Ahlul Bayt

Sources for this chapter:

Nahjul Balaaghah, Arabic, Explanation, Muhammad Abduh.

Nahjul Balaaghah, English Translation, Mohammed Askari Jafery.
Nahjul Balaaghah, English Translation of certain selections, Farouk Ebeid.
Nahjul Balaaghah, Arabic, Explanation, Dr. Subhi Al-Salih
Nahjul Balaaghah, English, Translation, Sayyid Ali Reza

Quotes of number of Khutbas and page numbers are taken from the book Nahjul Balaaghah; by Dr. Subhi Al-Salih; first edition, Beirut, 1967.


Nahjul Balaaghah is a highly valued book consisting of the 254 sermons, 48 letters, and 212 sayings of Imam Ali (a.s.) as compiled by Syed al-Radhee.

Nahjul Balaaghah is unique to Imam Ali and its sermons and sayings were highly valued in the Islamic world. None of the Sahaaba was ever able to produce anything the like of Nahjul Balaaghah, neither in substance nor in literary eloquence. No wonder Ali was referred to as Sayyid al-Bulaghaa’ and Sayyid al-Fu’qahaa, meaning Ali of the Pinnacle of Literary Expression and the Pinnacle of the Jurisprudents [Faqeehs].

This chapter quotes Nahjul Balaaghah about Ali’s forthcoming family, Ahlul Bayt through the many generations. Ali describes Ahlul Bayt’s forthcoming generations in a startling manner, describing their status, their high rank, their immaculate behavior, and their guidance and directives, even though 9 of them (out of the 12) were not even born at this time. He urges people to follow Ahlul Bayt’s teachings and example.

Nahjul Balaaghah contains a total of 11 references on behalf of Ahlul Bayt. The quotes often appear in various sermons, said at variable occasions and about different subjects.

The quotes in Arabic are computer scanned from the book of Nahjul Balaaghah, Arabic Explanation, by Dr. Subhi Al-Salih, and so is the numbering of the sermons and pages, 1st Edition, Beirut 1967.

It is of importance to mention that the majority of Ali’s sayings and speeches were stated during his Khilaafah when in Kufa, though some sayings were said before he became Khalifa.

Imam Ali About Rasool Allah:

Nahjul Balaaghah refers to the Prophet (pbuh) at least 24 times, said at different occasions and covering many aspects of the Prophet’s life as Ali has described. In here 3 references are translated.

Part of Sermon 95, page 140, about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): Sermon 94 was about the condition of the society at the time of the Prophet’s proclamation of Islam, and the Prophet’s works to disseminate the Islamic Message.

…. Allah (swt) has sent Muhammad (pbuh) at a time when:

  • Mankind was going astray, in disorientation and perplexity, and in malicious discord;
  • People were in lust and mischief. They were prisoners of their avarice, and their capricious desires had deflected them [from the virtuous];
  • Conceit took hold of them, thus it swerved them;
  • Extremes of ignorance made fools of them.
  • Society was confounded and in confusion, not only by instability but also by the evil of ignorance.

It was then, [with the advent of Prophethood], that Muhammad (pbuh) gave superb admonitions and trustworthy advice, in abundance. He trod on the Right Path [Islam] and urged mankind towards the path of wisdom and with fitting counsel.


In sermon 94, page 139, Imam Ali says of the Prophet (pbuh): 

In sermon 94 Ali refers to Allah, the Prophets, then to Muhammad (pbuh), eulogizing the Prophet in a poetic manner, referring to his background,his status, and his family.

… until this distinction by Allah (glory be to Him) reached Muhammad (pbuh). Allah brought forth Muhammad from a glorious origin, and honorable seed. It was the honorable lineage from which Allah had brought forth other Prophets; and from which He selected His trustees [family].

Muhammad’s descendants [Ahlul Bayt] are the best descendants, his kinsmen are the cream of kin, and his lineal tree the finest. This tree grew in esteem and rose in distinction. It branched out and produced marvelous fruit.

The Prophet (pbuh) is the Imam [Master or Supreme Leader] of all who fear Allah, and the light for all who seek guidance. Muhammad (pbuh) is a lamp with an ever burning flame, a meteor ever shining, and a flint of a bright spark. Muhammad’s conduct is upright, his behavior is guiding, his speech is decisive and his decision is just. Allah sent him after an interval from the previous Prophets when society had fallen into the abyss of disorientation, and in the darkness of ignorance.


