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Tha Ahlul-Bait

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Contents of THIS TEXT

- Quran and Ahlul-Bayt

- Why Ahlul-Bayt?

- Who are Ahlul-Bayt?

Quran and Ahlul-Bayt

Based on a parallel (Mutawatir) tradition upon whose authenticity all Muslims agree, the Messenger of Allah (AS) informed his followers in several occasions that he would leave them two precious/weighty things and that if Muslims adhere to both of them, they will never go astray after him. They are the Book of Allah (Quran) and the Members of the House of the Prophet (Ahlul-Bayt), peace be upon them all.

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim as well as many other sources that:

Someday (after his last pilgrimage) the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) stood to give us a speech beside a pond which is known as Khum (Ghadir Khum) which is located between Mecca and Medina. Then he praised Allah and reminded Him, and then said: "O' people! Behold! It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. Behold! I am leaving for you two precious things. First of ^^^^^^^^ them is the book of Allah in which there is light and guidance... The ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^ other one is my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. (three times)."

Sunni Reference: - Sahih Muslim, Chapter of the virtues of the companions, section of the virtues of Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1873, Tradition #36. - And many others such as Sahih al-Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad (see below).

For the English version of Sahih Muslim, see Chapter CMXCVI, v4, p1286, Tradition #5920

Despite the fact that the author of Sahih Muslim and many other Sunni traditionists have recorded the above tradition in their authentic books, it is regrettable that the majority of Sunnis are unaware of its existence at the best, or deny it at the worst.

However, the question remains that which Sunnah is genuine and which one is invented later and was falsely attributed to the Prophet.

On tracing the source of this report of Abu Huraira which states "Quran and Sunnah," we found out that it has NOT been recorded in any of the six authentic Sunni collections of the traditions (Sihah Sittah). Not only that, but also al-Bukhari, al-Nisa'i, and al-Dhahabi and many others rated this report (Quran and Sunnah) as weak because of its weak Isnad. It should be noted that although the book of al-Hakim is an important Sunni collection of traditions, yet it is ranked inferior to the six major Sunni books. This is while Sahih Muslim is in the second rank among the six Sunni collections of traditions. al-Tirmidhi reported that the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version of the tradition is traced to 30+ companions. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami reported that he knows of 20+ companions witnessed that also. This is while the "Quran and Sunnah" version reported by al-Hakim has only one source! Thus we must conclude that the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version is much more reliable. Moreover al-Hakim has also mentioned the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version in his book (al-Mustadrak) through several chain of authorities and confirmed that the "Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" version of the tradition is authentic based on the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "I am leaving for you two precious and weighty Symbols that if you adhere to BOTH of them you

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ shall not go astray after me. They are, the Book of Allah, and my ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The Merciful has informed me that These two shall not separate from each other till they come to me by ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ the Pool (of Paradise)."

Sunni references: (1) Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 662-663,328, report of 30+ companions, with reference to several chains of transmitters.

(2) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, Chapter of "Understanding (the virtues) of Companions, v3, pp 109,110,148,533 who wrote this tradition is authentic (Sahih) based on the criteria of the two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim).

(3) Sunan, by Daarami, v2, p432

(4) Musnad, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp 14,17,26,59, v4, pp 366,370-372, v5, pp 182,189,350,366,419

(5) Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p585, Tradition #990

(6) al-Khasa'is, by al-Nisa'i, pp 21,30

... and many more ...

For the sake of argument, if we accept that the two versions of the tradition ("Quran and Ahlul-Bayt" vs. "Quran and Sunnah") are both authentic, then one must submit to the interpretation that the word "my Sunnah" given by al-Hakim means the Sunnah which is derived through Ahlul- Bayt and not any other source, as it is evident from the Ahlul-Bayt version given by both Mustadrak al-Hakim and Sahih Muslim. Now let us take a look at the following tradition:

Narrated Umm Salama:

The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Sunni references: - al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p124 on the authority of Umm Salama

- al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, section 2, pp 191,194

- al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani; also in al-Saghir

- Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p173

The above tradition gives evidence to the fact that Imam Ali and Quran are non-separable. If we accept the "Quran and Sunnah" version to be authentic, then one can conclude that the one who carries the Sunnah of Prophet is Imam Ali since he is the one who has been put beside Quran.

