The Ahlul Bayt according to the Ahlus Sunnah
The Root Letters of the word Al:
The scholars have differed as to the root letters of the word Al; there are two views in this regard:
The first view
The root letters are Ahl, on the scale of Fa’l, i.e. with a Fathah which is followed by a Sukun. The letter Haʾ was changed to a Hamzah making the word Aʾl (with two Hamzahs coming together). Due to two Hamzahs coming together, the first one having a Fathah and the second one a Sukun, the second one was changed to an Alif, making the word Al. This is the viewpoint of most of the linguistics.
This view has, however, been deemed weak, due to the many differences which exist in the usage of both words. If the word Ahl was the original of Al they both would have been the same completely.
The second view
The root letters are Awala, on the scale of Fa’ala. Due to the Waw having a short vowel sign and the letter before it having a Fathah it was changed to an Alif. It is thus derived from the verb Ala Yaʾulu which means ‘to return’. The Al of a man would thus mean: those who return to him and are attributed to him. Likewise Yaʾuluhum means: ‘he governed them’; and the word Iyalah also means ‘to govern’. Hence the Al of a person are his subordinates whom he governs and takes care of. Yes of course, he himself is more deserving of his care and governance, therefore, he himself will also be included in his Al.
The author of Hirz al Amani has alluded to the difference of views in this regard in the following stanza:
وقد قال بعض الناس من أبدلا
فإبداله من همزة هاء أصلها
The Ha’ which is its root letter was changed to a Hamzah. And some have suggested that it was a waw which was changed to a Hamzah.
As for the literal meaning of Al, it is the family of a person. It also includes his followers and his associates.
Probably the initial meaning of Al was the family of a person and his relatives. Thereafter, due to the similarity between the followers and the relatives in terms of their dependence upon him and his dependence upon them, its purport was broadened to include his followers as well.
Likewise, the root letters A, W, L in all their different forms and conjugations give one meaning: ‘uniting and gathering’.
Furthermore, the word Al is only used to refer to people of stature and dignity; hence the bearers of the Qurʾan are known as the Al of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, and the household of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is known as the Al of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. But expressions like Al of the barber or the Al of the tailor are not used.
The Technical Meaning of Al
The scholars have differed regarding the technical meaning of Al. The reason for their difference is the broad meaning of the word in the Arabic language which includes the household of a person, his relatives, his followers and his associates. In addition to that, the word Al has been used in various texts for various meanings; as a result, when many of the scholars found it plausible to apply a particular meaning to a particular text they extended that meaning arbitrarily to all the other texts as well.
Hence there are various views in this regard:
The First View
The Al of Nabi is the people of the Kisaʾ (the shroud) and their progenies. The term ‘people of the Kisaʾ’ refers to ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum. This is the view of majority of the members of Ahlul Bayt who were Zaidis.
They have advanced the following narration of ‘Aʾishah radiya Llahu ‘anha as evidence for their view:
قالت عائشة خرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم غداة وعليه مرط مرحل من شعر أسود فجاء الحسن بن علي فأدخله ثم جاء الحسين فدخل معه ثم جاءت فاطمة فأدخلها ثم جاء علي فأدخله ثم قال إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.
Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out one morning and upon him was an embellished shroud made of black fur. Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu came and Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam covered him. He was followed by Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu who went in with him as well. Then came Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha and so he covered her. She was followed by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he covered him as well. Thereafter he said, “Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.
In some narrations it appears that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pointing towards them said the following:
اللهم هؤلاء أهل بيتي
O Allah this is my household.
And in some narrations Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have resisted from including Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha under the shroud when she requested.
This view is weak due to the following reasons:
Firstly, the verses before and after the verse in question are all pertaining to the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Hence it would not be correct to say that they are not included therein. Otherwise the verse would be completely foreign to the context wherein it appears, which in itself goes against the style of the Qurʾan.
Hence Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma would say:
نزلت في نساء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم خاصة
It was revealed regarding the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam specifically.
And ‘Ikrimah would say:
من شاء باهلته أنها نزلت في أزواج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم.
Whoever wants, I can enter into a Mubahalah (mutual imprecation) with him and claim that it was revealed regarding the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Furthermore, according to majority of the scholars of the principles of Shari’ah the scenario which prompted the revelation of the verses, i.e. giving the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam the option of enduring poverty whilst staying with him or parting with him and attaining the riches of this world, is most certainly included in the verses. Hence it would not be correct to exclude it due to a secondary excluding/specifying text.
