ADAM + EVE
ABRAHAM + Hager . . . + Sarah
Ishmael . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Isaac (Ishaq)
Qaudar . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Jacob
Humal . . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Joseph
Nebat . .. - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Moses
Homeisa . - - . - . - . - . - . - . David
Azed . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Solomon
Udud . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Aaron + Hanneh her sister Ashbae + Zakarya
Adnan . -. - . - . - . - . - . - . - .
Mary . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - .
Madh . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . Jesus
Kalab + Fatemah
Qosia & Zohreh
Abde Manaf & Abdeldar
Fatemah + Ali
Hossain - Hassan
Who are Ahlulbayt?
According to most authentic traditions in collections of both Sunni
and Shia, Ahlul-Bayt (People of the House) of the Prophet are one of the two most precious Symbols of Islam after
the departure of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). There are numerous traditions in the collection of both schools that the
Prophet (PBUH&HF) has reminded us to stick to these two weighty things (al-Thaqalain), namely Quran and Ahlul-Bayt,
in order not to go astray after him. The Messenger of Allah also informed us that these two weights are non-separable
and are with each other till the day of Judgment. This requires us that for understanding the interpretation of
Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) we should refer to those who are attached to it, namely Ahlul-Bayt.
Knowing exactly who Ahlul-Bayt are, thus becomes a very vital matter when one considers the above tradition of the
Prophet (PBUH&HF) as well as many other traditions which unequivocally state that adherence to Ahlul-Bayt is the only
way of salvation. This clearly implies that the one who follows a wrong set of Ahlul-Bayt (!!), will be led astray.
Considering the critical importance of the subject, it will not be surprising to see that the Shia differ from some
Sunnis in this subject. In fact, the Sunnis do not have one voice in specifying the Members of the House the Prophet.
Most Sunnis are in the opinion that the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) are:
and including the Prophet (PBUH&HF) himself, they will become fourteen individuals. Of course, at the time of the
Holy Prophet only five of them (including the Prophet) were living and the rest were not born yet. The Shia further
assert that these fourteen individuals are protected by Allah from any kind of flaws, and thus worthy of being
obeyed beside Quran (the other Weighty Symbol), and they are the only people who have the full knowledge of the
interpretation of the Quranic verses.
In this discussion, we would like to explain why the Shia exclude the wives of the Prophet from Ahlul-Bayt, and
also we will briefly discuss why Ahlul-Bayt are protected/infallible. (More detailed discussion on the infallibility
is provided in Chapter 2). We base our proofs on:
- 1. Evidence From Quran
The Holy Book of Allah mentions Ahlul-Bayt and their exceptional virtue in the following verse which is known as
"Purification Verse" (Ayah al-Tat'hir):
"Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness O' People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and
purify you with a perfect purification". (Quran, the last sentence of Verse 33:33)
Note that the word "Rijs" in the above verse has got the article "al-" at its beginning which makes the word
universal. Thus "al-Rijs" means "EVERY KIND of impurity". Also at the end of the verse, Allah states "and purify you
a PERFECT purification." The word "perfect" comes from the emphasis of "Tat'hiran". This is the only place in Quran
that Allah uses the emphasis of "PERFECT purification".
According to the above verse, Allah expresses his intention to keep Ahlul-Bayt pure and flawless/sinless, and what
Allah intends it will certainly take place as Quran itself testifies (see 16:40). Indeed, a human can be sinless
because he is not forced to commit sin. It is the human's choice to accept the instructions of Allah and get His
help to avoid sin, or to neglect Allah's commandments and commit the sin. Allah is advisor, and encourager, and
warner. A sinless human is still a human; no doubt about it. Some people assert that in order to be human, one
SHOULD have some mistakes. Such claim is unsupported. The truth is that Human CAN make mistakes but he does not
It is the Grace of Allah that attracts His servants towards Him, WITHOUT compelling them any way. This is our choice
to pursue this attraction and refrain from doing mistakes, or to turn away and commit the mistakes. However, Allah
has GUARANTEED to show the Right Path and to provide a pure life for those who seek it:
Whoever works righteousness man or woman and is faithful, We shall revive a PURE life for him. (Quran 16:97)
And whosoever keeps his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him. (Quran 65:2)
It is worth mentioning the sentence of Quran in verse 33:33 which is related to purification of Ahlul-Bayt, has been
placed at the middle of verses related to the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), and this was the main reason why some
Sunnis include the wives of the Prophet in Ahlul-Bayt. However, the sentence related to Ahlul-Bayt (given above)
distinguishes itself from the sentences before and after it with a clear distinction. The sentences before and after,
use only feminine gender which clearly shows they are addressing the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). However,
in contrary, the above sentence uses only masculine gender which is a clear indication that that Quran is changing
the individuals who is referring to.
People who are familiar with Quran to some extent, know that such a sharp change of addressee is not a weird-thing,
and it has been applied to several places in Quran. For instance we read in Quran:
"O Joseph! pass this over and (O wife of Aziz!) ask forgiveness for your sin, for truly you have been at fault."(Quran 12:29)
In the above verse, "O wife of Aziz" has not been mentioned and the address to Joseph (AS) looks to continue. However
the transition of the address from masculine gender to feminine gender clearly shows that the second sentence is
addressing the Aziz's wife and not Prophet Joseph (AS). Notice that both sentences are WITHIN one verse. Also note
the immediate change of addressing from Aziz's wife to Joseph and again back to the wife in verses before verse 29
and also WITHIN that verse.
In Arabic language, when a group of women are being addressed, feminine gender is employed. However, if only one man
exists among that group, masculine gender is used instead. Thus the above sentence of Quran clearly shows Allah is
referring to a group other than the wives of the Prophet, using masculine gender, and that group includes some male
From the verse 33:33 alone, we can not conclude that the wives of the Prophet are not included in Ahlul-Bayt. This
latter claim can be proven by the authentic traditions of the Sunnis from Sihah Sittah in which the Prophet mentioned
who Ahlul-Bayt are; and also by comparing the specifications of Ahlul-Bayt given in the verse of Quran with the
behavior of the some of the wives of the Prophet mentioned in Sihah Sittah to prove the contrary.
What can be understood from the verse ALONE is that Allah is changing His address (which was exclusively the wives
of the Prophet at the beginning of the verse) to some people who include some male members, and may or may not include
the wives of the Prophet.
- 2. Traditions from the authentic Sunni Collections.
It is interesting to see that both Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi as well as many others confirm the Shi'ite
point of view explained above. In Sahih Muslim, there is a chapter named "Chapter of Virtues of the Companions".
Inside this chapter, there is a section called "Section of the Virtues of the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet". There
exists ONLY ONE tradition in this section, and this tradition has no reference to the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
The tradition is known as "The Tradition of Cloak/Mantle" (Hadith al-Kisaa), and is as follows:
One day the Prophet (PBUH&HF) 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 (the last sentence of Verse 33:33)."
- Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of the virtues of the Ahlul-Bayt of the
Prophet (PBUH&HF), 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1883, Tradition #61.
One can see that the author of Sahih Muslim confirms that:
(1) Imam Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain are the Ahlul-Bayt,
(2) The purification sentence in Quran (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed for the virtue of the
above-mentioned individuals, and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
Muslim (the Author) did not put any other tradition in this section (section of the virtues of Ahlul-Bayt). If the
author of Sahih Muslim believed that the wives of the Prophet were included in Ahlul-Bayt, he would have quoted
some traditions about them in this section.
It is interesting to see that Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) is the narrator of the above tradition,
and she herself is testifying that Ahlul- Bayt are the above-mentioned individuals (i.e., Imam Ali, Fatimah,
al-Hasan, and al-Husain, may the blessing of Allah be upon them all).
Another version of the "Tradition of Cloak" is written in Sahih al-Tirmidhi, which is narrated in the authority
of Umar Ibn Abi Salama, the son of Umm Salama (another wife of Prophet), which is as follows:
The verse "Verily Allah intends to ... (33:33)" was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HF) in the house of Umm
Salama. Upon that, the Prophet gathered Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain, and covered them with a cloak,
and he also covered Ali who was behind him. Then the Prophet said: "O' Allah! These are the Members of my
House (Ahlul-Bayt). Keep them away from every impurity and purify them with a perfect purification." Umm
Salama (the wife of Prophet) asked: "Am I also included among them O Apostle of Allah?" the Prophet replied:
"You remain in your position and you are toward a good ending."
Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 351,663
As we see, al-Tirmidhi also confirms that Imam Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain are the Ahlul-Bayt, and the
purification sentence in Quran (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed for the virtue of the above-mentioned
individuals, and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Also it is apparent from above authentic tradition that
the Prophet himself excluded his wives from Ahlul-Bayt. If Umm Salama (RA) was among Ahlul-Bayt, why didn't the
Prophet answer her positively? Why didn't he enter her into the cloak? Why did the Prophet tell her that she
remains in her own position? If the Prophet (PBUH&HF) would consider Umm Salama among Ahlul-Bayt, he would surely
have entered her to the cloak and would have prayed for her perfect purity as well.
It is also worth mentioning that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) did NOT say: "These are among the Members of my House". He
rather said: "These are THE Members of my House" since there was no other member of Ahlul-Bayt who was alive at
the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Also notice that Umm Salama (RA) who is the virtuous wife of the Prophet is the
narrator of the tradition to his son and gives the testimony that who Ahlul-Bayt are.
In the tradition of al-Hakim the wording the last question and answer is as follows:
Umm Salama 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
Sunni reference: al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p416
Also the wording reported by al-Suyuti and Ibn al-Athir is as follows:
I said, "O Prophet of Allah! Am I not also one of your Ahlul-Bayt?" I swear by the Almighty that the Holy
Prophet did NOT grant me any distinction and said: "You have a good future."
Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Tabari, v22, p7 under the commentary of verse 33:33
Beside Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi from which we quoted the Tradition of Cloak on the authority of Aisha
and Umm Salama respectively, below are more Sunni references of the Tradition of Cloak who reported both versions
of the traditions:
(3) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, pp 323,292,298; v1, pp 330-331; v3, p252; v4, p107 from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri
(4) Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p578, Tradition #978
(5) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p416 (two traditions) from Ibn Abi Salama, v3, pp 146-148 (five traditions), pp 158,172
(6) al-Khasa'is, by an-Nisa'i, pp 4,8
(7) al-Sunan, by al-Bayhaqi, narrated from Aisha and Umm Salama
(8) Tafsir al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih), v1, part 2, p69
(9) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, v2, p700 (Istanbul), from Aisha
(10) Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, pp 198,605 from Aisha and Umm Salama
(11) Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, pp 5-8 (from Aisha and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri), pp 6,8 (from Ibn Abi Salama) (10 traditions)
(12) Tafsir al-Qurtubi, under the commentary of verse 33:33 from Umm Salama
(13) Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p485 (Complete version) from Aisha and Umar Ibn Abi Salama
(14) Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v2, p12; v4, p79 narrated from Ibn Abi Salama
(15) Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, sec. 1, p221 from Umm Salama
(16) Tarikh, by al-Khateeb Baghdadi, v10, narrated from Ibn Abi Salama
(17) Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari, v1, p193 narrated from Aisha
(18) Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, pp 332-336 (seven traditions)
(19) Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, by Muhibb al-Tabari, pp21-26, from Abu Sa'id Khudri
(20) Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p166 (by several transmitters)
... and more ...
Here is another authentic variation of "The Tradition of Cloak" which is related to Safiyya who was another wife
of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib narrated:
When the Messenger of Allah noticed that a blessing from Allah was to descent, he told Safiyya (one of
his wives): "Call for me! Call for me!" Safiyya said: "Call who, O the Messenger of Allah?" He said: "Call
for me my Ahlul-Bayt who are Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain." Thus we sent for them and they came
to him. Then the Prophet (PBUH&HF) spread his cloak over them, and raised his hand (toward sky) saying:
"O Allah! These are my family (Aalee), so bless Muhammad and the family (Aal) of Muhammad." And Allah, to
whom belong Might and Majesty, revealed: "Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness
O' People of the House (Ahlul-Bayt), and purify you a thorough purification (Quran, the last sentence of
Although the majority of traditions on this issue show that the last sentence of the verse 33:33 was revealed in
the house of Umm Salama (as quoted earlier), the above tradition implies that it might have been revealed in the
house of Safiyya. Based on the opinion of the Sunni scholars including Ibn Hajar, it is quite possible that the
verse was revealed more than once. In each occasion, the Prophet repeated his action in front of different wives
so that they all realize who his Ahlul-Bayt are.
- al-Mustadrak by al-Hakim, Chapter of "Understanding (the virtues) of Companions, v3, p148. The author
then wrote: "This tradition is authentic (Sahih) based on the criteria of the two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and
- Talkhis of al-Mustadrak, by al-Dhahabi, v3, p148
- Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v3, p33
The testimony of three wives of the Prophet (Aisha, Umm Salama, and Safiyya) leaves us no room but to believe that
the Ahlul-Bayt at the time of the Prophet were no more than five individuals: Prophet Muhammad, Lady Fatimah, Imam
Ali, al-Hasan, and al-Husain (Peace be upon them all).
The fact that the gender in later part of Verse 33:33 is switched from feminine to masculine, has led the majority
of Sunni commentators to believe that the last part was revealed for Imam Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain, as
Ibn Hajar al-Haythami indicated:
Based on the opinion of the majority of (Sunni) commentators, the saying of Allah :"Verily Allah intends
to ... (the last sentence of the verse 33:33)" was revealed for Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain,
because of the usage of masculine gender in the word "Ankum" and after that.
Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p220
Although the Shia have great respect for the highly righteous wives among the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), such
as Khadija, Umm Salama, Umm Ayman and ... (may Allah be pleased with them) who closely followed the Prophet and
his Ahlul-Bayt before and after the demise of Prophet (PBUH&HF), yet we do not include even those respected individuals
into Ahlul-Bayt since the Prophet clearly excluded them according to the authentic Sunni and Shi'i traditions.
Ahlul-Bayt have exceptional virtues that no other pious person after the Prophet would possess them in the world,
which are according to Quran: sinlessness, flawlessness and perfect purity.
In the previous part, three authentic versions of "The Tradition of Cloak/Mantle" (Hadith al-Kisaa) reported in
Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi, and Mustadrak al-Hakim. In these traditions three wives of the Prophet testified
that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) specified that the Members of his House (in his lifetime) are restricted to his daughter
Fatimah (AS), her husband Ali (AS) and their two sons: al-Hasan (AS), and al-Husain (AS). Also according to the
quoted traditions, the purification sentence in Quran (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed for their
virtue and NOT for the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Now, let us see what the Messenger of Allah used to do for
quite sometime after the revelation of the verse:
The Long-Term Custom of the Prophet After the Revelation of the Purification Verse
It has been widely narrated that after the revelation of the purification verse of Quran (Ayah al-Tat'hir), the
Messenger of Allah used to recited this verse at the door of the House of Fatimah and Ali before EVERY prayer when
people were gathering to pray with the Messenger of Allah. He continued this practice for many months simply to show
the people who his Ahlul-Bayt are. Anas Ibn Malik narrated:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF), from the time the revelation of "Verily Allah intends to... (the last part of
Verse 33:33)" and for six (6) months thereafter, stood by the door of the House of Fatimah and said: "Time for Prayer
Ahlul-Bayt; No doubt! Allah wished to remove all abomination from you and make you pure and spotless."
Abu al-Hamra narrated:
- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v12, p85
- Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, p258
- Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p158 who wrote this tradition is authentic as per the criteria of Muslim and Bukhari
- Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, pp 197,199
- Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, pp 5,6 (saying seven month)
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p483
- Musnad, by al-Tiyalasi, v8, p274>
- Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v5, p146
"The Messenger of God continued eight (8) months in Medina, coming to the door of Ali at every morning prayer,
putting his two hands on the two sides of the door and exclaiming : "Assalat! Assalat! (prayer! prayer!) Certainly
God ward off all uncleanness from you, O Members of the House of Muhammad, and to make you pure and spotless."
- Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Suyuti, v5, pp 198-199
- Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p6
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p483
- Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p24 on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik
- Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v5, p637
- Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v5, p146
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, pp 121,168
- Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, p338
Also Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated:
"We have witnessed the Messenger of God for nine (9) months coming to the door of Ali, son of Abu Talib, at the
time of each prayer and saying: 'Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah Ahlul-Bayt (Peace and Mercy of God be upon you, O
Members of the House). Certainly God wants only to keep away all the evil from you, Members of the House, and purify
you with a thorough purification.'He did this seven times a day."
Sunni reference: al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v5, p198
In Majma' al-Zawa'id and exegesis of Suyuti it has been quoted from Abu Said Khudri with a variation in words that:
For forty days the Holy Prophet approached the house of Fatimah Zahra every morning and used to say: 'Peace be
upon you O people of the House! The time for the prayers has come'. And thereafter he used to recite this verse: O
people of the Prophet's House.... And then said: 'I am in a state of war with him who fights with you and am in
a state of peace with him who is at peace with you'.
He repeated this openly at the time of each prayer so as to demonstrate the meaning of this verse verbally as well
as practically and he explained it to his followers on the lines of the sacred verse: "We have revealed the Quran to
you so that you could tell the people what has been revealed to them and that perhaps they will think. (Quran 16:44)"
This concept became well known among the people and even the companions of the Holy Prophet argued on its basis on
behalf of the Holy Prophet's family:
- Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v5, p199
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, pp 121,168
- 3. Those Who Protested based on the Purification Verse to Prove the Virtues of the Holy Family
1. Imam al-Hasan Ibn Ali (AS)
al-Hakim (in al-Mustadrak) in connection with the attainments of Imam al-Hasan, and al-Haythami (in connection
with the excellence of the Holy Family) have narrated that Imam al-Hasan (AS) addressed the people after the martyrdom
of his father Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS) and said during his speech:
2. Ummul Mu'minin, Umm Salama (RA)
O People! Whoever knows me, knows me and whoever doesn't know me should know that I am al-Hasan Ibn Ali; I am
the son of the Holy Prophet and of his executor (Wasi). I am the son him who invited people to Allah and warned them
of the torture of His Hell-fire. I am the son of the luminous Lamp. I belong to the family upon whom Gabriel used to
descend and from there ascend to heavens. I belong to the family from whom Allah has ward off all filth and made them pure.
- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p172
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p172
It has been narrated in Majma' al-Zawa'id and Tafsir Ibn Kathir that:
After his father's martyrdom when (Imam) al-Hasan attained the Caliphate, one day while he was performing his
prayers, a man attacked him and thrust a sword in his thigh. He remained confined to bed for some months. Thereafter,
he recovered and delivered a sermon and said: "O People of Iraq! Fear Allah. We are your Amirs (leaders) and your
guests and belong to the family about whom Almighty Allah has said: 'O People of the Prophet's House..' Imam al-Hasan
dwelt on this subject so much that all those present in the Mosque began to cry."
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p172
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p486
- This tradition has also been quoted by al-Tabarani and others
In Mushkil al-Athar, al-Tahawi has quoted Umrah al-Hamdaniyyah as saying:
3. Ibn Abbas (RA)
I went to Umm Salama and greeted her. She inquired: "Who are you?" I replied: "I am Umrah Hamdaniyyah." Umrah
says, "I said O mother of the Faithful! Say something about the man who has been killed among us today. One group of
the people like him and another group is inimical towards him," (He meant Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib). Umm Salama said,
"Do you like him or are you hostile to him?" I replied, "I neither like him nor I am hostile to him." [Here the
narrative is defective and thereafter it is like this:] Umm Salama began to tell about the revelation of the verse of
Tat'hir and said in this behalf: "Allah revealed the verse: O People of the Prophet's House... There was none in the
room at that time, except Gabriel, the Holy Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain. I said: 'O Prophet of
Allah! Am I too one of the people of the House?' He replied: 'Allah will reward you and recompense you.' I wished
that he might have said 'Yes' and would have valued such a reply much more than anything else in the world.'"
Sunni reference: Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p336
Ahmad in Musnad; Tabari in his exegesis and al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar have quoted Shahr Ibn Haushab, to have said:
When the news of the martyrdom of al-Husain reached Medina I heard Umm Salama, wife of the Holy Prophet, saying:
"They have killed al-Husain. I myself observed that the Holy Prophet spread his Khaibari cloak on them and said: 'O
Allah! These are the members of my family! Ward off any uncleanness from them and keep them clean and pure!'"
- Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p298
- Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p6
- Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p335
Ahmad, al-Nisa'i, Muhibbuddin, and al-Haythami have reported (the wording being of Ahmad's Musnad):
4. Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas
'Amr Ibn Maimoon said: "I was with Ibn Abbas when nine persons came to him and said: 'Ibn Abbas! Either come out
with us or provide us privacy.' He said: 'I shall go out with you.' In those days the eyes of Ibn Abbas were all
right and he could see. They had mutual conversation and I am not aware as to what they talked about. After some time
Ibn Abbas returned to us. He was then shaking off his dress saying: 'Fie be upon them! They are talking about the man
who enjoys ten excellences.' [Later in the narration Ibn Abbas details the virtues of the Imam till he says:] 'The
Holy Prophet spread his cloak upon Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husain and said: O People of the Prophet's House! Allah
intends to keep you pure from all sorts of uncleanness and blemish and to purify you with a thorough purification.'"
- Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p331 (First edition) al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p269
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p119
In al-Khasa'is, al-Nisa'i has quoted Amir Ibn Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas as saying:
5. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri
Muawiyah said to Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, "Why do you refrain from abusing Abu Turab?" Sa'd said, "I don't abuse Ali
for three attributes of his which I heard from the Holy Prophet. If even one of them had been for me, I would have
valued it much more than anything else on earth. I heard from the Holy Prophet that When he left Imam Ali as his
representative in Medina and proceeded to fight a battle, Ali said: 'Are you leaving me with the women and the
children in Medina?' The Holy Prophet replied: 'Don't you like that your position vis-a-vis me should be like that of
Aaron (Haroon) with Moses. You enjoy the same position in regard to me as Aaron enjoyed with Moses.' On the fateful
day of Khaibar, too, I heard the Holy Prophet as saying: 'Tomorrow I shall give the standard (of the army) to one
who loves Allah and His Prophet and Allah and His Prophet also love him'. All of us were keen to be graced and
singled out in the face of this declaration and wished that the standard might be in our hands. In the meantime the
Holy Prophet said: 'Bring Ali to me.' Ali came in such a condition that he had some trouble in his eyes. The Holy
Prophet applied the saliva of his mouth to (Imam) Ali's eyes and gave the standard in his hand. Moreover, when the
verse of Tat'hir was revealed, the Holy Prophet called Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain near himself and said:
'O Allah! These are the People of my House.'"
Also al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir, al-Hakim, and al-Tahawi have quoted from Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas that:
- al-Khasa'is, by al-Nisa'i, p4
- A fairly similar narration is given in Sahih Muslim, English version, Chapter CMXCVI (Virtues of Ali), p1284,
At the time of the revelation of the verse, the Holy Prophet called Ali along with his two sons and Fatimah and
accommodated them under his own cloak and said: 'O Lord! These are the members of my family'.
- Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p7
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p485
- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p147
- Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p336; v2, p33
- History of al-Tabari, Arabic version, v5, p31
It narrated on that:
6. Wathilah Ibn Asqa'
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: "This verse has been revealed about five individuals:
Myself, Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husain, and Fatimah."
- Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p5, under the verse 33:33
- Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p24
- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, p221
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami
al-Tabari while commenting on the verse 33:33, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, al- Hakim who considers the tradition to be
authentic according to the criteria of Muslim and al-Bukhari, also Bayhaqi, al-Tahawi, and Haythami quote Abu Ammar
as having said (the wording is of al-Tabari):
7. Ali Ibn al-Husain, Zain al-Abideen (AS)
I was sitting with Wathilah Ibn Asqa' when a discussion took place about Ali and the people abused him. When
those present rose to leave he said to me: 'Keep sitting so that I may talk with you about the man whom they have
been abusing. I was with the Holy Prophet when Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain approached him and the Holy
Prophet spread his cloak on them and said: "O Allah! These are the members of my family. Ward off every uncleanness
from them and keep them clean and pure."
Also Ibn al-Athir quoted Shaddad Ibn Abdullah saying:
- Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p6
- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p416; v3, p417
- Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p107
- Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p167
- Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, v1, p346
- Sunan, al-Bayhaqi, v2, p152
I heard from Wathilah Ibn Asqa' that when the head of (Imam) al-Husain was brought, one of the Syrians abused
(Imam) al-Husain and his father, Wathilah stood up and said: "I swear by Allah that ever since I heard the Holy
Prophet say about them: 'O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends to keep you pure from uncleanness and
blemish and to purify you with a thorough purification,' I have always loved Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain
(Peace be upon them).'"
Sunni reference: Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v2, p20
While commenting on the verse 33:33, al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir and al-Suyuti have stated in their exegesis:
Ali Ibn Husain said to a Syrian: "Have you read this verse in Surah al-Ahzab, O people of the House! Allah
intends to keep you pure from blemish and to purify you with a thorough purification (Quran 33:33)?"
The Syrian said: "Does this verse pertain to you?" The Imam replied: "Yes, it pertains to us."
al-Kharazmi has quoted this very narration in his Maqtal in the following words:
- Tafsir al-Kabir, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v22, p7
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v3, p486
- Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh al-Suyuti, v5, p199
When, after the martyrdom of (Imam) al-Husain the grandson of the Holy Prophet, (Imam) Zain al-Abideen and other
prisoners belonging to the House of the Holy Prophet were carried to Damascus and stationed in a jail located by the
side of the Grand Mosque of Damascus, an old man approached them and said: "Praised be Allah who killed you and
annihilated you and relieved the people from your men and provided the Commander of the Faithful (Yazid) with
authority over you." Ali Ibn al-Husain said: "O old man! Have you read the Holy Quran?" He replied: "Yes." Then the
Imam said: "Have you read the verse: Muhammad! 'Say, I do not ask you of any reward for my preaching except the love
of my kinsfolk'?" The old man said: "Yes. I have read it."
Sunni references: Maqtal al-Husain, by al-Khateeb al-Kharazmi
The Imam said: "Have you read the verse: 'So give what is due to the near ones, the needy and the wayfarer.' and the
verse: 'Know that whatever (income) you gain, one fifth belongs to Allah, the Messenger, his near ones, orphans the
needy and the wayfarers, if you believe in Allah and what We revealed to Our servant in the Holy Quran'?" The old
man replied: "Yes. I have read them."
The Imam said: "I swear by Allah that the word 'near ones' refers to us and these verses have been revealed about us.
(The Imam added): And have you also read this verse in the Holy Quran wherein Allah says: 'O people of the Prophet's
House...' (33:33)?" The old man said: "Yes. I have read it". The Imam said: "What is meant by people of the Prophet's
House! It is we whom Allah has especially associated with the verse of Tat'hir (purification)."
