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Hadith Al-Thaqalayn

 The Messenger of Allah - may Allah bestow peace and benedictions upon him and his Progeny - said: "Verily, I am leaving behind two precious things (thaqalayn) among you: the Book of God and my kindred (`itrah), my household (Ahl al Bayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of al Kawthar on the Judgement's Day)." 

Imam Khumayni - ridwan Allah `alayh - began his wasiyyah or will with the mention of this tradition of the Prophet (S), known as Hadith al­Thaqalayn. In the prologue to his wasiyyah he pointed out that whatever tragedies and disasters befell the Muslim world during the last fourteen centuries have been mainly due to its estrangement from the Thaqalayn, the twofold legacy of the Prophet (S) in the form of the Qur'an and the Ahl al Bayt (A).

The extent of the estrangement of the Qur'an will be obvious to anyone who closely examines its teachings and contrasts them with the popular religion of the masses and the prevailing religious ethos, even among the scholars and the intelligentsia. There is certainly a wide gulf that lies between the message and spirit of the Glorious Qur'an and the way Islam has come to be practised in Muslim society, a gulf which has never been so wide as it became in recent centuries under the influence of the West and the tyrannical regimes that have been ruling over Muslims. 

The extent of the estrangement suffered by the Prophet's Household will be obvious to anyone who studies the history of the Imams of the Ahl al­Bayt (A), who were isolated from the Muslim masses by despots and left without support in their struggle against the tyrannical regimes of Banu Umayyah and Banu `Abbas. The result was that the most authentic exponents and defenders of the Qur'an - whom the tides of time will never separate from the Qur'an until the Day of Judgement, as stated by the Noble Prophet (S) - were put under severe surveillance, exiled, imprisoned, poisoned and martyred, and the masses were deprived of their guidance and leadership.

Having removed the Ahl al Bayt (A) from their way, the road was opened by the self seeking tyrants for making the Holy Qur'an itself an instrument for the justification of their anti Qur'anic rule. "They forced," as Imam Khumayni says, "the true exponents of the Qur'an... off the stage with various ploys and systematic plans. In this way, they in fact, eliminated the Qur'an itself, the Qur'an which was the greatest programme for organizing man's material and spiritual life, and rejected its plan of government based on Divine justice, which was and remains one of the ideals of this sacred scripture. Thus they laid the foundations of deviation from the Din and the Book of God, bringing things ultimately to an indescribable extreme."

If today the custodians of American Islam with their petrodollars conspire against the aspirations of the Muslim masses inspired by the genuine Islam, so did once the Umayyad and `Abbasid tyrants stand in the way of Islam and seek to isolate and destroy its exponents, the Imams of the Ahl al Bayt (A), and promote a counterfeit version of Islam. But no matter how much they tried they could not extirpate the Prophet's exhortations regarding the Ahl al Bayt and conceal the unbreakable link between the Book of God and the Prophet's `Itrah, in the form of Hadith al Thaqalaynand scores of other traditions similar to it.

This hadith has continued to be narrated by each generation of authentic Shi`i and Sunni traditionists and scholars throughout the last fourteen centuries. Reliable and trustworthy narrators of each generation, from the days of the Prophet's committed Companions - may God be pleased with them - to the present, including many or rather most of the greatest and leading figures in the history of Islamic scholarship have narrated this hadith. It is in view of this undeniable fact that Imam Khumayni declared in his wasiyyah:

It is essential to point out that Hadith al Thaqalayn is a mutawatir tradition amongst all Muslims. It has been narrated in Sunni sources - including the Six Sihah as well as other books - from the Holy Prophet (S) in different wordings, and as having been spoken by him on repeated occasions. This tradition is a definite proof (hujjah) for all mankind, in particular for the Muslims, regardless of sect. And all Muslims are answerable (before God) concerning it. For it leaves no room for any excuse for any one. And should there be room for an excuse for the ignorant and the uninformed, there isn't any for the scholars of various schools. 
The Meaning of Tawatur

As we know, the tradition or ahadith of the Holy Prophet (S) recorded in the books of Muslim traditionists begin with chains of transmitters on whose authority the traditionist reports the Prophet's acts or statements. Experts of hadith amongst Muslims have developed certain criteria for assessing the reliability of different chains of transmission and ascertaining the authenticity of the contents of traditions. They have developed a terminology with terms denoting various classifications of hadith depending on the character, strength or weakness of narrators and other factors, such as mutawatir, ahad, sahih, hasan, qawi, da`if, etc. 

By tawatur is meant the multiplicity of the sources of a certain report that leads to certitude in the listener that the report is indeed true. One's knowledge of the existence of distant countries and towns and such historical figures as Cyrus or Napolean may be said to be based on thetawatur of reports that one hears about them. So also is one's knowledge of the contemporary events not witnessed by him.

mutawatir hadith is one which has been reported by so many different chains of transmission and such a number of narrators in every generation as normally could not agree to fabricate a tradition without the fact of its fabrication becoming known. Although some jurisprudents have specified a particular minimum for the number of narrators, such as five, seven, ten or even hundred, it is generally held that no particular number can be specified and the number capable of producing certitude depends on the experience of the listener. 

Islamic jurisprudents have set forth certain conditions for a tradition to be mutawatir. Al Ghazali in al Mustasfa min `ilm al 'usul  mentions the following conditions.

(1) That the transmitters should report on the basis of knowledge (`ilm) and not conjecture (zann). 

(2) Their knowledge should have been acquired through the senses.

(3) That the number of narrators should be sufficient to produce certitude.

(4) That all the links in the chains of transmission of a report should fulfil the first two conditions and their number in every stage of transmission must fulfil the third condition. 

Al Shaykh al Hasan ibn Zayn al Din, the Shi`i author of Ma`alim al 'usul, mentions similar conditions for a report to be mutawatir. As can be seen, the legal condition of `adalah (justice) is not required for the narrators nor are they required to be thiqah when the conditions of tawatur are fulfilled. Rather, al Ghazali states explicitly that in such cases knowledge is attained even if the narrators should be fasiq. The author of Ma`alimstates two conditions in order for a mutawatir report to produce knowledge in the listener:

(1) The listener should not have previous knowledge of the matter, for it is not possible to know something that one already knows.

(2) The listener should not be inhibited by doubt or imitation (taqlid) in his belief, for then the report will fail to make


Some Sahih Versions of the Hadith:


Hadith al Thaqalayn is a mutawatir tradition which has been narrated - as we will presently see in our introductory study of `Abaqat al 'anwar, a book written to establish the fact of its tawatur - through scores of different chains of transmission (turuq) only in the Sunni hadith corpus. If we add to these the Shi`i turuq of the tradition, the total number of its narrators becomes considerable. 

Apart from being mutawatir, the hadith has been transmitted through several sahih turuq, that is, through chains in which all the transmitters are regarded as thiqah or as of confirmed trustworthiness and reliability. Following are four of these sahih narrations of the tradition as recorded by Muslim and al Hakim al Nayshaburi in their compilations: 


(Muslim says:) Zuhayr ibn Harb and Shuja` ibn Makhlad narrated to me from `Ulayyah that he said: Zuhayr said: narrated to us Isma`il ibn Ibrahim, from Abu Hayyan, from Yazid ibn Hayyan, who said: "I, Husayn ibn Sabrah and `Umar ibn Muslim went to see Zayd ibn Arqam. When we sat down with him, Husayn said to him, 'O Zayd, you have been greatly fortunate. You have seen the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be Allah's peace and benedictions, heard his speech, fought with him in battles and have prayed behind him. Indeed, O Zayd, you have been enormously fortunate. Narrate to us what you have heard from the Messenger of Allah , may Allah's peace and benedictions be upon him.'
"Zayd said: 'O brother, by God, I have become aged and old and I have forgotten some of what I used to remember from the Messenger of Allah , upon whom be Allah's peace and benedictions. So accept what I narrate to you and as to what I don't, trouble me not regarding it.' Then he said: 'One day the Messenger of Allah , upon whom be Allah's peace and benedictions, addressed us near a pond called Khumm between Makkah and Madinah. He praised God and extolled Him and preached and reminded (us). Then he said, "Lo, O people, I am only a human being and I am about to respond to the messenger of my Lord [i.e. the call of death]. I am leaving behind two precious things (thaqalayn) among you. The first of the two is the Book of Allah. In it is guidance and light. So get hold of the Book of Allah and adhere to it." Then he urged and motivated (us) regarding the Book of Allah . Then he said, "And my Ahl al Bayt (family). I urge you to remember God regarding my Ahl al Bayt. I urge you to remember God regarding my Ahl al Bayt. I urge you to remember God regarding my Ahl al Bayt"'" .... 
(Sahih Muslim, part 7, Kitab fada'il al Sahabah [Maktabat wa Matba`at Muhammad `Ali Subayh wa Awladuhu: Cairo] pp. 122-123.)


