Imam Hussain’s letter to the Shia in Basra

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SHAFAQNA-

“God gave preference to Muhammad from among his creatures. He graced him with prophethood and chose him for His message. After he had warned His servants and informed them of what he had been sent with, God took him unto Himself. We are his family (ahl), those who possess his authority (awliya ‘uhu), those who have been entrusted by him (awsiya ‘uhu), his inheritors, and the most appropriate of people (to hold) his position among the people. Our people claim the exclusive right of this for us. Yet we have consented (to the rule of Mu’awiya) since we hate disunion and love the well‑being (of the community).

In this letter we see al‑Husayn claiming on behalf of ahl al‑bait that they hold the wilaya, (authority from God), that they are the stipulated successors of the Prophet (wasiya) as well as being the rightful inheritors of his authority. Furthermore implicit in al‑Husayn’s summons to the sunna of the Prophet is the idea that ahl al‑bait know the Prophet’s example and how to follow it.

  • 1. Tabari, II 240.

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