What is the importance of Ahl-i Bayt affection in Islam?

Having affection to Ahl-i Bayt (Family of the Prophet) in the name of Allah is an obligation {vacip (duty secondarily incumbent on a Muslim)} in our religion. {It is farz (necessary religious duty required for all Muslims) according to Imam-i Shafee} Allah presents a decree in the Surah (Quranic Chapter) Ash-Shura,

Say: I ask of you no wage for it (for conveying Gods Religion to you which will bring you this favor), but (I ask of you for) love for my near relatives (Ahl-i Bayt) (on account of my mission). (Ash-Shura Surah, 42:23)

Our Prophet (pbuh), in one of his hadiths, announced:

Love Allah due to the blessings He has given to you; and love me because of Allah; and love my family because of me. This hadith clearly signifies the importance of Ahl-i Bayt Affection in our religion.

In another hadith, our Prophet (pbuh) announced:

I leave you two things; if you adhere to those you will find the salvation: one is Allahs Book (Quran), the other is my family (Ahl-i Bayt). In this hadith, having made mention of those all together, it has been thought us this true lesson:

Any Muslim who obeys to the commands of Allahs Book should love Ahl-i Bayt; any Muslim who loves Ahl-i Bayt should act according to Allahs Book.

As it is true for everything, Affection for the Family of Prophet (pbuh) should also be moderate. In addition, this moderation requires living our lives with sunnah (practices of our Prophet) completely. Bediuzzaman (Author of the most influential books on religion today: Risale-i Nur Collection) explains this matter as follows:

The practices of the Prophet were required from the Family of Prophet in respect of the function of prophethood. Just as someone who abandoned the Prophets Practices could not truly be a member of his Family, so too such a person could not be a true friend to them. According to this truth, a Muslim who follows these practices completely loves the Family of Prophet in true meaning.

As required by the rule: The cause is like the doer, a share of all the benefactions and the good deeds which are the results of prayers of a Muslim pass to our Prophet, to his Family and to the Sahaba (Companions). By this way there arise a functional relationship between the spirits of the Family of Prophet and the believer, moreover, it passes good works to them and they become happy and glad indeed.

We should also point out that if it is hold only an abstract form of affection to Ahl-i Bayt in that case it would reduce our Prophets (pbuh) having been sent to humanity to a simpler state which is just to teach us loving Ahl-i Bayt. Whereas our Prophet (pbuh) has been sent for humanity to introduce, to teach loving Allah, and to urge them coming before Allah with the opportunity of prayer.

This kind of understanding is to put the purpose of creation down only to affection, whereas; Ahl-i Bayt included, all of the humans were created to know and to pray to Mighty and Sublime Allah.

In a Hadith in Mashareq, Hazrath Mohammad (pbuh) addresses Hazrath Fatima: My daughter Fatima-i Zahra, try to seek refuge from the torment of the Hell-fire because Im not capable of canceling your torments and punishments which you could possibly suffer from in the Akhirat (Life after Death) for not doing your religious necessities and obligations and doing forbidden.

Our affection to Ahl-i Bayt is not just because of their distinct personalities, it is because of their distinct services for Quran, their extreme devotion for spreading the Religion of Islam and their service for science and enlightenment.

Any believer who has affection to Ahl-i Bayt, by fulfilling his/her prayers should follow their example and try to look and be like them. Loving Ahl-i Bayt in the literal sense can only become real (haqiqat) by this way.

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