Prophetic Texts Relating to Imamate of Imam Ali (A.S)

Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari

Prophetic Texts Relating to Imamate of Imam Ali (A.S)

This article is prepared in three parts with these submenus as follows:

1. The Event of the Day of Warning

2. The Tradition of Ghadir and Its Continuity (Part 1)

3. The Tradition of Ghadir and Its Continuity (Part 2)

Once the Holy Prophet addressing his companions said:"Greet Ali and address him as "Commander of the Faithful".

He said so on the occasion of Ghadir, but somehow or other this sentence is reported separately from the event of Ghadir. The Sunnis do not accept this report as continuous one but the Shi’ah scholars have proved that it is so. The Tajrid does not make any further comment on this tradition which it describes as reliable though disconnected in its chain of transmission.

Mulla Ali Qushchi says that this tradition cannot be accepted as continuous, and that it must be an isolated one, for it has been quoted only by some, not all. The books like the 'Abaqat and al-Ghadir have concentrated their efforts on proving that all the reports relating to Imam Ali’s Imamate are continuous and mutawatir. In these two books, especially in al-Ghadir the transmitters of the tradition of Ghadir in every generation till the 14th century have been enumerated. It names more than 60 companions of the Holy Prophet who have reported this tradition. It is interesting to note that all these names have been collected from the Sunni books.

Similarly this book mentions the transmitters of this tradition from among the successors of the companions. All these approximately belong to the first century. Then in the same way it names the transmitters of this tradition in every generation and every century. A special feature of al-Ghadir is that it has cited literary sources also in support of this tradition. While 'Abaqat and other books have only mentioned the names of those persons who transmitted it in each age and century.

The poets in every age reflect the main ideas current among the people during that age. Had it been true that the event of Ghadir was invented in the fourth century, it would not have been mentioned in the verses composed by the poets of the first, the second and the third centuries. In every century we find that the question of Ghadir is a part of the literature of that century.

Then how can we deny this tradition from historical point of view? We often go after men of letters to ascertain whether a subject existed over history. If it is found that many men of letters have referred to it in each century, it becomes certain that the idea has existed during their times. The author of the 'Abaqat has devoted a whole book to one single tradition and has critically examined all its transmitters. Seeing what a gorgeous bouquet he has arranged, one is filled with wonder.

There is another tradition which the Holy Prophet is reported to have pronounced addressing Imam Ali. He is reported to have said: "You will be the Caliph after me."

Besides these two there are several other such traditions too.

Sirah Ibn Hisham is a book written in the second century. Ibn Hisham himself probably belonged to the third century, but this book was originally written by Ibn Ishaq, who lived in the second century. It was later summarized by Ibn Hisham in whose authorship it has come down to us. This book which is considered to be reliable by the Sunnis, recounts two events which have not been mentioned by the Tajrid. Anyhow, the events are relevant and as such we reproduce them here. You can read these tow events in next parts.

From the book: Imamate and Khilafat

Author: Sheikh Murtada Mutaharri