In sermon #96, page 141, Imam Ali says of the Prophet (pbuh):

In sermon 95 Ali continues to eulogize the Prophet (pbuh):

  • Muhammad is of the highest station, and
  • his origin the noblest of all,
  • in the mines of honor and
  • the cradles of peace.
  • Allah made hearts of the virtuous incline towards him and
  • the reins of eyes turn towards him.
  • Through Muhammad, Allah buried mutual rancor and put off  the flame of rebellion.
  • And through him Allah instilled affection in the hearts of believers, to become like brothers;
  • And secluded the disbelievers all together.
  • Through Muhammad Allah conferred honor to the lowly, and humiliation to those of disbelief.
  • Muhammad (pbuh) spoke with wisdom and even his silence was an indication of speech.


In Sermon 120, page 176, Ali admonishes the audience, refers to Ahlul Bayt, and describes his background:

By Allah, I have been taught [by the Prophet (pbuh)] the knowledge:

  • to convey the messages,
  • to fulfill the promises, and
  • to express with eloquence.

We the people of the house [Ahlul Bayt] maintain the doors of wisdom and the authority to govern.

O people! Look out, for the paths of religion are one, and its highways are forthright.

  • The one who follows them will achieve [the aim of heavens] and will secure [his objective to gain heaven].
  • As to the one who shuns the way, with certainty he will be in anguish for he will have gone astray.

O people! Prepare for your Hereafter, work hard for that Day for you will be either well rewarded or in jeopardy of the wrath of the Almighty.


Ali About Ahlul Bayt:

In Sermon 239, page 357, Ali describes the status of Ahlul Bayt:

They [Ahlul Bayt] are the life for [Divine] knowledge and the death keel to ignorance.

  • Their forbearance tells you of their knowledge, and their behavior about their integrity
  • Their silence tells you of their wisdom.
  • Never do they deviate from Truth, nor [among themselves] will they differ about it.
  • Ahlul Bayt are the pillars in support of Islam. They are the haven to take protection in.
  • With them the Right has returned to its proper place, and because of them Falsehood has retreated from its place and its tongue rooted out.
  • Ahlul Bayt understood the correct spirit of Islam, attentively and painstakingly.
  • They carried Islam’s precepts into practice. And all this was not by heresy or from narrators.
  • Lo! The narrators of knowledge are many but those who truly understand it are only few.


Ali Advises to Follow the Example of Ahlul Bayt: 

In Sermon 97, page 143, Ali points to Ahlul Bayt:

Lo! Ponder about the Prophet’s family [Ahlul Bayt].

  • Cling to their direction and
  • Follow in their footsteps,
  • Since never will they mislead you,
  • Nor will they lead you to malice.

Do what they do, whither they sit so you do, and if they rise up, rise up with them.

Follow their example: Do not outsmart them since it would lead you astray; nor lag behind them, for surely it would be your ruin.


Ali Extols the Status of Ahlul Bayt: 

In sermon 2, page 47 Ali points to Ahlul Bayt:

This sermon was delivered on the return from Siffin, in which Ali talked eloquently about the Divine, Muhammad (pbuh), Ahlul Bayt, and spoke about the hypocrites.

[Ahlul Bayt] are:

  • The Trustees [strongholds] of the undisclosed Divinely matters,
  • The Shelter for the Divine affairs,
  • The Fountainheads of knowledge about Him [Allah],
  • The Core for the Divine teachings,
  • The Sanctuaries for Allah’s books, and
  • They are the Bastions of Allah’s religion.
  • With them Allah straightened the bend of the back of Islam and [through them] He removed the trembling of its limbs.

Trustees, Shelters, Fountainheads,Core, Sanctuaries, and Bastions: These are profound descriptions of members of Ahlul Bayt who were not even born at the time, they were to be born during the coming 300 years henceforth. How did Ali know? Was it an inspiration, or was he told by the Prophet (pbuh) by way of Jubra’eel. It is most likely that such was told by Jubra’eel to Muhammad (pbuh) who privately passed it to Ali.

This is the reason Ali referred to Ahlul Bayt so often, even though the Muslim community held them in great honor, but Ali was going beyond the immediate, he was referring to the coming generations of Ahlul Bayt, the Imams of the Ummah.


