Quran & The Ahlul Bayt Extract from -Inquiries About Shi'a Islam Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini
The best way to introduce theAhlul Bayt to the Muslim nation is to recall what the Noble Quran says about them. Several verses of the Noble Quran refer specifically to the virtues of the Ahlul Bayt and their outstanding position in Islam. Whenever the Noble Quran refers to the Ahlul Bayt, it refers to a specific group of people who were related not only by blood, but more importantly, by ideology and faith to the Prophet. However, it does not refer to all of his blood relations, his friends or his wives.
The Verse of Purity (Taharah) 33:33
Allah only desires to keep away uncleanliness from you, O People of the House (Ahlul Bayt), and to make you as pure as possible.
The prominent scholars of Islam and the narrators of the Prophetic tradition unanimously agree that Ahlul Bayt (the household of the Prophet ) which Almighty Allah uses in the above verse of the Noble Quran refers to the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, Lady Fatima al-Zahra, his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, and their children Hassan and Husayn.
Tabarani narrates from one of the respected wives of the Prophet, Um Salamah that the Messenger of Allah once told his daughter, Lady Fatima to call her husband Ali and their two sons, Hassan and Husayn.
When they came, the Messenger of Allah covered them with a cloak, put his hand on them and said, �O Allah, these are Al-e-Muhammad (the family of Muhammad), so shower Your blessings and favors upon Al-e- Muhammad just as You showered them on Al-e-Ibrahim. You are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.� Um Salamah says that she raised the cloak to join them, but the Prophet took it from her hand saying, �You are also on the right.�
Although the beginning of verse 33:33 addresses the wives of the Prophet and continues to address them up until the middle part of the verse, but upon reaching �Ahlul Bayt� it excludes them. The previous and subsequent statements which are directed towards the wives of the Prophet are in the feminine pronouns and gender, but this verse referring to the Ahlul Bayt is in the masculine or mixed gender; thus it makes it clear that it is not addressed to the wives of the Prophet.
However, even without the grammatical evidence, the relationship between some of the wives of the Prophet does not fit the spirit of this verse which asserts the physical, mental, and spiritual purity of the family of the Prophet Muhammad.
To emphasize that the phrase �Ahlul Bayt� in this verse refers only to five people�Prophet Muhammad, Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, and Husayn�narrators say that whenever the Prophet used to pass by his daughter, Lady Fatima's house on the way to the masjid for the dawn prayers he would stop there and proclaim, �Come to prayer, O AhlulBayt, to prayer. Allah desires to keep away un-cleanliness from you, O Ahlul Bayt, and to make you as pure as possible.� Imam Anas ibn Malik adds that the Prophet did this for six months every day on his way for his morning prayers at the masjid.
The Verse of Affection (Muwaddah) 42:23Article on analysis of this verse -shia & sunni
Say, I do not ask from you any reward for it (preaching the message) but love for my relatives (qurba which here refers to the Ahlul Bayt).
When explaining this verse, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi says, �Without doubt, no one was as near to the Prophet as Lady Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Husayn. This is a well-known fact for all the chains of narration, that these were his 'al'.� Thus, 'al' or 'ahl' refers only to the immediate family of the Prophet�namely: Lady Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Husayn.
