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Chapter 1. 1|2

EXPLANATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE WORDS OF THE VERSE

In his book entitled ‘Mufradat al-Qur’an’ Raghib says under the root ‘Rawada’. When it is said, ‘Arad Allah’ it means that the Almighty Allah ordered that such and such thing should take place or should not take place. And under the root ‘Rijs’ he says: ‘Rijs’ means something which man hates. He adds that ‘Rijs’ is of four kinds, namely: natural, intellectual, legal or combination of all these three in one. For example, a dead body, an act of gambling and a profession of polytheism are repulsive from the viewpoint of nature, intellect and law. The statement of Raghib ends here.

In the 30th verse of Sura al-Hajj, the Almighty Allah says, ‘Shun the abomination of idols.’ And in the 125th verse of Sura al-An’am Allah says, ‘Thus does Allah heap ignominous chastisement on those who believe not.’ And in the 145th verse of Sura al-An’am He says, ‘Unless it be dead meat, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine, for it is an abomination’. And in Sura al-Tauba, He says about the hypocrites, ‘Keep aloof from them for they are hypocrites.’ And in the 71st verse of Sura al-A’raf Allah says, about the people of Noah, ‘Noah said, "Punishment and wrath have already come upon you from your Lord".

The meaning of the word ‘Tathir’ in this verse is the same as in the remarks about Mary (s.a.) in the 42nd verse of Sura Aal-i-Imran when the angels said, ‘O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you above all the women’.

And ‘Kisa’ mentioned in the hadith was an upper garment like ‘Aba’ (a cloak).

THE VERSE AS INTERPRETED IN THE NARRATIONS

In his ‘Tafsir’ Suyuti quotes Ibne Abbas1 as saying:

‘The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: ‘Almighty Allah divided His creation into two parts and placed us in the best of them! Later he said: ‘Then He sub-divided tribes into families and placed us among the best of those families. And Almighty Allah means this when he says: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification’. Hence myself and the members of my family are free from all sorts of sin and contamination.’

Suyuti narrates from Zahhak son of Muzahim2 that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: ‘We are the family whom Allah has declared to be pure, and He has created us from the trunk and the centre of Prophethood. Ours is the house which is frequented by the angels and is the seat of blessings and the spring of knowledge and wisdom.’

Tabari (in ‘Tafsir’) and Muhib-i-Tabari (in ‘Zakhair al-Uqba’) quote from Abu Saeed Khudri that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, ‘The verse has been revealed about five persons namely, myself, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain. In ‘Mushkil al-Aathar’ Umme Salma has been quoted as saying: ‘This verse was revealed with regard to the Holy Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain’ (May peace and benediction be upon them all).

In the previous narrations it has been stated as to how the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) explained and interpreted this verse and threw light upon the subject by words and conduct.

According to Sahih Muslim, Zaid bin Arqam, a distinguished companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was asked as to who were meant by members of the Holy Prophet’s family and whether his wives were also included among them. He replied: ‘Wives do not belong to the family. By Allah! A woman lives with her husband for some time and is then divorced and returns to her father and other relatives. The members of the Holy Prophet’s family are those who have family ties with him and who are forbidden to take alms.’

In ‘Majma al-Zawaid’ Haithami reports Abu Saeed Khudri as saying: ‘Members of the Holy Prophet’s family are those whom Almighty Allah has purified of all filth and impurity and declared them to be clean and pure.’ Thereafter, Abu Saeed Khudri counted them on his fingers and said: ‘They are five persons, the Holy Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain’ (May peace be upon them all).

In his ‘Tafsir’ Tabari quotes Qatada3 who interpreted the sacred verse of Tathir 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 said in explanation of the verse, ‘It is this and nothing else that Allah willed to ward off every evil and indecency from the people of the family of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and to purify them from every contamination and sin!’

WHAT DID THE HOLY PROPHET DO AFTER THE REVELATION OF THE VERSE?

In ‘Majma al-Zawaid’ Abu Barza4 has been reported to have said: ‘I performed my prayers alongwith the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) for seven months.

As and when he left his house, he went to the house of Fatima (s.a.) and used to say: ‘Peace be upon you! O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’

In the ‘Tafsir’ of Suyuti, Ibne Abbas is reported to have said: ‘I noticed for nine months that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) went to the door of Ali’s house every day when it was time for prayers and used to say: ‘Peace and blessings be upon you! O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification. And he repeated this act five times a day.’

