وَ اَذهِب عَنهُمُ الرَّجسَ وَ طَهِّرهُم تَطهِيراً
Remove from them any impurity and purify them a thorough purification.
Thereafter, the Prophet (SA) presents the grand request which encompasses all the bounties and blessings of the life and the hereafter. He prays that Allah (SWT) removes from them (he and his AhlulBayt) any impurity. This is the keynote request and prayer and which will prove to be the main reason for the gathering under the cloak.
The question to ask now is: What exactly is the Prophet (SA) asking for? What will the Prophet and Imams (AS) be purified from? In his brief article titled Taharah & ‘Ismah of The Prophets, Messengers, Awsiyaa, And Imams, Dr. Hatem Abu Shahba presents a thorough research analyzing the two concepts of purification (Taharah) and ‘Ismah (infallibility) and we present an excerpt of that discussion in this paper as follows:
Before we attempt answering this question, let us first present an example from our everyday lives to clarify the topic of purification (Taharah). If you want to clean a knife or a pair of scissors that will be used in a surgical operation on a human body, what will you clean that knife or scissors from? In this case, you will be sanitizing it from germs, microbes, and viruses. This will be your main concern so that the wound of the patient does not get contaminated and lead to death of the patient due to his contaminated wound.
Thus, after the process of sanitization and purification, the knife or scissors will become qualified to perform its duty, which requires a great amount of efficiency and care as possible. In other words, the process of Tat-heer (purification) is essentially for the purpose of making the Mutahar (the subject that will be purified) more fit and proficient in carrying out its task in the best form possible. This is logical, reasonable, and very clear as we use it many times in our daily lives.
Let us now apply this same logic to our proposed question, as we will find that the purification of our Prophets and Imams (peace be upon them) should be from the things that may prevent or hinder the performance of their God-given roles. This purification should result in them being more proficient and capable of successfully fulfilling their jobs and responsibilities.
So, in order for us to know what they will be purified from, we must first identify and specify their jobs and responsibilities. We must know what its consequences and implications are so that we can logically deduce the answer based on our expectations. If we reflect on what exactly are the major roles and responsibilities of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams, we will conclude the following:
First: Relay and convey the orders and commands of Allah (SWT) to the people.
Second: Advise and urge the people to follow and obey the orders of Allah (SWT) and to carry out the instructions and teachings of the divine message.
Third: Obey and carry out the orders of Allah (SWT) with absolute care in the individual and specific roles that are assigned to each one of them, in addition to their general responsibilities, without any addition or subtraction.
Fourth: Set a good example and become roles models for the people in obeying the rules of Allah (SWT) and not disobeying Him under any circumstances (such that the people imitate and follow their example).
Fifth: Rule justly between the people according to what Allah (SWT) revealed and His orders, and thereby set the example to the people how to judge between others in that same manner.
Sixth: Specify the guidelines and foundations which the human society will be built on including its relation with its surroundings and its interior (exactly as Allah commanded), and to execute it out to the best of their abilities.
Seventh: Teach the people the wisdom, the lessons, and the laws of the religion as Allah (SWT) commanded, with what Allah (SWT) instructed, and with what they received from Him.
After quickly and briefly displaying the roles and responsibilities of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams (AS) on Earth, what do you think are the things that they should be cleansed and purified from in order for them to perform their jobs in the best way possible?
If we take a closer look at the seven responsibilities mentioned earlier, we will find that the common ground or factor between all of them is: the command of Allah (SWT). Hence, the Tat-heer and ‘Ismah should be from the thing(s) that may interfere, hinder, or obstruct the meaning of this word. Naturally, what interferes with a word is always its opposite and what hinders it is always what's against it.
If we realize and understand this point, it will become easy for us to draw the conclusion that the most important thing that the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams MUST be purified and protected from is: disobedience of the orders and commands of Allah (SWT).
This is exactly what Allah (SWT) mentioned in the Qur’an Al-Kareem,
بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُكْرَمُونَ لَا يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُمْ بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ.
“Nay! They are honored servants. They do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His Commandment do they act.” (21:26-27)
Since their responsibilities is of highest degree of importance and vitality as it deals with the fate of a person in his Hereafter and the life of this world, it is incumbent and necessary that their success in their responsibilities and roles is guaranteed to a percentage that reaches an accuracy of 100%. And for that to happen, they must be cleansed and purified from anything that might cause their failure or hinder their success.
Note: You may refer to the rest of this article for further analysis related to this topic: