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Forty Meanings of ‘Maula’ – II

21. On the day of Ghadeer, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) took off his “Amama” called ‘Sahaab’ and put it on the head of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.), thereby crowning him as his successor and heir. Then, he (s.a.w.a.) said: “Of whomsoever I am the master, Ali is his master too.” This incident has been narrated by the following Sunni scholars:

 i) Shahabuddin in Tawzeeh-ul-Dalaael,

ii)  Jamaaluddin Shiraazi in ‘Arbaeen’ and

 iii) Zarandi in ‘Nazm Durar-us-Simtain’.

Does this crowning show an appointment to successorship or a declaration of friendship? Why don’t the Sunni scholars accept the truth despite all these proofs and evidences? Why do they waste their time in unnecessary and absurd interpretations?
Other Proofs:
If you extract a phrase from a sermon and then discuss about it independently, the chances of misinterpretation or deviation from what was intended by the speaker increase drastically. On the contrary, if we analyse or interpret the sentence by considering the preceding and proceeding sentences, keeping in view the conditions prevalent at the time and the place of utterance, we may arrive at the correct meaning intended by the speaker. The statement, “Of whomsoever I am the master, Ali is his master too” is no exception to this rule. To understand this sentence, it is necessary to consider the situation prevailing in that desert as well as to keep the entire sermon of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the occasion in view. The sentences which proceeded and preceded it should be thoroughly examined. Such analysis only can give the true spirit of the sentence; otherwise the real concepts will go abegging.

22. Before uttering this sentence (Of whomsoever I am his master, Ali is his master too) the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) asked, “Am I not having more authority upon you than yourselves?” When they all replied, “Certainly, you have more authority than all of us.” Then he (s.a.w.a.) announced, “Of whomsoever I am his master, Ali is his master too.” This initial utterance (“Am I not…) has been recorded by 64 Sunni traditionalists like Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Majah, Nisaai, Tirmizi, Tabari, Hakim Neshapoori, Ibne Katheer, Suyuti, Baihaqi… Is not the initial statement explaining the later statement? By saying so, is there any scope for doubt about the real meaning of Maula? 23. The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) commenced his sermon thus, “Death has invited me and I have accepted its invitation.” This sentence clearly shows that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had prior knowledge of his approaching death and was, therefore, very eager to appoint his successor. Abu Bakr and Umar had done the same thing. Both had either appointed their successor during the last days of their lives or made similar arrangements for it. By pondering upon this point in the beginning of the sermon, does this act (of appointing a successor) not prove that the sentence (Of whomsoever…) was proclaiming the leadership of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)? 24. After completing his sermon, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, “Let those who are present inform those who are absent.” Does it make sense to say that all the arrangements of Ghadeer like its sermon, announcement of mastership, paying of allegiance, congratulations, coronation, Hassaan’s poems, etc. were only to declare Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s friendship? No, because Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s friendship does not involve such elaborate arrangements. It was announced innumerable times before. Moreover, the Holy Qur’an declares that believers are friends of each other. Then what was the need of asking those present to inform those who were absent? The entire series of events (arrangements and preparations) show that Ghadeer was the place of the final announcement of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s successorship. 25. After finishing his sermon, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) hailed, “Allah is Great on the perfection of religion, completion of bounties and Allah’s satisfaction with my messengership and Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s mastership after me.” These sentences have been quoted by Tirmizi, Nisaai, Hakim Neshapuri, Ahmad-e-Hanbal, Tabari and many other celebrated Sunni scholars. The word ‘Wilayah’ is clearly showing that not friendship but Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s successorship and mastership is discussed. 26. After the sermon, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.) pleaded, “O Allah, You are Witness that I have conveyed the message (of mastership) and advised (the people about it).” This sentence shows that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is conveying a new message while Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s or Ahle Bayt (a.s.)’s friendship was not a new thing and people were already aware of it. This must have been the caliphate and mastership of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). 27. Muhammad Ibn Jurair Tabari in his book, ‘Al-Wilayah’, narrates from Zaid Ibn Arqam that after the sermon, paying of allegiance and emphasizing on the maintenance of this oath, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, “Go and salute Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) as ‘leader of the faithful.” This command of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) amply testifies that he was talking about the mastership of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). For, if the discussion was about love and friendship, he (s.a.w.a.) would have said, “Go and salute him as ‘friend of the believers.” Sunni scholars are well aware that the title, ‘Chief of the faithful’, involves tasks like leadership, mastership, guardianship, etc. And this title has always been used for rulers, not for friends.

28. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) knew quite well that Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s caliphate will not be unanimously accepted. The hypocrites and the jealous will not receive it kindly. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed for those who loved Ali (a.s.) dearly and cursed those who bore malice against him. Many renowned Sunni scholars have narrated the following prayer of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) after the Ghadeer sermon, “O Allah! Befriend him who befriends Ali. Be enemy of one who is Ali’s enemy. Help him who helps Ali and degrade him who (tries to) degrade Ali.” so that everyone should know that love and obedience of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) will entitle us to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)’s prayers and his disobedience can lead to divine wrath through the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)’s curse. This prayer of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) proves that Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s friendship can never lead us toward sins at any state because absolute obedience is meant only for those who are infallible and away from all kinds of vices and sins. Whoever disobeys Ali, will be subjected to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) curse and whoever is cursed by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) can never be guided.

29. Many Sunni traditionalists and Qur’anic commentators like Tabari have narrated from Zaid Ibn Arqam, Huzayfa Ibn Usayd and Aamir Ibn Laila that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked, “O people! What do you witness?” They replied, “We witness that there is no god except Allah.” He questioned: “Then, after that?” They responded: “(We witness) that Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) is His servant and His messenger.” He (s.a.w.a.) asked again, “Who is your master, then?” They retorted: “Allah and His Messenger are our masters.” Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) seized Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) by his arm, raised him and declared: “Whosoever Allah and His messenger are his masters, then this man (Ali) is his master too.” It will be highly in appropriate and absurd if here too the meaning of ‘Maula’ is taken as ‘friend’ due to short-sightedness and plain bias. If the meaning is friend, then the last sentence will have no relation with the first two, thus rendering the whole paragraph meaningless. Also one cannot expect Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) to indulge in vain talks. Therefore, the only meaning that one can derive from this sentence is that, ‘Ali is the master of those who hold Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) as their master.’ But one who does not bother about Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), how can you expect him to be bothered about Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s rights?

30. If the time and conditions of the Ghadeer event are taken in to consideration, then too the meaning of ‘Maula’ will be “master”. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on his return from Hajj, mid-way, in a barren and open desert where there was no sign of water, called back those who were ahead and waited for those who had yet not arrived. In the afternoon’s blazing heat (in which the people in order to save themselves from being burnt, spread their mattresses), performed the Zohr-Asr prayers combinedly, prepared a pulpit from saddles of the camels, delivered a sermon informing about his death, repeated the sentences thrice, raised the hand of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and intimated that he has received a command from the Almighty that must be conveyed immediately. Were all these pains taken just to declare that Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) is the “friend of the believers”? It seems highly unlikely because it was nothing new. The Holy Quran had time and again declared that “Muslims are brothers of each other,” and Ali (a.s.), of course, was one of them. Also, the concept of brotherhood is much higher than that of friendship. The interpretation of the Sunni scholars that it was a declaration of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s friendship, is a great insult to the lofty personality of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the most knowledgeable person in the world. For, even an ordinarily wise person would not put one lakh or more people in such inconvenience just to declare somebody’s friendship. It goes on to prove that it was the all important announcement of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s successorship after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which was announced.

