The Status of the Ahlul Bayt
The Ahlul Bayt literally translates into “People of the House.” This refers to the family of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ), his close ones, his wives, and his descendants. Out of the Ahlul Bayt, Allah chose five amongst them who Allah purified and exalted above all people. These five are: Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ), Hadrat Ali, Bibi Fatimah, Imam Hassan, and Imam Hussain.
The family of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) is a treasure chest of love, blessing, and light. They are role models and demand our utmost love and respect. Allah says in the Qur’an about the Ahlul Bayt:
Oh Ahlul Bayt, Allah wishes only to remove pollution from you and to purify you through a thorough purification (Al-Azhaab-33:33).
This ayat was revealed in the house of Bibi Salma, a wife of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ). When this ayat was revealed, Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) took his cloak and wrapped Hadrat Ali, Bibi Fatimah, Imam Hassan, and Imam Hussain in it, meaning that these five were of an exalted status blessed from Allah.
The family of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) has a very important place in Islam. Near the end of Rasulullah’s (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) worldly life, he gave a khutba to all of the Muslims present. It was the first Hajj, but the last for Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ); therefore, almost the entire Ummah was present. It was at this time, on the day of Arafah, that Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) said, “Oh people! I am leaving among you two things, one is of them greater than the other: the book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt. If you hold onto them, you will not be misguided after me.”
After the day of Arafat, the Ummah went back to their homes; however, as Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) was heading back to Medinah Munawwara Shareef with his blessed Sahaba, he told them to stop half way in route. He then addressed his companions, “I am leaving amongst you two heavy weights. The first is the greater weight, the rope to Heaven, the book of Allah. The other thing is the Ahlul Bayt. And those two weights will never be separated.” Both ahadith are Saheeh and Muttawatr.
Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) emphasized his family twice! The Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt are inseparable. They are the key to each other. If you want to understand the Qur’an you go to the Ahlul Bayt, and if you want to understand the Ahlul Bayt you go to the Qur’an. Without each other, you will never be able to understand either.
We are required to love them as a part of our creed. Imam Shafi’ confirms this with his poetry he wrote about them. In addition, when we pray our salaat, we send peace and blessings on Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله وسلم ) and his family (Ahl) before finishing. This is how Durood-e-Ibraheemi was placed in our Salaat. Such is their status that our prayer to Allah is nullified or compromised without the sending of peace and blessings upon the Ahlul Bayt!
Allah states that, “And all hold onto the rope of Allah and do not disperse” (3:183). Imam Shafi’ confirmed this to mean that the rope of Allah is the Ahlul Bayt, and by loving, respecting, and following them, we will be lead on the straight path to Allah in Jannah InshaAllah.