(Al Hakim says:) Narrated to us Abu al Husayn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Tamim al Hanzali in Baghdad, from Abu Qallabah `Abd al­Malik ibn Muhammad al Raqqashi, from Yahya ibn Hammad; also narrated to me Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Balawayh and Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Ja`far al Bazzaz, both of them from `Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, from his father, from Yahya ibn Hammad; and also narrated to us Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn Suhayl, the faqih of Bukhara, from Salih ibn Muhammad, the hafiz of Baghdad, from Khalaf ibn Salim al Makhrami, from Yahya ibn Hammad; and Yahya ibn Hammad narrated from Abu `Uwwanah from Sulayman al 'A`mash, from Habib ibn Abi Thabit, from Abu al Tufayl, from Zayd ibn Arqam, may God be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah , may God's peace and benedictions be upon him and his progeny, while returning from his last hajj (hijjat al wada') came down at Ghadir Khumm and ordered (us) towards the big trees, and (the ground) underneath them was swept. 
"Then he said, 'I am about to answer the call (of death). Verily, I have left behind two precious things amongst you, one of which is greater than the other. The Book of Allah , the Exalted, and my `itrah (kindred). So watch out how you treat these two after me, for verily they will not separate from each other until they come back to me by the side of the Pond.' Then he said 'Verily, Allah , the Almighty and the Glorious, is my master (mawla) and I am the master of every believer (mu'min).' Then he took `Ali, may God be pleased with him, by the hand and said, 'This (`Ali) is the master of whomever I am his master. O God, love whoever loves him and be the enemy of his enemy.'" 
(Al Hakim adds:) "This hadith is sahih in accordance with the conditions of sihhah laid down by the Shaykhayn (al Bukhari and Muslim), although they have not recorded it in its full length."


(Al Hakim says:) The first tradition (mentioned above) is supported by this one narrated by Salamah ibn Kuhayl, from Abu al Tufayl, which is also sahih according to the requirements of al Bukhari and Muslim. Narrated to us Abu Bakr ibn Ishaq and Da`laj ibn Ahmad al Sijzi, both of them from Muhammad ibn Ayyub, from al 'Azraq ibn `Ali, from Hassan ibn Ibrahim al Kirmani, from Muhammad ibn Salamah ibn Kuhayl, from his father, from Abu al-Tufayl, from Ibn Wathilah that he heard Zayd ibn Arqam, may God be pleased with him, say: "The Messenger of Allah , may Allah 's peace and benedictions be upon him and his progeny, came down at a place between Makkah and Madinah near the trees with five big shades and the people swept the ground under the trees. Then the Messenger of Allah , may God's peace and benediction be upon him and his progeny, began to perform the evening prayer. After the prayer he began to address the people. He praised God and extolled Him, preaching and reminding (us), and said what God wanted him to say. Then he said, 'O people! Verily, I am leaving behind two matters (amrayn) among you  if you follow them (the two) you will never go astray. These two are: the Book of God and my ahl al bayt, my `itrah.' Then he said thrice: 'Do you know that I have more right over the believers (Inni awla bi al mu'minin) than they over themselves?' The people said, 'Yes.' Then the Messenger of Allah , may Allah's peace and benedictions be upon him and his progeny said, 'Of whomever I am his master (mawla) `Ali also is his master.'" 
(al 'Imam al-Hafiz Abu `Abd Allah al Hakim al Naysaburi, al Mustadrak `ala al-Sahihayn [Dar al Ma`rifah li al Tiba`ah wa al Nashr: Beirut), vol. iii, pp. 109-110).


(Al Hakim says:) Narrated to us Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al Husayn ibn Muslim, the faqih of Ray, from Muhammad ibn Ayyub, from Yahya ibn al-Mughirah al Sa`di, from Jarir ibn `Abd al Hamid, from al Hasan ibn `Abd Allah al Nakha`i, from Muslim ibn Subayh, from Zayd ibn Arqam, may God be pleased with him, who said: "The Messenger of Allah , may Allah's peace and benedictions be upon him and his progeny, said, 'Verily, I leave behind two precious things amongst you: the Book of Allah and my ahl al bayt. Verily, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the side of the Pond.'"
(Al Hakim says:) This hadith is sahih al 'isnad according to the conditions laid down by the Shaykhayn (al Bukhari and Muslim), though they did not record it. (al Hakim, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 148)

These are four versions of the tradition narrated on the authority of Zayd ibn Arqam. Their sihhah (authenticity) is confirmed by two of the great Sunni Imams of hadith. In addition, as we will see in our study of `Abaqatal 'anwar, the tradition has been narrated by more than thirty Companions of the Prophet (S) and a host of narrators and leading traditionists of every generation up to the contemporary era.


The Various Occasions Related to Hadith al Thaqalayn:

The various narrations of Hadith al Thaqalayn also indicate the occasion on which the Prophet (S) proclaimed it publicly. `Allamah `Abd al-`Aziz Tabataba'i, who has studied the various narrations of Hadith al-Thaqalayn as recorded by various traditionists mentions four occasions on which the Prophet (S) proclaimed it publicly. First of these is the occasion when the Prophet (S) proclaimed it during his last hajj at `Arafat. On this occasion, the Prophet (S) was accompanied by more than a hundred thousand Muslims. The second occasion relates to his proclamation at Ghadir Khumm, during the course of his return journey to Madinah. The third occasion relates to his proclamation in the Mosque of Madinah. The fourth one relates to his pronouncement of Hadith al Thaqalayn in his chamber during his last illness. All these occasions lie within a period of ninety days and pertain to the Prophet's last days.

There are, however, many narrations of the hadith - in fact, most of them - which do not contain any clue about the time and place of its pronouncement. In the following are given instances of the narrations of Hadith al Thaqalayn relating to each of these occasions, accompanied by the sources which record them. 


Al Tirmidhi in his Sunan (v, 662, no. 3786) records the following tradition


....Jabir ibn `Abd Allah said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah - upon whom be God's peace and benedictions - in the course of his hajjpilgrimage on the day of `Arafah. The Prophet (S) was seated on his camel, al Qaswa', and was delivering a sermon. I heard him say: 'O people, I am leaving among you that which if you hold on to you shall never go astray: the Book of Allah and my kindred, my household."

Al Tirmidhi states that the same tradition has been narrated by Abu Dharr, Abu Sa`id, Zayd ibn Arqam and Hudhayfah ibn Usayd.

Among others who have recorded this tradition are:

  1. al Hafiz Ibn Abi Shaybah, as in Kanz al `ummal (1st ed.), i, 48;
  2. al `Uqayli in al Du`afa' al Kabir, ii, 250;
  3. al Hakim al Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-'usul, 68, 50th asl;
  4. al Tabarani, al Mu`jam al kabir, iii, 63, no. 2679;
  5. al Khatib, al Muttafiq wa al muftariq, cf. Kanz al `ummal, i, 48 and Majma' al zawa'id, v, 195; ix, 163, x, 363, 268;
  6. al Baghawi, al-Masabih, ii, 206;
  7. Ibn al 'Athir, Jami` al 'usul, i, 277, no. 65;
  8. al-Rafi`i, al Tadwin, ii, 264 (in the biographical account of Ahmad ibn Mihran al Qattan; this hadith has been deleted in the Indian print, but is present in the manuscripts of the book ! );
  9. al Mizzi, Tahdhib al kamal, x, 51, and Tuhfat al 'ashraf, ii, 278, no. 2615;
  10. al Qadi al Baydawi, Tuhfat al 'ashraf;
  11. al Khwarazmi, Maqtal al Husayn (A), i, 144;
  12. al Khatib al Tabrizi, Mishkat al masabih, iii, 258;
  13. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir (Bulaq edition, on the margin of Fath al bayan), ix, 115;
  14. al-Zarandi, Nazm al durar al simtayn, 232;
  15. al Maqrizi, Ma`rifat ma yajib li Al al Bayt al Nabawi, 38.

