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“Hadith al-Kisa" mentioned in the Sunni books dealing with authentic hadith, Musnad and exegesis (Tafsir)

By: Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Askari
In the book, "A Probe into the History of Hadith", has been told with particular reference the role of early Caliphs who indulged in promoting concocted and fabricated hadith. They evolved an institution through the auspices of their stipendiaries to add and compile such hadith and assigned the name of Correct (Sahih ) Narrations, of course barring those taken from the sources of Members of the holy Prophet's Family or their followers and given recognition as the representative collections affixing stamp of the "Official Islam" of the rulers of Bani Umayya and Bani Abbas which rarely exhibited any distinction or exceptional position for the Members of the holy Prophet's Family.
However in such a set up and under such circumstances if any hadith derived from the sources of Sunni Traditionalists confer any special favour or distinction on Members of holy Prophet's Family, naturally the authenticity of such hadith is established beyond any doubt. How such hadith have been retained in the "Sahah" of those august Sunni Traditionalists against such repressive practices as already told in the previous pages, is indeed something ordained from Almighty Allah and a feat of no less than a miracle. One among them is the "Haditb al-Kisa" (The Hadith of Cloak) which is being presented by Allama Murtadha al-Askari through the entire sources of our revered Sunni Traditionalists, which speak for itself the extra authenticity of the hadith under reference as it is over and above the authenticity conferred by Shia Traditionalists themselves.
Here is a bouquet of fragrant flowers comprising in the shape of narrations which spread the fragrance of the verse of Tathir (purification) having been revealed in the praise of the holy Prophet (P) and the holy members of his family. The narrations have been collected from the books of Sunnites dealing with authentic hadith, Musnad and exegesis (Tafsir).
This hadith is called "Hadith al-Kisa", because at that time when the verse of Tathir was revealed, the holy Prophet (P) covered himself and members of his family with a cloak, so as to distinguish them from other people. In Arabic the cloak of that type is called 'Aba' or 'Kisa' and in most of the narrations the word 'Kisa' has been used to mean the same. For this reason they, too are called "Ashab al-Kisa", and "Panjtan aal-i­ Aba".
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
(On recitation of whose name Divine blessing descends)
In his book entitled "Mustadrak Sahihyn " Hakim quotes from son of Ja'far son of Abu Talib 1 as saying: ''When the holy Prophet (P) observed that the Divine blessing was forthcoming he said, 'Call for me! Call for me! Safia asked 'O Prophet of Allah! Whom should I call for you? He said, 'Call for me the members of my family, namely, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn' (May peace and benediction be upon them). They were thus called to come close to the holy Prophet (P) and when all of them were gathered, the holy Prophet (P) placed his cloak on them and there after ·raised his hands in supplication and said, 'O Allah! These are the members of my family. Send your kind blessings on me and my progeny'. In the meantime Almighty Allah revealed the verse: "O people of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification. "
After quoting this hadith Hakim says, "This hadith is authentic and correct as regards its sources are concerned".

Type And Kind Of Kisa
According to the hadith quoted by Umm al-Mu'minin 'Ayeshah: Muslim (in "Sahih"), Hakim2 (in "Mustadrak"), Bahiqui (in "Sunan al-Kubra") and Tabri, in "Usd al-Ghabah" (Vol.III, page 33).
Ibn Kathir and Suyuti (in their "Tafsirs") quote from 'Ayeshah3 with regard to this verse as having said: "One day the holy Prophet (P) came out of the house4 carrying a printed cloak on his shoulder. At that time Hasan (P) came up to him and the holy Prophet (P) accommodated him and the holy Prophet accommodated him under the cloak. Then came Husayn (P) and the holy Prophet (P) accommodated him, too, under the cloak. Thereafter, Fatima (P) approached and was accommodated under the cloak. Ali (P) was the last to come and the holy Prophet (P) accommodated him also under the cloak. Thereafter, he (the holy Prophet recited this sacred verse: 'O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification."(33:33)
According to the hadith quoted by Umm a1-Mu'minin Umm Salama5.
In his "Tafsir", Tabri has quoted Umm Salama as having said in connection with the sacred verse in question as under: - "When the verse, O People of the Prophet's House! was revealed the holy Prophet (P) called Ali, Fatima, Hassan, and Husayn (May peace and benediction be upon them ) to himself and covered them under his cloak."
In another hadith Umm Salama is reported to have said: "He placed his cloak on them." This hadith has also been quoted by Suyuti in his "Tafsir" and has similarly been narrated by lbn Kathir in his "Tafsir".

