Ahlulbayt in the Quran
Ahlul-bayt in the glurious Qur'an
The Glorious Qur'an, the revealed word of Almighty Allah to His
last and greatest Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.), is the source of all divine laws
and has given humanity a perfect system of life and a code of well-defined
ethical values. Every Muslim knows that he is obliged to apply Qur'anic
instructions in his daily life and refer to them for guidance. Numerous verses
of the Holy Qur'an spotlight the lofty position of the Ahlul-Bait, directing
and exhorting the Muslims to adhere to their path. Broadly speaking these verses
could be classified as follows:
1. There are instances of direct references by virtue of special
ephithets such as Ahlu1-Bait in the verse of purification ayat al-Tathir,
or al-Qurba as in ayat al-Mawadda. Sometimes the verses make
indirect references which the Prophet expounded to his companions.
2. The Qur'an also records certain incidents and events relating
to the AhIuI-Bait, focussing on their merits and virtue, and therey
solving the leadership issue for the Muslim community. It either refers to them
collectively as in the Mubaha/a verse and the eighth verse of Dahr
sura, or individually as in the Wilaya verse which is quoted below:
"Only Allah is your (Wali) and His Apostle and those who
believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-due while they bow'.
Holy Qur'an (5:55)
We shall now study in detail some of the verses - out of the
many which throw light on the lofty merits and greatness of Prophet Muhammad's
1. The Verse of Purity (Tathir).
"...Allah desires to keep any uncleanness from you people
of the House and make you pure as pure can be"
All exegists of the Holy Qur'an and narrators of the Prophet's
traditions, unanimously agree that the word AhIuI-Bait, or the Household
of the Prophet as used by Almighty Allah in the Qur'an, refers only to four
persons: The Prophet's daughter Fatima (a.s.), her husband Ali (a.s.) and their
two children Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.).
The famous exegist Suyuti in his renowned commentary Dur
al-Manthur' cites Tabarani's narration from Umm Salama that the Prophet once
told his beloved daughter Fatima to call her husband Ali and their two sons
Hasan and Husain. When they came, the Prophet covered them with a Fadak (1) cloak
and putting his hand on them, said: O Allah! these are the ahl of Muhammad
(another version says aal i.e. family), so, shower your blessings and
favours on aal Muhammad as you showered them on aal Abraham; You are the
Praiseworthy, the Glorious.. Umm Salama said that she raised the cloak to join
them, but the Prophet pulled it out of her hand and said: You are (also) on the
Another narration from Umm Salama says that once theProphet was
in her house lying on a mattress, covered with a cloak from Khaitiar when
his beloved daughter Fatima (a.s.) entered with a dish called aI-Khazira (a
kind of food). The Prophet asked her to call her husband (All) and her two sons,
Hasan and Husain. She called them and as they all sat together to eat, Allah
revealed the following verse to the Prophet.
"...Allah desires to keep any uncleanness from you,
o' people of the House and make you pure as pure can be .
Upon this the Prophet covered them all with his cloak and
lifting his hands towards the sky said:
"O Allah! this is my family and the nearest of my kin, keep
away from them uncleanness and keep them pure as pure can be .
Umm Salama adds that thrice the Prophet repeated these words and
when she poked her head under the cloak and asked him Am I with you? In a
refraining gesture, he said twice:
"You are (also) among the righteoust".
On many an occasion the Prophet explained the meaning of
this verse to the Muslims and drew their attention to its significance. Abi
Sa'id Khidri quotes the Prophet as saying:
"This verse was revealed concerning five persons):
Myself, All, Fatima, Hasan and Husain."
"…Allah desires to keep away undeanness from you, people
of the House and make you pure as pure can be ".
A Tradition from A'isha who was a wife of the Prophet, also
confirms the five persons meant in this verse. She says: once the Prophet came
wrapped up in a cloak of black hair. After a while Hasan entered and he took him
inside the cloak, then Husain came and joined them inside the cloak. Soon his
daughter Fatima came and he took her inside also;
then Ali entered and he was also taken inside the cloak. When
all five of them were assembled under the cloak, Aa'isha says the Prophet
recited (the purification verse) as a further confirmation of the A
hlul-Bait's dignity, as the verse had already been revealcd earlier
concerning these five infallible:
"Allah desires to keep away uncleanness
from you, People of the House and make you pure as pun can be. "
Another famous narration found in Islamic works, says that after
the revelation of this verse the Prophet while passing his daughter Fatima's
(a.s.) house on his way to the mosque for the dawn prayers, used to call:
"To prayer, O Ahlul-Bait, to prayer; Allah desires to keep
away uncleanness from you, People of the House and make you pure as pure can be.
This is how the Holy Qur'an refers to the Ahlu1-Bait (a.s.),
and makes clear their infallible personalities, which are far from uncleanness,
disobedience eror, sin and personal whim.
