Each and every verse of the Holy Qur’an deserves a lot of research, contemplation, and analysis so that we may begin on the road of discovering the vast treasures that are hidden with each word revealed. Some verses have an obvious meaning while others are vague and need interpretation by those who bear that special knowledge. As Allah (SWT) states in the Qur’an:
“He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical…” [3:7]
From among the many interesting verses in the Qur’an, the verse of purification (33:33) in Surat Al Ahzaab has aroused a great deal of attention at the time of the Holy Prophet (SA) among his companions, and is still a topic of contention today. Many ideas and theories have been shared regarding the interpretation of this verse by the different schools of thought.
History records that the verse of purification was revealed in the event of the Narration of the Cloak (Hadeeth Al Kisaa) where it was revealed in honor of the Holy Prophet (SA), Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them). This particular verse is one of the scriptural proofs for the inerrancy of the Household of the Prophet which points to their utter purity and unique character.
Only a few people witnessed the Prophet (SA) casting his cloak over the People of the House, so in order to disseminate news of it as broadly as possible among the people and make them aware of the special position of his progeny, he would pass by the house of Imam Ali (SA) for a period of nine months and he would call out: "Peace be upon you, O People of the House!" and then he would recite the: "purification verse." Whenever the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) found it necessary to draw attention to their unique spiritual rank, they would proudly refer to this verse.
So significant is the honor which underlies the revelation of this verse in the event of the Cloak such that even Archangel Jibrael (AS) sought permission from Allah (SWT) to join the People of the Cloak in order to share in that historical moment!
It is important for us to realize the great significance of this verse and the importance of understanding and recognizing the one and true interpretation because it is related to the foundations of our faith. Without being able to identify the real owners of Ayat At Tat-heer, we will be misguided and loose our focus very easily.
For that reason, those believers who recite the famous Narration of the Cloak in a gathering where they recognize the virtues of the AhlulBayt (AS) and their purification by divine will are promised to be showered with mercy, forgiveness, removal of grief and distress, and will have their prayers answered!
This brief research is a mere attempt to shed some light on the selected verses revealed in Surat Al Ahzab and assist us in utilizing our minds by the help of Allah (SWT) to better understand the reasoning behind our beliefs such that we may reach the point of certitude and further be able to explain and convey it to others as well. May Allah (SWT) gather us with those whom Imam Ali (AS) referred to at the conclusion of Hadeeth Al-Kisaa as “those who attained success and felicity!”