Hadith al-Thaqalayn

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First Imam of Shi'a
'Ali (a)


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'Ammar b. YasirMalik al-AshtarAbu Dhar al-Ghifari'Ubayd Allah b. Abi Rafi'Hujr b. 'Adiothers


Ḥadīth al-thaqalayn (Arabic: حَديث الثَّقَلَين, literally: hadith of the two weighty things) is a famous and mutawatir (frequent) hadith from the Prophet (s): "I leave after myself the book of Allah (Qur'an) and my 'itra (family) between you, these two will never separate each other till the Day of Judgment."

The hadith is accepted by all Muslims, both Sunni and Shi'a, and has come in the hadith books of all of Islamic sects.

Shi'a scholars relying on hadith of thaqalayn, prove the necessity of Imam, necessity of infallibility of Imams, and the necessity of continuation of Imamate in all times.

Text

Hadith of thaqalayn is narrated a little differently in different sources, but the content is the same.

Al-Kafi which is one of the Four Books of Shi'a:

إِنِّی تَارِک فِیکمْ أَمْرَینِ إِنْ أَخَذْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا- کتَابَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ أَهْلَ بَیتِی عِتْرَتِی أَیهَا النَّاسُ اسْمَعُوا وَ قَدْ بَلَّغْتُ إِنَّکمْ سَتَرِدُونَ عَلَی الْحَوْضَ فَأَسْأَلُکمْ عَمَّا فَعَلْتُمْ فِی الثَّقَلَینِ وَ الثَّقَلَانِ کتَابُ اللَّهِ جَلَّ ذِکرُهُ وَ أَهْلُ بَیتِی[1]

"Indeed I am leaving two things among you, to which if you hold yourself, you will never astray: the book of Allah –who is all mighty and great- and my ahl al-bayt (household), my 'itra (family). O people hear! And I have announced to you that: indeed you will enter my presence and I will ask you about what you did to the thaqalayn (two weighty things) and the thaqalayn are the book of Allah and my ahl al-bayt."

Sunan al-Nasa'i, one of the six sahih (authentic) books of Sunnis:

کأنی قد دعیت فاجبت، انی قد ترکت فیکم الثقلین احدهما اکبر من الآخر، کتاب الله و عترتی اهل بیتی، فانظروا کیف تخلفونی فیهما، فانهما لن یفترقا حتی یردا علی الحوض[2]

"Looks like I have been called, and I answered (my time of death has come), indeed I have left the thaqalayn (two weighty things) among you, one of them is greater form the other, the book of Allah and my 'itra (family), my ahl al-bayt (household). So look after how you will behave with them after me, indeed they will never separate each other until they enter my presence by the pool [in the paradise]."

Sources

Shi'a
Usul al-Din (Beliefs)
Main Beliefs TawhidProphethoodResurrection'AdlImamate
Other Beliefs 'IsmaWilayaMahdawiyya: Occultation (Minor Occultation, Major Occultation), Intizar, Zuhur, and Raj'aBada'
Furu' al-Din (Practical Orders)
'Ibadi Orders PrayerFastingKhumsZakatHajjJihad
Non-'Ibadi Orders Forbidding the EvilEnjoining the GoodTawalliTabarri
Sources of Ijtihad Qur'anSunnaReasonIjma'
Ethics
Virtues ForgivenessGenerosityGenerous help
Vices Greater SinsKibr'UjbGhururJealousy
Sources Nahj al-BalaghaAl-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaLetter of Imam 'Ali to Imam al-Hasan
Challenging Issues
Succession of the Prophet (s)Shafa'aTawassulTaqiyyaMourningMut'aCompanions
Figures
Shi'a Imams Imam 'Ali (a)Imam al-Hasan (a)Imam al-Husayn (a)Imam al-Sajjad (a)Imam al-Baqir (a)Imam al-Sadiq (a)Imam al-Kazim (a)Imam al-Rida (a)Imam al-Jawad (a)Imam al-Hadi (a)Imam al-'Askari (a)Imam al-Mahdi (a)
Companions

Men: HamzaJa'far b. Abi TalibSalman al-FarsiMiqdad b. AswadAbudhar al-Ghifari'Ammar YasirMalik al-AshtarMuhammad b. Abi Bakr'Aqil'Uthman b. HunayfAbu Ayyub al-AnsariJabir b. 'Abd Allah al-AnsariIbn 'Abbas'Abd Allah b. Ja'farKhuzayma b. ThabitBilalYasir

