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  • 11/2/2011

Peshawar Nights: The Verse of Imprecation (Mubahala) proves the unity of the soul of Ali with the Holy Prophet



Wednesday Night, 29th Rajab 1345 A.H.)


*Difference between assumed unity and real unity

*The Verse of Imprecation (Mubahala) proves the unity of the soul of Ali with the Holy Prophet

*Merits of Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain proven by the verse of imprecation

*Further narrations and hadith as evidence of the essential unity of the Holy Prophet and Ali


(Seyyed Abdu'l-Hayy (Imam of the Sunni Congregational Mosque): Some nights ago you made some statements for which Hafiz Sahib demanded proofs, but you cunningly evaded a reply or created confusion among us, and the whole matter was very disturbing.

Well-Wisher: Please let me know which of your questions was left unanswered, since I do not recall the incident to which you refer.

Seyyed: Did you not say some nights ago that Ali had unity of 'self' with the Holy Prophet and so was superior in rank to all the prophets?

Well-Wisher: It is true. That was my statement, and it is my belief.

Seyyed: Then why did you not reply to our query?

Well-Wisher: You are greatly mistaken. It is strange that you have been listening closely throughout our discussions, yet now you accuse me of adopting cunning methods or confusing your minds. If you consider deeply, you will understand that I said nothing irrelevant, but the learned Mullas had put certain questions, which I was obliged to answer. Now if you have any question to put, you may do so, and with Allah's help, I will answer it.

Seyyed: We wish to know how it is possible that two individuals may be united so that their unity is such that they become one and the same.



Well-Wisher: Obviously, it is not possible for two persons to form a real unity. When I said that the Commander of the Faithful had a unity of 'self' or 'soul' with the Holy Prophet, you should not take it as actual unity, because no one has ever claimed that, and if anyone believed it they would be absolutely wrong. The unity I referred to is only assumed, not actual, and intends to indicate that both of them have the same excellence of soul and merits, not the same body.

Hafiz: Then according to this proposition they should both be prophets, and from what you say, the revelation should have come to them both.

Well-Wisher: That is a manifest misconception. No Shia holds such a belief. I would not have expected you to indulge in such talk and waste our time. I have just told you they are associated in all matters of virtue and excellence, excepting those attributes for the exclusion of which there are specific ordinances or grounds. Such an exception is prophethood with all the characteristics attached to it - one of them being the reception of revelation, and through it communication of the Divine Ordinances. Perhaps you have forgotten my statements on previous nights, in which I proved through the hadith of Rank (Manzila) that Ali possessed the rank of prophethood, but that he followed, and was subject to, the religion and the code prescribed by the Holy Prophet. His rank in prophethood was no more than the rank of Aaron in the time of Moses.

Hafiz: But if you believe in Ali's equality with the Holy Prophet in all matters of virtue and excellence, it follows that you must believe in his equality in matters of prophethood and the characteristics attached to that.

Well-Wisher: It might seem so, but if you think carefully you will see that it is not so. As I have proved earlier from verses of the Qur'an, prophethood is of different ranks, and the prophets and Messengers of Allah are superior to one another in ranks. As the Holy Qur'an clearly says: "These prophets, We have exalted some of them above the others." (2:253) And the most perfect in rank of all the prophets is the special rank of Muhammad, as Allah says: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but the prophet of Allah and the seal of the prophets." (33:40) It is that perfection of prophethood which led to the sealing of prophethood. So in this attribute of perfection, none else could be included. In all other matters of excellence, there is association and equality, for which there are innumerable justifications.

Seyyed: Can you advance any argument from the Holy Qur'an to prove this assertion.



Well-Wisher: Of course, our first argument is from the Qur'an, which is the strongest Divine evidence, namely the Verse of Imprecation (Ayah-e-Mubahala) in which Allah says: "And to him who disputes with you therein after the knowledge has come to you, say 'Come, let us summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves and then let us invoke and lay the curse of Allah upon the liars.'" (3:60) Your notable ulema, such as Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, Imam Abu Ishaq Tha'labi, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti, Qazi Baidhawi, Jarullah Zamakhshari, Muslim bin Hujjaj, and many others, have written that this holy verse was revealed on the Day of Imprecation, which was the 24th or 25th of Dhu'l-Hijja in 9 AH.

When the Holy Prophet invited the Christians of Najran to Islam, they selected their most learned men like Seyyed, Aqib, Jasiq, Alqama, etc., numbering more than 70 and sent them to Medina with 300 of their followers, to meet the Holy Prophet and learn what Islam was. They entered into scholarly discussions with the Holy Prophet and were non-plussed by his cogent reasoning. He proved the truthfulness of his mission from their own reliable sources and said that Jesus, himself, had through various signs predicted his (Muhammad's) arrival, and the Christians were awaiting the fulfillment of the prophecies of Jesus according to which such a man would appear riding a camel from the Faran hills (in Mecca) and would emigrate to a place between 'Ayr and Uhud (which was Medina). These arguments strongly impressed the Christians, but their love of worldly position kept them from admitting the truth. Then the Holy Prophet informed them of Allah's command, which they agreed upon as the means of settling the discussion and for distinguishing between the truthful and the liars.



