Why do Sh’iaa scholars use Surah Al Ahzaab 33:33 to prove infallibility of the twelve Imaams. See a detailed discussion on the Ayah, and understand the true meaning of the term Ahle Bait.
Around 'Aashoora 10th Muharram this year, I attempted to discuss the irrationality in mourning over someone who is actually enjoying in paradise, with our Shi'aa brothers. One way or the other, academic or un-academic Shi'aa, Sunni discussion would be diverted to the issue of Ahle-Bait. Shi'aa would blame us for not valuing the Ahle-Bait the way we should, and many a times they'll be proving their point not through logic but through their 'genealogy'. The major sect of Shi'aas, isna-'ashriyaa (the twelvers or the muswee), they believe that 12 imams are m'asum (infallible). Ignoring the history of the divide, this is the major difference between sunnis and shi'aas that stands to the present day. This is the reason for the difference in our beliefs and actions. Although, different sects of shi'aas themselves differ in who actually the m'asum (infallible) are. You can read the differences amongst Isma'ilis, Muswee (twelvers), Zaidi etc to understand this point.
So, how to resolve this difference? Sunnis also have a concept of Imaams (leaders) but our deen doesn't revolve around Imaams as the Shi'aa deen does. Shi'aas and Sunnis don't have common books of hadith. In the Shi'aas books of hadith you'll see narrations ending at the imaams, and the sayings of imaams are a source for them. So, the books of hadith can't be used to reach a common belief. One thing to note here is that when debating with Shi'aas you'll often see Shi'aas quoting references from Sunni books of hadith and history to prove their point. We can't do the same often because Shi'aas filtered most of the Sahaba as unauthentic and their views can go to as extreme as all sahaba apostated after the death of Rasulullah except the Ahle-bait (their understanding of it) and four others. And this is not a totally scarce concept in Sh'ism, it can be found in the books of their famous scholars, like the Persian Baqir Majlisi. Also, when you are quoting for Sunni references you have to take-care of rules formulated by sunni muhaditheen. We don't use the books of history (especially when they contain weak chains of narration or contain no chain at all) as a proof of matters of Shar'iah (jurisprudence) and Shi'aas use them wen to prove the matter of 'Aqaid (beliefs) for which the Sunni scholars have laid down very even stricter conditions. Also, you will very commonly find narrations with D'aeef (weak) and Mawdhu' (fabricated) chains from Sunni sources used as evidences by Shi'aa scholars. The common Shi'aa might also make fun of you when you tell him that the narration you quoted isn't authentic, but, the fact is that even the Shi'aa scholars laid down rules of Hadith, and you find Al-Kaafi with Tehqeeq and it does contain many D'aeef (weak) narrations. One should also note here that the most authentic book of hadith with Shi'aas, Al-Kaafi, contains many D'aeef (weak) narrations as opposed to the Saheehain with the Sunnis. So, the only thing common between us and the Shi'aas is the Qur'an. Few Sunni scholars do highlight that even Qur'an is not common between Sunnis and Shi'aas and one can find some absurd sayings regarding the Holy Qu'ran in few books of Shi'aas though Allah has himself taken the responsibility of protection of the Holy Qur'an. But, this is a view that isn't really common amongst the Shi'aas of the day, so we can easily ignore it. Some sunnis might argue that they don't openly express their beliefs regarding Qur'an because of Taqiyyah. I'd rather ignore this for the time being as well, and I'd like some Shi'aa to tell me what they think of Baqir Majlisi and his books. Things can become really clear if we know what they think of him.
So, can the Shi'aas prove to us from the Holy Qur'an that:
1. The Ahle-Bait only includes Fatimah, Ali, Hasan, Hussain and their children.
2. And the twelve imams are m'asum (infallible)
One Important thing to note down here is that the Sunnis do not speak against the great virtues of Fatimah, Ali, Hasan and Husain رضى الله عنهم. Another important think to note down is that a generic proof for Qur'an for the significance of Ahle-Bait won't really prove anything because the significance and status of Ahle-Bait is something that even Sunnis believe. Also a generic proof will mean that everyone from the children of Hasan and Hussain is infallible which is not actually what Shi'aas believe in general, though few Shi'aas do think that Syeds are 'more' Muslims than non-Syeds and they also use darood e ibrahimi to prove this which is discussed in the end of this article. What is to be proven is: the twelve imaams are m'asum (infallible). It would be really irrational to believe that Allah forgot to certify the future twelve in the Holy Qur'an as we see that Qur'an repeats the basic beliefs so often. It leaves no doubt in our minds that we've to follow the Prophet Muhammad. It gives us no room to think bad about the Sahaba (companions). Amazingly, Qur'an gives no direct, in-direct information of twelve infallible leaders to come. So, the shi'aas did come up with a proof from the Holy Qur'an. It is Ayah Number 33 from Surah Al Ahzaab. In this writing we'll try to understand what Qur'an is actually saying this Ayah, as this Ayah is commonly quoted by Shi'aas while debating with Sunnis.
