Question 569: Agha! Are al-Bayan, al-Iftikhariya and Al-Tatanjiya sermons imputed to Mola Ali A.s which are found in Mashariq al-Anwar of Shaykh Rajab Borsi, are authentic? What are their health of authentication in regards of Ayatollah Sistani and the rest of mujtahideen? what is the take of Shariyah on them?
Answer 569: There are many sermons attributed to Imam Ali (as) mentioned in traditional and historical sources. But, they haven’t been mentioned in Nahj al-Balaghah.
Al-Bayan Sermon: Khutbatul Bayan or Iftikhar Sermon is one of them attributed to the Imam (as).
In this sermon, Imam Ali (as) introduces himself, foretells about the future and states the end of time and signs of re-emergence of Imam Mahdi (ajtf). A major part of the sermon relates to messianic issues as well as the apocalyptic period and signs of reappearance. This sermon discusses the signs of reappearance and also deals with the subject of Sayyid Hasani and his uprising and conduct with Imam Mahdi (atf) as well as his surrender to the Imam. When it comes to the chain of transmission of this narration and its validity, there are discrepant views and comments among Shia scholars some affirming it, others opposing.
According to the references mentioned in this sermon, Abdullh bin Masood said: When Imam Ali (as) being appointed to caliphate, He came back to Basrah after three days, ascended to pulpit in the Jame’ Mosque of the city and delivered a sermon saying about the difficulties and calamities happened the death of the holy Prophet (pbuh). While Imam Ali (as) delivering speech a man named Suwaid bin Nufil Hilahi, one of the great man of Khawarij interrupted the his speech, and asked: from where did the Imam know these things? Imam Ali (as) looked at the man angrily and talked about his attributes and knowledge. The followings are a few phrases the Imam introduced himself: Ana’ Sirr al-Asrar, Ana’ Shajarat al-Anwar; Ana’ Dalil al-Samawat; Ana’ Anis al-Musabbahat.
This long sermon has only mentioned in recent sources. Ilzam al-Nasib, written by Ali Yazdi haeri (d. 1333 A.h) is one of the most accessible sources. In this book, there are three different versions of this sermon, Khutbat al-Bayan that each of them has vast difference with the other. The first two versions have no references, but the book al-Durr al-Munazzam fee al-Sirr al-Aazam, written by Muhammad bin Talhah Shafe’ei, the Sunni scholars but loving Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) is the only sources mentioned for the third version of this sermon.
Those who mentioned in this book as the chain of narrations for this sermon are unknown except Tawq bin Malik, because he is not a narrator and had never narrated a hadith from him. He is one of the Harun al-Rashid’s commander that passed away in the year 216 A.H.
The followings are some points we should take into consideration about Abdullah bin Masood, the main narrator that is the most important reason than the chain of narration.
- He has passed away before the caliphate of Imam Ali (as). So, he couldn’t narrate this sermon, because Imam Ali (as) was delivered it after being appointed to caliphate in Basra or Kufa.
- This chain of narration is Marfoo. This means that there are some unknown persons between ibn Masood and the listener of Khutbah, so we ought not to accept this hadith as Sahih.
- According to Sunni scholars, Abdullah bin Masood has never narrated a Hadith from Imam Ali (as).
- According to Shia, ibn Masood wasn’t careful about narrating hadith. Meaning that he cannot be trusted.
Therefore, according to the previous mentioned reasons, we ought not to trust about the chain of narration of this sermon.
In his book Bisharat al-Islam, Sayyid Mustafa Ale Haydar said: we haven’t found the correct chain of narration for this sermon. None of the great narrators like Kulayni, sadouq and Sheikh Tusi have never narrated it. We can conclude that since Allamah Majlisi never narrated this sermon that this sermon is not reliable.
Late Mirza-ye Qummi, the author Qawanin al-Usul after denying the attribution of this sermon to Imam Ali (as), talked about Khutbat al-Bayan and its problems in detail at the end of book Jame’ al-Shatat.
