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Section 4: The Ahlul Bayt Divinely Made Pure

The People of the House (The Ahlul Bayt) Divinely Made Pure (Clean)

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 28

يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لاَزْوَاجِكَ إِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ اُمَتّـِعْكُنَّ وَاُسَرّ‌ِحْكُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً

28. “O Prophet! Say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world and its adornment, then come, I will provide you enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner.”

As the result of gaining the booties by the Muslims, the wives of the Prophet (S) wished to develop their lives and, therefore, demanded him (S) some means and welfare potentialities. The Prophet (S) opposed their demand and did not go to them for a month until when the verses under discussion were revealed.

The life of all Muslims must be simple. The religious, social and guiding situation creates a particular duty for man.

“…If you desire the life of this world…”

Therefore, the verse says:

“O Prophet! Say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world and its adornment, then come, I will provide you enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner.”

The Arabic word /’umatti‘kunna/ is derived from /mut‘ah/ and, as it has been said in the commentary of Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 236, its purpose is a present which is fit with the rank of a woman.

Here the purpose is that he ought to add to the dowry an appropriate sum, or if there has not been appointed a particular dowry he may give them a worthy present so that they become content and happy and that their separation would occur in a friendly environment.

The Arabic word /sarah/ is originally derived from /sarh/ in the sense of a plant which has leaves and fruit; and the Arabic phrase: /sarahtul-’abil/ means ‘I left the camels to enjoy the plants and the leaves of the trees’.

Then, it has been used in a vaster scope of meaning, with the sense of any kind of leaving anything and anyone; and sometimes it is also used ironically in the sense of ‘to divorce’.

However, the objective meaning of the Qur’anic phrase: /sarahan jamila/ (in a handsome manner) mentioned in the verse under discussion is: ‘To set women free pleasantly and without any quarrel and wrath.’

Here, there are some detailed discussions among the Islamic commentators and jurists whether the purpose of this statement mentioned in the above verse is that the Prophet (S) let his wives free between remaining or they separate, and if they chose separation, it would itself be counted as divorce and it did not need the formula of repudiation to be recited.

Or the purpose has been this that they would choose one of those two ways. If they chose separation, the Prophet (S) would recite the formula of repudiation, otherwise they would remain in their own state.

Yes, the combination of the meaning of the above verse and other verses of divorce requires that separation must be done by means of divorce.

However, this problem is discussed among the jurists of both Shi‘ah and the Sunnites, though the second attitude, i.e. separation by the way of divorce is nearer to the apparent of the holy verse.

Moreover, the application of the Qur’anic phrase /’usarrihkunna/ (I set you free) denotes that the Prophet (S) took action in separating them, specially that the word /tasrih/ in another occurrence of the Holy Qur’an has been used in the sense of ‘divorce’.1

For more information in this regard, you may refer to the legal books, particularly to the book Jawahir, Vol. 29, P. 122.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 29

وَاِن كُنتُنَ تُرِدْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالدَّارَ الأَخِرَةَ فَاِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنَاتِ مِنكُنَّ أَجْراً عَظِيماً

29. “And if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of Hereafter, then verily Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward.”

Allah (s.w.t.) considers simple life for the religious leaders’ families as a good action. Therefore, those who renounce the little provision of this world will gain a great reward.

So, this verse says:

“And if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of Hereafter, then verily Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward.”

In fact, these few sentences contain all the basis of faith and programs of a believer. From one side, he has the Faith in Allah, His Messenger (S), and in the Day of Hereafter, and he tries to increase it. On the other side, he is in the row of the benevolent and righteous doers.

Therefore, a mere desire and expression of love to Allah, the Prophet (S), and Hereafter is not enough, but one’s practical programs must be consistent to it, too.

Thus, Allah made the duty of the Prophet’s wives clear forever, that they must be an example for the faithful women. They must be pious, virtuous, heedless to the dazzling glares of the world and beautiful ornament, and must specially be attentive to faith, righteous deed, and spirituality.

If they are such, they can remain and possess the great honour of being the Prophet’s spouses; else, they may take their own way and separate from him.

In these sentences the addressees are the Prophet’s wives, but the content of the holy verses and its result envelops all, specially those who have been appointed in the position of leadership over people and common people should follow them.

