Among the virtues of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is the return of the Sun for Imam (a.s.) on the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) request. While this is only one of Imam’s (a.s.) many virtues, it is notable since the Muslims have recorded it in vivid detail. Also Imam (a.s.) had repeatedly staked claim to caliphate citing his many virtues like the return of the Sun.
1. Why the Sun was made to return
2. Narrators of the incident
3. Staking a claim to caliphate
4. Hassan Ibn Thabit’s poetry on the returning of the sun
5. Sun returned for Yusha Ibn Noon (a.s.) – Prophet Moosa’s (a.s.) successor
6. Allamah Amini’s (r.a.) view on the reports of incident
Back to Top Why the Sun was made to return
Asma bint Umais narrates – The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) recited his Zohr prayer at a place called Sohba, on the way back from the Battle of Khaibar.
Meanwhile he (s.a.w.a.) sent forth Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on an errand.
By the time Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) returned, the Holy Prophet (a.s.) had concluded his Asr prayers.
He (s.a.w.a.) fell asleep while resting his head in Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) lap and in that state received divine communication.
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) chose not disturb the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) even though he was yet to offer his Asr prayers.
When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) woke up the sun had already set.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) supplicated – O Allah your servant Ali undertook the burden of serving your Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Recall the sun for him.
It is reported that the sun retraced its path so that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) performed ablutions and the Asr prayers. The sun then set. This incident transpired over the land of Sohba.
Back to Top Narrators of the incident
The incident has been documented with minor variations by scholars from the Muslim majority.
Allamah Amini (r.a.) has listed forty-three narrators of the incident in Al-Ghadeer (v 3 p 186 onwards) some of whom are named here:
- Al-Hafiz Abul Hasan Uthman Ibn Abi Shaybah (teacher of Bukhari) in his Sunan
- Abu Jafar Al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar v 2 p 11
- Abul Qasim al-Tabarani in Mojam al-Kabeer v 24 p 145
- Al-Hakim Abu Abdillah al-Nisaboori in Tarikh Nisaboori
- Al-Hafiz Ibn Murdawayh in Al-Manaqeb
- Abu Ishaq al-Thalabi in his Tafseer and Qasas al-Ambiya
- Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi in Al-Dalael on same lines as Faiz al-Qadr v 5 p 440
- Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi in Talkhis al-Mutashabeh and Al-Arbaeen
- Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in Fath al-Baari v 6 p 168
- Al-Hafiz al-Suyuti in Jama al-Jawame
- Al-Samhoodi al-Shafe’ee in Wafa al-Wafa v 2 p 33
- Al-Hafiz Shahab al-Deen Ibn Hajar al-Haythami al-Makki in Sawaeq al-Muhriqah p 128
- Al-Shiblanji in Noor al-Absaar p 63
Back to Top Staking a claim to caliphate
On several occasions, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) staked claim to caliphate citing his innumerable virtues like the returning of the Sun.
In the Shura, Imam (a.s.) challenged the council members like Usman, Talha, etc
I implore you for the sake of Allah, is there anyone among you for whom the sun returned when the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was asleep while his head was in my lap, except me?
They replied: By Allah, no!
- Al-Ghadeer v 3 p 193
Likewise, while refuting Abu Bakr’s caliphate on forty-three issues, Imam (a.s.) said:
I implore you for the sake of Allah, was the sun returned for you at the time of (lapsed) prayers so that you prayed it at its time or was the sun returned for me?
Abu Bakr: Of course, it was for you.
- Al-Khesal under Chapter of forty-three traits v 2 p 548-553
Back to Top Hassan Ibn Thabit’s poetry on the returning of the sun
The return of the Sun was a well-marked occasion and prompted Hassan, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) poet to recite these verses:
|إِلَّا بِحُبِّ ابْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ||لَا تُقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةُ مِنْ تَائِبٍ|
|وَ الصِّهْرُ لَا يَعْدِلُ بِالصَّاحِبِ||أَخُو رَسُولِ اللَّهِ بَلْ صِهْرُهُ|
|رُدَّتْ لَهُ الشَّمْسُ مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ||وَ مَنْ يَكُنْ مِثْلَ عَلِيٍّ وَ قَدْ|
|بَيْضاً كَأَنَّ الشَّمْسَ لَمْ تَغْرُب||ُرُدَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الشَّمْسُ فِي ضَوْئِهَا|
‘Repentance is not accepted from the repenting one
Except through the love for the son of Abi Talib (a.s.)
He is the brother of the Messenger of AlIah (s.a.w.a.), rather his son-in-law
And the son-in-law cannot be equated with the companions
And who can be like Ali? And surely
The sun was made to return for him from the West
The sun was made to return for him with its brilliance
Shining bright, as if the sun had never set’
- Bashaarah al-Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) vol. 2 pp. 147-148
- Mustadrak Safinah al-Behaar v 6 p 66
Back to TopSun returned for Yusha Ibn Noon (a.s.) – Prophet Moosa’s (a.s.) successor
It was forecast by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that events in Islam and Bani Israel would mirror each other closely.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prophesied – Whatever occurred in Bani Israel will happen exactly and precisely over here. (Man laa Yahzorohu al-Faqih vol. 1, p. 203, trad. 609).
He (s.a.w.a.) also said – Surely, Torah and the Quran were written by one Angel, on one skin, and with one pen, and all examples with tradition became equal. (Kitab Sulaim Ibn Qays al-Hilali (r.a.) vol 2 pg 599)
And it is documented that the Sun returned for Yusha Ibn Noon (a.s.), successor of Prophet Moosa (a.s.).
With the similarities prophesied between the Muslim nation and Bani Israel, return of the Sun for Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), the successor of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), is not surprising, rather it is to be expected.
Back to TopAllamah Amini’s (r.a.) view on the reports of incident
Regarding the incident of the return of the Sun, Allamah Amini (r.a.) has this to say with regards the Muslim majority’s view on the subject:
Surely the narration of the return of the Sun has been documented by a group of the Huffaaz (memorizers of Quran) in their books. And the experts in this field have deemed the narration to be correct (Sahih) and the others have judged it to be good (Hasan).
A group of the extremists have rejected it and have deemed it weak and these are the four despicable ones – Ibn Hazm, Ibn Jauzi, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Katheer.
- Al-Ghadeer v 3 p 184
The return of the Sun is not so surprising (that people should doubt it). It is after all a miracle of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and a sign of nobility for Ali (a.s.). And it was likewise for Yusha according to consensus. Then the only explanation is that we consider it a miracle for Moosa (a.s.) or sign of nobility for Yusha.
If it is a miracle for Moosa (a.s.), then our Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is greater than him. And if it is nobility for Yusha, then Ali (a.s.) is superior to Yusha. Because the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has informed:
The scholars (infallible Imams) of my nation are like the prophets of Bani Israel.
Then Ali (a.s.) is superior to the prophets of Bani Israel (and the return of the Sun for Ali a.s. cannot be rejected if we accept it for Yusha Ibn Noon a.s.).
- Al-Ghadeer v 3 p 189
With numerous virtues like returning of the Sun, etc, the Muslim nation was served regular reminders by Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the superior claim of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) to caliphate. Unfortunately, the Muslim nation exchanged the bright Sun of faith for the darkness of disbelief.