Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)

Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)0%

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Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)

Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)

Author:
Publisher: www.al-islam.org
English


Imam Hasan - Director of the Prophet’s Pond

فَأَقبَلَ الحَسَنُ نَحوَ الكِساء وَ قالَ : أَلسَّلامُ عَلَيكَ يا جَدَّاهُ يا رَسُولَ اللهِ أَتَأذَنُ لي أَن أَدخُلَ مَعَكَ تَحتَ الكِساءِ ؟ فَقالَ : وَ عَلَيكَ السَّلامُ يا وَلَدِي وَ يا صاحِبَ حَوضِي قَد أَذِنتُ لَكَ ، فَدَخَلَ مَعَهُ تَحتَ الكِساءِ .

Al-Hasan moved towards the cloak and said, "Peace be upon you, O grandfather, Allah’s Messenger. Will you allow me to be with you under this cloak?"

My father replied, "Peace be upon you too, my son and director of my Pond. I allow you. "Al-Hasan then went under the cloak with his grandfather.

The natural reaction of a person who recognizes the presence of the Holy Prophet (SA) in the same location is to rush towards him and seek his proximity. Imam Al Hasan (AS) approaches the cloak which the Prophet (SA) is covered with and conveys his greetings by pronouncing theSalam . He does so by addressing him first as his grandfather, and then as the Messenger of Allah. This is for us to remind ourselves of the blood relation which Imam Hasan (AS) and his siblings share with the Prophet (SA).

Imam Al Hasan (AS) then makes a specific request from the Prophet (SA) where he seeks proximity to the Prophet (SA) by asking permission to enter under the cloak with him. In the mind of Imam Hasan (AS), there is no other reason to make that request other than enjoy the company of the Prophet (SA) and share from his blessings. He has yet to learn of the grand honor which Allah (SWT) will bestow him and his immediate family under the cloak!

The Prophet (SA) then replies back theSalam to his beloved grandson Hasan whom he considers as his own son by referring to him as "ولدي ". It is not a mistake or exaggeration that the Prophet (SA) refers to him as his own son as there are people who try to distance Hasan and Husain from the Prophet (SA) by saying that they are the sons of Fatima the daughter of the Prophet (SA) and not the Prophet.

The Holy Prophet loved his two grandsons, Hasan and Husain, dearly, and since he had no surviving sons of his own, he used to call them his “sons” out of deep affection. In many occasions the Prophet (SA) declared,"Hasan and Husain are my children". (Islam: Faith, Practice, and History)

Because of this, Imam Ali (AS) would say to his other children,"You are my children and Hasan and Husain are the children of the Prophet." (Lantern of the Path) Hasan and Husain themselves used to call the Prophet (SA) as “father” and didn’t do so with their biological father Imam Ali (AS) until the Prophet (SA) departed this world. During the lifetime of the Prophet (SA), Hasan (AS) used to refer to his father Imam Ali (AS) as Abal Husain, while Husain used to call him Abal Hasan.

Furthermore, the Messenger of Allah (SWT) confirms that their station to him is equivalent to being his “sons” in the Event of Mubahala (Imprecation) where the following verse was revealed:

“And to him who disputes with you therein after knowledge has come to you, say: “Come, let us summon our sons and your sons, our women

and your women, ourselves and your selves, then let us invoke and lay the curse of God upon the liars.” (3:61)

In the ninth year after Hijra (migration), Prophet Muhammad (SA) sent a message to the Christians of Najran asking them to believe in him as a prophet of God and accept Jesus (peace be upon him) as prophet of God according to the teachings of the Qur’an. A delegation of seventy Christian scholars visited the Prophet (SA) and he explained to the Christian scholars the concept of divinity and prophethood but the Christians did not accept the reasoning.

Then the above-mentioned verse was revealed inviting the Christians for invoking the curse of God to determine who is denier of the truth. In a large public gathering, his “daughter” represented Lady Fatima (S.A.), his “self” was represented by his cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), and his “sons” were none other than his two grandsons Hasan and Husain (AS).

Prophet Muhammad (SA) had orders from Almighty Allah (SWT) through theVerse of Mubahala to takeHasan and Hussain (AS) as hischildren with him and this was not a personal decision on his own. Their position as “sons” to the Prophet was stamped and approved by Allah (SWT) from above the heavens!

