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  • 10/18/2011

Peshawar Nights: Authenticity of Hadith of Manzila from the usual sources

Forth Session-Part 3

imam-ali

*Differences in the rank of the Prophets

*Authenticity of Hadith of Manzila from the usual sources

*Amadi unreliable as narrator of ahadith

*The position of single narration in the Sunni sect

 

DIFFERENCES IN THE RANK OF THE PROPHETS

Is a prophet who was sent to guide 1,000 people equal to one who sent to guide 30,000 people, or to one sent to guide all of humanity? Let's take an example. Is the teacher of first-grade students equal to a teacher of fourth-grade students? Are the teachers of higher classes equal to professors or university teachers? All belong to the same administration and work under the same general program, their aim being to educate students. Yet, in view of the teacher's knowledge, they are not equal. Each is different from the other according to his learning, ability, and achievement. From the point of view of the aim of prophethood, all the prophets of Allah are equal. However, because of differences in rank and knowledge, they are different. The Holy Qur'an says: "We have made some of these Apostles to excel the others; among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many degrees of) rank." (2:253)

Your own Jarullah Zamakhshari says in his Tafsir-e-Kushshaf that the above verse means that our Prophet was superior in rank to all others because of his special merits, the most important of which was that he was the last of the prophets.

Nawab: I am glad you solved this problem, but I have another question, though it is somewhat irrelevant. Please tell us briefly the main characteristics of special prophethood.

Well-Wisher: There are many qualities peculiar to special prophethood, and there are innumerable reasons proving how one prophet of all of them is the special prophet of Allah. In fact, that stage concludes the cycle of prophethood. But these sessions are not arranged to prove the prophethood of Allah for Muslims. If we were to discuss this topic fully, we would drift from the topic of the Imamate. I will, however, briefly discuss the point.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF SPECIAL PROPHETHOOD

The perfection of humanity lies in the perfection of the soul. Moral and spiritual perfection cannot be attained without purifying the soul. This purification is impossible unless one is guided by the power of wisdom. One is then able to rise higher and higher with the force of knowledge and right action until he reaches the acme of humanity, as has been explained by Ali. He said: "Man has been created with the power of speech, which is the essence of humanity. If speech is adorned with knowledge and action, it resembles the existence of the ethereal realm, which is the origin of man's creation.When his speech reaches the place of temperance and is cleared of all physical matter, it becomes one with the ethereal realm. Then it leaves the animal world and reaches the highest stage of humanity."

Man's power of articulation renders him superior to all existence. But there is one condition attached to it: that he cleanse his soul of all impurities with knowledge and right action. These two factors in man are like two wings of a bird, which fly higher according to the strength of the wings.

Similarly, man's level of human attainment rises according to his knowledge and right action. To pass beyond the province of animality and to reach the sphere of humanity depends upon the perfection of the soul. The man who combines in himself the faculties of knowledge and right action and reaches the third of three classes of men (the common people, the elite, and the most elite), arrives at the lowest stage of prophethood. When such a man becomes the object of Allah's special attention, he becomes a prophet. Of course prophethood also has different stages. A prophet may reach the highest point in the highest of these three classes. This rank is the highest in the sphere of possibility, which the sages call the First Wisdom, and which is the First Effect or the First Consequence. There is no rank higher than this in the realm of existence. This position is occupied by the last of the prophets, who is second to none except the First Cause. When the Prophet was raised to this highest stage, prophethood was concluded.

The Imamate is a stage lower than the highest stage of prophethood, but it is a stage higher than all other ranks of prophethood. Since Ali was raised to the stage higher than prophethood and was one in spirit with the Holy Prophet, he was endowed with the office of the Imamate and was thus superior to all previous prophets.

Hafiz: The last part of your remarks is perplexing. First, you say that Ali was at the stage of prophethood; second, that he was one in spirit with the Prophet Muhammad; third, that he was superior to the other prophets. What are your arguments to prove the truth of your assertions?

 

ARGUMENTS FOR THE RANK OF PROPHETHOOD FOR ALI FROM HADITH OF MANZILA

Well-Wisher: That Ali attained the rank of prophethood can be proven by the reference to the Hadith of Manzila (Tradition Regarding Ranks), which has been unanimously narrated in more or less the same words. The last of the holy prophets repeated a number of times and in different congregations: "Are you not content that you are to me what Aaron was to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me?" On other occasions he said to his followers: "Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses."

Hafiz: The authenticity of this hadith has not been proven. Even if it were proven to be true, it would be a single narration and therefore unacceptable.