In ‘Sahih’ of Tirmizi, ‘Musnad’ of Ahmad, ‘Musnad’ of Tialsi, ‘Mustadrak Sahihain’, ‘Usud al-Ghaba’ and in the ‘Tafsirs’ of Tabari, Ibne Kathir and Suyuti, Anas bin Malik5 is reported to have said that for a period of six months the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to pass by the door of Fatima (a.s.) and say: ‘O People of the House, it is time to perform prayers’. And then added: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’

In ‘Isti’ab’, ‘Usud al-Ghaba’, "Majma al-Zawaid", "Mushkil al-Athar" and "Tafsirs" of Tabari, Ibne Kathir and Suyuti, Abu al-Humra has been reported to have said: "I noticed in Medina that for a period of eight months whenever the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) came out of his house to perform morning prayers he went to the house of Ali (a.s.) and placed his hands on the two sides of the door and used to say, ‘Prayers! Prayers! O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification."

In one of the narrations the period is stated to be six months, in another seven months, in the third eight months and in fourth, nine months.

In ‘Majma al-Zawaid’ and ‘Tafsir’ of Suyuti it has been quoted from Abu Saeed Khudri with a variation in words that for forty days the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) approached the house of Fatima (s.a.) every morning and used to say: ‘Peace be upon you O’ People of the House! The time for the prayer has arrived’. And thereafter he used to recite this verse: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’ 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.’

THOSE WHO RELIED ON THIS SACRED VERSE TO PROVE THE VIRTUES OF THE PEOPLE OF THE HOLY PROPHET’S HOUSE

(a) Imam Hasan (a.s.)

Hakim (in ‘Mustadrak’) in connection with the attainments of Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Haithami (in connection with the excellence of the People of the Holy Prophet’s House) have narrated that Imam Hasan (a.s.) addressed the people after the martyrdom of his father Imam Ali (a.s.), and said during his speech:

‘O People! Whoever knows me, knows me and whoever does not know me should know that I am Hasan bin Ali. I am the son of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and of his successor (wasi). I am his son 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 Jibraeel used to descend and from there ascend to heavens. I belong to the family from whom Allah has removed all impurities and made them pure.’

It has been narrated in ‘Majma al-Zawaid’ and ‘Tafsir’ of Ibne Kathir that after his father’s martyrdom Imam Hasan (a.s.) attained the Caliphate and 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 and your guests and belong to the family about whom Almighty Allah has said: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you to purify you with a thorough purification’. Imam Hasan (a.s.) dwelt on this subject so much that all those present in the Masjid began to cry.’ This hadith has also been quoted by Tibrani and all the narrators are reliable.

(b) Umm al-Momineen Umme Salma

In ‘Mushkil al-Athar’ Tahavi has quoted Umra Hamdania as saying: ‘I went to Umme Salma and said Salaam to her. She enquired: ‘Who are you?’ I replied: ~I am Umra Hamdania’. Umra 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 likes him and another group is inimical towards him. (Meaning Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib). Umme Salma said, Do you like him or are hostile to him?’ I replied, ‘I neither like him nor am hostile to him.’’ Here the narrative is defective and thereafter it is like this: ‘Allah revealed the verse: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’There was none in the room at that time, except Jibraeel, the Holy Prophet and Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (May peace be upon them). 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.’

(c) Sa’ad bin abi Waqas

In ‘Khasais’ Nasai has quoted Amir bin Sa’ad6 son of Abu Waqas as saying: ‘Mua’wiyyah said to Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas: ‘Why do you refrain from abusing Abu Turab?’ Sa’ad said, ‘I don’t abuse Ali (a.s.) for three reasons which I heard from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). If even one of them had been in my favour I would have valued it much more than anything else on earth. I heard from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.):

‘When he left Ali (a.s.) as his representative in Medina and proceeded to fight a battle, Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Are you leaving me with the women and the children in Medina?’ The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied: ‘Don’t you like that your position vis-a-vis myself should be like that of Haroon with Musa. (May peace be upon them)? You enjoy the same position with reference to me as Haroon enjoyed with reference to Musa’.’ (May peace be upon them).

On the fateful day of Khyber, too, I heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as saying: ‘Tomorrow I shall give the standard to one who loves Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also love him.’ All of us were keen to be graced and singled out in the face of this declaration and that the standard might be in our hands. In the meantime the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: ‘Bring Ali (a.s.) to me.’ Imam Ali (a.s.) came in such a condition that he had some trouble in his eyes. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) applied his saliva to Ali’s eyes and gave the standard in his hand.

