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Letter Exchange 3: Mawlayiat of Ali (AS), Zaid and the Ahadith

The following Queries were mailed to us by a fellow visitor, student and seeker of truth. Below is an article-version of the email exchange.

  1. There is a hadith in Sahih Bukhari whch says that Rasool (SAW) said to Zaid bin Haris, "you are everyone's mawla and brother".
  2. As far as I know, in Arabic, word “mawla” means “someone who is dear”.
  3. Why would any hadith for “Zaid Bin Haris” be fake.


For a hadith to be fake, it should exist first. I did not come accross any hadith directly so I will wait for you to show it to me.

Secondly, u must note the difference between a hadith and history. What your mother told you last night in your room, is only what u can reproduce. Your character, your memory will play a part in your narration. You can never reproduce exactly what your mother told you! Ahadith are not more reliable than history.

We all know, what Musharaf said in his speech a month ago, and we all will agree that the events of September 11 happened in America. They are history.

The event of Gadeer is what Rasool (SAW) said to a bulk of Muslims, in the open, clearly showing Ali (AS).

You must also note that, the Sunni Ahadith are narrated by ;

  1. Aisha (fought Imam Ali, daughter of Abu bakr)
  2. Mawiya (fought Imama Ai)
  3. Amr bin Aas (fought Imam Ali)
  4. Marwan (fought Mawla Ali)
  5. Pisr e Saad (fought Imam Hussain (AS) at Kerbala, lead Yazeed's (the cursed) army)
  6. Imran bin hattan (who praised Ibn Muljim (the cursed), killer of imam Ali)
  7. Abu bakr (had disputes with Imam Ali and leader of women of paradise, Zahra (AS))
  8. Umer (had disputes with Imam Ali (AS) and Janab Zahra (AS))

Do I see a reason to believe in narrations by these men?

The word Mawla, may mean a beloved, according to your interpretation (which is wrong technically, I will say how later). But even if the word beloved is taken, then if I fight or hate someone like Ali (AS), who is a Mawla only to those who consider Muhammad (SAW) as their Mawla, then will my fights against Ali (AS) not prove my hatred towards him and my denial of the mawlayiat of Rasool Allah himself?

Jamal and Siffin are witnesses as to who fought against the Imam of the time, the righteous caliph (according to Sunnis), the member of Prophet's (SAW) Ahlulbayt, and the Companion, Ali (AS).

You can read in the Ali Mawla article what is the word Mawla.

Also, hardcore, literal wahabis, like Ibne Kathir, and diehard Sunnis, like Maududi, have acknowledged that the people who were purified by the verse of tatheer (33:33) were Muhammad (SAW), Ali (AS), Fatima (AS), Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS). Also, that the people, the truthful ones, taken for Mubahila, where Rasool (SAW) was told to take his daughters, sons and people, prophet only took Ali (AS), Hassan and Hussain (AS) and Fatima (AS). The verse which is revealed to love the ahlulbayt include these 4 people! Why was only Ali (AS) the Wali, according to Quran?

These were special people and cannot be compared to any other companion, no matter how good the companion may be, because companions were normal humans, just like you and me. If prophet (SAW) appeared in my college today, and taught us for a week, then all of the students will become companions and sahabis. Will it make us pure and angels? Will the gate keeper, the janitor, the principle, the good students and the bad students, all be of the same rank? No. Being a companion is no merit. If u adhere to the true teachings of Quran and Ahlulbayt, u will be rewarded with a mighty reward, if not, youur punishment will await you, as per Allah wishes.

Why do you think Sunnis give unnecessary importance to only 4 men and 1 woman, namely Abu bakr, Umer, usman , Mawiya and Aisha? Why don’t most Sunnis know the names of any other 5 or 10 sahabis? Why is Mawiya’s (the cursed) and Yazeed’s (the cursed) father and grandfather respectively, Abu Sufyan, a honorable and noble Muslim, while he fought Islam all his life and accepted it on the last day, while the father of Ali, Abu Talib, is considered a kaafir, even though he was the only supporter of Islam and protector of Islam during the 13 year Mecci period.

