The term “Ahle Bayt Muhammad” translates to “People of the House of Muhammad.” This phrase was also shortened to simply “Ahlel Bayt” but it is implicit that this refers to the House of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and nobody else. It translates to “people of the house” with emphasis on “the” to denote the respect given to the Prophetic household.
Both the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia believe it is important to love the Ahlel Bayt. Now, the question is: who are the Ahle Bayt Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم)? The answer to this question is quite simply that first and foremost the Prophet’s wives are Ahlel Bayt. The Prophet’s wives have the most right to be referred to as Ahlel Bayt, over and above all other individuals.
Dictionary Definition of “Ahlel Bayt”
Let us first define the words “Ahlel Bayt.” To establish absolute objectivity, we will not define it ourselves, but rather we will quote straight from the most popular Shia website, Al-Islam.org (emphasis is ours):
Al-Islam.org says“The term “ahl” signifies the members of a household of a man, including his fellow tribesmen, kin, relatives, wife (or wives), children, and all those who share a family background, religion, housing, city, and country with him…“Bayt” refers to habitation and dwelling, including tents and buildings both. The “ahl-al-bayt” of any person refers to his family members and all those who live in his house.
We encourage our readers to verify this defintion by picking up any Arabic dictionary. There are three words to look up: Ahl, Bayt, and Ahl-Al-Bayt. Let us reproduce what one such Arabic dictionary has to say, although the results will no doubt be virtually identical in any other dictionary.
Ahl: noun; relatives including wives, children, brothers, sisters, and other kinsmen, and sometimes used to refer to fellow tribesmen
Bayt: noun; house; place of residence
Ahl-Al-Bayt: noun; those people in relation to a man who live in his house, especially his wives and unmarried children that live under his roof and are provided for by him
In fact, the primary definition of Ahl Bayt is a man’s wives; in Arab culture, it is considered rude to call a man’s wives by their actual names, and hence people will refer to a man’s wives simply as his “Ahl Bayt”.
The Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah
The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah thus take the wives of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) to be the Ahlel Bayt. This is in accordance with the dictionary definition of the word as shown above. The Prophet’s wives are part of the Prophet’s Ahl, and they live in his Bayt. Therefore, Aisha (رضّى الله عنها) and Hafsa (رضّى الله عنها) are included in the Ahlel Bayt.
The Shia Ayatollahs do not have a positive viewpoint of the Prophet’s wives. In fact, the Shia Ayatollahs possess “baraa” (hatred) for Aisha (رضّى الله عنها) and Hafsa (رضّى الله عنها), and we shall examine this in later articles. It is because of this reason that the Shia Ayatollahs deny that the Prophet’s wives are Ahlel Bayt. In fact, many of our Shia brothers who do not speak Arabic are even unaware of the actual definition and usage of the term “Ahlel Bayt” since they simply listen to their Ayatollahs.
The Shia Ayatollahs say that only four people are part of the Ahle Bayt Muhammad, namely Ali (رضّى الله عنه), Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), Hasan (رضّى الله عنه), and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه). We would like to question the basis upon which they make this claim. This is not the Ahlel Bayt of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), but rather this is the Ahlel Bayt of Ali (رضّى الله عنه). These were the four individuals who lived under the roof of Ali (رضّى الله عنه), not the roof of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). It is agreed upon by both the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did not live in the Bayt of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) but rather had his own place of residence, in which Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), Hasan (رضّى الله عنه), and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) also lived.
The Shia also include their Infallible Imams in the Ahlel Bayt. We wonder on what basis they do this as well, since none of these individuals (other than Ali [رضّى الله عنه], Hasan [رضّى الله عنه], and Hussain [رضّى الله عنه]) lived in the time of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), let alone in the Bayt of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم).
Common Usage of the Term “Ahl-Al-Bayt”
The Quran is an Arabic book that has been revealed to people whose language was Arabic. We will misinterpret the Quran if we attempt to understand its words in a way that was not (and could not be) understood by the primary addressees of the book. Today, if we ask an Arab friend to come to our house with his Ahl-Al-Bayt, the default is that he will come to our house with his wife and children who are staying in his house. He might bring his married children or he might not. He might even bring a friend if the friend is a permanent resident of his house. But primarily, an Arab will understand from this that he should bring his wives, since this is the central and primary definition of the phrase “Ahl-Al-Bayt”.