According to their mutual understanding, the next day the entire party of the Christians, including more than seventy of their scholars, waited outside the gates of Medina for the Holy Prophet. They expected him to come with pomp and circumstance and a large number of comrades to over-awe them. But when the gates opened, the Holy Prophet came forth with a young man on his right, a dignified woman on his left, and two children in front of him. They remained under a tree, facing the Christians.

Asqaf, the most learned man of the Christians, asked who those persons were who had come out with Muhammad. He was informed that the young man was his son-in-law and cousin, Ali Bin Abi Talib, the woman was his daughter, Fatima, and the two children were his daughter's sons, Hasan and Husain.

Addressing the Christians, their leader, Asqaf, said: "Look there, how confident Muhammad is! He has brought with him his nearest kindred, sons and dear ones, to this spiritual contest of imprecation. By God, if he had any doubt or fear about his stand, he would never have selected them. Now it is not advisable to enter the contest against them. Had we no fear of the Emperor of Rome, we would have embraced the faith of Islam. It would be expedient to compromise on their terms and return home." All of them agreed with him. Accordingly, Asqaf sent a message to the Holy Prophet, saying: "We do not want to contest with you, but would like to make peace with you." The Prophet accepted their proposal.

The agreement was written by the Commander of the Faithful. The Christians agreed to pay an annual tribute in the form of 2,000 coats of mail, each worth about 40 dirhams (A dirham was equal to 1/2 ounce of gold), and 1,000 mithqals of gold (a mithqal was equal to 1/6 ounce). Half of this was to be paid in the month of Muharram and half in Rajab. The agreement having been signed by both parties, the Christians returned to their homes. While they were on the way, one of their scholars named Aqib said to his companions: "By God, you and I know that this Muhammad is the same prophet of God who was the expected one, and whatever he says is from God. I swear by God that whoever has contended with a Prophet of God was ruined, and none of their young or old remained alive. Surely, if we had contended with them, all of us would have been killed and no Christians would have survived in the world. By God, when I looked at them I saw faces which, if they invoked God, would have moved mountains."

Hafiz: What you have said is quite true and is accepted by all Muslims, but it has no bearing on our topic, namely, that Ali was spiritually united with the Holy Prophet.



Well-Wisher: I argue from the word 'ourselves' in this holy verse, since from this even many questions are resolved. First, the cause of truth preached by the Holy Prophet is proved. That is, if he had not been on the side of truth, he would not have dared to come out for the contest nor would the great Christians have run away from the field of Mubahala. Second, this even proves that Hasan and Husain were sons of the Prophet of Allah, as I have already mentioned in my talk on the first night.

Third, it proves that the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain were spiritually the most exalted persons of the whole of creation and the most beloved ones of the Holy Prophet, as even the bigoted and fanatic ulema of your sect, like Zamakhshari, Baidhawi, and Fakhru'd-Din Razi, and others have written in their books. Particularly Jarullah Zamkhshari, writing about this holy verse, gives explanatory details about the gathering of these panjetan ('five bodies') and says that this verse is the strongest proof of the excellence of the Ashab-i-Ayba, the five persons who had gathered under a blanket with the Holy Prophet.

Fourth, it shows that the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, surpassed all other companions of the Holy Prophet in merit and rank, because Allah has called him in this holy verse the soul of the Prophet. Obviously, the word "ourselves" does not mean the Holy Prophet's own self, because to summon means to summon somebody else; a man is never asked to summon himself. Hence the word refers to somebody else who is like the Prophet's own self or soul. And since, according to the unanimous view of reliable commentators and traditionists of both sects, no one else except Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain were present with the Holy Prophet at the imprecation, the phrase in the holy verse, "our sons and your sons, our women and your women" refer, respectively, to Hasan and Husain and Bibi Fatima and the other person, who could be identified as "ourselves" in the holy group was the Commander of the Faithful, Ali. Hence, this word "ourselves" proves the unity of self between the Prophet Muhammad and Ali.

Since actual unity of two souls is impossible, Allah's calling Ali the 'self' of the Prophet Muhammad means an assumed unity of the two selves.

You are well aware that basically it is better to identify a word with a near assumption that with a distant one, and the nearest assumption means association in all merits excepting those which have been excluded by some particular reason. And we have already told you that it is the Holy Prophet's special prophethood and the granting of Wahi (Revelation) on him which are peculiar to him. Hence, we do not consider Ali his associate in regard to these two characteristics. But according to this holy verse, Ali shares with the Holy Prophet in all other merits, and assuredly the All-Gracious Allah endowed Ali through the Holy Prophet with all His blessings. This in itself proves the union of their souls, which we wanted to establish.

