Rafed English

Commentary on the Supplication of Salawat Sha’baniyyah

Commentary on the Supplication of Salawat Sha’baniyyah by : Jerrmein Abu Shahba


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate

The famous supplication of Salawat Sha’baniyyah is one of the most beautiful and valuable prayers which has been gifted to us by the mercy of the Almighty Allah (SWT) in the holy month of Sha’ban and was taught by Imam Zainul ‘Abideen (AS).

In this paper, we will attempt to analyze this supplication word by word in a rudimentary fashion and reflect together upon its deeper meaning so that we can better appreciate this prayer and recite it with cognition. This supplication is composed of nearly 100 words which we divided into 19 phrases.

We chose to study this supplication since this is one of the unique prayers which presents multitude of ideas and condenses them in a few words. Each word and phrase speaks volumes of knowledge which may be dissected thoroughly, however for the sake of brevity, we aim to simply touch the water of vast knowledge so that perhaps some light may be shed on the apparent and hidden meanings of this supplication based on the Holy Qur’an and authentic narrations by the purified Ahlul Bayt (AS) as well as the interpretation of esteemed scholars and exegetists.

Our limited ability aside, it is our hope that we may encounter some treasures in this short journey and walk away with valuable fruits to digest in our spiritual systems and enrich our minds and souls.

This supplication is commonly known as Salawat Sha’baniyyah since it begins by repeatedly sending benedictions (Salawat) on the Holy Prophet (SA) and his purified Ahlul Bayt (AS). The main theme of this supplication revolves around the virtues of Ahlul Bayt (SWT) as this is the month which Allah (SWT) dedicated to the Holy Prophet (SA).

It is also sometimes referred to as Dua Shajarat Al Nubuwwah (Supplication of the Tree of Prophethood) since the supplication commences with these profound words. It is reported through authentic sources that Imam Zainul ‘Abideen (AS) used to recite this supplication every day in Sha`ban at the time sun passes the merdian (Waqt az-Zawal) and on the night of 15th Sha’ban.

The words of this discourse with Allah (SWT) serves more as a lesson for us which provides insight than just mere request for personal needs for the mundane world. It is a crash course designed to walk us quickly through the garden of Wilayah and help us recognize the essence and goal of our existence. All praise be to Allah (SWT) who guided us to this piece of gold and inspired us to delve in the deep waters of this supplication hoping by His help and guidance to discover something beneficial and worthwhile for this life and the hereafter.


بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate

The expression of Bimillah Al Rahman Al Raheem, also known as Basmala, is a beautifully poetic phrase which offers both deep insight and brilliant inspiration. It would take many volumes of books to analyze in detail the significance of this expression word by word.

We cannot fathom the magnificence of the word “Bismillah” however it suffices for us to know that according to Imam Ar-Ridha’ (AS) as cited in Tafseer Al ‘Ayaashi, when asked about the greatest verse in the Qur’an, he said “Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem” is closer to Allah’s greatest name than the whiteness of the eye (sclera) to its blackness (pupil).”

This expression is so magnificent and so concise that all but one chapter of the Qur’an (Surah Al Tawba) begins with the words Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem. It has often been said that the phrase Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem contains the true essence of the entire Qur'an as well as the true quintessence of all religions.

The common translation of this phrase fails to capture the true depth of meaning or the inspirational message of this beautiful expression. It is by pronouncing the name of God and through His compassion and mercy that we as servants begin the discourse with Allah (SWT) in the supplication of Salawat Sha’baniyyah. The peak of servitude of a creation is to submit to His kingdom by admitting His superiority as well as His absolute attributes.

The phrase “In the name of” (Bismi) is an idiom having the connotation of with the blessings of, under the governance of, as an instrument of, as a representative of, on behalf of, with the support of, or for the glory of. In each of these cases, the expression “In the name of” indicates that one is submitting to, honoring or glorifying that which is referred to.

The central idea here is that whatever we do, every step that we take, every breath that we breathe is done for, because of, and through the essence of the One who has created us. As Imam ‘Ali (AS) explains, every creature takes Allah as God when they undergo times of calamity and have needs and have no one to turn to but Him. By calling out Bismillah, it is equivalent to beseeching help from God for all your affairs.

Imam As-Sadiq (AS) confirms this idea by presenting the analogy of a person who rides a ship which suddenly sinks and he naturally calls out for help from something even if he is an atheist. That thing which he is resorting to is Allah the Almighty. It is not us that do the work, it is not us that make opportunities appear, it is not us that produces fruits from every action as we alone are powerless and are totally dependent upon the Creator for the very essence of life itself. Thus, this beautiful word Bismillah is a magnificent reminder of our relationship to our Creator and our relationship to all of creation.

Bismillah expresses our wonder, awe and thankfulness while it also expresses our innermost prayer that we may have the blessing of another breathe, another moment of life, and that we may walk on a path of truth and understanding. To say Bismillah is to humbly offer one's self as a vehicle for the glory and majesty of The One.

The two terms Rahman and Raheem refer to attributes of the One God and they are often translated as Merciful and Compassionate, but the roots of the words point to a deeper meaning. Both Rahman and Raheem are derived from the Semitic root r-h-m which indicates something of the utmost tenderness which provides protection and nourishment, and that from which all of creation is brought into being. Sure enough, the root 'rhm' in Arabic has meanings of womb, kinship, relationship, love, kindness, mercy, compassion, nourishing, and tenderness.