Interesting to see, al-Hakim has many other traditions about necessity of following Ahlul-Bayt, among which is the following tradition. This tradition is also narrated by many other Sunni scholars and is known as the "Tradition of the Ship" in which the Prophet (PBUH&HF) stated:

"Behold! My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarked in it was SAVED, and whoever turned away from it was PERISHED."

The above tradition gives evidence to the fact that those who adopt the school of Ahlul-Bayt and follow them, shall be saved from the punishment of Hell, while those who run away from them shall meet with the fate of the one who tried to save his life by climbing up the mountain, with the only difference that whereas he (Noah's renegade son) was drowned in water, but these people will be drowned the fire of Hell. The following tradition also confirms it:

The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said about Ahlul-Bayt: "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!"

Have we ever asked ourselves why the Prophet put so much emphasis on Ahlul- Bayt? Was it just because they were members of his family, or was it because they carried his true teachings (Sunnah) and they were the most knowledgeable individuals among his community after him?

Different versions of the Tradition of Two Weighty Things (al-Thaqalain) which prove conclusively that it is compulsory to follow the Quran and the Ahlul-Bayt, are not ordinary traditions. They are repeated many times and are related on the authority of more than thirty of the companions of the Holy Prophet through various sources. The Holy Prophet repeated these words over and over again (and not merely in one isolated instance but on several occasions) publicly to show that it is compulsory to follow and obey the Ahlul-Bayt. He made the announcement during the Farewell Pilgrimage, on the day of Arafat, on the day of Ghadir Khum, on the return from Ta'if, also in Medina from the pulpit, and in his deathbed when the room was packed with his disciples, he said:

"O folk! I am soon going to depart from here, and although I have already told you, I repeat once more that I am leaving with you two things, namely, the Book of Allah and my descendants, that is, my Ahlul-Bayt." Then he lifted Ali by the hand and said: "Behold! this ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Ali is with the Quran and the Quran is with him. These two shall never ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ separate from each other until they come to me at the Pool of ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Kawthar."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, section 2

Ibn Hajar al-Haythami wrote:

"The Traditions of Adherence has been handed down through a large number of sources and more than twenty of the disciples have related it."

He further wrote:

"Here a doubt arises, and it is that while the Tradition has come down through various sources, some say that the words were spoken during the last pilgrimage, others that they were spoken at Medina when he lay on his deathbed and the room was packed with his disciples, yet another saying that he spoke these words at Ghadir Khum, or in another Hadith, on the return from Ta'if. But there is NO inconsistency in these, since having regards to the importance and greatness of the Quran and the pure Ahlul-Bayt, and with a view of emphasizing the point before the people, the Holy Prophet might have repeated these words on all these occasions so that any one who had not heard them before might hear them now."

Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p230

Concluding the above traditions, the Quran and Ahlul-Bayt are the only two precious things that the Prophet left for Muslims, and stated that if Muslims follow BOTH of them, they will not go astray after him, and they will be led to Paradise, and that those who forsake Ahlul-Bayt will not survive. The above traditions have been designed by Prophet (PBUH&HF) to answer which "Sunnah" is genuine and which group caries the true "Sunnah" of the Prophet. It is aimed at not leaving Muslims at loss as to which way to go after the departure of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). On the other hand, if we use the word "Sunnah" alone, it does not give us any specific answer for this question since all the groups among the Muslim nation follow their own version of Sunnah as well as their own interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. Thus the prophetic instructions were clear in urging Muslims to follow the interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet transmitted through the channel of Ahlul-Bayt whose sinlessness, purity, and righteousness is confirmed by the Holy Quran (the last sentence of verse 33:33).

We have, therefore, wholly and solely bound ourselves to them in our observances as well as our beliefs; in the derivations of our knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet; and in all our material, moral and spiritual values on the grounds of theological and logical proofs. We have done this in obedience of the Holy Prophet and in submission to his Sunnah.