Ali Sheds Light on Ahlul Bayt:

In sermon 87, page 120 Imam Ali sheds light on Ahlul Bayt’s character:

In sermon 86 Ali alludes to the qualities of the faithful, the mannerism of the unfaithful, and the traits of the treacherous. He also refers to Ahlul Bayt, then Benu Umayya. What follows is the translation about Ahlul Bayt:

So, whither can you veer or be astray, and how can you fumble while among you are the incomparable family of the Prophet?!  While you have among you the descendants of the Prophet? They are the reins of Right, ensigns of Faith and tongues of Truth. Accord to them the same good position as you accord to the Quran, and come to them (for quenching the thirst of guidance) as the thirsty camels approach the water spring.

     [Ahlul Bayt] are:

  • The reins of Right,
  • The ensigns of Faith, and
  • The tongues of Truth.

So, accord to them the loftiness you accord to the Quran, and for guidance hasten to them to quench your thirst, just as the thirsty creatures hasten to the water spring.


 Ali About Love of and Spite Toward Ahlul Bayt:

In sermon 109, page 162 Ali refers to those who love Ahlul Bayt and those who oppose them:
In this sermon Ali talks about the Might of Allah, the angels, the bounties and guidance of Allah and those who are ungrateful.  He also talks about death, Day of Judgment, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his family Ahlul Bayt.  The segment about Ahlul Bayt is herewith translated:

We [Ahlul Bayt] are:

  • The lineage of Prophethood,
  • The staying place of (Divine) Messa­ge,
  • The descending place of angels,
  • The mines of knowledge, and
  • The fountainheads of wisdom.
  • Our supporters and devotees anticipate [expect] Divine mercy;
  • Our opponents who malign us anticipate Divine wrath.

Fountainheads of Wisdom and Mines of Knowledge: Of the many attributes Ali ascribes to Ahlul Bayt, these stand out. Ali says Ahlul Bayt are the fountainheads of wisdom, who learned it in the family, and were endowed with it by the Divine endorsement. Men are to seek them for their spiritual guidance and counsel.


Ali Sheds a Simile About Ahlul Bayt:

In sermon 100, page 146 Imam Ali gives a remarkable similitude about Ahlul Bayt:
In this sermon Ali explains about the bounty of Allah, the guidance of Islam, disbelief, the mischief people can lead into, then he refers to the example of the Prophet (pbuh), and instructs us to examine Ahlul Bayt and extols their status. The segment about Ahlul Bayt is herewith translated:

Lo! The similitude of the descendant (Aali) of Muhammad (pbuh) is like that of the stars in heaven.

When one star sets another will rise.

Thus the Merciful Lord has completed His blessings amongst you. And the Almighty has shown you that which you wish for.


Ali About the Lofty Status of Ahlul Bayt:

In sermon 154, page 215 Imam Ali cites the magnificent status of Ahlul Bayt:
In this sermon Ali alluded to the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and the people who caused disturbances when the liars spoke and the believers remained silent. He talked about faith, man’s finality, and mentioned Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and [Ahlul Bayt]. Ahlul Bayt are mentioned as follows:

The grace of the Holy Quran is about them, [by virtue of Ahlul‑Bayt’s deeds].

They are the treasure-houses of the Merciful Lord.

When Ahlul Bayt speak they speak the Truth. If silent, then prudence was indicated.

  • As the prototype Ahlul Bayt report the truthful and the correc­t, so believe them.
  • They use their wisdom for man’s well-being, so trust them.
  • They think more of the everlasting life [so learn from them], and
  • They teach people to pay heed to the hereafter; because man came from the origin and would go back to it.

Virtue of Ahlul Bayt: Ali implies that for Ahlul Bayt’s deeds, for their virtue, and for their piety, Allah honors them in the Quran. As such, Ali urges the society to consider and reflect about them, not only then but through the ages. For Ahlul Bayt would always utter the Truth, offer the spiritual best, and lead man toward his salvation. The teachings of Muhammad (pbuh) are passed down in its pristine manner through them. In effect, Ali says to believe in them, trust them, and follow their example.

