Exegesis of the Verse of Wilayat from the Ahle Sunnah perspective – Part Two

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Continued from part I ….

Third Tradition

Muwaffaq b. Ahmad records the correspondence between Muawiyah and Amr-e-Aas regarding Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). Amr-e-Aas responded to Muawiyah (when he invited Amr to join forces with him to rebel against Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)) – O Muawiyah you are fully aware that there are numerous virtues of Ali (a.s.) mentioned in the Holy Quran and no one in the world shares these virtues with him.For example

‘They fulfill vows…’

(Surah Insaan (76): 7)

‘Only Allah is your Guardian and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.’

(Surah Maaidah (5): 55)

‘Is he then who has with him clear proof from his Lord, and a witness from Him recites it and before it (is) the Book of Musa, a guide and a mercy?…

(Surah Hud (11): 17)

‘Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah…’

(Surah Ahzaab (33): 23)

‘…Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives…’

(Surah Shura (42): 23)

(Manaqib-e-Khwaarazmi, p 200)


When this verse (Surah Maaidah: 55), proclaiming the virtue of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), was revealed, Hassaan b. Saabit recited an elegy extempore:

O Abul Hasan, may my life and my blood be sacrificed on you. As also all the things that fly on the earth. Will my praise and writing be squandered? By Allah, never! Praise in the way of Allah is never squandered. You are the one who paid the poor-rate (Zakaat) while bowing. May the entire nation be sacrificed on you, O the best of bowing ones! Thus, Allah has bestowed on you the best guardianship (Wilayat). And they have the most explicit religious laws in their midst.

In addition to the above, the renowned Ahle Sunnah scholar Al Haafiz al Kabir Ubaydillah b. Abdullah b. Ahmad who is more famous as al-Hakim al-Haskaani has documented close to twenty-five traditions related to this verse in his exegesis ‘Shawaahid al-Tanzeel’. All these traditions reiterate that the aforementioned verse was revealed in favour of Ameerul Momineen – Ali b. Abi Taalib (a.s.).

Despite such irrefutable evidences, some so-called scholars continue to claim that this exegesis is the concoction of the Shias in praise of Ameerul Ali (a.s.). One such person – Ahmad b. Abdil Haleem b. Taimiyyah, known as Ibne Taimiyyah, writes in his book ‘Minhaaj al-Sunnah’:

‘Some liars have fabricated the lie that the Quranic verse –

‘Only Allah is your Guardian and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.’

refers to Ali when he granted the ring to the beggar as charity while engaged in prayers. The consensus of the Ahle Sunnah scholars is that the Shiite claim is false.’

The pride of the scholars of the Shiite creed, the highly knowledgeable, the great striver (in the way of Allah) – Shaikh Abdul Husain Amini (r.a.) has given a fitting rebuttal to this preposterous allegation in his invaluable book – Al Ghadeer.

(Al Ghadeer, vol. 3, p. 156)

However, the reality is that prejudice and a corrupt disposition blind certain Muslims from the obvious truths. They begin to imagine that traditions that have been related by the immaculate Imams (a.s.) and the memorizers of Quran (Huffaaz) are fabricated. They assume that traditions with chain of narrators terminating at eminent personalities and Salaf-e-Saaleh like Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) – Ali b. Abi Taalib (a.s.), Ibne Abbas (r.a.), Abu Zarr (r.a.), Ammaar (r.a.), Jaabir b. Abdullah Ansaari (r.a.), Abu Raafe, Anas b. Maalik, Musalma b. Kumail and Abdullah b. Salaam, are a pack of lies and totally unreliable and untenable.

Clearly, Ibne Taimiyyah is way off the mark in his preposterous claims, living up to his reputation as a peddler of the most ludicrous assertions. His tall claims are baseless lacking any merit whatsoever, which should not surprise anyone. Even more laughable is his assertion that all Muslim scholars have a consensus on the interpretation of the 55th verse of Surah Maaidah being a fabrication of the Shias. Only Allah knows which Muslim scholars he is referring to; obviously they don’t exist in this world!