 

AUTHENTICITY OF HADITH OF MANZILA FROM THE USUAL SOURCES

Well-Wisher: In providing information regarding the genuineness of this hadith, I will refer to your books. It is not a single narration. It has been authenticated by your own distinguished ulema, like Suyuti, Hakim Nishapuri, and others, who have proved its reliability with unanimous sources. Some of them are the following:

(1) Abu Abdullah Bukhari in his Sahih, Volume III, the Book of Ghazawa, Qazwa Tabuk, p. 54, and in his book Bida'u'l-Khalq, p. 180; (2) Muslim bin Hajjaj in his Sahih, printed in Egypt, 1290 A.H., Volume II, under the heading, "The Merits of Ali;" pages 236-7; (3) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Volume I, "Grounds for Naming Husain," pages 98, 118, 119; and footnote of the same book, Part 5, page 31; (4) Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'isi'l-Alawiyya, page 19; (5) Muhammad bin Sura Tirmidhi in his Jami'; (6) Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Isaba, Volume II, page 507; (7) Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, chapter 9, pages 30 and 34, (8) Hakim Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Abdullah Nishapuri in Mustadrak, Volume III, page 109; (9) Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, page 65; (10) Ibn Abd Rabbih in Iqdu'l-Farid, Volume II, page 194; (11) Ibn Abdu'l-Birr in Isti'ab, Volume 2, page 473; (12) Muhammad bin Sa'd Katib Waqidi in Tabaqatu'l-Kubra; (13) Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi in Tafsir Mafatihu'l-Ghaib; (14) Muhammad bin Jarir Tabari in his Tafsir; as well as in his Ta'rikh; (15) Seyyed Mu'min Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar, page 68; (16) Kamalu'd-Din Abu Salim Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 17; (17) Mir Seyyed Ali bin Shahabu'd-Din Hamadani in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, towards the end of Mawadda 7; (18) Nuru'd-Din Ali bin Muhammad Maliki Makki, known as Ibn Sabbagh Maliki, in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, pages 23 and 125; (19) Ali bin Burhanu'd-Din Shafi'i in Siratu'l-Halabiyya, Volume II, page 49; (21) Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter and (22) Mulla Ali Muttaqi in Kanzu'l-Ummal, Volume VI pages 152-153; (23) Ahmad bin Ali Khatib in Ta'rikh Baghdad; (24) Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib; (25) Muwaffaq bin Ahmad Khawarizmi in Manaqib; (26) Ibn Athir Jazari Ali bin Muhammad in Usudu'l-Ghaiba; (27) Ibn Kathir Damishqi in his Ta'rikh; (28) Ala'u'd-Daula Ahmad bin Muhammad in Urwatu'l-Wuthqa; (29) Ibn Athir Mubarak bin Muhammad Shaibani in Jami'u'l-Usul; (30) Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Tahdhibu't-Tahdhib; (31) Abu'l Qasim Husain bin Muhammad Raghib Isfahani in Muhadhiratu'l-Udaba', Volume II page 212. Many other eminent scholars of yours have narrated this grand hadith with slight variations in words from many of the companions of the holy Prophet, such as: (1) Umar bin Khattab, (2) Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, (3) Abdullah bin Abbas, (4) Abdullah bin Mas'ud, (5) Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, (6) Abu Huraira, (7) Abu Sa'id Khudri, (8) Jabir bin Sumra, (9) Malik bin Huwairi's, (10) Bara'a bin 'Azib, (11) Zaid bin Arqam, (12) Abu Rafi', (13) Abdullah bin Ubai, (14) Abu Suraiha, (15) Hudhaifa bin Assad, (16) Anas bin Malik, (17) Abu Huraira Aslami, (18) Abu Ayyub Ansari, (19) Sa'id bin Musayyab, (20) Habib bin Abi Thabit, (21) Sharhbil bin Sa'd, (22) Umme Salma (wife of the holy Prophet), (23) Asma bint Umais (wife of Abu Bakr), (24) Aqil bin Abi Talib, (25) Mu'awiya bin Abu Sufyan, and a host of other companions. In short, all of them have related with slight variation of words that the holy Prophet said: "O Ali, you are to me as Aaron was to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me."

Are all these great ulema - and there are many I have not mentioned - not sufficient to prove that this hadith has been unanimously accepted as true? Would you now confirm that you were under a misunderstanding?

Since you assume an attitude of doubt in regard to the veracity of this hadith, you should consult Kifayatu't-Talib fi Manaqib-e-Ali Bin Abu Talib, chapter 7, compiled by Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, who is one of the most prominent ulema of your sect. After quoting six hadith in praise of Ali, this author comments (page 149) on this hadith as follows:

"This is a hadith whose authenticity has been acknowledged by all. It has been narrated by the most learned Imams and Huffaz (those who know the Qur'an by heart), like Abu Abdullah Bukhari in his Sahih, Muslim bin Hujjaj in his Sahih, Abu Dawud in his Sunan, Abu Isa Tirmidhi in his Jami', Abu Abdu'r-Rahman in his Sunan, Ibn Maja Qazwini in his Sunan. All of them have unanimously acknowledged its authenticity. Hakim Nishapuri has said that this hadith has entered the stage of continuity."

