Discourse on Ayat Al-Tatheer, Verse of Purification


The academic discourse on the Inerrancy (I’sma) of Ahlul Bayt which is best described as ‘Divine Protection from Inerrancy’ with reference to Ayat Tathir has been made by Sheikh Mansour Leghaei at the Imam Husayn Islamic Centre (IHIC).

This is a textual based transcript of the presentation by His Eminence for those whom were not able to attend on the day, and for any other person(s) whom are interested in this academic discussion.

The focus of this discussion is on proving the Inerrancy and Status of Ahlul Bayt as mentioned in the Quran through logical reasoning, and grammatical analysis of the Arabic which has been used in Ayah 33:33.


The portion of the Ayah under examination in this discussion with respects to the purity of Ahlul Bayt has been revealed separately on separate occasions from the Ayaat which came prior to and after this ayah in their present positioning within the Surah.

In the previous and proceeding Ayat Allah (SWT) in the Quran deals with the wives of the Prophet (S) and in the portion of the ayah under analysis it deals with an exclusive group of people called Ahlul Bayt whom have been given an unprecedented level of purity and status inerrancy in which they have been engulfed in divine protection.

Through the course of this discourse His Eminence Sheikh Mansour Leghaei will seek to prove through reason of logic and grammatical analysis of the syntax of Arabic used in this ayah that indeed this exclusive group (Ahlul Bayt) are indeed free from error or sin.

While the address in the beginning of the ayah is in feminine gender form, we see a transition in the ayah from this to one that is being addressed in masculine gender.

When referring to the wives of the Holy Prophet (S) the pronouns are consistently in feminine. For a mixed assembly of men and women, generally, the masculine gender is used.

Therefore, the placement of the portion of the ayah dealing with the inerrancy and purity of Ahlul Bayt exclusively is emphasized more by the fact that the previous ayaat and proceeding ayaat are addressed to females (wives of the Prophet (S)).

Innama (verily or only) signifies exclusive distinction. To emphasize this exclusiveness, the second object of the verb yudh-hiba (keep off)-the phrase ankum (from you) has been put before the first object Rijs (uncleanness); and for further emphasis, the phrase Ahlul Bayt has been mentioned to explain the pronoun ankum (from you). The grammatical structure of the whole clause indicates that this is a unique privilege or distinction granted to the Ahlul Bayt only, excluding all others.

1.1 Divine Protection (I’smah) Granted To Prophets And Ahlul Bait

One of the characteristics of the Prophet (S) and in fact all the Prophets (S) is that they were Ma’soom or Divinely Protected which mean that they did not err or sin in their life. The typical wrong translation of the word Ma’soom in English has been the use of the word ‘Infallible’. For further discussion of the divine protection of the Prophets refer to ‘Infallibility’ by the same author.

We also believe as Shia that the Prophet of Islam (S) and the twelve Imams as well as Fatima (sa) were the fourteen Ma’soomin mentioned as Ahlul Bayt in this Ayah. The definition of Ma’soom here is that they were divinely protected from all sins from birth to death.

The sense of it in a nutshell is that they were brought to earth as carriers and examples of Allah’s (SWT) message and guide to humanity through the Quran.

Logically it holds that these guides who are the perfect manifestations of the Quran (being flawless in every regard) but also be protected. The reason and need for them to be flawless is that it allows us to trust in them such that we know that they do not lie. It is a matter of trust and authenticity, especially seeing that they are practical manifestations of the Quran itself and interpret this Holy book they need to be divinely protected.

1.2 Allah’s Word Is Divinely Protected For All Time

1.2 Allah’s (SWT) word (Quran) is divinely protected for all time as are the carriers (Ahlul Bayt) of the message

There are numerous ahadith of Shia and Sunni books they have referred to the Quran and Ahlul Bayt as ‘Thaqalayn’ or Two Weighty things. The Quran as we know it today is God’s word in theory and Ahlul Bayt is the crystallization of the Quran in absolute practice.

So far as the Quran is divinely protected then Ahlul Bayt is protected,

1.3 General Categorization Of The Quran

In this category the entire Quran is split into two categories

Whenever we see any Ayah describing the good characteristics of righteous people this really refers to members of the Ahlul Bayt as they are the most perfect examples of it. Thus, when for example we recite: “Our Lord! …make us die along with the righteous people.” 3:193 the best example of the righteous people are the Ahlul Bayt (as).

