The Tafsīr Ḥadīth al-Ḥaqīqa I : Shi`i Origins and Commentators

 

 

فی تفسير حديث الحقيقه

Tafsīr Ḥadīth al-Ḥaqīqa 1

The Tafsīr Ḥadīth al-Ḥaqīqa its Shi`i Origins and Commentators

[I]

IN PROGRESS  2009-10

 The Commentary on the Ḥadith al-Ḥaqīqa (Ultimate Reality) for Kumayl ibn Ziyād ibn Nahīk al-Naka'ī (d. c. 81 / 701) of Sayyid `Alī Muhammad Shirazi, the Bāb (d.1850 CE).

Dr. Stephen Lambden (Ohio University)

Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #48 (English)
Center for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy, July 10-13, 2003.

Abstract:

The Hadîth al-haqîqa ("Tradition concerning Ultimate Reality") or Hadîth ma al-haqîqa, (very loosely) the `Hadîth Kumayl' is the record of an alleged (Arabic) conversation between the first Shî`î Imam, `Alî b. Abî Tâlib (d.40/661) and his Shî`î associate, the one-time governor of Hît (Iraq, 130 miles from Baghdad), Kumayl ibn Ziyâd ibn Nahîd ibn Haytham ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn al-Nakhâ'î. (d. c. 81 / 701) whose shine is located at wadî al-salâm near Najaf (Iraq) (al-Mufîd, K. al-Irshâd). It has to do with the nature and definition of of al-ḥaqîqa which is often (loosely) translated "Reality" or "Ultimate Reality". The hadîth al-haqîqa is a well-known tradition much discussed and highly influential in Shî`î Islamic philosophy and mysticism as well as many times registered in Babi-Baha'i scripture. It has been commented upon by the early Shaykhi leaders as well as many gnostic (irfani) or esoterically minded thinkers among them Hajji Mullâ Hâdî Sabziwârî (d. c.1295/ 1878). He had occasion to comment upon the Hadîth al-ḥaqīqa in various of his works including the recently republished (new edition) of his `Commentary on the Most Beautiful Names of God'. The hadîth al-haqîqa has several times been (partially) translated into English, once by the Cambridge orientalist Edward G. Browne (d. 1926) and again by the American Presbyterian missionary Dwight M. Donaldson (d.1976) whose article has been published in the periodical Muslim World .

In his commentary on the hadîth al-haqîqa the Bab introduces it as follows: Regarding the Commentary upon the `Tradition about Reality' (hadith al-ḥaqīqa) which has it that Kumayl ibn Ziyād al-Nakha`i was riding one day behind [imam] `Alī (upon Him be peace) on his she-camel (naqa). And Kumayl said `O my Master, what is al-ḥaqīqa ("Reality")?' [Imam] `Alī upon Him be peace replied, `What have you to do with Reality?' He [Kumayl] responded, `Am I not a custodian of thy secret (sahib al-sirrika)? He [`Alī] said, `Yes! but what merely sprinkles down upon you overfloweth abundantly through me.' Subsequently `Alī gives several somewhat cryptic definitions of al-haqīqa (Reality). The final definition refers to the subḥ al-azal ("Morn of Eternity") and is the ultimate source of the title of Mirza Yahya (c. 1834-1912) (Per.) Subh-i Azal.  Among the imamological and other senses given the Hadith Kumayl by the Bab is that it revolves around the high station of Imam `Alī, whose Logos-Self is represented as the creative genesis of Being and a divine effulgence which mediates divine realities in the world of creation. The Bab from very early in his mission cited and gave importance to the Hadîth Kumayl. He cited it in his early Risâla fi'l-suluk ("Trestise on the Path") as he did later in his Sahifa bayn al-haramayn (Epistle between the two shrines) and his (Persian) Dala'il-i sab`ah (Seven Proofs) where it is also given an interesting imamological exegesis.

In this presentation an attempt will be made to sum up the Bab's interpretations of al-ḥaqīqa (Ultimate Reality") in the light of their Shi'i-Shaykhi background. A few of Baha'u'llah's interpretations of passages in the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa will also be briefly presented (Abstract Slightly Revised 2009)

Introductory Note on Kumayl ibn  Ziyād  (c.18/639 -c. 85/704?)

"al-Kumayl ibn Ziyad ibn Nahik ibn  Haytham ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn al-Harith ibn Suhban ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn al-Nakhā'ī was from the tribe of Madhhij. He related traditions from 'Uthman and 'Ali and 'Abd-Allah. He was present with 'Alī at the Battle of Siffin and was accepted as a noble among his people. But when al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf came to Kufa, he summoned Kumayl and put him to death" (From the Ṭabaqāt of Ibn Sa`d (d. 230/844).

 An excellent summary of the life of Kumayl ibn Ziyād is given by Hossein Modarressi in the first volume of his  Tradition and Survival I  (Oxford: Oneworld, 2003, see pp. 74-77). The paragraphs to follow are taken from this  learned and important source (some footnotes and other details are omitted):

" Kumayl b. Ziyād b. Nahīk al-Nakha'ī, a close disciple of 'Alî and a nobleman and leading notable in the community of Kūfa. He was among the first Kūfans who publicly spoke out against 'Uthmān and his policies, and were consequently banished from Kūfa to Hirns in Syria by the order of the caliph in the year 33 or shortly after. Later, Kumayl joined the camp of the followers of 'Alî in Medina and was among his close associates from the very first days of his caliphate. He was later appointed by 'Alî as governor of Hit, a strategic region to the north of Kūfa, where Kumayl successfully repelled an early foray by Mu'awiya's troops into Iraq. He served as a commander with 'Alî at the battle of Şiffîn. Later in his life, he joined the revolt of 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Muhammad b. al-Ash'ath against Hajjāj in the year 82. He was executed by Hajjāj in the same year, or a year later, at the age of 90 for his part in the rebellion, as well as his activities against 'Uthmān half a century before and his continued devotion to 'Alī..."(2003:74)...

