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AlKafi 1613


Assalamualaikum, SS Mufti. I have a question about who is the real Ahl Bait according to Ahl Sunnah wal Jamaah? Are the people named Syed and Syarifah the only ones from the lineage of Ahlul Bait?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The definition of ‘Ahlul Bait’ lexically according to the Lisanul ‘Arab dictionary (1/268) is composed of two words; ahlul and bait which means family, relatives, and kinsfolk.

Another term usually used to depict Ahlul Bait is syed and syarifah. According to the 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan, syed and syarifah are the monikers given to those who are from the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

Syariah scholars and historians have had a long discussion about the people who are considered as Ahlul Bait. There are several groups that are stated as Ahlul Bait in general or specific, some of them are:

First: Ahlu al-Kisa’ (The group enveloped by the cloth) is among the groups specifically stated as Ahlul Bait.

There are five people grouped in this category including the Prophet PBUH, Hasan RA, Husain RA, Fatimah RA, and Saidina Ali RA. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Aisyah RA:

خَرَجَ النبيُّ صَلّى اللَّهُ عليه وسلَّمَ غَداةً وَعليه مِرْطٌ مُرَحَّلٌ، مِن شَعْرٍ أَسْوَدَ، فَجاءَ الحَسَنُ بنُ عَلِيٍّ فأدْخَلَهُ، ثُمَّ جاءَ الحُسَيْنُ فَدَخَلَ معهُ، ثُمَّ جاءَتْ فاطِمَةُ فأدْخَلَها، ثُمَّ جاءَ عَلِيٌّ فأدْخَلَهُ، ثُمَّ قالَ: {إنَّما يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ البَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا} [الأحزاب: ٣٣].

Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel's hair that there came Hasan b. 'Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came ‘Ali and he also took him under it and then said: “Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household, and purify you (thorough purifying),” (Surah al-Ahzab 33)

Sahih Muslim (2424)

Second: The wives of the Prophet PBUH

According to the rajih (more accurate) opinion, all of the wives of the Prophet PBUH are included as Ahlul Bait according to the verse of the Quran which prohibits the wives of the Prophet PBUH from following the custom of the time of ignorance in clothing and adornments. Allah SWT states:

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

“And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.

Surah al-Ahzab (33)

Ibn Kathir RA when commenting on this verse, he said the above context shows that the wives of the Prophet PBUH are included as Ahlul Bait and even the asbab al-nuzul (the reason it was revealed) for the verse is specific for them.

(See Tafsir Ibn Katsir, 6/410)

Third: Bani Muttalib and Bani Hashim

The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that Ahlul bait is prohibited from receiving zakat. However, they have differing opinions as to who the Ahlul Bait meant. Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah (died in 676 H) when explaining the lineage of the family of the Prophet PBUH of whom are prohibited from receiving zakat are the family of the prophet PBUH from the lineage of Bani Hasyim and Abdul Muttalib.

(See Syarh Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 7/175)

According to the hadith narrated by Jubair bin Mut’im RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

مَشيتُ أَنا وعُثْمانُ بنُ عَفّانَ إلى رَسولِ اللَّهِ ﷺ، فَقُلْنا: يا رَسولَ اللَّهِ أَعْطَيْتَ بَنِي المُطَّلِبِ وتَرَكْتَنا، ونَحْنُ وهُمْ مِنْكَ بمَنْزِلَةٍ واحِدَةٍ؟ فَقالَ رَسولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ: إنَّما بَنُو المُطَّلِبِ، وبَنُو هاشِمٍ شيءٌ واحِدٌ.

I and `Uthman bin `Affan went to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! You have given to Bani Al-Muttalib and left us although they and we are of the same kinship to you." Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Bani Muttalib and Bani Hashim are one and the same."

Sahih al-Bukhari (3502)

This hadith shows that people from other than Bani Muttalib and Bani Hashim, they are not from the Ahlul Bait category. The proof is the narrator above Jubair bin Mut’im RA asked as a representative of the family of Bani Naufal who does not have a right to receive the rewards of war (ghanimah) which is a known fact if they are from among the Ahlul Bait, surely, they would have a portion in it. This refers to a statement of Allah SWT:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّـهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُم بِاللَّـهِ وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“And know that anything you obtain of war booty - then indeed, for Allah is one-fifth of it and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and the orphans, the needy, and the [stranded] traveler, if you have believed in Allah and in that which We sent down to Our Servant on the day of criterion - the day when the two armies met. And Allah, over all things, is competent.”

Surah al-Anfal (41)

The family of Bani Hashim bin Abdul manaf comprised of; the family of Ali, ‘Aqil, Ja’far and ‘Abbas. This is as narrated by Imam Ahmad from Zaid bin Arqam RA related to Thaqalain (two heavy matters) hadith,

وَإِنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُمْ ثَقَلَيْنِ أَوَّلُهُمَا كِتَابُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهِ الْهُدَى وَالنُّورُ فَخُذُوا بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَاسْتَمْسِكُوا بِهِ -فَحَثَّ عَلَى كِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَرَغَّبَ فِيهِ - قَالَ: وَأَهْلُ بَيْتِي أُذَكِّرُكُمْ اللَّهَ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي أُذَكِّرُكُمْ اللَّهَ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي أُذَكِّرُكُمْ اللَّهَ فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِي " فَقَالَ لَهُ حُصَيْنٌ : وَمَنْ أَهْلُ بَيْتِهِ يَا زَيْدُ ؟ أَلَيْسَ نِسَاؤُهُ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ ؟ قَالَ: إِنَّ نِسَاءَهُ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَهْلَ بَيْتِهِ مَنْ حُرِمَ الصَّدَقَةَ بَعْدَهُ. قَالَ: وَمَنْ هُمْ؟ قَالَ:"هُمْ آلُ عَلِيٍّ وَآلُ عَقِيلٍ وَآلُ جَعْفَرٍ وَآلُ عَبَّاسٍ" قَالَ: أَكُلُّ هَؤُلَاءِ حُرِمَ الصَّدَقَةَ! قَالَ: نَعَمْ

“Indeed, I (the prophet Muhammad PBUH) have left you thaqalain (two heavy matters), of which the light convenes.

(First) Hold on to the book of Allah Ta’ala and reinforce your stand on Him – then he encouraged the recitation of the Quran at the same time motivates others with the Quran

(Second) And my family, I remind you to Allah about my family, I remind you to Allah about my family, I remind you to Allah about my family.”

Then Husain asked Zaid bin Arqam: “O Zaid, who are included as his family? Aren’t all his wives his family?”

Zaid replied: “Indeed, all his wives are included as Ahlul Bait and they ()Ahlul Bait” are prohibited from receiving donations (including zakat).”

Husain asked again: “Who are included as Ahlul Bait?”

Zaid answered: “They are the family of Ali, ‘Aqil, Ja’far and ‘Abbas.”

Husain further asked: “Are all of them prohibited from receiving donations?” Zaid answered yet again: “Yes, true.”

Musnad Ahmad (18464)

Thus, according to the above discussion and explanation, it can be concluded that Ahlul bait according to Ahl Sunnah wal Jamaah includes; Ahlul Kisa’, the wives of the Messenger PBUH, his children, and grandchildren as well as the family and kinfolks from the lineage of Bani Hashim and Bani Muttalib. Whoever has evidence proving that his ancestry reaches the Messenger PBUH through the above-mentioned routes, then they are considered as Ahlul Bait despite not having the moniker syed or syarifah in their names.

Wallahu a’lam.