Hadith Al Thaqalain (ep 22)
Bismillah Alrahman Alraheem. Alhamdulillahi rabil a’alameen.
Wasalatu wasalamu a’la khayri khaliqi Muhammadin Wa aalihil tayibeen altahireen.
We notice that the Prophet (saww) from the very beginning of his message from his (dawa) he was concerned with the issue of succession, the authority after him. The one who continues the same effort after his death. We saw that this continued throughout the twenty three years of his life as a messenger of God, as a messenger of Allah swt wether in Makka or Madina, that he in many occasions emphasised especially when he was in Madina about how important is the issue of succession (khilafa), (wisaya).
As practice he never left Madina without somebody to be in charge of the Muslim affairs.
How could he possibly, knowing that he was going to depart from this temporary life to the eternal?
How could he possibly ignore the need of the community to be supervised and someone to be in charge, knowing that he never left Madina without appointing somebody to be in charge.
And towards the end of his life it was the incident of Ghadeer e khum which we saw how authentic was that event and the narration and records of that event in the books of Hadeeth, Tafseer and other Islamic sources.
Today we are going to discuss another support for the Divine leadership for the (Wasaya) and succession of Imam Ali (as) and that is Hadeeth Al Thaqalain.
What is Hadeeth Al Thaqalain?
Hadeeth Al Thaqalain refers to what all scholars reported on the authority of the Prophet (saww) that he said: I am leaving amongst you what if you cling to both of them, two precious things, two weighty things, as long as you cling to both of them you will never go astray.
So the guidance is guaranteed when you follow these two together.
The Book of Allah and my Progeny, Ahlubayti (etrati, ahlubayti).
This Ahlulbayt is to be interpreted in a way that matches the intention if the Prophet (saww).
Lets take it step by step.
First of all two precious, two weighty, Althaqlain or Thiqlain in many other narrations, one is (ahaduhuma akbar min al akhar)- one is greater than the other, that is the Book of Allah swt and in some other narrations, (wa innahuma lan yaftariqa hattaa yarida alayya alhawth)- that Allah swt informed me that they will not separate until they meet me, this is the Prophet (saww), meet me on the pool. Which means that they go hand in hand, parallel. One assists the other in a way that we guarantee the guidance and being immune from going astray. First of all lets look at the authenticity of this Hadeeth, the chain of narrators. Many great scholars have included twenty five of the companions who mentioned this Hadeeth as authentic and they refer to each one as they heard the Prophet (saww) saying this Hadeeth and telling them that these two, the Book of Allah and the Progeny are working hand in hand to achieve and to guarantee the guidance for all of us. Then the next generation and some other generations to come so all these have been recorded and investigated, verified clearly and in depth to see the authenticity of this Hadeeth.
Indeed, Dar al taqreeb bayn al mathahib al Islamiya in Cairo, which is the centre of proximity between the different Muslim sects and mathaahib published one volume which included all the chain of narrators of this Hadeeth and they have proven that to be authentic.
It wasn’t once, it wasn’t twice, rather it was repeated in many occasions. In one occasion it was when the farewell pilgrimage, the other occasion it was in Arafat, in the third occasion it was when some companions went there, so in all we see that the Prophet (saww) constantly, continuously said that if the Muslim nation wants to be protected and immune against any stray, to be walking on the right path they have to stick to the Quran in one hand and to His Progeny, his household, Ahlulbayt on the other hand.
Sometimes people would argue about the authenticity of this Hadeeth but the Great Alim Sayed Hamid Hossein of Lucknow has written six volumes in Farsi and a combination of Farsi and Arabic about this Hadeeth, approximately 3 volumes are only about verifying the chain of narrators one by one and then trying to see the reliability and credibility of each narrator by tens of other biographers. We know that they are both by the Shias and Sunnis where the reliability of each narrator or his position, was he honourable? Was he trustworthy? Can we rely on him or the reports on him that he fabricated Hadeeth? Or sometimes he was weak. All these are available and you can refer to any of them to see how reliable these narrators were.
So Sayed Hamid Hossein in his book tries to verify the authenticity of the chain of narrators by each one in that chain and taking the biography of each of these narrators from sources that are acceptable by all Sunni scholars.
In brief we say that, and it is challenging to say that, that no Hadeeth is having all the requirements for the (Mutawatir)- uninterrupted chain of narrators, all reliable, we don’t remember and as such the chain of narrators for this hadeeth are so well known and a variety of sources proves that no any other Hadeeth can match that level of authenticity.