31. One cannot help but pity the fact that a magnificent sermon delivered by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and heard by more than one lakh of his companions is not fully narrated by any of the traditionalists and historians. They are satisfied by saying that a very lengthy and detailed sermon was delivered by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Maximum details of this sermon have been recorded by the great historian, Muhammad Ibn Jurair Tabari, narrating from Zaid Ibn Arqam. If this sermon is read attentively and its sentences thought upon, then it will be clear for the just seekers of truth that the real meaning of the sentence, “Of whomsoever…” is only about Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s mastership and leadership. Some of the sentences of the sermon are as follows: “Jibraeel, on divine command, has approached me and ordered me to stop over here and make it clear for every black and fair person that surely Ali Ibn Abi Talib is my brother, my
successor, my heir and the leader after me. For indeed, Allah has appointed him as your master and leader and made his obedience obligatory on each and every one. Surely, Allah is your master & Ali is your Imam. Certainly, Imamat is in my progeny from his generation till the day of judgement. It is not permissible after me for anyone to be the people’s guide except him. He is my brother my successor, the treasurer of my knowledge, and my successor over anybody who believed in me. The light from Allah is in me, then in Ali, then in his progeny till the Awaited Mahdi.”
Are not these sentences sufficient explanation for the sentence, “Of whomsoever…”?

32. When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) completed his sermon, he said: “Congratulate Me, Congratulate Me! Surely Allah has chosen me for the honour of Prophethood and my Ahle Bayt (progeny) for the status of Imamate.” This sentence has been recorded by Haafiz-e-Khargooshi from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Sharaful Mustafa, who in turn narrates from Buraa Ibn Aazib and Abu Saeed Khudri. Is not this sentence declaring Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s mastership? For, congratulations seem appropriate for caliphate and mastership and not for friendship.

33. When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was commanded by Allah to declare Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s Caliphate, he was a bit apprehensive because the people were not yet distant from customs of the days of ignorance. They would think that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is intending to enforce his family’s rule over them and hence they would create many hurdles in his path. But Allah ordered him that if this task was not executed divine wrath would be the consequence. (Kanzul Ummaal, vol. 6, page 153 narrating from Ibn-e-Abbas, Taareekhul Khulafa of Suyuti, page 114, Manzelul-Abraar of Badakhshaani, page 20, Tafseer-e-Durrul Mansoor, Vol. 2, page 298)

Declaration of friendship should be no cause of apprehension for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) because keeping friends with a believer is the basic teaching of Islam. The same tradition quoted above has been recorded by Haakim Haskaani in his book ‘Shawaahedul-Tanzeel’, narrating from Ibn Abbas and Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansaari. “Allah ordered Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) to appoint Ali as the leader of the people and to inform them of this fact, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was apprehensive.”

34. In the incident of Ghadeer, the word ‘appointment’ was used by Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which goes along well with leadership and not with friendship, as the Sunni scholars claim. Sayed Ali Hamdani in ‘Mawaddatul Qurba’ narrates a tradition from the second Caliph, Umar, that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said on the day of Ghadeer. “The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) appointed Ali as a guide, and declared: “Of whomsoever I am his master, Ali is his master too.” If we combine this sentence with the sentence of Ibn Abbas (in proof 33), we see that all the companions followed Imamat and caliphate of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) from Hadees-e-Ghadeer.

35. Shaykul Islam Hamwini in ‘Faraaedus-Simtain’ narrates a tradition from Abu Hurairah, “The announcement on the day of Ghadeer was the last divine obligatory command whose obedience was compulsory for everybody.’ After the announcement of this duty, the verse of completion of religion (Today, I have perfected…) was revealed.” In other words, whatever was revealed in Ghadeer was never revealed before. The declaration of friendship was neither new nor obligatory. Now only two options remain. Either to take the meaning of ‘Maula’ as master and leader or to deny the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)’s companion, Abu Huraira. Therefore, by considering all other proofs, we have to admit that Imamat of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) was the declaration on the day of Ghadeer by which the religion was perfected.

