A mature person who seeks the truth should wonder about this: Allah (SWT) says in the purification verse,
“Allah surely wants to keep sins away from you, O People of the House! And to purify you a complete purification.”
We know from the verses of the Qur’an that Allah (SWT) said,
“His command, when He wants anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is.” [36:82]
Therefore, if Allah (SWT) wants, His desire does not at all depend on the will or intention of the humans. For example, Allah (SWT) does not say, “Allah only wants to let this person enter Paradise if that person wishes.” Nor did He say, “If this person prays and fasts, then I want him to enter Paradise.”
Find for us any example from the verses of the Qur’an or prophetic narration that would resemble these types of words from Allah (SWT). Allah never connects His will with the will of the people such that if people want His will, then it shall be carried out. It is not fit or proper with the Glory of Allah (SWT) for Him to connect His will with others and it is absolutely impossible!
Whoever says that, believes that, or even thinks of that is an apostate (Kafir) because he thought of Allah (SWT) what is not proper of Him at all, just like those who claim that Allah (SWT) has a son. Furthermore, he would be contradicting the holy verse in Surat Yaseen which indicates that the will of God is defined only by “Be: so it is.”
If we take a look at the verses in question, we find that Allah (SWT) desires the purification of a group of individuals and to keep the sins away from them. So, if Allah (SWT) wants, “Be: so it is”, and so they are automatically purified by His order. His will does not depend and is not determined by what those purified individuals would or would not do. Rather, it is an automatic, immediate, and direct action that takes place instantly.
However, the wives of Rasulullah (SA) whom the previous verses are addressing, were given the choice of obedience or disobedience in the sense that Allah (SWT) said to them, “if you want...”. Therefore, the choice and will are theirs. So, how can we combine that with Allah’s will which is immediate in action, does not depend on the will of anyone, and that which is mentioned in the verse of purification as “Allah desires”?
This is a clear and vivid proof which confirms the fact that the wives of the Prophet (SA) are not and could not be the ones referred to in the purification verse. That is because the purified individuals referred to in this verse have already been purified by the desire and will of Allah (SWT), which is simply “Be: so it is”, without any interference from anyone.
On the other hand, the wives of the Prophet have been given the freedom to choose either the life of this world and its ornaments, or Allah (SWT) and His Messenger. If they willed one, they will have done good, and if they willed the other, they will have committed wrong. In this, they are just like the rest of the people except for one difference: the good-doer from the wives of the Prophet (SA) will be given double reward for her deeds, while the sinner from them will be given a double share of punishment for her acts. Other than that, they are just like everyone else, given the freedom and choice to do what they choose.
As for the purified individuals who have been referred to by the purification verse, Allah (SWT) have purified them by His free will, by “Be: so it is”, and they themselves have no choice or will over that. So, based on this logic, the verses are very clear in showing that it is impossible for the wives of the Prophet (SA) to be the ones referred to in the purification verse.
This is as clear as the bright sun and every meticulous and scrutinizing eye that searches for the truth, without any fanaticism can recognize it. This vivid truth surely eliminates the wives of the Prophet (SA) just like the majority of the people from being the ones referred to in the purification verse. So, the argument about the context of the verses that were presented in the Qur’an (which is often used by the advocates of the first possibility) is totally invalid. Not only that, but these verses itself stand as a proof against their argument that the purification verse refers to the wives of the Prophet (SA).
There is yet another important point that should lift the attention of those who study the Islamic history and the events that actually took place at that time which cannot be ignored as we search for the truth in this matter. From among the truths that are believed and mentioned in the Qur’an numerous times and cannot be denied by anyone except by a nonbeliever or a polytheist, is that whenever Allah (SWT) desires something, he completes it and lets it happen. That is supported by His saying in the Qur’an,
- “The great doer of what He intend.” [85:16]
- “Surely Allah attains His purpose.” [65:3]
- “His Command, when He intends something, is only to say to it: Be, so it is.” [36:82]
- “Our word of a thing, when We intend it, is only that we say to it, Be, and it is.” [16:40]
- “When He has decreed an affair, He only says to it: Be, so it is.” [(2:117), (3:47), (19:35), (40:68)]
So, if Allah (SWT) was referring to the wives of the Prophet (SA) in the purification verse, then His order is obeyed; so they are purified and cleansed immediately and it is impossible for them to disobey Allah (SWT) or sin after that. If any of the wives did commit a sin or transgression after the revelation of the purification verse, then it is impossible for them to be the ones referred to. That is because we speak about the wives as a whole.
Thus, any sin from any wife will affect the rest of the wives in the issue of purification since the verses addresses them as a whole, and the purified individuals referred to are also addressed as a whole. By any one of the wives disobeying Allah (SWT), she/they would be preventing His will from completing and happening, and that is impossible because His will could not be prevented from happening!