Allamah Jafar Murtadha Ameli specialized an important part of his book, al-dirasat fee Alamat al-Dhuhur wa al-Jazirat al-Khazra, to reecting this sermon, some of which are as follows:
- In this sermon, some persons like Amr bin Saleh, Salman, Miqdad and ibn Yaqtin have been mentioned as those who were presented there, while salman and Miqdad have already passed away before the caliphate of Imam Ali (as). Also, Amr bin Saleh and ibn Yaqtin weren’t contemporary to the Imam.
Suwayd bin Nufil Hilali who mentioned in this sermon as the great man of Khawarij is not exist.
- As we read in the first version of this sermon, Gabriel (as) has descended on the Rock of Jerusalem, while this place is the Jewish Kiblah and Bani Umayyah forged some traditions in praise of it.
- According to Islamic traditions, Imam Hussain (as) will give Ghusl to, shroud and bury the Imam of the Time (ajtf), but this sermon says: Prophet Jesus (as) will do it.
- There are some ambiguous phrases mentioned in this sermon, some of which are as follows: Ana Mus’haf al-Injil, Ana Sher al-Zabraqan, Ana Unuq al-Sibtayn, Ana Atarud al-Ta’til, Ana Nasikh al-Mary, Ana Ghufran al-Shartayn and etc.
- There are many highly colored statements in this sermon, some of them are: Ana Alaniyat al-Mabood, Ana al-Dhahir ma’a al-Anbiya, Ana Sabab al-Asbab, Ana al-Awwalu wal Akhar, Ana al-Dhahir, Ana al-Batin, Ana Waze al-Shariat and etc.
- There are some solecisms, incorrect words (grammatical mistakes) and Farsi words like Keywan have mentioned in this sermon.
- As we Shia denied determining the time of Reappearance of Imam Mahdi (ajtf), but there have mentioned some strange signs of re-emergence and determined that the Imam will appear in the year 1184 A.H.
- Many repetitive phrases are exist in this sermon.
- As the following phrase has mentioned in this sermon we come to the conclusion that one who forged this sermon is Nasebi and an enemy of Ahlul Bayt (pbuth). 
“ضيّعتُ الارض و حُكم الفرض”
Mirza-ye Qummi said: I haven’t seen in any authentic book that this sermon is attributed to Imam, but it has mentioned in some Sufism resources.
Al-Iftikhariya Sermon: In his Mashariq al-Anwar, Hafez Rajab Borsi has narrated from Asbagh bin Nabatah a relatively long sermon named Al-Iftikhar Sermon which the narrator has attributed to Imam Ali (A.S). In that sermon, Imam Ali (A.S) introduces himself with these words: “I am the brother of the Messenger of God and the Heir to His knowledge, the treasury of His wisdom, and the Companion of His secret. There is not a letter revealed by God in any of His Books whose intention does not point towards me. He hath vouchsafed unto me the knowledge of what was from eternity and what will happen unto the Day of Resurrection. To me hath been vouchsafed the knowledge of past and future generations and their genealogies.” Then he refers to future events and the signs of reappearance. If you go through the sermon and take careful a look at the words, you will come to know that a lot of the words and meanings in this sermon are also found in other narrations which have been substantiated and approved in their own respective places.
Al-Tatanjiya Sermon: Late Hafez Rajab Borsi has reported this sermon in his Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqin”. Considering that Imam Ali (A.S) says in a part of this sermon: «اَنَا الْواقِفُ عَلَى التُّطُنْجَیْنِ» (I am abiding over the two gulfs (tatanjayn)), this sermon is called Al-Tatanjiya which means two gulfs of water or this world and the hereafter. The first part of the sermon dealing with creation of the world is very similar to the first part of Nahjul Balaghah. Most of the wordings and sentence structures are completely overshadowed by Quranic verses and are relying on traditional beliefs. The sermon deals mainly with Imam Ali’s expanse of knowledge, especially his super knowledge of the universe, the preceding and future events. It is for the same reason that the sermon is replete with statements about the cosmos as well as reports about the apocalyptic period or the end of time. This sermon explains the course of glorification of Allah, the Exalted, throughout the history of prophets as well as the existential guardianship (wilayat takvini) and knowledge of the Infallible Imams (A.S). In other words, it introduces the perfect man. The discourse is about the first creation and created which have been referred to in the tradition as such: «اَوَّلُ ما خَلَقَ اللّهُ الْعَقْلُ» (The first thing that God created was the intelligence).
