Ahl al Bait (a.s)
Ahl al Bait or Ahl al Bayt refers to people of the house of Muhammed (S). It alludes to the Prophet Muhammad(S) and members of his household exclusively and includes his cousin, Wasi and son-in-law, Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s), his daughter Fatimah(a.s) and his grandsons al Hasan (a.s) and al Husain (a.s) as well as their ‘itrat (progeny) who have left a great treasure of knowledge as a legacy for generations to come. They are known amongst the Shia as the Masumeen (infallibles: spiritually-pure). Only one event of Mubahilah is enough to confirm the divine status of Al Khamsatil Ath’ar – five sacred personas, the Ahl al Bait (as). History recorded the details as follows: Sixty prominent members of the Christian clergy of Najran, headed by Sayyid, Aqib, and Usquf (religious designations) of the region in the 10th year (A.H) came to Madinah to clarify their religious and political stance vis-a-vis Islam which had spread over the Arabian peninsula and to engage in discussions with Rasulullah (S) to realize the essence and truth of Islam. After lengthy discussions (presented in detail in Ibn Hisham’s “Sirah” 573/1), no agreement was reached on the position and standing of Essa – Jesus (as). The Christians of Najran believed in the divinity of Essa (as) – Jesus and considered him as the son of God. Based on the explicit wording of the Qur’an (3:59), Rasulullah (S) considered him as a prophet and the servant of Allah. At the end of the discussions, Rasulullah (S) suggested that the two sides engage in “Mubahalah”, in other words, to invoke Lanah – divine malediction for the lying side. The following Ayah was descended in this regard:
“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)
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The 24th of Dhul Hijjah was chosen for “Mubahalah”. Rasulullah(S) ordered that in a field outside Madinah a thin black “Aba” (men’s dress – open in front) be used as a shade between two trees. The Christian Cardinal and religious hierarchy of Najran stood in orderly ranks on one side of the field, and on the other side, Rasulullah (S), together with Ali (as), Fatimah (as), Hasan (as) and Husain (as) came from the direction of Madinah towards the shade. Along this path, Rasulullah (S), holding the hand of Ali (as), Hasan (as) and Husain (as) walked in front with Fatimah (as) behind them (Majm’a al Bayan). With such divine simplicity and pristine grandeur, they reached the shade and stood below the “Aba.” Rasulullah(S) argued and afterwards recited the “Ayah Tathir” and addressed his Ahl al Bait (as):
“I will invoke Laanah – malediction for them and you say A’ameen.”
Upon observing Rasulullah’s (S) unusual form of offering Dua, the learned Christian Pontiff and clergy lost their self-confidence and could not stand against Muhammad (S) and his Ahl al Bait (as) – Household. Therefore, they accepted paying the “Jaziyyah” and offered to give in to peace. On behalf of Rasulullah (S), Amir al Mumineen Ali (as) signed a peace treaty with the Christians. The Christians were to annually offer twelve thousand exquisite clothes, a thousand Mithqal of gold, and some other items to practice their faith under the umbrella of Islam. On the basis of the “Ayah Mubahalah”, Sunni interpreters such as Zamakhshari, Baydawi, Fakhruddin al Razi and many hundreds regard Ali (as), Fatimah (as), Hasan (as) and Husain (as) superior to all other people and argue that Hasan (as) and Husain (as) are the sons of Rasulullah (S), as he showed. The term “Anfusina” in the “Ayah Mubahalah” proves the unity of the heart and soul of Muhammad (S) and Ali (as). Rasulullah(S) stated:
“Ali is of me and I am of Ali.” (“Fadail al Khamsah” 343/1).
The “Mubahalah Tradition” has been recounted in different books of “Sirah” and history with various wordings. These include those of Tirmidhi (Sahih, 166/2) which quotes Saad ibn Abi Waqqas as follows:
“When the Ayah Mubahalah was recited, Rasulullah (S) summoned Ali (as), Fatimah (as), Hasan (as), and Husain (as) and said: O Allah! These are my Ahl al Bait – the Members of my Household.”
This tradition has been narrated by Hakim Nishaburi in “Al-Mustadrak” 150/3 and Bayhaqi in “Sunan” 63/7. Hakim regards this tradition as authentic.
Al Masjid al Azam Kufa, Mashhad Amir al Mumineen Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s), Shrines of Imams, Jame al Azhar, Jame al Anwar, Jame al Aqmar, Dar ul ‘ilm, Al Muizziyatil Qahirah (Misr) and Jame Arwa at Zeejiblah, Yemen are well known institutions which disseminated Talim – teachings of Islam explained by Ahl al Bait (a.s) as per the need of the time. They did so around 1000 years ago, using an intellectual approach. If the love of Ahl al Bait (a.s) is strong then it will save the devotee from the sins of lust and licentiousness. If one truly is devoted to the Ahl al Bait (a.s), they will be saved from the sins of gambling, Riba or interest, Zina or Fawahish, envy, malice and spite. This Walayah of the Hadi of Imam of Ahl al Bait (as) who is Safinat un Naj’at (ship of salvation), helps us reach our final destination, Aalam ul Quds.