Al-Thiql al-Akbar (Arabic: الثقل الاکبر) is the Qur'an. Based on the frequently transmitted hadith al-Thaqalayn, the Prophet (s) remained two valuable things (the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt (a)) for the guidance of his people. In some of the versions of this hadith, the Qur'an is called "al-thiql al-akbar" and the Ahl al-bayt (a), "al-thiql al-asghar".
"Thiql" means "a heavy burden". "Thaqal" refers to anything valuable and precious.
In the words of the Prophet (s) and other Imams (a), "al-thiql al-akbar" refers to the Qur'an.
In hadith al-Thaqalayn, the Prophet (s) said,
"I leave among you two valuable reserves: a greater reserve and a smaller reserve. The greater reserve is the Book of my God and the smaller one is my 'Itra which is my Ahl al-Bayt (a). Maintain my honor about them, for if you adhere to them you will never go astray".
Sermon of Ghadir
In the sermon of Ghadir, the Prophet (s) said,
"O People, I leave among you two valuable things; and if you cling on to them you will never go astray". The people who were present there asked, "what are those two valuable things?" He (a) answered, "the greater value is the Book of God, the Qur'an, and the smaller value is my 'itra and the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and these two will never separate until they meet me upon the pool of Kawther."
The Speech of Imam Ali (a)
Imam Ali (a) twice referred to this issue:
- When describing himself, he (a) said, "I acted upon the al-thiql al-akbar, i.e. the Qur'an and left al-thiql al-asghar among you."
- In his advice to Kumayl, he (a) said, "O Kumayl, we are al-thiql al-asghar and the Qur'an is al-thiql al-akbar. Al-Thiql al-akbar is a testimony for al-thiql al-asghar and al-thiql al-asghar is a testimony for al-thiql al-akbar; each of which is a companion for the other and they never separate until they meet God, the Almighty, and He will judge between these two values and His servants."
The Wisdom behind Calling as "al-Thiql al-Akbar"
About the reason why the Prophet (s) called the Qur'an as "al-thiql al-akbar" and the Ahl al-bayt (a), "al-thiql al-asghar", Shi'a scholars said, " the Qur'an is greater than the Ahl al-Bayt (a), because the Ahl al-Bayt (a) follows the Qur'an". Some others wrote, "Since the Qur'an is the proof and the miracle of the prophethood mission, the proof of wilaya and the base of religion; thus, it is greater than the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and the Ahl al-Bayt (a) is lesser than that."
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ثقل اکبر in Farsi WikiShia.