The Truth of Ahl al- Bayt (A.S.)
Allama Husayn Ansariyan
In view of Quranic verses and narrations previously mentioned and based on the Quranic verse, Mubahalah (mutual curse), which reads: 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 self and your self, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars (3:61)
In this holy verse, Imam Ali (a.s.) has been interpreted to be the ‘self’. It has been proven that the light of Imam Ali (a.s.) is the root of all eleven infallible Imams. His light is same as that of the light of Holy Prophet with only a physical difference.
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) in an important narration has said: Allah existed when ‘existence’ was not there. So He created the existence and space and created the light from which other lights were illuminated and that is the light from which Muhammad (S) and Ali (a.s.) appeared.27
In another narration, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said: O Ali, you and me were created from the same light. Then, that light was placed in the loins of Adam until it divided into two parts in the loins of Abd al-Muttalib, one part was placed in the loin of Abdullah and the other part in the loins of Abu-Talib.28
For this reason, there is no light or soul nearer to the Holy Prophet than the light and soul of Imam Ali (a.s). It is due to the same intimacy that on the Night of Ascension (Nocturnal Ascent), Allah spoke to the Holy Prophet in the voice of Imam Ali. There was also a covenant of brotherhood between Muhammad and Ali so unity and brotherhood was manifest outwardly. It is for the same reason that the Holy Prophet has said: You hear whatever I hear and you see whatever I see.29
Based on authentic narrations, Ali is the inner part of Muhammad and Muhammad is the Divine emanation. It is Allah’s will that Imamate is the inner part of Muhammad’s Prophethood so that the inner part will be with Muhammad wherever he is present. Therefore, the Holy Prophet’s mission would not be perfect without the Imamate of Imam Ali. The Holy Quran says: If you do not do this, then you have not delivered His message. (5:67)
The rank of Imam Ali’s Imamate is such that he can dominate the entire universe by witnessing what is visible and invisible with Allah’s permission. Therefore, we cannot attain the love for Muhammad and Allah without having love for Ali, for Ali is the gateway to Allah and the light of Muhammad and Ali itself is the beginning and end of this universe: Allah began with you and with you He will conclude and the return of creation is towards you.30
It is worth mentioning that narrations in all the most reliable Islamic reference books consider the features of the Twelve Infallible Imams as the same in all areas, for their creation is from the same light of the Holy Prophet.
We should say that with the exception of Prophethood, all the features of the Holy Prophet have been manifested perfectly in the infallible Imams and all of them, as they themselves have said, are Allah's Attributes: By Allah, we are the Most Excellent Names (al-asma al-husna).31
It is for the same reason that the people of the world are indebted to Ahl al-Bayt who have a right over them and observe that the right is incumbent on them. In this relation, one of the infallible Imams has been reported to say: The world and whatever is therein belongs to Allah, the Blessed and Almighty, His Messenger and us. Therefore, whoever obtains something from it should be most careful of his duty and be benevolent to his brothers. If he fails to do so, Allah, His messenger and we despise him.32
At any rate, the root of Ahl al-Bayt is the Holy Prophet (S) who gave his light to Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (a.s.) and with the matrimony of these two wonderful seas of spirituality, there appeared eleven Imams to guide the world’s nations.
Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari who was favored by the Ahl al-Bayt until the end of his life has said: When Allah revealed the following verse: O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you …
I said to the Holy Prophet, “O Allah's Messenger, we know Allah and the Messenger, but who are those in authority the obedience to whom is equal to the obedience to you?" The Holy Prophet said, Jabir, they are my successors and leaders of Muslims after me. The first of them is Ali ibn Abi-Talib, then Hasan and Husayn, then Ali ibn Husayn, then Muhammad ibn Ali, known as Baqir in the Torah. You will see him. When you see him, greet him on my behalf. Then comes Jafar al-Sadiq and after him Musa ibn Jafar and after him Muhammad ibn Ali and finally one who has my name and will be Allah’s argumentation (hujjatallah) on the earth, the son of Hasan, the same Imam whom Allah has appointed to conquer the east and the west, the same Imam will be hidden from the eyes of the Shiites and his friends. At that time, no one will be firm in his belief in his Imamate unless those whom Allah has purified their hearts for faith.
Another noteworthy point about the truth of Ahl al-Bayt in narrations related by the holy Imams is their resemblance to a good tree. Answering a question asked by Amr ibn Hurayth about the good tree mentioned in the Holy Quran, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) says: Allah’s Messenger is the root of the tree, Amir al-Muminin is its trunk, the Imams from his issue are its branches; the recognition of the Imams is its fruit and the believing Shiites are their leaves. By Allah (I swear), when a believer is born, the tree gives a new leaf; and when a believer dies, a leaf falls off.33
27. Al-Kafi, 441/1, H. 9
28. Bihar al-Anwar, 11/5, H. 12
29. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon: 234
30. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha
31. Al-Kafi, 145/1, H. 4
32. Al-Kafi, 401/1, H. 2
33. Al-Kafi, 428/1, Tafsir al-Safi, H. 886/1