Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)

Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)0%

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Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)

Brief Commentary On Hadeeth Al-Kisaa (Tradition of the Cloak)

Author:
Publisher: www.al-islam.org
English


Prayer For Thorough Purification

وَ اَذهِب عَنهُمُ الرَّجسَ وَ طَهِّرهُم تَطهِيراً

Remove from them any impurity and purify them a thorough purification.

Thereafter, the Prophet (SA) presents the grand request which encompassesall the bounties and blessings of the life and the hereafter. He prays that Allah (SWT) removes from them (he and his AhlulBayt) any impurity. This is the keynote request and prayer and which will prove to be the main reason for the gathering under the cloak.

The question to ask now is: What exactly is the Prophet (SA) asking for? What will the Prophet and Imams (AS) be purified from? In his brief article titledTaharah & ‘Ismah of The Prophets, Messengers, Awsiyaa, And Imams, Dr. Hatem Abu Shahba presents a thorough research analyzing the two concepts of purification (Taharah) and ‘Ismah (infallibility) and we present an excerpt of that discussion in this paper as follows:

Before we attempt answering this question, let us first present an example from our everyday lives to clarify the topic of purification (Taharah). If you want to clean a knife or a pair of scissors that will be used in a surgical operation on a human body, what will you clean that knife or scissors from? In this case, you will be sanitizing it from germs, microbes, and viruses. This will be your main concern so that the wound of the patient does not get contaminated and lead to death of the patient due to his contaminated wound.

Thus, after the process of sanitization and purification, the knife or scissors will become qualified to perform its duty, which requires a great amount of efficiency and care as possible. In other words, the process of Tat-heer (purification) is essentially for the purpose of making theMutahar (the subject that will be purified) more fit and proficient in carrying out its task in the best form possible. This is logical, reasonable, and very clear as we use it many times in our daily lives.

Let us now apply this same logic to our proposed question, as we will find that the purification of our Prophets and Imams (peace be upon them) should be from the things that may prevent or hinder the performance of their God-given roles. This purification should result in them being more proficient and capable of successfully fulfilling their jobs and responsibilities.

So, in order for us to know what they will be purified from, we must first identify and specify their jobs and responsibilities. We must know what its consequences and implications are so that we can logically deduce the answer based on our expectations. If we reflect on what exactly are the major roles and responsibilities of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams, we will conclude the following:

First : Relay and convey the orders and commands of Allah (SWT) to the people.

Second : Advise and urge the people to follow and obey the orders of Allah (SWT) and to carry out the instructions and teachings of the divine message.

Third : Obey and carry out the orders of Allah (SWT) with absolute care in the individual and specific roles that are assigned to each one of them, in addition to their general responsibilities, without any addition or subtraction.

Fourth : Set a good example and become roles models for the people in obeying the rules of Allah (SWT) and not disobeying Him under any circumstances (such that the people imitate and follow their example).

Fifth : Rule justly between the people according to what Allah (SWT) revealed and His orders, and thereby set the example to the people how to judge between others in that same manner.

Sixth : Specify the guidelines and foundations which the human society will be built on including its relation with its surroundings and its interior (exactly as Allah commanded), and to execute it out to the best of their abilities.

Seventh : Teach the people the wisdom, the lessons, and the laws of the religion as Allah (SWT) commanded, with what Allah (SWT) instructed, and with what they received from Him.

After quickly and briefly displaying the roles and responsibilities of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams (AS) on Earth, what doyou think are the things that they should be cleansed and purified from in order for them to perform their jobs in the best way possible?

If we take a closer look at the seven responsibilities mentioned earlier, we will find that the common ground or factor between all of them is: the command of Allah (SWT). Hence, the Tat-heer and ‘Ismah should be from the thing(s) that may interfere, hinder, or obstruct the meaning of this word. Naturally, what interferes with a word is always its opposite and what hinders it is always what's against it.

If we realize and understand this point, it will become easy for us to draw the conclusion that the most important thing that the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and ImamsMUST be purified and protected from is:disobedience of the orders and commands of Allah (SWT).

This is exactly what Allah (SWT) mentioned in the Qur’an Al-Kareem,

بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُكْرَمُونَ لَا يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُمْ بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ.

