Hadith al­Thaqalayn


                                     A Study of Its Tawatur


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 al­Bayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of al­Kawthar on the Judgement's     Day)."






  The Meaning of Tawatur


  Some Sahih Versions of the Hadith


  The Various Occasions Related to Hadith al­Thaqalayn


       At `Arafat


       At Ghadir Khumm


       In the Mosque of Madinah


       In the Prophet's Chamber During His Last Illness


  `Abaqat al­'Anwar


  The Author's Approach in `Abaqat


  Narrators of Hadith al­Thaqalayn


       From Among the Sahabah


       From Among the Tabi`un


       Second/Eighth Century


       Third/Ninth Century


       Fourth/Tenth Century


       Fifth/Eleventh Century


       Sixth/Twelfth Century


       Seventh/Thirteenth Century


       Eight/Fourteenth Century


       Ninth/Fifteenth Century


       Tenth/Sixteenth Century


       Eleventh/Seventeenth Century


       Twelfth/Eighteenth Century


       Thirteenth/Nineteenth Century


       Fourteenth/Twentieth Century


  The Meaning of Hadith al­Thaqalayn


  Some Traditions that Appear to Conflict with Hadith al­Thaqalayn


       "Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided successors ..."


       "Take part of your religion from this Humayra' (i.e. `Aishah)."


       "Seek guidance with the guidance of `Ammar."


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


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


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


       "Verily, my Companions are like the stars (nujum) in the sky..."




       1 - 4


       5 including sources for Hadith al-Ghadir, "Of whomever I am his master, `Ali also is his master



       6 including sources for Hadith al-Manzilah, "Are you not pleased to have the position (manzilah) in relation to me as that Aaron had in relation to Moses?"


       7 including sources for Hadith al-Wilayah, "Verily, `Ali and I are inseparable, and he is the master (wali) of every believer after me."


       8 including sources for Hadith al-Tayr, "My God, bring the most beloved of Your creatures, that he may eat this fowl with me..."


       9 including sources for Hadith Madinat al-`ilm, "I am the city of knowledge and `Ali is its gate; whoever intends to enter the city should come to its gate."


       10 including sources for Hadith al-Tashbih, "Whoever wishes to see Adam in his knowledge, ...,should look at `Ali ibn Abi Talib."


       11 including sources for Hadith al-Munasabah, "Whoever contests `Ali in regard to the khilafah is an unbeliever."


       12 including sources for Hadith al-Nur, "Fourteen thousand years before Adam [a] was created, I and `Ali were a light ..."


       13 including sources for Hadith al-Rayah, "Tomorrow I will give the standard to a man ..."


       14 including sources for the hadith, "May God's mercy be upon `Ali. My God, keep the haqq

     always with `Ali."


       15 including sources for Hadith al-Muqatalah, "A man amongst you will fight the people over the  ta'wil of the Qur'an ..."


       16 including sources for Hadith al-Safinah, "The parable of my Ahl al-Bayt is that of the boat (ark) of Noah; ..." 17 - 217



     An effort of the Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project








Hadith al­Thaqalayn:


                                                     A Study of Its Tawatur


Some Sahih Versions of the Hadith:


Hadith al­Thaqalayn 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 al­Hakim al­Nayshaburi 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 al­Bayt (family). I urge you to remember God regarding my Ahl al­Bayt. I urge you to remember God regarding my Ahl al­Bayt. I urge you to remember God regarding my Ahl al­Bayt"'" ....


    (Sahih Muslim, part 7, Kitab fada'il al­Sahabah [Maktabat wa Matba`at Muhammad `Ali Subayh wa Awladuhu: Cairo] pp. 122-123.)



(Al­Hakim says:) Narrated to us Abu al­Husayn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Tamim al­Hanzali in Baghdad, from Abu Qallabah `Abd al­Malik ibn Muhammad al­Raqqashi, from Yahya ibn Hammad; also narrated to me Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Balawayh and Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Ja`far al­Bazzaz, 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 al­Makhrami, from Yahya ibn Hammad; and Yahya ibn Hammad narrated from Abu `Uwwanah from Sulayman al­'A`mash, from Habib ibn Abi Thabit, from Abu al­Tufayl, 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 al­wada') 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.'"


(Al­Hakim adds:) "This hadith is sahih in accordance with the conditions of sihhah laid down by the Shaykhayn (al­Bukhari and Muslim), although they have not recorded it in its full length."


(Al­Hakim says:) The first tradition (mentioned above) is supported by this one narrated by Salamah ibn Kuhayl, from Abu al­Tufayl, which is also sahih according to the requirements of al­Bukhari and Muslim. Narrated to us Abu Bakr ibn Ishaq and Da`laj ibn Ahmad al­Sijzi, both of them from Muhammad ibn  Ayyub, from al­'Azraq ibn `Ali, from Hassan ibn Ibrahim al­Kirmani, 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 al­bayt, my `itrah.' Then he said thrice: 'Do you know that I have more right over the believers (Inni awla bi al­mu'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 al­Hakim al­Naysaburi, al­Mustadrak `ala al-Sahihayn [Dar al­Ma`rifah li al­Tiba`ah wa al­Nashr: Beirut), vol. iii, pp. 109-110).



     (Al­Hakim says:) Narrated to us Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al­Husayn ibn Muslim, the faqih of Ray, from Muhammad ibn Ayyub, from Yahya ibn al-Mughirah al­Sa`di, from Jarir ibn `Abd al­Hamid, from al­Hasan ibn `Abd Allah al­Nakha`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 al­bayt. Verily, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the side of the Pond.'"


