"AHL AL-BAYT - THE CELESTIAL BEINGS ON THE EARTH"
Author: Allama Hussein Ansariyan
Translator: Dr. Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications
First Edition 1428-2007-1386
22 Shohada St., Qum
Islamic Republic of Iran
# CHARACTER OF AHL AL-BAYT
The Necessity of Getting
to know the Ahl al-Bayt
The necessity of getting to know Ahl al-Bayt and following them as recommended by the Holy Prophet according to verse 23 of Chapter al-Shura (love for my relatives) bring about happiness in this world and the Hereafter, while to neglect them causes perdition. Addressing MuAlla ibn Khunays, Imam al-Sadiq said:
يَا مُعَلَّى! لَوْ أنَّ عَبْداً عَبَدَ اللهَ مِائَةَ عَامٍ بَيْنَ الرُّكْنِ وَالْمَقَامِ، يَصُومُ النَّهَارَ وَيَقُومُ اللَّيْلَ حَتَّى يَسْقُطَ حَاجِبَاهُ عَلَى عَيْنَيْهِ، وَتَلْتَقِي تَرَاقِيهِ هَرَماً، جَاهِلاً بِحَقِّنَا لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ ثَوَابٌ.
O MuAlla, if a servant of Allah worships Him between the Rukn (corner) and Maqam (standing-place) of Ka`bah for a hundred years, keeping fast all the days and performing prayers all nights so much so that his life comes to an end but is negligent about our right, there will be no reward for him.
By getting to know the Ahl al-Bayt on the basis of the Qur’anic verses and authentic narrations, all veils of ignorance will be removed from our eyes.
When we come to understand that such titles as “People of the Reminder”, “The Truthful”, “The Benefactors”, “The Pious”, “The Strivers”, “The Believers”, “The Patient”, “People of Understanding”, “The Straight Path (sirat)”, “The Way (sabil) To Allah”, “The Revenge of Allah”, “The Face of Allah”, “The Eye of Allah”, “The Side of Allah”, “The Ear of Allah”, “The Spokesmen of Allah”, “The Friends of Allah”—all these titles refer to Ahl al-Bayt, we will learn how to benefit from them as guidance and as Noah’s Ark. It is they “who are firmly rooted in knowledge” We can also quench the thirst of intellect, heart and spirit with the pure drink of their knowledge.
 Thawab al-A`mal wa-`Iqab al-A`mal, 445.
Should we wish to win Allah’s favor, we must follow Ahl al-Bayt wholeheartedly, based on the following holy verse:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ
If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you. (3:31)
Getting to know Ahl al-Bayt which leads to getting to know Allah, and the Holy Qur’an as well as intuition will serve as a factor for self-purification and morality, too. This will certainly save us from Hellfire. Love for Ahl al-Bayt will make it possible for us to cross the Sirat (the bridge over the Hell leading to Paradise).
The Holy Prophet is quoted by Sheikh Qunduzi (a Hanafite scholar) as saying:
مَعْرِفَةُ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ بَرَاءَةٌ مِنَ النَّارِ، وَحُبُّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ جَوَازٌ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ، وَالوِلأيَةُ لآِلِ مُحَمَّدٍ أمَانٌ مِنَ العَذَابِ.
Getting to know the family of Muhammad means being saved from Fire. Love for the family of Muhammad will ease crossing the Sirat as well as immunity from chastisement.
When we know about Ahl al-Bayt in the Holy Qur’an and traditions, we will open the gate to prosperity in this world and the Hereafter and close the gate of perdition.
Sheik Sulayman Qunduzi and Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Juwayni, two outstanding fair-minded Sunni scholars have quoted the Holy Prophet as having said about Imam Ali and the Imams following him,
يَا عَلِيُّ! أنَا مَدِينَةُ العِلْمِ وَأنْتَ بَابُهَا، وَلَنْ تُؤْتَى الْمَدِينَةُ إلأ مِنْ قِبَلِ البَابِ، وَكَذِبَ مَنْ زَعَمَ أنَّهُ يُحِبُّنِي وَيُبْغِضُكَ، لأِنَّكَ مِنِّي وَأنَا مِنْكَ: لَحْمُكَ لَحْمِي، وَدَمُكَ مِنْ دَمِي، وَرُوحُكَ مِنْ رُوحِي، وَسَرِيرَتُكَ مِنْ سَرِيرَتِي، وَعَلانِيَتُكَ مِنْ عَلانِيَتِي، وَرَبِحَ مَنْ تَوَلأكَ وَخَسِرَ مَنْ عَادَاكَ، وَفَازَ مَنْ لَزِمَكَ وَهَلَكَ مَنْ فَارَقَكَ. مَثَلُكَ وَمَثَلُ الأئِمَّةِ مِنْ وُلْدِكَ بَعْدِي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نُوحٍ؛ مَنْ رَكِبَهَا نَجَا وَمَنْ
تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهَا غَرِقَ. وَمَثَلُكُمْ كَمَثَلِ النُّجُومِ، كُلَّمَا غَابَ نَجْمٌ طَلَعَ نَجْمٌ إلَى يَوْمِ القِيَامَةِ.
O Ali, I am the city of knowledge and you are the gate thereof. The city cannot be entered except through its gate. One thinking
 Yanabi` al-Mawaddah: 78/1 H. 16.
he loves me but has enmity toward you is false in loving me, for you are of me and I am of you; your flesh is my flesh, your blood is my blood; your spirit is my spirit; your inward is my inward; your outward is my outward; you are the leader of my ummah (community); you are the caliph after me; whoever follows you, will be happy and whoever disobeys you will be miserable; whoever love you, will gain; whoever is your enemy, will suffer losses; whoever accompanies you, will find salvation; whoever is separated from you, will go to ruin. The parable of you and the Imams following you is the parable of Noah’s Ark. Whoever enters it, will find salvation and whoever disobeys will drown. The parable of Ahl al-Bayt is the parable of stars. Whenever a star disappears, another star will appear until the Judgment Day.
Allah recommends His servants to resort to His covenant which necessitates getting to know Hablullah:
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ
And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited. (3:103)
On the meaning of the covenant of Allah, Imam al-Baqir has said:
آلُ مُحَمَّدٍ، صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِمْ، هُمْ حَبْلُ اللهِ الْمَتِينُ الِّذِي أمَرَ بِالإعْتِصَامِ بِهِ.
The Household of Muhammad are the covenant of Allah as recommended by Allah.
Ahl al-Bayt, who are the oceans of knowledge and endowed with virtues, were chosen by Allah to give the goods news of Paradise to the believers and warn the unbelievers of the chastisement of Hell.
Getting to know Allah and the Judgment Day, understanding spiritual concepts and true meaning of the Holy Qur’an, having an understanding of the traditions set by the Holy Prophet, attaining virtues, happiness in this world and the Hereafter, being immune from vices, having the power to resist satanic temptations, and experiencing piety will be made possible only through knowing Ahl al-Bayt and following their teachings.
Ahl al-Bayt -as inferred from the Holy Qur’an and authentic narrations- are sources of all material and spiritual blessings. Without knowing and following them, man will be deprived of all blessings.
 Yanabi` al-Mawaddah: 95/1.
 Tafsir al-Ayyashi, 194/1 Hadith 123.
Quoting the Holy Prophet, the Hanafite Sheikh Sulayman Qunduzi and Ibrahim ibn Juwayni say:
“O Ali, write what I am dictating to you.” I (Ali) said: “O Allah’s Messenger, are you afraid of my forgetting it?” The Holy Prophet said: “I have asked Allah to make you memorizer of all facts. Write it down for the sake of your partners.” I said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Who are my partners?” The Holy Prophet said: “The Imams of your issue for whose sake, rain will fall from heaven and their prayers will be answered and Allah will fend off tribulation from ummah. Mercy will also be sent down from heaven due to their presence. This is their first one (referring to Imam Hasan). This is their second one (referring to Imam Husayn). Then, the Holy Prophet said: And the Imams who will follow Imam Husayn.”
The Meaning of Ahl al-Bayt
A group of scholars nurtured by the oppressive rulers misused their socio-scientific positions to justify the legitimacy of those tyrants to gain something.
Hence, they distorted religious facts with special enmity and bias so as to please domineering rulers. In this relation, they have presented interpretations which has no validity from the viewpoint of the Holy Qur’an and narrations. One of those facts is the word Ahl al-Bayt mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.
Ahl al-Bayt in the Holy Qur’an
In verse 33 of the Qur’anic Chapter, the Allies (al-Ahzab), we read:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا (34)
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying.
The pronoun kum meaning ‘you’ in Arabic does not obviously refer to the wives of the Holy Prophet as misinterpreted by those biased scholars who intended to create deviation in the Muslims’ opinion.
Although they knew that the Holy Prophet’s wives including Aishah and a group of their scholars considered Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn and the infallible Imams from the issue of Imam
 Yanabi` al-Mawaddah; 73/1, Chapter 3, Hadith 8.
Husayn as members of Ahl al-Bayt, their enmity with Shi`ites motivated them to distort the truth to please Abbasid and Umayyad rulers.
The Meaning of Ahl al-Bayt in Narrations
Reporting the Holy Prophet, numerous narrators have mentioned Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn and the Infallible Imams of Imam Husayn’s issue as Ahl al-Bayt. Those narrators are: Ummu-Salamah, Aishah, Abu-Sa`id Khidri, Abu-Barazah Aslami, Abu’l-Hamra Hilal ibn Harith, Abu-Layla Ansari, Anas ibn Malik, al-Bara’ ibn Azib, Thawban ibn Bajdad, Jabir Ansari, Zayd ibn Arqam, Zaynab daughter of Abu-Salamah Makhzumi, Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas, Subayh, Abdullah ibn Abbas, `Umar ibn Abi-Salamah, `Umar ibn Khattab and Wathilah ibn Asqa`.
The most reliable books of Sunni scholars have narrated the true meaning of Ahl al-Bayt from those narrators. Shi`ite scholars too, by relying on the Holy Qur’an and the said narrations as well as their own authentic books, attach their hearts to Ahl al-Bayt and consider them as the true leaders and successors of the Holy Prophet. Hence obeying Ahl al-Bayt is deemed obligatory and a means for salvation in this world and the Hereafter.
We suffice to relate a few narrations here to please the heart of Ahl al-Bayt’s lovers:
Reporting Tamimi, al-Awwam ibn Hawshab said, “One day when I went to see Aishah, she had seen Allah’s Messenger calling for Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn saying:
أللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلأءِ أهْلُ بَيْتِي، فَأذْهِبْ عَنْهُمُ الرِّجْسَ وَطَهِّرْهُمْ تَطْهِيراً.
O Allah, these are the people of my House (Ahl al-Bayt). So keep away uncleanness from them and purify them a thorough purifying.
Jumay` ibn `Umayr says:
One day, my mother and I went to see Aishah. My mother asked her to tell us about the Holy Prophet’s interest in Ali. Aishah said: Among the men, Ali was the most loved by Allah’s Messenger. I myself saw that he put Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn under his cloak saying: O Allah, these are my Ahl al-Bayt. Keep away any uncleanness from them and purify them a
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-¯aduq, 382.
thorough purifying. I too went forward to put my head under the cloak but Allah’s Messenger pushed me back! I asked: Am I not your Ahl al-Bayt? He answered: you are good, you are good.
Reporting `Umar ibn Khattab, `«sa ibn Abdullah ibn Malik says: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying:
أيُّهَا النَّاسُ! إنِّي فَرْطٌ لَكُمْ وَإنَّكُمْ وَارِدُونَ عَلَيَّ الحَوْضَ؛ حَوْضاً أعْرَضَ مِمَّا بَيْنَ صَنْعَاءَ وَبُصْرَى، فِيهِ قِدْحَانٌ عَدَدَ النُّجُومِ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ، وَإنِّي سَائِلُكُمْ حِينَ تَرِدُونَ عَلَيَّ عَنِ الثَّقَلَيْنِ، فَانْظُرُوا كَيْفَ تُخَلِّفُونِّي فِيهِمَا: السَّبَبِ الأكْبَرِ كِتَابِ اللهِ، طَرْفُهُ بِيَدِ اللهِ وَطَرْفُهُ بِأيْدِيكُمْ، فَاسْتَمْسِكُوا بِهِ وَلا تُبَدِّلُوا، وَعِتْرَتِي أهْلِ بَيْتِي، فَإنَّهُ قَدْ نَبَّأنِيَ اللَّطِيفُ الخَبِيرُ أنَّهُمَا لَنْ يَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّى
يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الحَوْضَ... أهْلُ بَيْتِي مِنْ وِلْدِ عَلِيٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ وَالْحَسَنِ وَالْحُسَيْنِ وَتِسْعَةٍ مِنْ صُلْبِ الْحُسَيْنِ، أئِمَّةٍ أبْرَارٍ. عِتْرَتِي مِنْ لَحْمِي وَدَمِي.
O people, I am leading you and you will come to me at the pond, a pond the expanse of which is from Sana’a to Busra and as many as the number of stars. The golden chalice is therein. When you come to me, I will ask you about the two valuable things (thaqalain). So be careful how you deal with them after me. The first is Allah’s Book, a cord stretched from the heavens to the earth. So hold fast of it and the other is my Family (Ahl al-Bayt). Allah has informed me that they will never separate until they come to me at the Pond… My family members are Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn and nine persons from the issue of Husayn who are beneficent Imams. My Ahl al-Bayt are from my flesh and blood.
Musa ibn Abd-Rabbih says: I heard from Husayn ibn Ali in the Prophet’s Mosque at the time of his father, Ali, saying: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying:
ألأ إنَّ أهْلَ بَيْتِي أمَانٌ لَكُمْ فَأحِبُّوهُمْ لِحُبِّي وَتَمَسَّكُوا بِهِمْ لَنْ تَضِلُّوا. عَلِيٌّ وَسِبْطَايَ وَتِسْعَةٌ مِنْ وُلْدِ الحُسَيْنِ؛ أئِمَّةٌ اُمَنَاءُ مَعْصُومُونَ. ألأ إنَّهُمْ أهْلُ بَيْتِي وَعِتْرَتِي، مِنْ لَحْمِي وَدَمِي.
Behold! My Ahl al-Bayt are security and mercy for you. Therefore,
 Shawahid al-Tanzil, 61/2, H 682.
 Tafsir al-Burhan, 9/1.
love them for my sake and resort to them so that you will never go astray… Ahl al-Bayt are Ali, my two grandsons and nine children of Husayn who are trustworthy and infallible Imams. Behold! They are Ahl al-Bayt from my flesh and blood.
Now it has become clear that the Shi`ites, by relying on the Holy Qur’an and tradition, resort to Ahl al-Bayt, accept their Imamate, follow them and declare with evident proof that is based on books written by both Shi`ite and Sunni scholars, Ahl al-Bayt are none but Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn and nine infallible Imams from the issue of Imam Husayn.
The Necessity of Getting to know Ahl al-Bayt in the Narrations
In the science of logic when ‘Presenter’ is being discussed, it is unanimously agreed that the presenter who starts to introduce a fact must be superior to the ‘presented’ so as to be able to present the fact as it really is.
After proving the Imamate of Ahl al-Bayt and the fact that they are the inheritors of the Prophet’s knowledge and inspired by Allah, we should say that which presenter is better than Ahl al-Bayt themselves in this universe to make them known? We have no option but Ahl al-Bayt for getting to know their character and knowledge, for no one has an all-encompassing knowledge about them.
Getting to know Ahl al-Bayt will lead to salvation, nearness to Allah and a true understanding of Islam. In this relation, Imam Ali says:
أسْعَدُ النَّاسِ مَنْ عَرِفَ فَضْلَنَا، وَتَقَرَّبَ إلَى اللهِ بَنَا، وَأخْلَصَ حُبَّنَا، وَعَمِلَ بِمَا إلَيْهِ نَدَبْنَا، وَانْتَهَى عَمَّا عَنْهُ نَهَيْنَا، فَذَاكَ مِنَّا وَهُوَ فِي دَارِ الْمُقَامَةِ مَعَنَا.
The happiest people are those who recognized our superiority and excellence, sought nearness to Allah through us, loved us sincerely, acted according to what we called for, and stopped doing what we have prohibited. Such people are from us and they will be with us in the eternal Paradise.
ZaraAh says: I said to Imam al-Sadiq: After getting to know Allah, which deed is most excellent? The Imam said:
مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ بَعْدَ الْمَعْرِفَةِ يَعْدِلُ هَذِهِ الصَّلأة،َ وَلأ بَعْدَ الْمَعْرِفَةِ وَالصَّلأةِ شَيْءٌ يَعْدِلُ
 Kifayat al-Athar, 170, Bihar al-Anwar.
 Ghurar al-Hikam: 115, H.1195.
يَعْدِلُ الزَّكَاةَ، وَلأ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ شَيْءٌ يَعْدِلُ الصَّوْمَ، وَلأ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ شَيْءٌ يَعْدِلُ الحَجَّ؛ وَفَاتِحَةُ ذَلِكَ كُلِّهِ مَعْرِفَتُنَا، وَخَاتِمَتُهُ مَعْرِفَتُنَا.
After getting to know Allah, nothing is equal to daily prayers. After prayer nothing is equal to paying the poor-rate; and after these nothing is equal to observing fasting, and after these nothing is equal to (going on) Hajj (ritual pilgrimage). Yet, the beginning and end of all is to get to know us.
We should learn about the quality of prayer, poor-rate, fast and Hajj from Ahl al-Bayt in whose house the Qur’anic verses were revealed and who are the inheritors of the Prophet’s knowledge. This learning is not possible except by getting to know their culture, teachings and injunctions.
The Holy Prophet has been reported as saying:
مَنْ مَنَّ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ بَمَعْرِفَةِ أهْلِ بَيْتِي وَوِلأيَتِهِمْ فَقَدْ جَمَعَ اللهُ لَهُ الْخَيْرَ كُلَّهُ.
He who has been favored by Allah to get to know my Ahl al-Bayt and their Imamate has certainly had all the good gathered for him by Allah.
Reporting Imam al-Sadiq in the interpretation of the following verse:
وَ مَن يُوتَ الحِكمَه فقد اوتي خَيراً كَثيراً
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good…(2:269)
طَاعَةُ اللهِ وَمَعْرِفَةُ الإمَامِ.
It is to obey Allah and to get to know the Imams.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, H 1478.
 Bisharat al-Mustafa: 176.
 Al-Kafi, 158/1.
# Ahl al-Bayt, the Best Creatures
Among all the creatures of the universe, be they merely physical or spiritual, and even creatures that are a combination of physicality and spirituality, there are the best ones.
The reason for superiority of each of these three groups is selection by Allah, His spiritual favor, the capacity of creature, perfect faith, the praiseworthy deed or other reasons which are unknown to us. To give further explanation of the issue, we sill give examples from the best of these three groups.
The Best Places
In the Holy Qur’an and narrations, certain places and pieces of lands have been mentioned as having special value to Allah on account of His Mercy and favor or because of performance of certain religious rituals therein. Desecration of such places is unlawful for all.
Ka`bah and Its Vicinity
The piece of land on which the Ka`bah lies was chosen by Allah. This choice has given it both dignity and superiority making it distinct among all other places. Imam al-Sadiq has been reported as saying:
إنَّ اللهَ اِخْتَارَ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَيْئاً وَاخْتَارَ مِنَ الأرْضِ مَوْضِعَ الْكَعْبَةِ.
Allah has chosen one thing from among all things and has chosen the Ka`bah from among all places on the earth.
Ka`bah was the first House to be built on the earth, in a blessed and bounteous city for the guidance of the people of the world. Clear signs of spirituality and the station of Prophet Abraham were placed there. Whoever enters that place will be secure:
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (97) فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا
Most surely, the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and guidance for the nations. In it are clear signs, the standing-place of Ibrahim, and whoever enters it shall be secure. (3:96-97)
 Wasa’il al-ShiAh, H 17649.
Imam al-Sadiq has said:
مَنْ أتَى الكَعْبَةَ فَعَرَفَ مِنْ حَقِّهَا وَحُرْمَتِهَا لَمْ يَخْرُجْ مِنْ مَكَّةَ إلأ وَقَدْ غَفَرَ اللهُ لَهُ ذُنُوبَهُ وَكَفَاهُ اللهُ مَا يُهِمُّهُ مِنْ أمْرِ دُنْيَاهُ وَآخِرَتِهِ.
Whoever comes to the Ka`bah and recognizes part of its holiness, his sins will be forgiven by Allah Who is sufficient for his affairs in this world and the Hereafter.
The Best Days and Nights
The Holy Qur’an attracts people’s attention to such nights as the Grand Night and the first ten nights of Dhu’l-Hijjah as well as such days as the Days of Allah to make themselves worthy of grand rewards by taking advantage of these unique opportunities.
The Grand Night
On the word of the valuable al-Safi Exegesis (tafsir), Ibn Abbas narrates that the Holy Prophet was told about a man from the children of Israel who carried arms on his shoulder for Jihad (holy war) in the way of Allah for a thousand months. The Holy Prophet was shocked at hearing it wishing that his community (Ummah) would undertake such rewarding task. So, he raised his hands in prayer, saying, “O Allah, You have set my ummah the shortest time in term of life and the minimum opportunity for deeds.” Allah granted him the Ground Night saying, “The Grand Night, while being short in terms of time and its little opportunity for deeds, is better for you and your ummah after you in each month of Rama¤an until the Judgment Day than a thousand months during which the believing man of the children of Israel carried arms for Jihad in the way of Allah.”
The First ten Nights of Dhu’l-Hijjah
The first ten nights of Dhu’l-Hijjah, as the Holy Qur’an describes, are among the well-known months. (2:197). They are the best times during which the Major Hajj is performed on Mount Arafah; on the ninth day, the obligatory passing the night in MashAr; on the tenth night and the Feast of Sacrifice on the tenth day.
When the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah would arrive, the righteous of the ummah would make an extraordinary effort to worship and serve Allah. These days and night are excellent in terms of virtues and blessings. The Holy Prophet has been reported as saying:\
Good deeds and prayers to Allah are not better in any time than in these days and nights.
 Wasa’il al-ShiAh, H 17652.
 Mafatih al-Jinan, 413.
Days of Allah
The Days of Allah (ayyamullah) are the days of victory or failure, the sweet and bitter days, the days of manifestation of Allah’s mercy to the believing nations or Allah’s wrath on the unbelievers.
To pay attention to ayyamullah for learning lessons from the past events is praiseworthy. Allah has mentioned ayyamullah in the Holy Qur’an to awaken nations:
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسَى بِآيَاتِنَا أَنْ أَخْرِجْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَذَكِّرْهُمْ بِأَيَّامِ اللّهِ
And certainly We sent Musa with Our communications, saying: Bring forth your people from utter darkness into light and remind them of the days of Allah. (14:5)
Besides this, ayyamullah are the best time for repentance, engaging in prayer and doing praiseworthy deeds.
The Best Human Beings
What makes a human being superior to others is his faith, knowledge and piety. Believing people are better in value than others and the scholars who put into practice his faith are superior to believers and the people of piety are of the highest value. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an has delicate and precise references:
يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ (12)
Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees; and Allah is Aware of what you do. (58:11)
A believer’s value is such that both the Holy Qur’an and narrations consider kindness to a believer as kindness to Allah and His messenger, assistance to a believer as assistance to Allah and His messenger, to please a believer as to please Allah and His messenger and To vex a believer as to vex Allah and His Messenger. Reporting the Holy Prophet, Imam al-Baqir says:
مَنْ سَرَّ مُؤْمِناً فَقَدْ سَرَّنِي، وَمَنْ سَرَّنِي فَقَدْ سَرَّ اللهَ.
Whoever makes a believer happy has indeed made me happy and whoever makes me happy has certainly made Allah happy.
 Al-Kafi, 188/2.
مَا عُبِدَ اللهُ بِشَيْءٍ أحَبَّ إلَى اللهِ مِنْ إدْخَالِ السُّرُورِ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِ.
Allah has not been worshipped with anything better than making a believer happy.
Imam al-Sadiq has said:
لَقَضَاءُ حَاجَةِ إمْرِئٍ مُؤْمِنٍ أحَبُّ الَى اللهِ مِنْ عِشْرِينَ حِجَّةٍ؛ كُلُّ حِجَّةٍ يُنْفِقُ فِيهَا صَاحِبُهَا مِائَةُ ألْفٍ.
To meet the needs of a believer is better in Allah’s view than Hajj performed by a pilgrim who spends a hundred thousand Dinars on each Hajj.
أنْ اُشْبِعَ رَجُلاً مِنْ إخْوَانِي أحَبُّ إلَيَّ مِنْ أنْ أدْخُلَ سُوقَكُمْ هَذَا فَأبْتَاعُ مِنْهَا رَاْساً فَاُعْتِقُهُ.
If a man feeds one of my brothers-in-faith, it is better for me than entering the market, buying off a slave and setting him free in the way of Allah.
People of knowledge
The Holy Prophet, about the superiority of scholars, has said:
فَضْلُ الْعَالِمِ عَلَى سَائِرِ النَّاسِ كَفَضْلِي عَلَى أدْنَاهُمْ.
The superiority of men of knowledge to others is like my superiority to the humblest of them.
فَضْلُ الْعَالِمِ عَلَى الْعَابِدِ كَفَضْلِ الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ عَلَى سَائِرِ الْكَوَاكِبِ.
The superiority of a scholar to a worshipper (with no knowledge) is like the superiority of the full moon to other stars.
ثَلأثَةٌ يَشْفَعُونَ إلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَيُشَفَّعُونَ: الأنْبِيَاءُ ثُمَّ العُلَمَاءُ ثُمَّ الشُّهَدَاءُ.
On the Judgment Day, three groups intercede with Allah and their intercession is accepted: the Prophets, the scholars (ulama) and the martyrs.
 Al-Kafi, 189/2.
 Al-Kafi, 193/2.
 Al-Kafi, 203/2.
 Tafsir al-¯afi, 675/2.
 Awali al-La’ali: 357/1.
Imam al-Baqir has said:
عَالِمٌ يُنْتَفَعُ بِعِلْمِهِ أفْضَلُ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ ألْفَ عَابِدٍ.
A scholar (Alim) who benefits from his knowledge is better than seventy thousand worshippers (with no knowledge).
People of Piety
About the people of piety, the Holy Qur’an says:
إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ
Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most pious. (49:13)
The Holy Prophet says: On the Judgment Day, Allah addresses people in this way:
أمَرْتُكُمْ فَضَيَّعْتُمْ مَا عَهِدْتُ إلَيْكُمْ فِيِهِ، وَرَفَعْتُمْ أنْسَابَكُمْ! فَالْيَوْمَ أرْفَعُ نَسَبِي وَأضَعُ أنْسَابَكُمْ، أيْنَ الْمُتَّقُونَ؟ إنَّ أكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللهِ أتْقَاكُمْ.
I ordered you (to obey and keep away from Satan) but you ignored the covenant and you exalted your ancestry (which is of no use for this world and the Hereafter); Today, I promote the ancestry which links my servants to me and abase your ties (with your ancestry). Where are the people of piety? Surely, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most pious.
Ahl al-Bayt, the Best Creatures
Since human value lies in the balance of justice, faith, knowledge and piety, based on the Qur’anic verses and narrations, faith, knowledge and piety of Ahl al-Bayt are more than the creatures having intellect such as angels, Jinn and human beings and their faith is at its zenith and their knowledge of past and future about esoteric and exoteric facts is perfect and their piety is at the highest level, they are superior to all other creatures. Hence, their Imamate (leadership) is incumbent on all. Without obeying them, people will be blind, dead and like animals though they might be apparently living and claim to see, have knowledge and be human beings.
Based on common sense, a learned must be followed by the unlearned, a scholar by the ignorant, a specialist by the non-specialist, a guided person by someone bewildered and a prayer leader by a worshipper.
 Al-Kafi, H 8.
 Majma` al-Bayan.
Beyond doubt, if man does not follow Ahl al-Bayt, does not walk on their straight path, does not benefit from their life-giving culture which is the exegesis of the Qur’anic verses, and does not obey their instructions, he will gain nothing. However, if he resorts to the Holy Qur’an and Ahl al-Bayt, he will never go astray nor will his life be wasted. The following narration, reported by the Holy Prophet, has been related by both Shi`ite and Sunni scholars:
إنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُمْ مَا إنْ تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهِ لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِي: أحَدُهُمَا أعْظَمُ مِنَ الآخَرِ، كِتَابَ اللهِ، حَبْلٌ مَمْدُودٌ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ إلَى الأرْضِ، وَعِتْرَتِي أهْلَ بَيْتِي، وَلَنْ يَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّى يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ، فَانْظُرُوا كَيْفَ تُخَلِّفُونِّي فِيهِمَا.
Verily, I am leaving among you two valuable things. You will not go astray after me as long as you adhere to them. One is greater than the other. They are the Book of Allah, which is a rope stretched from the heavens to the earth, and my Household. They will never separate from one another until they come to me at the Pond. Be careful how you deal with them after me.
 Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 663/5, Bihar al-Anwar 118/23, H. 36.
# The Truth of Ahl al-Bayt
In view of Qur’anic verses and narrations previously mentioned and based on the Qur’anic verse, Mubahalah (mutual curse), which reads:
فَمَنْ حَآجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ (61)
“But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars (3:61)”
In this holy verse, Imam Ali is interpreted as ‘self’—it is proved that the light of Imam Ali who is the root of the eleven infallible Imams is the same as the light of the Holy Prophet with only a physical difference.
Imam al-Sadiq in an important narration has said:
إنَّ اللهَ كَانَ إذْ لأ كَانَ، فَخَلَقَ الكَانَ وَالْمَكَانَ، وَخَلَقَ نُورَ الأنْوَارِ الَّذِي نَوَّرَتْ مِنْهُ الأنْوَارُ، وَأجْرَى فِيهِ نُورَهُ الَّذِي نَوَّرَتْ مِنْهُ الأنْوَارُ، وَهُوَ النُّورُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ مِنْهُ مُحَمَّداً وَعَلِيّاً.
Allah existed when ‘existence’ was not there. So He created the existence and space and created the light from which other lights were illuminated and that is the light from which Muhammad and Ali appeared.