Al Nasa'i in his al Sunan al kubra, 96, No. 79, records the following tradition in the chapter "Khasa'is `Ali":


Al Nasa'i narrates from Muhammad ibn al Muthanna, he from Yahya ibn Hammad, from Abu 'Uwwanah, from Sulayman, from Habib ibn Abi Thabit, from Abu al Tufayl, from Zayd ibn Arqam, who said, "When the Messenger of Allah (A) returned from the last hajj and came down at Ghadir Khumm....
"Then he declared: 'I am about to answer the call (of death). Verily, I have left two precious things (thaqalayn) among you, one of which is greater than the other: the Book of God and my `Itrah, my Ahl al Bayt. So watch out how you treat them after me. For, indeed, they will never separate until they return to me by the side of the Pond.' Then he said, 'Verily, God is my master (mawlaya) and I am the wali of every believer.' Then he took `Ali's hand and declared, 'To whomever I am his wali, this one is also his wali. My God, befriend whoever befriends him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.'" Abu al Tufayl says: "I said to Zayd, 'Did you hear it from the Prophet(S)?' He replied, 'There was no one in the caravan who did not see it with his eyes and hear it with his ears,'"

Khasa'is `Ali is part of al Nasa'i's al Sunan al kubra as shown by the 3rd volume of the MS in the king's collection in Morocco, written in 759/1358 folios 81-117. See also in this regard the introduction of al Khasa'is (Kuwait: Maktabat al Mu`alla, 1406), ed. by Ahmad Mirayn Balushi. The editor states that this tradition is sahih and its transmitters are thiqah.

Among others who have recorded it in their books are:

  1. Al-Bukhari, al Ta'rikh al kabir, iii, 96;
  2. Muslim, Sahih, bab fada'il `Ali, no. 2408;
  3. Ahmad, Musnad, iii, 17, iv, 366;
  4. `Abd ibn Humayd, Musnad, no. 265;
  5. Ibn Sa`d, and
  6. Abu Ya`la from Abu Sa`id, as mentioned in Jam` al jawami` and Kanz al `ummal;
  7. Ishaq ibn Rahwayh, in his Sahih., as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in al Matalib al `aliyah, iv, 65, no. 1873, where he states that its isnad is sahih,and also by al-Busayri in Ithaf al sadah (MS in Topcopi Library, vol. 3, F.55b) who, too, considers the isnad as sahih;
  8. Ibn Khuzaymah, Sahih, MS in Topcopi Library, F.240;
  9. al Darimi, Sunan, ii, 310, no. 2319;
  10. Abu Dawud, Sunan, as mentioned in Sibt ibn al Jawzi, Tadhkirat khawass al 'ummah, 322;
  11. Abu 'Uwwanah, Musnad, as mentioned in al Shaykhani, al Sirat al sawi;
  12. al Bazzaz, from Umm Hani, as mentioned in Wasilat al ma'al;
  13. Ibn Abi 'Asim, Kitab al Sunnah, 629, no. 1551, 630, no. 1555, 629, no. 1551;
  14. al Ya`qubi, Ta'rikh, ii, 112;
  15. al Baladhuri, Ansab al 'ashraf, 110, no. 48, the biographical account of `Ali (A);
  16. al Hafiz al Hasan ibn Sufyan al Nasawi, the author of Musnad, from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd, as mentioned by Abu Nu`aym, al Hilyah, i, 355,
  17. al Fasawi, al Ma`rifah wa al ta'rikh, i, 536;
  18. Ibn Jarir al Tabari, from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd, Zayd ibn Arqam (with al Nasa'i's wording as well as with the wording of Muslim), Abu Sa`id al­Khudri, as cited in Jam` al jawami`, ii, 357, 395, Kanz al-`ummal, 12911, xiii, 36441, 36340, 37620, 37621, 36341, Jami` al-'ahadith, vii, 14523, 15112, 15122, 15113, iv, 7773, 8072, 8073;
  19. al Dulabi, al Dhurriyyat al tahirah, no. 228;
  20. al Hafiz al Tahawi, Mushkil al 'athar, ii, 307, iv, 368;
  21. al Hakim al Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-'usul, from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd;
  22. al Tabarani, al Mu`jam al kabir, iii, 2679, 2681, 2683, 3052, v, 4969, 4970, 4971, 4986, 5026, 5028;
  23. al Hakim, al Mustadrak `ala al Sahihayn, iii, 109, 110 where he expressly states, as mentioned above, that the tradition is sahih in accordance with the criteria of al Bukhari and Muslim; al Dhahabi has confirmed his judgement;
  24. Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al 'awliya', i, 355, ix, 64;
  25. al Bayhaqi, al Sunan al kubra, ii, 148, vii, 30, x, 114;
  26. al Khatib, Ta'rikh Baghdad, viii, 442;
  27. Ibn al Maghazili, Manaqib Amir al Mu'minin (A), 23;
  28. Ibn `Asakir, Ta'rikh Dimashq, ii, 45, no. 547, the biographical account of `Ali (A), and v, 436 of Badran's edition in the biographical account of Zayd ibn Arqam;
  29. al Baghawi, Masabih al Sunnah, ii, 205 and Sharh al Sunnah (MS in Topcopi Libary, vol. 2, F. 718), bab Manaqib Ahl al Bayt;
  30. Ibn al 'Athir, Usd al ghabah, iii, 92 in the biographical account of 'Amir ibn Layla, no. 2727;
  31. Ibn Hajar, al 'Isabah in the biographical account of 'Amir;
  32. al-Mizzi, Tuhafat al 'ashraf, iii, 203, no. 3688 from Muslim and al Nasa'i;
  33. al Diya' al Muqaddisi, al Mukhtarah, as cited by al Samhudi and al Sakhawi;
  34. Ibn Taymiyyah, Minhaj al Sunnah, iv, 85;
  35. al-Dhahabi, Talkhis al Mustadrak, iii, 109;
  36. Ibn Kathir, al Bidayah wa al nihayah, v, 209, vi, 199, from al Nasa'i, where he quotes al Nasa'i's statement that this narration is sahih;
  37. al Khazin, Tafsir under verses 42:23 and 3:103;
  38. al Mulla, Wasilat al muta`abbidin, v, 199;
  39. al-Haythami, Majma` al zawa'id, ix, 163 from Zayd, 164 from Hudhayfah.

Ibn `Atiyyah in the introduction of his tafsir, al Muharrar al wajiz, i, 34 records the following narration:


...It is narrated that he (i.e. the Prophet) - upon whom be peace - said in the last sermon that he delivered during his illness: "O people, I leave behind two precious things (thaqalayn) amongst you...: the Book of God - which is a rope between Him and you, whose one end is in His hand and whose other end is in your hands  so act according to its muhkamat and believe in itsmutashabihat; consider as lawful that which it regards as lawful and consider as forbidden that which it regards as unlawful - and my`Itrah and my Ahl al Bayt, who are the second thaql. So don't outstrip them (fa la tasbiquhum ), for then you shall perish." 

Unfortunately in the printed versions of it fa la tasbiquhum has been altered as fa la tasbi`uhum (a meaningless expression). This tradition has also been narrated by:

  1. Abu Hayyan in his tafsir, al Bahr al muhit, i, 12 (with identical wording, except that in a published version of it there is fa la tasubbuhum, i.e. so don't curse them, instead of fa la tasbiquhum);
  2. Ibn Hajar, al Sawa`iq al muhriqah, 75, 136;
  3. Yahya ibn al Hasan, Akhbar al Madinah with his isnad from Jabir, as cited in Yanabi` al mawaddah, 40.

Ibn Abi Shaybah, as cited by Al `Isami in Simt al nujum al 'awali, ii, 502, no. 136, has narrated the following tradition:



The Messenger of Allah (S) said during his last illness: "Soon I am going to pass away and I have extended to you my plea of excuse. Lo, verily I leave behind amongst you two precious things: the Book of Allah , the Almighty and the Glorious, and my kindred (`Itrah)."Then he took `Ali's hand and raised it, saying, "This `Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with `Ali. The two will not separate until they return to me by the Pond. Then I will ask the two as to how they were treated after me." 

Among the narrators of this tradition are:

  1. al Bazzaz, Musnad, as mentioned in Kashf al 'astar, iii, 221, no. 2612;
  2. Muhammad ibn Ja`far al Razzaz, from Umm Salamah (where she is explicit that the Prophet [S] made this pronouncement in his chamber which was filled by the Companions), as cited in Wasilat al ma'al;
  3. Al 'Azhari, Tahdhib al lughah, ix, 78;
  4. al Khatib al Khwarazmi, Maqtal al Husayn (A), i, 164, from Ibn `Abbas;
  5. Ibn Hajar, al Sawa`iq al muhriqah, 89, from Umm Salamah.

