Ahadith al-Manzilah, al-Thaqalayn and al-Ghadir
in the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal
By:Dr. Sayyid Kàzim Tabàtabai
In 9 AH the Prophet prepared to march for the expedition against the Romans, and according to Shaykh Muf?d and Shaykh Tus? since he was concerned of the evil intentions of the enemies, he told Imam ‘Al? (A.S.): “It is not advisable to leave Medina without me or you.” He subsequently placed Imam ‘Al? (A.S.) in charge of Medina before departing for the expedition to Tabuk, and in order to quell the hypocrites’ ill-speaking of his cousin, he said the latter’s position to him was like that of Aaron to Prophet Moses (A.S.). This saying is known as Had?th al-Manzilah and has been reported by all scholars. Ibn Hanbal has recorded it in the Musnad twenty times through different chains of isn?d on the authority of several companions of the Prophet including J?bir bin ‘Abdull?h al-Ans?r?, Asm?’ bint ‘Umays, ‘Abdull?h bin ‘Abb?s, Ab? Sa‘?d al-Khidr? and Sa‘d bin Ab? Waqq?s. The last named has related it ten times and one of the versions reads as follows:
Ab? Ahmad Zubayri quotes ‘Abdull?h bin Hab?b bin Ab? Th?bit from Hamzah bin ‘Abdull?h from his father and from Sa‘d (bin Ab? Waqq?s) who narrating this had?th for us, said:
When the Messenger of Allah left Medina for Tabuk he placed (Imam) ‘Al? [(A.S.)] as his vicegerent in Medina. (Imam) ‘Al? [(A.S.)] asked the Prophet:
“Are you making me your vicegerent?”
The Prophet replied:
“Are you not happy that your position to me is that of Aaron to Moses, except that there is no Prophet after me?”
Ahmad Sh?kir has termed the isn?d of this had?th as fair.
Ahmad bin Hanbal says:
Aswad bin ‘Amir has related from Ab? Isr?’?l, i.e. Ism?‘?l bin Ab? Ish?q Malaie, from ‘Atiyyah from Ab? Sa‘?d who quotes the Prophet as saying:
“Inn? t?rikun f?kum al-thaqalayn, ahaduhum? akbaru min al-akhar, Kitaball?h hablun mamdudun min al-sam?’-i il? al-arz wa ‘itrat? Ahl-i Bayt?, wa annahum? lan yaftaraq? hatt? yarid? ‘alayya al-hawz” (I am leaving among you two precious things, one of which is greater than the other. The Book of Allah which is the rope extending from the sky to the earth and my progeny my Ahl al-Bayt. And the two will never part with each other until they return to me at the pool (of kawthar in paradise).
Ahmad bin Hanbal says:
‘Abdull?h bin Ahmad relates from ‘Al? bin Hak?m Awd? from Shar?k from Abi Ish?q from Sa‘?d bin Wahab and Zayd bin Yuyhay‘ both of whom have narrated:
(Imam) ‘Al? [(A.S.)] complained and addressed the people at Rahbah, saying:
“All those who had heard the Prophet’s words at Ghad?r Khum, stand up.”
The narrator says:
Six persons on behalf of Sa‘?d and six persons on behalf of Zayd stood up and bore testimony that they heared the Prophet say on the Day of Ghad?r:
“A laysa Allahu awl? bi al-mu’min?n? Q?lu: Bal?. Q?la: Allahumma man kuntu mawl?h fa ‘Al?yyun mawl?h. Allahumma w?li man w?l?h wa ‘adi man ‘ad?h (Is not God superior to the faithful?
Yes! said the gathering. He said:
O Allah! For whomsoever I am master ‘Al? is his master. O Allah! befriend his friends and despise his enemies)”.
Ibn Hanbal has recorded the event of Ghad?r over 30 times in his Musnad through different isn?d or chains of authority and in the words of more than 10 companions of the Prophet. The version of Had?th al-Ghad?r mentioned above is from the notes of Ibn Hanbal’s son ‘Abdull?h on his father’s work. Ahmad Sh?kir the annotator of the Musnad has described as sah?h the isn?d of this had?th and has said about Sa‘?d bin Wahab Khayw?n? that he was among the trustworthy and experienced Muslims of the first generation after the Prophet.
 Hamd? ‘Abd al-Maj?d al-Salaf?, Murshid al-Muht?r, vol. 1, p. 239, 2nd edition, Beirut, 1407/1987.
 Al-Musnad, hadith no. 1600 (Ahmad Sh?kir).
 Ibn Hunbal's Musnad , vol. 3, p. 14. Hadith al-Thaqalayn has been recorded extensively in the Musnad, e.g. vol. 3, pp. 17, 26 & 59; vol. 4, p. 367; vol. 5, pp. 181, 189, 190.
 Al-Musnad, hadith no. 950 (Ahmad Sh?kir).
 Al-Salaf?, Murshid al-Muht?r, vol. 3, pp. 156-157.
 Ahmad Sh?kir’s explanation on Hadith al-Ghad?r.