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Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab

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Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab on a wall in Neyshabur.

Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab (Arabic: حديث سِلسِلَة الذَّهَب) or the Golden Chain Hadith is a short narration given by Imam al-Rida (a) on his way to Merv through Neyshabur, on the unity of God and one of its main conditions. Since all the narrators of this hadith are the infallible Imams (a), all the way to the Holy Prophet (s), who has narrated it from Jabra'il (Gabriel) from God, thus it has been called Silsilat al-Dhahab, which means Golden Chain.

Based on this hadith, the belief in Tawhid rescues the person from hell fire. However, Imam al-Rida (a) has introduced himself as a condition for this salvation. Shi'a scholars believe that by this condition, Imam al-Rida (a) has meant the belief in Imamate.


اللَّهَ جَلَّ جَلَالُهُ یَقُولُ «لَا إِلَهَ‏ إِلَّا اللَّهُ‏ حِصْنِی‏ فَمَنْ دَخَلَ حِصْنِی أَمِنَ مِنْ عَذَابِی»
قَالَ فَلَمَّا مَرَّتِ الرَّاحِلَةُ نَادَانَا «بِشُرُوطِهَا وَ أَنَا مِنْ شُرُوطِهَا»

Allah says: "(The word) 'There is no lord but Allah' is my stronghold, thus whomever enters my stronghold shall be safe from my punishment."
When the caravan started to move [Imam al-Rida (a)] said: "[but of course] it has conditions, and I am one of its conditions."

Kitab al-Tawhid :25

The text of the hadith as recorded by al-Shaykh al-Saduq in his Kitab al-Tawhid is as follows:

Ishaq b. Rahawayh says, "When Imam al-Rida (a) reached Nishabur on his journey to Khurasan, after he decided to leave for Ma'mun, the penmen gathered and said, "O son of the Messenger of God (s), are you leaving our city without giving us a statement to benefit from?" Upon this request, the Imam (a) brought his head out of his wagon and said: "I heard my father Musa b. Ja'far (a) say that I heard my father Ja'far b. Muhammad (a) say that I heard my father Muhammad b. 'Ali (a) say that I heard my father 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) say that I heard my father Husayn b. 'Ali (a) say that I heard my father Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) say that I heard God's Messenger (s) say that I heard Gabriel say that I heard God say that 'the sentence 'There is no god but God' is my stronghold, thus whomever enters my stronghold shall be safe from my punishment.'" As the Imam's (a) caravan began to move, he said aloud: "With its conditions, and I myself am one of those conditions."


This hadith is famously called Hadith Silsilat al-Dhahab (The Golden Chain Hadith) because of its chain of narrators whom are all infallibles, starting from Imam al-Rida (a) who quotes the seventh Imam, who narrates from the sixth Imam and goes all the way to the first Imam who himself has obtained it from the Holy Prophet (s) who has received it from God. Therefore, this narration is a hadith qudsi.


After narrating this hadith in his Kitab al-Tawhid, al-Shaykh al-Saduq writes, "The meaning of what the Imam (a) said is that one of the conditions of [confessing to] "There is no god but God" is confessing to his Imamate and that he was appointed by God as the Imam who must be obeyed."

See also