Abaqat al 'Anwar: 

Among Sunni authors one who has written a book on the topic of the chains of transmission (turuq) of this tradition is al Hafiz Abu al Fadl Muhammad ibn Tahir al Maqdisi (448  507/1056  1113), known as Ibn al Qaysarani as mentioned by the biographers (Isma`il Pasha inHadiyyatal `arifin (ii, 82), al 'Ansab al muttafiqah and al Jam` bayn rijal al Sahihayn [Hyderabad]). 


However, the most exhaustive study of the subject is the one undertaken by al 'Imam Sayyid Hamid Husayn Lakhnowi  quddisa sirruh  in the twelfth part of his great work `Abaqat al 'anwar fi imamat al  'A'immat al 'athar. Sayyid Hamid Husayn (1246  1306/ 1830  1888) wrote this work in Persian as a refutation of the seventh chapter of Tuhfeh ye ithna `ashariyyah of Shah `Abd al `Aziz al Dehlawi (1159  1239/1746  1823). In twelve chapters of this work, which is said to be a plagiary in Persian of al Sawa`iq al mubiqah by an obscure writer Nasr Allah al Kabuli, Shah `Abd al­`Aziz severely attacked Shi`i doctrines, beliefs and practices. Shah `Abd al `Aziz's book was an effort to check the expanding influence of Shi'ism, which had begun to flourish under the patronage of the Shi`i kingdom of Awadh and under the religious leadeship of the great Shi`i scholar and mujtahid Sayyid Dildar `Ali ibn Muhammad Mu`in al Naqawi al Nasirabadi (116  1235/1752  1819), known as Ghufran Ma'ab.

Shah `Abd al `Aziz's attack and accusations drew a massive response from Shi`i scholars. `Allamah `Abd al `Aziz Tabataba'i mentions the following authors who wrote refutations of Tuhfeh ye ithna `ashariyyah: 

1. Sayyid Dildar `Ali al Naqawi al Nasirabadi,

who wrote five books refuting various chapters of the Tuhfah: al Sawarim al 'ilahiyyat fi qat` shubuhat `abid al 'Uzza wa al Lat (1215/1800), a refutation of the fifth chapter of the Tuhfah regarding theological issues; Khatimat al Sawarim, a refutation of the seventh chapter concerning the Shi`i doctrine of Imamate; Husam al 'Islam wa siham al malam (Calcutta, 1215/1800), a refutation of the sixth chapter of the Tuhfah concerning prophethood; Ihya' al Sunnah wa imatat al bid`ah bi ta`n al 'asinnah (1281/1864), a refutation of the eighth chapter of the Tuhfah; al Zulfiqar, a refutation of the twelfth chapter.

2. Shaykh Jamal al Din Abu Ahmad Mirza Muhammad ibn `Abd al Nabi Akbarabadi (d. 1232/1816),

who wrote Sayf Allah al maslul `ala mukharribi Din al Rasul, in six big volumes, as refutation of all the chapters of the Tuhfah.

3. `Allamah Mirza Muhammad ibn 'Inayat Ahmad Khan Kashmiri Dehlawi (d. 1235/1820),

who wrote Nuzhat al 'Ithna `Ashariyyah fi al radd `ala al Tuhfat al 'ithna `ashariyyah in twelve volumes, of which the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh volumes were published (1255/ 1839) and others remained incomplete.

4. Mawlawi Hasan ibn Aman Allah Dehlawi `Azimabadi (d. c. 1260/ 1844),

who wrote Tajhiz al jaysh li kasr sanamay Quraysh, as a refutation of all the chapters of the Tuhfah. 

5. `Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Quli ibn Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Lackhnowi Kanturi (d. 1260/1844),

father of Sayyid Hamid Husayn, who wrote five books in refutation of different chapters of the Tuhfah: al Sayf al nasiri on the first chapter, Taqlid al maka'id (Calcutta, 1262/1846) on the second chapter, Burhan al sa`adah on the seventh chapter, Tashyid al mata'in li kashf al dagha'in in two volumes (1283/1866) on the tenth chapter, and Masari` al afham li qal` al 'awham.

6. Mawlawi Khayr al Din Muhammad Allahabadi,

who wrote Hidayat al `Aziz (or Hadiyyat al `Aziz) as a refutation of the fourth chapter of the Tuhfah about usul al hadith and rijal.

7. `Allamah Sayyid Muhammad ibn Sayyid Dildar `Ali (d. 1284/ 1867) known as Sultan al `Ulama',

who wrote two books, one in Persian and the other in Arabic, in refutation of the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah concerning Imamate, of which the former was entitled al Bawariq al mubiqah. He also wrote Ta`n al rimah in refutation of the tenth chapter.

8. Sayyid Ja`far Abu `Ali Khan ibn Ghulam `Ali Musawi Banarasi,

who wrote Burhan al sadiqin and Mahajjat al Burhan (a condensation of the former) in refutation of the seventh chapter and Taksir al sanamaynin refutation of the tenth chapter.

9. `Allamah Sayyid Mufti Muhammad `Abbas Musawi Tustari Jaza'iri (d. 1306/1888),

who wrote al Jawahir al `abqariyyah in refutation of the Tuhfah's seventh chapter.

10. Al Shaykh Ahmad ibn `Ali Kirmanshahi (d. 1235/1819),

who wrote Kashf al shubhah `an hilyat al mut`ah (MS dated 1227 H. in the National Museum, Karachi), in refutation of the ninth chapter.

However, the most important work that was written as a refutation of the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah conceming the Shi`i doctrine of Imamate was `Abaqat al 'anwar, which was destined to take its place not only as the greatest work on Imamate ever written but also perhaps as one of the greatest masterpieces of scholarship ever compiled on a doctrinal issue anywhere in the history of religion.

In the seventh chapter of the Tuhfah, where Shah `Abd al `Aziz attacks the Shi`i doctrine of Imamate, he claims that the Shi`i claim is based on only six verses of the Qur'an and twelve traditions of the Prophet (S). Accordingly, Sayyid Hamid Husayn wrote his book in two sections, the first concerning the Qur'anic basis of Imamate and the second concerning its basis in the Prophet's hadith. The first section has not been published. The second section consists of 12 parts, each of which deals with the sanad (chains of transmission) and the meaning (dalalah) of one of the twelve traditions of the Prophet (S) concerning `Ali ibn Abi Talib (A) or the Ahl al Bayt (A) rejected by Shah `Abd al `Aziz as supporting the doctrine of Imamate.

The first part studies the isnad and dalalah of what is called Hadith al Ghadir. [5] It is contained in three volumes, of which the first was published in 1293/1876, in 1251 pages and the remaining two, of 609 and 399 pages, in 1294/1877.

The second part deals with Hadith al Manzilah. It appeared in 1295/1878 in 977 pages.

The third part deals with Hadith al Wilayah. It was published in 1303/1885 in 585 pages.

The fourth part deals with Hadith al Tayr.  It was published in 1306/1888 in two volumes of 512 and 224 pages from Matba`ah ye Bustan, Lucknow.

The fifth part deals with Hadith Madinat al `ilm.  It consists of two volumes, of which the first, in 745 pages, appeared in 1317/1899 and the second, in 600 pages, in 1327/1909. 

The sixth part deals with Hadith al Tashbih.  It was published in 1301/1883 in two volumes of 456 and 248 pages. 

The seventh part, which deals with Hadith al Munasabah  and was completed by Sayyid Muhammad Sa`id ibn Sayyid Nasir Husayn ibn Sayyid Hamid Husayn, has not been published yet.

The eighth part, dealing with Hadith al Nur,  was published in 1303/1885 in 786 pages by Matba`ah ye Mashriq al 'anwar, Lucknow. 

The ninth part, dealing with Hadith al Rayah,  has also remained unpublished. 

The tenth part dealing with the hadith... (al-haqqu ma`a `Aliyyin wa `Aliyyun ma`al haqq)  also remains unpublished.


The eleventh part dealing with Hadith al Muqatalah also remains unpublished. 

The twelfth part deals with Hadith al Thaqalayn and Hadith al Safinah.  It was published in two big volumes, the first of which in 664 pages appeared in 1314/1896 and the second in 891 pages in 1351/ 1932.

