Lord (the Speaker in the verse is saying: !all of you my creation without any exception, your master vested with authority is." Fourthly, the verse begins with the phrase (> # @!* C , E #A F7 #!$" E % /6 % BE %!) (Verily Allah

is your master). How exactly do we benefit from this verse? Simple common sense dictates if there is a master (# $ !%") then there must be a
person over whom this authority is exercised (>7@e f'<). This is a straightforward linguistic and logical concept. Likewise, reference to a Creator would necessitate the presence of the creation, and the Creator is separate or different from the creation. As well, reference to a teacher
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necessitates the presence of students, and the teacher is separate or different entity from the student. Similarly, reference to Wali (master) (# $ !%") necessitates the presence of a subject (upon whom that authority (held by the master) is exercised). This grammatical observation nullifies the theory that each believing Muslim is the master of the other. Fifthly, the verse reads !Verily, your master is Allah, His Prophet, and the group of believers those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer"

&'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%" C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 %93$:E C!* *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >F !'# ?%+%" # >E C@!* # ,F AE # 7$!%" /%6E %B!

As per the argument put forward, that all Muslims are masters of each other, then the verse should have read as follows: !Verily, your master is God, the prophet and the Muslims" and the verse should end thus. However if we pay close attention to the content of the verse, we will notice that Allah The Almighty has laid down certain provisional criterias that must be possessed in order to be eligible for this position of authority. After His authority, comes the authority of the Prophet, and that group of people who believe and those who believe, must meet the following criterias: 1. In addition to being believers, they must be from the ones who establish prayers (C .4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 %93$gE _%&). It must be noted here that establishing prayers is different from performing prayers. God willing, we shall examine this difference in a separate discussion. 2. In addition to being from among the believers who establish prayer, they have to be from the ones who give charity( C ./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%") 3. In addition to being from among the believers who establish prayer, and give charity, they should be the ones who do so while they are bowing in the state of prayer( &'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3) _ You will therefore notice that in the latter part of the verse, Allah the Almighty sets a series of provisional criterions through which the majority of the Muslims are excluded. Hence authority is restricted to a certain group of individuals who meet all the mentioned criteria. Furthermore, the mere statement !each Muslim is the master of each other" as established earlier, is one that contradicts rationale and is unacceptable to the sound mind. Sixthly, the relationship between Authority and Allah the Almighty. We need to pay attention to the fact and ask ourselves as to why Allah begins by asserting authority for Him self, and then for His Prophet:
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> # !' F? #+ %" % > # @!* C , E #A F7 #!$" E % /6 % BE %!


(Verily your master is Allah and His Prophet.) Indeed The Almighty intends to convey that such an authority (the one possessed by a master) is an exclusive, distuiguished, and exceptional matter. It has been bestowed upon the Prophet and those special group of believers. Else, there would be no purpose in the particle of exclusivity ( /% 6E %B!

,F # AE 7$!%"). As established, this is a straightforward concept accepted by all #


Muslims. It would have been sufficient for the verse to state that authority is for the Prophet and for those group of believers, but the Almighty begins by stating His own authority, hence distinguishing the role of the authority and the necessity to yield to it in that that which is attributed and belongs to Him, He is delegating it to the Prophet and to a certain group of believers. The chain of authority that originates and belongs to Allah (SWT) is extended down to the Prophet and to those select believers with this blessed chain of authority being vertical in hierarchy. It will be appropriate to clarify the idea of delegation of authority here, lest we are not attributed with committing Shirk (ascribing partnership to Allah (SWT)). It is a straight forward concept that when God bestows something to someone, He is not afflicted by diminishment. For example, if God were to bestow you with knowledge, does that mean that His own knowledge diminishes due to His presenting it to you? Or if God were to gift you from his wealth, does that mean that His own wealth diminishes? Therefore, when we say that God has given the Prophet and the group of believers His authority, what is understood, is that it is not the absolute authority of Divine Lordship that is granted, rather it is delegation of a part of the Authority that belongs to Him, similarly to the power of attorney that a representative possesses on behalf of someone. For example, a homeowner may give authority to a representative to rent out the home, but this does not give that representative equality in ownership of the house, nor has the homeowner relinquished his ownership over the home. Rather he has extended his authority to rent out the house to someone whom he has appointed. Similarly, When God delegates authority to the Prophet and to those who believe, it does not mean that God has abdicated his Authority over creation. Therefore, the word $ !_$ (master) denotes possessing that authority that originates from the Almighty Lord and by delegating it, He has honoured the rank of the Prophet and those believers who establish regular prayers and give charity while they are bowing in prayer. The assumption that Allah the
15

