Meaning of ‘AHL’ and ‘AL’
see 'AHL' and 'AL', all mean approximately the same, it
is the essence of 'THE PEOPLE'. 'AL' truly being used
for human and always will be found before the name of
family or tribe for example Al-Musawi or Al-Kindy. 'AHL'
used 'in general' as any sort, such as family and
tribes. I am here I will explain about the meaning of
the AHL in the Quran and Sunnah. In the Quran we see
three meaning for the AHL and will cite one after one.
FIRST MEANING OF "AHLI" IN THE QURAN
And from among those who are round about you of the
dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from
among the people of Medina (also); they are stubborn in
hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will
chastise them twice then shall they be turned back to a
It did not beseem the people of Medina and those round
about them of the dwellers of the desert to remain
behind the Messenger of Allah, nor should they desire
(anything) for themselves in preference to him; this is
because there afflicts them not thirst or fatigue or
hunger in Allah's way, nor do they tread a path which
enrages the unbelievers, nor do they attain from the
enemy what they attain, but a good work is written down
to them on account of it; surely Allah does not waste
the reward of the doers of good;
And if the people of the towns had believed and guarded
(against evil) We would certainly have opened up for
them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they
rejected, so We overtook them for what they had earned.
What! do the people of the towns then
feel secure from Our punishment coming to them by night
while they sleep?
What! do the people of the towns feel secure from Our
punishment coming to them in the morning while they
So they went on until
when they came to the people of a town, they asked them
for food, but they refused to entertain them as guests.
Then they found in it a wall which was on the point of
falling, so he put it into a right state. (Musa) said:
If you had pleased, you might certainly have taken a
recompense for it.
And when a party of
them said: O people of Yasrib! there IS no place to
stand for you (here), therefore go back; and a party of
them asked permission of the prophet, saying. Surely our
houses are exposed; and they were not exposed; they only
desired to fly away.
When your sister went
and said: Shall I direct you to one who will take charge
of him? So We brought you back to your mother, that her
eye might be cooled and she should not grieve and you
killed a man, then We delivered you from the grief, and
We tried you with (a severe) trying. Then you stayed for
years among the people of Madyan; then you came hither
as ordained, O Musa.
Those who disbelieve from among the followers of the
Book do not like, nor do the polytheists, that the good
should be sent down to you from your Lord, and Allah
chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy, and
Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.
Say: O followers of the Book! do you find fault with us
(for aught) except that we believe in Allah and in what
has been revealed to us and what was revealed before,
and that most of you are transgressors?
And the followers of
the Injeel should have judged by what Allah revealed in
it; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed,
those are they that are the transgressors.
That most surely is the
truth: the contending one with another of the inmates of
And We did not send before you any but men to whom We
sent revelation-- so ask the followers of the Reminder
if you do not know--
And We did not send
before you any but men to whom We sent revelation, so
ask the followers of the reminder if you do not
And We ordained that he refused to suck any foster
mother before, so she said: Shall I point out to you the
people of a house who will take care of him for you, and
they will be benevolent to him?
(II) SECOND MEANING OF "AHLI" IN THE
In the Quran we
see AHL are used in the sense of (Aila) family such as a
husband, wife, mother, father, children, brothers and
And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint
judge from his people and a judge from her people; if
they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony
between them, surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.
So when they came in to him, they said: O chief!
distress has afflicted us and our family and we have
brought scanty money, so give us full measure and be
charitable to us; surely Allah rewards the charitable.
Take this my shirt and cast it on my father's face, he
will (again) be able to see, and come to me with all
And he enjoined on his family prayer and almsgiving, and
was one in whom his Lord was well pleased.
Prophet Musa and his family
When he saw fire, he said to his family: Stop, for
surely I see a fire, haply I may bring to you therefrom
a live coal or find a guidance at the fire.
When Musa said to his
family: Surely I see fire; I will bring to you from it
some news, or I will bring to you therefrom a burning
firebrand so that you may warm yourselves.
28:29] So when Musa had
fulfilled the term, and he journeyed with his family, he
perceived on this side of the mountain a fire. He said
to his family: Wait, I have seen a fire, maybe I will
bring to you from it some news or a brand of fire, so
that you may warm yourselves.
Prophet Nuh and
11:40] Until when Our
command came and water came forth from the valley, We
said: Carry in it two of all things, a pair, and your
own family-- except those against whom the word has
already gone forth, and those who believe. And there
believed not with him but a few.