Some argue that Hassan and Husayn were not the sons of the Prophet because they were the sons of Imam Ali. According to old Arab custom, the mother was considered as only a means to deliver a child, but nonetheless, their direct lineage to the Prophet is through their mother, Lady Fatima al-Zahra. It has been narrated that the 'Abbasid caliph Harun al- Rashid asked the seventh Imam of the school of Ahlul Bayt, Imam Musa ibn Ja'far how he could attribute himself to the Prophet while he was the child of Ali and Lady Fatima - thus, how could he be related to the Prophet? The Imam then cited to him a verse that refers to the descendants of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), �And from his progeny were David (Dawud), Solomon (Sulayman), Job (Ayyub), Joseph (Yusuf), Moses (Musa), and Aaron (Harun)�thus do We reward the good-doers�and Zachariah (Zakariyya), and John (Yahya), and Jesus (Isaa), and Elias (Ilyas)�each one of them was of the righteous.� The Imam then asked the caliph who the father of Isaa (Jesus) was. Harun answered that he was fatherless. The Imam replied, �Then you can see that Allah linked him to Ibrahim through his mother, Mary and Allah did the same for us, linking us to Prophet Muhammad through our mother Lady Fatima al- Zahra.�
In many instances, the Prophet refers to Lady Fatima with intense love and affection, such as when he says, �Fatima is a part of me. Her happiness is my happiness, and her pain is my pain.� The Prophet would also point towards the children of Fatima - Hassan and Husayn - and say on many occasions, �These are my sons,� or �This is my son.� That is why the community of the companions in Madina referred to both Hassan and Husayn as the 'sons of Prophet Muhammad.'
The Verse of Malediction (Mubahilah) 3:61
But whoever disputes with you 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 ourselves and yourselves, and let us beseech Allah and invoke His curse upon the liars.'
This milestone event in the Islamic history has been narrated by all the historians, narrators, and commentators of the Quran. It is an event which reveals the exalted status of the Family of the Prophet. The narrations say that a delegation of Christians from Najran came to the city of Madina in order to meet with the Prophet to discuss his prophethood and the religion he was preaching. The Prophet proved to them that Jesus (Isa) was the son of Mary; he was a human being, a Prophet, and a servant of Allah as the Quran states and that regarding him as the son of God is blasphemy, since Allah, the Exalted is much higher than such human characteristics. After discussing these points extensively, the Prophet found them still deliberately persisting in their false beliefs and traditions� namely on the deification of Prophet Jesus�thus, Allah revealed the verse, which was a major challenge to the Christians, to pray and invoke upon Allah that a curse may overtake the party that insists on falsehood.
Early the next morning, on the 24th of the lunar month of Dhul al- Hijjah, in accordance with Allah's command, the Prophet arrived at the meeting carrying Husayn in his arms, while holding Hassan by the hand, followed by his beloved daughter, Lady Fatima and behind them was his son-in-law and cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib carrying the banner of Islam. Seeing that the Prophet was accompanied only by his immediate family, the Christians were convinced that he was truthful otherwise he would have never dared to bring his dearest kin along with him. The Christian delegation backed away from the malediction argument and returned back to Najran.
Zamakhshari, in hisTafsir al-Kashshaf, narrates the event as: When this verse was revealed, the Prophet invited the Christians to the malediction, to invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars. The Christians held a discourse among themselves tmhat night in which their leader, 'Abd al-Masih stated his views. He said, �O Christians, know that Muhammad is a God-sent Prophet who has brought you the final message from your Lord. By God, no nation ever dared to challenge a Prophet with malediction but that woe befell them. Not only will they perish, but their children will also be afflicted by the curse.� Saying this�that it is better to reach a compromise with the Prophet rather than challenge40
his truth and perish�'Abd al-Masih 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, to keep your faith, refuse (to have a showdown) and remain as you are, then make peace with the man (the Prophet) and return to your land.� The next day, the Prophet, carrying Husayn in his arms, leading Hassan by the hand, followed by his daughter Lady Fatima, behind whom came Ali, entered the appointed place and the Prophet was heard saying to his family, �When I invoke Allah, second the invocation.� The pontiff of Najran, upon seeing the Prophet and his family, addressed the Christians, �O Christians! I am witnessing such faces that if God wishes, for their sake, He would move mountains for them. Do not accept their challenge for malediction, for if you do, you would all perish and there will not remain any Christians on the face of the earth till the Day of Resurrection.�
81] Heeding his advice, the Christians said to the Prophet, �O Abul-Qasim, we have decided not to hold malediction with you. You keep your religion, and we will keep ours.� The Prophet told them, �If you refuse to hold malediction, then submit to Allah, and you will receive what the Muslims receive and contribute what the Muslims contribute.�
The Christians delegates, saying that they had no desire to fight the Muslims, proposed a treaty asking for peace which the Prophet of Islam accepted.
