Table of Contents

Imamate

"Of Whomsoever I am the master this Ali is also his master. "1

Question 26

Q.26: Please describe the various meanings of the Arabic word of Maula (Master).

A: According to Arabic language, Maula has sixteen meanings:

(1) Owner/master (2) Lord (3) liberator (4) liberated (5) neighbor (6) ahead and behind (7) ruled (8) guarantor with whom agreement has been made (9) son-in-law (l 0) cousin (1 1) benefactor (12) who has benefited (13) friend (14) helper (15) obeyed one or superior leader and (16) one who is preferable.

When a word having various meanings, like this word (Maula) is used in a sentence, in order to arrive at its proper meaning one must look at the verbal or logical context. So we say: Look at the tradition of Ghadeer Khum which is successively narrated (Mutawatir) that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:

"This Ali is the master for whomsoever I am the master."

Doubtlessly, in this tradition, the first twelve meanings mentioned above do not fit as they are unrelated with the matter on the contrary most of them are false and incorrect. The thirteenth and the fourteenth meaning; which is helper or friend too, has nothing related to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and His Eminence, Ali. They equally and commonly apply to all faithfuls, that is, every believer is the friend of every faithful as is mentioned in the following verse:

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ

"And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other ...” ( At-Taubah, 9:71)

Rather even angels are friends of the faithful and also their helpers as mentioned in the verse:

نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ

"We are your guardians in this world's life and in the hereafter ..." (Al Fussilat, 4 1:31)

Thirdly, the context definitely, logically and verbally shows that what is meant is the sixteenth meaning and that the fifteenth and the sixteenth meanings are nearer to one another. The verbal context too shows that Maula means one who must be given first preference in following as the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) before making this statement, asked:

"Am I not more preferable for you than your own lives?'' Thereafter he said: "For the one whom I am preferable to his l ife so is Al i for him in all affairs."

Thus it is only the sixteenth meaning which fits the occasion. Moreover, any other meaning is improper from the viewpoint of Arabic language and grammar as agreed by linguists.

The second thing which supports this meaning is the statement of Umar, who said:

"Congratulations to you, o son of Abu Talib!"

Ibne Athir also has written that what Umar meant was that Ali has been given the position of preference in obedience over all.

The third support to this meaning is what the Arab poet Hassan bin Thabit composed in Ghadeer Khum and which is equally popular among Shias and Sunnis; He recited:

"Then he (the Prophet) said to him: Stand up O Ali, indeed I am pleased of you being the Imam and guide after me."

This clearly shows that what Hassan, who was present in Ghadeer, meant was only the one who is to be given preference in obedience; that is Imamate.

Fourth proof: Prophet's words:

"You are the Imam of all believer men and women after me and the guardian (Wali) of all believer men and women after me.

Chief of scholars, Akhtab Khwarizmi has recorded this sentence from Zaid bin Arqam, Abdur Rahman lbne Abi Laylah and lbne Abbas, in Akhbaare Hadeethe Ghadeere Khum. So also Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ibne Maghazili Shafei and lbne Mardooyah have quoted it from Buraidah who says:

“I returned from Yemen and went to meet the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as I wanted to complain against Ali.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was upset and angry and he said:

"O Buraid! Do I not have greater right on the believers than their own selves?"

I submitted: Yes, O Prophet of Allah: Then he said:

"Of whomsoever I am the master, Ali is also his master. Verily, Ali is your chief among all people after me.”

And among all the proofs is the holy verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ

"0 Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord. "(Al-Maidah, 5:67)

And so is the verse of:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ

"This day have I perfected for you your religion ...,” (Al- Maidah, 5:3)

And so is the verse of:

سَأَلَ سَائِلٌ بِعَذَابٍ وَاقِعٍ

"One demanding, demanded the chastisement which must befall. ,” (Al-Ma’arij,70:1)

As for the meaning of all these verses and the contexts in which they were revealed quite cJearly and definitely show that Maula only implies one having precedence in discretion, which is the position of Imam and Caliph.