 He is described by most earlier authorities on the transmitters of hadîth as reliable and pious. In the revolt of Ibn al-Ash'ath, he was a senior member of the regiment of the Qurra (the Reciters of the Qur'an, at least by then), a group renowned for their faith and piety (Tabarï 6: 350). A number of mainly later Sunnī authorities criticize him for his excessive love for 'Alî or, in other words, for his Shfite sympathies. Shī`ite sources unanimously praise him (see Khu'i 14: 128-9).

 For his early activities as a member of the anti-'Uthmān camp of Kūfa and his subsequent exile to Himş, see Ibn Sa'd 5: 24; Balādhurī 5: 1 31, 150, 159; Tabarï 4: 318, 322, 326 (also 403 where a report claims that Kumayl later went to Medina in an early, unsuccessful attempt on 'Uthmān's life); Ibn 'Asākir 50: 247. Kumayl's name appears among the close aides of 'Alî early in his caliphate. He was, for instance, 'Alī 's envoy to 'Abd Allah, son of the former Caliph 'Umar, sent to persuade him to join 'Alî for what became known as the battle of the Camel (Tabarï 4: 446).

 For his appointment as governor of Hit and his repulsion of the Syrian troops, see Balādhurī 2: 339^40; Ibn A'tham 4: 48 (and its sixth century Persian translation: 714—16 with a much fuller account). The texts of two letters of'Alî to Kumayl as governor of Hit are preserved, one in reprimand (Balādhurī 2: 339; Nahj al-balāgha: 450-51 [letter 61]), the other in admiration (Ibn A'tham, Persian: 716).

 For his participation in Ibn al-֊Ash'ash's revolt, see Tabarï, Dhayl: 663-4; idem, Ta'rīkh 6: 350; Abu 'l-'Arab: 204-5.

 For the year he was killed by Hajjāj, most early authorities of biographical material on Kumayl suggest the year 82 (see the citations in Ibn 'Asākir 50: 257; Mizzī 24: 222; Ibn al-'Imād 1: 335), though Tabarï 6: 365 (whence Ibn al-Athīr, Kamill: 481—2) lists it among the events of the following year, a more plausible date as the revolt was suppressed by Hajjāj in the middle of the latter. Yahya b. Ma'īn is said to have suggested the year 84 (Ibn 'Asākir 50: 257; Mizzī 24: 222) or 88 (Ibn Hajar, Tahdhīb 8: 448). Şafadî 24: 370 gives the date as around the year 90.

 His age at the time of death is given as 100 by Ibn Kathīr {Bidäya 9: 46); most others have it as 90 but Madā'inī (as quoted by Ibn 'Asākir 50: 257 and Mizzī 24: 222) as 70. Ibn Hajar, Tahdhīb 8: 448 ascribes this to Yahya b. Ma'în, too. This latter must have been a corruption of tis'tn to sab'tn, very common in Arabic script, as an old age is also implied by several remarks of Hajjāj, Kumayl himself, and others, both before and after his capture by the government (see Tabarï 4: 404; Ibn A'tham 7: 142; Abū 'l-'Arab 204-5; Fasawï 2: 481; Irsbād 1: 327; Ibn 'Asākir 50: 256; Ibn Hajar, Isāba 5: 654).

There is a tomb in Kūfa that the Shi`a identify and visit as that of Kumayl (see the description in Hirz al-Dīn 2: 219-20). This identification, however, does not seem to go back more than two centuries. The first author to mention the tomb, in the late thirteenth century (Khwansan 6: 66), noted that it had been found, built upon, and become a place of visitation "in these recent times".

 There is a post-mortem aspect of Kumayl's character to be noted here, that is, as a symbolic figure in medieval Islamic Sufi literature. As mentioned above, Kumayl is described by many of his biographers as pious and devout. That, plus the pitiful story of his killing at a very old age because of his attachment to 'Alî, naturally generated a great deal of svmpathy for him and later created an aura of holiness around him. Already at the time of his killing, a poet mourns him and blames Ḥa||āi for the cruel act (Tabarï, 4: 404). Later, some Muslim mystics saw him as one of the main channels of esoteric light of the House of the Prophet and came up with a chain of authority for their ceremonial Sufi robe, known as khirqa, that went through Kumayl to 'Alī and then to the Prophet. This seems to have started in the sixth century. The earliest major figure in Sufism whom I have found to claim the authority for his robe through Kumayl is Najm al-Dīn Kubrā (d. 618) who mentions this in a certificate he issued for a student on 4 Shawwal 598 (Hāfiz Husayn 2: 306-8). After Najm al-Dīn, many Sufi orders and major mystics who trace the authority for their robe through him have Kumayl as one of their last links in the chain of authority linking them to 'Alî and the Prophet (see Havdarkhānī [1989]: 18-22, 30-38, 53-8 where the names of many orders and more than thirty sources are listed; also Haydarkhanî [1992]: 58—60; a few examples: Bākharzī: 27; Simnānī, Manāzir. 136; idem, Tadhkira: 153; Haydar al-Āmulī, Jāmi': 223^t, 614; idem, Muhīt 1: 521-2; idem, Nasŗ. 218, 222-3; Asīrī: 350).

 Ibn Hibbān, who lists Kumayl among the reliable transmitters of hadith in his Thiqat 5: 341, blames him for his excessive love for 'Alî in Majrūhīn 2: 221 and reports that he quoted "complicated" statements (ти dalāt) from 'Alî including miracles. None of this genre seems to have survived in Sünnî literature with the possible exception of his alleged statement at the time of his execution that 'Alî had told him that Hajjāj would be his killer (Ibn Hajar, Isāba 5: 654; also Irshād 1: 327). There are in fact only a few quotations in the collections of hadîth on the authority of Kumayl, a fact which goes well with Ibn Hajar's description of him in Tahdhīb 8: 448 as qalïl al-hadīth..." (Modarressi, 2003:74-77). 

