tion, with a flash of miraculousness giving news of the Unseen, it specifies one aspect those chiefs’ positions in the future.
Yes, “of the Prophets” looks explicitly to the Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and the phrase “the Veracious” looks to Abu Bakr the Veracious. It also indicates that he would be second after the Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) and first to succeed him, and be known by the special title of Veracious and be seen at the head of all honest and upright people. Then “the Witnesses [or Martyrs]” refers to ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali (May God be pleased with all of them) together. It intimates that the three of them would succeed to the Caliphate after the Veracious One, and that the three of them would be martyred and the merits of martyrdom added to their other virtues.
“The Righteous” alludes to distinguished persons like the Companions of the Bench, and of Badr and Ridwan. While with its explicit meaning, “And how goodly a company are these!” encourages others to follow them, and with its implicit meaning, by showing the generation that succeeded them to be honoured and illustrious, it alludes to Hasan (May God be pleased with him), who as the fifth Caliph affirmed the Hadith “After me the Caliphate will last thirty years”1 – in order to show its great value despite its brief duration.
I n S h o r t : Similarly to the verses at the end of Sura al-Fath, which look to the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, affirming them, these verses look in part and allusively to their future positions in a way that gives news of the Unseen. Flashes of this sort of miraculousness, the disclosing of facts about the Unseen, which is one sort of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, are so numerous as to be incalculable. Literalist scholars limit them to forty or fifty verses because of their superficial view, but in reality they number more than a thousand. Sometimes a single verse has four or five aspects giving news of the Unseen.
O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or do wrong.(2:286)
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.(2:32)
al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 509; Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhid, viii, 67. See also, Tirmidhi, Fitan, 48; Musnad v, 220. 221; al-‘Albani, Sahih Jami‘ al-Saghir, no: 3336.