Their character and ettiquete are models of perfection to be
emulated by the Muslims. The Our' an's emphasis on their noble status and lofty
position, was to urge the Muslim nation to follow their bright examples and
refer to them after the Prophet for information and guidance concerning divine
laws and its decisions. They are the one towards whom the Muslim nation looks
fot a practical criterion of Islam, and refers in matters relating td
differences of ideas, opinions and thinking.
Numerous verses of the Qur'an prove these facts and leave no one
in doubt as to the leadership of the Ahlul-Bait after the Messenger of
The prophet's daily morning habit of stopping at his daughter
Fatima's house and addressing her Household as Ahlul-Bait meant
that he was practically explaining the purification verse for the Muslims. The
Prophet was drawing the attention of the Muslim nation, towards the significance
of his Ahlul-Bait, so they could love, obey and follow them, and be
prevented from going astray.
Tabrani, quotes the following from Abi Hamra who was a witness
to the Prophet's daily habit: "For six months I regularly saw the Messenger
of Allah who on approaching the door of Ali and Fatima, used to recite this
"Allah desires to keep away uncleanness from you, People of
the House and make you pure
as pure can be ".
Holy Our'an (33:33)
The famous scholar Fakhruddin Razi, in his renowned commentary
al-Tafsir al-Kabir', commenting on the verse:
"And enjoin prayer on your followers and steadily adhere to
that after its revelation the Prophet used to go to Ali and Fatima every morning
and call them to prayer. And He did this for months.
Hammad ibn Salama, quoting Ali ibn Zaid, on the authority of
Anas has also given an identical narration .
Thus it is clear from the above discussions that the Prophet's
daily habit of stopping at his daughter Fatima's (a.s.) house and addressing her
Household as Ahlul-Bait, was not without reason. In fact he was
expounding the meaning of the term Ahlul-Bait and practicallu explaining
to the Muslims the purification verse and the particular persons meant by it. To
be more precise, he was drawing the attention of the Muslim nation towards the
significance of his Ahlul-Bait and their leadership after him so that the
Muslims should love, obey and follow them.
Before proceeding any further, it is necessary to clear any
doubts that may arise in the minds of our readers, that this verse may also
include the wives of the Prophet - as some are bound to misinterpret. The fact
is, it absolutely does not, as is crystal clear from our above discussion which
has proved that it is exclusively addressed to the five persons already
mentioned, four of whom are males, with the exception of the Prophet's daughter
Moreover it is obvious from the use of the masculine gender in
this verse - clear for those acquainted with the Arabic language - the words ankum
meaning from you' and purify you' used in the Our'an are masculine terms and
refer to the said persons collectively, the majority of whom are males. If Allah
had addressed the Prophet's wives - as some misconstrue - then the Our'an, the
finest masterpiece of Arabic language would surely have used the feminine gender
of the masculine, because they numbered more.
Thus it is evident that this verse draws a clear picture in the
minds about the true objectives of the Book of Allah. By emphasizing the purity
and infallible leadership on the unwavering axis called Ahlul-Bait ,
it endeavours to build the edifice of the Muslim society on the solid base of
cleanliness and virtue.
2- The Verse of Affection (Mawadda).
"...say (O' Muhammad unto mankind): I do not ask of you any
reward for it (preaching the message), but love for my near relatives
Ahlul-Bait'; and whoever earns good, we give him more of good therein,.."
The Prophet (s.a.w.) explicitly told the Muslims that this verse
refers to his Ahlul-Bait that is Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain and urged
them to obey and follow these illustrious personalities after him.
All commentators, traditionists and biographers are unanimous
that the Prophet while explaining this verse, said that the word near relatives'
as used here refers exclusively to his AhIuI-Bait that is Ali, Fatima,
Hasan and Husatn.
The renowned Scholar, Zamakhshari, in his commentary Kashshaf',
says ... it is narrated that the idolators gathered at a meeting and said to
each other: Will Muhammad ask us for a reward for what he is preaching?' It was
then that Allah revealed this verse to the Prophet as an answer
"Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I do not ask of you any
reward for it (for preaching the message), but Jove for my near relatives
(Ahlul-Bait); and whoever earns good, we give him more of good therein..."
Zamakhshari adds: "It is also narrated that on the
revelation of the said verse, the Messenger of Allah was asked: Who
are your near relatives whom we must love? He said: Ali. Fatima and their two
sons (Hasan and Husain) .
Allama Bahrani, refers to Lmam Ahmad ihn Hanhal's Musnad'. who -
through a chain of narrators - on the authority of Said ibn Jubair quotes ibn
Ahhas: "When Allah's words were revealed:
"Say (O' Muhammad) I do not ask of you any' reward for it
(preaching the message), but love for my near relatives Ahlul- Bait'..."
The Messenger of Allah was asked as to who his nearrelatives
were whose love has been made obligatory for the Muslims? The Prophet replied :
"A Ii, Fatima and their two sons (Hasan and Husain).