 The Discourse to Kumayl in the Nahj al-Balagha

        The recent volume of Reza Shah Kazemi entitled Justice and Remembrance, Introducing the Spirituality of Imam `Alī    (London: I.B. Tauris and Co. Ltd. 2006), contains a translation of an esoteric discourse of Imam `Alī headed `The Discourse to Kumayl' which is found around the middle of the sayings section of the famous Nahj al-bahagha compiled by by al-Sharif al-Radi (d. 406/1015). Therein are recorded statements of great mystical significance uttered by Imam `Alī to Kumayl  in a graveyard outside of Kufa (see Nahj al-Balagha,  

Add Here Shah-Kazemi, 2006: 36ff) : URL:

The Du`ā of Kumayl

See full size image

1 -

The Ḥadīth al-ḥaqiqa  ("Tradition concerning Ultimate Reality") sometimes referred to as the `Ḥadīth Kumayl' (see below) should not be confused with the Du`ā Kumayl  (Supplication of Kumayl) also attributed to Imam `Alī  through the same pious Shi`i companion Kumayl ibn Ziyād. This supplication is usually recited on Thursdays after the Ishā'  prayers, especially on the 5th of Sha'ban. The text of this Du`ā Kumayl is, among other things, a powerful prayer for forgiveness the text of which can be found, for example, in various Shi`i devotional compilations including the Mafātīḥ al-jinān, (Keys to Paradise) of `Abbās al-Qummī, (d. 1359/1940). It has been published numerous times and several times been translated into English.  The  book Hadith al-Kisa and Supplication of Kumayl   (Karachi: Khurasan Book Centre, n.d.) contains an English translation alongside the Arabic text (pp. [39] 40-103).

In his Tradition and Survival I, Modarressi writes about the Du`ā Kumayl : "A long text quoted on the authority of Kumayl as the religious supplication that 'Alî taught him (Misbāḥ 844-50; Ibn Tawus, Iqbal 3: 331-8). This is a very popular supplication among the ShTa who recite it on Thursday nights. Many commentaries are written on this text. For a list, see Āghā Buzurg 13: 258-9; also 'Abd al-Jabbār al-Rifā'ī 6: 50-52, 53, 56, 91)" (Modarressi I:79).

The  Ḥadith Kumayl ("The Traditon of Kumayl") on `Ilm ("Religious Knowledge").

"This report that starts with a reference to hearts as containers (al-qulūbu aw'iya) is a long and eloquent text on the merits of true religious knowledge. It is quoted, with certain variations, in many Sunnî and Shi'ite sources... What made this text of special interest to the Shī'a was a sentence that said that the earth would never be devoid of individuals who stand as proof of God, bear the knowledge of truth and, as such, represent God on the earth..." (Modarressi I:79).

An early version of this `Hadith Kumayl' can be found in the 9th century CE., Tarikh (History) of Ibn Wāḍith al-Ya`qūbī (d. c. 292/905), the Tarikh al- Ya`qūbī  (ed. `Abd al-Amir al-Mihna,  2 vols. Beirut: Mu`assat li'l-Matbu`at, 1413/1993, vol. 2 pp. 110-118; see also Tarikh ed. Houtsma, 1883, vol. II:242ff). Aspects of it may have inspired dimensions of the probably later Ḥadīth al-ḥaqiqa as Donaldson seems to assert (see below).

ADD HERE

The translation of the  `Ḥadith Kumayl on `Ilm' ("Religious Knowledge") that follows is  from the Arabic text of the Tarikh al- Ya`qūbī  (ed. `Abd al-Amir al-Mihna) vol. 2:110ff. In making this translation I have benefited through often differed from the translation printed in the 1938 Muslim World (see vol. 28 pp. 253-4) article by the Christian missionary Dwight M. Donaldson (d.1976) :

"Kumayl ibn Ziyād said: `[Imam] `Alī took my hand and led me out into the desert quarter  (nāḥiyya al-jabbāna). When he [entered] the desert (al-ṣaḥrā') he sighed heavily (tanaffasa al-ṣu`uda') three times and exclaimed: `O Kumayl! the hearts (al-qulub) and containers (aw'iya), the best of them are vessels (awā`)'. Recollect what I say unto you for humankind (al-nas) are of three types : [1] those of erudite lordly disposition (`āllama rabbānī), [2] those who are learning (muta`llim) on the path of salvation (sabīl najāt) and [3] those who are  worthless ravenous  upstarts (hamaj  ra`ā`). 

ADD HERE 

(trans. Lambden)

ADD: Sources Translations + URLs

The  Ḥadith Kumayl ("The Traditon of Kumayl") on the nafs (Soul) and its powers. 

ADD: Sources Translations + URLs

 حديث الحقيقه

The  Ḥadith al-Ḥaqīqa -- (loosely) the `Ḥadīth Kumayl'.

 The  Ḥadīth  al-Ḥaqīqa (= for some the Hadith Kumayl)  is the record of an alleged (Arabic) conversation between the first Shī`ī Imam, `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (d.40/661) and his associate, the one-time governor of Hīt (Iraq), Kumayl ibn Ziyād ibn Nahīd ibn Haytham ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn al-Nakhā'ī. (c.18/639 -c. 85/704?) whose shine is located at Wadī al-Salām near Najaf (Iraq; al-Mufīd, K. al-Irshād, add). The Ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa or Ḥadīth mā al-ḥaqīqa (`What is al-ḥaqīqa?), is a tradition which includes several statements from Imam `Ali about the meaning (s) of الحقيقة   al-ḥaqīqa. This  in response to repeated questioning from his disciple Kumayl ibn Ziyād al-Nakhā'ī.

