Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) from the Viewpoint of Mystics

The inheritor of Prophethood, the torch of the ummah, the wronged master, the deprived Imam, the ornament of the servants of Allah, Abul-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu-Talib (a.s.) was the most honorable worshipper of his time. He is known for his intuition of delicate points. A story tells us that when Husayn along with his children were killed in the plain of Karbala and there was no one to look after the women, he was ill and Husayn called him Ali the junior (Ali Asghar).
When they were brought on bare camels to Syria before Yazid ibn Muawiyah – may Allah abase him – a person said, “How is your day, O Ali from the Household of Mercy?” He said, “Because of unkindness of our people, our morning was like that of the people of (Prophet) Musa because of the plight of the people of Pharaoh who killed their children and unveiled their women in a way we do not know the day from the night.”
Husham ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the story goes, was circumambulating the Holy Kabah. He wished to kiss the Black Stone but failed to find his way to it due to the huge crowd. So he went up the pulpit and delivered a sermon. After some time, Zayn al-Abidin Ali ibn Husayn entered the Mosque for circumambulation with a face as bright as moon and a garment with sweet scent. When he came near the Black stone, the pilgrims made room for him to kiss it out of respect for him. Observing such a scene, a man from Syria said to Husham, “The pilgrims did not make room for you who are a governor. Who is that good looking young man for whom the pilgrims made way near the Black stone?”
Husham said, “I do not know him.” He had the intention that the people of Syria do not recognize or follow him nor show interest in his Imamate. Farazdaq, the poet who was standing there, said, “I know him.” They said, “Who is he?” Farazdaq said, “He is the one whom the land of revelation and even the Sacred House know very well…” He also composed some lines in praise of Imam and Ahl al-Bayt. Hearing this, Husham became angry and had him jailed in a prison between Mecca and Medina.
When the Imam heard the story, he sent him twelve thousand Dirhams with a message saying that we did not have more than this. Farazdaq sent back the silver coins saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! I have composed many poems for silver with false eulogy; however, what I have composed is for the sake of Allah and love for His Messenger and his offspring.” When the message reached Zayn al-Abidin, he said, “Send these silver coins back and say: O Abu-Firas! If you love us, do not ask me to take back what I have given away from our property.” It was then that Farazdaq was convinced to take the silver coins. (Abul Hasan Hajwiri Ghaznawi, Kashf al-Mahjub: 85-95)
The virtues of Zayn al-Abidin are too numerous to be mentioned here.
Sa’di of Shiraz’s Poem in praise of Holy Ahl al-Bayt (AS)
Sa’di do not suppose that the way of Chastity
Is anywhere but following Mustafa –
Who is honorable in character,
Beautiful in qualities
The Prophet of people, and mediator of followers,
The Imam of all Prophets, the leader of the way,
The trustee of Allah, the descending place of Gabriel,
The intercessor of men, the Lord of Resurrection Day,
The guiding leader, high judge of the court of Accounts,
The inter-locator whose Mount Sinai is the whole universe,
and all rays are the reflection of His light,
the orphan who had not compiled the Qur’an,
and washed away the holy books of several nations.
One night he rode, and rose to high heaven
And in worth and rank was elevated above angels.
He rode so swiftly in the land of proximity to Allah,
That Gabriel was left behind at Sadreh
What admirable eulogy can I offer you?
O people’s prophet, peace be upon You!
The salutation of angels be upon your soul,
On your descendants and followers.
O Allah; I beg you by the children of Fatimah
To end my life with devotion to the Prophet’s lineage.
Whether you grant my wish or not
I shall make my entreaty to the family of the Prophet. (Boostan of Sa’adi translated into English by Aladdin Pasargadi, Rahnama Publication, 2000 AD)
Sayyid Haydar Amuli and Sheikh Muhyi al-Din Ibn Arabi
Sayyid Haydar Amuli in his mystical-theological exegesis of the Holy Quran entitled al-Muhit al-Adham wal-Bahr al-Khidhimm, has pointed out the following:
Be it known to you that the truths and secrets in the Holy Quran are Divine truths and secrets descended on purified souls from a sacred realm. Allah Himself has said,
Most surely it is an honored Quran, in a book that is protected; none shall touch it save the purified ones. (56:77-79)
Therefore, the Holy Quran is not revealed to anyone but those who have attained perfection and are free from sins and disobedience called uncleanness. Again Allah says,
Unclean things are for unclean ones and unclean ones are for unclean things and the good things are for good ones and the good ones are for good things. (24:26)
These purified souls are none but the Prophets, the Messengers and the Imams who truthfully followed them. It is for this reason that we claim that ‘those who are firmly rooted in knowledge’ are the Prophets, Messengers, Imams, Allah’s favorites and then the inheritors of monotheism. Therefore, no one else can be included in their group as it has been pointed out by the elder Sheikhs. In this connection Allah says,
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33)
In this verse, Allah alludes to the purification of Ahl al-Bayt and their being free from sins and disobedience. Uncleanness can mean atheism and paganism or sin and debauchery. In the first meaning, Ahl al-Bayt are necessarily free from these sins. In the second meaning, the word ‘purify’cannot be applied to them unless Ahl al-Bayt are also not far from it. The sins and debauchery are the worst uncleanness and here Allah Himself has testified to their purification.
The great Sheikh Muhyi al-Din Ibn Arabi refers to the same meaning in getting to know the secret of Salman and his joining Ahl al-Bayt, which has a moral long story. (Ibn Arabi, Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah; Vol. 1, Ch. 29) Supporting what we have said so far, let us quote the following as a proof for those who deny it:
Know this! May Allah support you! Jafar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq in a Hadith has reported Allah’s Messenger as saying,
The servant of each nation is a person from among them.
Allah’s Messenger has also said,
The people of the Holy Quran are men of Allah and His favorites.”
Allah too says,
Surely as for My servants, you (Satan) have no authority over them. (17:65)
Therefore, the submission of every servant of Almighty Allah on whom the right of another servant will be decreased to the extent of that right and that person will have an authority on him. For this reason, he will not become a devoted servant. This has caused the devoted servants to be detached from people in order to resort to mountain and deserts and escape from people. They are keen to rid themselves of everything. I have met many of them during my trips.
Purification – A Heavenly Food for Devoted servants
Since the Holy Prophet was a devoted servant, Allah purified him and his Household thoroughly and removed uncleanness from them, which is what is considered as indecency and defect. None can be included in Ahl al- Bayt saved the purified. The Holy Prophet by saying, “Salman is from us – Ahl al-Bayt”, testifies that Salman has been purified.

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