They can always choose one of two ways: they may use their apparent position for reaching a welfare of material life, or submitting to some deprivations in order to get the pleasure of Allah and guidance of people.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 30

يَا نِسَآءَ النَّبِيّ‌ِ مَن يَأْتِ مِنكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيّـِنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عَلَي اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا

30. “O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment for her will be doubled, and that is easy for Allah.”

In Divine retribution and reward personal merit and noble descent have no effect and every offender must be punished.

Those who have a religious feature and a social situation and whose manner is considered as a model for others, will deserve a greater retribution than that of others if they commit a sin.

This holy verse through some clear statements refers to the situation of the wives of the Prophet (S) concerning their good and evil actions as well as their prominence and their heavy responsibility.

It says:

“O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment for her will be doubled, and that is easy for Allah.”

You are living in the house of the Prophet (S), the centre of revelation and prophecy. Regarding to your constant nearness to the Messenger of Allah (S) your awareness about the Islamic affairs is more than the common people, in addition that others look at you and your deeds are as models for them.

Therefore, your sin is more grievous than theirs with Allah, since both reward and retribution are given according to the one’s knowledge and level of cognizance, and its effect in the environment. You have both a heavier portion of information and a more sensitive situation from the point of having an affect of the society.

Besides them all, your wrong actions, from one side, annoy the holy Prophet (S), and, on the other side, damage his honour, and this is counted another sin which deserves another punishment.

The objective meaning of the Qur’anic phrase: /fahišatan mubayyinah/ is the open lewdnesses; and we know that the harm of the sins that some known personalities commit will often be more effective when they are done manifestly.

The Qur’anic sentence that says: “That is easy for Allah” refers to this fact that they should never imagine that their punishment causes any difficulty for Allah and that their relation with the Prophet of Islam (S) may hinder it, as it is customary among people that they ignore, or consider the sins of their friends and relatives small.

No, it is not such. This ordinance will decisively be executed upon them. The above mentioned verses are about the wives of the Prophet (S), saying that if they obey Allah they will have a double reward, and if they commit a manifest sin their retribution will also be doubled.

But in view of the fact that the main criterion of judgment is one’s social position, personality and rank, this ordinance is also true about other persons who have a social position.

Such persons do not belong only to them, but their existence consists of two dimensions: one dimension belongs to their own selves, and the other belongs to the society. So, their life programs can guide a group or mislead another group. Thus, their deeds have two effects: a personal effect and a social effect, and from this point of view, each of them has a reward or retribution.

A tradition narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) indicates that he said:

“An ignorant person’s seventy sins will be forgiven before that a single sin of a learned one can be forgiven.”2

It is narrated that:

“Once someone came to Imam Sajjad, Ali-ibn-il-Husayn (as), and said:

‘Verily you are the family whom Allah has forgiven.’

The Imam (as) became angry and said:

“We are more deserving that what Allah has appointed about the wives of the Prophet (S) to be appointed to us, not as you say. We consider two rewards for our righteous (ones) and two retributions for our evil (ones), then, he recited the two abovementioned verses.”3

The messenger of Allah (S) said:

“The stroke of Ali (as) on the day of the ditch is better than the worship of Jinn and human beings.”4

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 31

وَمَن يَقْنُتْ مِنكُنَّ لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتَعْمَلْ صَالِحاً نُؤْتِهَآ أَجْرَهَا مَرَّتَيْنِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لَهَا رِزْقاً كَرِيمًا

31. “And whoever of you (women) is obedient to Allah and His Messenger, and does righteousness, to her shall We grant her reward twice; and We have prepared for her a generous sustenance.”

Encouragement and threat are effective when they are beside each other.

That obedience is worthy which is based upon knowledge and love accompanied with modesty.

Therefore, this verse says:

“And whoever of you (women) is obedient to Allah and His Messenger, and does righteousness, to her shall We grant her reward twice; and We have prepared for her a generous sustenance.”

The Arabic word /yaqnut/ is derived from /qunut/ in the sense of obedience accompanied with modesty and discipline.5 So the Holy Qur’an tells them in this way that they should be obedient both to the command of Allah and the Prophet and observe the condition of discipline perfectly.

Here, we confront again this point that mere claim of faith and obedience is not enough, but in respect to the Qur’anic phrase /ta‘mal salihan/ (does righteousness) its effects must be seen in action, too.

