Thirty-Seventh Verse

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The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَانِ . بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لاَ يَبْغِيَانِ

“He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together. Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass.”[1]

In Ghaayah al-Maraam, seven traditions have been recorded from Sunni sources in its exegesis.

Tradition One: al-Maaleki in al-Fusool al-Muhimmah from Anas Ibn Maalek concerning His saying, “He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together”, he said, ‘(It refers to) Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.).’ “There come forth from them pearls, both large and small[2] (implies) al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.) and the author of the book ‘al-Durar’ has narrated.[3]

Tradition Two: Muhammad Ibn al-Abbas from Sunni references says, “Narrated unto us Ali Ibn Abdullah from Ibraheem from Muhammad Ibn al-Sult from Abi al-Jaarood Ziyaad Ibn al-Mundhir from al-Zahhaak from Ibn Abbas who said, concerning the verse of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – “He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together” (refers to) Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.); “Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass” is the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), and “There come forth from them pearls, both large and small” are al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.).”[4]

Tradition Three: Abu Ali al-Tabarsi has narrated from Sunni references from Salmaan al-Farsi (r.a.), Saeed Ibn Jubair and Sufyaan al-Thauri that ‘the two seas’ implies Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.) ‘between them is a barrier’ refers to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and ‘there come forth from them pearls, both large and small’ implies al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.).[5]

Tradition Four: Ibn Shahr Aashob from Sunni sources from al-Hirkausi in the book ‘al-Lawaame’ and Sharaf al-Mustafa’, Abu Bakr al-Shirazi in his book; Abu Saaleh , Abu Ishaaq al-Tha’labi, Ali Ibn Ahmad al-Taaee, Ibn Alaweeyah al-Qattaan – all in their exegesis of the Holy Quran – from Saeed Ibn Jubair, Sufyaan al-Thauri, and Abu Noaim al-Isfahaani in ‘Fi Maa Nazal Fi al-Quran Fi Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)’ from Hammaad Ibn Salmah, from Thaabit from Anas from Abu Haalek from Ibn Abbas; and al-Qaazi al-Nazeeri from Sufyaan Ibn Oyainah from Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) – and the words belong to him – concerning the saying of Allah – the High –  “He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together”, he said, ‘Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.) are the two deep oceans, neither of them will pass the other. And in the tradition, “Between them is a barrier” is the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). “There come forth from them pearls, both large and small” refers to al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.).[6]

Tradition Five:  From Abu Moaviyah al-Dhurair from al-A’mash from Abu Saaleh from Ibn Abbas, “Verily, Fatemah (s.a.) was weeping due to hunger and lack of clothes. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) advised her, ‘O Fatemah! Be content with your husband. By Allah! He is the Chief in this world and the Chief in the Hereafter.’ Thus, he (s.a.w.a.) brought about reconciliation between the two of them and Allah – the High – revealed, ‘He has made the two seas to flow freely’. He says, I sent the two oceans, Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) the ocean of knowledge and Fatemah (s.a.) the ocean of Prophethood; ‘they meet together’ they join; ‘I am Allah, I made a link between the two of them’. Then He said, ‘Between them is a barrier, a blockade i.e. the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) prevents Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) from grieving for the world and stops Fatemah (s.a.) to argue with her husband for the sake of this world. O Jinn and men, ‘You two deny’ the mastership of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the love of Fatemah al-Zahraa (s.a.). He said, ‘pearls (big)’ al-Hasan (a.s.) and ‘pearls (small)’ al-Husain (a.s.). For, the word اللؤلؤis used for big pearls and المرجانis for small pearls. Perhaps, they are called as ‘oceans’ for the vastness of their merits and the abundance of their goodness. For, an ocean is called so due to its vastness and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) rode a horse and said, ‘I found it as an ocean’.[7]