Among other evidences is what Ahmad bin Hanbal and others have reported that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) made the Muslims swear and asked from the pulpit of Kufa Masjid, those who had heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in Ghadeer Khum making the above statement to stand up and testify. Eighty persons got up and testified that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had on that day and at that place held up the hand of Ali (a.s.) and asked the audience:

"Do you know that I have greater right on the believers than they have on themselves?" They replied: "It i s true, 0 Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)."

Thereafter the HoJy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:

"Of Whomsoever I am the master; this Ali is also his master."

It is obvious that had the meaning of Maula not been preferred in obedience and if it only meant friend or helper, it would not have been proper and logical for Ali (a.s.) to cal1 upon the people to testify on oath. Such demand would have been meaningless and out of place, because being friend and assistant of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) did not grant any special distinction to Ali (a.s.) as all Muslims have this virtue of loving and befriending and assisting the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

It is also a logical proof known to all that there were some specialties in the event of Ghadeer Khum. There were more than seventy thousand Muslims and they were scattered. The distance between the first and the last of them was at least four Farsakh (24 Kms). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered all of them to gather at one place and that too during the midday heat in summer (in Arabia) when people placed cloaks under their feet and covered their heads from the sun. Then a stage was constructed of stones and camels saddles. The place of the meet was not pre-arranged and the huge caravan was not to halt there. Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) took Ali (a.s.) up on the said stage in such a manner that all should see him clearly. Then he said:

Am I not having more right on you than you have on your own selves?

When the audience replied: "Yes" the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) commanded: "Those who are present here should inform those who are absent that Ali is the Maula for whom I am his Maula. Then he (s.a.w.s.) prayed:

"O Allah, love one who loves him and be inimical to one who is inimical to him . . ."

These circumstantial evidences clearly show that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) did not do anything, but appoint Ali as Imam and Caliph of Muslims. No sane person would ever make so many extraordinary and painstaking arrangements just to tell thousands of Muslims that Ali was a friend of one whose friend he was. For more details and replies to objections, please refer to Kifayatul Muwahhideen.

Question 27

Q.27: His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) had, during the war with Khawarij, given drinking water to his army both at the higher area and the lower area of a well simultaneously. Because of this extraordinary happening, extremists have exaggerated in their belief about Ali (a.s.). Did the said extraordinary event take place due to the greatness of the spirit of Ali (a.s.)? Kindly explain this matter convincingly.

A: It is true that often Amirul Momineen (a.s.) used to be present at several places at one and the same time. These occurrences are reported in many traditions and therefore agreed upon. For example, the army of the infidels had split into eighteen parts and Ali (a.s.) was hitting them with his sword at the end of every section during the Battle of Khyber.

Likewise during the Battle of Siffeen, the army of Kutaibah had 25000 men and Ali (a.s.) had fought with them single-handed and defeated them and those who had fled had told Muawiyah: 'Wherever we looked, we saw Ali hitting us with his sword and spear. ‘There are several such reports about Ali being visible at several places simultaneously. As regards this condition of the holy Imam several causes have been mentioned. In one of them, Allamah Majlisi has in Biharul Anwar mentioned that in every such instance the body of Ali (a.s.) was not his physical but facsimile body. A facsimile is one which is very fine and looks exactly like the physical body, without any difference in appearance. It is like the body of angel or jinn.

Souls or spirits are like that in the world of Purgatory (Barzakh). By the power granted to them by Almighty Allah, the bosom friends of Allah are able to appear in their facsimile bodies at several places at a time and to do whatever they want at every place.

The late Haji Noori has also given other reasons at the end of his Darus Salam. Those who like may refer to it.

Question 28

Q.28: 'Ghashwah' is unconsciousness, which cannot be inflicted on an Imam. It is said that His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) used to become unconscious during nights for fear of Allah and His Might; that he became like dried wood. It is also mentioned in
some narrations that on his deathbed, Imam Hasan (a.s.) had told his brother: There is

no unconsciousness for us. When Israel (angel of death) arrived, Imam Hasan (a.s.) pressed his brother's hand and during Ghashwah man's mind does not work. How is it possible for the mind of an Imam to stop functioning when he is the Proof of Allah? There seems to be contradiction between the two narrations mentioned above.

