عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ ﷺ مَنْ دَانَ بِدِينِي وَ سَلَكَ مِنْهَاجِي وَ اتَّبَعَ سُنَّتِي فَلْيَدِنْ بِتَفْضِيلِ الْاَئِمَّةِ مِنْ اَهْلِ بَيْتِي عَلٰى جَمِيعِ اُمَّتِي فَاِنَّ مَثَلَهُمْ فِي هَذِهِ الْاُمَّةِ مَثَلُ بَابِ حِطَّةٍ فِي بَنِي اِسْرَائِيلَ
Ekremah narrates from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) said,
“Whoever believes in my religion, treads my path and follows my Sunnah, he MUST believe in the superiority of the Imams (peace be upon them) from my Ahle Bait (peace be upon him) upon my entire nation. For, their likeness in this nation is like that of the Door of Hettah in the Bani Israel.”
Ekremah was known for his hatred towards the Ahle Bait (peace be upon him) and their Shiites. Here, Ibn Abbas implies Abdullah because Abbas – the uncle of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) – had many sons, from whom Abdullah was the most famous among the people and the knowledgeable. But Ibn Abbas was not totally loyal to Ali (peace be upon him). Whoever refers to his life will realize this fact.
Coming to the tradition, whoever believes that any of the preceding three rulers were superior to Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) are NOT Muslims in the light of this tradition.
The Bani Israel were ordered to enter the door of Hettah so that their sins would be forgiven and whoever entered it saying Hettah would be forgiven. The Holy Quran has mentioned about it.
وَ اِذْ قُلْنَا ادْخُلُوا هذِهِ الْقَرْيَةَ فَكُلُوا مِنْها حَيْثُ شِئْتُمْ رَغَداً وَ ادْخُلُوا الْبابَ سُجَّداً وَ قُولُوا حِطَّةٌ نَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ خَطاياكُمْ وَ سَنَزيدُ الْمُحْسِنينَ
(Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 58 and Surah A’raaf (7): Verse 161)
وَ ادْخُلُوا الْبابَ الْقَرْيَةَ سُجَّداً مَثَّلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَى الْبَابِ مِثَالَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلِيٍّ وَ اَمَرَهُمْ اَنْ يَسْجُدُوا تَعْظِيماً لِذَلِكَ الْمِثَالِ وَ اَنْ يُجَدِّدُوا عَلٰى اَنْفُسِهِمْ بَيْعَتَهُمَا وَ ذِكْرَ مُوَالَاتِهِمَا وَ لِيَذْكُرُوا الْعَهْدَ وَ الْمِيثَاقَ الْمَأْخُوذَيْنِ عَلَيْهِمْ لَهُمَا وَ قُولُوا حِطَّةٌ اَيْ قُولُوا اِنَّ سُجُودَنَا لِلَّهِ تَعْظِيماً لِمِثَالِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلِيٍّ وَ اعْتِقَادُنَا لِوَلَايَتِهِمَا حِطَّةٌ لِذُنُوبِنَا وَ مَحْوٌ لِسَيِّئَاتِنَا قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى نَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ اَيْ بِهَذَا الْفِعْلِ خَطاياكُمْ السَّالِفَةَ وَ نُزِيلُ عَنْكُمْ آثَامَكُمُ الْمَاضِيَةَ وَ سَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ مَنْ كَانَ فِيكُمْ لَمْ يُقَارِفِ الذُّنُوبَ الَّتِي قَارَفَهَا مَنْ خَالَفَ الْوَلَايَةَ وَ ثَبَتَ عَلٰى مَا اَعْطَى اللَّهُ مِنْ نَفْسِهِ مِنْ عَهْدِ الْوَلَايَةِ فَاِنَّا نَزِيدُهُمْ بِهَذَا الْفِعْلِ زِيَادَةَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَ مَثُوبَاتٍ وَ ذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ سَنَزِيدُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ قَوْلُهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَبَدَّلَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا قَوْلًا غَيْرَ الَّذِي قِيلَ لَهُمْ اَيْ لَمْ يَسْجُدُوا كَمَا اُمِرُوا وَ لَا قَالُوا مَا اُمِرُوا وَ لَكِنْ دَخَلُوهَا مِنْ مُسْتَقْبِلِيهَا بِاَسْتَاهِهِمْ وَ قَالُوا هنطا سمقانا اَيْ حِنْطَةٌ حَمْرَاءُ يُنَقُّونَهَا اَحَبُّ اِلَيْنَا مِنْ هَذَا الْفِعْلِ وَ هَذَا الْقَوْلِ
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 13, p. 182, H. 19 narrating from Tafseer al-Imam (peace be upon him), p. 259, H. 127)
“Allah the High imprinted the images of Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and Ali (peace be upon him) on the door and ordered them (viz. the Israelis) that they should prostrate to these images out of reverence and they should renew for themselves their allegiance and the mention of their mastership and that they should remember the pledge and promise which was taken from them concerning these two and say “Hettah” i.e. say ‘Verily our prostration for Allah in reverence for the images of Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and Ali (peace be upon him) and our belief in their mastership is a cause for the removal of our sins and erasure of misdeeds. Allah the High says ‘We will forgive for you’ i.e. with this act your sins’ of the past and remove your vices of yore ‘and soon we shall increase for the good-doers’ whoever among you did not commit the sin committed by those who opposed the mastership and was steadfast on what Allah granted him from His side from the covenant of mastership, We will increase their grades and rewards on account of this action. And this is the meaning of the word of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – ‘and soon we shall increase for the good-doers’. The word of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – ‘Then the unjust ones changed the word to other than what was said to them’ i.e. they did not prostrate as they were ordered and they did not utter what they were commanded but they entered it from its front on their backs and instead they uttered ‘red wheat that they clean is dearer to us than this action and this word.’
Thus, whoever intends to enter the city of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), he must enter it through the door ordained by him (peace be upon him and his holy progeny).
The door of Hettah for Bani Israel was made of wood. So, is a door of wood superior to Ahle Bait (peace be upon them)? Entering through this wooden door can be the cause of Allah’s satisfaction but entering through the Ahle Bait (peace be upon him) cannot be the cause of His satisfaction? Take lesson, O people of wisdom!
1. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 119, H. 39
2. Al-Amaali of Shaikh Saduq (r.a.), p. 74, 17th Majlis