“The light by the means of which we are guided, the Quran… It is me who will inform you concerning it, what it contains knowledge of the future, of the teachings on the past, of the healing of your sufferings and of the setting in order of your relationships.”
Imām ‘Ali b. Abi Tālib 
In Shia Islam the first Imam Ali and every Imam after him personify the Walaya which means “Guardianship”, and the one who holds this status is Wali, the Guardian of Faith. To believe in this “Guardianship” is seen as the substrate of faith as an essential criterion and prerequisite of Iman, and this is expressed as pure love and devotion of a murid towards Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his descendants.
Below are given seven sayings of the Prophet recorded in the hadith literature, in support of Hazrat Ali’s special status as the first Imam:
- “This (‘Ali) is my brother, my executor, and my successor among you. Hearken to him and obey him.” 
- ‘Then he took ‘Alī’s hand and said: “Am I not closer (awla) to the faithful than their own souls?” Yes!,” They declared. He said: “Am I not worthier of each one of them than their own soul?” Yes!,” They responded. He said: “Then this is the friend/ protector (wali) of each person for whom I am their wali. O my God, protect whomever he protects (wali man wālāhu)! O my God, be the enemy of whoever is an enemy to him!” 
- Truly, Ali is from me and I am from him, and he is the wali of every believer after me.” 
- “God placed the children of all prophets in their backbone but placed my children in the backbone of Ali”. 
- “I am the Master of the revealed letter (of the Quran), and ‘Ali is the master of the spiritual hermeneutics.” 
- “Ali b. Abī Tālib is the one who has the knowledge of the exoteric (zāhir) as well as of esoteric (bātin).”
- “Ali is with the Qur’an and the Quran is with Ali. They will not separate from each other until they return to me at the pool.”
 Nahj al Balagha, Sermon Number 157, A.N Faid al Islam, Tehran, 1351 Sh./1972).
 Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, Sirat Rasul Allah, tr. A Guilaume.
 Ibne Maja, in Ch. Fadail-al Asbab.
 Reza Shah Kazmi, ‘Imam Ali’, in The Shia World, Pathways in Traditions and Modernity, Ed by Farhad Daftary, Amyn B.Sajoo, p. 35.
 Muhammad H, ‘Shi’ite Islam’, Al-Tabataba’i (Tehran: Suny Press), p. 180.
 Muhammad Ali Amir -Moezzi, ‘The Tafsir of Al-Hibarī ( d. 286/899)’, in The Study of Shia Islam, History, Theology and Law, Qur’anic Exegesis and Early Shi‘i Esoterism, Farhad Daftary and Gulfarid Miskinzoda.
 Muhammad Ali Amir -Moezzi.
 Reza Shah Kazm, ‘Pathways in Traditions and Modernity, in The Shi’i World, Farhad Daftary, Amyn B.Sajoo, p. 35.