And Nuh, when he cried aforetime, so We answered him,
and delivered him and his followers from the great
So We revealed to him, saying: Make the ark before Our
eyes and (according to) Our revelation; and when Our
command is given and the valley overflows, take into it
of every kind a pair, two, and your followers, except
those among them against whom the word has gone forth,
and do not speak to Me in respect of those who are
unjust; surely they shall be drowned.
37:76] And We delivered him
and his followers from the mighty distress.
Prophet Lut and his family
go forth with your followers in a part of the night and
yourself follow their rear, and let not any one of you
turn round, and go forth whither you are commanded.
So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife;
she was of those who remained behind.
They said: O Lut! we are the messengers of your Lord;
they shall by no means reach you; so remove your
followers in a part of the night-- and let none of you
turn back-- except your wife, for surely whatsoever
befalls them shall befall her; surely their appointed
time is the morning; is not the morning nigh?
My Lord ! deliver me
and my followers from what they do.
We delivered him and his followers all,
Except an old woman, among those who remained behind.
But We delivered him and his followers except his wife;
We ordained her to be of those who remained behind.
And when Our messengers came to Lut he was grieved on
account of them, and he felt powerless (to protect)
them; and they said: Fear not, nor grieve; surely we
will deliver you and your followers, except your wife;
she shall be of those who remain behind.
(III) THIRD MEANING OF "AHLI" IN THE
AS "TREE OF
PROPHETHOOD AND RIGHTFUL PEOPLE"
seen the Prophet Musa (as) and Prophet Lot (as) along
with their wives and their children were called as the
AHL. Similar the Prophet Noah (as) was told to enter the
Ark and alluring to go along with his "AHL" (family).
But he found one person was missing and complained to
Allah and say: -
And Nuh cried out to his Lord and said: My Lord! surely
my son is of my family, and Thy promise is surely true,
and Thou art the most just of the judges.
11:46] He said: O Nuh!
surely he is not of your family; surely he is (the doer
of) other than good deeds, therefore ask not of Me that
of which you have no knowledge; surely I admonish you
lest you may be of the ignorant
should his own biological son been excluded in the
category of “AHL” and should not be his own son whereas
other such as Prophet Musa (as), Prophet Lot (as) and
even Prophet Noah (as) himself their families were
called as “AHL”? That is not enough, even in the case of
the wife of Prophet Lot (as) was called and was in the
category of “AHL” when Allah wanted to destroy people of
(Qaum) Lot, whom she was among the destroyed one : -
27:57] But We delivered him
and his followers except his wife; We ordained her to be
of those who remained behind.
wife of Prophet Lot (as) who her course was not good and
was among the wrong doer was included in the category "AHL"
why son of Prophet Noah (as) should not yet be in the
category of the "AHL" as accord with the wife of Prophet
Lot (as)? If Nuh (as) son was excluded being in the
category of “AHL” because he did wrong (amal ghair saleh)
similar Lot’s (as) wife should follow the suit, but that
did not happened.
discussed earlier the two meaning of “AHL” one being as
general “people” like people of village, town etc.,
other being as the family. If the son of prophet Nuh
(as) was excluded to be called as “AHL” in the sense of
“family” what about the meaning of “AHL” as people? At
least son of prophet Nuh (as) should remain as “AHL” in
the first meaning of “people” as he was part of the
“people of the village" where he belong. But here even
the meaning of “people” did not apply for him. For son
of Nuh (as) to be taken out of the category of “AHL” and
both did not mean as the meaning of “people” as well as
the “family”, then what the other meaning of “AHL”
should be here for the son of Nuh (as)?
answer quite clearly we have in this verse 11:46 when
Allah answered the Prophet Noah (as) "INAHU AMALUN
GHAIRU SA'ALIHIN" means "his conduct is unrighteous." If
carefully observe we notice here "AHL" gives quite
another third meaning, the opposite of unrighteous,
which is “righteous”. If the son of the Prophet Noah
(as) was among the righteous “amal sa’alihin” he would
have been rescued and he would have been called as “AHL”,
but he turned out to be among the “unrighteous” hence he
was not the “AHL” inspite being son of the prophet, a
family member and among the people of the village.
of the wife of Prophet Lot (as) differ, though she was
among the destroyed one equally as the son of the
Prophet Noah (as) but she remained and was included as
part of “AHL” as the second meaning of the “AHL” as
are actually the “Righteous” people? Let us ask the Holy
And (as for) those who
believe and do good (amilu salihati), We will most
surely cause them to enter among the good.