Why do the Ashra Mubashra, the ten blessed companions who are promised paradise, contain 9 people who hated Ali (AS) and had differences with him?

Why is not more than 10 Hadith, narrated by Imam Ali and the Ahlulbayt, exist in the 6 sunni authentic hadith books, which contain tens of thousands of narrations from men who hated Ali (AS) and fought against him? Why are the notable companions, who supported Mawla Ali throughout their lives, not even mentioned in Sunni hadith books and history, were they lesser companions? Men like Ammar Yasir (RA), Abu Dhar Ghafari (RA), Salman Farsi (RA), Miqdad (RA), and Abu bakr's own son, Muhammad ibn Abu bakr! Why do Sunnis only talk about Aisha, who fought Mawla Ali? Are Janab e khadija (RA) and Ume Salama (RA) lesser wives of the prophet (SAW)?

If Abu bakr, Umer , Usman, Zaid etc were very good and noble people, and shared the same rank with the Ahlulbayt,  and if Umer was as good as being the future prophet if prophethood continued, then why weren’t these men included in the people for Mubahila, or Gadeer, or Verse of Purityy, or the verse of wilayat?

The fact remains, that Quran and history speak something else, where as most of the Sunni Hadiths cut themselves out.

Are not Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS) princes of youth of paradise? Is any other prophet given this title? Is not Fatima (AS) the leader of the women of paradise? Besides three other women, was any other wife or daughter of any other prophet or imam given such title? Isn’t Ali (AS) the gate of knowledge, the conqueror of khayber, the killer of Amroo ibn abd wadood on Khandaq, when he crossed the trench and abused Islam and Rasool (SAW), and prophet told his companions that who will kill this “dog”, and when Amroo challenged that who will kill him and send him to hell or get killed and go to heaven, and Quran describes the fear of all the Muslim companionship in the words;

When they (pagans) came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes turned dull, and the hearts rose up to the throats, and you began to think diverse thoughts of Allah.
Quran [33:10]

And none, but Mawla Ali rose to the challenge and killed Amroo. Where were other companions during the battles of Khandaq and khaiber and why wasn’t the flag , which would be given to him who loves Allah and his Rasool and who is loved by Allah and his Rasool, given to any1 else except Ali?

I have read numerous hadith in praise of people, who have done nothing literally for the sake of Islam and infact at times, were disobedient. Do you ever wonder why would Allah or his Rasool praise men, men who ran away in the battles of Uhud and who called the prophet nonsense? Is there any comparison of Ali (AS) with any of the companions? Are the conquerors of Khyber, and the runners of Uhud of the same rank?

The fact remains, that Banu Ummaya had strong holds in Syria, long before the advent of Islam. Umer had strengthened it by making Mawiya the governor of Syria and the enmity of Mawiya (the cursed), and Mawla Ali (AS) is evident from history. Ibn Tayamiya is a Syrian. Ibn Kathir is a Syrian and a student of Ibn tayamiya.

The Hadith, collected by Muslim and Bukhari, is a treasure, and no one doubts their dishonesty, but the Hadith went through the rulership of Umayyads, Fatamids and Abbasids, all dynasties which were offensive to the Ahlulbayt. It explains a lot of things as to why Rasool and his Ahlulbayt are degraded to a normal level, of yours and mine, and why the sahabis are raised to a saintly and prophetic level, so that no difference can be seen between the two school of thoughts.

I have never read shia Hadith. I have read only Sunni Sahah Sittah, and everything of shiaism can be proved from the Sunni Sahah Sittah. And trust me, there is one difference I will point out through my personal experience and opinion. When I read the Sunni Sahah Sittah, I get a view that prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Mawla Ali (AS) were normal men, Bedouins, sex crazy, forgetful and ignorant, who used to forget their prayers and were mostly involved with their sex slaves and many many wives and they would do some things at times which went against their own teachings. But when I read Nahjul Balaga or peak of eloquence, which contains the sermons and letters of Mawla Ali (as), I get a view, that Ali was a super man and a true gate of knowledge, and Rasool Allah (SAW) was the best in everyway, of intellect, knowledge and character!!

