Members of The Cloak Completed

فَلَمَّا إكتَمَلنا جَمِيعاً تَحتَ الكِساءِ أَخَذَ أَبي رَسُولُ اللهِ بِطَرَفَيِ الكِساءِ وَ أَومَأَ بِيَدِهِ اليُمنى إِلىَ السَّماءِ

When all of us sat under the cloak, my father the Messenger of Allah took hold of the two edges of the cloak with one hand, pointed to the sky with his right hand.

After the purified members of the Household who now have reached five in number have entered the Kisaa, the Tradition of the Cloak confirms that the state of completion has been reached and all the required and qualified attendees have already entered the cloak.

The state of إكمال (completion) that is pronounced in this moment indicates to us that the privilege of entrance under the cloak is not unlimited and it is not open to anyone and everyone. All those who enter the cloak must receive divine approval and prophetic approval which are equivalent to one another.

It is interesting to note that in other versions of the Tradition of the Cloak, as narrated by the Sunni School of thought by Al-Hakim that Umm Salama, a pious wife of the Prophet (SA) said: "O Prophet of Allah! Am I not one of the members of your family?" The Holy Prophet replied: "You have a good future but only these are the members of my family. O Lord! The members of my family are more deserving." (Al Mustadrak)

It is also cited by Al-Suyuti and Ibn al-Athir that Umm Salama said to the Holy Prophet (SA): "Am I also one of them?" He replied: "No. You have your own special position and your future is good." (Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor) One should ask what the wisdom behind Umm Salamah is asking whether she can be included under the cloak.

As we know, Umm Salama is one of the pious wives of the Prophet as agreed by all historians and one may argue that there is no ‘real reason’ why she wouldn’t deserve to be included among the family of the Prophet (SA). Yet, the Prophet (SA) declined her request and excused her respectfully with the assurance that she is in good standing.

This incident certainly proves that the honor of entering under the cloak and being considered to be from the “household” of the Prophet is not for anyone even if it one of his wives. The criteria for being from the “Ahl” (household) of the Prophet (SA) is not the bond of marriage or even blood relation, but rather the divine selection and approval that is based on purification of the individuals themselves.

With the members of the Cloak including none other than Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain, the state of إكمال (completion) has been reached and declared such that no one else in the present or future dare to attempt to add to the members under the cloak or attribute to others what does not belong to them.

This state of إكمال (completion) certainly reminds us of the completion and perfection which was reached on the 18th of Dhil-Hijjah in the year 10 A.H. in the occasion of Ghadeer Khum after the Prophet (SA) executed the divine order of officially appointing Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) as his successor, Wali, and Caliph over the Muslim nation after him. Upon the conclusion of his speech and after the mass of the Muslim attendees gave their pledge of allegiance to Ali, the following verse was revealed confirming the perfection and completion of the whole message of Islam,

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion. (5:3)

The completion that is mentioned in the Tradition of the Cloak is related to the completion that is mentioned in the above mentioned verse. In the former case, the completion is related to the members of the household who have received permission to enter the cloak with the Prophet, while in the latter case, the completion is in regards to the message of Islam which became perfected with the divine appointment of Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) as successor and Wasi after the Prophet (SA).

Without the Wilayah of Imam Ali (AS) and his descendants after him ending with the 12th Imam Al Mahdi (AFS), the religion is empty and incomplete. And without the holy five personalities under the Cloak, the members of the purified household of the Prophet are incomplete and the purpose of this scene as we will discover will not be achieved.

Sure enough, after the members of the household have entered the cloak and the state of completion has been reached, the Prophet (SA) then took hold of the two edges of the cloak with one hand and raised his right hand to the sky to pray.

This gesture from the Prophet (SA) indicates to us that something grand and significant is about to happen. The purpose behind the gathering under the cloak is about to be achieved, and the blessings behind this scene is about to be manifested! What could that purpose and blessing be and what is the significance behind the cloak which has gathered very holy personalities under it?