A: What cannot overtake an Imam is the failing of brain and consciousness, which means madness, insanity, lunacy or mania. But what happens during Ghashwah is that man becomes so deeply attentive to Almighty Allah that his mind does not get diverted to anything else as happened in case of Imam Baqir (a.s.) when he was offering ritual prayer and his child fell into a well or like the condition of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) when his house caught fire when he was in ritual prayer, and his not being aware of it. This deep engagement in ritual prayer sometimes becomes so intense that one does not feel what happens even to his own body. '

Summarily, the said conditions were the result of perfect feeling and intenseness of attention to Almighty Allah. In other words, it was a lofty manifestation of the effulgence of his mind.

It is mentioned in Jamius Sadat of Agha Naraqi that once an arrow got stuck in the leg of Imam Ali (a.s.) and nobody was able to draw it out. Then Fatima (a.s.) said: You may remove it when Ali (a.s.) is engaged in Ritual Prayer as he will then not feel any pain. So they took it out when Ali (a.s.) was in Ritual Prayer and he did not feel any pain.

Though this narration is very famous, I could not find any reliable evidence of it. Also it is rather difficult to imagine. How can an arrow pierce a man's leg and get stuck in it for long. Had the arrow with an iron head remained in the leg of Ali (a.s.)? Can such an arrow remain in such condition and man can get any rest and that the Imam may not have strength enough to fetch it out except during Ritual Prayer unless it is said that small pieces of a broken arrow had remained in the holy leg of the holy Imam as what the word Nast used in a narration indicates.

There are some who question how is it that the Imam who paid attention to a beggar who was about to go out of the Masjid and gave him his finger ring during Ritual Prayer remained unaware when an arrow was drawn out of his own leg?

Our reply is that there are degrees or levels in one's attention during Prayers. The first degree of man's attention is such in which man pays attention to his Lord Creator but he also remains aware of other things. The last degree is such in which the attention is so deep that one thinks only of God and pays no attention to any other thing. It is obvious that one does not always remain in one level at all times. Same was the case of Imam Ali (a.s.). He was fully attentive to God during his prayers but the level or degree did vary.

So we say that there is no contradiction in the aforesaid two matters. His giving a ring to someone during Ritual Prayer does not mean that he was not attentive to God because that act also was a part and a kind of worship both commanded by God. He obeyed God 's both the commands viz. of bowing before him (Rukoo) and of paying Zakat (poor due). The holy verse says: "and pay the poor-rate while they bow." In short, both the deeds of the Imam were the result of his attention to God and His worship and His obedience).

That is how the holy Imams did always have a desire to be in such condition at all times. On the contrary they considered it a defect not to be in that state and sought pardon from God. This kind of extreme and deep attention to Almighty Lord and thinking about His might and power affected their heart in way similar to unconsciousness in which people fall on account of illness or other reasons. This is why this state is named Ghashwah. Otherwise there is a wide difference between common unconsciousness and Ghashwah during prayers; because in normal Ghashwah man loses all senses whereas Ghashwah of worship keeps one totally attentive to the Lord removing his or her attention from everything else.

Question 29

Q.29: While reciting Ziyarat Ashura, in one sentence, we say: 'that I may avenge your blood ' and in another part 'that I may avenge my blood'. ls the sentence demanding tlte revenge of· our own blood to show attachment of Shias with Imam Husain (a.s.) or it has any other reason?

A: There are some reasons for the visitor of Imam Husain (a.s.) referring to the blood (Thaar) of the Imam, which implies demanding vengeance of blood.

One of these reasons is same as hinted in this question, because all Shia have spiritual connection with the Imam and in this sense; they are almost parts of the Imam's existence. That is why they said:

"Our Shia are created from our remaining clay (Teenat) and they are kneaded in our Wilayat."

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) told Rameela: Whenever any of our Shias is hurt either in the east or in the west (of the world), we are also injured.

So also, Imam Ridha’ (a.s.), in reply to one who asked him, "Sometimes I become either gloomy or happy without there being any cause for it" had said: It is as an effect of either the unhappiness or happiness of the Imam (a.s.).

