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This is a continuation of my thread Imamate in the Quran.

In the previous article, we demonstrated that the Quranic concept of leadership is intricately connected to the themes of divine mandate, superiority in knowledge and form, familial succession, covenants, miraculous qualities, and love. We also established that there is no contradiction between the sealing of prophethood and the continuation of divinely-appointed leadership.

The succession of the Prophet (s) is a pertinent matter, because he himself spoke of the institution of khilafa. The word khalifa means successor, representative, and deputy, and so even though the religion would be completed with Muhammad (s), the khalifa would be his personal spokesperson and benefactor.

`Ali (as) was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (s). He was raised by the Prophet in the household of his uncle Abu Talib, and `Ali became the first male to join the Prophet after his first encounter with the Angel Gabriel. `Ali (as) was the first to pray with the Prophet, the first to stand up to defend the Prophet's claim at Da`wat Dhul `Ashira, the one to stay in the Prophet's bed during his escape from Mecca, the one at the front line of Badr, the only swordsman to remain with the Prophet at Uhud, the only one brave enough to stand up to `Amr ibn Abd al-Wud the champion of Quraysh at Khandaq, the scribe of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, the flagbearer at the Battle of Khaybar, the governor of Medina at the Battle of Tabuk, and the one to wash the body and lead the funeral prayers over the Messenger (s). The Prophet prepared him for the role of leadership by putting him in every possible position: as a soldier, a commander, a diplomat, a governor, a judge, and a leader in prayer. Furthermore, Imam `Ali's wise and moving maxims are memorized and shared by all Muslims, Sunnis and Shi`is alike.

`Ali's right to succession is based on divine appointment and his superior virtues. There is no companion who has been given more Quranic and Prophetic praises than `Ali b. Abi Talib, making him the person most qualified for the office of Imamate and Caliphate. One immediate objection to this would be that `Ali (as) is not explicitly mentioned by name in the Quran. This point was beautifully answered by Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as):

A man asked Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] about the verse, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you" (4:59). The Imam replied, "This was revealed regarding `Ali b. Abi Talib, al-Hasan, and a-Husayn." The man said, "The people say, 'Then why weren't `Ali and his Ahl al-Bayt mentioned by name in the Book of Allah?'" The Imam replied, "Say to them: The command for prayer was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (s), but Allah did not specifically mention [in the Quran] three or four units. It was the Messenger of Allah (s) who detailed that for them. The command to give alms was revealed to him, but He did not mention that it was applied to 1/40 dirhams. It was the Messenger of Allah (s) who detailed for them. The command for Hajj was revealed, but He does not say, 'Circle [the Ka`ba] seven times'. It was the Messenger of Allah (s) detailed that for them. He revealed, 'Obey Allah and obey the Messenger those in authority among you' (4:59), and it was revealed regarding `Ali, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn. The Messenger of Allah (s) said, regarding `Ali, 'Whoever takes me as a Master, then `Ali is his Master.' And he (s) said, 'I leave you with the Book of Allah and my Ahl al-Bayt, so I asked Allah to never separate them from one another until they return to me at the Pond [of Paradise], and He granted my prayer.' And he said, 'Do not lecture them, for they are more knowledgeable than you.' And he said, 'They will not lead you away from the gate of guidance, and they will not make you enter the gate of misguidance.' Had the Messenger of Allah (s) kept quiet, it would not be clear who his Ahl al-Bayt would be, and the dynasties would have claimed it (that title). But Allah revealed it in in a Book, clarifying it to His Prophet (s). 'Surely, Allah wishes to remove uncleanliness from you, Ahl al-Bayt, and purify you with a thorough purification.' (33:33)"  ( علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس وعلي بن محمد، عن سهل ابن زياد أبي سعيد، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن ابن مسكان، عن أبي بصير قال سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن قول الله عز وجل: " أطيعوا الله وأطيعوا الرسول وأولي الامر منكم (2) " فقال: نزلت في علي بن أبي طالب والحسن والحسين عليهم السلام: فقلت له: إن الناس يقولون: فما له لم يسم عليا وأهل بيته عليهم السلام في كتاب الله عز و جل؟ قال: فقال: قولوا لهم: إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله نزلت عليه الصلاة ولم يسم الله لهم ثلاثا ولا أربعا، حتى كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله هو الذي فسر ذلك لهم، ونزلت عليه الزكاة ولم يسم لهم من كل أربعين درهما درهم، حتى كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله هو الذي فسر ذلك لهم، ونزل الحج فلم يقل لهم: طوفوا اسبوعا حتى كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله هو الذي فسر ذلك لهم، ونزلت " أطيعوا الله وأطيعوا الرسول واولي الامر منكم " - ونزلت في علي والحسن والحسين - فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: في علي: من كنت مولاه، فعلي مولاه، وقال صلى الله عليه وآله اوصيكم بكتاب الله وأهل بيتي، فإني سألت الله عز وجل أن لا يفرق بينهما حتى يوردهما علي الحوض، فأعطاني ذلك وقال: لا تعلموهم فهم أعلم منكم، وقال: إنهم لن يخرجوكم من باب هدى، ولن يدخلوكم في باب ضلالة، فلو سكت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله فلم يبين من أهل بيته، لادعاها آل فلان وآل فلان، لكن الله عز وجل أنزله في كتابة تصديقا لنبيه صلى الله عليه وآله " إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت ويطهركم تطهيرا (1) " )

