The Reward of Loving Ahlul-Bayt
I found the following astonishing tradition in one of the most famous Tafsir book of the Sunni brothers, that is, "Tafsir al-Kabir", by Fakhr al-Razi who is a leading Sunni scholar with multiple specialties in Tafsir, Fiqh, and theology. The full address of the document is given at the end. I have provided Arabic text for each sentence of this tradition. This tradition can also be found in other Sunni commentary books of Quran, "Tafsir al-Kashshaf," written by al-Zamakhshari, as well as "Tafsir al-Tha'labi."
Before going over the text of the tradition, it is important to point out that a true love is always accompanied by obedience. A person who is crazy about somebody, does every thing to satisfy the lover, and does not allow himself to disobey the one who loves. That is why the "true love" is necessary and sufficient. A true love affects every single action of human being and directs it to a special direction in harmony with the one who loves. Thus anyone who claims to love the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them all), but he insists in disobeying them, is simply a liar.
After giving the text of the tradition I shall quote the related verse of Quran under whose commentary this tradition was mentioned. I will also present some other traditions transmitted by the Sunnis which clearly specify the individuals whose love is obligatory.
The Messenger of Allah said: He who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is a Martyr.
And behold! He who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is forgiven.
Lo! He who dies with love of the family of Muhammad is died as a believer with a COMPLETE belief.
And no doubt! The one who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, the angle of death gives him the glad tiding of Paradise, and so do the two angels who question him (Munkar & Nakeer).
And verily he who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, will be led toward the Paradise as the bride is led to the house of her husband.
Behold! And he who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, for him there will open two gates in his grave toward the Paradise.
Lo! And the one who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, Allah will make his grave a sacred place of visit for the angels of mercy.
And verily he who dies with love of the family of Muhammad, has died on Sunnah.
And no doubt! The one who dies with the HATE of the family of Muhammad, will arrive in the day of judgment while it is printed on his forehead that he is desperate from the Mercy of Allah.
Behold! He who dies with the HATE of the family of Muhammad, has died unbeliever.
And verily he who dies with the HATE of the family of Muhammad, will never hear the smell of Paradise.
Sunni references: Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din Muhammad Ibn Umar al-Razi, Pub. in Egypt (1357/1938), under commentary of verse 42:23, Part 27, pp. 165-166.
Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari Tafsir al-Kabir, by al-Tha'labi Fakhr al-Razi and others mentioned the above tradition under the commentary of the following verse of Quran, in which Allah tell his Messenger: "(O Prophet) tell (people) I don't ask you any wage (in return for my prophethood) except to love my near kin. And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good (in return for it)" (Quran 42:23).
It has been widely reported by the Sunni commentators of the Holy Quran that: Ibn Abbas narrated: When the above verse (42:23) was revealed, the companions asked: "O' the Messenger of Allah! Who are those near kin whose love Allah has made obligatory for us?" Upon that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Ali, Fatimah, and their two sons." He (PBUH&HF) repeated this sentence thrice.
1. Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Part 27, pp 165-166
2. Tafsir al-Tha'labi, under the commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran
3. Tafsir al-Tabari, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, under verse 42:23
4. Tafsir al-Qurtubi, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran
5. Tafsir al-Kashshaf, by al-Zamakhshari, under commentary of verse 42:23
6. Tafsir al-Baidhawi, under the commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran
7. Tafsir al-Kalbi, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran
8. al-Madarik, in connection with verse 42:23
9. Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p25
10. Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal,
11. al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259
12. Shawahid al-Tanzeel, Hakim Hasakani, al-Hanafi, v2, p132
13. Many others such as Ibn Abi Hatam, al-Tabarani, etc.
Then the Prophet (PBUH&HF) continued: "Verily Allah has dedicated my wage (of prophethood) to love of my Ahlul-Bayt, and I shall question you about it on the day of judgment."
Sunni references: Dhakha'ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p26 al-Sirah, by al-Mala
In another tradition, we read: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "I advice you to be kind to my Ahlul-Bayt for verily I will dispute you about them on the day of Judgment, and whoever I dispute him shall enter the Fire." He (PBUH&HF) also said: "One who regards me by regarding my Ahlul-Bayt, he has taken a promise from Allah (to enter the Paradise)."