Secondly, even though the hadith suggests exclusivity, the most that can be said is that it excludes others besides those mentioned implicitly. But there are many other narrations which explicitly state that they are part of the Ahlul Bayt. Hence the explicit will take precedence over the implicit, as is well established in the principles of Fiqh.
Thirdly, if the narration suggests exclusivity, then what is the proof for the progeny of those enshrouded being included in the Ahlul Bayt, whereas the exclusivity ought to have excluded them as well?
Lastly, the reason for not including Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha is either because her inclusion in the verses was already obvious due to the context, or because ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not her Mahram (close male relative who is unmarriageable).
The Second View
Al refers to those who stayed with Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, i.e. his wives and his children. The proponents of this view have advanced the following as evidence:
Proof 1: the verse:
Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.
They aver that the context of the verse definitively refers to the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam alone, for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ إِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلاً
O Prophet, say to your wives, “If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release.”
O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you should commit a clear immorality – for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy.
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet.
And after the verse in question he says:
And remember what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and wisdom. Indeed, Allah is ever Subtle and Acquainted [with all things].
All these verses are inter-linked, hence it would not be plausible to aver that one verse amidst all of them is different from them and addresses others besides the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
As for why the masculine pronoun ‘kum’ is brought, it is in consideration of the word Ahl (which is masculine); the Arabs very often use the masculine pronouns due to words they are referring back to, as in the verse:
فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ مُوسَى الْأَجَلَ وَسَارَ بِأَهْلِهِ آنَسَ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ نَارًا قَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ
And when Musa had completed the term and was traveling with his family, he perceived from the direction of the mount a fire. He said to his family, “Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire. Perhaps I will bring you from there [some] information or burning wood from the fire that you may warm yourselves.”
The answer to this proof is the following:
The context suggesting that the words Ahlul Bayt are inclusive of the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is more than clear. However, the exclusion of everyone else besides them is merely implicit, whereas on the other hand there are other texts which explicitly include them as well.
Hence the correct reason for bringing the masculine pronoun ‘kum’ would be to include the men of the Ahlul Bayt as well; because the rule is that when masculine and feminine nouns come together preference is given to the masculine pronoun.
The hadith of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
اللهم اجعل رزق آل محمد قوتا
O Allah make the sustenance of the Al of Muhammad just enough for them to subsist.
The proponents of this view aver that it is a known fact that this supplication did not eventually have a bearing on all the Banu Hashim and the Banu al Muttalib, for there were rich and influential people among them; even till today they are found among them.
As for his wives, their sustenance was just about enough for them to subsist; whatever wealth they would receive they would spend it in avenues of charity and would only keep for themselves what was enough for their subsistence.
The answer to this proof is the very same as the answer to the previous proof, i.e. expression/explicitness takes precedence over impression/implicitness.
The following narration of ‘Aʾishah radiya Llahu ‘anha:
ما شبع آل محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم منذ قدم المدينة من طعام البر ثلاث ليال تباعا حتى قبض.
Since they came to Madinah, the Al of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not eat wheat to its fill for three consecutive days till he passed away.
They say that it is known that ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, his children and the Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib do not fall part of this hadith (because they were in Makkah).
The answer to this proof is the very same as the above as well, i.e. explicit mention takes precedence over inference.
The following hadith which has many variant transmissions:
اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد
O Allah send salutations upon Muhammad and the Al of Muhammad.
And in another version which is narrated by Abu Humaid al Sa’idi the following appears:
اللهم صلى على محمد وأزواجه وذريته
O Allah send salutations upon Muhammad, his wives and his children.
The second version suggests that only the wives and the children of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are meant by Al.
The answer to this proof is that in the narration of Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu all three have been mentioned together, i.e. Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his wives and children, and his Al. The narration reads as follows:
من سره أن يكتال بالمكيال الأوفى إذا صلى علينا أهل البيت فيليقل: اللهم صل على محمد النبي وأزواجه أمهات المؤمنين وذريته وأهل بيته كما صليت على آل أبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد.