The role of the Quran is to provide directives on the Islamic obligations, but it is the role of the Sunna to go through the meticulous details of these obligations. The Quran does not hold a monopoly on truth, and so it was the Prophet who detailed the fara'id for us. Still, Imam `Ali was present throughout the Prophet's mission, and he would play a vital role thereafter, and so it is befitting that much of the Quran would relate to him in one way or another. While the previous article highlighted the explicit importance of the Prophet's kin (42:23, 33:33, 14:37, 4:54) all Muslims agree that `Ali b. Abi Talib is alluded to in many Quranic verses.

"Your guardian is none but Allah and His Messenger and those who have believed - those who establish prayer and give zakat while bowing." (5:55)

The word for guardian in the verse above is wali, which comes from the same root as ulil amr in 4:59. In the Quran, the word is always used in conjunction with God's authority over the creation (wilaya), as can be seen in 2:107, 2:120, 2:257, 3:68, 3:122, 4:45. 4:119, 6:14, 6:127, 7:155, 7:196, 9:74, 9:116, 12:101, 13:37, 18:17, 18:26, 29:22, 32:4, 33:17, 33:65, 34:41, 42:8-9, 42:28, 42:31, 42:44, 45:19, and 48:22. Most of these verses emphasize that only Allah is our wali, and that besides Him, we have no protector, no guardian, no helper, and no master. The above verse however extends this wilaya to the Messenger, because it is through the Messenger that Allah is sought. It also extends it to those who "give zakat while bowing". Since this is the only verse where Allah includes people in His otherwise solitary authority, this third category cannot simply refer to humble believers. It must refer to a vicegerent that has a share in this grand wilaya.

Even this idea of one giving charity whilst in ruku` sounds quite rare, and indeed, 5:55 is not an ordinary verse. Both Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid ibn Jabr, who are among the earliest authorities in tafsir, note that the verse is referring to an incident in which `Ali (as) gave his ring to a beggar whilst in ruku`. This is also referenced in Tabari, Zamakhshari, al-Wahidi, and other Sunni commentaries. The implication therefore is that Imam `Ali (as) has been distinguished as a master of all believers - his authority being an extension of God's authority.

"Then whoever argues with you about it after [this] knowledge has come to you - say, "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us]."" (3:61)

This verse describes the incident of Mubahala, where the Prophet invites the Christian priests of Najran to an imprecation. The ayah pledges that the Prophet would bring "our sons, our women, and ourselves". In an authentic narration reported in Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas reports, "When this verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah called for `Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn, and said, 'O Allah, this is my Family.'" (وأنزلت هذه الآية ندع أبناءنا وأبناءكم ونساءنا ونساءكم الآية دعا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عليا وفاطمة وحسنا وحسينا فقال اللهم هؤلاء أهلي ) This verse is significant because it actually includes `Ali (and exclusively `Ali) under "ourselves", emphasizing that `Ali was the other "self" of the Prophet. Allah actually ordered the Prophet to do so, as the invocation of these five pure individuals (33:33) would be most superior for a mubahala.

