There are many verses regarding the chastity of Imams in Quran including:
. إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا . احزاب / 33 .
Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification.
This verse is one of the verses related to the dignity and superiority of the Ahl al-Bayt which we aim to describe it shortly; since our approach in this discussion is based on stating just the important issues, so you are recommended to refer to the books written in religious topics and interpretive books for understanding the rest of the related verses.
There are abundant evidences in this verse which are considered as proof of chastity of the Imams. Here we summarize some of them:
1. This divine will is granted to Imams and is not religious commitment.
One of the evidences which relates this verse to the five lying underneath the cloak (the family of the prophet) is the kind of God 's will which is the purpose of the verse. Undoubtedly what is meant by the God 's will in this verse is the kind which is granted to Imams and is not religious commitment; because God has initiated the verse with the adverb «indeed» which has the most specific meaning that confines the sense of purification to the the five lying underneath the cloak (i.e. the family of the prophet). If what is meant by the verse is religious commitment, then it cannot be confined to the family of the prophet. Because the religious commitment includes all human beings and it isn’t exclusively confined to the family of the prophet; as the exalted God says in the verse of Ablution:
مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ . مائده / 6 .
Allah does not desire to put you to hardship, but He desires to purify you, and to complete His blessing upon you so that you may give thanks. (Quran, 5:6)
It is clear that the purpose of the verse from divine will is the religious one which is general for all the believers and it isn’t exclusive to a certain group of people. So, we can conclude that the purpose of the purification verse is the kind of divine will which is exclusive to Imams (AS). When it is so, then the chastity of Ahl al-Bayt (AS) is proven and consequently the rest of human beings including the wives of the prophet, Bani Hashim tribe and so on will not be included.
2. The verse of purification was revealed independently.
Another point that Sunnis do not consider is that the following verse has been revealed independently of the verses before and after it:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
This point is proven by the seventy narrations in this regard. Even among these seventy narrations there is not any to state that this verse is revealed together with the verses which have addressed the wives of the prophet and also none of the commentators have claimed so. Even those such as Akramah Kharijah who have claimed that the verse is about the wives of the prophet have not stated that this verse is revealed following the previous verses and is associated with them.
There is no evidence to prove that this verse has been revealed along with the verses before and after. If the Sunnis are going to prove that the Ahl al-Bayt includes all of the wives of the prophet, they need to prove that this verse has been revealed along with the verses before and after at the same time.
So the verse in question is not related to the verses as to the wives of the prophet or associated with. Either the verse is put following the mentioned verses (related to wives of the prophet) with the command of the prophet or after the death of the prophet, when collecting the verses; the companions have put them together, which requires a detailed discussion.
In addition, the prophet had not just a wife and a house, but had multiple wives, each of whom had an independent house, so if the purpose of the word «Ahl al-Bayt» (i.e. the family of the prophet) was the wives of the prophet it should be mentioned as «Ahl al-Buyut» (i.e. the families of the prophet).
With considering the beginning of the verse:
وَ قَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ .
: And also the verse 53 of Sura al-Ahzab
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ
O you who have faith! Do not enter the Prophet’s houses.
We can conclude that the verse doesn’t address all the wives of the prophet.
3. None of the wives of the prophet has claimed so
Interestingly, none of the wives of the prophet has claimed that this verse is attributed to them or it includes them. Most of the narrations in this regard have been quoted from Ayesha (Umm al-Mu 'mineen) and Umm Salamah (Umm al-Mu 'mineen) which contains their assertion about the relation of this verse to the Five Purified Ones (Ahlul-Kisa ').
4. Some Sunni scholars have acknowledged the attribution of the verse to the Five lying underneath the cloak (Ali Aba)
Many Sunni scholars who are not bias and considered the verse with open eyes have acknowledged that the purpose of the verse is not nobody except the people of Kisa ' and this verse never includes all the wives of the prophet.
Tahavi of the great Sunni scholars quotes in the book titled Tuhfatul Akhyar Bitartib Sharh Mushkil al-Athar vol 8, p 470 – 471:
عن عامر بن سعد، عن أبيه قال: لما نزلت هذه الآية دعا رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) عليا وفاطمة وحسنا وحسينا (عليهم السلام) فقال : اللهم هؤلاء أهلي .
When this verse was revealed, prophet called Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (SA), Hassan (S) and Hussain (AS) and said: "Oh My Lord! These are my family."
