Imam Ali bin Musa Al-Redha(as) attended the gathering of Ma’moon in Marw (old name for Mash’had). A large number of the scholars from Iraq and Khurasaan were present in that gathering.
Ma’moon said to them, “Tell me about the meaning of this verse, ‘Then we gave the book as inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants (35:32).”
The scholars replied, “Allah meant the entire nation by this verse.”
Ma’moon asked Imam Al-Redha(as), “What is your opinion, O Abal Hasan?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “I disagree with their view. Allah meant the purified family in this verse.”Ma’moon asked, “What is the reason that this is specific to the purified family and not the entire nation?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied:
If the entire nation was meant by this verse then it would mean that the entire nation will go to Paradise because the next statement in the verse says, “And of them is he who causes his soul to suffer loss and of them is he who follows the middle course and of them is he who, by Allah’s leave, is foremost in goodness – this is the greatest excellence” (35:32). And then Allah continues and defines their destination as Paradise by saying, “Gardens of eternity shall they enter, where they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls” (35:33). So those who inherit are only the purified family and no one else.
Ma’moon asked, “Who are the purified family?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied:
They are those whom Allah describes in His book by saying, “Verily, verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, O you the people of the house and purify you (with) a thorough purification” (33:33).
They are the ones to whom the Messenger of Allah(saww) referred (in Hadith Al-Thaqalain), “I leave behind two weights for you; the Book of Allah and my progeny, the people of the house. Verily they will never leave each other until they join me by the Pool. So pay attention to how you treat them after me. O people! Do not try to teach them anything because they are more knowledgeable than you.”
Then the scholars asked, “O Abal Hasan! Tell us about the progeny. Are they the family of the Prophet or not?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “They are the family of the Prophet.”
The scholars said, “It is said that the Messenger of Allah(saww) said, ‘My nation is my family.’ And this means that the progeny is like the rest of the nation.”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “Tell me, is Sadaqa unlawful for the family (of the Prophet)?”
“Yes,” the scholars replied.
“Is it unlawful for the nation?” Imam Al-Redha(as) asked.
Imam Al-Redha(as) said, “Then there is a difference between the nation and the family. Woe unto you! Where are you being led to?! Have you ignored the book of Allah completely or are you an immoderate nation?! Do you not know that the “inheritance and “purification” are specifically for the chosen ones who are rightly guided?!”
“Based on what?” asked the scholars.
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied:
Based on the words of Allah. “We sent Nuh and Ibrahim and We founded prophethood and the book in their progeny; so some of them are rightly guided, but many of them are transgressors” (57:26). So the “inheritance” of the prophethood and the book are specific to the rightly guided ones and not to the transgressors.
Do you not know that when Nuh said to Allah, “My Lord, Verily my son is of my family, and verily Your promise is true and You are the most just of all judges” (11:45), Allah promised to save him and his family, but He replied to Nuh by saying, “O Nuh, verily he is not of your family; verily his conduct is other than righteous, therefore ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge; verily I admonish you lest you may be among the ignorant”(11:46).
Then Ma’moon asked, “Has Allah given preference to the progeny of the Prophet over the people in His book?”
Imam Al-Redha(as), replied, “Yes, Allah has given them preference over the people in His book.”Ma’moon asked, “To which verse are you referring?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied:
“Verily Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above (all His) creatures” (3:33).
And in another place Allah says, “Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed, We gave to Ibrahim’s children the book and wisdom and We gave them a great kingdom” (4:54).
And after this verse Allah addresses the rest of the believers and says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority (from) among you” (4:59). So “those vested with authority” are those who are envied because they were given the book and the wisdom. And in this verse, “Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed, We gave to Ibrahim’s children the book and wisdom and We gave them a great kingdom” (4:54), Allah refers to obedience of the purified ones, so the “great kingdom” refers to obeying them.