The old man said: "I ask you by Allah! Are you of the same family?" The Imam replied: "I swear by my grandfather the
Prophet of Allah that we are the same people."
The old man was stunned and expressed regret for what he had said. Then he raised his head towards the sky and said:
"O Allah! I ask forgiveness for what I have said, and forsake enmity against this family and hate the enemies of the
progeny of Muhammad."
- 4. The Incident of Mubahala
Here I would like to bring another evidence from Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Tirmidhi that why the wives of the
Prophet are not included in Ahlul-Bayt, which is also, by the way, another reason for the superiority of Ali (AS)
for the position of leadership after the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
The following incident is related to the event of "Mubahala" (which means imprecation, or invoking the curse of
Allah upon the liar), which took place in the 9th-10th year of Hijrah. In that year a delegation consisting of 14
Christian priests came from Najran to meet the Prophet (PBUH&HF). When they met the Prophet they asked him what is
his opinion about Jesus (AS). The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "You may take rest today and you will receive
the reply afterwards." The next day, 3 verses of Quran (3:59-61) about Jesus were revealed. When Christians did not
accept the words of Allah, The Prophet recited the last revealed verse:
But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call
our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and our selves and your selves; then let us be earnest in prayer
and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars. (Quran 3:61).
In this way, the Prophet (PBUH&HF) challenged the Christians. The next day the Christian priests came out on one side
of the field. Also on the other side, the Prophet came out of his house carrying al-Husain in his arm with al-Hasan
walking along with him while he was holding his hand. Behind him was Fatimah al-Zahra, and behind her was Ali, peace
be upon them all. When the Christians saw the five pure souls, and how determined the Prophet is in his idea that he
put the closest people to him at risk, the Christians were terrified and abstained from the proposed malediction
(Mubahala) and submitted to a treaty with the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
al-Suyuti who was a great Sunni scholar, wrote:
In the above verse (3:61), according to what Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari (the great companion of the Prophet)
said, the word "sons" refers to al-Hasan and al-Husain, the word "women" refers to Fatimah, and the word "our selves"
refer to the Prophet and Ali. Thus Ali is referred as "the self" of the Prophet (Nafs of the Prophet).
Reference: al-Durr al-Manthoor by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v2, p38
It follows that just as it is unlawful to seek to be superior to the Prophet, similarly it is unlawful to supersede
Ali (who is the "self" of the Prophet according to the words of Allah). Any one who presumed to supersede Ali, was,
in essence, presumed to supersede the Prophet! This is another Quranic proof for the right of Imam Ali as the
immediate successor of the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
Muslim and al-Tirmidhi both confirm the above incident, and recorded the following tradition in their authentic
collections of traditions:
Narrated Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas:
...And when the verse 3:61 was revealed, the Prophet called Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain. Then the Prophet
said: "O Lord! These are my family members (Ahli)."
The point, here, is that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) did not bring any of his wives to the field of "Mubahala",
and according to above tradition, he used the word "Ahl" (family) ONLY for the above-mentioned individuals (i.e.,
Imam Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain).
- Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of virtues of Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi
Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1871, the end of tradition #32.
- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p654
- al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p150, who said this tradition is authentic based on the criteria set by two
Shaikhs, al-Bukhari and Muslim.
- Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p25
Note that in the verse 3:61 of Quran Allah uses plural form "women" by saying "Let us bring our women", but the
Prophet only brought his daughter Fatimah (AS). If there were more than one woman in Ahlul-Bayt, the Prophet was
required by this verse to bring them, but since there was not any other woman among his Ahlul-Bayt, he brought
Fatimah (AS) only. Again, in that incident, the Prophet explicitly mentioned who Ahlul-Bayt are, and named them one
by one, and Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim, and many other Sunni scholars recorded that and all confirmed its
authenticity. There was no mention of his wives in any of these reports.
Some Sunni scholars have narrated that on the day of consultation for appointing the ruler after the death of Umar,
Imam Ali (AS) argued with the members of Shura reminding them his rights to the Caliphate, and one of his reasons
was the incident of Mubahala:
On the day of consultation, Ali argued with the committee members saying: "I adjure you in the name of Allah, is
there anyone amongst you closer in relationship to the Messenger of Allah than me? Is there any other man whom the
Prophet made him 'his (own) soul' (Nafs), and that he made his children 'his (own) children', and his women 'his
(own) women'?" They replied: "No, by God!"
It is also narrated that:
- al-Darqunti, as per:
- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p239
The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Verily, Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, has placed the progeny of each
prophet into his backbone (Sulb), and He, Exalted, has placed my progeny into the backbone of Ali Ibn Abi Talib."
It is also narrated that:
- Abul-Khair al-Haakimi, on the authority of al-Abbas
- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p239
- al-Kunooz al-Mataalib
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "Me and Ali are from one tree, and the rest of people are from different trees."
In another Sunni commentary of Quran, it is narrated on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Umar that:
- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, section 2, p190
- Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171
- al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani, from Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "Had there been any soul on the whole earth better than Ali, Fatimah,
al-Hasan and al-Husain, Allah would have commanded me to take them along with me to Mubahala. But as they were
superior in dignity and respect to all human be beings, Allah confined His choice on them only for participation in Mubahala."
Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Baidhawi, under the commentary of Verse 3:61
Concluding, the event of Mubahala between the Prophet (PBUH&HF) the Christians was significant in many aspects, among them are:
1. It proved to be a lesson for all the Christians of Arabia who no longer dared any confrontation with the Holy
2. The invitation of "Mubahala" (literally meaning cursing each other) was directed by Allah and it was in compliance
with His Command that the Holy Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt along with him to the field of Mubahala. This serves to
show how affairs pertaining to prophethood and Islam are determined by the Will of Allah; allowing no margin of
interference from the common people (Ummah). (The matter of Imam Ali's (AS) succession after the Prophet should be
3. The indispensability of Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husain in the following of the precepts
of the Holy Prophet could no longer be disputed.
4. Notwithstanding their childhood, al-Hasan and al-Husain did nevertheless serve as two active partners of the Holy
Prophet on the field of Mubahala. This yields the conclusion that age is no criteria for the greatness of those
5. That the Holy Prophet's act of having preferred a few obviously elevates their status above all others.
6. Traditions from the Prophet with regards to this event clearly indicates who the Ahlul-Bayt are.
7. Imam Ali (AS) has been mentioned as the 'Self' of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) according to the revelation of Allah,
and is, in fact, superior to all others with regard to the matter of succession.
- 5. Is It Just Blood Relationship?.
It is narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah said: "Any relation will end on the day of Judgment except my relation. And the root
(identification) of every one is his father, except the progeny of Fatimah, since I am their father and their root
The above precious tradition proves that, blood relationship is of little value in Islam and it will soon melt away
when the day of Judgment appears. But what makes the relationship of the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt different than
others is the qualifications and spiritual purity that they have besides their pure gene (which is also necessary).
- Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Bayhaqi, and al-Darqunti, al-Dhahabi on the authorities of Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Zubair, and Ibn Umar.
- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p239
- Similar tradition has been narrated by Abu Ya'la, al-Tabarani on the authority of Fatimah (AS) and Ibn Umar
It is worth mentioning that Lady Fatimah (AS) is the only surviving child of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) who
left progeny for him. All other children of the Prophet died in their early ages, without being able to leave an
issue behind themselves. The infidels of Hijaz (Arabia) used to dishonor the Prophet by saying that he does not have
a son to preserve his generation. For that reason, Allah revealed the Chapter of "al-Kawthar":
"Lo! We have given you Abundance (i.e., a long-standing pure progeny). So pray unto your Lord, and sacrifice.
Lo! It is your insulter (and not you) who is without progeny." (Quran, Chapter 108).
In the above Chapter, Allah refers to Fatimah al-Zahra as Abundance who brings for the Prophet a sanctified
progeny. Again, by progeny we do not mean all those whose ancestor are the Prophet (PBUH&HF). We rather mean those
among his descendants who have been thoroughly purified by Allah, and the history and the Hadith can not count more
that 14 of them (including the Prophet). Here is the commentary of the above Chapter by Yusuf Ali (the translator of Quran):
Abu Jahl and his Pagan confederates vented their personal spite and venom against the holy Prophet by taunting
him with the loss of his two infant sons by Khadija, but where were these venomous detractors a few years afterwards,
when the divine Light shone more brilliantly than ever?
Fatimah received severe injuries and was martyred at the age of eighteen, just six months after the demise of the
Prophet, leaving two sons: al-Hasan, and al-Husain. After martyrdom of Imam Ali (AS), Imam al-Hasan came to power.
But Muawiyah, the disloyal governor of Syria, continued his aggression by preparing another attack (after the war of
Siffin), and meanwhile he bought the key elements of the army of Imam al-Hasan by money and bribe, and by corrupting
his army, was finally able to complete a peaceful military coup, and to take over the power. Imam al-Hasan was poisoned
to death shortly after.
The second (and the last) grandson of the Prophet was Imam al-Husain (AS), who was slaughtered along with his family
(except one of his sons), relatives, and companions, in the desert of Karbala, by the army of Yazid, the corrupt and
drunk son of Muawiyah. That catastrophe took place only 50 years after the demise of the Prophet!!!
The above was a very short horrible story of what happened to Ahlul-Bayt, whom Quran and the Prophet (PBUH&HF)
ordered us to love them and obey them beside the book of Allah.
In the previous parts, we quoted extensive authentic traditions from Sahih Muslim and else, proving that during the
lifetime of the Prophet, his Ahlul-Bayt constituted only Imam Ali, Fatimah al-Zahra, al-Hasan, and al-Husain, and
also the purification sentence in Quran (the last sentence of Verse 33:33) was revealed on their virtue and NOT for
the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). These facts were proven based on the testimony of the Messenger of Allah as well
as the testimony of his wives and his companions.
Here I would like to quote another interesting tradition from Sahih Muslim, in which another famous companion of the
Prophet (PBUH&HF) swears in the name of Allah that wives of the Prophet are NOT included in his Ahlul-Bayt. The
tradition explains the reasoning of this companion and his justification. Here is the tradition recorded in Sahih Muslim:
Narrated Yazid Ibn Hayyan:
We went to Zaid Ibn Arqam and said to him: You have found goodness (for you had the honor) to live in the company of
the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and offered prayer behind him, and the rest of the Hadith is the same (as 3 traditions before)
but the Prophet said: "Behold, for I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, one of them is the Book of Allah...",
and in this (Hadith) these words are also found: We said: "Who are his Ahlul-Bayt (that the Prophet was referring to)?
Are they his wives?" Thereupon Zaid said: "No, by Allah! A woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a while; he then
divorces her and she goes back to her parents and her people. The Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet are his lineage and his
descendants (those who come from his blood) for whom the acceptance of charity (Sadaqah) is prohibited."
For the English version of Sahih Muslim, please see Chapter CMXCVI,
- Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of the virtues of Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi
Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1874, Tradition #37
As we see, even some of the companions of the Prophet swear in the name of Allah that Ahlul-Bayt do NOT include the
wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). However Sahih Muslim has another tradition from Zaid Ibn Arqam in the very same chapter which is:
Zaid Ibn Arqam said: I have grown old and have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection
with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). So accept whatever I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do
not compel me to do that. He then said: One day, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver
sermon at a watering place known as Khum (Ghadir Khum) which is situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah,
Extolled Him and delivered the sermon and exhorted (us) and said: "Now to our purpose, O people, I am a human being.
I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I shall answer that call (would bid good-bye
to you). But I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah... The second are the members
of my household (Ahlul-Bayt). By Allah I remind you (of your duties) to the Members of my House (saying three times)."
He (Husain Ibn Sabra) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren't his wives the members of his family?
Thereupon Zaid said: His wives are among Ahlul-Bayt but here Ahlul-Bayt are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is
forbidden. And he said: Who are they? Thereupon he said: Ali and the offspring of Ali; Aqil and the offspring of
Aqil, and the offspring of Ja'far and the offspring of Abbas.
For the English version of Sahih Muslim, see Chapter CMXCVI, p1286, Tradition #5920
- Sahih Muslim, Chapter of the virtues of companions, section of the virtues of Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in
Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1873, Tradition #36.
Please note that the second Paragraph of the above tradition is NOT the saying of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). It is the
alleged opinion of Zaid Ibn Arqam. In contradiction to the previous tradition, here Zaid asserts that: "The wives of
the Prophet are among his Ahlul-Bayt BUT HERE (what the Prophet meant by) Ahlul-Bayt (were some other people who) are
Ali and his offspring,... and the offspring of Abbas."
My question is that: Should we obey the saying of the Prophet who specified who Ahlul-Bayt are, or we should accept
the opinion of a companion which, in this case at least, is in contradiction with the opinion of the Prophet?
Besides the history tells us that there were many tyrant rulers among the Abbasid (the descendants of Abbas). So how
can we obey them and love them? Allah in Quran said: "...and obey not from among them a sinner or an ungrateful one."
(Quran 76:24). Were Abbasid tyrants among Ahlul-Bayt who the Messenger of Allah put them beside Quran as one of the
two precious thing that he left for his community to be obeyed after him?!
This shows Ahlul-Bayt are special individuals and do not cover all the relatives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). The word
Ahlul-Bayt, linguistically, does not cover all relatives at all. It means family who come from his blood as pointed
in the first tradition of Zaid. Thus, even the Prophet's wives are not going to be included in Ahlul-Bayt.
