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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.

Who are "THE" AhlulBayt

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 Letter 04
: Eulogy of the Ahlulbayt and their métier

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ترجمے کے لئے یہاں جائیں



The love of the household of the prophet is necessary, as the Quran orders. All muslims agree to it. The dispute however lies that which personalities are included in the AhlulBayt of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who were his near ones.

The Prophet's Waris (Executors) are of three types, those that possess Hikmah (Sagacity, wisdom), Ismah (Infallibility) and Qutbiyat Batiniyah (are Spiritual Pivots) they are his Ahl'ul bayt
At-Tafhimatu l-Iahiyah Volume 2 page 14

Thus according to Shah Waliyullah, the Ahlulbayt of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) should possess wisdom, infallibility and spiritual excellence. In other words, the Ahlulbayt of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) should be the closest people to the Prophet himself and should share the virtues of the blessed messenger.

First thing first, believers are told to love the nearest kin of the Prophet (SAW) as pointed out in the article related to Tawalla and Tabarra.

That is of which Allah gives the good news to His servants, (to) those who believe and do good deeds. Say (Muhammad): I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.
Quran [42:23]

Keeping in mind the divinity of this commandment, which is from an Omnipotent God, this love should be unconditional. Also keeping in mind the Justice and Adl of Allah, it must be understood that Allah doesn't like people who transgress against others or their own soul, thus these people who we are told to love must also be Just, for if these people were sinners, wicked, or disobeyed the Prophet (SAW) and Islamic laws, our love for them would be meaningless. Thus, i can conclude that we should love those whom Allah loves and we should dislike those who earn the wrath of Allah and his Prophet (SAW).

Secondly, as written in the article related to the Verse of purity, the ayah was revealed for the Ahlulbayt. The word Ahlulbayt is used in the verse,

…. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying
Quran [33:33]

Thus the Ahlulbayt are those people who were purified from all rijs and this is evidence of infallibility, as discussed in the very article.

We can conclude so far that,

The difference amongst the different schools of thought lies in who should be included in the above category, who should share the before-mentioned perks.

So the Prophet's wives alone were the reason for revelation, but others may be included by way of generalization. But if his wives are members of his household, then this title is even more fitting for his own relatives. 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.)

Click below for scanned page:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 33, Verse 33

 Remember that this issue is discussed in detail in the article Verse of Purity [Quran 33:33].

Thus according to Sunnis, the Ahlulbayt include

We now have two sets of elements which will help us determine as to who the Ahlulbayt are. One is the list of merits of the Ahlulbayt as stated by the Quran, listed earlier on. Another is a list of candidates shortlisted for this title.

We said that the Ahlulbayt will be just people and will be purified from all Rijs. According to the Quran;

Thus the Ahlulbayt will be free from the above mentioned traits and characteristics.

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.
Quran [33:30-31]

We can see that there is/was a probability that the wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) could commit a sin, where as if they didn't, their reward will be doubled. The possibility of sinning negated the concept of being purified from all Rijs. Thus their manual inclusion in the group of people who were purified from all Rijs is irrational.

If you two (Ayesha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if you help one another against him, then verily, Allah is his Protector, and Jibril, and the righteous among the believers; and after that the angels are his helpers
Quran [66:4]

The Quran states a fact that certain wives are been told to repent for a transgression they had committed. This asking for repentance is proof enough that the act they have committed is reprimanded by Allah and thus this an act of injustice which in return nullifies the logical approach to their inclusion in the group of people termed the Ahlulbayt.

I also said that the Ahlulbayt will be loved by Allah and his Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Sahl b. Sa'd reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said on the Day of Khaibar: I would certainly give this standard to a person at whose hand Allah would grant victory and who loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him also. The people spent the night thinking as to whom it would be given. When it was morning the people hastened to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) all of them hoping that that would be given to him. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Where is 'Ali b. Abu Talib? They said: Allah's Messenger, his eyes are sore. He then sent for him and he was brought and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) applied saliva to his eyes and invoked blessings and he was all right, as if he had no ailment at all, and coraferred upon him the standard. .....
Sahih Muslim, Book 31, Hadith 5918

Al-Bara' b. Azib reported: I saw Hasan b. 'Ali upon the shoulders of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and he was saying: O Allah, I love him, and love him Thou.
Sahih Muslim, Book 31, Hadith 5953

Miswar b. Makhramah reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Fatima is a part of me. He in fact tortures me who tortures her.
Sahih Muslim, Book 31, Hadith 6000

Another quality of the Ahlulbayt would be that they would be the nearest people to the Prophet (SAW) himself. Remember the incident of Mubahila?

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 our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.
Quran [3:61]

This event proves who the nearest people of the Prophet (SAW) were. This verse refers to the well-known event of mubahilah mentioned in every book of history, traditions and tafsir written by Muslim scholars.