The Arabic phrase /rizqan karim/ (a generous sustenance) has a vast meaning which encompasses all the spiritual and material merits. It has been rendered into Paradise for the sake that Paradise is the abode of all these merits.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 32

يَآ نِسَآءَ النَّبِيّ‌ِ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِنَ النّـِسَآءِ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلاَ تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلاً مَعْرُوفاً

32. “O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any of the (other) women if you are in awe of Allah, then be not soft in speech lest he in whose heart is disease aspire (at you) and speak honourable words.”

The circumstance of the families of religious leaders is different from that of others and they should be more careful of their behaviour than others.

When the wives of the Prophet (S), most of whom were old and aged and had a simple life, are warned that they should not speak with an amorous gesture, the young and beautiful women must count their own account.

So, in this verse, Allah says:

“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any of the (other) women if you are in awe of Allah…”

From one side, because of your connection to the Prophet (S), and that you are inside the centre of revelation and hear the verses of the Qur’an and teachings of Islam, on the other side, you have such a particular situation that you can be a model for all women, whether in the way of piety, or in the way of sin, therefore, you must recognize your situation and do not neglect your heavy responsibility.

You should know that if you are pious you will have a very excellent rank with Allah.

Next to this fair premise, which makes them prepare for accepting responsibilities and consider personality for them, it issues the first divine command in the field of chastity, and, in particular, refers to a narrow subject so that other issues in this relation would be made clear. It says:

“…then be not soft in speech lest he in whose heart is disease aspire (at you)…”

You should be severe and dry in speech, and speak ordinarily, not like some low women who try to speak with some stimulative changes in their voice and gesture that cause the voluptuous persons to fall in the thought of sin.

The application of the Qur’anic clause: “He in whose heart is disease” is a very explicit meaning upon this fact that the existence of sexual instinct in the level of moderation and religion is the sign of health, but when it is beyond this level it is a kind of disease, so much so that it becomes nigh to madness and is usually called: ‘sexual madness!’

Nowadays, the concerning scientists have explained in their books different kinds of this psychological sickness, which come into being as the result of the increase of this instinct and submitting to kinds of sexual pollutions in corruptive environments.

The Qur’an issues the second command as follows:

“…and speak honourable words.”

In fact, the phrase “…be not soft in speech…” refers to the modality of speaking, and the phrase: “speak honourable words” points to the content of speech.

Of course, the phrase ‘honourable words’, here, has a vast meaning that, besides what was said, negates any kind of false, vain, and sinful saying which is opposite to the truth.

By the way, the recent sentence can be an explanation for the former one, lest no one think that the wives of the Prophet (S) must encounter strangers insidiously or far from discipline, but their manner must be decent, polite and, in the meanwhile without having any sort of behaviour with stimulation.

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 33

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلاَ تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الأُولَي وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلاَةَ وَءَاتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ اِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرّ‌ِجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهّـِرَكُمْ تَطْهِيراً

33. “And stay in your abodes and do not display your finery, like the former times of Ignorance, and establish the prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, O’ you the people of the House! And purify you (with) a thorough purification.”

This verse addresses the wives of the Prophet (S), but certainly its purpose is all the Muslim women who must practice these commandments respectively.

Sin is a pollution for the spirit, and the family of the holy Prophet (S) must be far from this pollution.

In the field of observing chastity, this verse says:

“And stay in your abodes and do not display your finery, like the former times of Ignorance…”

The Arabic word /qarn/ is derived from /wiqar/ in the sense of ‘heaviness’, which implicitly refers to staying at homes. Some others have also said that it may be derived from /qarar/ which, from the point of consequence, does not much differ from the first meaning.

The Arabic word /tabarruj/ means to be manifest before the eyes of people. It is derived from /baraja/ which means to be apparent in front of the eyes of all.

The objective meaning of the Qur’anic word /jahiliyyah/ (ignorance) apparently is the same Ignorance which existed at the time of the Prophet (S). As the history indicates, at that time women had not a correct veil.

They used to cast the lap of their shawls behind their heads in a way that their throat and a part of their breast, necklace, neck and ear-rings were seen, and by this style the Qur’an dissuades the wives of the Prophet (S) from these sorts of treatments.

