Who are the best creatures?

1st Question:

Who are the best creatures in accordance with Qur’an and Ahl-ul-Bait (a.)?

Response:

Ahmad Ibn Isa reported that Jabir Ibn Abdillah said: “We were sitting with the Messenger (s.) when the Commander of the Believers, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.), arrived. While the Prophet Muhammad (s.) was looking in his direction, he said: “Now my brother has come to you.” Then he turned his face toward the house of worship and said: “By the Lord of this house, this one and those who follow him are the successful ones on the Day of Resurrection.” After that, he turned his face to us and said: “By God, he is the first among you who embraced the faith in one God, and he is the most devoted of you to the command of God. He is the one among you who fulfills the covenant of God the most and he is the best judge among you regarding the judgment of God. Among you, he is the most honest distributor of wealth and the most just in dealing with the society. He is the most formidable among you with God in regard to the reward.” God then sent down this sign: “But those who believe and do good works are the best of creatures.” (98:7) Whenever the Commander of the Believers (a.) arrived, his companions would say: “The best creature after Prophet Muhammad (s.) has arrived.” The Messenger (s.) said: “You are the best creature and your followers are the well-pleased ones, in whom one is well-pleased.” [Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, Volume 35 page 346 Hadith 20]

تفسير فرات بن إبراهيم: أحمد بن عيسى بن هارون معنعنا، عن جابر الأنصاري – رضي الله عنه – قال: كنا جلوسا عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله إذ أقبل أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام فلما نظر إليه النبي صلى الله عليه وآله قال: قد أتاكم أخي، ثم التفت إلى الكعبة فقال: ورب هذا البيت إن هذا وشيعته هم الفائزون يوم القيامة، ثم أقبل علينا بوجهه فقال: أما والله إنه أولكم إيمانا بالله، وأقومكم لأمر الله، وأوفاكم بعهد الله، وأقضاكم بحكم الله، وأقسمكم بالسوية، وأعدلكم في الرعية، وأعظمكم عند الله مزية. قال جابر: فأنزل الله تعالى هذه الآية: إن الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات أولئك هم خير البرية قال جابر: فكان أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام إذا أقبل قال أصحابه: قد أتاكم خير البرية بعد النبي صلى الله عليه وآله. وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وآله: خير البرية أنت وشيعتك راضين مرضيين

Al-Harith reported that Imam Ali (a.) said: “None of the people is to be compared with us, the people of the House.” Thereupon, a man got up and went to Abdullah Ibn Abbas to tell him about it. Abdullah Ibn Abbas said: “Ali, or does he not resemble the Prophet Muhammad (s.) in comparison with the people? Because of Ali (a.) this verse was sent down: “But those who believe and do good deeds are the best of creatures.” (98:7) [Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, Volume 35 page 347 Hadith 23]

وبإسناده عن شريك، عن أبي إسحاق، عن الحارث قال: قال علي عليه السلام: نحن أهل بيت لا يقاس بنا ناس، فقام رجل فأتى عبد الله بن عباس فأخبره بذلك، فقال ابن عباس: علي أو ليس كالنبي صلى الله عليه وآله للقياس بالناس؟ فقال ابن عباس: نزلت هذه الآية في علي عليه السلام إن الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات أولئك هم خير البرية

Ad-Dahhak reported that Abdullah ibn Abbas said about the verse: “But those who believe and do good deeds are the best of creatures.” (98:7) Said: “It was sent down because of Ali and the people of his Household (a.).” [Ghaiat-ul-Maram by Hashim Al-Bahrani, Volume 3 page 298 Hadith 9]

مقاتل ابن سليمان عن الضحاك عن ابن عباس في قوله: هم خير البرية قال: نزلت في علي وأهل بيته

Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad (s.) said: “The best of this community after me are Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Fatimah, Al-Hasan and Al-Husan and whoever rejects that, may God curse him!” [Ghaiat-ul-Maram by Hashim Al-Bahrani, Volume 5 Page 10 Hadith 16]

ابن شاذان هذا بإسناده عن أبي هريرة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله خير هذه الأمة من بعدي علي بن أبي طالب وفاطمة والحسن والحسين صلى الله عليه وآله فمن قال غير هذا فعليه لعنة الله

Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.) reported that Prophet Muhammad (s.) said: “God did not create any creature better than me and none was given the honor that was given to me.” I said: “O Messenger of God, are you better or Gabriel?” He said: “O Ali, God granted His prophets which he sent this preference over His nearest angels and He granted me this preference over all prophets and messengers and He granted this preference after me to you, O Ali and the Imams after you.” [Kamal-ud-Din of As-Saduq, page 254 Hadith 4]

