The representative of the Supreme Authority in Europe explains the meaning of the famous saying of Imam Al-Ridha (as): (One ought to accept it with the condition and the [detailed] conditions) in the famous Hadith of the Golden chain as it refers to the fifth principle of Shi’ah theological belief, i.e. the principle of Imamah (Divine-socio-religious leadership).
13 Thi Alqida 1439
His speech came during a ‘Friday sermon’ in the Ashley Mosque in Glasgow during the celebration of the auspicious anniversary of Imam Ali bin Mussa Al-Ridha’s (as) birthday, saying:
The real meaning of his (as) saying: (one ought to accept it with condition and detailed conditions) is that after acknowledging the monotheism of the One God, Almighty Allah (swt), the prophethood of the Seal of all Divine Prophets, i.e. Prophet Muhammad (sawas), with the belief in the Divine socio-religious leadership of the Twelve Imams, he would be (as) the Eighth. This quote was said – in antithesis to what was spread by the [waqifah] sect that claimed the Imamah had ended with the seventh Imam, i.e. Mussa bin Jafa’ar (as), and there would be no eighth Imam- in order to raise awareness against this false assertion and to clear the confusion over the principle of the Imam, therefore he said (one ought to accept it with the condition and detailed conditions), i.e., belief in all the Imams, all; all of the 12 Imams, from the first, Imam Ali (as), and including the last Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (as), as has been stated in the hadith from the Prophet (sawas) amongst other narrated and authentic hadiths.
His right honorable Sayed Kashmiri has also noted that this Hadith, known with the golden chain, was narrated in the sources of both Shi’ah and Sunni with the same highly respected chain, from Imam Ali bin Mussa al-Ridha (as), including his purified ancestors, till it is connected with the Prophet (sawas), who had narrated from Gabriel to the Almighty Allah (swt), to narrate this highly elevated and greatly honored and respected Hadith, as a sacred text that is not linked to the Holy Qur’an [Hadith Qudsi]! This Hadith was narrated in some of these books as follows:
1. ‘Yanabi’ah al-Mawaddah’ (Springs of Affection) (page 364 of the 8th edition 1385 AH./1966 AC. Publ.: by the Iraqi House, al-Kadhimiyah, Al-Maktabah al-Muhammadiyah), compiled by Hafidh Shaikh Suleiman ibn Ibrahim Al-Qundozi al-Hanafi, has stated, in his book: Tarikh Nishabur (The History of Nishapur) that he, i.e. Imam al-Ridha (as) spent some few days in Nishabur, then he came out to the [old] town ‘Marw Shah Jahan’, with a camel topped by an umbrella, through which one could not see from behind. He was approached by two Hafidhs: Abu Zur’ah al-Razi and Muhammed bin Aslam al-Tusi accompanied by an uncountable number of students of Islamic studies and hadith. They approached the Imam (as) asking him to reveal his bright face for them, so as to narrate a hadith from his great ancestors for them.
He ordered his companions to stop the camel, requesting them to remove the covering umbrella, so that everybody could see his blessed face, with two twisted braids on his neck! People were either mourning, or screaming, or had fallen onto the ground kissing the hoof of his mule. The scholars shouted: O people, please listen! After they had started listening, he (as) said: "My father, Imam Mussa al-Kadhim (as), told me from his father, Imam Ja’afar al-Sadiq (as), from his father, Muhammed al –Baqir (as), from his father, Imam Zain al-‘Abidin (as), from his father, Ali ibn Abi-Talib (may the Almighty’s blessings be upon all of them), who had said: My beloved and dearest brother, i.e. the holy Prophet (sawas) said: The archangel Gabriel told me: I heard the Lord, Almighty Allah (swt) saying: "There is no God but Allah" is -itself- My fortress! So whoever testifies it would enter my fortress, and whoever enters my fortress is spared from My chastisement and torment.” Then he released the covering umbrella and walked away! When one had counted those who wrote this hadith, their number exceeded twenty thousand.
In the book ‘Fassel al-Khitab’ it is narrated from Abu al-Saalt, Abdul Salam ibn Saleh ibn Sulayman al-Harway, who said: I was with Imam Ali al-Ridha (as) -bin Mussa al-Kadhim (as)- when he was leaving Nishapur, riding on his grizzled mule! Suddenly Ahmed bin al-Harb, Yahya Bin Yahia and Isshaq Bin Rahweh, appeared and approached him amongst several scholars, who were gathered around his mule, and said: We swear by your purified ancestors! Would you narrate to us a hadith from your father, who had heard it from his purified ancestors (as) from the Holy Messenger (sawas)?!
Then he went on to narrate about the same hadith that was mentioned earlier. Then he added: When the camel departed a bit, he couldn’t help adding to inform us: "There is no God but Allah", [provided that it is accepted] with all of its conditions. And I am one of these conditions! It is said that he is one of its conditions, means that everybody ought to recognize him as the [spiritual and socio-religious] leader of all Muslims, whom must be obeyed.
Then Sheikh Al-Qundozi continues in his book: ‘Yanabi’ah al-Mawaddah’ (Springs of Affection) and states: "This narration is supported and strengthened by the saying of Imam Ali (as) in his book: ‘Ghurar al-Hikam’, saying number 3479, which states: "La ilaha alla Allah" (there is no god but the Almighty Allah) has certain conditions, and I and my descendants are only some of those conditions. In ‘Sunan ibn Majah’, he narrates from: Sahl ibn Abi-Sahl and Muhammad Ibn Isma’il, who have narrated: We have been told by Abu al-Salet, Abdul Salam ibn Saleh ibn Sulaiman al-Harawy, who has said: Ali al-Ridha (as), ibn Mussa, has told me from his father, Mussa ibn Ja’afar, from his father Ja’afar ibn Muhammad, from his father, Muhammad bin Ali, from his father, Ali ibn al-Hussain, from his father, al-Hussain bin Ali, from his father, Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), who said: The Messenger of Allah (sawas) said: Faith is summarized in: ‘Knowledge of the heart, acquiescence with the tongue and performing and acting due to the pillars.’ Then Abu al-Salet had added: If this chain were to be read on the ear of an insane person, most probably s/he would be cured from his/her insanity.