Sayyid Hamid Husayn and his work `Abaqat have been held in great esteem amongst leading Shi`i scholars and many of them, from Mirza Sayyid Hasan Shirazi, the great marji` and juristic authority of his days, to contemporary scholars, have extolled the author and his great work. Sayyid `Ali Milani, in the first volume of his condensed translation of `Abaqat into Arabic, quotes the statements of various scholars. Here we will confine ourselves to the opinion expressed by the great scholar `Allamah Aqa Buzurg Tehrani, the author of al Dhari`ah ila tasanif al Shi`ah,about Sayyid Hamid Husayn and his work. He says about the author:


(He is) one of the greatest of Imami theologians (mutakallimun) and one of the greatest and deeply learned of Shi`i scholars who lived in the early part of this century. He was profoundly learned, and had extensive knowledge and mastery over the Islamic traditions and heritage and attained such a station in it that none of his contemporaries or anyone of those who came after him, or even most of the celebrities of the preceding centuries, have been able to attain. He spent his entire noble life in fathoming the mysteries of religiosity and in the defence of Islam and the realm of sincere religion. I don't know of anyone in the latter centuries who waged ajihad like him and sacrificed everything in his possession in the way of everlasting truths. The times, in all ages and periods, will never see a compeer of him in his research, his extensive knowledge, his precision, intelligence, and the immensity of his memory and retention.

Aqa Buzurg Tehrani says about the `Abaqat: "It is the greatest of books compiled on the subject (ie. Imamate) from the outset of the Islamic era to the present." And what he says about the author and his book is perfectly representative of the opinion of leading Shi`i scholars on this matter.

The Author's Approach in `Abaqat:

`Abaqat al 'anwar was written in Persian because Shah `Abd al`Aziz's Tuhfah, which it refuted, was also in Persian. As mentioned above, Shah `Abd al `Aziz had cited five verses of the Qur'an and twelve traditions of the Prophet (S) as constituting the basis of Shi`i argument conceming the Imamate of the Imams of the Ahl al Bayt (A). This was itself a misrepresentation of the Shi`i case, for there are hundreds of verses and traditions, many of which are scattered throughout the Sunni hadith corpus as well as works in tafsir. Even the verses and traditions that he cites are dismissed summarily by him on, as Sayyid Hamid Husayn shows, flimsy and untenable pretexts. 

The published parts of `Abaqat deal with eight of these traditions, each part dealing with the sanad and doctrinal import of one of them. Sayyid Hamid Husayn's approach in each of these parts is to show that the hadith is a mutawatir one, having been narrated by Sunni traditionists of every generation from the time of the Companions to the scholars of his own era. He devotes a section to each of the narrators, quotes the tradition as narrated by him, and cites the opinions of biographers and Sunni authorities of `ilm al rijal regarding his reliability, trustworthiness and his scholarly station.

After discussing the sanad aspect of the tradition, he goes on to deal with its meaning, dealing one by one with all the various arguments that have been advanced by Sunni scholars to refute what the Shi`ah assert to be its doctrinal implications. His treatment is so logical, meticulous, precise, thorough and exhaustive that one cannot but be struck with wonder at his prodigious, or rather miraculous, learning and his encompassing mastery over the entire Islamic heritage of thirteen centuries before him which lies in front of him like an open book.

This sketchy study of `Abaqat relates to its part concerning the Hadith al Thaqalayn. At first we will give a list of its narrators belonging to every century of the Hijrah calendar. A brief reference is given under the name of each narrator concerning his standing with Sunni authorities on rijal. We have included the names of other narrators from the appendix (mulhaqat) to `Abaqat by Sayyid `Abd al `Aziz Tabataba'i, which has been included in the condensed Arabic translation by Sayyid `Ali Milani.

Reprints of most parts of `Abaqat al 'anwar have appeared in Iran. The first section of the first part, dealing with the sanad aspect of Hadith al­Ghadir was published in 1369/1949 in 600 pages from Tehran. The twelfth part, dealing with Hadith al Thaqalayn and Hadith al Safinah, was published in six parts and three volumes (vol. 1 in 1379, vol. 2 in 1378 79, and vol. 3 in 1381 and 1382) by Mu'assaseh ye Nashr e Nafa'is e Makhtutat, Isfahan. Madrasat al 'Imam al Mahdi, Qumm, has published offset reprints of the first Indian lithographed print on the occasion of the author's first death centenary (vol. 3 on Hadith al Wilayah, 1406; vol. 4 on Hadith al Tayr, 1405; vol. 5 on Hadith Madinat al `ilm, 1406; vol. 6 onHadith al Tashbih, 1406; vol. 8 on Hadith al Nur, 1406). `Allamah Shaykh Ghulam Rida Burujerdi has prepared a new edition of the book giving all the necessary references. His edition is under print.

Sayyid `Ali Milani has published ten volumes of Khulasat `Abaqat al 'anwar, which is a condensed translation of the book in Arabic. The first two volumes of his translation, which begins with Hadith al Thaqalayn, were published in 1398. Bunyad e Bi'that, Tehran, has published a new edition of the Khulasah, of which ten parts, dealing with Hadith al Thaqalayn, Hadith al Safinah, Hadith al Nur and Hadith al Ghadir, have appeared. 

The Meaning of Hadith al Thaqalayn

In each of the parts of the `Abaqat dealing with a particular hadith, the author, Sayyid Hamid Husayn - quddisa sirruh - after dealing with itstawatur goes on to deal with the meaning and doctrinal import of the hadith. In fact, this is the method which he is forced to follow in order to refute the statements of Shah `Abd al-`Aziz in the Tuhfah regarding the tawatur of the traditions mentioned by him as well as their doctrinal import.

In the second section of the part of the `Abaqat dealing with Hadith al-Thaqalayn, Sayyid Hamid Husayn deals with Shah `Abd al `Aziz's objections, the first of which relates to its transmission and the rest to its doctrinal impact.

The first objection dealt with is the statement of Shah `Abd al `Aziz that only Zayd ibn Arqam from among the Prophet's Companions has narrated the tradition. This objection is met by pointing out that at least thirty-four Companions have narrated the tradition. The sources which narrate the tradition from each of them - which were mentioned earlier in this article - are pointed out by him. 

Moreover, he points out, Zayd's narration of the tradition has two lengthier versions as recorded by al-Nasa'i in al-Khasa'is, al Hakim in al-Mustadrak, al-Tabarani and `Ali al-Muttaqi. Moreover, he points that the wording of the tradition as quoted by Shah `Abd al-`Aziz has not been narrated or recorded by any Sunni authority on tradition.

The next statement of Shah `Abd al-`Aziz that is dealt with is his outright denial that Hadith al-Thaqalayn implies the religious leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt (A). The author points out that since the Prophet (S) has placed the Ahl al-Bayt (A) by the side of the Qur'an, it means that the Ahl al-Bayt (A) have to be followed, like the Qur'an, as the living guides of the Ummah in matters of doctrine, ritual and law. He cites the statements of numerous leading Sunni authorities in affirmation of this. The author points out that the words 'thaqalayn' and the command to hold on to them(al-'i`tisam, al-'akhdh or al 'ittiba` in accordance with the different wordings) unambiguously imply that in the same way as it is obligatory to follow the Qur'an, so also it is equally obligatory to follow the AhI al-Bayt (A) in the matters of Islamic teachings. Moreover, the inseparability of the Qur'an and the AhI al-Bayt (A), as well as the repeated emphasis on holding on to the two and the specific emphasis on adherence to the Ahl al-Bayt (A) and the observance of their rights clearly establish the obligation to follow the Ahl al-Bayt (A) as the religious leaders, authorities and guides of the Ummah. The author points out that this interpretation of the Hadith al-Thaqalayn is also confirmed by some verses of the Holy Qur'an such as:


Say: 'I do not ask of you a wage for this, except love for the kinsfolk.' (42:23)


And halt them, to be questioned. (37:24) 

The author cites a number of Sunni scholars, such as al-Sakhawi in al 'Istijlab, al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-manthur (vi, 7), `Abd al Wahhab al Bukhari inTafsir Anwari, al-Khatib al-Sharbini in al-Siraj al-munir (v, 538), al-Tayyibi in al-Miqat (v, 594), al Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (iii, 14), al-Zarqani inSharh al Mawahib (vii, 7) and others, regarding the interpretation of the first verse. Others, including al-Samhudi, al Wahidi, al Shaykhani, Mawlawi Wali Allah Lakhnowi, and Mawlawi Muhammad Mubin, have affirmed that the questioning on the Day of Judgement referred to in the second verse refers to the attitude of the individual Muslim vis-a-vis the Prophet's Ahl al Bayt (A).

Sayyid Hamid Husayn then goes on to point that Hadith al Thaqalayn also affirms the freedom of the Imams of the Ahl al Bayt (A) from sin and error (`ismah) because: the hadith commands adherence to them and the Qur'an together and since the Qur'an is free from every trace of falsehood and error, so is the guidance of the Ahl al-Bayt (A); adherence to the two of them is considered as a guarantee against misguidance for the Ummah, which is only possible if the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) are free from error and sin. This conclusion is also supported by other traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) in favour of `Ali (A) and the Ahl al-Bayt (A), some of which were mentioned earlier. 

