There has been a long and endless controversy among the Muslim Ummah, as to whom the purification verse refers to. There are those who say that it refers to the wives of the Prophet (SA) alone, and they support their argument by saying that because this verse was present before and after a group of verses in which Allah (SWT) was directing His words to the wives of the Prophet, then it is also included in that monologue.
There are those who say that it refers to Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain (Peace be upon them) alone, and they support their argument using the well and frequently known Tradition of the Cloak (Hadeeth Al-Kisaa) and many other traditions that has been narrated by Rasulullah (SA).
And finally, there are those who say that it refers to both: the wives of the Prophet (SA) as well as Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain (Peace be upon them), in an attempt to combine the first two theories and also because of their presumption that the word “Ahlul-Bayt” includes all these family members. Hence, they argue “why couldn’t all the members of the family of Rasulullah (SA) be the ones referred to in the Purification verse?
Reality shows that there are a lot of motives and incentives behind this controversy. There existed political motives during the first centuries of Islam. There were personal motives that originated due to hatred and animosity that has been inherited generation after generation. There were utilitarian motives that were present as a result of a force that sought for its persistence for its own advantages. Therefore, it presents the advantages to those who work for the continued presence of this controversy.
There were also motives that originated due to naivety, foolishness, narrow-sightedness, weak judgment, and the lack of patience and reflection. And finally, there exists fanatic motives that originated from the division of the Muslim Ummah into many different sects and schools of thought; each that is fanatical to its own opinion, school of thought, and sect. Fanaticism or extremism is ignorance and blindness that causes a person not to see the truth even if it is clear. It causes him not to see the light even if it is bright. It causes him not to see except what he wants to see, and not believe except what he or his fanaticism leans to.
In this text, we shall try with the help of Allah (SWT) to spend some time scrutinizing, analyzing, and dissecting these great verses in order to end this controversy and reach a decisive conclusion and answer for every seeker of truth who will be ready to abide by it. It will be for every seeker of truth who is not fanatical, neither does he have any bias or advantage. Rather, he seeks the guidance and success from Allah (SWT), promising that he will follow the truth if he sees and becomes convinced of it, and he will not deviate from it.
It is very important to find out and identify to whom does the purification verse refer to because the knowledge of this piece of information will result in a lot of grave and critical consequences. That is because we do not find any other verse of purification in the Qur’an except for this verse, and we do not see any other person(s) whom Allah (SWT) officially announced their purification in the Qur’an after the prophets, except those referred to by this purification verse.