حدثنا الحسن بن محمد بن سعيد الهاشمي قال: حدثنا فرات بن إبراهيم ابن فرات الكوفي قال: حدثنا محمد بن علي بن أحمد بن الهمداني قال: حدثني أبو الفضل العباس بن عبد الله البخاري قال: حدثنا محمد بن القاسم بن إبراهيم بن عبد الله ابن القاسم بن محمد بن أبي بكر قال: حدثنا عبد السلام بن صالح الهروي، عن علي ابن موسى الرضا عليه السلام، عن أبيه موسى بن جعفر، عن أبيه جعفر بن محمد، عن أبيه محمد ابن علي، عن أبيه علي بن الحسين، عن أبيه الحسين بن علي، عن أبيه علي بن – أبي طالب عليهم السلام قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: ما خلق الله خلقا أفضل مني ولا أكرم عليه مني، قال: علي عليه السلام: فقلت: يا رسول الله فأنت أفضل أم جبرئيل؟ فقال عليه السلام: يا علي إن الله تبارك وتعالى فضل أنبياءه المرسلين على ملائكته المقربين، وفضلني على جميع النبيين والمرسلين، والفضل بعدي لك يا علي وللأئمة من بعدك

Muhammad ibn Jarud reported that Al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah said: “The Commander of the Believers (a.) came out to us one day and he had his son Al-Hasan (a.) on his hand.” He said: “The Prophet Muhammad (s.) came out to us on the same day and he had me on his hand just like this and he said: “The best creature and their chief after me is this one, my brother. After my death, he is the Imam of anyone who submits completely to God and the ruler of anyone who embraces faith.” And I say that the best creature and their chief is this one, my son. After my death, he is the imam of everyone who submits completely to God and the lord of everyone who embraces the faith. He will be oppressed after me just as I was oppressed after Prophet Muhammad (s.). The best creature and their chief after Al-Hasan is my son and his brother, Al-Husain, who will be oppressed after his brother and murdered on the ground of Karbala. He and his companions will be the lords of the martyrs on the Day of Resurrection. After Al-Husain, there will be nine successors of God for His earth from his descendants and they are His proofs of His servants and His keepers of His revelation. They are the Imams of all those who are totally devoted to God and the leaders of all those,who embrace the faith. They are the masters of the God-fearing, and the ninth of them is the Rising One (Imam Al-Mahdi), through whom God will fill the earth with light after it was in darkness in shackles. He will fill it with justice after its oppression and with knowledge after its ignorance. By Him Who sent my brother Muhammad with prophethood and elevated me to the office of leadership, when the revelation about it was sent down from heaven through the tongue of Gabriel, the trustworthy spirit, I was in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (s.) and someone asked him about the number of Imams after him. He told the questioner: “By the sky with its towers (85:1), their number is the number of towers. By the Lord of the nights and the days and the months, their number is the number of months!” Thereupon the questioner said: “Who are these, O Messenger of God?” The Prophet (s.) put his hand on my head and said: “The first of them is this one and the last of them is the Righteous One (Mahdi). Whoever is with them is with me and whoever is against them is against me. Whoever loves them loves me and whoever is angry with them is angry with me. He who rejects them rejects me and he who acknowledges them acknowledges me. Through them, God preserves His doctrine of faith and through them He revives His lands. Through them He provides for His servants and through them He sends down the raindrops from heaven and through them He makes the earth pour out its blessings. These are my trustees and my followers. These are the Imams of all those who surrender themselves completely to God and the masters of all those who embrace faith.” [Kamal-ud-Din of As-Saduq, page 259 – 260 Hadith 5]