These two words, Rahman and Raheem also express slightly different variations of meaning. Imam As-Sadiq (AS) says that Rahman is a special name for a general attribute while Raheem is a general name for a specific attribute. And Prophet Isa (AS) states that Rahman is a type of mercy related to this world while Raheem is related to the hereafter.

The term Rahman describes that aspect of the source of all creation which is endlessly radiating and nourishing, regardless of whom or what is receiving the endless flow of blessings. The word Rahman is a very emphatic statement, then that sentiment is echoed by being immediately followed by the use of another form of the same root word.

Such repetition is a joyful celebration of this Divine attribute and this is the beauty of eloquence of the Arabic language. Rahman conveys the idea of fullness and extensiveness, indicating the great quality of love and mercy which engulfs all of creation without regard to any effort or request on our part. Rahman indicates that Allah mercifully provides us sustenance even if we cease to obey and worship Him, as indicated in Tafseer Saafi.

On the other hand, the term Raheem describes that aspect of mercy which is issued forth only in response to the actions and behavior of the recipient. It is in this manner that God takes ten steps toward us when we take even a single step toward God. Allah (SWT) is Raheem with our religion, our wordly affairs, our hereafter and He has made it easy for us with least amount of burden (Tafseer Saafi). According to many narrations, the mercy associated with Raheem is specific to the believers only.

As mentioned in the book Al Khesaal, it is recommended to recite this verse with a loud voice during prayers and it is considered to be one of the five signs of a true believer. There is also a sacred Hadith (Qudsi) in which Allah (SWT) says:

كل أمر ذي بال لم يذكر فيه بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم فهو أبتر.

(Every considered matter which “Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem” is not recited is put at halt.). Along the same lines, Allah (SWT) said to Prophet Musa: “O Musa! Ask My servants to confess about Me that I am the most Merciful of all the merciful and I answer the supplications of the uneasy souls and I ward off the troubles and turn the conditions of time and I grant bounties after calamities and appreciate even small deeds and give reward generously and turn the needy into the affluent and that I am the everlasting Mighty and Omnipotent Lord and that they should pray to me.” (Hayaat Al Qulub vol I)

Indeed there are many secrets to this common yet profound expression such that it is narrated that whoever among the Shia (followers of Ahlul Bayt) abandons its recitation, Allah (SWT) will test him with a trial to remind him of praise and gratitude and to erase his shame acquired due to neglecting its recitation. The school of Companions, however, disagree that this verse is part of every Surah and hence they abandon its recitation. It is certainly not a coincidence that this verse be a point of contention among the Muslims. In fact this contention on a verse which bears no controversial issue and is simply highlighting the mercy of Allah and His attributes implies to us that there are indeed hidden secrets behind this expression which requires further contemplation on our part.

If we ponder further, we’ll realize that that Surah Al Fatiha (Hamd) is also known as the “The Seven Which is Often Repeated” (Sab’aa Al Mathaani) and “The Mother of the Book” (Umm Al Kitab). The verse “Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem” is one of the Sab’aa Al Mathani which proves that it is indeed a verse that is part of every chapter in the Qur’an. Being that this expression is included as the Mother of the Book and Saba’a Al Mathaani, it therefore occupies great status and shares in the glory of Surah Al Fatiha.

On that note, Imam ‘Ali (AS) testifies: "Know that all the wisdom of the Heavenly Scriptures are in The Qur'an and whatever is in The Qur'an is in the Fatiha (Suratul Hamd) and whatever is in Fatiha is in Bismillah and whatever is in Bismillah is in the ‘Ba’ of Bismillah and whatever is in the ‘Ba’ of Bismillah is encapsulated in the dot under ‘Ba’; and I am that dot under ‘Ba’." (Yanabee’ Al Mawadda)

How then is all of these virtues encapsulated in the expression of Basmalah? To begin with, Ism and Allah signify The Creator and His Actions. Rahman and Raheem relate to human existence and survival, and reward and punishment respectively. ‘Ba’ is used in Arabic to express connection. So, the ‘Ba’ here defines the relationship between The Creator and the creation.

Thus, the three elements of the whole Qur'an highlighted in the Fatiha are included in the Basmalah and the Basmalah cannot stand without the ‘Ba’ which needs the dot underneath it to gain identity. This identity distinguishes the ‘Ba’ from other similar letters such as ‘Ta’ and ‘Tha’, all of which without their dots look similar in shape. The dot under ‘Ba’ gives its distinct identity, the power, the dynamism and the recognition of the existence of The Creator, His act of Creation and the link between The Creator and the creation.

Without the dot, ‘Ba’ is incomprehensible and if ‘Ba’ is not established in Basmalah, then the relationship of worship (na'budu) and assistance (nasta'een) between The Creator and the creation cannot be comprehended. So, when the Imam (AS) referred to the dot under ‘ba’, he pointed out that whosoever does not take him as the pivot and the center loses out on the whole essense of the Qur’an. Narrations also mention that had Imam ‘Ali (AS) wished, he could have explained Surah Al Fatiha or Bismillah or the ‘Ba’ of Bismillah so much that pages would have to be lifted by 70 camels!

After this delineation, we can now begin to understand why the enemies of Imam ‘Ali (AS) and those who do not believe in his Wilayat (guardianship) and successorship after the Holy Prophet (SA) have a problem with Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem! It is simply because the key to this phrase is Imam ‘Ali; hence it is not possible for any person to sincerely appreciate the meaning behind this profound expression except after acknowledging the Wilayat of Imam ‘Ali and professing his right of ownership for Caliphate by divine appointment.

After realizing this reality, we can further understand why Allah (SWT) intentionally stitched this verse in the beginning of every Surah of the Holy Qur’an!