Hafiz: Why do you insist that the verse does not mean the summoning of his own 'self'? Why isn't this supposition better than the other assumption?

Well-Wisher: I hope you will not waste time in illogical talk and digress from the course of justice. In fact justice demands that when we have settled a point, we should move forward. I did not expect a man of your rank and learning to indulge in such a false argument. As you know yourself and according to all men of learning, one self is identified with another self by way of assumption. Among literary men it is common to claim an assumed association, as I have stated earlier. It is often seen that one person says to another: "You are my own life and soul." Particularly in the language of hadith and narratives, this relationship has often been stated about the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, and every such narration taken separately is a proof to establish the truth of my point of view.



Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, in Musnad, Ibn Maghazili, the Shafi'i theologian, in his Manaqib, and Muwafiq Ibn Ahmad Khawarizmi in his Manaqib, narrate that the Holy Prophet said, "Ali is from me, and I am from Ali; he who loves him, loves me; and he who loves me, loves Allah."

Also Ibn Maja in his Sunan, Part I, p. 92; Tirmidhi in his Sahih; Ibn Hajar in Tradition v of Forty Traditions concerning the merits of the Commander of the Faithful narrated in the Sawa'iq from Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Tirmidhi, Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i, and Ibn Maja; Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, v.4, p.164; Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in chapter 67 of Kifayatu't-Talib from the Musnad of Ibn Samak, v. 4, and the Mu'jim Kabir of Tibrani; and Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i in Khasa'is, and Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanbiu'l-Mawaddat from the Mishkat - all have related from Jash Bin Junada as-Saluni that during the farewell pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet said at 'Arafa: "Ali is from me and I am from Ali. Nobody recompenses me (that is no one discharges the duty of my mission) except me and Ali."

Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawaddat, Ch vii, narrates from Zawa'id-e-Musnad of Abdullah Bin Ahmad Bin Hanbal on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Holy Prophet said to Ummu'l-Mo'minin Salma "Ali is from me and I am from Ali. His flesh and blood is from my flesh and blood. He is to me as Aaron was to Moses. O Umm Salma! Listen, and be a witness that this Ali is the master and lord of the Muslims."

Hamidi in his Jam' Bainu's-Sahihain and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharhe-Nahju'l-Balagha narrate that the Holy Prophet said "Ali is from me and I am from Ali. Ali is to me as the head is to the body; one who obeys him, obeys me; and one who obeys me, obeys Allah."

Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari in his Tafsir and Mir Seyyed Ali Hamdani, the Shafi'i theologian, in Muwadda viii of Muwaddatu'l-Qurba narrate from the Holy Prophet who said: "Verily, Almighty Allah helped this faith of Islam through Ali, since he is from me, and I am from him, and this holy verse was revealed for him - 'Is he then like him who has a clear proof from his Lord and follows a witness (like Ali) from Him?'" (11:17)

Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi has specified in the 7th chapter of his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda this very topic under the caption: "About Ali's being like the self of the Holy Prophet and the tradition that 'Ali is from me and I am from Ali.'" In this chapter he has narrated 24 traditions in different ways and with different words from the Holy Prophet, who said that Ali was like his own self. Toward the end of the chapter he narrates a tradition from the Manaqib as reported by Jabir, who said that he had heard from the Holy Prophet that Hazrat Ali possessed such characteristics that if someone possessed only one of them, it would have been enough to establish his dignity and excellence, and by those characteristics were meant the sayings of the Holy Prophet about him such as: "For whomsoever I am the Master, this Ali is his Master," or "Ali is to me as Aaron was to Moses," or "Ali is from me and I am from Ali," or "Ali is to me as my self is to me, obedience to him is obedience to me," or "Fighting against Ali is fighting against Allah, and peace with Ali is peace with Allah," or "A friend of Ali is a friend of Allah, and Ali's enemy is Allah's enemy," or "Ali is Allah's Hujjat (proof) over His servants," or "Love for Ali is faith and enmity against him is infidelity," or "Ali's party is the party of Allah, and the party of his enemies is the party of Satan," or "Ali is with the Truth and the Truth is with me, they are inseparable," or "Ali is the distributor of Paradise and Hell," or "One who remained aloof from Ali remained aloof from me, and one who remained aloof from me remained aloof from Allah," or "The partisans of Ali will be rescued on the Day of Judgment."

Finally, he quotes another detailed tradition from the Manaqib at the end of which the Holy Prophet says: "I swear by Allah, Who bestowed Prophethood upon me and made me the choicest of His creations: O Ali! Verily you are Allah's Hujjat (proof) for the people, His trustee, knower of His secrets, and His Caliph over His servants."