Almighty asserts His authority by saying Verily I am your master and thereafter all you muslims have been bestowed with this divine authority, and each one of you is a master over the other is an absolutely irrational to the sound mind and doubtlessly a void interpretation. We now examine the third interpretation, which is the most accurate one, as we shall prove from the verse itself, in addition to the numerous Prophetic traditions that state !the group of believers" mentioned here are in reference to the Twelve Imams (peace be upon them)xxi Why is the word "master! within the given verse in a singular tense? Verily your master is. (# >E C@!* # ,F AE 7$!%" /%6E # %B!) Firstly, we need to ponder as to why Allah (SWT) used the word ! master" in its singular tense, and not in its plural tense: xxii (Verily your maters are - ,)h/7!", /[*) There is undoubtedly, divine insight as to why the singular tense of the word is used. In fact, there are numerous treasures of wisdom that can be extracted from every word of the Quran since the revelation from the Almighty is an ocean of knowledge, and man according to his intellect, can discover hidden and deeper meanings each time for verily the Quran is such that its treasures are never ending, and it never ceases to amaze the intellectxxiii. This should be of no surprise, since Ameerul Mumineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Peace be upon him) once provided an in depth interpretation of the letter (I) from the word (,7JU!* 9iU!* j* ,kT) for Ibn Abbas in a sermon which lasted an entire night and there was still more to be saidxxiv - And perhaps, he may have continued to speak about it for several years. This is because the Quran is an eternal ocean of knowledge and wisdom, which is why we state that with our limited intellectual capacity, we are only able to tap a minute fragment of the wisdom hidden behind every word in the Quran. And perhaps, the same may be applied as to the wisdom behind the word

xxi

The Prophet has narrated: !There are twelve Imams after me all of them being from Quraysh" (refer to Bihar Al Anwar, Allamah Al Majlisi. This tradition has been narrated in numerous books of hadith by both shia and sunni scholars.
xxii xxiii xxiv

Nahjul balagha sermon 152 Imam Ali In the Quran Imam Sayyid Sadiq Al Shirazi (may God grant him a long life), Yanabi Al Mawaddah Al Qunduzi al shafe`ei

$!%" represents singular, while the plural derivation of the word is h/7!" *

16

!master" ( $!%" ) being in a singular form rather than plural which have not yet been discovered. In answering the question as to why the word !master" ( $!%" ) appears in the singular tense, we will be able to discover the precision of the Quran and benefit from it, God willing. By the word Master ( $!%" ) being in its singular form, this points to the fact that the nature of Authority is one in actuality but exemplified through a vertical chain of command or hierarchy (which implies delegation the source being the Supreme Unique Creator) and not a horizontal chain of command (which would imply equal power sharing). As well, we are able to learn, as will become apparent during the course of our commentary, that through this vertical chain of command, the authority of Imamah will be intact and continuous until the day of Judgement, and that the earth will never be empty of a Guide. Wilayah (authority) of the Marajae (Grand scholars) (horizontal) It is narrated in the traditions that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had said: "O Lord! Have mercy on my successors! He was then asked: "and who are your successors O Prophet of God?! He replied by saying: "Those who shall come after me, and narrate my traditions and (elaborate upon) my actions.xxv Notice how the Prophet (PBUH) says: !O Lord have mercy on my successors ( l/m@n ,J+* ,P@!*). Why did the Prophet not say my successor (singular)xxvi? This is because it is a collective reference to the grand scholars of emulation who are present at any given time. Therefore, when it is said !O Lord have mercy upon my successors", this proves that leadership in its plural form is realized through a horizontal chain of command i.e. power sharing or equal authority for in every generation there is a number of qualified high ranking Grand Scholars of emulation who collectively fall under the category of the !successors" of the Prophet (PBUH). This narration clearly points out that authority belongs to all the qualified group of high ranking scholars who possess the required prerequisites and not just one particular scholar, as illustrated by the pluralistic tense of the narration. For example when it is said: !These are my representatives" this outlines that all the representatives hold power based upon a horizontal chain of command (power sharing or equality in authority)
xxv xxvi