Tradition Six: In the book, ‘al-Manaaqeb al-Faakherah Fi al-Etrah al-Taaherah’ from al-Mubarak Ibn Masroor, who reports, ‘Informed me al-Qazi Abu Abdillah from his father from Abu Ghaalib Muhammad Ibn Abdillah directly from Abu Haaroon al-Abdi from Abu Saeed al-Khudri who chronicles, ‘I asked Ibn Abbas concerning the saying of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – “He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together”. He said, ‘Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.).’  ‘Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass.’ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). ‘There come forth from them pearls, both large and small’ al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.).’”[8]

Tradition Seven: al-Tha’labi too has narrated the above tradition and his chain of narrators terminates at Sufyaan al-Thauri.[9]

As for traditions from our sources, they are truly copious. In Ghaayah al-Maraam, five traditions have been recorded from our sources; we shall mention only two of them seeking divine blessings.

Tradition One: From Ibn Baabwayh who records, “My father narrated unto me from Sa’d Ibn Abdullah from al-Qasem Ibn Muhammad al-Isbahaani from Sulaiman Ibn Dawood al-Minqari from Yahya Ibn Saeed al-Attaar, who narrates, “I heard Abu Abdillah (a.s.) say, ‘He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together. Between them is a barrier which they cannot passAli (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.) are two deep oceans of knowledge. Neither of them transgresses the other. There come forth from them pearls, both large and smallal-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.).[10]

Tradition Two: From Muhammad Ibn al-Abbas from Ali Ibn Mukhallad al-Dehaan from Ahmad Ibn Sulayman from Ishaaq Ibn Ibraheem al-A’mash from Katheer Ibn Heshaam from Kahmash Ibn al-Hasan from Abu al-Saleel from Abuzar (r.a.) concerning the saying of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – “He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together”, he said, ‘Ali (a.s.) and Fatemah (s.a.)’.  There come forth from them pearls, both large and small” al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.). So whoever sees these four, Ali, Fatemah, al-Hasan and al-Husain (peace be on them all) will not love them but a believer and none shall hate them but an unbeliever. So, be believers with the love of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and don’t be unbelievers on account of their hatred lest you be thrown in hell-fire.’[11]

When you have become aware of what we have elaborated, then know that five points can be derived from the noble verses:

1)      The elevated status of our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and our lady Fatemah al-Zahra (s.a.) and their lofty position near Allah – Blessed and High be He – as He has named them as oceans. For, an ocean is used to denote vastness and expanse. It is written in al-Misbaah al-Muneer, ‘An ocean is called so due to its vastness’[12]. The position is that of the manifestation of His bounties and endowments upon His servants and these two (a.s.) are from the vast majestic bounties which He has bestowed upon the Jinn and the humans. Thus, He – the High – questions, ‘Then which bounties of your Lord will you two (Jinn and humans) deny?’[13]

2)      Both are equal to each other and are similar to the extent that neither of them can pass the other. Traditions about the merits and excellences of our lady al-Siddiqah al-Taaherah (s.a.) have proved this fact, that is, ‘But for Ali (a.s.), there would be none equal to Fatemah (s.a.) from the earlier ones to the recent ones.”[14]

3)      Their marriage was ordained by Allah – Blessed and High be He. 

Explanation: Just as the meeting of the two physical oceans (seas) of this universe are attributed to their Sender, Who caused them to meet and join, similarly, the meeting and joining of the spiritual oceans too is attributed to their Sender and He is Allah – the High. The verb ‘He made to flow freely’ (مرج) is an active verb and is attributed to Allah – the High. So, meeting – in reality – emanates from the method of sending and not merely in pursuance of it. Traditions from both the sects have proved this point.