Having said, I will still wait for u to produce the exact reference for the hadith u have quoted so I can see it for myself.

Follow Up on Letter 3: The Following is a part of the reply we received from our friend, and thus, the reply to it.


  1. I have quoted the hadith i mentioned about. Please explain about it.
  2. I believe that the word Mawla at Gadeer pointed towards Caliphate or Imamat, but it only means a friend.


I see. The hadith you quoted is;

Narrated 'Aisha: Abu Hudhaifa bin 'Utba bin Rabi'a bin Abdi Shams who had witnessed the battle of Badr along with the Prophet adopted Salim as his son, to whom he married his niece, Hind bint Al-Walid bin 'Utba bin Rabi'a; and Salim was the freed slave of an Ansar woman, just as the Prophet had adopted Zaid as his son. It was the custom in the Pre-lslamic Period that if somebody adopted a boy, the people would call him the son of the adoptive father and he would be the latter's heir. But when Allah revealed the Divine Verses: 'Call them by (the names of) their fathers . . . your freed-slaves,' (33.5) the adopted persons were called by their fathers' names. The one whose father was not known, would be regarded as a Mawla and your brother in religion...
Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 25

This hadith simply means, that an adopted child, whose father is not known, will be considered to be your Mawla and your brother in religion.

Given the fact that Arabic words have many meanings, the context has to be strictly taken into account. Does Mawla mean a friend here, or a master/slave.

The verse the hadith quotes is;

Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah; but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends; and there is no blame on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, but (concerning) that which your hearts do purposely (blame may rest on you), and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful
Quran [33:5]

The word Mawla would suffice here as a friend, but notable translators of Quran and interpreters of the book chose else wise.

Call them by (the names of) their fathers: that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if ye know not their father's (names, call them) your Brothers in faith, or your mawlas. But there is no blame on you if ye make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention of your hearts: and Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.
Quran [33:5], Translation by Yusuf Ali

Yusuf Ali chooses to leave the word as it is. However, if you notice what the Hardcore, Ibne Kathir says about this verse, you will realize the power the word Mawla has, irrespective of the context.

Call them by their fathers, that is more just with Allah. But if you know not their father's, your brothers in faith and Mawalikum (your freed servants). And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
Quran [33:5], Translation by Ibne Kathir

Ibne Kathir attributes the word Mawla to a Master-slave relationship. What is more astonishing, is that in the Tafseer of this verse, Ibne Kathir, the father of Wahabism, propagates what Shias have been trying to say since 1400 years now, the difference between the people, and the Prophet's (SAW) closer people.

(But if you know not their father's then they are your brothers in the religion and Mawalikum (your freed servants).) Here Allah commands that adopted sons should be given back their fathers' names, if they are known; if they are not known, then they should be called brothers in faith or freed servants, to compensate for not knowing what their real lineage is. When the Messenger of Allah left Makkah after performing his `Umrat Al-Qada', the daughter of Hamzah, may Allah be pleased with her, started following him, calling, "O uncle, O uncle!'' `Ali took her and said to Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, "Take care of your uncle's daughter,'' so she picked her up. `Ali, Zayd and Ja`far -- may Allah be pleased with them -- disputed over of which of them was going to take care of her, and each of them gave his reasons. `Ali said, "I have more right, because she is the daughter of my paternal uncle.'' Zayd said, "She is the daughter of my brother.'' Ja`far bin Abi Talib said: "She is the daughter of my paternal uncle and I am married to her maternal aunt -- meaning Asma' bint `Umays.''