Fakhruddin Razi in his al-Tafsir al-Kabir' after citing
Zamakhshari's above narration says:
"I state aal' Muhammad (s.a. w.) are those whose affairs
are completely interwined with his the (Prophet's)... And without doubt no one
was so near to the Prophet than Fatima, Ali, Hasan and Husain. This is a
well-known fact of all chains of narrations, and these are they who are his'aal'.(2)
Thus it is an undisputed fact that the words Ahlul-Bait or
aal Muhammad (s.a.w.) refer only to the immediate family of the Prophet;
his daughter Fatima. son-in-law All and grandsons Hasan and Husain and no one
We have already cited some instances of the Prophet's love for
his family. No doubt being his only surviving child. Fatima was intensely loved
by her father. The Prophet's famous words are a testimony to this fact.
"Fatima is a part of me and whoever hurts Fatima, hurts me.
Fatima was so dear to him that the Prophet spurned offers for
her hand from many wealthy Arabs and gave her in marriage to his own cousin, Ali
ibn Abi Talib. whom he himself had brought up.
On several occasions the Prophet singled out All's preeminence
as well as the position of his grand-children l-lasan and Husain.
The traditions also confirm this and also confirm his natural
inclination towards Au who and his grand-children Hasan and Husain.
Therefore it becomes a duty for all those who claim to be part
of the Prophet's nation to follow the Prophet's traditions in respect to his AhIu
1-Bait. Moreover Allah Himself has commanded the Muslims to do so, as is
evident by the following verses:
"Say O' Muhammad say unto mankind) if you love Allah, then
follow me, Allah will love you...
and follow him (the Prophet) so that you may be guided.
..therefore let those beware who go against his (Prophet's)
you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent examplar…"(3).
Holy Quran (31:21)
Besides the above mentioned verses
another proof of the superiority of the AhIul-Bait over the rest of the
Muslims are the blessings, a Muslim invokes on Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his aal (family)
when he recites the Tashahud in each of the five daily prayers:
"O Allah, shower Your blessings upon Muhammad and aal'
No less a personality than Imam Shafi'i regarded as a
founding father of a school of jurisprudence in Islam, in a famous ode in praise
of the Ablul-Bait has not only stressed their love to be a synonym for
faith but has categorically rebuked those who deny their pre-'eminence: O rider
stand on the stony ground of Mina.
And cry to those stopped at Khif and those bestirring.
When the pilgrims come at dawn to Mina.
Moving like the rolling of the waves of the surging Euphrates.
If love for Muhammad's aal' is Rafdh (heresy).
Then Jinn and Men bear witness I am a Rafidhi(heretic)
Muhibuddin Tabari in his book Dhakhai'r aI-Uqba fi Manaqib Dhawi
aI-Ourba' quoting lbn Abbas, the Prophet's cousin and corn panion says:
" On the revelation of ayat al-Mawadda people asked the
Prophet as to who were his relatives whom they were required to love. The
Prophet replied:Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain. (This is also stated by Ahmad in
Ibn Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatam, Ibn Mardawaya and Taharani in Mu'jam
al-Kabir', have also quoted the same words from Ibn Abbas, regarding this verse.
Jalaluddin Suyuti relates that the Prophet's elder grandson Imam
Hasan ibn Ali (a.s.) said in one of his sermons:
"I am of the Ahlul-Bait' whose love Allah has made
obligatory for every Muslim .
And then he recited this same verse:
'Say (O' Muhammamd) I do not ask of you any reward for it
(preaching the message), but love for my near relatives(Ahlul-Bait)…"
Holy Qur'an (33:33)
It should however be noted that the Qur'an does not mean mere
sentimental ties of the Muslim communities with the Prophet's Household but
stresses a deep and heartfelt love, the true expres
sion of love by the Muslims can best be displayed by following
the high examples set by the AhIu/-Bait, applying their teachings and
guidlines in our daily behaviour anf acknowledging them as leaders after the
By placing this verse on the Prophet's tongue, and enjoining him
to inform the Muslims that he does not want any fee or reward for communicating
the divine Message, except the love for his immediate relatives, Allah was
making clear to the Muslims that loyality towards the Ahlul-Bait and
acceptance of their leadership is the only way for their progress and
development in this world and their salvation in the hereafter.
The very emphasis on the word near relatives' by Almighty Allah
in the Holy Qur'an and the subsequent command to the Muslims, is a concrete
proof of the Ahlul-Bait's right to leadership; otherwise Allah would not
have revealed the verse at all and neither would the Prophet had stressed its
Thus how beautifully the Qur'an reminds us of our gratitude
towards the Prophet's task of enlightening us with the message of Islam. In
other words it means that we will be considered ingrateful wretches, not
deserving to be called Muslims, if we do not adhere to the path of the Ahlu1-Bait.