Furthermore, the author points out, the Hadith al-Thaqalayn

implies the preeminence of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) within the Ummah from the viewpoint of knowledge (a`lamiyyah) and excellence (afdaliyyah). He cites statements of several non-Shi`i scholars in confirmation of this conclusion. 

Moreover, the author states, there are many traditions which indicate that Hadith al-Thaqalayn and Hadith al-Ghadir were proclaimed by the Prophet (S) in the course of a single sermon at Ghadir Khumm. Some of these traditions have been recorded by al-Muttaqi in Kanz al `ummal (i, 167), Ibn Kathir in Ta'rikh (v, 209), al-Sakhawi in al-'Istijlab (MS), al-Samhudi in Jawahir al `iqdayn (MS), Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa`iq (25) from al-Tabarani and many others. 

According to still some other versions of the narration, Hadith al Thaqalayn, Hadith al-Ghadir and Hadith al-Manzilah were mentioned in the course of the same sermon at Ghadir Khumm as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in al-Fatawa al-fiqhiyyat al-kubra, ii, 122.

In some versions of the tradition, he points out, the word 'khalifatayn' (successors) is mentioned instead of 'thaqalayn', as in the narrations recorded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Musnad, v, 181, as well as al Tabarani, Ibn Abi `Asim, Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, al-Zarqani and others. This word implies rather more explicitly the Imamah and Khilafah of `Ali ibn Abi Talib (A) and the Ahl al-Bayt (A).

Some versions of the tradition, such as the one narrated by al Qunduzi in Yanabi` al-mawaddah, 20, from al-Hasan ibn `Ali (A), contain the following statement of the Prophet (S) which signifies the perpetuity of the Imamate: 


O God, You don't let the earth remain devoid of Your Proof over Your creation so that Your proofs should not become invalid or that Your friends should go astray after You have guided them. They (the Proofs of God) are few in number but great in worth near God, Almighty and Glorious. Indeed, I had prayed to God, Exalted and Blessed, to place knowledge and wisdom in my descent and the descent of my descendants, and in my seed and the seed of my seed, until the Day of Resurrection, and my prayer was granted.

This closely resembles the following tradition of Nahj al balaghah (Hikam:147addressed by `Ali (A) to his pupil Kumayl ibn Ziyad. 


...But the earth is never devoid of him who stands for God with a proof (qa'im li'Ilah bi hujjatin). He is either manifest and well-known or afraid and concealed, so that God's proofs and His clear signs should not become invalid. How many are they and where are they? By God, they are few in number, but great in esteem before God. Through them God maintains His proofs and signs till they entrust them to others like themselves and plant them in the hearts of their likes. Knowledge has led them to the reality of understanding and they have attained the spirit of certitude. That which is hard upon the seekers of comforts comes easy to them. They endear what the ignorant regard with aversion. They live in the world with their bodies, but their spirits are in a higher realm. They are the vicegerents (khulafa') of God in His earth and His callers to His Din. Oh, how much I yearn to see them! (H: 147)

This tradition of `Ali (A) has been widely reported and recorded by Shi`i and non-Shi`i traditionists and historians, including Ibn `Abd Rabbih inal-`Iqd al-farid, i, 265, 293; al-Ya`qubi in Ta`rikh, ii, 400; al-Harrani in Tuhaf al-`uqul, 169; al-Saduq in al-Khisal, i, 85 and Ikmal al-Din, 169; Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut al-qulub, i, 272; al-Khatib al Baghdadi in Ta'rikh Baghdad, vi, 389; al-Razi in al-Tafsir al-kabir, ii, 192; Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Mukhtasar, 29 and Jami` bayan al-`ilm; al-Khwarazmi in al-Manaqib, 390 and al 'Azhari in Tahdhib al-lughah, vi, 70.

To return to the discussion of `Abaqat about the doctrinal import of Hadith al-Thaqalayn, the author next points out that `Ali (A) referred to it in the course of his debate with the members of the six-man council (shura) appointed by `Umar, the second caliph, to select a successor to him. `Ali's arguments (ihtijaj) before the shura are recorded in detail by Ibn al-Maghazili in his al-Manaqib, 112. Al-Qunduzi in Yanabi` al-mawaddah,35, also refers to `Ali's reference to Hadith al Thaqalayn in order to establish the incontestability of his claim to successorship of the Prophet (S).

This tradition was also referred to by al-Hasan ibn `Ali (A) in his speech delivered after being elected as caliph following `Ali's (A) martyrdom. Al-Qunduzi, op. cit., 21, 48  483 and Sibt ibn al Jawzi in Tadhkirat al khawass, 198, have recorded related traditions in their works. Besides the large number of Companions who have narrated the tradition, reference to it also occurs in a letter of `Amr ibn al-`As addressed to Mu`awiyah and recorded in al-Khwarazmi's al-Manaqib, 128 - 130, and in a statement of al-Hasan al-Basri, a well-known Tabi`i saint, as recorded by Ibn Abi al-Hadid in Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, iv, 95. All these references affirm the preeminence of `Ali ibn Abi Talib (A) and the Ahl al-Bayt (A) in the Ummah and their claim to the comprehensive leadership of the Ummah after the Holy Prophet (S).


Some Traditions that Appear to Conflict with Hadith al Thaqalayn:

Shah `Abd al-`Aziz, in the Tuhfah, states that even if Hadith al Thaqalayn be accepted as such, it contradicts some traditions of the Prophet (S). One of these traditions, which he claims to be sahih, is as follows: 


Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on to it stubbornly. 

Sayyid Hamid Husayn points out that such a contention is invalid:

  • Firstly, he says, the tradition has been narrated solely by Sunnis, unlike the Hadith al-Thaqalayn which has been narrated widely both by Shi`i and non-Shi`i narrators.
  • Secondly, Shah `Abd al `Aziz has here failed to observe his own self-declared principle that his arguments against Shi`i doctrines will be based on material derived from works accepted as reliable by the Shi`ah themselves.
  • Thirdly, he points out, this tradition has been avoided by Muslim and al-Bukhari, whose works are widely accepted by the Ahl al-Sunnah as the most authentic works on hadith.
  • Fourthly, the claim that the above-mentioned narration is sahih is not true, because the veracity of its transmitters has been considered as questionable by Sunni authorities.

The tradition has been recorded by Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah in their works. As to al-'Irbad ibn Sariyah, the sole narrator from whom the tradition is narrated, he is not reliable because of the untenable statement he makes in his own praise ("I am one-fourth of Islam").

As to Hajar ibn Hajar al-Kila'i, aside from belonging to Hims, a Syrian town once notorious for its people's enmity of `Ali (A), is of unknown standing as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, iii, 118.

Khalid ibn Ma`dan ibn Abi Karib al-Kitabi, aside from belonging to Hims, was the chief of police of Yazid ibn Mu`awiyah, the most infamous ruler in the history of Islam. 

Thawr ibn Yazid, too, belonged to Hims as mentioned by al Dhahabi (Mizan al 'i`tidal, i, 374). As mentioned by Ibn Hajar (op. cit., ii, 34) he hated `Ali (A), who had killed his father in a battle. `Abd Allah ibn Mubarak refrained from narrating from him and considered him a heretic (fasid al­madhhab). 

The next transmitter, al-Walid ibn Muslim, has been accused of forgery by Abu Mushar, as mentioned by al Dhahabi in Mizan al-'i`tidal, iv, 347. These were some of Abu Dawud's authorities.

The author then goes on to show that the transmitters of the narration recorded by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, namely Abu `Asim, Hasan ibn `Ali al-Khallal, Buhayr ibn Sa`id, Baqiyyah ibn al-Walid, Yahya ibn Abi al-Muta`, `Abd Allah ibn `Ala', Mu`awiyah ibn Salih, Isma`il ibn Bishr ibn Mansur, and `Abd al-Malik ibn al Sabbah, are all weak (da`if) transmitters, as mentioned by Sunni authorities on rijal in their works.

Moreover, al-Hafiz ibn al Qattan has expressly rejected the authenticity of this sole narration of `Abd al-Rahman al-Salami, as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vi, 238. 

