Response to: “Shhh! Don’t talk about Hz.Ali’s virtues.”
The following is a response to Master_IER’s article, “Shhh! Don’t talk about Hz.Ali’s virtues.” The article can be found on the Wilayat website.
The article contains three narrations from Imam Ahmad in which he comments on the narrations of Al-Manzila and Al-Ghadeer.
458 – And Zakaryah b. Yahya told me, that Aba Talib told them, that Aba Abdillah (Ahmad b. Hanbal) asked, about the prophet’s (s) saying to Ali of “whoever I am master then Ali is his master”, what does it mean? He said: don’t talk about this, leave the narration as it came. // stated similar previously by Abi Bakr
460 – Abu Bakr al-Maruzy told us, he said: I asked Aba Abdillah, about the prophet’s (s) saying to Ali: “you are to me as Haroon was to Musa”, what is its interpretation? He said: be quiet about this, don’t ask about this report, as it came. // isnad sahih
461 – And Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Matari told us, that Aba Talib told them, he said: I asked Aba Abdillah about the prophet’s (s) saying to Ali, of “whoever I am master then Ali is his master”, what does it mean? He said: don’t talk about this, leave the narration as it came. // isnad of this hadith is sahih
The comments of Imam Ahmad are not controversial at all. The only matter that we find problematic is the title that Master_IER chose for the article, since it suggests that Imam Ahmad forbade narrating these traditions.
The most obvious response to this is that Imam Ahmad himself taught this hadith by documenting it in his Musnad many times. He quoted hadith Al-Ghadeer many times in Al-Musnad (#641, #950, #961, #1311, #3061, #18479, #19279, #19302, #19325, #19328, #22945, #23107, #23143, #23563). He did the same with Hadith Al-Manzila (#1463, #1490, #1505, #1509, #1532, #1547, #1583, #1600, #1608, #3061, #11272, #14638, #27081, #27467). We can find Imam Ahmad teaching these narrations at least sixty times in his books.
With this in mind, we come to the conclusion that Imam Ahmad’s words, “Leave it as it came,” must have a different meaning. It does not mean, “Don’t narrate it.”
In another context, Imam Ahmad uses the same words to describe some hadiths. Abu Bakr Al-Maruthi asked him about the narrations of the attributes of Allah, seeing Allah, the Isra’a, and the throne of Allah. Imam Ahmad graded them as authentic, then said, “The scholars have accepted them and we submit to these reports as they came.” (See Al-Sunnah by Al-Khallal ##283)
We understand from this that when Imam Ahmad says, “As it came,” or “leave it as it came,” then it means that he accepts the report and does not interpret it to hold any other meanings other than the apparent meaning. In other words, when speaking of the narrations of the merits of Ali, he is telling his students to accept the report as a merit of Ali, but to not interpret it or use it to suggest anything other than the apparent meaning.
As we all know, Shias use these reports to suggest that the rightful successorship of Ali. Some go further to suggest that these refer to his infallibility. Neither of these two reports suggest this, but they can be incorrectly interpreted to mean this. It is due to this that Imam Ahmad taught to accept these reports “as they came,” without the false interpretations.