Who are the Ahlel Bayt?
Primarily, the Prophet’s wives are Ahlel Bayt. After them, there are others who were also called that, but it should be remembered that the ones with the most right to be called Ahlel Bayt are first and foremost the Prophet’s wives.
Can you please clarify: who else is a part of the Ahlel Bayt?
The Ahlel Bayt refers to the Prophet’s family. Yes, it is true that the Prophet’s family are of an exalted status. However, the Shia opinion of who is Ahlel Bayt is discriminatory and ethically wrong. The rightly guided Ahlus Sunnah holds that the Ahlel Bayt does indeed refer to the Prophet’s family, but that the Prophet’s family includes all pious Muslims; the reason for this is that relations are based on Taqwa (piety) in the Islamic belief, not on blood. It was based on this fact that the Prophet referred to Salman al-Farsi as being Ahlel Bayt, even though Salman was Persian in ethnicity and completely unrelated to the Prophet by blood.
Anyone who is pious is part of the Ahlel Bayt; some of these people were specifically mentioned to be part of this group. These include:
1. The Prophet’s wives
2. The Prophet’s children
3. The Prophet’s freed slaves
4. Ahlel Kisa (People of the Cloak, i.e. Ali ibn Abi Talib’s family)
5. The family of Aqil
6. The offspring of Jafar
7. The offspring of Abbas
8. Salman al-Farsi
And perhaps some others we may have missed…
However, the Ahlel Bayt is not limited to these people. Included in the Ahlel Bayt is every God-fearing believer. The Prophet said:
“Do not come to me with your lineages on the Day of Resurrection! My Family is every God-fearing believer.”
“Every Prophet has a Family and carriage; my Family and carriage are the Believers.”
An appropriate analogy is the fact that the Prophet named ten Sahabah specifically by name as being promised Paradise, but this does not mean that they are the only ones to go to Paradise. Likewise, the Prophet specifically referred to certain people as being family, but this does not mean that others are not also part of it.
Islam does not support bigotry, discrimination, or racism. Instead, Islam is egalitarian and just.