The Holy Prophet was sending invitations to all to accept the true religion of Allah. One such invitation was sent to the Christians of Najran, a town in Yemen, in the 9th year of Hijra. A deputation of 60 scholars came to discuss the matter with the Holy Prophet. When discussions were unfruitful,  this verse was revealed to call them to a spiritual contest by invoking the curse of Allah on the liars. Early next morning, the 24th of the month of Dhilhijjah, the Holy Prophet sent Salman to the selected site, outside the city area, to set up a shelter for those whom he would take with him, as his sons, women and selves. At the appointed hour, a huge crowd, standing in wait, saw the Holy Prophet coming in, Imam Husayn in his arms, Imam Hasan holding his index finger, walking beside him, Bibi Fatimah Zahra, close to his heels and Imam Ali just behind her -as his sons, women, and selves.

This hadith has been narrated. on the authority of Shu'ba with the same chain of transmitters. Amir b. Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas reported on the authority of his father that Muawiya b. Abi Sufyin appointed Sa'd as the Governor and said: What prevents you from abusing Abu Turab (Hadrat 'Ali), whereupon be said: It is because of three things which I remember Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) having said about him that I would not abuse him and even if I find one of those three things for me, it would be more dear to me than the red camel. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) say about 'Ali as he left behind hrin in one of his campaigns (that was Tabuk). 'Ali said to him: Allah's Messenger, you leave me behind along with women and children. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to him: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Aaron was unto Moses but with this exception that there is no prophethood after me. And I (also) heard him say on the Day of Khaibar: I would certainly give this standard to a person who loves Allah and his Messenger and Allah and his Messenger love him too. He (the narrator) said: We have been anxiously waiting for it, when he (the Holy Prophet) said: Call 'Ali. He was called and his eyes were inflamed. He applied saliva to his eyes and handed over the standard to him, and Allah gave him victory. (The third occasion is this) when the (following) verse was revealed:" Let us summon our children and your children." Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) called 'Ali, Fitima, Hasan and Husain and said: O Allah, they are my family.
Sahih Muslim, Book 31, Hadith 5915

It should be noted that although there was provision for "women" and "selves" the Holy Prophet selected one "woman" and one "self"-Fatimah and Ali, because there was no woman and no man among his followers at that time who could be brought into the contest of invoking the curse of Allah on the liars. They alone were the truthful ones.

The nearest and the dearest have to be exposed to danger. The seriousness of the occasion demanded absolute purity, physical as well as spiritual, to take part in the fateful event. The nearest and the dearest of a prophet (who has devoted himself and whatever belonged to him to Allah and has been purified from all likes and dislikes based upon self interest, mundane desires and carnal passions) must naturally be of his class and quality in devotion and purification. Only the best of Allah's creations (the Ahl ul Bayt) were selected by the Holy Prophet under Allah's guidance. It, beyond all doubts, established the purity, the truthfulness and the sublime holiness of the Ahl ul Bayt.

In this verse, the divine command allows the Holy prophet to take with him "sons", "women" and "selves"; therefore, had there been "women" and "selves" worthy to be selected for this symbolic contest, among his companions, he would certainly have selected them, but as it was seen by one and all, only Fatimah and Ali (and their two sons) were chosen, because none of the anxiously waiting companions (among whom were the three caliphs and the wives of the Holy Prophet) was truthful or so thoroughly purified as to deserve selection for an event which was divinely decreed in order to also make known the true successors of the Holy Prophet. The word anfus is the plural of nafs which means soul or self. When used in relation to an individual, it implies another being of the same identity with complete unity in equality; therefore, one is the true reflection of the other in thought, action and status, to the extent that at any occasion or for any purpose, any one of them can represent the other. Even if the word nafs is interpreted as "the people", it is clear that Ali alone is "the people" of the Holy Prophet.

Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn, the four thoroughly purified members of the chosen group, were the "selves" of the Holy Prophet, but Hasan and Husayn, the two sons of Ali, as abna-ana (sons), and Fatimah, the wife of Ali, as nisa-ana (women) and Ali himself as anfusana (selves) came out to represent the party of Allah. In Sahih Muslim it is mentioned that at the time of coming out from the canopy, the Holy Prophet looked skyward and said:  "O my Lord, these are my Ahl ul Bayt." Even Ibna Hazm, a staunch advocate of the Umayyid point of view, has stated that at the time of mubahilah, only Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn came out with the Holy Prophet to take part in the contest.
Tafsir Aqa Mahdi Puya, Tafsir of Surah 3, Verse 61

This strengthens the evidence related to who the nearest ones of the Prophet (SAW) are as well as who share the virtues of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself.