We can now comprehend why it is obligatory for us to recite this phrase loudly as it is a sign of our completion of faith by belief in the Wilayat of Ameer Al Mu’mineen (AS). Along the same lines, it is narrated that it is highly recommended to recite Salawat loudly because it removes hypocricy from the heart. Likewise, by pronouncing Bismillah loudly, we declare our belief in Imam ‘Ali’s Wilayat without hesitation or hypocricy.

After understanding to a certain extent the importance of the verse Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem, it is not surprising to know that there are many rewards for its recitation which cannot be enumerated. It suffices to cite this narration of the Holy Prophet (SA) who said that:

“When a person recites Basmalah, five thousand ruby palaces are built for him in Paradise. Each palace has a thousand chambers made of pearls and in each chamber has seventy thousand thrones of emerald and each throne has seventy thousand carpets made from special fabrics and upon each carpet is seated a Hur-ul-‘Ain.” (Tafseer Al Burhaan)

A person asked for the condition necessary to win this great reward and the Holy Prophet (SA) replied that the person should recite the Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem with conviction and understanding.

By “conviction and understanding”, he means none other than conviction in the Wilayah of his successor Imam ‘Ali (AS) and understanding to whom the significance of this verse refers to. In another tradition, the Prophet (SA) says: “Whoever recites ‘Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem’ will have 4000 good deeds written for them, 4000 evil deeds erased for them, and will be raised 4000 degrees.” (Bihaar Al Anwaar)

Many can say the Basmalah out loud by tongue, however the Imam (AS) is referring to the believer who recites it out loud while he or she is fully aware of its depths. Even further, saying it out loud reinforces love for, obedience to, and submission to Allah (SWT).


اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ و َآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ


Oh Allah! Bestow Your blessings on Muhammad and his progeny


After beginning the discourse with Allah (SWT) by pronouncing His Name in the Basmallah and acknowledging the Wilayat of His chosen guide Imam ‘Ali (AS), it follows that we complement this expression by purifying our tongues with the pronouncement of Salawat (Allahuma Sali ‘Ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad) which is to seek the bestowal of Allah’s blessings on Prophet Muhammad (SA) and his purified progeny (AS). By reciting Salawat we further acknowledge the rightful successorship of the 11 Imams from the descendants of Imam ‘Ali (AS) who are the chosen ones meant by “Aali Muhammad”.


So what exactly does it mean to pray for the bestowal of divine blessings on the Prophet’s family? According to Sheikh Ahmad Al ‘Alawi, the meaning of Salat (prayer of benediction) varies according to its sender and receiver. As for its sender, if it is Allah (SWT) then its reality is different from that which is due from His creations. From Him it is an action and from the creation it is speech which cannot mean other than a supplication for mercy along with exaltation or something along these lines.
However, when the benediction is coming from the Almighty Allah, then its meaning varies according to the receiver of that Salat. Surely, one can logically conclude that the Salat of Allah (SWT) upon the common believers is not equal to His Salat to the special chosen ones among them who enjoy a high rank in His eyes as He says in Surah Al Baqarah:


تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ


These are the messengers We favoured one above the other. [2:253]


Sheikh ‘Alawi adds that Allah (SWT) has made His Salat upon His prophets and chosen ones to be the mirrored opposite of His curse (la’na) upon His enemies which means expulsion and separation from His mercy. As for the meaning of His Salat, it is His endearment and love and proximity for that object of His Salat, as he deserves. So if he is among the common believers, he will receive his share of Salat that he deserves according to the level of piety and righteousness that he possesses.


However, if he is from among the elect and chosen ones, then his portion from Allah (SWT) is Him Himself, for he is not satisfied with anything less than Him. As the holy verse describes the state of these exceptionally righteous believers,


وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَاضِرَةٌ {22} إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ {23}


Faces on that day will be shining resplendently. Looking towards their Lord. [75:22-23]


Since it is a known fact the Prophet Muhammad (SA) is the best of creation and the most beloved to Allah (SWT), we can imagine that the Salat that he receives from His beloved Lord is not like any Salat that may apply to any believer. In fact, we cannot fathom the splendor of that divine Salat due to the exceptional status of the Holy Prophet (SA) and his progeny.


However it suffices to make that supplication with the recognition that the Prophet (SA) and his progeny deserves the peak of reward and blessings due to the special position they rightfully earned. Surely, it is not too much for the Prophet to earn that great status when he is the one who said, “The core delight of my eyes was made to lie in the Salat.” (Salat Al Mu’min fi Dawq Al Kitab Wal Sunnah)


And Salat in simple words is the relationship which the Prophet (SA) happily pursues towards His beloved Lord. So it is not a surprise that Allah (SWT) rewards the Prophet’s longing for Salat by pronouncing in the Holy Qur’an that He (SWT) and His angels are sending benediction on the Prophet (SA) and furthermore ordering all of the believers to share in that noble act:


إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلاَئِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا .


Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. Oh you who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. [33:56]

When Imam Al-Kadhim (AS) was asked about the interpretation of this verse, he answered that Salat coming from Allah (SWT) is a mercy, from the angels it is a sign of purification (Tazkiyyah) from them, and from the believers it is a supplication. (Thawaab Al ‘Amaal)

Furthermore, Imam As-Sadiq (AS) was asked how do we convey Salat on Muhammad and his progeny and he answered, “we should say ‘May the Salawat of Allah, the angels, His prophets and messengers and all of His creation fall upon Muhammad and his progeny and may the Salam and mercy of Allah be upon them.’” (Al-Ma’ani)

Furthermore, the Sunni school of thought also verify that the Ahlul Bayt (AS) are the ones meant by sending Salawat. As cited in the Qur’anic translation of Mir Pooya, Fakhr al Din al Razi writes that “The Ahlul Bayt are at par with the Holy Prophet in five things (one of which is) in invoking the blessings of Allah during prayers, after each Tashahud which if not recited, renders the Salat null and void.”