An Arab will be extremely shocked if he finds that by Ahl-Al-Bayt we meant his cousin, married children, and grandchildren, all of whom live in another house. He will be extremely shocked that we do not mean his wife who lives in his Bayt. This is because for any Arab, the word Ahl-Al-Bayt (which literally means those staying in the house) includes the wife (or wives) of a person. This was in no way any different at the time of the Prophet. It is the same in all Arab countries. It is interesting that even in Iran (being a Shia dominated country) people use the word Ahl-Al-Bayt to refer to the wife as well as children of a person. If we look at any popular book of Arabic words we will find that in the definition of Ahlel Bayt, wife is included. We would thus like to ask the Shia Ayatollahs why they proclaim a different definition of the word Ahlel Bayt? Why should it be that the Prophet’s wives are not part of Ahlel Bayt but rather the Infallible Imams are? In our opinion, this defies logic.
Logic and Common Sense
Ahlel Bayt means the family of a man living in his house. If we were to ask any Shia who is a part of his own family, he would most definitely include his mother (or his spouse) in his response. Mothers and wives are the basic foundation of a family. If we were to ask an unbiased third party as to who the family of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was, the first names they would mention would be the Prophet’s wives.
The Quran Refers to the Prophet’s Wives as Ahlel Bayt
As Muslims, we believe in the absolute authority of the Quran. It is the highest source of legislation; in fact, it is the very speech of Allah. The Quran refers to the Prophet’s wives as the Ahlel Bayt. Allah Almighty Himself negates all those who dare argue that Aisha (رضّى الله عنها) and Hafsa (رضّى الله عنها) are not part of the Ahlel Bayt.
The Quran specifically refers to the wives of the Prophet as Ahlel Bayt in the following verse:
“O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in your speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, you Ahlel Bayt (People of the House), and to make you pure and spotless.” (Quran, 33:32-33)
The transliteration reads:
“Ya nisa al-nabiyi lastuna kahadin mina alnisa-i ini itaqaytuna fala takhdaAAna bialqawli fayatmaAAa allathee fee qalbihi maradun waqulna qawlan maAAroofan Waqarna fee buyootikunna wala tabarrajna tabarruja aljahiliyyati al-oola waaqimna alssalata waateena alzzakata waatiAAna Allaha warasoolahu innama yureedu Allahu liyuthhiba AAankumu alrrijsa Ahlul Bayt-i wayutahhirakum tatheeran” (Quran, 33:32-33)
There is in fact not a single verse in the Quran which identifies Ali (رضّى الله عنه), Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), Hasan (رضّى الله عنه), or Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) as the Ahlel Bayt. Not a single verse in the Quran mentions the 12 Infallible Imams of the Shia, let alone calling them Ahlel Bayt. The term “Ahlel Bayt” has been used twice in the Quran, and both times it is used to refer to the wives. And a similar term, Ahli Baytin is used in the Quran to refer to the wife of Imran (mother of Moses). And yet, not a single time is the word “Ahlel Bayt” used in the Quran for Ali (رضّى الله عنه), Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), Hasan (رضّى الله عنه), or Hussain (رضّى الله عنه). Nowhere does the Quran say “O cousin of the Prophet” but rather the Quran says “O wives of the Prophet.” If following the Ahlel Bayt is the fundamental of belief as the Shia Ayatollahs claim, then why is it that the Quran never once mentions Ali (رضّى الله عنه) let alone mentioning him as the Ahlel Bayt? If we ask our Shia brothers to produce verses in the Quran about the Ahlel Bayt, they will be dissapointed to find that these verses are all in relation to the Prophet’s wives.