Moreover, when the verse of ‘Tathir’. ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove (all sorts of) uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification’, was revealed, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) called Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (May peace be upon them all) near himself and said: ‘O Allah! These are the people of my family.’

Ibne Jarir, Ibne Kathir, Hakim (in ‘Mustadrak’) and Tahavi (in ‘Mushkil al-Athar’) have quoted from Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas that at the time of the revelation of the verse, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) called Ali (a.s.) with his two sons and Fatima (s.a.) and accommodated them under his own cloak and said: ‘O Lord! These are the members of my family.’

(d) Ibne Abbas

(1) It has been narrated in ‘Tarikh-i-Ibne Athir’ that Umar, while conversing with Ibne Abbas said: ‘Fie be upon you, O Bani Hashim! You have nothing in your hearts except envy, fraud and rancour which do not leave your hearts and are not exterminated, Ibne Abbas said in reply: ‘Be calm O’ Commander of the Faithful! Don’t attribute envy to those hearts which have been cleansed from all the filth by Allah and made pure and clean, because the heart of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) too, is one of the hearts of Bani Hashim.’

(2) Imam of the Hanblis, Ahmad (in his ‘Musnad’), Nasai (in ‘Khasais’) Muhibbe Tibri (in ‘Riaz al-Nuzra’) and Haithmi (in ‘Majma al-Zawaid’) have reported ‘Amr bin Maimun7 as having said: ‘I was with Ibne Abbas when nine persons came to him and said: ‘O son of Abbas! Either come out with us or provide us privacy.’ He said: ‘I shall go out with you.’ The narrator says: ‘In those days the eyes of Ibne Abbas were all right and he could see. The narrator says: They had mutual conversation and I am not ware as to what they talked about.’ After some time Ibne Abbas returned to us. He was then shaking off his dress8 and saying: ‘Fie be upon them! they are talking about the man who enjoys ten excellences. Later in the narration Ibne Abbas details the virtues of the Imam till he says: ‘The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) spread his cloak upon Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (Peace be upon them) and said: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’

(c) Wasilat son of Asqaa

Tabari (while commenting on the verse), Ibne Hanbal (in his ‘Musnad’), Hakim (in ‘Mustadrak’), Bahiqui (in ‘Sunan’), Tahavi (in ‘Mushkil al-Athar’) and Haithami (in ‘Majma al-Zawaid’) quote Abu Ammar9 as having said: ‘I was sitting with Wasilat son of Asqaa when a discussion took place about Ali (a.s.) 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 had been abusing. I was with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) when Ali (a.s.), Fatima (s.a.), Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) approached him and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) spread his cloak on them and said: ‘O Allah! These are the members of my family. Remove uncleanness from them and make them clean and pure.’

In ‘Usud al-Ghaba’ Shiddad son of Abd Allah has been quoted as saying: ‘I heard from Wasilat son of Asqaa that when the head of Husain (a.s.) was brought, one of the Syrians abused Husain (a.s.) and his father. Wasilat stood up and said: ‘I swear by Allah that ever since I heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) say about them: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sort of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’ I have always liked Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (Peace be upon them).’

ANOTHER NARRATION FROM UMME SALMA

Ahmad (in ‘Musnad’), Tabari (in ‘Tafsir’) and Tahavi (in ‘Mushkil al-Athar’) have quoted Shahr bin Haushab to have said: ‘When the news of the martyrdom of Husain (a.s.) reached (Medina) I heard Umme Salma, wife of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), saying: ‘They have killed Husain (a.s.)! I myself observed that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) spread his Khyber cloak on them and said: ‘O Allah! these are the members of my family! Remove uncleanness from them and make them clean and pure!’

(f) Ali bin al-Husain (a.s.)

Tabari, Ibne Kathir and Suyuti have stated thus in their ‘Tafsirs’ while commenting on this sacred verse: Ali bin al-Husain (a.s.) said to a Syrian: ‘Have you read this verse in Sura al-Azhab, ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification.’

The Syrian said: ‘Does this verse pertain to you?’ The Imam replied: ‘Yes, it pertains to us.’