In another narration, Imam al-Sadiq said:
O Ali, you and me were created from the same light. Then, that light was placed on the loins of Adam until it was divided into two parts on the loins of Abd al-Muttalib, one part was placed on the loins of Abdullah and the other part on the loins of Abu-Talib.
For this reason, there is no light or soul nearer to the Holy Prophet than the light and soul of Imam Ali. It is due to the same intimacy that on the Ascension Night (Nocturnal Ascent), Allah spoke to the Holy Prophet with
 Al-Kafi, 441/1, H 9.
 Bihar al-Anwar, 11/5, H 12.
the voice of Imam Ali. There was also a covenant of brotherhood between Muhammad and Ali so that this unity and brotherhood will become manifest outwardly. It is for the same reason that the Holy Prophet has said:
إنَّكَ تَسْمَعُ مَا أسْمَعُ وَتَرَى مَا أرَى.
You hear whatever I hear and you see whatever I see.
Based on authentic narrations, Ali is the inner part of Muhammad and Muhammad is the Divine emanation. It is Allah’s will that Imamate is the inner part of Muhammad’s Prophethood so that the inner part will be with Muhammad wherever he is present. Therefore, the Holy Prophet’s mission would not be perfect without the Imamate of Imam Ali. The Holy Qur’an says:
وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ
If you do it not, then you have not delivered His message. (5:67)
The rank of Imam Ali’s Imamate is such that with the permission of Allah he can dominate the universe by witnessing what is visible or invisible; therefore, without love for Ali we cannot attain the love for Muhammad and Allah, for Ali is Allah’s gate and the light of Muhammad and Ali is the beginning and conclusion of universe:
بِكُمْ فَتَحَ اللهُ وَبِكُمْ يَخْتِمُ، وَإيَابُ الْخَلْقِ إلَيْكُمْ.
Allah began with you and concludes with you and the return of creation is towards you.
It is worth mentioning that narrations in all the most reliable Islamic reference books consider the features of the Twelve Infallible Imams as the same in all areas, for their creation is from the same light of the Holy Prophet.
We should say that with the exception of Prophethood, all the features of the Holy Prophet have manifested themselves perfectly in the infallible Imams and all of them, as they themselves have said, are Allah’s Attributes:
نَحْنُ، وَاللهِ، أسْمَاؤُهُ الْحُسْنَى.
By Allah, we are the Most Excellent Names (al-asma’ al-husna).
 Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon: 234.
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Ri¤a.
 Al-Kafi, 145/1, H 4.
It is for the same reason that the people of the world are indebted to Ahl al-Bayt who have right over them, and observing that right is incumbent on them. In this relation, one of the infallible Imams has been reported as saying:
الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا للهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى وَلِرَسُولِهِ؛ فَمَنْ غَلَبَ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مِنْهَا فَلْيَتَّقِ اللهَ وَلْيُؤَدِّ حَقَّ اللهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى وَلْيَبُرَّ إخْوَانَهُ، فَإنْ لَمْ يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فَاللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَنَحْنُ بُرَاءُ مِنْهُ.
The world and whatever is therein belongs to Allah, the Blessed and Almighty, His Messenger and us. Therefore, whoever obtains something from it should be most careful of his duty and be benevolent to his brothers. If he fails to do so, Allah, His messenger and we hate him.
At any rate, the root of Ahl al-Bayt is the Holy Prophet who gave his light to Ali and Fatimah and with the matrimony of these two wonderful seas of spirituality, there appeared eleven Imams to guide the world nations.
Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari who was favored by Ahl al-Bayt until the end of his life, says: When Allah revealed the following verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you…(4:59)
I said to the Holy Prophet, “O Allah’s Messenger, we know Allah and the Messenger, but who are those in authority the obedience to whom is equal to the obedience to you?” The Holy Prophet said,
هُمْ خُلَفَائِي، يَا جَابِرُ، وَأئِمَّةُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِنْ بَعْدِي. أوَّلُهُمْ عَلِيُّ بْنُ أبِي طَالِبٍ، ثُمَّ الْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ، ثُمَّ عَلِيُّ بْنُ الْحُسَيْنِ، ثُمَّ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِيٍ الْمَعْرُوفُ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ بِالبَاقِرِ، وَسَتُدْرِكُهُ يَا جَابِرُ، فَإذَا لَقِيتَهُ فَأقْرِئْهُ مِنِّي السَّلأم،َ ثُمَّ الصَّادِقُ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، ثُمَّ مُوسَى بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، ثُمَّ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُوسَى، ثُمَّ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ، ثُمَّ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، ثُمَّ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ، ثُمَّ
سَمِيِّي وَكَنِيِّي، حُجَّةُ اللهِ فِي أرْضِهِ وَبَقِيَّتُهُ فِي عِبَادِهِ، اِبْنُ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ، ذَلِكَ الَّذِي يَفْتَحُ اللهُ تَعَالَى ذِكْرُهُ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ مَشَارِقَ الأرْضِ وَمَغَارِبَهَا، ذَلِكَ الَّذِي يَغِيبُ عَنْ شِيعَتِهِ وَأوْلِيَاءِهِ غَيْبَةً لأ يَثْبُتُ فِيهَا عَلَى الْقَوْلِ بِإمَامَتِهِ إلأ مَنِ امْتَحَنَ اللهُ قَلْبَهُ لِلإيمَانِ.
 Al-Kafi, 401/1, H 2.
Jabir, they are my successors and leaders of Muslims after me. The first of them is Ali ibn Abi-Talib, then Hasan and Husayn, then Ali ibn Husayn, then Muhammad ibn Ali, known as Baqir in the Torah. You will see him. When you see him, greet him on my behalf. Then comes Ja`far al-Sadiq and after him Musa ibn Ja`far and after him Muhammad ibn Ali and finally one who has my name and will be Allah’s Argument (hujjat allah) on the earth, the son of Hasan, the same Imam whom Allah has appointed to conquer east and west, the same Imam will be hidden from the eyes of the Shi`ites and his friends. At that time, no one will be firm in his belief in his Imamate unless those whom Allah has purified their hearts for faith.
Another noteworthy point about the truth of Ahl al-Bayt in narrations related by the holy Imams is their resemblance to a good tree. Answering a question asked by Amr ibn Hurayth about the good tree mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, Imam al-Sadiq says:
رَسُولُ اللهِ أصْلُهَا، وَأمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَرْعُهَا، وَالأئِمَّةُ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِمَا أغْصَانُهَا، وَعِلْمُ الأئِمَّةِ ثَمَرَتُهَا، وَشِيعَتُهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَرَقُهَا. وَاللهِ، إنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيُولَدُ فَتُورِقُ وَرَقَةٌ فِيهَا، وَإنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيَمُوتُ فَتْسُقُطُ وَرَقَةٌ مِنْهَا.
Allah’s Messenger is the root of tree, Amir al-Mu’minin its trunk, the Imams from his issue their branches, the recognition of the Imams its fruit and the believing Shi`ites their leaves. By Allah (I swear), when a believer is born, the tree gives a new leaf; and when a believer dies, a leaf falls off.
 Al-Kafi, 428/1, Tafsir al-Safi, H 886/1.
# The Light of Ahl al-Bayt
The truth of the Holy Prophet
Since the Holy Prophet is inwardly and outwardly the root of Ahl al-Bayt and their spiritual dignity, we must get to know the Holy Prophet thoroughly in order to know Ahl al-Bayt.
Based on narrations, four truths are referred to as the first creatures:
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ النُّورُ.
The first thing Allah created was light.
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ القَلَمُ.
The first thing Allah created was pen.
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ العَقْلُ.
The first thing Allah created was intellect.
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ نُورِي.
The first thing Allah created was my light.
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ رُوحِي.
The first thing Allah created was my soul.
The Holy Prophet due to signs of wonder flowing from his sacred interior and the truths emanating from his heavenly heart is the perfect meaning of light, pen, and intellect. It is for the same reason that the Holy Prophet in the last two narrations has introduced his light and soul as the first creatures. Although these four names are different in appearance, they are identical and they refer to the Holy Prophet himself.
We will discuss this important point by invoking the Holy Qur’an and narrations, based on reason and without any bias:
 `Ilal al-Shara’i`: 593, H 44.
 Sharh Usul al-Kafi, chapter 4, H 1.
 Awali al-La’ali: 99/4, H 141.
 Awali al-La’ali: 99/4, H 140.
 Bihar al-Anwar: 309/4.
Defining light, the philosophers say that light is a truth which is manifest by itself and makes other things manifest. Intellect in the aforesaid narration means a truth which is a medium between man and all information and truths of the creation. The Holy Qur’an describes the Holy Prophet as a light-giving torch:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا (45) وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا (46)
O Prophet! Surely, We have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of good news and a Warner, And as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving torch. (33:45-46)
The Holy Prophet was light that is the same truth which was luminous in all aspects and gave light to all others. He knew the entire truth inwardly and outwardly and was eagerly willing to make others aware of the truth of their existence and their relation with the outward and inward of universe.
This is the meaning of light as mentioned by theosophists:
Light is a quality, being manifest by itself, and revealer of other things.
Based on many authentic narrations, Allah created the light of Muhammad before all creatures and then created other truths of light, intellect, spirit, and material from the rays of this light and removed the veil of darkness from the face of all creatures thanks to the blessing of his light. Actually, Allah made him a medium of realization between Him and all creatures. Based on the Holy Qur’an (33:46), the Holy Prophet describes himself as the sun:
I am the sun
What a wonderful comparison! The sun is the origin and source of solar system. All the planets of solar system depend on the sun. There was a time when Mars, the Earth, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were parts of the sun. When Allah willed to create the solar system in its present-day form, a big explosion occurred in the sun and with a series of actions and reactions, the parts which had been separated were placed at a distance on a special orbit. Presently, they are all under the attraction of the sun and illuminated by the sun.
 Majma` al-Bahrayn: 504/3.
 MaAni al-Akhbar: 114.
Likewise, the light of the Holy Prophet is created before all other creatures and due to Allah’s will, all truths emanate from that source of light manifesting themselves on the earth thanks to the light of Muhammad.
Just as the planets of the solar system are the same as the sun but in a different shape and, on the words of philosophers, in a state of reduced individuation, so also are the heavenly creatures reduced individuation of the light of the Holy Prophet. In this relation, the Holy Prophet has been reported as saying:
أنَا الشَّمْسُ، وَعَلِيٌّ الْقَمَرُ، وَفَاطِمَةُ الزُّهْرَةُ، وَالْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ الْفَرْقَدَانِ.
I am the sun, Ali the moon, Fatimah Venus, Hasan and Husayn two stars.
In this narration, this comparison made by the Holy Prophet, who is the most eloquent speaker, shows the wonderful nature of the narrations comparing a spiritual truth to a physical issue to make it known for all that firstly the truth of Muhammad is nearer to Allah than the rays to the sun and secondly Muhammad is a medium for realization of all creatures which are indebted to him but he has a claim on all creatures for material and spiritual rights.
وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ (132)
And obey Allah and the Apostle, that you may be shown mercy (3:132)
وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُول ِ...
And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle… (8:41)
The ownership of all blessings belongs to the Holy Prophet by the permission of Allah. Yet we benefit from the blessings he gives us. Hence, we should pay him what is due to him and the profit of what we give returns to ourselves thanks to the favor and generosity of the Holy Prophet
قُلْ مَا سَأَلْتُكُم مِّنْ أَجْرٍ فَهُوَ لَكُمْ ...
Say: Whatever reward I have asked you, that is only for yourselves… (34:47)
 MaAni al-Akhbar, 114, H 2.
Pen in the aforementioned narration means a truth which determines all spiritual and inward (esoteric) affairs and registers happiness, guidance and favors, and spread mercy for the world nations with the hand of Allah’s will.
Pen, in one sense, is the truth of Muhammad by whom Allah has sworn in the Holy Qur’an:
ن وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ (1)
Nun; I swear by the pen and what the angels write. (68:1)
Pen, in another sense, is the mission of the Holy Prophet who determines the happiness and prosperity of anyone who has the merit and spreads mercy for the nations with its guidance and binding laws:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (107)
And we have not sent you but as a mercy to the world. (21:107)
Intellect, in its primary meaning, is the truth of Muhammad who is not only the first creature but also the most-loved by Allah:
وَعِزَّتِي وَجَلألِي، مَا خَلَقْتُ خَلْقاً هُوَ أحَبُّ إلَيَّ مِنْكَ.
By my Glory and honor (I swear), I have not created anyone more loved to Me than you.
Now that the narrations have introduced the Holy Prophet as the dearest and most-loved by Allah, why should we not regard intellect, the most-loved creature, as the Holy Prophet himself? He is indeed the universal intelligence; and all the signs of intellect and intelligence which are the most positive and useful phenomena in universe manifest themselves in the Holy Prophet.
Spirit, based on the Holy Qur’an, is from the realm of ‘Command’ which comes to existence with the word ‘be’ and not from the position of creation which is the origin of material elements:
أَلاَ لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالأَمْرُ
Surely, His is the creation and the command. (7:54)
The spirit whose truth is not known for anyone is the outcome of Divine
 Al-Kafi, 10/1, H 1.
decree and comes into existence with the word ‘Be’:
وَإِذَا قَضَى أَمْراً فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ (117)
And when He decrees an affair, He only says to it, Be, so there it is. (2:117)
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي ...
And they ask you about the soul (spirit). Say: the soul is one of the commands of my Lord… (17:85)
Spirit is Allah’s first creature as has been mentioned by the Holy Prophet:
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ رُوحِي.
The first thing Allah created was my spirit.
The Holy Prophet wishes to make himself be understood by others with different expressions according to people’s capacity. That is why, on one occasion, he says:
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ النُّورُ.
The first thing Allah created was light.
On another occasion, he says:
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ القَلَمُ.
The first thing Allah created was pen.
On other occasions, he says:
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ العَقْلُ.
The first thing Allah created was intellect.
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ نُورِي.
The first thing Allah created was my light.
أوَّلُ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ رُوحِي.
The first thing Allah created was my spirit.
With this explanation, we conclude that there is a unity in meaning among light, pen, intellect, and spirit which refer to one truth—the truth of Muhammad. Therefore, Allah created the truth of Muhammad consisting of light, pen, intellect, and spirit directly from His own light
and created other beings for his sake. In this relation, Imam al-Sadiq says:
خَلَقَ اللهُ الْمَشِيئَةَ بِنَفْسِهَا ثُمَّ خَلَقَ الأشْيَاءَ بِالْمَشِيئَةِ.
Allah created the Divine decree by itself and then created all beings by means of the Divine decree.
That is to say, Allah created the Divine decree which is another name for the light of Muhammad without any medium and then created other beings from the light of Muhammad. Without the light of Muhammad which is an expanded Grace, no relationship between the Creator and the created is possible. Therefore, the manifestation of Allah and the light of His perfect beauty is the Grace of Muhammad and the intuitive decree and the light of the Holy Prophet as mentioned in the following narration:
إنَّ اللهَ خَلَقَ الْعَقْلَ، وَهُوَ أوَّلُ خَلْقٍِ مِنَ الرُّوحَانِيِّينَ، مِنْ يَمِينِ الْعَرْشِ مِنْ نُورِهِ.
Allah created intellect and it was the first of spiritual creatures to be made from His light on the right side of the throne.
The Perfect Light of Ahl al-Bayt
Based on the following authentic narration reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet:
The first thing Allah created was my light.
And based on the fact that Ahl al-Bayt are the manifestation of this light, we should admit that Ahl al-Bayt are light in essence and this light is the light of Allah which cannot be put out with the puffing of the ignorant ones:
يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ (8)
They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouth, but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may averse. (61:8)
In the famous Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah, a well-documented form of ziyarah (statements addressed to the Holy Infallibles when their tombs are visited) composed by Imam al-Hadi and recited in the Ziyarah of all the infallibles, we read:
خَلَقَكُمُ اللهُ أنْوَاراً.
Allah created you in the form of light.
 Al-Kafi, 85/1, H 4.
 Al-Faqih: 613/2.
Again in the same ziyarah, we read:
وَأنَّ أرْوَاحَكُمْ وَنُورَكُمْ وَطِينَتَكُمْ وَاحِدَةٌ، طَابَتْ وَطَهُرَتْ.
Your souls, light and forms are the same; pure and pious altogether.
In the famous ziyarah Warith, we read:
أشْهَدُ أنَّكَ كُنْتَ نُوراً فِي الأصْلأبِ الشَّامِخَةِ وَالأرْحَامِ الْمُطَهَّرَةِ.
I testify that you were light in the lofty loins and pure wombs.
In the Books of Maqtal (story of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom), we read:
While Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn (al-Sajjad) was putting his father’s body with the head cut off in the grave, he said,
أبَتَاهُ، أمَّا الدُّنْيَا فَبَعْدَكَ مُظْلِمَةٌ وَأمَّا الآخِرَةُ فَبِنُورِ وَجْهِكَ مُشْرِقَةٌ.
“O father, the world is in dark after you and the Hereafter is illuminated with your light.”
The Followers of Ahl al-Bayt
Abu-Khalid Kabuli says: I asked Imam al-Baqir to explain the following holy verse:
فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالنُّورِ الَّذِي أَنزَلْنَا ...
Therefore believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Light which we have revealed…(64:8)
The Imam said:
يَا أبَا خَالِدٍ! النُّورُ، وَاللهِ، الأئِمَّةُ مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ(ص) إلَى يَوْمِ القِيَامَةِ. وَهُمْ، وَاللهِ، نُورُ اللهِ الَّذِي أنْزَلَ. وَهُمْ، وَاللهِ، نُورُ اللهِ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الأرْضِ. وَاللهِ يَا أبَا خَالِدٍ، لَنُورُ الإمَامِ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أنْوَرُ مِنَ الشَّمْسِ الْمُضِيئَةِ بِالنَّهَارِ. وَهُمْ، وَاللهِ، يُنَوِّرُونَ قُلُوبَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، وَيَحْجِبُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ نُورَهُمْ عَمَّنْ يَشَاءُ فَتُضِلُّهُمْ قُلُوبُهُمْ. وَاللهِ يَا أبَا خَالِدٍ، لأ يُحِبُّنَا عَبْدٌ
وَيَتَوَلأنَا حَتَّى يُطَهِّرَ اللهُ قَلْبَهُ، وَلأ يُطَهِّرُ اللهُ قَلْبَ عَبْدٍ حَتَّى يُسَلِّمَ لَنَا وَيَكُونَ سِلْماً لَنَا؛ فَإذَا كَانَ سِلْماً لَنَا سَلَّمَهُ اللهُ مِنْ شَدِيدِ الْحِسَابِ وَآمَنَهُ مِنْ فَزَعِ يَوْمِ القِيَامَةِ الأكْبِرِ…
 Al-Faqih: 613/2.
 Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 113/6, H 17.
 Pishwaye Shaheedan:230.
O Abu-Khalid, by Allah (I swear), the Imams are that light until the Judgment Day; and by Allah, they are the light of Allah in the heavens and on the earth. O Abu-Khalid! By Allah, the light of the Imam in the hearts of believers is brighter than the sun shining in daylight. By Allah, the Imams give light to the hearts of believers. Allah, may He be honored and glorified, hides their light from whomever He wishes whereby their hearts become dark. By Allah, O Abu-Khalid! No one loves us but those whom Allah has purified their hearts; and Allah does not purify a servant’s heart unless that servant surrenders himself to and is at peace with us. Therefore, if one is at peace with us, Allah will keep one safe from Reckoning and from fear on the Judgment Day.
To live with the love for Ahl al-Bayt and to follow them in all material and spiritual aspects is like living the life of Prophets. Reporting the Holy Prophet, Imam al-Baqir says:
مَنْ أحَبَّ أنْ يَحْيَا حَيَاةً تُشْبِهُ حَيَاةَ الأنْبِيَاءِ وَيَمُوتَ مِيتَةً تُشْبِهُ مِيتَةَ الشُّهَدَاءِ وَيَسْكُنَ الْجِنَانَ الَّتِي غَرَسَهَا الرَّحْمَنُ، فَلْيَتَوَلَّ عَلِيّاً وَلْيُوَالِ وَلِيَّهُ وَلْيَقْتَدِ بِالأئِمَّةِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ، فَإنَّهُمْ عِتْرَتِي خُلِقُوا مِنْ طِينَتِي. أللَّهُمَّ ارْزُقْهُمْ فَهْمِي وَعِلْمِي. وَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُخَالِفِينَ لَهُمْ مِنْ أمَّتِي؛ أللَّهُمَّ لأ تُنِلْهُمْ شَفَاعَتِي.
If one likes to live a life similar to Prophets, die as a martyr, and dwell in a Paradise all the trees of which are planted by Allah, one should accept the leadership of Ali, make friend with his friends and follow the Imams after him, for they are my household (Ahl al-Bayt) and they have been created from my essence. O Allah! Give a share of my understanding and essence to them. Woe to their enemies from among my ummah! O Allah, let not their enemies have my intercession.
 Al-Kafi, 194/1 H 1.
 Al-Kafi: 208/1 H 3.
# The Ranks of Ahl al-Bayt
Man’s Descend and Ascend
Man has gone through certain stages to reach matter and the world; and he has to go through other stages to return to where he used to be with a qualitative difference:
كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ(29)
As He brought you forth in the beginning, so also shall you all return. (7:29)
Evidently this course of ‘from Allah to Allah’ is not something special for human beings; rather, all creatures have a descending and ascending course making the circle perfect. Nevertheless, this course in human beings who are the superior creatures is perfect.
Man goes through the stage of ‘the best made’ to the material ‘the lowest of the low’ and then in an evolutionary cause returns to Allah after changes in his epistemological and existential dimensions.
Among men, those distinct human beings who have the power of leadership and enjoy amplitude go through this stage more perfectly. Among all perfect human beings, the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt are the most superior who go through this stage in the most perfect way.
Stages of Man’s Descent
Every being, including humanity, has a stage where ‘he was a thing not worth mentioning’. Then he becomes ‘a thing worth mentioning’.
The first stage is ‘shadow’; that is the time when man is hidden or unobservable in the Divine knowledge. This is the stage of ‘a thing not worth mentioning’. Then Allah wills to manifest man and man becomes ‘a thing worth mentioning’. In this stage, man deserves the Divine decree of ‘Be’:
إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ (83)
His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is. (36:82)
This stage is materialized into an epiphany with an unimaginable speed:
وَمَا أَمْرُنَا إِلَّا وَاحِدَةٌ كَلَمْحٍ بِالْبَصَرِ (50)
And Our Command is but one, as the twinkling of an eye. (54:50)
On ‘a thing not worth mentioning’, the Holy Qur’an say:
أَوَلَا يَذْكُرُ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ يَكُ شَيْئًا (68)
Does not man remember that We created him before, when he was nothing? (19:67)
And on his becoming a thing worth mentioning, the Holy Qur’an says:
هَلْ أَتَى عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئًا مَّذْكُورًا (1)
There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning. (76:1)
This is the stage of entity when something exists but not worth mentioning. From the above said verse, it is inferred that this stage is when man becomes worth mentioning because of the light of the Holy Prophet.
Evidently everything which is addressed by Allah and receives the decree of ‘Be’ from the Creator of the universe cannot be a pure nothing, because a pure nothing cannot be addressed. Therefore, although we did not exist externally, we were in the knowledge of Allah.
One must say that Divine decree and His creation came together to create man:
أَلاَ لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالأَمْرُ
Surely, His is the creation and the command. (7:54)
Commenting on this wonderful being, the Holy Qur’an says:
... إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَرًا مِّن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ (28)
…Surely, I am going to create a mortal of the essence of the black mud fashioned in shape. (15:28)
إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَرًا مِن طِينٍ (72)
…Surely, I am going to create a mortal from dust. (38:71)
These two and other verses refer to the material creation ‘in the lowest of the low’ and then says:
فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُواْ لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ (29)
So I have made him complete and breathed into him of my spirit, fall down making obeisance to him. (15:29)
Based on the aforementioned verses, man is a comprehensive being and is distinct from other creatures.
Ahl al-Bayt’s Distinction
Based on the Qur’anic verse, the Ahl al-Bayt, whether when they were in Allah’s knowledge or when they were created, were distinct from other human beings, for they are from the same tree and light while other human beings are from different trees:
أنَا وَعَلِيٌّ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ، وَسَائِرُ النَّاسِ مِنْ شَجَرٍ شَتَّى.
Ali and I are from the same tree while other people are from a different tree.
Their capacity and amplitude cannot be compared to other human beings in any position. That is why, based on authentic narration, Allah created them of light before the creation of other beings and bestowed knowledge on them. On the importance and dignity of man who is addressed by Allah, the Holy Qur’an say:
وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُكَلِّمَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا وَحْيًا أَوْ مِن وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُولًا فَيُوحِيَ بِإِذْنِهِ مَا يَشَاءُ إِنَّهُ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ (52)
And it is not for any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger and revealing by His permission what He pleases; Surly He is High, Wise. (42:51)
The excellent examples of these people are the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt who were addressed by Allah due to the Holy Prophet’s mission and received what was revealed to Allah’s messenger.
Describing Imam Ali who is one of the Ahl al-Bayt, the Holy Prophet says:
Surely, you hear what I hear and see what I see.
Imam Ali had reached the highest stage of knowledge that a creature could reach, in a way that he would decisively say:
 Al-Iqbal:296, Bihar al-Anwar 106/99.
 Nahjul-Balaghah, Sermon 234.
مَا كُنْتُ أعْبُدُ رَبّاً لَمْ أرَهُ.
I do not serve a Lord whom I have not seen.
It was also Imam Ali who said:
لَوْ كُشِفَ لِيَ الغِطَاءُ مَا ازْدَدْتُ يِقِيناً.
If all the veils are removed, my certainty would not be added a bit.
Since there was no veil between him and Allah and he was a medium between people and Allah due to his knowledge, the Holy Prophet could have said:
أنَا وَعَلِيٌّ مِنْ نُورٍ وَاحِدٍ.
Ali and I are from the same light.
Angels prostrated themselves before the perfect man for his knowledge of Names and this is due to the legal and not natural person of a perfect man. For this reason all angels are under the spiritual power of the perfect man. Presently, all angels and other beings are under the eyes of Imam Mahdi, may Allah expedite his reappearance.
 Al-Kafi, 98/1, H 6.
 Ghurar al-Hikam, 119, H 2086.
 Awali al-La’ali: 124/4, H 221.
# The Capacity of Ahl al-Bayt
Commenting on the capacity of the angels, Imam Ali says:
الثَّابِتَةُ فِي الأرَضِينَ السُّفْلَى أقْدَامُهُمْ، وَالْمَارِقَةُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ الْعُلْيَا أعْنَاقُهُمْ.
Among them are those also whose steps are fixed on earth but their necks are protruding into the skies.
That is to say the angels are abstract truth hence they encompass the cosmos and have the universe under their cover. Based on narrations, the same abstract truth has manifested itself in the heart of the Holy Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt. Since the Holy Qur’an dawned on the heart of the Holy Prophet, nothing emanates from him and his Ahl al-Bayt but the truth, for man cannot have two hearts with one containing the truth and the other containing falsehood. Therefore, Ahl al-Bayt are nothing but the truth; they say nothing but the truth and do nothing but the truth. They are mercy for the world nations and all people enjoy their truth whether they want or not.
Since perfect men have reached Umm al-Kitab (Mother of the Book), it has become tangible for them:
فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ (78) لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ (79)
In a book that is protected; none shall touch it save the purified ones. (56:78-79)
They are beyond nature and time, they put their steps on the past and future, that is to say, they have the time under their feet. For this reason, they are aware of the past and the future. They see the past as it happened and the future as it will happen. Do we not read in the Holy Qur’an that Allah showed to His Messenger during the Night Ascension the future of the universe until the Judgment Day and its aftermath:
ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى (8) فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى (9) فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى (10) مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَى (11) أَفَتُمَارُونَهُ عَلَى مَا يَرَى (12) وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَى (13) عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى (14) عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَى (15)
Then he drew near; then he bowed, so he was the measure of two bows or closer still. And He revealed to His servant what He revealed. The heart was not untrue in (making him see) what he
 Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon: 1.
saw. What! Do you then dispute with him as to what he saw? And certainly he saw Him in another descent, At the farthest lute-tree: Near which is the garden, the place to be resorted to. (53:8-15)
During the Night Ascension, Allah revealed to the Holy Prophet the essence of the Judgment Day in the form of heaven and hell. So, the Holy Prophet not has only an understanding of the past and future but also sees them all. Since Allah’s Messenger with all his spirituality is manifest in Ahl al-Bayt, they too are aware of the past and the future.
Beyond doubt, the prayer of those who have such capacity and devotion cannot be compared with anyone else in a way that one second of their prayer is better than the prayer of men and jinn together. In this relation, the Holy Prophet says:
لَضَرْبَةُ عَلِيٍّ يَوْمَ الْخَنْدَقِ أفْضَلُ مِنْ عِبَادَةِ الثَّقَلَيْنِ.
One blow of Ali’s sword in the Battle of the Ditch is better than the prayer of men and jinn.
 Al-Iqbal: 467, Awali al-La’ali: 86/4, H 102.
# Ahl al-Bayt
the Holy Qur’an’s Counterpart
The duty undertaken by all human beings especially Muslims to understand the Holy Qur’an and to put into practice its teachings is the same as Ahl al-Bayt, for the Holy Prophet during an illness which led to his passing away, while leaning on Imam Ali and Ibn Abbas came out of his house and by leaning on one of the pillars of Medina Mosque, which was the trunk of a palm tree, said to the people who gathered in the mosque:
إنَّهُ لَمْ يَمُتْ نَبِيٌّ قَطُّ إلأ خَلَّفَ تِرْكَةً؛ وَقَدْ خَلَّفْتُ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَيْنِ كِتَابَ اللهِ وَأهْلَ بَيْتِي. ألأ فَمَنْ ضَيَّعَهُمْ ضَيَّعَهُ اللهُ.
No prophet has passed away without leaving something behind him. I too leave behind me for you two valuable things, namely the Book of Allah and my Ahl al-Bayt. Be aware, whoever ignores them will be ignored by Allah.