“Nay! They are honored servants. They do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His Commandment do they act.” (21:26-27)

Since their responsibilities is of highest degree of importance and vitality as it deals with the fate of a person in his Hereafter and the life of this world, it is incumbent and necessary that their success in their responsibilities and roles is guaranteed to a percentage that reaches an accuracy of 100%. And for that to happen, they must be cleansed and purified from anything that might cause their failure or hinder their success.

Note: You may refer to the rest of this article for further analysis related to this topic:

http://www.al-islam.org/taharah-ismah-masumeen-dr-hatem-abu-shahba


The Divine Declaration

فَقالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ : يا مَلائِكَتي وَ يا سُكَّانَ سَماواتي إِنّي ما خَلَقتُ سَماءً مَبنَّيةً وَ لا أرضاً مَدحيَّةً وَ لا قَمَراً مُنيراً وَ لا شَمساً مُضيِئةً وَ لا فَلَكاً يَدُورُ وَ لا بَحراً يَجري وَ لا فُلكاً يَسري إِلاّ في مَحَبَّةِ هؤُلاءِ الخَمسَةِ الَّذينَ هُم تَحتَ الكِساء

Meanwhile, Allah the Almighty and All-majestic said, "O My angels and inhabitants of My heavens! Verily, I have not created any well-established sky, extended land, glowing moon, shining sun, revolving planet, flowing ocean, or moving on ark except for the love of these five (individuals) who are now under the cloak."

The Prophet (SA) has just supplicated to his Lord after his members of the Household - Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain - have gathered under the cloak with him at this momentous and historical occasion. The grand request for thorough purification was made and Allah (SWT) sees and hears the prayer of his most close servant on the face of earth. What happens next? And what do we expect for Allah (SWT) to do?

In regards to the other requests such as blessings, benedictions, and pleasure etc., they have been granted to the Prophet (SA) as we discussed. But what about this grand and unique request for purification?

TheTradition of the Cloak now changes scenes and the speaker now is none other than the Almighty Creator. He (SWT) addresses His speech to the angels and the inhabitants of the heavens. One may wonder how the narrator who is Lady Fatima (AS) received knowledge that this dialogue took place between Allah (SWT) and the angels such that she is narrating the incident as if she is witnessing it.

Could this be a sign or hint of divinely bestowed authority (Wilayah Takweeniya) which granted her the knowledge of the unseen? That is something to be pondered over and Allah (SWT) knows better.

One may also question why the angels are being addressed when the monologue which just took place was a supplication by the Prophet (SWT) who directed his prayer to his Lord. Hence, we should expect that if Allah (SWT) responds back then He would respond back directly to Prophet Muhammad (SA). But that didn’t happen in that exact fashion. Instead, Allah (SWT) chooses to direct His Words to the angels for two reasons.

The first reason is so that they and the other creatures in the heavens may act as witnesses and testify to what Allah (SWT) is about to say. And the second reason is that Allah (SWT) has directed His Speech to the angels, but in reality, His Words are directly to us and to all of mankind till the end of time. As the Arab proverb goes, “The speech is directed to you, O’ Neighbor”. Allah (SWT) is intentionally creating an opportunity to pronounce His divine declaration that will ring in the ears of all those who come across this unique tradition.

Allah (SWT) presents seven of His greatest creations which any person can relate to and recognize, and they are the:

1) Heavens

2) Land

3) Moon

4) Sun

5) Planet

6) Ocean

7) A sailing Ark

If we take a look around us, we will notice that we are standing on land and above us are the heavens. During the day, the sun shines and brings light to us, and during the night, the crescent of the moon becomes apparent in the beginning of every lunar month. We recognize that the home address that we live in is the Earth which is one out of nine planets that the Almighty God created.

And one of the key resources of life without which the creatures and plants would not live is water, and the source of water is the rainfall which gathers into oceans and seas. It is interesting to note that the seventh creation which Allah (SWT) mentions - a sailing Ark - is different in nature compared to the other creations which He (SWT) mentioned such as the planet and the ocean.

An Ark is a vehicle of transportation which is man-made but it cannot proceed and sail in the ocean without the availability of wind to push the ship forward in the right direction that the sailor is intending to sail and in the presence of appropriate weather that does not impede the journey of the Ark. But how can the wind be controlled and who determines what the weather will be?