Women: KhadijaLady Fatima (a)ZaynabUmm KulthumAsma' bt. 'UmaysUmm AymanUmm Salama
Scholars LitterateursScholars of UsulPoetsScholars of RijalFaqihsPhilosophersBibliographersExegetes
Shrines
Mecca: Al-Masjid al-Haram
Medina: Al-Masjid al-NabawiAl-Baqi'
Al-Quds: Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa
Najaf: Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)Masjid al-Kufa
Karbala: Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Kadhimiya: Shrine of al-Kazimayn (a)
Samarra: Shrine of al-'Askariyyayn (a)
Mashhad: Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a)
Damascus: Zaynabiyya
Qom: Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma
Shiraz: Shah Chiragh
Rey: Shrine of 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani
Eids
Eid al-FitrEid al-AdhaEid al-GhadirMab'athProphet's birthdayImams' birthdays
Mournings
FatimiyyaMuharram (Mournings of Muharram), Tasu'a, 'Ashura and Arba'in)
Events
MubahalaEvent of GhadirEvent of Saqifa Bani Sa'idaFadakEvents of Lady Fatima's HouseBattle of JamalBattle of SiffinBattle of NahrawanEvent of KarbalaHadith al-ThaqalaynAshab al-Kisa'Tathir VerseKilling Shi'as
Literature
Qur'anNahj al-balaghaal-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaThe Four Books: (al-Istibsaral-KafiTahdhib al-ahkamKitab man la yahduruh al-faqih) • Mushaf of Fatima (a)Mushaf Imam 'Ali (a)Asrar-i Al-i Muhammad (s)Wasa'il al-Shi'aBihar al-anwaral-GhadirMafatih al-jinanMajma' al-bayanal-MizanOther Books
Sects
Ithna 'AshariyyaIsma'iliyyaZaydiyyaKaysaniyya

The hadith is accepted by both Shi'a and Sunni scholars and its authenticity could not be rejected.

Sunni Sources

According to the book Hadith al-thaqalayn wa maqamat ahl al-bayt,[3] the hadith is narrated by 25 companions of the Prophet (s) in Sunni sources, some of which are:

  1. Zayd b. Arqam: the hadith of thaqalayn is narrated with 6 chains of narration from him in the books: Sunan an-Nasa'i,[4] al-Mu'jam al-kabir,[5] Sunan al-Tirmidhi,[6] Mustadrak al-Hakim,[7] Musnad Ahmad.[8]
  2. Zayd b. Thabit: in Musnad Ahmad[9] and al-Mu'jam al-kabir.[10]
  3. Jabir b. 'Abd Allah: in Sunan al-Tarmadhi,[11] al-Mu'jam al-kabir,[12] and al-Mu'jam al-awsat.[13]
  4. Hudhayfa b. Usayd: in al-Mu'jam al-kabir[14]
  5. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: in Musnad Ahmad[15] and Du'afa' al-kabir.[16]
  6. Imam 'Ali (a): with 2 chains of narrators in al-Bahr al-zikhar[17] and Kanz al-'Ummal.[18]
  7. Abu Dhar al-Ghifari: in al-Mu'talaf wa al-Mukhtalaf.[19]
  8. Abu Hurayra: in Kashf al-astar 'an zawa'id al-bazar[20]
  9. 'Abd Allah b. Hantab: in Usd al-ghaba[21]
  10. Jubayr b. Mut'im: in Zilal al-Janna[22]

Al-Bahrani, the author of Ghayat al-maram wa hujjat al-khisam, narrated the hadith from 39 chains of narrations from Sunni authors. According to the book, the hadith is narrated in Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Muslim, Manaqib Ibn al-Maghazili, Sunan Tarmadhi, al-'Umda Tha'labi, Musnad Abi Ya'li, al-Mu'jam al-awsat, al-'Umda Ibn al-Bitriq, Yanabi' al-mawadda, al-Tara'if, Fara'id al-simatayn, and the commentary on Nahj al-balagha for Ibn Abi al-Hadid.[23]

Shi'a Sources

According to Ghayat al-maram wa hujjat al-khisam, in Shi'a sources 82 hadiths are narrated with the content of the hadith of thaqalayn, in many books such as: Usul al-kafi, Kamal al-din, al-Amali (al-Saduq), al-Amali (al-Mufid), al-Amali (al-Tusi), 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida (a), al-Ghayba (al-Nu'mani), Basa'ir al-darajat.[24]

Monographs

In addition to the narration of the hadith of thaqalayn, Shi'a scholars have also written independent books about it, like:

Hadith al-thaqalayn by Qawam al-Din Muhammad Wishnawi Qummi, Sa'adat al-darayn fi sharh hadith al-thaqalayn by 'Abd al-'Aziz Dihlawi in Farsi, Hadith al-thaqalayn by Najm al-Din al-'Askari, Hadith al-Thaqalayn by Sayyid 'Ali al-Milani, Hadith al-thaqalayn wa maqamat ahl al-bayt by Ahmad al-Mahuzi.

