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Salvation Ark

The Prophet Mohamad (pbuh&hp) and his Progeny are the salvation for the world

Alagd Althameen - Imamite

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Imamate


Concerning the Imamate of Imam Ali, peace be upon him

The leader after the prophet is the Commander of the Believers (Amīr al-Muminīn) and the Most Excellent of Executors (Sayyid al-Waŝŝi’īn), „Ali bin Abi Tālib.

The Book, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Descendants [of the Prophet] (al-‘itra).
Regarding the Book: The Exalted says: {Verily your only Guardian is Allah, His Messenger, and those who believe--those who establish the prayer and pay the alms (Zakāt) while bowing.} (Q. 5:55). No one paid the alms while in the state of bowing, other than „Ali, peace be upon him. A beggar asked [for alms]; based upon the promise of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, he came to him while „Ali was bowing in the prayer. That occurred while in the mosque of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, and no one else responded to his request. He indicated to him to take his ring as alms while he was bowing, and the beggar took it. Then Gabriel revealed this verse to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny. This was something that was unique to „Ali, peace be upon him, and no one else in the community.34
It is restricted in its denotation of Imamate because “guardian” (wali) means “one who has authority to govern affairs.” It is like if someone said: “This is the woman's guardian”, or “This is the orphan‟s guardian”; that is, he has the authority to govern their affairs.
Regarding the Sunnah: It is the narration of the Pond (al-Ghadīr)35 in which he, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, said: ((Do I not have more authority (awla) over you than you have over yourselves?)) [cf. Q. 33:6] They all replied, “O Messenger of Allah, indeed!” He said: ((Then, whomever I have authority over, „Ali has authority over. O Allah, help those that help him and oppose those that oppose him! Assist those that assist him, and abandon those that abandon him!)) Then „Umar said, “Hearty congratulations to you, O son of Abi Tālib! You have become the master of all of the believing men and women!”
We narrate on the authority of Mu‟ayyad Billah with his chain of authority (isnād) going to Ja‟far as-Sādiq bin Muhammad al-Bāqir that he was asked about the meaning of this narration. He said: “By Allah, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, was asked about it and he said: ((Allah is my Guardian. He has more authority over me than I have over myself, and I have no say in the matter with Him. I am the guardian of the believers. I have more authority over them than they have over themselves, and they have no say in the matter with me. Whomever I am the guardian of, I have more authority over him than he has over himself, and he has no say in the matter with me. So, „Ali is his guardian. He has more authority over one than one has over himself, and he has no say in the matter with him)).
If that is established then it is restricted in its meaning to denote Imamate. The intended meaning cannot be derived from the statement: “So-n-so is an imam; however, the community has authority to govern its own affairs.” This is because the guardian (mawla) is understood to govern affairs. It is similar to the statement: “This is the slave‟s guardian”; that is, he governs [the slave‟s] affairs. This is the restricted meaning of “Imamate” as we mentioned earlier.
One can also prove that from the Sunnah: (The Narration of Position (al-Manzila)). It is well known like the narration of the Pond. He, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, said to „Ali: ((You are to me as Aaron was to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me.))36 He excludes Prophethood; which proves that he [i.e. „Ali] encompasses a virtuous trait similar to it. Its clause proves his governance of the community‟s affairs and that he is foremost of the people in their governance. That is the meaning of Imamate, as we mentioned earlier.

Regarding the consensus: The Descendants [of the Prophet] all concur with that.

Concerning the Imamate of al-Hassan and al-Hussein


After Imam Ali it was al-Hassan, his son, after him;37 and al-Hussein, al-Hassan’s brother, after him38, peace be upon them both.


It is the well-known narration in which the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, said: ((Al-Hassan and al-Hussein are both imams; Their father is greater than them)).39 This is an explicit designation regarding their Imamate. Also, there is an implicit indication of their father’s Imamate; because one cannot be greater than another unless he is an imam that shares with him the trait of Imamate while exceeding over him. At that point, he is greater than him. This is clear.
The consensus concurs that the two of them did not exercise governmental authority during the era of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, and the era of „Ali, peace be upon him, respectively. Al-Hussein did not exercise governmental authority during the era of his brother, al-Hassan. The Imamate endured distinctly by consensus.