The author then goes on to point out that even if this narration be presumed to be sahih, it cannot have any weight against Hadith al Thaqalaynwhich has been narrated by a great number of Companions and leading Sunni scholars, while this narration has not been recorded in most of their works. Moreover, should this tradition be really authentic, then the words "rightly-guided successors" should be taken to mean the Twelve Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), as affirmed by another well-known tradition of the Prophet (S) that there would be twelve khulafa' or a'immah after him.

Thereafter the author goes on to deal with another doubt cast on this tradition by Shah `Abd al-`Aziz, that even if it be presumed that Hadith al-Thaqalayn does not conflict with the above-mentioned tradition, the word al-`itrah can be taken to mean all the Prophet's kinsmen (aqarib)belonging to Banu Hashim in general, or all of the descendants of Fatimah (A). Then it would be absurd to say that every individual belonging to them were an imam.

Sayyid Hamid Husayn clarifies this doubt by quoting various lexicographers, such as al-Jawhari, Ibn al-'Athir, Ibn Manzur, al Firuzabadi and others to the effect that `itrah means one's nearest relations (akhass aqaribih), children (walad) and descendants (dhurriyyah).

Moreover, he points out, Hadith al-Thaqalayn indicates the supreme knowledge as well as freedom of the `itrah mentioned in it from sin and error. Such a description applies solely to the Twelve Imams (A), who in their traditions, from `Ali (A) onwards, have introduced themselves as the`itrah of the Prophet (S) and as the supreme authorities of the Islamic faith by the side of the Qur'an. 

Thereafter, the author deals with another tradition ascribed to the Prophet (S) which too Shah `Abd al-`Aziz claims to be sahih:


Take part of your religion from this Humayra' (i.e. `A'ishah).

Sayyid Hamid Husayn points out that many Sunni authorities and scholars have considered it a baseless fabrication and forgery devoid of isnad;among them are:

  • al Mizzi and al Dhahabi as mentioned in al Taqrir wa al-tahbir fi sharh al Tahrir, iii 99;
  • Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, who has considered all traditions with the words "ya Humayra" and "al-Humayrah" as fabrications;
  • Ibn Kathir as quoted in al Durar al muntashirah fi al-'ahadith al mushtahirah, 79;
  • Ibn Hajar al `Asqalani as quoted in al-Taqrir wa al tahbir, iii, 99;
  • as well as Ibn al Mulaqqin, al Subki, Ibn Amir al-Hajj, al Sakhawi, al Suyuti, al Shaybani, al Shaykh `Ali al Qari, al-Zarqani, `Abd al `Ali al­Shawkani and others.

Another tradition mentioned by Shah `Abd al `Aziz to contend the import of Hadith al Thaqalayn is the following one ascribed to the Prophet (S):


Seek guidance with the guidance of `Ammar. 

Sayyid Hamid Husayn points out that such a tradition cannot be put forward to contest the import of Hadith al-Thaqalayn, for `Ammar himself was one of the staunch followers (shi`ah) of `Ali (A) and had been instructed by the Prophet (S) to obey and follow `Ali (A):


[The Prophet (S) said to `Ammar:] O `Ammar, `Ali will not divert you from guidance. O `Ammar, obedience to `Ali is obedience to me, and obedience to me is obedience to God, Almighty and Glorious. 

This tradition has been recorded in various non-Shi`i works, such as:

  • Farai'd al-simtayn, i, 178;
  • al-Mawaddah fi al-qurba;
  • al-Khwarazmi's Manaqib, 57, 124;
  • Yanabi` al-mawaddah, 128, 250;
  • Miftah al-naja, MS.; and
  • Kanz al-`ummal, xii, 212.

Moreover, it is strange of Shah `Abd al-`Aziz to bring this tradition as an evidence against Hadith al-Thaqalayn, for `Ammar, as mentioned by al-Ya`qubi in his Ta'rikh, ii, 114 and al-Mas`udi in Muruj al-dhahab, ii, 342, was among those who abstained from giving allegiance to the first caliph. `Umar, during his reign, rejected `Ammar's guidance and spoke to him in harsh terms when the latter suggested that one should performtayammum when water could not be found for wudu', instead of abstaining from salat, as `Umar had ruled. This episode has been recorded by:

  • Ahmad in his Musnad, iv, 265 and
  • Muslim in his Sahih, i, 110,
  • as well as a host of other writers such as Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, al-Tabari, al-`Ayni, Ibn al-'Athir and al-Shaybani.

`Uthman during his reign had `Ammar beaten until he fell unconscious and nearly died when the latter handed over a letter of protest written by a group of Muslims against the former's misrule. This episode has been recorded by:

  • Ibn Qutaybah in al 'Imamah wa al-siyasah, i, 32;
  • Ibn `Abd Rabbih in al `Iqd al farid, ii, 192;
  • al-Mas`udi in Muruj al-dhahab, ii, 338;
  • Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-'Isti`ab, iii, 136; and
  • al-Ya`qubi in Ta'rikh, ii, 160. 

Although the Prophet (S) was known to have made several statements in `Ammar's favour - such as "The enemy of `Ammar is the enemy of God" - `Ammar was either opposed, hated and mistreated by a number of Companions such as `Abd al Rahman ibn `Awf, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, al-Mughirah ibn Shu`bah, Abu Musa al-'Ash`ari, Abu Mas`ud al-'Ansari and others. `Ammar stood firmly by `Ali's side and fought with him against `Ali's opponents, Talhah, al-Zubayr and Mu`awiyah, in the battles of Jamal and Siffin. Ultimately he was killed by Mu`awiyah's men, thus fulfilling the Prophet's well-known prophecy that `Ammar would be killed by a rebellious party (al-fi'at al-baghiyah). 

Sayyid Hamid Husayn then goes on to deal with some other narrations ascribed to the Prophet (S) and cited by Shah `Abd al `Aziz, which are: 


Hold on to the covenant of Ibn Umm `Abd (i.e. `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud).


That which Ibn Umm `Abd approves of is approved for you by me.

Both of these are weak (da`if) and isolated (ahad) traditions, while Hadith al-Thaqalayn is a mutawatir one. That both Muslim and al Bukhari did not record them in their works indicates that they considered their isnad to be weak. Moreover, even if assumed to be authentic they do not contradict Hadith al Thaqalayn, for while they only show the merit of Ibn Mas`ud, Hadith al-Thaqalayn signifies the preeminence and leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt (A). Furthermore, it is inconsistent of Shah `Abd al-`Aziz to advance those traditions, for `Umar, instead of approving Ibn Mas`ud's acts, forbade him to give fatwa and narrate the Prophet's hadith and forbade him from leaving Madinah, which Ibn Mas`ud could not leave until the former's death. `Uthman went a step further and had Ibn Mas`ud beaten so mercilessly that his ribs were broken.

Another tradition advanced in this context by Shah `Abd al-`Aziz is:


Mu`adh ibn Jabal is the most knowledgeable among you regarding halal and haram. 

Sayyid Hamid Husayn points out that it has exclusively been narrated by the Sunnis. Muslim and al-Bukhari, although their traditions do not constitute any binding evidence for the Shi`ah, have avoided it in their compilations. Among a number of Sunni authorities who have considered it as weak or baseless are:

  • Ibn Taymiyyah,
  • Ibn `Abd al-Hadi,
  • al-Dhahabi, and
  • al-Munawi.

Among its narrators, Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahman al Baylamani, his father, Zayd al-`Ammi, Salim ibn Salim have been considered unreliable by several authorities on hadith and rijal, among them:

  • al-Bukhari,
  • al-Nasa'i,
  • al-Muqaddisi,
  • al Darqutni,
  • Ibn Hajar,
  • al-Dhahabi,
  • Ibn al-Jawzi and others.

Moreover, there are episodes recorded in Ibn Sa`d's al-Tabaqat, iii, 585 and Ibn `Abd al-Barr's al-'Isti`ab, iii, 1404 which indicate that Mu`adh did not possess the kind of competence claimed for him in the above tradition.

Shah `Abd al-`Aziz advances another tradition ascribed to the Prophet (S) in this context for which he claims a degree of prevalence (shuhrah)nearing tawatur:


Follow those who will come after me, Abu Bakr and `Umar.

Hamid Husayn points out that the claim of shuhrah is untenable and that a number of Sunni authorities have found fault with it or considered it as baseless, such as:

  • Abu Hatim al-Razi, al-Bazzaz and Ibn Hazm as mentioned in Fath al-Qadir fi sharh al-Jami` al-saghir, ii, 52;
  • al-Tirmidhi, Sahih, v, 672;
  • al-`Uqayli, al-Du`afa';
  • al-Naqqash, as mentioned in Mizan al-'i`tidal, i, 142;
  • al-Darqutni, as mentioned in Lisan al-mizan, v, 237;
  • al-`Ibri al-Farghani in Sharh al Minhaj, MS;
  • al Dhahabi, Mizan al 'i`tidal, i, 105;
  • Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Lisan al mizan, i, 188, 272, v, 237; and
  • Shaykh al-'Islam al-Harawi, al Durr al nadid, 97.