Wasail Al Shia Sayid Hur al Amili

om7@n) being the singular of ( l/m@n) 17

and not on a vertical hierarchy where one representative assumes greater power than the other representative, or imposes upon the others this is so long as there is no absolute indication of a hierarchy (and subsequent rank in terms of superiority). If you were to generally appoint five representatives to represent you, and not one specific representative, does it make sense for any one of the five to over rule the remaining four and assume superiority over them? As well, if one was to scrutinize the proofs available in favour of wilaytul faqih (rulership of the jurisprudent) for example, the narration that states: "the scholars are the bastions of Islam!xxvii it is clear that reference is made to a group of scholars (plural) and not a scholar (singular i.e. one particular person)xxviii, as well all of them collectively are the !bastions" (plural) of the religion and not !bastion" (singular). Therefore every grand scholar, who possesses the required conditions, is a bastion from the bastions of the religion. Further detail in regards to this subject is explained in depth in other books.xxix What conclusion do we draw from the prophetic statement: !O Lord have mercy on my successors?" We discover that here (when the word is used in its pluralistic form) it refers to horizontal power sharing (equal authority), whereas in the verse the word ( !$_$) (single tense) is used and not (h/7!" *) (plural tense). From this grammatical construction, we understand that authority here is not in the form of a vertical chain (implying power sharing) - hence Imam Ali Ibn Talib (Peace Be upon him) is not at the same hierarchical level or the same superiority as the Prophet, and the Holy Prophet is not at the same level of superiority as the Almighty Creator, rather it is a vertical chain of command where Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) is second to the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Hence, the chain of authority is vertically continuous and similarly, Imam Hasan Al Mujtaba is second to Imam Ali, and Imam Husayn is second to Imam Hasan (Peace Be Upon them all) i.e. each predecessor being superior to the one after him. And similarly, this vertical chain of authority extends down through all our Imams up to Imam Al Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance). This is the primary aspect of divinely ordained authority, and secondarily, the horizontal form of authority which is exercised by the Grand Scholars of emulation during the occultation of the Imam, which He (May God Hasten

xxvii

Al kafi Shaykh Kulayni Arabic text of the ahadith state '()*+ and not ,-*+ hence illustrating plural. xxix For further detail, one may refer to the book: Shura Al Fuqaha a jurisprudical and theological study
xxviii

18

his appearance) will assume upon re-appearancexxx. Hence we assert once again, that the authority is in a vertical hierarchy, where the unparalleled source is the Almighty Lord, and He has delegated authority based on vertical superiority first and foremost to the Prophet, and then this is extended down to the Imams one after the other. The delegation of authority as per the grammatical construction of the verse does not denote horizontal power sharing which would amount to shirk (ascribing partnership to Allah God forbid!) Rather, He, the Almighty is Supreme and unmatched in His Glory and unparalleled in His Lordship. In conclusion, we have established that this authority is of a vertical nature, similar to that of the power of attorney, and is a subdivision or a branch of authority which a representative may exercise based on what is granted to him. In order to uncover the second pearl of wisdom in regards to the usage of the word master ( $!_$) in its singular form, we examine other verses in the Quran in which the same word in the same form is used. This approach is based upon the principle that the interpretations of certain verses or words within the Quran are uncovered by understanding other verses or wordsxxxi. Hence we obtain a clear indication of the meaning of the word Wali ( !$_$) which, as we shall see, negates the assumption that it means friend, helper, patron, supporter or any other inaccurate meaning (and subsequent translation), rather, the word encompasses a more comprehensive meaning. The word Wali ( $!_$) has been used a number of times within the Holy Quran. We shall briefly examine its meanings in the following verses:

U3 y] $t Ch ZD u % v $) E F w@ Ce % ' %#" % w1%' D6 % !* O 7 $x D 3# ' %#" % E # !$' % !* O %'# -# >E C@!/CL _h/%7$!D"Cp $>$B"# q D9$< *"F :%rE %1* s $ pC
Have they (polytheists) taken Masters besides Him? But it is Allah who is the Master, and it is He who gives life to the dead: It is He who has power over all thingsxxxii What does the word Wali represent in this verse? It denotes a master in terms of possessing authority creation - the one who has absolute dominance over all creation. This is the precise meaning of the word wali as a word itself, and as per the above verse.
It is also incumbent to point out here that the scope of authority that can be excercised by a Grand Scholar is lesser than that exercised by the Prophet or Imam (peace be upon them) but the fact they do hold authority is clear as per the tradition. xxxi Tafseer al Safi Shaykh Faydh Al Kashani xxxii Quran:42:9
xxx

19

Indeed it is Allah who is your Master (E # $!%'O!* %'# -# >E C@!/CL) Why is the word Wali in the above verse attributed with the meaning !master", and not !friend"? But when it comes to the verse in regards to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him), attempts are made to belittle his divine status by changing the interpretation of the word wali to mean friend rather than master. You may ask any exegete of the Holy Quran from within the Shias, Sunnis, or even the Nasibisxxxiii in regards to the linguistic and common meaning of the word Wali in regards to the above verse and the reply shall be rulership by way of one who has authority - either over creation, or over the affairs of people, or any other similar type of authority. In fact, we may even deduce, that given the above verse, if the non believers (referred to in the verse) were to be asked the meaning of the word wali which they have taken instead of Allah, would they say it is a friend that they have taken a friend other than Allah?! Of course not it is another master that they have turned to a Master other than Allah (SWT) whom they believe to have Dominion over their existence, who has supremacy over them, who can alter their fate, and can bestow upon them blessings and bounties. Similarly, we find the word Wali (E # $!%") in another verse of the Quran:

To analyse this verse, The Almighty asks: "do you take others (i.e. idols) to be your masters? (_ h/%7$!D"Cp $>$B"# q D9$< *"F :%rE %1* s $ _p)

*z Y5 $ B% > $ @!/ C T$ wm E C) C" % /7 Y!$" E % > $ @!/ C T$ wm E C) C" % , DA F l* $] %e DS CT$ , #@ Ce D pC > # @!* C" E %

But Allah hath full knowledge of your enemies: Allah is enough for a master, and Allah is enough for a Helper.xxxiv From the above verse, it becomes very clear that the meaning of helper is Naseer (z Y5 $ B%), and is different from the meaning of the word Wali (# $!%") Consequently, if one was to pay attention to the usage of word Wali (# $ !%"), he would come to realize that its intended meaning has clearly been indicated by the Almighty across a number of verses as being possession of authority or that emanates from Himself - and not any other secondary meaning. Therefore, the word Wali in the verse (>@!* C , E #A F7 #!$" E % /6 % BE %!) and in the verses

xxxiii

An extremist sect that advocates hatred and enmity towards the blessed progeny of the Holy prophet and their followers xxxiv Quran:4:45

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(E # $!%'O!* %'# -# >E C@!*_.) and (/7 Y!$" E % > $ @!/ C T$ wm E C) C" % ) all bear the same meaning Divine authority emanating from Allah (SWT) and it is the same type of authority that He has delegated to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to those select group of believers who not only establish prayer, but additionally give charity while bowing in prayer hence attaining the status of a authority over all the people. We have benefited from this proof courtesy of the Late grand Scholar Sayid Sabzawari (May God have mercy on him) in his work of tafseerxxxv which in itself is very useful, and should be studied, as it contains an extensive interpretation in regards to this verse together with rebuttals to numerous objections raised from this dimension. !%") in the verse is used in its singular In conclusion, the word Wali (# $ tense, whose meaning is understood from other verses, whereby it is illustrated to mean ! master" i.e. possession of authority which emanates from Allah (SWT). Why the phrase "the group of believers! (*'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*) is in plural form and not in singular? ("and the one who believes! (# 9%<= {$:E C!*)

