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Monday 15th of August 2022
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Ahl al-Bayt; Successors of The Holy Prophet

Many narrations, reported by both Sh¢`ite and Sunni scholars, refer to Ahl al-Bayt as the Holy Prophet’s successors. These narrations are so uninterruptedly reported that there is no doubt about them. Due to their moral, spiritual and scholarly features, Ahl al-Bayt alone deserve to be the Holy Prophet’s successors. To be the Prophet’s successor and representative is their Divine right and no one else deserves it. The Holy Qur’¡n reads:

My covenant does not include the unjust. (2:124)

Caliphate is the indisputable right of a person who has all the features of the Holy Prophet except prophethood. It is only Ahl al-Bayt who have had such features. About Am¢r al-Mu’min¢n and the Imams after him, the Holy Prophet has said:

فَهُوَ سَيِّدُ الأوْصِيَاءِ. اللُّحُوقُ بِهِ سَعَادَةٌ، وَالْمَوْتُ فِي طَاعَتِهِ شَهَادَةٌ. وَاسْمُهُ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ مَقْرُونٌ إلَى اسْمِي. وَزَوْجَتُهُ الصِّدِّيقَةُ الْكُبْرَى إبْنَتِي. وَابْنَاهُ سَيِّدَا شَبَابِ أهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ ابْنَايَ. وَهُوَ وَهُمَا وَالأئِمَّةُ بَعْدَهُمْ حُجَجُ اللهِ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ بَعْدَ النَّبِيِّينَ. وَهُمْ أبْوَابُ الْعِلْمِ فِي أمَّتِي. مَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ نَجَا مِنَ النَّارِ، وَمَنِ اقْتَدَى بِهِمْ هُدِيَ إلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ. لَمْ يَهَبِ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَحَبَّتَهُمْ لِعَبْدٍ إلأ أدْخَلَهُ اللهُ الْجَنَّةَ.

He is the master of all vicegerents. Prosperity has been tied to him. Death on obedience to him is martyrdom. His name is attached to mine in the Torah. His wife, the Grand Veracious Lady, is my daughter. His Two sons, the masters of the youth of Paradise, are my sons. He and his two sons along with the Imams after them are Allah’s representatives to the people after the Prophets. They are the gates of knowledge in my ummah. Whoever follows them will be saved from Hellfire; and whoever follows their examples will be guided. Whomever is given their love by Allah will enter heaven.[1]

Imam °usayn (a.s) has said:

إنَّ اللهَ اصْطَفَى مُحَمَّداً عَلَى خَلْقِهِ، وَأكْرَمَهُ بِنُبُوَّتِهِ، وَاخْتَارَهُ لِرِسَالَتِهِ. ثُمَّ قَبَضَهُ اللهُ إلَيْهِ وَقَدْ نَصَحَ لِعِبَادِهِ، وَبَلَّغَ مَا اُرْسِلَ بِهِ. وَكُنَّا أهْلَهُ وَأوْلِيَاءَهُ وَأوْصِيَاءَهُ وَوَرَثَتَهُ وَأحَقَّ النَّاسِ بِمَقَامِهِ فِي النَّاسِ. فَاسْتَأثَرَ عَلَيْنَا قَوْمُنَا بِذَلِكَ فَرَضِينَا، وَكَرِهْنَا الفُرْقَةَ، وَأجَبْنَا الْعَافِيَةَ وَنَحْنُ نَعْلَمُ أنَّا أحَقُّ بِذَلِكَ الْحَقِّ الْمُسْتَحَقِّ عَلَيْنَا مِمَّنْ تَوَلأهُ.

Allah chose Mu¦ammad for his people, honored him with prophethood, and chose him for the mission. He then took his soul after he had advised Allah’s servants and conveyed what he had been sent for. We, his household, are his vicegerents and inheritors and the worthiest of holding his position. But our people denied us this position seizing it from us. We submitted to this bitter event. We dislike division and favor peace although we know for sure that our claim to this right is more deserving than those who have taken it from us.[2]

Authentic narrations indicate that Allah’s Messenger appointed `Al¢ and the eleven other Imams as his successors according to Allah’s decree. Describing Ahl al-Bayt, Am¢r al-Mu’min¢n says:

هُمُ الأئِمَّةُ الطَّاهِرُونَ وَالْعِتْرَةُ الْمَعْصُومُونَ وَالذُّرِّيَّةُ الأكْرَمُونَ وَالخُلَفَاءُ الرَّاشِدُونَ.