On the other hand, wherever we see any Ayah describing the bad characteristics of people this really refers to those that hated and caused injustice to Ahlul Bayt.

Among all the different Ayaat of virtues of Ahlul Bayt there is one that it is compulsory for every Muslim and Shia (follower of Ahlul Bayt) to memorize this ayah and read them time and time again.

This ayah is known of the ‘proof of purification’ or Ayat Tathir: Surah Al-Ahzaab 33: Ayah Al-Tatheer 33.

“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 Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.” 33:33.

One needs to not only listen to this ayah it needs to be analyzed so that the soul understands and gets nourished by it.

Arabic is essential in the analysis of this ayaat

The English translations in respects to this ayah were not satisfactory, this is a delicate job and difficult.

1.4 Grammatical Analysis Of Ayah

Need to analyze every single word in this ayah:

1st Word: Innama

The word Innama is in fact sourced from and is a combination of two Arabic words

– the first being Inna and the second word being Ma. However, the words InnaMa and AnnaMa are the same in meaning.

Arabic linguists are unanimous that the word Innama is an expression of Li Al Hasar – it means exclusion with emphasis (or exclusive distinction), the word Inna denotes emphasis – or verily – indeed etc. Once it is combined InnMa it gives emphasis with exclusion – e.g. ‘this but’ or ‘only this and nothing else’.

To best illustrate this point, an example is required:

In Surah Al-Anbiya the Prophet (S) is instructed to tell the infidels, “I have only one mission and message, one law in regards to worshipping God and that is to worship one God – Allah (SWT)”, Qol innma

Say: "Verily it is only revealed to me that your Lord if one Lord: will ye therefore bow to His Will (in Islam)?" 21:108

The term innma indicates that Allah (SWT) has willed that shared something exclusively for some people – which is for Ahlul Bayt as we will find out later. Again, the meaning is exclusion with emphasis.

Further Analysis

This word in Arabic is translated in English as being ‘verily’ or ‘indeed’ or ‘only’ and signifies exclusive distinction to the point where it is emphasized just so much as it is if one was able to say ‘Verily, Verily’ in an English prose.

Innama implies the determined decision or will of Allah. Although the decision of a created being may not take effect at all, but the will of Allah takes immediate effect. There cannot be a slightest gap of time or space in the will of Allah taking effect. When He commands: "Be"; it becomes. Refer to Baqarah: 117; Nahl: 40 Maryolm: 35; Ya Sin 83; Mumin: 68 and Qamar 50.

It is not only the will of Allah but the declaration of its effect. Since the Ahlul Bayt have been thoroughly purified, they remain thoroughly purified forever. When a quality or attribute is described or mentioned in indefinite sense it refers to the perfect possibility. The purity in this verse is absolute purity.

Polytheism (shirk) is described in the Quran as impurity and also the greatest iniquity (refer to Luqman: 13). Refer to the commentary of Baqarah: 124 for the condition that imamah is not bestowed on those who have ever (even once in their lives) worshipped any ghayrallah. All the companions of the Holy Prophet and his wives were polytheists before embracing Islam. Only the Holy Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn were at that time free from the dirt of shirk, therefore they alone could be thoroughly purified.

2nd Word: Ureedo Allah

Allah (SWT) wills. Fundamentally, in jurisprudence there are possibly two types of Will or Irada about Allah (SWT). Both can be applied to human realm.

1. Constitutional Will – Iradatal Takwiniya

Means type of will that once you will something that the action should simultaneously and automatically follow. For example, once you are hungry you are naturally seeking food and water. By nature, it has to happen. In divine sphere when Allah (SWT) wills something it has to happen. The will of God is that once he wills something he says be and it is: Kun Fayakun – it is inevitable and has to happen. Constitutional Will in realm of humanity – unless there is an obstacle you can’t do anything about it – if there is no food then you can’t eat even if you will and want to eat.

Moment Allah (SWT) willed for creation of Earth and Heaven it happened.