No doubt this ordinance is general, and the emphasis of these verses on the wives of the Prophet (S) is as a stressed recommendation. It is just like that we tell a scholar that he, who is a scholar, should not tell a lie.

The concept of this statement is not that telling a lie is permissible for others, but the purpose is that this man who is a scholar must avoid this action more seriously and more emphatically than others.

However, this statement shows that in future there will come some Ignorance similar to the Ignorance of Arabs, and today, in our time, we see the traces of this prophecy of the Qur’an in the civilized material world.

But the former commentators, who could not foresee such an affair, had been in trouble for commenting this word.

So, they have commented the phrase /jahiliyyatil ’ula/ (the former times of Ignorance) as the time between the age of Adam and that of Noah, or the time between the age of David and Solomon, when women came out in public with some dresses that their bodies were manifest, so that they could name the Ignorance before Islam as the second Ignorance.

But, as we said before, these statements are not needed, and the apparent meaning is that /jahiliyyat-il-’ula/ is that very Ignorance of before Islam which is referred to in another place of the Qur’an, too.6 and the second Ignorance is the Ignorance which will come into being later (like our age).7

However, the verse of the Qur’an has stated three Divine instructions as follows:

“…and establish the prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger…”

If in the field of worship the Qur’an emphasizes on ritual prayer and poor-rate, it is for the sake that prayer is the most important way of communication with Allah and in the meantime that the poor-rate is a great worship, it is counted as a firm connection with the servants of Allah.

The Qur’anic sentence: “obey Allah and His Messenger” is a general ordinance which envelops all the Divine programs. These three instructions also show that the above ordinances are not allocated to the wives of the Prophet (S), but they are for all, although they have an emphasis concerning them.

At the end, the verse says:

“…Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, O’ you the people of the House! And purify you (with) a thorough purification.”

The application of the Arabic word /’innama/ here, which is usually for restriction, is an evidence that this merit is only for the family of the Prophet (S).

The Arabic term /yuridu/ refers to the genetic will of Allah, else, ‘the religious will’ and, in other words, the necessity of keeping one’s self pure does not restrict to the family of the Prophet (S) and, according to the command of religion, all people are dutifully responsible to be pure from any kind of sin and pollution.

It may be said that ‘the genetic will’ causes a kind of fatalism, but regarding to the discussions we had about the infallibility of Divine prophets and Imams the answer of this question will be made clear, and here it can be briefly said: the infallible ones have a sort of acquired eligibility by means of their own deeds, and a kind of innate competency gifted from the side of Allah so that they can be a paradigm for people.

In other words, the infallible ones, for the sake of Divine aids and their own pure deeds, are in a state that they do not go toward sins while they have power and authority to commit sin.

It is just like that never a wise person is ready to take a piece of fire and puts it in his mouth, while there is neither a compulsion nor any aversion in this action. This is a mood emerged from inside of the self of a man as the result of information and innate natural principles, without being any compulsion and predestination in the action.

The Arabic term /rijs/ means an impure thing, whether it is impure from the view of the man’s nature, or according to the intellect or religion or all of them.

The Qur’anic word /tathir/ means ‘to purify’ and in fact, it is an emphasis on the negation of any kind of uncleanness; and its mentioning here in the form of ‘absolute object’ is counted another emphasis on this meaning.

According to the view of all scholars of Islam and commentators, the application of the term Ahlul Bayt here refers to the family of the Prophet (S) and this is the thing which is understood from the apparent of the verse itself.

The objective meaning of the word /bayt/ (house), which has been mentioned here in an absolute form, with the context of the verses before and after it, is the house of the Prophet (S)

Who Are the Prophet’s Family (Ahlul Bayt)?

There are a lot of traditions recorded in the sources of the Sunnites and Shi‘ah which indicate the addressees in the abovementioned verse are only five persons. They are: the Prophet (S), Ali (as), Fatimah (as) Hassan and Husayn (as).

There are more than one hundred and thirty narrations mentioned in this regard in the book entitled Shawahid-ut-Tanzil, which is one of the famous books of the Sunnites. The book entitled Ihqaq-ul-Haqq introduces more than seventy traditions taken from the famous sources of the Sunnites which allocate this verse to the above mentioned five persons.8

Surah Al-’Ahzab – Verse 34

وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَي فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ مِنْ ءَايَاتِ اللَّهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ اِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ لَطِيفاً خَبِيراً

34. “And remember what is recited in your abodes of the signs of Allah and the Wisdom; verily Allah is All-Subtle, Aware.”