Imam Ali too has said:
إنَّ اللهَ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى طَهَّرَنَا وَعَصَمَنَا وَجَعَلَنَا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ وَحُجَّتَهُ فِي أرْضِهِ؛ وَجَعَلَنَا مَعَ الْقُرْآنِ وَجَعَلَ الْقُرْآنَ مَعَنَا لأ نُفَارِقُهُ وَلأ يُفَارِقُنَا.
Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has purified us from uncleanness making us infallible. He made us witnesses on people setting us as a proof on the earth. He placed us with the Holy Qur’an and placed the Holy Qur’an with us. We will never part company with the Holy Qur’an nor will the Holy Qur’an part company with us.
Ahl al-Bayt are the protected Qur’an, containing all meanings of the Book of Allah, aware of the manifest and hidden verses and the ones practicing the Qur’anic teachings. They are the practical examples of the Holy Qur’an and the full manifestation of the Book of Allah. Therefore, should people, especially Muslims, be duty-bound to the Holy Qur’an, they would be duty-bound to Ahl al-Bayt as well.
 Al-Ihtijaj, 70/1.
 Al-Kafi, 191/1, H 5.
As for how the ummah took heed of the Holy Prophet’s recommendation on the Holy Qur’an and its counterpart; that is Ahl al-Bayt, we should know about Ibn Dharr’s answer to Imam al-Baqir’s question:
One day, Imam al-Baqir asked Ibn Dharr if he had heard some hadiths. Ibn Dharr said, “O Son of Allah’s Messenger! The Holy Prophet said, “I am leaving among you two valuable things; one each greater than the other; the Book of Allah and my Ahl al-Bayt. If you resort to then, you will never go astray.”
Imam al-Baqir said, “O Ibn Dharr, if you ever meet Allah’s Messenger and he asks you what you have done about these two valuable things, what will your answer be?”
Ibn Dharr started weeping bitterly and said,
أمَّا الأكْبَرُ فَمَزَّقْنَاهُ، وَأمَّا الأصْغَرُ فَقَتَلْنَاهُ!
“Alas! We have torn apart the Greater one and killed the smaller one.”
Ahl al-Bayt are the Holy Qur’an’s counterpart hence they have all the features of the Book:
The Holy Qur’an is full of knowledge. So are Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Qur’an is light. So are Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Qur’an is balance. So are Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Qur’an is pure. So are Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Qur’an is guidance. So are Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Qur’an is an intercessor on the Judgment Day. So are Ahl al-Bayt.
 Rijal al-Khashshi, 219’ Bihar al-Anwar: 159/10, H 12.
# Ahl al-Bayt and Knowledge
The Holy Qur’anic reads that when Prophet Sulayman (Solomon) sent back the emissaries of Queen Sheba, he said to the chiefs of his court:
قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ (39) قَالَ عِفْريتٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَ وَإِنِّي عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِيٌّ أَمِينٌ (40) قَالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ قَالَ هَذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّي لِيَبْلُوَنِي أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ (41)
He said: O chiefs! Which of you can bring to me her throne before they come to me in submission? One audacious among the Jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong and trusty for it. One who had the knowledge of the Book said: I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye. Then when he saw it settled besides him, he said: This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored. (27:38-40)
In another place of the Holy Qur’an, we read about one who has the knowledge of the Book:
وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَسْتَ مُرْسَلاً قُلْ كَفَى بِاللّهِ شَهِيدًا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ وَمَنْ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ الْكِتَابِ (43)
And those who disbelieve say, “You are not a messenger.” Say, “Allah is sufficient as a witness between me and you. So is he who has knowledge of the Book.”(13:43)
In the earlier verse, the Arabic preposition min (of) that comes between `ilm (knowledge) and kitab (Book) means “part of”, whereas in the latter verse, there is nothing between these two words, meaning one who has the entire knowledge of the Book; one whose witness to Prophethood is the same as the witness of Allah. This one must be the most knowledgeable after the Holy Prophet. This person—as grand Shi`ite commentators, relying on narrations related to Ahl al-Bayt, and great Sunni commentators, relying on their own narrations, state—is no one but the Commander of the Faithful,
Imam Ali who was not older than twenty!
Abu-Sa`id Khidri, a reporter of hadith accepted by Sunni scholars, says:
سَألْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ(ص) عَنْ قَوْلِ اللهِ تَعَالَى:(و من عنده علم الكتاب) قَالَ: ذَاكَ أخِي عَلِيُّ بْنُ أبِي طَالِبٍ.
I asked Allah’s Messenger, “Who is the one intended by Allah’s saying, ‘so is he who the knowledge of the Book?’” The Holy Prophet answered, “He is my brother, Ali ibn Abi-Talib.”
Imam Ali, having been asked about the meaning of the same verse, said:
أنَا هُوَ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ الْكِتَابِ.
I am the one with whom is the knowledge of the Book.
When Imam al-Sadiq was asked by Abd al-Rahman ibn Kuthayr about the meaning of the following verse, “One who had the knowledge of the Book said: I will bring it to you in twinkling of an eye”, the Imam, spreading his fingers and putting them on his chest, said:
وَعِنْدَنَا، وَاللهِ، عِلْمُ الْكِتَابِ كُلُّهُ.
By Allah, the entire knowledge of the Book is with us.
Referring to Ahl al-Bayt, Allah’s Messenger said:
قَالَ لِيَ اللهُ تَعَالَى: هُمْ خُزَّانِي عَلَى عِلْمِي مِنْ بَعْدِكَ.
Allah has told me: They are the treasurers of My Knowledge after you.
Imam Zayn al-Abidin has said:
نَحْنُ أبْوَابُ اللهِ، وَنَحْنُ الصِّرَاطُ الْمُسْتَقِيمُ، وَنَحْنُ عَيْبَةُ عِلْمِهِ، وَنَحْنُ تَرَاجِمَةُ وَحْيِهِ، وَنَحْنُ أرْكَانُ تَوْحِيدِهِ، وَنَحْنُ مَوْضِعُ سِرِّهِ.
We are the gates to Allah; the straight path; the container of His knowledge; the interpreters of His revelation; the pillars of monotheism; and the closet of His secrets.
 Shawahid al-Tanzil: 400/1.
 Basa'ir al-Darajat: 216, H.21.
 Al-Kafi, 229/1, H 5.
 Al-Kafi: 193/1, H 4.
 MaAni al-Akhbar: 35, H 5.
Imam Ali Amir al-Mu'minin has said:
ألأ إنَّ الْعِلْمَ الَّذِي هَبَطَ بِهِ آدَمُ وَجَمِيعَ مَا فُضِّلَتْ بِهِ النَّبِيُّونَ إلَى خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ فِي عِتْرَةِ خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالْمُرْسَلِينَ، مُحَمَّدٍ 3! فَأيْنَ يُتَاهُ بِكُمْ؟ وَأيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ؟
Beware! The knowledge brought down by Adam and the excellent deeds of the Prophets, up to the last one of them, is with the Progeny of the seal of the Prophets. So to which deviated way are you pushed and where are you going?
The Holy Prophet has said:
نَحْنُ، أهْلَ البَيْتِ، مَفَاتِيحُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَمَوْضِعُ الرِّسَالَةِ وَمُخْتَلَفُ الْمَلأئِكَةِ وَمَعْدِنُ الْعِلْمِ.
We, the Ahl al-Bayt, are the keys of Mercy, the destination of the Prophetic mission, the haunt of angels, and the source of knowledge.
Imam Zayn al-Abidin has said:
مَا يَنْقِمُ النَّاسُ مِنَّا؟ فَنَحْنُ، وَاللهِ، شَجَرَةُ النُّبُوَّةِ وَبَيْتُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَمَعْدِنُ الْعِلْمِ وَمُخْتَلَفُ الْمَلأئِكَةِ.
Why do people harbor grudge against us? By Allah, we are the tree of Prophethood, the house of mercy, the source of knowledge and the haunt of angels.
Ahl al-Bayt know the Chief Name (alism al-a`¨am) of Allah; they are familiar with all languages; they are aware of the past and the future; they have the knowledge of the Divine Books and they see what has happened and what will happen. Ahl al-Bayt are the House of Allah, Noah’s Ark, the Qur’an’s counterpart, the excellent people, those who are in authority, people of Reminder, roots of truths, source of Divine mission, pillars of world and guardians of faith.
 Tafsir al-Qummi, 368/1.
 Fara'id al-Simtayn, 44/1.
 Al-Kafi, 222/1, H 1.
# Ahl al-Bayt and Devotion
Due to their full knowledge of Allah, Ahl al-Bayt are in a permanent state of submission to Him. Their association with people, their silence and speaking, their eating and drinking, their marriage and business, their war and peace, their presence at home and on journey, their wearing of clothes, their listening and looking, their sleep and wakefulness, their weeping and smiling, and to sum it up, all their behaviors and deeds were all with devotion.
The devotion of Ahl al-Bayt is based on the knowledge of Allah, His love and a sense of duty, and not because of fear of Hell or a desire for Paradise.
The opinion of Ahl al-Bayt about their own and different kinds of prayer shows that their devotion was with a pure intention, away from any doubt. Nevertheless, they considered their prayer to be unworthy before the All-magnanimity of Allah. Comparing their prayer with that of Allah’s Messenger, they start weeping.
Imam Ali has been reported as saying:
مَا عَبَدْتُكَ طَمَعاً فِي جَنَّتِكَ وَلأ خَوْفاً مِنْ نَارِكَ! وَلَكِنْ وَجَدْتُكَ أهْلاً لِلْعِبَادَةِ فَعَبَدْتُكَ.
I served You (O Lord) not on account of desire for Paradise or fear of Hellfire; but I found You the worthiest of being worshipped. So, I decided to serve You.
The Imam also says:
إنَّ قَوْماً عَبَدوا اللهَ رَغْبَةً، فَتِلْكَ عِبَادَةُ التُّجَّارِ! وَإنَّ قَوْماً عَبَدوا اللهَ رَهْبَةً، فَتِلْكَ عِبَادَةُ الْعَبِيدِ! وَإنَّ قَوْماً عَبَدوا اللهَ شُكْراً، فَتِلْكَ عِبَادَةُ الأحْرَارِ.
A group of people serve Allah out of desire for reward. This is the prayer of the merchants. Another group serve Allah out of fear, which is the prayer of slaves. Still other group serve Allah out of gratitude, this is the prayer of the freeborn.
By Allah! If Allah would tell Ahl al-Bayt I have removed Paradise and hell from universe and there is no such a thing as reward and punishment, the quality and quantity of their prayer would not be changed a bit.
 Awali al-La’ali: 404/1, H 63.
 Nahj al-Balaghah, 237.
Imam al-Baqir narrated the following:
One night, the Holy Prophet was in Aishah’s house, he was engaged in praying so much so that Aishah said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Why are you making yourself so tired while Allah has forgiven your faults (if there is any) in the past and future?” The Holy Prophet said,
أفَلأ أكُونُ عَبْداً شَكُوراً؟
“Should I not be a grateful servant before Allah?”
Imam al-Baqir has further said:
Allah’s Messenger was praying so much so that Allah revealed the following verse,
طه (1) مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَى (2)
“Ta-Ha! We have not revealed the Qur’an to you that you may be exhausted. (20:1-2)”
The worship of the Commander of the Faithful was so wonderful that the Imams have said that no one can worship Allah as much as Imam Ali did. Like Allah’s Messenger and Imam Ali, the other members of Ahl al-Bayt were unique in worship. It is for this reason that they attained the station of wilayah (divinely commissioned leadership) and they were able to do extraordinary works in addition that they had the right of intercession and leadership over men and jinn hence obeying then was obligatory for all.
The Meaning of Devotion
Devotion is to coordinate all activities and inactivates, as well as life and death with the wills of Allah based on a pure intention:
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (162)
Say: Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. (6:162)
Imam al-Sadiq has been reported as saying:
العُبُودِيَّةُ جَوْهَرَةٌ كُنْهُهَا الرُّبُوبِيَّةُ.
Serving Allah is a noble act leading to Godliness.
 Al-Kafi, 95/2 H 6.
Stages of Devotion
To attain devotion, one must go through certain stages as follow:
Stage one is to control one’s self by promoting the quality of prayer with a pure intention as required by Allah:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ...
And as for those who strive have for us, we will most certainly guide them in Our ways… (29:69)
إَن تَتَّقُواْ اللّهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْقَاناً ...
If you are careful of your duty to Allah, He will grant you a distinction… (8:29)
إِنَّ الصَّلوةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ...
Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil. (29:45)
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (184)
Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil. (2:183)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلوةِ ...
O you who believe! Seek assistance through patience and prayer. (2:153)
At this stage of submission, man overcomes his carnal desires.
Stage two is to control imaginative faculty which is one of the wonderful faculties in human beings. Due to this faculty, man’s mind jumps from one subject to another through association of ideas. This faculty is not under our control; rather, we are under its wonderful control. It is for this reason that it is sometimes impossible for us to concentrate on a certain subject without being distracted. The imaginative faculty pushes us this way and that way like when we try to have presence of mind in our prayer but we cannot.
The followers of spiritual path at this stage overcome their imaginative faculty making it submissive. The result is that when the soul of the worshippers desires to go up, there will be neither disturbance nor any disruption.
Based on the following holy verse, “Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability (2:285),” man should turn his mind to Allah in prayer to the extent of his ability. Islam does not approve of mortification which is strict self-discipline as exercised by some ascetics. Heart’s attention to Allah will certainly paves the way for the presence of mind and concentration.
Stage three is to promote soul in a way that it will be in no need of body while body is in full need of it. Soul and body are in need of each other. The life of body depends on soul which is its guardian. The reason soul can be in no need of body is that in certain activities, it can do without body. This might happen for a few seconds or permanently. This is called ‘ouster of body’. The illuminist philosopher, Sohrawardi, has said:
We do not recognize a theologian as a theologian unless he can ‘oust his body’.
We do not recognize a theologian as a theologian unless ouster of body is internalized for him so that he can realize it whenever he wishes.
Stage four is to bring the body under personal control in a way that man can do extraordinary deeds in relation to his body. In this Connection, Imam al-Sadiq has said:
مَا ضَعُفَ بَدَنٌ عَمَّا قَوِيَتْ عَلَيْهِ النِّيَّةُ.
Body does not show weakness when there is strong intention.
Stage five is the highest stage in which even the nature is brought under the influence of man’s will. The miracles of the Prophets, Imams and saints are of this category. Miracles are of the type of personal initiative to do extraordinary works with the help of Allah. Extraordinary works, such as turning a rod into a serpent, healing the blind, giving life to a dead person and knowing about a hidden secret, are all examples of miracles.
Some people have the impression that the miracle worker has no part in the extraordinary work and it is realized by Allah, for miracles are outside human power. This is a wrong impression, for the Holy Qur’an expressly considers the messengers as the miracle workers who do so with Allah’s permission. This permission is to grant a kind of authority which is the source of miracles and if Allah does not will, he denies the authority:
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq, S 53, H 6.
وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِآيَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ...
And it was not meet for an apostle that he should bring a sign except with Allah’s permission. (40:78)
According to this Qur’anic verse, the miracle workers are Prophets who, with the permission of the Creator, are the executors of the Divine will and signs of Him. As for their miracles, Prophets are aided by the invisible source. In the story of Prophet Sulayman and the Queen of Sheba, we read:
One who had the knowledge of the Book said: I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye… (27:40)
The Holy Qur’an says that the extraordinary work was performed as a result of a kind of knowledge which can be acquired with a link to the protected Book and nearness to Allah. Therefore, the Holy Qur’an agrees that man can do extraordinary deeds and bring about changes in universe with self-purification. They are all the result of nearness to Allah and everyone can do so to the extent of his affinity with Allah.
Imam al-Sadiq has reported Allah’s Messenger as saying that Allah Almighty says:
مَا تَقَرَّبَ إلَيَّ عَبْدٌ بِشَيْءٍ أحَبَّ إلَيَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُ عَلَيْهِ، وَإنَّهُ لَيَتَقَرَّبُ إلَيَّ بِالنَّافِلَةِ حَتَّى اُحِبَّهُ، فَإذَا أحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ وَلِسَانَهُ الَّذِي يَنْطِقُ بِهِ وَيَدَهُ الَّذِي يَبْطِشُ بِهَا. إنْ دَعَانِي أجَبْتُهُ وَإنْ سَألَنِي أعْطَيْتُهُ.
A servant cannot seek nearness to Me through any means that may be more beloved to Me than (carrying out) religious duties. He may seek My nearness through supererogatory prayers so that I may love him. If I do, I will be his hearing, his sight, his tongue, and his hand. Then, I will certainly answer him when he prays Me and I will grant him that which he asks from Me.
The only way to be perfect is submission to Allah the result of which is godliness and doing extraordinary works.
Ahl al-Bayt, due to their devotion, reached a station by which they are nearer to Allah than any other mortal, including angels. This is the reason why their power of working miracles is so great.
 Al-Kafi: 352/2, H 7.
# Ahl al-Bayt and Absorption in Allah
In a narration, we read that in the Battle of Uhud, an arrow pierced Imam Ali’s leg. The pain was so severe that he would not allow anyone to take it out of his leg. When the Holy Prophet was informed, he said, “Postpone it to the time of prayer.” When Imam Ali was engaged in prayer, the arrow was taken out of hi leg because he was so absorbed in prayer that he did not feel the pain.
Imam al-Sadiq reported that when Imam Zayn al-Abidin was reading a part of Imam Ali’s Book on prayer, he would say to himself,
مَنْ يُطِيقُ هَذَا؟ مَنْ يُطِيقُ هَذَا؟
“Who can have such tolerance? Who can have such tolerance?”
He would then try the same prayer.
One day, Jabir ibn Abdullah asked Imam Zayn al-Abidin, “O Son of Allah’s Messenger! Do you not know that Allah created Paradise for you and for your friends, and created the Fire for the ill-wishers and for your enemies? So, what is all this hard working for?” Imam Zayn al-Abidin said:
O Companion of Allah’s Messenger! Do you not know that Allah forgave all the past and future faults for my ancestors? Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet never put aside obeisance and submission to Allah and kept on worshipping Him. May my parents be sacrificed for him! When he was asked, “Has not Allah said in His Book, ‘…that Allah may forgive your community their past faults and those to follow’?” Allah’s Messenger answered, “Should I not be a grateful servant?”
Imam al-Sadiq said:
كَانَ أبِي يُصَلِّي فِي جَوْفِ اللَّيْلِ فَيَسْجُدُ السَّجْدَةَ فَيُطِيلُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ: إنَّهُ رَاقِدٌ.
My father was praying in the middle of the night. His prostration was so long that we would think that he had gone to sleep.
 Al-Kafi: 163/8, H 172.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, H 1314.
 Qurb al-Isnad: 415.
This is the Ahl al-Bayt’s station of absorption in Allah in a way that they are being separated from their bodies and this world, and “They are nearer to Allah’s spirit than the rays to the sun.”
As for Imam Hasan’s worship, it is narrated that he was the most pious of his time. During the season of Hajj, he would walk barefooted from Medina to Mecca. Whenever he would think of death, he would start weeping. When the word ‘grave’ was mentioned to him, he would start weeping, for he would think of the Judgment Day. Whenever he though of Sirat, he would weep; and whenever he thought of Reckoning before Allah, he would cry and faint. When he was preparing himself for prayer, he would shiver out of fear of Allah; and whenever he was speaking of heaven and hell, he would become disturbed. Then, he would pray Allah for heaven and seek His refuge from Hellfire. Whenever he recited a verse beginning with ‘O you who believe’, he would say, “Here I am, O Allah, here I am.”
When the Imam was performing ablution, his limbs trembled and his face got pale.
When he was asked, “Why are you in such a state?” He would say, “O Allah! Your guest is at your threshold; O Forgiving Allah! A Sinner has come to you! O Allah! Forgive my sins by Your Greatness.”
In a narration, we read: One day Imam al-Baqir went to see his father, Imam Zayn al-Abidin. Imam al-Baqir was thinking that his father had reached a stage in devotion that no one had ever reached. So, he says: Since my father was thoughtful, he became aware of my presence after sometime. When he saw me weeping, he said, “Fetch me one of Imam Ali’s writings about prayer.” As I did, he said, “Who can pray like Ali ibn Abi-Talib?”
As for Imam al-Ka¨im, it is related that he was the most pious, the most knowledgeable, the most generous, and the most honorable of his time. He would always perform his supererogatory prayers at nights linking them to the Morning Prayer and would be engaged in recommended acts of worship until sunrise. Then he would prolong his prostration until Noon Prayer, saying:
 Al-Kafi, 1662/2, H 4.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq, 178, H 8.
 al-Manaqib: 14/4.
 al-Manaqib: 149/4, Kashf al-Ghummah: 85/2.
أللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أسْألُكَ الرَّاحَةَ عِنْدَ الْمَوْتِ وَالْعَفْوَ عِنْدَ الْحِسَابِ.
O Allah! I am asking You ease at death and forgiveness at Reckoning.
In one of his prayers, he would say:
عَظُمَ الذَّنْبُ مِنْ عَبْدِكَ فَلْيَحْسُنِ الْعَفْوُ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ.
Grave has been the sin of Your servant; so, let forgiveness from You be nice.
He would weep for fear of Allah. He cared for his own family and relatives more than others. He would go to the needy at nights with a basket full of coins, flour and dates. He was in the prison of the Abbasid tyrannical rulers for years until he was martyred. He influenced other prisoners so greatly that they all repented to Allah. It is narrated that whenever Harun al-Rashid went to the top of the prison, he would see some clothes in one of its corners. One day he asked the jailor, “What are those clothes I see everyday?” The jailor said, “These are not clothes; this is Musa ibn Ja`far who is in prostration every day from sunrise to sunset!”
About the torturers of Imam Hasan Askari, Salih ibn Wasif, the chief jailor, says, “What is to be done? I appointed two persons to torture him. After observing the Imam’s worship, they were so impressed that they themselves started worshipping Allah in such a manner that surprised everybody. I summoned up them, asking why they had changed, why they had stopped torturing him, what they had seen from them. They said, “What should we say about a man who fasts the days and is engaged in prayer at nights? When he looks at us, our bodies start shivering and such a horror overwhelms us that we cannot control ourselves.”
 Kitab al-Irshad by Shaykh al-Mufid, 334/2.
# Ahl al-Bayt
The Whole Truth
Since Ahl al-Bayt stand at the highest level of devotion, submission and endeavor, they reflect the whole truth like a mirror.
The station of devotion and submission is the manifestation of Allah’s Attributes, moral virtues, strong faith and a jumping board for nearness to Allah and meeting Him.
Imam al-Hadi describes Ahl al-Bayt as such:
ألسَّلامُ عَلَيْكُمْ يا أهْلَ بَيْتِ النُّبُوَّةِ، وَمَوْضِعَ الرِّسالَةِ، وَمُخْتَلَفَ الْمَلائِكَةِ، وَمَهْبِطَ الْوَحْىِ، وَمَعْدِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ، وَخُزّانَ الْعِلْمِ، وَمُنْتَهَى الْحِلْمِ، وَأُصُولَ الْكَرَمِ، وَقادَةَ الاُْمَمِ، وَأوْلِياءَ النِّعَمِ، وَعَناصِرَ الأبْرارِ، وَدَعائِمَ الأخْيارِ، وَساسَةَ الْعِبادِ، وَأرْكانَ الْبِلادِ، وَأبْوابَ الاْيمانِ، وَأُمَناءَ الرَّحْمنِ، وَسُلالَةَ النَّبِيّينَ، وَصَفْوَةَ الْمُرْسَلينَ، وَعِتْرَةَ خِيَرَةِ رَبِّ الْعالَمينَ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ،
ألسَّلامُ عَلى أئِمَّةِ الْهُدى، وَمَصابيحِ الدُّجى، وَأعْلامِ التُّقى، وَذَوِى النُّهى، وَأُولِى الْحِجى، وَكَهْفِ الْوَرى، وَوَرَثَةِ الأنْبِياءِ، وَالْمَثَلِ الأعْلى، وَالدَّعْوَةِ الْحُسْنى، وَحُجَجِ اللهِ عَلى أهْلِ الدُّنْيا وَالاْخِرَةِ وَالاُْولى وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ، ألسَّلامُ عَلى مَحآلِّ مَعْرِفَةِ اللهِ، وَمَساكِنِ بَرَكَةِ اللهِ، وَمَعادِنِ حِكْمَةِ اللهِ، وَحَفَظَةِ سِرِّ اللهِ، وَحَمَلَةِ كِتابِ اللهِ، وَأوْصِياءِ نَبِىِّ اللهِ، وَذُرِّيَّةِ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ
وَآلِهِ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ، ألسَّلامُ عَلَى الدُّعاةِ إِلَى اللهِ.
Peace be on you, O Household of the Prophet! You are the center of the Divine mission. Unto you the angels return to adopt your opinions and to learn from you. You are the destination of the Divine revelation; the originating source of mercy, the treasures of wisdom, the ultimate in forbearance, the foundation of generosity, the leaders of all nations. You administer and distribute bounties without interruption. You are the elements of virtues and pillars of goodness. You direct and guide mankind, protect and support lands wherein people live, let in and lead on to faith. The Beneficent Lord assigned to you the responsibility of dealing with His Benevolence; you are the distinguished descendent of the Prophets, the cream of the noble born children of the Messengers, the pure family of the “Best individual”, in the
estimation of the Lord of the worlds! Peace be on the Guides (Imams) who show the Right Path, fill the darkness with light, teach and demonstrate the awareness of boundaries laid down by Allah. Peace be on the exponents of the views and beliefs which acquaint with awareness of Allah, wherever you are, there are the blessings of Allah, the wisdom of Allah is deposited with you, the secrets of Allah have been put in your safe keeping, you know the Book of Allah by heart, you are the successors of the Prophet of Allah, peace be on you who invite people unto Allah.
All the Prophets who were before the Holy Prophet of Islam and their books were an attempt to pave the way for the advent of Allah’s Messenger so that all creatures, especially human beings, thanks to these noble ones who are the cord, shadow, and trustees of Allah, move towards perfection. For this reason, they made a covenant to set the ground for the advent of the root of Ahl al-Bayt, namely, the Holy Prophet.
وَلَمْ يُخْلِ سُبْحَانَهُ خَلْقَهُ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ مُرْسَلٍ أوْ كِتَابٍ مُنْزَلٍ أوْ حُجَّةٍ لأزِمَةٍ.
Allah never allowed His creation to remain without a Prophet deputed by Him, or a book sent down from Him or a binding argument.
Based on this, the Holy Prophet says:
نَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ السَّابِقُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ.
We are the last ones in this world but foremost on the Judgment Day.
Shi`ite and Sunni reference books of hadith have reported Allah’s Messenger as saying:
آدَمُ وَمَنْ دُونَهُ تَحْتَ لِوَائِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ.
Adam as well as all the other human beings will be under my banner on the Judgment Day.
Due to their extensive capacity and knowledge, Ahl al-Bayt are the paragon of “The last ones are the foremost and the foremost are the first ones and nothing is like them.”
 Al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah.
 Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon: 1.
 al-Manaqib, 269/3.
 al-Manaqib, 214/1.
 ¯ahih al-Bukhari: 2/2, H 1.
The reason for being ‘foremost’ is that Ahl al-Bayt are the beginning and the end of the universe as Allah has so willed. In al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah, Imam al-Hadi refers to the same truth:
Allah opened the gate of universe and truth with you and will end it with you. The people will return to you and their reckoning is with you.
Therefore, all the Prophets set the ground for the presence of Ahl al-Bayt among creatures. These noblemen were sent to produce a link between Allah and creatures leaving no excuse for the world nations.
Actually their existence on the earth is concurrent with the fall of the sun which is the noon of universe. Then the afternoon of universe begins and universe will become contracted. When the era of the advent of the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt and that of Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah expedite his reappearance) comes to an end, and the sun sets, all the universe will merge into an absolute contraction and the second darkness begins after the passage of millions of years of the first darkness. At that time, Allah will say:
لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ
To whom belongs the kingdom today? (40:16)
Then, according to the Holy Qur’an, the Judgment Day begins: an eternal day without any night.
Neither the Holy Qur’an nor have narration made any reference to “the Judgment Night”; rather it is the Judgment Day. Sine the day begins with the rising of the sun, the Judgment Day too begins with the light of Muhammad who is described as light-giving torch in the Holy Qur’an (33:46), who will be the first to enter the presence of Allah on that day. Due to his being the face of Allah and His light, the scene of the final gathering will be illuminated and an eternal day emerges:
وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ ...
And the earth shall beam with the light of its Lord and the Book shall be laid down. (39:69)
In view of its content, this verse refers to the Judgment Day and most of the narrations consider the light of the Lord as the Holy Prophet and the Infallible Imams.
 Al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah.
With the dawn of the light of Allah, which is the light of Muhammad, the morning of the Judgment Day will dawn and a permanent day begins. Thanks to this light, the entire truth will show itself and all hidden secrets will be disclosed and then the Reckoning begins.
Reporting the Holy Prophet, Imam al-Baqir says:
أنَا أوَّلُ وَافِدٍ عَلَى الْعَزِيزِ الْجَبَّارِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَكِتَابُهُ وَأهْلُ بَيْتِي، ثُمَّ أمَّتِي، ثُمَّ أسْألُهُمْ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللهِ وَبِأهْلِ بَيْتِي؟
I will be the first to stand before Allah along with His Book and Ahl al-Bayt and then my ummah. Then I will ask my ummah, “How did you treat the Book of Allah and my Ahl al-Bayt?”
 Al-Kafi: 600/2, H 4.
# Ahl al-Bayt; Ark of Salvation
The pure souls of Ahl al-Bayt and their light were created before other creatures; they were placed around Allah’s Throne. They were engaged in glorifying Allah so that He will put each of those pure souls in a body at the proper time and reveal them among people for their guidance as a favor:
خَلَقَكُمُ اللهُ أنْوَاراً فَجَعَلَكُمْ بِعَرْشِهِ مُحْدِقِينَ حَتَّى مَنَّ عَلَيْنَا بِكُمْ فَجَعَلَكُمْ فِي بُيُوتٍ أذِنَ اللهُ أنْ تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ.