Whoever desires honor, then to Allah belongs the honor
wholly. To Him do ascend the good words; and the good
deeds, lift them up, and (as for) those who plan evil
deeds, they shall have a severe chastisement; and (as
for) their plan, it shall perish.
Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable
a good word (being) like a good
root is firm and whose branches are in heaven,
And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are
with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from
among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and
the good (salihin),
and a goodly company are they!
Surely my guardian is Allah, Who revealed the Book, and
He befriends the
the good (salihin).
“Righteous” people are the one who speak good words (kalimat
Tayba) and good deeds (amalu salih) and Allah sets forth
a parable for them like good tree. A good tree which
include prophets and the truthful (Massidiqi) and the
third meaning of “AHL” are actual a “Family of Good
Tree” which consist of prophets, truthful, martyrs and
good people. They can either be biological related or
not. The biological example are like prophets Ibrahim,
Ismail, Is-haq, Yakub and Yusuf who are related both in
biological as family and the third meaning of “AHL”
which is known as “Shajar Tayba” (Good Tree).
example of those not biological related is Salman Farsi
who never biological related to the Holy Prophet (saw)
and he was called as part of “Ahle Bait” of the Holy
Prophet Muhammad (saw) meaning he was part of the
“Family of Good Tree”.
Holy Quran the words “Ahle Bait” being only used for the
“Family of Good Tree” only and repeat twice. Let us
discuss these two verses one by one. The first one is
the verses from chapter “Hud” .
She said: O wonder! shall I bear a son when I am an
extremely old woman and this my husband an extremely old
man? Most surely this is a wonderful thing.
said: Do you wonder at Allah's bidding? The mercy of
Allah and His blessings are on you, O people of the
house (ahlul bayt), surely He is Praised, Glorious.
verses mention of two people, Ibrahim (as), the prophet
and his wife Sarah who was able to see and talk with
angels. They were member of the “family of Good Tree”
for this reason they were called as “Ahlul Bayt.
second one is from the chapter Ahzab verse 33. In this
verse Allah desires to keep away the uncleanness and
purify thorough purifying to the Ahlul Bait.
And stay in your houses and do not display your finery
like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep
up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His
Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the
uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to
purify you a (thorough) purifying.
traditions of Prophet Muhammad (saw) were conveying the
meaning of the "AHLUL BAIT" in this verse 33 of chapter
Al-Ahzab as the third meaning of “AHL” meaning “Family
of Good Tree”, that means absolutely it never meant as
the first or second meaning. The Prophet (saw) himself
has revealed and mentioned their names of "Ahlul Bait"
in this verse. The following below are the traditions of
the Prophet (saw) as who are these “Ahlul Bait”.
Muslim has related from Aesha that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w)
came out of his honoured house wearing a blanket of
hair. In the meanwhile Hassan (a.s) arrived. The Holy
Prophet (s.a.w) took him under his blanket. Then came
Hussain (a.s) who also was taken under the cover. Then
came Fatimah (a.s) whom also he covered under the
blanket. Then Ali (a.s) came he was also taken under the
cover. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) then recited the verse "Innama…
Saheeh Muslim, Vol IV, page 127.
Saeed Khudri has recorded from Umme Salmah that the Holy
Prophet (s.a.w) had prayed to the effect; "O' Allah!
Here are the members of my Household. May they be kept
fee from all dirtiness and may they be purified
completely." Tafseer Tabari Vol 22, page 22.
has narrated from Abu Saeed Khudri through Umme Salmah
to the following effect:
time of the revelation of this verse there were in the
house only Ali (a.s), Fatimah (a.s), and Hasanain (a.s).
I was at the door. I went forward and asked the Holy
Prophet (s.a.w) as to what my status was, and the Holy
Prophet (s.a.w) said to me, "you have a good stand." Al
Khateeb Vol IX, pate 127. And in Saheeh Tirmizi is
recorded, that Umme Salmah also had a mind to go under
the cover but she was told to remain where she was, and
that she was blessed with goodness.
