Love for Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
Compiled by: Allama Husayn Ansariyan
We who are strongly in need of Allah’s mercy, favor and special attention must choose a path the final stage of which is Allah’s pleasure hence Paradise. In order to win Allah’s favor, we need mediation to find the truth. Based on Quranic verses, this mediation is love for Ahl al-Bayt and compliance with their teachings.
In order to love Ahl al-Bayt, we should first get to know them. When we see their moral virtues and spiritual beauty we will automatically love them. This love makes human receive baptism of Allah and become like the Beloved One in all aspects. One must note that love and friendly relations will come about only when we get to know our Beloved. Even in metaphorical examples of love, one never falls in love unless he sees the beauty of the beloved.
When one loves, one will automatically do one’s best to comply with whatever the beloved wishes and will be baptized by the Beloved in a way that both the lover and the beloved become identical.
The Holy Prophet’s words “Salman is from us, Ahl al-Bayt” is the best proof. Love for Ahl al-Bayt is a valuable truth, which Allah has determined as a reward for the mission of the Holy Prophet: Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives. (42:23)
Based on narrations related by Shiite scholars and others related by Sunni scholars, the near relatives are Ahl al-Bayt. The important point in this Quranic verses is the word love intermingled with obedience.
Is it not surprising that Allah has not refered to performing prayer, Hajj, fast, almsgiving and poor-rate as reward for the mission of the Holy Prophet (S). Instead He has stipulated the word love in order to show the love for Ahl al-Bayt and obedience to them are above all other truths. Should there be no love for Ahl al-Bayt, there would be no virtues for the abovementioned acts.
The Holy Prophet is quoted as saying: There is a basis for everything; and love for us, Ahl al-Bayt, is the basis of Islam.1
Imam Ali (a.s) has said: I heard Allah’s Messenger say: Ali. I am the master of Adam’s children and you, and the Imams after you are the masters of my ummah. Whoever loves us has loved Allah. Whoever is hostile to us has been hostile to Allah. Whoever obeys us has obeyed Allah and whoever disobeys us has disobeyed Allah.2
Love for Ahl al-Bayt is a gift, which Allah bestows on the pure hearts of worthy people. Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has said: I know the reason why you love us. It is not something spontaneous; rather, it is a love made by Allah.3
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has said: Allah sends down love for us from the reasuries underneath His throne, like the treasuries of gold and silver. This love is sent down only to a certain extent to the best of people. It is like a cloud bringing rain with it. So, whenever Allah wills, He sends it down so as to come to an embryo in a mother’s womb.4
Since love for Ahl al-Bayt is a heavenly gift and the gift is offered only to friends, love for them is a sign of Allah’s love for human being.
Signs of Love for Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
Love for Ahl al-Bayt is not only a sign of Allah’s love for man, but it is also a sign of other truths as follows:
First: Based on several narrations, love for Ahl al-Bayt is a proof of one’s noble birth. Imam Ali (a.s.) quotes the Holy Prophet as having said to Abu- Dharr: Whoever loves us, Ahl al-Bayt, must thank Allah for the first blessing… Nobility of birth; for whoever loves us is of noble (i.e. legitimate) birth.5
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has said: Whoever wakes up in the morning and feels the cool breeze of our love must thank Allah for the first blessing; purity and nobility of birth.6
Second: Love for Ahl al-Bayt is a proof of purity of heart. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) says: By Allah, none loves us unless those whose hearts have been purified by Allah.7
Third: Love for Ahl al-Bayt is a sign of true belief and acceptance byAllah. Allah’s Messenger has said: My Lord made a promise to me that He will not accept any of His servants’ belief without love for Ahl al-Bayt. 8
Amir al-Muminin (a.s.) has said: The Ummi Prophet expressly said to me that no one but a believer loves me and no one but a hypocrite harbors rancor against me.9
He has also said: Even if I strike the nose of a believer with my sword to oblige him to hate me, he will never hate me; and even if I pile all the wealth of the world before a hypocrite to love me, he will never love me. This is because it is a verdict pronounced by the tongue of the Prophet - may Allah bless him and his descendants - as he said: O Ali, a believer will never hate you and a hypocrite will never love you.10
Requirements of Love for Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
Ahl al-Bayt are not in need of superficial love; rather, they require love which has its medium with it so as to reveal its amazing signs. Here are some requirements of the love for Ahl al-Bayt:
1. Acting according to the decrees
One of the requirements of love for Ahl al-Bayt is that a lover should never stop endeavoring in the way of Allah by making Ahl al-Bayt’s behavior and deeds as models for his life. The Ahl al-Bayt have said: Whoever loves us must do whatever we do.11
