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A Hadith-Based Analysis of “Mustaz‘afin” in Verse 5 of Chapter al-Qasas

Allah (SWT) speaks of some people being oppressed who will be the Imams and leaders of the people and will rule over them.

Verse 5 and a part of Verse 6 of Chapter al-Qasas read:

وَ نُريدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ نَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَ نَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوارِثين وَ نُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْض

And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs, and to establish them in the land.

Allah (SWT) speaks of some people being oppressed who will be the Imams and leaders of the people and will rule over them.

The worldly government of the oppressed ones and also supporting them in the length of history is Allah’s will. There is no doubt that when Allah’s will is issued for a thing to occur, that thing will certainly be performed and no barrier can hinder it. This is a glad-tidings upon the field of the triumph of the truth over the untruth and faith over disbelief. This is a glad-tidings for all the free men who seek for the government of justice and wiping the elements of injustice and cruelty. These Verses are among the Verses that clearly give the glad tidings of the advent of such a government. Some Islamic traditions indicate that commenting on this verse, the Imams of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (as) have pointed to this great advent.[1]

Some narrations explicitly refer to the Imams (AS) as the best examples of the Verse:

قَالَ عَلِيٌّ ع فِينَا نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ وَ نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ

Imam Ali (AS) said: ‘The Verse “And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land …” was revealed about us [the Ahl al-Bayt (AS)].”[2]

عن على عليه السلام في قوله: «وَ نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ نَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَ نَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوارِثِينَ» قال: هم آل محمد يبعث الله مهديهم بعد جهدهم فيعزهم و يذل عدوهم.

“As for the Verse: ‘And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs’, Imam Ali (AS) said: ‘They are the Progeny of the Prophet (PBUH). After their efforts, Allah (SWT) will send the Mahdi who brings them dignity and disgrace their enemies.’”[3]

عن أبى الصباح الكناني قال: نظر أبو جعفر عليه السلام الى أبى عبد الله عليهما- السلام يمشى فقال: ترى هذا؟ هذا من الذين قال الله عز و جل: «وَ نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ نَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَ نَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوارِثِينَ».

“Abu al-Sabah Kinani narrates: ‘Imam Baqir (AS) saw his son [Imam] Sadiq (AS) walking. He (AS) asked me? ‘Do you see him? He is one those regarding whom Allah (SWT) said: “And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs.”’[4]

Some narrations show that the concept of “Mustaz‘afin” was also used by the Prophet (PBUH) to refer to the Imams (AS):

عن مفضل بن عمر قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و آله نظر الى على و الحسن و الحسين عليهم السلام فبكى و قال: أنتم المستضعفون بعدي. قال المفضل: فقلت له: ما معنى ذلك يا ابن رسول الله؟ قال قال: معناه انكم الائمة بعدي ان الله عز و جل يقول: «وَ نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ نَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَ نَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوارِثِينَ» فهذه الآية جارية فينا الى يوم القيامة.

“Mufazzal b. Umar narrates: I heard Imam Sadiq (AS) saying: ‘The Prophet (PBUH) looked at Imam Ali (AS), Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husayn (AS), cried and addressing them said: “You are the Mustaz‘afin after me.” Mufazzal says: I asked the Imam about the meaning of this statement whereupon he said: “It means that you are the Imams after me since Allah (SWT) says: ‘And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs’. This Verse applies to us till the Day of Judgment’.”[5]

The question that arises here is that how can the previous Imams (AS) who have passed away by the application of the Verse explaining about the Imams who will rule the earth. The answer lies in the fact that according to Shia beliefs, Raj‘a (Return) is well-proofed teaching and based on this doctrine, the Imams will be revived after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS). The following narration confirms the same point:

وَ قَوْلُهُ وَ نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ نَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَ نَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوارِثِينَ وَ نُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِفَهَذَا كُلُّهُ مِمَّا يَكُونُ فِي الرَّجْعَةِ

”Imam Sadiq (AS) said:… the Verse ‘And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs’ is about the period of Raj’a (Return).”[6]

Interestingly, the same Verse has been mentioned in some Ziyara texts for Imam Mahdi (AS) such as:

السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا مَوْلَايَ … أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ الْإِمَامُ الْمَهْدِيُّ …فَعَجَّلَ اللَّهُ فَرَجَكَ … وَ نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ نَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَ نَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوارِثِين‏

”Peace be upon you O my master! … I bear witness that you are Imam Mahdi … May Allah (SWT) hasten your reappearance. … ‘And We desired to show favor to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs’.”[7]

The article was written by Hujjat al-Islam Sayyid Mostafa Daryabari and Dr.Morteza Karimi.

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References

  1. The Holy Qur’an.
  2. AllamaMajlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, al-Wafa’ Institute, Beirut, 1404.
  3. Hakim Haskani, Shawahid al-Tanzil, 1411.
  4. Qummi, Ali b. Ibrahim, Tafsir al-Qummi, Dar al-Kutub Institute, Qom, 1404.
  5. ShaykhKulayni, al-Kafi, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya, Tehran, 1365.
  6. ShaykhSaduq, Ma’ani al-Akhbar, Jame’i-ye Mudarrisin Publication, Qom, 1361.
  7. ShaykhTusi, Kitab al-Ghayba, Ma’arifIslami Publication, Qom, 1411.

[1] See https://www.al-islam.org/enlightening-commentary-light-holy-quran-vol-13/section-1-narrative-moses#surah-al-qasas-verses-5-6

[2]Shawahid al-Tanzil, vol. 1, p. 558.

[3]Kitab al-Ghayba, p. 184.

[4]Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 306.

[5]Ma’ani al-Akhbar, p. 79.

[6]Tafsir al-Qummi, vol. 1, p. 25.

[7]Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 91, p. 31.

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