Thus without any doubt, the blessed Ahlulbayt of the Prophet (SAW) include none other than Mawla Ali, Imam Hassan, Imam Hussain and Janabe Fatima (AS). His wives are not the part of the Ahlulbayt who were purified from all rijs, who were called for Mubahila and about whom we are told to love them.

The only argument left is a technical one. Sunnis claim that the term ahlulbayt literally means the people of the house. Thus wives should be included in them.

Moreover, the word ahl al-bait in Arabic is used precisely in the sense in which the word "household" is used in English, which includes both a man's wife and children. No one would exclude the wife from the "household."
Tafheem ul Quran, By Abul Ala Maududi, Tafseer of Surah 33 Verse 33

Do you know that almost all multinational companies give "family" benefits to their employees, such as travel perks and medical care. The word family includes my parents and siblings as well, but the way the companies define the term "family" includes my spouse and kids only.

Thus the literal meaning of a word does not matter, what matters is the meaning of the word higher authorities take into consideration.

Before posting some sunni references, i would like to put up a point from the Quran. I ask you, is your son a part of your family? With the term the "Ahlulbayt", there can be arguments, but with "family", there should be none. So i ask you, will your son be a part of your family? Is everyone's son a part of their family? Think again before you answer.

And Nuh cried out to his Lord and said: My Lord! surely my son is of my family, and Thy promise is surely true, and Thou art the most just of the judges. He said: O Nuh! surely he is not of your family; surely he is (the doer of) other than good deeds, therefore ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge; surely I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant
Quran [11:45-46]

If you ask anyone in this world that is some ones son is from his family or not, he will say yes!! The Quran says something else! The son of Nuh who disbelieved was the biological son of Nuh, but according to the verdict of Allah he doesn't belong to the family of Nuh (AS)!

Thus the wives of the Prophet (SAW) are a part of his family, but definitely not a part of the family/Ahlulbayt who were purified from all rijs, who were called for Mubahila and about whom we are told to love them.

The following sunni text should provide some insight.

'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

Click below for scanned page:
Tafseer Ibn Kathir, Tafseer of Surah 33, Aya 33

Yazid b. Hayyan reported, I went along with Husain b. Sabra and 'Umar b. Muslim to Zaid b. Arqam and, as we sat by his side, Husain said to him: Zaid. you have been able to acquire a great virtue that you saw Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) listened to his talk, fought by his side in (different) battles, offered prayer behind me. Zaid, you have in fact earned a great virtue. Zaid, narrate to us what you heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). He said: I have grown old and have almost spent my age and I have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), so accept whatever I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do not compel me to do that. He then said: One day Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and. exhorted (us) and said: Now to our purpose. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah's call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family. He (Husain) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren't his wives the members of his family? Thereupon he said: His wives are the members of his family (but here) the members of his family are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. And he said: Who are they? Thereupon he said: 'Ali and the offspring of 'Ali, 'Aqil and the offspring of 'Aqil and the offspring of Ja'far and the offspring of 'Abbas. Husain said: These are those for whom the acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. Zaid said: Yes.
Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5920

Yazid b. Hayyan reported: We went to him (Zaid b. Arqam) and said to him. You have found goodness (for you had the honour) to live in the company of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and offered prayer behind him, and the rest of the hadith is the same but with this variation of wording that lie said: Behold, for I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, one of which is the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, and that is the rope of Allah. He who holds it fast would be on right guidance and he who abandons it would be in error, and in this (hadith) these words are also found: We said: Who are amongst the members of the household? Aren't the wives (of the Holy Prophet) included amongst the members of his house hold? Thereupon he said: No, by Allah, a woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a certain period; he then divorces her and she goes back to her parents and to her people; the members of his household include his ownself and his kith and kin (who are related to him by blood) and for him the acceptance of Zakat is prohibited.
Sahih muslim Book 031, Number 5923

Ahlulbayt of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) may include his wives when it comes to the literal meaning of the word. But "THE" Ahlulbayt of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who were purified from all rijs, who were called for Mubahila and about whom we are told to love them does not include his wives.

Wives of Rasool (SAW) plotted again him (SAW). These plots were an outcome of Rijs in their heart and thus proved that the wives were not purified from the Rijs mentioned in Quran 33:33. For if they were, they would have never plotted against Rasool (SAW). The wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were not taken for Mubahila, where the criteria was "Rasool's women and Rasool's selves". Similarly, they are not included in the Durood which all muslims send on Muhammad wa Aal e Muhammad, or Rasool (SAW) and his progeny.

Thus, "THE" Ahlulbayt who all Muslims claim to love are Nafsur Rasool Ali (AS), Princes of paradise Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS), and leader of all women of paradise, Fatima (AS). These are the five purified (including Rasool (SAW) himself), loving who is a sign of love for Allah, and aggression or enmity to who is an open war against Allah himself.

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