Although other women were present in the family of the Prophet at that time, all the commentators, narrators, and historians agree that in reference to the Quranic verse, �our women� referred only to Lady Fatima al-Zahra, �our children� referred only to Hassan and Husayn, and �ourselves� referred only to the Prophet and Imam Ali.
The Verse of Prayer (Salat) 33:56
Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. O you who believe, call for divine blessings upon him, and salute him with a becoming salutation.
In the five obligatory prayers, during thetashhahud (testimony), those offering their prayers must salute the Prophet and his progeny�a term exclusively reserved for Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, Husayn, and their righteous descendants. The emphasis on the Prophet's family in salutation is another indication of their pivotal position after the Prophet. By asking the believers to exalt these noble personalities, Allah, the Almighty reminds the Muslim nation that He has chosen the Ahlul Bayt for the role of leading the Muslim nation.
One of the most prominent commentators of the Quran, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi narrates the response of the Prophet when he was asked by some of his companions how to send blessings upon him. He said, �Say, 'O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad as you sent blessings on Ibrahim and on the progeny of Ibrahim. And send grace on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad just as you sent grace on Ibrahim and on the progeny of Ibrahim. You are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.'� Al-Razi comments that if Allah and His angels send their blessings upon the Prophet, then what need is there for our blessings? He answers his own question by saying that when we send blessings on the Prophet Muhammad it is not because he is in need of them, because he already has the blessings of Allah and thus, he does not even require the blessings of the angels. When we send blessings on him, we send them to glorify Allah and also to reveal our gratitude towards Allah such that He may have compassion on us and reward us.
Thus, the Prophet says, �Whoever sends blessings on me once, Allah will send blessings on him ten times.� Another verse in the Noble Quran asserts the same teaching when Allah the Almighty sends His blessings on the family of the Prophet by saying, �Peace be upon the Al-e-Yasin!� According to some commentators, �Yasin� is one of the names of the Prophet, as stated in Surah (chapter) Ya Sin when it addresses the Prophet as, �Yasin, by the Quran full of wisdom, truly you are one of the messengers�.�
The Verse of Feeding 76:5-13
Truly, the righteous drink of a cup tempered with camphor, a fountain from which the servants of Allah drink, flowing in abundance. They (the Family of the Prophet) fulfill vows and fear a Day, the evil of which is widespread. And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive. 'We feed you for Allah's sake and pleasure only. We desire from you neither reward nor thanks. Surely, we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful Day,' so Allah will ward off from them the evil of that Day and cause them to meet with splendor and happiness and reward them for their steadfastness with a garden and with silk.
