Who are the Ahlul Bayt

Preface
June 13, 2018
The Greatest Messenger
June 13, 2018

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Who are the Ahlul Bayt

 

عن زيد بن أرقم انه قال 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

Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: One day Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Makkah and Madinah. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and exhorted (us) and said, “O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah’s call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said, “The second are the members of my household I remind you in the name of Allah (of your duties) to the members of my family I remind you in the name of Allah (of your duties) to the members of my family.”[1]

 

Beloved brethren, amongst the foundations of Islamic creed lay the love of the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as he has exhorted us thus, “I remind you in the name of Allah (of your duties) to the members of my family I remind you in the name of Allah (of your duties) to the members of my family.” He gave this advice as he was returning from the holy pilgrimage at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Makkah and Madinah. When he reached this place, he stood to advise and lecture the Companions. He then mentioned leaving two weighty things. What are they? They are, the Qur’an and his family. Some scholars have stated, they have been indicated to as weighty due to their greatness and high standing. Other scholars have cited the reason for them being called weighty is due to the difficulty in complying them.

Deconstructing the narration leads one to the conclusion that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised the Muslims regarding two tremendously important matters; the first being the compulsion of holding fast to and complying with the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. To know that it is the straight path, the beginning lies in this world and its end if followed will lead one into Jannat. The second matter that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stressed upon was his advice regarding the duties one has towards his family members. He advised Muslims to respect the sanctity of his household, realize their rights, and not to be averse towards them by ill talk or by harming them.

عديد الحصى والرمل في الفلوات

عليهم سلام الله في كل ساعة

و بشرى لهم لقياه في الجنات

هنيأ لهم قربى النبي محمد

و اخراهم بالبشر والبركات

به شرفوا حتى استنارت حياتهم

May the peace of Allah be upon them every moment;

according to the number of pebbles and grains of sand in the dessert.

Glad tidings to them on having family ties with Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam;

and so too their meeting him in paradise

Through him their lives lit up casting them into nobility;

forever earning glad tidings and blessings.

 

 

Who form the Ahlul Bayt regarding whom Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam exhorted us?

The scholars have differed in defining the Ahlul Bayt, however the view of the general body of scholars retain them to be those who cannot receive Zakat, and they comprise of the Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said:

 

إنا وبنو المطلب لا نفترق في جاهلية ولا إسلام وإنما نحن وهم شيء واحد وشبك بين أصابعه صلى الله عليه وسلم

We and the Banu al Muttalib have been together before and after the advent of Islam. We are one. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then placed his fingers into each other.[2]

 

Together with them are the honorable consorts of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They form part of the Ahlul Bayt through marriage. Their bond is an unbreakable one as they are his wives in this world and the next. Linguistically too the words ‘Al’ and ‘Ahl’ are inclusive of a man’s wives, progeny, and relatives. The Qur’an indicates towards this as well in the story of Musa ‘alayh al Salam:

 

إِذْ قَالَ مُوْسَىٰ لِأَهْلِهِ إِنِّيْ آنَسْتُ نَارًا

[Mention] when Moses said to his family, “Indeed, I have perceived a fire.”[3]

 

His family here being his wife who was with him.

Similarly, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala speaks about Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam and his wife:

 

رَحْمَتُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ إِنَّهُ حَمِيْدٌ مَّجِيْدٌ

May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, people of the house. Indeed, He is Praiseworthy and Honorable.[4]

 

Therefore, the term Ahlul Bayt comprises of the Banu Hashim, Banu al Muttalib, and the wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They have been granted certain specialties by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala which makes them unique in some aspects of which we will mention four:

 

1. The Right of Love and Well Wishing

Love for every believer is a compulsion based on the creed we share, however love and well wishing for the Ahlul Bayt holds a special place in the heart of every believer. When the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu complained to him on the untoward behavior of some of the Quraysh in relation to the Banu Hashim, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam offered the following:

 

والله لا يدخل قلب امرئ إيمان حتى يحبكم لله ولقرابتي

By Allah! Iman has not penetrated the heart of a man until he loves you (the Banu Hashim) for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and for the sake of my relation.[5]

 

2. The Right of the Ahlul Bayt in One Fifth of the Ghanimah and in Fay’

Ghanimah is the spoils of war in contrast to fay which is achieved peacefully without battle. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَاعْلَمُوْا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُمْ مِّن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُوْلِ وَلِذِيْ الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِيْنِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيْلِ إِنْ كُنتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ

And know that anything you obtain of war booty – then indeed, for Allah is one fifth of it and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and the orphans, the needy, and the [stranded] traveller, if you have believed in Allah and in that which We sent down to Our Servant on the day of criterion – the day when the two armies met. And Allah, over all things, is competent.[6]

 

This share is established for them after the passing of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as well.

 

3. The Impermissibility of Receiving Zakat

The jurists are unanimous that the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are not allowed to take the monies of Zakat just as it was impermissible for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

إن الصدقة لا تنبغي لآل محمد، إنما هي أوساخ الناس

The Zakat is not appropriate for the family of Muhammad, it is but the filth of people.[7]

 

4. The Right of Sending Salutations upon them

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّوْنَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا صَلُّوْا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوْا تَسْلِيْمًا

Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace.[8]

 

There is great virtue in this verse and it holds a high status as it shows us the manner of conferring salutations upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Sending salutations upon the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam falls under the meaning of this verse as well. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked regarding sending salutations upon him he replied with the following:

 

قولوا: اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد، كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد، اللهم بارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد، كما باركت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد

Say: O Allah! Send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent blessings upon Ibrahim and upon the family of Ibrahim; indeed, you are praiseworthy and glorious. O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim; indeed, you are praise worthy and glorious.[9]

 

To reiterate, these chapters are in part a humble effort to bring to the fore some of the greatness of these giants, a concern on my part for the noble Ahlul Bayt and illustrious Companions. They are, as the world has witnessed honourable and pious. The best of humanity after the prophets. Their noble endeavours in Islam are well accounted and are almost impossible to innumerate. Here are some of our responsibilities towards them. Make a concerted effort to study their legacy, read through the pages of their history, review their words and actions establishing upon it the yardstick of our life, and take them as our role models.

It is unfortunate that we suffice on displaying love for them without that love influencing our words, actions, and lives. True love demands the beloved be shadowed in every aspect by the lover. The poet aptly captures this with the following:

 

هذا محال في القياس بديع

تعصي الحبيب وأنت تزعم حبه
إن المحب لمن يحب مطيع

لو كان حبك صادقا لأطعته

 You disobey your beloved yet claim love;

this is an impossibility if you apply your mind.

If you genuinely love him then you would have obeyed him:

since the lover obeys the one, he loves.

 

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[1] Sahih Muslim: 2408.

[2] Sahih al Bukhari: 3989. Abu Dawood: 2980. The wording is of Abu Dawood through the narration of Jubayr ibn Mut’im radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[3] Surah al Naml: 7.

[4] Surah al Hud: 73.

[5] Narrated by Ahmed in his Musnad: 1777/1755. The narration relies on Yazid ibn Abi Yazid regarding who there is a difference of opinion. Ahmed Shakir has considered the narration to be sahih in his examination of the Musnad: vol.3 pg. 210. Ibn Taymiyyah has considered it strong in his book Iqtida’ al Sirat al Mustaqim: vol.1 pg.428 by citing other narrations which serve as a testimony to its meaning.

[6] Surah al Anfal: 41.

[7] Sahih Muslim: 1072.

[8] Surah al Ahzab: 56.

[9] Sahih al Bukhari: 319. Sahih Muslim: 406. Both books have it from the narration of Ka’ab ibn ‘Ujrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

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