When the chief of the Christian delegation witnessed these five personalities, he was awestruck with their heavenly appearance and counseled his followers not to ask the Prophet to invoke God’s curse, saying that“If these Godly individuals curse us, I am afraid we will be destroyed.” (Madarejun Nubuwwa) He made a peace pact, offered the Prophet (SA) gifts and left in peace.

The next label which the Prophet (SA) describes Imam Al Hasan (AS) is "صاحب حوضي " (the director of my Pond).

One may question why the role of providing food to eat was not specified in traditions as it was with providing water to drink. That is because the need to quench the thirst on the Day of Resurrection will be greater than that of eating. Actually there are numerous narrations where the Prophet (SA) labels Imam Ali (AS) as "صاحب حوضي ". In reference to Imam Ali (AS), the Prophet (SA) has said,

Whomever among you would like to save himself from the troubles of the Day of Judgment, let him take my guardian as their guardian, and let him follow my successor and Caliph after me, Ali ibn Abi Talib, for he is the owner of my Pool (Hawd), he keeps his enemies away from it and quenches the thirst of his devout supporters. Whoever is not granted the permission to drink from it will continuously suffer from thirst. ” (Kitab Al Mizan).

There is no contradiction that the Pond (Hawd) belongs to the Prophet (SA) on the Day of Resurrection, while Ali plays the role of “quencher”, while Imam Hasan (AS) is its director (صاحب ). For one particular task, there may be various roles with different degrees and the laws may differ in different situations.

After all, Allah (SWT) bestowed the Pond to the Prophet (SA) while giving the authority of direction to Imam Hasan (AS) so that he shares the honor of his grandfather. In other traditions it is apparent that all of the

Infallible Imams (AS) will participate in quenching the thirst of the people from that Hawd.

The Prophet (SA) grants Imam Hasan (AS) the permission to enter theKisaa . This is the first of the series of divinely approved permissions which the Prophet (SA) gives for the entrance under the cloak. It must be noted that the permission of the Prophet (SA) is not from his own will or preference as the Qur’an emphasizes:

وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ. إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى.

“Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed.” (53:3-4)

This Qur’anic verse is in agreement with the Bible where it is quoted regarding the station of the Prophet (SA),"He does not speak of his own will", and has also been mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18 .

"Then the Lord said to me (Musa): "I will raise up for them a prophet like you, one of their own race, and I will put my words into his mouth. He shall convey all my commands to them."

It is also mentioned in John 16: 18: (‘Isa said):"However, when he comes who is the spirit of truth, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but will tell only what he hears; and he will make known to you the things that are coming."

The Holy Prophet (SA) was always in communion with Allah (SWT). Whatever he said was the Word of Allah and his actions were the fulfillment of the divine will. So when the Prophet (SA) gives permission for Imam Hasan (AS) to enter the cloak, it is equivalent to divine permission from above the heavens. This significance of this divine permission to enter theKisaa will be realized as we continue to analyze the Tradition of the Cloak .


The Divinely Chosen One

فَدَنَا الحُسَينُ ( عليه السَّلام ) نحوَ الكِساءِ وَ قالَ : أَلسَّلامُ عَلَيكَ يا جَدَّاهُ يا مَنِ أختارَهُ اللهُ

Al-Husain then approached towards the cloak and said, "Peace be upon you, O grandfather! Peace be upon you, O he whom Allah has chosen!

The scene repeats itself three more times with Imam Husain (AS), then his father Imam Ali (AS) and then finally with the Master Lady of the Universe, Lady Fatima (AS). Both Imam Husain (AS) and Imam Ali (AS) enter home and convey their Islamic greetings to Lady Fatima (AS). Interestingly, they both remark that they smell a pleasant fragrance that is similar to the scent of the Holy Prophet (SA). Their observation is the same as Imam Hasan (AS) which confirms the veracity of the physical pureness of the Holy Prophet (SA) by which he is known for.

Each of the members of the holy household seeks permission from the Prophet (SA) to enter theKisaa . It is as if they each know and feel that there is a great significance behind the cloak which the Prophet (SA) has covered himself with. Each one of them rushes to share the honor of attaining proximity to the Seal of Messengers, even if it is simply sharing the same cover.

