The merits of the Ahle Bait of the Seal of the Prophets (s.a.w.a.), which includes Imam Husain (a.s.), are enumerated in several verses of the Holy Quran. In this short treatise, we will examine three of these verses. Any person who desires to seek all the verses on this topic can refer to the books of traditions and exegesis compiled by Shia and Sunni scholars. At this stage, to remove all elements of doubt or unpleasant perceptions and to establish the explanation of these verses, we will refer to traditions reported in the authentic books of scholars of Ahle Sunnah. This will also lend comfort to you, the reader, that the concept of Imamate is an Islamic concept and not one which is limited to the Shias alone.
Say (O Prophet!): “No reward do I ask of you for this (for the effort of communicating the Message) except the love of those near of kin.”
(Surah Shura (42): Verse 23)
This verse is one amongst those verses which enumerate the distinction and the lofty position of Imam Husain (a.s.). Ahmed Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Abu Noaim, Tha’labi, Tabaraani, Haakem Neishapuri, Shabraawi, Ibn Hajar, Zamakshari, Ibn Manzar, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mordowayh, Suyuti and scholars of Ahle Sunnah from various schools of thought have narrated a tradition from Ibn Abbas in their books as follows,
“When this verse was revealed the companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) asked –
“O Messenger of Allah! Who are these near relatives whose love and adoration has been made obligatory upon us? The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied, ‘Ali, Fatima and their children’.”
The original script of this tradition can be seen in Al-Ithaaf, page 5 and in page 168 of Al-Sawaaeq al-Mohreqah.
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a (thorough) purification.
(Surah Ahzab (33): Verse 33)
This verse is famous as the Verse of Purification (Tatheer). As per authentic and successively narrated traditions from both Shia and Sunni sources, this verse was revealed when five luminous personalities collected under the cloak at a place. These personalities are Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.), Fatima (s.a.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.).
This verse conclusively establishes not just the infallibility of the Chief of the martyrs, Imam Husain (a.s.), but also his superior position and matchless merit. While there are several traditions which narrate Hadeese’ Kisa (The Tradition of the Cloak), for the sake of consensus, it is narrated here in brief as follows – One day the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) presented himself at the blessed house of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.). He sought a Yemeni cloak; covered himself with it and rested. Thereafter, Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.), Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Husain (a.s.) and Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) entered the cloak one after another. When these five divine personalities collected under the cloak, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed – “O Allah! This is my Ahle Bait and my family. You protect them from every uncleanness and abomination.”
The famous scholar of the Ahle Sunnah, Haakem Haskani Neishapuri, has in his book “Shawahedut Tanzeel”, collected 130 such traditions through various sources.
Dear readers! The number of traditionalists who have collected narrations limiting the Ahle Bait (a.s.) to these five personalities is so high that it leaves no room for doubts of any kind whatsoever. Sharhe Ehqaaqul Haqq brings a vast collection of more than seventy references from authentic Ahle Sunnah sources.
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.
(Surah Aal-e-Imran (3): Verse 61)
The verse which speaks of the distinction of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.), his exalted rank and station, which is a proof amongst the Muslims is this same verse and is known as the Verse of Mubaahelah (Malediction). Literally, Mubaahelah refers to two individuals cursing each other such that if there is any religious dispute amongst them and they are unable to come to a conclusion on the matter, then they turn towards Allah and seek His help to instantly punish the liar amongst the two.
Traditions reported in the history of Islam inform us that when the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) and the Christian representatives from Najraan were unable to conclude their discussions to mutual agreement, they resorted to Mubaahelah. However, the Christians sought time from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to ponder over the argument and seek the advice of their elders.
Their elders advised them that if Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) arrives at the place for Mubaahelah along with a motley crowd of his followers, then you should proceed for Mubahelah without any hesitation. In such a condition, they opined that since there was no iota of truth in the claims of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), he had arrived with a group of his followers.
However, they advised, if Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) arrives at the place with a chosen few, and that too, from his closest relatives and loved ones including innocent children, then in such a situation, you must acknowledge that he is a true Prophet sent by God and desist from Mubaahaleh with him for it will prove to be extremely dangerous for you.
The Christians from Najraan reached the appointed place ahead of time. Suddenly, they witnessed the brilliant spectacle of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) with his grandson Imam Husain (a.s.) in his arm and Imam Hasan (a.s.) holding his other arm at his side. His daughter Fatima (s.a.) was behind him followed by Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was heard telling his family that when I supplicate to Allah, you say “Aameen!”
Seeing this, the Christians were very frightened and declined to do Mubaahelah. They agreed to a peace treaty and the payment of Jizyah (Islamic tax) to the Islamic state.
Shia and Sunni traditionalists are unanimous in their opinion that the verse of Mubaahelah was revealed in praise of the Holy Family of the Prophet (a.s.). They also agree that the blessed individuals who accompanied the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on that day were none other than his grandsons, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.); his beloved daughter Fatima (s.a.) and his brother Imam Ali (a.s.).
The third martyr, Qazi Sayyed Noorullah Shushtari (r.a.), who was a great Shia scholar writes in the third volume of his book “Ehqaaqul Haqq” (new edition) –
“Commentators are unanimous in their view that in the above verse, “our sons” refers to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.); “our daughters” refers to Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and “ourselves” refers to Imam Ali (a.s.).”
Thereafter, he proceeds to narrate in the footnote of his book, the names of 60 scholars of the Ahle Sunnah who have acknowledged that the verse of Mubaahelah was revealed in praise of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). He has also provided the names of the books and details of the scholars as well. Some of the names of the scholars who have reported this incident are as follows:
1. Muslim Neishapuri, the author of “Saheeh” which is counted amongst the “Sihah Sittah” – the most reliable books as per the Ahle Sunnah. Refer v. 7, p. 12. Printed Muhammad Ali Sabeeh – Egypt
2. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, the author of “Musnad.” Refer v. 1, p. 185. Printed in Egypt
3. Tabari in his famous exegesis. Refer to his explanation under this verse in v 3, p. 192. Printed in Egypt
4. Tafseerul Jawahir by Tantaawi. Refer v. 2, p.120 Printed Mustafa Al-Baabi Hilli, Egypt
5. Allama Qurtubbi in Al-Jame’ Al-Ahkam Al- Qur’an v. 3, p. 104 Printed in Egypt, 1336 A.H.
Dear friends! The command to take Imam Ali (a.s.), Hazrat Zahra (s.a.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) along was directly from Allah. The proof of this is that these alone were the luminous personalities who accompanied the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to the ground of Mubaahelah. Amongst His entire creation, there was none more blessed and more elevated in front of Allah than them. For the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), there was none more proximate and beloved than them. The event is amongst the countless merits of the leader of the martyrs, Imam Husain (a.s.), for he was amongst the ones who accompanied the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on that day. This merit cannot be passed on or acquired by any other person till eternity. This is because the event of Mubaahelah was conducted on the order of Allah and He alone chose the individuals who would be part of it.