The Qur'an also tells us that we must adhere to the path of the Ahlul-Bait
and take them as models, so as to mould our own lives and characters in
accordance with such attributes as purity and cleanliness.
Thus it is clear from the various interpretations, narrations
and traditions cited from scholars of different doctrinal leanings that the
Prophet minced no words when interpreting this blessed verse.
3. The Verse of Malediction (Mubahala).
"But whoever disputes with you (O' Muhammad) in this matter
after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and
your sons and our women and your women and our selves (anfus)(4) and your
selves, then let us beseech Allah and invoke His curse upon the liars"
This verse points towards an epoch-making event, narrated by
all historians and commentators; an event which revealed to the Muslims how
near and dear the progeny of the Prophet are to Allah the Exalted.
This event which clearly marked out the distinct status of the
AhIul-Bait, is known in the annals of Islamic history as Mubahala, that
is invoking Allah's malediction on the liars. Historians and exegists have
narrated the event as follows:
A deputation (5) from the Christians of Najran came to the
Prophet of Islam to argue the merits of their faith. The Holy Prophet advanced
to them arguments showing that Jesus the son of Mary was a human-being and a
Prophet, and it was blasphemy to regard him as a son of God, because Allah the
Exalted is high above all such human characteristics. It was, when the Prophet
having argued to the point fully and convincingly, found them still
deliberately persisting in their false belief in the deity of Prophet Jesus.
that Allah revealed this verse. It was a challenge to the Christians, to pray
and invoke Allah that the curse may overtake the party that insisted upon
Early the next morning on the 24th of the lunar month of Dhilhijja,
the Prophet in accordance with Allah's command came out to the meeting
grounds, carrying Husain in his arms and leading Hasan (our sons) by his hand,
followed by his beloved daughter Fatima (our women), behind whom came Ali (our
selves) carrying the banner of Islam. Seeing the Prophet was accompanied by
his immediate family and convinced that Muhammad (s.a.w.) was truthful,
otherwise he would not have dared to bring his dearest of kin along, the
Christians hacked away from the maledictory confrontation and agreed to pay Jizya
Zamakhshari says in his book Al-Kashshaf:
That (when this verse was revealed) the Prophet asked the
Christians to a Mubahala (malediction) to invoke the curse of Allah on
the liars. The Christians held a discourse among themselves that night. in which
their leader Abdul Massih stated his views as follows: "By God, O
Christians, you know that Muhammad is a God-sent Prophet, who has brought to you
the final message from your Lord. By God, no nation ever dared to challenge a
Prophet for malediction, but woe befell them. Not only will they perish hut
their children will also be afflicted with the curse". Saying that it is
better to reach a compromise with the Prophet. rather than challenge his truth
and perish, Abdul Massih advised his party to stop hostilities and retain their
religion, by submitting to the Prophet's terms. "So if you persist (for a
confrontation), we will all perish. But if you want to keep your faith you
should refuse (to have a showdown) and remain as you are. Therefore make peace
with the man (the Prophet) and return to your land'.
Zamakhshari continues: "the next day the Prophet. carrying
Husain in his arms, leading Hasan by the hand; followed by his daughter Fatima,
behind whom came Ali, entered the appointed place and was heard saying (to his AhluI-Bait):
"When I invoke Allah, you all say: Amen.
The pontiff of Najran on seeing the Prophet and his AhluI-Bait,
addressed the Christians:
"O' Christians, I am beholding such faces that if God
wishes (for their sake), He would move mountains from their places. Do not
accept their challenge for Mubahala for if you do you would all perish
and there would remain no Christian on the face of the earth till the Day of
Resurrection.' Heeding his advice the Christians said to the Prophet: "O
Abul Qasim, we decided not to hold Mubahala with you. You keep your
religion and we will keep ours.
The Prophet told them:
"If you refuse to hold (Mubahala), then submit, (accept
Islam) and you will receive what the Muslims receive, and contribute what the
Muslims contribute. .
The Christians saying they had no desire to fight the Arabs.
proposed a treaty asking for peace, and freedom from forced compulsion to make
them forsake their religion. In return they agreed to pay the Muslims an annual
tribute of two thousand suits; one thousand of which in the month of Safar and
the remaining one thousand in Rajab, besides thirty coats of iron mail.
Accepting the proposal the Prophet remarked:
"By the One Who has my soul in His hand,
death was looming large over the people of Najran. (Had they dared to accept the
challenge of Mubahala'). They would have been transformed into apes and swines, and
the valley would have been set ablaze. Allah would have destroyed Najran with
its people, sparing not even the birds on the treetops, and before the passing
of the year the Christians would have all been dead."