Bukhari also writes in his Sahih, that the Holy Prophet (SA) said: "Say: 'Oh Allah send blessings on Muhammad and on Aali Muhammad (AhulBayt) just as You blessed Ibrahim and Aali Ibrahim'." (page 127, volume 3, Egypt edition)

Even Ibn Hajar Al Makki writes in his Sawa’eq al Muhriqah on page 87, that the Holy Prophet (SA) warned the people not to send batar salawat (salawat which has lost the tail i.e. curtailed). When asked what was mean by batar salawat, he replied: "If you stop at 'Allahumma Sali ala Muhammad' You should say: 'Allahumma Sali ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad'."

It is important to note that the above verse [33:56] orders us to accompany the act of Salawat with the act of Salam, meaning that whenever we send Salawat to Muhammad and his progeny, we should also convey our Salam or Tasleem to them. As cited in Kitab Al Ehtijaj, Imam ‘Ali (AS) explains that this verse has a manifest and hidden meaning. The manifest is to send your benedictions and the hidden is His order to exercise Tasleem or to submit to his Wilayah after the Holy Prophet (SA). Hence, whenever we recite Salawat in a supplication, we should also remember to submit to the Wilayah of the Prophet (SA) and his purified family. There are many inconceivable secrets, merits, and rewards for the person who recites Salawat and one of them is atonement of sins like the one who is newly-born. By our act of praying for the blessings to fall upon the Prophet (SA) and his progeny, we are at the same time asking for mercy for ourselves simply due to our acknowledgment that they truly deserve these divine blessings. It is related that Imam Ar-Ridha’ (AS) said, “Reciting Salawat on us is a mercy to that person and a gesture of proximity towards us.”

This sincere step taken by the servant to reach their proximity is essentially translated as the desire to reach the proximity of Allah (SWT) because pleasing the Prophet (SA) and his progeny is equivalent to pleasing Allah (SWT). And Allah (SWT) promises that “Whoever draws closer to Me by a hand's span, I will draw closer to him by a forearm's length. Whoever draws closer to Me by a forearm's length, I will draw closer to him by an arm's length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running.” (Sahih Muslim) So by reciting this profound statement of Salawat with recognition of its meaning, the servant comes closer in proximity to his Lord.

The Tree of Prophethood

شَجَرَةِ النُّبُوَّةِ

A tree generally bears fruit but a fruit never appears on the trunk, rather it appears on the branches of a tree. If two branches of the same tree bear fruit and we eat the fruit, we do not say that we ate the fruit of the branch. Instead we say that we ate the fruit of the tree even though the fruit appears on the branch, because it is really the fruit of the tree. Likewise, when we speak about the tree of prophethood, we are talking about the tree of Prophet Muhammad (SA).

The “tree of prophethood” is mentioned in this supplication as a description to the object of Salawat who is the Holy Prophet and his purified progeny. In fact the first part of this supplication is a description and acknowledgement of some of the attributes that these divinely-chosen personalities enjoy, while the latter part of the supplication are prayers for them followed by prayers for the benefit of the servant.

Prophet Muhammad (SA) is the “tree of prophethood” which branched out from Prophet Ibraheem (AS). When his daughter the Master Lady of All Women Seyyida Fatima Al Zahra (AS) married her only equal, Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), she bore two wonderful fruits that came from two infallible branches, who are his grandsons, Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS).

The Infallibles themselves testified that they are indeed the tree of prophethood as it is narrated in by Al-Khaythama who relays that Abu Abdullah (AS) said to him the following, "O Khaythama, we are the tree of prophet-hood, the house of blessings, the keys to wisdom, the mine of knowledge, the station of the Messenger-ship of (Allah), the center wherein the angels interchange and the place for the secrets of Allah. We are the trust of Allah among the people and we are the great Sanctuary of Allah. We are the promised responsibility of Allah and we are His covenant. Whoever remains true to our covenant has remained true to the covenant of Allah (SWT). Whoever disregards his covenant with us he has disregarded his covenant and responsibility towards Allah." (Kitab Al Kaafi) In Hadith Tibrani cited from the School of Companions, it is also narrated that “Fatimah is a branch from the tree of Prophethood, and out of this branch blossom two fruits who are named Hadrat Hasan and Hadrat Husain.”

When we analyze some verses of the Qur’an, we also notice that Allah (SWT) referred to “the tree” as a parable and an example for Muhammad (SA) and his progeny. For example, in Surah An-Noor, He (SWT) says:

"اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لاَ شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلاَ غَرْبِيَّةٍ..."


Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west.[24:35]
According to Tafseer Al Saafi and Bayan Al Sa’ada, the “Lamp” refers to the Prophet’s knowledge while the “Niche” refers to the infallible Imams from his progeny. The Prophet’s knowledge has been placed in the heart of his successor ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) who is meant by the “blessed tree” which has a lot of benefits just like the olive tree is very beneficial.


