Aulu al–Amr, and the Traditions of “Manzilah”, “Ita’ah” and “Thaqalayn”
The Tradition of Manzilah
In his interpretation of the verse of Aulu al–Amr, Hakim Hasakani25 mentions in his Shawahid al–Tanzil26 that Mojahid has said: “The person concerned in the verse “… and those in authority from among you”, is The Commander of the Faithful, Ali (as) and the verse was revealed when the Prophet (saws) appointed Ali (as) as his deputy in Medina. Then Ali (as) inquired, ‘Do you appoint me as your deputy to take care of the women and children?’
The Prophet said, “Are you not content to be to me as Aaron was to Moses when he (Moses) said ‘Take my place among my people, and act well?” When God, the Mighty and the Magnificent, said “and those in authority from among you” he (Mojahid) said Aulu al–Amr refers to no one but Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), who was appointed by God during the Prophet’s lifetime to run the affairs after the demise of the Prophet.
This occurred when the Prophet (saws) appointed him (to represent him) in Medina. Then, God, the Mighty and the Magnificent, ordered His servants to obey him (Ali) and not to oppose him”.
Mojahid, a learned figure, a commentator of the Qur’an and one of the Tab’in, states that the verse (in question) was revealed when the Prophet (saws) appointed Ali (as), peace be on him, to take his place in Medina. According to this hadith Ali (as) was given all that was with the Prophet just as Aaron was given all that was with Moses, including his being the Prophet\'s deputy.
Accodingly, obedience to Ali (as) is incumbent upon all Muslims.
Besides the occasion of the revelation of the verse, it is worth mentioning that the tradition of Manzilah is, according to both the Shi’ites and the Sunnis, perfectly sound. Having cast light on the tradition of Manzilah and the reason for the revelation of the verse, Hakim Hasakani says, “The tradition of Manzilah is the tradition concerning which our master, Abu Hazim used to say, ‘I have extracted this tradition attributing it to five thousand narrators”. Thus, there is no doubt that this tradition is authentic and many great narrators of hadith, such as ibn Asaker, have related it on the authority of many Companions.27
This tradition indicates that after the Prophet, Ali (as) is the best and most learned of Muslims, and was the Prophet’s deputy in the lifetime of the Prophet and after his demise.
The Tradition of Obedience (Ita’ah)
Another evidence that Ali (as) is meant by Aulu al–Amr is “the narration of obedience”, which has been related through many ways and in different versions. Hakim Nayshaburi has mentioned it in his al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihyan28; Dhahabi has given a summary of the tradition confirming that it is sound. The text of the hadith is as follows: “The Prophet (saws) has said, ‘Whoever obeys me, has obeyed Allah; whoever disobeys me, has disobeyed Allah. Whoever obeys Ali, has obeyed me, and however disobeys Ali has disobeyed me”.
In this hadith the Prophet (saws) has made obedience to Ali inseparable from obeying himself and has made obedience to himself inseparable from obeying God. He has also made disobeying Ali equal to disobeying himself (the Prophet), and the Prophet has made disobeying himself as disobedience to God.
This hadith explicitly signifies that obedience to Ali (as) is as obligatory as the obedience to the Prophet (saws) and it conveys the same idea as that of the Aulu al–Amr verse. They both state that obeying Aulu al–Amr is the same as obeying the Messenger of God (saws). This tradition which is in fact an interpretation of the verse of Aulu al–Amr, is applicable to the Commander of the Faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib (as).
This tradition also shows that Ali (as) is divinely protected from sin and error. (To prove it logically, we can say that): obedience is consequent on a command; that is, if there is no command, there is no obedience. “Command” (in turn) is consequent on a “will” which is ascribed to “yearning” and “perceiving” the profit of one’s act.
Now that the hadith links “obedience to Ali (as.)” to the “obedience to the Prophet (saws.)” and considers them united, the command of Ali (as) is the command of the Prophet (saws) and his will is the will of the Prophet and the profit he perceives is the profit which the Prophet perceives and this means nothing but Ali’s infallibility.
The Tradition of Thaqalayn
Yet, another proof which supports the idea that the Household of the Prophet, God’s peace and blessing be on them all, (the infallible Imams), are meant by Aulu al–Amr, is the hadith of Thaqalayn, which both the Shi’ites and the Sunnis confirm strongly. This hadith is mentioned in many hadith sources. Though variously worded, the hadith contains the following two statements: “I am leaving behind two great and precious things (Thaqalayn): the Book of Allah, and my Ahl al–Bayt (Household). If you hold fast to them, you will not be deviated; the two will never separate until they return to me at the pond (of Kawthar)”29.
In his Al–Sawa’iq al–Muhriqah30, ibn Hajar says the concerning this hadith: “The hadith of holding fast to of the two precious things has been related in many ways”. It has been related on the authority of more than twenty of the Companions. Some say that the holy Prophet (saws) said these words when he was ill in Medina, at a time when the Companions were gathering around him in his room.
Others say that the Prophet (saws) said it at Ghadir Khumm. Still others say that the Prophet (saws) said it after he had returned from Ta’if. There is no contradiction between reports, because the Prophet (saws) may have said it in all these occasions to emphasize the special status of the Qur’an and his pure itrah”.
Alamah Bahrani, a great Shi’ite scholar, has reported in his Ghayat al–Maram the hadith on the authority of thirty nine Sunni and eighty two Shi’ite scholars.31
Several things can be deduced from this noble narration:
(1) People’s not going astray, will be impossible without holding fast to two great and precious things the Qur’an and the Household of the Prophet (saws). If they do not follow either one or both, they will surely go astray.
(2) The Prophet’s Household and the Qur’an are inseparably joined; they will never separate. This clearly indicates that people must hold fast to the Prophet’s Household .The first of whom is Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), peace be on him and obey them just as they abide by the Qur’an and obey it.
(3) That the members of Household of the Prophet will never separate from the Qur’an clearly shows that they are free from error and sin. Should the Household of the Prophet not be free from error, they will be separated (from the Qur’an); whereas according to the hadith of Thaqalayn they will never be.
25. – Hakim Hasakani is a great Sunni reporter of narrations concerning whom Dhahabi says, “Ubaydillah ibn Abdullah Mohammad ibn al-Hasan al-Qorashi, al-’Ammeri al–Nayshaburi al–Hanafi, al–Hakim, known as ibn Hadhdhá. He is an adept Sheikh (master) of the science of hadith.
26. – Shawahid al-Tanzeel, vol. 2, p. 190, the Institute of al-Tab’ wa al-Nashr.
27. – Shawahid al-Tanzeel, vol. 2, p. 195, the Institute of al-Tab’ wa al-Nashr.
28. – Al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 121, Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut.
29. – Tirmidhi’s Sahih, vol. 5, pp. 621–2, Dar al-Fikr; Ahmad’s Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 17 and 59; also, vol. 5, pp. 181 and 189, Dar Sadir, Beirut; Hakim’s Mustadrak, vol. 3, pp. 190–110, Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut; Khasa’is al-Nisaii, p. 93, Maktabahi Ninavi, there are many other sources quoted in Kitab Allah wa Ahl al-Bayt fi Hadith Thaqalayn.
30. – Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, p. 150, Makitbah al-Qahireh (Egypt).
31. – Qayat al-Maram, vol. 2, p. 304 and 367.