From the Sunni traditions, is what has been narrated in Ghaayah al-Maraam in the Chapter, ‘Ali (a.s.) is the best of creatures after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)’ from Abu al-Hasan Ibn Maghaazeli al-Shaafei, the jurist, in the book ‘al-Manaqeb’ vide his chain of narrators ending at Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari, who states, “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) fell ill. Fatemah (s.a.) came to visit him (s.a.w.a.) to enquire about his (s.a.w.a.) well-being. When she (s.a.) saw the state of the Messenger of Allah’s (s.a.w.a.) strain and weakness, she (s.a.) was choked by tears till she could no longer control them and began weeping. He (s.a.w.a.) consoled her, ‘O Fatemah! Surely Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – scanned the earth, chose from it your father and sent him as a Prophet. Again, He scanned it for the second time and chose your husband from it. Thereafter, He revealed to me that I should get you married to him and take him as my successor. Don’t you know, O Fatemah, because of your reverence in front of Allah, He made you marry the one who is the greatest of them in forbearance, the foremost of them in peace and the most supreme of them in knowledge.’ (On hearing this), Fatemah (s.a.) became happy and rejoiced. Again, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said to her (s.a.), ‘O Fatemah! He (Ali) has eight unbeatable qualities: Belief in Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), his wisdom, his marriage to Fatemah (s.a.), his children al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.), his enjoining good, his prohibiting evil, his judgement with the Book of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He. O Fatemah! Verily, we Ahle Bait (a.s.) have been given seven characteristics that are neither given to any of the earlier ones before us (or he (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘the Prophets) nor shall it be found by any of the last ones except us: From us is the most superior of the Prophets (a.s.) and he is your father; our successor is the best of successors and he is your husband; our martyr is the best of martyrs and he is Hamzah, your uncle; from us is the one who will have two wings by which he will fly in Paradise as he wishes and he is Ja’far, your uncle; from us are the two grandsons of this Ummah and they are your two sons and by the One in Whose hands is my life, from us is the Mahdi of this Ummah.’”[15]

He has also narrated it from al-Hamweeni vide another of his chain of narrators from Ali Ibn Helaal from his father, with addition.[16]

And from Shiite sources, he has recorded from Salmaan (r.a.) with many more merits.[17]         

4)      The elevated status of the two chiefs of the youths of paradise, al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.), in front of Allah – the High – as He has called them as ‘pearls – big and small’ and likened them to it. Thus, He has declared their position amongst the Jinn and humans to be like that of pearls – both big and small – in the material world. So, just as pearls are an adornment for them in the material world, which they love and each one of them tries to acquire them to the best of his ability, they (may our lives be sacrificed for them) too are an embellishment and decoration for the believers, whom they love, hasten to acquire their affection, love and mastership (peace be on them both, their grandfather, their father, their mother and the Imams from their descendants).

5)      The distinction of Imamate and Caliphate for our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and his two sons, al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.) – the two chiefs of the youth of Paradise. For, it is essential that the one who enjoys such a high position in front of Allah – Blessed and High be He – from the Jinn and the humans, nay, through whom He has obliged all the Jinn and the humans, and asked them, ‘Then which bounties of your Lord will you two (Jinn and humans) deny?’, then it is not permissible for anyone from the Jinn and the humans to overtake in the high position of Caliphate of Allah – the High – and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). Moreover, it is essentially impermissible for those whom Allah – the High – has bestowed as bounties upon the Jinn and the humans to be a follower and adherent of the one upon whom the bounties have been bestowed.    

If you desire further elaboration, then know that Allah’s – Mighty and Majestic be He – terming Ali (a.s.) as an ocean shows the vastness of his knowledge and goodness. None of the three caliphs could match Ali (a.s.) in knowledge or any of the magnificent traits by which they could claim eligibility for this noble position of Caliphate and mastership. Whoever is informed of their anecdotes and stories will not bear any doubt whatsoever about what we have explained.

Ibn Qutaibah writes in his famous work of history[18]: Abu Bakr said during his illness in which he expired in reply to Abd al-Rahmaan Ibn Auf, “Yes, by Allah, I am not distressed by anything except three things that I did; I wish I had left them. And three things that I left, I wish I had done them. And three things I wish I had asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) about them. As for the three things that I did – and I wish I had not done them – was I wish I had left the house of Ali (a.s.) even if he (a.s.) declared a war against me. I wish on the day of Saqeefah Bani Saaedah I would have struck the hand of one of the two men viz. Abu Ubaidah (al-Jarrah) or Umar; for he was the Chief and I was the minister. I wish when I took al-Salmaa (or al-Sullami) as a prisoner in the attack, I should have either killed him with my sword or freed him but not burnt him alive.