Tirmizi has recorded through Anas bin Malik that the
Holy Prophet (s.a.w) for six months after each days
morning prayer, when passing by the door of Fatimah (a.s)
used to address them with a greeting as Ahlel Bait and
to recite the Ayate Tat-heer. (Sharhe Tirmizi XIII, page
85, Isteeab Margin of Esabah IV, page 46). Suyuti in his
Durre Mansoor V, page 174 mentioned for eight months,
and in Asadul Ghabah Vol V, page 174 it is reported to
be nine months.
Are the wives of the Prophet Muhammad
(saw) is among the “Family of Good Tree” in the verse of
are others who are trying to force in and include the
wives of the Prophet (saw) and every one of the Banu
Hashim in this Ahlul Bait of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)
which is something impossible. Let us examine why
Prophet’s wives and others in the clan of Banu Hashim
may not be included in Ahlul Bait in verse of tat-hir
verse clearly mention of two types of houses. The first
type is the houses of the wives of the prophet (saw);
they are not one house but many according to the number
of the wives of the prophet (saw). The second type is
only one house and that is the house of “ahlul Bait”
singular. Therefore the houses of the wives of the
prophet (saw) was called as (buyutukna) “your houses” as
feminine and the other house was called as “Ahlul Bait”
different between the houses of the wives of the prophet
and the house of 'Ahlul Bait' are ‘desire’. The ‘desire’
from the houses of wives of the prophet are coming from
the wives of the prophet while the ‘desire’ from the
Ahlul Bait are coming Allah himself. Allah clearly
warned them that they should not do the following:
to commits an open indecency and the punishment shall be
increased to her doubly;
are not like any other of the women,
And stay in your houses
not display your finery
the house of “Ahlul Bait is Allah desire to keep away
the uncleanness and purify thorough purifying to the
verse of Tat-hir (33:33) is talking about people who are
sanctified by every sort of dirt then in this case it
will be the third meaning of “AHL” for the “Family of
Good Tree” which consist of prophets, truthful, martyrs
and good people, it can never be the second meaning of
“AHL” such as “husband, wife and children” or the first
meaning as “people of the village”. So we cannot say
that every one in Bani Hashim is part of Ahlul Bait
unless all of them are sanctified.
Verses 30, 31, 32 and beginning of verse 33 all these
are addressing women not about men. For example, verse
30 we see 'Minkunna', verse 31 'Minkunna', verse 32 'Lastunna'
and beginning of verse 33 'Buyutikunna'. But when we
reach the verse of Tat-hir it change from feminine to
masculine we find words such as 'Ankum' and 'Yutahirrakum'
and other, this is quite clearly addressing masculine
not to feminine. In this case, it is impossible to
include Prophet (saw) wives because they are addressing
Verse 30 Allah has warned wives of the Prophet (saw)
that whoever of them commits an open indecency, the
punishment shall be increased to her doubly. While verse
33 Allah promised to keep away the uncleanness. These
two verses are opposite, going against each other and
not aligning together. How possible can it be when Allah
in one verse gave a warning whoever of them commits an
open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her
doubly and in other verse promised to keep away the
uncleanness and thorough purifying them? The “Family of
Good Tree” which consists of prophets, truthful, martyrs
and good people do not require such harsh warning, then
what is the meaning of calling them as prophets,
truthful, martyrs and good people? Definetly this about
two identities not one. One belong to the wives of the
Prophet (saw) and other the “Family of Good Tree” which
belong to Ahlulbayt.
But we find out that this verse 30 of
chapter Al-Ahzab goes hand in hand with verses 3-5 of
Chapter Tahreem. We can read in these verses of chapter
Tahreem that Allah has warned wives of the Prophet (saw)
that He can replace them better wives than them.
And when the
prophet secretly communicated a piece of information to
one of his wives-- but when she informed (others) of it,
and Allah made him to know it, he made known part of it
and avoided part; so when he informed her of it, she
said: Who informed you of this? He said: The Knowing,
the one Aware, informed me.
If you both turn to Allah, then indeed your hearts are
already inclined (to this); and if you back up each
other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his
Guardian, and Jibreel and -the believers that do good,
and the angels after that are the aiders.
66:5] Maybe, his Lord, if
he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better
than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent,
adorers, fasters, widows and virgins.
