The Wives of the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him)
Question :

Are the wives of the Prophet included in Ahlulbait according to the 33rd verse of Surah al-Ahzab?

Answer :

The verse does not include the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) since the wife – based on Arabic custom – is not included in the term “household” usually. This term refers to the genealogy of the man and his relatives in lineage. It was narrated in the book “Lisan ul-Arab” that Ibn Sayyidah – a language expert – stated that the term “ahl” refers to the tribe of the man and his relatives. Apparently, this is meaning was apparent during the first era of Islam, since history did not mention that the aforementioned term is given to the wives by the companions of the Prophet. It was not used by the wives of the Prophet themselves. Aisha – for example – led an army to fight Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and her supporters were trying to gain the support of Muslims by any possible mean. Yet they did not mention that she is a member of the Ahlulbait.

It appears from numerous traditions narrated by Muslims in general that the Messenger of Allah used to give Ali, Hassan, Husain and Fatima (peace be upon them) this name. Ahmed Bin Hanbal narrated in his book (Al-Musnad) from Umm Salama that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) told Fatima (peace be upon her): “Call for me your husband and your two sons”. She did, and he then placed a blanket over them and then he placed his hand over them and said: ”O Lord, these are Aal of Mohammad, so place your blessings on Mohammad and the Aal of Mohammad. All praise and glory belong to you.” Umm Salama raised the blanket to join with them. The Messenger of Allah prevented her and said: “Your future is good”.

Many other traditions narrated by Sunni scholars mentioned clearly that the noble verse (33:33) was revealed while they were under the blanket.

In addition to that, what the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) did clearly indicates that they were not purified from committing sins; some verses of chapter 66 (al-Tahreem) were revealed condemning Aisha and Hafsa since they aided one another against the Messenger of Allah. It was also narrated that one of the Prophet’s wife, Qoutaila bint Qais left the religion of Islam after the death of the Prophet and got married to Ikrama bin Abi Jahl.

Ahlul Bayt
Question : We know from verse (33:33) that Ahlulbait are Imam Ali, Fatimah Hassan and Husain (peace be upon them) and we also know from the hadith the names of the twelve Imams. Can the sons of the Imam be considered as Ahlulbait?
Answer : The verses and the narrations that are reported in the superiority of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) are specific to the five infallibles; the Prophet, Imam Ali, Fatima Al-Zahra, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussein (peace be upon them all). Sometimes, one can understand that some religious texts include the rest of the twelve Imams (peace be upon them). This does not include the sons of the Imams.
Question : Some people say that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) gave his oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr and Umar, which they required to establish their caliphate. Is this true
Answer : It is clear in some of the words of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in the book of Nahjul Balagah that he did not pay the allegiance until the welfare of Islam required him to do so. This is clear when he said: "At every stage I kept myself aloof from that struggle of supremacy and power politics till I found the heretics had openly taken to heresy and schism and were trying to undermine and ruin the religion preached by our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). I felt afraid that, even after seeing and recognizing the evil, if I did not stand up to help Islam and the Muslims it would be a worse calamity to me than my losing authority and power over you". (Letter 62).
Question : Can the following deeds be considered disrespectful to the Infallibles (Peace be upon them) if they are done on the day of martyrdom/death of any one of them?
1. Talking, laughing with friends and family members.
2. Purchasing a new thing for myself or family.
3. Eating some special food.
4. Doing business or going to work.
5. Going to a doctor for a check-up or going to a laboratory for a test or starting a medical treatment.
6. Playing a game like cricket, hockey etc.
7. Asking an ordinary question or a question related to marital affairs from one’s Mujtahid.
8. Taking out family for outing, recreation.
9. Starting a new activity.
10. Getting one’s car, house or any other possession repaired.
Answer : It was reported in some authentic narrations of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) the emphasis on crying, showing sadness and grief for Imam Hussein (peace be upin him) and establishing the mourning ceremonies for his tragedy and refraining from eating or drinking on the day of Ashura - without the intention of fasting - and breaking it with little water and food after noon. It was reported also to refrain from going out for regular needs on such occasions. It was also reported that whoever goes out to fulfill one of his needs that day, Almighty Allah will not bless it if it was fulfilled. It was also reported the emphasis on presenting grief and sadness for the tragedies of the Ahlulbait in general and there is no doubt that the days of their martyrdoms are the best to do so.
From the above one can determine under what category the mentioned examples fit, since some of them are inconsistent with sadness and grief, while others are not.
Question : Where did the Infallibles get their knowledge from? Was it taught to them by their parents and the Prophet (peace be upon him) or was it all given to them directly from God?
Answer : It is reported in the narrations of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) that their knowledge is of two kinds: one is the inherited books from Imam Ali (peace be upon him) that he wrote down from the dictation of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). The other kind is the information that they need in their everyday life which they get from Almighty Allah.
Question : Did the Imams (peace be upon them) claim to be infallible?
Answer : There is no doubt that the followers of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) base the belief in the infallibility of the Imams (peace be upon them) on solid sources, starting from verse 33:33. Other texts indicate this directly and sometimes indirectly. As an example, it was reported in Ziyarat ul Jamiaa which was narrated by Imam Ali Al-Hadi in an authentic way: "Allah has guarded you from lapses and saved you from attractions (of life, Satan, etc)".
Question : Some people say that our Imams (peace be upon them) know when they are going to die, but the Holy Quran states that “No soul knows what it will earn to-morrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die” (34:31). Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) knew that he was going to die in Karbala. How is this?
Answer : The meaning of the verse is that a human being by his nature does not know the time of his death. This does not mean that all people are like that. Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) came to know this from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and the latter was informed of this by the revelation and the contact with the unseen world.
Question : How do we seek intercession with God through the Prophet and Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them all)? Is there a certain dua?
Answer : It was reported in some narrations that Imam Mosa Al-Kadhim – our Seventh Imam (peace be upon him) – said to his one of companions: “If you have a request from Allah say: Allahumma inni As’aloka bi haqqi Mohammadin wa Alliyyin fa inna lehuma shaanan minash-shaan, wa qadran minal-qader, fa bihaqqi dhalikash-shaan wa bihaqqi thalikal-qader, an tosalli alla Mohammadin wa Aal-Mohammad wa an……." then you mention your request.