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: A partisan (Shia) of Jafar is only he who guards his body and desires from what is unlawful, endeavors for his creator, hopes for His reward, and fears His punishment.12
2. Taking Ahl al-Bayt’ s Friends As Friends (Tawalli)
Amir al-Muminin (a.s.) has said: If he takes our friend as a friend, he is not our enemy; and if he is the enemy of our friend, he will not be our friend.13
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: One who loves our friend will be certainly our friend.14
3. Disavowal of Ahl al-Bayt’s enemies (Tabarri)
One of the requirements of love for Ahl al-Bayt is to take their enemies as enemy. Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: One who wishes to know whether he love us should test his heart. If he feels love in his heart for those who make people our enemy, then he must know that Allah, Gabriel and Michael are his enemies. After all, Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.15
He has also said: If one who loves us loves our enemies, he will certainly not belong to us nor do we belong to him.16
4. Tribulations and Calamity
Nothing is more effective than tribulations and calamity in purifying a man and improving his character. Allah tests His devoted servants with tribulation, calamity, poverty, hunger, bereavement and other incidents so as to make them steadfast on patience, resistance, and endurance; hence, He paves the way for them to enter Paradise. The Holy Prophet, addressing Abu-Said Khidri who was complaining from poverty, said: Be patient, for poverty rushes toward those who love me with a speed more hasty than that of a flood coming down from the peak of a mountain.17
Abu-Dharr expressed his love for the Holy Prophet (S) who replied: If so, then prepare yourself a cover for indigence! Indigence comes to one who loves us with a speed more hasty than that of a flood coming down from the peak of a hill. 18
A narration reads: One day, Allah’s Messenger came across a man of Ansar who said, “May my parents be your ransom, O Allah’s Messenger! The expression I see in you visage makes me sad. What is the story?” Looking at the man’s face, the Holy Prophet said, “It is Hunger!” Hearing this, the man became restless; he rushed to his house to find something and bring it for the Holy Prophet, but he could not.
So, he rushed to Banu-Quraydhah to draw water from well and receive dates as wage. After collecting the dates, he came to the Holy Prophet, placing the dates politely in front of him, and asked him to eat. Allah’s Messenger asked, “Where did you get these dates from?” The man told him the whole story. The Holy Prophet said, “I suppose that you love Allah and His Messenger.” The man said, “I truly do. I swear it by Him Who appointed you as Prophet with the truth; I love you more than my children, my family and all my wealth.” Addressing the man, the Holy Prophet said, “If so, then prepare yourself for indigence, patience, and a cover for tribulation. Verily, by Allah Who appointed me as Prophet, poverty and tribulation come to one who loves me with a speed more hasty than a flood coming down from the top of mountain.”
Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: One who loves us must prepare himself for tribulation.19
Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) visiting Muhammad ibn Muslim
Muhammad ibn Muslim, one of the best companions of Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), narrates: Although I did not feel well, I traveled to Medina. When Imam al-Baqir was informed of my arrival, he sent me a bowl of syrup through his servant who said, “Drink this, for the Imam has told me not to return before you drink of it.” I drank from that syrup which was scented with musk. After drinking it, when I rose up and did not feel sick anymore.
So I decided to go and see the Imam who welcomed saying, “May you be healthy, come in, come in.” I entered the room, greeted the Imam and kissed his hands and head. He asked, “Why are you crying?” I replied, “May I be your ransom. I cry because of being away from my home, the journey to the hereafter, indigence and the fact that I cannot stay with you.” The Imam said, “As for indigence, Allah has decreed it for our friends. Tribulation and calamity rush towards them. As for being away from home, set Imam Husayn who is in a faraway land near the Euphrates as an example. As for the journey to the hereafter, know that a believer is always lonely in this world until he departs to the land of Allah’s mercy. As for saying that you would love to stay with us, know that Allah is aware of what is in your heart and He will reward you for it.20
5. Mutual Love
It is noteworthy that a man’s love for Ahl al-Bayt will lead to their love for him too. Even if love for Ahl al-Bayt has no other blessing, it will cause them to have love for him. So which asset is more valuable than this?
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has reported: One day, my father and I entered the Prophet’s Mosque. He was passing by groups of people but he paid no attention to them until he stood near a few people and said, “By Allah, I love your good scent and your souls.”21 These people were Shia.
