Imam Ali - Part 8 (Hadith al-Manzilah)
Content:
Hadith al-Mazilah proclaimed during the expedition of Tabuk
Hadith al-Mazilah mentioned on other occasions
Meaning of the hadith
Arguments of and refutation to those who deny the true meaning of hadith al-Manzila

This famous hadith goes as follows:

Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there is no prophethood after me
أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي

The following are some of the companions who narrated hadith al-Manzilah:
Ali ibn Abi Talib, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Jabir ibn Abdullah, Abdullah ibn Masu'ud, Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu Sae'id al-Khudri, al-Barra' ibn A'azeb, Jabir ibn Samarrah, Abu Hurayra, Zayd ibn Arqam, Abu Rafi'i, Hudhaifa ibn Aseed, Anas ibn Malik, Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Aqil ibn Abi Talib, Sa'id bin Musayyab, Habib bin Abi Thabit, Hubsha ibn Janada, Um Salama, Asma' ibn U'umays.

The authenticity of this hadith is undisputed. It has been narrated by many companions and overwhelmingly recorded in lots of Sunni and Shia'a book. Moreover, its authenticity is undisputable.

Ibn Abdul Barr said in his al-Istia'ab:

هو من أثبت الاخبار وأصحّها...

وطرق حديث سعد بن أبي وقاص كثيرة جدّاً

Ibn Asakir, in his Tarikh Dimashq, reported this hadith with Isnads from up to 20 companions.

al-Hakim al-Nisaburi said that this hadith is authentic:

هذا حديث دخل في حدّ التواتر

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ja'afar al-Kittani wrote in Nadhm al-Mutanathir min Hadith al-Mutawatir (Kitab al-Manaqib, #233):

(Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses) narrated by Abu Sae'ed al-Khudri, Asma' ibn U'umays, Um Salama, ibn Abbas, Habashi ibn Janada, ibn Umar, Ali, Jabir ibn Samara, al-Barra' ibn A'azeb, and Zayd ibn Arqam. These are 10 people. It was also narrated by Malik ibn al-Huwayrith, Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Umar ibn al-Khattab. ibn A'asakir investigated its different chain of transmission and found that a little over 20 companions who narrated this hadith....This hadith is mutawatir from a little over 20 companions...
أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى). أورده فيها أيضاً من حديث (1) أبي سعيد الخدري (2) وأسماء بنت عميس (3) وأم سلمة (4) وابن عباس (5) وحبشي بن جنادة (6) وابن عمر (7) وعلي (8) وجابر بن سمرة (9) والبراء بن عازب (10) وزيد بن أرقم عشرة أنفس. (قلت) ورد أيضاً من حديث (11) مالك بن الحويرث (12) وسعد بن أبي وقاص (13) وعمر ابن الخطاب وقد تتبع ابن عساكر طرقه في جزء فبلغ عدد الصحابة فيه نيفاً وعشرين وفي شرح الرسالة للشيخ جسوس رحمه اللّه ما نصه وحديث أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى متواتر جاء عن نيف وعشرين صحابياً واستوعبها ابن عساكر في نحو عشرين ورقة

Hadith al-Mazilah proclaimed during the expedition of Tabuk

The prophet mentioned this hadith on different occasions, one of them being during the expedition of Tabuk. Muslim and Bukhari have reported several versions of the hadith:

This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Shu'ba with the same chain of transmitters. Amir b. Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas reported on the authority of his father that Muawiya b. Abi Sufyin appointed Sa'd as the Governor and said: What prevents you from abusing Abu Turab (Hadrat 'Ali), whereupon he said: It is because of three things which I remember Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) having said about him that I would not abuse him and even if I find one of those three things for me, it would be more dear to me than the red camel. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) say about 'Ali as he left behind him in one of his campaigns (that was Tabuk). 'Ali said to him: Allah's Messenger, you leave me behind along with women and children. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to him: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there is no prophethood after me. And I (also) heard him say on the Day of Khaibar: I would certainly give this standard to a person who loves Allah and his Messenger and Allah and his Messenger love him too. He (the narrator) said: We have been anxiously waiting for it, when he (the Holy Prophet) said: Call 'Ali. He was called and his eyes were inflamed. He applied saliva to his eyes and handed over the standard to him, and Allah gave him victory. (The third occasion is this) when the (following) verse was revealed:" Let us summon our children and your children." Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) called 'Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain and said: O Allah, they are my family.
References:
     Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5915, Book of Fada'il Al-Sahabah; Page 940, #(2404)-32, Arabic version
     Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol 5, #3808 (أبواب المَنَاقِب عَن رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم)

Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas was one of the companions who wished he had this virtue. This is one reason why Hadith al-Manzila is so important. As you will see, Umar is another companion who had the same wish.

Narrated Ubaida: Ali said (to the people of 'Iraq), "Judge as you used to judge, for I hate differences (and I do my best ) till the people unite as one group, or I die as my companions have died." And narrated Sad that the Prophet said to 'Ali, "Will you not be pleased from this that you are to me like Aaron was to Moses?"
References:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, #56, Book of Fada'il Ashaab al-Nabi'; Page 780, #3706

al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih (Arabic version):

‏حدثني ‏ ‏محمد بن بشار ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏غندر ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏شعبة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سعد ‏ ‏قال سمعت ‏ ‏إبراهيم بن سعد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبيه ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏قال النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏لعلي ‏ ‏أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة ‏ ‏هارون ‏ ‏من ‏ ‏موسى

Narrated Sad: Allah's Apostle set out for Tabuk. appointing 'Ali as his deputy (in Medina). 'Ali said, "Do you want to leave me with the children and women?" The Prophet said, "Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me."
References:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, #700, Book of al-Maghaazi; Page 917, #4416, Arabic version

Amir b Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas reports (l on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) addressing 'Ali said: You are in the same position with relation to me as Aaron- (Harun) was in relation to Moses but with (this explicit difference) that there is no prophet after me. Sa'd said: I had an earnest desire to hear it directly from Sa'd, so I met him and narrated to him what (his son) Amir had narrated to me, whereupon he said: Yes, I did hear it. I said: Did you hear it yourself? Thereupon he placed his fingers upon his ears and said: Yes, and if not, let both my ears become deaf.
References:
     Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5913, Book of Fada'il al-Sahabah; Page 939, #(2404)-30, Arabic version

Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) left 'Ali b. Abi Talib behind him (as he proceeded) to the expedition of Tabuk, whereupon he ('Ali) said: Allah's Messenger, are you leaving me behind amongst women and children? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there would be no prophet after me.
References:
     Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5914, Book of Fada'il al-Sahabah; Page 940, #(2404)-31, Arabic version

Sa'd reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying to 'Ali: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses?
References:
     Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5916, Book of Fada'il al-Sahabah; Page 940, #(...), Arabic version

أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي
(م ت - عن سعد؛ ه، ت (أخرجه مسلم كتاب فضائل الصحابة باب من فضائل علي رقم (2404) ص) - عن جابر).
Reference:
     Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32881, #32886 (المجلد الحادي عشر >> فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)

Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported the following in his Musnad (v1, p330 [entire book: 272, #3062]):

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي حدثنا يحيى بن حماد حدثنا أبو عوانة حدثنا أبو بلج حدثنا عمرو بن ميمون قال:
-إني لجالس الى ابن عباس إذ أتاه تسعة رهط فقالوا: يا أبا عباس إما أن تقوم معنا وإما أن تخلونا هؤلاء قال: فقال ابن عباس: بل أقوم معكم قال: وهو يومئذ صحيح قبل أن يعمى قال: فابتدؤا فتحدثوا فلا ندري ما قالوا قال: فجاء ينفض ثوبه ويقول: أف وتف وقعوا في رجل له عشر وقعوا في رجل قال له النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: لأبعثن رجلا لا يخزيه الله أبدا يحب الله ورسوله قال: فاستشرف لها من استشرف قال: أين علي قال: هو في الرحل يطحن قال: وما كان أحدكم ليطحن قال: فجاءه وهو أرمد لا يكاد يبصر قال: فنفث في عينيه ثم هز الراية ثلاثا فأعطاها اياه فجاء بصفية بنت حيي قال: ثم بعث فلانا بسورة التوبة فبعث عليا خلفه فأخذها منه قال: لا يذهب بها إلا رجل مني وأنا منه قال: وقال لبني عمه: أيكم يواليني في الدنيا والآخرة قال: وعلي معه جالس فأبوا فقال علي: أنا أواليك في الدنيا والآخرة قال: إنت وليي في الدنيا والآخرة قال: فتركه ثم أقبل على رجل منهم فقال: أيكم يواليني في الدنيا والآخرة فأبوا قال: فقال علي: أنا أواليك في الدنيا والآخرة فقال: إنت وليي في الدنيا والآخرة قال: وكان أول من أسلم من الناس بعد خديجة قال: وأخذ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ثوبه فوضعه على علي وفاطمة وحسن وحسين فقال: إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت ويطهركم تطهيرا قال: وشرى علي نفسه لبس ثوب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ثم نام مكانه قال: وكان المشركون يرمون رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فجاء أبو بكر وعلي نائم قال: وأبو بكر يحسب أنه نبي الله قال: فقال: يا نبي الله قال: فقال له علي: إن نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قد انطلق نحو بئر ميمون فأدركه قال: فانطلق أبو بكر فدخل معه الغار قال: وجعل علي يرمى بالحجارة كما كان يرمى نبي الله وهو يتضور قد لف رأسه في الثوب لا يخرجه حتىأصبح ثم كشف عن رأسه فقالوا: إنك للئيم كان صاحبك نراميه فلا يتضور وأنت تتضور وقد استنكرنا ذلك قال: وخرج بالناس في غزوة تبوك قال: فقال له علي: أخرج معك قال: فقال له نبي الله: لا فبكى علي فقال له: أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنك لست نبي إنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا وأنت خليفتي قال: وقال له رسول الله: أنت وليي في كل مؤمن بعدي وقال: سدوا أبواب المسجد غير باب علي فقال: فيدخل المسجد جنبا وهو طريقه ليس له طريق غيره قال: وقال من كنت مولاه فإن مولاه علي قال: وأخبرنا الله عز وجل في القرآن أنه قد رضي عنهم عن أصحاب الشجرة فعلم ما في قلوبهم هل حدثنا أنه سخط عليهم بعد قال: وقال نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر حين قال: ائذن لي فلأضرب عنقه قال: أوكنت فاعلا وما يدريك لعل الله قد اطلع الى أهل بدر فقال: اعملوا ما شئتم.