"And of the people is he who sells himself, seeking means to the approval of Allah. And Allah is kind to [His] servants." (2:207)

According to the Sunni exegete al-Tha`labi in his Kashf wal Bayan, this verse was revealed regarding Imam `Ali, as he stayed in the bed of the Prophet (s) during the hijra. "Selling" oneself for Allah and His Messenger is the best act of sacrifice one can perform. While Abi Bakr may have been scared in the cave during the hijra (9:40), this verse on Imam `Ali can only interpreted more positively. It should also be noted that Abi Bakr, `Umar, and `Uthman had all run away from battles, whilst `Ali remained defending the Prophet, and thus this verse cannot refer to them.

"So what about one who stands upon a clear evidence from his Lord [like the aforementioned]? And a witness from Him follows it. (11:17)

Al-Qurtubi says in his Jami` that "a witness from Him follows it" is Imam `Ali (as), who is a divinely-appointed witness over the Umma after the Prophet and the revelation of the Quran.

"That We might make it for you a reminder and [that] a conscious ear would be conscious of it." (69:12)

According to most Sunni tafasir, the "conscious ear" in this verse is `Ali b. Abi Talib, who was the Prophet's principal student. In al-Wahidi's tafsir, this verse was revealed when the Prophet said to Imam `Ali, "Allah has commanded me to draw you closer to me and not exclude you, and that I teach you so that you understand; and Allah has taken it upon Himself that you understand." According to Qurtubi, Razi, and Tabari's exegeses, when this verse was revealed, the Prophet said, "I asked my Lord that He make it the ear of `Ali"; and that `Ali used to say, "I never heard anything from the Messenger of Allah but that I remembered it." Imam `Ali (as) was the only Rashidun Caliph and muhajir to ever make this claim. Being the first Muslim male, this is very significant, because it would make `Ali (as) the only sanctioned medium to the Prophet's complete message, from its inception to its completion.

"O you who have believed, when you [wish to] privately consult the Messenger, present before your consultation a charity. That is better for you and purer. But if you find not [the means] - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (58:12)

This is the only verse in the Quran that has been fully abrogated, and it instructs the believers to distribute charity in their gatherings with the Prophet. Soon after this was revealed, the following verse ended this obligation. Qurtubi, Suyuti, Tabari, and Wahidi all reported that Imam `Ali b. Abi Talib (as) was the only one to ever fulfill this obligation. Since Allah knew that this verse would soon be abrogated, it would mean that the main reason why it was revealed was to give `Ali (as) a virtue that no other person can ever have.

Although this article focuses on more overt references to Imam `Ali, it is worth mentioning that the Prophet (s) said to Imam `Ali (as) in an authentic report, "You are to me as Aaron was to Moses, except there will be no prophet after me." (Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Hadith 700) In Shi`i sources, the Prophet spoke this phrase several times. While some relegate this hadith only to the event of Tabuk, the Prophet is clearly addressing what would occur after him at the end of the hadith. Furthermore, those involved in Muslim-Christian polemics know that the chief Biblical prophecy that discusses Muhammad (s) was that he would be "a prophet like unto Moses". Moses also happens to be the most mentioned prophet in the Quran due to the many parallels between his life and that of the Prophet. A Second Moses would therefore need a Second Aaron, and this hadith confirms that the Aaron of this Umma is `Ali (as), except in prophethood. An investigation into the verses on Aaron will therefore give us some hints on `Ali's own status.

"And appoint for me a vizier from my family - Aaron, my brother. Increase through him my strength and let him share my task" (20:25-32)

This is a part of the prayer of Moses. (1) Just like `Ali, Aaron was divinely appointed to lead the Children of Israel in Moses' absence. The Children of Israel did not appoint their own leader. (2) Aaron was a vizier (wazir) of Moses, which means that `Ali is also the chief representative of Muhammad (s). (3) Aaron was the first person to enter Moses' movement, just as `Ali was the first to enter the movement of Muhammad (s). (4) Aaron is called the brother of Moses, just as `Ali was called the "brother" of Muhammad (s) in this world and the hereafter in a reliable hadith in Tirmidhi (قال له رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنت أخي في الدنيا والآخرة). (5) The wazir adds strength and shares the task with the Prophet (amr - command, authority, order, affair).