Surely, it is Allah (SWT) who is the Almighty Creator and the One who makes the impossible possible and the incapable capable. The reason why Allah (SWT) mentions a sailing Ark is to present an example of a man-made creation which is dependent on Allah’s Power and Will as is the case with all other creations.

In this manner, Allah (SWT) has included in His seven examples of creation the most important and the most comprehensive such that nothing is excluded, and He (SWT) describes each of those creations with its most obvious characteristic or function that we as humans can identify and recognize.

Allah (SWT) begins His speech by may making a negating statement “I have not created “, and this method of expression conveys a sense of urgency and importance to what He (SWT) is about to say and that is:“I have not created any well-established sky, extended land, glowing moon, shining sun, revolving planet, flowing ocean, or moving on ark except…”.

Allah (SWT) could have simply and straightforwardly stated the fact and then the reason behind it, as in“I have created such and such so that….”. But He doesn’t do that; rather Allah (SWT) utilizes a more eloquent way of speech to give a powerful introduction for the key point that He (SWT) is about to deliver.

What is that reason which the Almighty Creator has created the universe with all the creation in it? What is the exception which Allah (SWT) has made without which He wouldn’t have created any of His creation? Certainly it is a grand statement that Allah (SWT) is making and anyone hearing this powerful declaration should open their ears and eyes to what He (SWT) is about to convey. The answer Allah (SWT) provides is:

إلا في محبة هؤلاء الخمسة الذين هُم تحت الكِساء

“..except for the love of these five (individuals) who are now under the cloak.”

Who are those five individuals who are loved by Allah (SWT)? The Almighty Creator identifies them with one phrase“those who are now under the cloak” . At this point, we begin to understand the significance behind the gathering under the cloak, and the purpose behind the Tradition of the Cloak becomes obvious.

Allah (SWT) has intentionally planned the sequence of events which took place so far where Lady Fatima (AS) receives each one of her purified family and they each seek the permission from the Prophet (SA) to enter the cloak, after the Prophet himself had requested his daughter to bring a cloak to cover him due to physical discomfort he felt, and all these seemingly unimportant details were for the purpose of setting the stage for a grand event and an important declaration.

The five personalities under the cloak whom Allah (SWT) is referring to are none other than Prophet Muhammad, Lady Fatima, Imam Ali, Imam Hasan, and Imam Husain (may Allah be pleased with them)! They are the creations whom Allah (SWT) has created the rest of the universe for their sake.

They are the best of creations in Allah’s eyes. They are the love of Allah (SWT) and the most beloved to Him. They were five in number who were alive at that time but their total number are fourteen which includes nine members from the descendants of Imam Husain (AS) who were not present under that cloak since they were not yet alive. The five individuals under the cloak in fact represent all the fourteen divine personalities whom Allah (SWT) has chosen and preferred over the whole universe.

How great is their status and how high is their station is such that the Almighty Creator Himself has publicly expressed His eternal Love for them that has translated itself into action - the creation of the whole universe! How beautiful is that relationship between the Master and the Servant - the Creator and the Creature, such that the strong bond of love and admiration between them has exemplified itself in such a manner that the Lord of the earth and heavens have decided to make a grand announcement confessing the love relationship and the deep affection which no words can properly describe or draw a picture of.

It is a love that is unmatched, a relationship that has no similarity, and an example that is the model for all examples. So great and intense is that divine love that it is narrated by a number of companions including Ibn Abbas who testified that he saw the Prophet (SA) enter in the state of prostration (Sujood) five consecutive times without performing genuflection (Rukoo’).

So Ibn Abbas asked him about the reason and the Prophet (SA) answered,“Yes, Jibrael came to me and said ‘O Muhammad, the Almighty Allah loves Ali and so I prostrated and raised my head. Then he said ‘The Almighty Allah loves Fatima’ and so I prostrated and raised my head. Then he said ‘The Almighty Allah loves Hasan’ and so I prostrated and raised my

head. Then he said ‘The Almighty Allah loves Husain’ and so I prostrated and raised my head. Then Jibrael said to me ‘The Almighty Allah loves those who love them and so I prostrated and raised my head.” (Mohadaraat Al Odabaa’)

The profound meaning which Allah (SWT) declares in theTradition of the Cloak has also been conveyed in a sacred narration as we cited earlier where Allah (SWT) says,“If it was not for you Oh Prophet, I would not have created the planets and God’s analogues”.