The same hadith was reported in Majmau'ul Zawa'id by al-Haffidh al-Haythami, as well as al-Tabarani in his Awsatt:

وعن علي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "خلفتك أن تكون خليفتي". قال: أتخلف عنك يا رسول الله؟ قال: "أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي?
رواه الطبراني في الأوسط ورجاله رجال الصحيح

Imam ibn Hajar al-A'asqalani in Fat-hul-Barri reported the following:

The prophet said: "Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses"?. Ali replied: "I am, I am". And in the begining of there discussion, the prophet told Ali: "Either you or I must stay!" So Ali stayed.
قوله: (أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى) أي نازلا مني منزلة هارون من موسى، والباء زائدة. وفي رواية سعيد بن المسيب عن سعد " فقال علي: رضيت رضيت " أخرجه أحمد، ولابن سعد من حديث البراء وزيد بن أرقم في نحو هذه القصة " قال: بلى يا رسول الله، قال: فإنه كذلك " وفي أول حديثهما أنه عليه الصلاة والسلام قال لعلي " لا بد أن أقيم أو تقيم، فأقام علي فسمع ناسا يقولون: إنما خلفه لشيء كرهه منه، فاتبعه فذكر له ذلك، فقال له " الحديث، وإسناده قوي

al-Hafidh al-Haythami also reported the same version as above (vol 9, #14653), ibn Sa'ad in his Tabaqat:

When the prophet left Ali behind to manage the affairs of the Muslims, some people said: "The prophet did not leave Ali behind in Medina but for something the prophet hated." When Ali heard that, he rushed back to the prophet and told him about the rumor. The prophet laughed and said: "Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses, except that there is no prophet after me?"
وعن البراء بن عازب وزيد بن أرقم أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لعلي حين أراد أن يغزو: "إنه لا بد من أن أقيم أو تقيم". فخلفه. فقال ناس: ما خلفه إلا شيء كرهه، فبلغ ذلك علياً فأتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
فأخبره فتضاحك ثم قال: "يا علي أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى؟ إلا أنه ليس نبي بعدي".
رواه الطبراني بإسنادين في أحدهما ميمون أبو عبد الله البصري وثقه ابن حبان وضعفه جماعة ، وبقية رجاله رجال الصحيح

ibn Asakir reports a similar version of the rumors started against Ali:

When the prophet left for the expedition of Tabuk, he appointed Ali as his deputy in Medina. The people started saying that the prophet got bored from him and disliked Ali's companionship. When the rumors reached Ali, he caught up with the prophet and told him: "Oh prophet of Allah, you left me behind along with women and children and the people said that you disliked my companionship." The peophet then said: "Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses?"
لما غزا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم غزوة تبوك خلف عليا بالمدينة فقالوا فيه مله وكره صحبته فبلغ ذلك عليا فشق عليه قال فتبع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى لحقه فقال يا رسول الله خلفتني مع الذراري والنساء حتى قالوا مله وكره صحبته فقال ما ترضى يا علي أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى\ح\

al-Nisa'i in his Khasa'iss:

قال علي لرسول الله: زعمت قريش أنّك إنّما خلّفتني أنّك استثقلتني وكرهت صحبتي، وبكى علي، فنادى رسول الله في الناس: «ما منكم أحد إلاّ وله خاصة، يابن أبي طالب، أما ترضى أنْ تكون منّي بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلاّ أنّه لا نبي بعدي ؟» قال علي: رضيت عن الله عزّوجلّ وعن رسوله.

al-Muttaqui al-Hindi, al-Hafidh al-Haythami and al-Tabarani reported the following version:

عن علي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: خلفتك أن تكون خليفتي، قلت: أتخلف عنك يا رسول الله؟ قال: ألا ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي. (طس) (أورده الهيثمي في مجمع الزوائد (9/110) وقال رواه الطبراني في الكبير والأوسط وفي إسناد الكبير يحيى بن يعلى الأسلمي وهو ضعيف.
Reference:
     Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 13, #36488 (افضائل علي رضي الله عنه)

Ali narrated that the prophet said: "I left you behind so you become my successor (Khalifati)." Ali asked: "Will I become your successor, Oh Rasulallah?" The prophet responded: "Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses, except that there is no prophet after me?"
وعن علي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "خلفتك أن تكون خليفتي". قال: أتخلف عنك يا رسول الله؟ قال: "أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى؟ إلا أنه لا لا نبي بعدي". رواه الطبراني في الأوسط ورجاله رجال الصحيح
Reference:
     Majmau'ul al-Zawa'id by al-Hafidh al-Haythami, vol 9, #14650

Mustadrak al-Hakim reported the following version:

ibn al-Abbas narrated that the prophet said to Ali: "Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me. I shall not leave except that you are my successor."
أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنك لست نبي إنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا وأنت خليفتي
Reference:
     Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol 3, #4652/250
     Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32931
     Majmau'ul al-Zawa'id by al-Hafidh al-Haythami, vol 9, #14696
     Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol 1
     Mu'ujam al-Tabarani, bab al-A'ayn
     al-Isabat by ibn Hajar, chapter 4, #5692
     al-Bidaya wal-Nahaya by ibn Katheer, chapter 7
     Tarikh Dimashq by ibn Asakir, chapter 42, Harf al-Tta'

Also, in Tarikh Dimashq by ibn Asakir:

A man asked Mua'awiya about something and Mua'awiya told him: "Ask Ali as he knows better." But the man insisted that he prefered the answer of Mua'awiya. The latter responded: "You are hating a person about whom the prophet said: 'Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me', and Umar used to go to Ali whenever he could not find an answer to something."
إنّ رجلاً سأل معاوية عن مسألة فقال: سل عنها عليّاً فهو أعلم، قال الرجل: جوابك فيها أحبّ إليّ من جواب علي، قال معاوية: بئس ما قلت، لقد كرهت رجلاً كان رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) يغرّه بالعلم غرّاً، ولقد قال له: «أنت منّي بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلاّ أنّه لا نبي بعدي»، وكان عمر إذا أشكل عليه شيء أخذ منه

Please read more about the authenticity of hadith al-Manzilah.

More references:

  1. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal: v1,p173 [entire book: p157,#1490]; v1,p174 [entire book: p158,#1505]; v1,p175 [entire book: p159,#1509]; v1,p177 [entire book: p160,#1532]; v1,p179 [entire book: p162,#1547]; v1,p182 [entire book: p164,#1583]; v1,p184 [entire book: p165,#1600]; v1,p185 [entire book: p166,#1608]; v1,p330 [entire book: p272,#3062]; v3,p32 [entire book: p798,#11292]
  2. Sunan ibn Majah, The Introduction, Fadlo Ali bin Abi Talib
  3. al-Jami'i li Ahkam al-Qur'an, by Imam al-Qurtubi
  4. Mustadrak al-Hakim, by Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Hakim al Nisaboori (on the autority of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Bukayr ibn Massar, A'amru ibn Maymoon)
  5. Ziyadat al-Jami'i al-Sagheer, by Jalaludin al-Suyuti (on the authority of Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas)
  6. Sunan al-Tirmidhi (on the authority of A'amir bin Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas, Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas)
  7. Fat-hil Barri, Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, by Imam ibn Hajar al-A'aqalani (on the authority of Ibrahim bin Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas)
  8. Majma'a al-Zawa'id, by al-Hafidh al-Haythami (on the authority of Abi Sai'id al-Khudri, Asma' bint A'amees, Umm Salama, ibn al-Abbas, Abdullah ibn U'umar, Ali bin Abi Talib, Jabir ibn Samrat, Abi Ayyub, Zayd ibn Arqam, Bara' ibn A'azib)
  9. Mu'ujam al-Tabarani al-Kabeer, by Imam al-Tabarani (on the authority of Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas and many others)
  10. ibn Athir, in Usd al-Ghabah
  11. ibn Sa'ad in al-Tabaqa
Let me summarize the different pieces of the various narrations of this Hadith:
  1. Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there is no prophethood after me.
    أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي

  2. I left you behind so you can become Khalifati (my successor)...
    عن علي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: خلفتك أن تكون خليفتي، قلت: أتخلف عنك يا رسول الله؟ قال: ألا ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي

  3. I must either stay or you must stay...
    إنه لا بد من أن أقيم أو تقيم". فخلفه. فقال ناس: ما خلفه إلا شيء كرهه، فبلغ ذلك علياً فأتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأخبره فتضاحك ثم قال: "يا علي أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى؟ إلا أنه ليس نبي بعدي".