Allah created you in the form of light; He then kept you closely attached with his Throne until you were sent down to this world as a favor to us. He allowed you to pronounce and praise His Name aloud in the Houses of Allah.
O Ahl al-Bayt, you were like Noah’s Ark from the time you were placed around Allah’s Throne to save those who have fallen into the whirlpool of tribulation:
فَبَلَغَ اللهُ بِكُمْ أشْرَفَ مَحَلِّ الْمُكَرَّمِينَ وَأعْلَى مَنَازِلِ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ وَأرْفَعَ دَرَجَاتِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ.
Allah made you reach the noblest position of glory, the highest station nearest to Him, and the loftiest status of the Messengers.
O Ahl al-Bayt, you have attained such spirituality through knowledge, faith and offering help to people in this world that you have reached the position of the most honorable prophets.
Authentic books of hadith have reported Imam Hasan Askari as saying: When Adam fell from heaven, deprived of associating with the angels and losing a garment of dignity which covered his private parts, he said to Allah,
أللَّهُمَّ بِجَاهِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلِيٍّ وَفَاطِمَةَ وَالْحَسَنِ وَالْحُسَيْنِ وَالطَّيِّبِينَ مِنْ آلِهِمْ لَمَّا تَفَضَّلْتَ بِقَبُولِ تَوْبَتِي وَغُفْرَانِ زَلَّتِي وَإعَادَتِي مِنْ كَرَامَاتِكَ إلَى مَرْتَبَتِي.
“O Allah! By the honor of Muhammad, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn and the purified ones of Ahl al-Bayt, do me a favor by accepting my repentance, forgiving my sin and giving back my dignity.”
 Al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah.
 Al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah.
Allah answered, “Verily, I accept your repentance, turn to you with pleasure, send my bounties and blessings to you, restore your position by My grace, and make perfect for you your share of My mercy.” This is the meaning of Allah’s words,
فَتَلَقَّى آدَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ (38)
“Then Adam received some words form his Lord, So He turned to him mercifully; surely He is oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. (2:37)”
Abu-Dharr, touching the door of Ka`bah said: I heard Allah’s Messenger saying:
ألأ إنَّ مَثَلَ أهْلِ بَيْتِي فِيكُمْ مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نُوحٍ؛ مَنْ رَكِبَهَا نَجَا، وَمَنْ تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهَا هَلَكَ.
Beware! The parable of my Ahl al-Bayt among you is like Noah’s Ark. Whoever enters it will be saved and whoever refuses to enter it will suffer perdition.
Imam Ali is reported as saying:
Were it not for saving and guiding people, Allah would not send us to this world. We were engaged in glorifying Him around His throne. We are not people of the world; rather, we have been sent to rid you of atheism, carnal desires and ignorance, and to promote you to the zenith of humanity. We have come here to lead you from darkness to guidance. Now that the situation is like that, put your hands in our hands and promise loyalty so that we will save you from this tumultuous sea to the shore of safety.
The Holy Prophet has said:
نَحْنُ سَفِينَةُ النَّجَاةِ؛ مَنْ تَعَلَّقَ بِهَا نَجَا، وَمَنْ حَادَ عَنْهَا هَلَكَ. فَمَنْ كَانَ لَهُ إلَى اللهِ حَاجَةٌ فَلْيَسْألْ بِنَا أهْلَ البَيْتِ.
We are the boat of salvation. Whoever catches hold of it will be saved, and whoever keeps aloof from it will meet perdition, whoever has a request from Allah should ask for it through us, the Ahl al-Bayt.
Addressing Kumayl, Imam Ali says:
يَا كُمَيْلُ! قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ 3 قَوْلاً ـ وَالْمُهَاجِرُونَ وَالأنْصَارُ مُتَوَافِرُونَ يَوْماً بَعْدَ الْعَصْرِ
 Yanabi` al-Mawaddah, 94/1, H 1.
 Fara'id al-Simtayn: 37/1.
الْعَصْرِ يَوْمَ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ ـ قَائِماً عَلَى قَدَمَيْهِ فَوْقَ مِنْبَرِهِ: عَلِيٌّ وَابْنَايَ مِنْهُ الطَّيِّبُونَ مِنِّي، وَأنَا مِنْهُمْ، وَهُمُ الطَّيِّبُونَ بَعْدَ أُمِّهِمْ، وَهُمْ سَفِينَةٌ مَنْ رَكِبَهَا نَجَا وَمَنْ تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهَا هَوَى؛ النَّاجِي فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَالْهَاوِي فِي لَظَى.
O Kumayl! One day, when Allah’s Messenger was standing on his pulpit and surrounded by the Helpers (Ansar) and the Immigrants (Muhajirun) who were following him the Afternoon Prayer in mid-Rama¤an, he said:
Ali and his two purified sons are from me and I am from them. They are like a ship; whoever enters it will be saved and whoever refuses will drown. The saved one is in heaven and the drowned will be in Hellfire.
Imam Ali has also said:
مَنِ اتَّبَعَ أمْرَنَا سَبَقَ، مَنْ رَكِبَ غَيْرَ سَفِينَتِنَا غَرِقَ.
Whoever follows our command will be successful and whoever enters any ship other than ours will be drowned.
As we know, stars help those traveling by sea to come to the shore of safety. In a narration, the Holy Prophet compares Ahl al-Bayt with stars in terms of safety:
النُّجُومُ أمَانٌ لأِهْلِ الأرْضِ مِنَ الغَرَقِ، وَأهْلُ بَيْتِي أمَانٌ لأُِمَّتِي مِنَ الإخْتِلأفِ؛ فَإذَا خَالَفَتْهَا قَبِيلَةٌ مِنَ الْعَرَبِ اخْتَلَفُوا فَصَارُوا حِزْبَ إبْلِيسَ.
Stars are a source of guidance for those living on the earth and my Ahl al-Bayt are a source of safety from differences. So, if an Arab tribe challenges them, it will be engaged with discrepancies with each other hence becoming party of Satan.
إنَّمَا مَثَلُ أهْلِ بَيْتِي فِيكُمْ مَثَلُ بَابِ حِطَّةٍ فِي بَنِي إسْرَائِيلَ؛ مَنْ دَخَلَهُ غُفِرَ لَهُ.
Verily, the parable of my Ahl al-Bayt is like the gate of Hittah (forgiveness) for the children of Israel. Whoever goes through it will be forgiven.
 Bisharat al-Mustafa: 30.
 Ghurar al-Hikam: 16, H 2028-2029.
 Al-Mustadrak: 162/3.
 Al-Mu`jam al-Saghir.
Imam Ali says:
نَحْنُ بَابُ حِطَّةٍ، وَهُوَ بَابُ السَّلأمِ، مَنْ دَخَلَهُ نَجَا، وَمَنْ تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهُ هَوَى.
We are the gate of Hittah which is the gate of peace and safety. Whoever enters through it will be saved and whoever refuses will meet perdition.
ألأ إنَّ العِلْمَ الَّذِي هَبَطَ بِهِ آدَمُ وَجَمِيعَ مَا فُضِّلَتْ بِهِ النَّبِيُّونَ إلَى خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ فِي عِتْرَةِ خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ، فَأيْنَ يُتَاهُ بِكُمْ؟ وَأيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ؟ وَإنَّهُمْ فِيكُمْ كَأصْحَابِ الْكَهْفِ، وَمَثَلُهُمْ بَابُ حِطَّةٍ، وَهُمْ بَابُ السِّلْمِ فِي قَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ.
Beware, the knowledge that Adam brought with him and the knowledge of all Prophets are with Ahl al-Bayt. So why are you bewildered and where are you bound to go? Ahl al-Bayt among you are like the People of the Cave and like the Gate of Hittah. They are the gate to peace and safety mentioned in the words of Allah: O you who believe! Enter into submission one and all, and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan (2:208)
Addressing Imam Ali, the Holy Prophet said:
مَثَلُكُمْ يَا عَلِيُّ مَثَلُ بَيْتِ اللهِ الْحَرَامِ؛ مَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِناً. فَمَنْ أحَبَّكُمْ وَوَالأكُمْ كَانَ آمِناً مِنْ عَذَابِ النَّارِ. وَمَنْ أبْغَضَكُمْ أُلْقِيَ فِي النَّارِ. يَا عَلِيُّ: وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً. وَمَنْ كَانَ لَهُ عُذْرٌ فَلَهُ عُذْرُهُ. وَمَنْ كَانَ فَقِيراً فَلَهُ عُذْرُهُ. وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضاً فَلَهُ عُذْرُهُ. إنَّ اللهَ لأ يَعْذُرُ غَنِيّاً وَلأ فَقِيراً وَلأ مَرِيضاً وَلأ صَحِيحاً وَلأ أعْمَى وَلأ بَصِيراً فِي تَفْرِيطِهِ فِي
O Ali! The parable of you, Ahl al-Bayt, is like the sacred House of Allah. Whoever entered it was safe. So whoever loves you will be immune from Hellfire and whoever harbors grudge against you will be thrown into it. O Ali! Based on the Holy Qur’an, “… and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it (3:97)”, there is however an excuse for one who is poor or sick. Nevertheless, Allah will not accept the
 Al-Khisal, 626/2, H 10.
 Tafsir al-Ayyashi: 102/1, H 10.
excuse of neither the poor nor the rich nor the sick nor the healthy who fail to love you, Ahl al-Bayt.
The Holy Prophet has also said:
إجْعَلُوا أهْلَ بَيْتِي مِنْكُمْ مَكَانَ الرَّأسِ مِنَ الْجَسَدِ وَمَكَانَ الْعَيْنَيْنِ مِنَ الرَّأسِ. فَإنَّ الْجَسَدَ لأ يَهْتَدِي إلأ بِالرَّأسِ وَلأ يَهْتَدِي الرَّأسُ إلأ بِالْعَيْنَيْنِ.
Consider my Ahl al-Bayt as the head to the body and the two eyes to the head. The body cannot find the way except by the head and the head cannot find the way except by the eyes.
It now becomes clear as to why the companions of Ahl al-Bayt during their lives considered them as head and eyes without whom life was nothing but blindness, bewilderment and perdition.
Although at the Night of Ashura’, Imam Husayn gave his companions the choice to revoke allegiance to him and leave him, they unanimously decided to stay with him.
Beyond doubt, if a person loves them truly and invokes them from the bottom of the heart, the Ahl al-Bayt too will respond lovingly and accept him with open arms because they are the manifestation of Allah’s Attributes. They love people and favor them permanently.
It was due to the same love and favor that on the Day of Ashura’, Imam Husayn was trying to delay his martyrdom so as to have a chance to save a human being from atheism, ignorance, and bewilderment. It was for the same reason that he would kindly address the enemies in the battlefield with his heart broken and his body injured. Impressed by the Divine nature of the Imam, two brothers named Abu’l-Hutuf ibn Harth and Sa`d who had been in the line of the Khawarij in the Battle of Nahrawan and in the army of Yazid, joined Imam Husayn’s camp, fought against the enemies and were martyred.
 Khasa'is al-A`immah: 77.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, 482, H 1053.
# Ahl al-Bayt and The Straight Path
Based on clear verses of the Holy Qur’an, one who does not go to extremes in moral and mental situations is the executor of Allah’s decrees in all aspects of his life, not influenced by socio-political upheavals, not tempted by Satan, among the devoted servants of Allah, engaged in good deeds, helpful to people, and is propagating knowledge and faith is considered as Imam:
قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا
He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. (2:124)
ﭑوَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلوةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَوةِ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ (73)
And we made them Imams who guided people by Our Command, and We revealed to them the doing of the good and the keeping up of the prayer and the giving of the alms, and us (alone) did they serve. (21:73)
Based on the exegesis of the Qur’anic verses, the path which exists between the Creator and the created and following that path which makes man reach the station of nearness to Allah, to achieve a great victory, and to be saved from eternal punishment is called ‘The straight Path’. Commenting on the Straight Path, Imam Ali says:
الصِّرَاطُ الْمُسْتَقِيمُ فِي الدُّنْيَا مَا قَصُرَ عَنِ الغُلُوِّ وَارْتَفَعَ عَنِ التَّقْصِيرِ وَاسْتَقَامَ، وَفِي الآخِرَةِ طَرِيقُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إلَى الْجَنَّةِ.
The straight path in this world is a path without extremes, it is right and firm; and in the Hereafter, it is the believers’ path towards heaven.
Imam Ali’s definition of the straight path overlaps the Ahl al-Bayt, for they were straight and moderate in all aspects of life and away from extremes. Their guidance will lead people to heaven on the Judgment Day.
One must note that there are certain words and expressions in the Holy Qur’an the meaning of which cannot be comprehended for people. Hence,
 Tafsir al-Safi:54/1.
we must learn about them from the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt who are the teachers of the Holy Qur’an and its commentators.
What is inferred from Sirat is nothing but path but what this path is, how long it is, what its quality and quantity are, and how we can walk on that path cannot be understood from the words. For this reason, the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt are commissioned by Allah to express these facts. Without seeking help from their extensive knowledge on the Holy Qur’an, we will certainly go astray:
هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ ...
He it is who raised among the illiterates an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the wisdom. (62:2)
Allah who has revealed the Holy Qur’an to the Household of the Prophet has manifested its meaning and interpretations in the purified hearts of those people endowed with learning so that other people will know about those words including the word Sirat through them.
Commenting on the holy verse, ‘Keep us on the right path (1:6)’, Imam al-Sadiq has said:
The verse says: Guide us to the straight path, that is to say, guide us with your company, a path which will lead us to your love and heaven; the path which will prevent us from our caprices which will end up in perdition.
Can we really get to know Allah and His Love without the teachings of Ahl al-Bayt who are truly godly beings? Can we go to heaven without their guidance, teachings and intercession? Are we able to be safe from carnal desires without being in the fortress of their Imamate?
If we claim that we can be safe from losses and perdition by resorting to the Holy Qur’an alone and there is no need for the Imam of guidance, this will definitely be against the Holy Qur’an. Therefore, we should decisively say that the meaning of the straight path is the Holy Qur’an and its paragon, namely Ahl al-Bayt; and these two are interdependent with no separation between them. Without Ahl al-Bayt, there will be no straight path in the meaning of the Holy Qur’an nor any understanding of its subtleties. In this relation, Imam al-Baqir has said:
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Ri¤a: 305/1, H 65.
نَحْنُ الطَّرِيقُ وَصِرَاطُ اللهِ الْمُسْتَقِيمُ إلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى.
We (Ahl al-Bayt) are the Road and the Straight Path towards Allah.
Ahl al-Bayt are truly the straight path of Allah, for their knowledge of Him is comprehensive. Hence, we should believe in the Lord Who has been introduced to us by Ahl al-Bayt in addition to the verses of the Holy Qur’an, both the decisive and the allegorical.
Although Allah’s decrees are comprehensible, it is with the spiritual power and guidance that man can win His pleasure and nearness. Without following Ahl al-Bayt, we will certainly go astray. Imam al-Sadiq was asked about the meaning of Sirat. He said:
Sirat means a path taking to recognition of Allah—the Exalted and Glorious.
Is there in this universe any way of getting to know Allah save Ahl al-Bayt? If we cannot know Allah by Ahl al-Bayt, the godliest beings, then through whom can we know Him?
It is Ahl al-Bayt with whose Divine knowledge they have introduced the meanings of Allah, the Judgment Day, jurisprudence, morality and truth for people. Hence, people are required to refer to them in order to understand all truths. Elaborating the word Sirat, Imam al-Sadiq has said:
وَهُمَا صِرَاطَانِ: صِرَاطٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَصِرَاطٌ فِي الآخِرَةِ. فَأمَّا الصِّرَاطُ فِي الدُّنْيَا فَهُوَ الإمَامُ الْمُفْتَرَضُ الطَّاعَةِ؛ مَنْ عَرَفَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَاقْتَدَى بِأمْرِهِ مَرَّ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ الَّذِي هُوَ جِسْرُ جَهَنَّمَ فِي الآخِرَةِ. وَمَنْ لَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا زَلَّتْ قَدَمُهُ عَنِ الصِّرَاطِ فِي الآخِرَةِ فَتَرَدَّى فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ.
There are actually two Sirats: one in this world and another in the Hereafter. Sirat in this world is the Imam and to follow him is incumbent on all. One who recognizes and follows him will pass the bridge over Hell leading to Paradise; while one who does not recognize him will slip from Sirat falling into Fire.
 Basa'ir al-Darajat: 62, H 10.
 MaAni al-Akhbar: 32, H 1.
 MaAni al-Akhbar: 32, H 1.
Therefore, based on Qur’anic verses and authentic narrations, the true path leading to real knowledge of what will result in salvation in this world and the Hereafter is Ahl al-Bayt.
Followers of the Right Path
Man will be endowed with the knowledge of Allah; he will be helped do his obligatory and recommended acts, avoid sins and keep away from pollutions if he follows Ahl al-Bayt’s life-giving teachings.
Was Salman, the Persian, not Zoroastrian and then Christian? By following Ahl al-Bayt, he reached such a supreme station about which the Holy Prophet said,
سَلْمَانُ مِنَّا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ.
Salman is from us, Ahl al-Bayt.
Had Abu-Dharr not been a nomadic shepherd who, by resorting to Ahl al-Bayt, reached such a supreme station about which the Holy Prophet said:
No one under the sky or on the earth is as truthful as Abu-Dharr.
Was Bilal not an Ethiopian black? By following Ahl al-Bayt, he reached such a station about which the Holy Qur’an says:
إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ .
Surely, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you the most careful of his duty. (49:13)
By getting to know Allah through Ahl al-Bayt, all the said people became Allah’s true servants and reached a station becoming paragons of adherence to Ahl al-Bayt until the Judgment Day.
Prophet Joseph was Allah’s true servant who resisted against the temptations of the vizier’s wife for seven years at the prime of his life saying:
I seek refuge with Allah in response to her request.
Ahl al-Bayt who are the truth of the straight path and the manifestation of the path to Allah were such that they became united with truths. They only saw Allah; they only obeyed Allah; and they served only Allah. For this reason, with the permission of Allah, they became a source of Grace for the world nations.
 Bihar al-Anwar, 348/22, H 64.
 Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, 259/8.
# Ahl al-Bayt, Allah’s Vicegerents
Allah’s Attributes are not merely verbal; rather; they are objective and having external realization. The first Attributes which manifested themselves from the invisible God at His will are four according to a narration, and seven according to another which can somehow refer to the same name. The first Attributes are the Ever-living, the All-knowing, the All-Powerful, and the Speaker.
Each of these Attributes has a domain and property for itself and there is a longing in them for manifestation. Since ‘Allah’ is comprehensive of all attributes, it generally holds other Attributes and does not allow an Attribute to emerge alone.
The Universe’s Need for Allah’s vicegerent
Each part of the universe which was materialized with Allah’s Most Excellent Names is under the Attribute which rules it. Beyond doubt someone must come into existence to be the full manifestation of Allah’s Chief Name and create a balance among Allah’s concrete Names so that they will not interfere with each other. In other words, the universe is in need of a perfect man who is the manifestation of all Most Excellent Names as well as the Chief Name so as to be able to administer all the affairs as Allah’s vicegerent with His permission. Even angels who are abstract beings and each of them is assigned with a special duty [And there is none of us but has an assigned place (37:164)] are in need of Allah’s vicegerent (khalifat allah) so as to control them in their affairs and to teach them what is necessary.
To sum it up, based on Qur’anic verses and narrations, the universe is in need of khalifat allah even if no human beings had been created. The first human being of our kind, Adam, was also in need of khalifat allah so that his affairs would be administered justly. Hence he himself was khalifat allah in order for that position to be a link between him and Allah.
Based on this urgent need, Allah chose a vicegerent for Himself and made him rule over universe:
إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ...
I am going to place in the earth a khalifah –Vicegerent- (2:30)
This khalifah would rule the highest stages of the universe. Though the
earth is the lowest of the low, potentially, it is the highest in terms of position and rank, for the earth, this most passive element, is the only element which can collect in it all Allah’s Attributes and become the most active element of universe thanks to its mere passiveness.
وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الأَسْمَاء كُلَّهَا ...
And He taught Adam all the names (2:31)
Features of Allah’s Vicegerent
Since a khalifah knows all the names, he can be a teacher for all creatures. Since Allah has made khalifah teacher of angels, He has made him teacher of all other creatures too.
وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الأَسْمَاء كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلاَئِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاء هَؤُلاء إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (31) قَالُواْ سُبْحَانَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ (32) قَالَ يَا آدَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ فَلَمَّا أَنبَأَهُمْ بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ (33)
And He taught Adam all the names and then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those if you are right. They said: glory be to thee! We have no knowledge but that which thou has taught us; surely thou art the knowing, the wise. He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names. Then when, he had in formed them of their names, He said: Did I say to you that I surely know what is ghaib (unseen) in the heavens and the earth and (that) I Know what you manifest and what you hide. (2:31-33)
A khalifah due to his knowledge and understanding of Allah’s Most Excellent Names objectively and subjectively lies in the core of the universe. He must lie in the center of it to be able to teach the angels, administer them in relation to their affairs and urge them to do special missions. In other words, a khalifah must be perfect in terms of knowledge and capacity and superior in terms of infallibility and justice so as to be able to distinguish between the objective beautiful Names of Allah and other creatures.
A khalifah is a person who has gone through the lowest stages of existence up to its highest ones.
A khalifah is a person with whom is the knowledge of the Book and the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfu¨) has been internalized in him, one
who is benevolent and has acquired such virtues as generosity, contentment, chastity and courage, and has become the manifestation of Allah’s Most Excellent Names.
A khalifah is one who emerges at any time with one of Allah’s Names, which is proper to that time, making that Name rule. It is at this station that he is absorbed in Allah and takes the course toward Him. After receiving the baptism of Allah, he will reach a position where he can do extraordinary works with the permission of Allah. Then his heart becomes Allah’s Throne and finds Allah sitting on it:
الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى (6)
The All-Compassionate sat himself upon the throne. (20:5)
Merits Of Allah’s Vicegerent
In a sacred hadith (Words of Almighty Allah), we read:
لأ يَسَعُنِي أرْضِي وَلا سَمَائِي، وَلَكِنْ يَسَعُنِي قَلْبُ عَبْدِيَ الْمُؤْمِنِ.
I am not contained in heaven or the earth; but I am contained in the heart of my believing servant.
It is a believer’s heart which can undertake the vicegerency of Allah’s Most Excellent Names by which Allah rules over the universe. Referring to the creation of the Holy Prophet, another sacred hadith reads:
لَوْلأكَ لَمَا خَلَقْتُ الأفْلأكَ.
Were it not for your sake, I would not have created the universe.
Ahl al-Bayt, Allah’s Most Perfect Vicegerents
Allah’s true vicegerent is the Holy Prophet, for he is the first being to have been created, the most perfect manifestation of Allah’s Attributes and a collection of truth and Allah’s light:
The first thing Allah created was my light.
Narrations say that the light of the Holy Prophet was created many thousand years before the creation of the universe. About the light of Imam Ali, it has been said that he was together with the Holy Prophet in the invisible World. One of these lights became Prophet and the other became Imam. In this connection, the Holy Prophet says:
 Awali al-La’ali: 7/4, H 7.
 Ta'wil al-Ayat al-²ahirah: 430.
 Awali al-La’ali: 99/4, H 140.
خُلِقْتُ أنَا وَعَلِيٌّ مِنْ نُورٍ وَاحِدٍ.
Ali and I were created from the same light.
Imam Ali who is Allah’s intimate friend is the heart of Allah’s Messenger as he shares with him everything except Prophethood. The Holy Prophet says:
آدَمُ وَمَنْ دُونَهُ تَحْتَ لِوَائِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ؛ فَإذَا حَكَمَ اللهُ بَيْنَ الْعِبَادِ أخَذَ أمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اللِّوَاءَ.
Adam and others are under my banner on the Judgment Day. When Allah judges among His servants, Amir al-Mu’minin (i.e. Imam Ali) will hold the banner.
Therefore; if the mission of all prophets led to the mission of the Holy Prophet, Imamate of all prophets is based on the Imamate of Imam Ali who was with all prophets inwardly and with the Holy Prophet outwardly. Hence, the Imamate of Allah’s Messenger is united with the Imamate of Ali.
True vicegerents; Means of Grace
Any station that is attained by any person must be by means of Ahl al-Bayt. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:
وَابْتَغُواْ إِلَيهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ
And seek means of nearness to Him. (5:35)
We are advised to “hold fast to Allah’s cord.” Ahl al-Bayt have been reported as saying:
نَحْنُ حَبْلُ اللهِ الْمَتِينُ.
We are the firm cord of Allah.
To follow the Imamate of Ali’ and the Holy Imams is a requirement for receiving Divine Grace whether it is knowledge or daily food. The Holy Prophet says:
أنَا مَدِينَةُ الْعِلْمِ وَعَلِيٌّ بَابُهَا، فَلأ تُؤتَى الْبُيُوتُ إلأ مِنْ أبْوَابِهَا.
I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate. Whoever wishes to enter the city and seek its wisdom must first come to the gate.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-¯aduq: 236.
 al-Manaqib: 23/2.
 Kitab al-Ghaybah by al-Nu`mani, 21.
 Tafsir Furat, 258, H 353.
Aban ibn Taghlib, a trustworthy narrator, says: I asked Imam al-Sadiq, “What for has Allah set the Shi`ites free from Hellfire?” The Imam answered,
On account of their acceptance of Ali’s Imamate.
Imam al-Rida is reported as saying in the famous narration of Salsalat al-Dhahab (Golden Chain),
لأ إلَهَ إلأ اللهُ حِصْنِي؛ فَمَنْ دَخَلَ حِصْنِي أمِنَ مِنْ عَذَابِي.
(Almighty Allah says) There is no god but Allah is my fortress. Whoever enters it will be safe from punishment.
Imam al-Rida adds,
…بِشُرُوطِهَا، وَأنَا مِنْ شُرُوطِهَا.
Accepting my Imamate is the requirement for entering the fortress.
Therefore, prophethood of Allah’s Messenger and Imamate of Imam Ali and the Infallible Imams are the indisputable requirements for monotheism. It is for this reason that it is said the profession of one is the profession of the other two.
Allah has professed His unity, Prophethood and Imamate:
شَهِدَ اللّهُ أَنَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ
Allah bears witness that there is no god but He… (3:18)
وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُ
… and Allah knows that you are most surely His Apostle… (63:1)
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَوةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ (56)
Only Allah is your Wali and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate while they bow. (5:55)
Ahl al-Bayt are truly a means of Divine Grace and were it not for their sake, no one was blessed with that Grace. Since they are near to Allah and are in the station of certainty, whoever wishes to reach that station must resort to them:
 Safinat al-Bihar: 553/1.
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 135/2, H 4.
Allah started with you and will end with you and to you is the return of the people.
The light of Ahl al-Bayt is such that even the angels who are abstract cannot tolerate their light; so, they fall in prostration by seeing their light, thinking of it as Allah’s light. It has been narrated that when Allah’s Messenger, accompanied by (Archangel) Gabriel at the Ascension Night reached the third heaven, the angels ran away first and then started falling in prostration, saying:
سُبُّوحٌ قُدُّوسٌ، رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّ الْمَلأئكَِةِ وَالرُّوحِ، مَا أشْبَهَ هَذا النُّورَ بِنُورِ رَبِّنَا!
Glory and Holiness be to our Lord; Lord of angels and the Spirit. How close this light to the light of our Lord is.
At any rate, Allah’s vicegerency among people is one of the features of Ahl al-Bayt. According to a narration, Imam al-Rida is reported as saying:
الأئِمَّةُ خُلَفَاءُ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِي أرْضِهِ.
The Imams are Allah’s vicegerents on the earth.
In al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah, Imam al-Hadi says:
وَأعَزَّكُمْ بِهُداهُ، وَخَصَّكُمْ بِبُرْهانِهِ، وَانْتَجَبَكُمْ لِنُورِهِ، وَأيَّدَكُمْ بِرُوحِهِ، وَرَضِيَكُمْ خُلَفاءَ فى أرْضِهِ، وَحُجَجاً عَلى بَرِيَّتِهِ.
He strengthened you with His omnipotence, equipped you with His guidance, distinguished you with His clear Proofs, glorified you with His Light, confirmed you with His Holy spirit, made a choice of you to represent Him in His earth.
Ali ibn Hassan says: Imam al-Rida was asked about the Ziyarah of Imam al-Ka¨im. He answered: Perform prayer near mosques and say,
السَّلأمُ عَلَى أوْلِيَاءِ اللهِ وَأصْفِيَاءِهِ. السَّلأمُ عَلَى اُمَنَاءِ اللهِ وَأحِبَّاءِهِ. السَّلأمُ عَلَى أنْصَارِ اللهِ وَخُلَفَاءِهِ.
“Peace be upon the favorites of Allah and the chosen ones. Peace be upon the trustees of Allah and the beloved ones. Peace be upon the supporters of Allah and His representatives.”
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 272/2, H 1.
`Ilal al-Shara’i`: 312/2, Ch. 1, H 1.
 Al-Kafi: 193/1, H 1.
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 271/2.
About khalifah, Amir al-Mu’minin says:
هُوَ الَّذِي يُنَادَى بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ: أيْنَ خَلِيفَةُ اللهِ فِي أرْضِهِ؟
On the Judgment Day, Allah’s vicegerent will be called, “Where is Allah’s representative on His earth.”
In DuA’ Arafah, Imam Zayn al-Abidin describes Ahl al-Bayt as Allah’s representatives on the earth:
وَخُلَفَائِكَ فِي أرْضِكَ.
…and Your vicegerents on Your lands.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: 63, H 92.
 Al-¯ahifah al-Sajjadiyyah, Prayer: 47.