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًاAnd stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.
(Surah Al Ahzaab 33:33)
Discussion A – Where are the twelve Imaams mentioned?By no direct or indirect method of language is this 'Ayah referring to the infallibility of twelve imaams to come. We can find lots of debates between sunnis and shi'aas as to who Ahle-Bait are and what is referred to as Ahle-Bait in this Ayah, but sometimes we forget that even if we for the sake of argument agree with the Shi'aas that this Ayah directly refers to Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hussain, but by no stretch of explanation can they bring the numeric 12 in the equation. It's against the Sunnah of Allah to mention such an important belief in such a vague way. If the shi'aas believe this Ayah refers indirectly to all the descendants of the Hasan and Hussain, than they will put them self in the trouble of proving the infallibility of all the rapists, drinkers, murders in history who were known to be Syeds. This will also put them in the tough task of proving Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani as sinless, which I'm sure they'll never wish to.
Discussion B – Does this Ayah actually refer to infallibility?Shi'aas have not only misconstrued this verse to the extent that they have made the word ahle-bait exclusively applicable to `AIi and Fatimah and their children to the exclusion of the holy wives (discussed ahead), but have gone even further and concluded wrongly from its words "Allah only intends to remove uncleanliness from you and purify you completely", that 'Ali and Fatimah and their children are infallible like the Prophets of Allah. The term Rijs is repeated many a times in the Holy Qur'an for different meanings. They say that Rijs (uncleanliness) implies error and sin, and, as Allah says, ahle-bait have been purified of this.
Point # 1: The words of the verse do not say that uncleanliness has been removed from them and they have been purified. But the words are to the effect: "Allah intends to remove uncleanliness from you and purify you completely."
Point # 2: The context also does not tell that the object here is to mention the virtues and excellences of the Holy Prophet's household. On the contrary, they have been advised here what they should do and what they should not, because Allah intends to purify them. In other words, they have been told that if they adopted such and such an attitude and way of life, they will be blessed with cleanliness, otherwise not.
Point # 3: However, if the words "Allah intends to remove uncleanliness from you . . . " are taken to mean that Allah has made them infallible, then is no reason why all the Muslims who perform their ablutions before offering the Prayer are not held as infallible, because about them also Allah says: "But Allah wills to purify you and complete His blessings upon you."
(Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:6)
Discussion C – What is referred to as Ahle-Bait in the Ayah?Point # 1: Shi'aas believe that the term Ahle-Bait used in the Ayah refers to Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, Hussain رضى الله عنهمand their descendants. But at the same time they use the Ayah to prove the infallibility of the twelve imaams. So, the same Ayah refers to all the descendants of Ahle-Bait and it doesn't refer to all but only the twelve, and they decide whether it refers to twelve or all the descendants according to the situation at hand.
Point # 2: From the context it's proven easily that those whom the Qur'an is directly addressing when using the term Ahle-Bait are the wives of Rasulullah. I'm not trying to prove here that Fatimah, Ali, Hasan and Hussain رضى الله عنهم are not included in the Ahle-Bait. Rather, I'm highlighting the fact that Qur'an directly addresses the Azwaaj e Mutahiraat , the Ummahatul Mo'mineen when using the term Ahle-Bait, and Fatimah, Ali, Hasan and Hussain are included as well as evident from the narrations that will be mentioned ahead. It is worth mentioning that not all the Sunni commentators (mufasireen) of Qur'an have mentioned wives of Rasulullah under the term Ahle-Bait. The reason for that being an un-ignorable influence of Shi'aa beleifs in some of our discussions, like the Shi'aa version of Karbala and also the term Ahle-Bait.
Ibn e Kathir says in the explanation of the Ayah
هذا نص فى دخول أزواج النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم فى أهل البيت ها هنا ، لأنهن سبب نزول هذه الآية"This is a solid proof that the wives of Rasulullah are included in 'the people of the house' here, because they are the reason for the revelation of this Ayah'
وفي هذا دليل بيّن على أنّ نساء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم من أهل بيته"In it there is a clear proof that the wives of Rasulullah are from 'the people of his house' "
Point # 3: This Ayah, the Ayaat before it and the Ayah after it all are addressing the Ummahatul Mo'mineen directly. It is very 'tough' to believe that Qur'an suddenly changed the addressee without even using the word يا. This is simply not compatible with the style of Qur'an. It is likely that Qur'an included a broad term that included others than the Ummahatul Mo'mineen, but, to believe that it doesn't include Ummahatul Mo'mineen is very tough to prove.
