Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) and the Example of the ‘Truthful Ones’

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Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) and the Example of the ‘Truthful Ones’

Question: What does the term Ṣādiqīn (the truthful ones) mean in the verse of: (یا أَیُّهَا الَّذینَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّهَ وَ کُونُوا مَعَ الصّادِقینَ)?
Concise answer:
Detailed answer: Although the term Ṣādiqīn has a wide range of meanings, we do have in hand many traditions that mention that the meaning of this term is in reference to only the Infallibles (Ýa). Salīm ibn Qays Hilālī has narrated the following: One day Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) was speaking with a group of the Muslims. At one point, he said to them that when the verse of: «یا أَیُّهَا الَّذینَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّهَ وَ کُونُوا مَعَ الصّادِقینَ» was revealed, Salmān asked: Oh Prophet of God (ṣ), is the meaning of this verse general or is it referring to someone specific? The Prophet (ṣ) replied: All of the believers are thus commanded but the term Ṣādiqīn is referring specifically to my brother ÝAlī (Ýa) and the successors who will come after him until the Day of Judgement.

When Imam ÝAlī (‘a) said this, the people present acknowledged his words and said: Yes indeed, we heard these words from the Prophet (ṣ). NāfiÝ has narrated from ÝAbdullah ibn ÝUmar in regards to the commentary of this verse that: God first commanded the Muslims to worship him, then he said: کُونُوا مَعَ الصّادِقین, meaning with the Prophet (ṣ) and his family. Some of the commentators of the Ahl al-Sunnah such as Ālūsī (the author of Al-Manār) has narrated the following in the section on the aforementioned verse: ‘With Muḥammad (ṣ) and his companions’. Yet, in light of the fact that the verse is general in nature and includes all the time periods (and we know that the companions of the Prophet (ṣ) only lived during a limited time in history), what has been mentioned in the Shia books from ÝAbdullah ibn ÝUmar can be considered to be more accurate.

The writer of the commentary, Burhān, has narrated similar things from the sources of the Ahl al-Sunnah and he has mentioned: MuÞafaq ibn Aḥmad has narrated the following from Ibn ÝAbbās that: He was ÝAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Ýa). Then he has said: This same thing has been mentioned by ÝAbd al-Razzāq in his book Rumūz al-Kunūz as well. What is important to note at this point is that in the aforementioned verse, there are two commands present. The first is the command towards piety and then the second is the command towards being with the Ṣādiqīn. If the term Ṣādiqīn was used in the general sense, it includes all of the pious believers, and so it should have said: Be of the truthful ones and not be with the truthful ones. There is a clear difference here between these two points and so it is understood that the term Ṣādiqīn here is used in reference to a specific group of individuals.

From another perspective, the meaning of accompanying is not that a person would simply associate with them casually. The meaning is that the individual should be a part of that group. If a person was not infallible, then would following that person without any conditions or stipulations be a logical command? Is this not proof itself that this group is composed of the Infallibles (Ýa)?

What is interesting to note is that the famous commentator Fakhr Rāzī, who is famous for his sectarian bias, has accepted this issue (in spite of the fact that the majority of the Sunni commentators have left this issue shrouded in their silence). Fakhr Rāzī has stated: God has ordered the pious believers to be with the Ṣādiqīn. Therefore, the verse is in reality saying that those who are liable to make mistakes should follow those who are infallible in order that they are saved from being misguided; this is something which is present in every era and we have no reason to limit it to the time of the Prophet (ṣ) only. At the same time, Fakhr Rāzī has then added: We accept what this verse is stating that there must be an infallible present during each era, but we believe this ‘infallible’ to be the entirety of the Muslim community and we don’t accept it to be one individual. This is another way of saying that the entire Muslim community is in reality an infallible entity (this is most probably referring to the issue of IjmaÝ or consensus).

Therefore, Fakhr Rāzī has come halfway on this issue but at some point, he has become entangled in a mistake. If he had paid attention to one point that was present in the verse, then he would not have made such a mistake. The point is as follows: If the meaning of the term Ṣādiqīn is the entirety of the Muslim community, then this same group that we are supposed to follow is the same group which should be following that group, and this is completely illogical. Therefore, it logically follows that the aforementioned verse is a reference to the existence of infallibles who are present in every era and every time period.[1]

Footnote: [1] Tafsīr Nemūneh, vol. 8, p. 227.
Published on: « 1393/02/22 »
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