Concerning the Imamate After Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein


It is restricted to the descendants of the Two Grandsons (as-Sibtayn) and prohibited from anyone other than them. It belongs to the one from the descendants whose ancestry reaches back to one of the two [i.e. al-Hassan and al-Hussein], that rises and calls to himself.40 All of the following are the traits of Imamate: expansive knowledge, evident virtue, courage, generosity, excellence in opinionated thought without dissimulation, ability to carry out commands, and manifest religious scrupulousness.

Regarding the proof of its restriction: The intellect mandates that the Imamate can be obscene, because it necessitates that the governance of inimical affairs can be terminated by killing, crucifixion, and removal. The consensus of the Muslims concurs that it is permissible for the descendants of Fātima, peace be upon her. There is no proof that it is permissible for anyone other than them. Their enemies were not righteous. This is because the Descendants have agreed that it is not permissible for anyone other than them. Their consensus is a proof.
Regarding the proof of the traits of Imamate that we mentioned: It is the consensus of the Muslims.


Concerning Imam’s traits


Say: Regarding knowledge:41 It is necessary for him to be knowledgeable of the Divine Oneness of Allah and worship of Him; as well as what comes subsequent to that. He has to be knowledgeable of the sources of Islamic Law (ash-Shari‘a), as well as its proofs. These [i.e. the sources] are four: the Book, the Sunnah, Consensus, and Analogical Reasoning (al-Qiyās). What is meant by that is that one has a thorough understanding of the commands and prohibitions of the Qur‟ān and Sunnah; as well as their generalities, specificities, applications, expositions, what abrogates, and what is abrogated. He has to also be knowledgeable concerning the conciliatory subjects and the different channels of disagreements in fiqh; so as to not form an independent judgment contrary to consensus. Then, he has to be able to investigate a a body with analogical reasoning and form an independent judgment. He has to be able to refer an action back to the legal source.
Regarding virtue:42 He has to be the most eminent of the people of his time; constantly increasing in such over other than him in this trait of Imamate. If not, he has to, at least, be similar to them in eminence.
Regarding courage:43 He has to be wiling to meet the enemies of Allah and not be accused of cowardice. He has to be composed in times of anxiety. He must not feign fighting or the battlefield.
Regarding generosity:44 He must be generous in the distribution of rights to its owners.
Regarding opinionated thought:45 He must be in a state of mind to manage affairs and not be deficient in his intellect. He must not have any type of disease in his body [i.e. one that inhibits his functions] or weakness so that he can accurately oversee the affairs of the religion and rectify the affairs of the Muslims.
Regarding religious scrupulousness:46 It is enough that he turns away from obscenities and establish the obligations.


Concerning the Way of Knowing the Specifications of the Imam

Regarding him being knowledgeable: He has to achieve this by taking the knowledge of the scholars by means of thorough research and debate. Other than them are called to obedience by knowledge of the existence of a scholar. He has to be knowledgeable of the occurrences of possible attack. There is consensus of opinion regarding that.
Regarding the rest of the traits, it is necessary that knowledge be obtained for them to exist. If it [i.e. knowledge] is absent, then one must obtain the successively transmitted (at-tatwātiri) knowledge in that. The ruling of knowledge is similar to that of its absence. The means of this knowledge is through the mass transmitted texts of the scholars and others. If it is present, then it is necessary that the acquisition of knowledge exist for all of it. This is because it is from the Fundamentals of Religion (Usūl ad-Dīn). Otherwise, one would not take hold of the required indications needed for all of it.


Concerning Commanding the Good and Prohibiting the Bad (Amr bil-Ma’rūf wa an-Nahi ‘an al-Munkar)


Allah makes it clear that the commanding of the good and prohibiting of the bad is religiously obligatory. He does so by His words: {Let there be from you a community inviting to the good; commanding the good and prohibiting the bad. They are the successful ones} (Q. 3:104).47
Regarding our statement that it is religiously obligatory to command the good and prohibit the bad: The consensus of the Muslims hold that it is religiously obligatory that one be delegated to command the good and prohibit the bad. This cannot be maintained except by means of a judiciary that commands the obligations to the utmost of one‟s ability. Otherwise, it would invalidate the import of the verse. The caliphate is meant by this, as is well known.
We also say that the prohibition of the bad is obligatory by the consensus of the Muslims. This is because the bad are obscenities and it is religious obligatory to prohibit all of it to the utmost of one’s ability, just as it is necessary to command the good to the utmost of one’s ability.