Now we talk about the meaning or the content of that Hadeeth having discussed the (isnaad) when we talk about the Quran and Hadeeth, we all about Quran and Etra, Quran and Sunnah or Quran and Ahlulbayt it is nice to know that in Sahih Muslim volume 7 page 122 and Sunnan Altirmithee volume 2 page 307 in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal volume 3 page 17, volume 4 page 366 and volume 5 page 182, these are a few references which recorded the chain of narrators clearly about Hadeeth Al Thaqlain.
So having discussed the authenticity of this Hadeeth lets see that what are the meanings or what we conclude from this Hadeeth.
The first is that the Holy Quran and the Prophets Progeny will remain inseparable until the Day of Resurrection. Why?
Because especially in the Hadeeth of Zaid ibn Arqam and others the Prophet (saww) is reported to have said that (wa innal lateef al khabeer anba’ani annahuma lan yaftariqa hattaa yarida alaya alhawth)- That Allah swt Almighty informed me that the Quran and my Progeny will not separate until the Day of Judgement or until they meet me at the pool.
So this means that always the Quran and the Progeny, the Progeny always is to interpret to elaborate is the reference and the source when we have to clarify any idea in the Quran. So, the first idea is, or the first conclusion from Hadeeth Al Thaqalain is that they will remain inseparable until the Day of Resurrection.
The second point is that to cling to both of them not only one is a guarantee of immunity for communities and individuals.
So when the Prophet (saww) was on his last breath and said that bring me a pen and paper to write down, to document a will that (ma in tamasaktum bihi lan tathilloo ba’di abada)- as long as you cling to it and act upon it you will never go astray.
So there was an argument. Some of the Sahaba there said Oh the Prophet is ill and he cannot concentrate, focus on what he is saying. No (hasbuna kitab Allah)- The Book of Allah is sufficient to us. It is clear that is exactly opposite to what the Prophet (saww) was saying. The Prophet is saying that I’m leaving behind two, both of them, clinging to both of them, the Quran and the Progeny not one and if someone says (hasbuna kitab Allah)- the Book of Allah is sufficient to us, which means he is challenging the guidance from Allah swt which has been delivered via the Prophet Muhammad (saww).
So the second point is that clinging to both of them rather only one is a guarantee to immunity of the communities and individuals. So only sticking to one without referring and accepting from the second will not guarantee that immunity.
The third point is that the Prophets Progeny alongside the Quran are from error because Allah swt said about the Quran that Quran is free of error. Allah swt said that (inna nahnu nazzalnal thikra wa inna lahu lahafithoon)-We truly have sent down the Quran and we are protecting this. Allah swt has taken on Himself to protect the Quran, no alteration at all. Any claim about the alteration of the Quran is rejected and it is false. So the Quran is protected completely profoundly by Allah swt so if the Quran and the Progeny are working together as the Quran is immune from the error, the Progeny are free from error.
And the last point which we may conclude is that from the moment that this was declared by the Prophet (saww) til the Day of Judgement a member of the Prophets Progeny must be existent as the source of the Divine guidance.
The book of Allah swt and the Progeny of the Prophet being inseparable until that day this is evidence of the reality of the Twelfth Imam (afs). Why?
Because the Pophet (saww) said that they are not separable, they go hand in hand (lan yaftariqa hatta yarida alayya al hawth) so both are surviving and existing.
For those who claim that yes we believe in the Twelfth Imam Al Mehdi who will appear to fill the earth with justice and truth but this might happen in the future. The Hadeeth Al Thaqalain clearly says no the Twelfth Imam or the one who is from the Progeny of the Prophet (saww) who is the Twelfth Imam (afs) IS there, he does exist and he is continuously working with the other pair which is the Quran so it is safe to conclude that the Ayah clearly refers us to the Twelfth Imam indirectly. The Hadeeth explains to us that the Quran and the existence of the Imam alongside the Imam will continue to be the source of guidance.
If we consider a train moving on two rails and these two rails are inseparable, one mm. If one line, one rail tries to divert and separate from the other one after a few hundred miles or meters the gap which widens and this will lead definitely to the whole train to collapse and the same thing applies, the same picture applies to the train of the whole Muslim nation which the Prophet (saww) wanted to fix it on two rails. The Prophet (saww) wanted to fix the train and the movement of the whole Muslim nation on two rails and they go continuously one with the other not separating one from the other at all until they reach the destination and that is the final goal.
So from Hadeeth Al Thaqalain we understand exactly what we understood from the Hadeeth al Ghadeer, from Al Mubahala and from other incidents which were repeatedly declared by the Prophet (saww) during his lifetime.
May Allah swt enable us to cling to both the Quran and the Etra, Quran and the Progeny and get the light of guidance through both of them.
Allahumma sali ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammadin waa ajjil farajahum.