The scholars asked, “Has Allah explained the “choosing” (of the chosen ones) in His Book?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “It is explained in the surface of twelve verses, not to mention the verses that explain it in their inner meaning.”
First: “And inform your nearest kinsmen” (26:214) – and in the recitation of Abi Kaab and Abdullah bin Mas’oud – this verse has an additional statement which is, “and your loyal family.” Allah refers to the family of the Prophet in this verse (26:214) and this is a lofty status, an amazing excellence and a great honour.
Second: ‘Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, O you the people of the house and purify you (with) a thorough purification” (33:33), and this is an excellence that no one denies except the ignorant enemies who have gone astray.
Third: Allah elected the pure chosen ones from His creation and ordered His Prophet to take them to invoke the curse of Allah on the liars. ‘And say to him who disputes with you therein after the knowledge has come to you (O Mohammad): ‘Come, let us summon our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves and then let us humbly pray and invoke the curse of Allah on the liars!” (3:61).
So the Messenger of Allah(saww) took Ali(as), Fatema(sa), Hasan(as), and Husain(as) with him (Day of Mubahala) and he united them with himself. Do you know the meaning of “and ourselves and yourselves” (in this verse)?
The scholars replied, “Ourselves refers to the Prophet(saww) himself.”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied:
You are wrong. It refers to Ali bin Abi Taleb(as) and one of the reasons for that is that the Messenger of Allah(saww) has said, “If Banu Wali’ah do not stop, I will send a man who is just like myself to them.” The Prophet(saww) meant Ali bin Abi Taleb(as) by ourselves (3:61), and by sons he meant Hasan(as) and Husain(as) and by women he meant Fatema(sa). This is a virtue that no one else can claim, an excellence that no one can attain, and an honour that no one else has.
Fourth: The Prophet(saww) sent the people out of the mosque and kept his family in it, despite people, including Abbas, complaining by saying, “O Messenger of Allah! Why did you evict all of us from the mosque except Ali?”
The Prophet(saww) replied, “It was not me who evicted you from the mosque and kept Ali inside. It was Allah who did it.” And this is the explanation for the statement of the Prophet(saww) about Ali when he said, “O Ali! You are to me like Harun was to Musa.”
The scholars replied, “So what does this have to do with the Qur’an?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “And We revealed to Musa and his brother; ‘Provide houses for your people in Egypt, and make your houses places of worship”(10:87). This verse describes the relationship of Harun to Musa as well as the relationship of All bin Abi Taleb(as) to the Prophet(saww), because the Prophet(saww) had said, “O Ali! You are to me like Harun was to Musa.” And in addition to this, the Messenger of Allah(saww) said, “It is not allowed for an impure person to enter my mosque except for Mohammad and his farnily.”
The scholars said, “O Abal Hasan! No one can explain the Qur’an like you, the family of the Prophet.”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied:
And who can deny this, for the Messenger of Allah(saww) said, “I am the city of wisdom and Ali is its door. So if anyone wants to enter this city, he should come through the door.” Praise be to Allah for this explanation of the excellence, honour and the purification of the chosen ones which cannot be denied, except by the stubborn enemies.
Fifth: “Give to the near of kin his (her) dues” (17:26). Allah has specifically mentioned the purified ones in this verse and has elevated them above the nation.
This verse is a virtue for the Prophet(saww) until the Day of Judgement. It is also a virtue that is specific only to the family of the Prophet, because Allah mentions Nuh in the Qur’an when Nuh said to his nation, “O my people! I do not ask you for any wealth in return. My reward is with Allah alone, and I will not drive away those who believe; verily they shall meet their Lord, but I see you are an ignorant people” (11:29).
And Allah mentions in the Qur’an that Hud said, “O my people! I do not ask you any recompense for it; my recompense is only with Him who created me. Will you then not understand?”(11:51).
But Allah ordered the Prophet(saww) to say, “I do not ask of you any recompense for it (the toils of the prophethood) save love of (my) relatives” (42:23), so Allah made the love of the family of the Prophet obligatory on all people. Allah only did this because He knew that the family of the Prophet would never deviate from the religion or go astray.