 In general terms الحقيقة , al-ḥaqīqa has many meanings. It is not an easy word to define. Its well-known senses include `Trurh', `Reality', `Ultimate Reality' and the `Divine Reality' or God. A key question in understanding the  Ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa is knowing what Kumayl was asking when he enquired about al-ḥaqīqa and what Imam `Ali intended to clarify.

The Arabic text of the Hadith al-haqiqa exists in sometimes variant forms found in sources dating from the 7th/13-14th centuries. There is no established chain of transmission going back to the 7th century when it was allegedly uttered by the first Shi`i Imam.

One version of the text of the Hadith al-haqiqa : 

Add other Arabic texts + sources 

The Ḥadith al-Ḥaqīqa [loosely, one of the  `Ḥadīth Kumayl'] is a well-known tradition much discussed and highly influential in Shī`ī Islamic philosophy and mysticismas well as many times registered and interpreted in early Shaykhī texts and  Bābī-Bahā'ī scriptural  literatures. As will be seen below, it was variously commented upon by Shi`i mystics and philosophers, by the first two Shaykhi leaders, Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i (d.1241/1826) and Sayyid Kazim Rashti (d.1259/1843) as well as by Sayyid `Alī Muhammad Shirazi, the Bab (1819-1850) and Mirza Husayn `Alī Nuri (1817-1892), entitled Baha'-Allah (the Splendor of God), the founder of the Baha'i religion. The Bab wrote a detailed Arabic commentary on the Ḥadith al-Ḥaqīqa [Ḥadīth Kumayl] and  Baha'-Allah cited it quite frequently (see below).

The Hadith al-ḥaqīqa or Hadith Kumayl is not contained in the 11th cent CE Nahj al-Balagha. I have bypassed the early, pre-`Abd al-Razzāq sources of the Hadith al-haqiqa mentioned by Donaldson his MW 28 (1938) article on this Hadith (p. 252) -- namely, Ibn Wāḍith al-Ya`qūbī (d.c. 292/905), Tarikh (ed. Houtsma, 1883, vol. ii p. 242ff) and Ibn Babuwayh al-Saduq al-Qummi (d. 381/991), Kamal al-Din (Lith. Tehran 1301, pp. 169-171) --  as they are not exaxctly earlier forms of this hadith but possible texts which contibuted to the eventual emergance of the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa and other materials relating to Kumayl. The Hadith al-ḥaqīqa apparently first occurs in texts dating after the 13th century. Its textual history cannot be traced back earlier than the century or so after  Ibn al-`Arabi (d. 638/1240). Among other sources the Arabic text of this somewhat esoteric dialogue between the `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (d. 40/661) and his associate, Kumayl ibn Ziyād al-Nakhā'ī (c.18/639-81[8]/701[7])  are,

Ḥaydar al-'Amulī = Rukn al-Din Ḥaydar ibn `Alī al-Husayni (d.726/1325) :

  • Jāmi` al-asrār (ed. Corbin & Yahya, Tehran, 1969), 170 and  

  • al-Muqaddamāt min kitāb naṣṣ al-nuṣūṣ (ed. Corbin & Yahya, Tehran 1974), 440.

`Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī  (d. c. 736/1336-7)

  • Risala al-Kumayliyya or

  • Sharḥ ḥadith ḥaqīqa ('Commentary upon the Hadith of Ultimate Reality'). See below on the commentaries for details...

Shāh Ni`mat-Allāh Walī (d. c. 834/1431):

  • ADD

Muhammad ibn al-Husayn, Baha al-Din al-Amili, Shaykh Baha'i (d. 1030/1621)

  • Kashkul  vol. 2 (ed. M.S.  al-Nasiri, Qum 1378/ 1958), 219-20. The citing of a version of the hadith al-ḥaqīqa by Shaykh Baha'i  in his Kashkul  made this hadith available to a wide readership throughout the post 17th century CE Islamic world.

  • Add

Mirza Muhammad Bāqir al-Musawī Khwānsārī (d. 1313/1895):

  • Rawḍāt al-jannat fī aḥwāl al-`ulamā' wa'l-sādāt (Dar al-Islamiyya, 1411/1991) vol. 6: 60. Here a version of the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa is cited from the "Rijal [Book] of Nisaburi [Nishapuri]

It will be evident from the above that there would seem to be no known mss. or textual evidence for the existence of the Hadith al-ḥaqiqa  prior to the 7th century AH / 12th-13th centuries CE. In the light of this  (the above cited)  Hossein Modarressi in his  Tradition and Survival I  has written :

"A text with the tone and terminology of the mystic school of Muḥyî'l-֊Dīn Ibn 'Arabī (d. 638) that surfaced in the seventh century as 'All's response to Kumayl's inquiry about the nature of truth. The text [Hadith al-Haqiqa], a very popular one in Shî'ite Sufism, ... is quoted, without any formal chain of transmission, in Sufi literature (e.g. Haydar al-'Amulī, Jàmï: 170; idem, Naşş. 440), and whence in some anthologies (e.g. Jung-i Mahdaivī: 136-7; Bahā' al-Dīn al-'Āmilī 2: 219-20) and late biographical works (e.g. Khwānsārī 6: 62). Numerous monographs have been written during the past eight centuries as commentaries on this alleged "hadîth" For lists of many of these, see Aghā Buzurg 13: 196-8; Dānishpazhūh 3: 461^4; Mun/.awî 2: 1331 (see also Ḥājī Khalīfa 2:1041). It should be borne in mind that in the school of Ibn 'Arabī, mystical knowledge can be received directly (i.e. ex nihilo) through revelation, rather than by formal transmission through a chain of authorities. Ibn 'Arabī's own Fuṣūṣ al-hikam is, in fact, a prime example of this phenomenon (see his introduction to the book: 47). It seems therefore unnecessary to look any further for a possible earlier source for the text in question" (Modarressi vol. 1 : 79-80).