Continuing his comments on the Mubahala verse',
Zamakhshari lays emphasis on the position of the AhluI-Bait by quoting
the following narration from the Prophet's wife Aa'isha: He mentioned them
Ahllul -Bait before mentioning the word selves in order to highlight their
position and their proximity (to Allah), and to stress their preference to
selves', which could be sacrificed for them. ..There is no stronger evidence
than this regarding the merits of the Ahl aI-Kisa(6). It is the proof of
the truthfulness of the Prophet's mission, because nobody however biased has
narrated that they(the Christians) dared to accept that (the challenge for Mubahala)
Fakhruddin Razi in his al-Tafsir al-Kabir', gives an identical
narration and after having stated what Zamakhshari has said; adds: Mind, that
all interpreters (of the Qur'an) and narrators (of the Prophet's traditions) are
unanimous about the authenticity of this narration .
Allama Muhammad Husain Tabataba'i the renowned modern day
exegist, in his momunental commentary on the Holy Qur'an, Tafsir al-Mizan',
referring to the verse those through whom Allah has cursed their enemies', says
that these are none other than the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) Ali, Fatima,
Hasan and Husain. He adds ...this narration has been related by all
traditionists and recorded by all compilers (of traditions) in their
collections, such as Muslim in his Sahih' and Tirmidhi in his Sahih', besides
historians have confirmed it as well.
Eversince the interpreters have related it without any objection
or doubt, including such famous traditionists and historians as Tabari, Abul
Fida, Ibn Kathir, Suyuti and others.'
Thus in the light of the above discussions it is clear that all
interpreters have unanimously defined the Ahlul-Bait as Ali, Fatima,
Hasan and Husain.
The very mention of them in the Mubahala verse, which
makes them the means for invoking Allah is a clear pointer to their lofty and
sanctified stature. The fact that Allah asked His Messenger to bring these pure
personalities along with him to the malediction grounds is once again a clear
proof of their purity. The challenge for invoking Allah's curse on His enemies,
discloses in what high esteem they were held by the Almighty.
Since the confrontation was between truth and falsehood, two
directly opposite currents, the situation demanded that faith be represented by
its very best, upon whom the whole edifice of Islam stood. And no one was more
qualified to accompany the Prophet to Mubahala, on whose outcome hung the
fate of Islam, than his Ahlul-Bait: the torch of guidance and virtue. The
Almighty -bearers Allah, Who Himself had bestowed on them the mantle of purity
earlier in the Holy Qur'an, once again made them the cynosure of all eyes,
proving the truth of Islam through them. In fact, He, the All-wise was
indicating to the faint-hearted Muslims that the continuation of divine mission
will not stop with the Seal of the Prophets, but will continue through his
infallible progeny. No invocation of theirs would be ignored and no word of
theirs could be belied; even mountains would move, by their mere utterances as
was well understood by the Christians.
This itself is sufficient to remove the last lingering doubts
from the minds of certain segments about these immaculate personalities; the
result of centuries of hypocrisy, which misled many simple souls. With the
clearing of the mist, the picture gradually emerges all the more vivid that what
we have received from the Ahlul-Bait; of teachings, thoughts,
interpretations, narrations, jurisprudence etc... .is the pure unpolluted nectar
of Islam, bequeathed by the Prophet and sincerely preserved and conveyed to the
Muslims by his Household. Through them the Qur'an challenged the enemies of
Islam, and made it clear for all time that those who oppose them are nothing but
liars, deserving to be cursed and punished: ...invoke the curse of Allah upon
those who lie.'
Had it not been for their eternal truth and unwavering
steadfastness, Allah would never have bestowed upon them such an honour, and the
Qur'an would not have spoken of them in such glowing terms.
There are some minute linguistic points in this verse which are
worthy of note. This group (Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain) is used as the
adjunct, and the Prophet as the possessor, in a genetive term, as is seen in our
sons', our women' and ourselves'.
Had not the Prophet taken Fatima along with him, people would
have thought that our women' means the Prophet's wives and our sons' refers to
Fatima though she was a female and ourselves' indicates his sacred self alone.
But by taking along only these four and no one else besides the
Prophet was showing the Muslims, that the best example for women is Fatima and
the best example for boys are Hasan and Husain, according to the Qur'an's
wordings, which also delicately used the word our selves for Ali, thereby
pointing to his close proximity with the Prophet, and solving the question of
succession once and for all.
4- The Verse of Prayer (Salat).
"Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; 0 you who
believe! call for (divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming)
The previous verses of the Holy Qur'an revealed to us as to who
are the Prophets' Ahlul-Bait, their purity of character and the command
for Muslims to love and obey them. This verse refers to the salutations salawat,
which a Muslim is obliged to send on the Prophet and his progeny during the
five daily prayers.
In this verse, the Muslims are ordered here to send blessings on
the Prophet and his aal (progeny), a term exclusively reserved for Ali,
Fatima, Hasan and Husain and their righteous descendants. The emphasis on the
Prophet's aal in salutations is yet another indication of their pivotol
position after the Prophet. By asking the Muslims to exalt them, Allah the
Exalted was reminding the Muslim communities that He had chosen the Ahlul-Bait,
for the role of leading the Muslim nation.