Whoever desires that his deeds be weighed with a complete scale when he sends salutations upon us the Ahlul Bayt should say: O Allah send salutations upon Muhammad the Nabi, his wives the mothers of the believers, his children and his Ahlul Bayt, just as you sent salutations upon the family of Ibrahim. You are praiseworthy and glorious.
As you have noticed, in this narration he mentioned the Ahlul Bayt after mentioning the wives and the children. This is proof that the term Al is not specific to them.
The variance in the wordings of various narrations, i.e. some of them are mentioned in some whereas others are not can probably be attributed to remembrance of some narrators and the forgetting of others.
However, a stronger explanation thereof would be to say that the injunction of sending salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has come in different ways:
Hence at times the injunction is to send salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam merely without including anyone else, like in the hadith of Abu Sa’id al Khudri wherein he says:
قلنا يا رسول الله، هذا التسليم، فكيف نصلي عليك؟ قال: قولوا اللهم صلى على محمد عبدك ورسولك كما صلت على آل إبراهيم.
We asked, “O Rasul Allah, this is Taslim (the manner of sending peace upon you) so how should we send Salah (salutations) upon you?” He said, “Say: O Allah send salutations upon Muhammad, your servant and messenger, just as you sent salutations upon the household of Ibrahim.”
At times the injunction is to send salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his wives radiya Llahu ‘anhunna, as in the narration of Abu Humaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
And at times, the injunction is to send salutations upon him and his Al, i.e. the rest of his relatives, like in the narration of Ka’b ibn ‘Ujrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others.
This variance in sending salutations is in consideration of the virtue of each one. That is to say that because, after the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, all credit goes to Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in guiding the creation, we are told to send salutations upon him all the time and in every condition.
As for his wives and his relatives radiya Llahu ‘anhum, their merit and high stature is obvious. But their merit is in reality an offshoot of the merit and status of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We are thus told to send salutations upon this group at times and upon the other group at other times.
The Third View
Al refers to those of the relatives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for who Sadaqah (charity) is impermissible, keeping in mind the differences of the scholars in specifying them. This is the view of Malik, the stated opinion of al Shafi’i and a narration from Ahmed. And this is the view of the majority.
Their proofs are as follows:
The following narration of Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يؤتى بالتمر عند صرام النخل فيجيء هذا بتمره وهذا من تمره حتى يصير عنده كوما من تمر فجعل الحسن والحسين رضي الله عنهما يلعبان بذلك التمر فأخذ أحدهما تمرة فجعلها في فيه فنظر إليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأخرجها من فيه فقال أما علمت أن آل محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم لا يأكلون الصدقة
When the dates would be harvested they would be brought to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; this person would come with his dates and that person would come with his dates until a heap of dates would form. Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were playing with those dates when one of them took a date and put it in his mouth. Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw him and took the date out of his mouth and said, “Did you not know that the family of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam does not eat charity.
The narration of ‘Abdul Muttalib ibn Rabi’ah which is as follows:
He and Fadl ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma asked Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to use them as Zakat collectors so that they may collect and submit to him like others, and so that they may get a share therefrom just like others. To which Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
إن الصدقة لا تنبغي لآل محمد إنما هي أوساخ الناس
Sadaqah is not appropriate for the Al of Muhammad; for it is from the defilements of people.
The proponents of this view aver that these two hadiths explicitly state the impermissibility of charity for the Al. Although they do not state who is referred to by Al, but another narration contains the following explanation. Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:
قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوما فينا خطيبا بماء يدعى خما بين مكة والمدينة فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ووعظ وذكر ثم قال أما بعد ألا أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب الله واستمسكوا به فحث على كتاب الله ورغب فيه ثم قال وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي فقال له حصين ومن أهل بيته يا زيد أليس نساؤه من أهل بيته قال نساؤه من أهل بيته ولكن أهل بيته من حرم الصدقة بعده قال ومن هم قال هم آل علي وآل عقيل وآل جعفر وآل عباس قال كل هؤلاء حرم الصدقة قال نعم
Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood amongst us at a pond called Khum, between Makkah and Madinah, to deliver a sermon. He praised Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, advised and reminded us and then said, “Behold oh people! I am merely a human; very soon the messenger of my lord will call to whom I will respond. I am leaving amidst you the two weighty things. The first is the Book of Allah, wherein is contained light and guidance. So practice upon the Book of Allah and hold onto it firmly. Hence he exhorted regarding the Book of Allah and encouraged regarding it. Thereafter he said, “And my Ahlul Bayt. I remind you of Allah regarding my Ahlul Bayt, I remind you of Allah regarding my Ahlul Bayt; I remind you of Allah regarding my Ahlul Bayt.” Al Hussain thus said to him (the narrator), “Who is his Ahlul Bayt, O Zaid? Are not his wives from his Ahlul Bayt?” He replied, “His wives are certainly from his Ahlul Bayt, but his Ahlul Bayt (those intended here) are those for who charity is forbidden.” Thereupon he asked, “And who are they?” To which he replied, “The family of ‘Ali, the family of ‘Aqil, the family of Jafar and the family of ‘Abbas.” He further asked, “Is charity forbidden for all these people?” He replied, “Yes.”