The other point is that Allah wanted to ensure that the Prophet(saww) did not have anything in his heart against the believers. So He made loving the family of the Prophet obligatory on the believers, and the Prophet(saww) cannot hate anyone who loves him and his family. But it is obligatory on the Messenger of Allah(saww) to hate those who hate his family because they have ignored one of the obligatory religious duties. There is no honour and no merit that is comparable to this.When this verse was revealed to the Prophet(saww), he gave a speech.
After praising Allah, he said, “O People! Allah has assigned an obligatory duty on you. Will you commit to it?” No one answered the Prophet(saww). Then he continued, “It has nothing to do with your gold, silver, food or drink.” At this point people said, “Then tell us.” The Messenger of Allah(saww) recited the verse for them and they all agreed to stay committed to it but most of them did not.
All of the previous messengers were ordered not to ask for any recompense from their nation except Mohammad. Mohammad was ordered to ask people to love his family as his recompense, and Allah showed their status to people in this way.
The amount of love that people have for the family of the Prophet is equal to their knowledge of the status of the family of the Prophet.
When Allah appointed this weight (the family of the Prophet) and made loving them obligatory on the believers, some people found this weight unbearable.
Those from whom Allah had taken the covenant committed to the love of the family of the Prophet. However, the evildoers, the hypocrites and the envious people refused to love the family of the Prophet. And by doing so, they disbelieved in Allah. They also tried to make others deviate from the actual meaning of this verse by saying that “relatives” in this verse means all of the Arabs and all of the Muslims.
In either case, it is clear that loving the relatives is obligatory. And those who are closer to the Prophet(saww) are more worthy of the love than others. And also the amount of love for the relatives should be based on one’s nearness to the Prophet(saww).
The people were not just to the Prophet(saww) in their love for his relatives nor did they thank Allah for His indescribable grace, a grace for which it is impossible to thank with words.
They did not stay loyal to their promise to refrain from hurting the Prophet(saww) by hurting his family and his progeny. (Nor did they stay loyal to their promise) to treat them like they treat their own eyes, because loving them in reality is to love the Prophet(saww).
How did they ignore all of this? The Qur’an talks about it and orders them to love the family of the Prophet. The narrations from the Messenger of Allah(saww) are undeniable about the fact that his family, specifically are the “relatives” and that loving them is obligatory by Allah in His book and He has promised the reward for loving them. (But) people did not stay loyal to this.
Entering Paradise is obligatory on those believers who stay loyal in their love for the family of the Prophet, for Allah says, “Those who believe and do good deeds shall be in meadows of the gardens. They shall have whatsoever they wish with their Lord. That is the greatest grace. Those are the glad tidings which Allah gives to His servants who believe and do good Say (O Mohammad): I do not ask of you any recompense for it (the toils of the prophethood) save love of (my) relatives” (42:22-23). This is a clear explanation.
Then Imam Al-Redha(as) continued:
My father(as) narrated for me, from my grandfather(as), from his fathers(as), from Husain bin Ali(as), who said:
Muhajerin and Ansar all came to the Messenger of Allah(saww) and said:
O Messenger of Allah! You have several expenses and it is difficult for you to pay all of them. So we are willing to give you our wealth and our lives. You can decide whatever you want to do with them. If you want to keep them they are yours to keep, and if you want to spend them they are yours to spend.
Then Jibraeel came down from Allah to the Prophet(saww) and said, “Say (O Mohammad): ‘I do not ask of you any recompense for it (the toils of the prophethood) save love of (my) relatives” (42:23)
When people heard this, they left and the hypocrites said, “He refused to accept our offer in order to force us to love his family. He forged this and this was not from Allah.”