Surah 76 in the Noble Quran descended to honor a sacred gesture performed by the Ahlul Bayt. Allah entitled this Surah, Insan (Mankind) to draw attention of the people to the beauty of mankind's deeds on earth, and to tell them that they should not be selfish or greedy; rather, they should be caring and thoughtful people who spend their time thinking of other human beings around them. The chapter begins, �Has there not been over man a period of time when he was nothing to be mentioned? Verily, We and created man from drops of mixed semen in order to try him, so We made him hearing, seeing. Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.�
This introduction prepares our minds for the big sacrifice of the Family of the Prophet�Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, Husayn, and their maidservant Fiddah. The incident provoking these verses began when Hassan and Husayn fell ill, and Lady Fatima al-Zahra asked her father what to do. The Prophet advised her to make a vow with Allah that if He cured them then the entire family would fast for three days. Hassan and Husayn were cured, and the process of fasting began. At that time there was nothing in their house to eat, so Imam Ali went to a Khaybarian Jew
named Shimon and borrowed three measures of barley. His wife, Lady Fatima milled one measure into flour and baked it into five loaves of bread, one for each of them. Ali, Lady Fatima, and their two sons, Hassan and Husayn along with their maidservant Fiddah fasted for three consecutive days. On the first day, at the time of breaking the fast, a destitute (miskin) person came to the door asking for some food. They took the food they intended to eat�a loaf of bread each�and gave it to him. They then broke their fast only with water. On the second day, at the time of breaking their fast, an orphan came to their door, and they again gave him all their food. On the third day, at the time of breaking the fast, a prisoner of war (a non-Muslim who had been captured in the defensive wars of Islam and was living in the city of Madina) came to their door and asked for some food, and again, they took all five loaves of bread and gave it to the man, breaking their fast for the third consecutive day with only water. Afterwards, the Messenger of Allah made a visit and saw his daughter, Lady Fatima al-Zahra and her two children, Hassan and Husayn were pale and too weak to speak, and he saw that they were trembling from hunger. Lady Fatima herself was sitting hollow-eyed on her prayer mat, her stomach sunk into her back. As he was asking them the reason for their state, angel Jibril (Gabriel) immediately came to the Prophet with Surah 76, �O Muhammad, Allah congratulates you for the sacrifice of your household.�
These verses not only translate the generosity and steadfastness of the Ahlul Bayt but also reveal the total submission of the Family of the Prophet and their immaculate and pure personalities. Commentators of the Quran have a consensus that these verses speak of the Ahlul Bayt and place them at the highest level of piety and show them as models for the generosity of mankind. Humanity would be rightly guided if they followed their parable.
The Verse of Guardianship 4:59
O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those vested with authority over you ('ul ul-'amr minkum). And if you quarrel about something, refer it to Allah and the Messenger.10
This verse, as explained in the previous section, refers to the guardianship of Imam Ali, and subsequently, the rest of the Ahlul Bayt. The Prophet has said about �those vested with authority over you,� that �They are my successors and the leaders of the Muslims after me. The first of them is Ali ibn Abi Talib, then al-Hassan and al-Husayn, then Ali ibn al-Husayn, then Muhammad ibn Ali, who is known as al-Baqir, then al-Sadiq Ja'far ibn Muhammad, then Musa ibn Ja'far, then Ali ibn Musa, then Muhammad ibn Ali, then Ali ibn Muhammad, then al-Hassan ibn Ali, then the one who bears my name�Muhammad. And he will be the proof (hujjah) of Allah on the earth.�
Other Verses related to Imam Ali (as)
The Hadith of the Two Weighty Things (Thaqalayn)
It is probable that I will be called soon, and I will respond. So I leave behind me two weighty (very worthy and important) things, the Book of Allah (the Quran), which is a string stretched from the heaven to the earth; and my progeny, my Ahlul Bayt. Verily Allah, the Merciful, the Aware, has informed me that these two will never be separated from each other until they meet me at the Fountain of Abundance (the Hawdh of Kawthar, a spring in heaven). Therefore, be careful of how you treat these two in my absence, said the Messenger of Allah.
This hadith was declared on, at least five occasions�the first being the farewell speech during the last hajj, the second at Ghadir Khum, the third after the Prophet left the city of Ta΄if near Makkah, the fourth at the pulpit in Madina, and the fifth�just before he died�in his room which was full of his companions. Given the high importance of the Noble Quran, why would the Prophet associate the Ahlul Bayt with the Noble Quran and place them second in importance to it? The answer is that Ahlul Bayt are the best to explain the true meaning and interpretation of this Noble Book. The Noble Quran, as it states itself, contains both clear (muhkam) and unclear (mutashabiah) verses, and so the correct interpretation of these unclear verses must be passed on from the Prophet himself, as he did to his Ahlul Bayt. In addition, the Ahlul Bayt, due to their closeness to the Prophet, had an unparalleled knowledge of his traditions.