# Ahl al-Bayt;
Successors of The Holy Prophet
Many narrations, reported by both Shi`ite and Sunni scholars, refer to Ahl al-Bayt as the Holy Prophet’s successors. These narrations are so uninterruptedly reported that there is no doubt about them. Due to their moral, spiritual and scholarly features, Ahl al-Bayt alone deserve to be the Holy Prophet’s successors. To be the Prophet’s successor and representative is their Divine right and no one else deserves it. The Holy Qur’an reads:
لاَ يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ (124)
My covenant does not include the unjust. (2:124)
Caliphate is the indisputable right of a person who has all the features of the Holy Prophet except prophethood. It is only Ahl al-Bayt who have had such features. About Amir al-Mu’minin and the Imams after him, the Holy Prophet has said:
فَهُوَ سَيِّدُ الأوْصِيَاءِ. اللُّحُوقُ بِهِ سَعَادَةٌ، وَالْمَوْتُ فِي طَاعَتِهِ شَهَادَةٌ. وَاسْمُهُ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ مَقْرُونٌ إلَى اسْمِي. وَزَوْجَتُهُ الصِّدِّيقَةُ الْكُبْرَى إبْنَتِي. وَابْنَاهُ سَيِّدَا شَبَابِ أهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ ابْنَايَ. وَهُوَ وَهُمَا وَالأئِمَّةُ بَعْدَهُمْ حُجَجُ اللهِ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ بَعْدَ النَّبِيِّينَ. وَهُمْ أبْوَابُ الْعِلْمِ فِي أمَّتِي. مَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ نَجَا مِنَ النَّارِ، وَمَنِ اقْتَدَى بِهِمْ هُدِيَ إلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ. لَمْ يَهَبِ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَحَبَّتَهُمْ
لِعَبْدٍ إلأ أدْخَلَهُ اللهُ الْجَنَّةَ.
He is the master of all vicegerents. Prosperity has been tied to him. Death on obedience to him is martyrdom. His name is attached to mine in the Torah. His wife, the Grand Veracious Lady, is my daughter. His Two sons, the masters of the youth of Paradise, are my sons. He and his two sons along with the Imams after them are Allah’s representatives to the people after the Prophets. They are the gates of knowledge in my ummah. Whoever follows them will be saved from Hellfire; and whoever follows their examples will be guided. Whomever is given their love by Allah will enter heaven.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 21, H 5.
Imam Husayn has said:
إنَّ اللهَ اصْطَفَى مُحَمَّداً عَلَى خَلْقِهِ، وَأكْرَمَهُ بِنُبُوَّتِهِ، وَاخْتَارَهُ لِرِسَالَتِهِ. ثُمَّ قَبَضَهُ اللهُ إلَيْهِ وَقَدْ نَصَحَ لِعِبَادِهِ، وَبَلَّغَ مَا اُرْسِلَ بِهِ. وَكُنَّا أهْلَهُ وَأوْلِيَاءَهُ وَأوْصِيَاءَهُ وَوَرَثَتَهُ وَأحَقَّ النَّاسِ بِمَقَامِهِ فِي النَّاسِ. فَاسْتَأثَرَ عَلَيْنَا قَوْمُنَا بِذَلِكَ فَرَضِينَا، وَكَرِهْنَا الفُرْقَةَ، وَأجَبْنَا الْعَافِيَةَ وَنَحْنُ نَعْلَمُ أنَّا أحَقُّ بِذَلِكَ الْحَقِّ الْمُسْتَحَقِّ عَلَيْنَا مِمَّنْ تَوَلأهُ.
Allah chose Muhammad for his people, honored him with prophethood, and chose him for the mission. He then took his soul after he had advised Allah’s servants and conveyed what he had been sent for. We, his household, are his vicegerents and inheritors and the worthiest of holding his position. But our people denied us this position seizing it from us. We submitted to this bitter event. We dislike division and favor peace although we know for sure that our claim to this right is more deserving than those who have taken it from us.
Authentic narrations indicate that Allah’s Messenger appointed Ali and the eleven other Imams as his successors according to Allah’s decree. Describing Ahl al-Bayt, Amir al-Mu’minin says:
هُمُ الأئِمَّةُ الطَّاهِرُونَ وَالْعِتْرَةُ الْمَعْصُومُونَ وَالذُّرِّيَّةُ الأكْرَمُونَ وَالخُلَفَاءُ الرَّاشِدُونَ.
They are purified Imams, infallible household of noble offspring and guided vicegerents.
Ahl al-Bayt are the chosen ones and the manifestation of Allah’s Attributes, endowed with prophets’ features as well as morality and faith of the Holy Prophet in a way that fair-minded Sunni scholars have referred to it by reporting the Holy Prophet as saying:
مَنْ أرَادَ أنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَى آدَمَ فِي عِلْمِهِ، وَإلَى نُوحٍ فِي فَهْمِهِ، وَإلَى يَحْيَى بْنِ زَكَرِيَّا فِي زُهْدِهِ، وَإلَى مُوسَى بْنِ عِمْرَانَ فِي بَطْشِهِ، فَلْيَنْظُرْ إلَى عَلِيِّ بْنِ أبِي طَالِبٍ.
One who wishes to look at Adam’s knowledge, Noah’s understanding, John’s piety and Moses’ firm acts should look at Ali ibn Abu-Talib.
 Tarikh al-Tabari: 357/5.
 Bihar al-Anwar: 174/25, H 39.
 Rawdat al-Wa`izin: 128/1.
A Similar narration reports the Holy Prophet as saying:
مَنْ أرَادَ أنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَى آدَمَ فِي عِلْمِهِ، وَإلَى نُوحٍ فِي تَقْوَاهُ، وَإلَى إبْرَاهِيمَ فِي حِلْمِهِ، وَإلَى مُوسَى فِي هَيْبَتِهِ، وَإلَى عِيسَى فِي عِبَادَتِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ إلَى عَلِيِّ بْنِ أبِي طَالِبٍ.
One who wishes to look at Adam in his knowledge, Noah in his piety, Abraham in his tolerance, Moses in his formidableness and Jesus in his submission should look at Ali ibn Abu-Talib.
Therefore, the vicegerents and Imams after the Holy Prophet are twelve in number who have been appointed by Allah to have authority over people. However, the pseudo-scholars following the Umayyad school think that these position and features are found in families other than that of the Holy Prophet. Hence they ignored Allah’s choosing the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt, and resorted to their own choice while the Holy Qur’an says:
وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ مَا كَانَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ (68)
And your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases; To choose is not theirs’ glory be to Allah, and exalted be He above what they associate with Him. (28:68)
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ
And it behooves not a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter… (33:36)
مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ (36)
What has happened to you? How do you judge? (68:36)
To prove the right of Ahl al-Bayt and denounce those who have chosen others as leaders hence preparing the way for division among the Muslim nation, Imam al-Rida resorts to the Holy Qur’an saying:
ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ (21)
That is the grace of Allah: He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. (57:21)
In this relation, Amir al-Mu’minin says:
عِتْرَتُهُ خَيْرُ الْعِتَرِ، وَاُسْرَتُهُ خَيْرُ الاُسَرِ، وَشَجَرَتُهُ خَيْرُ الشَّجَرِ.
 Kashf al-Yaqin: 53.
Muhammad’s descendants are the best descendants, his kinsmen the best of kin and his lineal tree the best of trees.
Addressing Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, the Holy Prophet said:
إنَّكُمْ أصْحَابِي، وَعَلِيُّ بْنُ أبِي طَالِبٍ أخِي وَمِنِّي وَأنَا مِنْ عَلِيٍّ. فَهُوَ بَابُ عِلْمِي وَوَصِيِّي. وَهُوَ وَفَاطِمَةُ وَالْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ هُمْ خَيْرُ الأرْضِ عُنْصُراً وَشَرَفاً وَكَرَماً.
You are my companions. Ali ibn Abu-Talib is from me and I am from him. He is the gate of my knowledge and my successor. Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn are the best on the earth in terms of honor and dignity.
 Nahj al-Balaghah, 209, Sermon: 94.
 Yanabi` al-Mawaddah: 332/2, H 973.
# Ahl al-Bayt and Contentment
Ahl al-Bayt, due to their knowledge of Allah and their capacity, are the manifestation of Allah’s Most Excellent Names, for their whole lives are nothing but pure belief in Allah as the One and Only God. Their will and wrath are those of Allah. In this connection, Imam Husayn has said:
رِضَا اللهِ رِضَانَا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ.
Allah’s will is our will.
Ahl al-Bayt are pleased with whatever Allah is pleased with. Men, in their evolutionary course, reach a stage where they have ‘love’ and ‘wrath’. This love and wrath is compatible with Allah’s love and wrath. Nevertheless, there is a superior stage where their love and wrath is not considered concordant with Allah’s love and wrath for a person who says I am pleased with what Allah is pleased withstands at a stage of plurality, that is when the spiritual follower sees both himself and Allah.
However, one who stands at the station of unity, only one will and one wrath exists. At this stage, a spiritualist follower is in the station of annihilation in Allah. For this reason, Ahl al-Bayt say:
Allah’s will is our will.
In this relation, Imam Husayn say:
وَأسِيرُ بِسِيرَةِ جَدِّي وَأبِي.
I live in the style of my grandfather—the Holy Prophet—and my father—Ali.
Some people are believers in the surface, but are unbelievers from the viewpoint of the Holy Qur’an. They turn their back on Allah when their interests are not in line with their belief:
وَإِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ (48)
And when they are called to Allah and His Apostle that he may judge between them, a party of them turn aside. (24:48)
 Kashf al-Ghummah: 29/2.
 Bihar al-Anwar: 328/44.
They desire for Allah not for His sake, but for theirs:
وَإِذَا مَسَّ الإِنسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَآئِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَن لَّمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَى ضُرٍّ مَّسَّهُ
And when affliction touches a man, he calls on us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when We remove his affliction from him, he passes on as though he had never called on Us on account of an affliction that touched him. (10:12)
These people and their likes are self-centered; all their affairs, including their worship, are aimed at gaining something worldly. They are just merchants. However, for godly people, whatever they do is aimed to seek Allah’s pleasure. Those who pray sitting or lying on their sides even when they cannot perform prayer standing:
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ
Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth. (3:191)
Although Ahl al-Bayt, in their capacity as human beings, have polarization, love, enmity, passion, wrath and inclination, all of them are under the cover of godly amity and detachment. The Holy Qur’an has determined the criterion of godly amity and detachment. Based on this criterion, Ahl al-Bayt’s deeds are Allah-oriented so much so that they have made Satan submissive. The Holy Prophet says:
كَانَ شَيْطَانِي كَافِراً، فَأعَانَنِي اللهُ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى أسْلَمَ بِيَدَيَّ.
My Satan was unbeliever; but Allah helped me against him until he embraces Islam through me.
 Tarikh Baghdad: 331/3.
# Ahl al-Bayt and Submission
Ahl al-Bayt’s submission to Allah’s will is not a state that they are compelled to reach; rather, it is a truth that they have attained its climax due to personal efforts. The station of submission is said to be the last of several stations a spiritualist follower has to go through. It is said that few spiritualist followers have reached this station, for it especially belongs to the Holy Prophet, the Holy Imams and the saints. Imam Husayn is reported as saying:
إنَّا أهْلُ بَيْتٍ نَسْألُ اللهَ فَيُعْطِينَا، فَإذَا أرَادَ مَا نَكْرَهُ فِيمَا يُحِبُّ رَضِينَا.
We, the Ahl al-Bayt, beseech Allah and He grants us. So, if He wills to do that which we abhor, provide that it will bring about His pleasure, we submit.
Ala’ ibn Kamil says: I was sitting in the presence of Imam al-Sadiq when a woman from the house of the Imam started wailing. The Imam rose up and then sat down saying, “Surely we belong to Allah and unto Him do we return.” He kept on repeating so until he said,
إنَّا لَنُحِبُّ أنْ نُعَافَى فِي أنْفُسِنَا وَأوْلأدِنَا وَأمْوَالِنَا، فَإذَا وَقَعَ القَضَاءُ فَلَيْسَ لَنَا أنْ نُحِبَّ مَا لَمْ يُحِبَّ اللهُ لَنَا.
We favor safety as regards life, property and our children but when there is Divine decree, we do not love what Allah does not love for us.
In this connection, Imam al-Baqir says:
نَدْعُو اللهَ فِي مَا نُحِبُّ، فَإذَا وَقَعَ الَّذِي نَكْرَهُ لَمْ نُخَالِفِ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيمَا أحَبَّ.
We call on Allah for what we love to be given to us but if something happens that we do not love, we will not oppose it.
Qutaybah al-A`sha says: I went to Imam al-Sadiq to visit his child but found the Imam sad at the threshold. I said, “May I be sacrificed for you! How is your child?” The Imam said, “By Allah, he does not feel well.” Then he went inside the house, delayed for an hour and then came out with no sign of sorrow in his face. I thought his child was better. So, I asked,
 Maqtal al-Husayn by al-Khawarzmi; 147/1.
 Al-Kafi: 226/3, H 13.
 Kashf al-Ghummah: 150/2.
“How is the child?” The Imam answered, “He passed away.” I said, “May I be sacrificed for you! How is it that when he was alive, you were sad but now that he has passed away you are no longer sad?” The Imam said,
إنَّا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ نَجْزَعُ قَبْلَ الْمُصِيبَةِ، فَإذَا وَقَعَ أمْرُ اللهِ رَضِينَا بِقَضَاءِهِ وَسَلَّمْنَا لأِمْرِهِ.
We, Ahl al-Bayt, wail before calamity comes; but when Divine decree comes, we are pleased with it and submit to His Decree.
Ibrahim Ibn Sa`d reported: Imam Zayn al-Abidin heard wailing of mourners from his house while a group of people were gathering around him. He went inside and then returned. He was asked if the wailing was for death of anyone. He answered affirmatively. The attendants condoled him, as they were surprised at his patience. The Imam said:
إنَّا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ نُطِيعُ اللهَ فِي مَا نُحِبُّ وَنَحْمَدُهُ فِي مَا نَكْرَهُ.
We, Ahl al-Bayt, obey Allah for what we love and praise Him for what is unpleasant.
 Al-Kafi: 225/3, H 11.
 al-Manaqib: 165/4.
# Ahl al-Bayt and Infallibility
Infallibility (`ismah) is a special intuitive state keeping man from committing sin and closing all doors to temptations. In view of that, we can consider infallibility something cognitive, which requires cognizance and something existential, for it is a virtue that man can obtain in his evolutionary strive with Allah’s favor.
Cognitive and pragmatic infallibility are virtues merely related to cognition and perception while some others are only pragmatic. As an example, justice is a pragmatic virtue in man which has nothing to do with man’s intuitive dimension. This valuable virtue keeps man from intentional or unintentional fault but `ismah saves from ignorance, fault, negligence, oblivion, sophistry, and sinning. Therefore, an infallible (ma`sum) is immune from error in perception in the realm of cognizance, immune from wrongdoing in pragmatism, and immune from mistake in propagating religion.
The intuitive truth belongs to theoretical intellect; and abstaining from committing sins is related to pragmatically intellect though the origin of `ismah of pragmatic intellect is the same as cognizance and intuitive intellect.
Ahl al-Bayt’s Infallibility
Based on the Holy Qur’an and narrations, Ahl al-Bayt are infallible at the stage of theoretical and pragmatic intellect; that is to say, they perceive everything correctly, execute it correctly, and convey their knowledge and insight to people correctly. So, there is no fault, ignorance or error in their understanding; nor is there error, rebellion or oblivion in the realm of pragmatic intellect.
About Ahl al-Bayt’s infallibility, the Holy Qur’an says:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا (33)
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33)
Allah’s will is aimed at purifying the knowledge and deeds of Ahl al-Bayt. Hence, He has made them ma`sum in their knowledge and deeds.
If we are emphatically advised not to interpret the Holy Qur’an without the help of Ahl al-Bayt, it is because no human beings but Ahl al-Bayt are immune from misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Divine Book.
Man’s Knowledge and Act
In ordinary human beings, there is a great difference between insight and action as well as between knowledge and act. The gap between theoretical and pragmatic intellect becomes wider when man takes distance from his godly nature and sublime human position. Hence, one of these two intellects is always stronger or weaker than the other. The more man walks towards perfection the closer will be these two wings of flight to each other towards a point that they will become one, in the same way that knowledge and act are one for the angles. In the first truth which is the Holy Prophet, we can see the zenith of this unity.
Allah’s knowledge and Act
As for Almighty Allah, knowledge and act are exactly the same and the two are exactly His power:
وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاء وَلاَ أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَلِكَ وَلا أَكْبَرَ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ (61)
And there does not lie concealed from your Lord the weight of an atom in the earth or in the heaven. (10:61)
وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا (64)
And your Lord is not forgetful. (19:64)
Allah is pragmatically free from any evil deeds. One of these indecencies is injustice about which the Holy Qur’an says:
وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا (49)
And your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone. (18:49)
In the sight of Almighty Allah, every evil deed, however small, is blameworthy, exonerating Himself from it:
كُلُّ ذَلِكَ كَانَ سَيٍّئُهُ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ مَكْرُوهًا (38)
All this -the evil of it- is hateful in the sight of your Lord. (17:38)
Ahl al-Bayt’s knowledge and Act
In the light of the previous discussion, we come to the conclusion that `ismah is not solely cognitive or pragmatic, for the Prophets and the Imams, being godly, are infallible both in knowledge and deeds. For this reason, their knowledge and act are a proof until the Judgment Day for the people of all ranks.
Why Are Ahl al-Bayt Infallible?
Reporting Ibn `Umayr, Muhammad ibn Babawayh in his valuable book, Dhakhirat al-`Ibad, narrates the following: During my association with Husham ibn al-Hakam, I did not find but four best words only when I asked him, “Is the Imam infallible?” He answered, “Yes, he is.” I asked, “For what reason?” He said,
إنَّ جَمِيعَ الذُّنُوبِ لَهَا أرْبَعَةُ أوْجُهٍ لأ خَامِسَ لَهَا: الْحِرْصُ وَالْحَسَدُ وَالْغَضَبُ وَالشَّهْوَةُ. فَلأ يَجُوزُ أنْ يَكُونَ حَرِيصاً عَلَى هَذِهِ الدُّنْيَا وَهِيَ تَحْتَ خَاتَمِهِ. وَلأ يَجُوزُ أنْ يَكُونَ حَسُوداً لأنَّ الإنْسَانَ إنَّمَا يَحْسِدُ مَنْ هُوَ فَوْقَهُ. وَلأ يَجُوزُ أنْ يَغْضَبَ لِشَيْءٍ إلأ أنْ يَكُونَ غَضَبُهُ للهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. وَلأ يَجُوزُ أنْ يَتَّبِعَ الشَّهَوَاتِ وَيُؤثِرَ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى الآخِرَةِ، لأنَّ اللهَ حَبَّبَ إلَيْهِ الآخِرَةَ كَمَا حَبَّبَ إلَيْنَا الدُّنْيَا…
فَهَلْ رَأيْتَ أحَداً تَرَكَ وَجْهاً حَسَناً لِوَجْهٍ قَبِيحٍ وَطَعَاماً طَيِّباً لِطَعَامٍ مُرٍّ…
All sins are rooted in greed, jealousy, wrath and lust. How can the Imam be greedy of the world when the whole world is under his command? How can the Imam be jealous while all creatures are below him? How can the Imam be wrathful when his wrath is for the sake of Allah? How can the Imam be lustful when he sees beautiful faces and blessings in heaven through contemplation and intuition?
Infallibility, the zenith of Piety
`ismah is virtually the light of theoretical and pragmatic intellect. An infallible man has the power to prevent the influence of illusion on theoretical intellect and to prevent the influence of lust and wrath on pragmatic intellect so that he will not be polluted with sin and he will strive voluntarily towards virtues and perfection. Pragmatic infallibility is the highest degree of piety which will become manifest in behaviors and deeds.
All the infallible Imams fully receive from Almighty Allah what is related to the guidance of man, comprehend it perfectly, fulfill it properly and convey it to others. This is only possible through intuition, for a man, in the world of illusion, presents his imaginations on the findings of intellect hence misleads others:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ بَدَّلُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ كُفْرًا وَأَحَلُّواْ قَوْمَهُمْ دَارَ الْبَوَارِ (28)
Have you not seen those who have changed Allah’s favor for ungratefulness and made their people to alight into the abode of perdition? (14:28)
The Infallibles Are Not Tempted by Satan
Should man live in the sanctuary of pure reason, he will be immune from inward and outward Satans:
لأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (16)
I will certainly lie in wait for them in thy straight path. (7:16)
Iblis (Satan) who threatens to mislead all human beings with all his power cannot find his way in a person who himself is a straight path, for Sirat which represents the infinite power of Allah is immune from all temptations. For the followers of the spiritual path, the straight path and the wayfarer are the same. Meanwhile, Satan lies in wait in the beginning of the path and not in the middle or in the final stages. Therefore, those who have traversed the major sections of the path by performing their religions obligations and have reached the stage of devotion are immune from temptations:
... وَلأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ (39) إِلاَّ عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ (40)
I will certainly cause them all to deviate, except the servants from among them, the devoted ones. (15:39-40)
The Infallibles’ Knowledge and Act
One who has reached the station of cognitive and intuitive devotion do not misunderstand anything nor does he commit any error or have doubt in relation to perceptions, for the receiver of message is an abstract soul and the sender of message is Allah Who is pure knowledge. On the cognitive `ismah, Imam Ali says:
مَا شَكَكْتُ فِي الْحَقِّ مُذْ اُرِيتُهُ.
I have never had any doubt since the time I was presented with the truth.
This indicates that Imam Ali had reached the final stage of reunion with Almighty Allah and comprehension of the far-fetched truths which is not available but for the ma`sum through knowledge and intuition. Therefore, Imam Ali is the paragon of ‘There is no doubt in it’.
As for pragmatic `ismah, we should say that this stage is reached by those who have attained devotion. This is when lust, wrath, jealousy, arrogance and hypocrisy have no way into his sanctuary.
An infallible person has gone through the stages of polarization, lust, wrath, love, enmity, like and dislike; and has reached the station of amity and detachment which is the most perfect and the most valuable stage. One who has reached this latest stage considers Satan as the most hostile enemy of his inward and outward being. Hence, he suppresses Satan in the hardest way and comes under the guardianship of Allah:
إِنَّ وَلِيِّيَ اللّهُ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْكِتَابَ وَهُوَ يَتَوَلَّى الصَّالِحِينَ (196)
Surely, my guardian is Allah Who revealed the book and He befriends the good. (7:196)
It is the same righteous ones who will inherit the earth due to their `ismah in perceptions and deeds:
أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ (105)
My righteous servants shall inherit it. (21:105)
Infallibility; Not Exclusive
When a man reaches the stage of devotion, he will be on a safe path. He is now a righteous and is placed under the guardianship of Allah. In this case, he will be immune from the temptations of Satan who has confessed that he will not harm the devoted ones. The word devoted ones has a general meaning. Therefore, everyone can reach the station of `ismah with endeavor, discipline and worship. Whatever is gained in the universe is due to Allah’s favor:
وَمَا بِكُم مِّن نِّعْمَةٍ فَمِنَ اللّهِ
And whatever favor is bestowed on you it is from Allah. (16:53)
Allah is the True Agent
Man cannot possess anything without Allah having a part in it. Every being’s existence is contingent on the Necessary Being. Hence, if there is any perfection in man, it comes from Allah. Even the true agent behind teaching common knowledge is Allah:
عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ (5)
He taught man what he knew not. (96:5)
We plough the land, sow the seeds and irrigate it but it is Allah who makes the seeds grow and come to fruition:
أَأَنتُمْ تَزْرَعُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الزَّارِعُونَ (64)
Is it you that cause it to grow, or are we the causers of growth? (56:64)
Self-Purification; Premise of Infallibility
Man can attain `ismah with discipline and self-purification. So `ismah is not solely for the Prophets and the Imams; rather when one is Prophet or Imam, he is infallible, but not the opposite.
Man can keep himself from error, sin, and oblivion by self-purification. He can do so before puberty so as to be ma`sum at puberty thanks to training and purification. Even those who have committed sins or errors can become ma`sum in the future with the same method. One who enjoys Divine training may reach a stage of `ismah where one will be immune from error in scientific issues:
إَن تَتَّقُواْ اللّهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْقَاناً
If you are careful of your duty to Allah, He will grant you distinction. (8:29)
Distinction means to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, by observing piety and in the light of discipline received from the saints, man can become a distinguisher of good and bad. In that case, he will neither misunderstand nor acts wrongly. If it is said that a distinguisher may not know certain things, it is because like other virtues. `ismah too has certain ranks.
Prophethood and Imamate Are Exclusive
`ismah is not exclusive. What is exclusive is Prophethood and Imamate which none can attain with endeavor even if one is totally purified:
اللّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ
Allah best knows where He places His message. (6:124)
The Prophets are one hundred and twenty four thousand in number, and the Imams after the Holy Prophet are twelve in number; but `ismah is a station available for anyone. Lady Fatimah was neither a prophet nor
an Imam, but she was ma`sum. Mary, too, was ma`sum.
Man enjoys such capacity that he can prepare for himself the ground for the manifestation of such blessing with knowledge and practice so that Allah will grant him or her the station of `ismah:
وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ
And He gives you of all that you ask Him. (14:34)
This ‘asking’ is based on talent and Allah does not allow any talent to go into waste.
`ismah Can Be Acquired
One must note that `ismah is an optional virtue in knowledge and act, hence a virtue which, can be acquired in the light of Allah’s favor. Therefore if a ma`sum has not done something wrong, it means that he has opted not to commit anything wrong and not because he has been created ma`sum by nature. Ma`sum, as the Holy Qur’an says, is always equipped with Divine reasoning internalized in man and in this way man has suppressed the inner enemy and carnal desires.
Sin From The Viewpoints of the Infallible
A follower of the spiritual path and a ma`sum see the evil nature and the result of the sin as it really is:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ الْيَتَامَى ظُلْمًا إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا
As for those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, surely they only swallow fire into their bellies. (4:10)
Since the inner part of sin is fire, one who realizes this is immune from even thinking of sinning. At the end of the story of Aqil who requested more than his right from the public fund, Imam Ali says:
وَأعْجَبُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ طَارِقٌ طَرَقَنَا بِمَلْفُوفَةٍ فِي وِعَائِهَا وَمَعْجُونَةٍ شَنِئْتُهَا كَأنَّمَا عُجِنَتْ بِرِيقِ حَيَّةٍ أوْ قَيْئِهَا. فَقُلْتُ: أصِلَةٌ أمْ زَكَاةٌ أمْ صَدَقَةٌ؟ فَذَلِكَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْنَا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ. فَقَالَ: لأ ذَا وَلأ ذَاكَ؛ وَلَكِنَّهَا هَدِيَّةٌ. فَقُلْتُ: هَبِلَتْكَ الْهُبُولُ! أعَنْ دِينِ اللهِ أتَيْتَنِي لِتَخْدَعَنِي؟ أمُخْتَبِطٌ أنْتَ أمْ ذُو جِنَّةٍ أمْ تَهْجُرُ؟
A stranger incident is that a man came to us in the night with a closed flask of honey paste but I disliked it as though it was the saliva of a serpent or its vomit. I asked him whether it was a reward, or zakat (poor-tax) or charity, for these are forbidden to
us, members of the Prophet’s Household. He said it was neither this nor that but a present. Then, I said: Childless women may weep over you. Have you come to deviate me from the religion of Allah, or are you mad, or have you been overpowered by some Jinn, or are you speaking without senses?
Imam Ali who is infallible sees bribe as the vomit of a serpent that a wise man never longs for.
Those who can really see are not ignorant
Imam Ali describes the angels in a way which indicates how `ismah has been internalized in them. Their description shows that they are watchful not to be caught in the trap of Satan. They are neither ignorant nor forgetful:
لأ يَغْشَاهُمْ نَوْمُ الْعُيُونِ وَلأ سَهْوُ الْعُقُولِ وَلأ فَتْرَةُ الأبْدَانِ وَلأ غَفْلَةُ النِّسْيَانِ.
The sleep of the eye or the slip of the wit or languor of the body or the effect of forgetfulness does not effect then.
The Prophets and the Imams are like angels in being immune from error in thought, forgetfulness and indecent acts.
Human Power and `ismah
It is not that a ma`sum is incapable of committing sin, rather he can commit sin but he never does so. At any rate, `ismah both in its cognitive and pragmatic dimensions is not such that it will ruin the requirements of human power, for each power has requirements which can be met lawfully and unlawfully. The sense of hearing likes sweet songs; the sense of seeing enjoys beautiful scenes; and so on. Hence, we should satisfy our senses lawfully.
Ahl al-Bayt, at the zenith of `ismah
About the infallibility of himself and Ahl al-Bayt, the Holy Prophet says:
أنَا وَعَلِيٌّ وَالْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ وَتِسْعَةٌ مِنْ وُلْدِ الْحُسَيْنِ مُطَهَّرُونَ وَمَعْصُومُونَ.
I, Ali, Hasan, Husayn and nine of the sons of Husayn are purified from uncleanness and are infallible.
About himself and Lady Fatimah and the twelve Imams, the Holy Prophet has also said:
 Nahj al-Balaghah: 346, Sermon: 224.
 Nahj al-Balaghah: 39, Sermon: 1.
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 64/1, H 30.
إنَّا أهْلُ الْبَيْتِ قَدْ أذْهَبَ اللهُ عَنَّا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ.
We are Ahl al-Bayt. Allah has purified us from all overt and covert uncleanness.
In a clear statement on the `ismah of the Prophets and the Imams, Imam al-Sadiq has said:
الأنْبِيَاءُ وَالأوْصِيَاءُ لأ ذُنُوبَ لَهُمْ، لأنَّهُمْ مَعْصُومُونَ مُطَهَّرُونَ.
The Prophets and their successors have no sin, for they are infallible and purified.
Lady Fatimah, Imam Ali and the eleven sons of these two honorable persons have introduced themselves as purified from all pollutions and uncleanness as well as the devoted servants of Allah, who have closed all the doors to carnal desire and Satan.
 Al-Firdaws: 54/1.
 Al-Khisal: 608/2, H 9.