Imam Husain (AS) specifically greets his grandfather by sayingيا مَنِ أختارَهُ اللهُ Oh he whom Allah has chosen! It is not enough that Husain reminds us that the Prophet (SA) is his grandfather, he further tags along that his grandfather is divinely selected. That divine selection to become the Seal of Prophets and Messengers who would deliver the final revelation and message of Islam to mankind is certainly a unique honor that has no similarity.

The wise and knowledgeable recognize that the virtue of a person is derived not by what a person attains from this world by permission of the people, but rather, it is the divine bestowal which earns a person great honor and eternal reverence.

Certainly it was not a coincidence or random selection which Allah (SWT) exercised as He is the absolute Wisdom and the absolute Knowledgeable. The Almighty (SWT) has chosen him because Muhammad (SA) himself has chosen God with every atom of his soul. He came rushing towards his Lord sincerely seeking His proximity and so Allah (SWT) chose Muhammad after he has proved to be the purest person of his time.

The well-known historian Al-Mas'udi in his bookMurooj Al Dhahab quotes a lengthy tradition from Imam Ali (AS) to the effect that when Allah (SWT) created, first of all, the Light of Muhammad, He (SWT) said to it:"You are My chosen one and the Trustee of My Light and Guidance. It is because of you that I am going to create the earth and the skies, lay down reward and punishment, and bring into being the Garden and the Fire."

Then the tradition goes on to speak about the family of the Prophet, about creation of the angels, of the souls, of the world, of the covenant taken from the souls which combined the belief in the One God with acceptance of Muhammad's prophethood.

This is why Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet Muhammad (SA) said: "I was a Prophet when Adam was between soul and body (i.e. when Adam's creation was in its preliminary stages)" (at-Tabarani,Al-Mu'jjam al-Kabir; Al Khasa'is al-Kubra ). The Holy Prophet (SA) also said: "Verily Allah chose Isma'il from the progeny of Ibrahim, and chose Banu Kinanah from the progeny of Isma'il, and chose Quraish from the Banu Kinanah, and chose Banu Hashim from Quraish, and chose me from Banu Hashim. " (Tirmidhi)

In fact, it is not only Islam and the Muslims who recognize and appreciate the great status of the Prophet (SA), the non-Muslims also testify to the superiority of Muhammad compared to other creatures. Writing at the time of Carlyle in the nineteenth century, European historian Johann Doellinger asserted:"No other mortal has ever, from the beginning of the world, exercised such an immeasurable influence upon the religious, moral, and political relations of mankind, as has the Arab Muhammad."

Also, historian Will Durant concludes his treatment of Muhammad with this tribute: “If we judge greatness by influence, he was one of the giants of history. He undertook to raise the spiritual and moral level of a people harassed into barbarism by heat and foodless wastes, and he succeeded more completely than any other reformer seldom has any man so fully realized his dream.... When he began, Arabia was a desert flotsam of idolatrous tribes; when he died it was a nation.”

It was on the 27th of Rajab at the age of forty that Prophet Muhammad (SA) was officially appointed by Allah (SWT) as the Seal of Messengers to deliver the message of Islam till the end of time. The commencement of his prophethood began with the revelation of the verses ofSurat Al A’laq where Angel Jibrael (AS) recited the first few verses of this chapter: "Read: In the Name of your Lord who created, He created man from a clot. Read: And your Lord is the Most Generous Who taught to write by the pen, Taught man what he knew not".


Imam Husain -Intercessor of The Nation

فَقالَ : وَ عَلَيكَ السَّلامُ يا وَلَدِي وَ يا شافِع أُمَّتِي قَد أَذِنتُ لَكَ

My father replied, "Peace be upon you too, O my son and intercessor of my people. I allow you."

The Holy Prophet (SA) returns back the greetings of his grandson Imam Husain (AS) by stressing that he is his “son” as he did with his brother Hasan. Furthermore, he refers to Husain asيا شافِع أمتي ”intercessor of my people”. As we know, the Prophet (SA) himself will have the right of intercession over his nation and this is authentically narrated in both Sunni and Shi’a narrations.