2. Legislative Will – Iradatil Tashri’’ya

Type of will that the action is desired but at the same time it is left up to the people to decide if they want to do it or not. Allah (SWT) sets rules – pray, fast go to Hajj etc., the desire of Allah (SWT) is there that everyone should pray. How can we go against the Will of Allah (SWT) – this is through Freewill which Allah (SWT) has given us to decide as to whether we wish to take up these things which Allah (SWT) desires us to complete.

The will of Allah (SWT) is there but it does not necessarily happen automatically.

With this introduction – the verse Innama Uredoo Allah is it legislative or constitutional?

Allamah Tabatabai (may Allah (SWT) grant mercy to his soul) indicates in this Tafsir and Commentary on this ayah that indeed this type of will is in fact a Constitutional Will, otherwise there is no virtue for Ahlul Bayt in this ayah. Imagine that Allah (SWT) only set the rules and guidelines that if you purify yourself that you will be good – then this would apply for everyone as it is a generic instruction for all. If this is the case, then what is the value in this ayah with respects to Ahlul Bayt? It is not only Ahlul Bayt that are supposed to pray and fast – so what is special about this. Innama indicates that there is something special for Ahlul Bayt – before the creation of Heaven and Earth Allah (SWT) has willed that Ahlul Bayt to be purified. Is this predestined? Where is freewill here?

Is it that they endeavored in their life that they passed all their trials in this world and now they are deemed Messengers? Or was it selected beforehand?

What type of trial did Jesus (as) go through to be made Messenger by Allah (SWT) as he spoke when he was in the cradle. What kind of trial has he gone through to be elevated to be the Messenger of Allah (SWT)?

The answer to this question needs further analysis on Infallibility – the short answer is that this does not lead to determinism. For Allah (SWT) there is no past, present or future and therefore Allah knew and always knew that these groups of people where most capable and able to carry out the message. These people will choose the right path to the best. And therefore, seeing that time is not an element that burdens Allah (SWT) it is as though they have already gone through the tests and trials themselves. But when it comes to the physical existence in this world then we have to show the people of the trials in this world. From God’s point of view there is no past, present or future.

Allah (SWT) therefore had a special Will for a special people and this Will had to happen as a matter of inevitability.

3rd Word: Le Yod-Hiba Ankom

In Arabic there are two types of expressions similar to each other – sometimes we have Dahabi Bihee and Dahabi ‘anhoo – seem similar, but the meanings are very different. In this ayah Allah (SWT) uses Dahabi ‘anhoo not Dahabi Bihee.

And this is one of the points that nearly all the translators of the Quran have not paid attention to.

In Arabic, the first one is to ‘keep someone from something’ for example – when they took him away Prophet Yusuf – the brothers took him away from his father. This is Dahaba Bihee – if it is Dahabaa ‘anho – means took something away from someone. In the story of people of paradise when they see the things that they like they say thanks to the Almighty God whom took the grief away from us ‘Adhaba ‘anna’ took away grief from us. This is the second part of the Dahaba.

The Arabic structure of this ayah in terms of ‘Dahabi ‘Anho’ indicates that it is not

Ahlul Bayt was mixed with sin sometimes in their life, contrary to what many people think and believe. Omar used to prostrate to idols for several years and so forth with other people, but Imam Ali (as) never prostrated to anyone except for Allah (SWT).

Where did we get this from the Quran? From Le yudhiba Ankom

It is not that Allah desires ‘to remove’ denoting that Ahlul Bayt where once sinful and that at a point in time they became free from sin.

Al I’sma – means divine protection from any mistake, from birth to death Ahlul Bayt were free from sin – through the application of the word Le yudhiba Ankom.

Story of Prophet Yusuf (S) whom is also infallible and divinely protected, Allah (SWT) says: Such we decided we have pushed away evil from Yusuf

Le Nasrafeho – implies already evil in him and we removed it from him (Quran doesn’t say this).

Le Nasrifa – implies he did not have sin already Yusuf did not even think about committing a sin.

