This article has been compiled with the help of the following scholars: Syed Abbas Razavian, Shaykh Salim YusufAli, Shaykh Usama AbdulGhani, and Moulana Zaki Baqri. May Allah reward them and accept their efforts in the way of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).
Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ) has promised two weighty things which will never separate from each other and will provide guidance if we attach ourselves to them. The two things have been mentioned in the acclaimed narration known as Ḥadīth al-Thaqalayn. This ḥadīth, or narration, has been narrated from several different narrators and has been granted the status mutawātir, meaning there is no doubt about its authenticity in any of the schools of thought. Additionally, it is not only accepted by the different schools of thought, but has been mentioned in the ḥadīth books of the different schools. The text varies slightly in each narration but the core message is the same. This particular narration of Ḥadīth al-Thaqalayn is referenced in Al-Kāfī, which is one of the four most important Shīʿah sources of ḥadīth and is reported there as:
“Truly I am leaving two things among you, to which if you hold yourself, you will never go astray: the book of Allah-Invincible and Majestic is He and my Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), my ʿitrah (family). O people! Listen! And I have delivered the message to you: definitely you will enter my presence at the pond and I will ask you about what you did to the Thaqalayn (two weighty things) and the Thaqalayn are the Book of Allah – exalted is His mention and my Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).”
Sunan an-Nasāʾī , one of the six Ṣaḥīḥ books of our Sunni brothers, quotes it in this way:
“It is as if I have been called, and so I have answered. Truly I have left the Thaqalayn (two weighty things) among you, one of them is greater from the other, the book of Allah and my ʿitrah (Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa)). So look after how you will behave with them after me, indeed they will never separate from each other until they enter my presence by the pool.” It is an undeniable ḥadīth, and even contemporary Salafī scholars, like Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn Al-Bānī, accept it. The other versions of Kitāb and Sunnah are weak.
The tradition denotes three major ideological points:
- obligation to follow the Noble Qurʾān and Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa);
- infallibility of Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) because they are inseparable from the Noble Qurʾān;
- continuation of Imāmah since the two will be the source of guidance until the Day of Judgment.
The Noble Prophet (ṣ) announced the intertwined nature of these two – he wanted to establish for mankind that guidance is provided only by the Divine in the form of the Imāms and the Noble Qurʾān until the Day of Judgment. Practically speaking, we should be looking to the Noble Qurʾān and traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) for all of our intellectual, practical, and jurisprudential needs. What this means is that we reject anything that fails to meet the criteria or goes against the Noble Qurʾān and the Infallibles. We accept what they accept. Surely, some endeavours are fruitless in this world. The two weighty things will help us decipher which efforts are worthy of our time and which aren’t. It is by those two standards that we will both be judged and questioned. What did we do with the weighty things which have been entrusted to our care? Did we follow their words, examples, and instructions? Did we pay heed to the lessons embedded in the stories of the Noble Qurʾān and the lives of the Imāms? These are questions worthy of our consideration and reflection when looking at our lives.
We as Muslims must guard and follow the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) just as we guard and follow the Noble Qurʾān. These two weighty things work together for one purpose: to establish closeness and consciousness of Allah. This tradition verifies the Divine link between this world and the next in the form of our awaited Imām (ʿaj), for since the two don’t separate from each other until the Day of Judgment, then surely we have both weighty things here with us. The two weighty things, the Noble Qurʾān and the Ahl alBayt (ʿa), have been generously provided to us for guidance. The question now is not a matter of how we will access them, but if we actually will. We will be questioned about these trusts that the Noble Prophet (ṣ) has left us. Will we be able to say we honored these trusts? Or is the Noble Qurʾān another dusty book on our shelves, and the Ahl alBayt (ʿa) are left as forlorn figures in history? The decision is ours.