Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa): The Righteous amongst the Believers (ÑÁliÎ al-MuÞminÐn)
What is the meaning of the term ÑÁliÎ al-MuÞminÐn in the fourth verse of Surah TaÎrÐm?
The fourth verse of Surah TaÎrÐm states the following: “If you two [wives] repent to Allah , [it is best], for your hearts have deviated. But if you cooperate against him - then indeed Allah is his protector, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants.” A question arises here as to what the meaning of the term ÑÁliÎ al-MuÞminÐn is. Generally speaking, this term can have a wide range of meanings and it can refer to all those who have piety and pure faith. Yet at the same, it should be noted that the term ÑÁliÎ (righteous one) is in the singular form.
So the question arises as to who specifically this term ÑÁliÎ al-MuÞminÐn is referring to. From numerous traditions, we can come to understand that this term is referring to Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa). A tradition from Imam BÁqir (Ýa) has mentioned the following: The Prophet (Ò) (directly) introduced Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa) twice to his companions. The first time was at GhadÐr Khum when he said: Whoever I am his master, ÝAlÐ is also his master. The second time was when the verse of «اِنَّ اللّهَ هُوَ مَوْلاهُ» was revealed and the Prophet (Ò) took ÝAlÐ’s (Ýa) hand and said: Oh people, he is the ÑÁliÎ al-MuÞminÐn!
Many of the scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah have also narrated this issue in their books, including ÝAllÁmah ThaÝlabÐ, ÝAllÁmah GanjÐ in his KifÁyahÞ al-ÓÁlib, AbÙ ÍayyÁn AndulusÐ, SibÔ ibn JawzÐ, as well as others. Some commentators such as SuyÙÔÐ in his Durr al-ManthÙr, QurÔubÐ in his famous commentary, as well as ÀlÙsÐ in his RÙh al-MaÝÁnÐ have narrated this same aforementioned tradition in the commentary of this verse.
The author of RÙÎ al-MaÝÁnÐ has first narrated this tradition from MujÁhid and then they have mentioned: Confirmation of this tradition can be found in the famous tradition of ‘Manzilat’ where the Prophet (Ò) said to Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa): You are to me what Aaron was to Moses. This author has gone on to mention how the term ‘the righteous ones’ is used in the Quran for the prophets such as the verses which state: «وَ کُلاًّ جَعَلْنا صالِحِینَ» and «وَ اَلْحِقْنِی بِالصّالِحِینَ». The first verse that we mentioned is referring to a group of prophets, while the second one is referring specifically to Prophet Joseph. So when Imam ÝAlÐ (Ýa) is accorded the rank of Aaron, he is also accorded the rank of the ‘righteous ones’. In conclusion, there are many traditions in regards to this subject. The famous commentator, BaÎrÁnÐ, in his TafsÐr BurhÁn, has narrated 52 traditions from MuÎammad ibn ÝAbbÁs who has narrated from both Shia and Sunni sources. 
 Surah TaÎrÐm, verse 4: «وَ إِنْ تَظاهَرا عَلَیْهِ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ هُوَ مَوْلاهُ وَ جِبْرِیلُ وَ صالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ وَ الْمَلائِکَةُ بَعْدَ ذلِکَ ظَهِیرٌ»
 Some have understood the term ÑÁliÎ to be in the plural form here.
 TafsÐr majmaÝ al-bayÁn, vol. 10, p. 316.
 For further explanation refer to vol. 3 of AÎqÁq al-Íaqq, p. 311.
 Surah AnbÐyÁÞ, verse 72.
 Surah YÙsuf, verse 101.
 It appears that the MuÎammad ibn ÝAbbÁs that is mentioned here is the famously known AbÙ ÝAbdillah who is also known as Ibn al-ÍijÁm. He is the writer of the book MÁ Nazala Min al-QurÁn Min Ahl Bayt.
 TafsÐr burhÁn, vol. 4, p. 353, under the second tradition.
 Taken from the text: TafsÐr NemÙneh, Ayatullah MakÁrim ShÐrÁzÐ, DÁr al-Kutub al-IslÁmÐyah, 26th Edition, vol. 24, p. 293.
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