Position Of The People Of The Prophet's Family Under The Cloak
As narrated by 'Umar son of Abu Salma: Tabri and lbn Kathir (in their "Tafsirs"), Tirmizy (in his "Sahih ") and Tahavi (in "Mush kil al-Athar ") have quoted 'Umar6 son of Abu Salma as having said: "The verse, 'O People of the Prophet's House! ......(33:33).' was revealed to the holy Prophet (P) in the house of Umm Salama. After the revelation of this verse the holy Prophet (P) called Hassan, Husayn, and Fatima (P) and made them sit in front of himself. Then he called Ali (P) as well as made him sit behind his back. Then he covered himself and all of them with his cloak and said: 'These are the People of my House. 0 Allah! Keep uncleanness away from them and make them clean and pure!'
As narrated by Wasilat son of Asqaa 7and Umm Salama: Hakim (in "Mustadrak") and Haithmi (in "Majma al-Zawaid ") have quoted from Wasilat that the holy Prophet (P) made Ali (P) and Fatima (P) sit in front of himself and placed Hassan (P) and Husayn (P) to sit on his knees or took them in his arms. And this h;idith has also been quoted by Ibn Kathir and Suyuti (in their "Tafsirs") and Bahiqui (in "Sunan ") and Ahmad bin Hambal (in "Musnad ").

Place where Members Of The Holy Prophet's House Assembled Together
As narrated in the hadith quoted by Abu Saeed Khadri: 8 Suyuti has quoted Abu Saeed in "Durr al­ Manthur" as having said, "The holy Prophet (P) was in the house of Umm Salama when Gabriel descended and brought the verse, "O People of the Prophet's House'........ (33:33)"
Abu Saeed says, "At that time the holy Prophet (P) called Hassan, Husayn, Fatima,and Ali (Peace be upon them) and made them come near him and spread his cloak on them when Umm Salama, too, was sitting behind the curtain. The holy Prophet (P) said: 'O Allah! These are the members of my family. Keep uncleanness away from them and make them pure'.
As narrated in the hadith quoted by Umm al-Mu'minin Umm Salama: Ibn Kathir, Suyuti, Bahiqui, Tahavi and Khateeb in "Tareekh al-Baghdad " have quoted Umm Salama as having said, "The verse, 'O People of the Prophet's House ...... (33:33)', was revealed in my house and Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Husayn (P) were in the room. The holy Prophet(P) spread his cloak on them and said: 'These are the members of my family. (0 Allah

Remove uncleanness from them and make them pure". And Hakim, too, has quoted Umm Salama in"Mustadrak" as having said, ''This verse was revealed in my house".
Umm Salama has been quoted in the following books:- Tirmizy narrates in his "Sahib" in the chapter relating to the attainment so Fatima(P)and similarly in "Riazal-Nuzrah " and "Tehzib al­ Tehzib" that the holy Prophet (P) said, "O Allah! These are the members of my family. Ward off uncleanness from them and make them pure."
Ahmad also narrates in his "Musnad" that Umm Salama said, "I penetrated my head into the room and asked, "Am I also among you? " The holy Prophet (P) said, "You have a good future".
Hakim, too, narrates that Umm e Salma said, "O Prophet of Allah! Am I not one of the members of your family? " The holy Prophet (P) replied: "You have a good future but only these are the members of my family. O Lord! The members of my family are more deserving".

How Many Persons Were Present In The House When The Verse Was Revealed?
In the "Tafsir" of Suyuti and in "Mushkil al-Aathar" Umm Salama has been quoted to have said: "The verse, 'O People of the Prophet's House'….(33:33)' was revealed in my house and at that time there were seven persons present in the room namely (besides the holy Prophet) Gabriel, Michael, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Husayn (May peace and benediction be upon them) and I was standing in the door of the house and said: "O Prophet of Allah! Am I not one of the members of your family? " He replied, "You have a good future and you are one of the wives of the Prophet (P)."

In What Position And Posture Were The Members Of The Holy Prophet's Family, When The Verse Was Revealed?
In "Tafsir" by Tabri Abu Saeed Khadri is reported to have narrated that Umm Salama had said, "This verse was revealed in my house and I was sitting in the door of the house." It has also been narrated in the same "Tafsir" that Umm Salama had said, "The members of the holy Prophet' family gathered around him and he covered them with a cloak which he was carrying on his shoulder and said, 'These are the members of my family. Ward off uncleanness from them and make them pure'. And this verse was revealed when they were sitting on the ground. I said, 'O Prophet of Allah! Am I not also one of the members of your family?' I swear by the Almighty that the holy Prophet (P) did not grant me any distinction and said: 'You have a good future"'.