There have been mentioned two meanings for the Qur’anic word /ŏikr/: one is ‘to memorize’ and the other is ‘to utter’.

Therefore the Qur’anic phrase: /waŏkurna/ means: O’ wives of the Prophet! You should remember, and do not forget, that the Divine revelation is sent down in your house; or it means: you should reiterate for others whatever of the Book of Allah is recited in your house and you learn.

Instead of a mean and worthless culture, you must follow the Divine culture. The household of the Prophet (S) must do righteous deeds prior to others.

This fact mentioned in this verse has been stated as the last duty of the wives of the Prophet (S), and it is a warning unto all of them that they may utilize the best opportunity which has been given to them; that is, being informed of the facts of Islam, and that they might improve themselves under its light.

It says:

“And remember what is recited in your abodes of the signs of Allah and the Wisdom…”

You are in the centre of revelation and under the light of the Qur’an. Even when you are at home, you can abundantly enjoy the lessons of Islam and the words of the holy Prophet (S) stated by his holy tongue, because his every breath is a lesson and his every word is a program.

Upon the difference between /’ayatillah/ (the signs of Allah) and /hikmat/ (wisdom) some of the commentators have said that both of them refer to the Qur’an, but the application of the Qur’anic word /’ayat/ states its being as a miracle, and the application of /hikmat/ reiterates the deep content and knowledge hidden in it.

Some other Islamic commentators have said that /’ayatullah/ points to the verses of the Qur’an and /hikmat/ refers to the Prophet’s way of treatment and his wise admonitions.

Both of these two commentaries adapt to the rank and words of the verse, but the first one seems nearer, because the application of the word ‘recite’ is more appropriate in respect to the Divine verses. In addition, the word /nuzul/ has been used in many verses of the Qur’an in connection with both ‘verses’ and ‘wisdom’.

Among them is Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 231 which says:

“…and what He has sent down unto you of the Book and wisdom…”.

Similar to this very meaning is also recited in Surah An-Nisa’, No. 4, verse 113.

At the end of the verse, the Qur’an adds:

“…verily Allah is All-Subtle, Aware.”

This sentence points to this fact that Allah is aware of the most precise things, and He knows your intentions very well, and He is aware of the secrets hidden inside your breasts.

This meaning is in the case that we comment the Qur’anic word /latif/ (All-subtle) in the sense of the One Who is aware of the minute points, and if we comment it in the sense of ‘the possessor of mercy’, it refers to this fact that Allah is both merciful unto you, the wives of the Prophet (S), and is aware of your deeds.

This is also probable that the emphasis on the word /latif/ (All-subtle) is for the sake of the miracle of the verse of the Qur’an, and the emphasis on the word /xabir/ (aware) is for its wise content. In the meanwhile, these meanings do not contrast each other and can be said with together.

A Few Points

1- The ‘Purification Verse’ is the Clear Proof of Immaculacy

Some commentators have taken the Arabic word /rijs/, mentioned in the verse, only as a hint to polytheism, or to the ugly major sins such as adultery, while there is no proof available for this restriction.

But (regarding that the Arabic signs ’Alif and Lam added to the material noun /rijs/) the word ‘Ar-Rijs’ encompasses every kind of pollution and sin, since all sins are called in Arabic ‘Rijs’. In the Qur’an, this word has been used in the senses of: polytheism, alcoholic liquors, gambling, hypocrisy, unlawful meats, and the like.9

And regarding that the Will of Allah is not changeable and the sentence:

“…verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness O’ you the people of the House…”

mentioned in the Qur’an is an evidence upon the certain Will of Allah, specially regarding to the Qur’anic word /’innama/ which is used for restriction and emphasis, makes it clear that the decisive Will of Allah is determined that ‘the people of the House’ should be clean from any pollution, wrong and sin and this is that very rank of infallibility.

This point is also noteworthy that the objective meaning of ‘the Will of Allah’ in these verses is not His instructions and ordinances concerning lawful and unlawful things, since such instructions are for all people and do not allocate to only Ahlul Bayt (as), therefore, it is not consistent with the concept of the word /’innama/.