Hadith al-Mazilah mentioned on other occasions

Tabuk was not the only occasion the prophet uttered this Hadith. Indeed, the prophet repeated the same Hadith on many different occasions before Tabuk took place.
  1. The Prophet's Visit to Umm Salim, the mother of Anas ibn Malik, as well as Um Salama:
    Umm Salim was one of the early converts of Islam. She was the mother of Anas ibn Malik, the companion who started serving the prophet at the age of 10. She married Abu Talha al-Ansari after requesting him to convert to Islam. The prophet used to visit her and talk to her at her house. One day, during a lenghty conversation with her, he told her:
    "O Umm Salim (mother of Salim)! `Ali's flesh is of mine, and his blood is of my own; he is to me like Aaron to Moses."
    يا أم سليم! إن عليا لحمه من لحمي ودمه من دمي وهو مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى (عن ابن عباس)
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32936 (الإكمال من فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)
         Muntakhab al-Kanz
         Mu'ujam al-Tabrani al-Kabir, by Imam al-Tabarani (باب الظاء. أحاديث عبد الله بن العباس بن عبد المطلب بن هاشم بن عبد مناف. سعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس)
         Tarikh ibn Asakir

    يا أُم سلمة ، إنّ عليّاً لحمه من لحمي ودمه من دمي ، وهو منّي بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلاّ أنّه لا نبي بعدي
    Reference:
         Tarikh Dimashq by ibn Asakir

  2. On the event of Brotherhood:
    Five months after the migration to Medina, the prophet established brotherhood between the Ansars (helpers of Medina) and the Muhajireen (emigrants). He made Ali as his brother and said: "You are to me like Aaron to Moses except there will be no Prophet after me."
    Ali said: `O Messenger of Allah! My soul has expired, and my spine has been broken, having seen what you have done for your companions while leaving me alone. If this is a sign of your anger with me, then I complain only to you and beg your pardon.' The Messenger of Allah said: `I swear by the One Who sent me to convey the truth about Him, I have not spared you except for my own self. You are to me like Aaron to Moses, except there will be no Prophet after me. You are my Brother, heir and companion.' `Ali (as) asked him: `What shall I inherit from you?' He (pbuh) answered: `Whatever Prophets before me left for those who inherited them: the Book of their Lord, and the Sunnah of their Prophet. You will be my companion in my house in Paradise together with my daughter Fatima. You are my Brother and Companion.' Then he, peace be upon him and his progeny, recited the verse: `They are brethren seated conveniently facing each other'
    من مسند زيد بن أبي أوفى} لما آخى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بين أصحابه، قال علي: لقد ذهب روحي وانقطع ظهري حين رأيتك فعلت بأصحابك ما فعلت غيري فإن كان هذا من سخط علي فلك العتبى والكرامة فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: والذي بعثني بالحق ما أخرتك إلا لنفسي وأنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى غير أنه لا نبي بعدي وأنت أخي ووارثي، قال: وما أرث منك يا رسول الله؟ قال: ما ورثت الأنبياء من قبلي، قال: وما ورثت الأنبياء من قبلك؟ قال: كتاب ربهم وسنة نبيهم، وأنت معي في قصري في الجنة مع فاطمة بنتي وأنت أخي ورفيقي. (حم في كتاب مناقب علي، ابن عساكر).
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 9, #25554, #25555, #36345
         Manaqib Ali, by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
         Ibn Asakir in his Tarikh
         al-Baghawi and al-Tabarani in their Mujma`s
         al-Barudi in his Al-Ma`rifa
         al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur
         Majmau'ul Zawa'id, by Hafidh al-Haythami, vol 9, #14655 (37. كتاب المناقب. 11. باب في فضل جماعة من الصحابة منهم أبو بكر وعمر وغيرهما رضي الله عنهما. )

    Ibn `Abbas narrated: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to `Ali (as): "Are you angry because I have established brotherhood between the Ansar and the Muhajirun and have not selected a brother for you from among them? Are you not pleased that your status to me is like that of Aaron to Moses, except there will be no Prophet after me?"
    قم فما صلحت أن تكون إلا أبا تراب، أغضبت علي حين وآخيت بين المهاجرين والأنصار ولم أؤاخ بينك وبين أحد منهم؟ أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه ليس بعدي نبي، ألا من أحبك حف بالأمن والإيمان، ومن أبغضك أماته الله ميتة الجاهلية وحوسب بعمله في الإسلام. (طب - عن ابن عباس)
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 9, #32935 (الإكمال من فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)
         Mu'ujam al-Tabrani al-Kabir, by Imam al-Tabarani (باب الظاء. أحاديث عبد الله بن العباس بن عبد المطلب بن هاشم بن عبد مناف. مجاهد عن ابن عباس)
         Majmau'ul Zawa'id, by Hafidh al-Haythami, vol 9, #14655 (أبواب مناقب علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه. 6. بابان في منزلته. 2. باب منه في منزلته ومؤاخاته)

  3. The prophet mentioned it in the presence of Umar, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida al-Jarrah and some other companions:
    Umar narrated: "Leave the name of Ali (that is, do not speak so much ill of Ali) because I have heard the holy Prophet saying that Ali had three qualities. If I had any one of these qualities, I would have treasured it more than anything on which the sun shines. Once I, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida al-Jarrah and some other companions were present, and the holy Prophet was resting against Ali Bin Abu Talib. He patted Ali's shoulders and said, 'Ali! so far as faith is concerned, you are the first of all the believers and so far as Islam is concerned, you have taken the lead.' Then he said, 'Ali! You are to me as Aaron was to Moses. And he is a liar who thinks he is my friend if he is your enemy."
    (مسند عمر) عن ابن عباس قال: قال عمر بن الخطاب: كفوا عن ذكر علي بن أبي طالب فإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: في علي ثلاث خصال لأن يكون لي واحدة منهن أحب إلي مما طلعت عليه الشمس، كنت أنا وأبو بكر وأبو عبيدة بن الجراح ونفر من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم متكئ على علي بن أبي طالب حتى ضرب بيده على منكبه ثم قال: أنت يا علي! أول المؤمنين إيمانا وأولهم إسلاما! ثم قال: أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى، وكذب علي من زعم أنه يحبني ويبغضك. الحسن بن بدر فيما رواه الخلفاء والحاكم في الكنى والشيرازي في الألقاب وابن النجار.‏ (طب - عن ابن عباس)
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 13, #36392, #36395 (افضائل علي رضي الله عنه)
         Also quoted by: al-Hasan ibn Badr, al-Hakim in his chapter on kunyat, al-Shirazi in his chapter on surnames, volume 6, and by Ibn al-Najjar
         Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Ja'afaru'l-Mutiri in Majalis
         Abu'l-Laith Nasr Bin Muhammad Samarqandi Hanafi in Majalis
         Muhammad Bin Abdu'r-Rahman Dhahabi in Riadhu'n-Nazara

    Besides Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Umar ibn al-Khattab also wished this quality on himself.

  4. On the first preach:
    Abu Ishaq al-Ta'alabi reports in his Tafseer al-Kabeer a narration in which the prophet mentioned hadith al-Manzila on his first preach:
    Who among you will be my brother and vizier and executor and will be to me what Harun is to Moses, except there is no prophet after me?
    فأيّكم يقوم فيبايعني على أنّه أخي ووزيري ووصيّي ويكون منّي بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلاّ أنّه لا نبي بعدي ؟

  5. During a conversation with Aqil, Ja'afar and Ali:
    يا عقيل! والله إني لأحبك لخصلتين: لقرابتك، ولحب أبي طالب إياك؛ وأما أنت يا جعفر! فإن خلقك يشبه خلقي؛ وأما أنت يا علي فأنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى غير أنه لا نبي بعدي. (ابن عساكر - عن عبد الله بن عقيل عن أبيه عن جده عقيل بن أبي طالب
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #33616
         ibn Asakir in his Tarikh Dimashq

  6. When the prophet found some companions sleeping in the Mosque:
    Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari narrated: "The prophet came to the Mosque and found us laying down... then the prophet called up Ali and told him: 'Oh Ali, you are allowed to do whatever I am allowed to do in the Mosque. Aren't you satisfied that you are to me what Harun is to Moses, except for prophethood?'"
    أخبرنا أبو الحسن السلمي نا عبد العزيز التميمي أنا علي بن موسى بن الحسين أنا أبو سليمان ن زبر نا محمد بن يوسف الهروي نا محمد بن النعمان بن بشير نا أحمد بن الحسين بن جعفر الهاشمي اللهبي حدثني عبد العزيز بن محمد عن حزام بن عثمان عن عبد الرحمن ومحمد ابني جابر بن عبد الله عن أبيهما جابر بن عبد الله الأنصاري قال جائنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ونن مصطجعين في المسجد وفي يده عسيب رطب فضربنا وقال أترقدون في المسجد إنه لا يرقد فيه أحدا فأجفلنا وأجفل معنا علي بن أبي طالب فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تعال يا علي إنه يحل لك في المسجد ما يحل لي يا علي ألا ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا النيوة
    Reference:
         ibn Asakir in his Tarikh Dimashq

    The above narration brings up another point: Ali is pure as the prophet. It is because of this purity the prophet closed the doors (facing the mosque) of all the companions except the door of Ali. This was discussed in chapter about the virtues of Ali.

So there are at least two reasons which make this Hadith very special. The first one is its repetition by the Prophet on several occasions. Certainly, this repetition had a purpose, most likely to keep reminding the companions of the great status of Ali, a status no one could match up. The second aspect is the wish of the companions to possess similar quality. Umar and Sa'ad wished they had such a quality. In fact, they many of the companions wished they could have many of the qualities of Ali.