 

Notes

 

34 The overwhelming majority of the books of tafsīr, history, and hadīth narrated that this verse was revealed concerning „Ali. For the sake of brevity I mention a narration from the tafsīr of Imam as-Suyuti, Durr al-Manthūr: At- Tabarāni in al-Awsat and Ibn Mardawayh narrated on the authority of Ammār bin Yāsir:
A beggar came to „Ali for charity while he was bowing in prayer. He removed his ring and the beggar took it. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came in and asked him [i.e. the beggar] about that. Then the following verse was revealed to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him: {Verily your only Guardian is Allah, His Messenger, and those who believe--those who establish the prayer and pay the alms while bowing.} The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, recited it to his Companions. He then said: “Whomever I have authority over, „Ali has authority over. O Allah, help those that help him and oppose those that oppose him!”
35 Regarding the authenticity of the hadīth of the Pond: Ibn al-Jarīr at-Tabari narrated it with 75 different chains in his book Kitāb al-Wilāyat. Ibn „Uqda narrated it with 105 chains. Adh-Dhahabi said: “I am amazed at a narration with so many chains! As-Suyūti includes it amongst the mass-transmitted (al-mutawātir) hadīths.” Al-Ghazzāli said: “There is consensus from the Generality concerning the sermon in the Hadīth of the Pond. Ibn Hajar even admits in Sawā’iqa that it has been narrated by 30 companions.” Al-Hākim related it with multiple chains in his Mustadrak and said: “These are authentic according to the conditions of the two shaykhs [al-Bukhari and Muslim].” Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi in Kanz al-Ummāl related it. An-Nisā‟i narrated it in his Khasā`is. Ibn Hajar mentioned it in his Sawā’iqa and said: “Adh-Dhahabi authenticated it.” Al-Haythami mentioned this in his Majmu’ and said: “Ahmed related it and his narrators are all reliable. He narrated it in his Musnad on the authority of Ibn „Abbās.” Even the “salafi” hadīth scholar, Nasr ad-Dīn al-Albāni authenticated it in his As-Silsila as-Sahīha. After relating the various chains, he said:
The conclusion is that the aforementioned hadīth is authentic; both parts. But, only the first part [i.e. “Whomever I am his guardian…”] is mass-transmitted on his authority, peace and blessings be upon him. This should be clear to the one who follows its narrators and chains of transmission. What I mentioned should be enough…The reason why I mentioned this and clarified that the hadīth is authentic is that I saw that Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya weakened the first part of the hadīth and claimed that the second part [i.e. “O Allah, help those that help him…”] is a lie. In my estimation, this is the product of his hastiness in exaggerating to weaken hadīths before collecting all of the chains of narration and thoroughly examining them.

36 Al-Bukhari related it in his Sahīh; Muslim narrated it in his Sahīh; Ibn Mājah narrated it in his Sahīh; Ahmed bin Hanbal related it in his Musnad; Abu Dawud at-Tayālisi related it in his Musnad; Abu Nu‟aym narrated it in his al-Hilayah; An-Nisā‟i narrated it in his Khasā`is; At-Tahāwi narrated it in Mishkil Athār; al-Khatīb related it in Tarikh; and at-Tirmidhi related it in his Sahīh. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalāni narrated it in Fath al-Bāri; al-Hākim narrated it in his Mustadrak and said that the chain is authentic; and As-Suyūti mentions it in his tafsīr of {It was not fitting for the people of Madinah and the Bedouin Arabs of the neighbourhood…} (Q. 9:120).

