The Status of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
By: Allamah Sayyid 'Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi
Both alTabrani's Al-Mujma` al-Kabir and Rafi`i's Musnad, quoting Ibn `Abbas, state that "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: `Let whoever is pleased to live like me and die like me and inhabit Eden's Paradise which my Lord cultivated take `Ali as his master after me, and let him obey whoever he places in charge over him, and let him follow the example of my Ahl alBayt after me, for they are my progeny: they are created of my own mould and blessed with my own comprehension and knowledge. Woe unto those who reject them and separate me from them! May Allah never permit them to enjoy my intercession.'"
AlMatir, alBarudi, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Shahin, and Ibn Mundah have all quoted Ishaq citing Ziyad ibn Matraf saying: "I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying: `Whoever wishes to live my life and die my death and enter the Garden which my Lord promised me, the Garden of eternity, then let him take `Ali and his progeny after him as his masters, for they shall never take you out of guidance, nor let you stray.'"
Similarly, Zayd ibn Arqam is quoted in one hadith saying: "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: `Whoever wishes to live like me and die my death and inhabit the perpetual Garden promised to me by my Lord, let him take `Ali as his master, for he shall never get you out of guidance, nor shall he let you stray.'"
Also, consider this tradition narrated by `Ammar ibn Yasir: "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: `I admonish whoever believed in me and held me truthful to accept the government of `Ali ibn Abu Talib, for whoever accepts him as the ruler accepts me as such, and whoever loves him loves me too, and whoever loves me loves Allah. Whoever hates him hates me, and whoever hates me hates Allah, the Sublime, the Almighty." `Ammar quotes others stating this hadith: "O Lord! Whoever believed in me and held me truthful, let him take `Ali as his master, for his government is also mine, and mine is that of the Almighty Allah."
He, peace be upon him and his progeny, once delivered a sermon wherein he said: "O people! Favours, honours, prestige and government are for the Messenger of Allah and his progeny; therefore, let no falsehood divert you." He, peace be upon him and his progeny said: "In every generation of my nation there are members of my Household who equal only my own self and who safeguard this religion from the distortion of wrongdoers and the interpretation of the ignorant. Be informed that your Imams are your deputies to Allah; so, see who you send to Him as your deputies."
He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has also said: "Do not go ahead of them else you should perish, nor should you lag behind them else you should perish. Do not teach them, for they are more learned than you." He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: "Consider my Ahl alBayt among you as you consider the head of the body, and the eyes in the head, for the head is guided by the eyes."
He, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: "Uphold loving us, we Ahl alBayt, for whoever faces Allah loving us shall enter Paradise through our intercession. I swear by the One in Whose Hands my soul is placed that the good deeds of a believer shall never avail him except through recognizing our rights." And he has also said: "The knowledge of the progeny of Muhammad brings salvation from the Fire, and loving Ahl alBayt is walking on the Straight Path. Allegiance to the progeny of Muhammad is a security against the torture." He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: "The feet of any servant of Allah shall never move on the Day of Judgment unless he is asked about four things: how he spent his life, what he wore his body out for, how he made and spent his wealth, and about loving us, we Ahl alBayt."
He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: "If a man stands in prayer between the Rukn and Maqam, hating Muhammad's progeny, he shall still enter Hellfire." He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has also said: "Whoever dies because of his love for the progeny of Muhammad dies a martyr. Whoever dies because of loving the progeny of Muhammad dies as a believer of a perfect faith. Whoever dies for loving Muhammad's children will be given the glad tiding of entering Paradise by the angel of death, then by Munkir and Nakir. Whoever dies for loving Muhammad's descendants will be taken to Paradise like a bride taken to her groom's house. Whoever dies loving Muhammad's progeny will have two doors in his grave overlooking Paradise. Allah will make the grave of whoever dies for loving Muhammad's children a visiting place for the angels of mercy. Whoever dies for loving Muhammad's progeny dies adhering to the Sunnah and consensus. Whoever dies hating Muhammad's progeny will come on the Day of Judgment with this inscribed between his eyes: `He should despair of Allah's mercy,'" up to the end of his unmatchable sermon, the sermon whereby he, peace be upon him and his progeny, intended to divert the inclinations and whims.
The implication is that all these traditions are unanimously agreed upon, especially those narrated through the authority of the purified `itra. Their status would not have been confirmed had they not been the obvious Proofs of Allah and the fountainhead of His Jurisprudence, the obvious Proofs of Allah, the fountainhead of His Jurisprudence, the ones who represent the Messenger of Allah in bidding or forbidding, his own deputies in the most clear terms. Whoever loves them, therefore, is also a lover of Allah and His Messenger, and whoever hates them is an enemy of Allah and His Messenger. He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: "None loves us except a Godfearing and sincere believer, and none hates us except a hypocritical wretch." It is for these reasons that alFarazdaq, the poet, has said these verses in their praise:
You are ones loving whom is belief, hating an abomination;
Nearness to you is indeed a rescue and a salvation.
If the pious ones are counted, you will be their Imams; it is true.