The proponents of this view aver that a Sahabi knows better the meaning intended by Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam than anyone else, hence his explanation supports the specification of the aforementioned families.
The answer to this is as follows:
Firstly, this hadith explicitly includes the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his Al; because when Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was asked regarding them, he did not deny, rather he said, “His wives are surely from his Ahlul Bayt.”
If it is further asked: if that was really the case, then why did he not mention them when enlisting those for who charity is impermissible?
The answer is that he did not mention them for one of two reasons:
- Either because the inclusion of the wives in the household of a person is obvious to one and all, hence he did not see any need to mention them.
- Or because he specifically wanted to enlist those of the relatives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who enjoyed a continuous relationship with him, i.e. his blood relatives. As opposed to spouses, for marriage is a temporary cause for building relations which can end with divorce or other means.
Secondly, their non-inclusion in the term Al is deduced by way of inference, whereas there are other express proofs which include them therein. And the principle is that expression takes precedence over impression.
The Fourth View
Al refers to the Ummah of Ijabah, i.e. the followers of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and those who adhere to his Din till the Day of Judgment. This view has been attributed to Malik, is supported by some in the Hanafi and the Shafi’i schools and is the preferred view of the Hanbali School.
The proofs of this group are the following:
The word Al in itself is suggestive of this meaning. It is derived from the verb Ala Yaʾulu which means to return; and the point of return for all followers is the person they follow due to him being their leader and source of refuge. Consider the following verse:
أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ
Make the Al of Pharaoh enter the severest punishment.
The intended meaning here is his army and his followers.
Likewise consider the following poem:
وعابديه اليوم آلك
وانصر على آل الصليب
And help against the followers of the cross and its worshipers today your followers.
Obviously the intended meaning here is followers as well.
The answer to this proof is the following:
The point of dispute is not that ‘followers’ is one of the meanings of the word Al in terms of language, nor is it regarding it referring to this meaning as per the context it appears in and as per the suggestions of language. The dispute is rather regarding deeming this particular meaning to be the only intended meaning in all the texts, and that is unacceptable.
For instance, consider the following narration of ‘Aʾishah radiya Llahu ‘anha wherein she mentions that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took hold of a sheep and laid it down saying:
باسم الله، اللهم تقبل من محمد وآل محمد ومن أمة محمد
In the name of Allah. O Allah accept from Muhammad, the family of Muhammad. and the Ummah of Muhammad.
And thereafter slaughtered it.
Linking the word Ummah to the word Al by way of a conjunction is indicative of them being different, even though the second is part of the first. Because linking by way of a conjunction necessitates variance between what is being linked and what it is being likened to by default, as long as there is no evidence to the contrary.
Furthermore, explaining the word Al in light of the speech of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is better than explaining it in light of the speech of others.
The following narration of Wathilah ibn al Asqa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم دعا حسنا وحسينا، فأجلس كل واحد منهما على فخذه، وأدنى فاطمة من حجره وزوجها، ثم لف عليهم ثوبه ثم قال: اللهم هؤلاء أهلي. قال واثلة: فقلت يا رسول الله وأنا من أهلك؟ فقال: وأنت من أهلي
Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and made each of them sit on his lap. He then brought Fatimah and her husband close to his lap. Thereafter he enshrouded them with his garment and said, “O Allah this is my Ahl.” So Wathilah asked, “O Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam am I also from your Ahl?” He said, “You are from my Ahl.”