While the Children of Israel split under Aaron, he remained calm and diplomatic, and preferred the unity of his community over asserting his own authority. Imam `Ali did the same when the Caliphate was taken from him and the ridda wars began.

"And Moses said to his brother Aaron, "Take my place among my people, do right [by them], and do not follow the way of the corrupters."" (7:142)

It is interesting that Allah would use the word ukhlufni (take my place), which is the same word as khalifa. Just as much of Moses' story is an allusion to the Prophet's own ministry, this verse may be alluding to `Ali's own selection as "Caliph".

There are many ayat, exoteric and esoteric, that refer to `Ali (as) that have not been mentioned. Since `Ali (as) was the wali of the believers, the one whose self was described with the Prophet, the one who repeatedly risked his life for Islam, the witness after the Quran, the ear who memorized the Prophetic message from its beginning until its completion, the vizier of the Prophet, and the one whose virtues (fada'il) outnumbered that of every companion, he was the one best suited for the Caliphate. Balance this with the Quranic principles of leadership, which are tied to divine mandate, knowledge, and familial succession, as well as the references to Ahl al-Bayt's purity and love.

The position of `Ali (as) becomes crystal clear when the hadith material is examined. When the Prophet first publicly announced his mission at Da`wat Dhul `Ashira (26:214), he said to the attendees, "By Allah! I do not know of any person among the Arabs who has come to his people with better than what I have brought to you. I have brought to you the good of this world and the next, and I have been commanded by the Lord to call you unto Him. Therefore, who amongst you will support me in this matter. so that he may be my brother (akhhí), my deputy (wasiyyí) and my successor/representative (khalifatí) among you?" So they moved away from him and were about to leave him, but `Ali, who was a young child stood up and said, "I, O Messenger of Allah, am your support. I will fight whomever you will fight." So the Banu Hashim smiled and some of them laughed. Their eyes moved between Abu Talib and his son, then they left, mocking." ( قال لهم: ما أعلم إنسانا من العرب جاء قومه بأفضل مما جئتكم به، قد جئتكم بخير الدنيا والآخرة، وقد أمرني ربي أن أدعوكم اليه، فأيكم يوازرني على هذا الأمر وأن يكون أخي ووصيي وخليفتي فيكم؟ فأعرضوا عنه وهموا بتركه، لكن عليا نهض وما يزال صبيا دون الحلم، وقال: أنا يا رسول الله عو نك، أنا حرب على من حاربت. فابتسم بنو هاشم وقهقه بعضهم، وجعل نظرهم ينتقل من أبي طالب إلى ابنه ثم انصرفوا مستهزئين20 )

This account, which was recorded in Tabari's history, is the first instance in which Imam `Ali (as) was called a deputy and a Caliph of the Prophet Muhammad (s). No other person has been given this title by the Prophet (s) in Islamic literature. The implication therefore is that `Ali (as) would be the Prophet's partner, supporter, representative, and successor.

The following narrations from Tirmidhi's Manaqib `Ali b. Abi Talib make a clear case for `Ali's succession to the Prophet Muhammad (s).

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "Surely, `Ali is from me and I am from him, and he is the Master (wali) of every believer after me." ( إن عليا مني وأنا منه وهو ولي كل مؤمن بعدي)

This narration was marked hasan by Tirmidhi, and it makes `Ali (as) the unequivocal successor of the Prophet (s). The statement "`Ali is from me and I am from him" shows the intimate relationship between the two, tying back to the concept of the two being together in "selves" (3:61). While some may retort that `Ali did become the Caliph eventually, and therefore became the Master of every believer sometime after the Prophet, this meaning is not intuitive to the hadith, nor was this hadith ever applied to those who would rule directly after the Prophet. Had this same quote been given to Abi Bakr along with `Ali, then this reconciliation would make sense; but `Ali was the only one whom the Quran and the Sunna described as the wali of the believers.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "To whomever I am his Master, `Ali is his Master." ( من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه )

This is a truncated part of Hadith al-Ghadeer, which is one of the most mutawatir sayings in the Islamic tradition. It first establishes Allah as the Master of the Prophet (mawlaay), then it establishes that the Prophet having more authority over (awla) the believers than they do over themselves. This absolute authority is then given to `Ali (as), who is the mawla of all believers in the Prophet. Mawla a word that has several meanings, but the Prophet does not speak ambiguously. He (s) contextualized this word by saying that he (s) was above the believers in authority (awla). Mawla is related to awla, wali, and ulil amr, all of which have been used to describe this sacred authority.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "May Allah have mercy upon `Ali: O Allah, place the truth with him wherever he turns." ( رحم الله عليا اللهم أدر الحق معه حيث دار )

Not only is this a supplication for `Ali, but it is a request to pair `Ali with the truth at all times. This is, in affect, the concept of infallibility, because `Ali would always be with the truth, and whomever was with whom would be with the truth. Who then would be more qualified to govern? This concept is further supported in the following narration.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "No hypocrite will love `Ali, and no believer will hate him." ( لا يحب عليا منافق ولا يبغضه مؤمن )

Since no hypocrite can love `Ali and no believer can hate him, he must always be with the truth and the right. Tirmidhi considered this hadith to be hasan.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "Surely, Allah ordered me to love four, and He informed me that He loves them. `Ali is among them" - he said that three times - "and Abu Dharr, and al-Miqdad, and Salman. He ordered me to love them, and He informed me that He loves them." ( إن الله أمرني بحب أربعة وأخبرني أنه يحبهم قيل يا رسول الله سمهم لنا قال علي منهم يقول ذلك ثلاثا وأبو ذر والمقداد وسلمان أمرني بحبهم وأخبرني أنه يحبهم )

In this hasan tradition, Allah reveals a list of people whom the Prophet (and therefore the believers) should love. `Ali is given special emphasis here, as his name was said three times, and he is at the beginning of the list. The other three companions were the biggest supporters of `Ali's rights after the Prophet's demise. Allah distinguished them due to their special loyalty towards `Ali, even at a time when most Muslims had accepted the Caliphate of other men.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "`Ali is from me, and I am from `Ali, and no one can represent me except for myself or `Ali." ( علي مني وأنا من علي ولا يؤدي عني إلا أنا أو علي )

This is a clear sahih nass that starts with the negative "none should represent me" and ends with the exception "except me or `Ali". Representation in general matters is synonymous to khilafa, Some may argue that this hadith is not a virtue of `Ali, but rather, a very specific instance in which the Prophet was simply following the cultural customs of his time. However, there is no indication that this hadith was specific to a particular event. Furthermore, to say that the Prophet was following Arab custom is in contrast the Quranic verse, "Nor does he speak from [his own] desire" (53:3), which states clearly that the Prophet is the mouthpiece of God, and everything that he says is the revealed word of God. The statement of representation is preceded with "Ali is from me and I am from Ali", which indicates that this hadith is indeed a virtue of Ali and not just a result of a cultural technicality.

A cooked bird was with the Prophet (s), so he said, "O Allah, bring the most beloved of Your creation to You to eat this bird with me." So `Ali came and ate with him. ( كان عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم طير فقال اللهم ائتني بأحب خلقك إليك يأكل معي هذا الطير فجاء علي فأكل معه )

This narration is simple: the Prophet asked Allah to summon the best person (after himself) in the creation to dinner, and that person was none other than `Ali b. Abi Talib. A leader must always be the best person in any community.

`Ali said, "Whenever I asked the Messenger of Allah (s), he would give me [the answer], and whenever I was silent, he would initiate [discussion] with me." ( قال علي كنت إذا سألت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أعطاني وإذا سكت ابتدأني )

There are many instances where the Prophet kept silent among his companions, but this hasan hadith shows that the Prophet was especially committed to teaching `Ali.

And I heard him (s) say on the day of Khaybar, "I will give this flag to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah and His Messenger love him". So we waited for that, then he said, "Call `Ali for me." He said: So he came to him, and he had an eye infection, so he (s) applied saliva in his eye and gave the flag to him, then Allah granted him victory. ( لأعطين الراية رجلا يحب الله ورسوله ويحبه الله ورسوله قال فتطاولنا لها فقال ادعوا لي عليا
فأتاه وبه رمد فبصق في عينه فدفع الراية إليه ففتح الله عليه
)

Out of all of the companions, the Prophet (s) selected `Ali (as) on the day of Khaybar in this sahih report, showing that he was the one preferred the most by Allah and His Messenger. This selection was made despite `Ali's infection, which the Prophet proceeded to heal.

