By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“Indeed those who defy the Reminder (the Qur’an) when it comes to them (will face a severe punishment); indeed it is an August Book.” (Holy Qur’an 41:41)
“All Muslims, whatever their denomination, agree without any discord that the Qur’an is the Revelation (of God) and the Ultimate Truth. So, if a group were to deny the truthfulness of any matter which the Heavenly Scripture has testified as truthful, it (that group) has actually strayed away from truth and become an outcast from the Ummah.”
This is how Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) 10th Infallible Heir whose blessed birth anniversary we celebrate every year on the 15th of Zi’l-Hijjah, wrote in a letter to the people of Ahwaz (in southeastern Iran), when disputes arose amongst them regarding matters of religion.
Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS) meant to say that a real Muslim is the one who accepts the Wording of the Holy Qur’an, regarding which God has explicitly said (in the above-cited Ayah of Surah Fusselat) that no falsehood shall ever approach it from any direction.
In other words, the one who doubts the truthfulness of the Holy Qur’an, attributes falsehood to the Almighty Creator and His Revelation, and has thus drifted out of the fold of Islam.
Imam Hadi (AS), in order to emphasize Islamic unity and prevent discord, further wrote in his epistle to the people of Ahwaz that the Holy Qur’an testifies and confirms whatever Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) has said, including the famous Hadith called “Thaqalayn” in which he has explicitly presented to Muslims the formula of guidance, saying:
“I am leaving behind among you the Thaqalayn (Two Authoritative Things); the Book of Allah and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray, since the two never separate from each other even when they come to me at the Fountain (on the Day of Resurrection).
The Tenth Imam added that the Holy Qur’an verifies the “Hadith Thaqalayn” as is clear by Ayah 55 and 56 of Surah al-Mae’dah, where the Almighty says:
“Your Guardian is only Allah, His Prophet, and those of True Belief who maintain the prayer and give the zakaat while in ruku’ (bowing down without bending knees).
“Whoever takes as Guardians Allah, His Prophet and those of True Belief [should know that] Hezbollah (or the Party of God) are indeed the victorious.”
What a wonderful way of explaining the Ultimate Truth! All Muslims, whatever their jurisprudential differences, are unanimous that this Ayah was revealed when the Prophet’s dearest cousin and son-in-law, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), while in the state of ruku’ during the ritual prayer, gave alms by lifting his ring finger towards a beggar who happened to call at the mosque for alms.
Imam Hadi (AS), as the Rightful Successor of Imam Ali (AS), also pointed to Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) famous words on the plain of Ghadir-Khom on 10th Zi’l-Hijjah while returning from his Farewell Hajj pilgrimage following the express Divine Commandment (Holy Qur’an 5:67) to formally proclaim his successor:
“For whomever I am Guardian, this Ali is his Guardian”.
He also referred to the Prophet’s famous statement: “The position of Ali to me is that of Aaron to Moses.”
Thus, on the basis of the prime position of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt in the Qur’an, the Tenth Infallible Imam refuted the ideas of both the groups of the people of Ahwaz – whether those claiming “compulsion” or those claiming “absolute free will” – thereby saving them from disbelief.
Imam Hadi (AS) needs no introduction. Born in Medina in 212 AH (828 AD), he lived at a critical period of history when hypocrites masquerading as Muslims had distorted the teachings of the Prophet and emptied Islam of its spiritual contents, in order to justify the rule of the tyrants who posed as caliphs, although neither any Ayah of the Holy Qur’an supported their claim to leadership nor any Hadith of the Seal of Messengers.
In such an atmosphere, the Tenth Imam, whose epithet “al-Hadi” means the Divinely-Designated Guide, strove to serve as Barometer of Faith, enduring the hardships imposed by the usurper Abbasid regime, including exile from Medina and forced stay in Samarra in Iraq under virtual house arrest, and at times under imprisonment, so that the genuine teachings of Islam will forever remain alive.
He removed ambiguities, enlightened minds, and instilled hearts and souls with the proper cognizance of the Almighty Creator and His Revealed Word for the guidance of mankind, the Holy Qur’an.
He made it clear that it is adherence to the path of the Ahl al-Bayt that prevents Muslims from disobedience to Allah and discord amongst themselves, as is clear by the “Ziyarat-al-Jame’at-al-Kabira”, which begins with the phrases: “Peace upon you, O the Household of Prophethood, Location of the Divine Mission; Descent of Angels; Abode of Revelation…”
This is indeed an excellent description of the pivotal position of the Ahl al-Bayt, whose spotless purity God Almighty Himself has vouched in the Holy Qur’an (33:33) and commanded Muslims to firmly adhere to them.
This famous “Ziyarah” or standard form of salutation, which comprehensively dwells on the fundamentals of faith, the bounties of the world of creation that Allah has bestowed on all His creation, and the eternal bliss of paradise promised to the true believers, further says about the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt:
“He who obeys you has in fact obeyed Allah; he who disobeys you has in fact disobeyed Allah; he who loves you has in fact loved Allah; he who hates you has in fact hated Allah…”
Thus, without a doubt we are indeed indebted to the Tenth Imam for presenting us bezels of wisdom to follow the straight and unwavering path of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS).
Imam Hadi (AS) also bequeathed to us the famous “ziyarath” of his illustrious ancestor to be recited on the anniversary of the immortal proclamation of Ghadir-Khom, a phrase from which reads:
“Peace on you O my Guardian, O Commander of the Faithful, O Allah’s Trustee on His earth, His Envoy amongst His creatures and His Conclusive Testament to His servants! I testify that you always opposed self-seeking impulses and were committed to Godwariness; that you were well able to suppress your rage and pardon and forgive the people; that you were displeased when God was disobeyed and were pleased when God was obeyed; that you did what you were enjoined with, observed what was committed to your care, preserved what you were entrusted with, communicated that which you were charged with, and awaited what you had been promised... You distributed the public funds equitably and carried out justice amongst the subjects. You knew Allah’s laws better than the entire creation... Allah the Most High, had elevated your rank over the entire Ummah and exalted your station, and He had made manifest your excellence and honoured you above all the world’s denizens, keeping away all impurity form you and purifying you with utmost purification.”