If one asks: "Who are the best of man?" the answer will be you.
The Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, used to say: "I and the virtuous among my descendants are the best in manners when young, and the most learned when old. Through us does Allah obliterate lies, and through us does He turn the wild fox's teeth ineffective. Through us does Allah cure your barrenness, and through us does He emancipate you. Through us does Allah begin and conclude."
Suffices us a reason for preferring them over others the fact that Allah, the Sublime, the Almighty, has preferred them over all others, making sending prayers unto them part of the obligatory prayers, albeit if the one saying his prayer were a Siddiq or Faruq, with one light, or two, or with numerous lights. Nay! Everyone who worships Allah by performing His obligations also worships Him while doing so by sending blessings unto them, just as he worships Him when testifying through the two parts of the Shahadah. This, indeed, is a status before which the nation's heads were lowered, and in front of which the eyes of whoever you mentioned of the imams have submitted. Imam alShafi`i, may Allah be pleased with him, has said:
O Household of Allah's Messenger! Loving you is an obligation
Which Allah has enforced in His Honored Revelation;
Suffices you a great honour if one sends no prayer unto you all,
It will be as though he did not say his prayers at all.
Let us now be satisfied with this much of the sacred Sunnah in testimony to the fact that following their Sunnah is compulsory; so is emulating them. In the Book of Allah Almighty, the Sublime and the Omnipotent, there are clear verses which make that, too, compulsory. It is to such verses that we would like to attract your aware conscience and sensitive reason. You can be satisfied with an indicative hint, and a signal suffices to attract your attention; all praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the world.
 This hadith, verbatim, is hadith 3819 of the ones included on page 217, Vol. 6 of Kanz al-`Ummal. He also quotes it in Muntakhab al-Kanz; so, refer to the latter's text at the beginning of the footnote on page 94 of Vol. 5 of Ahmed's Musnad, although the author states: "They were endowed with my comprehension," rather than "comprehension and knowledge." The copier may have committed a mistake. Al-hafiz Abu Na`im, in his Hilyat al-Awliya', has also quoted it, and he in turn is quoted by the Mu`tazilite scholar on page 450, Vol. 2, of his commentary on Nahjul Balaghah, Egyptian edition. He also quoted something similar on page 449 from Abu `Abdullah Ahmed ibn Hanbal in both his Musnad and his book titled Manaqib `Ali ibn Abu Talib (as).
 This hadith is number 2578 of the ones quoted in Kanz al-`Ummal, Vol. 6, page 155. It is also quoted by Muntakhab al-Kanz; so, refer to the latter and read the last line of the footnote on page 32, Vol. 5, that quotes Ahmed's Musnad. It is also quoted by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani abridged in the biography of Ziyad ibn Mutraf in Part One of his Isaba, then he adds: "This hadith is quoted by Yahya ibn Ya`li al-Muharbi, a weak traditionist." This is strange coming from al-`Asqalani, for Yahya ibn Ya`li, according to the consensus of scholars of hadith, is quite trustworthy. In his Sahih, al-Bukhari quotes his ahadith related to the Hudaybiya treaty. He taught hadith to Muslim Ghaylan ibn Jami`. Moreover, al-Thahbi, in his Mizan, takes the man's integrity for granted, and so do many authorities held reliable by both Shaykhs as well as by others.
 This is quoted by al-Hakim at the end of page 128, Vol. 3, of his authentic book Al-Mustadrak. He adds the following: "The narrators of this hadith are all trustworthy, and they (both Shaykhs) did not quote it." It is quoted by al-Tabrani in his Al-Jami` al-Kabir, and by Abu Na`im in his book dealing with the excellences of the sahabah. It is hadith 2577 of the ones included in Kanz al-`Ummal on page 155, Vol. 6. The author also quotes it in his Muntakhab al-Kanz; so, refer to the footnote on page 32, Vol. 5, of the Musnad.
 Al-Tabrani has quoted it in his Al-Jami` al-Kabir, and so has Ibn `Asakir in his history book, and it is hadith 2571 of the ones included in Kanz al-`Ummal at the end of page 154, Vol. 6.
 Al-Tabrani has quoted it in his Al-Jami` al-Kabir as narrated by Muhammad ibn Abu `Ubaydah ibn Muhammad ibn `Umayr ibn Yasir who quotes his father citing his grandfather `Ammar. It is hadith 2576 of the ones included in Kanz al-`Ummal, page 155, Vol. 6. It is also quoted in Muntakhab al-Kanz.
 It is narrated by Abul Shaykh in a lengthy hadith and transmitted by Ibn Hajar at the end of maqsad 4 of his Maqasid while explaining, on page 105 of his Al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa, the verse enjoining kindness to the Prophet's kin after having scrutinized it, and in the supreme maqsad of his book Ghayat Al-Maram. Do not overlook his statement: "Do not accompany the wrong-doers."
 This is quoted by al-Malla in his Sirat, as in Ibn Hajar's explanation of the verse "And follow in their footsteps, for they shall be questioned" in his Al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa, page 90, suggests.