Ahl al-Bayt’s love for their devotees is to the extent that if one ignores the devotee of Ahl al-Bayt, they will ignore him.
In a gathering, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “Why do you make light of us?” A man from Khorasan said, “We seek refuge to Allah from making light of you.” The Imam said, “You are one of those who made light of us. Did you not hear such and such man who asked you to give him a ride but you ignored him? By Allah, You made light of him. So anyone who makes light of a believer has disrespected Allah.”22
6. Love for Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) eases agony of Death
One of the hard moments in human life is when man is at the point of death. At this stage, all veils are removed before his eyes. Based on his beliefs and morality, man sees truths, which can be painful or joyful. A man becomes happy when he sees the result of his love for Ahl al-Bayt.
Abdullah ibn Walid says: Under Marwan’s rule, I went to the presence of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) who asked me about my identity. I said, “I am a man from Kufa.” The Imam said: People of no city are fonder of us than the people of Kufa, especially this Shiite group. Allah has guided you to a truth of which other people are unaware. That is why you befriended us and others harbored our enmity. You confirmed us while the others denied us. May Allah make your living and death like those of us. I bear witness that my father said: There is no distance between one you and the source of delight and the envied but the soul's reaching the throat. 23
The moment when a believer dies
In a narration, the Holy Prophet (S) describes the moment when a believer dies and enters the hereafter as such: The Angel of Death says to the believer, “Look above your head.” Then he will see stages of Paradise and the castles therein that the people of the world cannot comprehend. The Angel of Death will say, “These are the blessings, wealth, your dependents and your worthy issues who will be with you. Are you pleased with Allah’s favor in place of what you will leave in this world?” The believer will say, “Yes, by Allah.”
Then the Angel of Death will say, “Look.” And the believer will look and see Muhammad (S), Ali (a.s.) and the purified ones of the Household of Muhammad and Ali in the uppermost of heaven. The Angel of Death will say, “Can you see them? They are your masters and Imams who are your companions. Are you pleased with them instead of being separated from the world?” The believer will say, “Yes, by my Lord.”24
Evidently it is in this state that man considers leaving this world and departing to the hereafter as something pleasant and never wishes to come back to this world. Some other truths which the devotees of Ahl al-Bayt will see at the moment of death are the angels of mercy who convey Allah’s good tidings and His greeting to them: As for those who say: Our Lord is Allah, then continue in the right way, the angels descend upon them, saying: fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the garden that you were promised. We are your guardians in this world's life and in the hereafter, and you shall have therein what your souls derive and you shall have therein what you ask for: A provision from the Forgiving, the Merciful. (41:30-32)
Being at the point of death, Abu-Dharr who had lost his endurance asked his daughter to search for water and food in the desert, for he was starving! Because he was a devotee of Ahl al-Bayt, he had been banished to the desert of Rabadhah by the tyrannical rule. He had been deprived of everything but since he loved Ahl al-Bayt, he tolerated all the calamities and hardships.
When his daughter came back empty-handed, she said to her father, “I could not find any water nor any food.” Finding him in the agony of death, she put his head on the lap and listened to his words, “Unto Him is Peace, upon Him is peace, He is peace, through Him is peace and from Him is peace.” She asked, “O father; none is here.” Abu-Dharr said, “My daughter, the Angel of Death is here saying, ‘Allah has said: salute Abu-Dharr before taking his life: Peace: a word from a Merciful Lord. (36:58)’
I am greeting back the salutation of my Beloved!”
Truly the one who loves Ali and his Household, will be loved not only by them but also by Allah.
7. Presence of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) at the point of death
One of the horrible moments in a human life is when he parts with everything. With the arrival of the Angel of Death beside deathbed, man feels the bitter experience of being away from home; but for a devotee of Ahl al- Bayt, the situation is quite different, for he will see his guardians and an indescribable joy overwhelms him.
