Third Point: The Prophet wants us to love Ahl al-Bayt due to their great service to Islam.
According to one interpretation, the meaning of the verse:
Say: I ask of you no recompense save love of close kin1
is that “the Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) wants no reward for carrying out the duty of prophethood; he wants only love for his family.”
I f i t i s s a i d : “According to this meaning, it seems there is an advantage to be gained from a family relationship. Whereas, according to the meaning of:
The most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you,2
it is not in regard to family relationships that prophethood functions, but in regard to closeness to Allah,”
T h e A n s w e r : With his vision which penetrated the Unseen, the Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) saw that his Family would become like a light-giving tree within the world of Islam. The overwhelming majority of those who would perform the duty of guides instructing every level of the World of Islam in human attainment and perfection would emerge from his Family. He divined that his Community’s prayer for his Family in the final section of the prescribed prayers: O Allah, grant blessings to our master Muhammad and to the Family of our master Muhammad, as You granted blessings to Abraham and to the Family of Abraham; indeed, You are Worthy of Praise, Most Exalted would be accepted. That is to say, like the vast majority of the luminous guides among the people of Abraham were prophets of the family and line of Abraham, he saw in his Community also, the spiritual poles of the Family of Muhammad performing the great duties of Islam, and in most of the paths and Sufi orders, like the prophets of Israel. Therefore, being commanded to say: Say: I ask of you no recompense save love of close kin, he wanted his Community to love his Family.
There are numerous narrations corroborating this fact. He repeatedly decreed: “I leave you two things. If you adhere to them, you will find salvation: one is Allah’s Book, the other is my Family.”3 For those who were the source and guardians of the Prophet’s Practices, and were charged with complying with them in every respect, were his Family.
Thus, this is why this truth was made known in Hadiths under the heading of following the Book and the Prophet’s Practices. That is to say, what was required from the Family of the Prophet in respect of the function of prophethood were the Practices of the Prophet. Just as someone who abandoned the Prophet’s Practices could not truly be a member of his Family, so too such a person could not be a true friend to them.
Also, the reason he desired his Community to gather round his Family was that, with Allah’s permission, he knew his Family were going to become very numerous with the passing of time, and that Islam was going to become weak. Therefore an extremely strong and numerous mutually supportive group of people was necessary so that it could be the means to and centre for the spiritual and moral progress of the World of Islam. With Divine permission, he thought of this, and desired that his Community should gather round his Family.
Indeed, even if the members of the Prophet’s Family were not greatly in advance of others in matters of belief and faith, they were still greatly ahead of them in regard to submission, partiality, and partisanship. For they were followers of Islam by nature, birth, and temperament. Even if natural partiality is weak and unworthy, or unjustifiable even, it cannot be given up. So, would it be possible for a person to give up his support for a truth to which all his forefathers-who were most strong, most constant and true, and most illustrious-had been bound, and through which they had won glory, and for which they had sacrificed their lives, a truth he felt clearly to be so fundamental and natural? Thus, due to this intense partiality and natural submission, the Family of the Prophet accepted the least hint in favour of the religion of Islam as though it was a powerful proof. For they were partial by nature. Others become partial after some powerful proof.
1. Qur’an, 42:23.
2. Qur’an, 49:13.
3. Tirmidhi, Manaqib 31; Musnad iii, 14, 17, 26.
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