So Allah sent Jibraeel with this verse to the Prophet(saww), “Or do they say: ‘He has forged it?’ say O Mohammad! ‘If I have forged it, then you cannot avail me in anything against (the wrath of) Allah. He knows best what you utter thereof (in ridicule). He is sufficient as a witness between you and me; and He is oft-forgiving, most merciful” (46:8).
So the Messenger of Allah(saww) gathered the people and asked them, “Did anything happen (since we last met)?”
They replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah! Some people from among our group have said something very rude and we hated their words.”
The Messenger of Allah(saww) recited the verse (46:8) for them and they started to cry profusely.
Then Allah revealed this verse to the Prophet(saww), “lie is who accepts repentance from His servants and forgives sins, and He knows what you do” (42:25).
Seventh: Allah says in His book, “Verily Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe, send blessings on him and greet him with a worthy greeting” (33:56).
And even the enemies know that when this verse was revealed, people asked the Prophet(saww), “O Messenger of Allah! We know how to greet you but how do we send blessings on you?”
The Prophet(saww) replied, “Say: ‘O Allah! Send your blessings on Mohammad and the family of Mohammad’ as you did for Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praised and the Glorified Lord.”
Can any of the Muslims deny this?
“No,” replied the scholars.
Ma’moon added, “This is undeniable and the entire nation agrees about this. Do you know of any verse that is even more powerful than this verse?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “Yes. Tell me about these verses, “Ya Sin. By the Qur’an, the book of wisdom, verily you are one of the messengers, on the straight path” (36:1-4). Tell me who is “Ya Sin”?
The scholars replied, “No one has any doubt that “Ya Sin” is Mohammad.”
Imam Al-Redha(as) continued:
Then Allah has given a virtue to Mohammad and his family that is impossible to be measured, for Allah never says Salaam to anyone except to the prophets. For example, He says, “Salaam be on Nuh among the worlds” (37:79) or “Salaam be on Ibrahim” (37:109) or “Salaam be on Musa and Harun” (37:120).
But He did not say Salaam be on the family of Nuh or the family of Ibrahim or the family of Musa or Harun, but He did say, “Salaam on the family of Ya Sin” (37:130) and this means the family of Mohammad.
Ma’moon said, “I knew that only the source of prophethood could explain this verse the way you did.”
Eighth: ‘And know you (O believers) that whatever you acquire, a fifth of it is for Allah, and for His Messenger, and for his near relatives”(8:41). Allah in this verse unites the share of the near relatives with the share of the Messenger with His own share. And this is another difference between the family and the rest of the nation, because Allah has separated the family from the rest of the nation. He wants them (the family) to have what He wants for Himself.
Therefore, they are the chosen ones because He starts with Himself (in verse 8:41), then He mentions His Messenger and then the “near relatives.” So whatever the believers acquire in battles or in any other way, if Allah is pleased with it for Himself, He is pleased with it for the near relatives as well. This verse affirms an already confirmed concept and this virtue will stay with them in the wise and speaking Book of Allah until the Day of Judgement, the book that says, “Falsehood cannot come at it, from before it, or from behind it. It is a revelation from the All-Wise, the Owner of Praise” (41:42).
As for “the orphans and the needy” (who are mentioned after the “near relatives” in the same verse), understand that the orphans will be excluded from this verse when they reach the legal age. And the needy will be excluded from this verse when their needs end and they receive some wealth. However, the share of the “near relatives” will continue until the Day of judgement, and it applies to both the needy and the wealthy from among them because there is no one wealthier than Allah and His Messenger. And although they are wealthy, the share still applies to them. Allah assigns a share for Himself and His Messenger, and He has assigned the same share for the “near relatives” and this is not only limited to that which is gained from battles.
The same order applies to obedience. Just as Allah assigns the share first to Himself, then to the Messenger of Allah(saww) and then to his family, He says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority (from) among you” (4:59).