Thus, this constant Will refers to a kind of Divine aid which helps the people of the House (Ahlul Bayt) in infallibility and its continuation, and in the meantime, (as it was explained before), it does not contrast with free will and choice.

In fact, the concept of the verse is the same thing that is also mentioned in Jami‘ah Supplication, which says:

“Allah protected you from errors, and made you safe from seditions, and purified you from pollutions, and kept off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, and purified you (with) a through purification.”

2- Whom is the Purification Verse About?

We said before that though this verse is mentioned inside the verses concerning the wives of the Prophet (S), the change of its style (the alteration of feminine plural pronouns to masculine plural pronouns) is the evidence for that this part of the verse has a content apart from these verses.

That is why even those who have not considered this verse concerned to the Prophet (S), Ali (as), Fatimah (as), Hassan and Husayn (as), believe that it has such a vast meaning that it envelops both these dignitaries and the wives of the holy Prophet (S).

But there are many narrations available which indicate that the verse is allocated to only these dignitaries and the wives of the Prophet (S) are not involved in this meaning though they have a symmetrical respect. Here are a number of those narrations:

A) The narrations that have been narrated from the wives of the Prophet (S) themselves. They said:

“When the Prophet (S) was speaking about this holy verse, we asked him whether we were included in it, and he answered:

‘You are good but you are not included in this verse’.”

Among them is the narration which Tha‘labi has narrated in his commentary from ’Umm-us-Salamah, saying:

“The Prophet (S) was at home when Fatimah (as) brought a piece of silk cloth to him.

The Prophet (S) told her:

‘Call your husband and your two sons, Hassan and Husayn (as)’.

She fetched them.

Then they ate food.

Then the Prophet (S) cast a mantle over them and said:

‘O’ Allah! These are my family (Ahlul Bayt), then keep off from them (every kind of) uncleanness and purify them (with) a thorough purification’.

And it was here that the verse saying:

‘Verily Allah intend…’

was revealed.

I said:

‘Am I with you, O’ Messenger of Allah?’

He (S) said:

‘You are upon goodness, (but you are not among them)’.”

Also Tha‘labi himself narrates from ‘Ayishah as follows:

“When she was asked about the Battle of Jamal and her interference in that destructive battle, she (regretfully) said:

‘This was a Divine pre-ordination’.

And when she was asked about Ali (as), she said:

‘Do you ask me about the one who was the most beloved with the Messenger of Allah (S) among people, and about the wife of the one who was the most beloved with the Messenger of Allah (S) among people?

I have seen myself Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, and Husayn whom the Messenger of Allah had gathered under clothing, and said:

‘O’ Allah! These are my family (Ahlul Bayt) and my support; then keep off from them (every kind of) uncleanness and purify them (with) a thorough purification.’

She said:

‘I asked:

‘O’ Messenger of Allah! Am I from (among) your family?’

He answered:

‘Be off! You are upon goodness’.”10

These sorts of narrations explicitly denote that the wives of the Prophet (S) are not considered as Ahlul Bayt (family) in this verse.

B) There have been recorded many narrations about Hadith Kasa from all of which it is understood that once the Prophet (S) called up Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Husayn (as), or they themselves came to him.

He cast a shoulder-mantle over them, and said:

“O’ Allah! These are my family (members), then Keep off (every kind of) uncleanness from them.”

At this time the verse:

“Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness…” was revealed.

Hakim Huskani Neyshaburi, the famous scholar, has compiled several narrations in this field narrated from various narrators.11

Here, this question attracts the attentions that what was the aim of gathering them under that single piece garment?

It seems that the Prophet (S) intended to specify them well and say that this verse is only about this group, lest someone considers the addressees of this verse were the whole wives of the Prophet (S) and all those who are counted as a part of his family.

Even some narrations indicate that the Prophet (S) repeated this sentence for three times and said:

“O Allah! These are my family (members) and my particular (ones), then Keep off (every kind of) uncleanness from them and purify them (with) a thorough purification.”

C) A great deal of other narrations denote that after the revelation of this verse until six months when the Prophet (S) was passing by the house of Fatimah (as) for going to perform his morning prayer, he called:

“It is the time of prayer O’ Ahlul Bayt. Verily Allah intends but to Keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, O’ you the people of the House! And purify you (with) a thorough purification.”