The famous story of Prophet Adam (AS) eating from the forbidden tree has a special wisdom and message to us. It is narrated that this forbidden tree is a parable for the tree of knowledge of Muhammad and his progeny which Allah (SWT) specialized them with over the rest of His creation. They are the only ones who can “eat” from it. Sure enough, according to Tafseer Al Saafi, Rasulullah (SA), ‘Ali (AS), Fatima (AS), Hasan (AS), and Husain (AS) ate from that tree after they fed the poor, the needy, and the orphan such that they did not feel any hunger, thirst, or exhaustion afterwards (story referred to in Surah Al-Insaan, n.76).


Whoever eats from this unique tree by permission of Allah (SWT) gains a lot of knowledge without having to go through the worldly process of learning. And whoever eats from that tree without permission will fail and commit disobedience. Hence, Allah (SWT) warns Adam (AS):


وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلاَ مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ.


And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust. [2:35]


Another interpretation of this forbidden tree is that it is the tree of envy since anyone who experiences a feeling of envy or wishes to attain the position of the Prophet (SA) and his Ahlul Bayt (AS) will be tested and punished as was the case with Adam (AS) and his wife. The consequences of even approaching that tree or entertaining the thought of wishing their high status even for a split second will result in that person becoming from the unjust فتكونا مِن الظالمين.


Exegetists explain that those who eat from that special tree and take what is not their right which is the Caliphate after the Prophet (SA) and give it to others who do not own that divine right, they will be committing injustice. Furthermore, ‘Ayaashi relates in Tafseer Al Saafi that the tree mentioned in Surah Ibraheem is also a parable for Muhammad (SA) and his progeny.





أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً




طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاء. تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا




وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ.



Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven. It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the permission of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may be mindful. [14:24-25]


This “Good Tree” is described to have a foundation that is established and a root that is firm. Its branches reach up to heaven due to its grand status. As we discussed earlier, these branches symbolize Imam Hasan and Husain (AS) who are the Master Youth of Paradise by the testimony of the Holy Prophet (SA), so it is not surprising that these blessed “branches” reach up to the heavens!


Furthermore, verse 14:25 informs us that this tree is continuously reaping fruits by the permission of Allah (SWT). These continuous fruits are symbolized by the infallible Imams who come one after the other such that there is no time or moment that this earth is devoid of a divinely appointed Imam until the return of the awaited Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance).


Interestingly, it is narrated in Al Kaafi regarding the interpretation of this verse that the أصل(origin) of this tree is the Holy Prophet (SA), its فرع(stem) is Imam ‘Ali (AS), its أغصان(branches) are the Imams (AS), its fruits are the knowledge of the Imams, and its leaves are the true believers and followers of Ahlul Bayt (AS). Hence, when a believer is born a leaf develops on that good tree, and when a believer departs from this world, a leaf falls off.


And the Afrode of Your Messages

وَ مَوْضِعِ الرِّسالَةِ


After identifying the Prophet (SA) and his progeny to be the tree of prophethood, they are further described to be the afrode of the messages موضِع الرسالة. In general, everything in life as a home and location it belongs to and originates from. For example the home of the constitution of the US lies in Capitol Hill in DC. And the nest where the civil rights movements for blacks originated was in the character of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Likewise, the home address and nest of the divine message are the 12 Infallible guides chosen by Allah (SWT).


They are 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. Regarding their lofty position and موضِع , Imam As-Sadiq (AS) says:


"إن أمرنا هو الحق وحق الحق وهو الظاهر وباطن الظاهر وباطن الباطن وهو السر وسرّ السرّ وسرّ المستسرّ وسرّ مُقنَّع بالسرّ."


Our matter (Wilayah) is certainly the truth, the truth of the truth, and it is the manifest and the hidden, and the hidden of the manifest, and the hidden of the hidden, and it is the secret, and the secret of the secret, and the secret that is within an a hidden enclosed secret, and the secret that is masked with the secret.


There are four positions of the message that is implied by this profound statement: First, the position of بيان Bayan which is highlighted by the expression “hidden of the manifest” means to recognize the fact that Allah (SWT) has no similarity or resemblance to anything, hence the servant worships Him and does not associate any partner with Him.


Second, the position of معاني (Ma’ani) is highlighted by “hidden of the hidden” which Imam ‘Ali (AS) says refers to the Ahlul Bayt (AS). He elaborates on this aspect and says, “We are its meanings, we are its side, hand, tongue, command, judgment, knowledge, and truth. If we desire something, Allah (SWT) wills it.


Third, the position ofأبواب(Abwaab) refers to “hidden of the manifest” and implies that the door to the mercy and pleasure of Allah (SWT) are the Ahlul Bayt (AS). They are the intermediates by which we enter the Gate towards the Lord’s proximity. This idea is validated by the Prophet’s testimony that “I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its Gate.” (Al-Mustadrak)


Fourth, the position of Imamate or leadership which refers to the expressions “the manifest”, “the truth”, and the truth of the truth”. The above profound statement of Imam As-Sadiq (AS) conveys to us the fact that there exists a vast cloud of secrecy and mysteriousness behind the great status of Ahlul Bayt (AS) such that minds cannot comprehend or fathom their lofty position which is the essence of the message. It is therefore not surprising that Allah testifies that:


اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ


Allah knows best knows where He places His message. [6:124]


Household of Divine Inspiration & Knowledge

وَ مُخْتَلَفِ الْمَلاَّئِكَةِ وَ مَعْدِنِ الْعِلْمِ وَ اَهْلِ بَيتِ الْوَحْىِ.


And, the place of visits of the angels, the mine of Your Knowledge, and the people of the Holy House of Revelation.