The Qur’an confirms the validity of the concept of Shafa’at (intercession) where the Prophet (SA) can seek forgiveness of others on their behalf, by virtue of his excellence and proximity to Allah (SWT):

“And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.” (4:64)

To seek a medium or an intermediate for your affairs is not only logically acceptable but is very practical in our mundane matters. Seeking proximity towards Allah (SWT) via an intermediate is no different and Allah (SWT) approves that in this holy verse,

"O you who believe! Fear Allah and seek an intermediate (Al-Wasilah) unto Him..." (5:35)

Both scholars Raghib Isfahani and 'Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i are of the opinion thatAl-Wasilah means to reach a certain goal through desire, inclination or willingness, and in fact wasilah towards God means observance of His path with knowledge and worship through adherence to the Shari'ah. In other words, wasilah is a means of communication and spiritual link between mankind and God.

It is not only Prophet Muhammad (SA) who attains the privilege of intercession, it is also other prophets and messengers as well as divine guides whom Allah (SWT) has preferred over creation due to their piety and excellence. The purified household of the Prophet (SA) also share in the honor of having the liberty to exercise intercession in this life and in the Hereafter. Imam Husain (AS) is notably one of the members of the Prophet’s family who has earned a great status in the eyes of Allah (SWT) and one of the rewards which He (SWT) has bestowed him is the intercession of the Muslim nation.

The story of “Fitrus the angel” clearly demonstrates how Imam Husain (AS) was granted the honor of intercession since he was a baby in his cradle. When Imam Husain (AS) was born, Allah (SWT) sent down the angel Jibrael (AS) to congratulate the family of the Prophet (SA). On the way down from the heavens, Jibrael (AS) passed by an island on which the Fitrus was sent to by Allah (SWT) because he had delayed in executing a command. As a punishment, Fitrus also had his wings taken away by Allah (SWT).

When Fitrus saw Jibrael (AS) he asked him where he was going. Jibrael (AS) told him that he was going to congratulate the Holy Prophet (SA) and his family on the birth of Imam Husain (AS). Fitrus asked if he could join him and Jibrael (AS) agreed with the permission of Allah (SWT) and so carried him down to earth. When the angels reached Prophet Muhammad (SA) and congratulated him and his family, the Prophet (SA) told Fitrus to go to Imam Husain (AS). When Fitrus touched Imam Husain's (AS) cradle, his wings were miraculously given back to him by Allah (SWT) who had forgiven him.

The moral of this story is to demonstrate the permissibility of intercession in general, and specifically for Imam Husain (AS) whose blessings were manifested from the moment he was born. It is interesting to note that angel Fitrus was instructed to seek blessing by rubbing his wing on the cradle of Imam Husain and not Imam Husain himself.

Why was that the case?

It is as if Allah (SWT) intentionally tailored this detailed to demonstrate to us that the object (in this case the cradle) which was associated with a holy and divine personality has attained such honor and sanctity such that it became the manifestation of miracle and blessings. Hence, we should be cognizant of the fact that certain items or physical signs can attain the status of sanctity and we should treat such relics with veneration due to the fact that this relic is associated with the original source of sanctity - in this case, the infallible guide.

If such miracles and blessings are attained by seeking intercession from a holy item, then one can imagine the abundant blessings that one can attain by seeking intercession from a personality who is the originalsource of sanctity - like Imam Husain (AS).

The divine intermediate is certainly closer to Allah (SWT), so if we wish to secure for ourselves a higher percentage of acceptance or guarantee of our prayers, then logically speaking, we should seek those who are closer to Allah (SWT) who can speak on our behalf and raise our needs.

This is similar to our practice in mundane matters such as getting a recommendation for a job or reaching out to a connection in our network that may accelerate our application process or grant us acceptance of our need by virtue of our close association with the source whom we are targeting.


Imam Ali - Commander of The Faithful

فَقُلتُ : وَعَلَيكَ السَّلامُ يا أَبَا الحَسَن وَيا أَمِيرَ المُؤمِنينَ

"Peace be upon you too, O Abul-Hasan and Commander of the Faithful," I replied.

After Imam Husain (AS), Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) enters and conveys his greetings to the Holy Prophet (SA) who replies back to him by pronouncing theSalam and addressing him as “Abal Hasan” (the father of Hasan) and “Ya Ameer Al Momineen” (Commander of the Faithful). The label of “Ameerul Momineen” exclusively belongs to Imam Ali (AS) and has been divinely bestowed from above the heavens.