The point of substantiation here is that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam included Wathilah ibn al Asqa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his Ahl. Whereas it is an accepted fact that he was not from the relatives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; he was from Banu Layth ibn Bakr ibn Manat. Hence the hadith suggests that the followers are intended in the word Ahl.
The answer to this proof is that at times Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would give preference to a more general meaning of the word Ahl which surpasses the restrictions of blood relations; thereby including some strangers therein due to likening them to the Ahlul Bayt in their knowledge and piety; not because they by default are included in the meaning thereof. The proof of this is that charity was not forbidden for Wathilah ibn al Asqa’ without any dispute in that regard.
The Fifth View
Nonetheless, the following have been advanced as evidence for this view:
The narration of Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
سئل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: من آل محمد؟ فقال: كل تقي، وتلا إنْ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقُونَ
Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked, “Who is the household of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?” He said, “Every pious person,” And thereafter recited the following verse: Its [true] guardians are not but the righteous.
The answer to this proof is that it does not qualify as evidence.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala ordered Nuh ‘alayh al Salam to carry his Ahl with him in the verse:
قُلْنَا احْمِلْ فِيهَا مِن كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَأَهْلَكَ
Load upon it [i.e., the ship] of each [creature] two mates and your family.
And when his son drowned he beseeched Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala saying:
رَبِّ إِنَّ ابْنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنتَ أَحْكَمُ الْحَاكِمِينَ
My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, your promise is true; and you are the most just of judges!
And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala rejected that:
إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ
O Nuh, indeed he is not of your family.
The point of evidence is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala declared that Nuh’s ‘alayh al Salam son is not from his Ahl, despite him being his biological son, due to his polytheism. Hence this is evidence of the fact that the Al of a messenger in reality are his followers.
The answer to this proof is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has not rejected the fact that the son of Nuh ‘alayh al Salam was from his Ahl in the broader sense of the word, rather he rejected that he was part of his Ahl in consideration of a more specific meaning, which is the following:
وَأَهْلَكَ إلَّا مَنْ سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ القَوْلُ
And your family, except those about whom the word has preceded.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala ordered him to carry with him from his family those regarding whom his decree (of punishment) had not preceded.  Hence what is being rejected is the son not being part of that Ahl which Nuh ‘alayh al Salam was ordered to carry and save (not his inclusion in the Ahl in the broader sense of the word, i.e. he was still part of his household, but was excluded from attaining salvation).
The hadith of Wathilah ibn al Asqa’ which has passed already.
The point of substantiation in the narration is that including Wathilah radiya Llahu ‘anhu because of his piety and Allah-consciousness is better than including the entire Ummah, its pious and impious.
The answer to this has passed already so there is no need for repetition.
In conclusion, the preferred view, and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best, is that the word Al refers to those for who charity was forbidden, including the wives of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, according to the correct opinion in this regard. Some scholars have offered a very interesting rationale for why his wives are part of his Al. They say that owing to the fact that their relationship with Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is complete in both the abodes, i.e. they are his wives in both of them, during his lifetime and after his demise, this complete relationship which will never come to an end is equal to a blood relationship which similarly does not end.
This selection which is a combination of the second and third view sums up all the various texts pertaining to this topic. Thus if at times the word Al appears in a particular context where only some members thereof are intended, to the exclusion of the others, that is inconsequential; because in Arabic at times the whole is mentioned and only a few members thereof are intended.
 Lisan al ‘Arab 11/30; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 203; al Qamus al Muhit p. 1245; al Qawl al Badi’ p. 191.
 Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 22/463; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 203; ‘Umdah al Huffaz 1/140.
 Al Bayan wa al Ta’rif 1/31.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 204.
 Hirz al Amani p. 29.
 Maqayis al Lughah p. 95; al Faʾiq 1/67; Lisan al ‘Arab 11/31; al Qamus al Muhit p. 1245.
 Khasaʾis Al al Bayt p. 35.
 Al Qawl al Badi’ p. 48; Maqayis al Lughah 1/158.
 Lisan al ‘Arab 11/30; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 205; al Qamus al Muhit p. 1245; al Qawl al Badi’ p. 191.
 Al Majmu’ Sharh al Muhadhdhab 3/431.