ابن بابويه قال: حدثنا علي بن أحمد بن عبد الله ابن أحمد بن أبي عبد الله البرقي عن أبيه عن جده أحمد بن أبي عبد الله عن أبيه محمد بن خالد عن محمد بن داود عن محمد بن جارود العبدي عن الأصبغ بن نباتة قال: خرج علينا أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام ذات يوم ويده في يد ابنه الحسن عليه السلام وهو يقول: خرج علينا رسول الله ذات يوم ويده في يدي هكذا وهو يقول: خير الخلق بعدي وسيدهم أخي هذا، وهو إمام كل مسلم ومولى كل مؤمن بعد وفاتي، ألا وإني أقول: خير الخلق بعدي وسيدهم ابني هذا وهو إمام كل مؤمن ومولى كل مؤمن بعد وفاتي، ألا وإنه سيظلم بعدي كما ظلمت بعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله، وخير الخلق وسيدهم بعد الحسن ابني أخوه الحسين المظلوم بعد أخيه، المقتول في أرض كربلاء، أما إنه وأصحابه من سادة الشهداء يوم القيامة، ومن بعد الحسين تسعة من صلبه خلفاء الله في أرضه وحججه على عباده وأمناؤه على وحيه وأئمة المسلمين وقادة المؤمنين وسادة المتقين، وتاسعهم القائم الذي يملأ الله به الأرض نورا بعد ظلمتها، وعدلا بعد جورها، وعلما بعد جهلها، والذي بعث محمدا أخي بالنبوة واختصني بالإمامة لقد نزل بذلك الوحي من السماء على لسان الروح الأمين جبرائيل، ولقد سئل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وأنا عنده عن الأئمة بعده فقال للسائل: والسماء ذات البروج إن عددهم بعدد البروج ورب الليالي والأيام والشهور إن عدتهم كعدة الشهور، فقال السائل: فمن هم يا رسول الله؟ فوضع رسول الله يده على رأسي فقال: أولهم هذا وآخرهم المهدي، من والاهم فقد والاني ومن عاداهم فقد عاداني، ومن أحبهم فقد أحبني ومن أبغضهم فقد أبغضني، ومن أنكرهم فقد أنكرني ومن عرفهم فقد عرفني، بهم يحفظ الله دينه وبهم يعمر بلاده، وبهم يرزق عباده وبهم ينزل القطر من السماء، وبهم تخرج بركات الأرض، هؤلاء أصفيائي وخلفائي وأئمة المسلمين وموالي المؤمنين

Muhammad Ibn Ishaq Ath-Tha’labi reported that Imam As-Sadiq (a.) said: “We are the best creatures that God created and our followers are the best creatures of God in the congregation of His Prophet (s.).” [Ghaiat-ul-Maram by Hashim Al-Bahrani, Volume 5 page 17 – 18 Hadith 11]

الشيخ في أماليه قال: أخبرنا أبو عبد الله محمد بن محمد بن النعمان قال: حدثنا أبو بكر محمد بن عمر الجعاني قال: حدثني جعفر بن محمد بن سليمان بن الفضل قال: حدثنا داود بن رشده قال: حدثني محمد بن إسحاق الثعلبي الموصلي أبو نوفل قال: سمعت جعفر بن محمد عليه السلام يقول: نحن خيرة الله من خلقه وشيعتنا خيرة الله من أمة نبيه

2nd question:

One innovator made an effort to present the reports in question as contradicting the Holy Qur’an and called the 83rd to 86th verses of the 6th chapter “Al-An’am” to give authenticity to his claim. Does this text actually prove that the Prophets (a.) are better than the Imams (a.)? Wouldn’t the mentioned prophets (a.) be even better than Muhammad (s.) because he is not mentioned and he is among the people of all the world?

Response:

The efforts of the innovators are in vain, because the corresponding text is completely consistent with the statements of the Infallibles (a.):

“This is our reason of proof that We gave to Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will by ranks. Your Lord is wise and knowledgeable. And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob (Israel); each (of them) We have guided aright. Noah also have We guided beforehand, and of his posterity David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron – thus do We reward those who do good; and Zakaria, John, Jesus, and Elijah: every one of them is of the righteous; and Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot: every one (of them) have We favored above the inhabitants of the world, and also some of their fathers, their descendants, and their brethren. We have chosen them and guided them to a straight path.” [Al-An’am 6:83-87]

وتلك حجتنا آتيناها إبراهيم على قومه نرفع درجات من نشاء إن ربك حكيم عليم ووهبنا له إسحاق ويعقوب كلا هدينا ونوحا هدينا من قبل ومن ذريته داوود وسليمان وأيوب ويوسف وموسى وهارون وكذلك نجزي المحسنين وزكريا ويحيى وعيسى وإلياس كل من الصالحين وإسماعيل واليسع ويونس ولوطا وكلا فضلنا على العالمين ومن آبائهم وذرياتهم وإخوانهم واجتبيناهم وهديناهم إلى صراط مستقيم

Muhammad ibn Mahmud Al-Abdi reported that Imam Al-Kazim (a.) said: “I take refuge in God from Satan who has been stoned. In the name of the Gracious and Merciful God: “As well as from his progeny David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron – so We reward those who do good; and Zakaria, John and Jesus.” (6:84-85) Who is the father of Jesus, O Commander of the Believers?” He (Ar-Rashid) replied: “Jesus has no father.” He said: “We count him among the descendants of the Prophets (a.) through the lineage of Mary (a.) and exactly in the same way we count ourselves among the descendants of the Prophet (s.) through the descendants of our mother Fatimah (a.).” [Bihar-ul-Anwar of Al-Majlisi, Volume 48 Page 128 Hadith 2]