Translations of the Ḥadith al-Ḥaqīqa : the five disclosures by `Alī  regarding الحقيقة al-ḥaqīqa, Truth, Reality, Ultimate Reality [God].

 The Arabic word الحقيقة  al-ḥaqīqa, indicating `The Real', Reality' or `Ultimate Reality [God]'  occurs repeatedly in  Imām `Alī's five definitions of reality" (al-haqīqa)  disclosed to Kumayl ibn Ziyād ibn Nahīk al-Nakhā’ī (d. c. 85/704) in well-known versions or recensions of the Ḥadith registering questions of Kumayl regarding ما الحقيقة  (= mā’ al-ḥaqīqa, `What is the Reaity / Ultimate Reality?’. In various sources It is entitled the Ḥadith al-Ḥaqīqa

Edward G. Browne (d.1926) Translation

Versions the Ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa  have several times been (partially) translated into English. Firstly, by the Cambridge orientalist Edward G. Browne (d.1926) in Appendix II of his edition of the so-called Tarikh-i Jadīd (New History), p.329 :

"Now although certain knowledge is essential to happiness, its attainment is of all things most difficult, even to the favoured companions of God's saints. Thus Kumeyl ibn Ziyād, one of 'Alī's chosen disciples, once demanded of his Master, behind whom he was seated on a dromedary, "What is Truth?" "What hast thou to do with the Truth?" answered 'Alī , "for verily it is one of God's mysteries, and a jewel out of His treasure-house." Then said Kumeyl, when 'Alī had spoken for some while after this fashion, "O my Master, am I not worthy to share thy secret?" "Yes," answered 'Alī , "but the matter is a great one." "O my Master," said Kumeyl, "dost thou desire those who beg at the door of thy bounty to be turned away?" "Nay, verily," answered 'Alī , "I will answer the call of such as are troubled, and will sprinkle upon thee somewhat of the overflowing fullness of the Station of the Truth; receive it from me according to thy capacity, and conceal it from such as are unworthy to share it. O Kumeyl, the Truth is the revelation of the splendours of Divine Majesty without a sign." "O my Master," said Kumeyl, "I understand not thy meaning; explain it to me further." "The effacement of the conjectured, and the clearing of the known," continued 'Alī . "Explain more fully," demanded Kumeyl. "The rending of the veil by the triumph of the mystery," said 'Alī . "O my beloved Master," rejoined Kumeyl, "tell me more." ''The attraction of the Divine Unity through the nature of the apprehension of its Oneness,' added 'Alī . "Tell me more clearly," repeated Kumeyl. Then said 'Alī , "A light shining forth from the Morning of Eternity and irradiating the temples of the Unity."

Dwight M Donaldson (d.1976) translation. 

A second English translation was given by the American Presbyterian missionary Dwight M Donaldson (d.1976) in his still useful 1938  article published in the Muslim World  28 (1938), 249-257 (= DMD).

"[Mirza Muhammad Bāqir Musawī] Khwānsārī's version of the tradition fī ḥaqīqat is taken from the Rijāl, or book of biography, by Nīshāpūrī. He says that Kumail was one of the particular friends of 'Ali, in fact had him ride with him on his camel. And once he asked 'Ali this question; "O Amir al-Mu'minin, what is essential reality (al-ḥaqīqat)?" 'Ali answered, "What have you got to do with al-ḥaqīqat?" Kumail said, "Am I not a companion of your secret?" 'Ali said, "Yes, but what overflows (yaṭfaḥu) from me will only ooze (yarshahu) on you." Kumail said, "Is it like you to discourage a question?" Then 'Ali gave the answer, "Essential reality (al-ḥaqīqat) is revelation of the garments of glory without comment (isharat)" Kumail requested, "Explain to me further," 'Ali continued, "It is the effacement of ignorant superstition and the awakening to facts (sahw al-ma'lum)" Kumail said again, "Explain to me further." 'Ali answered, "The rending of the curtain depends on the mastery of the secret (ghalabat al-sirr)." Kumail repeated, "Explain to me further." Then 'Ali said, "Light shone forth on the morning of the first day and its effects glimmered forth upon the forms of unity (hayākil al-tawḥīd)." Still Kumail said: "Explain to me further." And 'Ali answered, "Put out the light (al-siraj) and behold the morn has arrived (tola' al-subḥ)."(Donaldson, 1938:255-6).

Stephen Lambden translation

My own translation of one version of this hadith, which only partially attempts to bypass other interpretative renderings, is as follows: 

Kumayl ibn Ziyad asked `O my Lord and my  Master [= the Commander of the Faithful, Amir al-Mumunin = Imam `Alī, d. 40/661)... What is al-Ḥaqīqa? (The Real /  Reality' / `Ultimate Reality [God]'). He [`Alī] replied, upon him be peace, `What have you to do with al-Ḥaqīqa (Reality)?'. So Kumayl replied, `Is it not that I am a [sharing] companion [custodian] of your secret (sahib sirrika)?' He [Imam `Alī] replied, `Yes! But what [gnosis merely] sprinkles down upon you, billows over through me'. He, the Imam, upon him be peace, [then] said, al-Ḥaqīqa [ Reality is] `The disclosure of the splendors of the Majestic One [God] (subuḥāt al-jalāl) devoid of intimation [of His Ultimate Reality] (min ghayr al-ishāra)'. He [Kumayl] said, `Expound it to me further'. He [`Alī] said, `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality' ] is the annulment of speculation (mahw al-mawhum) [consonant] with an awareness of what is [firmly] established' (saḥw al-ma`lūm)'. He [Kumayl] said, `Expound it to me further.' He [`Alī] said, `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality'] is the rending of the [Divine] veil (al-sitr) through the mastery of the secret (ghalabat al-sirr)'.  He [Kumayl] said, `Expound it to me further.' He [`Alī] said, `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality'] is the Enticement  (jadhb) of the Divine Unicity (al-aḥadiyya) through the instrumentality of the Divine Oneness (al-tawhid)'. He [Kumayl] said, `Expound it to me further.' He [`Alī] said, `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality'] is `A Light (nur) radiating from the Dawn of Eternity (subh al-azal) with its traces (athar) beaming forth [shimmering] upon the Embodiments [Temples] of the Divine Unity (hayākil al-tawhid)'.   He [Kumayl] said, `Expound it to me further.' He [`Alī] said, `Quench the lamp (al-sirāj)! for the Dawn (al-subḥ) hath indeed arisen'... (Trans. Lambden, 1998 rev. 2008). 