C&'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%" C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 %93$:E C!* *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >F !'# ?%+%" # >E C@!* # ,F AE 7$!%" /%6E # %B! "
Verily, your master is Allah, his Prophet, and the group of believers those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer During the initial stages of our research, we have established the fact that scholars from both sunni and shia schools of thought have acknowledged that this verse was revealed in honour of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) when he gave charity while bowing in the state of prayer. Therefore the verse that describes this incident (the group of believers those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer) should be in the singular tense. Why is it then revealed in the plural tense? Therefore the objectionists state that the verse should rather read: !and the one who believes the one who establishes prayer and gives charity while he is bowing in prayer" (|)*+ % '- " ./)0!* w1* " 45!* s/t* {$:E C!* 9<= %{$:E C!*%" # >F !'# ?%+%" # >E C@!* , #A F7 #!$" E % /6 % BE %!) In the process of answering to this objection, we will realize the divinity and wisdom of the words of the Creator which is beyond the level
xxxv

Mawahib Tafseer Al Quran

Sayid Sabzawari, commentary on (5:55)

21

of eloquence than that of mankind and in reality, man, cannot comprehend the depth of that eloquence and if he does grasp a fraction of it, it is limited and The Almighty is above any limitation. From this analysis, we will be able to benefit from two quintessential and subtle dimensions; firstly from the word !yuqeemoona" (C &'# 67$8# 3) (those who

&'# 1D2# 3) (those who give)xxxvii establish)xxxvi and from the word !yu`toona" (C

both these verbs appearing in the present tense, and secondly, from the phrase !al-ladhina aamanuw" ('# ;%<= %93$:E C!*) (those who believe)xxxviii which denotes a plural tense. 1. Was this a one time incident? From the First aspect or benefit that we derive, we will be able to refute the misunderstanding that this event was a one time incident. We shall prove this from the grammatical construction of the verse. As well, we shall prove from numerous traditions that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) did not only give charity once while in a state of prayer, but rather did so multiple times, and each time, the same verse repeatedly descended from the heavens upon the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) reiterating the lofty position of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him). This is in conformity with the fact that certain verses descended repeatedly upon the Prophet perhaps ten times, or more or less and this was one of those verses. We are able to deduce the fact that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) gave charity numerous times while in the state of prayer from two parts of the verse: !those who establish prayers" (C .4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3) and from: !those who

According to rules of conjugation of verbs in the Arabic language, a verb can denote three possible tenses: past, present and future. As well, each verb may be conjugated so as to illustrate a single doer of the verb, duality in doers of the verb, or plurality of the doers of the verb. Additionally, each of the mentioned categories has a specific conjugation to denote the feminine gender, and the masculine gender. Refer to Nahw Al Wadhih fi Qawaid Lughatul Arabiya xxxvii Keeping in mind the various types of conjugation a verb may denote, it is vital to state that (yuqeemoona) &'67 #t $/ } denotes present tense for the verb !establish", with plurality in doers of the action. Similarly, (yu`toona) C &'# 1D2# 3 represents the present tense of the verb !give" denoting plurality of the doers of the action
xxxviii

xxxvi

(93 % : $E C!*) is the plural of ({$:E C!*) and (*'# ;%<=) is the plural of (# 9%<=)

22

give charity" (C ./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3_) - both these verb conjugations are in the present tense and hence, indicate repetition and re-occurrence.xxxix As well, for example, notice how when you want to narrate an incident that occurred once, you will relate it in the past tense, such that if Zayd struck a person, you would narrate the event to a third party by saying: !Zayd hit a person" and not by saying: !zayd is hitting the person" i.e. the incident that occurred once is narrated using a verb in the past tense and not using the present tense (hit being the past tense, and hitting being the present tense). Therefore, the present tense is never used to narrate a one time incident that has already occurred. The similar principle is applied in Arabic language. Hence a grammatical breakdown of the verse with the conjugal derivations of the meanings would be as follows:
Verily (Particle of restriction) Your master (Subject of the sentence) (is) Allah (1st Predicate of the sentence) And (Particle denoting conjunction) His Prophet (2nd predicate of the sentence) And (Particle denoting conjunction) Those who believe (3rd predicate of the sentence) Who (relative pronoun) establish (present tense representing an uncompleted action, hence indicating present and in the future by way of repetition) Prayers (object of the preceding verb) And (Particle denoting conjunction) Give (present tense representing an uncompleted action, hence indicating at present, and in the future) Charity (object of the preceding verb)
xxxix