Another reason is that it is usual in both Arab and non-Arab languages that whenever any calamity befalls their chief or leader they relate it to themselves and say: We have taken this trouble or we have shed our blood etc. Obviously Imam is the chief of all his followers and hence it is quite proper for them that when his blood is shed, they relate it to themselves and demand its vengeance.

Yet another reason: Doubtlessly had Bani Umayyah not dared and had they not allowed such oppression to the Imam, his brother and father and had they not taken away the right from whom it belonged and had they not usurped Caliphate and rulership, which in fact belonged to Infallible Imam, no oppression to faithful believers would have ever been done and their blood would have never shed and thus, in fact, every injustice, which will be done till Judgment Day, will be in the account of those who usurped the rights of the Progeny of Muhammad (a.s.):

"If the mason puts the corner stone incorrectly, the wall will rise incorrectly upto the sky."

This shows that the blood that was shed was not of only the oppressed Imam (a.s.), on the contrary it was of all believers and thus not only the Progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) were oppressed but all believers till Judgment Day - curse of Allah be on all the enemies of Imam Husain (a.s.).

Question 30 "Peace be in you O blood of Allah!"

Q.30: I had arguments with a Christian regarding trinity. He said: Just as you calI Imam Husain (a.s.) blood of God and the son of God so do we call Isa the son of God. In reply I told him: 0ur calling is by way of an allegorical formality whereas you do not regard the son of God allegorical and believe that he is really the son of God and believe that God has a body. Kindly disc1uss this subject in detail and remove the criticism.

A: Meaning of blood (Thaar) is call for revenge of blood, which has been shed unjustly and so the meaning of saying, "Peace be on you, 0 blood of Allah," is that is you are the son of the one whose blood has been demanded by God. And since Imam Husain (a.s.), among the entire creation, has more exclusiveness with Allah and he is nearer to Allah than others, that is why his demand is called Allah's demand.

In other words, the one who can demand blood vengeance in his case is Allah as his blood was shed in Allah's path to exalt the word of monotheism and in opposition to infidelity and transgression, both verbally and physically, in which he as well as his friends and relatives were killed. Thus this reference to blood and its vengeance is allegorical, not actual because, it is obvious that Allah has no body or physicality. It is like calling the mosque 'the house of Allah '. You will not find a single Muslim who believes that Allah has a body which may be in a Masjid.

When one says or hears the words o blood of Allah ' he knows and is sure that these words are allegorical not actual. But it is not so when Christians call Isa Masih 'son of God '. Here is a factual birth of a human being, just like that of a man, an animal or a vegetable. The sperm, in stages turns into the being which is like the one whose sperm was the cause of its birth.

Obviously this is impossible in case of Almighty Allah, because it demands a body and matter and God has neither. Secondly, it is known to all and believed by all that everyone and everything owes its existence and its being to Almighty Allah. Thus how is it possible to separate something which is permanently a part of it and which is similar to it in essence
qualities and laws without being in need of Him, which was the real meaning of 'son of God ' and it is very unlikely for the Christians to imply the real meaning of the term of ‘son of God’ to His Eminence, Isa (a.s.).

As for the invalidity of intending the figurative meaning of 'son of God ' it i s that implication of 'son ' is abstract separation of a thing from another in such a way that it should be similar to it in reality without material and gradual passage of time.

Thus we say that intention in this figurative meaning is also wrong; because all evidences mentioned to prove oneness of a knowing God, may He be glorified, negate getting an individual among the creatures who is independent and similar to the knowing God in reality and effects; on the contrary the claim is that there is among creatures an individual, independent and similar to the knowing God and that is His Eminence, Masih (a.s.) and therefore he is the son of God; this is obviously contradictory; because if he is a creature, his needfulness of an original cause in every dimension is obvious and thus it is wrong to assume that he is independent and if he is independent and similar to the final cause, his being a creature is impossible.

Also how can anyone deny the creatibility of Isa (a.s.) and that he remained in the womb of his holy mother and then was born like all other babies and was brought up in her hands and passed through all stages of man's life like hunger, thirst and feelings of happiness and sorrow or grief and requirement of rest and sleep etc.?