The Messenger of Allah (s) took the hand of Hasan and Husayn and said, "Whoever loves me and loves these two and their father and their mother will be with me in my rank on the Day of Resurrection." ( أن رسول الله [ ص: 600 ] صلى الله عليه وسلم أخذ بيد حسن وحسين فقال من أحبني وأحب هذين وأباهما وأمهما كان معي في درجتي يوم القيامة )

This report emphasizes importance of having reciprocal love with the Ahl al-Bayt, which was ordered in 42:23. This love is not just affection, but obedience and loyalty, which will result in Paradise. The only so-called "defect" in the chain of this hadith that one can point to is `Ali b. Ja`far, the son of the sixth Imam of Ahl al-Bayt, brother of the seventh Imam, and a scholar of Shi`i Islam. The trustworthy Sunni man who narrated this hadith from `Ali b. Ja`far was taken to the court of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mutawakkil. The Caliph wanted to strike him one thousand times (لما حدث نصر بهذا ، أمر المتوكل بضربه ألف سوط ، فكلمه جعفر بن عبد الواحد ، وجعل يقول له : الرجل من أهل السنة ، ولم يزل به حتى تركه).

Outside of this chapter, there are many other virtues given to Imam `Ali. Perhaps the strongest endorsement is in Hadith al-Thaqalayn, wherein the Prophet says, "I leave among you two weighty things: the Book of Allah, and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. They are the successors (khalifatan) after me, and they will not separate from each other until they reach me at the Pond [of Paradise]." (Sunan Tirmidhi, Vol 6, pg. 435 Hadith #3786)

This powerful and mutawatir narration, which was said on Mount `Arafat, demonstrates the following: (1) The Prophet left two consequential testaments with us. One must remember that this was said during the Farewell Pilgrimage, wherein the Prophet announced his death, and most of his companions were present, listening to his final instructions. These two weighty things (thaqalayn) are clearly related to our religion, and are not just what the Prophet left behind in general, such as his home, his land, or his livestock. (2) These two weighty things are the Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt. Contrary to popular belief, the narration that the Prophet left us with "the Quran and the Sunna" cannot be found in the Sihah as-Sitta, and it is not considered reliable. Still, the Sunna of the Prophet is extracted from the teachings of the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt. Of course, after the Messenger, `Ali is the chief member of the Ahl al-Bayt. (3) The Quran is called a khalifa, and the Ahl al-Bayt are called a khalifa, because they are the vicegerents of Allah on Earth. (4) The thaqalayn will not separate from one another, which means that the Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt are interdependent. One cannot understand the Quran without the interpretations of the Ahl al-Bayt. This will continue until the Day of Resurrection, which means that there must be a representative of the Prophet's family that is the guardian over the Quran at all times.

Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri (r) said, "We were walking with the Prophet (s), and the insole of his sandal ripped. So it was given to `Ali so that he may repair it. Then, he continued walking, and he said: Surely, from you is one (Ali) who will be fought in the interpretation of the Quran just as I was fought in its revelation." Abu Sa`eed said: "So I went out and I told him (Ali) what the Messenger of Allah (s) had said, but his joy did not increase - as if he had already heard what was said." (وروى الإمام أحمد في الفضائل بسنده عن أبي سعيد قال : كنا نمشي مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فانقطع شسع نعله ، فتناولها علي يصلحها ، ثم مشى ، فقال : إن منكم لمن يقاتل على تأويل القرآن ، كما قاتلت على تنزيله ، قال أبو سعيد : فخرجت فبشرته بما قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فلم يكبر به فرحا ، كأنه قد سمعه ( 2 ) .)

This reliable tradition from the Musnad of Ahmad b. Hanbal states that `Ali (as) will be fought in the interpretation (ta'wil) of the Quran just as the Prophet (s) was fought in its revelation (tanzil). This shows that `Ali (as) plays a vital role in guarding the correct interpretation of the Quran in the Prophet's absence. History shows that `Ali (as) was indeed fought by `A'isha, Talha, Zubayr, Mu`awiya, the Khawarij, and others. In conjunction with other narrations, one can conclude that `Ali was always with the truth, united with the Quran, fighting against hypocrites just as the Prophet fought against the disbelievers of his time.

