The Ahlul'Bayt (AS)


Al-Juwayni also narrates from Ibn ‘Abbas (r) from the Prophet (s): “Certainly my Caliphs and my legatees and the Proofs of Allah upon his creatures after me are twelve. The first of them is my brother and the last of them is my (grand) son.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, who is your brother?” He said, “Ali ibn Abi Talib” Then they asked, “And who is your son?” 


The Holy Prophet (s) replied, “Al Mahdi, the one who will fill the earth with justice and equity like it would be brimming with injustice and tyranny. And by the One Who has raised me as a warner and a give of good tidings, even if a day remains for the life of this world, the Almighty Allah will prolong this day to an extent till he sends my son Mahdi, then he will make Ruhullah ‘Isa ibn Maryam (a) to descend and pray behind him (Mahdi). And the earth will be illuminated by his radiance. And his power will reach to the east and the west.”

According to most authentic traditions in collections of both Sunni and Shi’a, Ahlul-Bayt (People of the House) of the Prophet are one of the two most precious Symbols of Islam after the departure of the Prophet (S). There are numerous traditions in the collection of both schools that the Prophet (S) has reminded us to stick to these two weighty things (al-Thaqalain), namely Qur’an and Ahlul-Bayt, in order not to go astray after him.

The Messenger of Allah also informed us that these two weights are non-separable and are with each other till the day of Judgment. This requires us that for understanding the interpretation of Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) we should refer to those who are attached to it, namely Ahlul-Bayt.

Knowing exactly who Ahlul-Bayt are, thus becomes a very vital matter when one considers the above tradition of the Prophet (S) as well as many other traditions which unequivocally state that adherence to Ahlul-Bayt is the only way of salvation. This clearly implies that the one who follows a wrong set of Ahlul-Bayt (!!), will be led astray.

Considering the critical importance of the subject, it will not be surprising to see that the Shi’a differ from some Sunnis in this subject. In fact, the Sunnis do not have one voice in specifying the Members of the House the Prophet. Most Sunnis are in the opinion that the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (S) are:

• Fatimah al-Zahra (sa) (the daughter of the Messenger of Allah),

• Imam ‘Ali (as),

• Imam al-Hasan (as),

• Imam al-Husayn (as),

• Wives of the Prophet (S)

Others among the Sunnis further include ALL the descendants of the Prophet to the list! Some other Sunnis are very generous and include all the descendants of Abbas (the Abbasid) as well as the descendants of Aqil & Ja’far (the two brothers of Imam ‘Ali) to the list. It should be noted, however, that there have been some leading Sunni scholars who did NOT consider the wives of the Prophet among Ahlul-Bayt. This happens to be consistent with the Shi’a point of view.

To the Shi’a, the Ahlul-Bayt of the Prophet (S) consist of the following individuals ONLY:

• Fatimah al-Zahra (sa),

• Imam ‘Ali (as),

• Imam al-Hasan (as),

• Imam al-Husayn (as),

• Nine descendants of Imam al-Husayn (as),

and including the Prophet (S) himself, they will become fourteen individuals. Of course, at the time of the Holy Prophet only five of them (including the Prophet) were living and the rest were not born yet. 

The Shi’a further assert that these fourteen individuals are protected by Allah from any kind of flaws, and thus worthy of being obeyed beside Qur’an (the other Weighty Symbol), and they are the only people who have the full knowledge of the interpretation of the Qur’anic verses.

Amongst all the Islamic schools of thought, only the Shi'ah Imamiyyah Ithna 'Ashariyyah (Twelver Shi'ites) believe in these individuals as the Twelve rightful successors of the Prophet (s) and obtain their understanding of Islam from them.

Prophet Muhammad (AS)

Name: Muhammad.
Title: al-Mustafa.
Agnomen: Abu'l-Qasim.
Father's name: Abdullah ibn Abdi'1-Muttalib.
Mother's name: Aminah bint Wahb.
Birth: Born in Mecca on Friday, 17th Rabiu'l-awwal, in the Year of Elephant.
Death: Died at the age of 63 in Medina on Monday, 28th Safar, 11 AH; buried in his apartment adjoining the mosque, in Medina.

Fatima Az-Zahra (AS)

Name: Fatimah.
Title: az-Zahra'.
Agnomen: Ummu'l-A'immah.
Father's name: Muhammad ibn `Abdillah.
Mother's name: Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.
Birth: Born in Mecca on Friday, 20th Jumada’th-thaniyah in the fifth year after the declaration of the Prophethood (615 AD).
Death: Died at the age of 18 in Medina on 14th Jumadi'l-ula 11 AH (632 AD); buried in the graveyard called Jannatu'l-Baqi' in Medina.


Imam Ali (AS)

Name: Ali.
Title: al-Murtada.
Agnomen: Abu. 'l-Hasan.
Father's name: Abu Talib ibn `Abd al-Muttalib.
Mother's name: Fatimah bint Asad.
Birth: In the Holy Ka'bah in Mecca on Friday, 13th Rajab 23 BH. 

Death: Died at the age of 63, in Kufah (Iraq) on Monday, 21st Ramadan 40 AH; murdered by an assassin who mortally wounded him with a poisoned sword in the mosque of Kufah during the morning prayer on 19th Ramadan; buried in an-Najaf al-Ashraf (Iraq).