In his Tafsir al-Kabir', Fakhruddin Razi, commenting on the
above verse narrates the following quotation from the Prophet, who was asked by
some of his companions on how to send blessing upon him. The Prophet replied:
"Say: O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and on Muhammad's
progeny as You sent blessings on Abraham and on Abraham's progeny;
and send grace on Muhammad and on Muhammad's progeny, as You sent
grace on Abraham and on Abraham's progeny, You are the Praised,
Before giving this narration, Razi, interprets the verse and
comments: This is a proof of the Shafi'i school, because order means an
obligation(7); so, to send blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w.) is obligatory, at
least in the Tashahhud (Testimony during the prayers) if not elsewhere'
Razi further argues: If Allah and His angels send their
blessings on him (the Prophet), then what need is there for our blessings?' He
himself provides the answer: When we send blessings on him, it is not because he
is in need of them, because already having Allah's blessings, he does not even
require the blessings of the angels. But when we send, we send to glorify Allah,
and also it (sending blessings) reveals our gratitude towards Allah, so that He
may have compas sion on us and reward us. That is why the Prophet said:
"Whoever sends blessings on me once, Allah will send
blessings on him ten times.
It will be not out of context here to cite Imam Shafi'i's famous
quatrain on this subject.
"O' Household of the Messenger of Allah love for you.
Is an obligation from Allal,, revealed in the Qur'an.
It suffices as the greatest honour bestowed on you.
That his prayer is as nothing who does not salute you
Suyuti, in his Dur al-Manthur', citing Abdul-Razzaq, Ibn Abi
Shaiba, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abd ibn Hamid, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi,
Nisa'i, Ibn Maja, Ibn Mardawaya, who have all narrated from Ka'b ibn Ujra, says,
a man once asked the Prophet that greeting you is clear to everybody, but how
does one sends blessings on you. The Prophet replied, say:
" O Allah, send blessing on Muhammad and on Muhammad's
progeny, as You sent blessings on Abraham and on Abraham's rogeny, You are the
Praised, the Glorious".
Suyuti has cited eighteen different narrations other than this,
with slight variations stressing that the blessings on the Prophet should
include his progeny also The same has been narrated by compilers of all Sunan'
and Jawami', books quoting a number of the Prophet's companions, such as Abdulla
Ibn Abbas, Talha, Abu Sa'id Khidhri, Abu Huraira, Abu Mas'ud Ansari, Buraida,
Ibn Mas'ud, Ka'b ibn Amra, and last but not the least, Ali ibn Abi Talib
himself. Similarly it has been narrated by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Tirmidhi who
have quoted Imam Hasan ibn Ali from the Prophet as follows:
"He is a miser who, on the mention of my name to him, does
send blessings on me."
Thus all jurisprudents agree that it is obligatory for Muslims
to send blessings on Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his progeny during the Tashahhud (Testimony)(8)
in the five daily prayers.
By analysing this verse we easily discover the real objective
behind this obligatory command; which is to revere Muhammad's (s.a.w.) pure
progeny, from whom Allah has kept away all uncleanness and error, and made them
pure as pure can be. The emphasis on his aal by the Prophet is yet
another indication to the Muslims of their pivotal position after him. By
commanding Muslims to send their blessings on them, Allah the Exalted was
reminding Muslims of the AhIul-Bait eventual's leadership. In other words
by taking them as examplars and accepting their leadership, the Muslims would be
spared from trials and Controversies.
So it is clear that Allah has not mentioned them in the Prayers
for nought. Had it not been for their probity that was proved time and again and
for their magnanimity of character as well as their deep knowledge, Allah would
not have ordered the Muslims to adhere to their straight course and seek
blessings for them in every prayer. The very fact that this blessing should be
invoked every day in each prayer a Muslim performs was but to draw the attention
of the Muslim communities towards the significance of the Ahlul-Bait;
which should serve as a constant reminder that it is they who are Muhammad's
(s.a.w.) rightful heirs. Or to put it more clearly, anyone ignoring their status
deliberately or otherwise, has no excuses whatsoever and is decieving his own
self to be led astray from the Allah's command.
5. The Verse of
"Only Allah is your Guardian and His Apostle and those who
believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while in (Ruku').
And whoever takes Allah and His Apostle and those who believe as his
guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant.
Zamakhshari, in his 'Al-Kashshaf', says the following about this
"It was revealed in favour of Ali (May Allah enlighten his
face) when a beggar asked him (for alms) while he was in the position of Ruku'
during prayer, and he gave away his ring (in the some position). It seems it
was loose on his little finger, for he did not exert any effort in taking it
off, which would have nullified his prayer. If you ask; How could it be in
favour of Ali (May Allah be pleased with him), when the wordings are in the
collective form?' I say: The form is collective, though its instigator is a
single-man, because this is to encourage people to follow his example and earn a
similar reward, and also to draw attention (to the fact that) the believers must
be extremely mindful and benevolent, towards the poor, in as much as, if a
situation could not be postponed to after the prayer, it may not be delayed till
having finished it .