36. Considering the meaning of ‘Maula’ as friend does not seem to be in accordance with the history of early Islam, as find majority of the companions afraid of narrating Hadees-e-Ghadeer. They would not do so it until and unless they had absolute confidence in the interrogator. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal in his ‘Musnad’, vol. 4, page 368 records an incident form Atiyah Aufi who says, “I went to Zaid Ibn Arqam and asked that my son-in-law has narrated one tradition about Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) concerning Ghadeer from you. I want to hear it from you directly.” Zaid replied, “You Iraqi people are double-faced (i.e. I don’t have confidence in
you).” I retorted, “You remain assured from my side.” Then Zaid narrated the whole incident. In another case, Ibn Uqdah in his book, ‘Al-Wilayah’ has narrated from the famous Tabe’ei, Saeed Bin Musayyab that I went to Sa’d-e-Waqqas and sought permission to ask a question but expressed my anxiety. He replied, “You are my cousin (i.e. don’t fear). Ask whatever you wish to.” This apprehension and anxiety is a clear indication of the face that the concept of Hadees-e-Ghadeer was not friendship. The fact (of Ghadeer) was unbearable for the then governments, relating of which was not only against politics but would also possibly lead to death. This proves that it was certainly about the successorship of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.).

37. Bedouin Arabs, who were notorious for their pride and disobedience, once came to Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and saluted him saying, “Peace be upon you O Master”. Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) was taken aback thinking that they have accepted his mastership. Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) enquired, “How am I your master?” Their chief, Abu Ayyub Ansari replied, “We have heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) saying “Of whomsoever I am his master, Ali is his master too.” This tradition has been recorded by Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, narrating from Riyaah Bin Haaris. It’s highly surprising that Bedouin Arabs staying in the desert could follow the meaning of ‘Maula’ as master while the so-called civilized and learned scholars, staying in cities, could not grasp the concept.

38. The incident of ‘Yaum-ur-Rohbah’ where Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) reminded his nomination on the day of Ghadeer (discussed previously in proof no. 14) is also an eye-opener. Here, thirty great companions, of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) stood witness to the Ghadeer incident. But Anas Bin Malik, Buraa Ibn Aazib, Jurair Ibn Abdullah, Zaid Ibn Arqam, Abdur Rehman Ibn Yadlej and Yazeed Ibn Wadeeah who were present in Ghadeer, refused to testify. Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) cursed them saying, “If they have concealed the truth due to enmity and malice, may Allah incure His wrath on them” Due to his curse, Buraa and Zaid became blind, Anas suffered from leprosy and Jurair became Murtad (apostate).

(Musnad, vol. 1, page 119, Al-Maaref of Ibn Qutaiba, page 251, Al-Ansaab wal Ashraaf, Seerah Halabi, vol. 3, page 302, Al-Arbaeen of Jamaluddin Shirazi, vol. 1, page 211)

If ‘Maula’ meant friend and people concealed only Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s friendship, then many would have been afflicted, not a select few, because the enemies of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) were innumerable. So, it’s quite evident that only those who tried to conceal Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s Imamat and Caliphate had to suffer these afflictions. Why the present day Sunni scholars, who try to conceal Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s appointment to Imamat, do not fear the same fate?

39. Ghadeer was not the first time that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had declared Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) as the inheritor of his mantle. Thus, it’s not possible for the Sunni scholars to interpret this tradition in whichever way they like and shelter their own leaders. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had, on a number of occasions, mentioned that Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) would be his heir. In Ghadeer-e-Khum, on his return from Hajjatul Wadaa, he was only explaining the matter in clearer terms and also, obtaining allegiance of each one present. In the initial days of Islam, when the Qur’anic verse “And warn your nearest of
Surah  Shoa’raa (26): Verse 214

was revealed, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gathered the sons of Abdul Muttalib. After the dinner, he (s.a.w.a.) invited them to believe in and help him in his mission of Prophethood. He (s.a.w.a.) said: “Whoever of you helps me in this mission (of prophethood) he shall be my brother, my successor, my Caliph amongst you.” Among forty people, only Ali Ibn Talib (a.s.) accepted the invitation and answered his call, after which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) announced, “Surely he is my brother, my successor and my Caliph amongst you. Then listen to him and obey him.” The invitation of Zul Asheerah is the concise form of Hadees-e-Ghadeer. In other words, Hadees-e-Ghadeer is the detailed explanation of the Zul Asheerah incident found in many reliable and authentic Sunni books.