It has also been cited in the bookShifaa Al Sodoor that Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) heard that the Prophet (SA) said that Allah (SWT) has said in a sacred narration: “O Ahmad, by My Honor and Majesty, if it were not for you, I would not have created my land nor my heavens, and I would not have raised this celestial green, nor have made this land flat, nor have created the heavens and earth nor created a length or width...”

There are a number of Sunni narrations which are in agreement with the idea that Allah (SWT) has not created the creation except for the Prophet (although these narrations do not include his holy household) such as the following three traditions:

Hadith 1

Al-Hakim in hisMustadrak , Baihaqi inDalail an-Nubuwah , Tabarani in hisKabeer , Abu Na’eem in hisHilya and Ibn Asakir inTarikh Damishq report that'Umar ibn al-Khattab relates that:

The Prophet (SA) said: “Allah said: When Adam ate from the forbidden tree, he asked: O Allah! I ask you for the sake of Muhammad to forgive me. Allah said: O Adam! How do you recognize Muhammad when I have not yet created him? Adam said: O Allah! When you created me and blew into me the spirit, I lifted my head and saw written on the ‘Arsh "La ilaaha illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah ". So, I got to know that you would only join your name with him who is most beloved to you. Allah (SWT) then said: O Adam! You have spoken the truth. Indeed Muhammad is more beloved to me than anything and when you asked me for his sake, I pardoned you. If Muhammad was not in existence, I would not have created you” (also narrated by Imam Subki in Shifaa as-Siqam and Shihab in Naseem )

Hadith 2

Hakim inMustadrak and Abu as-Shaykh inTabaqaat al-Isfahani ’ in a report from Abdullah ibn Abbas that:

“Allah revealed to Prophet ‘Isa (AS) that: O ‘Isa! Have faith ( imaan ) in Muhammad and order your Ummah to do the same. If Muhammad was not in existence, I would not have created Adam nor would I have made heaven or hell”. (also narrated by Shaykh Taqi ad-Din Subki in Shifaa as-Siqam and Shaykh al-Islam al-Bulqini in his Fatawa and Ibn Hajar in Afdal al-Qur’an ).

Hadith 3

Ibn Asakir reports from Salman Al Muhammadi (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said:

“Jibra’il came to the Holy Prophet (SA) and said that Allah says: I have not created anyone who is more honored to me than you. I have created the world and all that is therein so that they may know the rank that you possess. I would not have created the world if I had not created you”.

For those who belittle or mitigate the status of the Prophet’s household, this divine declaration about the purpose of creation is essentially a ‘wake-up call’ which elevates their status and remove any doubts regarding their position in front of Allah (SWT). And for those believers who are already blessed with their love and Wilayah in their hearts, this declaration further intensifies their love and status in our eyes and leaves us with a feeling of guilt that we have not given them their due rights of love, veneration, and service.

Furthermore, this divine declaration makes us realize that if Allah the Almighty Creator proved His Love to these selected personalities by offering nearly everything to them when He (SWT) didn’t have to, then shouldn’twe as God’s servants and the followers of the AhlulBayt (AS) exert all our efforts to serve their cause, defend them, prove our love to them, and propagate their ideologies to the best of our abilities, aside from the fact that it is an obligation on us?


Divine Identification of The Members of The Cloak

فَقالَ الأَمِينُ جِبرائِيلُ : يا رَبِّ وَ مَنْ تَحتَ الكِساءِ ؟ فَقالَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ : هُم أَهلُ بَيتِ النُّبُوَّةِ وَ مَعدِنُ الرِّسالَةِ هُم فاطِمَةُ وَ أَبُوها ، وَ بَعلُها وَ بَنوها

Gabriel the Honest Archangel asked, "O my Lord! Who are those under the cloak?"

The Almighty and All-majestic Lord answered, "They are the household of Prophethood and the core of the Message. They are namely Fatima, her father, her husband, and her sons."

As we mentioned before, the dialogue between Allah (SWT) and Angel Jibrael (AS) is for the purpose of conveying the information which Allah (SWT) wants us to hear. Jibrael (AS) asks Allah (SWT) about the identity of those who are under the cloak and He (SWT) responds back with one brief phrase informing us the identity of the individuals whom He is referring to. This way, no one after this event will ever have doubt of who was under the cloak and who was not. No one can dare to fabricate the facts or add / subtract to the individuals under the cloak.