Meaning of the hadith
The following verse was revealed about the hypocrites among the Muslims who made up excuses not to join the expedition of Tabuk:
Quran 9:42
If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them. They would indeed swear by Allah, "If we only could, we should certainly have come out with you": They would destroy their own souls; for Allah doth know that they are certainly lying.
لَوْ كَانَ عَرَضًا قَرِيبًا وَسَفَرًا قَاصِدًا لاَّتَّبَعُوكَ وَلَـكِن بَعُدَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الشُّقَّةُ وَسَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللّهِ لَوِ اسْتَطَعْنَا لَخَرَجْنَا مَعَكُمْ يُهْلِكُونَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ

These hypocrites decided to stay in Medina instead of joining the prophet and His companions in the expedition of Tabuk. Their desire was to plunder the city and enslave its inhabitants. When the prophet learned of their plot, he left his cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib in Medina as his deputy. Note that this is the only battle the prophet participated while the prophet did not. This means there was no one more qualified to remain behind and protect Medina but Ali ibn Abi Talib.

The presence of Ali in Medina was a big hurdle to their plot. So they started false rumors against Ali, as mentioned in the narrations, in order to clear the way for their evil actions. This was a great test to the relationship between the prophet and Ali. Upon hearing the rumors, Ali hurried back to the prophet and asked him about the authenticity of these rumors. The prophet reassured him and told him:

Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me. I shall not leave except that you are my successor
أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنك لست نبي إنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا وأنت خليفتي

As you can see, the prophet insisted for Ali to remain in Medina with the women and children. In fact, the prophet insisted that either Ali or himself must remain in Medina:

Either you or I must stay!
...إنه لا بد من أن أقيم أو تقيم

Why did the prophet insist on that? Why didn't the prophet choose another companion for this task, as he had done in the past? This event is a clear lesson and refutation to those who make the following claim:
Ali could not be caliph because he was too young and inexperienced, while Abu Bakr was older, wiser and more experienced.

If this desperate argument was true, then I am certain the prophet would not have chosen Ali for this difficult task. Furtheremore, the last part of hadith al-Manzilah means that whatever Harun is to Moses, Ali is also to Moses, except that Ali was not a prophet. So prophethood is the only exclusion.

In order to understand this hadith, we need to know what Harun was to Moses.

  1. Harun was Moses' brother and a prophet:
    Quran 19:51-53
    [51] And mention Musa in the Book; surely he was one purified, and he was a messenger, a prophet. [52] And We called to him from the blessed side of the mountain, and We made him draw nigh, holding communion (with Us). [53] And We gave to him out of Our mercy his brother Haroun a prophet.
    وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مُوسَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ مُخْلَصًا وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَّبِيًّا {51} وَنَادَيْنَاهُ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنِ وَقَرَّبْنَاهُ نَجِيًّا {52} وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ مِن رَّحْمَتِنَا أَخَاهُ هَارُونَ نَبِيًّا

    According to hadith al-Manzilah, Ali is also the brother of the prophet. Moreover, Allah made Ali the brother of the prophet in this world and the hereafter, but he was not a prophet, as hadith al-Manzila clarifies. We have already mentioned the following hadiths in the chapter dealing with the virtues of Ali:

    Ali is my brother in this world and the hereafter.

    Ali is from me and I am from Ali; Ali and I are from one tree; Ali and I were created from one light;

  2. Harun was the vicegerent of Moses:
    Quran 25:35
    (Before this,) We sent Moses The Book, and appointed his brother Aaron with him as minister;
    وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلْنَا مَعَهُ أَخَاهُ هَارُونَ وَزِيرًا

    Quran 20:25-36
    [25] He said: O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, [26] And make my affair easy to me, [27] And loose the knot from my tongue, [28] (That) they may understand my word; (29) And give me a Minister from my family, (30) Aaron, my brother; (31) Add to my strength through him, (32) And make him share my task: (33) That we may celebrate Thy praise without stint, (34) And remember Thee without stint: (35) For Thou art He that (ever) regardeth us. (36) (Allah) said: Granted is thy prayer, O Moses!
    قَالَ رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي {25} وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي {26} وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي {27} يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي {28} وَاجْعَل لِّي وَزِيرًا مِّنْ أَهْلِي {29} هَارُونَ أَخِي {30} اشْدُدْ بِهِ أَزْرِي {31} وَأَشْرِكْهُ فِي أَمْرِي {32} كَيْ نُسَبِّحَكَ كَثِيراً {33} وَنَذْكُرَكَ كَثِيراً {34} إِنَّكَ كُنتَ بِنَا بَصِيرًا {35} قَالَ قَدْ أُوتِيتَ سُؤْلَكَ يَا مُوسَى {36}

    According to hadith al-Manzilah, Ali was also the vicegerent (Wazir) of the prophet and his supporter. Moreover, on his first preach, the prophet asked his tribe (in all the versions):

    Who will support me in this matter and be my brother, my helper and fulfill my promises and be with me in Heaven and be my successor among you, and be executor,
    فأيكم يؤازرني على أمري هذا؟
    أيكم يتولاني في الدنيا والآخرة؟
    من يبايعني على أن يكون أخي وصاحبي ووليكم من بعدي؟
    أيكم يواليني في الدنيا والآخرة
    من يضمن عني ديني ومواعيدي ويكون معي في الجنة ويكون خليفتي في أهلي،
    من يضمن عني ديني ومواعيدي ويكون معي في الجنة ويكون خليفتي في أهلي ?
    فأيكم يؤازرني على هذا الأمر على أن يكون أخي ووصيي وخليفتي فيكم

    Ali replied:

    I will be your vizier O prophet of Allah.
    I will support you in this world, O prophet of Allah.
    أنا يا نبي الله أكون وزيرك
    أنا أتولاك في الدنيا والآخرة
    أنا أواليك في الدنيا والآخرة

    Then the prophet confirmed:

    إن هذا أخي ووصيي وخليفتي فيكم فاسمعوا له وأطيعوا،
    أنت وليي في الدنيا والآخرة

    Moreover, the prophet made it clear that no one but someone from His Ahlul Bayt shall proclaim religion on his behalf:

    Ali is from me and I am from Ali, no one can proclaim on my behalf but Ali.
    ولا يؤدي عني إلا أنا أو علي
    عَلِيّ مِنّي وأنَا مِنْ عَلِيَ وَلاَ يُؤَدّي عَنّي إلاّ أنَا أوْ عَلِيّ
    لا يؤدي عني إلا رجل من أهل بيتي

    The following narration was reported in Nur al-Absar, and by Abi Ishaq Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Naysaburi al Tha'alabi in his Tafsir al Kabir:

    Abu Dharr al Ghifari narrated: "One day I said my prayers in the company of the Holy Prophet; a beggar came to the masjid and begged for alms, but nobody gave him anything. The beggar raised his hands to the sky and made the following Dua'a: 'O allah, be the Witness. I came to beg for something in the Mosque of Your prophet but no one fulfilled my need.' Ali was in a state of ruku in the prayer. He pointed out his ring to the beggar, who approached him and removed the ring from his finger. This happened while the prophet was in the Mosque. Thereupon the Holy Prophet implored Allah, saying: 'O Allah! My brother Musa begged You saying: My Lord, delight my heart and make my task easy and undo the knot in my tongue so that they may understand me, and appoint from among my kinsmen, Harun, my brother, as my vizier, and strengthen my back with him and make him participate in my mission. Then a verse was revealed (We will strengthen thine arm with thy brother, and We will give unto you both power so that they cannot reach you for Our portents). The prophet continued: 'I am Muhammad, your prophet, Delight my heart and make my task easy and appoint from among my kinsmen Ali as my vizier and strengthen my back with him.' (Abu Dharr proceeded) By Allah, the Holy Prophet had not yet finished his supplication when the trustworthy Jibril descended to him with the verse: 'Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.'".
    عن أبي ذر الغفاري، رضي الله عنه، قال: صليت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوما من الأيام الظهر، فسأل سائل في المسجد فلم يعطه أحد شيئا، فرفع السائل يديه إلى السماء وقال: اللهم أشهد أني سألت في مسجد نبيك محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، فلم يعطني أحد شيئا، وكان علي، رضي الله عنه، في الصلاة راكعا، فأومأ إليه بخنصره اليمنى، وفيه خاتم، فأقبل السائل فأخذ الخاتم من خنصره، وذلك بمرأى من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، وهو في المسجد، فرفع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، طرفه إلى السماء، وقال: اللهم إن أخي موسى سألك فقال: (رب اشرح لي صدري * ويسر لي أمري * واحلل عقدة من لساني * يفقهوا قولي * واجعل لي وزيرا من أهلي * هارون أخي * أشدد به أزري * وأشركه في أمري * فأنزلت عليه قرآنا: سنشد عضدك بأخيك * ونجعل لكما سلطانا * فلا يصلون إليكما * اللهم * إني محمد نبيك وصفيك * اللهم اشرح لي صدري * ويسر لي أمري * واجعل لي وزيرا من أهلي * عليا أشدد به ظهري)، قال أبو ذر، رضي الله عنه، فما استتم دعاءه، حتى نزل جبريل عليه السلام من عند الله عز وجل وقال: يا محمد، إقرأ (إنما وليكم الله ورسوله والذين آمنوا * الذين يقيمون الصلاة ويؤتون الزكاة * وهم راكعون)، قال: نقله أبو إسحاق أحمد الثعلبي في تفسيره