There are many such hadith in your books. The word "ourselves" clearly shows the nearest association between the Prophet and Ali in all matters of excellence. I think that this verse is the most confincing proof of my point of view. Moreover, your second question is answered by the same verse. We have proven that, with the exception of Prophethood and Wahi (revelation), which apply only to the Prophet, Ali was associated with him in all matters of excellence. It also follows that in meritorious characteristics, Ali was superior to the companions and to everyone else in the community. In fact, this verse also proves that he excelled all other previous prophets, just as the Prophet excelled all other prophets.



In Ihya'u'l-Ulum by Imam Ghazali, Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali, the Tafsir by Imam Fakhru'd-Din Razi, and Tafsirs by Jarullah Zamakhshari, Baidhawi, Nishapuri, etc., you will find this hadith of the Holy Prophet: "The ulema of my community are like the prophets of the Bani Isra'il." In another hadith he said: "The ulema of the Prophet's codmmunity were equal to or better than the prophets of the Bani Isra'il simply because their source of knowledge was that fountainhead of learning, the Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, Ali Bin Abu Talib was definitely superior to the prophets, since the Prophet said: "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gate." He also said: I am the house of wisdom and Ali is its gate." When Ali, himself, was asked about this topic, he explained some aspects of his superiority to the prophets of the Children of Isra'il. On the 20th of Ramadhan, when Ali was on his death bed following the attack by Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi, he asked Imam Hasan to call in the Shia who had gathered at the door of his house. When they entered, they surrounded his bed and wept silently. Ali said: You may ask any question you like before I leave you, but your questions should be brief." One of those present was Sa'sa'a Bin Suwhan. Your own great ulema, like Ibn Abdu'l-Birr and Ibn Sa'ad, have written about his life and character, have relied on him, confirming that he was a man of great learning.

Sa'sa'a said to Ali: "Let me know who is superior, you or Adam." The Holy Imam said: "It is not proper for a man to praise himself, but according to the maxim: 'Declare the blessings that Allah has given you,' I tell you that I am superior to Adam." When asked why this was so, Ali explained that Adam had every means of mercy, comfort, and blessings for him in paradise. He was asked simply to abstain from the forbidden food. But he could not restrain himself, and he ate from the tree. As a result, he was expelled from paradise. Allah did not forbid him, Ali, from eating wheat (which, according to Muslim belief was the forbidden 'tree'). But since he had no inclination towards this temporal world, he voluntarily refrained from eating wheat. (The point of Ali's remark was that excellence of a man before Allah lies in piety and devotion, and that the height of piety lies in abstaining even from what is permissible.)

Sa'sa'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Noah?" Ali replied: "I am superior. Noah called his men to worship Allah, but they did not obey. Their shameful mistreatment was torture to him. He cursed them and invoked Allah: 'O my Lord! Leave not on the earth a single person of the unjust ones.' After the death of the Prophet, even though the people caused me extreme difficulty, I never cursed them. I suffered their torment with patience."

Sa'sa'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Abraham?" Ali replied: "I am superior, for Abraham said: 'My Lord! Show me how Thou Givest life to the dead.' He said: 'What! do you not believe?' He said: 'Yes, but that my heart may be at ease.' (2:260) My faith was such that I said: 'If the veil over the unseen were lifted, my faith would not increase."

Sa'as'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Moses?" The Holy Imam replied: "I am superior, for when Almighty Allah ordered Moses to go to Egypt to invite Pharaoh to the truth, Moses said: 'My Lord! Surely I killed one of them, so I am afraid that they will slay me. And my brother Aaron, he is more eloquent of tongue than I. Therefore send him with me as an aide, to help me. Surely I fear that they will reject me." (28:33-34) The Holy Prophet ordered me, by the command of Allah, to go to Mecca and to recite the verses of the Chapter 'Al-Bara'a' from the top of the Ka'ba to the Quraish infidels. I was not afraid, even though there were few people there who had not lost a near relative by my sword. Obeying his order, I performed my duty alone. I recited the verses of 'Al-Bara'a' and returned."

Sa'sa'a asked: "Who is superior, you or Jesus?" Ali said: "I am superior, for when Mary became pregnant by the Grace of Allah, and the time of her delivery approached, a revelation was granted to her: 'Leave this holy House for this is a House for prayers, not a place for the delivery of children.' Accordingly, she left the holy House and went to the wilderness where she gave birth to Jesus. But when my mother, Fatima Bint-e-Asad, felt labor pains within the precincts of the holy Ka'ba, she clung to the wall and prayed to Allah in the name of that House and the builder of that House, to lessen her pain. Soon a fissure appeared in the wall, and my mother heard a mysterious voice telling her, "O Fatima! Enter the House of the Ka'ba.' She went in, and I was born inside of the holy Ka'ba."

Source: al-islam.org

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