Similar Narrations from the Prophet Muhammad about his Ahlul Bayt
The parable of my Ahlul Bayt is similar to that of Noah's ark. Whoever embarks it will certainly be rescued, but the one who opposes boarding it will certainly be drowned.
Just like the stars protect mankind from losing its way in travel, so are my Ahlul Bayt; they are the safeguard against discord in matters of religio.
Acknowledgement of the Al-e-Muhammad means salvation from the Hellfire; the love of Al-e-Muhammad is a passport for crossing the bridge of Sirat; and obedience to Al-e-Muhammad is protection from divine wrath.
 Noble Quran, 33:33
 al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur
 Tirmidhi, Manaqib Ahlul-Bayt, Vol. 2, 308
 It is not uncommon to find a group of verses discussing one theme and having one verse in the middle that discusses another theme. For example see Quran, Surah 5, verse 3 and Surah 5, v. 66-68.
 Ibn Mardawayh. Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Tirmidhi. Ibn Mundir.
Tabarani. For more details see: Tabataba΄i, al-Mizan.
 al-Miqrizi, Fadha΄il Ahlul-Bayt, 21
 Ibn Hajar, Sawa΄iq. Vol.11, 160; Tabaqat al-Kubra, Ibn Sa΄ad; Sahih Muslim; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal; Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur
 Noble Quran, 42:23
 Noble Quran, 6:84-85
 Tabarsi, al-Ihtijaj, Vol. 2, Argument 271 and 335
 Noble Quran, 3:61
 Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, 185; Tabari, Tafsir, Vol. 3, 192; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, Vol. 3, 150; al-Hafiz Abu Nu΄aym, Dala΄il al- Nubuwwah, 297; al-Naysaburi, Asbab al-Nuzul, 74; Abu Bakr ibn al-�Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran, Vol. 1, 115; al-Fakhr al-Razi, Tafsir al-Kabir,Vol. 8, 85; al-Juzri, Usd al-Ghabah, Vol. 4, 25; Ibn al-Jawzi, Tadhkira Sibt,
17; Qurtubi, al-Jami΄ li-Ahkam al-Quran, Vol. 3, 104; Tafsir ibn Kathir, Vol. 1, 370; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, Vol. 5, 52; Ibn Hajar al- Asqalani, al-Isabah, Vol. 2, 503; Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki, al-Fusul al-Muhimmah, 108; Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, Vol. 4, 38;
Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti,Tarikh al-Khulafa΄, 115; Ibn Hajar, al-Sawa΄iq al-Muhriqa, 199; Altogether 47 narrators and commentators of the Noble Quran from the four schools of thought narrate that the immediate familyof the Prophet were only Lady Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Husayn.
 Noble Quran, 33:56
 Tafsir al-Kabir, Vol. 3, 56
 Noble Quran, 37:130
 Ibn Hajar, al-Sawa΄iq, Ch. 11
 Noble Quran, 76:5-13
 Zamakhshari, Tafsir al-Kashhaf, Ch. 76; Fakhr al-Razi, Tafsir al- Kabir, Ch. 76; Tabarsi, Mu΄jam al-Bayan, Ch. 76
 Tafsir al-Burhan
 This hadith has been narrated by more than twenty companions of the Prophet and has also been narrated by over 185 narrators mentioned in Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, 238; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 5,
181-182; Sahih Tirmidhi, Vol. 2, 220.
 This hadith has been narrated by eight companions of the Prophet and eight disciples of the companions, by sixty well-known scholars and more than ninety authors from the brothers of the Sunni school, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Mishkat al-Masabih, 523; Fara΄id al-Simtayn, Vol. 2, 242; al-Sawa΄iq al-Muhriqah, 234; �Uyun al-Akhbar, Vol. 1, 211.
 al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak (quoting Ibn �Abbas), Vol. 3, 149
 al-Shafa, Vol 2, 40
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'.
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 immediate family.
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 right'.
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 Allah (s.a.w.)