 Nayl al Awtar 2/327. The Zaidiyyah are the followers of Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. He would associate with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma but would give preference to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu over them. He likewise considered it permissible to revolt against the rulers. His followers have sub-divided into many groups after agreeing that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was on the truth in all his battles and that leadership is the exclusive right of his children; thus if anyone amongst them comes forth calling for the establishment of the Qurʾan and the Sunnah it will be compulsory to unsheathe the sword with him (support his mission). They also believe that those who commit major sins will be doomed to Jahannam forever. See: Maqalat al Islamiyyin p. 65; al Fisal 4/76; al Farq bayn al Firaq p. 16; al Milal wa al Nihal 1/154.
 Mirt refers to a specific type of Yemeni shroud made of wool or silk; its plural is Murut. See: al Misbah al Munir 2/569. Murahhal also refers to a specific type of embellished Yemeni garment. The reason why she brought the word Murahhal as an adjective for Mirt is that it had drawings of saddles on it. See: al Faʾiq 3/360; Lisan al ‘Arab 11/278.
Surah Ahzab: 33.
 Sahih Muslim: chapter regarding the merits of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum; sub-chapter regarding the virtues of the household of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: hadith no. 2424.
 The narration of Wathilah ibn al Asqa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu which appears in Musnad Ahmed: hadith no. 17029; There is a similar narration reported from Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha: hadith no. 26551; Sunan al Tirmidhi contains the narration of ‘Umar ibn Abi Salamah which appears in the chapter of Manaqib (merits): sub-chapter regarding the merits of the household of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: hadith no. 3787. The hadith has been deemed Sahih by Shu’ayb al Arnaʾut in his Takhrij of the Musnad and by al Albani in his Sahih wa Da’if al Tirmidhi.
 Musnad Ahmed 6/323; Ahmed ibn Hanbal: Fadaʾil al Sahabah 2/602; Musnad Abi Ya’la 12/456; al Mujam al Kabir 3/53.
 Al Jassas: Ahkam al Qurʾan 5/230; Tafsir al Baydawi 4/374; al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qurʾan 14/183.
 Tafsir al Sam’ani 4/280; Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/484; al Durr al Manthur 6/603; Ruh al Ma’ani 13/22.
 ‘Ikrimah ibn ‘Abdullah al Hashimi (their client/ally), Abu ‘Abdullah al Madani, the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbas. He was from the prominent successors (of the Sahabah) and a reliable narrator. He learnt the exegesis of the Qurʾan from his master Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and became a master therein. He would issue Fatwas during the lifetime of Ibn ‘Abbas upon his instruction. He traversed the lands and thus many people benefitted from him. He was accused of having leanings toward the views of the Sufriyyah, a sub-sect of the Khawarij. He passed away in Madinah in 105 A.H. His narrations appears in the six canonical works. See: Tahdhib al Kamal 20/264; Tarikh al Islam 7/174; Siyar A’lam al Nubalaʾ 5/12; Tahdhib al Tahdhib 7/234.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/484; al Durr al Manthur 6/603; Ruh al Ma’ani 13/22; Fath al Qadir 4/279.
 Adwaʾ al Bayan 6/237; Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3/484.
 Al Mahsul 5/579; Nayl al Awtar 2/327.
 Nayl al Awtar 2/327.
 ‘Aqidah Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah fi al Sahabah wa Ahlul Bayt 2/159.
Surah Ahzab: 33.
 Surah Ahzab: 28.
 Surah Ahzab: 30.
 Surah Ahzab: 32.
 Surah Ahzab: 34.
 Surah al Qasas: 29.
 Zad al Masir 6/376; al Tafsir al Kabir of Razi 25/181; al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qurʾan 14/183; Fath al Qadir 4/279.
 Al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qurʾan 14/183; Tafsir al Tha’alibi 8/35.
 The narration of Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu which appears in: Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of Riqaq (heart softeners); sub-chapter regarding how Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum would live and how they shunned this world: hadith no. 6095; Sahih Muslim: Chapter of Zakat: sub-chapter regarding have enough (for the fulfilment of one’s needs) and being content: hadith no. 1055.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 216.
 Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of Riqaq (heart softeners); sub-chapter regarding how Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum would live and how they shunned this world: hadith no. 6089; Sahih Muslim: Chapter of disinclination from the world and heart softeners: sub-chapter regarding the world being the prison of a believer and the paradise of a disbeliever: hadith no. 2970.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 217.