Had we not been convinced by these proofs to disallow all Imams except the Ahlul-Bayt, and to seek to draw near to Allah only through them, we might have inclined towards the creed of the majority for the sake of unity and fraternity. But incontrovertible reasons command a believer to follow the truth regardless of all other considerations.

The majority of the Muslims are unable to produce any argument to show which of their four different jurists is the best. It is impossible to follow all of them, and therefor, before one can say that it is "compulsory" to follow them, one has to prove which one must be followed. We have pondered over the arguments of the Hanafis, the Shafi'is, the Malikis and the Hanbalis with the eyes of a seeker of truth and we have searched far and wide, but we have found no answer to this, except they were all acclaimed as very great jurists and honest and just men. But you are fully aware that jurist's capacity, honesty, justice and greatness are not monopoly of these four persons only. Then, how can it be "compulsory" to follow them only?

We do not think that anyone can hold that these four Imams are in any way better than our Imams, the pure and holy descendants of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), the Ark of Salvation, the Gate of Repentance, through whom we can attain protection against disagreement in religious matters; for they are the emblems of guidance, and the leaders towards the straight path.

Who are Ahlul-Bayt? (Part I)

============ Introduction ============

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:

- Fatimah al-Zahra (AS) (the daughter of the Messenger of Allah),

- Imam Ali (AS),

- Imam al-Hasan (AS),

- Imam al-Husain (AS),

- Wives of the Prophet (PBUH&HF)

Others among the Sunnis further include ALL the descendants of the Prophet to the list! Some other Sunnis are very generous and include all the descendants of Abbas (the Abbasid) as well as the descendants of Aqil & Ja'far (the two brothers of Imam Ali) to the list. It should be noted, however, that there have been some leading Sunni scholars who did NOT consider the wives of the Prophet among Ahlul-Bayt. This happens to be consistent with the Shia point of view.

To the Shia, the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) consist of the following individuals ONLY:

- Fatimah al-Zahra (AS),

- Imam Ali (AS),

- Imam al-Hasan (AS),

- Imam al-Husain (AS),

- Nine descendants of Imam al-Husain (AS).

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.

=================== 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)

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 have to.

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.

Here is the Arabic text of above tradition given by Sahih al-Tirmidhi:

" | || | . | " . || | : T || . .. |. . ... 4_|_|| ]_, _, |_o_, | _,_,_|| _|_c 4_, |_|| o ]_8 .__,_| _, : /: (_S. (_S : / |. : | | . . || | . : | | .. . q |_,_w_7 q 4_o_D |_9 _,_,_|| |_c ]_9 4_o_|_w o | .__,_,_, _9 / / (_S. ( : . (_S || : ^ |. . | . w | @ | / | | . |. ||_o o_, o _8_D .__9_|_7 _|_c q 4_, |_w_)_, o_8_|_|_7_9 |_,_,_w_7 (_| ( / (_S / . ( . : || . . | . : | | | | | || q w_7 _|| o_8_,_c .__,_8 |_9 _,_,_, |_8 | _@ |_| q_8 o_8_|_|| / (_/ . / ( . (_S : . (_| / ( . | |. | : | | .. || : | | : | _,_, |_, o_8_e_o |_, | q 4_o_|_w o | .__,_||_o | _,_8_D_, o_8 _8_D (_S. : ( / ( /: ( / . || .. . | /. | / | .. . | || : | || _,_7 _|| .__,_, | q ,__)_, |_)_o _|_c .__,_, | ||_o ? 4_|_|| /: (_S / (_S (_| 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 him positively? Why didn't he enter her into the cloak? Why did the Prophet tell him 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.

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

(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 Verse 33:33)".

Sunni references:

- 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 Muslim)."

- Talkhis of al-Mustadrak, by al-Dhahabi, v3, p148 - Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn al-Athir, v3, p33

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.

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:

Who are Ahlul-Bayt? (Part II)

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:

al-Kharazmi has quoted this very narration in his Maqtal in the following words:

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."

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."