In his bookAl Kafi , Al Kileeni narrates from Fudail ibn Yassaar that Imam Al Baqir (AS) said:“Oh Fudail, any person who names himself with this title other than Ali is a liar.” According to the Sunni School of thought, Umar ibn Al Khattab was the first to use that title, however that is false information.

In fact, it was the Holy Prophet (SA) who gave Imam Ali (AS) that title and this is cited in many traditions such as, “Oh Ali, you are Ameerul Momineen (Commander of the Faithful) and the Imam of the Muslims, and قائد الغر المحجلين (the Leader of the Resplendent), and يعسوب المتقين (the dragonfly of the pious).” (Amaali)

It is also narrated consecutively by Imam Al Sadiq (AS) that his father Imam Ali (AS) said:“The Prophet (SA) said to me, O Ali You are Ameerul Momineen and the leader of the pious, O Ali you are chief of the successors and heirs of the Prophets and the best of the truthful (sidiqeen). ” (Kanz Al Fawaed)

According to the Sunni School of thought as narrated by Al Hafiz Abu Na’eem Al Asfahani in his bookHelyat Al Awliyaa , that Qasem ibn Jundub ibn Anas said: The Prophet (SA) said: “Oh Anas, help me prepare for ablution.” Then he got up and prayed two-unit prayer, then he said, “Oh Anas, the first person who will enter from that door is Ameerul Momineen and the Master of the messengers, and قائدالغرالمحجلين (the Leader of the Resplendent) and the Seal of Successors.” That person was none other than Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)!

Hence, it is not appropriate to use that title even to the other Infallible Imams from the sons of Ali, including Imam Hasan who actually became Caliph after his father. That is because attaining the position of Caliphate is not the criteria for being named Ameerul Momineen even though the person may be infallible such as Imam Hasan (AS).

This title is unique only to Ali and no one can share that title with him. The great scholar Ibn Tawoos has actually written a book calledAl Yaqeen Bi Ikhtisaas Mawlana Ali Bi Emrat Al Momineen (Faith in the uniqueness of Mawla Ali with the title of Ameerul Momineen) which aims to verify the specialization of Ali with this title.

In fact, there is an interesting story where the title of “Ameerul Momineen” was granted officially to Ali. It is narrated by one of the close companions of the Prophet (SA), Hudaifah ibn Al Yaman, as cited inIrshad

Al Qulub , that in his conversation with a lad he said: “O lad, since you asked and wanted to investigate, then listen and understand what I am going to tell you. As for those caliphs who were before Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), who were called Ameerul Momineen; the people called them by that title.

But Ali ibn Abi Talib was called with this name by Archangel Gabriel (AS). It was an order from the Prophet (SA) who bore witness of Gabriel’s (AS) salutation to Ali by the title of Ameerul Momineen, and the companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet were calling Ali (AS) with the title of Ameer Al-Momineen during the life and presence of the Prophet (SA).”

The Lad said: “Tell us how this came to be, may Allah have mercy on you.”

Hudhayfah answered: “The people used to enter upon the Prophet (SA) whenever they wanted. The Prophet (SA) then prohibited them from entering upon him while he was in meeting with Dihyatul Kalbi. The Prophet (SA) used to exchange letters with Caesar and Bani Hanifah and the kings of Bani Ghassau through him (Dihya). Jibrael (AS) would sometimes descend to the Prophet (SA in the image of Dihya. Therefore, the Prophet (SA prohibited the Muslims from entering upon him, if he was in meeting with Dihya.”

Hudhayfah added, “One day I came to the Prophet (SA) for some matter hoping to meet him alone. When I arrived at the door, I looked and found a curtain covering the door. I raised it and was about to enter. That’s what we were accustomed to do. Then I saw Dihya sitting beside the Prophet (SA) who was sleeping and his head was on the lap of Dihya. When I saw that, I left. Then I met Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) on my way. He said, ‘Oh Ibn Al Yaman, where did you just come from?’ I answered him and said, ‘I wanted to enter but I found Dihya with him.’

