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We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.

At-Tahera; The Verse Of Purity

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 Letter 14
: Mubahila, Verse of Purity and Infallibility of the Non-Imams

There has always been discussions on infallibility, the status of the wives of the prophet (SAW), the status of his companions and the status of his Family. The debate had continued if his (SAW) wives were a part of the Ahlulbayt and it usually revolves around the following verse.

And stay in your houses, and do not Tabarruj yourselves like the Tabarruj of the times of ignorance, and perform the Salah, and give Zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove the Ar-Rijs from you, O members of the family, and to purify you with a thorough purification
Quran [33:33]

It is true that;

To know regarding whom the above verse was revealed and what perks does it bring along with it, we have to see what "Ar-Rijs" is.

Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright, He expands his breast for Islam, and (for) whomsoever He intends that He should cause him to err, He makes his breast strait and narrow as though he were ascending upwards; thus does Allah lay uncleanness (Rijs) on those who do not believe.
Quran [6:125]

(Thus Allah puts the Rijs (wrath) on those who believe not.) "Allah says that just as He makes the heart of whomever He decides to misguide, closed and constricted, He also appoints Shaytan for him and for his likes, those who refused to believe in Allah and His Messenger. Consequently, Shaytan lures and hinders them from the path of Allah.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that, Rijs, refers to Shaytan, while Mujahid said that it refers to all that does not contain goodness. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that, Rijs, means, `torment'.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 6 Verse 125

He said: Indeed uncleanness (Rijs) and wrath from your Lord have lighted upon you; what! do you dispute with me about names which you and your fathers have given? Allah has not sent any authority for them; wait then, I too with you will be of those who wait.
Quran [7:71]

("Rijs and wrath have already fallen on you from your Lord.'') you deserve `Rijs' from your Lord because of what you said. Ibn `Abbas said that, `Rijs', means scorn and anger.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 7 Verse 71

O you who believe! intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (dividing by) arrows are only an uncleanness (Rijs), the Shaitan's work; shun it therefore that you may be successful.
Quran [5:90]

(A Rijs of Shaytan's handiwork) meaning, abomination of Shaytan's handiwork, according to `Ali bin Abi Talhah who reported it from Ibn `Abbas. Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Rijs means `sin' while Zayd bin Aslam said; "An evil handiwork of Shaytan.''
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 5 Verse 90

And whenever a chapter is revealed, there are some of them who say: Which of you has it strengthened in faith? Then as for those who believe, it strengthens them in faith and they rejoice. And as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it adds uncleanness (Rijs) to their uncleanness and they die while they are unbelievers.
Quran [9:124-125]

(But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add Rijs to their Rijs.) the Surah increases them in doubt, and brings more suspicion on top of the doubts and suspicion that they had before.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 9 Verse 125

That (shall be so); and whoever respects the sacred ordinances of Allah, it is better for him with his Lord; and the cattle are made lawful for you, except that which is recited to you, therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words,
Quran [22:30]

So shun the Rijis of the idols, and shun false speech.) From this it is clear what Ar-Rijs means, i.e., avoid the abomination, which means idols.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 22 Verse 30

Say: I do not find in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden for an eater to eat of except that it be what has died of itself, or blood poured forth, or flesh of swine-- for that surely is unclean-- or that which is a transgression, other than (the name of) Allah having been invoked on it; but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring nor exceeding the limit, then surely your Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.
Quran [6:145]

They will swear to you by Allah when you return to them so that you may turn aside from them; so do turn aside from them; surely they are unclean and their abode is hell; a recompense for what they earned.
Quran [9:95]

Allah said that the hypocrites will swear to the believers in apology, so that the believers turn away from them without admonishing them. Therefore, Allah ordered disgracing them by turning away from them, for they are, (Rijs) meaning, impure inwardly and in their creed. Their destination in the end will be Jahannam, (a recompense for that which they used to earn.) of sins and evil deeds.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 9 Verse 95

And it is not for a soul to believe except by Allah's permission; and He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand.
Quran [10:100]

(It is not for any person to believe, except by the leave of Allah, and He will put the Rijs) That is, disorder and misguidance (upon those who do not reason) meaning, Allah's proofs and evidences, and He is the Just in all matters, guiding whom He wills to guide, and leading whom He wills astray.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 10 Verse 100

The word Rijs literally means unclean. In strict Quranic terms and also as interpreted by Ibne Kathir:

Thus the Ahlulbayt, or "the members of the Family", whoever they are cleaned and purified from Al-Rijs or "All Uncleanliness". Thus the people for whom the above verse (Quran 33:33) was revealed, cannot be misguided, cannot be tormented by Allah, cannot  follow Shaytan, cannot  earn Allah's anger and punishment, cannot  sin, cannot follow Shaytan's handworks, cannot have doubts in prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or Tauheed etc, cannot worship idols or eat haraam and cannot be misguided. This might be termed as to being granted of infallibility.

(Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs from you, O members of the family, and to purify you with a thorough purification.) This is a clear statement that the wives of the Prophet are included among the members of his family (Ahl Al-Bayt) here, because they are the reason why this Ayah was revealed, and the scholars are unanimously agreed that they were the reason for revelation in this case, whether this was the only reason for revelation or there was also another reason, which is the correct view.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said concerning the Ayah: (Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs from you, O members of the family,) "It was revealed solely concerning the wives of the Prophet .'' `Ikrimah said: "Whoever disagrees with me that it was revealed solely concerning the wives of the Prophet , I am prepared to meet with him and pray and invoke the curse of Allah upon those who are lying.''
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 33 Verse 33

Ibne Kathir, the mentor of hardcore Sunnis, interprets the verse as a revelation for the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for the reason that it was revealed/placed between a time during which the Quran is addressing the wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

O Prophet! say to your wives: If you desire this world's life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a goodly departing And if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the latter abode, then surely Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a mighty reward. O wives of the prophet! whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this IS easy to Allah. And whoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Messenger and does good, We will give to her her reward doubly, and We have prepared for her an honorable sustenance. O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger.…… Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. And keep to mind what is recited in your houses of the communications of Allah and the wisdom; surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware.
Quran [33:28-34]

There is no doubt that all the spouses of the Prophet deserve special respect due to the fact that they are related to the Messenger of God. However, such respect does not mean the Qur'an's judgment about them can be ignored or that if anyone would speak unkindly about them should be condemned.

This interpretation of Ibn Kathir cannot be simply accepted due to two very authentic reasons.

The first one being that a certain group of people have been purified from All Rijs which hints towards Infallibility. Yet the verse quoted above is warning the wives of the Prophet (SAW) that if any of them sins or commits an open indecency, her punishment will be doubled. Committing an open indecency is a part of Rijs and the "people of the the house" are purified from Rijs.

And when the prophet secretly communicated a piece of information to one of his wives (Ayesha)-- but when she informed (others) of it, and Allah made him to know it, he made known part of it and avoided part; so when he (Muhammad) informed her (Ayesha) of it, she said: Who informed you of this? He said: The Knowing, the one Aware, informed me. If you both (Ayesha and Hafsa) turn to Allah, then indeed your hearts are already inclined (to this); and if you back up each other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his Guardian, and Jibreel and -the believers that do good, and the angels after that are the aiders.
Quran [66:3-4]

Quran condemns certain wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for plotting against the Prophet, the action itself being a result of rijs in heart. The wives are ordered to repent for a sin they committed. This is proof enough that the wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were not a part of the "People of the House" who were purified from Rijs.

Secondly, the Quran we have today is no doubt the one which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) fourteen hundred years ago, the only difference being that the verses of the Quran today are not placed chronologically. Surah Fateha was not the first surah revealed. There were parts of the same Ayats which were revealed at different places at different times for different reasons. For example,

Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Quran [5:3]

(This day, I have perfected your religion for you...) was revealed, during the great day of Hajj (the Day of `Arafah, the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah) `Umar cried. The Prophet said, `What makes you cry' He said, `What made me cry is that our religion is being perfected for us. Now it is perfect, nothing is perfect, but it is bound to deteriorate.'
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 5, Verse 3

As agreed, this is one of the verses whose parts were revealed at different occasions. The verses before and after this part of the verse speak about the permissible and the forbidden food, however the highlighted part of the Ayat was revealed at the end of Quranic Revelations.

Thus if the purification of the "people of the House" was revealed in the midst of revelations related to the wives of Prophet (SAW), it does not mean that the wives were included in this verse. Historians have recorded the occasion of the revelation of the purification part of Quran 33:33.

 'A'isha reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) went out one norning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel's hair that there came Hasan b. 'Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came 'Ali and he also took him under it and then said: Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household, and purify you (thorough purifying)
Sahih-e-Muslim - Book 031, Number 5955

Ibne Kathir acknowledges the fact and comments very diplomatically.

So the wives of Prophet alone were the reason for revelation, but others may be included by way of generalization. Ibn Jarir narrated that Safiyyah bint Shaybah said: "`A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, `The Prophet went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of black camel's hair. Al-Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, came and he wrapped him in the cloak with him. Then Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with him, came and he wrapped him in the cloak with him. Then Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, came and he wrapped her in the cloak with him. Then `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, came and he wrapped him in the cloak with him, then he said: (Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs from you, O members of the family, and to purify you with a thorough purification.) This was recorded by Muslim. But if his wives are members of his household, then this title is even more fitting for his own relatives. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Jamilah said: "Al-Hasan bin `Ali, may Allah be pleased with them both, was appointed as Khalifah when `Ali was killed.'' He said: "While he was praying, a man leapt on him and stabbed him with a dagger.'' Husayn claimed that he heard that the one who stabbed him was a man from Banu Asad, and Al-Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, was prostrating at the time. He said, "They claimed that he received the wound in his hip. He was ill as a result for many months, then he recovered. He ascended the Minbar and said: `O people of `Iraq! Have Taqwa of Allah concerning us, for we are your leaders and your guests, and we are members of the family (Ahl Al-Bayt) concerning whom Allah said: (Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs from you, O members of the family, and to purify you with a thorough purification.)' He kept saying this until there was no one left in the Masjid who was not weeping and sobbing.''
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 33 Verse 33

I need not say more. I have tried to make the whole issue crystal clear to unbiased readers who read the book of Allah for guidance and not to satisfy their biases.

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