عَنْ اَبِي جَعْفَرٍ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ عَنْ آبَائِهِ ﷺ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ ﷺ خُذُوا بِحُجْزَةِ هَذَا الْاَنْزَعِ يَعْنِي عَلِيّاً فَاِنَّهُ الصِّدِّيقُ الْاَكْبَرُ وَ هُوَ الْفَارُوقُ يُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ الْحَقِّ وَ الْبَاطِلِ مَنْ اَحَبَّهُ هَدَاهُ اللَّهُ وَ مَنْ اَبْغَضَهُ اَبْغَضَهُ اللَّهُ وَ مَنْ تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهُ مَحَقَهُ اللَّهُ وَ مِنْهُ سِبْطَا اُمَّتِي الْحَسَنُ وَ الْحُسَيْنُ وَ هُمَا ابْنَايَ وَ مِنَ الْحُسَيْنِ اَئِمَّةُ الْهُدَى اَعْطَاهُمُ اللَّهُ عِلْمِي وَ فَهْمِي فَتَوَلُّوهُمْ وَ لَا تَتَّخِذُوا وَلِيجَةً مِنْ دُونِهِمْ فَيَحِلَّ عَلَيْكُمْ غَضَبٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَ مَنْ يَحْلِلْ عَلَيْهِ غَضَبٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَقَدْ هَوى وَ مَا الْحَياةُ الدُّنْيا اِلَّا مَتاعُ الْغُرُورِ
Imam Muhammad Baqir (peace be upon him) reports vide his ancestors that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) said, “Fasten unto the belt of this man with a broad forehead viz. Ali (peace be upon him). For, he is the most truthful person and he is the distinguisher who distinguishes between truth and falsehood. Whoever loves him Allah guides him and whoever bears malice against him Allah bears malice against him. Whoever lags behind him Allah will destroy him. From him are the two grandsons of my nation, al-Hasan and al-Husain and they are my two sons. From Husain (peace be upon him) are the Imams of guidance. Allah has granted them my knowledge and my understanding. So accept their mastership and don’t take any confidante other than them lest the wrath of your Lord befalls you. And on whosoever the wrath of his Lord befalls indeed he is destroyed. And what is this worldly life except the provision of deception?”
Truthfulness does not depend only on one’s words. Rather, it also depends on one’s deeds. For example, a person claims to be a Muslim but does not pray then he is not a truthful person. He is a hypocrite. So, Ali (peace be upon him) was truthful but not only in words but deeds as well and he was the greatest in this regard.
Faarooq means who distinguishes excessively between truth and falsehood. Ali (peace be upon him) was at this level especially because he was having the knowledge of the unseen due to which he could easily distinguish between truth and falsehood.
Reward and punishment are in this world, barzakh, a’raaf and hereafter (paradise and hell). One of the rewards for Ali’s love is guidance in this world. And the punishment for bearing enmity against Ali is that Allah bears enmity against him.
None is allowed to enter the system of Imamah except through these twelve Imams (peace be upon them).
The enjoyments of this world are nothing except deception. What is the connection of this last sentence with the previous statements of the tradition? It means that don’t allow the world to deceive you against the Imams (peace be upon them) for the sake of few days enjoyment of this deceptive world.
Is there any difference between knowledge and understanding?
Yes. Knowledge implies laws and principles while understanding is to uncover these laws and principles.
It is possible that a person does not know many laws and principles but he is able to explore and discover the rationale behind these laws.
Thus, Imams (peace be upon them) had both knowledge as well as understanding of the entire system of creation.
1. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 129, H. 60
2. Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 53, H. 2, Chapter 23
3. Al-Amaali of al-Shaikh al-Saduq (r.a.), p. 673, H.8, Majlis 96