The Prophet ruled that she should stay with her maternal aunt, and said: (The maternal aunt has the same status as the mother.) He said to `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, (You belong to me and I belong to you.) He said to Ja`far, may Allah be pleased with him, (You resemble me both in your looks and in your attitude.) And he said to Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, (You are our brother and our freed servant.) ...
Tafseer of Surah 33, Verse 5, Tafseer Ibne Kathir

Note, Ibne Kathir states Ali belongs to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), his brother Jaffar resembles Prophet (SAW) in his looks and attitude, while Zayd is the brother and the freed slave of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as well as Ali and Jaffar. I need not say anything else, which proves the difference between the Prophet's (SAW) near people, and everyone else.

However you must know that a Mawla is mostly affiliate to a Master-slave relation.

Narrated Yazid: (the Mawla of Munba'ith) The Prophet …..
Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 214

Narrated Harmala: (Usama's Maula) Usama (bin Zaid) sent me to 'Ali (at Kufa) ……..
Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 226

Narrated Sa'd bin Ubaid: (the Maula of 'Abdur-Rahman bin Azhar) Allah's Apostle s………
Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 90, Number 341

Yahya related to me that Ziyad ibn Abd ar-Rahman said, "Malik related to us from Sumayy, the mawla of Abu Bakr ibn Abd ar-Rahman, that ……
Maliks muwatta Book 19, Number 19.3.5

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad and Nafi, the mawla of Abdullah ibn Umar said…………
Maliks muwatta Book 19, Number 19.2.4

Yahya related to me from Malik from Makhrama ibn Sulayman from Kurayb, the mawla of Ibn Abbas, that Abdullah ibn Abbas told him ………
Maliks Muwatta Book 7, Number 7.2.11

Look at the hadiths narrated by Imam Malik (sunni), he considers,

  1. Kurayb to be the Mawla of ibn abbas
  2. Nafi to be the Mawla of Abdullah ibn umar
  3. Sumayy to be the Mawla of abu bakr ibn abd rehman
  4. Said bin ubaid to be the Mawla of abdur rehman
  5. Hurmala to be the Mawla of usama bin zaid
  6. Yazeed to be Mawla of munbaith

10. Sumayy servant of Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu Anhu)

“Nafi` Mawla ibn `Umar, d. 117 H in Madina, the great Muhaddith and key person in the Golden chain of Madina. ………………. Abu Suhail an-Nāfi' ibn 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abī Na'īm or An-Nāfi' (d. 785 CE(d. 169 H)) was a great scholar among the first generation of Muslims who came after the Companions of the Prophet. An-Nāfi' was the freed servant of 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar, whom he served for thirty years”

It is safe to conclude that, kurayb, the Mawla of ibn abbass, can be understood as kurayb, whose Mawla (owner) is ibn abbass. Mawla can be a master as well as a slave. The context is important.

Mawla: a person of slave origin who does not have tribal protection. It is a word with dual meaning. It can mean either master or servant.

Mawla: God, a king, prince, sovereign lord, master, judge, magistrate; one who liberates

Click below for scanned page:
An English and Arabic dictionary By Joseph Catafago, page 286

The word has a dual meaning of either master, protector or supporter, wali, wilayah, awla are its supporting synonyms. A mawla usually means the one who have more authority over believers then they have on themselves It can also mean a much more elevated person, a "master," "lord," "vicar" or "guardian."

Let me show you the exact wordings of the hadith Rasool (SAW) said at Gadeer. You choose what should the word Mawla mean.

As the Prophet pulled up his reins, the whole entourage came to a halt. Those who had gone ahead were summoned back. The pebbles and thorns were brushed aside and a makeshift pulpit of saddles was set up. People clustered round, the Prophet bent down and lifted Ali in his hands, and showing him to the crowds on all sides of the pulpit and proclaimed, "Allah is my Mawla, Of whomsoever I am the Mawla, This Ali is his Mawla. Whoever obeys 'Ali, obeys me, whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, whoever disobeys 'Ali disobeys me, whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah"
Kanz ul Ummal, hadith numbers 32973-32976
Mustadrak al Hakim Volume 3 page 123
Riyadh ul Nadira Volume 3 page 110

Click below for scanned page:
The Ghadir Declaration, by Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri, pages 48-49

You should note that no one is the Mawla of Prophet (SAW) except Allah, as the hadith says. And Prophet (SAW) is the Mawla of every believer, every believer is not prophets Mawla.

