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  • 10/18/2011

Peshawar Nights: Characteristics of Ali (A.S)

Forth Session-Part 4

emam-ali

*Characteristics of Ali

*Hadith that by order of the Prophet the doors of houses facing the mosque were closed except the door of Ali's house

*While bowing in ritual prayer, Ali gave a ring to a beggar

*Aaron's position as Prophet as well as Caliph

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF ALI

Well-Wisher: This hadith proves that Ali possessed three characteristics: (1) The rank of a prophet; (2) The rank of successor to the Holy Prophet; and (3) his superior position among all the companions of the Holy Prophet. Like the Holy Prophet, Ali's followers likened him to Aaron, who was a prophet, was invested with the caliphate of Moses, and was superior to all the Bani Isra'il.

Nawab: Was Aaron a prophet?

Well-Wisher: Yes.

Nawab: Can you cite a verse from the Holy Qur'an in support of this point?

Well-Wisher: Allah mentioned his prophethood in many verses. He says: "Surely We have revealed to you as We revealed to Noah, and to the prophets after him. We revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, and Jacob and the tribes, and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon; and We gave to David Psalms." (4:163)

And again He says: "And mention Moses in the Book; surely he was one purified, and he was an apostle, a prophet. And We called to him from the blessed side of the mountain, and We made him draw nigh, holding communion (with us). And We gave to him out of Our Mercy his brother, Aaron, a prophet." (19:51-53)

Hafiz: So according to your reasoning, Muhammad and Ali were both prophets.

Well-Wisher: I didn't express it the way you have. Of course, you yourself know that there is a great difference of opinion regarding how many prophets there have been. Some claim that there have been 120,000 - or even more. But all of them in their respective periods were divided into groups and were subordinate to a major prophet to whom a sacred book was revealed containing a new religious law. Five of them were major prophets: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last of the prophets, Muhammad, whose rank is the highest.

Aaron was one of those prophets who was not permanent or independent. He was subordinate to the shari'a (religious code) of his brother, Moses. Ali reached the rank of prophethood but was not elevated to the rank of prophet per se since he was subordinate to the shari'a of Muhammad. In this hadith of Manzila, the purpose of the prophet was to tell people that, just as Aaron had reached the rank of prophethood but was subordinate to Moses, Ali reached the rank of prophethood. The Imamate was conferred upon him, but he was subordinate to Muhammad.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF ALI'S RANK

In his commentary on the Nahju'l-Balagha, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says in connection with this hadith that by mentioning the rank of Aaron in comparison to Moses, the Prophet indicated that Ali Bin Abu Talib occupied that rank. Similarly, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i, in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 19, after explaining the rank and position of Aaron, says: "The gist of the matter is that the position of Aaron in relation to Moses was that Aaron was his brother, his representative, partner in prophethood, and his successor or vicegerent when Moses was on a journey. The Prophet of Allah has also in this hadith indicated that Ali held the same position as Aaron held, except prophethood, which has been excluded by his saying: 'There will be no prophet after me.'"

Therefore, it is proven that Ali was the Prophet's brother, wazir (assistant), representative, and his successor, as declared by the Prophet in his journey to Tabuk. This hadith is unanimously accepted as true. The same view has been expressed by Ibn Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 29, and by many others of your prominent ulema.

Hafiz: I think your claim that if our Prophet had not been the seal of the prophets, Ali would have held that office, is peculiar to you alone. No one else has said this.

Well-Wisher: This claim is not confined to me and the Shia ulema. Your own ulema have held the same view. One of your great ulema is Mulla Ali Bin Sultan Muhammad Harawi Qari. In his Mirqat-e-Sharh bar Mishkat, he says, commenting on the hadith of Manzila, "There is an indication in this hadith that if there were any prophet of Allah after the last of the prophets, it would have been Ali." Another of your prominent ulema who has interpreted this hadith the same way is the well known scholar, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti. He writes towards the end of his Baghiatu'l-Wu'az Fi Tabaqatu'l-Huffaz, giving the chain of chroniclers up to Jabir Abdullah Ansari, that the holy Prophet told the Commander of the Faithful, Ali "Had there been any prophet of Allah after me, it would have been you!"