Wahidi, in Asbab al-Nuzul', citing Kalbi's narration concerning
the cause for the revelation of this verse says:
"The latter part of this verse is in favour of Ali ibn Abi
Talib' (May Allah be gracious to him) because he gave a ring to a beggar while
in Ruku' during prayer ."
Besides the above mentioned scholars many other exegists and
compilers of the Prophet's traditions have stated that this verse is in favour
of Imam Ali and records an important event.
6. The Verse of Proclamation (Tabligh).
"O Prophet proclaim what has been revealed to you from your
Lord, for if you do it not you have not conveyed His message, and Allah will
protect you from the (evil designs of) people…"
Perhaps the most clear portent of Imam Ali's excellence over the
Muslims after the Prophet, is the above aya, which marks a decisive phase in the
history of divine revelation. After creating this wide and wonderful world, the
Almighty had sent an unbroken chain of prophets to guide mankind towards divine
bliss. The last and the greatest link in this eternal chain was Muhammad
al-Mustapha (s.a.w.), who was entrusted with the most comprehensive code of
laws, capable of solving mankind's needs till doomsday. Now, there no longer was
need of any new messenger. But nonetheless, the Wise Creater cannot leave
mankind's struggle of thousands of years to the whims and fancies of fallible
Arabs, who had spent the greater part of their lives in idolatary and sin.
Therefore to ensure the safety of Islam and Muslims, Allah sent down this verse,
appointing Imam Ali as the Prophet's vicegerent. Narrators and historians have
testified to that great event.
After performing the farewell pilgrimage as the seal of the
Prophets was heading towards Madina, the Archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared, at
a place where the routes parted for the different parts of Arabia. Learning the
Almighty's command, the Prophet at once stopped at the pool Ghadir of
Khum, and ordered all those who had gone ahead, and those that lagged behind to
hasten to his station. When the great gathering of companions was assembled in
the midday sun, the Prophet said he had a most important message to deliver.
A pulpit made of camel saddles was hastily set-up. Ascending it,
he delivered a sermon asking the people to be witness that he had faithfully
performed the task of prophethood entrusted to him by the Almighty.
The multitude cried in one voice: "We bear witness O
Messenger of Allah."
He asked, who in their opinion was more worthy of obedience than
their souls, to which they replied that Allah and His Prophet know better.
Then he said:
"O people Allah is my Master (Maula) and I am the master
(Maula) of believers."
Muhammad (s.a.w.) then bent down and lifting up Ali ibn Abi
Talib (a.s.) in his hands, showed him to the vast crowd and proclaimed those
famous words, which guaranteed the continuation of divine leadership:
"For whomsoever I am master (Maula), this All is his master
Thrice he proclaimed these words before descending the pulpit,
relieved of having performed the great task which would save the Muslims from
The great multitude of Muslims surged towards Ali ibn Abi Talib
(a.s.), felicitating him on his divine appointment. According to such famous
scholars as Zamakhshari and Nasai, the first one to congratulate and swear
allegiance ( bai'a) to Imam Ali (a.s.) was Umar Ibn Khattab, who later
became the second caliph.
Gabriel descended again with another revelation, showing that
the Almighty was pleased with His Prophet for having excellently performed the
great final mission to mankind.
"... today have I perfected unto you your religion
and completed upon you My blessings and approved for you Islam as
This most important task ensured the continuity of divine
guidance. Since the Prophets were divinely appointed, so should be the
successors or trustees of the Prophets, especially so in the /case of Islam,
which is the final message to the human race.
All scholars and historians have testified that the event of Ghadir
Khum did take place, and moreover books of hadith are witness that on
many an occasion, the Prophet had emphasized his cousins pre-eminence, over all
7. Iusan (Dahr) Chapter (Sura).
"… they fulfil vows and fear .a day the evil of which
shall be spreading far and wide. And they give food out of love for Him to the
poor and the orphan and the
captive: We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward
nor thanks: Surely we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful day. Therefore
Allah will guard them from the evil of that day and cause them to meet with ease
These verses of the Holy Qur'an speak of the Ahlul-Bait, eulogising
their selflessness and piety. The historical occasion to which these blessed
verses refer was, when Ali, Fatima and their two sons Hasan and Husain fasted
for three consecutive days, and each day at the time of breaking the fact some
needy person as verse number eight indicates appeared and the AhluI-Bait gladly
fed him, and themselves passed the nights without food. Allah was so pleased by
the generosity of the Prophet's Household that He converted their actions into
verses of the Glorious Qur'an to serve as guidance for the Muslims. These verses
not only portray the AhluI-Bait's total submission to Allah's Will but
also reveal them as pure and spotless personalities, promised esteem and
admiration among the dwellers of Paradise. They are shown as immaculate models
of emulation so that whoever among the Muslim communities follows their glowing
path will achieve salvation and will be assembled in their illustrious company
on the Resurrection Day.