Point # 4: Literal Meaning of اهل البيت
It is mentioned in Lisaab ul 'Arab:" اهل البيت سكانه, the people of home are its residents". The word اهله is used very commonly in Arabic referring to 'his wife'. It is said in Arabic تاهل فلان, meaning 'so and so became one with a wife'. It is also used in hindi/urdu in the same sense: 'ghar wali' and in farsi as 'ahle khana'.
A very important rule of Tafseer is that a portion of Qur'an elaborates other portion. The word اهل البيت only appears at one more place in the Holy Qur'an and there it is used for the Sarah عليها السلام (the wife of Ibrahim عليه السلام) and for Ibrahim عليه السلام. At that time Sarah عليه السلام had no child so we can't say that it directly addressed the children as well. The very Ayah that I'm referring is to the one where angels come and give her glad tiding of a child in her old-age:
They said: "Dost thou wonder at Allah's decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, o ye people of the house! for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory!" (Surah Hud 11:73)
Point # 5: The Qur'an uses the word و (and) at the beginning of the Ayah # 34 which proves that it is related to what was being said earlier. Al-Qurtabi says in his Tafseer: "the correct thing is that وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَىٰ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّis related to what was before it".
Clarification: Why does Qur'an use masculine?
Shi'aa scholars argue that if Ahle-Bait refers to the Azwaaj (wives) of Rasulullah
صلى الله عليه و سلمdirectly then why it uses the masculine term for them. Somehow who knows 'arabic grammar can easily make-out that just because Qur'an uses the masculine term we can't 'conclude' for certain that those referred to are all masculine too.
وقد أجمع أهل اللسان العربى على تغليب الذكور على الإِناث فى الجموع ونحوها
"All the linguist agree Arabic agree to give priority to males over females when addressing a crowd of both and so on"Clarification: Why doesn't Qur'an use people of the 'houses'?
Few shi'aa scholars argue that if it refers to all ummahatul mo'mineen then the word used should be اهل البيوت (the people of the houses) because the wives of rasulullah used to live in separate hujraat (حجرات).
Point # 1 – Although ummahatul mo'mineen lives physically in different hujraat, but they were part of the same home, the home of rasulullah.
Point # 2 – اهل البيت is اسم جنس which is used for both plural and singular both.
Clarification: The hadith of the cloak حديث كساء
There are various narrations in which Prophet Muhammad wrapped Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hussain under a cloak and recited the Ayah under discussion (Surah Al Ahzaab 33:33) and in some narrations he also اللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلَاءِ أَهْلُ بَيْتِي " Oh Allah ! These are people of my home". This hadith is very famous amongst Shi'aas as the Hadith of cloak (كساء), and they use it to prove that Ummahatul Mo'mineen are not included in the Ahle-Bait. For us, these ahaadith contain evidence that Fatimah, Ali, Hasan, Hussain are also included in Ahle-Bait and Ummahatul Mo'imneen are of-course included by default. The hadith of the cloak are narrated from 'Aisha, Umm e Salamah, Abdullah bin 'Abbas, Abi Sa'eed Al Khudri, Al- Bara' bin 'Aazib, Abdullah bin J'afar, Ans bin Malik, Abi Al Hamraa', Hassan bin 'Ali and Waathla
رضي الله عنهم.
Narration from 'Aisha رضي الله عنها
'A'isha رضي الله عنها reported that Allah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel's hair that there came Hasan b. 'Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came 'Ali and he also took him under it and then said: Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household, and purify you (thorough purifying). (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Fada'il Al-Sahabah)
There are narrations in which 'Aisha رضى الله عنها asked Rasulullah 'Am I included amongst them' and he replied that 'Indeed You are on the good'. This is not a 'No' as Shi'aas portray it, but it actually shows that she is on an even better status, and that is because she is the directly part of Ahle-Bait as Qur'an includes them, and for others Prophet Muhammad made a d'uaa as it is evident from few narrations: اللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلَاءِ أَهْلُ بَيْتِي. There is a narration from S'ad bin Abi Waqqas in the Al-Kubra of Nasai where he uses the following words
دعا رسول الله عليا وفاطمة وحسنا وحسينا اللهم هؤلاء أهل بيتي"Rasulullah made d'uaa for Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain : Oh Allah these are the people of my home"
There are various narrations from S'ad bin Abi Waqqas which say the same thing, and the Prophet Muhammad made this d'ua immediately after the Ayah was revealed.