They are purified Imams, infallible household of noble offspring and guided vicegerents.[3]

Ahl al-Bayt are the chosen ones and the manifestation of Allah’s Attributes, endowed with prophets’ features as well as morality and faith of the Holy Prophet in a way that fair-minded Sunni scholars have referred to it by reporting the Holy Prophet as saying:

مَنْ أرَادَ أنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَى آدَمَ فِي عِلْمِهِ، وَإلَى نُوحٍ فِي فَهْمِهِ، وَإلَى يَحْيَى بْنِ زَكَرِيَّا فِي زُهْدِهِ، وَإلَى مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ فِي بَطْشِهِ، فَلْيَنْظُرْ إلَى عَلِيِّ بْنِ أبِي طَالِبٍ.

One who wishes to look at Adam’s knowledge, Noah’s understanding, John’s piety and Moses’ firm acts should look at `Al¢ ibn Ab£-±¡lib.[4]


A Similar narration reports the Holy Prophet as saying:

مَنْ أرَادَ أنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَى آدَمَ فِي عِلْمِهِ، وَإلَى نُوحٍ فِي تَقْوَاهُ، وَإلَى إبْرَاهِيمَ فِي حِلْمِهِ، وَإلَى مُوسَى فِي هَيْبَتِهِ، وَإلَى عِيسَى فِي عِبَادَتِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ إلَى عَلِيِّ بْنِ أبِي طَالِبٍ.

One who wishes to look at Adam in his knowledge, Noah in his piety, Abraham in his tolerance, Moses in his formidableness and Jesus in his submission should look at `Al¢ ibn Ab£-±¡lib.[5]

Therefore, the vicegerents and Imams after the Holy Prophet are twelve in number who have been appointed by Allah to have authority over people. However, the pseudo-scholars following the Umayyad school think that these position and features are found in families other than that of the Holy Prophet. Hence they ignored Allah’s choosing the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt, and resorted to their own choice while the Holy Qur’¡n says:

And your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases; To choose is not theirs’ glory be to Allah, and exalted be He above what they associate with Him. (28:68)

And it behooves not a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter… (33:36)

What has happened to you? How do you judge? (68:36)

To prove the right of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) and denounce those who have chosen others as leaders hence preparing the way for division among the Muslim nation, Imam al-Ri¤¡ (a.s) resorts to the Holy Qur’¡n saying:

That is the grace of Allah: He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. (57:21)

In this relation, Am¢r al-Mu’min¢n says:

عِتْرَتُهُ خَيْرُ الْعِتَرِ، وَاُسْرَتُهُ خَيْرُ الاُسَرِ، وَشَجَرَتُهُ خَيْرُ الشَّجَرِ.

Mu¦ammad’s descendants are the best descendants, his kinsmen the best of kin and his lineal tree the best of trees.[6]

Addressing `Abd al-Ra¦m¡n ibn `Awf, the Holy Prophet said:

إنَّكُمْ أصْحَابِي، وَعَلِيُّ بْنُ أبِي طَالِبٍ أخِي وَمِنِّي وَأنَا مِنْ عَلِيٍّ. فَهُوَ بَابُ عِلْمِي وَوَصِيِّي. وَهُوَ وَفَاطِمَةُ وَالْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ هُمْ خَيْرُ الأرْضِ عُنْصُراً وَشَرَفاً وَكَرَماً.

You are my companions. `Al¢ ibn Ab£-±¡lib is from me and I am from him. He is the gate of my knowledge and my successor. `Al¢, F¡§imah, °asan and °usayn are the best on the earth in terms of honor and dignity.[7]



[1] Al-Am¡l¢ by Shaykh al-¯ad£q: 21, ° 5.

[2] T¡r¢kh al-±abar¢: 357/5.

[3] Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r: 174/25, ° 39.

[4] Raw¤at al-W¡`i¨¢n: 128/1.

[5] Kashf al-Yaq¢n: 53.

[6] Nahj al-Bal¡ghah, 209, Sermon: 94.

[7] Yan¡b¢` al-Mawaddah: 332/2, ° 973.


source : AHL AL-BAYT THE CELESTIAL BEINGS ON THE EARTH Allameh Hussein Ansariyan
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