In addition, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Faqih Shafi'i says in the second of the six Mawadda in his book Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, quoting a narration from Anas Bin Malik, that the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah made me superior to all the prophets, chose me for excellence, and made for me a successor, my cousin, Ali. Through him, He strengthened my shoulders, just as the shoulders of Moses were strengthened by Aaron. He, (Ali) is my vicegerent and assistant. If there were any prophet after me, it would have been Ali, but there will be no prophet after me."

So you see that I am not alone in claiming the rank of prophethood for Ali. The Prophet and your own ulema have acknowledged it. Since he possessed the rank of Aaron, and since the era of prophethood had ended, Ali was the fittest person for the caliphate (vicegerency). One indication of Ali's exalted rank was that the Prophet permitted the door of Ali's house to remain open toward the mosque.

These comments caused excitement and confusion among the Sunnis. Well-Wisher asked why it was so.

Nawab: Last Friday we went to the mosque to offer prayers. Hafiz Sahib told us about the superiority of Caliph Abu Bakr. He said that he was permitted to keep the door of his house opened towards the mosque. We are surprised to hear you say that this permission was peculiar to Ali. Please clarify this point.

Well-Wisher: (Turning to Hafiz Sahib) Have you made this statement?

Hafiz: Yes. It is recorded in our authentic hadith, as reported by the pious and just companion of the holy Prophet, Abu Huraira. The Prophet ordered "That all doors opening towards the mosque be closed except the door of Abu Bakr's house, for Abu Bakr is from me and I am from Abu Bakr."

Well-Wisher: Surely you know that because of the merit of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, the Bani Umayya made continued efforts through secret means and particularly through the servile flatterers of Mu'awiya, like Abu Huraira and Mughira, to fabricate such hadith. Moreover, the followers of Abu Bakr, because of their support of him, strengthened these fabricated hadith. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, in his commentary on Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, and again in Volume 3, page 17, discusses in detail that among the many fabricated hadith is the one which tells about the closing of the doors of all the houses towards the mosque, except that of Abu Bakr. Contrary to this forged hadith, there are many authentic hadith, which are recorded not only in authentic Shia books, but also in reliable books of your own ulema, like Sahih.

Nawab: Since it is a controversial issue, with Hafiz Sahib saying it is peculiar to Abu Bakr, and with you saying it is peculiar to Ali, we would appreciate it if you would quote from our books so that we may compare your references with those of Hafiz Sahib.

 