The extraordinary and unusual miracles shown by Isa (a.s.), like reviving the dead, creating a bird and curing a born blind and leper and likewise, his being without a father none of these can grant him godhood, because such things were manifested both before and after him through human beings, who were granted prophethood or guardianship by Allah.

The father of mankind, Adam (a.s.) was born without father and mother and yet no one claimed his divinity. Every one of the divine messengers like Prophet Nuh, Salih , Ibrahim, Musa and others have shown unusual and miraculous things as recorded in scriptures and none of them ever claimed godhood.

The biggest proof of Isa being God's creation is his holiness’s worships and supplications and his call to people to worship Almighty Allah and so also his extreme humility before Only One God. All this shows that Isa Masih did not possess divinity and that he was, like all other human beings, a creation of God and His servant.

Hence it is mentioned at various places in the gospels that Masih (a.s.) called himself a man and a son of man. Even in the present Bible books it is not found that he never claimed divinity. Rather he called everyone to Lord Creator of all. It is mentioned in the Holy Quran:

لَنْ يَسْتَنْكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَنْ يَكُونَ عَبْدًا لِلَّهِ

"The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah ..."
(An-Nisa, 4: 172)

For detailed explanation refer to Tafsirul Mizan.

If Christians say: "We call Jesus, son of God just to honor him", we would say that it is a contradictory statement. Just refer to what is written about him in the present Bibles. For example, in John, Chapter 14, p. 173: If do you not believe that I am in father and father is in me? The words which I tell you, I am not telling you of my own but the father who is living in me is doing these deeds; So testify me that I am in father and father is in me.

At page 161, in the Book of John, it is mentioned: Because I have been issued from God and have come, beca use I have not arrived of my own but He has sent me.

Also in Chapter 10, page 165 it is said: I and my father are one till end. These explicit beliefs in words of this Chapter clearly show transmigration and 'being joined ' indicating that, Isa (a.s.) is having special characteristic among all men and a connection just like between man

and son. So their saying that they call Isa (a.s.) as son of God just for respect is not correct, because they indeed believe him to be the son of God.

Even if it is taken for granted that what they claim now is true there indeed is a big difference between the Shia's calling Husain (a.s.) blood of Allah (Thaarullaah) and the Christians calling Isa (a.s.) as son of God (lbnullaah). If a word is used just by way of respect, it is necessary that there should be something in the context to show that it is merely allegorical and not in the word's actual and real meaning. It is fundamental Shia belief that God does not have a body, whereas it is not so in case of Christians, whose basic belief rests on trinity.

Question 31

Q.31: Was His Eminence, Isa (a.s.) in charge of the bathing the seventh Imam (a.s.)? Please quote the narrations in this connection. It is said that His Eminence, Ahmad bin Musa (a.s.) was elder than Imam Ridha’ (a.s). Do the narrations support this?

A: The person in charge of bathing Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) was apparently Sulaiman, cousin of His Eminence, but Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) arrived all the way from Medina to become the overseer of the funeral bath without anyone being able to recognize him. It is mentioned in Vol. 11 of Biharul Anwar that Ali bin Hamza asked the Imam:

"We have heard from your holy ancestors that none but only an Imam can perform the final rituals of a deceased Imam? (The questioner meant to say: You were in Medina when your father passed away in Baghdad). The Imam replied:

Was Imam Husain bin Ali an Imam or not? He replied: Yes, he was. The Imam asked: Who oversaw the burial of the Imam? That man replied: His son, Ali bin Husain (a.s.).

The Imam again asked: Where was Ali bin Husain at that time? In fact at that time, he was a prisoner of the cursed Ziyad.

Then he said: He came to Kerbala without anyone recognizing him, oversaw his father's burial and returned to the prison. The Imam said: The same God, Who gave such ability to Ali bin Husain (a.s.) also gave the power to the master of this affair (Imam of the time - Imam Ridha’) to come to Baghdad while he was not even in captivity.

As for the fact that Ahmad bin Musa was elder to Imam Ridha’ (a.s.); we have not found any such thing in books of traditions.