     (Al­Hakim says:) This hadith is sahih al­'isnad according to the conditions laid down by the Shaykhayn (al­Bukhari and Muslim), though they did not record it. (al­Hakim, 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.





Hadith al­Thaqalayn:


                                                     A Study of Its Tawatur


Some Traditions that Appear to Conflict with Hadith al­Thaqalayn:


[1] Shah `Abd al-`Aziz, in the Tuhfah, states that even if Hadith al­Thaqalayn 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 al­Dhahabi (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 al­Dhahabi 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 al­Sabbah, are all weak (da`if) transmitters, as mentioned by Sunni authorities on rijal in their works.


Moreover, al-Hafiz ibn al­Qattan 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 al­Thaqalayn which 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, al­Firuzabadi 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. 


[2] 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:


     al­Mizzi and al­Dhahabi as mentioned in al­Taqrir wa al-tahbir fi sharh al­Tahrir, iii 99;

     Ibn Qayyim al­Jawziyyah, who has considered all traditions with the words "ya Humayra" and "al-Humayrah" as fabrications;

     Ibn Kathir as quoted in al­Durar al­muntashirah fi al-'ahadith al­mushtahirah, 79;

     Ibn Hajar al­`Asqalani as quoted in al-Taqrir wa al­tahbir, iii, 99;  as well as Ibn al­Mulaqqin, al­Subki, Ibn Amir al-Hajj,

al­Sakhawi, al­Suyuti, al­Shaybani, al­Shaykh `Ali al­Qari, al-Zarqani, `Abd al­`Ali

     al­Shawkani and others.


[3] Another tradition mentioned by Shah `Abd al­`Aziz to contend the import of Hadith al­Thaqalayn 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 perform tayammum 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 al­farid, 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 al­Rahman 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).



[4] 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 al­Bukhari 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 al­Thaqalayn, 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.



[5] 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 ofSunni authorities who have considered it as weak or baseless are:


     Ibn Taymiyyah,

     Ibn `Abd al-Hadi,

     al-Dhahabi, and



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






     Ibn Hajar,


     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.


[6] 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 al­Minhaj, MS;

     al­Dhahabi, Mizan al­'i`tidal, i, 105;

     Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Lisan al­mizan, i, 188, 272, v, 237; and

     Shaykh al-'Islam al-Harawi, al­Durr al­nadid, 97.


Ibrahim ibn Isma`il, Isma`il ibn Yahya, Yahya ibn Salamah ibn Kuhayl and Abu al­Za`ra', who have transmitted it have been considered unreliable transmitters by Abu Zur`ah, Abu Hatim, Ibn Numayr, al­Darqutni, al­Bukhari, al­Nasa'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 the imamah 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.


[7] Shah `Abd al-`Aziz cites another narration known as Hadith al­Nujum 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 al­Qattan, 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 al­Minhaj, 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 al­wahiyah, MS.;

     Ibn Dahiyyah as quoted in Ta`liq Takhrij ahadith al­Minhaj, MS.;

     Abu Hayyan al-'Andlusi, in al-Durr al-laqit min al-Bahr al­muhit 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 al­Qadir, iv, 76;

     al-Suyuti, Itmam al-dirayah and al-Jami` al-saghir, iv, 76;

     al­Muttaqi 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;

     al­Sindi, Dirasat al-labib fi al­'uswat al­hasanat al­Habib, 240;

     al Qadi Muhibb Allah al-Bihari, in Musallim al­thubut bi sharh `Abd al­`Ali, ii, 510;

     Nizam al-Din al-Sahalawi, al­Subh al­sadiq (sharh al­Manar);

     al­Mawlawi `Abd al-`Ali, Fawatih al­rahmut (sharh Musallim al­thubut), ii, 510;

     al-Shawkani, in Irshad al­fuhul, 83;

     Wali Allah ibn Habib Allah al­Lakhnowi in Sharh Musallim al­thubut; and

     Siddiq Hasan Khan al­Qannawji, in Husul al­ma'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. [211]

   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. [212]


Aware of the difficulty involved in the adoption of the Hadith al­Nujum, 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: 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,[213] sale of wine,[214] or of giving fatwa without knowledge,[215] and sometimes in opposition to the Prophet's express command.[216] Some of them were guilty of instituting innovations contrary to the Prophet's Sunnah.[217]



In each of the parts of the `Abaqat dealing with a particular hadith, the author, Sayyid Hamid Husayn - quddisa sirruh - after dealing with its tawatur 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.

Moreover, he points out, Zayd's narration of the tradition has two lengthier versions as recorded by al-Nasa'i in al-Khasa'is,  al­Hakim 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 thisinterpretation 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
al­Wahhab al­Bukhari in Tafsir Anwari, al-Khatib al-Sharbini in al-Siraj al-munir (v, 538), al-Tayyibi in al-Miqat (v, 594), al­Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (iii, 14), al-Zarqani in Sharh al­Mawahib (vii, 7) and others, regarding the interpretation of the first verse. Others, including al-Samhudi,  al­Wahidi, al­Shaykhani, 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 al­Bayt (A).

Sayyid Hamid Husayn then goes on to point that Hadith al­Thaqalayn also affirms the freedom of the Imams of the Ahl al­Bayt (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 ites 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 al­Thaqalayn, 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 al­Tabarani, 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 al­Qunduzi 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 al­balaghah (Hikam:147) addressed 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 in al-`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 al­Baghdadi 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 al­Thaqalayn 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 al­Jawzi in Tadhkirat al­khawass, 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).






وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ {41:18}

But We delivered those who believed and practised righteousness


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وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ     اللهم صلى على محد و ال محد.... و عجل فرجهم