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked, “Is a believer displeased when his soul is taken?” The Imam said, “By Allah, a believer is restlessly waiting for the Angel of Death to come and to take his soul. The Angel of Death will say: ‘O friend of Allah! Be patient. I swear by Him Who appointed Muhammad (S) as a Prophet, I am more compassionate to you than your father. Open your eyes and see the Prophet, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn and the Imams before you.’ Then the believer opens his eyes and will see Ahl al-Bayt.”25
8. Immunity from Chastisement
A man who is immune from pollutions and evil acts due to his love for Ahl al-Bayt in this world and is immune from fear and sorrow at the point of death will certainly be immune from chastisement on the Judgment Day. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: On the Judgment Day, Allah will address Lady Fatimah (a.s.) as such: ‘O Fatimah! Ask me and I will grant to you, and wish something and I will make you pleased.’ Lady Fatimah will say: ‘I ask You not to punish the devotees of my progeny and me with fire.’ Allah will say: ‘O Fatimah! By My honor, glory and grandeur I took an oath on Myself two thousand years before the creation of heavens and the earth that I would not punish the devotees of your progeny and you with the fire.’26
Bilal ibn Hamamah reports: One day, the Holy Prophet was coming towards us happily. Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf asked, “O Allah’s Messenger; what is the reason for your being happy?” The Holy Prophet said, “A good news has come to me from my Lord: When Allah willed to give Fatimah to Ali in marriage, He ordered an angel to shake the tree of Tuba whereby written leaves were spread. Allah ordered angels to collect those leaves. When the Judgment Day will come, this angel will look for the devotees of Ahl al- Bayt to give them one of these leaves with the following inscription on it: This is a letter of respite from hellfire by my brother, my cousin and my daughter for the safety of men and women among my ummah from fire."27
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: By Allah (I swear), every servant who loves Allah and His Messenger and accepts the leadership of the Imams and then dies, hellfire will not touch him.28
One of the results of loving the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) and following them is immunity from hellfire on the Judgment Day.
The Holy Prophet has said: As for one who loves us - the Ahl al-Bayt, Allah will make him to associate with us on the Day of Judgment.29
9. Passing The Sirat
Immunity from slipping off the Sirat is a result of loving Ahl al-Bayt. The Holy Prophet (S) has said: The most steadfast of you on the Sirat is one who loves my Ahl al-Bayt more. 30
He has also said: Everyone who loves Ahl al-Bayt, even if one of his feet slips, his other foot will keep him steadfast and firm until Allah will save him on the Day of Judgment.
10. Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) and Forgiveness
Love in human being is an actuating motor, which motivates him to go forwards to his Beloved. This love compels him to purify himself from all pollutions, repent and turn towards all moral virtues. If we read in narrations that love for Ahl al-Bayt will lead to forgiveness of our sins, we should not have the impression that it will give us permission to commit sins. If our love for Ahl al-Bayt be true, it will give us the ability to purify ourselves.
Al-Hurr ibn Yazid al-Riyahi, with a moment of reflection, loved Imam Husayn. This love made him give up his high-ranking position and the worldly riches. He repented with a true repentance so that his sins were forgiven and he was engaged in jihad, the most praiseworthy deed, and experienced the most sacred truth, that is martyrdom. This is only the result of love! Based on this reality, Allah’s Messenger said: Love for Ahl al-Bayt will remove all sins and increase virtues.31
Imam Hasan (a.s.) has said: Surely, love for us will make sins fall down away from the children of Adam as the wind make the leaves fall down from trees.32
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: Whoever loves our devotees and us for the sake of Allah, and not for a worldly purpose, he antagonizes our enemy, not because of personal rancor. His sins will be forgiven on the Judgment Day even if they are as many as the sands of a desert and foams of the seas.33
1. Al-Kafi: 46/2, H. 2
2. Al-Amali: 476, H. 16
3. Al-Mahasin: 149/1, H. 62
4. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 313
5. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: 455, H. 1018
6. Al-Amali, 475, H. 13
7. Da’aim al-Islam: 73/1
8. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal: 204/1
9. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: 60/2, Chapter: 31, H. 235
10. Nahj al-Balaghah: 447, Saying: 45
11. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 104
12. Sifat al-Shia: 11
13. Al-Amali, 334, H. 4
14. Al-Muqniah: 485
15. Al-Amali: 148, H. 243
16. Tafsir al-Qummi: 171/2
17. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal: 85/4
18. Al-Mustadrak: 367/4
19. Al-Gharat: 401/2
20. Al-Ikhtisas: 52
21. Al-Amali, 722, H. 522
22. Al-Kafi: 89/8, H. 73
23. Al-Kafi: 81/8, H. 38
24. Tafsir al-Imam al-Askari: 239, H. 117
25. Al-Kafi: 127/3, H. 2
26. Interpretation of Manifest Verses: 474
27. Yanabi al-Mawaddah: 460/2
28. Rijal al-Najashi: 39
29. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: 88/2, Chapter: 31, H. 220
30. Fadha’il al-Shia: 6, H. 3
31. Al-Amali: 164, H. 274.
32. Al-Ikhtisas: 82
33. Al-Amali 156, H. 259