Whenever you pay a visit to another person, that visit can be due to different reasons. For example, you may visit your friend because they’re ill, you may visit them to spend quality time with them out of love and friendship, or you may visit them to accomplish a certain task with them like a project or business work, etc. It follows logic that the higher the position which the visitor holds, the greater the importance and implications of this visitation for you. For example, you cannot compare the visitation of your college friend as the visitation of the President of your country to you because the President’s status is much greater than that of your friend.


Hence, when we speak about the visitation of one of the greatest creatures of Allah (SWT) who are the angels, such visitation is not to be interpreted lightly or compared to the visitation which humans pay to each other. As stated in this supplication, the address which the angels plug in their navigation system as their desired destination is the household of the Prophet (SA) and his progeny.


The obvious purpose of visitation is indicated in the words mentioned afterwards in this supplication, and that is, for inspiration وحي of the message to the Holy Prophet (SA). He is honored by the visitation of Archangel Jibrael (AS) as much as Jibrael (AS) and the angels are honored by their visitation to him, if not more!


Their desire to attain the blessings and mercy of Allah (SWT) through the intermediates personified in the impeccable characters of the Prophet (SA) and his progeny is yet another reason for their visitation to them! There is the story of Futros, one of the angels who disobeyed Allah (SWT) and was punished by being abandoned in an island and had his wings disabled.


On the occasion of the blessed birth of Imam Husain (AS), Futros happened to meet angel Jibrael (AS) and asked him to take him along to the Prophet (SA) to seek intercession from him and forgiveness from Allah (SWT). This act of Futros was a visitation not to deliver a message from Allah (SWT), but to seek the blessings of the Prophet (SA). These blessings were symbolized in the cradle of Imam Husain (AS) which was enough to cure his wings. Even though the cradle was the object that cured, it received that honor simply because it bore the body of the Master of Martyrs, Imam Husain (AS)!


We read in Hadith Al Kisaa (Narration of the Cloak) that when the trusted Jibrael (AS) asked Allah (SWT) who were under the cloak, He (SWT) answered,




"هُم أهل بيت النبوة ومعدن


الرسالة هم فاطمة وأبوها وبعلها وبنوها"
They are the Household of the Prophet and the assets of Prophethood! They are none other than Fatimah, her father, her husband and her two sons. (Sahih Muslim)

Here, Allah (SWT) identifies these five esteemed personalities to be the household of prophethood who are the essence of the message. The word معدِنis also used in this supplication to describe the Holy Household as the core of knowledge معدِن العلم. Surely, they are the mine of knowledge which Allah (SWT) granted to them and they are the essence of the whole message!

It is important to note in the event of Hadith Al Kisaa that when angel Jibrael (AS) descended to earth to the Prophet (SA), he did so for two intentions; to deliver Allah’s message to them culminated in the verse of purification, and to join in this celebrative moment and gain the blessings of the presence of Ahlul Bayt (AS) under the cloak. So he requested permission from Allah (SWT) to descend to earth to be the sixth of them.

Sure enough, Allah (SWT) gave him the permission and when Jibrael (AS) greeted the Prophet (SA) and conveyed Allah’s message about them being the purpose of His creation of the heavens and earths, he once again sought the permission of the Prophet (SA) to join them under the cloak, even though he already attained the permission of the Almighty God.

Now take a look at the manners of angel Jibrael (AS) and how he seeks the permission of the Prophet (SA) personally as a sign of respect and honor for him! And compare this example with that of certain companions of the Prophet (SA) who with all audacity barged in the house of Lady Fatima Al Zahra (AS) without her permission and squeezed her behind the door causing her immense pain and abortion of her unborn child!

Furthermore, the remembrance of Ahlul Bayt (AS) is rewarded such that in Hadith Al Kisaa, the Prophet (SA) answers Imam ‘Ali (AS) when he asks about the significance of this gathering under the cloak:

"I swear by He who rightfully appointed me a Prophet and selected me with prophethood as a savior: this episode of ours will not be recounted in any gathering from the gatherings of the people of the earth where a group of our Shias (followers) and lovers are present except that there will descend upon them mercy! And angels will encircle them asking Allah the remission of their sins until the assembly disperses!"

We learn here that not only do the angels descend to the house of prophethood, they also descend and share in the gatherings where the followers and lovers of Ahlul Bayt (AS) spend in remembrance of the virtues of Ahlul Bayt (AS). All that is for the sake of honoring the status of Ahlul Bayt (AS)!!!

Sailing Ship in the Deep Sea

اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ و َآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ الْفُلْكِ الْجارِيَةِ فِى اللُّجَجِ الْغامِرَةِ


Oh Allah! Bestow Your Blessings on Muhammad and his progeny who are a boat sailing in the deep waters of fathomless sea.


The parable of the Prophet (SA) and his purified progeny is that of a boat or ship that is sailing in a vast immeasurable ocean الفلك الجارية في اللُجج الغامرة. To understand the meaning of this expression, one has to understand the nature of an ocean and its characteristics. When we think about the great seas out there like that of the Atlantic or Pacific ocean, we get a mixed feeling of peace and also apprehensiveness.
The feeling of peace is followed by praise to the Creator for allowing us to enjoy the beautiful creation of Allah (SWT) that is appreciated by our physical senses, and that is, water. Water generally symbolizes purity and the bounty of water is indeed greater than we imagine such that Allah (SWT) states in the Qur’an:


وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ


And We have made of water everything living. [21:30]


The animal kingdom is conceived from a sperm which is a substance composed of water and is the cause of his creation. Today, the scientists have discovered that plants and animals live on water as its main resource which descends in the form of rain:


وَاللَّهُ أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا


And Allah has sent down water from the cloud and therewith given life to the earth after its death. [16:65]
It is narrated that water is the spring of God’s mercy and according to Rasulullah (SA), “A believer is like water; he purifies all those surrounding him.”