    al-Alusi, al-Baghdadi and ibn Asakir reported the dua'a of the prophet from Asma' bint Umayss:

    al-Alusi said: "It has been reported that the prophet made the following Dua'a and elevated Ali to the position of Harun (the brother of Musa). The prophet supplicated: 'O Allah, I am asking from you what my brother Musa asked from you. Delight my heart and make my task easy and undo the knot in my tongue so that they may understand me, and appoint from among my kinsmen, Ali, my brother, as my vizier, and strengthen my back with him and make him participate in my mission so that we may glorify You and remember You more frequently'"
    وجاء أن النبي صلى الله تعالى عليه وسلم دعا بمثل هذا الدعاء إلا أنه أقام علياً كرم الله تعالى وجهه مقام هارون عليه السلام فقد أخرج ابن مردميه والخطيب وابن عساكر عن اسماء بنت عميس قالت رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بإزاء ثبير وهو يقول: (أشرق ثبير أشرق ثبير اللهم إني اسألك مما سألك أخي موسى أن تشرح لي صدري وأن تيسر لي أمري وأن تحل عقدة من لساني يفقه قولي واجعل لي وزيراً من أهلي عليا أخي أشدد به أزري وأشركه في أمري كى نسبحك كثيراًً أو نذكرك كثيراًً انك كنت بنا بصيراً)

    al-Muhheb al-Tabari reported a similar narration:

    Asma' bint Umayss narrated that she heard the prophet supplicating: "O Allah, I am asking you what my brother Musa asked you: appoint from among my kinsmen, my brother Ali, as my vizier, and strengthen my back with him and make him participate in my mission so that we may glorify You and remember You more frequently."
    عن أسماء بنت عميس قالت: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: (اللهم إني أقول - كما قال أخي موسى - اللهم اجعل لي وزيرا من أهلي، أخي عليا، أشدد به أزري، وأشركه في أمري، كي نسبحك كثيرا، ونذكرك كثيرا إنك كنت بنا بصيرا

    Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (in al-Fada'il) reported a similar narration:

    عن الحارث بن حصيرة عن القاسم قال: سمعت رجلا من خثعم يقول: سمعت رجلا من خثعم يقول: سمعت أسماء بنت عميس تقول: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: (اللهم أقول - كما قال أخي موسى - اللهم اجعل لي وزيرا من أهلي * عليا أخي * أشدد به أزري * وأشركه في أمري * كي نسبحك كثيرا * ونذكرك كثيرا * إنك كنت بنا بصيرا

    al-Suyuti reported in his Tafseer:

    When the verses 29-35 from TA-HA were revealed (And give me a Minister from my family * Aaron, my brother * Add to my strength through him * And make him share my task * That we may celebrate Thy praise without stint * And remember Thee without stint * For Thou art He that ever regardeth us), the prophet was on a mountain and supplicated to Allah to strengthen his back through Ali and his supplication was fulfilled."
    وأخرج السلفي في (الطيوريات) عن أبي جعفر محمد بن علي الباقر، عليهما السلام، قال: لما نزلت: (واجعل لي وزيرا من أهلي * هارون أخي * اشدد به أزري * وأشركه في أمري * كي نسبحك كثيرا * ونذكرك كثيرا * إن كنت بنا بصيرا)، كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، على جبل، ثم دعا ربه، وقال: (اللهم أشدد أزري بأخي علي، فأجابه إلى ذلك

    In the version of al-Halabi in his Sirah, the prophet said to Ali:

    Sit down Ali, you are my brother, my vizier and my trustee, my heir and my successor after me.
    إجلس، فأنت أخي ووزيري ووصيّي ووارثي وخليفتي من بعدي

    ibn Marduwiya and ibn Asakir and al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi and al-Suyuti among many others have reported a similar narration from Asama' ibn U'umays:

    "O Allah, I am asking you what my brother Musa asked you: appoint from among my kinsmen, my brother Ali, as my vizier, and strengthen my back with him and make him participate in my mission so that we may glorify You and remember You more frequently."
    اللهمّ إنّي أقول كما قال أخي موسى: اللهمّ اجعل لي وزيراً من أهلي أخي عليّاً، اشدد به أزري وأشركه في أمري كي نسبّحك كثيراً ونذكرك كثيراً، إنّك كنت بنا بصيراً

    This proves the vicegerency of Ali according to the Quran and the Sunnah. These different narrations show that Ali is the BROTHER, VICEGERENT, EXECUTOR, HEIR AND SUCCESSOR of the prophet, after his demise. So it becomes crystal clear that Ali is the true successor of the prophet, and not Abu Bakr.

    It is beautiful to see all these different pieces come together to form a clear picture on the status of Ali. There are as many Hadith that prove that Ali is the true successor of the prophet as there are historical records that prove that Abu Bakr is not the intended successor of the prophet. Yes, this will sound provoking to the Sunni, although it is this truth that is found in the books of the Sunni and Shia. Don't reject the truth because it is supported by the Shia'a. Accept it as it is.

  3. Harun was the divinely appointed successor of Moses:
    Quran 7:142
    And We appointed with Musa a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten (more), so the appointed time of his Lord was complete forty nights, and Musa said to his brother Haroun: Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers.
    وَوَاعَدْنَا مُوسَى ثَلاَثِينَ لَيْلَةً وَأَتْمَمْنَاهَا بِعَشْرٍ فَتَمَّ مِيقَاتُ رَبِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً وَقَالَ مُوسَى لأَخِيهِ هَارُونَ اخْلُفْنِي فِي قَوْمِي وَأَصْلِحْ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

    This successorship is also supported by hadith al-Thaqalayn, hadith al-Ghadeer and hadith al-Wilayah.

There are also similarities between Imam Ali and Prophet Harun. For example, let's recall the event during which the prophet ordered the closing of all the doors facing the Mosque except that of Ali: al-Suyuti and ibn Asakir reported the following:
أخرج ابن عساكر في تاريخه ، وعنه السيوطي في الدرّ المنثور : إنّ رسول الله ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) خطب فقال : « إنّ الله أمر موسى وهارون أن يتبوّءا لقومهما بيوتاً ، وأمرهما أنْ لا يبيت في مسجدهما جنب ، ولا يقربوا فيه النساء ، إلاّ هارون وذريّته ، ولا يحلّ لاحد أن يقرب النساء في مسجدي هذا ولا يبيت فيه جنب إلاّ علي وذريّته

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, took `Ali's hand and said: "Moses had prayed his Lord to purify His mosque through Aaron, and I have prayed my Lord to purify mine through you." He then sent a messenger to Abu Bakr ordering him to close down his door which overlooked the mosque, and Abu Bakr responded expressing his desire to honour the Prophet's command. Then he sent another messenger to `Umer to do likewise, and another to al-`Abbas for the same purpose. Then he, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: "It is not I who has closed down your doors, nor have I kept `Ali's door open out of my own accord; rather, it is Allah Who has opened his door and closed yours."
وعن علي بن أبي طالب قال: أخذ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بيدي فقال: "إن موسى سأل ربه أن يطهر مسجده بهارون، وإني سألت ربي أن يطهر مسجدي بك وبذريتك". ثم أرسل إلى أبي بكر: "أن سد بابك". فاسترجع ثم قال: سمع وطاعة، فسد بابه ثم أرسل إلى عمر ثم أرسل إلى العباس بمثل ذلك. ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "ما أنا سددت أبوابكم وفتحت باب علي، ولكن الله فتح باب علي وسد أبوابكم".
ص.150
رواه البزار، وفي إسناده من لم أعرفه.‏
Reference:
     Majmau'ul zawa'id by al-Hafidh al-Haythami, vol 9, #14673 (المجلد التاسع. 37. كتاب المناقب. 4. (أبواب) مناقب علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه. 9. باب فتح بابه الذي في المسجد)

al-Hafidh al-Haythami reported in Majmau'ul Zawa'id:

لمّا أخرج أهل المسجد وترك عليّاً قال الناس في ذلك [ أي تكلّموا في ذلك واعترضوا ] فبلغ النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم) فقال: «ما أنا أخرجتكم من قبل نفسي، ولا أنا تركته، ولكنّ الله أخرجكم وتركه، إنّما أنا عبد مأمور، ما أُمرت به فعلت، إنّ أتّبع إلاّ ما يوحى إليّ.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Manaquib, al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, al-Hafidh al-Haythami in Majmau'ul Zawa'id and ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq have all reported the following:

عن زيد بن أرقم قال: كانت لنفر من أصحاب رسول الله أبواب شارعة في المسجد، فقال يوماً: «سدّوا هذه الابواب إلاّ باب علي»، قال: فتكلّم في ذلك ناسٌ، فقام رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ثمّ قال: «أمّا بعد، فإنّي أمرت بسدّ هذه الابواب غير باب علي، فقال فيه قائلكم، والله ما سددت شيئاً ولا فتحته، ولكن أُمرت بشيء فاتّبعته».

Harun was the brother of Moses, his vicegerent, his supporter and a prophet. Therefore, Harun was the most knowledgeable of people of Israel, after his brother Moses. In light of hadith al-Manzila, Ali is also the most knowledgeable of the Ummah after the prophet. This fact is also supported by the Sunnah of the prophet when I discussed the knowledge of Ali. It is quite amazing how all the pieces of hadith and Quran come together in perfect coherence and prove one another.