أبو أحمد هاني بن محمد بن محمود العبدي رضي الله عنه عن أبيه باسناده رفعه إلى موسى بن جعفر عليهما السلام قال: أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ومن ذريته داود وسليمان وأيوب ويوسف و موسى وهارون وكذلك نجزي المحسنين وزكريا ويحيى وعيسى من أبو عيسى يا أمير المؤمنين؟ فقال: ليس لعيسى أب فقلت: إنما ألحقناه بذراري الأنبياء عليهم السلام من طريق مريم عليها السلام، وكذلك ألحقنا بذراري النبي صلى الله عليه وآله من قبل امنا فاطمة عليها السلام

Harun Al-Halabi reported that he asked Imam As-Sadiq (a.) about the verse: “O Children of Israel, remember My mercy with which I have graced you and that I have favored you above the inhabitants of the world.” (2:122) He said: “We are specially meant with them.” Muhammad ibn Ali reported that he asked Imam As-Sadiq (a.) about the verse: “O Children of Israel, remember My bounty with which I have graced you, and that I have favored you above the inhabitants of the world.” (2:122) He said: “By these are especially meant the family of Muhammad (a.).” Abu Dawud reported that Prophet Muhammad (s.) said: “I am a servant of God, my name is Ahmad and I am a servant of God, my name is Israel. What was enjoined on him is what was enjoined on me, and the meaning given to him is the meaning given to me.” [Tafsir Al-Ayyashi, Vol. 1 page 44]

عن هارون بن محمد الحلبي قال: سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن قول الله: يا بني إسرائيل قال: هم نحن خاصة. عن محمد بن علي عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: سألته عن قوله: يا بني إسرائيل قال: هي خاصة بآل محمد عن أبي داود عمن سمع من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله يقول: انا عبد الله اسمى أحمد وأنا عبد الله اسمى إسرائيل فما أمره فقد أمرني وما عناه فقد عناني

Muhammad Al-Baqir (a.) reported that Prophet Muhammad (s.) said: “Among my children are twelve leaders, noblemen, enlightened and rational. The last of them is the one who rises with truth (Al-Mahdi), who will fill the world with justice just as it was filled with injustice.” Muhammad Salih Al-Mazandarani writes: “Ali (a.) was symbolically called a child.” [Al-Kafi by Al-Kulaini, Volume 1 page 534 Hadith 18; Sharh Usul Al-Kafi by Al-Mazandarani, Volume 7 page 381]

وبهذا الاسناد، عن أبي سعيد رفعه، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: من ولدي اثنا عشر نقيبا، نجباء، محدثون، مفهمون، آخرهم القائم بالحق يملاها عدلا كما ملئت جورا. قال شيخ الإسلام محمد صالح المازندراني رضي الله عنه: أطلق الولد على علي عليه السلام مجازا

As-Samman that Imam Al-Husai (a.) said: “A Bedouin said: “I testify that none is worthy of worship except the One God and I testify that you are truly the Messenger of God, so tell me if anyone is a prophet after you, O Messenger of God!” He said: “No, for I am the seal of the prophets, but after me there will be Imams among my children who will rise in righteousness and whose number will be that of the leaders of the children of Israel. The first of them is Ali Ibn Abi Talib, for he is the Imam and my successor after me, and nine are from the progeny of this one.” He then placed his hand on my chest and said: “The Rising One (Mahdi) is the ninth of them. He rises with the doctrine of faith in the end time, just as I rose with it in the starting time.” [Kifayat-ul-Athar of Al-Khazzaz Al-Qummi, page 173]

حدثنا علي بن الحسن بن محمد، قال حدثنا الشريف الحسين بن علي بن عبد الله بن الموسى القاضي، قال حدثنا حريز بن عبد الحميد الضبي، قال حدثنا الأعمش، عن إبراهيم يزيد السمان، عن أبيه، عن الحسين بن علي عليهما السلام قال: فقال الأعرابي: أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأنك رسول الله حقا، فأخبرني يا رسول الله هل يكون بعدك نبي؟ قال: لا أنا خاتم النبيين، ولكن يكون بعدي أئمة من ذريتي قوامون بالقسط كعدد نقباء بني إسرائيل، أولهم علي بن أبي طالب، فهو الإمام والخليفة بعدي، وتسعة من الأئمة من صلب هذا – ووضع يده على صدري – والقائم تاسعهم يقوم بالدين في آخر الزمان كما قمت في أوله

3rd question:

One innovator made the claim that the reports have a weakness in the chain of transmission and must be rejected for this reason.

Response:

The infallibles ordered their lovers and followers to accept reports that are in accordance with the Qur’an Rejecting reports based on personal inclinations and evaluations of individual transmitters and replacing them with one’s own interpretations and opinions is contrary to the Messenger (s.) and the possessors of command (a.), to whom God made obedience a duty, and is thus unacceptable as a reason for rejection.

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