On the other hand, we tend to feel a sense of apprehensiveness when we gaze at the darkness of the vast ocean due to its seemingly endless body of water which symbolizes the unknown of the world and the secrets that lie beneath this ocean which we are oblivious to. Just like the water has benefits for creation, it can also be a source of destruction.


For example, there is the story of Prophet Nuh (AS) and the punishment of the flood which overcame his disbelieving people. The cause of their destruction was none other than water which drowned them completely and wiped them off this earth!


As mentioned in the Qur’an,


فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَمَنْ مَعَهُ فِي الْفُلْكِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ خَلَائِفَ وَأَغْرَقْنَا الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا


But they rejected him, so We delivered him and those with him in the ark, and We made them rulers and drowned those who rejected Our Signs. [10:73]


So it is clear from this verse that the cause for their punishment was because theyكذبوا بأياتِنا rejected the signs of God”. This begs us to question what or who represents the signs of God? Furthermore, how important are these “signs of God” such that Allah (SWT) destroys populations due to their disbelief in them?


These signs of God are further emphasized in another verse,


وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا ۚ إِنَّا مِنَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُنْتَقِمُون.َ

And who is more unjust than he who is reminded of the Signs of his Lord, then he turns away from them? Surely We will give punishment to the transgressors. [32:22]

In the explanation of this verse, Sheikh Al Tabarsi states in his Majma’ Al Bayan fi Tafseer Al Qur’an that there is no person that does more injustice to himself than one who is shown the guidance who are the Proofs of Allah who would lead him to His Ma’refat (recognition) and proximity, but then turns away from that purified source of guidance.

These proofs of Allah (SWT) are the Infallible Imams from the progeny of the Prophet (SA), and so we can correlate this verse with the previous [10:73] and conclude that those who dispute the signs of Allah (SWT) who are the Infallible guides from the Prophet’s household will be punished severely like those who were drowned in the flood during the time of Prophet Nuh (AS).

When we read this words in the supplication of Salawat Sha’baniyyah which talks about the “boat sailing in the deep waters of fathomless sea”, we can now reflect on the that Arc of Salvation of Prophet Nuh (AS) and remember the punishment of those who dispute the signs of God. Taking it further, can we conclude that a similar consequence will fall upon those who desert the Arc of Salvation of Prophet Muhammad (SA) who is the best of creation and the Seal of Messengers?

Joining the Arc of Salvation

يأمَنُ مَنْ رَكِبَها وَ يََغْرَقُ مَنْ تَرَكَهَا


Safe is he who boarded it and drowned is he who abandoned it.


The very next phrase of the supplication describes the position of the passengers riding this boat that is sailing in the vast ocean. These riders are assured salvation and security as a guaranteed service for their acceptance to ride this arc which Allah (SWT) commanded them to ride. At the same time, those who refuse to ride this blessed ship is promised the punishment of drowning. This clearly highlights to us the importance of this ship which is very sacred in Allah’s eyes such that its passengers are affected positively and its non-passengers receive retribution.
In fact, in the famous Hadith As-Safinah narrated by Anas ibn Malik, the Holy Prophet (SA) said:


"مثل أهل بيتى كمثل سفينة نوح من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها غرق."


Surely the likeness of my Ahlul Bayt is similar to Noah's Ark, whoever boards it will attain salvation and whoever remains behind is drowned. (Al Durr Al Manthur)
This authentic tradition which has been narrated by all of the great Sunni scholars without exception and with unbroken continuity, points to the fact that the parable of the arc of Prophet Nuh (AS) is like that of the arc of the holy household of Prophet Muhammad (AS).


Whoever refuses to ride this blessed arc by refusing to accept the signs of God represented in these holy personalities will drown inevitably, just like the son of Prophet Nuh (AS) drowned though he was the son of a prophet. It is worthy to note here that if the son of a prophet did not attain refuge and protection for his close blood relation to his father, then surely the status of ‘companionship’ of a prophet will not suffice to save that person from Allah’s wrath if he fails to obey His commands and enter His door the way He (SWT) desires!


One of the distinguished religious scholars of the Sunni sect, Imam Shafi'i, admits that our attachment to the purified family of the Prophet is the means of our deliverance. In this regards, Imam Shafi'i testified the following: "When I saw different schools of thought directing people toward the seas of ignorance and deviation, I boarded the ark of salvation in the Name of Allah. This arc is verily crystallized in the Ahlul Bayt of the Seal of the Prophets." (Al-Mustadrak)


Indeed those who choose to embark this arc of salvation will enjoy a smooth ride that is for the sake of Allah (SWT) as described in this verse,


وَقَالَ ارْكَبُوا فِيهَا بِسْمِ اللَّهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا
إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيم.ٌ


And he said: Embark in it, in the name of Allah be its sailing and its anchoring; most surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. [11:41]


Proper Adherence to Ahlul Bayt

الْمُتَقَدِّمُ لَهُمْ مارِقٌ وَالْمُتَاَخِّرُ عَنْهُمْ زاهِقٌ وَاللاّزِمُ لَهُمْ لاحِقٌ.


Those who went ahead of them were misled and those who lagged behind them were ruined and those who adhered to them were united with them.