Place and Time

There's disagreement about when and where the hadith is stated; for example Ibn Hajar al-Haythami says: "the Prophet (s), stated the hadith of thaqalayn, after the conquest of Mecca, on his way back to Medina, in Ta'if";[25] but others mentioned other times and places.

Studying this different hadiths, it's apparent that although some of them could be considered as different reports about a single occurrence, but not for many others; so it is clear that the Prophet (a) has mentioned the importance of thaqalayn (Qur'an and ahl al-bayt (a)) in different times and places, especially in his last days of life.[26]

The following are some of the places and times mentioned in the hadiths:

  • In a sermon in a Friday, along with the hadith of Ghadir.[31]
  • In his last sermon.[34]
  • In a sermon after his last congregational prayer.[35]
  • In bed, when he was ill and some of the companions were around him.[36]

Sunna or 'Itra?

In some of the sources of Sunnis, instead of the word "'itra" (family) the word "sunna" (tradition) has come.[37] These narrations are rare and even Sunni scholars did not considered them; because the hadith with the word "sunna" did not come in the original reliable sources.

Who are 'Itra?

In most of the narrations the phrase "ahl al-bayt" has come as a description for the word "'itra", but in some narrations only "'itra",[38] and in some other only "ahl al-bayt" has come,[39] and in some cases the order about the obedience of ahl al-bayt is repeated.[40]

In some of Shi'a sources, twelve Imams (a) are mentioned as the explanation of "ahl al-bayt".[41]

Importance

Shi'a scholars narrated the hadith of thaqalayn in their books and referred to it as a proof for some of the Shi'a beliefs. Mir Hamid Husayn (d. 1306/1888) dedicated a chapter of his book 'Abaqat al-anwar to the hadith of thaqalayn and its chains of narrators, using Shi'a and Sunni sources. In the discussion of Imamate, he had mentioned the hadith foremost.

Some of the beliefs of Shi'a could be proved using hadith of thaqalayn:

Necessity of the Obedience of Ahl al-Bayt (a)

In the hadith of thaqalayn, ahl al-bayt (a) are put next to Qur'an, and this is stated that they will not separate each other; therefore, as the obedience of Qur'an is necessary for Muslims, so is the obedience of ahl al-bayt (a).

Infallibility of Ahl al-Bayt (a)

There are two points in hadith of thaqalayn about the infallibility of ahl al-bayt (a):

  • Putting stress on that if you obey Qur'an and ahl al-bayt (a), you will never astray. This clearly shows that there's no error in the teachings of ahl al-bayt (a).
  • The companionship of ahl al-bayt (a) with Qur'an shows that as Qur'an is free from any error –according to the consensus (ijma') of Muslims- so the other side (ahl al-bayt (a)) must also be free from errors.

In addition to Shi'a scholars some Sunni scholars have also accepted the indication of the hadith to the infallibility of ahl al-bayt (a).[42]

Necessity of the Continuation of Imamate

  • The companionship of ahl al-bayt (a) with Qur'an shows that as Qur'an is the source of guidance in Islam, so there always must be someone from ahl al-bayt (a) to whom people refer in religious issues.
  • The Prophet (a) emphasizes that Qur'an and ahl al-bayt (a) will never separate each other.
  • The Prophet (a) says if you hold yourself to these two you will never astray.

Al-Zurqani al-Maliki, one of the Sunni scholars in his commentary on al-Mawahib,[43] narrates from al-'Allama al-Samhudi: it is realized from the hadith of thaqalayn that there is always a person from ahl al-bayt (a) who deserves to be followed, till the Day of Judgment; so he is meant by the persuasion in the hadith, as the book (Qur'an) is like this [which is and will be always available].[44]

Scientific Authority of Ahl al-Bayt (a)

Because Qur'an is the main source of beliefs and practical rulings of all Muslims and according to hadith of thaqalayn ahl al-bayt (a) are the inseparable accompany of Qur'an, it is clear that ahl al-bayt (a) are the infallible scientific authority in all of Islamic sciences.