Harun was undoubtly a prophet, and a prophet is infallible. Otherwise, how would Allah command us to follow someone who makes mistakes and will eventually err his followers. In light of hadith al-Manzila, Ali is also infallible without being a prophet. Is this something difficult to believe or far-fetched? Is this against commonsense and logic? Is this impossible? Is this blasphemous? You could argue that infallibility comes with prophethood. But was not the mother of Jesus, Mariam infallible without being a prophet? What about the verse of al-Tatt-heer and hadith al-Kisa' and hadith al-Thaqalayn, do they not prove the infallibility of Ali in particular, and of Ahlul Bayt in general? Did not Allah equate Ahlul Bayt to the Quran, knowing that the Quran bears nothing but the truth? Will Allah command us to unconditional adhere to Ahlul Bayt if they were sinners and fallible? Allah ordered us to adhere to the prophet who was pure and infallible. After the prophet, Allah ordered the Ummah to adhere to Ahlul Bayt the same way the Ummah adhered to the prophet.

Moreover, verse 4:59 proves the same point:

Quran 4:59
O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً

In the above verse, Allah orders the believers to obey him, and to obey the prophet and those in authority from among the Ummah. Allah in infallible, the prophet is also infallible. Is not the expection for Ulil-Amri to also be infallible since we have to obey them just like we obey Allah and his messenger? The scholar Fakhraddin Razi understood that:

"The type of obedience that Allah (swt) has ordered is unconditional obedience, it must relate to that individual who is masum, if he was non masum and could make mistakes, then Allah (sw) would be telling us to follow such a person and adhere to him…Allah (swt) told us to follow the Ul il Umr unconditionally, he MUST be Masum, a fact that is testified to by this verse".
إن الله تعالى أمر بطاعة أولي الأمر على سبيل الجزم في هذه الآية، ومن أمر الله بطاعته على سبيل الجزم والقطع لابد وأن يكون معصوما عن الخطأ، إذ لو لم يكن معصوما عن الخطأ كان بتقدير إقدامه على الخطأ، يكون قد أمر الله بمتابعته فيكون ذلك أمرا بفعل ذلك الخطأ، والخطأ لكونه خطأ منهي عنه، فهذا يفضي إلى اجتماع الأمر والنهي في الفعل الواحد بالاعتبار الواحد، وانه محال، فثبت أن الله تعالى أمر بطاعة أولي الأمر على سبيل الجزم، وثبت أن كل من أمر الله بطاعته على سبيل الجزم، وجب أن يكون معصوما عن الخطأ، فثبت قطعا أن أولي الأمر المذكور في هذه الآية لابد وأن يكون معصوما.

Having said that, how could someone accept for caliph a person other than Ali, when Ali is superior to the entire Ummah after the prophet? How could anyone turn his back to the purest and the most knowledgeable after the prophet, the most preferred to Allah and the prophet, the closest in virtues to the prophet, the bravest of all after the prophet, the closest to prophethood after the prophet, the brother of the prophet in this world and the hereafter, the vicegerent and supporter and executor of the will of the prophet? How could anyone reject the caliphate and imamate of an infallible, of someone who understands the Quran from the beginning to the end, who understands why, where and when each verse was revealed? How could someone turn his back to the caliphate of someone Allah had made equal to the Quran and shall never differ from it?

How could someone endorse the caliphate of an individual who has nothing from the above virtues, someone who used to worship idols and practice the traditions of ignorance, who used to flee the battlefield and who showed no bravery in war, and returned defeated from Khaybar? How could someone endorse the caliphate of an individual who had little knowledge? I just can't comprehend it. It is not that I don't want to, but it just makes no sense whatsoever. It is really very simple, only the best of the people should succeed the prophet, and it is a fact that Ali is the best of all the people after the prophet.

Hadith al-Manzila is simple but of great importance. It proves that Imam Ali is like prophet Harun, without being a prophet. Ali was all Harun was except a prophet. It proves that Ali would have been a partner in the prophethood of Muhammad (as Harun was) if the latter was not the seal of prophethood.

al-Qanduzi al-Hanafi in Yanabi'i al-Mawaddat and ibn Hadeed al-Mu'utazili in Sharh Nahjul Balagha reported the following narration:

The prophet told Ali: "Oh Ali, if I were not the seal of the prophets, you would have had a share of this prophethood. You are not going to be a prophet, but you will be my vicegerent and my heir. You are the Sayyed of the vicegerents and the Imam of the pious."
يا علي . . لولا أني خاتم الأنبياء لكنت شريكا في النبوة ، فإن لم تكن نبيا فإنك وصي نبي ووارثه ، بل أنت سيد الأوصياء وإمام الأتقياء

Ali is the trustee of the prophet, his heir and his legacee. Ali is the one who was chosen to implement religion after the prophet. He is the Wali of every believer after the prophet. He is to be obeyed and adhered to unconditionally. This also proves that Ali was the divinely appointed successor of the prophet. He inherited the responsibilities of a successor, indeed.

As shown in the first section, this hadith was proclaimed on different occasions:

  1. On the event of Brotherhood
  2. The prophet mentioned it in the presence of Umar, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida al-Jarrah and some other companions
  3. On the first preach
  4. When the prophet found some companions sleeping in the Mosque
  5. He told it to Um Saleem, the mother of Anas ibn Malik, as well as Um Salama
  6. During a conversation with Aqil, Ja'afar and Ali
So this hadith is not confined to the battle of Tabuk, as many think. Of course, many of the Sunnis scholars have rejected the claim of the Shia'a that this hadith is a reference to Ali's caliphate. Some of them have gone as far as insulting the Shia'a for holding such view. One such scholar is imam al-Qurtubi who supplicated: May Allah disgrace them (قبحهم الله). This is quite a shame from someone claiming to be an imam! Only those who are blinded by their hatred towards to the Shia'a of Ahlul Bayt, and are sick in their hearts will have difficulty seeing the truth and understand the meaning of this hadith, although it is very straight forward. It is of no surprise when these same people denied the true meaning and purpose of the event of Ghadeer Khum.

Arguments of and refutation to those who deny the true meaning of hadith al-Manzila
What is the significance of this hadith when the prophet proclaimed it when he visited Umm Salim, the mother of Anas ibn Malik, as well as Um Salama? What was its significance when the prophet made himself the brother of Ali and proclaimed this hadith? Or when he mentioned it in the presence of Umar, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida al-Jarrah and some other companions, or on his first preach and the many other occasions before the expedition of Tabuk? Does not the sole fact that the prophet re-iterated this hadith on different occasions underline its importance? Would the prophet speak unimportantly? Any hadith from the prophet comes from Allah and Allah does not speak unimportantly!

Umar himself wished this hadith for himself:

Umar narrated: "Leave the name of Ali (that is, do not speak so much ill of Ali) because I have heard the holy Prophet saying that Ali had three qualities. If I had any one of these qualities, I would have treasured it more than anything on which the sun shines. Once I, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida al-Jarrah and some other companions were present, and the holy Prophet was resting against Ali Bin Abu Talib. He patted Ali's shoulders and said, 'Ali! so far as faith is concerned, you are the first of all the believers and so far as Islam is concerned, you have taken the lead.' Then he said, 'Ali! You are to me as Aaron was to Moses. And he is a liar who thinks he is my friend if he is your enemy."
عن ابن عباس قال: قال عمر بن الخطاب: كفوا عن ذكر علي بن أبي طالب فإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: في علي ثلاث خصال لأن يكون لي واحدة منهن أحب إلي مما طلعت عليه الشمس، كنت أنا وأبو بكر وأبو عبيدة بن الجراح ونفر من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم متكئ على علي بن أبي طالب حتى ضرب بيده على منكبه ثم قال: أنت يا علي! أول المؤمنين إيمانا وأولهم إسلاما! ثم قال: أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى، وكذب علي من زعم أنه يحبني ويبغضك. الحسن بن بدر فيما رواه الخلفاء والحاكم في الكنى والشيرازي في الألقاب وابن النجار.‏ (طب - عن ابن عباس)

There are those who claim that Ali was crying because the prophet left him behind to manage the affairs of the Women and children. ibn Taymiya is one of those who made such claim! Ali is greater than this and his virtues testify to that, virtues that al-Taymiya deny, as the Nassibi do. Ali cried because of what he heard from some people from Quraish (certainly hypocrites):


"The prophet did not leave Ali behind in Medina but for something the prophet hated...
فقال ناس: ما خلفه إلا شيء كرهه...

The narrations are clear. Here is one for you:

قال علي لرسول الله: زعمت قريش أنّك إنّما خلّفتني أنّك استثقلتني وكرهت صحبتي، وبكى علي، فنادى رسول الله في الناس: «ما منكم أحد إلاّ وله خاصة، يابن أبي طالب، أما ترضى أنْ تكون منّي بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلاّ أنّه لا نبي بعدي ؟» قال علي: رضيت عن الله عزّوجلّ وعن رسوله.

Hadith al-Manzila is quite clear. Ali is to the prophet what Harun was to his brother Moses, excluding prophethood. That is Ali was his brother, his vizier, his supporter, his representative, his partner in prophethood and his successor without being a prophet, because the prophet excluded prophethood from the hadith. Let's look at other commentaries made by some Sunnis scholars in relation to this hadith:

In Matalibul Su'ul, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i made the following comment:

The gist of the matter is that the position of Aaron in relation to Moses was that Aaron was his brother, his representative, partner in prophethood, and his successor or vicegerent when Moses was on a journey. The Prophet of Allah has also in this hadith indicated that Ali held the same position as Aaron held, except prophethood, which has been excluded by his saying: 'There will be no prophet after me'.

