Hadith of Manzila (Position)

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The Hadith of Manzila (Arabic: حديث المنزلة) is an authentic narration accepted by all Muslims and is primarily used by Shi'as to prove the right of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib in succeeding the Prophet after his demise.




In 630 C.E (9 Hijri), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prepared to lead an expedition to fight at the Battle of Tabuk. However, he did not want to leave the city of Medina unattended and left Imam Ali (as) as his deputy. When the army departed Medina, the hypocrites started to spread rumours that the Prophet had left Ali in Medina since he wanted to get rid of him.[1] Imam Ali was greatly troubled and saddened by the circulation of these rumors, and he hastened to the presence of the Prophet who had already left Medina.[2] He inquired about the rumours that were being spread, to which the Prophet replied:

أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي
Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there is no Prophethood after me? [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


All Muslims are unanimous that this narration is authentic and was stated about Imam Ali by the Prophet. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, a Sunni scholar, states that the meaning of this hadith is that Ali is linked to Prophet Muhammad by sharing the same position that Harun had with respect to Musa. He writes that there is a vague comparison here which was made clear by his words: “except there is no Prophet after me” and this makes it clear that the link that was mentioned between them was not in Prophethood, but rather what was below that and that is the caliphate.[8] Many Sunni scholars likewise, also concur that this narration implies the position of caliphate to Ali but only during the lifetime of the Prophet, and it materialized during the expedition of Tabuk. On the contrary, the Shi'a view insists that this relationship of caliphate was not restricted to the life of the Prophet and rather this narration demonstrates the authority and leadership position Ali had even after the Prophet. The Qur'an describes the relationship of Harun with Musa was that of a brother, minister and vicegerent.[9] [10] Though Harun himself was also a Prophet, Prophet Muhammad has in this narration indicated that Ali held the same position as Harun, except for the position of Prophethood. A further clarification of the narration is given by the companion of the Prophet, Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari as follow:

Abu Harun al-Abdi said: ‘I asked Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari about the meaning of Allah’s messenger (s)’ statement to Ali (as): ‘Your status to me is like the status of Harun to Musa except there is no Prophet after me’. He (Jabir) said: ‘By Allah he (the Prophet) made him (Ali) Caliph during his life and after his death and made obedience of him (Ali) obligatory, so whoever didn’t submit to his Caliphate after hearing this statement, is verily amongst the unjust’’.[11]

The Shi'a further state that there exist additional factors that demonstrate that the implications of this narrations are not merely constricted to the lifetime of the Prophet. This was not the first or only time where the Prophet compared Ali to Harun, rather this was mentioned on numerous other occasions as well. [12] Some of these incidents have also been recorded in Sunni books, such as when the Prophet visited the mother of Anas ibn Malik and had a conversation with her[13] and as well as during the instilling of brotherhood between the companions.[14]

External Links


  1. The Expedition of Tabuk, Restatement of History of Islam by Sayed Ali Asgher Razwy
  2. Lesson 5, Imamate And Leadership by Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari
  3. Book Pertaining to the Merits of the Companions, Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5915
  4. Companions of the Prophet, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, #56
  5. Majlis #32, Al-Amaali by Shaykh Saduq, pg. 173, Hadith #7
  6. Mustadarak Al-Wasaa’il by Allama Noori Tabrasi, vol. 18, ch. 20, pg. 367, hadith # 22971
  7. Usool al-Kafi by Shaykh al-Kulayni, vol. 8, pg. 106, hadith #80
  8. Fath al-Baari - فتح الباري by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani
  9. Qur'an 25:35
  10. Qur'an 20:25-36
  11. Ma’ani al-Akhbar by Shaykh Saduq, page 74
  12. Hadith Manzila from Shia Traditions
  13. Kanz al-U'ummal, by Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32936
  14. Ibid, by Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32935
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