(Al-Kaamil, vol. 2, page 24, Taareekh Abul Feda, vol. 1, page 116, Sharhe Nahjul Balagha of Ibn Abil Hadeed, vol. 3, page 354, Life of Muhammad by Muhammad Husayn Haykal first edition, page 104, Taareekh-e-Tabari, vol. 2, page 216, Tafseer-e-Tabari, vol. 19, page 74)

40. Finally, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had explained the meaning of ‘Maula’ in Hadees-e-Ghadeer, which if referred to, would not require any further debate and discussion. Shaykhul Islam Hamwini, in his book, ‘Faraaedus Simtain’ records a tradition narrated by senior Tabeei Sulaym Ibn Qays. During the period of Usman’s Caliphate, about two hundred people were involved in an informative discussion in the mosque, relating the excellences and virtues of the Quraysh. Those who were participating in this discussion were the likes of Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr, Abdullah Ibn Umar, Abdul Rehman Auf, Talhah, Zubair, Miqdad, Zaid Ibn Saabit, Jaabir Ibn Abdullah, Anas Ibn Malik, etc. When they were glorifying the Quraysh, Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and his Ahle Bayt (Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Husain, Abdullah Ibn Jafar, etc.) were listening quietly. People asked Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.): “Why are you silent? Why don’t you say something?” On this, he (a.s.) replied: “Whatever excellences you have talked about, are yours or your family’s?” They said: “No, these glories have been bestowed by Allah upon Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and his clan.” Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) answered: “Truth is that which you’ve said. Don’t you know that whatever bounties of this world and the hereafter you receive is due to us Ahle Bait?” Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) went on speaking till he reached to the Ghadeer issue. Then he (a.s.) said: “After the congregational prayers, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) delivered a sermon saying, ‘O people, you know that Allah is my Master and I am the master of the believers. I have more authority upon them than they themselves’. They all confirmed saying, “Yes O Messenger of Allah’ Then, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: “Stand, O Ali.” So, I stood up. Then, he said again “Of whomsoever I am the master, Ali is his master too…” Here, Salman Farsi, questioned, “What type of mastership?” He (s.a.w.a.) answered, “Like my mastership. As I have more authority over them all.” Is any further discussion required after this lucid explanation? A similar tradition has been recorded by Ali Ibn Hamid-e-Qurashi in ‘Shamsul Akhbaar’, page 38. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was asked: “What is the meaning of “Of whomsoever…” He (s.a.w.a.) answered: “Allah is my Master. He has more authority upon me than myself. My will and authority has no value when compared to His will and authority. Similarly, I am the master of the believers. Their opinion and will has no value when compared to mine. And of whomsoever I am his master, Ali is having equal authority over him. Ali’s authority is more over them than they themselves. Nobody’s will is valid and binding when compared to Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)’s.” A similar tradition has been narrated by Sayed Ali Hamdani in ‘Mawaddatul Qurba’. He narrates a part of the sermon of the Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.a.) in Ghadeer: “O People! Is not Allah my Master?
He gives me commands, orders prohibitions and I have no authority over the Almighty.”
Everyone said: “Yes O Messenger of Allah!” Then he (s.a.w.a.) said: “Of whomsoever Allah and His Messenger are masters, this Ali is his master. He will give you orders and command prohibitions. You don’t have any authority to command or prohibit him.” It means that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has himself explained and interpreted the mastership of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) so that there may not remain any place for the ignorant deceivers to interpret it to suit their own needs. Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), gives preference to their orders, holds them dearer than his life, it does not suit him to interpret ‘Maula’ in any other way but master, caliph, successor and leader. Except, if he thinks himself as wiser and more learned than Allah and His Messenger. Allah knows how such people will face the Almighty on the day of judgement and how will they answer the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) when he questions them about their distortions?