I'm sure that I needn't present further evidence to show that this hadith is genuine.

Hafiz: I am not an irreligious man, so I will not reject your sensible reasoning, but I draw your attention to the statement of the great scholar and theologian, Abu'l-Hasan Amadi, who has rejected this hadith.

Well-Wisher: I wonder why a learned man like you, after hearing the views of your own distinguished ulema, would give any credence to the statement of a wicked man, who did not even perform the ritual prayers.

Sheikh: Man is free to express his faith. If someone expresses his views, we should not slander him. It is unbecoming of you to malign him instead of giving a logical reply to his remarks.

Well-Wisher: You misunderstood me. I do not unjustly censure anyone. I was not alive during the time of Amadi. Your own ulema have reported that he was an irreligious man.

Sheikh: Where have our ulema said that he was irreligious man?

 

AMADI UNRELIABLE AS NARRATOR OF HADITH

Well-Wisher: Ibn Hajar Asqalani has written in Lisanu'l-Mizan: "Saif Amadi Mutakallim Ali Bin Abi Ali, the author, was banished from Damascus because of his irreligious views, and it is true that he did not offer prayers." And Dhahabi, who is also one of your prominent ulema, reported the same thing in his Mizanu'l-I'tidal. He said that Amadi was an innovator. If Amadi had not been a wicked and irreligious innovator, he would not have made slanderous remarks about all the companions of the holy Prophet, including your own Caliph, Umar Bin Khattab (one of the reporters of the hadith). It's not quite fair that you fault the Shias for not accepting hadith recorded in Siha. If a hadith comes from authentic sources, it is acceptable even if it is in the Siha. But if an established hadith, which is recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, and other authors of Siha, is rejected by Amadi, you find no fault with that.

If you wish to know the complete arguments regarding the authenticity and sources of this hadith from the recordings of your own ulema, and if you are prepared to condemn people like Amadi, you may consult the volumes of Abaqatu'l-Anwar, written by the great scholar and commentator, Allama Mir Seyyed Hamid Husain Dihlawi. In particular, you should consider the hadith of Manzila so that you may know how this great Shia Allama has collected sources from your own legal scholars and established the hadith's reliability.

Hafiz: You said that one of the reporters of this hadith was Umar Bin Khattab. I'd like to know more about that.

 

CONFIRMATION OF HADITH OF MANZILA BY UMAR BIN KHATTAB

Well-Wisher: Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Ja'afaru'l-Mutiri and Abu'l-Laith Nasr Bin Muhammad Samarqandi Hanafi, in their books, Majalis, Muhammad Bin Abdu'r-Rahman Dhahabi in his Riadhu'n-Nazara, Mulla Ali Muttaqi in his Kanzu'l-Ummal, and others have reported from Ibn Abbas as saying that one day Umar Bin Khattab said: "Leave the name of Ali (that is, do not speak so much ill of Ali) because I have heard the holy Prophet saying that Ali had three qualities. If I had any one of these qualities, I would have treasured it more than anything on which the sun shines. Once I, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida, Jarra and some other companions were present, and the holy Prophet was resting against Ali Bin Abu Talib. He patted Ali's shoulders and said, 'Ali! so far as faith is concerned, you are the first of all the believers and so far as Islam is concerned, you have taken the lead.' Then he said, 'Ali! You are to me as Aaron was to Moses. And he is a liar who thinks he is my friend if he is your enemy.'"

Is it permissible in your belief to reject the statement of Caliph Umar? If it is not permissible, why do you pay attention to the absurd statements of a man like Amadi?

 

THE POSITION OF SINGLE NARRATION IN THE SUNNI SECT

I have yet to reply to one of your remarks. You said that this hadith is a single narration, and hence it is not acceptable. If we say such a thing according to the pattern of the men which we have in view, we would be justified. But it surprises me to hear such a thing from you because in your sect even a single narration is sufficient to establish the truth of a matter. If someone refuses to admit the authenticity of a single narration, he is, according to your ulema, an unbeliever. Maliku'l-Ulema Shahabu'd-Din Daulatabadi said in Hidayatu's-Sa'da': "If someone refuses to accept a lone report or conjecture and says that it is not acceptable, he is an infidel. If he says that this single narration is not correct, and this conjecture is not proved, he is a sinner, not an infidel."

Hafiz: We have drifted from our main topic. Please let us know how you can prove through this hadith of Manzila that Ali occupied the rank of a prophet.

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