/%6E %B! ,A F7 #!$" E % >@!* C E " >F !'# ?%+ % " *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!* %93$:E C!* C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 C.4E %5!* _% " _C&'# 1D2# 3 C./C)E %0!*

As per the rules of Arabic grammar, a verb in the present tense indicates an action performed during the present time, as well as in the future since it denotes an uncompleted verb i.e. continuity, repetition refer to Sharh Ibn Aqeel, section of verbs

23

While (particle denoting a condition/state)xl They (subject) (are) bowing (in prayer) (predictate)

% " _ D,# C&'# ($)*%+ ~

This analysis is as per the rules of Arabic grammar translated into the English languagexli Hence, if we keep in mind the grammatical implication of the individual words in Arabic, the correct translation of the verse shall be: Verily, your master is Allah, his Prophet, and those group of believers who regularly establish prayer, and repeatedly give charity while in the state of bowing (in worship). This way, by adding the word !regularly" before !establish prayer", and !repeatedly" before !give charity" we have taken into consideration the conjugal implication of the respective verbs. As well, the deserving translation of the last ($) is presented. In conclusion, we are able to deduce from the grammatical construction of the verse that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) did not only give charity once while in a state of prayer, rather he did so on a number of occasions. We shall fortify this fact by stating some of the traditions that attest to the same fact. Those who believe (,-./0124, 578:;<=',) a reference to the twelve Imams The second aspect or benefit that we derive is that we can establish the fact that this verse was revealed in regards to the twelve Imams 9peace be upon them). The part of the verse !those who believe" through its formulation in Arabic refers to pluralxlii i.e. a number of believers not just one else why would God send down the verse in words describing plurality? This is an indication from Allah the Almighty, that it is not only Imam Ali Ibn Abi talib (peace be upon him) who is your master, rather there are a certain group of believers, who over the passing of time, in each age, have been bestowed with divine authority over you (i.e a master over you)

singular for (&';<*) meaning who believe

The letter ( X) has several functions in Arabic one of them being a conjunction (denoting the word !and"), the other being !while", since ( X) also indicates a state or condition in which a verb may be conducted refer to the basic Arabic grammar text: Nahw Al Wadhih fi Qawaid Lugha Arabiya xli The exact same table in Arabic may be found in the Dictionary of grammatical Analysis of the Holy Quran prefaced by Grand Mufti of Egypt Dr. Muhammad Sayed Tantawi xlii ({:!*) denoting singular, while the corresponding plural is (93:!*) meaning !those", while (9<*) is the
xl

i.e. believers

24

else there is no purpose in sending down a verse in its plural form if it was to describe a single personality. Before we examine the corresponding traditions that assert the above statement, I would like to share with you another proof that I was able to deduce and consequently assert a traditions alongside. The word master (# $ !%") appears in the singular formulation while the ones who possess this divine authority are in plural (those who believe (believers)) (,->?@A24, 578BCDE', ). Now, we all believe that this Divine book of God the Holy Quran, is a source of guidance for all mankind in all the generations till the day of Judgement. Therefore, Allah the Almighty in this way informs us that down the generations until the end of time, there will be a group of believers - one after the other who will have divine authority over you (i.e. over mankind). And if the Quran is a book of guidance for all men in all ages, then logically, there must be a master in every age who is alive and possess this divine authority - regardless of whether he is known to the masses, or unknown. At first, I was debating whether I should present this point even though if it were purely a possibility, but Praise be to Allah, I was able to back up the notion with a narration- rather with a number of traditions. I have come across traditions in al Kafi and other sources of ahadith that that assert that !those who believe" (,-FGHI24, 578JKLM',) is a reference to all the Imams through the lineage of Ameerul Mumineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Peace be upon them all). This action of giving charity while bowing in the state of prayer was also performed by Imam Hasan Ibn Ali Al Mujtaba (peace be upon him). Hence, if we take the quality of giving charity while bowing in the state of prayer - which is applicable upon those select group of believers (the twelve Imams), we can affirm that all the other Imams from Imam Husayn to Imam Al Mahdi (Peace be upon them all, and may God hasten the reappearance of the Saviour) have acted in the same way, and have given charity while in the state of bowing in prayer not only once or twice, but a number of times. This notion is also asserted by the rules of logic that state a theoretical universal concept has members in the exteriorxliii i.e. the universal concept being the quality of giving charity while bowing in prayer, and the members upon whom the concept is applied are the Twelve Imams.xliv God willing, we shall present further in depth analysis in regards to this aspect in future lectures.
xliii xliv