When Jibrael (AS) asks Allah (SWT) who are under the cloak, Allah (SWT) answers with an interesting expression which further sheds some light on an interesting angle that we should pay attention to. Instead of providing the names of the members of the cloak (as in Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain), Allah (SWT) chooses a different concise and unique method to identify them. He (SWT) says: “They are the household of Prophethood and the core of the Message. They are namely Fatima, her father, her husband, and her sons."

First, Allah (SWT) identifies them as a whole - one identity - that is, they areأهل بيت النبوة (the Prophetic household) and معدن الرسالة (the core of the Message). Why is there the need to identify them as “AhlulBayt”? As history proves later, there has indeed been a controversy as to who are included among the “members of the Prophet’s household”. Who exactly are the AhlulBayt?

The mainstream Muslim population includes the wives of the Prophet among the AhlulBayt and some even include any blood relation of the Prophet to be from the “AhlulBayt”. However that is false and incorrect and here Allah (SWT) is taking the opportunity to clarify any misunderstanding or misinterpretation until the end of time. He (SWT) Himself is speaking to testify the truth regarding the identity of AhlulBayt who are exclusively Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain (May Allah be pleased with them).

The next question to ask is: What the significance of “AhlulBayt” in Allah’s eyes? The answer to that is conveyed in the second part of Allah’s answer and that is -معدن الرسالة (the core of the Message)

As we know, Allah (SWT) has revealed the message of Islam as the final revelation to mankind till the end of time. In the words of the Prophet (SA), he has left behind two weighty things - the Holy Qur’an and his‘Itrah (AhlulBayt) - which will always accompany each other and will never separate until they reach the Pool of Hawd. We as Muslims are ordered to

adhere to the Qur’an and AhlulBayt which together serve as our lanterns of guidance for salvation.

The Qur’an consisting of the word of God coupled with the infallible teachers and divinely appointed guides represented in the AhlulBayt (AS) and the Imams who will clarify the message of Islam and act as the “speaking Qur’an” and the “walking Qur’an” is the correct formula and prescription for us to abide by if we wish to achieve spiritual success and proximity to God.

The AhlulBayt (AS) is the model for human perfection and the template which we should follow and take our example from. In fact, all of the prophets and messengers before the Seal of Prophets understood their position of Wilayah and superiority over them and that they are the part and parcel of the unified message which Allah (SWT) intended for mankind to embrace. They are the heart of the religion and the core of the message as Allah (SWT) testifies, hence there cannot be any doubt or argument over this fact.

After all, if the whole universe was created for the sake of the Prophet and his AhlulBayt (AS), then we shouldn’t be surprised that they are the core and essence of the religion of Islam. If we have accepted the former after hearing the words of Allah (SWT) in their regards, then accepting the latter is natural and necessary. After all, Allah (SWT) reminds us in the Qur’an that

اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ

Allah knows best knows where He places His message. (6:124)

After properly introducing their title and significance to the religion, Allah (SWT) then identifies them personally by presenting only one of the five personalities who are under the cloak - and she is Lady Fatima. Allah (SWT) says: “They are namely Fatima, her father, her husband, and her sons."

Wouldn’t it have been easier and more transparent for Allah (SWT) to spell out the names of the members of the cloak especially since the angels and inhabitants of the heavens are well-aware of who the Prophet (SA) and his AhlulBayt (AS) are?

It is very interesting to note that Allah (SWT) chooses Fatima in particular as the core person to identify the rest of the members of the cloak who are her father, husband, and sons.

One must reflect and contemplate why Allah (SWT) mentions Lady Fatima (AS) as the reference point when He could’ve used the Prophet (SA) and that would have been more expected. Allah (SWT) could’ve said,“They are Muhammad, his daughter, his cousin, and his grandsons” .

This would’ve have been more acceptable to the mind since the status of the Prophet (SA) is above all ranks and the name of the Prophet (SA) has always been the core identifier as we recite in our obligatoryprayers “Allahuma Sali ‘ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad” (Oh Lord send your blessings on Muhammad and his household).

In this example, we begin the recitation of this prayer by mentioning the name of the Prophet and then associating his family to him.

