Is Hadith-e-Manzelat relevant only for the Battle of Tabuk or is it equally applicable at all times?

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Those who have made it their motto of life to disprove the rightfulness of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon both of them) as the immediate successor of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), in another one of their failed attempts, try to downplay the importance of Hadith-e-Manzelat and its applicability. The Hadith of Manzelat is one of the proofs that Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) has the same position of the successor to Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) just as Prophet Haroon was to Prophet Moosa (peace be upon both of them). But since the opponents of Shias cannot deny the clarity of its content, they try to limit its context.

They claim that the Hadith of Manzelat is only limited to the battle of Tabuk when the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) left behind Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) in Madinah to manage the affairs of the people and therefore this tradition cannot be accepted as a proof of his immediate caliphate after the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny).

Reply:

What is the Hadith of Manzilat?

During his absence of forty days, Prophet Moosa (peace be upon him) did not leave matters to the discretion of his followers. He appointed Prophet Haroon (peace be upon him), the best man among the Bani Israel, to act as his Caliph and successor. Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny), whose religion is most perfect, had even greater reason to protect his people from the chaos of their free-will. He preserved the code of religion so that it might not pass into the hands of the ignorant, those who would change it according to their whims. The ignorant people would depend on their own conjecture and create divisions in the matter of divine laws. So, in this sacred hadith, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) informed Imam Ali (peace be upon him) that, “You are to me as Haroon was to Moosa, except that there will be no Prophet after me” confirming that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) held the same levels of merit and authority as Prophet Haroon (peace be upon him) did. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was superior to the whole Ummah (community) and therefore the Prophet appointed him his helper and his successor.

Hadith of Manzilat on multiple occasions acknowledged by Ahle Tasannun scholars

The assumption and claim that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) narrated the tradition of Manzilat only at the time of the battle of Tabuk is false. He (peace be upon him and his progeny) gave this glad tiding to Imam Ali (peace be upon him) on multiple occasions other than the battle of Tabuk. These occasions and instances have been narrated in the books of the Ahle Tasannun themselves. Among them are –

  • Muruj al-Dhahab by Ali Ibn Husain Ibn Ali al-Masudi, vol. 2, p. 49
  • Seerat al-Halabiyyah by Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim al-Halabi, vol. 2, p. 26 and p. 120
  • Khasaais al-Alawiyyah by Abd al-Rahmaan al-Nisaai, p. 19
  • Tazkirah al-Khawaas by Sibt Ibn Jauzi, pp. 13-14
  • Yanaabi’ al-Mawaddah by Haafiz Sulaiman al-Qunduzi al-Balkhi al-Hanafi, chapters 9 and 17

We will just quote the tradition from Yanaabi’ al-Mawaddah as a proof:

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal mentions in his Musnad from Zaid Ibn Abi Aufa who said, “When the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) was establishing brotherhood between his companions, Ali (peace be upon him) said,

“O Messenger of Allah! You have established brotherhood between all the companions but have not established my brotherhood with anyone.”

Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) replied,

“By the One who raised me as a Prophet with truth, I have not left you until the end except for myself, as you are to me what Haroon was to Moosa except that there will not be a Prophet after me. And you are my brother and my inheritor and you will be with me in my palace in paradise with my daughter Fatima (peace be upon her) and you are my brother and my friend.”

[Yanaabi’ al-Mawaddah by Haafiz Sulaimaan al-Qunduzi, chapter 9 and 17]

Several others have also narrated this tradition. They all say that, apart from the two occasions of establishing brotherhood, it has been narrated on many other occasions as well. Therefore, this hadith is not to be construed in a restricted sense or for a particular occasion only. Its general significance is an established fact. It was through this hadith that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) declared on appropriate occasions Imam Ali’s (peace be upon him) succession after him. One of those occasions was the Battle of Tabuk.

Hence, the Hadith of Manzilat is just another proof that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is the rightful and immediate successor of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny). Denial of this tradition or its applicability at all times only reflects over the bias and prejudice which the opponents of Shias bear in their hearts. May Allah protect us from such acts and faulty beliefs!

Aameen Ya Rabb al-Aalameen!

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