Question 32

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

"Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, 0 people of the House!"
(Al-Ahzab, 33:33)

Q.32: What is the reply if Sunnis claim that all the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)

were part of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) as mentioned in the above verse?

A: The above quoted Verse of Purification is a part of verse 33 of Surah Ahzab and the whole verse reads:

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

"And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Apostle. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from yo11, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying. "(Al-Ahzab, 33:33)

The first part of the verse is an address to the wives of the Prophet and the last applies to the household (Ahlul Bayt) of the Prophet and they are only Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (a.s.) and that is why the masculine pronoun is used.

Though this verse is placed with the addresses to the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), it was revealed separately and independently in the apartment of Umme Salma and there are evidences of this in narrations.

In Ghayatul Maraam, 41 traditions from Sunni sources and 34 traditions from Shia sources are quoted according to which this verse was revealed separately and that it is related especially to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and that the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) are also the five persons. For example, here is a tradition from Sunni sources:

Ibne Sabbagh Maliki, in Fusoolul Muhimma and Asbaabun Nuzool narrates through his own chains of narrators that Umme Salma said: Once the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was in the apartment of Fatima (a.s.) when he said: Call Ali and your two sons. When they arrived, and sat down and when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) himself also was seated having a piece of Khybari cloth on it.

Umme Salma said: I also was in that apartment and near them all. Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) took the Khybari sheet and covered those persons saying: 0 Allah, these are My Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and especially mine. So keep away filth from them and cleanse them. Umme Salma said: Putting my head in, I said:

O Messenger of God: I am also with them you. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w. s.) said: You are good and towards good. At this moment, this verse was revealed:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

"Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, 0 people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. "(Al-Ah'zab, 33:33)

In the narration of Abu Naeem it is like this: Umme Salma said: 0 Messenger of Allah: Am I not from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)? The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: You are in the right direction and you are from the wives of the prophet. 2

The word of Rijs in this verse means spiritual uncleanness and diseases of the heart like infidelity, polytheism, hypocrisy, pride, self-conceit, jealousy and similar other mean characteristics and the source of all of them is narrowness of heart and ignorance about reality.

Thus cleansing of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) by the Almighty Allah means that Allah granted them spaciousness of heart, expansion of spirit, greatness of soul, purity of conscience, enlightenment about truth, seeking of truth and submission before truth in a manner that they will never voluntarily indulge in any sin, not go astray and never revolt against His commands. Same is the meaning of infallibility, which is a pre-condition of prophethood and Imamate.

Thus the verse of purification defines the position of infallibility and is related only to Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). The Imamites and many Sunni scholars agree on this meaning. As against this, some earlier narrators like Akrama and Urwah bin Zubair and a number of Sunni scholars say that the verse of purification, like earlier verses, includes all the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

In reply, we say that people like Akrama, Maqaatil and Urwah etc. are not reliable, because as mentioned by a number of great Sunni scholars, they were enemies of Amirul Momineen. (a.s.) and it is alleged that they did not desist from lying. Also, to refute what they say, it is enough to state that two wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.): Umme Salma and Ayesha, as per some narrations, have testified that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) excluded his wives from the scope of this verse.

As regards the saying of Sunni commentators that since this verse is joined with the addresses to wives of the Prophet, the context shows that they should be included in the application of purification. In reply, we say that firstly, after the abovementioned testimony of the two holy wives, their claim becomes irrelevant and secondly, context can be a proof when there is no contradiction between the former and latter sentence either in words or in meaning. Such contradiction is seen here. In the first address, the pronoun is plural female whereas in the verse of purification, it is male plural. This was about the words. As regards the meaning, in the first part there is a tone of warning and wrath whereas in the verse of purification, which is addressed to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) there is mercy and respect. This is a clear difference.

Thirdly, as said earlier, more than 70 narrations testify that the first address is to the wives of Prophet and the verse of purification is related to Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), that is, to the holy five, viz. Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (a.s.).

Also there is consensus that the two verses were revealed separately.

  • 1. Maniul Akhbar, Pg. 65
  • 2. Refer Al Fusulal Muhimma, Pg. 305; Asbabun Nuzul. Pg. 299