Explanation And Interpretation Of The Words Of The Verse
In his book entitled "Mufridat al-Qur'an" Raghib says under the root "Rawada" . When it is said, 'Arad Allah' it means that the Almighty Allah ordered that such and such thing should take place or should not take place. And under the root 'Rijs 'he says: 'Rijs' means something which man hates. He adds that 'Rijs' is of four kinds viz. natural, intellectual, legal or combination of all these three in one. For example, a dead body amact of gambling and a profession of polytheism are repulsive from the viewpoint of nature, intellect and law. The statement of Raghib ends here.
In the 30th verse of Suraal-Hajj, Almighty Allah says, "Shun the abomination of idols.."
And in the 125the verse of Sura al-An'am Allah says, "Thus does Allah heap ignomenous chastise­ment on those who believe not".
And in the 145th verse of Sura al-An 'am He says, "Unless it be dead meat, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine, for it is an abomination".
And in Sura al-Tauba, He says about the hypocrites, "Keep aloof from them for they are hypocrites."
And in the 71st verse of Sura al-A'raf Allah says, about the people of Noah, "Noah said, Punishment and wrath have already come upon you from your Lord ".
The meaning of the word 'Tathir' in this verse is the same as in the remarks about Mary (P) in the 42nd verse of Sura Aal Imran when the angels said, 'O Mary! Allah bas chosen you and purified you above all the women".
And 'Kisa' mentioned in this hadith was an upper garment like 'Aba '.

The Verse As Interpreted In The Narrations
In his 'Tafsir" Suyuti quotes Ibn Abbas 9as saying: "The holy Prophet(P) said: 'Almighty Allah divided His creation into two pans and placed us in the best of them!. Later he said: 'Then He sub­ divided tribes into families and placed us among the best of those families. And Almighty Allah means this when he says: 'O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification'(33:33). Hence myself and the members of my family are free from all sorts of sin and contamination"'
Suyuti narrates from Zahhak son of Muzahim10 that the holy Prophet (P) said: "We are the family whom Allah has declared to be pure, and He has created us from the trunk and the centre of Prophethood. Ours is the house which is frequented with the angels and which is the seat of blessings and the spring of knowledge and wisdom."
Tabri (in "Tafsir') and Muhib Tabri (in "Zakhair al-Uqba") quote from Abu Saeed Khadri that the holy Prophet (P) said, "The versehas been revealed about five persons namely, myself, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussayn .In"Mushkil al-Aathar" Umm Salama has been quoted as saying: "This verse was revealed with regard to the holy Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Husayn" (May peace and benediction be upon them all).
In the previous narrations it has been stated as to how the holy Prophet (P) explained and interpreted this verse and threw light upon the subject by words and conduct.
According to Sahih Muslim Zaid bin Arqam,11 a distinguished companion of the holy Prophet (P) was asked as to who were meant by members of the holy Prophet's family and whether his wives were also included among them. He replied: "Wives do not belong to the family. By Allah! a woman lives with her husband for some time and is then divorced and returns to her father and other relatives. The members of the holy Prophet's family are those who have family ties with him and who are forbidden to take alms."
In "Majma al-Zawaid " Haithami reports Abu Saeed Khadri as saying: "'Members of the holy Prophet's family are those whom Almighty Allah has purified of all filth and impurity and declared them to be clean and pure." Thereafter, Abu Saeed Khadri counted them on his fingers and said:" They are five persons, the holy Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Husayn" (May peace be upon them all).
In his "Tafsir " Tabri quotes Qatada12 who interpreted the sacred verse of Tathir that People of the holy Prophet's family are those whom Almighty Allah has purified from every sin and showered special blessings on them. He also says in explanation of the verse, "It is this and nothing else that Allah willed to ward off every badness and indecency from the people of the family of Muhammad (P) and to purify them from every contamination and sin!"