HADITH THAT BY ORDER OF THE PROPHET THE DOORS OF HOUSES FACING THE MOSQUE WERE CLOSED EXCEPT THE DOOR OF ALI'S HOUSE

Well-Wisher: The following sources have narrated that the Prophet ordered that all the doors of the houses opening toward the mosque be closed except the door of Ali's house: Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad. Volume I, page 175, Volume II, page 26 and Volume IV, page 369; Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Sunan and in Khasa'isi'l-Alawi, pages 13-14; Hakim Nishapuri in Mustadrak, Volume III, pages 117-125 and Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, pages 24-25 have testified to the reliability of this hadith on the basis of chains of narrators of Tirmidhi and Ahmad. Again, Ibn Athir Jazri in Athna'l-Matalib, page 12, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, page 76, Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Fathu'l-Bari, Volume VII, page 12, Tibrani in Ausat, Khatib Baghdadi in his Ta'rikh (History), Volume VII, page, 205, ibn Kathir in Ta'rikh, Volume 7, page 342, Muttaqi Hindi in Kanzu'l-Ummal, Volume VI, page 408, Haithami in Majma'u'z-Zawa'id, Volume IX;, page 65, Muhibu'd-Din Tabari in Riyadh, Volume II, page 451, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim in Faza'ilu's-Sahaba and in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Volume IV, page 183, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa', page 116, in Jamu'l-Jawami', in Khasa'isu'l-Kubra, and in La'aliu'l-Masnu'a, Volume I, page 181, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Hamwaini in Fara'id, Ibn Maghazili in Manaqib, Munawi Misri in Kunuzu'd-Daqa'iq, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, page 87, devoting the whole of Chapter 17 to this very issue, Shahabu'd-Din Qastalani in Irshad-e-Bari. Volume VI, page 81, Halabi in Siratu'l-Halabiyya, Volume III, page 374 and Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul and many others, particularly from among the prominent companions of the Holy Prophet, have narrated the same thing. For instance, Caliph Umar Bin Khattab, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Bin Umar, Zaid Bin Arqam, and Jabir Bin Abdullah Ansari have confirmed the reliability of this hadith. Some of your prominent ulema, in order to save the people from being misled by the Bani Umayya, have emphasized the truth of this hadith. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i, in his book Kifayatu't-Talib, chapter 50, has dealt with this hadith under a special heading. Quoting from authentic sources, he says that since a number of doors of the companions of the Prophet opened towards the mosque, and since the Prophet had forbidden everyone to enter the mosque in the state of janaba or haiz (pollution making the ritual bath essential), he ordered that all doors of the houses be closed excepting the door of Hazrat Ali's house. He said, "Close all the doors; but let the door of Ali's house remain open." Muhammad Bin Yusuf Shafi'i says that it is peculiar to Ali that he was permitted to enter and stay in the mosque in the state of janaba. He goes on to say: "In short, the Holy Prophet's conferring this privilege exclusively on Ali was a great honor. It shows that the Prophet knew that Ali, Fatima, and their descendants were entirely free from impurity, as is clearly shown by the 'verse of purity' in the Holy Qur'an." These remarks of a Shafi'i scholar may be compared to the hadith mentioned by Hafiz Sahib. Leaving aside all the authentic sources we have quoted, if you have any proof of Abu Bakr's purity, please present it. The fact is that even Bukhari and Muslim in their collections of traditions have pointed out this fact that a polluted person cannot stay in the mosque. The Prophet said, "It is not permitted for anyone who is polluted to stay in the mosque except for me and Ali." Perhaps I may be allowed here to quote a hadith from the second Caliph, Umar Ibn Khattab, which has been reported by Hakim in Mustadrak, page 125, by Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda chapter 56, page 210, and by others, like Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Khatib Khawarizmi, Ibn Hajar, Suyuti, and Ibn Athir Jazri. He said: "Verily, Ali Ibn Abi Talib possessed three outstanding merits. If I possessed any one of them, it would have been better for me than red-haired animals (camels): (1) The Prophet gave his daughter in marriage to him; (2) The Prophet ordered that all the doors of the houses opening towards the mosque be closed except the door of Ali's house; (3) The Prophet bestowed upon him the flag (of Islam) on the day of the Battle of Khaibar."

From these remarks, it is now clear that Ali was similar to the Holy Prophet in all respects, just as Aaron was to Moses. So when Moses found Aaron fittest for this office, he asked Allah to make him his associate in his mission, so that he might be his wazir (minister or assistant). Similarly, when the Holy Prophet saw that there was no one among all of his followers as deserving as Ali, he asked Allah Almighty to make Ali his minister and associate.

Nawab: Are there further hadith regarding this issue?

Well-Wisher: Yes, many exist concerning this matter in your own books.

Nawab: I am prepared to listen to them provided you, too, (pointing toward the ulema of the other side) would like to listen.

Hafiz: No harm. Listening to hadith is as devotional a deed as the narration thereof.