Refer to Mantiq Al Mudhafar, section of Universal Concepts, Shaykh Muhammad ridha Mudhaffar The fact that the verse would be a universal concept does not contradict the notion that its members are limited (to twelve personalities) since there are six types of Universal concepts, one of them being a universal concept whose members that it encompasses are limited.

25

Repetition in the revelation of a single verse and the incident of giving charity a number of times while bowing in prayer We shall now return to the previous point of discussion where we stated that Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) gave charity a number of times while bowing in a state of prayer and that this verse descended repeatedly - each time when the Imam (peace be upon him) gave charity while in a state of prayer. Once we establish this, it will be absolutely clear to us that as a matter of fact, there is no contradiction between the seemingly different ahadith narrated (some of which differ in the detail of the event) in regards to the reason of the revelation of this verse. How do we get to this conclusion and bridge the gaps between the varying accounts of this incident which has become a basis of refuting the loftiness of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) We deduce that the variances in accounts across the different narrations in regards to the way Imam Ali (peace be upon him) gave the charity while he was bowing is because of the fact that this incident occurred more than once and each narration recorded a particular incident - which was one of many. Notice for example, how some of the narrations mention that he gave his ring (which was one his pinkie) as charity and compare it to the following narrations. A Second Narration: Robe of Al Najashi There are other traditions that state that Imam Ali (Peace be Upon Him) had on outer robe which was originally gifted to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him and His Progeny) by Al Najashi (The Christian king of Ethiopia). The Prophet then in turn presented it to Imam Ali (peace be upon him). It is stated that it was worth one thousand dinars. There is no doubt that the Imam adhered to an ascetic lifestyle, but since this was a gift bestowed upon him by the Noble Prophet of God, the Imam accepted it as a gesture of respect and reverence If it is social etiquette between common men not to reject a gift offered out of love and appreciation, then how can one reject a gift bestowed by the Messenger of God?! Imam Ali wore this outer robexlv that was worth one thousand dinars and at that time, the purchasing power of one dinar was equivalent to one sheep. The value of one sheep currently being approximately 6000 Syrian pounds, therefore in today$s currency, the robe would have been valued at 6,000,000 Syrian pounds equivalent to 130,000 American dollars! Najashi gifted it to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), who in turn presented it to
xlv

A robe that is usually placed above the shoulders, and it fall over to the ankles

26

Imam Ali, who in turn, went to the mosque robed in it, and while he was bowing in prayer someone came along asking for charity and the Imam presented it to him without any hesitationxlvi. There are numerous other traditions that differ in regards to the details of the charity that was presented. Some critics who come across the differences in details across the various ahadith take this as an opportunity to oppose the legitimacy of the event or of the narrations, however this objection is easily dismissed by realizing the fact that it was not a one time incident, rather it was one that occurred a number of times sometimes he gave his ring in charity, and sometimes he gave away his robe, and other times other belongings. Likewise, once he gave charity while we was indulged in the mid-day prayer (Dhuhr) another time when he was reciting optional prayers, while an additional narration mentions he gave charity whilst reciting an obligatory prayer. Each of these narrations is correct since they each narrate the giving of charity while bowing at different times in different places. Therefore, there is no room for anyone to object or doubt the authenticity of any of these traditions. A Third narration: The delegation of Jews Yet another narration states that a delegation of Jews who had converted to Islam approached the Holy Prophet and said to him: !O Prophet of God! Indeed Moses appointed Yoshua Ibn Nun as a successor after him, so who is your successor?" Therefore, the following verse was revealed: (C &'# ($)*%+ D,# -%" C./C)E %0!* C&'# 1D2# 3%" C.4E %5!* C&'# 67$8# 3 %93$:E C!* *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >F !'# ?%+%" # >E C@!* , #A F7 #!$" E % /6 % BE %!)