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 verse:
"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 it...,
(20:132) says 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 Fatima (a.s.).
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 ankunna)
instead 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 else besides.
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) instructions...
" Certainly 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' Muhammad .
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 alManaqib)
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)�"
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 Holy Prophet.
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 significance.
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 falsehood.
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 instead.
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) salutation.
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, the Glorious!'''
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 not 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 Guardianship (Wilaya):
"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 verse:
"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 going astray.
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 your religion..."
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 other Muslims.
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 and happiness;..."
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 eariler.
(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.
Section 8: Every People Will Be Summoned with Their Own Imam
Surah Isra� - Verse 71
يَوْمَ نَدْعُوا كُلَّ أُناسٍ بِإِمامِهِمْ فَمَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَأُولئِكَ يَقْرَؤُنَ كِتابَهُمْ وَ لا يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً (71)
71. �On the Day We shall call every people with their Imam (leader); then whoever is given his book in his right hand; then these will read their book (joyfully); and they will not be treated unjustly in the least.
This holy verse makes allusions to one of the other Divine blessings given to man, and then it refers to the heavy responsibilities which run parallel to these blessings and are upon him. At first, the Holy Qur�an points to the �issue of leadership� and its role in the course of human destiny, implying that on the Hereafter Day He shall call each people along with their �Imams� �Leaders�.
The verse says:
�On the Day We shall call every people with their Imam (leader)��
That is, those people who, in any age, accepted the call of their contemporary prophets and their emissaries, will be with their leaders, while those who bowed to the leadership of the Satan or the Imams of aberration or tyrannical rulers and pioneers, will be accompanied by them.
This exposition, while reflecting one of the means of the development of man, serves as a dire warning to all the human beings that they should show maximum vigilance in the course of the selection of leaders, not allowing just anyone to take their lead.
The Role of Leadership in Islam
It is narrated in a famous quotation from Imam Baqir (as), that whenever he discussed upon the �principal pillars� of Islam, he used to place the �leadership issue� (Wilayah) as the fifth, and the most important of the pillars, while, placing the �daily prayers�, which is meant to establish one�s personal relationship with the Creator, and �fasting�, which is the secret of campaign against passions, and paying of the poor-dues (Zakat), which is a relationship of people with people, and, finally, �Hajj�, which relates to the social aspects of Islam, consist of the other four pillars.
The �Imam� (as), then, goes on to say:
�Nothing is as important as the issue of leadership (Wilayah)�,
for the execution of other four principles depends, entirely, on the issue of leadership and can be realized solely in the light of this principle.
It is also for this reason that we have in another famous quotation from the Prophet (S) in a famous traditions he said:
�He who passes away without having an �Imam�, a �leader�, his death belongs to the category of �paganism�.�
There are numerous examples throughout history when a nation has gained the first row in the world in rank and position under the guidance of a great and an eligible leader, while, the same nation has suffered a devastating blow, and its eventual down fall has been brought about as a result of a weak and incapable leadership that may be beyond recognition.
In interpretation of this verse in Islamic sources, there are numerous quotations introduced, all of which enlighten thoroughly the meaning of the verse, indicating that the purpose of this verse is �Imamat�, �leadership�, as follows:
1) In an authentic documented tradition, quoted from Imam Ali-Ibn-MūsarRida (as) by Shi�ah as well as Sunni sources, we read that, the �Imam� (as), quoting from the prophet (S), narrated by his forefathers, upon the commentary of this verse, said:
�On that Day, every nation will be called along with its contemporary Imam, �leader�, and the Book of their Lord, as well as the course of practice of their prophet.�1
2) And, we have it also quoted by Imam Sadiq (as) saying:
�Do you not express your praise and gratitude to Allah? When the resurrection day comes, the Lord will call every nation along with the one whose leadership it has accepted. We will be called along with the Prophet (S) and you will be along with us. Where do you think you will be taken to then? By the Lord of Ka�bah to Paradise.�
The Imam reiterated the last sentence three times.