# Ahl al-Bayt; Allah’s Favorites
Self-Purification Makes Ahl al-Bayt Allah’s Favorites
Ahl al-Bayt’s being purified from uncleanness and endowed with good qualities is the reason for their being Allah’s favorites. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah has praised them with the best quality which is a thorough purification and their access to the hidden truth:
لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ (79)
None shall touch it save the purified ones. (56:79)
Due to their knowing the hidden truth, Ahl al-Bayt are aware of the whole universe and active in relation to Divine decrees and the best deeds. These features show that the devotees have been trained and chosen directly by Allah. Self-purification, awareness of the hidden truths and realization of Allah’s commands have made Ahl al-Bayt Allah’s favorites:
... وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ (222)
He loves those who purify themselves. (2:222)
Ahl al-Bayt’s morality is the manifestation of their self-purification. Such morality like justice, reliance on Allah, patience, faith, certainty, repentance, jihad and self-sacrifice have made Ahl al-Bayt Allah’s most favorites:
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ
Surely, Allah loves those who turn much to Him. (2:222)
اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ (42)
Surely, Allah loves those who trust Him (5:42)
The Favorites with the Holy Prophet
As Ahl al-Bayt were the favorites with Allah, they were the favorite with the Holy Prophet, for he did not love but what Allah loved. Umm-Salamah has reported that one day Allah’s Messenger was sitting at home. Fatimah brought a small pot with dish of flour in it. Allah’s Messenger asked, “Where is Ali and his two sons?” Fatimah answered, “They are at home.” He said, “Tell them to come here.” After some time, Ali, Hasan, Husayn and Fatimah were walking towards Allah’s Messenger. As soon as he saw
then, he took his cloak (kisa’) which was on the bed and covered them, saying:
أللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلأءِ أهْلُ بَيْتِي، فَأذْهِبْ عَنْهُمُ الرِّجْسَ وَطَهِّرْهُمْ تَطْهِيراً.
O Allah! These are my household and my favorite ones; so, remove wickedness from them and make them pure a perfect purification.
At this time, Almighty Allah revealed the Verse of Purification:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا (33)
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33)
Imam Ali has said:
أتَى رَجُلٌ إلَى النَّبِيِّ 3 فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، أيُّ الْخَلْقِ أحَبُّ إلَيْكَ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ 3 ـ وَأنَا إلَى جَنْبِهِ ـ: هَذَا وَابْنَاهُ وَأُمُّهُمَا. هُمْ مِنِّي وَأنَا مِنْهُمْ. وَهُمْ مَعِي فِي الْجَنَّةِ هَكَذَا ـ وَجَمَعَ بَيْنَ إصْبِعَيْهِ ـ.
A man came to Allah’s Messenger saying, “O Allah’s Messenger! Who is your most favorite one?” The Holy Prophet said, “This (Ali), his two sons and their mother are. They are from me and I am from them. In Paradise, they will be as close as two fingers to me.”
Obeisance to Ahl al-Bayt Makes you Allah’s Favorite
Anyone who wishes to be Allah’s favorite must endeavor to purify himself internally and externally by obeying Him, His Prophet, and Ahl al-Bayt. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (31)
Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is forgiving, Merciful. (3:31)
The Holy Prophet, the obeisance to whom will make us Allah’s favorites, has emphatically ordered his ummah to love Ahl al-Bayt from the bottom of their hearts and to obey them under all circumstances in order to be
 Kashf al-Ghummah: 45/1.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, H. 1007.
Allah’s favorite. He has said:
أحِبُّوا اللهَ لِمَا يَغْذُوكُمْ مِنْ نِعَمِهِ، وَأحِبُّونِي بِحُبِّ اللهِ، وَأحِبُّوا أهْلَ بَيْتِي لِحُبِّي.
Love Allah for the blessings He has bestowed on you; love me because of your love for Allah; and love my household because of your love for me.
In another important narration, the Holy Prophet says:
مَنْ سَرَّهُ أنْ يَحْيَا حَيَاتِي وَيَمُوتَ مَمَاتِي وَيَسْكُنَ جَنَّةَ عَدْنٍ غَرَسَهَا رَبِّي فَلْيُوَالِ عَلِيّاً مِنْ بَعْدِي وَلْيُوَالِ وَلِيَّهُ وَلْيَقْتَدِ بِالأئِمَّةِ مِنْ بَعْدِي؛ فَإنَّهُمْ عِتْرَتِي، خُلِقُوا مِنْ طِينَتِي وَرُزِقُوا فَهْماً وَعِلْماً. وَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ بِفَضْلِهِمْ، الْقَاطِعِينَ فِيهِمْ صِلَتِي، لأ أنَالَهُمُ اللهُ شَفَاعَتِي.
Anyone who wishes to live and to pass away like me and to abide in an eternal Paradise the trees of which have been planted by my Lord must love Ali after me, love his lovers and follow the Imams after me, for they are my Household whom are created from my essence and endowed with knowledge. Woe to those who deny their excellence and do not observe my kinship with them. I will not intercede for them.
How To Be Allah’s Favorite?
If man wishes to become Allah’s favorite, he must follow Ahl al-Bayt at the top of whom is Allah’s Messenger. This adherence will lead man gradually to spiritual purification to the extent of his capacity. Hence, he will become Allah’s favorite. To reach this station, it is only possible through Ahl al-Bayt, for they are the straight path and the best guides for the followers of spiritual path.
The criterion for being Allah’s favorite is Ahl al-Bayt who have asked us to compare ourselves with them to see whether we are liked or disliked by Allah:
فَإنَّكُمْ وَسِيلَتِي إلَى اللهِ، وَبِحُبِّكُمْ وَبِقُرْبِكُمْ أرْجُو نَجَاةً مِنَ اللهِ.
You, Ahl al-Bayt, are our means towards Allah. We set our hope on your station and love to be saved by Allah.
 Al-Amali, by al-Saduq: 364, H. 6.
 Kanz al-`Ummal: 103/12, H. 34198.
 Bihar al-Anwar: 249/99, H 9.
Imam al-Sadiq says that the only thing which will bring us heaven is devotion in worshipping Allah and saying there is no god but Allah. Devotion is to act according to Allah’s commandments, to abstain from committing sin and to adhere to Ahl al-Bayt. When the Holy Prophet was asked what devotion is and how it is related to there is no god but Allah, he answered:
It is to act to what I have been sent for and to love my Ahl al-Bayt.
They asked him whether love for Ahl al-Bayt’s and acceptance of Imamate was part of the said formula, he said: yes.”
The sane matter is expressed by Imam al-Rida in a hadith in Salsalat al-Dhahab (Golden Chain) in another way of reporting:
كَلِمَةُ لأ إلَهَ إلأ اللهُ حِصْنِي، فَمَنْ دَخَلَ حِصْنِي أمِنَ مِنْ عَذَابِي؛ بِشُرُوطِهَا وَأنَا مِنْ شُرُوطِهَا.
There is no god but Allah is my fortress. Whoever enters it will be immune from my punishment on one condition which is acceptance of my Imamate.
Therefore, one who has no love for Ahl al-Bayt has not professed the unity of Allah either and he will be resurrected on the Judgment Day as an atheist.
To please Ahl al-Bayt is to please Allah
When one, by devotion, becomes Allah’s vicegerent, one becomes a manifestation of Allah; hence, to respect him and his commands is to respect Allah:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ
Surely, those who swear allegiance to you do but swear allegiance to Allah. (48:10)
In this case, all people are duty-bound to obey him, for he can intercede with Allah for people. He has, in fact, reached a station where his pleasure is the pleasure of Allah. Allah attaches great importance to what pleases the Holy Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt so much so that He says:
فَلَنُوَلِّيَنَّكَ قِبْلَةً تَرْضَاهَا
 Bihar al-Anwar: 13/3, H 30.
 `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 135/2, H 4.
We shall surely turn you to a kiblah which you shall like. (2:144)
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah has explicated the moral values and lifestyle of Ahl al-Bayt explicitly and implicitly so as to set models for us. Here are some examples:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ ...
Surely those who believed and those who fled (Their home) and strove hard in the way of Allah (2:218)
إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا (9)
We only feed you for Allah’s sake’ we desire from you neither reward nor thanks. (76:9)
إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ
Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah. (6:162)
# Ahl al-Bayt, Source of Mercy
The linguistic meaning of mercy is kind or forgiving attitude shown towards somebody by one who has the right or power to punish. Mercy in the Holy Qur’an is accompanied with various concepts and paragons. Mercy is a Divine truth and one of Allah’s attributes shown towards all beings especially man. All creatures are manifestation of Allah’s general and particular mercy.
Mercy in the Holy Qur’an
The Holy Qur’an has raised the question of mercy parts of which are referred to here:
1- The Holy Qur’an considers mercy the prophetic mission which is a source of perfection for human beings and their saving from the problems of this world and the punishment of the Hereafter. Allah knows whom He should bestow His mercy on as a result of his merit and whom He should send to convey His communication and to guide people:
وَاللّهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاء
Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy. (2:105)
2- The Holy Qur’an considers ease at some religious obligations especially those related to retribution and blood money as Allah’s mercy:
ذَلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ
This is alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. (2:178)
3- The Holy Qur’an considers sublime morality, softness and courtesy as Allah’s mercy on human beings:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ
Thus, it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently. (3:159)
4- The Holy Qur’an considers the removal of punishment of those who deserve it on the Judgment Day as mercy of Allah:
مَّن يُصْرَفْ عَنْهُ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَقَدْ رَحِمَهُ وَذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْمُبِينُ (16)
He from whom is averted on that day, Allah indeed has shown mercy to him and this is a manifest achievement. (6:16)
5- The Holy Qur’an considers belief in and attention to Allah’s mercy for a sinner a source of encouragement for repentance, telling the Holy Prophet to assure people that Allah has ordained mercy on Himself. Therefore, one who has committed an indecent act out of ignorance and then has repented will receive Allah’s mercy for He is the Most Merciful:
وَإِذَا جَاءكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلاَمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ أَنَّهُ مَن عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (54)
And when those who believe in our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful. (6:54)
6- The Holy Qur’an, in most verses, has been introduced as mercy from Allah:
فَقَدْ جَاءكُم بَيِّنَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ
So indeed there has come to you clear proof from your Lord, and guidance and mercy. (6:157)
7- The Holy Qur’an, in most verses, tells people that they will face perdition if they do not seek Allah’s mercy or they do not expose themselves to it:
فَلَوْلاَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَكُنتُم مِّنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (64)
So were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have been among the losers. (2:64)
8- The Holy Qur’an which guides the people to the Divine truth and spiritual values does not consider Allah’s mercy without reason rather considers it as a source of salvation, happiness, a cause for entering Paradise and something special for the benefactors:
إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِّنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (56)
Surely the mercy of Allah is nigh to those who do good. (7: 56)
9- The Holy Qur’an considers Allah’s mercy a factor which rids man of hardships, liberates him from enemy and from the oppressors and tyranny:
فَأَنجَيْنَاهُ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِّنَّا وَقَطَعْنَا دَابِرَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا
So We delivered him and those with him by mercy from Us, and We cut off the last of those who rejected our communications. (7:72)
10- The Holy Qur’an considers expansion of breast, spiritual capacity and sublimity of spirit, which is a source of Divine grace, as Allah’s mercy:
فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا (65)
Then they found one from among our servants whom We had granted knowledge from ourselves. (18:65)
11- The Holy Qur’an considers the Holy Prophet source of mercy to the worlds:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds. (21:107)
12- The Holy Qur’an considers regeneration of plants in the spring as a sign of Allah’s mercy:
فَانظُرْ إِلَى آثَارِ رَحْمَتِ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (50)
Look then at the signs of Allah’s mercy, how He gives life to the earth after its death, most surely He will raise the dead to life; and He has power over all things. (30:50)
13- The Holy Qur’an considers Allah’s mercy which manifests itself in every being as something comprehensive and the smallest thing which cannot be seen even with the most powerful scientific devices is not outside Allah’s mercy:
وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ
And My mercy encompasses all things. (7:156)
14- The Holy Qur’an considers the unbeliever’s despair of Allah’s mercy as features of unbelievers:
إِنَّهُ لاَ يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ (87)
Surely none despairs of Allah’s mercy except the unbelieving people. (12:87)
15- The Holy Qur’an considers Allah’s mercy for people to be better than what they gain as wealth and position. Therefore; it is best for people to seek Allah’s mercy through faith, righteous deeds and sublime morality in stead of spending their lifetimes with gaining extra wealth and property:
وَرَحْمَة ُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ (32)
And the mercy your Lord is better than what they amass. (43:32)
Source of Mercy
In view of the aforementioned verses, we should admit that there is nothing more valuable than Allah’s mercy in this universe. The source of this mercy in this world and the Hereafter is Ahl al-Bayt as referred to by Imam al-Hadi in al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah. Therefore, if anyone wishes to be immune from Allah’s punishment, to be endowed with sublime morality, to have the chance of repenting, to have a full share and benefit from the Holy Qur’an, to have expansion of breast, to have an easy reckoning and not to be touched by despair, one must adhere to Ahl al-Bayt so as to obtain what was brought up on the aforementioned verses and to be blessed with Allah’s guidance, favor and grace.
The Holy Prophet’s recommendation about Ahl al-Bayt during twenty-three years of his mission was that it is impossible to understand the Holy Qur’an without them. Zayd ibn Arqam, a trustworthy Sunni narrator, is reported as saying:
قَامَ رَسُولُ اللهِ 3 يَوْماً فِينَا خَطِيباً بِمَاءٍ يُدْعَى خُمّاً، بَيْنَ مَكَّةَ وَالْمَدِينَةِ، فَحَمِدَ اللهَ وَأثْنَى عَلَيْهِ وَوَعَظَ وَذَكَّرَ ثُمَّ قَالَ: ”أمَّا بَعْدُ، ألأ أيُّهَا النَّاسُ، فَإنَّمَا أنَا بَشَرٌ يُوشَكُ أنْ يَأتِيَ رَسُولُ رَبِّي فَأُجِيبُ. وَأنَا تَارِكٌ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَيْنِ: أوَّلُهُمَا كِتَابُ اللهِ، فِيهِ الْهُدَى وَالنُّورُ، فَخُذُوا بِكِتَابِ اللهِ وَاسْتَمْسِكُوا بِهِ.“ فَحَثَّ عَلَى كِتَابِ اللهِ وَرَغَّبَ فِيهِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: ”وَأهْلُ بَيْتِي. أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ فِي أهْلِ
بَيْتِي أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ فِي أهْلِ بَيْتِي أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ فِي أهْلِ بَيْتِي.“
One day, Allah’s Messenger stopped at Ghadir Khumm, a place between Mecca and Medina, and delivered a sermon. After praising Allah, he said, “I am a human who will pass away soon. So I am leaving two worthy things behind. One is the Book of Allah being guidance and light. Hold fast of it.” He encouraged people in relation to the Holy Qur’an, saying, “…and then my Ahl al-Bayt, I remind you of Allah in relation to my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of Allah in relation to my Ahl al-Bayt.”
Manifestations of Ahl al-Bayt’s Mercy
Ahl al-Bayt are sources of mercy. Anyone who resorts to them by getting to know them and their knowledge and by loving and obeying them will enjoy Allah’s mercy, favor and grace during his lifetime, at deathbed, in
 Saih Muslim: 1492/4, H 2408.
the duration between his death and Resurrection and or the Judgment Day. In this relation, Imam al-Baqir says:
إنَّمَا أحَدُكُمْ حِينَ يَبْلُغُ نَفَسُهُ هَهُنَا يَنْزِلُ عَلَيْهِ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ فَيَقُولُ: ”أمَّا مَا كُنْتَ تَرْجُو فَقَدْ أُعْطِيتَهُ! وَأمَّا مَا كُنْتَ تَخَافُهُ فَقَدْ أُمِنْتَ مِنْهُ!“ وَيُفْتَحُ لَهُ بَابٌ إلَى مَنْزِلِهِ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَيُقَالُ لَهُ: ”أُنْظُرْ إلَى مَسْكَنِكَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ، وَانْظُرْ هَذَا رَسُولُ اللهِ وَعَلِيٌّ وَالْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ رُفَقَاؤكَ.“ وَهُوَ قَوْلُ اللهِ:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ (63) لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ
When the breath of one of you comes to his throat, the Angel of Death comes down on him saying, “You were granted what you longed for; you were given safety for what you were afraid of.” Then a gate of Paradise is opened to his house; he is said, “Look at your abode in Paradise; behold! These are Allah’s Messenger, Ali, Hasan, Husayn and your friends.” And these are the words of Allah, “They shall have good news in this world’s life and in the hereafter. (10:63-64)”
The Holy Prophet has said:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ، لأ تُفَارِقُ رُوحٌ جَسَدَ صَاحِبِهَا حَتَّى تَأكُلَ مِنْ ثِمَارِ الْجَنَّةِ أوْ مِنْ شَجَرَةِ الزُّقُّومِ. وَحِينَ تَرَى مَلَكَ الْمَوْتِ تَرَانِي وَتَرَى عَلِيّاً وَفَاطِمَةَ وَحَسَناً وَحُسَيْناً. فَإنْ كَانَ يُحِبُّنَا، قُلْتُ: ”يَا مَلَكَ الْمَوْتِ، إرْفِقْ بِهِ؛ إنَّهُ كَانَ يُحِبُّنِي وَيُحِبُّ أهْلَ بَيْتِي.“ وَإنْ كَانَ يُبْغِضُنَا، قُلْتُ: ”يَا مَلَكَ الْمَوْتِ، شَدِّدْ عَلَيْهِ؛ إنَّهُ كَانَ يُبْغِضُنِي وَيُبْغِضُ أهْلَ بَيْتِي.“
I swear by the One in Whose hand is my life, a soul never leaves the body of a person without eating of the fruits of Paradise or of the Zaqqum (bitter) Tree (of Hellfire). When you see the Angel of Death, you will also see me, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn. If he is one who loved us, I will tell the Angel of Death to befriend him, for he loves me and my Ahl al-Bayt; and if he is our enemy, I will tell the Angel of Death to be tough with him for he is the enemy of me and Ahl al-Bayt.
 Tafsir al-Ayyashi: 124/2, H 32.
 Bisharat al-Mustafa: 6.
# Ahl al-Bayt;
Pillars of the Heavens and the Earth
If heavens are firm in their positions and the earth is stable with its movement; if the world beings and those living on the earth are safe, it is all thanks to Ahl al-Bayt, their spiritual light and their favor as they themselves have referred to it. Obviously, only those having a pure heart and righteous deeds believe it. In this relation, Imam al-Baqir says:
إنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ بَابُ اللهِ الَّذِي لأ يُؤتَى إلأ مِنْهُ، وَسَبِيلُهُ الَّذِي مَنْ سَلَكَهُ وَصَلَ إلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. وَكَذَلِكَ كَانَ أمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ، وَجَرَى لِلأئِمَّةِ وَاحِداً بَعْدَ وَاحِدٍ. جَعَلَهُمُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أرْكَانَ الأرْضِ أنْ تَمِيدَ بِأهْلِهَا.
Surely, Allah’s Messenger is Allah’s gate only through which one can enter and the path of Allah through which one can reach Allah. Amir al-Mu’minin too is such after him. The same is true with the Imams, one after the other. Allah has made them pillars of the earth so that it will not shake its habitants.
Imam Zayn al-Abidin says:
نَحْنُ الَّذِينَ بِنَا يُمْسِكُ اللهُ السَّمَاءَ أنْ تَقَعَ عَلَى الأرْضِ إلأ بِإذْنِهِ، وَبِنَا يُمْسِكُ الأرْضَ أنْ تَمِيدَ بِأهْلِهَا، وَبِنَا يُنْزِلُ الْغَيْثَ، وَبِنَا يَنْشُرُ الرَّحْمَةَ وَيُخْرِجُ بَرَكَاتِ الأرْضِ. وَلَوْ لأ مَا فِي الأرْضِ مِنَّا لَسَاخَتْ بِأهْلِهَا.
We are the ones for whose sake Allah holds the earth so that it will not fall down save with His permission and preserves the earth for our sake so that its inhabitants will not be shaken. He sends rain for our sake, spreads mercy for our sake and brings out the blessings of the earth. The earth would swallow its inhabitants if we were not on the earth.
The Holy Prophet said:
النُّجُومُ أمَانٌ لأِهْلِ السَّمَاءِ، فَإذَا ذَهَبَتِ النُّجُومُ ذَهَبَ أهْلُ السَّمَاءِ. وَأهْلُ بَيْتِي أمَانٌ لأهْلِ الأرْضِ، فَإذَا ذَهَبَ أهْلُ بَيْتِي ذَهَبَ أهْلُ الأرْضِ.
 Al-Kafi: 197/1, H 3.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 186, H 15.
The heavenly beings feel safe and secure with stars. Whenever the stars disappear, the heavenly beings leave, too. My Ahl al-Bayt too make the earthly beings feel safe; whenever my Ahl al-Bayt leave, the earthly beings will leave too.
Amir al-Mu’minin has said:
نَحْنُ بَيْتُ النُّبُوَّةِ وَمَعْدِنُ الْحِكْمَةِ وَأمَانٌ لأهْلِ الأرْضِ وَنَجَاةٌ لِمَنْ طَلَبَ.
We, Ahl al-Bayt, are the household of Prophethood, the source of wisdom, the safety for the earthly beings and salvation for those seeking salvation.
Firmness of heavens and stability of the earth are due to the spirituality and favor of Ahl al-Bayt. Their heavenly asset and spiritual power belong solely to them. No one in heaven or on earth is equal to them in rank, yet with this entire asset, they are humble.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: 379.
 Nathr al-Durar: 310/1.
# Ahl al-Bayt
One of the features of the earth and perhaps other planets is their having such mines as gold, silver, agate, turquoise, diamond, copper and iron. All people of the world consider mine as a valuable and useful asset in human life. Exploring mines, exploiting them, transferring minerals to technical workshops and transforming those minerals to instruments are facts existing from very old times. Gold is one of the mines which are extremely valuable for human beings. Throughout history, man has been trying to explore gold, take it to factories, separate it from ores, and turn it into bullion. Then, gold is given to either artisans to change it into currencies, bank reserves to activate the economy of a country, or turn it into necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings to satisfy the instincts of those tracking beauty.
What is noteworthy is that all heavens and the earth are like a mine and the omniscient of this mine is Allah. The All-knowing God has created a gold-like being out of this mine placing him on this planet so that his instinctive talents, vicegerency, and intellectual capabilities will emerge and he will be able to materialize his prosperity and happiness in this world and the Hereafter. This will be materialized only if man follows the heavenly teachers who are chosen by Allah so that they will turn him into a Divine being. Allah has directed man to heavenly architects who are unique in building human characters.
# Ahl al-Bayt
Model for Wayfarers
So far, we have said that a follower of truth must set Ahl al-Bayt as his model in all aspects of his life. Allah has shown the ways leading to attaining virtues and perfection by following the path of the infallible Imams. Evidently we cannot reach their rank, for they have achieved such a position that even Archangel Gabriel could not reach:
لَوْ دَنَوْتُ أُنْمُلَةً لأحْتَرَقْتُ.
If I go foreword by an inch, I will burn myself.
Models for Human Beings
Allah has made Ahl al-Bayt models for human beings to follow so that everyone, according to his capacity, will benefit from their knowledge:
أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا
He sends down water from the cloud and then watercourses flow with water according to their measure. (13:17)
In the interpretation of the verse, we read that Allah sends water and knowledge from heaven so every river-bed benefits from it according to its capacity. The river-bed which is deeper and wider can benefit more from the water of life and be promoted to an excellent position. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
Certainly, you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar. (33:21)
Being an excellent exemplar is not something particular to Allah’s Messenger, for Allah and the Holy Prophet have said that this position is transferred to Ahl al-Bayt after Allah’s Messenger, since they are his true successors. Being an excellent exemplar is a legal position which Ahl al-Bayt inherit from the Holy Prophet.
The wayfarers of the path of Imamate and those wishing to associate with angels and hearing their glorification as well as the devotees better know that they cannot possibly reach sublime positions without adhering to Ahl
 al-Manaqib: 178/1.
al-Bayt. In this relation, the Holy Prophet says:
ألرَّوْحُ وَالرَّاحَةُ وَالرَّحْمَةُ وَالنَّضْرَةُ وَالْيُسْرُ وَالْيَسَارُ وَالرِّضَا وَالرِّضْوَانُ وَالْمَخْرَجُ وَالْفَلَجُ وَالْقُرْبُ وَالْمَحَبَّةُ مِنَ اللهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِمَنْ أحَبَّ عَلِيّاً وَائْتَمَّ بِالأوْصِيَاءِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ.
Happiness, convenience, mercy, triumph, wealth, improvement, pleasure, contentment, solution of problems, and love for Allah and His Messenger are all for one who loves Ali and follows the Imams after him.
Imam al-Ri¤a too says:
مَنْ سَرَّهُ أنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَى اللهِ بِغَيْرِ حِجَابٍ وَيَنْظُرَ اللهُ إلَيْهِ بِغَيْرِ حِجَابٍ فَلْيَتَوَلَّ آلَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَلْيَتَبَرَّأْ مِنْ عَدُوِّهِمْ وَلْيَأتَمَّ بِإمَامِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُمْ، فَإنَّهُ إذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ نَظَرَ اللهُ إلَيْهِ بِغَيْرِ حِجَابٍ وَنَظَرَ إلَى اللهِ بِغَيْرِ حِجَابٍ.
Whoever is glad to see [the Mercy of] Allah without any veil and Allah sees him (i.e. spreads mercy on him) without veil must accept the Imamate of Holy Prophet’s Family, hate their enemies and follow the Imam of the believers from among them. In this case, when the Judgment Day comes, Allah will look at him without veil and he will look at Allah without veil.
Since Ahl al-Bayt have gone through all stages of devotion and submission to Allah and have been endowed with all virtues, they have become the excellent exemplars for all.
Worldly People Fail To Understand Ahl al-Bayt
Whoever resorts to Ahl al-Bayt in every aspect of life will benefit from their truth to the extent of understanding and capacity. Those with small or medium capacity, by adhering to Ahl al-Bayt, somehow comprehend their truth. But those submerged in worldly affairs and do not wish to get out are like him whose likeness is that of one in other darkness whence he cannot come forth (6:122). These people do not wish to comprehend the inner part of the Holy Qur’an and Ahl al-Bayt, for their hearts are so dark that there is a veil between them and Allah. This veil is the result of sins, corruption, bias and rancor:
وَتَرَاهُمْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ وَهُمْ لاَ يُبْصِرُونَ (199)
 Tafsir al-Ayyashi: 169/1.
 Al-Mahasin: 60/1, H 101.
And you will see them looking towards you, yet they do not see. (7:198)
They can see, but they have no insight. Prejudice has covered their inner sight:
أَعْيُنُهُمْ فِي غِطَاءٍ عَن ذِكْرِي
Their eyes were under a cover from My Reminder. (18:101)
Truth is Not Hidden
Ahl al-Bayt are not hidden in the same way that Allah is not hidden. If a group of people cannot see Allah with their insight, it is because they are under a cover of ignorance whereas Allah is Manifest and pure Light:
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ
Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. (24:35)
None of the visible and invisible truths, i.e. Divine signs, is under a cover. It is man who is under the cover of sins and is deprived of seeing Allah. In this relation, Amir al-Mu’minin says:
ألْحَمْدُ للهِ الْمُتَجَلِّي لِخَلْقِهِ بِخَلْقِهِ.
Praise be to Allah who is Manifest before His creation because of themselves.
Abu-Basir reports: One day, Imam al-Baqir and I entered the mosque. He said to me, “Ask people if they see me.” So, I asked everyone whom I met whether he saw the Imam. Surprisingly, the answer was (no) whereas the Imam was standing in front of them. At this time, Abu-Harun, a blind man, entered the mosque. The Imam said, “Now, ask Abu-Harun if he can see me.” So I asked him whether he could see Imam al-Baqir. He answered, “Yes, I can. Don’t you see him standing here?” I asked, “How could you understand? Are you not blind?” He answered, “How can I not see while the Imam is a shining light?”
 Nahj al-Balaghah: 157, sermon 108.
# Ahl al-Bayt
Means of Perfection
Plant seeds do not grow or bear fruit without being directly connected to the soil. Evidently, the soil must be good, for if the soil is contaminated, seeds will not grow and will perish. Therefore, seeds will not grow nor bear fruit save by means of a good soil:
وَالْبَلَدُ الطَّيِّبُ يَخْرُجُ نَبَاتُهُ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ وَالَّذِي خَبُثَ لاَ يَخْرُجُ إِلاَّ نَكِدًا
And as for the good land, its vegetation springs for the (abundantly) by the permission of its Lord, and (as for) that which is inferior (its herbage) comes forth but scantily (7:58)
Mediation or means is necessary not only in relation to seeds but also for the realization of every truth so much so that nothing can be realized and nothing reaches perfection without mediation or means. Houses cannot be built without architects and bodies cannot grow without food. Eyes cannot see without light and ears cannot hear without waves nor can man attain worthy position without mediation.
Man’s dignity is to become Allah’s vicegerent but can he attain such sublime spiritual position without any mediation? Never!
However, mediation with which man can find his way to the realm of faith, morality, good deeds, and finally piety is a truth expressed by the Holy Qur’an.
Ahl al-Bayt’s Mediation
The Holy Qur’an considers only the Infallible Persons as having the position of mediation between Allah and man for leading to faith, good deeds morality and meeting with Allah. These infallible persons are none but the Holy Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt who can familiarize man with the past and future as well as the teachings and wisdom of the Holy Qur’an. There is not a bit of corruption, defect or fault, whether overt or covert, in Ahl al-Bayt. In this connection, the Holy Prophet says:
إنَّا أهْلُ الْبَيْتِ قَدْ أذْهَبَ اللهُ عَنَّا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ.
We, Ahl al-Bayt, are those from whom Allah has removed any hidden or manifest uncleanness.
 Al-Firdaws: 54/1.
Following the revelation of the Verse of Purification, Allah’s Messenger said:
نَحْنُ أهْلُ بَيْتٍ طَهَّرَهُمُ اللهُ.
We, Ahl al-Bayt, are purified by Allah.