Verily, your master is Allah, his Prophet, and the group of believers those who establish prayers, and give charity while they are bowing in prayer The Prophet then asked the people to come with him to the mosque (while in reality, he was fully aware of the ensuing chain of events, and the Divine wisdom behind them). As they approached the door, they saw a beggar exit from the mosque. The Prophet enquired from him (while all the people around him were witness) if anyone had given anything to him (i.e. charity) although the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) was fully aware of what had happened, he wanted the people to hear for themselves from the beggar who gave him the charity, and how he gave it to him. This way, the people themselves would be able to identify the person
xlvi

This tradition is mentioned in Al Kafi, Al Wasail al Shia, Tafseer Al Safi, Tafseer Al Burhan, Tafseer Nur Thaqalain, among other important sources.

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who possesses the characteristics (of giving charity while bowing in prayer) and hence deserves to be their master, as per the Quranic verse. In this way, there is no room for any objection or any doubt. Therefore, the following conversation ensued: The Prophet: !Did any one bestow you with anything?" Beggar: !Yes! I was bestowed with this ring." The Prophet: !and who gave this ring to you?" Beggar: !Ali Ibn Abi Talib" The Prophet: !and how did he give it to you?" Beggar: !While he was bowing in prayer!" Upon hearing this answer, the Prophet exclaimed: !God Is Great" and the rest of the companions simultaneously followed suit. A question arises here as to why the Prophet exclaimed !God is Great"? What is the significance of exalting the Almighty Lord in this way? This form of exaltation denotes that Allah is far much greater than to overlook the appointment of a successor for the seal of all Prophets and the best of them all. Does it make sense that Allah the Wise and Almighty would appoint a successor for very prior Prophet, but then not appoint a successor for the final one, whose religion is deemed to be eternal and the right path till the day of Judgement?xlvii We seek refuge from attributing any flaw to the divine wisdom of the Almighty Allah! Hence, the Prophet Exalted God by exclaiming !God is Great" and then declared to the people: !Ali is the Master (# $ !%") after me" a clear elaboration of the believer who is described in the verse It is Imam Ali (peace be upon him) who is the one who believes, and gives charity while bowing in prayer! The people responded by saying: !we are satisfied to have Allah as our lord, by Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny) as the Prophet, and by Ali as the successor. Thereafter, the following verse was revealed:

&'# G$!/%HO!* # ,# - $>E C@!* %ID0$J E C&$KCL *'# ;%<= %93$:E C!*%" # >C!'# ?%+%" %>E C@!* E CM%'%N%3 D9%<%"
Whosoever yields to the authority of Allah, His Prophet and those who believe, then they are the party of Allah who shall be triumphant xlviii
Notice this marvellous chain of events: 1. A delegation comes to the prophet asking him who his successor will be after him.
xlvii xlviii

Wasail Al Shia Shaykh Hur Al Amili Quran: 5:56

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2. As an answer to that question, the following verse is revealed: !Verily your Master is Allah, and His Prophet and those believers who establish prayer and give charity while they are bowing in prayer"xlix 3. The Prophet and the companions go to the mosque and come across a beggar, who upon being asked by the Prophet, narrates that Imam Ali gave him his ring as charity while bowing in prayer i.e. the identity of the person who possesses the characteristics mentioned by the Quran is unveiled. 4. The Prophet declares Ali Ibn Abu Talib as his successor and as the Wali (master) 5. The companions respond by saying we are satisfied to have God as our Lord, By Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny) as our Prophet, and with Ali as the successor. 6. The following verse is revealed: Whosoever takes Allah, His Prophet and those who believe as guardians, then they are the party of Allah who shall be triumphant In conclusion, we beseech the Almighty Allah to bestow us with the gift of contemplation over the Quran, and to seek guidance from it divine light, indeed He is the All Hearing and All Answering. All praise belongs to Him the Lord of the Universe, and may peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad and his blessed and pure progeny.

xlix

Notice here how the question states !successor" while the Divine answer states !Master". From here we understand that the successor of the Prophet has (authority) over the people just like the Prophet did. And this divine (authority) is that which belongs to God and He has delegated it to the Prophet and to his successors.)

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