So clearly, there is no ambiguity in that Ali ibn Abi Talib occupied the same position as Harun, except that Harun was a prophet while Ali was not. While the Sunni claim that this Khilafat (successorship) only applied during the lifetime of the prophet (when the prophet went on a journey, like the expedition of Tabuk), the Shia'a Imamiya claim that this Khilafat extended to after the demise of the prophet.

al-Mubarakfuri in Tuhfat al-Ahudhi and al-Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim made similar comments on Hadith al-Manzilah:

And this hadith is not a proof for any one of them (Shia), rather it proves a merit for Ali, not that he is better than other than him, and there isnt any proof in it that he is the Caliph after the Prophet, as the Prohet [saws] only said this to Ali when he made him a Caliph in Medina in Ghazwat Tabuk. This is supported by the fact that Harun who is the one being compared wasn’t a Caliph after Musa, rather he died during the lifetime of Musa, and before Musa’s death by about 40 years based on what is famous from the people of narration and stories. They said: He only made him a Caliph when he went to meet his Lord.
وهذا الحديث لا حجة فيه لأحد منهم , بل فيه إثبات فضيلة لعلي , ولا تعرض فيه لكونه أفضل من غيره أو مثله , وليس فيه دلالة لاستخلافه بعده , لأن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إنما قال هذا لعلي حين استخلفه في المدينة في غزوة تبوك , ويؤيد هذا أن هارون المشبه به لم يكن خليفة بعد موسى , بل توفي في حياة موسى , وقبل وفاة موسى بنحو أربعين سنة على ما هو مشهور عند أهل الأخبار والقصص . قالوا : وإنما استخلفه حين ذهب لميقات ربه للمناجاة، فكانت الخلافة هذه خلافة موقتة، وكانت في قضية خاصة محدودة، وليس فيها أي دلالة على الخلافة بالمعنى المتنازع فيه أصلاً.

Badriddeen al-Qari in U'umdatul Qari commented on hadith al-Manzilah and said:

"You are to me what Harun is to Moses." It means that Ali is connected to me and he is to the prophet what A'aron is to Musa. This is an ambiguous assimilation but the prophet clarified it by adding: "except that there is no prophet after him". So the connection of Ali to Aaron is not related to prophethood. So there remains the connection related to the Khilafat because it follows prophethood. This khilafat could be during the prophet's lifetime of after. But it cannot be after his demise because Aaron died before Moses. So the remaining possibility is before his demise. This possibility materialized during the deployment to Tabuk.
أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى» ومعناه: أنت متصل بي ونازل مني منزلة هارون من موسى، وفيه تشبيه، ووجه التشبيه مبهم، وبينه وبقوله: إلاَّ أنه لا نبي بعدي، يعني: أن اتصاله ليس من جهة النبوة، فبقي الاتصال من جهة الخلافة، لأنها تلي النبوة في المرتبة، ثم أنها، إما أن تكون في حياته أو بعد مماته، فخرج بعد مماته لأن هارون مات قبل موسى، عليهما السلام، فتبين أن يكون في حياته عند مسيره إلى غزوة تبوك، لأن هذا القول من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان مخرجه إلى غزوة تبوك

ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari said the following:

AlTeebi has said: The meaning of this hadith is that he (Ali) is linked to me having the same position from me as the position Harun had with respect to Musa, and there is a vague comparison here which was made clear by his words: “except there is no Prophet after me”. This made 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. And when it was Harun that was being compared who was the Caliphate was during the life of Musa, this proves that the Caliphate of Ali was limited to the life of the Prophet.
وقال الطيبي : معنى الحديث أنه متصل بي نازل مني منزلة هارون من موسى , وفيه تشبيه مبهم بينه بقوله : " إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي " فعرف أن الاتصال المذكور بينهما ليس من جهة النبوة بل من جهة ما دونها وهو الخلافة , ولما كان هارون المشبه به إنما كان خليفة في حياة موسى دل ذلك على تخصيص خلافة علي للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بحياته والله أعلم

So the Sunni scholars appear to concur that hadith al-Manzilah implies the khilafat to Ali but only during the lifetime of the prophet, and materialized during the expedition of Tabuk.

First, the claim of the Sunnis scholars that this hadith does not prove the caliphate of Ali after the prophet because it is confined to the expedition of Tabuk, or claiming that this caliphate is temporary for the same reason, are both absurd. As we mentioned above, the prophet mentioned this hadith on several occasions. Therefore, this hadith is not confined to the expedition of Tabuk.

So let me ask you again: what is the significance of hadith al-Manzilah when the prophet mentioned it on the day of the Brotherhood between the Ansars and the Muhajireen, or on the other occasions, excluding the expedition of Tabuk? If the prophet did not imply his successorship, then why would he exclude prophethood? What else is relevant to prophethood besides Imamate??

There are versions of the speech of Ghadeer Khum in which the prophet mentioned hadith al-Manzilah:

"Ali, the son of Abu Talib, is my brother, my executor (Wasi), and my successor (Caliph), and the leader (Imam) after me. His position to me is the same as the position of Haroon (Aaron) to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me. He is your master after Allah and His Messenger."
References:
     A'alam al-Wara, pp 132-133
     Tadhkirat al-Khawas al-Ummah, Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanafi, pp 28-33
     al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v3, p273

So what is the purpose of mentioning this hadith at Ghadeer Khum? Clearly, the timing of this hadith shows that this khilafat is neither confined in time or space, which is contrary to the claim of the Sunnis scholars.

The second claim (which they used to support the first claim) that Harun died before Moses is irrelevant. What is relevant is that if Harun had outlived Moses, the former would have become the successor of Moses. The Quran clearly tells us that Harun is the successor of Moses. He would have been his successor and a prophet. Ali however, outlived the prophet, and therefore his caliphate extends to after the demise of the prophet, as he is similar to Harun.

Let's take the occasion of Tabuk at which the prophet mentioned this hadith. It is clear that the prophet was referring to the matter of the caliphate. However, If the prophet meant temporary caliphate, why would he add that last sentence: However, there is no prophet after me? Is there a point mentioning this if the prophet intended this caliphate to be just temporary?? The only obvious reason the prophet would add this last point is if this caliphate was to remain after his demise. Thus, the prophet was ensuring that although Ali was his successor, he was no prophet. Besides, did the prophet mention this hadith when he left behind other companions to take charge of the affairs of the Muslims? Why not?

Here is clear version of hadith al-Mazila which clearly shows that the prophet's intention was to make Ali his successor: Mustadrak al-Hakim reported the following version:

ibn al-Abbas narrated that the prophet said to Ali: "Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me. I shall not leave except that you are my successor."
أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنك لست نبي إنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا وأنت خليفتي
Reference:
     Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol 3, #4652/250
     Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32931
     Majmau'ul al-Zawa'id by al-Hafidh al-Haythami, vol 9, #14696
     Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol 1
     Mu'ujam al-Tabarani, bab al-A'ayn
     al-Isabat by ibn Hajar, chapter 4, #5692
     al-Bidaya wal-Nahaya by ibn Katheer, chapter 7
     Tarikh Dimashq by ibn Asakir, chapter 42, Harf al-Tta'

What do you think the prophet meant when he said I shall not leave...? Did he mean leave Medina for Tabuk, or leave this world? Read the following narration:

From Abu Balj from Amru ibn Maymun from ibn al-Abbas that the prophet said to Ali: "You position to me is like the position of Harun to Musa except that you are not a prophet, and you are my successor (khalifati) in every believer after me."
ثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ حَمَّادٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَوَانَةَ عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ سُلَيْمٍ أَبِي بَلْجٍ عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ مَيْمُونٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعَلِيٍّ أَنْتَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إِلا أَنَّكَ لَسْتَ نَبِيًّا إِنَّهُ وَأَنْتَ خَلِيفَتِي فِي كُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ مِنْ بَعْدِي .

The above narration was recorded in the book of al-Sunnah by Imam Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Amr ibn Abi A'assem (died 287), revised by Dr. Bassem ibn Fayssal al-Jawabra, volume 2, page 799-800, #1222. al-Albani considered this narration hasan.

The following is the version of al-Albani who revised the book of al-Sunna of Abu A'assem:

From Abu Balj from Amru ibn Maymun from ibn al-Abbas that the prophet said to Ali: "You position to me is like the position of Harun to Musa except that you are not a prophet, and I shall not leave unless you are my successor (khalifati) in every believer after me."
ثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ حَمَّادٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَوَانَةَ عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ سُلَيْمٍ أَبِي بَلْجٍ عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ مَيْمُونٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعَلِيٍّ أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى ألا إنك لست نبيا أنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا و أنت خليفتي في كل مؤمن من بعدي

Some proofs that this khilafat is not temporary but extends to after the demise of the prophet are hadith al-Wilaya, and al-Thaqalayn, al-Safinah and al-Ghadeer. In hadith al-Wilayah, the prophet said:

Ali is the master of every believer after me.
وهو وليُّ كُلِّ مؤمنٍ من بعدِي

The last term after me is what proves my point. The Wilaya of Ali extends to after the demise of the prophet.

Hadith al-Thaqalayn and al-Safinah state that guidance after the prophet is preserved and achieved only by adhering to Ahlul Bayt and the Quran. This implies unconditional adherence and obedience to Ali (a member of Ahlul Bayt), as he is one with the Quran, from which he will never differ. How could anyone besides Ali claim to be the successor of the prophet when unconditional adherence and obedience are only applied to him???