In an important fragment, Imam Ali says:
إنَّمَا أمَرَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِطَاعَةِ الرَّسُولِ لأنَّهُ مَعْصُومٌ مُطَهَّرٌ لأ يَأمُرُ بِمَعْصِيَتِهِ. وَإنَّمَا أمَرَ بِطَاعَةِ أولِي الأمْرِ لأنَّهُمْ مَعْصُومُونَ مُطَهَّرُونَ لأ يَأمُرُونَ بِمَعْصِيَتِهِ.
Allah has decreed (His creatures) to obey the Messenger, for he is infallible and purified and he does not order to sin. He has decreed to obey those in authority, for they are infallible and purified and they do not order to sin.
Imam Hasan has said:
إنَّا أهْلُ بَيْتٍ أكْرَمَنَا اللهُ بِالإسْلأمِ، وَاخْتَارَنَا وَاصْطَفَانَا وَاجْتَبَانَا فَأذْهَبَ عَنَّا الرِّجْسَ وَطَهَّرَنَا تَطْهِيراً. وَالرِّجْسُ هُوَ الشَّكُّ، فَلأ نَشُكُّ فِي اللهِ الْحَقِّ وَدِينِهِ أبَداً. وَطَهَّرَنَا مِنْ كُلِّ أفَنٍ وَغَيَّةٍ.
We, Ahl al-Bayt, are those whom Allah has honored by Islam, chosen from among all creatures, removed any uncleanness, and purified a thorough purification. Uncleanness is the same as doubt. We never have any doubt about Allah and His religion. He has also purified us from infirmity or error.
Imam al-Baqir too has said:
إنَّا لأ نُوصَفُ. وَكَيْفَ يُوصَفُ قَوْمٌ رَفَعَ اللهُ عَنْهُمُ الرِّجْسَ؟
We cannot be described. How can a group from whom Allah has removed uncleanness be described?
Imam al-Sadiq has said:
إنَّ الشَّكَّ وَالْمَعْصِيَةَ فِي النَّارِ، لَيْسَا مِنَّا وَلأ إلَيْنَا.
Doubt and sin are in Fire. They are neither from us no do they come to us.
 Al-Durr al-Manthur: 606/6.
 `Ilal al-Shara’i`: 1231/1, H 1.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, 561.
 Al-Kafi: 182/2, H 16.
 Al-Kafi: 400/2.
In al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah, Imam al-Hadi says:
وَأشْهَدُ أنَّكُمُ الأئِمَّةُ الرَّاشِدُونَ الْمَهْدِيُّونَ الْمَعْصُومُونَ الْمُكَرَّمُونَ… عَصَمَكُمُ اللهُ مِنَ الزَّلَلِ، وَآمَنَكُمْ مِنَ الْفِتَنِ، وَطَهَّرَكُمْ مِنَ الدَّنَسِ، وَأذْهَبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ وَطَهَّرَكُمْ تَطْهيراً.
I bear witness that all of you are guide leaders, rightly guided, infallible, highly revered… Allah preserved you guiltless and free from error, kept you safe from unruly disorderliness, freed you from dirt, removed uncleanness from you and cleansed you with a thorough cleansing.
Verily, Allah Who is free from any defect has placed Prophethood and Imamate in an ‘household’ free from any uncleanness so that men will realize the dignity they deserve through their mediation, be immune from infidelity, carnal desires and sins, have a happy life in this world and finally meet Allah and abide in Paradise forever:
كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ
This is a Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth men from utter darkness into light. (14:1)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you. (4:59)
So far, we have reported important narrations from the books of Shi`ite and Sunni scholars.
Based on the Holy Prophet’s saying, ‘those in authority’ the obedience to whom is like obedience to Allah and to His Messenger stands for the Twelve Infallible Imams from the Holy Prophet’s Household. In that saying, the names of the twelve Imams have been mentioned.
 Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 97/6, H 1.
# Ahl al-Bayt
A Link To Allah
Man is instinctively inclined towards perfection and Allah is the peak of perfection. Therefore, man has a natural inclination towards Allah and in this relation he is trying hard to reach the peak of perfection. If man is truly devoted to Allah, this inclination motivates him to walk on the path of Him:
يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ إِنَّكَ كَادِحٌ إِلَى رَبِّكَ كَدْحًا فَمُلَاقِيهِ (6)
O man! Surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him. (84:6)
Since reaching the peak of perfection requires going through certain stages, higher stages cannot be reached without going through lower stages. This is because in the system of universe one cannot possibly skip a stage from among other stages. Therefore, one who wishes to reach the peak of perfection must go through the stage of professing the prophethood of Muhammad who was the first manifestation of Allah and he must profess the Imamate of Ali, for he is the gate to the Holy Prophet’s knowledge:
أنَا مَدِينَةُ الْعِلْمِ، وَعَلِيٌّ بَابُهَا.
I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.
Hence, it is impossible to reach the peak of perfection without resorting to Ali’s Imamate and benefiting from his abundant knowledge. One who is inclined towards the peak of perfection must remove all doubts by following Ahl al-Bayt before beginning his spiritual journey, engage in worship and good deeds; and assistance to his fellow human beings, for without adhering to Ahl al-Bayt, one cannot follow Allah’s Messenger nor can he meet Allah.
Addressing Imam Ali, Allah’s Messenger says:
مَنْ سَرَّهُ أنْ يَلْقَى اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ آمِناً مُطَهَّراً لأ يَحْزُنُهُ الْفَزَعُ الأكْبَرُ فَلْيَتَوَلَّكَ وَلْيَتَوَلَّ ابْنَيْكَ الْحَسَنَ وَالْحُسَيْنَ، وَعَلِيَّ بْنَ الْحُسَيْنِ وَمُحَمَّدَ بْنَ عَلِيٍّ وَجَعْفَرَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمُوسَى بْنَ جَعْفَرٍ وَعَلِيَّ بْنَ مُوسَى وَمُحَمَّداً وَعَلِيّاً وَالْحَسَنَ ثُمَّ الْمَهْدِيَّ، وَهُوَ خَاتَمُهُمْ.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 343, H 1.
Whoever is pleased to meet Allah safe, purified and not sad about the horror of the Judgment Day must wholeheartedly accept the leadership of you, your two sons—Hasan and Husayn—Ali ibn Husayn, Muhammad ibn Ali, Ja`far ibn Muhammad, Musa ibn Ja`far, Ali ibn Musa, Muhammad, Ali, Hasan and then al-Mahdi; their seal.
In an important narration, Allah’s Messenger is reported as saying:
مَا بَالُ أقْوَامٍ إذَا ذُكِرَ عِنْدَهُمْ آلُ إبْرَاهِيمَ فَرِحُوا وَاسْتَبْشَرُوا، وَإذَا ذُكِرَ عِنْدَهُمْ آلُ مُحَمَّدٍ اشْمَأزَّتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ؟ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ، لَوْ أنَّ عَبْداً جَاءَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِعَمَلِ سَبْعِينَ نَبِيّاً مَا قَبِلَ اللهُ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ حَتَّى يَلْقَاهُ بِوِلأيَتِي وَوِلأيَةِ أهْلِ بَيْتِي.
What is the matter with the people who get happy whenever they are reminded of the family of Ibrahim but they are disturbed whenever they are reminded of the Family of Muhammad? By Allah in whose Hand is Muhammad’s life (I swear), if on the Judgment Day a servant comes with the deeds of seventy prophets, Allah will not accept those deeds unless he meets Him bearing love for me and my Ahl al- Bayt.
In al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah, Imam al-Hadi says:
وَأشْرَقَتِ الأرْضُ بِنُورِكُمْ، وَفازَ الْفائِزُونَ بِوِلايَتِكُمْ، بِكُمْ يُسْلَكُ إِلَى الرِّضْوانِ، وَعَلى مَنْ جَحَدَ وِلايَتَكُمْ غَضَبُ الرَّحْمَنِ.
Your light lights up the earth; those who love and cherish you attain their end and conduct themselves to Paradise; and those who forsake your friendship earn displeasure of the Most Compassionate Lord.
One who is inclined towards the peak of Perfection must first get to know Ahl al-Bayt and then adhere to them. In this connecting, the Holy Qur’an says:
إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ
If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you. (3:31)
If you love the peak of perfection, follow the light of the heavens and the earth and the manifestation of the chief Name so that you will become one
 Kitab al-Ghaybay by al-Tusi: 136.
 Al-Amali; 140.
of Allah’s favorite servants. Love for Ahl al-Bayt has its roots in the love for the peak of perfection that is sought by everyone instinctively. If Ahl al-Bayt are favorites, it is because they are the best path for meeting Allah. In al-Ziyarah al-JamiAh al-Kabirah, Imam al-Hadi says:
نَحْنُ الصِّرَاطُ الْمُسْتَقِيمُ.
We are the straight path.
Ahl al-Bayt are not only the path but they are Allah’s cord extended from heaven to the earth. Holding fast by the covenant of Allah can lead us to the peak of perfection.
Furthermore, Ahl al-Bayt are extended from Allah’s grace which is the truth of Muhammad to all borders of the earth:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى رَبِّكَ كَيْفَ مَدَّ الظِّلَّ
Have you not considered the work of your Lord, how he extends the shade? (25:45)
Whoever is inclined towards the peak of perfection will grasp it in order to reach Allah:
وَابْتَغُواْ إِلَيهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ
And seek means of nearness to Him. (5:35)
# AHL AL-BAYT IN DIVINE BOOKS
Ahl al-Bayt from the Qur’an’s Viewpoint
Beyond doubt, Ahl al-Bayt are the paragons of such Qur’anic terms as faith, jihad, migration, devotion, certainty, sublime morality, righteous deeds, night prayer, wakefulness at dawns, truthfulness and generosity, as is confirmed by Shi`ite and Sunni scholars. About the Holy Prophet who is the root of Ahl al-Bayt, the Holy Qur’an has spoken explicitly; whereas is has spoken implicitly about Ahl al-Bayt. Since the readers of the Holy Qur’an are people of reason, thought and understanding, they realize that certain Qur’anic verses do not have any paragon other than Ahl al-Bayt who know how to interpret it:
وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ
None knows its interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge. (3:7)
In this relation, Imam al-Sadiq says:
نَحْنُ الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ وَنَحْنُ نَعْلَمُ تَأوِيلَهُ.
We are those who are firmly rooted in knowledge and we know its interpretation.
The Holy Prophet’s Character in the Holy Qur’an
On the magnificent character of the Holy Prophet, the Holy Qur’an explicitly says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ
Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. (33:56)
In narrations, we read that “Allah’s blessing the Prophet is His special mercy for him; and the angels’ blessing is to ask Allah’s favor or mercy
 Al-Kafi: 231/1, H 1.
The Holy Qur’an gives such excellent dignity to the Prophet considering the allegiance to him to be equal to allegiance to Allah:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ
Surely those who swear allegiance to you do but swear allegiance to Allah. (48:10)
Obeying Allah and the Holy Prophet
About obeying Allah and the Holy Prophet the result of which is a great profit in the world and the Hereafter, the Holy Qur’an says:
وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا (71)
Whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle he indeed achieves a mighty success. (33:71)
The Holy Qur’an regards the companionship of the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous people as result of obeying Allah and His Prophet:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقًا (69)
And whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good; and a goodly company they are! (4:69)
The Holy Qur’an considers obeying the Holy Prophet as obeying Allah. This is a good reason proving the superiority of the Holy Prophet over all other creatures in the universe:
مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللّهَ (نساء 80)
Whoever obeys the Apostle, he indeed obeys Allah. (4:80)
The Holy Qur’an considers obeying Allah and the Holy Prophet as a cause of entering Paradise; and turning back to them is a cause of painful punishment:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ يُعَذِّبْهُ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا (17)
Whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle, He will cause him to enter
 Tafsir al-Safi: 201/4.
gardens beneath which rivers flow; and whoever turns back, He will punish him with a painful punishment. (48:17)
The Holy Qur’an considers obeying the Holy Prophet as a cause of gaining Allah’s mercy:
وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ (56)
Obey the Apostle so that mercy may be shown to you. (24:56)
Bishr ibn Shurayh Basri says: I asked Imam al-Baqir, “What is the most hopeful verse in the Holy Qur’an?”
He Imam answered, “What do your people say about it?”
I said, “They say that the following verse is the most hopeful:
يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ
O my servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls; do not despair of the mercy of Allah (39:53)”
The Imam commented, “We, Ahl al-Bayt, do not say this.”
I asked, “What do you say then?”
The Imam answered, “We say that the following is the most hopeful:
وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَى (5)
And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased. (93:5)
The word give in this verse stands for [the right of] intercession. By Allah, it is intercession. By Allah, it is intercession.”
According to another narration; it has been pointed out that the Holy Prophet is pleased because he has sent forth Ahl al-Bayt and their followers to Paradise.
Ahl al-Bayt in The Holy Qur’an
The Holy Qur’an has explicitly spoken of Ahl al-Bayt in the Verse of Purification whereas in other verses it has referred to signs that conform with none but them.
 Tafsir Furat: 570, H 734.
 Bihar al-Anwar: 143/6, Chapter: 7, H 10.
Abdullah Ibn Ja`far says: I was in the presence of MuAwiyah with Hasan and Husayn when MuAwiyah asked, “O Abdullah Ibn Ja`far! How much do you respect Hasan?” I answered, “O MuAwiyah! One day, during his rule, `Umar ibn Khattab sent me to Ali ibn Abu-Talib saying, ‘I want to compile the Qur’an in a book. Send me what you have written of it.’ Ali said to me, ‘By Allah, he will kill you if you take to him my version of the Qur’an about some of whose verses I have written my interpretations.’ I asked, ‘What for?’ The Imam answered, ‘Allah says,
لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ (79)
None shall touch it save the purified ones. (56:79)
We are the purified ones. We are the paragon of this verse:
ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا
We gave the Book in inheritance to those whom we chose from among Our servants (35:32).
We are the chosen ones and such parables as ‘good word’ or ‘good tree’ have been revealed about us.”
The Holy Qur’an reads,
مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَانِ (19) بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا يَبْغِيَانِ (20) فَبِأَيِّ آلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ (21) يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُمَا اللُّؤْلُؤُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ (22)
He has made the two seas to flow freely so that they meet together. Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass. There comes forth from them pearls both large and small.(55:19-22)
These holy verses certainly refer to Ahl al-Bayt. Imam al-Sadiq says:
عَلِيٌّ وَفَاطِمَةُ الْبَحْرَانِ، اللُّؤْلُؤُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ الْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ.
Ali and Fatimah are the two seas; and the pearls are Hasan and Husayn.
On the word of another narration, the word “al-shaf` (the even)” mentioned in Surah al-Fajr (No. 89) refers to Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn; while the word al-witr (the odd)” refers to Imam Ali.
 Kitab Sulaym ibn Qays: 834, H 42.
 Tafsir al-Qummi: 344/2.
 Tafsir al-Qummi: 419/2.
In reliable Shi`ite books of hadith, there are over 314 narrations confirming that the word ‘near relatives (dhu’l-qurba)’ in the Holy Qur’an refers to Ahl al-Bayt. Likewise, Sunni scholars have interpreted the ‘near relatives’ into Ahl al-Bayt and the purified Imams.
The Holy Qur’an reads,
فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَن تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ (36)
In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings. (24:36)
Anas ibn Malik and Buraydah say, “When Allah’s Messenger recited the abovementioned verse, a man rose up asking, “Which houses are they?” Allah’s Messenger replied, “These are the houses of the Prophets.” Then, Abu-Bakr rose up, pointed to the house of Ali and Fatimah and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Is this house one of them?” The Holy Prophet said, “Yes, it is one of the best.”
Ahl al-Bayt are the paragons of the spiritual truth as pointed out in the following holy verse:
رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلوةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَوةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ (37)
Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and the eyes shall turn about. (24:37)
These noble individuals fear the Judgment Day while their faith, deeds, sublime morality and devotion are superior to those of all people of the world.
 Shawahid al-Tanzil: 533/1, H 567.
# Ahl al-Bayt in The Bible
The Holy Qur’an states that the signs and features of the Holy Prophet have been mentioned in the former scriptures especially the Torah and the Gospel. Knowing the Prophet by verses in the Torah and the Gospel, Jews and Christians were waiting for his advent before his ordainment so as to overcome their enemies under his rule and attain spirituality through following him:
الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِندَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنْجِيلِ
Those who follow the Apostle Prophet, the ummi whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel. (7:157)
In a hadith reported from Amir al-Mu’minin, a Jew said to Allah’s Messenger, “I have read about your descriptions in the Torah as such: Muhammad son of Abdullah, born in Mecca, immigrates to Medina, neither rough nor bad-tempered. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and you are His Messenger. Here is my wealth. Spend it as Allah orders.”
Speaking of the Holy Prophet, Jesus Christ says:
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ
And when Jesus son of Maryam said: O Children of Israel! Surely I am the apostle of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the torah and giving the good news of Apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad. (61:6)
Jesus Christ and Paraclete
The Gospel According to John
In Chapters 14-16 of the Gospel According to John, Jesus gives the good news of a person coming after him by the name of Paraclete whom he calls master of the world and his religion existing forever. In 14:16 of the same, Jesus says:
And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever.
 Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 465, H 6.
In verse 15:26, Jesus says:
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from with the Father, he shall bear witness concerning me.
The word Paraclete in Syriac means praiseworthy which is translated into Arabic as Muhammad and Ahmad.
The Book of Enoch (Andreas)
In the Book of Enoch, good news have been given a bout the Holy Prophet of Islam by the name of Paraclete along with the manes of Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn called as the axis and the aim of universe. Enoch used to live in Babylon. One day while he was in the temple, he received revelation of God. He then told his companions the following story:
One day, there was a dispute between the children and grand children of Adam as to who the superior creature is. Some of them said, “Our father Adam whom God created with His hand and blew His spirit into him, made all the angels prostrate before him, made him the teacher of angels, granted him the vicegerency on the earth and made other being obedient to him, was the superior creature.” Another group said, “Angels are superior to our father Adam for the former never rebelled against God whereas Adam disobeyed His command hence he and his wife were driven out of heaven. At most, God had mercy on them, accepted his repentance and promised heaven to his believing children.” Some others said, “The superior creature is Archangel Gabriel who is the trustworthy of the Lord of the worlds.” The dispute was so hot that they brought it up with Adam. Addressing his children, Adam said, “Lend me your ears so that I will tell you who the superior
creatures are. When God created me and blew into my body of His spirit sot that I was settled, I saw the Divine Throne with five illuminated shadows whose light, glory, and beauty amazed me. I asked, ‘O Lord, who are these glorious lights?’ God said, ‘These are My superior creatures as well as mediators between Me and My creatures. Were it not for their sake, I would not have created you, the heavens, the earth, Paradise, Hellfire, the sun, and the moon.’ I said, ‘O Lord! What are their names?’ God answered, ‘Look at the shank of the Throne.’ When I did, I saw these five holy names: Paraclete (Muhammad) Elia (Ali), Titeh (Fatimah), Sheppar (Hasan), and Shoppair (Husayn). There was also an inscription reading: O My creatures! Glorify Me for there is no god save Me and Muhammad is My Messenger.”
The Gospel of Barnabas
Verses 39:14-28 of the Gospel of Barnabas express a similar idea as follow:
When Adam rose up, he saw on his steps an inscription shining like the sun reading: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger. Then, Adam opened his mouth saying: O Lord! Praise to You for Your Grace in creating me. But I beseech you to tell me what the meaning of ‘Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger’ is. Allah answered: hail to you, my servant Adam. I truly tell you that you are the first human I have created. The one you saw is but your son. He will come to this world after many years. He will be My Messenger for whom I have created everything. He will soon give light to the world; the one whose soul had been laid in the beauty of heaven sixty thousand years before I created anything. Then Adam beseechingly said: O Lord! Give this inscription to me on the nails of my fingers. So Allah gave him the inscription on his thumbs. On the nail of his right hand’s thumb was ‘there is no god but Allah’ and on the nail of his left hand’s
thumb was ‘Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger’. Then, the first human kissed those words with a father’s love, touched his eyes saying: Auspicious will be the day you will come soon to the world.
Fakhr al-Islam, in his book, Anis al-A`lam, says:
In a pre-Islamic manuscript of the Gospel on the parchment found in the library of Protestant Christians, as a part of Jesus’ last will and testament to Simon whose other name was peter said: O Simon! God has advised you about the Master of the Messengers and His beloved, Ahmad, the owner of the red camel, the moon-faced, the pure-hearted, and the strong-bodied, who is a great man of Adam’s children, mercy for the people of the world, and an ummi (i.e. inhabitant of Umm al-Qura; Mecca), Arab Prophet. O Jesus! Tell the children of Israel to acknowledge and believe in him. I said: O Lord! Who is that great man? God said: O Jesus! He is Muhammad, God’s Messenger for the universe. Happy is this prophet and happy are those who give ears to him. I will appoint him as prophet 610 years after you.
Allah’s Promise to Abraham
Allah’s promise to Prophet Abraham about Ishmael is the promise of mercy, glory, and abundance in the generation of Muhammad and the Twelve Imams from his issue. This promise has been expressly mentioned in 17:20 of the Book of Genesis:
And for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will very greatly multiply him; twelve princes will he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
Actually, God has blessed Ishmael through Prophet Muhammad and the Twelve Imams from his issue.
In 42:13-20 of the Gospel of Barnabas, a reference has been made to the same promise:
I truly tell you that every prophet who comes is for one nation and that is the Mercy of Allah. So his words are only for that nation. But when God’s Messenger comes, his mercy is for all the nations who accept his teachings. He will come soon to fight the oppressors and to put an end to the worship of idols to disgrace Satan, for God has promised Abraham as such. He said: Behold! I will bless all the nations on the earth through your generation. O Abraham, as you broke the idols, your generation will do the same.
In Chapter 208 of the same Book, we read:
I truly tell you that the son of Abraham is Ishmael and from his issue will come Messiah as promised to Abraham and all the nations will be blessed due to him. When the chiefs of Jewish priests heard it, they became angry saying loudly: We must stone him to death, for he is from the issue of Ishmael. They denied the religion of Moses. So each of scribes and Pharisees took stones to put Jesus to death but he was hidden from their eyes and left the temple.
Allah’s promise about Ishmael is the same as the meaning of Ishmael (Allah heard you). Granting a son to Abraham was actually answering to his prayer in the same way that the Holy Prophet is reported as saying:
أنَا دَعْوَةُ أبِي إبْرَاهِيمَ.
I have been demanded by my father, Abraham.
The Torah, the Gospel, and all the Prophets have given the good tidings of the advent of not only the Holy Prophet but also his successor, Imam Ali. They have also spoken of Ahl al-Bayt. The Prophets have even wept sadly over the calamities which befell Imam Husayn.
 Al-Manaqib: 232/1.
A Very Important Event
Nasr ibn Muzahim, in his book of WaqAt Siffin (one of the oldest books that were written nearly in the age of the Holy Imams), has reported Habbah al-Arani, a companion of Imam Ali, as saying:
When we landed in the region of al-Riqqah on our way of Siffin Battle, we camped near a monastery in which a Christian monk was engaged in worship. Seeing our soldiers, he came out of the monastery and headed for Amir al-Mu’minin, saying, “In this monastery, there is a book I have inherited from my ancestors; a book writhen by the disciples of Jesus during his lifelime. I would like to show the book to you.” The Imam said, “Go and bring it here.” The monk fetched the book and asked the Imam to give him permission to read it. Then, he began to read, “In the Name of Allah; Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. It is recorded in the Preserved Tablet that God will appoint from among the people of Mecca a prophet who will teach them the Book and Wisdom and will guide them to the right path and one of his signs is that he is neither rough nor bad-tempered. He is a man who when walking among people does not raise his voice nor does he compensate sin by
sin, rather he forgives all. As for the community of that prophet, they are very thankful to God, praising Him under all conditions. Their tongues are tamed for professing God’s grandeur and glory; and their eyes tearful for fear of God. God will give victory to that Prophet over the arrogant. When he passes away, his community will be divided with rancor and enmity. They will have differences and then get together and keep on living as long as God wills. A man from his community crosses by the Euphrates. This man invites people to good and forbids them from evil. His judgment among people is just; never issuing an unjust order. The world to him is lower than ashes blown by wind in a stormy day. For him, death is more pleasant than drinking water by a thirsty person! He fears God in hidden and gives away in the path of Allah openly. He is not afraid of anyone who blames him on the straight path. Anyone living in these cities and believes in that
prophet will have heaven as a reward and everyone who understands the righteous servant crossing by the Euphrates must help him.”
After reading from the book, the monk said, “You are that righteous servant of God. I will come with you and will not leave you so that what will happen to you will happen to me. If you are
martyred, I will be with you to be martyred. Hearing this, Amir al-Mu’minin wept and said, “Thanks Allah; He has not forgotten me as He had my name among benefactors.” The monk accompanied the Imam and never left him until he was martyred in Siffin Battle.
After the end of the battle, Imam Ali ordered the martyrs to be buried. Some were missioned to find the body of the monk and when they found it, the Imam stood at his head saying, “He is from us, Ahl al-Bayt.” Then, the Imam himself dug a grave for him and buried him as a Muslim.
 WaqAt Siffin: 147.
# Ahl al-Bayt in the Psalms of David
The Rule of Imam al-Mahdi
Referring to the age of Imam al-Mahdi, Qur’anic verses read:
وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ (128)
The end is for those who guard against evil. (7:128)
Narrations also testify that the rule of Imam al-Mahdi will come about at the end of the world:
دَوْلَتُنَا آخِرُ الدُّوَلِ.
Our rule will be the last rule.
Qur’anic verses have stipulated that this news has been mentioned in the books of the former prophets:
وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِن بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ (105)
And certainly We have written in the Psalms, after the remembrance, the earth shall be the inheritance of My righteous servants. (21:105)
This verse predicts the future when evil will be removed from the world, for the word inheritance is used when a person or a group of people do not exist anymore and another group inherits their property or position.
What Is God’s Message in the Psalms Of David?
The content of the aforementioned verse has been mentioned in Psalm 37:
Fret not yourself because of the wicked… for they will soon fade away like the grass. Trust in the Lord, and do good; … Take delight in the Lord. Be still before the Lord… For the wicked shall be cut off; but those who wait for the Lord shall Possess the Land. Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more… But the meek shall possess the Land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. The wicked plots against the righteous, and gnashes his teach at him; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy… and their bows shall be
 Kitab al-Irshad by Shaykh al-Mufid: 384/2.
broken. Better is a little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken; but the Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the blameless and their heritage will abide for ever; they are not put to shame in evil times, in the days of famine they have abundance. But the wicked perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pasture, they vanish – like smoke they vanish away… for those blessed by the Lord shall possess the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. The righteous shall possess the land, and dwell upon it for ever… wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to possess the Land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked. But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.
# Ahl al-Bayt
From the Viewpoint of Mystics
Merits and Virtues of Ahl al-Bayt
In Mystics’ Narrations
I know that whoever believes in Muhammad but does not believe in his offspring is not true. (Attar Nayshaburi)
We will not attend any assembly where the names of Muhammad’s Household are not mentioned. (Abu-Sa`id Abu’l-Khayr)
Sa`di! If you wish to enjoy the pleasure of love and evergreen blossom of life, it is enough to absorb the love of Muhammad and his Household. (Sa`di of Shiraz)
There are few philosophers, theologians, narrators of traditions, historians, jurisprudents and men of letters who have not said or written something about Ahl al-Bayt, their dignity and their personality. Yet, mystics seem to have spoken and written more than the others, for they have probed more into various dimensions of human beings and into the features, virtues and station of Ahl al-Bayt. Hence, a separate chapter is devoted to their speech, viewpoints and description. Most of the material used in this chapter belongs to Sunni mystics for two reasons: Firstly, to become clear that the station of Ahl al-Bayt and their sublime morality are not only adhered to by their followers but also the followers of other sects are attracted by them. Secondly, there are truths in their writings indicating that what is attributed to Ahl al-Bayt is not false or imaginative; rather, they are indisputable historic facts. What is mentioned here is only an abstract of
what mystics have said about Ahl al-Bayt.
# Abu’l-Fadl Meybodi and Khajeh Abdullah Ansari
Abu-Bakr al-Naqqash has reported Imam Ali as saying:
One day, a Jew came to me saying, “In your book, there is a verse the meaning of which is difficult to understand. If you clarify it, I will become Muslim.” “Which verse is that?” I asked. The Jew said, “The verse is: keep us on the right path. If you are already on the right path, why are you asking for it?” I said, “A group of prophets and God’s friends have already entered Paradise and attained an eternal prosperity. We are asking Allah to keep us on that path which led them to Paradise.” The Jew was convinced and he converted to Islam.
One day, Imam Ali came home to find Hasan and Husayn crying. He asked for the reason. Lady Fatimah said, “They have not eaten for a whole day.” A pot was boiling on fire at the same time. Imam Ali asked, “What is in the pot?” Lady Fatimah answered, “There is plain water only.” Imam Ali became so distressed that he took his cloak to the market and sold it for six Dirhams. He had no sooner bought something for eating than he met a beggar shouting, “Whoever offers to Allah a good gift will have a better one for himself.” Imam Ali offered to him whatever he had and, when he came back home, he told the story to Lady Fatimah. She said, “Allah bless you, O Abu’l-Hasan! You are always benevolent!”
Imam Ali was set to go to the mosque to offer prayer when he saw a nomadic selling a camel. He said, “O Abu’l-Hasan, I am selling this camel. Would you like to buy it?” Imam Ali said, “I do not have money.” The nomadic said, “I sell it to you until booty comes or you get something from the public fund.” Imam Ali bought that camel for sixty Dirhams and went his way. Another nomadic came to him, “O Ali! Will you sell this camel to me?” Imam Ali said, “Yes, I will.” “How much do you sell it?” asked the man. Imam Ali said, “Whatever price you say.” He said, “A hundred and twenty Dirhams.” Imam Ali said, “I do.” He then returned home. Telling the story to Lady Fatimah he said, “I will give sixty Dirhams to the nomadic and take the other sixty for
 Kashf al-Asrar: 18/1.
ourselves.” So he went out to look for the man. On his way, he met the Holy Prophet who asked, “Where are you going?” Imam Ali told him the story. The Holy Prophet rejoiced, greeted and gave him good news, “O Ali! That man was not an Arab. The first man who sold you the camel was Archangel Gabriel and the second man who bought it was Archangel Michael. The camel too was one of the camels of Paradise. This is the good gift you offered to Allah by helping that beggar. Allah, may He be honored and glorified, has said:
مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا
Who is it that will offer to Allah a goodly gift. (2:245)
الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلاَنِيَةً
As for those who spend their property by night and by day, secretly and openly… (2:274)
This verse was revealed on the occasion that Imam Ali had four Dirhams and in his house there was no one but him. He gave away all four Dirhams to beggars, one by night, one by day, one secretly and one openly.