Innma Youredo Allah Le yudh-hiba Ankom Al’RijsAl Rijs. What is this? We have two discussions on this word here – one is Al and the other is Rijs

Al – in Arabic is nearly similar with ‘the’

Two type:

1. Definite article e.g. I saw a ‘tree’ (tree unknown), the tree was green (tree known and therefore use of ‘the’)

As we send ‘a’ messenger (Rasool) to Firaun, then Firaun disobeyed ‘the’ Messenger (Al-Rasool)

2. Al-Rijs meaning is not definite article – in that there is no discussion of Al-Rijs in the same ayah so therefore, it is not a definite article.

‘The’ in English and ‘Al’ in Arabic have another level.

Al – A’sr – is inclusive, in that it includes all of humanity Al – Rijs – the Al is inclusive article

Al –Rijs in the Quran has many levels and uses

- Physical

- Behavior based

Al-Rijs, in Arabic means ‘impurity’ – a person whom has an evil thought is impure.

This is a grammatical discussion, Al, ‘The’ in Al-Rijs means that Allah (SWT) wills to keep away ‘all’ and ‘any’ types of impurity is kept away from Ahlul Bayt.

Further Analysis:

The Term Rijs in Arabic is translated in English as ‘Filth’. In Arabic, this has the meaning of dirt and impurity whether it be outer or inner, the latter being essentially synonymous with sin. The word has been used in both outer and inner senses in the Qur'an.

Outer Level of ‘Rijs’

Outer impurity is what is at issue in the following verse:

"Carrion, blood that has been shed, and the flesh of the pig all these are filth." (6:145)

Inner Level of ‘Rijs’

By contrast, inner impurity is what is meant in this verse:

"Those whose hearts are afflicted with sickness will find their filth increased by God so that they ultimately die in a state of unbelief." (9:125)

In the ayah (33:33), which speaks of the removal of this ‘Rijs’ (filth and impurity) from the Prophet’s House, the word Rijs cannot be interpreted as referring to outer impurity, insofar as all Muslims are required to shun outer impurity as a matter of religious obligation; this is not something that pertains exclusively to the Prophet's House, whereas the verse clearly implies the grant of a particular distinction.

Moreover, the avoidance of filth and impurity does not count as a virtue that in the view of the Qur'an characterizes a particular group of people. Given all of this, for the verse to be comprehensible, the word Rijs must be taken in the sense of inward pollution of the spirit.

What is the meaning of the Rijs (uncleanness) in the verses above?

Rijs in language means anything unclean which may stick to the body or other material thing; it can also refer to the non-material side of the personality. Allah called pork Rijs, and at the same time called atheism, polytheism and the consequences of bad deeds Rijs:

'But as to those in whose hearts is a disease, it addeth unto them uncleanliness to their uncleanliness, and they shall die while they are infidels.' (Qur'an 9:125)

And 'Whomsoever willeth God that He should guide him aright, He expandeth his breast (heart/mind) for Islam, and whomsoever He intendeth to leave straying, He maketh his breast straight and narrow as though he is climbing into the very skies; thus doth God lay ignominious chastisement (Rijs) on those who believe not.' (Qur'an 8:126)

Considering this, it seems that the word (as used in the verses in question) refers to the negative moral attributes which represent the uncleanness of the soul. In addition, the word has another meaning: the intellectual mistakes in recognizing things that appears to point to individual infallibility. This is a Divine favor that Allah effects inside the self to prevent it from false belief and wrong doing, through the fact that this word also entails a notion of repulsion and rejection, and the need to abstain from it.

This verse is a clear proof of the infallibility of Ahlul Bayt (as), because the 'lam' (corresponding to the sound of letter L) in the word 'Rijs' (i.e. Al-Rijs) makes it inclusive of all that can cause shortfall in a person's personality, and all that causes repulsion from it when it deviates and commits mistakes by it (the Rijs). Therefore, it points to the will of Allah to remove all deep causes of deviation or mistakes. In other words: Allah has stored in Ahlul- Bayt (as) the knowledge and special attributes of sanctity and purity to remove all Rijs from them and effect purity in them.

4th Word: Wa Youtahirrakom

God so willed to purify you. In Arabic in the Quran there are different types of Purification:

1. Physical – Surah Anfal – companions of Prophet in battle of Badr, Allah has sent down the rain to purify yourself with it (8:11), physical purification (wudhu, washing etc.)