I asked Ali’s help with the matter I had wanted to speak with the Prophet (SA). Then Imam Ali (AS) suggested me to come back with him. So I returned back with him and when we arrived at the door of the Prophet (SA), I sat beside the door and Imam Ali (AS) lifted the curtain. He entered and greeted. Then I heard Dihya reply and say, ‘And peace be upon you O Ameerul Momineen and Allah’s blessings and mercy be upon you.’ Then Dihya told him, ‘Sit down and take the head of your brother and cousin from my lap, for you are the most deserving of him than other people.’ So Imam Ali (AS) sat and took the head of the Prophet (SA), placed it on his lap, and Dihya then left the house.

Then Imam Ali (AS) asked me to enter so I entered and sat down. Soon after that, the Prophet (SA) woke up and he smiled when he saw the face of Imam Ali (AS). Then he told him, ‘Oh Abul Hasan, from whose lap did you take my head?’ Ali answered, ‘From the lap of Dihyatul Kalbi.’ Then the Prophet (SA) replied, ‘This was Gabriel (AS). So what did you tell him when you entered and what did he tell you?’

Imam Ali (AS) answered, ‘I entered and saidAssalamu Alaikum and he answeredWa alaika assalam O Ameer Al-Momineen , and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.’ Then the Prophet (SA) said, ‘O Ali, the angels of Allah and the dwellers of His heaven have greeted you by the title of Ameer Al-Momineen even before the dwellers of the earth. O Ali, Gabriel

(AS) did that by orders from Allah, Glory be to Him. And Gabriel (AS) has revealed to me from my Lord before you entered that I impose it upon the people. And I will do that God-willing.’”

“The next day, the Prophet (SA) sent me (Hudhayfah) to Fadak for some matter. I stayed there for some days. Then I came back and I found the people saying that the Prophet (SA) had ordered them to greet Ali by the title of Ameerul Momineen and that Jibrael had ordered him from Allah (SWT) to do so. When I heard that, I said to the people that the Prophet (SA) had spoken the truth and that I heard Jibrael (AS) greet Imam Ali (AS) using the title Ameerul Momineen and I narrated to them the whole story. (Irshad Al Qulub)

Unfortunately, the title of “Ameer Al Momineen” was used instead of the term “Caliph of the Prophet” after Umar ibn Al Khattab ordered that the latter be replaced with the former. It is sad to note that as with other rights of Imam Ali (AS) that was confiscated unjustly, some of his unique titles were also stolen such as “Ameerul Momineen” and used by others who are not worthy of that title.


Imam Ali - Successor And Flag Bearer Of The Prophet

قالَ لَهُ وَ عَلَيكَ السَّلامُ يا أَخِي وَ يا وَصِيّيِ وَ خَلِيفَتِي وَ صاحِبَ لِوائِي قَد أَذِنتُ لَكَ

My father replied, "Peace be upon you too, O brother, successor, vicegerent, and bearer of my Flag. I allow you." Ali thus went with them under the cloak.

In theTradition of the Cloak , the Holy Prophet (SA) also defines the position of Imam Ali (AS) by mentioning four different roles which he assumes in relation to the Prophet. They are as follows: 1) Brother 2) Successor (Wasi) 3) Vicegerent (Caliph) 4) Bearer of the standard or flag

Each of these roles is great in its scope and is in itself enough to bring immense honor to the person who assumes that role. One can only imagine how great and virtuous such person who assumes all four roles is.

Role Of Brotherhood

After migrating to Al-Madinah the Muhajiroon (the Migrants) and the Ansar (The Local Helpers) became so friendly with one another as if there was no difference of the tribe or the place of origin between them. It appeared that all of them belonged to one large family. They treated their properties as common, their honor and respect as common, and shared their happiness and sorrows together. This was a true example of unity and integrity. To make these bonds stronger, the Prophet (SA) repeated the establishment of brotherhood between individuals of the two groups as he had done with those in Makkah.

In the view of experts, brotherhood can be strong only between individuals of the same nature. If the natures are different, and the individuals come together for whatever reason, the togetherness will be temporary. The Prophet (AS) kept this factor in mind when he established brotherhood between individuals from the two groups. He closely studied the natures of the individuals before declaring them brothers. When he saw that any two persons had a lot in common, he named them brothers.

