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Uli l-Amr Verse

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The ʾUlī 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 Allah, 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).

Text

Cause of Revelation

One Muslim and a Jew got disagreement on a subject. The Jew said, "Let's go to Muhammad (s) for judgment" for 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 Allah, the Prophet (s), and Uli l-Amr; and in times of any dispute refer to Allah 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 (the Prophet) and because the obedience of the Prophet 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 Allah and his Prophet, 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 Hasan, then 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 and Fatima, 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. Al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-Bayan, vol.2 p.264
  2. Muhammad Hasan Al-Muzaffar, Dala'il al-Sidq, vol.2 p.17
  3. Al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-Bayan, vol.2 p.64
  4. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol.10 p.113
  5. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol.10 p.113
  6. Sulayman Qunduzi, Yanabi', p.494
  7. Al-Sayyid Hashim al-Bahrani, p.383,386
  8. Al-'Ayyashi, Al-Tafsir, p.252

References

  • The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from آیه اولی الامر in Farsi wikishia.
  • Tabrisi, Fadl b. Hasan. n.d. Majma' al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an. Beirut: Dar Ihya' al-Turath al-'Arabi
  • Muzaffar, Muhammad Hasan al-. n.d. Dala'il al-Sidq li Nahj al-Haqq. Tehran: Maktaba al-Dhujaj
  • Razi, Fakhr al-Din al-. n.d. Mafatih al-Ghayb
  • Qunduzi, Sulayman al-. n.d. Yanabi' al-Mawadda. Dar al-'uswa
  • Bahrani, Al-Sayyid Hashim al-. n.d. Al-Burhan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an. Qom: Isma'ilyan
  • 'Ayyashi, Muhammad b. Mas'ud al-. n.d. Al-Tafsir. Tehran: Maktaba al-'Ilmiyya al-Islamiyya