 This is quoted by al-Tabrani who discusses the hadith of the Two Weighty Things, and he is quoted by Ibn Hajar when the latter explains the meaning of this verse of Chapter Four: "And follow in their foot steps, for they shall be questioned," a verse which he discusses in Chapter 11 of Al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa, page 89.
 This is quoted by a group of authors of books of traditions from Abu Tharr, and it is transmitted by Imam al-Sabban while enumerating the excellences of Ahl al-Bayt (as) in his work Is`af al-Raghibin, and by Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani on page 31 of Al-Sharaf al-Mu'abbad, and by many other authorities. It is a text which enforces their leadership and implies that guidance to righteousness can be attained only through them.
 This is quoted by al-Tabrani in his Al-Awsat as transmitted by al-Sayyuti in his Ihya'ul Mayyit; by al-Nabhani in his Forty Forty [ahadith]; by Ibn Hajar in his chapter discussing enjoining their love in Al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa, in addition to many other renown authorities; so, consider his statement: `Nobody's good deeds will avail him unless he is mindful of our rights," then tell me what these rights are, the ones that are considered by Allah as prerequisites to the acceptance of good deeds. Is it not obeying them and attaining Allah's Pleasure through following their RIGHT PATH? What is the commandment to which both Prophethood and caliphate attach such a great significance? But we have simply been inflicted by people who do not contemplate; so, "We are Allah's, and unto Him is our return."
 This is quoted by the judge `Iyaz in a chapter explaining the fact that to venerate the Prophet (pbuh) and be worthy of pleasing him is to please his progeny and descendants, as indicated at the beginning of page 40, Part Two, of the book titled Al-Shifa which was printed in Istanbul in 1328 A.H. You know that "knowing" them in this text does not mean just knowing their names and persons, and that they are kin of the Messenger of Allah, for even Abu Jahal and Abu Lahab knew all of that, but it means recognizing the fact that they are the authorities after the Messenger, peace be upon him and his progeny, as he himself has said: "Whoever dies not knowing the Imam of his time surely dies the death of Jahiliyya," and the meaning of loving them and their wilayat is the love and wilayat that are obligatory upon "those who follow righteousness," i.e. the Imams of Truth, a fact that is quite obvious.
 This is so due to the fact that Allah has granted them a special status which requires obedience to them. Loving them as such is rewardable. This hadith is quoted by al-Tabrani from Ibn `Abbas, and it is transmitted by al-Sayyuti in his Ihya'ul Mayyit, and by al-Nabhani in his Al-Arba`in, besides many other renown authorities.
 This is quoted by al-Tabrani and al-Hakim, and it also exists in Nabhani's Al-Arba`in, in Sayyuti's Ihya'ul Mayyit and in others. This hadith is akin to his saying, peace be upon him and his progeny, as in one hadith which you have already heard, "By the One in Whose Hands my life is, nobody's good deeds will be of any avail without recognizing our right." If hating them is not hating Allah and His Messenger, the good deeds of those who hate them would not have been rendered vain even if they spend their life between the Rukn and the Maqam [of Ibrahim, as] praying and supplicating; even then, they would not have enjoyed such a status. Al-Hakim and Ibn Hayyan, in his sahih, as stated in Nabhani's Al-Arba`in Arba`in and Sayyuti's Ihya'ul Mayyit, from Imam al-Hasan, the Prophet's grandson, who said to Mu`awiyah ibn Khadij once: "Beware of hating us, we Ahl al-Bayt (as), for the Messenger of Allah has said: `Whoever hates or envies us would be pushed away from the Pool [Kawthar] with whips of fire.'" The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, delivered a sermon once and said: "O People! Anyone who hates us, we Ahl al-Bayt (as), will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment as a Jew." This hadith is quoted by al-Tabrani in his Al-Awsat as stated in al-Sayyuti's Ihya'ul Mayyit and Nabhani's Al-Arba`in Arba`in and in other books.
 This is quoted by Imam al-Tha`labi in his explanation of the verse enjoining the love of Ahl al-Bayt (as) in Al-Tafsir al-Kabir from Jarir ibn `Abdullah al-Bijli from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny. Al-Zamakhshari takes its authenticity for granted in his own exegesis of the same verse in his book Al-Kashshaf; so, refer to it.
 Al-Malla has recorded it in the second maqsad of Chapter 14 of the Holy Qur'an in his own Chapter 11 of Al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa.
 This is quoted by `Abdul-Ghani ibn Sa`d in his Eizah al-Ishkal. It is hadith 6050 of the ones included in Kanz al-`Ummal at the end of page 396, Vol. 6.
 These two couplets of al-Shafi`i are very well-known and in wide circulation. Many trustworthy authorities have taken this fact for granted, indicating that he is the one who has composed them. Among them are: Ibn Hajar, who quotes them while explaining the verse "Allah and His angels send prayers unto the Prophet (pbuh)," on page 88 of his Al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa; al-Nabhani on page 99 of his Al-Sharaf al-Mu'abbad, Imam Abu Bakr ibn Shihabud-Din in his Rashfatul Sadi, and by many others.