This position of intelligence has different expressions in its various dimensions. This position of intelligence is the “Muhammadan Reality (haqiqat muhammadia)”.
The Al-Tatanjiya Sermon has not been narrated in Nahjul Balaghah but Sayyid Hebatullah Abi Muhammad Musavi (d. 703 A.H.) has recorded it in his al-Majmu’ al-Rayiq Min Ezhar al-Hadaiq. Some recent scholars like Ali Yazdi Haeri (d. 1323 A.H.) have also narrated it.
At the end of this sermon, there is a description of the four realms (aqalim) and Sheikh Agha Buzurg Tehrani has considered it probable that this sermon might be united with the Al-Aqalim Sermon which Ibn Shahrashub has talked about in his Al-Manaqib. This sermon has been published either independently or as supplements in other publications. Different manuscripts of this sermon are said to be in the libraries of the University of Tehran, the Iranian parliament, Waziri Yazd and Masjid A’azam of Qom. Many commentaries have been written expounding the said sermon the most famous of which is Irshad Al-Mustarshideen by Sayyid Kazim Rashti (d.1259 A.H) of which seventeen manuscripts are available in Iran’s libraries.
This sermon is defective in terms of its chain of transmission. Thus, the chain of transmission cannot be considered as reliable but the contents and significations of the sermon are acceptable even though they may not be those of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, peace be upon him. Keeping in view the fact that there are also other narrations having higher and more perfect contents than those of this narration reaffirming it, some scholars are of the view that the contents of the Al-Tatanjiya Sermon are correct. They maintain that by turning to the reports regarding the virtues and merits of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (A.S), the doubt concerning this sermon will be removed. In fact, they state that the reports, like verses, explicit or implicit, general and particular, restricted and unrestricted, ambiguous and unambiguous. Some of them should be interpreted in the same way as the Quranic verses. Hence, it is necessary for every just and fair individual not to reject a tradition which he finds apparently dichotomous with the principles and rules. He should rather reflect and contemplate on it and should also compare it with other reports which have been passed on from the Infallibles (A.S) and which interpret the report. That is because their reports, like the holy verses of the Quran, expound and interpret one another. For instance, in Kulayni’s Al-Kafi, there are traditions about perfect man which are in no way in contradiction with Islamic doctrines. For example, Imam Ali (A.S) has been reported as having said:
«أَنَا عَيْنُ اللَّهِ وَ أَنَا يَدُ اللَّهِ وَ أَنَا جَنْبُ اللَّهِ- وَ أَنَا بَابُ اللَّهِ»
“I am God’s eye, and I am God’s hand…” Hence, it can be said that the traditions in this regard confirm the content of Al-Tatanjiya Sermon to some extent.
 .Haeri Yazdi, Ali, Ilzam al-Nasib fee Ithbat al-Hujjat al-Ghaeb, Vol. 2, Pgs. 148-191, first edition, Beirut, 1422 A.H.
 . Ibid, Pg. 232.
 . Al-Tabari, Abu Jafar, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 8, Pg. 323, Dar al-Turath, Beirut, second edition,; Al-Yaqoubi, Ahmad bin Abi Yaqoub, Tarikh al-Yaqoubi, Vol. 2, Pg. 424, Dar al-Sader, Beirut, Bita.
 . Al-Mazy, Yousef bin al-Zaki, Tahzib al-Kamal fee Asma al-Rijal, Vol. 16, Pg. 121, N. 3564, al-Risalah Institution, Beirut, 1400 A.H.