The translation of the said supplication is: O my Lord I ask you by the right of Mohammad and Ali as they have a (high) position amongst the positions and a (high) value amongst the values. By this position and this value praise be on Mohammad and his progeny and…” then say what your request is.

There are other supplications mentioned in books of supplication.
Question : Is turning to Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) in supplications recommended?
Answer : It is permissible to seek the intercession of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) to answer the requests, as it is one of the reasons to get the requests answered by the Divine Lord.
Question : Can we supplicate to the Messenger of Allah, the Ahlulbait and the Imams (peace be upon them all)?
Answer : The Dua (supplication) is a “request”, and since Almighty Allah is in charge of the universe and manages all creations, asking Him is direct. Requesting from others, like the Prophets or the Imams, is not permissible if the seeker considers them as being independent in dealing with his request, aside from Almighty Allah. This is like considering a partner with Almighty Allah.
If the believer seeks the intercession of the Prophets and the Imams (peace be upon them) as they can ask Almighty Allah to fulfill the seeker’s needs, or when the believer requests from Almighty Allah to fulfill his requests by referring to the high rank of the noble personalities of the Prophets and the Imams (peace be upon them), then these two kinds of supplications are considered as permissible acts of worship.
Question : Are there any authentic narration, Duas or Ziyarats in Shia books that direct us to ask the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) directly for sustenance, children, and the like?
Answer : Seeking intercession of the Prophet and the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) and asking them does not require an extra proof other than what is mentioned in the Holy Book. The following verse is sufficient to prove it, when Almighty Allah said: “And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful” (4:64).
Question : Is it correct to say that Allah Almighty has delegated some of His attributes to the 14 Infallibles (peace be upon them) and others like Abbas bin Ali (Peace be upon him), Zainab Bint Ali (peace be upon her) Sakina Bint Hussain (peace be upon her), like relief from problems and hardships, providing of sustenance, providing children, protection from danger, averting misfortunes, etc?
Answer : They are interceders to Almighty Allah and their intercession is His mercy to His slaves.
Question : There are many recommended acts such as going to shrines of Ahlulbait, if a person lives very distant from these places and cannot reach there, is the recitation of Zyara and salutation from far equally well, virtuous and acceptable?
Answer : There are no narrated texts from the Imams of the Ahlulbait that explain such an issue and clarify it. However, there is nothing wrong with reciting the Zyara from far away with the hope that it is recommended and then subject to rewards.
Question : What is the reward for mourning for Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) as stated in the narrations and in the Holy Quran?
Answer : There are narrations that encourage mourning the Ahlulbait and showing grief for what had happened to them. As an example, Imam Jafer al Sadiq (peace be upon him) used to recite while prostrating a long supplication. He said: "O my Lord, have mercy on those hearts that mourned us and were burned because of our grief. O my Lord, have mercy on the eyes that were running tears for our tragedy…”.
Divine Revelation
Question :