Bukhari tells us who are these wives of the Prophet
3, Book 43, Number 648:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas:
had been eager to ask 'Umar about the two ladies from
among the wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said
(in the Qur'an saying): If you two (wives of the Prophet
namely Aisha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah your
hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the
Prophet likes) (66.4), till performed the Hajj along
with 'Umar (and on our way back from Hajj) he went aside
(to answer the call of nature) and I also went aside
along with him carrying a tumbler of water. When he had
answered the call of nature and returned. I poured water
on his hands from the tumbler and he performed ablution.
I said, "O Chief of the believers! ' Who were the two
ladies from among the wives of the Prophet to whom Allah
you two return in repentance (66.4)? He said, "I am
astonished at your question, O Ibn 'Abbas. They were
Aisha and Hafsa."
chapter Tahreem reveals quite clear that wives of the
Prophet Muhammad (saw) can not be counted as part of "AHLUL
BAIT" of the “Family of Good Tree” which consists of
prophets, truthful, martyrs and good people. If they
were to be counted as part "AHLUL BAIT", Allah would
have not say that He would replace them with wives
better than them, submissive, faithful, obedient,
penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins. This
proves they were lacked of these characters so that they
can be counted part "AHLUL BAIT" meaning the “Family of
is not excuse that to be the wife of the Prophet, then
you can be counted as part of the “Family of Good Tree”
which consists of prophets, truthful, martyrs and good
people. Take the example of two wives of Prophet Noah
(as) and Lot (as) they were Prophet’s wives, but they
end up in hell!
Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve the
wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut: they were both under
two of Our righteous servants, but they acted
treacherously towards them so they availed them naught
against Allah, and it was said: Enter both the fire with
those who enter.
wives of Prophet Noah (as) and Lot (as) were “Ahl” in
the sense as “family” like husband and wife, the second
meaning, not “Ahlul Bait” the third meaning which is the
“Family of Good Tree” as verse 33 of chapter Al-Ahzab!
Ayesha and Umme Salma themselves have admitted and
agreed to say that the Prophet (saw) has taken Ali,
Fatima, Hassan and Hussain wrapped them under the cloak
and then call 'These are MY AHLEL BAIT’. "Where are the
wives of the Prophet (saw) or Banu Hashim such as Jaafar,
Aqil, Abbas and others?
Salam wanted to enter into the cloak and be with them
but the Prophet (saw) prevented her and did not allow
addition to what the Prophet (saw) said who are the real
“Ahlul Bait”, he made the habit for six or nine months,
every day after morning prayer he would passed by by the
door of Fatima's house and address them with greeting as
these are "MY AHLEL BAIT" and recite this verse of tat-hir
None of the Prophet’s (saw) wives or Banu Hashim who
ever claimed this verse 33 was revealed for them.
Mubahila was a controversy between Islam and kufr. Here
at this critical moment qualified people were required
those who come from the “Family of Good Tree” which
consists of prophets, truthful, martyrs and good people,
the moment they rise their hands for supplication (Dua)
their supplication (Dua) to be accepted there without
any delay. In Mubahila Allah revealed to the Prophet
(saw) to bring our women (nisaana), our children (abnaana)
and ourselves (anfusana). Here was the moment for the
wives of the Prophet (saw) to come forward if they were
real fitted to be part of “Family of Good Tree” to
represent the women (nisaana) in this verse. Here was
also the moment for the children if they were any other
children belong to Prophet (saw) to come forward to
represent the children (abnaana). But what happened, did
we witness any wives of the Prophet (saw) to represent
the women (nisaana) or children belong to Prophet (saw)
to represent (abnaana)? The answer is none of them were
present in Mubahila. Then who are these our women (nisaana),
our children (abnaana) and ourselves (anfusana) in the
verse? In Mubahila only five people were present, they
are the one verse 33 revealed for them, they are the one
whom the Prophet (saw) wrapped them under the cloak,
they are the one the chapter of Insan was revealed for
them and many verses. They were the right and fitted
people to be known as “Family of Good Tree”. They were
none other than Fatima (as) represent as (nisaana),
Hassan (as) and Hussain (as) represent as (abnaana) and
lastly Prophet (saw) himself and Ali (as) represent as (anfusana).
find this verse 33 of the chapter of Ahzab of the Holy
Quran goes hand in hand with tradition of the Prophet
(saw) that truly the real “AHLEL BAIT” of the Prophet
Muhammad (SAW) is Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain.
Indeed the wives of the Prophet (saw) are the “AHL” of
the Prophet (saw) in the second meaning of “family” not
“AHLEL BAIT” as the third meaning.