Sunni references: al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd al-Sirah, by al-Mala al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p231 Furthermore, al-Kateeb and Ibn Hajar narrated on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik saying: The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "The title of the Book (Saheefah) of believer is love of Ali Ibn Abi Talib."
Sunni references: Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, section 2, p193 In the above tradition, "The Book of believer" refers to the way a believer conducts the affairs, i.e., his daily life, and his diary.
On the commentary of the Quranic verse: "Lo! those who believe and do good, the Beneficent will appoint for them love (Quran 19:96)," al-Hafidh al-Salafi wrote: Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah said: "There will not be a believer unless in whose heart love of Ali and his family exists." In this connection, al-Bayhaqi, Abu al-Shaikh, and al-Daylami reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "A servant (of God) will not be a (true) believer unless he loves me more than his own soul, and loves my progeny more than his own soul and his own family." See al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 261-262 quoted from al-Hafidh al-Salafi, al-Bayhaqi, Abu al-Shaikh, and al-Daylami).
al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: "He who loves me and loves these two: al-Hasan and al-Husain, and loves their father and mother, he will be with me in Paradise."
Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p641 Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, on the authority of Imam Ali (AS) Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p693, Tradition #1185 al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p264 It is also narrated that: The Messenger of Allah said: "Verily the prosperous and the only prosperous and the true prosperous is he who loves Ali in his lifetime and in his hereafter."
Sunni reference: Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p658, Tradition #1121 al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p176 Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p132 Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v2, p429 Sunni scholars also narrated that Imam al-Hasan Ibn Ali (AS) said the following in a discourse which he delivered on the martyrdom of Imam Ali: "... I am among Ahlul-Bayt whom Allah has made their love obligatory for any Muslim when He revealed to His Prophet (PBUH&HF): "Say: I don't ask you any wage except to love my near kin. And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good (Quran 42:23)." Thus earn the good deed through loving us Ahlul-Bayt."
Sunni references: al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, "Chapter of understanding the virtues of companions," v3, p172 al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259 Many others such as al-Bazzar, al-Tabarani, etc. Furthermore, it is narrated from Ibn Abbas: Ibn Abbas said: "The good deed in the verse: 'And if anyone earns any good We shall give Him an increase of good (Quran 42:23)' is the love of family (Aal) of the Muhammad (PBUH&HF)."
Sunni references: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as mentioned in: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259 Sunni traditionists also narrated that: After the murder of al-Husain when his family were taken prisoners and were moved to Damascus, a man in the city (who among others was looking at the passing of prisoners in the city) said to Zain al-Abideen (Imam Ali Ibn al-Husain) that "Praise be to Allah who destroyed you and made you helpless and cut the root of sedition." On that, Zain al-Abideen said: "Didn't you read 'Tell I don't ask you any wage except to love my near kin'?" The man answered: "Are you those?" He (Zain al-Abideen) said: "Yes."
Sunni references: Tafsir Ibn Kathir (complete version), v4, p112, under commentary of verse 42:23 of Quran al-Tabarani, as mentioned in: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p259 In contrary to all above traditions, Yusuf Ali has a very strange commentary for the verse 42:23. He wrote: Yusuf Ali> No sort of tangible reward does the Prophet of Allah ask for
Yusuf Ali> proclaiming the Glad Tidings of Allah. But at least he has the
Yusuf Ali> right to ask that his kith and kin should not persecute him and
Yusuf Ali> put all sorts of obstacles in his way, as did the Quraish
Yusuf Ali> against the holy Prophet. (Yusuf Ali's commentary of 42:23)
What Yusuf Ali implied was that, by the above verse, the Prophet was asking his kin not to prosecute him and they should love his kin, i.e., the Prophet. The fact is that the above mentioned traditions of the Prophet regarding the revelation of verse 42:23, contradict what Yusuf Ali commented. I wonder if we Should take the opinion of the Prophet or the opinion of Yusuf Ali?! It is noteworthy that the above mentioned traditions were narrated by the prominent Sunni traditionists through various transmitters. Yusuf Ali was not a traditionist nor do Sunnis consider his commentary an authoritative one.