If the Sunnis take Mawla to be a friend in this context, then it shouldn’t matter if prophet is the Mawla of everyone or if everyone is the Mawla of prophet. But it matters, which hints that the word Mawla is not a friend in this case. Tell me, you are a Muslim. Do you take prophet (SAW) as your friend? Or as your owner?

Say: If you love Allah, then follow me (Muhammad), Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.
Quran [3:31-32]

The fact is, that no one was a friend of prophet (SAW), no one can be. Everyone was his slave or servants and thus everyone had to follow the prophet (SAW).

Do u believe that the companions were the friends of Rasool Allah (SAW)? I don’t. I believe everyone was a servant of Rasool Allah (SAW), including Mawla Ali (AS) himself. Thus the word Mawla here to me means an owner.

We cannot be the friends of Allah, can we, if we cannot even be the friend of his Prophet (SAW)?

And who has a better religion than he who submits himself entirely to Allah? And he is the doer of good (to others) and follows the faith of Ibrahim, the upright one, and Allah took Ibrahim as a friend.
Quran [4:125]

Ibrahim (AS) was the friend of Allah. Are people like you and I, also the friends of Allah, thus having the same rank as Ibrahim (AS)? Definitely no. That is why the hadith mentions that Allah is the Mawla of Muhammad (SAW), and Muhammad (SAW) is the Mawla of everyone else.

Thus the word Mawla, at Gadeer did not mean a friend, but a Master. Obviously, If Allah is the Mawla of Rasool (SAW), and Rasool (SAW) is the Mawla of every believing man and woman, then Mawla only means a master, an owner, a lord.

Ali is the Mawla of everyone, who considers Rasool (SAW) as his Mawla.

You should also note that the prophet made obedience to Mawla Ali (AS) compulsory, as if it was obedience to Rasool Allah himself. This is a strong point for the divine imamat If Mawla Ali tells me to do something to do which is against Islam, and if I do not do it, I disobey the prophet because i disobeyed to Mawla Ali (AS), which meant i did not see him as a Mawla, which negated my slavery to Rasool (SAW). And if I do the disobedience to Islam which Mawla Ali told me to, I still go against Islam. Thus the condition of making obedience to Ali also proves that Ali (AS) was infallible and can never go against Quran and the true Shariah, which is why we follow Ali. And note, this is not the only reason.

The Sunni version of the hadith states that a group of soldiers under the command of Ali were complaining to Muhammad about Ali, and Muhammad defended Ali by praising him. The Sunnis believe that Muhammad's intention behind the praise was not at all to nominate Ali as his successor but rather it was only to defend Ali against the slander being said against him.
Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal of Imam Ahmad volume 5, pg. 347, #22,995

As i said earlier, after killing many Quranic ayahs, historical hints and clear signs, even if I go along with the Sunni story, this means that those who slander Mawla Ali, or hate Mawla Ali, hate prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself! This means that the people who fought battles against Mawla Ali, and the people who fought battles against Rasool Allah (SAW) will meet the same end.  Do you know what It proves? That the kuffars of Mecca, who fought the battles against Muhammad (SAW) at Badr, Uhud, Khaiber etc and the people who fought battles against Mawla Ali (AS), will meet the same fate. It is the same as if fighting against prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself. I don't need to tell you who fought Mawla Ali, because those names include Ayesha, Mawiya, and instead of pondering over the facts, my Sunni brethren will be offended, and our purpose is not to offend, but to create awareness, realization, tolerance and promote unity through knowledge.

What ever the word Mawla means, Mawla Ali is the Mawla of everyone, who consider Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to be their Mawla.

I hope this helps.

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