3) Hadrat-i-Rida has said in a detailed tradition: �The issue of �Imamat�
(leadership) exhibits the position of the prophets and is a heritage of the
forerunners. It tackles with the issue of substitution of Allah and the
prophetic mission of the Prophet (S) as well as the position of
Amir-ul-Mu�mineen (as) along with the replacement by Imam Hassan, as well as
Imam Hussayn (as).�
Then he said:
�The Imam introduces those issues which are as �allowed� by Allah as they are, and the ones which are regarded �forbidden� by the Lord as such.
The Imam seeks to establish the limits which are ordained by Allah and he defends the Lord�s religion, and invites (the people) to the path of Allah through wisdom, good admonitions, and self-explanatory proofs. And, finally, the Imam is the rein and head of the religion, order of Muslims, the benefit to the believers in the world and their glory.�
Again, he remarked:
�The �Imam� is the flourishing root of Islam and the �prime branch� of it. The �Imam� is an honest friend, a kind and friendly father, a truly-loyal brother and a companion, just like an affectionate and honest mother towards her young child, and a refuge for Allah�s servants.�
Then, he said:
�The �Imam� is the Lord�s trustee on the earth and among His people. He is the Lord�s proof for His servants and is His substitute in the cities. He calls (the people) to Allah and defends His sanctuaries.�2
4) Quoting Ibn Abbas, Muj ahid says: �The Messenger of Allah (S) has
remarked: �As the day of resurrection comes about, the Lord commands Gabriel
to sit down at the gate of the Paradise, and do not let any one in unless he
possesses the admission card and passage of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)�.�3
There are two types of leaders mentioned in the Qur�an. The first one includes the leaders of �light� and �guidance�; while the latter comprises of leaders who lead to the Fire and misguidance. The second group compel people to follow their lead by force, threats, allurement, and humiliation.
5) Abū Basir once told Imam Sadiq (as): �I witness that verily you are my
The Imam replied:
�Every group will be mustered with their own Imam in the Hereafter.�4
6) And, again, the same Imam remarked:
�He who rejects or refuses to accept one of the living �Imams�, he has certainly rejected the �Imams� (and �leaders�) of the past.�5
Incidentally, the issue of �Imamat�, (leadership) and �Wilayat� (mastership) are the subject-core of life, and are within the context of one�s very life, and it is not to be regarded as a marginal or merely an ideological issue side-lined by others.
The issue of �leadership� may make people either happy or wretched. Therefore, the result of selection of a leader and obedience to him is a burning one till the threshold of the Hereafter.
The Hereafter is not only the tribunal for individuals, but it is also the great court set-up for nations, peoples, parties, schools of thought, and for governments.
Then, the verse implies that the people will be categorized into two different groups in the doomsday. Those whose record of deeds is delivered to their right hand, and this is done with their pride, joy, and pleasure when they read it joyfully, and no cruelty is done to them.
And, he, who has not found a way to be saved in the world and who has not been led well, he will not seek his way out into the Paradise in the hereafter.
The verse says:
��then whoever is given his book in his right hand; then these will read their book (joyfully)��
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the Arabic term /fati/ signifies a thin noodle which is spilt within a date-stone and which here implies an �insignificant� amount.
Therefore, the chastisement in the resurrection day is a hundred percent just and fair, for, on that Day one receives punishment and reward commensurate with his amount of sin or decent act he has undertaken to perform, even it is very insignificant.
The verse says:
��and they will not be treated unjustly in the least.�
1 Majma�-ul-Bayan and Safi
2 Tuhaf-ul-�Uqul, and �Athar-ul-Sadiqin, Harf-ul-Alaf
3 Manaqib Ibn Maqazili, p. 131
4 Tafsir Nūr-uth-Thaqalayn
5 Bihar, vol. 23, p. 95 and �Ikm al-ud-Din