Let us review the scholars who have documented in their books and compilations the fact that the interpretation of the 55th verse of Surah Maaidah refers to none other than Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).

Third Century after Hijrah


  1. Al Qaazi al-Waqedi (died 207 AH)


  1. Haafiz al-Haskaani (died 211 AH)


  1. Haafiz Ibne Abi Shabeeh al-Kufi (died 239 AH)


  1. Abu Jafar al-Iskaafi al-Motazali (died 240 AH)


  1. Haafiz Abu Muhammad al-Kashi (died 249 AH)


  1. Abu Saeed al-Asbah al-Kufi (died 257 AH)


Fourth Century after Hijrah


  1. Haafiz Nesaai in his Saheeh (died 303 H)


  1. The famous historian and interpreter of Quran – Muhammad b. Jarir Tabari (died 310 AH)


  1. Ibne Abi Haatim al-Raazi (died 328 AH)


Fifth Century after Hijrah


  1. Haafiz Abu Bakr Shiraazi (died 407 AH)
    1. Haafiz Ibne Mordowayh al-Isfahaani (died 416 AH)


    1. Abu Ishaaq al-Saalabi (died 416 AH)


    1. Haafiz Abu Noaim al-Isfahaani (died 430 AH)


    1. Al-Maawardi al-Faqih al-Shaafei (died 450 AH)


    1. Haafiz Abu Bakr al-Baihaqi (died 458 AH)


    1. Haafiz Abu Bakr al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi al-Shaafei (died 463 AH)


    1. Haafiz Abu Hasan al-Wahidi al-Nishapoori (died 468 AH)


    Sixth Century after Hijrah


    1. Al-Faqih Abul Hasan Ali b. Muhammad al-Kiya al-Tabari al-Shaafei (died 504 AH)


    1. Haafiz al-Firaa al-Baghawi al-Shaafei (died 516 AH)


    1. Abul Hasan Razeen b. al-Abdari al-Aandalusi (died 534 AH) in his book Al-Jamo bain al-Sihaah al-Sittah from Saheeh al-Nesaai


    1. Abul Qasim Jaarullah Mahmud al-Zamakhshari al-Kharazmi al-Hanafi (exp 538 A.H.)


    1. Haafiz Samaani al-Shaafei (died 562 AH)


    1. Al-Imam Qurtubbi (died 567 AH)


    1. Ibne Asaakir Demeshqi (died 571 AH)


    1. Haafiz Ibne Jauzi Hanbali (died 597 AH)


    It must be noted that this is an abbreviated list of the most prominent scholars. Those who wish to venture into details can refer to the book of al-Ghadeer. Evidently, Muslim scholars from the third up to the sixth century after Hijrah across the fields of jurisprudence (Fiqh), theology (Kalaam), traditions (Hadis), exegesis (Tafseer), history (Taarikh), etc have a consensus on the fact that the 55th verse of Surah Maaidah refers to none other than Ameerul Momineen – Ali b. Abi Taalib (a.s.).

    To substantiate an allegation falls squarely on the shoulders of the claimant. This raises the question as to why Ibne Taimiyyah has not taken the trouble of advancing evidence of the so-called fabrication of the interpretation of the 55th verse of Surah Maaidah by the Shias. This discussion must be evaluated in the context of Ibne Taimiyyah’s suspect Islamic beliefs to which many of the Ahle Sunnah scholars both old and new have vehemently testified. Many of these scholars have even taken the extreme step of pronouncing him an apostate. Of course, this is an independent topic that will be tackled on a different occasion. Unfortunately, such decrees and charges leveled against Ibne Taimiyyah have not prevented his followers from decorating him with titles like Shaikh al-Islam and adopting his twisted beliefs as a way of life.

    It should also not be lost on the readers that those who claim to swear by the righteous companions (Salaf-e-Saaleh) have in fact rejected the traditions narrated by these very personalities to massage their egos and selfish desires. In effect, the Salaf-e-Saaleh is reduced to being a slogan and an eyewash for an unsuspecting populace.

    We supplicate to Allah to give us success in following the true Salaf-e-Saaleh viz. the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his successors – the immaculate Imams (a.s.).

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