According to many narrations including Al Hakim in hisMustadrak , Ibn Abbas said: “The Holy Prophet (SA) assigned brotherhood among his companions, so he assigned Abi Bakr to Umar, Talha to Zubair, and ‘Uthman ibn A'ffan to Abdul Rahman ibn Uof. So Ali ibn Abi Talib said to the Prophet,“Oh Messenger of Allah, you have designated brotherhood among your companions, so who is my brother? ” The Prophet (SA) answered,“Oh Ali, are you not pleased that I become your brother? ” So Ali said,“Yes, Oh Prophet of God!” The Prophet (SA) replied,“You are my brother in the life of this world and in the hereafter.”

Certainly, it is not a coincidence that the Prophet (SA) left Imam Ali (AS) to be the last to assign brotherhood so that his case stands out in front of all the companions and the question is raised as to “Who is the brother of Ali?” One can imagine that no one expected for the Prophet (SA) to declare himself as the ‘brother’ of Ali. What a great honor for Imam Ali (AS) which speaks volumes of the great status which he enjoys in the eyes of Allah (SWT)! It is not possible for the Prophet (SA) to designate Imam Ali (AS)

as his brother without prior divine approval in this regards, so his declaration in the event of brotherhood is certainly a sign and indication of Allah’s pleasure towards Ali and his superiority in His eyes.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the purpose of assigning brotherhood in this event was to pair up a companion from the Muhajireen with a companion from the Ansar. However, in the case of Imam Ali (AS) and the Prophet (SA), they do not fulfill the criteria of being from the two groups. This is yet an indication that the brotherhood between them is not random and is rather intentional and without mistake.

One must also understand that this brotherhood does not only signify the common Islamic brotherhood that is mentioned in the verse,

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ.

“The Believers are all brothers.” (49:10).

This brotherhood is of a superior level and a reflection of the nearness and attachment between two individuals.

If this was just a common bond of friendship, then Imam Ali (AS) already enjoyed it because of being a Muslim and of the same descent as the Prophet (AS). What was the need of public declaration of their brotherhood? Certainly, this event signifies the eternal spiritual brotherhood between the two which will translate itself into the position of successorship after the Prophet’s demise. It also highlighted the similarity between the superior character and nature of Imam Ali (AS) as that of the Prophet (AS).

When Imam Ali (AS) was been declared by the Prophet (AS) to be his brother, it proved that he was the only person amongst the Muslims deserving of that position! This choice is not because of the ancestral affinity but it is on the basis of identical qualities of the two individuals.

Role of Wasi (Guardian) and Caliph (Vicegerent)

The proven track record of the Almighty Creator (SWT) confirms that most if not all of the past prophets and messengers appointed a successor(s) before they departed this world for the purpose of overlooking the affairs of the nation at their time and the message which they have delivered.

The idea of assigning a “backup” is logical and prevalent in our practical lives. For example, when a manager plans a vacation, he leaves behind a second person in command to assume his management responsibilities, and when the President of a country is absent, the Vice President steps forward to take over. If this is the natural course of action when it comes to mundane matters, then isn’t it all the more important that the idea of successorship be implemented in religious and eternally important affairs?

Isn’t it logical and rather necessary that a prophet or messenger appoint a successor and guardian after him to protect and look after the message which he has delivered? The Holy Prophet (SA) confirms this logic as he said:“For every prophet there is a Wasi and heir, and my Wasi and heir is Ali.” (Kifayat al Talib)

Throughout the course of the Prophet’s life, he took every opportunity to set the stage for Imam Ali (AS) to become his successor, guardian, and Caliph. Ali (AS) has been tested in many occasions and has proven to be worthy of that honorable status. The Messenger of Allah (SA) also told his daughter Fatima (AS) in this regards,“I am the last of the prophets, and the best of them, and the most beloved of creatures to Allah the Exalted and your father. My Wasi is the best of the Awsiyaa (guardians) and the most beloved of them to Allah, and he is your husband.”