Once more, how did Ali know Ahlul Bayt were going to be of this exceptional character and of this ideal status, after all, most of them were not even born at that time. The answer is, by virtue of Ali’s accuracy to the letter, what he had said must have come through the Prophet (pbuh) [by way of Jubra’eel].


Ali Challenges on Behalf of Ahlul Bayt:

In sermon 144, page 201 Ali challenges anyone who claims otherwise about Ahlul Bayt:
In this sermon Ali cited the Prophethood, mentioning deputation of Prophets and the works of Muhammad (pbuh). He then alluded to Ahlul Bayt, the predicament Quraish led to, and challenges anyone who denies the deep knowledge of Ahlul Bayt about Islam. Ali also refers to those who detract, hurt, or speak ill of Ahlul Bayt. Below, the passage about Ahlul Bayt is reproduced:

Where are those who falsely claim that they are deeply versed in knowledge, as against us [Ahlul Bayt]. In so saying it is a lie and an affront.


  • While Allah has ennobled us in prominence, He made them inferior.
  • And while Allah has privileged us with His bounty, He deprived them of it.
  • And while Allah welcomed us in the fortress of knowledge, He kept them out.

Lo! With us [Ahlul Bayt] guidance is to be sought as a gift; and through us blindness of ignorance is to be exchanged for the Light.

Surely the Imams are from Quraish. The Imams have been planted in this lineage through the clan of Hashim. Thus the (Imamah) does not suit others nor would others be suitable for it.


Ali About the Unparalleled Ahlul Bayt:

Part of sermon 2, page 47 Ali mentions the value of Ahlul Bayt’s teachings.
This sermon was delivered on the way back from Siffin, whereby Ali glorifies Allah and His favors, extols the Prophet (pbuh), then talks about condition of the society in Jahiliya. He talks about Satan and his evil works in the heart of people. He then hails the Prophet (pbuh) and his family [Ahlul Bayt] in the following manner:

None of the Ummah can measure up to the Prophet’s progeny [Ahlul Bayt], nor considered equivalent to them. One who is under their domain cannot be a match to his superior. For there can be no parallel between the distributor of bounties and the ones who receive them, ever.

Ahlul Bayt are the buttress of Islam and the pillars of faith. The best of men call upon them [for guidance], and ordinary men will later approach for guidance.

What belongs to Ahlul Bayt is the right of Wilaayah [Imamah and Khilaafah] and in their favor exist the privilege of the Legacy and Will of the Prophet (pbuh).

The Khilaafah has now come back to its rightful place and has reached the position assigned to it by the Divine.


Ali Speaks of the Authority of the Imams:
Part of sermon 152, page 212, Ali mentions the greatness of the attributes of Allah and the science of knowledge about the Almighty. As part of this sermon Ali alludes to Ahlul Bayt as follows:

Certainly the Imams are the sovereign of Allah over His creatures, and they are the ones to enlighten and inform about the Almighty.

  • By virtue of this knowledge, no one will enter the Heavenly Bliss except he who comprehends their teachings about Him, glory be to Him.
  • And no one will enter Hellfire except he who denies their teachings [Islam], thus denies the Almighty.
  • Allah the glorified has distinguished you [O People!] with Islam and has chosen you for it.  Islam indicates [to mankind] and honors the [deserving].  Allah the glorified, chose Islam’s way and disclosed its pleas through open knowledge and undisclosed maxims.  The Quran…..

Comment: Imam Ali draws a pen‑picture of the mind on behalf of Ahlul Bayt.  He says that after the Prophet (pbuh), Aali Muhammad [Ahlul Bayt] are the source for knowledge about Islam in all its dimensions.  Ali describes the status of Ahlul Bayt, and urges people to pay homage to them, and implores them to learn from them.  It was to be 329 years from the Hijrah, through twelve generations, that Ahlul Bayt unfailingly continued to educate the people about Islam.  They taught Islam sincerely, correctly, with the attitude of paying heed to Allah in every move or thought in their endeavor.  They did that despite the hurdles and the frightful barriers they were subjected to because of the politics of the time.

Ali also reminds us that Muhammad (pbuh) followed by his family [Ahlul Bayt] have guided mankind from the obscurity of ignorance and infidelity towards the splendors of knowledge and religion.  He says that they raised the standards of life and culture.  Because of this the lights of truth and wisdom became evident and mankind could come out of the darkness of heathenism and decadence.