Ḥadith of Wisāya (Arabic: حدیث الوصایة) is a hadith from the Prophet (s), in which Imam Ali (a) is introduced as the Wasi and caliph. This hadith is mentioned in different wordings in Shi'a and Sunni sources. One of the famous narrations of the hadith of Wisaya transmitted by Burayda b. Hasib from the Prophet (s) is, "for every prophet, there is a guardian and heir and surly Ali (a) is my guardian and heir".
Hadith of Wisaya is mentioned in Shi'a and Sunni sources such as Fadail al-Sahaba by Ibn Hanbal, Manaqib by Ibn al-Maghazili, al-Mu'jam al-kabir by al-Tabarani, Tarikh Madina Dimashq, al-Manaqib by al-Khwarazmi, al-Kamil by al-Gurgani, Tadhkirat al-khawas, Kifayat al-athar, Man la yahduruh al-faqih, Dala'il al-Imama, al-Manaqib by Ibn Shahr Ashub, and Bihar al-anwar. 'Abd Allah b. Burayda narrated from the Prophet (s) saying that, "for every prophet, there is a guardian and heir and surly Ali (a) is my guardian and heir". In reply to Salman al-Farsi who asked the Prophet (s) about his guardian and caliph, the Prophet (s) said, "My guardian and heir and the one who will pay my debts and will fulfill my promises is Ali b. Abi Talib (a)."
Also, based on a hadith transmitted by Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, once the Prophet (s) addressed Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) that, "my guardian is the best of guardians and the most beloved among them before God and that is your husband."
Hadith of Wisaya is about the caliphate and vicegerency of Imam Ali (a). Shi'a scholars consider it among the arguments for the imamate of Ali b. Abi Talib (a). They interpret "wisaya" as "vicegerency" and believe that the Prophet (s) introduced Imam Ali (a) as his vicegerent in this hadith. But, some Sunni scholars say that in this hadith, "wisaya" does not mean caliphate, and the Prophet (a) has actually advised Ali (a) about his households. They have been answered and criticized that here the Prophet (a) has mentioned Imam Ali (a) as his vicegerent in an absolute way and there is no evidence that he (s) limited "wisaya" to his family affairs. In the research version of al-Mu'jam al-kabir, Hamdi b. 'Abd al-Majid Salafi said that if the chain of the transmission for this hadith were correct, it would imply the issue of caliphate and vicegerency.
Chain of Transmission
Hadith of Wisaya has been mentioned in Sunni sources with different chains of transmission, from Burayda, Salman, Abu Ayub al-Ansari and Anas b. Malik. Sibt b. al-Jawzi (author of Tadhkirat al-khawas) transmitted the narration of Salman in two ways. He considers the chain of transmission mentioned by Ibn Hanbal's Fada'il al-sahaba correct.
Some Sunni scholars such as Ibn al-Jawzi, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti and al-Haythami doubted in the chain of transmission of this hadith and did not accept it; while, some researchers have criticized these Sunni scholars.
- The Material for this article is mainly taken from حدیث وصایت in Farsi WikiShia.