Or Allah (SWT) could’ve selected Imam Ali (AS) as the reference point by saying,“They are Ali, his wife, his sons, and his cousin.” But neither was the case! Surely, this divine selection to present the members of the cloak via Lady Fatima (AS) is an honor and virtue for her and for the purposes of demonstrating her high station and position.

We are to be reminded that the other members of the cloak are very close in blood relation to her; either her own beloved father who is the Seal of Messengers, or her dear husband and the successor and Wasi of the Prophet and the Commander of the Faithful, or her beloved sons who are the Master Youth of Paradise. What a great virtue she possesses to be blessed with such pure family whose origins and roots are one and the same and are the most noble and purest that it can be!

If we analyze each personality who has been granted permission to enter the cloak, we will easily recognize that the divine approval for them to become a member of the AhlulBayt was not random or a mistake as they all possess unique and extraordinary characteristics of honor, nobility, and excellence that cannot be matched. In fact, their physical presence under the cloak collectively in the same gathering must be a hint that something grand is about to happen and that their gathering is not just any family gathering.

Furthermore, one may also expect that with the unmatched qualities that each of the members of the cloak possess, it is not possible to expect another member to join who is not equally qualified in nobility, purity, and excellence, even if he or she is in overall good standing religion-wise, such as Umm Salamah.

It is not surprising that Allah (SWT) choses Lady Fatima (AS) to be the core of the People of the Cloak when she is the one whom Imam Hasan Al-Askari (AS) said: “We are Allah’s Hujjah (proof) over you and Fatima is Hujjah over us”.

Fatima is the one whom the following supplication is known to be recommended for the acceptance of prayers after sending benedictions to the purified household through her name, as narrated by Ibn Tawoos via the infallible Imam (AS):

اللهم صلي على فاطمة وأبيها وبعلها وبنيها والسر العظيم المستودع فيها أن تصلي على محمد وأل محمد وتفعل بي ما أنت أهله ولا تفعل بي ما أنا أهله.

"O Allah, I beseech you in the name of Fatima, her father, her husband, her sons, and the secret she is buried with: shower your blessings upon Muhammad and his Progeny, and do unto me that which is worthy of Your mercy, and not that which is worthy of my actions."

When asked what is the meaning ofالسر المستودع فيها (the secret she is buried with), our scholars have provided a number of possible interpretations. The “secret” may be referring to the Imams who are from her lineage, or it may refer to her aborted son Mohsin who has become a symbol for the oppression committed against the Imams (AS) and a proof of their right for Imamate.

It may also refer to the 12th Awaited Imam (who is from her sons) who will fill the earth with equity and justice after it will be filled with tyranny

and injustice. In other interpretations, the “secret” refers to her position being the connecting point between the Prophethood and Imamate. As we know, Imamate is an extension of Prophethood so if it were not for the connecting point or “link” between them, the Prophethood and Message that was delivered would not have sustained without the institution of Imamate.

In light of this perspective, the commencement of Imamate began in her lap as she accompanied and stood alongside her husband Imam Ali (AS) defending his right for the successorship and raising her sons Imam Hasan and Husain (AS). Thus, she became considered the “mother of the Infallible Imams”.

With the grand status of Lady Fatima (AS) in mind, it becomes necessary and inevitable to seek intercession from her and desire her proximity by virtue of that “hidden secret” that is buried in her essence and has become the reason for her distinct position in theTradition of the Cloak .

It is worth noting that Allah (SWT) identifies the sons of Fatima to be "بنيها " (Baneeha) instead of " إبنيها " (Ebnayha), and the difference between the two words is that the former term is the plural form while the latter refers to a pair (two in number). The divine use of the word Baneeha indicates that all the sons of Lady Fatima (AS), Hasan and Husain, as well as her grandsons from the lineage of Imam Husain (AS) are included with the members of the cloak, by virtue of their divinely bestowed infallibility.


Archangel Jibrael Seeks Proximity

فَقالَ جِبرائِيلُ : يا رَبِّ أَتَأذَنُ لي أَن أَهبِطَ إلىَ الأَرضِ لأِكُونَ مَعَهُم سادِساً ؟ فَقالَ اللهُ : نَعَم قَد أَذِنتُ لَكَ

"O my Lord," Gabriel asked, "Will You allow me to descend to the earth to be the sixth of them?" Allah the Almighty and All-majestic said, "Yes, I allow you."