Lastly, it is reported in al-Hakim's Mustadrak al-Sahihayn, Tabarani's Mu`jam al-Sagheer, and Haythami's Majmu`a az-Zawa'id that the Prophet said, "Surely, my Ahl al-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah: whomever boards it is saved, and whomever separates from it is drowned" ( سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وآله وسلم يقول إنما مثل أهل بيتي فيكم كمثل سفينة نوح من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها غرق )

From all of the aforementioned sources, it is therefore clear that `Ali (as) was the most qualified for the office of Imamate and the succession of the Prophet Muhammad (s). Imam `Ali was the brother and vizier of the Prophet, who demonstrated his loyalty to him time and time again. We will not lengthen this article with every instance in which Imam `Ali b. Abi Talib (as) fulfilled a virtue and overcame a trial. We encourage the readers to do their own investigation into the biography of `Ali (as), and compare his praises to those of his peers.

Imam `Ali (as) was given special knowledge that no other person claimed, and superiority in knowledge is one of the Quranic principles of leadership. He said, “Ask me before you lose me, for I swear by Allah, there is not a single thing that you can ask me about until the Day of Resurrection except that I can tell you about it. Ask me about the Book of Allah, for I swear by Allah, there is not a verse in it except that I know whether it was revealed during the night or the day, and whether it was revealed in a plain or on a mountain.” (al-Qurtubi, Jaami` Bayan al-'ilm wa Fadlih, hadith 726, pg 464)

We will conclude this article with the following conversation between Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) and one of his companions.

A companion of Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] said to him: I asked the people, "Do you know that the Messenger of Allah (s) was the Proof from Allah over His creation?" They said, "Of course." So I said, "So after the passing of the Messenger of Allah (s), who was the Proof over His creation?" So they said, "The Qur'an." So I considered the Qur’an, which is used in debates by the Murji’a, the Qadriyya, and the heretic that does not even believe in it, but uses it in his debates to defeat others. So I came to know that the Qur’an cannot be a Proof without a Guardian. Whatever he says regarding it would be true. So I said to them, "Who is the Guardian of the Qur’an?" So they said, "`Abdullah b. Mas`ud, for he was learned, `Umar was learned, and Hudhayfa was learned." I said: [Learned in] all of it?" They said: "No." I did not see anyone who said “he knew all of it” except `Ali [a]. And if an issue emerged within the community, one would say, “I do not know”, and another would say “I do not know”, and another would say “I do not know”, but `Ali would say “I know” – so I bear witness that `Ali was the Guardian of the Qur’an, and that obedience to him is obligatory and that he is the Proof upon the people after the Messenger of Allah (s) and whatever he said regarding the Qur’an is true." Imam Ja`far [a] then said, "May Allah's mercy be upon you." ( محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الفضل بن شاذان، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن منصور ابن حازم قال: قلت لابي عبد الله عليه السلام: إن الله أجل وأكرم من أن يعرف بخلقه، بل الخلق يعرفون بالله، قال: صدقت، قلت: إن من عرف أن له ربا، فينبغي له أن يعرف أن لذلك الرب رضا وسخطا وأنه لا يعرف رضاه وسخطه إلا بوحي أو رسول، فمن لم يأته الوحي فقد ينبغي له أن يطلب الرسل فإذا لقيهم عرف أنهم الحجة وأن لهم الطاعة المفترضة. وقلت للناس: تعلمون أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله كان هو الحجة من الله على خلقه؟ قالوا: بلى قلت فحين مضى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله من كان الحجة على خلقه؟ فقالوا: القرآن فنظرت في القرآن فإذا هو يخاصم به المرجي والقدري والزنديق الذي لا يؤمن به حتى يغلب الرجال بخصومته، فعرفت أن القرآن لا يكون حجة إلا بقيم، فما قال فيه من شئ كان حقا، فقلت لهم: من قيم القرآن ؟ فقالوا ابن مسعود قد كان يعلم وعمر يعلم وحذيفة يعلم، قلت: كله؟ قالوا: لا، فلم أجد أحدا يقال: إنه يعرف ذلك كله إلا عليا عليه السلام وإذا كان الشئ بين القوم فقال هذا: لا أدري، وقال هذا: لا أدري، وقال هذا: لا ادرى، وقال هذا: أنا أدري، فأشهد أن عليا عليه السلام كان قيم القرآن، وكانت طاعته مفترضة وكان الحجة على الناس بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وأن ما قال في القرآن فهو حق، فقال: رحمك الله. )