Some English Translations of the five key definitions of al-ḥaqīqa in the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa.

The centrally important statements about al-ḥaqīqa made by `Alī are responses to the repeated enquiry of Kumayl as to what constitutes al-haqiqa --  ما الحقيقة  (= mā’ al-ḥaqīqah), `What is Ultimate Reality?’. After an introductory exchange with Kumayl, the dialogue continues with five somewhat abstruse disclosures by Imam `Ali. The following are the five definitions of al-haqīqa  ("Reality") given by Imam `Alī in the Ḥadīth Kumayl as translated by Browne in Appendix II of his edition and translation of the New History .. (1893 [1975]: 329), [= EGB 1893] and by Donaldson =  in his Muslim World article [= DMD 1938] along that of Todd Lawson (19XX) and my own version (sometimes with a nother alternative). I have assumed the equivalence of the Arabic text translated for the five key sentences defining al-ḥaqīqa -- cited in Arabic above the various translations listed below:

The five statements of Imam `Alī about الحقيقة   with comparative translations

[1]

كشف سبحات الجلال من غير اشارة

  •  "The revelation of the splendours of Divine Majesty without a sign" [EGB 1893]
  •  "Essential reality (al-ḥaqīqat) is revelation of the garments of glory without comment (isharat)" [DMD 1938]
  • Lawson
  • `The disclosure of the splendors of the Majestic One [God] / the [Divine] Glory (subuḥāt al-jalāl) devoid of [any] intimation [of His Ultimate Reality] (min ghayr al-ishāra)' (Lambden). 
  • "The uncovering of the vainglories of Majesty  (subuḥāt al-jalāl) without  any  intimation" (min ghayr al-ishāra) (Lambden alternative rendering no.2 )

It should be noted here that early Shaykhi and Babi-Baha'i interpretations and translations of the above line of the Hadith are not literal in the sense that they interpret the   سبحات الجلال subuḥāt al-jalāl  as indicative of  veils or human limitations which are expressive of mere conjecture or idle fancy. ...

[2]

 محو الموهوم و صحو المعلوم

  • "The effacement of the conjectured, and the clearing of the known" [EGB 1893]
  •  "It is the effacement of ignorant superstition and the awakening to facts (sahw al-ma'lum)" [DMD 1938]
  • ADD Lawson
  •  
  • `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality' ] is the annulment of speculation (mahw al-mawhum) [consonant] with an awareness of that which is established [confirmed]' (saḥw al-ma`lūm)'  (Lambden) or
  •  
  • “The nullification of idle speculation [about Ultimate Reality [God] (maḥw al-mawhūm) and the [consequent] realization of that which can [appropriately] be known  (ṣaḥw al-ma`lum)" (Lambden alternative rendering no.2 )

[3]

هتك السر لغلبة السر

  •  "The rending of the veil by the triumph of the mystery" [EGB 1893]
  •  "The rending of the curtain depends on the mastery of the secret (ghalabat al-sirr)" [DMD 1938]
  • ADD Lawson
  • `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality'] is the rending of the [Divine] veil (al-sitr) through the mastery of the secret (ghalabat al-sirr)' (Lambden) or
  • `The dissolution of the covering through the ascendancy of the mystery (hata al-sitr li-ghalbat al-sirr)' (Lambden alternative rendering no.2)

[4]

جذب الأحدية لصفة التوحيد

  • "The attraction of the Divine Unity through the nature of the apprehension of its Oneness" [EGB 1893]
  •  MISSING [DMD 1938]
  • ADD Lawson
  • `It [al-Ḥaqīqa `Reality'] is the Enticement  (jadhb) of the Divine Unicity (al-aḥadiyya) through the instrumentality of the Divine Oneness (al-tawhid)' (Lambden).

[5]

نور يشرق من صبح الأزل فيلوح على هياكل التوحيد آثاره 

  •  "A Light shining forth from the Morning of Eternity and irradiating the temples of the Unity" [EGB 1893]
  •  "Light shone forth on the morning of the first day and its effects glimmered forth upon the forms of unity (hayākil al-tawḥīd)." [DMD 1938]
  • ADD Lawson
  • "A Light (nur) radiating from the Dawn of Eternity (subh al-azal) with its traces (athar) beaming forth [shimmering] upon the Embodiments [Temples] of the Divine Unity (hayākil al-tawḥīd)' (Lambden).

Note on (5)  صبح الأزل  : Used in Arabic or Persian by the Bāb as a title for Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nuri, the half brother of Baha'u'llah. His title was derived from the gentive phrase (Ar.)    صبح الازل  (Per.) صبح ازل    Subḥ‑i Azal  within the Hadītḥ Kumayl (see above). It was thus that the supporters of Mīrzā Yaḥyā became known as Azalīs (lit. loosely,  "Eternalites") and their religious orientation Azalī Bābism  ‑‑ today a religious faction more or less extinct in concrete terms but very much alive in the arena of modern written neo‑Azalī anti‑Bahā'ī polemic.