Furthermore, Ibn Abbas narrates: “I was sitting with a young man from Banu Hashim with the Holy Prophet (SA) when a star dropped. The Prophet (SA) said, ‘Whoever this start descends on his house is my Wasi after me.’ The young Hashemite rose and followed the start and found it descending on Ali’s house. (Tarikh Dimashq)

It was on the day of Ghadeer which took place on the 18th of Dhul-Hijjah year 10 A.H. when the Prophet (SA) officially announced and inaugurated Ali ibn Abi Talib to become his successor after receiving divine revelation ordering him to appoint Ali for this position,

“O Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.” (5:67)

Sure enough, the Prophet (SA) executed the command of Allah (SWT) and he stopped at the place of Ghadeer Khum on his way back from the Farewell pilgrimage. He gathered all the Muslims and announced the divine appointment of Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) to be his successor, Wasi (guardian), and Caliph. He delivered an exceptional lengthy sermon where he enumerated the virtues of Ali.

Hafiz Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari writes in his bookKitabul Wilaya h that the Prophet (SA) stated in the beginning of his renowned address at Ghadir Khum:

"The angel Gabriel has conveyed Allah's command to me that I stop at this place and inform the people that Ali Bin Abu Talib is my brother, my successor, my Caliph (Vicegerent) after me. O men! Allah has made Ali your Wali (guardian), and Imam (guide). Obedience to him is obligatory on each one of you; his command is supreme; his utterance is truth; curse be on him who opposes him; Allah's mercy be on him who befriends him."

It is also interesting to observe that the Prophet (SA) mentioned the titlesWali ,Mawla , andImam for Ali (AS) in his sermon over 27 times, whereas he used the wordKhalifa for him only three times. Even under the Sunni implication of the wordKhalifa (successor)—which limits it to political rule—it is clear that the Prophet (SA) stressed spiritual leadership in his speech, which would guarantee the salvation of those who follow the Imam and would lead them towards Paradise.

Worldly issues never took priority for the Prophet (SA) and his successors. Imam Ali (AS) himself has said: “By Allah, this world of yours is more despicable in my eyes than a pig bone in the hand of a leper.” (Nahjul Balagha, maxim 236)

Thus, Imam Ali’s exclusive qualification for political rule is only one of the natural outcomes of the guardianship (Walaya ) that the Prophet (SA) established for him on behalf of Allah (SWT) on the day of Ghadeer. In this manner, authority of Imam Ali (AS) and his pure descendants is still effective over the remaining believers until the Day of Judgment,

irrespective of the support of the majority of people for them or their political authority.

Role of Standard-Bearer

Throughout the course of the battles and battalions which took place in the early days of Islam as the minority group of believers tried to stand up against the supporters of falsehood and the idolaters, there was one consistent person who was always at the forefront and was the superstar and hero behind all the victories in the battlefield.

He was none other than the courageous Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) who become very well-known for his unmatched excellence and his heroic accomplishments such that all of Arabia feared to face him in war. Imam Ali (AS) was almost always the standard bearer of the Prophet (SA) who carried the symbol which represented Islam and the Muslims.

In general, the flags that were raised in war between two opposing groups held such importance in those days such that if the flag dropped to the ground, the whole morale and spirits of the army fell down and the sign of defeat was insinuated. Hence, the role of “standard-bearer” was very important in the battlefield and it was usually given to the individual who is honorable in the eyes of his people and who most closely represents the values and principles of that which the army is fighting for.

It was no coincidence that Imam Ali (AS) was usually the standard bearer in the battlefield as the Prophet (SA) would say to Ali,“You are the bearer of my standard in the hereafter, just as you are its bearer in the life of this world.” (Al Fada’el)

It is narrated inTarikh Dimashq that Anas ibn Malid asked the Prophet (SA) who would the bearer of his flag on the Day of Resurrection. He (SA) answered,“The bearer of my flag in this life (and he pointed to Ali ibn Abi Talib).” In another tradition in regards to Ali, the Prophet (SA) said to him“I prayed to Allah (SWT) that He (SWT) designate you as my standard bearer and it is the greatest flag of Allah. It has written on it, ‘The victorious are the ones who win the Paradise.’”

Logically speaking, the person whom the Prophet (SA) appoints to become his standard-bearer must possess very noble traits that are aligned with what the Prophet (SA) would expect and be pleased with. The standard-bearer of Islam must be themost pious Muslim among the Prophet’s companions, just as we expect that the standard-bearer of the polytheists to be one of the most staunch disbelievers among the party of falsehood. The status of being the holder of the Prophet’s flag is certainly a grand position which speaks volumes of the rank which Imam Ali (AS) has attained, not only in this life but also in the hereafter.