2. Hilayt Al-‘Awliya' wa Tabaqat Al-Awsiya’ (vol. III, pp.: 191-192, 5th edition, 1407 AH- 1987 AC, Published by: Dar al-Kitab Al-Arabi, Beirut), by Hafidh Abi Na’im al-Asfahani. He said: Abu Ishaq, Ibrahim ibn 'Abd-Allah ibn Ishaq al-Ma’dil said: Abu Ali Ahmed bin Ali al-Ansari had said while he was in ‘Nisabur’: Abu al-Salet, Abdul Salam ibn Saleh ibn Sulaiman al-Harawy, who has said: Ali al-Ridha (as), ibn Mussa, has told me … from Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) who said: We were told by the Prophet (sawas) that the archangel Gabriel (as) had said that the Almighty Allah (swt) said: "I am Allah, and there is no god but Me, so worship Me! Anyone who would bring himself/herself to Me, with a purified testimony that there is no God but Allah (swt), with a profound belief, then s/he has entered my fortress, and if someone enters my fortress, s/he would be safe from my torment and chastisement.
Shaykh al-Hafidh Abu Na’im has stated: This hadith has been widely spread and broadly narrated including all the purified ancestors and Imams (as). There were some narrators of hadiths, who stated: If one were to recite those names [of the purified Imams (as)] on an insane person, he would most probably be cured!
It is worth mentioning here and now: This last phrase of the narration is smartly referring to an important fact, namely: That all the principles of the Islamic faith and theology are extremely linked with each other, as there is no base for monotheism without adopting the Prophethood, and there is no monotheism, nor prophethood, unless one has accepted the principle of [Imamah] socio-spiritual and religious leadership. Lastly, no-one can espouse the Resurrection without having espoused all of the four previous principles.
Shaikh Sulaiman al-Hanafi al-Qundozi has narrated this prophetic hadith in his book: ‘Yanabi’ah al-Mawaddah’ (Springs of Affection) (vol. 1: page 53), as an evidence to prove that, when he stated: O Ali, anyone who kills you, he has indeed killed me, and anyone who hates you, he had indeed hated me, and anyone who swears at me, he has certainly sworn and cursed me, because you are from me, as if we were one unique soul! Your soul is from my soul, and your original clay from which you were created, was identical with my own! Indeed Allah Almighty (swt) has created me and created you from His Light! He has chosen me and you, thus He chose me for the prophecy and chose you for the Imamah! Anyone who denies your spiritual and socio-religious leadership, he has indeed rejected my prophethood!
Shaykh al-Saduq has written a comment on this hadith of the golden chain, in which the Imam Al-Ridha (as) has said at the end: "It should be accepted with its conditions, the terms of which I am one of its conditions". Saying, "There is no God but Allah", must contain accepting the authority of Imam Ali bin Mussa al-Ridha (as). As he was appointed by the Almighty (swt), his authority must be respected and ought to be followed as he is the ‘Imam of Allah’.
There is a correlation between the principles of religion, as there can be no monotheism without having espoused the prophethood and belief in the Imam. [Spiritual socio-religious] leadership. Hence, the word of "monotheism” ought to be accepted with all its terms, and accepting the authority of the Imams (as) is one of the conditions. This is also why Shaikh Saduq has narrated the same hadith with the golden chain.
From Ali bin Mussa al-Ridha (as), who has narrated from his father, then he from his fathers till it reaches Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), from the Prophet (sawas) from the archangel Gabriel from the angel Michael, from the angel [Lawh] tablet from the angel [Qalam] pen, that has said: The authority of Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) is My fortress, and whoever enters My fortress, he is safe from my chastisement and torment.
Under those categories, one may realize that there’s no conflict of evidences!.. The late Shaikh Muhammad Ali Shah-Abadi says: ‘The acceptance of the authority is contained in the testimony when one accepts authority of the Prophet (sawas), because the [Imamah] authority is contained in the authority of the prophethood.’ According to a scholar: The two testimonies [both the authority of Imamah and prophethood] are all included in the testimony of divinity and monotheism.
According to the salutation known: الزيارة الجامعة الكبيرة للإمام عليٍّ الهادي عليه السّلام, one may conclude many crucial points. As this is known as the historical salutation from Imam Ali Al-Hadi (as) we must learn from you. The late Sayed Abdullah Shubbar says: (And anyone who has espoused monotheism, he must listen and adhere to you). As such if someone is not willing to follow your advice, then he is not a real monotheist, but rather a hypocrite, even if he claims to be a monotheist. And anyone, who embraced monotheism, must follow your guidance, as they are substantial evidence of accepting your teachings, your authority and adopting your leadership [Imamah].
So peace be on you, oh Imam Ali Bin Mussa Ar-Ridha (as), on the day you were born and the day you used to live and on the day when you will be recalled back from death.
O, God shower your Mercy over Ali bin Mussa Ar-Ridha (as), up to the satisfaction of the Imam, as he is the purified Imam, and the purest, whose purification is widely known for those who are alive as well as those who are buried! He is the Martyr, the loyal servant of the Almighty! O Allah bless him voraciously!