Zamakhshari, in his Kashshaf commenting on this verse, narrates
from Abdulla Ibn Abbas - that once Hasan and Husain fell sick and the Prophet
together with some of his companions visited his sick grandsons. He suggested
that Ali should make a vow to Allah for his sons' health. Heeding the Prophet's
suggestion Ali, Fatima along with their maid, Fidha, took a vow that if the boys
recovered, they would fast for three consecutive days. Eventually Hasan and
Husain recovered and to fulfill the vow they also fasted alongwith their parents
and maid. Since there was nothing in the house to eat, Ali borrowed from
Sham'un, a Khaibarian Jew, three measures of barley. Fatima grounded one measure
into flour and baked it into five loaves (of bread) equal to their number, and
placed before them for breaking the fast. Just then a beggar stopped at their
door and said: al-Salaam Alaikum (peace be upon you), O Ahlul-Bait of
Muhammad (s.a.w.), (I am) one of the poorest of Muslims (so), feed me, may Allah
feed you of the food of Paradise"! So they gladly gave him all the food and
slept that night, tasting nothing but water.
They fasted again the next day and at sunset as they placed the
bread before them to break the fast, an orphan knocked on the door asking for
food and they cheerfully fed him, themselves going without food for yet another
day. On the third day of the fast, as the breaking time approached, and the food
was spread, a prisoner (of war) suddenly appeared at their door and the same
scenario was repeated, with the Prophet's Ahlul-Bait passing the third
successive night without tasting a morsel of food. Zamakhshari dontinues that
when dawn broke Ali holding the hands of Hasan and Husain came to the Prophet's
house. The Prophet seeing their pale countenances and noting that they were
trembling from hunger, expressed dismay and at once accompanied them to their
house'. On entering the house he was shocked to see the sight of his daughter
Fatima, sitting hollow-eyed on her prayer mat, her back stuck to her stomach. It
was then that the angel Gabriel came down with this Sura, saying:
"O Muhammad, Allah congratulates you for (the sacrifice
of) your household. Then he recited the (sura)."
Another famous scholar Sheikh Fadhl ibn Hasan Tabarsi, in his
Majma' al-Bayan' after citing the same narration, adds: Ali ibn Ibrahim'
narrates from his father who quotes Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq on the authority of
Abdulla ibn Maimun that Fatima had (some) barley from which porridge was made
and placed before thent (for breaking the fast). Just then a beggar came and
said, I am a poor man, may Allah have mercy upon you. Ali (a.s.) got up and gave
him one third of the food. Then came an orphan and said, I am an orphan, may
Allah have mercy upon you. Au (a.s.) got up and gave him another third (of the
food) Then came a pns~ oner (of war) and said, may Allah have mercy upon you.
Ali gave him the remaining one-third, without, they, the Ahlul- Bait tasting
anything and going without meals. Thereby Allah the Exalted revealed the said
verses. It is clear that this sura was revealed in Madina, and as a scholar of
the stature Abu Harnza Thamali testifies, the whole sura was revealed in favour
of Ali and Fatima.
(1) Fadak is
a place near Madina.
(2) Anyone well-versed in the Arahic Ianguage will vouch that Aal
cannot he misinterpreted for the umrna or people naas as
some later misinformed writers have suggested.
(3) To copy and follow
(4) There is no English equivalent for the Arabic word Nafs
which is the singular form of anfus, the nearest meaning of which is
like oneself or nearest and dearest of people.
(5) The deputation comprised three prominant Christian leaders
of Arabia, Abdul Masih', the Political leader: al-Ayham', in-charge of their
Agro-Pastoral affairs; and Abu Hatamibn Alqama, who was a Bishop or Pontiff .
(6) Ahl aI-Kisa is a term denoting those who gathered
with the Prophet under his Kisa (cloak) whereupon the verse of purity was
revealed: They are AU, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain, as had been already discussed
(7) The famous Jurist Imam Shafi'i had concluded that when there
is an order' in the Qur'an or the traditions, then its carrying out is
obligatory; unless the context tells clearly that it is a recommendation.
(8) Muhaqqiq Hilli, one of the great Shi'ite jurisprudents,
who lived in the seventh century of the Hijra': The Testimony. It is
obligatory to recite it once in a two-Rak'at prayer, and twice in three
and four and four-Rak'at prayers. If one or the two of them were dropped
intentionally, the prayer is regarded as null and void. In each, five things are
compulsory; sitting during the Testimony, reciting the two testimonies, sending
blessings of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his progeny.