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Uli l-Amr Verse

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'Ulī l-ʾAmr verse (Arabic: آیة أولي الأمر) or the Iṭāʿa (Arabic: إطاعة, obedience) verse is the verse 59 of Sura al-Nisa' which commands believers to obey God, the Prophet (s), and Uli l-Amr (those vested with authority). The verse is one of the Qur'anic proofs for the infallibility and imamate of Imam 'Ali (a) and other Twelve Imams (a).

Uli l-Amr Verse

Verse

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا أَطيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطيعُوا الرَّسولَ وَأُولِي الأَمرِ مِنكُم فَإِن تَنازَعتُم في شَيءٍ فَرُدّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسولِ إِن كُنتُم تُؤمِنونَ بِاللَّهِ وَاليَومِ الآخِرِ ذٰلِكَ خَيرٌ وَأَحسَنُ تَأويلًا

"O, you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority ('Uli l-Amr) among you. And if you dispute concerning anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you have faith in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more favorable in outcome." (Quran 4:59)

Context of Revelation

One Muslim and a Jew got disagreement on a subject. The Jew said, "Let's go to Muhammad (s) for judgment", the Jew knew that the Prophet (s) would not accept bribe; but the Muslim said, "Let's go to Ka'b b. Ashraf" because the Muslim knew that he will accept bribe and will judge for him. After the event, the verse of "'Uli l-Amr" revealed and commanded the believers to obey God, the Prophet (s), and Uli l-Amr; and in times of any dispute refer to God and his Prophet (s).[1]

Indication that 'Uli l-Amr are Infallible

In the view of the Shi'a exegetes, there's no doubt that the verse indicates the infallibility of Uli l-Amr. The reasoning is based on two main points:

  • When God commands to obey someone unconditionally, it results in his infallibility; because if he is fallible and commands us to do a sin, at the same time, we must obey him (because God commanded us to do so), and not obey him (because we must not commit sins).[2]
  • The word Uli l-Amr is mentioned immediately after the word al-Rasul (Prophet) and because the obedience of the Prophet (s) is unconditionally necessary, due to his infallibility, so the obedience of Uli l-Amr is also unconditional. So it results in the infallibility of Uli l-Amr.[3]

In addition to Shi'a scholars some Sunni scholars, like Fakhr al-Din al-Razi accepts that the verse indicates the infallibility of Uli l-Amr.[4]

Instances of Uli l-Amr

Although Fakhr al-Din al-Razi accepts that the verse indicates the infallibility of Uli l-Amr; he considers its instance, the consensus of Muslims and claims that we cannot identify the infallible and recognize them.[5] However, there are many hadiths in Shi'a sources which explain that the instance of Uli l-Amr are the Shia Imams (a):

  • Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari says, "When the verse revealed, I asked the Prophet (s), 'We know God and his Prophet (s), but who are Uli l-Amr that God attached their obedience to your obedience?', the Prophet (s) said, 'They are my successors and imams of Muslims after me, first of them is 'Ali, then al-Hasan, then al-Husayn, then 'Ali b. al-Husayn, then Muhammad b. 'Ali,…'[6]
  • Imam al-Baqir (a) says in the exegesis of the verse, "Uli l-Amr are from the children of 'Ali (a) and Fatima (a), till the Day of Judgment." He also said, "By Uli l-Amr, God only intended us and commanded all the faithful to obey us until the Day of Judgment."[7]
  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) says, "Uli l-Amr are 'Ali b. Abi Talib, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, 'Ali b. al-Husayn, Muhammad b. 'Ali and me, praise God that introduced your imams and leaders to you when people deny them.[8]

See also

Notes

  1. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 2, p. 264.
  2. Muẓaffar, Dalāʾil al-ṣidq, vol. 2, p. 17.
  3. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 2, p. 64.
  4. Fakhr al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ al-ghayb, vol. 10, p. 113.
  5. Fakhr al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ al-ghayb, vol. 10, p. 113.
  6. Qundūzī, Yanābīʿ al-Mawadda, p. 494.
  7. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, p. 383, 386.
  8. ʿAyyāshī, Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī, p. 252.

References

  • ʿAyyāshī, Muḥammad b. Masʿūd al-. Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī. Edited by Hāshim Rasūlī Maḥallatī. Tehran: Maktabat al-ʿIlmīyya al-Islāmīyya, 1363 Sh.
  • Baḥrānī, Sayyid Hāshim al-. Al-Burhān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Qom: Ismāʾīlīyān, n.d.
  • Fakhr al-Rāzī, Muḥammad b. ʿUmar al-. Mafātīḥ al-ghayb (al-Tafsīr al-kabīr). Third edition. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1420 AH.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Āyāt-i wilāyat dar Qurʾān. Qom: Intishārāt-i Nasl-i Jawān, 1386 Sh.
  • Muẓaffar, Muḥammad Ḥasan al-. Dalāʾil al-ṣidq. Tehran: Maktabat al-Dhujāj, n.d.
  • Qundūzī, Ḥāfiẓ Sulaymān al-. Yanābīʿ al-Mawadda. Edited by ʿAlī Jamāl Ashraf. Qom: Dār al-Uswa li-l-Ṭabāʿa wa l-Nashr, 1416 AH.
  • Rabbānī Gulpāyigānī, ʿAlī. Imāmat dar bīnish-i Islāmī. Qom: Būstān-i Kitāb, 1386 Sh.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Hāshim Rasūlī Maḥallatī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1379 AH.