Did divine revelation continue for the Infallible Imams after the Prophet (peace be upon them all)?

Answer :

The Prophethood and divine revelations of legislations ended at the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), but some narrations indicate that angels speaks to the Imams (peace be upon them) and inform them what takes place and what will take place. The Quran also speaks of the continuation of the descending of the angels during the Night of Qadr every year, which indicates that there is someone that receives certain information that night, which is clearly the Twelfth Imam (peace be upon him) in our time. This is further evidence from the Quran of his existence.

Question : What was the mission of the uprising of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him)? How do you think in case of success of the uprising is Imam (Peace be upon him) would be revived a State created by his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
Answer : He stated the aim of his mission clearly when he said: “The purpose of my stand is the reformation of the nation of my grandfather. I intend to enjoin goodness and forbid the wrong and to walk in the path of my grandfather and my father Ali bin Abi Talib".
Question : When the soldiers left Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) in Karbala after the lights were extinguished, have they committed a sin for which they will be punished? Given the fact that the Imam said to them, you are free and you can go, can the Imam (peace be upon him) urge others towards sinning?
Answer : It is obligatory to help the Imam (peace be upon him) if he asks for help. He is also permitted to excuse his companions from fighting for him. He is the leader and can make such a decision as per the current circumstances.
The reason for such a decision as it appears from the narrations is that Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) knew that he will be killed in the battlefield as the little number of his followers cannot protect him. Therefore, he gave them the choice of leaving him to face his destiny.
This shows the high morality of the Imam (peace be upon him) and the great values that he possessed. Similarly, his companions were excused from undertaking the hardship of the fighting and facing certain death in the battlefield, and fighting was not obligatory on them, but they decided to show the highest level of selflessness and sacrifice.
ٌSaying Peace be upon him
Question :

When saying the name of any of the 14 Infallibles, is it necessary to say "Alayhis-Salam" or "Salawatullah Alayh"? What if I hear it, or write it? Is it sufficient to write it in an abbreviated way?

Answer :

Saying “Alayhis-Salam” (Peace be upon him) after hearing or saying the name of the infallible originates from our love, loyalty and respect for them. However, it is not considered a religious obligation.

Suluh of Muaawiyah (LA) and Imam Hassan (AS)
Question : What points were written in the treaty of Imam Hassan (peace be upon him) and Muawiyah?
Answer : History books differ in explaining the detailed incidents of the treaty between Imam Hassan (peace be upon him) and Muawiya. Some sources state that the treaty included the following conditions:
1. Muawiya does not appoint a successor.
2. Muawiya does not harm any of the followers of Imam Ali (peace be upon him).
Both of these conditions were violated by Muawiya.
Some other sources of history said that Imam Hassan (peace be upon him) put in the treaty that he is the one who succeeds Muawiya in ruling, or Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) will in his absence, and Muawiya is not permitted to appoint an heir. There are other conditions mentioned in other history books.
Martyrdom or Natural death?
Question : What are your views regarding the story of burning door of Fatima Al- Zahra (peace be upon her)?
Answer : There is no doubt that the attack against the house of Fatima Al-Zahra (peace be upon her), in order to force Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to pay allegiance, took place. The Sunni and Shia books of history have recorded this, like Tareekh Al-Tabari (v.2, p.619). It is sufficient to prove this that in order to strengthen their power they were prepared to violate the sanctity of the most noble respected house in Islam, where the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) himself used to seek permission before entering it. The details of the attack are mentioned in various books of Sunnis and Shias.