Shī`ī and Shaykhī Commentaries on the Ḥadīth al-ḥaqīqa

In writing about the commentaries I have consulted al-Dhar`ia of Aqa Buzurg al-Tehrani,  an early version of the excellent Persian article on the Ḥadīth al-ḥaqiqa by ADD HERE  and the abovementioned detailed notes by Hossein Modarressi in the first volume of his  Tradition and Survival I  (Oxford: Oneworld, 2003, see pp. 74ff, esp. 77ff).

 Ḥājī Khalīfa, Kashf al-Zunun...  2:1041).

Tehrānī, Āqā Buzurg, Muhammad Muḥsin (d. 1389/1969),

  • al‑Dharī`a ilā taṣānif al‑shī`a. Tehran and Najaf, 1353-98.
  • al‑Dharī`a ilā taṣānif al‑shī`a. Tehran 1941-1978 + Na jaf, 1353-8/1936-8...
  • al‑Dharī`a ilā taṣānif al‑shī`a.  26 vols. Beirut: Dār al‑Aḍwā’, 1403/1983.

  • Tehrānī, Āqā Buzurg  See al‑Dharī`a vol.13: 196-8.

ADD HERE  Dānishpazhūh 3: 461-4;  Mun/.awî 2: 1331 

Many commentaries in Arabic and some in Persian on the Ḥadīth al-ḥaqiqa have been written over the 800 or more years since the hadith al-haqiqa became known. A few of then have been published though most remain in manuscript. The following is a very selective list of such commentaries in loosely chronological order

(0) Abu Manṣūr al-Ḥasan ibn Yūsuf al-Ḥillī, `Allāma al-Ḥillī (d.648/1250)

  شرح خبر كميلSharḥ khabar Kumayl  by Ḥasan ibn Yūsuf Muṭahhir, `Alamah  al-Hillī.  An important Shi`i writer on legal and imamological and theological questions... see  Dharia 13: 196.  It would appear that this commentary is not authentic or not on the Hadith al-Haqiqa. It is not listed in the 1991 bibliographical analysis found in Sabine Schmidtke's `The Theology of al-`Allama al-Hilli (d. 726/1325) (See esp. p.73ff). ... ADD HERE...

(1) Ḥaydar al-'Amulī = Rukn al-Din Ḥaydar ibn `Alī al-Husayni (d.726/1325)

  • Jami` al-asrar (ed. Corbin & Yahya, 1969), 170.

  • al-Muqaddamāt min kitāb naṣṣ al-nuṣūṣ (ed. Corbin & Yahya, Tehran 1974), 440.

(2)`Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī  (d. c. 736/1336-7).

See URL :

  شرح حديث حقيقتSharḥ ḥadith ḥaqīqa ('Commentary upon the Hadith of Ultimate Reality') by `Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī (d. c. 736/1336) an important Shi`ite Sufi of the school of Ibn al-`Arabi (See Dhari`a 13:196 + 18:140.   Very well-known, though it has repeatedly been published under the name of his master Ibn al-`Arabi (d. 638/1240), is his deeply mystical Tafsīr al-Qur'ān al-karīm, (2 vols. Beirut: Dār al-Yaqzah al-'Arabiyya, 1387/1967 + 2 Vols edited by Mustafa Ghalib. Beirut: Dār al-Andalus, 1399/1978  and Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-karīm lil-Shaykh al-akbar... al-`Allāmah Muḥyi al-Dīn Ibn al-`Arabī, ed. Mustafa Ghālib, 2 vols., 3rd printing, Beirut, 1401/198 and Tafsīr al-Qur'ān al-karīm [Tafsīr Ibn `Arabī on cover], 2 vols. Beirut: Dār al-kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1422/2001. On this work see Pierre Lory, Les Commentaires ésotériques du Coran d’aprés `Abd al Razzâq al Qâshânî (Paris: Les Deux Océans. 1980). 

 `Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī was also the author of other works upon qur'anic exegesis as well as an Isṭilaḥāt al-Ṣufiyya ("Lexicon of Sufi Technical Terminology") which has several times been published and translated. Isṭilaḥāt al-Ṣufiyya. Lithograph. Bombay: 1312/1894-5 and Isṭilaḥāt al-Ṣufiyya. ed. introd. Fawzī al-Jabr, Damascus/ Beirut: Add.,1415/1990; also, [al-Qāshānī, `Abd al-Razzāq] Isṭilaḥāt al-Ṣufiyya. A Glossary of Sufi Technical Terms, completed by (tr.) Nabil Safwat Rev. & ed. David Pendlebury. The Octagon Press Ltd. London. 1991.

          A manuscript of  `Abd al-Razzāq's  `Commentary on the Hadith al-Haqiqa'  can be read online in the `Princeton Digital Libray of Islamic Manuscripts'  as `Sharḥ al-Fuṣūṣ ... [etc.]..' item 6 or ms. 3604y "fol. 126a-b: Sharḥ Suʼāl Kumayl ibn Ziyād li-Amīr al-Muʼminīn / ʻAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī":

 A recently printed major, 771 page compilation of `Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī writings is the Majmu`a-yi Rasā'il Muṣannāfāt, Shaykh Kamal al-Din `Abd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī (died 736 A. H.) edited by Majid Hadizadeh (Tehran: Āyene-yi Miras, 2000). It contains an over 250 page introduction on `Abd al-Razzāq and his writings followed by the publication of more than 16 of his Persian and Arabic writings including (item 15 pp. 237-245) his fairly brief Sharh Hadith al-Haqiqa.  This printing includes important mss. variations of the Hadith al-Haqiqa (see fn.1 pp.639-40) and of al-Kāshānī's early Tafsir. See also for further important details on the commentary al-Kumayliyya pp. 130, 228-9.