 . Kashi, Abu Amr, Muhammad bin Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Rijal al-Kashi, Pg. 38, Mashad University Publication Instirution, Mashhad, 1490 A.H.
 . Ale Haydar, Sayyid Mustafa, Bisharat al-Islam, Pg. 75, H. 214, al-Bithat Institution, Tehran, 1410 A.H.
 .Qummi, Abul Qasim, Jame’ al-Shatat, Pg. 792, Kayhan Institution, first edition, Tehran, 1413 A.H.
 . Ameli, Jafar murtadha, Dirasat fee Alamat al-Dhuhur, Pg. 75, Muntadi Jabal al-Amel al-Islami, Qom, 1412 A.H.
 . Jame al-Shatat, Pg. 792.
 Hafez, Borsi, Rajab bin Muhammad, Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqin fi Asrar Amir al-Momeneen (A.S), researched and edited by Ashur,Ali, p. 260, A’lami, 260, Beirut, first edition, 1422 A.H.
 Vide: Ibid, p. 260 – 262.
 Ibid, p. 263.
 Sheikh Hurr Amili, Muhammad bin Hasan, al-Jawahir al-Saniyah fi al-Ahadith al-Qudsiyah (generalities of Qudsi hadiths), p. 647, Dehqan Publications’, Tehran, third edition, 1380 (2001); Ibn Abil Hadid, Abdul Hamid bin Hebahullah, Sharh Nahjul Balaghah, researched and corrected by Ibrahim, Muhammad Abulfazl, vol.18, p. 185, Late Ayatollah Mar’ashi Najafi’s Library, Qom, first edition, 1404 A.H.
 Musavi, Sayyid Hebatullah Abi Muhammad, al-Majmu’ al-Rayiq min Ezhar al-Hadaiq, vol.1, p. 452, Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, Tehran, 1375 A.H.
 Yazdi Haeri, Ali, Elzam al-Nasib fi Ethbat al-Hujjah al-Ghaib (atf), researched and corrected by Ashur, Ali, vol.2, p. 199, al-A’lami Institute, Beirut, first edition, 1422 A.H.
 Agha Buzurg Tehrani, al-Zari’ah Ela Tasanif al-Shi’ah, vol.7, p. 199, and 201, Ismailiyan, Qom, 1408 A.H; Ibn Shahrashub Mazandarani, Manaqib Aal Abi Talib (A.S), vol.2, p. 274, Allamah Publications, Qom, first edition, 1379 A.H.
 Vide: Fehres (Catalogue) of the Library of the University of Tehran, vol.13, p. 3380, and vol.6, p. 365; Fehres of Majlis Library, vol. 38, p. 497; Fehres of Waziri Yazd Library, vol.1, p. 21, Fehres of Masjid A’azam Library, Qom, 606.
 Muhammad Karim Khan bin Ibrahim Kermani (d. 1288 A.H.), A Commentary of Al-Tatanjiya Sermon (a manuscript of which is kept in Sepahsalar Library. There is also an unknown commentary on Al-Tatanjiya Library in the Catalogue of the University of Tehran (vol.2, p. 703, No. 1067). Vide: Ali Sadrai, Khoei, with cooperation of Abul Fazl Sulaymani, Mahdi, Ashtiani, Ihsan, Catalogue of Manuscripts (Shiite Hadith and Hadith Sciences), vol.4, p. 377 – 378, Dar al-Hadith Printing and Publication Institution, Qom, first edition, 1384 (2005).
 Vide: Catalogue of Manuscripts (Shiite Hadith and Hadith Sciences), vol.4, p. 375 – 377.
 Vide: Allamah Hasanzadeh Amuli, Hasan, The Best Work in Rejection of Compulsion and Predestination and Two other Treatises, p. 98, Islamic Propagations Office, Qom, fourth edition,1379 (2000).
 Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Al-Kafi, researched and corrected by Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Akhundi, Muhammad, vol.1, p. 145, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H.