Hakim Huskani has narrated this tradition from ’Anas-ibn-Malik.12

Another narration, which is narrated from ’Abu-Sa‘id Khidri, from the Prophet (S), indicates:

“The Prophet (S) continued this program until eight or nine months.”13

Ibn-i-‘Abbas has narrated this tradition from the Prophet (S), too.14

This point is also notable that the constant repetition of this subject for six, or 8, or 9 months beside the house of Fatimah (as) is for the purpose that the matter could completely be distinguished so that there would remain no doubt for anyone that this verse was revealed only in the rank of this group, specially that after that he (S) ordered that the doors of the houses of others towards the mosque should be closed, and, at the time of prayer, naturally a group of people could hear this statement there from the Prophet (S).

The only house the arrival door of which was allowed to be open into the Mosque of the Prophet (S) was Fatimah’s house.

D) There are numerous narrations narrated by ’Abu-Sa‘id Khidri, the famous Companion of the Prophet (S), who manifestly testifies:

“This verse has been sent down only about those five persons: the Messenger of Allah, Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Husayn (as).”15

These narrations are so abundant that some of the Islamic researchers consider them ‘widely transmitted’.

It is concluded from what was said that the sources and the narrators of the traditions which indicate that the verse relates only to those five persons are so abundant that there remains no room far any doubt.

The book entitled: ‘Sharh-i-’Ihqaq-ul-Haqq’ introduces more than seventy sources from among the famous sources of the Sunnites, while the available sources of Shi‘ah in this field are more than one thousand sources.16

The writer of Shawahid-ut-Tanzil, who is one of the famous scholars of the Sunnis, has narrated more than 130 traditions in this regard.17

Besides, some of the wives of the Prophet (S) committed something during their lifetime which never agreed with the rank of infallibility, such as the event of the Battle of Jamal, which was a rebellion against Imam Ali (as), the Imam of the time, that caused a great deal of blood to be shed and, as some of historians have said, more than seventeen thousand people were killed in it.

No doubt, this event is never justifiable, and we see that even ‘Ayishah herself also after this event expresses regret, a part of which was referred to formerly. ‘Ayishah’s finding fault from Khadijah, who was the greatest, the most self-sacrificing and the most virtuous women of Islam, is known in history.

Her word was so sad for the Prophet (S) that, because of the intense of wrath his hair stood on end, and he said:

“By Allah! I had no wife better than her. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved, and she offered her properties at my disposal when all people had got distance with me.”

3- Is Allah’s Will, Here, Genetic or Religious?

When explaining the commentary of the verse we pointed out that the word ‘Will’ in the sentence:

“Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness…”

is a genetic will not a religious one.

For more explanation we must mention that the purpose of ‘religious will’ is the commands and prohibitions of Allah. For example, Allah has ordered us to perform prayer, fasting, Hajj, and Holy Struggle. This is religious will.

It is clear that religious will relates to our deeds not to the acts of Allah, while in the above-mentioned verse what belongs to will is Allah’s action. It says:

“Allah intends to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness”,

so, such a will must be ‘genetic’ and it relates to Allah in the world of genesis.

Besides this, the ‘religious will’ due to purification and piety, does not allocate to Ahlul Bayt (as) because Allah has ordered everybody to be pure and virtuous, and this is not a privilege for Ahlul Bayt (as), since all those who are fully capable are involved in this commandment.

However, this matter, i.e. religious will, not only is not consistent with the apparent of the verse, but also does not agree with the former traditions, since all of those traditions speak about a high privilege and an important particular value which is specific to Ahlul Bayt (as).

This is also certain that the Qur’anic word /rijs/ here does not mean the outward uncleanness but it refers to innate pollutions. The application of the word negates any kind of restriction and limitation in polytheism, infidelity, deeds of indecency, and the like, and it envelops all sins, and creedal, ethical and practical pollutions.

Another point which must be under careful consideration is that the genetic will which is meant ‘creation’ here means advisable not the ‘complete cause’ so that it becomes the source of fatalism and negation of choice.