 

WHILE BOWING IN RITUAL PRAYER, , ALI GAVE A RING TO A BEGGAR

Well-Wisher: Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i in his Manaqib, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Durr-e-Mansur, the renowned theologian, Ahmad Tha'labi, in Kashfu'l-Bayan, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkiratu'l-Khawasu'l-Umma, in connection with the verse of Wilaya quotes from Abu Dharr Ghifari and Asma Bint Umais (wife of Abu Bakr) that they said that one day they offered their noon prayers in the mosque when the Prophet was present. A beggar began asking for alms. No one gave him anything. Ali was bowing (in the ritual bow). When he pointed to his finger, the beggar removed the ring from his finger.

The holy Prophet saw what happened, and raising his head towards the sky, said "O Allah, my brother Moses prayed to you: 'O my Lord, expand for me my breast and make easy for me my task. Appoint for me a helper from my family, Aaron, my brother.'" The verse was revealed telling Moses that his prayer was granted. Allah appointed for him a helper and strengthened his hands and gave them such power and authority that no one could overpower them. "...and Moses said to his brother Aaron: 'Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers.'" (7:142)

 

AARON'S POSITION AS PROPHET AS WELL AS CALIPH

Hafiz: You said that Aaron was an associate of Moses in prophethood. How was he then made his caliph? An associate in prophethood holds a position superior to that of a caliph or successor. If the partner is a prophet and he is made the caliph, this is a lowering of his rank.

Well-Wisher: The principal prophethood belonged to Moses, and Aaron's prophethood was subordinate to that of Moses. But regarding preaching he was his associate, as is evident from Moses' requests, recorded in the Holy Qur'an: "He (Moses) said: 'O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, and make my affair easy for me, and loose the knot from my tongue, (that) they may understand my family; Aaron, my brother, strengthen my back by him, and associate him (with me) in my affair.'" (20:25-32)

Similarly, Ali was one who, besides possessing the rank of a prophet, was an associate of the Prophet in all stages and special qualities.

Hafiz: I am astonished to hear you exaggerating the position of Ali. We are all amazed. You just said that Ali possessed all the characteristics of the Prophet.

Well-Wisher: These statements are not exaggerations. They are facts. The Prophet's successor should, according to common sense, be the model of the Prophet. Even your own great ulema have expressed similar beliefs. Imam Tha'labi, in his commentary, confirmed this point. And the great Sunni scholar, Alim Fazil Seyyed Ahmad Shahabu'd-Din, in his Tauzihu'd-Dala'il, has referred to this point as follows: "It is not a secret that the Commander of the Faithful resembled the Prophet of Allah in most good qualities, selfless actions, habits, prayers to Allah, and all other exalted ways of life. This has been proved by authentic reports and reliable sources and does not require any proof or argument. Some ulema have counted some of those qualities which Ali and the Holy Prophet possessed equally."

Among the qualities shared by both is their lineal descent. And arguing from the verse of purity, we see that Ali is similar to the Holy Prophet in purity. (This verse was revealed in reference to five people: Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain.) Ali, like the Prophet, was the Vicegerent of Allah. According to both sects, the following verse was revealed in reference to Ali: "Only Allah is your Friend and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow." (5:55)

Ali was similar to the Holy Prophet in the performance of the duties of prophethood and preaching, as the affair of the Sura of Immunity (Bara'a) shows.

 The Prophet gave certain verses of the Sura to Abu Bakr and instructed him to recite them to the people during the Hajj. The angel Gabriel soon appeared before the Prophet and told him that it was Allah's will that the matter of the Holy Qur'an should be conveyed either by the Prophet himself, or by one who was of him. Ali was identical with the Prophet in his role as Vicegerent of Allah. The Prophet himself said: "I have been commanded by Allah to announce this to you." Then he grasped the hand of Ali and said, "Know you all, of whomsoever I am the Maula (Master), Ali is also his Maula (Master)." Moreover, the self of Ali is declared to be the self of the Prophet. The 'Verse of Imprecation' (Mubahala) says: "But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: 'Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves; then let us be earnest in prayer and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.'" (3:61)

To return to the time in the mosque when Ali gave the beggar his ring and the Prophet invoked Allah, asking Him to make Ali his associate in his prophethood. Then the Holy Prophet prayed: "O Allah! I am Muhammad, Your chosen one and Your Prophet. Expand for me my breast. And make easy for me my task and appoint for me a helper from my family, Ali. Strengthen my back through him."