2. Spiritual – Surah Taubaoh Messenger take from their money, from part of their money let them give it to charity to purify themselves (9:103) (soul not physical purification)

3. Super Spiritual Purification – to purify oneself from anything other than Allah (SWT), in that realm not even Noor Al Ain and Pure Honey in Heaven is considered Rijs – Hell and Heaven is considered Rijs and Ahlul Bayt are removed from this: Their Lord poured for them a purified drink (76:21)

Imam Sadiq (as) on commentary of this ayah says:

Allah (SWT) is purifying themselves of anything other than Allah and Ahlul Bayt are purified from these impurities.

What is the meaning of Youtahhirrakom? How is this complete?

Tatheera – this is the last and key word in the ayah.

Literally is maf’ool mutlak – which is ‘unrestricted object’ – there are different types of objects and this word is a type of object. It is here to emphasis the action or type of action.

This word indicates that it is a thorough purification – meaning Ahlul Bayt enjoy thorough purification implying the highest level which is the super spiritual purification which is anything other than Allah (SWT).

Al Rijs which Ahlul Bayt is kept away from and Tatheer which Ahlul Bayt enjoy - highest level of purification denotes that the Ahlul Bayt are Ma’soomeen or Divinely Protected.

Who is the Ahlul Bayt? All this applies to Ahlul Bayt

Ahlul Bayt literally means – the members of the house, when you look at the uses of the Quran nearly everywhere Ahlul Bayt refers to Wives, Children, etc. elsewhere in the Quran – exceptionally in this ayah it doesn’t include the wives of the Prophet (S).

Before this part of the ayaah and afterwards, the Quran through this Surah Al Ahzaab deals with and mention the wives of the Prophet (S)

‘Oh wives of the Prophet (S)’(33:32)

English language is shallow and not deep enough to denote the number of people engaged in the action and verb. In Arabic the verb for the male is different from the verb for the female and the English language does not do any justice to this in being able to differentiate between gender in verbs.

Quran is addressing the wives of the Prophet (S) but all the pronouns are feminine ‘lastonna’, ‘waqolna’ ‘tabarajna’ are all female verbs.

The ayaat before and after this verse of Ayat At-Tatheer are specifically addressed to the wives of the Holy Prophet (S) and the pronouns therein are of feminine gender; but the pronouns in this verse (Ayat Tatheer) are of masculine gender. The reason why this verse has been placed in its present position is to place specific emphasis on Ahlul Bayt being exclusive of and outside from the wives of the Prophet (S).

If it had been intended to address the wives of the Prophet, the second person feminine plural would have been used, not the second person masculine plural ('ankunna instead of 'ankum, yutahirakunna instead of yutahirakum).

Le youdhiba A’kom – this does not denote only the female gender, the addressee has changed

To emphasize this exclusiveness, the second object of the verb yudh-hiba (keep off) - the phrase ankum (from you) - has been put before the first object Rijs (uncleanness); and for further emphasis, the phrase Ahlul Bayt has been mentioned to explain the pronoun ankum (from you). The grammatical structure of the whole clause indicates that this a unique privilege or distinction granted to the Ahlul Bayt only, excluding all others.

Otherwise it would have been le youdhiba ankonna if it was meant to be addressed to the wives of the Prophet (S). This is not the case, so what is this part of the ayah doing here and why has it changed?

This is a fact Shia and Sunni are unanimous about this point that the way we have the Quran now in terms of the arrangements of ayaat is not the same as how it was revealed to the Prophet (S). This ayah does not mean that the circumstances are the same, no historian or Sunni scholars have ever said that this ayah is in relation to the wives of the Prophet (S) except for a few whom (non-Sunnis) whom hated Ahlul Bayt.

Now that we have established that this ayah is not exclusively for and addressed to the wives of the Prophet (S), the question now is, are the wives of the Prophet (S) ‘included’ in the ayah at all in terms of the message of the ayah being addressed to them?

Ahlul Bayt, logically should include the wives as well. If you are asked, who are the members of your household and you were married, you would say that these included your wives.

1. Ayaat not revealed in the same circumstances and occasions.

2. Unlike its previous and proceeding ayaats the pronouns (thameer) in this ayat al tathir, are all masculine, even though Fatimah Al Zahra (sa) is included in the list of Ahlul Bayt members, this is because in the Arabic language when the majority of the people are male then the verb is addressed in masculine pronoun. Whereas the previous are feminine pro-nouns.