Explanations: The rank of infallibility is in the sense of a state of Divine piety which comes into being in Divine prophets and Imams by the aid of Allah. But with the existence of this case, it is not such that they can not commit any sin, but they have this ability; too, and they renounce committing sin with their own choice.

It is just like a good physician who never eats a very poisonous thing that he knows its serious dangers, though he has the power of doing it, but his knowledge, mental and spiritual principles cause that he renounce eating it with his own choice.

This point is also necessary to be mentioned that this Divine piety is a particular merit which is endowed upon the Divine prophets, not upon others; but it must be noted that Allah has bestowed this privilege upon them for the heavy responsibility of leadership that He has given them.

Therefore, it is a privilege that the result of which benefits everyone, and this is the essence of justice. It is just like the particular privilege that Allah has given to the thin, tender, and very sensitive curtains of the eyes that the whole parts of the body enjoy of it.

Moreover, in the same respect that Divine prophets have privileges and are involved in the merits of Allah, their responsibility is heavy, too; so that only a ‘leaving the better’ of theirs is equivalent to a major sin committed by the ordinary people. This is a distinguisher of the line of justice.

Conclusion: This will is a genetic will in the level of an advisable cause (not a complete cause), and, in the meantime, it is neither the cause of fatalism nor does it negate any advantage and honour.

  • 1. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 229
  • 2. ’Usul-i-Kafi, Vol. 1, P. 37
  • 3. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, Vol. 8, P. 354
  • 4. Al-Qadir, Vol. 7, P. 206
  • 5. Mufradat by Raqib, under the word ‘Qunut’.
  • 6. Surah ’Al-i-‘Imran, No. 3, verse 143, Surah Al-Ma’idah, No. 5, verse 50, and Surah Al-Fath, No. 48, verse 26
  • 7. As it was pointed out a group of the commentators were in doubt about the meaning of the Arabic phrase /jahiliyyat-il-’ula/ mentioned in the verse under discussion, as if they could not believe that after the advent of Islam there will come into being in the world a kind of Ignorance that the Ignorance of the Arabs before Islam comparing with it will certainly be an insignificant matter.
    But today this matter is completely clear for us, who are witnesses of the horrible manifestations of the Ignorance of the twentieth century, and this must be counted as one of the miraculous prophecies of the Qur’an.
    If in the age of first Ignorance the Arabs had some wars and robberies and, for example, for several times the market of ‘Akkaz was the scene of foolish blood-sheds, and some people were killed, in the Ignorance of our time some universal wars take place wherein sometimes more than twenty million people are slain, and more than that are injured or become deformed.
    If in the Ignorance of Arabs women displayed their finery, and put their scarves aside in a way that a part of their breast, throat, necklace, and ear-rings were seen, in our age they form some clubs under the title of ‘Necked Club’ (the example of which is famous in England) wherein, with utmost excuse, individuals become nude for indecent exposures.
    If in the age of Arab Ignorance the polluted women put a sign above their own houses in order to invite some individuals toward themselves, in the Ignorance of our age there are some persons who introduce some things in this field in some special newspapers or in the sites of internet which are earnestly shameful to be mentioned and the Ignorance of Arabs were hundred times more honourable than this.
    In short, there are some corruptions in faithless material world of today that leaving them unmentioned is better, and this commentary ought not to be polluted by it.
    What was said was only a small portion out of very many kinds of them in order to show the life of those who get distance with Allah and, with having thousands of universities, scientific centres and famous scholars, they are fully polluted by corruptions, so much so that even these very scientific centres and their scholars sometimes cooperate with them.
  • 8. The Commentaries of Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, Burhan, and Safi
  • 9. Suras Al-Hajj, No. 22, verse 30; Al-Ma’idah, No. 5, verse 90; At-Taubah, No. 9, verse 125; Al-’An‘am, No. 6, verse 145
  • 10. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, following the verse
  • 11. Shawahid-ut-Tanzil, Vol. 2, P. 32
  • 12. Shawahid-ut-Tanzil, Vol. 2, P. 25
  • 13. Shawahid-ut-Tanzil. Vol. 2, P. 11
  • 14. Ibid, PP. 28, 29
  • 15. Durr-ul-Manthur, Following the verse.
  • 16. Vol. 2 of Ihqaq-ul-Haqq and its footnotes
  • 17. You may refer to Shawahid-ut-Tanzil, P. 10 to P. 92

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