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Assalam o alaikum. I wanted to know why hazrat ali a.s called saloni. Tell me the literal meaning of saloni, I have heard about the manazara of hazrat ali with nazrane in which he was accompanied with salman farsi and by the order of our imam salman farsi gave them the answers of the questions which were asked by those nazarenes who came to confirm hazrat ali a.s as wasi of our prophet.. I am not sure about whether janabe salman farsi had given the answers or imam hasan a.s... Please let me know with the authentic reference... Jazakallah 

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On 11/30/2016 at 3:36 PM, Zeh fatima said:

Assalam o alaikum. I wanted to know why hazrat ali a.s called saloni. Tell me the literal meaning of saloni, I have heard about the manazara of hazrat ali with nazrane in which he was accompanied with salman farsi and by the order of our imam salman farsi gave them the answers of the questions which were asked by those nazarenes who came to confirm hazrat ali a.s as wasi of our prophet.. I am not sure about whether janabe salman farsi had given the answers or imam hasan a.s... Please let me know with the authentic reference... Jazakallah 

Saluni means "ask me". Amir al-Mu'mineen (as) was raised by the Prophet (pbuh), the first person to follow the Prophet, the closest person to the Prophet during his message, and the one to wash his blessed body and lead his funeral prayers. He was the brother of the Messenger, and therefore the people had a responsibility to ask him about the message. In Iraq, the Imam used to adjure the people "Ask me before you lose me", because the people were not taking full advantage of his presence among them. He was the most beneficial resource on the pure interpretation of the Quran and the Sunna.

See this hadith below:

On 11/19/2016 at 1:53 AM, Qa'im said:

Imam `Ali (as) was given special knowledge that no other person claimed, and superiority in knowledge is one of the Quranic principles of leadership. He said, “Ask me before you lose me, for I swear by Allah, there is not a single thing that you can ask me about until the Day of Resurrection except that I can tell you about it. Ask me about the Book of Allah, for I swear by Allah, there is not a verse in it except that I know whether it was revealed during the night or the day, and whether it was revealed in a plain or on a mountain.” (al-Qurtubi, Jaami` Bayan al-'ilm wa Fadlih, hadith 726, pg 464)

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On 12/1/2016 at 6:47 AM, Qa'im said:

Saluni means "ask me". Amir al-Mu'mineen (as) was raised by the Prophet (pbuh), the first person to follow the Prophet, the closest person to the Prophet during his message, and the one to wash his blessed body and lead his funeral prayers. He was the brother of the Messenger, and therefore the people had a responsibility to ask him about the message. In Iraq, the Imam used to adjure the people "Ask me before you lose me", because the people were not taking full advantage of his presence among them. He was the most beneficial resource on the pure interpretation of the Quran and the Sunna.

See this hadith below:

Thank you soo much.. Mola apko jazaye kher den... 

If you dont mind please reply to my other questions that includes manazera at the time of Abu bakar's caliphate with nazarane.. Who gave the answer of those Christians who came to see wasie rasul s.a.w, janabe salman farsi or imam hasan a.s?. What I came to know is something different.. There are many events with different resources.. When imam hasan a.s spoke by the command of hazrat ali a.s that event is totally different and when nazarane came some of the questions were answered by janabe salman farsi as per ameer ul momineen's (hazrat ali a.s) command..  

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So now, praise and eulogy be to Allah, O' people, I have put out the eye of revolt. No one except me advanced towards it when its gloom was swelling and its madness was intense. ask me before you miss me,(2) because, by Allah, who has my life in His hands, if you ask me anything between now and the Day of Judgement or about the group who would guide a hundred people and also misguide a hundred people I would tell you who is announcing its march, who is driving it in the front and who is driving it at the rear, the stages where its riding animals would stop for rest and the final place of stay, and who among them would be killed and who would die a natural death....
 

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