Second Time the Quran Uses the Word “Ahlel Bayt”
Ahlel Bayt is used another time in the Quran and again this time to refer to the wives:
“She said: ‘O wonder! shall I bear a son when I am an extremely old woman and this my husband an extremely old man? Most surely this is a wonderful thing.’ They said: ‘Do you wonder at Allah’s decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, o you Ahlel Bayt (People of the House)! for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory!’” (Quran, 11:72-73)
The transliteration reads:
“Qalat Ya Waylata ‘A’alidu Wa ‘Ana `Ajuzun Wa Hadha Ba`li Shaykhaan ‘Inna Hadha Lashay’un `Ajibun. Qalu ‘Ata`jabina Min ‘Amri Allahi Rahmatu Allahi Wa Barakatuhu `Alaykum ‘Ahlul-Bayt-i ‘Innahu Hamidun Majidun.” (Quran, 11:72-73)
In the verse above, Prophet Ibrahim’s wife asks the angels how can she have a son, and they respond back calling her and Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) as Ahlel Bayt. And again, the collective pronoun is used to refer to the Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) and his wife. Nobody else was in the room other than them, and the angels referred to them all as Ahlel Bayt, including Prophet Ibrahim’s wife.
The Quran declares that Wives are Part of the Family
Allah Almighty says that all of the members of Prophet Loot’s family will be saved aside from his wife. Allah says: “(All) except the family of Loot. Them all surely We are going to save (from destruction). Except his wife…” (Quran, 15:59-60)
The construction “except his wife” would be non-sensical unless the wife was included in the family of Loot (عليه السلم). Otherwise, why would Allah need to clarify that Loot’s wife was an exception to the rule that the family of Loot (عليه السلام) would be saved?
In Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet specifically refers to Aisha as part of Ahlel Bayt:
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 316
A banquet of bread and meat was held on the occasion of the marriage of the Prophet to Zainab bint Jahsh. I was sent to invite the people (to the banquet), and so the people started coming (in groups). They would eat and then leave. Another batch would come, eat and leave. So I kept on inviting the people till I found nobody to invite.
Then I said, “O Allah’s Prophet! I do not find anybody to invite.”
He (the Prophet) said, “Carry away the remaining food.” Then a batch of three persons stayed in the house chatting. The Prophet left and went towards the dwelling place of Aisha and said, “Peace and Allah’s Mercy be on you, Ya Ahlel Bayt (O the people of the house)!”
She replied, “Peace and the mercy of Allah be on you too. How did you find your wife? May Allah bless you.”
Then he went to the dwelling places of all his other wives and said to them the same as he said to Aisha and they said to him the same as Aisha had said to him.
Sahih Bukhari is considered the most reliable book of Hadith, and therefore there is no doubt that this is an authoratative declaration that the Prophet’s wives are Ahlel Bayt.
Certain Shia Ayatollahs will often take Hadith out of context in order to “prove” that the Prophet’s wives are not part of the Ahlel Bayt. We shall examine all of these Hadith in later articles, and we shall see that the reality is that an unbiased view of the Hadith merely confirms the Quran, namely that the Prophet’s wives are part of the Ahlel Bayt.
It is narrated in Sahih Muslim by Zayd ibn Arqam (رضّى الله عنه) that the Prophet’s wives are part of the Ahlel Bayt. In Sahih Muslim (Book 31, Chapter 4, Hadith-5920), Zayd says “His wives are among the people of his household.” He further emphasized: “His spouses are a fiber of his household.” If the wives are the fiber of Ahlel Bayt, it means that they are the fundamental unit of it.
In future articles, we shall–Insha-Allah–examine other Hadith, those that are commonly taken out of context by the Shia Ayatollahs.
Shaikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid says: “With regard to the wives of the Prophet…they are included among the members of the family of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم).” This is the majority opinion of the Ulema.
One Last Argument
We ask our Shia brothers to ponder upon why the Quran and the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) used the term “Ahl-al-Bayt” as opposed to simply “Ahl” which means “family.” By confining the Ahl with “Al-Bayt” this is restricting who is being referred to as the family living under the roof of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). Neither Ali (رضّى الله عنه), Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), Hasan (رضّى الله عنه), nor Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) lived in the same house as the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). On the other hand, the Prophet’s wives most definitely did.
If Allah was referring to the family of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) that did not live in his house, then surely the word “Ahl” would have been more appropriate to use; the additional specification of “Al-Bayt” would then be completely extraneous and in fact self-contradictory. The phrase “Ahl-Al-Bayt” confines the Ahl to those who live inside the Bayt, which consists of the Prophet’s wives. Any other explanation is nonsensical.