Why would Allah remove all forms of uncleanness from Ali and purify him a thorough purification? Why would He make Ali inherit the knowledge of the prophet? Why would He make Ali one of the Thaqalayns? Why would Allah make Ali the master of every believer after the prophet? Why would Allah make insulting/hurting Ali be equivalent of insulting/hurting the prophet and therefore Allah? Why would Allah make the truth turn wherever Ali turns? Why would Allah make Ali and the Quran one and the same? Why would Allah make obedience to Ali mean obedience to the prophet and therefore to Allah? Why is fighting Ali equivalent to fighting the prophet and therefore Allah? Why is loving Ali an obligation? Why is the prophet and Ali from each other, from the same tree and light? Why is Ali the master of whomever the prophet is a master of? The answer is clear: so he can be the legitimate successor of the prophet. It is only logical for the successor of the prophet to have the qualities and virtues of the prophet (except that he is not a prophet) and to be chosen by whomever made Muhammad a prophet.

On his first preach, the prophet said to the audience the following, relating to Ali:

"This is my brother, my executor (Wasi), my successor (Caliph) among you, so listen to him and obey him."
إن هذا أخي ووصيي وخليفتي فيكم فاسمعوا له وأطيعوا

Clearly, and from the beginning of his preach, the prophet appointed Ali as his brother, his executor, his successor and made obedience to him compulsory. This is exactly what Harun was to Moses. However, the Sunnis will limit all these privileges to the family of the prophet. So they either confine the khilafat of Ali to a temporary position during the lifetime of the prophet or they confine it to his family. I just wonder, out of curiosity, if they would have held the same argument in case these privileges were made to Abu Bakr instead?

Give me one reason why Ali's khilafat should not also applied to all the Muslims? After all, the family of the prophet was the noblest of Kuraiysh, and therefore superior of all other families. And when the prophet said AMONG YOU, what did he mean? Did he mean among the members of his tribe or did he mean among the potentially new converts, which eventually became the Ummah? The answer becomes clear when you refer to hadith al-Thaqalayn, al-Wilaya and Ghadeer.

ibn Asakir reported a more convincing hadith:

ibn Abbas narrated that the prophet said: "There will be a fitna after me, and whoever lives to see it, must adhere to the Quran and Ali." I also heard the prophet say as he was holding the hand of Ali: "Ali is the first to believe in me and will be the first to shake my hands, he is the Faruq of this Ummah who will set apart truth from falshood, and the greatest Siddiq and he is my successor after me."
أخبرنا أبوالقاسم بن السمرقندي أنا أبو القاسم بن مسعدة أنا عبد الرحمن بن عمرو الفارسي أنا أبو أحمد بن عدي نا علي بن سعيد بن بشير نا عبد الله بن داهر الرازي نا أبي عن الأعمش عن عباية عن ابن عباس قال ستكون فتنة فمن أدركها منكم فعليه بخصلتين كتاب الله وعلي بن أبي طالب فإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول وهو اخذ بيد علي هذا أول من امن بي وأول من يصافحني وهو فاروق هذه الأمة يفرق بين الحق والباطل وهو يعسوب المؤمنين والمال يعسوب الظلمة وهو الصديق الأكبر وهوبابي الذي أوتى منه وهو خليفتي من بعدي \ح

But of course, this will also be rejected for one reason or another! Here is another hadith which the scholars of Ahlul Sunnah rejected for one reason or another. al-Maghazali reported:

مَن ناصَبَ علياً الخلافة بعدي فهو كافر، وقد حارب الله ورسوله، ومن شكَّ في علي فهو كافر

Of course, if this hadith had come in favor of Abu Bakr, as many were fabricated, the Sunni scholars would have seized and used to support their views. But when there is a hadith that proves the caliphate of Ali, they either invalidate its isnad or twist its meaning. They have no problem accepting the narrations fabricated in favor of Abu Bakr and Umar, but find great opposition to authentic narrations supporting the caliphate of Ali. Why? Well, my educated guess is that they have all agreed to differ from those they call al-Rafidha!

If we were to compare the narrations supporting both views, no doubt the narrations supporting the caliphate of Ali are stronger and more convincing. As I have noted in many places, the authentic hadith al-Thaqalayn is enough to reject their false claim. Using this hadith in light of Ahlul Bayt's rejection of Abu Bakr's caliphate prove that Ahlul Bayt and their followers were right and Abu Bakr and his followers were wrong. It proves that the caliphate belongs to Ahlul Bayt and Abu Bakr and Umar stole it. Subhanallah! The prophet left us a legacy (hadith al-Thaqalayn) that is so strong that it will indeed keep us from straying.

In fact, this brings up another point. Although hadith al-Thaqalyn has been authenticated by both schools, the current mainstream Sunni only refers to its fabricated version. They even refer to it in their sermons and lectures, for God's sake! Why? What will happen if they use the authentic version? Will they become like the Shia'a, or the Rafidha as they label them? What will happen if they admit that none is worth holding fast to except al-Thaqalayn, that is the Quran and Ahlul Bayt? Is this not the truth? I can't understand what the issue is here. Is it the fear of admitting that they are wrong and the Shia'a - who they have been oppressing since the demise of the prophet - are right? Or is it the realization that many of the companions have indeed erred after the prophet, in particular Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, and who followed them? What is it?

In Nahjul Balagha, imam Ali said the following, in a sermon known as al-Khutbah al-Qasi`ah:

Certainly, you know my position of close kinship and special relationship with the Prophet of Allah - peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his descendants. When I was only a child he took charge of me. He used to press me to his chest and lay me beside him in his bed, bring his body close to mine and make me smell his smell. He used to chew something and then feed me with it. He found no lie in my speaking, nor weakness in any act.

From the time of his weaning, Allah had put a mighty angel with him to take him along the path of high character and good behaviour through day and night, while I used to follow him like a young camel following in the footprints of its mother. Every day he would show me in the form of a banner some of his high traits and commanded me to follow it. Every year he used to go in seclusion to the hill of Hira', where I saw him but no one else saw him. In those days Islam did not exist in any house except that of the Prophet of Allah - peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his descendants - and Khadijah, while I was the third after these two. I used to see and watch the effulgence of divine revelation and message, and breathed the scent of Prophethood.

When the revelation descended on the Prophet of Allah - peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his descendants - I heard the moan of Satan. I said, "O' Prophet of Allah, what is this moan?" and he replied, "This is Satan who has lost all hope of being worshipped. O' `Ali, you see all that I see and you hear all that I hear, except that you are not a Prophet, but you are a vicegerent and you are surely on (the path of) virtue."

ولقد علمتم موضعي من رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)بالقرابة القريبة والمنزلة الخصيصة، وضعني في حجره وأنا ولد، يَضمّني إلى صدره ويكنفني في فراشه، ويمسّني جسده، ويشمّني عرفه، وكان يمضغ الشيء ثمّ يلقمنيه، وما وجد لي كذبة بقول ولا خطلة في فعل، ولقد قرن الله به (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) من لدن أنْ كان فطيماً أعظم ملك من ملائكته، يسلك به طريق المكارم ومحاسن أخلاق العالَم، ليله ونهاره، ولقد كنت أتّبعه اتّباع الفصيل أثر أُمّه، يرفع لي في كلّ يوم من أخلاقه عَلَما، ويأمرني بالاقتداء به، ولقد كان يجاور في كلّ سنة بحراء، فأراه ولا يراه غيري، ولم يجمع بيت واحد يومئذ في الاسلام غير رسول الله وخديجة وأنا ثالثهما.

أرى نور الوحي والرسالة، وأشمّ ريح النبوّة، ولقد سمعت رنّة الشيطان حين نزل الوحي عليه، فقلت: يا رسول الله ما هذه الرنّة ؟ فقال: هذا الشيطان قد أيس من عبادته

يقول الرسول لعلي: «إنّك تسمع ما أسمع وترى ما أرى، إلاّ أنّك لست بنبي ولكنّك وزير، وإنّك لعلى خير

al-Muttaqi al-Hindi reported a similar narration in his Kanz al-U'ummal, as well as al-Nisa'i in his al-Khassa'iss:

وضعني في حجره وأنا ولد، يضمني إلى صدره، ويكنفني فراشه، ويمسني جسده، ويشمني عرفه، وكان يمضغ الشئ ثم يلقمنيه، وما وجد لي كذبة في قول، أو خطلة في فعل، وكنت أتبعه اتباع الفصيل لأثر أمه، يرفع لي في كل يوم من أخلاقه علما، ويأمرني بالاقتداء به، ولقد كان يجاور في كل سنة بحراء فأراه ولا يراه غيري، ولم يجمع بيت واحد يومئذ في الإسلام غير رسول الله وخديجة وأنا ثالثهما، أرى نور الوحي والرسالة، وأشم ريح النبوة.

Yes, Imam Ali used to see and watch the effulgence of divine revelation and message, and breathed the scent of Prophethood. Which companion could claim or had claimed to be in such high position?? Can any one of the companions claim any superiority over Ali, who breathed the scent of prophethood, without being a prophet?? Does this not mean that Ali would have been the successor of the prophet and the next prophet, had not Muhammad been the seal of prophethood??

Moreover, Ali used to see and hear all that the prophet saw and heard, except that Ali was not a prophet, but the vicegerent of his brother (in this world and the hereafter) Muhammad, the master of all prophets and the seal of prophethood, just like Harun was the vicegerent of his brother Moses.

If you can't see, understand and admit that all these virtues and merits point to Ali being the true successor of the prophet, then I can't understand what else they would mean and I can't open your eyes.