Those of Sunni brothers who believe all the traditions in Sahih Muslim are authentic, can find a contradiction here
between the two traditions which are in the same chapter and only tree traditions away from each other. In one
tradition, Zaid said that the Prophet's wives are among Ahlul-Bayt, and in three traditions away from it, the very
same person (Zaid) is swearing in the name of Allah that the Prophet's wives are NOT among his Ahlul-Bayt? What should we conclude?
When the Prophet clearly excludes his wives from Ahlul-Bayt, and when his wives such as Aisha, Umm Salama and
Safiyya also testify to this fact (please see part I), and when Zaid Ibn Arqam swears by Allah that the wives of the
Prophet are NOT among Ahlul-Bayt, then there will remain no choice but to accept the fact that the wives of the
Messenger of Allah were NOT included in the Ahlul-Bayt.
- Should we disregard the clarification of the Prophet and stick to the opinion of a companion?
- If yes, then should we accept the saying of a companion who tells two contradicting opinion while he himself said in the second tradition that he has grown old and he does not remember too much?
- Should we accept such contradicting narrations as Sahih (authentic)?
- If yes, then should we accept the one in which he swears in the name of Allah, or the one in which he does not swear for?
It might be possible to accepts both narrations, if we carefully look at what Zaid said: "The wives are among his
Ahlul-Bayt but here (what the Prophet meant by) Ahlul-Bayt (were some other people who) are Ali and his offspring, ..."
Zaid is saying that we may say (in general sense) the wives included in Ahlul-Bayt, BUT HERE the Prophet meant a
special meaning for Ahlul-Bayt which does not cover the wives of the Prophet. It is with this meaning that the
Prophet put Ahlul-Bayt beside the Quran. In this case, the contradiction between the two traditions can reconciled.
Now, let us focus on the last part of saying of Zaid in the above tradition where he said:
"A woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a while; he then divorces her and she goes back to her parents and
her people. The Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet are his lineage and his descendants (those who come from his blood) for
whom the acceptance of charity (Sadaqah) is prohibited."
This is a correct reasoning. The matrimonial relation between and a man and a woman can never be considered permanent;
it is only circumstantial and can be given up at any moment since the wife could be divorced. In fact two wives among
the wives of the Prophet, namely Aisha (the daughter of Abu Bakr) and Hafsa (the daughter of Umar) were threatened to
divorce by Quran, because of a secret news that they released to their parents. It is well-known that the following
verses of Quran were revealed about Aisha and Hafsa:
66:3 When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (i.e., Hafsa) and she then divulged it
(to Aisha) and Allah made it known to him, he made known (to her) part thereof and passed over part. Then when he
(i.e., the Prophet) told her thereof, she said: "Who told you this?" He said "He who knows and is well-aware (of all
things) told me."
66:4 If you two (i.e., Aisha and Hafsa) turn unto Allah repentant, (you have cause to do so) for your hearts indeed
desired (against the order of the Prophet); and if you two aid one another against him (Muhammad) then lo! Truly
Allah is his Protector and Gabriel and the righteous one among those who believe and furthermore the angels will
back (him) up.
66:5 If he divorces you, Allah may give him instead wives better than you who will be submissive (to Allah),
believing, pious, penitent, inclined to fasting, widows and maids."
- 6. Explanation Sahih al-Bukhari on verse 66:5.
In the Volume 6 of the Arabic-English version of Sahih al-Bukhari, in a chapter titled: "It may be, if he divorces
you, that his Lord (Allah) will give him, instead of you, wives better than you ... (66:5)," we read:
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.438
The wives of the Prophet out of their jealousy, backed each other against the Prophet, so I said to them, "It
may be, if he divorced you all, that Allah will give him, instead of you wives better than you." So this Verse (66.5) was revealed.
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.436
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
I intended to ask Umar so I said, "Who were those two ladies who tried to back each other against the Prophet?"
I hardly finished my speech when he said, They were Aisha and Hafsa."
If the Allah threatened the two wives of the Prophet by divorce, because they backed each other against the Prophet,
then how can we render them as pure and sinless? Moreover, the following tradition states that the Prophet (PBUH&HF)
deserted Aisha and Hafsa for one full month as punishment for revealing the secret news:
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 7.119
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
I had been eager to ask Umar bin al-Khattab about the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet regarding
whom Allah said 'If you two (wives of the Prophet namely Aisha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts
are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes). (66.4) till Umar performed the Hajj and I too, performed
the Hajj along with him... Then I said to him, "O chief of the Believers! Who were the two ladies from among the
wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said: 'If you two (wives of the Prophet) turn in repentance to Allah your
hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes)?" (66.4) He said, "I am astonished at your question,
O Ibn Abbas. They were Aisha and Hafsa." Then Umar went on narrating the Hadith and said, "... I shouted at my wife
and she retorted against me and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said to me, 'Why are you so surprised
at my answering you back? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet answer him back and some of them may leave (do not speak
to) him throughout the day till the night.' The (talk) scared me and I said to her, 'Whoever has done so will be
ruined!' Then I proceeded after dressing myself, and entered upon Hafsa and said to her, 'Does anyone of you keep the
Prophet angry till night?' She said, 'Yes.' I said, 'You are a ruined losing person! Don't you fear that Allah may
get angry for the anger of Allah's Apostle and thus you will be ruined? So do not ask more from the Prophet and do
not answer him back and do not give up talking to him. Ask me whatever you need and do not be tempted to imitate
your neighbor (i.e., Aisha) in her manners for she is more charming than you and more beloved to the Prophet."
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 6.435
Umar added, "At that time a talk was circulating among us that (the tribe of) Ghassan were preparing their horses
to invade us. My Ansari companion, on the day of his turn, went (to the town) and returned to us at night and knocked
at my door violently and asked if I was there. I became horrified and came out to him. He said, 'Today a great thing
has happened.' I asked, 'What is it? Have (the people of) Ghassan come?' He said, 'No, but (What has happened) is
greater and more horrifying than that: Allah's Apostle; has divorced his wives. Umar added, "The Prophet kept away
from his wives and I said "Hafsa is a ruined loser.' I had already thought that most probably this (divorce) would
happen in the near future. So I dressed myself and offered the morning prayer with the Prophet and then the Prophet
entered an upper room and stayed there in seclusion. I entered upon Hafsa and saw her weeping. I asked, 'What makes
you weep? Did I not warn you about that? Did the Prophet divorce you all?' She said, 'I do not know. There he is
retired alone in the upper room.' ...