Abu Dharr related, "By Allah! The prayer of the Prophet had not ended when the angel Gabriel appeared and revealed this verse to him: 'Only Allah is your Friend and His Apostle and those who believe, those who maintain prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.'" (5:55)

The Prophet's prayer was granted, and Ali was appointed his vizier. Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i, in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 19, has dealt with this issue in detail. Furthermore, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Isfahani in Manaqatu'l-Mutaharin, Sheikh Ali Ja'fari in Kanzu'l-Barahin, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Seyyed Shahabu'd-din in Tauzihu'd-Dala'il, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Durr-e-Mansur, and other prominent scholars of your sect have narrated this in their works. Some of them have narrated from Asma Bint Umais (the wife of Abu Bakr) and some from other companions. The following was narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas: "The Prophet took me and Ali by the hand. He offered four rak'ats of prayer, and raising his hands toward the sky, said, 'O Allah! Moses, son of Imran, begged of you to appoint for him a helper and to make easy for him his task. I am Muhammad. I beg of you to expand for me my breast and make easy for me my task. Keep my tongue fluent so that the people may understand my speech. Appoint for me a helper from my family, Ali. Strengthen my back through him, and associate him with me in my affair.' I heard a voice saying, 'O Ahmad! I have granted your request.' Then the Prophet took Ali by the hand and said, 'Raise your hands towards the sky and pray to Allah so that He may bestow something upon you.' Then Ali raised his hands and said, 'O Allah, promise me on Your part that you will hold me in Your affection.' Immediately the angel Gabriel appeared and brought this verse of the chapter 'Mary': 'Surely (as for) those who believe and do good deeds upon them will Allah bestow love.' (19:96)

When the companions of the Prophet were surprised at this, the Prophet said, 'Why are you astonished? The Holy Qur'an has four parts: One-fourth concerns us (the Ahle Bait); one-fourth concerns lawful matters; one-fourth is for unlawful matters; and one-fourth concerns commandments and ordinances. I swear by Allah that there are many verses in the Holy Qur'an which have been revealed in praise of Ali.'"

Sheikh: Even if this hadith is taken to be authentic, it does not indicate a special rank for Ali. The same hadith has been narrated concerning Caliph Abu Bakr and Caliph Umar. Qaz'a Bin Suwaid has narrated from Ibn Abi Malika who quotes Ibn Abbas as saying that the Holy Prophet said, "Abu Bakr and Umar are to me as Aaron was to Moses."

Well-Wisher: You should take into account the character of some of your narrators. Sometimes you argue from the reports of Amadi and sometimes from those of the notorious liar and forger, Qaz'a Bin Suwaid, even though your own leading ulema have discredited him. Allama Dhahabi, in his Mizanu'l-I'tidal, in the description of the affairs of Qaz'a Bin Suwaid and Ammar Bin Harun, rejects this hadith and says simply, "It is a lie." When your own ulema reject Qaz'a, the hadith that he narrates should be rejected. Compare this hadith of Qaz'a with the chain of hadith that I have quoted from the most prominent ulema of your sect and decide yourself which of the hadith you accept.

Source: al-islam.org


Other Links:

Peshawar Nights: Second Session-part 2

Peshawar Nights: Third Session-part 1

Peshawar Nights: Third Session-part 2

Peshawar Nights: Third Session-part 3

Peshawar Nights: Third Session-part 4

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