Upon hearing and absorbing this divine declaration from Allah (SWT), one can imagine how Jibrael (AS) felt elated as his existing love and veneration to the Prophet (SA) intensified further and thus he wisely made a request which displays his sense of yearning and appreciation to the position of the AhlulBayt (AS). He requested from Allah (SWT) that he descend to the earth and join them under the cloak!

It was a bold request as one can imagine even though Jibrael (AS) himself must have realized that the door is not opened for just anyone to enter the cloak. It is only the most closest and beloved creatures to the Lord whom the universe has been created for and only they attain the honor of entering the cloak. Jibrael (AS) recognized that the members of the cloak are already ‘completed’ and there is no any other person alive at that time who deserves to be in that position but has not yet entered. Then why did he make that request?

Although he knows that his rank among the angels is the highest and he has attained an exceptional proximity towards Allah (SWT), Jibrael (AS) is reminded of the incident of Me’raj which took place on the 27th of Rajab in the year 621 A.D. when he accompanied Prophet Muhammad (SA) in the journey towards the heavens and he was made to stop at a position that was very close to the divine throne of Allah (SWT). At that point, Jibrael (AS) was commanded by Allah (SWT) not to proceed and instead, the Prophet (SA) was given permission to continue forward at a position which no one else was ever given permission to enter. As the Holy Qur’an describes:

ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ. وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الأعلى

“When he was on the highest part of the horizon, Then he approached and came closer, Till he was at a distance two bows' length or even nearer.” (53:7-9)

Even Archangel Jibrael (AS) couldn’t cross past the seventh heaven at the place calledSidrat Al Muntaha (Lote-Tree)! When the Prophet (SA) asked him if he would abandon him at this stage, Jibrael (AS) excused himself and assured him that only the Prophet (SA) was given the permission to proceed due to his exceptionally great rank in the eyes of Allah (SWT). Hence, Jibrael (AS) was well aware that the Prophet (SA) has attained a very high station as well as his AhlulBayt (AS) whom he had witnessed their holy names inscribed near the Throne of Allah (SWT).

Yet, Jibrael proceeded to make that request to join the AhlulBayt (AS) under the cloak in this very blessed gathering.

The only thing he seeks is proximity and service of the chosen ones whom Allah (SWT) has raised their station above all stations. He recognized the fact that when a creature associates himself and draws

himself closer to that which is honorable and esteemed, then he also will benefit by his association to that pure good. In essence, Jibrael (AS) acted upon the idea of seeking Qurba (proximity) to the AhlulBayt (AS) as Allah (SWT) has ordered:

قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ

“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives.” (42:22)

It was an immediate and spontaneous reaction of any being that recognizes the truth, appreciates it, and desires to come closer to the symbol of righteousness. Jibrael (AS) requested to become the “sixth member” even though he knows very well that the members of the cloak are only five without an addition.

As a side note, it is worth reflecting on the fact that angel Jibrael (AS) sought the permission of Allah (SWT) and the permission of the Prophet (SA) to enter his house. Now compare this example with that of certain companions of the Prophet (SA) who with all audacity barged in the house of Lady Fatima (AS) without her permission and against her will, as they intentionally squeezed her behind the door causing her immense pain and abortion of her unborn child and setting her house on fire! May Allah (SWT) punish the transgressors and enemies of the AhlulBayt (AS)!

Allah’s answer to Jibrael’ s request was an approval and a granted permission for him to join the Prophet (SA) and his AhlulBayt (AS) under the cloak! The divinely-bestowed infallibility which Jibrael (AS) has (as an angel) from committing disobedience may be a reason why Allah (SWT) qualified him to join the blessed caravan of the Prophet (SA) as there is no harm in him being an addition to this gathering.

This is contrary to the position of Umm Salamah whom the Prophet (SA) testified to be in good standing; however she is not infallible and hence was not granted permission to join the AhlulBayt (AS).

What a great honor Jibrael (AS) has just attained!! Surely, he has achieved a status that no other creature, whether human or angel, will ever achieve, simply by being blessed with the opportunity to physically join them under the cloak, even if it is just as an unofficial member of the cloak. We will come to understand shortly what is the main wisdom behind the divine permission for Jibrael (AS) to descend to the earth and join this momentous occasion.