Then he added:
ففي هذا الحديث أن المرادين بما في هذه الآية هم رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) وعلي وفاطمة وحسن وحسين .
We can conclude from this narration that the addressees of this verse are the prophet, Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (SA), Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS).
And he also quotes this narration:
عن أم سلمة قالت: نزلت هذه الآية في رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) وعلي وفاطمة وحسن وحسين: (إِنَّما يُريدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهيراً .
Umm Salamah has quoted that this verse has been revealed on the dignity of the prophet, Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (SA), Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS).
Then he adds:
ففي هذا الحديث مثل الذي في الأول .
The indication of this Hadith is the same of the first.
After quoting the narrations from Umm Salamah he writes:
فدل ما روينا في هذه الآثار مما كان من رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) إلى أم سلمة مما ذكر فيها لم يرد به أنها كانت ممن أريد به ما في الآية المتلوة في هذا الباب، وأن المرادين فيها هم رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) وعلي وفاطمة وحسن وحسين (عليهم السلام) دون من سواهم .
What are quoted about the Ahl al-Bayt, Itrah (progeny of the Messenger of Allah) in Tafsir al-Qur 'an (Qur 'an Exegesis) and Bayan (Explanation) have shown the purpose of the verse is the prophet, Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (SA), Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS) not any other persons.
And also al-Allamah Abu Bakr al-Hazar writes in his book titled Fi Kitab Rashfa al-Sadi Min Bahr Faza 'eil Bani al-Nabi al-Hadi:
والذي قال به الجماهير من العلماء وقطع به أكابر الأئمة وقامت به البراهين وتظافرت به الأدلة أن أهل البيت المرادين في الآية هم سيدنا علي وفاطمة وابناهما، وما تخصيصهم بذلك منه (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) إلا عن أمر إلهي ووحي سماوي .
What all the scholars agree upon and believe in, which there are reasons and arguments in support of it, is that Ahl al-Bayt in this verse refers to Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (AS) and their sons. And if the prophet has introduced them as Ahl al-Bayt it is based on the God 's command.
He also adds:
والأحاديث في هذا الباب كثيرة وبما أوردته منها يعلم قطعا أن المراد بأهل البيت هم علي وفاطمة وابناهما رضوان الله تعالى عليهم ولا التفات إلى ما ذكره صاحب روح البيان من أن تخصيص الخمسة المذكورين (عليهم السلام) بكونهم من أهل البيت من أقوال الشيعة، لأن ذلك محض تهوّر يقتضي بالعجب، وبما سبق من الأحاديث وما في كتب أهل السنة السنية يسفر الصبح لذي عينين .
There are lots of narrations in this regard and from what I have quoted we can conclude that:
Ahl al-Bayt in this verse refers to Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (AS) and their sons, Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS). One should not consider the claim of the writer of Rouh al-Bayan which implies the attribution of Ahl al-Bayt to Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (SA), Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS) is fabricated by the Shiites. If a person opens his eyes and subtilizes the writings of the Sunnites he will certainly find the truth.
Most importantly, Allamah Shoukani one of the Sunni distinguished figures in reply to those who said this verse has been revealed on the wives of the prophet says:
ويجاب عن هذا بأنه ورد بالدليل الصحيح أنها نزلت في علي وفاطمة والحسنين .
-Ershad Al-Fohul Ela Tahghigh Al-Hagh Fi Elm Al-Osul, p 83, Al-Bahth Al-Thamen Min Al-Maghsad Al-Thaleth
There are authentic reasons which prove that the verse has been revealed on Ali (AS), Hazrat Fatimah (SA), Hassan and Hussain (AS).
Samhoudi who is another great Sunni scholar says:
وهؤلاء هم أهل الكساء فهم المراد من الآيتين [آية المباهلة وآية التطهير] .
-Javaher Al-Aghdein, p 204, chapter 1
These are (Ali. Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain (AS)) the people of Kisa '. From the verses of Purification & Imprecation we can conclude that it is by God’s Grace and Providence that they are assigned as Ahl al-Bayt.
There are other verses in the Quran that prove the infallibility of the Prophet and the infallible Imams (AS) which can then be invoked. For details of how these verses be invoked refer to the interpretative Shia books, including Tafsir al-Mizan by Allameh Tabatabaei.
2 . يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ . النساء / 59 .
O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you.
One of the verses which proves the infallibility of the Prophet and the infallible Imams (AS) is this verse. Since God has given order to obey the prophet and those vested with authority as an absolute necessity; which means any order form them should be accepted without any dispute.