Besides, we can prove logically that Yusuf Ali's commentary is incorrect. "Those of near kin" are the kin of the Prophet himself. Because Prophet Muhammad is only one person. If Allah wanted to say "Love the Prophet because he is your kin", He could say so, and He would not use "Those of near kin". Moreover, from the verse it is clear that Allah was not addressing non-Muslims, because the verse is about his wage in return for his prophethood. Thus those unbelievers (among his kin or else) who do not recognized him as a prophet, were not being addressed. What kind of wage could the Prophet expect from an unbeliever (among his kin or else) who do not recognize him as a prophet?!
Thus they are Muslims who are being addressed by the verse. Now, if Yusuf Ali meant that the verse was addressing those Muslims who were his kin, then I would like to ask: Who among the near kin of the Prophet who was Muslims but tried to prosecute the Prophet? The answer is Non. If you think otherwise, please present your evidence from the history of the life of the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
Therefore, the Yusuf Ali's commentary is neither in harmony with the above-mentioned Sunni traditions in this regard, nor in harmony with logic.
I do not intend to discuss all the mistakes which exist in the Yusuf Ali's works. I myself have found some trivial mistakes in his translation of Quran, and there is even a book named "Discussion on the errors of Yusuf Ali", (Paperback, $12.00 in the United States) which discusses some of his errors. Although I do not intend to fully discredit his works, it would be beneficial to mention his translation of a verse of Quran in connection with the current topic, and then compare it to other translations. This verse is very similar to the above-mentioned verse of Quran (42:23). Allah, to whom belong might and majesty, similarly said: "(O Prophet) tell (people) whatever I asked you as wage (in return for my prophethood) is in the benefit of you (people)" (Quran 34:47).
Here is the Pickthall's translation:
Pickthall> "Say: Whatever reward I might have asked of you is yours"
Now, let us look at the Yusuf Ali's translation: Yusuf Ali> "Say: No reward do I ask of you; it is (all) in your interest" Yusuf Ali> (34:47).
One can see that the translation of Yusuf Ali provides meaning quite contradictory to the others. In the translation of the above verse, Yusuf Ali states that the Prophet did not ask any wage. By that, Yusuf Ali contradicted his own translation of the other mentioned verse (42:23) where he states the Prophet did, in fact, ask for the wage:
Yusuf Ali> "Say: No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of
Yusuf Ali> those near of kin." (42:23)
There is no doubt that the reward of the Prophet is with Allah. However, with the above order of Allah, the Prophet did ask People to love his family as his wage. Such request is, in fact, for the benefit of people as verse 34:47 testifies. The verses of Holy Quran explain one another. More Surprisingly, there is a third verse with another wording which implies that the benefit that people get by fulfilling the Prophet's request (i.e., affection and devotion to Ahlul-Bayt) is that they will be led to the path (Sabeel) of Allah: "Say: I ask of you no reward for it except that one who wishes, may adopt a Path (Sabeel) toward his Lord." (Quran 25:57)
Pickthall> "Say: I ask of you no reward for this save that whoso will, may
Pickthall> choose a Way unto his Lord." (25:57)
Putting verse 25:57 beside 42:23 and 34:47 gives evidence to the fact that each member of Ahlul-Bayt is the Right Path (Sabeel) toward Allah, and the way toward His satisfaction. The Right Path of Allah is no more than one even though it manifested in a sequence of divinely appointed leaders. As such, each of these leaders were the unique Path (Sabeel) of Allah in their own time, and through whom people can attain protection against disagreement in religious matters. In fact, the Messenger of Allah confirmed the above conclusion from the latter verse. Ibn Sa'd and Ibn Hajar recorded that: The Messenger of Allah said: "Me and my Ahlul-Bayt are a tree in Paradise whose branches came to this world (Dunyaa). Thus whoso will, may choose a Path unto his Lord (by taking a branch and reaching to the stem in Paradise)."
Sunni references: al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd Sharaf al-Nubuwwah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, on the authority of Abu Sa'id al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p231 The above underlined part of the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) is the Quranic verse mentioned above (25:57). The true love for Ahlul-Bayt will, in fact, oblige us to follow their Right Path which guarantees the human prosperity in this world as well the Paradise in the world after.