Ahlel Bayt of Ali (رضّى الله عنه)
The Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah holds the Ahle Bayt Ali (رضّى الله عنه) in the highest regard. In fact, we believe that Ali’s family (رضّى الله عنه)–along with the families of Aqeel (رضّى الله عنه) and Abbas (رضّى الله عنه)–are honorary members of the Prophetic Ahlel Bayt. Ali’s family (رضّى الله عنه) is commonly referred to as Ahlel Kisa (People of the Cloak) and they are highly regarded by the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. However, we disagree with those who exploit the Ahlel Bayt of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) to hurt and degrade the Ahlel Bayt of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). We ask Allah to shower His Infinite Blessings upon both of these families.
Certain Shia propagandists might try to claim that we are insulting the family of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) by saying that they are “only” honorary members of the Ahlel Bayt, but this is not true at all. The Shia declare that Salman Al-Farsi (رضّى الله عنه) was an honorary member of Ahlel Bayt. Is this insulting Salman Al-Farsi (رضّى الله عنه)? No, it is in fact exalting him. Likewise, to say that Ali’s family (رضّى الله عنه) is an honorary part of the Ahlel Bayt is likewise an exaltation and not an insult at all. The Shia have called Salman Al-Farsi (رضّى الله عنه) to be an honorary member of the Ahlel Bayt; therefore, if they accuse the Sunnis of hating Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for calling him an honorary member, then they are also guilty of hating Salman Al-Farsi (رضّى الله عنه).
Al-Islam.org says“The reference to Salman Farsi as a member of the Ahlul-Bayt is honorary. Salman Farsi’s conversion to Islam left a great impression on the HolyProphet (S) and others. Throughout the years of the Holy Prophet’s mission, Salman Farsi was one of the companions most dedicated in the service, defence and propagation of Islam. His service to the household of the HolyProphet and his sincere love for them earned him great respect from all quarters of the Ahlul-Bayt. Thus, as an honor for him, the Prophet (S) referred to him as one of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS). We pray that he will be raised in the honorable company of the ones he loved so dearly.
Perhaps the reason that the Shia Ayatollahs love the Ahlel Bayt of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and not the Ahlel Bayt of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) has to do with how the faith of Shi’ism came into being. Indeed, the early ancestors of the Shia are the Saba’ites, followers of Abdullah Ibn Saba. These Saba’ites excessively praised Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and eventually even declared that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was superior to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). Today, the Shia adamantly deny this and they say that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is superior to Ali (رضّى الله عنه). However, we wonder why then they praise the Ahlel Bayt of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and not the Ahlel Bayt of Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم)? Is this not a remnant of the Saba’ite origin of Shi’ism?
Furthermore, there is absolutely no logic in calling the Infallible Imams of the Shia to be part of Ahlel Bayt and then deny that the Prophet’s wives are part of Ahlel Bayt. Surely, the Prophet’s wives have a much greater right to be part of Ahlel Bayt than people who did not even live in the Bayt of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم).
The Prophet’s wives are the Ahlel Bayt. Many Shia Ayatollahs slander Aisha (رضّى الله عنها) and Hafsa (رضّى الله عنها) with many baseless accusations (we shall examine these accusations in later articles). We ask our Shia brothers to ponder over the true nature of this love. The Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah are lovers of Ahlel Bayt and certainly not Nasibis (haters of Ahlel Bayt). In fact the reality may be that the Ayatollahs are the ones who are Nasibis as they hate the Ahlel Bayt (i.e. Prophet’s wives) so much that they even deny that they are the Ahlel Bayt! In fact, the AhlelBayt.com website was primarily designed to defend the Ahlel Bayt, namely Aisha (رضّى الله عنها), from the slander uttered against her.
The fact that the Prophet’s wives are Ahlel Bayt is proven from the Quran, Hadith, scholarly opinion, dictionary, logic, common sense, and common usage of the word “Ahlel Bayt.” Those who care to argue so vehemently against the verses of the Quran can only be those who hate the Ahlel Bayt so much and so passionately that they must even reject the Word of Allah.
Article Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi, www.ahlelbayt.com