(3) Shāh Ni`mat-Allāh Walī (730-834 AH = c. 1430-1431 CE) buried Mahan (India). شاه نعمت‌اللهِ ولی

. شرح حديث حقيقت Sharḥ ḥadith ḥaqīqa (Commentary upon the Hadith of Ultimate Reality) by Shāh Ni`mat-Allāh Walī, the founder of the  Ni`matu'llāhi Sufi order. ADD HERE

Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd-Allah al-Nurbakhsh, (795-ADD = 1392-1464 CE)

Dwight M Donaldson in his above cited 1938  article published in the Muslim World  28 (1938), has it that "Muhammad al-Nurbakhsh, (d. 1464 A. D.) the author of the Nadjma al-Huda (lith. Shiraz, 1329 A. H.) a Sufi commentary in verse on passages from the Qur'an and on well known traditions from the Apostle and the Imams, considered Kumail of fundamental importance to the Sufis. He wrote of him:18

"Kumail b. Ziyad was a companion of the secret of the Amīr al-Mu'minīn, of his doctrines (haqā'iq) and mystic revelation (mukāshafat)* and this was without any intermediary agency (bila wāsiṭa). There is no need to comment on his life, for it is enough to say that he was both perfector and perfected, and that our devotee's robe (khirqa), our rank and our authority, they all come from him" [= Fn.18. [as cited] Khwansari, Rawdat al-Jannat, p. 538). 

 

(4) al-Shustarī,  Sayyid Nur-Allāh Marashi al-Shushtari (956 -1019 AH = 1549-1610 CE), buried Agra (India).

 

 

 

Known as the Shahid-i Thalith ("Third Martyr") he moved from Khurasan (Persia) to Moghul India at the time of Jalal al-Din Akbar the Great (d. 1605 CE). One time Qadi of Lahore was  buried  ADD.

  • Majālis al-Mu``minīn -- this work contains details about Kumayl and works attributed to him and cites the hadith al-haqiqa (see Donalson 1938:256-7).

(5)  Baha al-Din al-Amili, Muhammad ibn al-Husayn, Shaykh Baha'i (d. Isfahan 1030/1621).

  • Add here...

Kashkul vol. 2 (ed. M.S. al-Nasiri, Qum 1378/ XXXX), 219-20. The citing of the hadith al-ḥaqīqa by Shaykh Baha'i in his Kashkul made this hadith available to a wide readership throughout the post 17th century CE Islamic world.  The citing of the hadith al-ḥaqīqa by Shaykh Baha'i  in his Kashkul  made this hadith available to a wide readership throughout the post 17th century CE Islamic world. Its learned author had a high reputation in both the Sunni and Shi`i Muslim world. From the 19th century the Kashkul has been several times published in Bombay, Cairo and Tehran though sometimes in bad non-critical editions without its Persian content ! 

(6) `Izz al-Din Muhammad Ibn Abī Tahir Kashani  

  • See  Aqa Buzurg Tehrani, Dhari`a 13:196; 18:190)

(7) Muzaffar `Alī Shāh Kirmānī (c.1125/1713)

  •   Commentary by Muzaffar `Alī Shāh Kirmānī (c.1125/1713) in Persian (unpublished ms.) so Aqa Buzurg Tehrani, Dhari`a 13: 97+18:140.

(8) Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī (d.1241/1826) and Early Shaykhism 

Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī (d.1241/1826) the important Shi`i philosopher, theologian and mystic who wrote a detailed commentary on the Hadith Kumayl and sometimes  commented upon this tradition in other works such as his commentary on a form of the delphic maxim ascribed to Imam `Alī...

See URLs below

(9) Sayyid Kazim al-Husayni al-Rashti (d. 1259/1843).... 

  •  

(10) Sayyid `Alī Muhammad Shirazi, the Bab (d. 1850) see below.

  •  Add

(11) Hajji Mullâ Hâdî Sabziwârî (d. c.1295/ 1878)

Hajji Mullā Hādī ibn Mahdi Sabziwārī (d. c. 1289[95]/1878) commented upon the Ḥadīth al-ḥaqiqa  in various of his works including his

  • `Commentary on the Du`ā-yi Jawshan-i Kabir'

  • `Commentary on the Most Beautiful Names of God' (  ... شرح الاسماء الحسي ) an edition of which has recently been published.

(12) Khwānsārī , Mirza Muhammad Bāqir al-Musawī (d. 1313/1895) 

Born Khwānsār, 27 Safar  1226/ 23rd March 1811. Died 8th Jamadī I 1313 / 27 October 1895.  Khwānsārī moved in late 1253/ 1838 to Najaf.   He wrote around 20 (largely Arabic and a few Persian) works mostly relating to Shī`ī  doctrine, ethics and legalism (aqā'id, adab, fiqh uṣūl al-fiqh...). His  8 volume rijāl  work has been frequently printed.

  •  Rawḍāt al-jannat fī aḥwāl al-`ulamā' wa'l-sādāt (Tehran: Dar al-Islamiyya, 1411/1991) vol. 6: 60. Here a version of the Hadith al-ḥaqīqa is cited from the "Rijal [Book] of Nisaburi [Nishapuri] :

Arabic text above as cited in Khwānsārī, Rawḍāt al-jannat  Vol. 6:60.

(13) Mirza Husayn `Alī Nuri, entitled Baha'u'llah (d. 1308/1892)

  • See 

(14) Sayyid `Abd al-Rahim ibn Ibrahim Husayni al-Yazdi (d. c. 1315/19XX).

  • Ikmal al-hujjat fi sharh al-hadith al-haqiqa  ..  See Dhari`a 2:282.
  •  

_________________