What Did The Holy Prophet Do After The Revelation Of The Verse?
In "Majma al-Zawaid" Abu Barza13 has been reported to have said: "I performed my prayers along with the holy Prophet (P) for seven months.
As and when he left his house, he went to the house of Fatima (P) and used to say: "Peace be upon you! O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification. (33:33)"
In the "Tafsir" of Suyuti, Ibn Abbas is reported to have said. "I noticed for nine months that the holy Prophet (P) went to the door of Ali 's house every day when it was time for prayers and used to say: "Peace and blessings be upon you! O People of the Prophet 's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification. (33:33). And he repeated this act five times a day."
In "Sahih " of Tirmizy, "Musnad " of Ahmad, "Musnad " of Tialsi, "Mustadri k Sahehain", "Usd al-Ghabah" and in the "Tafsirs" of Tabri, Jbn-i­ Kathir and Suyuti, Anas bin Malik14 is reported to have said that for a period of six months the holy Prophet (P) used to pass by the door of Fatima (P) and say: "O People of the House, it is time to perform prayers'. And then added: 'O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification."
1) In "Isti'ab", "Usd al-Ghabah", "Majma al­ Zawaid", "Mushkil al-Aathar" and "Tafsirs" of Tabari, Ibn Kathir and Suyuti, Abu al-Hamra has been reported to have said: "I noticed in Medina that for a period of eight months whenever the holy Prophet (P) came out of his house to perform morning prayers he went to the house of Ali (P) and placed his hands on the two sides of the door and used to say, 'Prayers! Prayers! O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification. (33:33)"
In one of the narrations the period is stated to be six months, in another seven months, in the third eight months and in the fourth nine months.
In "Majmaal-Zawaid" and "Tafsir" of Suyuti it has been quoted from Abu Saeed Khadri with a variation in words that for forty days the holy Prophet (P) approached the house of Fatima (P) every morning and used to say: "Peace be upon you O' People of the House! The time for the prayers has arrived". And thereafter he used to recite this verse: "O People of the Prophet's House! Allah intends but to remove all sorts of uncleanness and blemish from you and to purify you with a thorough purification (33:33)" And then said: "I am in a state of war with him who fights with you and am in a state of peace with him who is at peace with you."
1. The mother of Abd Allah son of Ja'far son of Abu Talib was Asma daughter of 'Arnees Khasamayya.' He was born in Ethiopia and saw the holy Prophet (P). He died after having completed 80 years of his age. His biography is recorded
2. Abu Abd Allah Muhammad son of Abd Allah of Nishapur, popularly known as Hakim, is one of the Traditionalists and is held in much esteem by the Sunnites. He passed away in 40 A.H.
3. 'Ayeshah was the daughter of the first Caliph Abu Bakr. The holy Prophet (P) married her seventeen months after his migration to Medina. She passed away in 57,58 or 59 A.H. (exact year not certain) and Abu Hurayrah led her funeral prayer. She was buried in Baqui. For her biography please refer to the book entitled "Ahadith ·'Ayeshah".
4. Perhaps 'Ayeshah meant to say that the holy Prophet (P) came out of her house with the cloak and went to the house of Umm Salama.
5. Umm Salama Hind, daughter of Ubi Omayyah Qurayshi Makhzumi had the honour of marrying the holy Prophet (P) after the death of her husband Abu Salma son of Abd al-Asad. Her husband Abu Salma died as a result of a wound sustained by him in the battle of Ohad. She passed away after the matyrdom of Imam Husavn( P).The life history of Umrne Salma is recoded in"Asad al­ Ghaba " and "Tehzib al-Tehzib"
6. 'Umar was the son of Umm al-Mu'minin Umm Salama from her first husband (Abu Salma). He ('Urnar) was born in Ethiopia. He was one among the followers of Imam Ali (P) in the Battle of Siffin and was also appointed by him as the Governor of Bahrain and Fars (a part of the present Islamic Republic of Iran was called at that time as Fars). 'Umar passed away in Medina in 83 A.H. His biography is given in "Usd al-Ghabah "Vol.IV page 79).
7. Wasilat son of Asqaa son of Ka'ab Laisi embraced Islam before the Battle of Tabuk. It is said that he remained in the service of the holy Prophet(P) for a period of three years. He passed away in 80 A.H. in Damascus or Baital-Maqdas .For his biography please refer to "Usd al-Ghabah" (Vol.V page 77).
8. Abu Saeed Khadri Khazraji. His name was Sa'ad son of Malik Ansari. He participated in the Battle of the Ditch and in other battles. He died in Medina when he was above 60 years or 70 years of age. His biography appears in "Usd al-Ghabah" (Vol. II, page 289).
9. Abd Allah son of Abbas and cousin of the holy Prophet (P) was born three years before the holy Prophet's migration to Medina and passed away at Taif at the age of 68 years. For his biography please refer to "Usd al-Ghabah".
10. Abu al-Qasim or Abu Muhammad Zahhak son of Muzahim Hilali. Ibn Hajar says: "He is truthful in narrating hadith and has narrated many hadith by way of receiving it from correct sources. "Zahhak is considered to be belonging to the fifth group and died after attaining the age of 100 years. His biography appears in "Tehzil al-Tehzib"
11. Zaid bin Arqam Ansari Khazraji, who on account of his young age, was not permitted by the holy Prophet (P) to participate in the Battle of Ohad, but accompanied him in other battles. He participated in the Battle of Siffin from the side of Imam Ali (P) and passed away at Kufa after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (P). His biography is given in "Usd al-Ghabah" (Vol.II, page199).
12. There are four persons by the name "Qatada" (viz. Saddusi, Rihawi, Qaisi and Ansari) and all of them are reliable. It is not known asto which one of them is referred to here. For their biographies please refer to "Tehzib-al-Tehzib".

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