Imam Hassan (AS)

Name: al-Hasan.
Title: al-Mujtaba.
Agnomen: Abu Muhammad.
Father's name: Ali Amir al-Mu'minin.
Mother's name: Fatimah (daughter of the Holy Prophet).
Birth: In Medina on Tuesday, 15th Ramadan 3 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 46, in Medina on Thursday, 28th Safar 50 AH; buried in Jannatu 'l-Baqi', in Medina.


Imam Hussain (AS)

Name: al-Husayn.
Title: Sayyidush-Shuhada'.
Agnomen: Abu `Abdillah.
Father's name: Ali Amir al-Mu'minin.
Mother's name: Fatimah (daughter of the Holy Prophet).
Birth: In Medina on Thursday, 3rd Sha'ban 4 AH.
Death: Martyred in Karbala' (Iraq) at the age of 57, on Friday, 10th Muharram 61 AH and buried there.


Imam ALI ZAYNul abidin (AS)

Name: Ali.
Title: Zaynu’l-’Abidin.
Agnomen: Abu Muhammad.
Father's name: al-Husayn Sayyidu'sh-Shuhada'.
Mother's name: Shahr Banu, daughter of Yazdeger III, the King of Persia.
Birth: In Medina, on Saturday, 15th Jumadi '1-ula 36 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 58, in Medina; poisoned by al-Walid ibn `Abdi'1-Malik ibn Marwan on 25th Muharram 95 AH; buried in Jannatu '1-Baqi', in Medina.


Imam muhammad baqir (AS)

Name: Muhammad.
Title: al-Baqir.
Agnomen: Abu Ja'far.
Father's name: Ali Zaynu'l-`Abidin.
Mother's name: Fatimah bint al-Hasan, known as Umm `Abdillah.
Birth: In Medina, on Tuesday, 1st Rajab 57 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 57, in Medina on Monday, 7th Dhi’l-hajjah 114 AH; poisoned by Hisham ibn `Abdil-Malik; buried in Jannatu '1-Baqi', in Medina.


Imam jafar sadiq (AS)

Name: Ja'far.
Title: as-Sadiq.
Agnomen: Abu Abdillah.
Father's name: Muhammad al-Baqir.
Mother's name: Umm Farwah.
Birth: In Medina, on Monday, 17th Rabi’ul-awwal 83A.H.
Death: Died at the age of 65, in Medina on Monday, 25th Shawwal 148 AH; poisoned by al-Mansur ad-Dawaniqi, the `Abbasid caliph.


Imam musa kazim (AS)

Name: Musa.
Title: al-Kazim.
Agnomen: Abu Ibrahim.
Father's name: Ja'far as-Sadiq.
Mother's name: Hamidah al-Barbariyyah.
Birth: In Abwa' (between Mecca and Medina) on Sunday,7th Safar 128 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 55, in Baghdad, on 25th Rajab 183 AH; poisoned by Harun ar-Rashid; buried in al-Kazimiyyah, Baghdad.


Imam ali reza (AS)

Name: `Ali.
Title: ar-Rida.
Agnomen: Abu 'l-Hasan.
Father's name: Musa al-Kazim.
Mother's name: Ummu'l-Banin Najmah.
Birth: In Medina, on Thursday, 11th Dhu'l-qi'dah 148AH. 

Death: Died at the age of 55, in Mashhad (Khurasan), on Tuesday, 17th Safar 203 AH; poisoned by al-Ma'mun, the Abbasid caliph; buried in Mashhad, Iran.


Imam muhammad taqi (AS)

Name: Muhammad.
Title: al-Jawad or at-Taqi.
Agnomen: Abu Ja'far.
Father's name: `Ali ar-Rida.
Mother's name: Sabikah (or Khayzuran).
Birth: In Medina, on Friday, 10th Rajab 195 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 25, in al-Kazimiyyah on Wednesday, 29th Dhu’l-qi’dah 220 AH, poisoned by Mu'tasim, the `Abbasid caliph; buried in al-Kazimiyyah, Baghdad.


Imam ali naqi (AS)

Name: Ali.
Title: al-Hadi or an-Naqi.
Agnomen: Abu 'l-Hasan.
Father's name: Muhammad al-Jawad (at-Taqi).
Mother's name: Sumanah.
Birth: In Suryah (in the environs of Medina), on Friday, 2nd Rajab, 212 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 42, in Samarra, on Monday, 26th Jumada'th-thaniyah 254 AH; poisoned by al-Mu'tazz, the `Abbasid caliph; buried in Samarra'; North of Baghdad (Iraq).


Imam hassan askari (AS)

Name: al-Hasan.
Title: al-Askari.
Agnomen: Abu Muhammad.
Father's name: `Ali al-Hadi (an-Naqi).
Mother's name: Hadithah (or Susan).
Birth: In Medina, on Friday, 8th Rabi`u'th-thani 232 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 28, in Samarra', on Friday, 8th Rabi`ul-awwal 260 AH; poisoned by al-Mu'tamid, the Abbasid ruler; buried in Samarra' (Iraq).


Imam mahdi (AS)

Name: Muhammad.
Title: al-Mahdi, al-Qa'im, al-Hujjah, al-Gha'ib, Sahibu'z-Zaman, Sahibu 'l-Amr.
Agnomen: Abu 'l-Qasim.
Father's name: al-Hasan al-`Askari.
Mother's name: Narjis.
Birth: In Samarra', on Friday, 15th Sha'ban 255 AH.
He is still living and will appear before the end of the world.
Minor Occultation: 8th Rabi`u1-awwal 260 AH.
Major Occultation: 10th Shawwal 329 AH.