 The narration of Ka’b ibn ‘Ujrah which appears in Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of Tafsir: cub-chapter regarding the verse: إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ: hadith no. 4519; Sahih Muslim: chapter of Salah: subchapter regarding salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam after the Tashahhud: hadith no. 406.
 Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of supplications: sub-chapter regarding the whether salutations can be sent to others besides Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: hadith no. 5999; Sahih Muslim: chapter of Salah; subchapter regarding salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam after the Tashahhud: hadith no. 407.
 Al Qawl al Badi’ p. 192.
 Sunan Abi Dawood: chapter of Salah; sub-chapter regarding salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam after Tashahhud: hadith no. 982. The hadith is graded as weak by al Albani in Da’if Sunan Abi Dawood.
 Al Qawl al Badi’ p. 192.
 Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of Tafsir: sub-chapter regarding the verse: إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ: hadith no. 4520.
 Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of Zakat: sub-chapter regarding collecting charity when the dates are harvested, and should a child be left to take from the dates of Sadaqah: hadith no. 1414; Sahih Muslim: chapter of Zakat: sub-chapter regarding Zakat being impermissible for Rasul Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his family, which is Banu Hashim and Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib: hadith no. 1069.
 Sahih Muslim: chapter of Zakat: sub-chapter regarding Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not using his household for the collection of Zakat: hadith no. 1072.
 Sahih Muslim: chapter regarding the merits of the Sahabah: sub-chapter regarding the merits of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib: hadith no. 2408.
 Nayl al Awtar 2/327.
 Al Majmu’ Sharh al Muhadhdhab 3/431.
 Sharh al Zarqani ‘ala Muwattaʾ al Imam Malik 1/476.
 Ibn Qudamah: al Mughni 1/319; Al Majmu’ Sharh al Muhadhdhab 3/431; Majmu’ Fatawa Shaikh al Islam 22/462; Hashiyah al Tahtawi ‘ala Maraqi al Falah 1/8.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 220
 Surah Ghafir: 46.
 Tafsir al Tabari 24/71; Daqaʾiq al Tafsir 2/255; Tafsir al Bahr al Muhit 1/350; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 220.
 The poem of ‘Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. See: al Rawd al Unuf 1/122; Ma’alim al Tanzil 4/526; al Jami’ li Ahkam al Qurʾan 1/383; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 206; Hama’ al Hawami’ 2/516
 Sahih Muslim: chapter of sacrificial animals: sub-chapter regarding the desirability of the sacrificial animal being chubby and slaughtering it without appointing anyone else to do so, and saying the Tasmiyah and the Takbir: hadith no. 1967.
 Al Bahr al Muhit fi Usul al Fiqh 2/57; Fath al Bari 8/332; al Taftazani: Sharh al Talwih ‘ala al Tawdih 1/208.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 215.
 Al Tabarani: al Mujam al Kabir: hadith no. 2670; al Bayhaqi: al Sunan al Kubra: hadith no. 2690. Ibn al Qayyim has graded the narration as Sahih in his book Jilaʾ al Afham p. 221.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 221.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 223.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 222; al Qawl al Badi’ p. 194.
 Al Qawl al Badi’ p. 194.
 Surah Anfal: 34.
Al Tabarani: Al Mujam al Kabir: hadith no. 318.
 Ibn Taymiyah has deemed the narration baseless in Majmu’ Fatawa 22/462; likewise al Haythami has graded it as weak in Majma’ al Zawaʾid 10/269; Ibn Hajar has deemed it very weak in Fath al Bari 11/161; and so has al Sakhawi in al Qawl al Badi’ p. 194.
 Surah Hud: 40.
 Surah Hud: 45.
 Surah Hud: 46.
 Jilaʾ al Afham p. 221.
 Surah Hud: 40.
 Al Sunan al Kubra 3/151; al Majmu’ Sharh al Muhadhdhab 3/430; Lisan al ‘Arab 11/38; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 223.
 Al Majmu’ Sharh al Muhadhdhab 3/432; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 223.
 Al Sunan al Kubra 2/150; Shu’ab al Iman 2/225; Jilaʾ al Afham p. 217.