Qur'an 9:119 known as Al-Ṣādiqīn Verse (Arabic: آیة الصادقين, meaning: verse of the truthful people) commands believers to be with "al-sadiqin" (the truthful) and follow them. According to the belief of Shi'a, the truthful refers to Ahl al-Bayt (a). This verse is one of "Qur'anic" reasons of imamate of the twelve Imams (a).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and be with the Truthful
|— Qur'an 9:119|
Meaning of Truth
Truth means the quality of being based on fact. In other words, truth is a description for a word which is based on fact. Belief, and promise are also called "word", so this matters also could be described as truth. When someone has beliefs according to the fact, or acts as he promises, he is in his beliefs and promises truthful.
Who are "the Truthful"
Exegetes believe differently about who are the truthful and what are their attributes. It's said that the truthful are who have the attributes mentioned in Qur'an 2:177, or who are mentioned in Qur'an 33:23 or are the emigrants who are described in Qur'an 59:8 as the truthful. Some exegetes have referenced to qirā'a of 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud, and have considered the word "with" (Arabic: مع, "ma'a") meaning as "from" (Arabic: من, "min"); so believers must "wary Allah and be one of the truthful".
In Shi'a and Sunni hadiths, 'Ali (a), or he and his companions, or he and his sons, or the Prophet Muhammad (s) and ahl al-bayt (a) are introduced as the truthful. Many of Shi'a hadiths interpret the truthful as ahl al-bayt (a). Al-Shaykh al-Saduq transmitted a hadith from Imam 'Ali (a):
When the al-Sadiqin verse was revealed, someone asked the Prophet (s): "the word "truthful" is general or specific?" the Prophet (s) answered: "the ones who are commanded to be with the truthful is general and includes all believers, but the truthful is specific and means my brother 'Ali and other successors of me until the judgment day".
The Truthful are "Ahl al-Bayt"
Shi'a believes that the meaning of the truthful in the verse is the Prophet (s) and twelve Imams (a) and in some of narrations only 'Ali (a) is mentioned, because he is the first Imam after the Prophet (s).
In criticism of other views, it could be said that although in some of Qur'an verses, the believers are called truthful, this does not mean that the truthful in the verse, are also all of the believers; because in the verse the truthful, are who have the highest level of truth and only the infallibles have this status; the qira'a of 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud is also disapproved, because although in Arabic literature, the word "with" (Arabic: مع, "ma'a") is used with the meaning of "from" (Arabic: من, "min"), but this usage is not common and needs proof, while here isn't such a proof available. Moreover, this "qira'a" is transmitted by a few people and is not reliable.
Reasons of Shi'a
- Al-'Allama al-Hilli glossing the word of al-Muhaqqiq al-Tusi, which considers the al-Sadiqin verse, one of reasons for imamate of 'Ali (a), says: "God commands believers to be with the truthful, and the truthful are the ones whose truth is known and this could be confirmed only for an infallible, because it's impossible to know the truth of a non-infallible and according to all of Muslims (Consensus), among the companions of the Prophet (s), no one is infallible except "'Ali (a)".
- Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, one of great Sunni exegetes, considers the verse, reason for infallibility of the truthful: "the verse commands believers to wary Allah and be with the truthful. This means that believers are not infallible; and in order for them to be free of error, they must follow the ones who are free from error and they are the truthful. This matter (fallibility of believers) is present all times, hence there must be an infallible all times, so that believers could follow him." "Fakhr al-Razi" continues: "Following the infallible is only possible when people know him, otherwise following him is commanding to something which is beyond power, and because we don't know anyone as infallible, there only remains "consensus of umma" to be the instance of the truthful and believers must follow them."
Discussion of Fakhr al-Razi that the truthful must be infallible, is correct; but describing "consensus of umma" as the instance for the truthful is not acceptable; because:
- Subjects on which all of Muslims agree are very rare, and it cannot be sufficient for Muslims in religious affairs.
- If "consensus of "umma'" do not include infallible persons there is still a possibility for error.
- The infallibility of ahl al-bayt (a) is clearly recognizable by referring to Tathir verse in Qur'an, and to hadith al-Thaqalayn, hadith of Safina, etc. in tradition of the Prophet (s).
What makes the infallibility of the truthful stronger is that the command to be with the truthful is without any condition, two points can be acquired by this:
- The truthful are persons who are truthful in all their volitional actions, including beliefs, manner, speech, and behavior.
- They are truthful in their actions, beliefs, etc. all times.
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