The members of the Mubahalah (mutual curse) were five: the Holy Prophet, Lady Fatimah, Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn. The Holy Prophet put his mantle upon them saying,
أللَّهُمَّ هَؤُلأءِ أهْلُ بَيْتِي.
“O Allah, these are my Household.”
At this moment, Archangel Gabriel came and said, “O Muhammad! am I from your Household?” The Holy Prophet said, “You are from us.” Taking pride in this, Archangel Gabriel said,
مَنْ مِثْلِي؟ وَأنَا فِي السَّمَاءِ طَاوُوسُ الْمَلأئِكَةِ، وَفِي الأرْضِ مِنْ أهْلِ بَيْتِ مُحَمَّدٍ.
“Who can be like me while I am the chief of angels in heavens and a member of Muhammad’s Household?”
 Kashf al-Asrar, 662/1
 Kashf al-Asrar: 151/2.
Ali al-Murtada (the well-pleased)—cousin of Muhammad al-Mustafa (the well-chosen Prophet) and spouse of the Lady of the Judgment Day, Fatimah al-Zahra’ (the luminous lady) who was the guard of caliphate and the head of Allah’s favorites—was the peer of `ismah and Prophethood, the source of knowledge and wisdom. Devotion, truthfulness, certainty, trust in Allah, piety and abstinence were his motto and garment. He was the impetuous lion, the holder of Dhu’l-Fiqar (the lethal sword), and the master of the Muhajirun and Ansar.
Conquest of Khaybar
A day before the Conquest of Khaybar, the Holy Prophet said:
لأُعْطِيَنَّ الرَّايَةَ غَداً رَجُلاً يَفْتَحُ اللهُ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ، يُحِبُّ اللهَ وَرَسُولَهُ، وَيُحِبُّهُ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ.
Tomorrow, I will give this standard to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him.
All night, all the companions were thinking about the truthful man to whom the standard of Islam and the banner of victory ‘there is no god but Allah’ would be given. The next day, the Holy Prophet asked, “Where is Ali ibn Abi-Talib?” They answered, “O Allah’s Messenger! He has sore eye.” He said, “Bring him here.” As he was brought, the Holy Prophet put froth his tongue on his eyes. He was healed and a new light was found in his sight; so, the standard of Islam was given to him.
Imam Husayn and a Beggar
It is narrated that Imam Husayn saw a beggar and asked him about his lineage. The man said that he was son of so-and-so. The Imam said, “May Allah bless you; I was looking for you. A few Dirhams are your father’s claim against my father. Now it is time for me to pay my father’s debt to you.” With this pretext, he gave away and thanked Allah.
The Marriage of Imam Ali and Lady Fatimah
One day, the Holy Prophet came to the Mosque holding a branch of basil in his hand. He said to Salman, “Summon Ali.” Salman went to Ali saying, “O Ali! Go and see Allah’s Messenger!” Ali said, “O Salman! How did you find Allah’s Messenger at this hour?” Salman said, “He was very happy like a shining moon.” Ali came close the Holy Prophet who gave him that branch of basil. It was very sweet-smelling. Ali asked, “How sweet-smelling this is! What is it?” The Holy Prophet said, “It is a
 Kashf al-Asrar: 151/3,150.
 Kashf al-Asrar: 106/5.
gift from the Paradisiacal Women for the marriage of my daughter, Fatimah.” Ali said, “To whom will she be married, O Allah’s Messenger?” He replied, “She will be married to you, Ali! I was sitting in the mosque when an angel came in a way I had never seen before, saying: My name is Mahmud and my station in heaven is Nedia. A third of night had passed when I heard a call from the layers of heaven saying: O archangels, heavenly creatures and cherubim! Get together in the fourth heaven. All got together. The inhabitants of Paradise were present too. A decree said: O Archangels and Favorites of the King! Recite the Qur’anic chapter: The Man (Insan or al-Dahr). Then, Tuba Tree was ordered to offer the marriage of Ali and Fatimah Zahra to heavens! At this time, Tuba started shaking whereby Jewels, pearls and ornaments showered down. Then, there came a decree to put a pulpit of a white pearl under Tuba Tree. An angel went up the pulpit
praising Allah and greeting all the prophets. Then Allah called: O Gabriel! O Michael! You are two witnesses of Fatimah, and I, the Lord, am Fatimah’s Guardian! O Cherubim and heavenly creatures! I take you as witnesses that I gave Fatimah in marriage to Ali. Give the good news to My beloved that we made this marriage in heaven, you do the same on the earth. So, the Holy Prophet invited the Muhajirun and Ansar on the same occasion. Turning his face to Ali, the Holy Prophet said, “O Ali! This was decreed in heaven. Now I give Fatimah to you in marriage against four hundred Dirhams as marriage portion. Do you accept it?” Ali said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I accepted her marriage to me.” Allah’s Messenger said, “Allah bless you.”
Imam Ali’s Knowledge
Ibn Abbas is reported as saying: One night, Ali said to me, “After you accomplish your night prayer, come to me to give you a gift.” It was a night shining with moonlight. Ali said, “What is the meaning of (the letter) alif in Surah alhamd (No. 1)?” I said, “O Ali! You know it.” So, he started speaking and spoke for an hour on the alif and another hour on (the letter) lam. He did the same with the other letters and when he finished, the sun was rising. I found that my knowledge as compared to Ali’s was like a small pond before a sea.
 Kashf al-Asrar: 49/7.
 Kashf al-Asrar: 686/10.
# Attar Nayshaburi
In praise of Ibn Muhammad, Ja`far al-Sadiq
(He is) the king of the nation of the Chosen Prophet, proof of prophethood, truthful agent, scholar of research, fruit of the hearts of Allah’s Favorites, dear child of prophets, explicator of Ali, inheritor of prophet, mystic lover, Ja`far al-Sadiq. We have already said that we need a separate book to give the full account of prophets, companions and Ahl al-Bayt. Since Ja`far al-Sadiq is one of Ahl al-Bayt, a wayfarer and is reported on more occasions, we will say a few words about him.
Those who follow Imam al-Sadiq are Twelvers; that is a Shi`ite Muslim who believes in the Imamate of Twelve Imams. If we wish to use just one epithet to describe his character, the truthful (unaffected) would be the best. He was trustworthy and a perfect leader. He was the guide of spiritual followers, the Imam of Muslims, a man of letters, mentor of Divine lovers, prayer leader, the most noble of the pious, a man of truth, and a peerless interpreter of the Holy Qur’an. He has quoted Imam al-Baqir on many occasions. It is strange that the Twelvers have this impression that Sunni Muslims have nothing to do with Ahl al-Bayt. This is a wrong impression. I know that whoever believes in Muhammad but does not believe in his offspring does not truly believe in Muhammad. A Shafiite love for Ahl al-Bayt was to the extent that he was accused of being heretic hence put in jail. He too composed a line of poem saying:
فَلْيَشْهَدِ الثَّقَلأنِ أنِّي رَافِضِي
لَوْ كَانَ رَفْضاً حُبُّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
If love for Muhammad’s Family is heresy, let all jinn and men testify to my heresy.
It has been reported that once Dawud al-Ta’i came to Imam al-Sadiq saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Give me a piece of advice, for my heart has turned black. You have an excellence over all creatures hence you have a right to give us pieces of advice.” The Imam said, “Abu-Sulayman! I fear that on the Judgment Day my great grandfather will reproach me as to why I have not observed the right of adherence. Only Allah is the most deserving of all treatments and dealings.” Dawud burst into tears and said, “O Allah! One whose entire being is from the Holy Prophet, whose constitution is based on proof and reason, whose
grandfather is Allah’s Messenger and whose mother is the All-chaste Lady is this much humble; can Dawud be proud of his deed!
It is reported that they saw al-Sadiq wearing a precious fur coat. They said, “O Son of Allah’s Messenger! This is not becoming for Ahl al-Bayt!” The Imam took the hand of the person into his sleeve. He had worn coarse woolen clothes stinging the arm. Al-Sadiq said,
هَذَا لِلْحَقِّ وَهَذَا لِلْخَلْقِ!
“This is for Allah, and that is for people.”
In praise of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir
(He is) the proof of the people of dealings with Allah, reason of the people of vision, Imam who is the offspring of the prophet, chosen of the followers of Ali, companion of the manifest and hidden, Abu-Ja`far Muhammad Baqir whose other name was Abu-Abdullah and he was called al-Baqir.
He was known as well-versed in all sciences, knowledge, and fine points. He was renowned for argumentation and demonstrative proof. Commenting on this holy verse:
فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ . . .
Whoever disbelieves in Shaitan and believes in Allah…(2:256)
Imam al-Baqir says: What deters you from Allah is Satan. Behold, which veil has kept you from Him. Try to remove that veil, for one who has a veil before his eyes cannot claim nearness to Allah.
 Tadhrkirat al-Awliya’: 20,125.
# Abu’l-Qasim Al-Qushayri
Ma`ruf ibn Fayruz al-Karkhi was one of the spiritual guides whose prayer was answered. He was one of the devotees of Ali ibn Musa al-Rida and became Muslim at the hands of the Imam. Ma`ruf reports: I was bound to Kufah when I met a man called Ibn al-Sammak. He would give pieces of advice to people saying, “Whoever turns his back on Allah, Allah will turn His back on him too. And whoever turns to Allah, Allah will have mercy on him and all people will be with him.” His words appealed to me; so, I turned to Allah and abandoned everything save serving Ali ibn Musa al-Rida. I said this to the Imam who said: If you take the advice, it is sufficient.”
Husayn ibn Ali was walking home when he met several children. They had some pieces of bread; so, they invited him to have some. After having a piece of bread, Husayn took them home giving them food and clothes and saying: They were better hosts, for they had nothing more than what they had but I have more than what I gave away.
It is reported that Shaqiq al-Balkhi asked the meaning of magnanimity from Ja`far ibn Muhammad (al-Sadiq). The Imam asked, “What is your opinion?” Shaqiq said, “If we are given, we will thank and if it is withheld, we will wait.” Imam al-Sadiq said, “Dogs in Medina will do the same.” Shaqiq said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! What is magnanimity then?” The Imam replied, “If we are given, we will give away and if we are not given, we will wait.”
A man who had come from Mecca fell asleep in Medina. When he woke up, he thought his purse had been stolen. Seeing Imam Ja`far, he seized him by the collar, saying, “You have taken my purse!” The Imam said, “How much money was in it?” He said, “A thousand Dinars.” Ja`far took him home and gave him a thousand Dinars. When the man went to his
 Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah: 28.
 Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah: 223.
 Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah: 363.
place, his purse was there! He apologetically came back to the Imam bringing back the money. However, the Imam did not accept it saying, “We will not take back what we have given.” The man said, “Who is this person?” They said, “He is Ja`far al-Sadiq.”
It is reported that Paradise longs for three persons: Ali, Ammar and Salman—may Allah be pleased with them all.”
It is reported that Amir al-Mu’minin Ali—may Allah exalt his esteem—called at a slave but he did not take heed. Again, the Imam called at him and the slave took no heed. The Imam called him again but he took no notice. Rising up from his place, Ali saw him lying down. So he said, “Did you not hear me?” He said, “I heard you.” The Imam said, “So why didn’t you come?” The slave said, “Such a noble man as you are, I knew I was free from punishment, so I was lazy.” The Imam said, “I set you free for the sake of Allah, the Honored and Glorified.”
 Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah: 363.
 Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah: 582.
 Al-Risalah al-Qushayriyyah: 394.
# Muhammad al-Ghazzali
Abu’l-Hasan Mada’ini reports: Hasan, Husayn and Abdullah ibn Ja`far—may Allah be pleased with them all—were on pilgrimage to Mecca. Leaving their camel load in a place, they went to an Arab old woman hungry and thirsty. They asked her, “Do you have anything for drink?” She said, “Yes, I do.” She milked her sheep and gave them milk. Again they asked, “Do you have anything to eat?” The old woman said, “I have no food but you can slaughter the sheep and eat it.” So, they slaughtered the sheep and ate of it, saying, “We are from the tribe of Quraysh. When we go back from pilgrimage, come to us. We will treat you nicely.” Then they left. When the old woman’s husband came home, he became angry saying, “You have given the sheep to people you do not know.” After a while, the old woman and her husband came to Medina out of poverty. They had to pick up droppings of camels and sell them to make their ends meet. One day when the
old woman was passing through the alley, Hasan who was sitting at the door noticed her and said, “Do you know me?” She said, “No, I do not.” Hasan said, “I am the one whom you hosted.” He then ordered a thousand sheep and a thousand Dinars to be given to her and then he sent her along with his servant to Husayn. “What did my brother give to you?” Husayn asked. She replied, “A thousand sheep and a thousand Dinars.” Husayn gave her the same.”
Addressing Lady Fatimah, the Holy Prophet said, “I give you the good news that you are the doyenne of the women in Paradise.” Fatimah said, “What are Asiyah and Mary then?” Allah’s Messenger said, “Each of them was the doyenne of the women of her time; but you are the doyenne of all women in the world. You are all in houses, adorned with precious stones with no suffering or preoccupation.” Then, Allah’s Messenger said, “I have given you in marriage to my cousin who is a master in this world and the master of my ummah in the Hereafter.”
Whenever Ali ibn Husayn performed ablution for prayer, he would look pale in face. When he was asked about it, he would say, “Do you not know before whom we are standing?”
 Kimyaye SaAdat: 167/2.
 Kimyaye SaAdat; 186.
 Kimyaye SaAdat: 414/2.
One day when Ali ibn Husayn was on his way to mosque, a man swore at him. The servants made an attempt to do something but the Imam said, “Stop it! What is hidden to you from us is more! Are you in need of anything?” The man was ashamed. So Ali ibn Husayn gave him a thousand Dirhams and a garment. The man was going away saying, “I bear witness that he is but the son of Prophets.”
 Kimyaye SaAdat: 421.
# Abu-Sa`id Abu’l-Khayr
Baba Hasan was prayer leader of our spiritual guide (Sheikh), Abu-Sa`id. Under the Sheikh, Sufis followed his leadership. One day when he was performing the Morning Prayer, he came to qunut (Communion) saying, “Blessed and Exalted is our Lord, greetings be upon Muhammad.” He went into prostration. When he completed his prayer, our Sheikh asked him, “Why did not you send greeting upon the Household of Muhammad, and why did not you say: O Allah send greetings upon Muhammad and upon the Household of Muhammad?” Baba said, “The companions have different opinions as to whether or not to say ‘The Household of Muhammad’ in the first tashahhud’ and qunut and to be on the safe side, I did not say it.” Our Sheikh said, “We will not attend any assembly where the names of Muhammad’s Household are no mentioned.”
Our Sheikh has reported: A Jew came to Amir al-Mu’minin Ali, asking, “Who is Allah the glorified?” At this question, the Imam’s face turned pale saying, “Allah existed without the attribute of ‘existence’ and without the quality as He exists forever. Nothing precedes Him, for He is before everything. He is infinite. He exceeds all extremes. Did you understand, Jew?” The Jew said, “I bear witness that whoever says anything but this is false. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”
Our Sheikh, Abu-Sa`id, said: I saw in dream that whoever sends greetings upon Allah’s Messenger a thousand times every Friday night will see him in his dream. We repeatedly did so and saw the Holy Prophet in our dream with Fatimah sitting near him. He was rubbing his hand on the head of Fatimah saying, “This is the doyenne of the women of the worlds.”
 Asrar al-Tawhid: 204/1.
 Asrar al-Tawhid: 248/1.
 Asrar al-Tawhid: 268/1.
# Mustamli Bukhari
Ali ibn Abu-Talib is the master of the mystics. The ummah unanimously agree that he has the authority of all prophets, for he has said that which no one has ever said and no one will ever say.
Hasan ibn Ali was given poison six times. On five occasions, the poison was not effective but on the sixth time, it was when Husayn ibn Ali came to his bed saying, “O brother! Tell me who has given you poison, so that I will take complete vengeance on him!” Hasan said, “O my brother! Neither my father Ali nor my mother Fatimah nor my grandfather Muhammad nor my grandmother Khadijah nor any of our Household was talebearer. If Allah forgives me on the Judgment Day, I will not enter Paradise unless I forgive one who gave me poison.”
One day, Hasan was eating a piece of bread. At this moment, a man came to him saying, “I have a debt of ten thousand Dirhams.” Hasan said, “Give him ten thousand Dirhams to pay his debt.” They gave the money to the man and he went away.
To say something about the morality of Husayn, one day when he was having his food, a slave girl was standing over his head with a bowl in her hand. Suddenly, the bowl fell off her hand. Husayn had a look at her. The slave girl quoted a section of the holy verse, “Those who restrain the anger.” Husayn said, “I forgive you.” The slave girl added, “And Allah loves the benefactors.” Husayn said, “You are free for the sake of Allah.”
What can we say about the virtues and excellent qualities of those who are parts of the Holy Prophet?”
# Abul Hasan Hajwiri Ghaznawi
A few words in praise of Ahl al-Bayt
Ahl al-Bayt enjoy a high rank for having been purified. Each of them has an excellence in spirituality and they are all models among their own tribe. I wish to mention parts of their virtues, Allah willing.
The dear one of the Holy Prophet, the sweet basil of the well-pleased Imam, the apple of the eye of the Luminous Lady, Abu-Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Ali—May Allah honor his dignity—was well-versed in the spiritual path and interested in the delicate points. When determinists took over and people of seclusion were dispersed across the world, Hasan al-Basri wrote a letter to Hasan ibn Ali saying:
Peace of Allah be to you, son of Allah’s Messenger and apple of his eye. Mercy and blessing of Allah be to you. You, members of Banu-Hashim, are like ships floating on seas and you are like shining stars and guidance. Whoever follows you will be rescued, like those who were aboard Noah’s Ark. O son of Allah’s Messenger, we are at a loss and we would like to know what you think on this issue, for you are from the issue of the Prophet and your link will never be cut off. Your knowledge comes from that of Allah Who is your protector.
Receiving the letter, Hasan wrote back:
Whoever does not believe in destined good and evil on the part of Allah is an unbeliever; and whoever attributes his sins to Allah is wicked; that is to say, denying the fate. What we have accepted in our religion is fate. Attributing sins to Allah is determinism. Therefore, a servant is free in acquisition to the extent of his capability given by Allah. Thus religion is in between determinism and fate.
It is reported that a Bedouin was passing by while Hasan was sitting at the threshold of the house. The Bedouin started swearing at him and his parents. Hasan rose up, saying, “O Bedouin! If you are in need of food, I will give you food and if you are thirsty, I will give you water. What is the matter with you?” The Bedouin kept on abusing Hasan and his parents. Hasan told his servant to bring a purse of golden coins and said, “O Bedouin! I beg your pardon, this is all we have at home and I offer it to
you.” Hearing this, the Bedouin said, “I bear witness that you are the son of Allah’s Messenger and I have come here to test your forbearance. This is the virtue of the great ones for whom praise or blame is equal and they never change because of unkind words.”
The candle of the Muhammad’s Household and the master of his time; Abu-Abdullah al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi-Talib—may Allah be pleased with them—was Allah’s favorite, the center of the people of tribulation, and one slain in the plain of Karbala’. Those who have heard this story unanimously agree that as long as the truth was manifest, he was a follower of truth but when truth was missing, he drew his sword and did not find comfort until he sacrificed his dear life for the sake of Allah. His virtues are too known to be mentioned here.
The inheritor of Prophethood, the torch of the ummah, the wronged master, the deprived Imam, the ornament of the servants of Allah, Abul-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu-Talib was the most honorable worshipper of his time. He is known for his intuition of delicate points. A story tells us that when Husayn along with his children were killed in the plain of Karbala’ and there was no one to look after the women, he was ill and Husayn called him Ali the junior (Ali Asghar).
When they were brought on bare camels to Syria before Yazid ibn MuAwiyah—may Allah abase him—a person said, “How is your day, O Ali from the Household of Mercy?” He said, “Because of unkindness of our people, our morning was like that of the people of (Prophet) Musa because of the blight of the people of Pharaoh who killed their children and unveiled their women in a way we do not know the day from the night.”
Husham ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the story goes on, was circumambulating the Holy Ka`bah. He wished to kiss the Black Stone but failed to find his way to it due to the huge crowd. So he went up the pulpit and delivered a sermon. After some time, Zayn al-Abidin Ali ibn Husayn entered the Mosque for circumambulation with a face as bright as moon and a garment with sweet scent. When he came near the Black stone, the pilgrims made room for him to kiss it out of respect for him. Observing such a scene, a man from Syria said to Husham, “The pilgrims did not make room for you who are a governor. Who is that good looking young
man for whom the pilgrims evacuated the Black stone?” Husham said, “I do not know him.” He had the intention that the people of Syria do not recognize or follow him nor show interest in his Imamate. Farazdaq, the poet who was standing there, said, “I know him.” They said, “Who is he?” Farazdaq said, “He is the one whom the land of revelation and even the Sacred House know very well…” He also composed some lines in praise of Imam and Ahl al-Bayt. Hearing this, Husham became angry and had him jailed in a prison between Mecca and Medina. When the Imam heard the story, he sent him twelve thousand Dirhams with a message saying that we did not have more than this. Farazdaq sent back the silver coins saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! I have composed many poems for silver with false eulogy; however, what I have composed is for the sake of Allah and love for His Messenger and his offspring.” When the message reached Zayn al-Abidin,
he said, “Send these silver coins back and say: O Abu-Firas! If you love us, do not ask me to take back what I have given away from our property.” It was then that Farazdaq was convinced to take the silver coins.
The virtues of Zayn al-Abidin are too numerous to be mentioned here.
 Kashf al-Mahjub: 85-95.
# Sa`di of Shiraz
Sa`di do not suppose that the way of Chastity.
Is anywhere but following Mustafa.
Who is honorable in character,
Beautiful in qualities,
The Prophet of people, and mediator of followers.
The Imam of all Prophets, the leader of the way.
The trustee of Allah, the descending place of Gabriel.
The intercessor of men, the Lord of Resurrection Day,
The guiding leader, high judge of the court of Accounts,
The inter-locator whose Mount Sinai is the whole universe,
and all rays are the reflection of His light,
the orphan who had not compiled the Qur’an,
and washed away the holy books of several nations
One night he rode, and rose to high heaven
And in worth and rank was elevated above angels.
He rode so swiftly in the land of proximity to Allah,
That Gabriel was left behind at Sadreh
What admirable eulogy can I offer you?
O people’s prophet, peace be upon You!
The salutation of angels be upon your soul,
On your descendants and followers.
O Allah; I beg you by the children of Fatimah
To end my life with devotion to the Prophet’s lineage.
Whether you grant my wish or not
I shall make my entreaty to the family of the Prophet.
 Boostan of Sa’adi translated into English by Aladdin Pasargadi, Rahnama Publication, 2000.
# Sayyid Haydar Amuli and Sheikh Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi
Sayyid Haydar Amuli in his mystical-theological exegesis of the Holy Qur’an entitled al-Muhit al-A`zam wa’l-Bahr al-Khi¤imm, has pointed out the following:
Be it known to you that the truths and secrets in the Holy Qur’an are Divine truths and secrets descended on purified souls from a sacred realm. Allah Himself has said,
إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ (77) فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ (78) لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ (79)
“Most surely it is an honored Qur’an, in a book that is protected; none shall touch it save the purified ones. (56:77-79)”
Therefore, the Holy Qur’an is not revealed to anyone but those who have attained perfection and are free from sins and disobedience called unclean ness. Again Allah says,
الْخَبِيثَاتُ لِلْخَبِيثِينَ وَالْخَبِيثُونَ لِلْخَبِيثَاتِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلطَّيِّبِينَ وَالطَّيِّبُونَ لِلطَّيِّبَاتِ
“Unclean things are for unclean ones and unclean ones are for unclean things and the good things are for good ones and the good ones are for good things. (24:26)”
These purified souls are none but the Prophets, the Messengers and the Imams who truthfully followed them. It is for this reason that we claim that ‘those who are firmly rooted in knowledge’ are the Prophets, Messengers, Imams, Allah’s favorites and then the inheritors of monotheism. Therefore, no one else can be included in their group as it has been pointed out by the elder Sheikhs. In this connection Allah says,
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا (33)
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33)”
In this verse, Allah alludes to the purification of Ahl al-Bayt and their being free from sins and disobedience. Uncleanness can mean atheism and paganism or sin and debauchery. In its first meaning, Ahl al-Bayt are necessarily free from it and in its second meaning, if Ahl al-Bayt are not far from it, the word ‘purify’
cannot be applied to them, for sins and debauchery are the worst uncleanness whereas Allah Himself has testified to their purification.
The great Sheik Muhyi al-Din Ibn Arabi refers to the same meaning in getting to know the secret of Salman and his joining Ahl al-Bayt which has a moral long story. Supporting what we have said so far, let us quote the following as a proof for those who deny it:
Know this! May Allah support you! Ja`far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq in a hadith has reported Allah’s Messenger as saying,
مَوْلَى الْقَوْمِ مِنْهُمْ.
“The servant of each nation is a person from among them.”
Allah’s Messenger has also said,
أهْلُ الْقُرْآنِ هُمْ أهْلُ اللهِ وَخَاصَّتُهُ.
“The people of the Holy Qur’an are men of Allah and His favorites.”
Allah too says,
إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ
“Surely as for My servants, you (Satan) have no authority over them. (17:65)”
Therefore, every servant of Almighty Allah on whom there is a right of another servant, the submission of the earlier will be decreased to the extent of that right and has authority on him therewith. For this reason, he will not become a devoted servant. This has caused the devoted servants to be detached from people in order to resort to mountain and deserts and escape from people. They are keen to rid themselves of everything. I met a lot of them during my trips.
Purification A Heavenly Food For Devoted servants
Since the Holy Prophet was a devoted servant, Allah purified him and his Household thoroughly and removed uncleanness from them that is from what considered as indecency and defect. None can be included in Ahl al-Bayt saved the purified. When the Holy Prophet says; “Salman is from us, Ahl al-Bayt”, he testifies that Salman has been purified.
 Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah; Vol. 1, Ch. 29.
Ahl al-Bayt, A Paragon of Purification
Allah Almighty has testified to the purification of Ahl al-Bayt and removal of uncleanness from them. None but a purified one can be added to them. As soon as one is added to them, one will receive Allah’s favor. So what do you think of Ahl al-Bayt themselves? They are actually the paragon of purification. The following Qur’anic verse indicates that Allah has made Ahl al-Bayt share His forgiveness with His Messenger:
لِيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ
Allah may forgive your community their past faults and those to follow. (48:2)
Based on this verse, Allah has purified His Messenger by forgiveness. For this reason, what is considered sin for us, if committed by Allah’s Messenger, is sin only in appearance, for no blame follows it either by Allah or by us. Therefore, all the offspring of Fatimah and those included with Ahl al-Bayt such as Salman will be subject to the abovementioned verse until the Judgment Day. They are purified by the honor of Muhammad and Allah’s favor and they will be raised to life forgiven.
Love for Ahl al-Bayt; Desire of the Messenger
The Holy Prophet has not asked any reward other than love for his near relatives in which lies the secret of strengthening the ties of relationship. How can one who does not respond positively to the Holy Prophet’s demand set his hope on his intercession? One who has the love for something will be always with it. Hence, one who adheres to the love for Ahl al-Bayt, though having the right of claim, will not take them to ask for what comes to him from them. A True lover of Ahl al-Bayt has said: Whatever the beloved does is good.
Love for Ahl al-Bayt Is Love for Allah
If your love for Allah and the Holy Prophet is true, you will naturally love Ahl al-Bayt; and whatever disagreeable comes to you from them is a favor from Allah for their love.
The Secret of Ahl al-Bayt and Some of Their Features
Now that we have spoken of the spiritual poles of this station and the fact that they are chosen by Allah, we should know that no one knows anything about this secret except the sacred ones. Al-Khi¤r, may Allah be pleased with him, is one of the greatest ones. Allah has testified that He has bestowed mercy on him and has given him of His own knowledge from
which Prophet Moses must learn. One secret is getting to know the station of Ahl al-Bayt and what Allah has given attention to, is their high rank in knowledge.
One of the other secrets is their knowledge of Allah’s plan for their enemies who claim to love Allah’s Messenger while the Holy Prophet himself has recommended the love for his Ahl al-Bayt and he himself is one of them. Most people have not done what Allah’s Messenger has asked on the order of Allah. They did not obey Allah and His Messenger nor did they take his relatives as friends except those who did something for them. These people love their desires and they are in love with themselves. What we have said so far is from the great Sheikh (Ibn Arabi) aimed at:
- Getting to know how to love and make friend with them.
- Getting to know the dignity and virtues of Ahl al-Bayt.
- Getting to know about purification, `ismah, the secrets of the Holy Qur’an by adhering to them and knowing such personalities as Salman…
After quoting this chapter from al-Futuht al-Makkiyyah, in his commentary, Sayyid Haydar Amuli, may his soul rest in peace, elaborates on Ahl al-Bayt. Yet to be brief, we have even summarized Ibn Arabi’s statements. What Sayyid Haydar Amuli writes on the opinion of Ibn Arabi is his own opinion too. Hence, we have not devoted a separate chapter to Sayyid Haydar.
We bring this chapter to conclusion with a poem by Ibn Arabi as quoted by Sulayman ibn Ibrahim Qunduzi (1220-1294) in Yanabi` al-Mawaddah.
Find no peer for Ahl al-Bayt.
For they are people of witness.
Enmity with them is a big loss.
Love for them is a great prayer.
 Tafsir al-Muhit al-A`zam: 447/1.
 Yanabi` al-Mawaddah: 174/3, Chapter : 65.