Ibrahim ibn Isma`il, Isma`il ibn Yahya, Yahya ibn Salamah ibn Kuhayl and Abu al Za`ra', who have transmitted it have been considered unreliable transmitters by Abu Zur`ah, Abu Hatim, Ibn Numayr, al Darqutni, al Bukhari, al Nasa'i, Ibn Mu`in, Ibn Hibban, al-Tirmidhi and others. 

The narrations cited above are advanced by Shah `Abd al-`Aziz to make the point that if Hadith al-Thaqalayn be considered as signifying theimamah of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) then these traditions must also be construed as signifying the imamah of al-Humayra', `Ammar, Ibn Mas`ud, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Abu Bakr and `Umar. Sayyid Hamid Husayn points out that such a conclusion would follow if the traditions advanced were authentic. But as established, in the `Abaqat, all of them are weak and unreliable ahad, which have no weight in comparison with Hadith al-Thaqalayn, which is a mutawatir tradition narrated widely by the leading traditionists and scholars of the Ummah from the Shi`ah and the Ahl al-Sunnah.

Shah `Abd al-`Aziz cites another narration known as Hadith al Nujum ascribed to the Prophet (S) in support of his argument:


Verily, my Companions are like the stars (nujum) in the sky; whichever of them you follow, you shall be guided rightly. The disagreement of my Companions is a blessing for you. 

Among Sunni authorities those who have considered this tradition as unreliable are:

  • Ahmad ibn Hanbal, as quoted in al-Taqrir wa al-tahbir, iii, 99;
  • al-Mizzi, as quoted in Jami` bayan al-`ilm, ii, 89-90;
  • al-Bazzaz, as quoted in Jami` bayan al-`ilm, ii, 90;
  • Ibn al Qattan, in al-Kamil;
  • al-Darqutni, as quoted in Lisan al-mizan, ii, 137;
  • Ibn Hazm, as quoted in al-Bahr al-muhit, v, 528;
  • al-Bayhaqi, as quoted in al-Hafiz al-`Iraqi, Takhrij ahadith al Minhaj, MS.;
  • Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jami` bayan al-`ilm, ii, 90-91;
  • Ibn `Asakir as quoted in Fayd al-Qadir, iv, 76;
  • Ibn al-Jawzi, in al-`Ilal al-mutanahiyah fi al-'ahadith al wahiyah, MS.;
  • Ibn Dahiyyah as quoted in Ta`liq Takhrij ahadith al Minhaj, MS.;
  • Abu Hayyan al-'Andlusi, in al-Durr al-laqit min al-Bahr al muhit published with al-Bahr al-muhit, v, 527-528;
  • al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-'i`tidal, i, 413, ii, 102, ii, 605;
  • Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah in I`lam al-muqi`in, ii, 223;
  • Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi, in Takhrij ahadith al-Minhaj, MS.;
  • Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, in Talkhis al-Khabir, iv, 190-191;
  • Ibn al-Humam in al-Tahrir bi Sharh Ibn Amir al-Hajj, iii, 99;
  • Ibn Amir al-Hajj, al-Taqrir wa al-tahrir, iii, 99;
  • al-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid al-hasanah, 26-27;
  • Ibn Abi Sharif, as mentioned in Fayd al Qadir, iv, 76;
  • al-Suyuti, Itmam al-dirayah and al-Jami` al-saghir, iv, 76;
  • al Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`ummal, vi, 133;
  • al-Qari, al-Mirqat, v, 523;
  • al-Munawi, al-Taysir fi sharh al-Jami` al-saghir, ii, 48 and Fayd al-Qadir, iv, 76;
  • al-Khafaji, in Nasim al-riyad (sharh of al-Shifa'), iv, 323-324;
  • al Sindi, Dirasat al-labib fi al 'uswat al hasanat al Habib, 240;
  • al Qadi Muhibb Allah al-Bihari, in Musallim al thubut bi sharh `Abd al `Ali, ii, 510;
  • Nizam al-Din al-Sahalawi, al Subh al sadiq (sharh al Manar);
  • al Mawlawi `Abd al-`Ali, Fawatih al rahmut (sharh Musallim al thubut), ii, 510;
  • al-Shawkani, in Irshad al fuhul, 83;
  • Wali Allah ibn Habib Allah al Lakhnowi in Sharh Musallim al thubut; and
  • Siddiq Hasan Khan al Qannawji, in Husul al ma'mul, 568.

The tradition is also unacceptable on the following grounds:

  1. It not only implies that each and every Companion was righteous himself but was a competent leader and guide of the Ummah; such an implication is false according to consensus, for all of them themselves required guidance.
  2. A group of them was guilty of such major sins as adultery, homicide and false witness according to the testimony of history, and it is unreasonable that the Prophet (S) should have appointed such individuals as guides and leaders of the Ummah.
  3. There are many verses in the Qur'an, especially in the surahs of al-'Anfal, al-Bara'ah, al-'Ahzab, al-Jumu`ah and al-Munafiqun, which throw a bad light on the character of a considerable number of the Companions and it is illogical to hold that the Prophet (S) would make such individuals as the leaders and guides of the Ummah.
  4. There is a large number of the Prophet's traditions, narrated both in authentic Sunni and Shi`i sources, which make the Companions appear suspect as a group. The above-mentioned narration conflicts with all such authentic traditions. 
  5. There are traditions recorded in Sunni sources which explicitly prohibit the Ummah from following the Companions. According to one recorded by al-`Asimi in Zayn al-fata fi tafsir Surat Hal Ata, MS., the Prophet (S) is reported to have said:


There will be innovations perpetrated by my Companions after me (i.e. the fitnah that occurred amongst them). God shall forgive them due to their earlier record (of good deeds), but if a people follow them after them, God shall throw them into Hellfire.

6. Some of the Companions are on record as having made statements that imply the denial that they possessed the competence to be followed as guides and leaders. Abu Bakr and `Umar have made numerous statements about themselves which reveal their incompetence as guides who can be followed, like the Quran, without qualms. 

Aware of the difficulty involved in the adoption of the Hadith al Nujum, Shah `Abd al-`Aziz admits that some Companions are known for certain to have erred in their ijtihad because it conflicted with the express commands (nusus) of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. However, he submits, the Companions may be followed in matters when there exist no express commands in the Book and the Sunnah.

Sayyid Hamid Husayn replies by pointing out that:

  1. one who is known for certain to have erred in his judgements cannot be a legitimate guide.
  2. Secondly, when the Companions are known to have erred in matters where there exist express texts in the Book and the Sunnah, the possibility of error is greater in matters where there are no such express texts.
  3. Thirdly, he points out, it is not permissible to follow one who may err when there exist guides the righteousness of whose guidance and whose freedom from error or sin (`ismah) has been guaranteed by God. The Verse of al-Tathir (33:33) and Hadith al-Thaqalayn, as well as a great number of other verses and ahadith, introduce the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (A) as possessing the quality of `ismah.
  4. Fourthly, the Companions disagreed amongst themselves concerning the laws of the Shari`ah, including those which did not possess express texts. In such a situation it is highly improper to consider them as stars of the firmament of guidance.
  5. Fifthly, the Companions often found fault with one another, some times violating all limits of moderation in attributing falsehood, ignorance and even kufr to one another, as recorded in the books of the Ahl al-Sunnah. Obviously, no rational person will accept all of them as the righteous guides of Muslims.
  6. There were individuals amongst the Companions who practised analogy (qiyas) which has been condemned by a large number of the legists of the Ummah.
  7. There were individuals among them, including the first three caliphs, who turned to others to find out the rule of the Shari`ah concerning an emergent issue. It is illogical to imagine that the Prophet (S) would designate ignorant persons as authorities for the Ummah in doctrinal and legal matters. There were some among them who did not understand the meanings of certain words of the Qur'an, such as `Umar, who, for instance, did not know the meaning of 'kalalah'. Al-Tabari in his exegesis, iv, 283-284, has recorded `Umar 's own statement in this regard.
  8. Some of them were guilty of usurious transactions, sale of wine,or of giving fatwa without knowledge, and sometimes in opposition to the Prophet's express command. Some of them were guilty of instituting innovations contrary to the Prophet's Sunnah.
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