3. The wives in the previous ayat are blamed, why are you doing this? Etc. etc. you are to behave better.

4. When it comes to this ayah it is praising the Ahlul Bayt - these ayaats are contradictory and opposites and cannot be applied to the same audience, therefore Ahlul Bayt does not include the wives of the Prophet (S).

5. There is no historical evidence that the wives of the Prophet (S) ever used this ayah of the Quran to say that they are purified for justification purposes. Not only that, the wives of the Prophet (S) have referred to this ayah to mention the virtues of the people mentioned in this ayat as being ‘not them’

Hadith as narrated in the Sahih that A’iesha herself narrates that:

Prophet (S) came out of his room, called the 4 other members of AH (Imam Ali, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn and Fatimah (sa) to gather around near him under his cloak as this ayah was revealed.

`Aishah, the wife of the Holy Prophet (S), as saying:

"One morning, the Messenger of Allah left the house with a cloak made of black material and bearing the design of a camel's saddle. Hasan ibn `Ali entered the place, and the Prophet (S) covered him with the cloak. Then came Husayn, Fatimah, and `Ali one after another, and all of them were also covered by the cloak. The Prophet (S) then stated: "... Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying."

Authentic Sunni References

1. In "Sahih Muslim" (narrated by Sayyid Murtada Firoozabadi in "Fadail al-Khamsah min Sihah al-Sitah" 214/1), Safiyah, the daughter of Shayba

2. Hakim Nishaburi in "Al-Mustadrak" 14/3; Bayhaqi in "Sunan" 149/2;

3. Tabari in the "Jami al-Bayan" Siyuti in "al-Durru al-Manthur" under the title of the "tathir verse".

4. Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, Ibn Abi Hatam have narrated it from `Aishah.

5. Zamakhshari in "Kashshaf" and Fakhr Razi in "Tafsir Kabir" have also related this tradition.

6. Recorders of traditions are unanimous about the authenticity of this tradition ("Fadail al-Khamsah" 224/1).

A'ishah relates:

"One day the Prophet left the house, with a piece of cloth slung over his shoulders. Hasan, Husayn, Fatimah, and 'Ali came to see him, and he threw the cloth over their heads, reciting the, purification verse.'

Al-Qunduzi, Yanabi' al-Mawaddah, p. 124.

The tradition is known as "The Tradition of Cloak/Mantle" (Hadith al-Kisaa), and is as follows:

Narrated Aisha:

One day the Prophet (S) came out afternoon wearing a black cloak (upper garment or gown; long coat), then al-Hasan Ibn Ali came and the Prophet accommodated him under the cloak, then al-Husain came and entered the cloak, then Fatimah came and the Prophet entered her under the cloak, then Ali came and the Prophet entered him to the cloak as well. Then the Prophet recited:

"Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O' People of the House (Ahlul Bayt), and purify you a perfect purification" (33:33) (the last sentence of the Verse).

Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of the virtues of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet (S), 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1883, Tradition #61.

Umm Salamah asked the Prophet(S) aren’t we (your wives) part of Ahlul Bayt – the Prophet (S) replied you are good, but you are not part of this Ahlul Bayt. Not even Umm Sulema is included in this Ahlul Bayt.

Umm Salamah said:

"The Holy Prophet (S) was in my house. Fatimah (`a) came to her father holding a stone bowl filled with "harirah" (type of food made up of flour, milk, and vegetable oil). The Holy Prophet (S) stated: Invite your husband and two sons to come as well." `Ali, Hasan, and Husayn also came there and all sat down to eat "harirah". Then, the Holy Prophet (S) was sitting on a cloak in his resting place and I was reciting the prayer in the chamber. At this time, Almighty Allah revealed the verse "Allah only desires to ...". The Holy Prophet (S) covered `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn (peace be upon them all) with the cloak and then stretched his hand toward the sky and said: "Allah! These are the Members of my Household, so purify them of all uncleanness'. Umm Salamah said: "I asked him: "Am I also with you?" He stated: "You are on good and virtue" (but did not say that you are a member of my Household)'."

1. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, the Hanbali Imam, (d 241 A.H.), in "Musnad" 229/2

2. Ahmad ibn Muhammad Tahawi (d 321 A.H.) in "Mushkil al-Athar" 332 and 334;

3. Wahidi in "Asbab al-Nuzul" 268 and Muhib Tabari (d 694 A.H.) in "Zakhair al-`Uqba" 23. Tabari remarked: "This tradition has been narrated from Umm Salamah by Ibn al-Qubabi in "Mu'jam" and Siyuti in "Al-Dur al-Mnthur" under the title of the "tathir verse", as well as by Ibn Jarir, Ibn Munzir, Ibn Mardawayh, Ibn Abi Hatam and Ibn Tabrani."

4. "Manaqib" by Ibn Hanbal, 44,

5. Khatib Baghdadi, Ahmad bin `Ali, (d 463 A.H.) in "The History of Baghdad" 278/10, has quoted Abu Saeed Khidri S`ad bin Malik (d 74 A.H.) as saying that after the revelation of the "tathir verse", the Holy Prophet (S) summoned `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn (peace be upon them all) and covered them with the cloak he had on and said:

"These are the members of my Household, and Allah has purified them (of every wrong and sin)."

The same tradition has been narrated from Umm Salamah by Muhammad ibn Jarir Tabari in "Jam`a al-Bayan" 7/22.

One of the Sunni scholars – Al-Haakim Al Haskani Anayshabooni has compiled a book called Shawaheed al Tanzeel and has collected 130 Sunni hadiths to show examples that the only people mentioned inclusive of Ahlul Bayt are five.

Sayed Mara’shi – gives more than 70 references in all of which are examples that the number of people in the Ahlul Bayt list are five.

Would Ahlul Bayt include Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) etc.? Yes, indeed – how?

The Prophet (S) has used this ayah and reiterated it at many occasions. Before the birth of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn, the Prophet (S) says that Ahlul Bayt referred to himself, Fatima and Imam Ali (as) and when Imam Hasan was born the same but with the inclusion of Imam Hasan (as) and when Imam Husayn (as) was born the definition of Ahlul Bayt was extended to include Imam Husayn (as). Had it been that Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) was born at the time of the Prophet (S) then the definition of Ahlul Bayt would have been then inclusive of Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as).

There are thousands of ahadith that show that the twelve Imams (as) along with the Prophet (S) and Fatima (sa) are indeed the only members of Ahlul Bayt. Once you accepted that Imam Ali (as) and others are Divinely Protected then that means that they cannot lie and are purified and they themselves have named the members of Ahlul Bayt and this is something we must logically accept after we take it and accept that Imam Ali (as) and Imam Husayn (as) are the others that make up the five members of Ahlul Bayt as being divinely protected (Ma’soomin) and free from sin.

Further Analysis: Analysis of the word ‘Ahl’

The term "ahl" is described as:

- Signifying the members of a household of a man

- Includes his fellow tribesmen, kin, relatives, wife (or wives), children, and all those who share a family background, religion, housing, city, and country with him.

"Ahl" and "al" are both the same term with the exception that "al" is exclusively used for human beings and should come before the family name, but such a condition is not existent in the case of "ahl".


c.f. "Mufradat al-Qur'an" by Raghib Isfahani; "Qamus" by Firoozabadi; "Majm`a al-Bahrayn".

21. Analysis of the word ‘Bayt’ The term “Bayt” refers to:

- Habitation and dwelling, including tents and buildings both. Reference:

c.f. "Mufradat al-Qur'an" by Raghib Isfahani; "Qamus" by Firoozabadi; "Majm`a al-Bahrayn".

Analysis of words ‘Ahlul Bayt’

The "Ahlul Bayt" of any person refers to his family members and all those who live in his house.

The term "Ahlul Bayt" (people of the house) has been repeated twice in the Holy Qur'an:

"... the mercy of Allah and his blessing are on you, O people of the house ... (11:73)"

This verse refers to the people of the House of Ibrahim (S) (c.f. "Kashf al-Asrar wa `Uddat al-Abrar", 416/4 and other interpretations).

The other instance that it is mentioned is in Ayah 33 of Surah 33.