Narration from Umme Salamah رضي الله عنها
Sayyidah Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم put a cloak over Hasan, Hussain, Ali and Fatimah and prayed, "O Allah, they are people of my house and closest to me. Remove from them evil and purify them a perfect purification." Umm Salamah (RA) submitted, "I too am with them, O Messenger of Allah!" He said, "Indeed you are on good." (Jami Tirmidhi, Kitab ul Manaqib, Authenticated by al-Albani)
There is a narration in the Tafseer of Al- Baghawi (بغوى) which has been authenticated by Abdur Razzaq Al-Mahdi which has the following words in the reply to the question of Umme Salamah: بلى إن شاء اللّه, Indeed, Yes, if Allah wills.
In another narration in Tabari he replied: إنك من أهلي, 'Indeed you are from my home'.
And in many other narrations Prophet Muhammad gave her the same reply that he gave 'Aisha: "Indeed you are on good or towards good"
Also, to be noted that the if the thing is the way Shi'aas claim that only those who were in the cloak are amongst the ahle-bait, then how do they include the 12 imaams in them ?
Narrations regarding Wathla (واثله رضى الله عنه )
There are authentic narrations in which Prophet Muhammad made the d'uaa: اللهم هؤلاء أهلي for Ali, Hassan, Hussain and Fatimah and Wathla (واثله) asked Rasulullah 'Am I among your home (family) too? '. Prophet Muhammad replied 'And you are from my family'. This hadith is in Masnad Ahmed and is authentic. There are other narrations where Prophet Muhammad included Salman Al Farsi in Ahle-Bait as well, but they are not authentic. This also proves that Rasulullah when doing d'uaa to Allah to include the-four in Ahle-Bait wasn't looking at their genealogy alone.
So, the conclusion we reach is:
Discussion # D -
Many Sh'iaas use the Darud e Ibrahimi to prove their point regarding their lineage's supremacy or the infallibility of their imaams, which is actually almost impossible to prove from the darood. You will commonly listen to terminologies like Aal e Rasool, Aal e Muhammad, Aal Kisaa', Aal e Ataa' amongst sh'iaas for this reason. We don't disagree that Aal have a special position in Islam, that is why we make d'uaa for them in our Salah, but what we understand from آل محمد is different from theirs.
Darud e Ibrahimi and the word Aal آل
Allama ibn e Mansur Afreeqi Misri writes in Lisaan ul 'Arab: "The آل of a person is his اهل, and the آل of Allah and his Messenger are their friends (followers)..."
The discussion will extend to several pages if I give examples for usage of آل in Quran, hadith and common Arabic. I'll briefly elaborate our understanding of the word آل.
آل حقيقى : These are the wives and the children of Prophet Muhammad.
An important point to note is that in a narration in Bukhari the word ازواجه و ذريته (his wives and his children) is used, hence, explaining what the word آل is used to refer to directly.
آل مجازى: These include the son in law and grandchildren of Rasulullah.
آل نسبى: These include the guided followers of Rasulullah, who try their best to follow him and his mission.
Once again, those who use it to prove the infallibility of the-twelve imaams should point to us where the word 12 is hidden. And those who use it too generically should tell us whether they would want to pray for Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani or not.
ConclusionIn the end I would like to clarify that this is just an attempt to move towards Sh'iaa-Sunni Unity and not a hate speech. If some Sh'iaa disagrees with what I said in this article should kindly reply to that in comments, but please don't pick-up the point of your choice only, but reply only if you have answer to all the raised points. I would also request the Sh'iaas to re-consider their views regarding the Sahaba (companions of Rasulullah) because Qur'an gives them a certificate at many places in the Holy Qur'an. When you prove the infallibility of the-twelve through so many U-turns and their superiority through indirect means, why do you speak about bad about the Sahaba?
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward. (Surah Al Fath 48:29)
The vanguard (of Islam)- the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds,- well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: that is the supreme felicity. (Surah At Tawbah 9:100)
Also, I'd be really grateful if some Sh'iaa replies to these questions:
اللهم فقهنا فى الدين
Author: Mohammad Awais Tahir
The author may or may not have the same views on the topic and would not like to be quoted on what has been said above. The author, however, deems nothing wrong with changing opinions, hence, he does not wish to amend/remove posts that do not resonate with his current thinking.
“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.”
Please see : http://exploringpsyche.com/one-grand-retraction/
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