I said (to Allah's Apostle) chatting, 'Will you heed what I say, O Allah's Apostle? We, the people of Quraish used
to have power over our women, but when we arrived at Medina we found that the men (here) were overpowered by their
women.' The Prophet smiled and then I said to him, 'Will you heed what I say, O Allah's Apostle? I entered upon Hafsa
and said to her, "Do not be tempted to imitate your companion (Aisha), for she is more charming than you and more
beloved to the Prophet.' ... Then the Prophet kept away from his wives for twenty-nine days because of the story
which Hafsa had disclosed to Aisha. The Prophet had said, 'I will not enter upon them for one month,' because of his
anger towards them ... Some of his wives were the cause of him taking that decision, therefore he deserted them for
one month. See Quran: (66.4)
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
For the whole year I had the desire to ask Umar bin al-Khattab regarding the explanation of a Verse (in Surat
al-Tahrim) ... Umar went aside to answer the call of nature by the Arak trees. I waited till he finished and then I
proceeded with him and asked him. "O chief of the Believers! Who were the two wives of the Prophet who aided one
another against him?" He said, "They were Hafsa and Aisha." ... Then Umar added, "Once while I was thinking over a
certain matter, my wife said, "I recommend that you do so-and-so." I said to her, "What have you got to do with the
is matter? Why do you poke your nose in a matter which I want to see fulfilled?" She said, How strange you are, O
son of al-Khattab! You don't want to be argued with whereas your daughter, Hafsa surely, argues with Allah's Apostle
so much that he remains angry for a full day!" Umar then reported how he at once put on his outer garment and went to
Hafsa and said to her, "O my daughter! Do you argue with Allah's Apostle so that he remains angry the whole day?"
Hafsa said, "By Allah, we argue with him." Umar said, "Know that I warn you of Allah's punishment and the anger of
Allah's Apostle . . . O my daughter! Don't be betrayed by the one who is proud of her beauty because of the love of
Allah's Apostle for her (i.e. Aisha)." ... Umar added, (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door,
and said, "Open Open!" I said, "Has the king of Ghassan come?" He said, "No, but something worse; Allah's Apostle
has isolated himself from his wives." I said, "Let the nose of Aisha and Hafsa be stuck to dust (i.e., humiliated)!"
In the above tradition, Hafsa swears by Allah that she argues with the Messenger of Allah and keeps him angry for the
whole day! Is this a sign of purity and righteousness? According to Quran (the last sentence of Verse 33:33), perfect
purity and sinlessness is the characteristic of Ahlul-Bayt. The above verses of Quran as well as the above traditions
in Sahih al-Bukhari proves that some of the wives of the Prophet were not righteous and pure, otherwise Allah would
not have threatened them in Quran by divorce. This is the main reason why I preferred the reference from Sahih Muslim
on the authority of Zaid Ibn Arqam in which he * swears by Allah * that the Prophet's wives are NOT among Ahlul-Bayt
since they can be subject to divorce and being substituted with women better than them (Quran 66:5).
Another astonishing tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari is as follows:
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.336
The Prophet stood up and delivered a sermon, and pointed to the house of Aisha, and said: "Fitna (trouble/sedition)
is right here," saying three times, "and from where the side of the Satan's head comes out."
All these traditions give us more alarms not to include the wives of the Prophet into the Ahlul-Bayt who are spotless
and sinless based on the testimony of the Messenger of Allah:
Ibn Abbas Narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah 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". (Quran, the last sentence of Verse 33:33) and then
the Messenger of Allah said: "Thus Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are clear from the sins."
Please note the word "thus" in the highlighted part of the above tradition. It means the Prophet himself is CONCLUDING
that the verse MEANS Ahlul-Bayt are sinless.
- Sahih al-Tirmidhi, as quoted in:
- al-Durr al-Manthoor, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v5, pp 605-606,198 under the commentary of Verse 33:33 of Quran
- Dala'il al-Nabawiyyah, by al-Bayhaqi
- Others such as al-Tabarani, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Nu'aym, etc.
In his exegesis, Ibn Jarir Tabari quotes Qatadah who interpreted the sacred verse of Tat'hir that people of the Holy
Prophet's family are those whom Almighty Allah has purified from every sin and showered special blessings on them.
He also stated in explanation of the verse:
"It is this and nothing else that Allah willed to ward off every badness and indecency from the people of the
family of Muhammad and to keep them clear from every contamination and sin!"
Sunni reference: Tafsir al-Tabari, v22, p5 under commentary of verse 33:33
Thus the Purification Verse (Ayah al-Tat'hir) and the Tradition of Mantle (Hadith al-Kisaa) confer a special
distinction and honor upon the Holy Family that is: being free from every blemish and uncleanness, being infallible,
and being kept purified by Allah and absolved of any sin. They are therefore entitled to absolute obedience from the
Muslim Ummah not only as a logical inference, but as a fulfillment of the very intention and utmost desire of the
Prophet of Islam in pin pointing them and making them distinguished from the rest of the Muslim Ummah.
As we discussed earlier, in the special meaning that the Prophet elucidated in the previously mentioned traditions,
Ahlul-Bayt even does NOT cover all those who come from his blood. Only those among them who are pure and sinless
(Quran 33:33) are the Ahlul-Bayt. These are a very selected individuals among his progeny.
- 7. The Mother of Believers
One thing that our Sunni brothers/sisters usually say as means of justifying Aisha is that she was "Ummul
Mu'minin" -- the mother of believers. In fact, Quran states that the wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) are the mothers
of the believers. But let us ponder the following points:
1. Let's consider someone who is a believer. It naturally follows that his mother becomes a mother of believer. Does
it automatically mean that his mother is also a good believer? Most certainly not! Being a mother of believer does
not make that mother a good believer and righteous. The same argument applies for the mother of all the believers.
2. All the Sunni collections of traditions are replete with the traditions reported by Ummul Mu'minin Aisha. The
Prophet (PBUH&HF) had many other wives, and all of them were mothers of believers. Many of the wives of the Prophet
were highly pious and righteous, such as Umm Salama and Umm Ayman. But unfortunately there are not many traditions
from them in the Sihah Sittah (not even 5% of what is conveyed by Aisha). But we hear from Aisha in a bulk rate. Was
it because she was the daughter of Abu Bakr? or because she was the only one among the wives of the Prophet who fought Imam Ali (AS)?
3. According to Islam, a believer is required to respect his mother. However, if such mother goes against the
instruction of the Messenger of Allah, conducts and leads the rebellions, and kills innocents, we are religiously
required to disassociate ourselves from such mother, and more importantly, we can NOT trust such mother for
transmitting the traditions of the Prophet in such volume.
4. Indeed, there is a good reason why Allah gave them the title of "Mothers of Believers." Allah gave them this title
in order to prevent people to marry them after the demise of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). We can not marry our mother.
Right? If Allah wouldn't have given this title to them, some influential people would have married them and would
probably have brought sons from them and would have ordered people to follow them as the Ahlul-Bayt, or even worst,
they might have claimed that they are the real sons of the Prophet and would have claimed prophethood for them and
many more possible dangerous consequences. As such, Allah (SWT) gave them this title (the mother of believers) to
prevent such marriages.
- 8. The Best Wife of the Prophet vs. the Most Envious
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