Sayyid 'Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din in his discussion with Shaykh Sulaym al-Bushri –the discussion is quoted in al-Muraji'at- proved the scientific authority of ahl al-bayt (a) and the necessity of their obedience.[45]

Hadith al-Thaqalayn and Proximity of Islamic Sects

As mentioned above, the hadith of thaqalayn is accepted by both Shi'a and Sunni scholars. There have been many discussions about the hadith which resulted in the approach of Islamic sects; including the discussion of Sayyid 'Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din with al-Shyakh Sulaym al-Bushri, one of the Sunni scholars; the discussion formed the book al-Muraji'at.[46]

Notes

  1. Al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.1 p.294
  2. Al-Nasa'i, al-Sunan al-kubra, hadith:8148
  3. Al-Mahuzi, Ahamd
  4. Al-Nasa'i, al-Sunan al-kubra, hadith:8148
  5. Al-Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-kabir, vol.5 p.186
  6. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, hadith:3876
  7. Niyshaburi, al-Mustadrak, vol.3 p.110
  8. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol.4 p.371
  9. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol.5 p.183,189
  10. Al-Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-kabir, vol.5 p.166
  11. Al-Tirmidhi, Sahih, vol.5 p.328
  12. Al-Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-kabir, vol.3 p.66
  13. Al-Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-awsat, vol.5 p.89
  14. Al-Tabarani, al-Mu'jam al-kabir, vol.3 p.180
  15. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol.3 p.13,17,26,59
  16. 'Aqili, Du'afa' al-kabir, vol.4 p.362
  17. Bazzaz, al-Bahr, p.88
  18. Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-'Ummal, vol.14 p.77
  19. Darqutni, al-Mu'talaf, vol.2 p. 1046
  20. Al-Haythami, Kashf al-astar, vol.3 p.223
  21. Ibn Athir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.219
  22. Albani, Zilal al-Janna, hadith:1465
  23. Al-Bahrani, Ghayat al-maram, vol.2 p.304-320
  24. Al-Bahrani, Ghayat al-maram, vol.2 p.320-367
  25. Al-Haythami, al-Sawa'iq, p.150
  26. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, vol.1 p.180; Haythami, al-Sawa'iq, p.150; Sharaf al-Din, al-Muraji'at, p.74
  27. Al-Tabrisi, al-Ihtijaj, vol.1 p.391
  28. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, vol.5 p.662
  29. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol.4 p.371; Muslim, Sahih, vol.2 p.1873
  30. Al-Saduq, Kamal al-din, vol.1 p.234,238; Niyshaburi, al-Mustadrak, vol.3 p.109; Samhudi, Jawahir, p.236
  31. Al-'Ayyashi, al-Tafsir, vol.1 p.4
  32. Saffar al-Qummi, Basa'ir al-darajat, p.412-414
  33. Al-Saduq, Amali, p.62; Juwayni, Fara'id al-samtayn, vol.2 p.268
  34. Al-'Ayyashi, al-Tafsir, vol.1 p.5; Tabrisi, al-Ihtijaj, vol.1 p.216
  35. Al-Daylami, Irshad al-qulub, vol.2 p.340
  36. Al-Haythami, al-Sawa'iq, p.150
  37. Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-'Ummal, vol.1 p.187
  38. Al-Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida (a), vol.2 p.62; Niyshaburi, al-Mustadrak, vol.3 p.109
  39. Al-Juwayni, Fara'id al-simtayn, vol.2 p.268; Majlisi, Bihar, vol.23 p.131
  40. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol.4 p.367; Muslim, Sahih, vol.2 p.1873; Juwayni, Fara'id al-samtayn, vol.2 p.250,268
  41. Al-Saduq, Kamal al-din, vol.1 p.278; Majlisi, Bihar, vol.36 p.317
  42. Manawi, Fayd al-ghadir, vol.3 p.1819; Zurqani, Sharh al-mawahib, vol.8 p.2
  43. Zurqani, Sharh al-mawahib, vol.8 p.7
  44. Amini, Al-Ghadir, vol.3 p.118
  45. Sharaf al-Din, Al-Muraji'at, p.71-76
  46. Wa'iz zadi, Hadith al-Thaqalayn, p.39-40

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