As for the things that I left[19] – and I wish I should have done them– when I took al-Ash’ath Ibn Qais as a prisoner, I should have killed him and not left him alone because I heard from him and saw him which no rebel or evil person would have seen him do it but assist him in it. And I wish when I sent Khaaled Ibn Waleed to Syria, I should have sent Umar Ibn al-Khattaab to Iraq so that I could have opened both my hands freely in the way of Allah.

As for the things I would have loved to ask the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) about them, first would have been about this affair (caliphate) after him (s.a.w.a.) so that none would have disputed about it. (Secondly), I should have asked him (s.a.w.a.) whether the Ansaar have any right in it (caliphate) and (thirdly), I wished I had asked him (s.a.w.a.) about the inheritance of the daughter of the brother and father’s sister. For, I had all these things in mind.”

How can one prefer such a person to such an important position and status, which follows in the footsteps of Prophethood? Nay! Worse than this – as you know – and more shocking was that despite having such a condition, how could he hasten on the first day along with all his brothers and congregate in the Saqeefah of Bani Saaedah to appoint a Caliph???!!! They left the dead body of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) to determine Caliphate for one amongst themselves without consulting our master Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and others from the Bani Hashim lest they would dispute their word.

Moreover, how could he hand over Caliphate for the second caliph on the last day of his life and did not maintain status quo as – as per his belief and their belief – the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had done? This was the condition of the first caliph.

As for the second caliph, it would suffice to state whatever is famous amongst the books of both the sects and that is, on a number of occasions, he had declared his ignorance saying, ‘But for Ali, Umar would have been destroyed’![20] Some of them have numbered it as seventy times!!

As for the third caliph, his condition is even more apparent and is not hidden for the one who follows their traditions.

Conclusion:   How could those, who were bearing these conditions, even think of disputing with the ‘Door of the City of Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Knowledge’, who has been named in the Holy Quran as an ocean and whom Allah has made as a sign which He has endowed upon the Jinn and the humans???!!

All Praise is for Allah Who guided us to the recognition of His Proof and did not make us from the deniers of the sign and guidance would not have been possible for us had Allah not guided us.

[1] Surah Rahmaan (55): Verse 19-20

[2] Surah Rahmaan (55): Verse 22

[3] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 413; al-Fusool al-Muhimmah, p. 12

[4] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 413

[5] Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 9, p. 201; Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 413

[6] Manaaqeb-o-Aale Abi Taalib (a.s.), vol. 3, p. 318; Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 413

[7] Manaaqeb-o-Aale Abi Taalib (a.s.), vol. 3, p. 319; Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 414

[8] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 414

[9] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 414

[10] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 414 narrating from Shaikh al-Saduq (a.r.)


[11] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 414

[12] Al-Misbaah al-Muneer, p. 48

[13] Surah Rahmaan (55): Verse 21

[14] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 43, p. 107

[15] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 449; Manaaqeb of Ibn Maghaazeli, p. 101

[16] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 449

[17] Ghaayah al-Maraam, p. 452

[18] Al-Imaamah wa al-Siyaasah, p. 18

[19] These are the words from the manuscript from which I have copied. But it is known that only two things have been mentioned in this and perhaps, the third has been dropped due to the mistake of the manuscript writer. And Allah knows. I could manage to locate the mention of the third in the book, ‘al-Eqd al-Fareed’ by Ibn Abd Rabbeh, the words of which are as follows: ‘And I wish the day I dispatched Khaaled Ibn Waleed to the Ahl al-Raddah, I should have stood at Dhee al-Qissah. Had the Muslims become victorious, they would have become victorious. But if they would be defeated, I would be on the point of meeting or helping.’ – The Author (r.a.)

[20] Sharh-o-Nahj al-Balaaghah by Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, vol. 12, p. 205;  al-Ghadeer, vol. 6, p. 327

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