If those vested with authority "Ulil Amr" intentionally or inadvertently give a command which is against the command of God or the prophet, then obeying God 's command and His apostle means transgression of Ulil Amr 's commands and this is contrary to the explicit meaning of the verse because in this verse, absolute obedience from them is obligatory. If one obeys Ulil Amr his / her obedience will be transgression of God. This paradox will be resolved if the Ulil Amr is infallible and immune from any wrongdoing.
In this regard even Fakhr Razi the famous Sunni commentator has conceived the infallibility of Ulil Amr. He says in his commentary about this verse;
فثبت أن الله تعالى أمر بطاعة أولي الأمر على سبيل الجزم ، وثبت أن كل من أمر الله بطاعته على سبيل الجزم وجب أن يكون معصوما عن الخطأ ، فثبت قطعا أن أولي الأمر المذكور في هذه الآية لا بد وأن يكون معصوما .
-Tafsir Al-Razi, Al-Razi, v 10 p 144
This proved that God has given command to obey Ulil Amr, (because God is serious in His commands) and also it is proved that everyone whom God has ordered to be obeyed is certainly infallible. So based on this argument Ulil Amr must inevitably be innocent.
3 . وَإِذِ ابْتَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا قَالَ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ . البقره / 124 .
And when his Lord tested Abraham with certain words, and he fulfilled them, He said, ‘I am making you the Imam of mankind.’ Said he, ‘And from among my descendants?’ He said, ‘My pledge does not extend to the unjust.
This verse proves the divinity of the Imamah (leadership), superiority of Imamah over Nabuwwah (apostleship) and also the infallibility of Imams; although Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) was prophet of God, when he attained Imamah (leadership) and conceived magnitude of this status he requested of God this status (leadership) for his descendants but God gave His absolute response to him as follows:
"My pledge does not extend to the unjust"
This status is for those who have not been cruel even for a moment in all their life. And as you know, one of oppressions is oppression to self, and committing a sin is considered as instances of oppression to self.
God says in holy Quran:
وَمَنْ يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ . الطلاق / 1 .
And whoever transgresses the bounds of Allah certainly wrongs himself.
The minimum amount of sin is oppression to self. It means that if someone in his life commits a sin even once, it will be an instance of oppression. And the God 's covenant does not include the wrongdoers; hence, the Imam must be infallible.
Many Sunni commentators and scholars have acknowledged that the purpose of the word «عهدی» is the status of leadership; Fakhr Razi also in his commentary says in this regard:
(لاَ يَنَالُ عَهْدِي) جواباً لقوله (وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي) وقوله (وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي) طلب للإمامة التي ذكرها الله تعالى فوجب أن يكون المراد بهذا العهد هو الإمامة ليكون الجواب مطابقاً للسؤال .
-Tafsir Al-Razi, v 4 p 46
إجابة إلى ملتمسه وتنبيهه على انه قد يكون من ذريته ظلمه وأنهم لا ينالون الإمامة لأنها أمانة من الله تعالى وعهداً والظالم لا يصلح لها .
-Tafsir Al-Beizavi, v 1 p 397, Dar Al-Fekr, Beirut
And also Ibn Kathir Damishqi Salafi interprets the verse as follows:
يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ يقول تعالى منبهاً على شرف إبراهيم خليله (عليه السلام) وان الله جعله إماما للناس
-Tafsir Ibn Kathir, v 1 p 169
And Tabari writes in Tafsir Jami ' al-Bayan about the phrase « لاَ يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ »:
حدثني محمد بن عمرو قال ثنا أبو عاصم قال ثنا عيسى عن ابن أبي نجيح عن مجاهد قال: لا ينال عهدي الظالمين قال: لا يكون إماماً ظالماً .
-Jame Al-Bayan, v 2 p 738, Dar Al-Fekr
And also there are lots of narrations by Sunnis with the same meaning such as the followings: « لا يكون إماما ظالماً » و « لا اجعل إماما ظالماً يقتدى به »
-R.K: Sahih Al-Bokhari, v 1 p 215, Ketab Al-Ahkam and Sahih Moslem, v 6 p 8, chapter Fazilat Al-Emam Al-Adel and chapter Khayar Al-Aeme va Ashrarehom, Jame Al-Bayan, Tabari, v 1 p 738, Al-Dor Al-Manthur, Al-Siuti, v 1 p 118
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