Khwarizmi has quoted this very narration in his ‘Maqtal’ in the following manner:

‘When after the martyrdom of Husain (a.s.), the grandson of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), Sajjad (a.s.) and other prisoners belonging to the House of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) were carried to Damascus and stationed in the jail located by the side of the Jama Masjid 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 bin al-Husain (a.s.) said: ‘O old man! Have your read the Holy Quran? He replied: Yes. Then the Imam (a.s.) said: have you read this verse: ‘No reward do I ask you for this (the toils of the office of Prophethood) except the love of those near of my kin.’ Qur’an (42 : 23)

The old man said: ‘Yes. I have read it’ The Imam said: ‘Have you read the verse: ‘So give what is due to kindered (near ones), the needy and the wayfarer. That is best for them who seek the countenance of Allah, and it is they who will prosper’ and the verse: ‘They ask you concerning (things taken as) spoils of war say: such spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Prophet, so fear Allah and keep straight the relations between yourselves: Obey Allah and His Prophet, if you do believe in the Holy Qur’an. 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 read this verse in the Holy Qur’an and wherein Allah says: ‘O People of the Prophet’s House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification’?

The old man said: ‘Yes. I have read it.’ The Imam said: ‘What is meant by People of the Prophet’s House! We are whom Allah has especially associated with the verse of ‘Tathir’.

The old man said: ‘By Almighty Allah! Are you of the same family?’ The Imam replied: ‘I swear by my grandfather the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) 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 apologize for what I have said and forsake enmity against this family and hate the enemies of the Progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) from the Jinn and the men.’10

Other traditions on the subject have also been narrated but we have desisted from quoting them.11 This suffices for our purpose of proving our assertions.

And the Holy Qu’ran says: Most surely there is a reminder in this for him who has a heart or he gives ear and is a witness. (Sura Qaf 50 : 37)

----------------

1 Abd Allah son of Abbas and cousin of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was born three years before the Holy Prophet’s migration to Medina and passed away at Taif at the age of 68 years. For his biography please refer to ‘Usud al-Ghaba’.

2 Abu al-Qasim or Abu Muhammad Zahhak son of Muzahim Hilali. Ibn-Hajar says: ‘He is truthful in narrating hadith and has narrated many hadith by way of receiving it from correct sources. ‘Zahhak is considered to be belonging to the fifth group and died after attaining the age of 100 years. His biography appears in ‘Tehzib al-Tehzib.’

3 There are four persons by the name ‘Qatada’ (viz.Saddusi, Rihawi, Qaisi and Ansari) and all of them are reliable. It is not known as to which one of them is referred to here. For their biographies please refer to ‘Tehzib-al-Tehzib’.

4 Abu Barza Aslami was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). He passed away at Kufa at the age of 60 or 64 years. His biography is given in ‘Usud al-Ghaba’ (Vol.V, page 146).

5 Anas bin Malik Khazraji. It has been reported that he remained in the service of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) for ten years. He passed away in Basra after attaining the age of 90 years. For his biography please refer to ‘Usud al-Ghaba’.

6 ‘Amir bin Sa’ad son of Abi Waqas. His hadith has been recorded by all the compliers of ‘Sihah’. Ibne Hajar says: ‘He is considered to be one of the reliable narrators of the third group. He died at the age of 104.(Taqrib at-Tahzib Vol I Page no.387.)

7 ‘Amr bin Maimun is considered to be one of the reliable Tabaeen. His hadith have been included in the ‘Sihah’. He passed away in Kufa at the age of 74. (‘Taqreeb al Tehzeeb’ Vol.II page 80)

8 In those days shaking off the dress was considered to be a sign of disgust for what had happened and as the nine persons had used unbecoming language for Imam Ali (a.s.) Ibne Abbas spoke thus.

9 Abu Ammar Shiddad son of Abd Allah al-Qarshi of Damascus. He is included in the fourth group of reliable narrators and his hadith are available in the ‘Sihah’. (‘Taqreeb al- Tehzib’ Vol.1, page 347).

10 Maqtal of Khwarizmi Vol 2 Page 61, printed at Najaf.

11 For example the narration about the biography of ‘Atiyya’ as detailed in ‘Usud al- Ghaba’ (Vol.III, page 413) and in ‘Asaba’ (Vol.II, page 479) and ‘Tarikh-i-Baghdad’ (Vol.X, page 278), and the narration of Hakim son of Saeed in ‘Tafsir-i-Tabari’ (Vol.22, page 5) and other narrations quoted in ‘Musnad’ of Ahmed (Vol.VI, page 304) and ‘Usud al-Ghaba’ (Vol.II, page 12 and Vol.IV, page 29) and ‘Majma al-Zawaid’ (Vol.IX, pages 206 and 207) and ‘Zakhair al Uqba’ (page 21)

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