Mastership of Ameerul Momineen(a.s.) in the light of Quranic verse about the Sadiqeen – Part I
The most important difference between the two leading Muslim schools of thought is regarding the religious and worldly guidance after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). According to the Ahle Tasunnan, the matter of leadership and caliphate is delegated to the elite of the nation – the Ahle Hall-o-Aqd. Their decision favouring a particular Muslim as caliph must be respected by all Muslims who must necessarily pay allegiance to him. Another Sunni viewpoint favours a Muslim who with his strength and power wrests caliphate from the existing caliph. In such a scenario, the dominant Muslim assumes the role of caliph and to oppose him is forbidden. Most if not all Sunnis are of this opinion in the matter of leadership.
As for the Shias – they believe that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on several occasions in his lifetime had declared Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and his pure progeny (a.s.) as guides for Muslims, thereby emphasizing their divine position. Therefore, after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) the right to leadership of the Muslims was with the infallible Imams (a.s.) of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) – a fact established through numerous Quranic verses and consecutively narrated authentic traditions (tawaatur) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Here, we will discuss the topic of Imamate of Ahle Bait (a.s.) in light of the 119th verse of Surah Taubah (9) where Allah mentions about the ‘Saadiqeen’ (truthful ones):
‘O you who have believed! Be careful of your duty to Allah and be with the truthful ones.’
In this verse, Allah the High has ordered the believers to obey and follow the truthful ones. To live a life in a truthful way is one thing and to be with the truthful ones is another thing. Who are the ‘Saadiqeen’? What are their distinctions?
Interpretations of the word Sidq
Scholars of the Arabic language have mentioned a few meanings of the word.
- According to Khalil Ibn Ahmed: Every perfect thing is said to be ‘Sidq’.
- Regarding the word ‘Sidq’, Ibn Manzoor has introduced the following meanings:
- ‘Sidq’ as opposed to falsehood
- Ibn ‘Insaan-e-Sidq’ – a good human in opposition to an evil human
- ‘Libaas-e-Sidq’ means good clothing
- Rajul-e-Sidq means that person who possesses good manners and a polite tongue
- According to Raaghib al-Isfahaani, good and liked actions in the apparent and the concealed are considered as sidq and the doer of these actions are also considered as sidq.
The word Sidq in the Holy Quran
In the Holy Quran, the word Sidq has been used in quite a few places:
a) As a quality of position and superiority
Surah Yunus (10):Verse2
“What! Is it a wonder to the people that We revealed to a man from among themselves, saying: Warn the people and give good news to those who believe that theirs is a footing of truthfulness with their Lord. The unbelievers say: This is most surely a manifest enchanter.”
‘Footing’ is a noun and denotes excellence while ‘truthfulness’ is the additive noun (muzaafun ilaih).
b) As a level and position:
- Surah Yunus(10): Verse 93
“And certainly We lodged the children of Israel in a goodly abode…” (do we retain translation? They have shown siffat and mawsoof)
- Surah Qamar (54):Verse 55
“In the seat of honor with a most Powerful King.”
c) As a quality of entrance and exit
Surah Isra (17):80
“And say: My Lord! make me to enter a goodly entering (siffat, mawsoof) , and cause me to go forth a goodly going forth, and grant me from near Thee power to assist (me).”
Other than that if a person is performing good deeds from various aspects, then the Holy Quran has referred to it as ‘sidq’. Action according to promise has also been shown in Quran as ‘sidq’. With its vast interpretation and application, we can appreciate that the word ‘sidq’ is not limited to speech, discussion or information. But it also includes human temperament, thoughts, behaviour and character.
Meaning of Sadiqeen in the Quranic verse
When we review the verse it first appears that Sadiqeen refers to those people who are true in their speech. But taking into consideration the multi-faceted nature of Quranic verses and the vast interpretation of the word ‘sidq’, the meaning of sadiqeen is similar to the meaning of infallibility.
- That which is important and necessary is that a person should keep away from lying and be a truthful person. But to accompany truthful people is not included under an obligatory command of the Shariat. In the laws of the Shariat there is no obligatory command to be with the truthful ones. Whereas when we consider the verse of Sadiqeen we realize that that there is an explicit command to be with the truthful ones as denoted by the tenor of the verse which is in the nature of a command (Amr).
- The statement of ‘Be among the Sadiqeen’ has been mentioned in the context of ‘acquire piety’ which is an order to observe piety and this order is given in a manner of obligation. And piety here is interpreted in general.
On the basis that the word Sidq in the Quran has several interpretations we can say that it embraces thoughts, ethics, behaviour and character. In this verse to be with the truthful ones (Sadiqeen) does not mean to acquire material proximity and companionship but it means to follow in every such thing in which truthfulness, purity and piety are found.
Who are the Sadiqeen according to this verse?
There can be two possibilities regarding the identity of the Sadiqeen in the verse.
- It refers to common people
- It refers to a particular group of believers The first supposition is not reasonable. Also the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has said:‘Those who attribute lie towards me are too many.’ (Sahih-e-Bukharivol 1 chap 3 Kitab al-Ilm)
The second supposition is accurate, intuitive and in conformity with facts and events. It meets the various interpretations of Sidq in the Quran. The only way for individuals to conform to the multi-faceted interpretation of Sidq is by being infallible (masoom). Sadiqeen refers to the teachers and writers of the exegesis of the Quran – the true successors of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the trustee of Quran and Shariat, the protector and guide of Islam – the holy infallibles of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). This is the very chain of infallible entities from whom Allah has kept away every uncleanliness, dirt, impurities and made them pure and clean in the best possible manner. The first link of this chain is Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) – Ali b. Abi Talib and the last link is Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
Allamah Behbahani asserts – ‘Sadiqeen’ refers to 12 infallible Imams (a.s.) as has been narrated by the two groups i.e. Sunnis and Shias. This can be proved in the following way:
If in the verse of ‘Sadiqeen’ the word Sadiqeen refers to the entire Muslim nation as some scholars have claimed, then instead of “Be with the truthful” verse should have order “Be the truth” meaning every Muslim should be among the truthful people. “Be with the truthful” clarifies that Sidq refers to a very special and unique position and status. And ‘Sadiqeen’ refers to eminent and distinguished personalities who possess this special and unique trait. Clearly, the Sadiqeen can only refer to the infallible Imams (a.s.) from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) household.
Even if the Muslims reject this interpretation, the tone and tenor of the verse and the interpretation of Sidq suggest that the individuals – whoever they may be – must be infallible and superior to the nation. Else, it will imply that the Quran is ordering the nation to follow individuals who are lower than them in status i.e. infallible are following the fallible. Such a command is illogical and cannot be expected from Allah, the Wise.
The other proof is that Allah in the beginning of the verse after inviting all the people to acquire piety and to keep away from sins has ordered to be with the ‘sadiqeen’. It means that their companionship is only possible if we obey them and keep away from opposing them. The implication is that the sadiqeen are infallible else Allah would not have given such an unconditional command for obedience. (Misbah al-Hedayah pg 92-93)
Continued in part II …..