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By Yusuf M. Abdullahi
In the name of Allah who states "Their prophet said to them: Allah hath appointed Talut as king over you. They said how can he exercise authority over us when we are better fitted than he to exercise authority, and he is not even gifted with wealth in abundance? He said; Allah has chosen him above you, and hath gifted him abundantly in knowledge and bodily prowess; Allah granteth His authority to whom He pleaseth; Allah is all- embracing and He knowth all things" Q2:247

May His everlasting peace and blessings be upon His noble servant our master Muhammad (S) and his purified progeny.
The topic for this week is on the episode of Ghadeer. The great historic occasion in which the seal of prophets certified his successor, on the command of Allah, after the farewell pilgrimage, seventy days before his heavenly departure. Based on narrative accounts, the episode occurred on the 18th of Zulhajj, ten years after hijra, at Khum, as pilgrims returned to their respective destinations. While holding Imam Ali’s hand before the gathering of not less than a hundred thousand, the Prophet said “Do you witness that I have a prior right to and superior authority over all the faithful? They replied yes o messenger of Allah. There upon he said” Ali is the master of all those whom I am master. O Allah! Love him who loves him and hate him who hates him, help him who helps him, forsake him who forsakes him, and turn justice with him wherever he turns"
In similar narrations, in Mustadrak and Kanzul ummal, the prophet said “whoever wishes to live and die like me, and to abide in the Garden of Eden after death should acknowledge Ali as his patron and follow Ahlul-bait after me, for they are my Ahlul-bait and they have been created out of the same clay, and were blessed with knowledge and understanding as myself. Woe unto those followers of mine who will deny their distinctions and who will disregard their relationship and affinity with me. My Allah never let them benefit from my intercession”
Allamah Ibn Hajar has narrated in Sawa’iq Chapter 9 that the Prophet (S) has said: Behold, this is Ali: he is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with him. They shall never part from each other until they come to me at the pool of Kauthar”. Imam Muslim, Tirmizi, Musnad Ahmad, Mustadrak and Sawa’iq, have narrated the prophet (S) “The messenger of Allah is about to come to me and I shall answer. I am leaving with you the two weighty things: the first is the book of Allah, in which you find guidance and enlightenment, and the people of my household. I remind you by Allah, of the people of my household, I remind you by Allah, of the people of my household. Behold! My Ahlul-bait are like the ark of Noah, whoever embarked in it was saved, and whoever turned away from it was drowned”
Being the head of the prophet’s household, the Ummah was enjoined to love and follow him and his family as reward for the prophetic guidance “… no reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin…” Shuura; 23. Al-Tabarani related from Ibn Abbas that “no one shall be able to move from his place of reckoning on the day of Judgment until he has stated four things: how he spent his life and his wealth, where he got his wealth from and he shall also be asked about the love of the Ahlul-bait. Imam Ali was the first of the twelve rightly guided Imams enjoined for Umma’s obedience.
As demonstrated in the story of children of Israel. They asked their prophet to appoint for them a king to fight in the cause of Allah. The prophet warned them of the consequence of betrayal and they assured strict compliance! On the contrary, after the king was appointed on the criteria of knowledge and brevity they abandoned the command: “Their prophet said to them; Allah hath appointed Talut as king over you. They said; how can he exercise authority over us when we are better fitted than he to exercise authority, and he is not even gifted, with wealth in abundance? He said Allah has chosen him above you, and has gifted him abundantly with knowledge and bodily prowess; Allah granteth His authority to whom He pleaseth; Allah is all-embracing, and He knoweth all things” Q2:247
Looking at the two criteria we may ask, did any of the companions compare with Imam Ali (AS)?
Allah states “Say; are those who know and those who do not know alike? Q39:9. The prophet said “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate” Abu Bakr has said, may Allah never put me in a predicament that Abul Hasan cannot solve” just as Umar repeatedly said "if it was not for Ali, Umar would have perished. Ibn Abbas on the other hand said “my knowledge and that of the companions of Muhammad (S) is but a drop in seven seas if compared with Ali’s knowledge”. Imam Ali has said about himself “ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you could ask me about anything that could happen up to the Day of Judgment, I will tell you about it. Ask me about the book of Allah, because by Allah there is no Qur’anic verse that I did not know whether it was revealed during the night or the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain or a mountain” Al-Isti’ab, Volume, 3 Page, 39. “Is he then who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you, how do you judge? Q10:35
The great role Imam Ali played in defense of Islam and Muslims is generally acknowledged. Did any of the companions compared to him in Badr, Uhud, Hunain and Khandaq among others? After the non-tactical retreats of prominent companions in Khaibar, the prophet said “Tomorrow I will give my flag to a man who loves Allah and His messenger, ever going forward and never retreating, Allah had tested his heart with the faith”. On that very day the messenger handed over the flag to Imam Ali in whose hands Allah gave victory.
Virtually, knowledge, bravery, piety and other ethical values that are considered criteria for leadership in Islam, Imam Ali categorically compared to non in these qualities. The Imam was apparently hated by many among the companions out of envy. In a prominent tradition “Ali is from me and I am from Ali, and nobody can discharge my duty except myself or Ali. On the occasion of the first pilgrimage, when Imam Ali was sent to collect for deliverance Surat Bara’ah from Abu-Bakr who (after return) cried saying O messenger of Allah! Reveal something for me. The messenger answered “my lord ordered me that nobody can discharge my duty except myself or Ali” Al-Tabari narrated as mentioned in Kanzul ummal, Volume: 6 page 153, when marrying out his daughter to Imam Ali, the Prophet said "I gave you in marriage to the first one to adhere to Islam from my nation, he is also the most knowledgeable and most patient among them. Ahmad bin Hanbal has said: “no one among the companions of the messenger of Allah had more virtues than Ali Ibn Abi Talib”. Imam al-Nisa’i has wrote a prominent book -Khasa’isu Ameerul mu’mineen – on the virtues of Imam Ali. On a visit to Damascus he was asked to produce any such virtues in respect of Mu’awiya out of envy. As he insisted on non he was killed! Imam al-Shafi’i said “I am surprised about a man whose virtues were kept secret by his enemies out of envy, and by his followers out of fear, but nevertheless, an enormous amount of them spread” With his unequalled virtues, he and his family were envied and subjected to untold persecution for no cause. Beside these criteria in our past topics we have cited references especially in Muslim and Musnad Ahmad where the prophet (S) spoke on the twelve Khulafa coming after him.
The prophet has accurately delivered his mission leaving his followers with no doubt on the subject as significance of that responsibility is beyond discussion and election. How could one say that the prophet has left his Ummah stranded and confused, compelling it to choose whom it liked. Allah states: “… and your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases, to choose is not theirs” Q28:68
During the commemorative event organised by the Islamic Movement at different locations, the need for Shaikh el-Zakzaky’s unconditional release was generally stressed along with his disciples.
Wassalamu alaikum.