The same applies to the verse of Wilayat in which Allah says, “Verily, verily, your Wali (the one with authority) is Allah and His Messenger and those who believe and establish the prayer, and give the poor-rate while they are (in the state of Ruku) bowing down” (5:55). Just like with the shares, in these two verses Allah unites obeying the family with obeying Him, and He unites their Wilayat with His Own Wilayat and the Wilayat of the Messenger.
But when it comes to Sadaqa, Allah excludes the Prophet(saww) and his family from it by saying, “Verily alms are only for the poor and the needy and those employed to administer (the funds); and those whose hearts are to be won over, and for ransoming the captives, and those who are in debt, and in the cause of Allah, and for wayfarer a duty ordained by Allah” (9:60). So do you see any share being mentioned for Allah or his Messenger or the family? You do not because Allah has excluded Himself and His Messenger and the family of the Prophet from alms.
Not only are they excluded from it, it is unlawful for them to use it because it is the dirt and the remainder of peoples properties. And the family of the Prophet are purified from any uncleanliness. And when Allah purified them with a thorough purification, He allowed them to have that which He allows Himself to have, and He forbade them to have that which He forbids Himself to have.
Ninth: We are the family of “DHIKR” to whom Allah refers in His Book by saying, “So ask the family of DHIKR if you do not know” (16:43). So ask us if you do not know.
The scholars said, “Allah meant the Jews and the Christians in this verse.”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “SUBHANALLAH! Is it possible for Allah to order the people to ask the Jews and the Christians when they have questions although they claim that their religion is better than Islam?”
Ma’moon asked, “Can you prove them wrong from the verses in the Qur’an?”
Imam Al-Redha(as) replied, “Yes. DHIKR’ is the Messenger of Allah(saww) and we are his family because Allah says in His book, “You men of understanding who have believed, fear the wrath of Allah. Allah has indeed sent down DHIKR, a Messenger to you who recites to you the clear signs of Allah” (65:10-11).So then ‘DHIKR’ is the Messenger of Allah(saww) and we are his family.”
Tenth: Allah says in the “forbidding” verse. “Forbidden to you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and..”(4:23). So tell me, if the Messenger of Allah(saww) was alive, could he marry my daughter or my granddaughter?”
“No,” they all replied.
“What about your daughters?” asked Imam(as).
“Yes,” they replied.
Imam Al-Redha(as) said, “Then this tells you again that I am from his family and you are not. And this is another difference between the nation and the family, because if the nation was the same as family then your daughters would also be forbidden to the Prophet(saww).”
Eleventh: Allah refers to the believers from the people of Fir’awn by saying, A believer, a man from among the people of Fir’awn, who was concealing his faith said: ‘Will you kill a man because he says: ‘My Lord is Allah, when he has brought clear proofs to you….” (40:28). That man was Fir’awn’s maternal cousin and Allah refers to him as a man from the people of Fir’awn. So the “people of Fir’awn” is not defined based on the religion, it is based on family relations. We are from the blood of the Prophet(saww) and we are his close relatives. And this is another difference between the nation and the family.
Twelfth: “Enjoin prayer (Salaat) on your family and adhere steadily to it” (20:132). Allah has specifically chosen us in this verse. From the day this verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah(saww) used to come to the door of the house of Ali(as) and Fatema(sa) five times a day for nine months and say, “May Allah have mercy on you. Establish prayers.”
Then Imam Al-Redha(as) added. “Allah has never honoured the family of any prophet the way He has honoured us.”
Ma’moon and the scholars said, May Allah reward you. O family of the Prophet. We cannot find the explanation of Qur’an anywhere but with you.”
Source: Basharat ul Mustafa Le Shiyyat e Murtuza, Chapter 7, Hadees 43 / Bihar ul Anwar, Vol 16, Pg 87/Vol 25, Pg 229/Vol 23, Pg 167/ Vol 94, Pg 51 / Oyoun Akhbar Al Redha, Pg 228-240 / Ta’weel Al Ayaat, Vol 2, Pg 501, Amaali of Sheikh Sadouq, Pg 121