37 The consensus of the Muslims recognized the Caliphal authority of al-Hassan after the assassination of his father. Although, he had a brief stint as the Caliph, he is generally regarded as the fifth of the “Rightly-Guided Caliphs.”
38 Although al-Hussein was never recognized as a Caliph, he posed a threat to the existing authorities because they knew that after the death of his brother, al-Hassan, the people (specifically, the Kufans) were leaning towards him to fight for the Caliphate. Al-Hussein’s failed attempt and subsequent martyrdom does not disqualify him from the Imamate because consensual recognition is not a precondition for Imamate. The proof for this is that many scholars recognize Abdullah bin az-Zubayr as one of the “12 caliphs” although he was similarly defeated and killed without being recognized by consensus.
39 Although I could not locate this hadīth in the Sunni sources, there are other hadīths that seemingly imply this. First, ((Al-Hassan and al-Hussein are the masters of the youths of Paradise and their father is greater than them)); Referring to al-Hassan, he, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, said: ((My son is master (sayyid). By his hand, Allah will rectify two warring parties from the Muslims)). He also said: ((Whoever makes war against them, makes war against me)).

40 Among the textual proofs for the imamate belonging to the Descendants are: ((Verily, I leave you something by which if you hold on to them, you will never go astray after me: the Book of Allah and my descendants, the People of my House. Verily, the Subtle and Aware will not separate them until they meet me at the Pond.)); ((The stars are a means of safety for the people of the earth from drowning. The People of my House are a means of safety for my community whenever they differ. Consequently, when the tribes of Arabs differ from them, there will arise the party of Satan.)) ((There are three people that I will intercede for on the Day of Judgment: The one who commands the good, the one who forbids the bad, and the one who strikes with the sword on behalf of an imam from my offspring)).


41 Some textual proofs for the knowledge of the imam are: {Allah has chosen him over you [i.e. as ruler] and has increased him in knowledge and build. Allah gives dominion to whomever He wills} (Q. 2:247); {Judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their whims} (Q. 5:49); and {And We made them imams guiding by our command…} (Q. 21:73).
42 Some textual proofs for the virtue of the imam are: {We wanted to grant favour to upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them imams and inheritors. We established them in the land and by means of them, show Pharaoh, Haman, and the soldiers what they feared} (Q. 28:5-6); {Obey Allah, obey His Messenger and the holders of authority amongst you} (Q. 4:105); and {Fear Allah and be with the truthful} (Q. 9:119).
43 Some textual proofs for the courage of the imam are: {It is only Satan that frightens his supporters (awliyā`a). Fear them not, rather fear Me; if you are indeed believers} (Q. 3:175); {And when something comes to them about safety or fear, they spread it. If they had referred it back to the Messenger or the holders of authority amongst them , those who can draw correct conclusions would have known about it} (Q. 4:83); and {How many prophets fought along with many religious authorities and they never lost conviction by what afflicted them in the way of Allah?} (Q. 3:146)
44 Some textual proofs for the generosity of the imam are: {Do not consume each other’s wealth unjustly and send it to the rulers to consume a portion of the people’s wealth in sin} (Q. 2:188); {Take from their wealth charity by which you purify them} (Q. 9:103); {Give the full amount and weight in justice} (Q 6:152); {Charity [i.e. zakāt] is only for the poor, destitute, the ones charged with collecting it, reconciling the hearts, manumission of slaves, freeing those in debt, in the way of Allah, and the traveler} (Q. 9:60).

45 Some textual proofs for the opinionated thought of the imam are: {Do not approach that in which you have no knowledge} (Q. 17:36); {Say: “This is my path. I invite to Allah with insight; I and those who follow me} (Q. 12:108).
46 Some textual proofs for the scrupulousness of the imam are: {“Verily I will make you an imam for the people.” He [i.e. Abraham] said: “And my descendants?” [Allah] replied “My covenant will not reach the unjust.”} (Q. 2:124); {And do not obey every despicable perjurer, backbiter that goes around gossiping, preventer of good, transgressor persistent in sin, and an extremely crude person that’s villainous} (Q. 68:10-13).
47 Other textual proofs for the commanding of the good and prevention of bad are: {Those who disbelieved amongst the Children of Israel were cursed by the tongues of David and Jesus, son of Mary, because they disobeyed and persisted in sin. They did not refrain one another from the wrongdoing that they did} (Q. 5:78-79); {If two groups of believers fight one another, seek reconciliation between the two of them. However, if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the oppressive one until they return to the command of Allah. If it [i.e. the oppressive group] returns, reconcile them in justice and act just with them} (Q. 49:9).

 


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