In the above statement of this supplication, the wayfarer following the example of Ahlul Bayt (AS) is advised not only to follow the Siraat Al Mustaqeem (Straight Path) which they represent, but they are given specific instructions on how to follow this path because any deviation or digression from the treading of this path will lead to misguidance. The follower is urged not to go ahead of Ahlul Bayt (AS) or race them or try to exceed them. Often times, we imagine that we can be better than the role model, for example, or become more knowledgeable than our teacher, and that may be the case in some instances.


However, when it comes to the perfect role model and seamless template to mankind, there is no room for the human being to even attempt to be better than them or exceed their ranks. History relays to us that the reason why Prophet Adam (AS) and his wife were tested with the forbidden tree was because when they realized the high rank which the Holy Prophet (SA) and his Ahlul Bayt (AS) enjoy in the eyes of Allah (SWT), they wished in their minds to earn that same position.


As a result, Allah (SWT) tested them simply for the thought which crossed the mind because it is not appropriate for us to wish their position or to go ahead of them. Along the same lines, the Holy Prophet (SA) advised us regarding Ahlul Bayt (AS), "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!" (Al Durr Al Manthur)


To comprehend the meaning of the above statement in the supplication, we have to first understand the meaning of the key words مارق (Mareq), زاهق (Zaheq), لاحق (Laheq). By definition, مارق (Mareq) means to go against the law and its meaning may vary depending on the context. For example, history records that the Mariqeen fought against Imam ‘Ali (AS) in the battle of Nahrawan, and they are a group among the Muslims who entered the religion; however, they quickly exited out from it and became misguided. The Mariqeen are likened to an arrow which goes out from its bow in quick speed as they also deviated from Islam very quickly. If an arrow doesn’t reach its target, it is said to be a bad or bogus arrow. In the case of the Mariqeen, they are those who entered Islam but it did not benefit them as if they were never Muslims to begin with!
Imam ‘Ali (AS) testifies in this regard that he heard the Prophet (SA) say: "During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall be rewarded on the Day of Resurrection." (Sahih Muslim)


It is also advised that the devotees of the holy household do not lag or stay behind the Ahlul Bayt (AS) or else they will be from the زاهقين (Zahiqeen). By definition, the word Zaheq means to be gone and destroyed, just like Allah (SWT) says,


وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقا.


“And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is bound to perish.” [17:81]


In this verse, the word Zahaqa is used to indicate that falsehood will perish and vanish.


With that in mind, let’s return back to the above expression in the supplication which states that lagging behind the Ahlul Bayt (AS) will lead to perish. In our everyday lives, we often times experience the consequences of lagging or staying behind. For example, when a student lags behind in his studies and fails to keep up with the teacher or the lessons which his teacher gives, then he will naturally end up not doing well in the exam and will fail the course. On the other hand, we’ve experienced that when we focus on our studies, complete our homework on a daily basis and avoid procrastination, we feel that we are on the same page as the teacher.


Thus the next lesson becomes fairly easy to understand and we do not become confused. As a result, when it comes time for final exams, the process of studying becomes more of a refresher without the need to catch up with the lessons or homework we missed and without the need to cram the night before the exam in order to pass the test. Likewise, if we at least perform the basic obligatory responsibilities that are required of us, we will be caught up on the path of Ahlul Bayt (AS).


The third advice in this phrase states that وَاللاّزِمُ لَهُمْ لاحِقٌ “those who adhered to them were united with them.” If something is Malzoom (ملزوم) to another thing, it denotes that they are close to each other and are following one another. And the term Laheq (لاحق) means to join or unite or link with something. In this context, those who abide by the Wilayah of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) and obey them will achieve salvation and join them not only in this world but also in the hereafter. Uniting with the chosen luminary personalities who are the reflection of Allah’s magnanimous attributes is surely the peak of bliss for a servant seeking the proximity of the divine abode.


When Sheikh Muhammad Sanqoor was asked how can a person commit the mistake of being among those who fall under the category of "المتقدم لهم مارق", he explained that this stage is reached when a person denies the Wilayah (guardianship) and Imamate (leadership) of Ahlul Bayt (AS) and usurps their rights. It refers to those who goes against them and tries to belittle their position. Such person becomes misled as he no longer benefits from his “Islam” and he is the same whether he enters Islam or leaves it. It is analogous to a person who takes a bath to cleanse himself but still comes out unclean and impure.


Ahlul Bayt Cave of Refuge

اللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ الْكَهْفِ الْحَصينِ


O` Allah! Bless Muhammad and his progeny who are the Strong Refuge


The parable of the Prophet (SA) and his progeny is like the strong and robust cave. The story of the People of the Cave (also known as As-haab Al Kahf or the Seven Sleepers) is mentioned in Surah Al Kahf in the Holy Qur’an and as we know, the Qur’an is not a book of stories nor is it limited to the people mentioned in a story or historical event. Otherwise, the verses would die with the deaths of the people it is referring to.


In the story of the People of the Cave, several youths from the nobles of the community who held very high position believed in the oneness of God and the religion of Prophet Jesus (AS). Because the community they lived in were predominantly nonbelievers, the King of their time did not accept the fact that they embraced Christianity. So he sought to persecute them and force them to abandon their faiths, but these devout believers were steadfast in the beliefs and stood up against the king of their time. They announced their acceptance of the monotheistic faith and defied the existing polytheistic faith.


In short, they eventually sought refuge in a cave where they escaped for their lives in a miraculous manner. As described in the Qur’an,


إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا.


When the youths sought refuge in the cave, they said: Our Lord! grant us mercy from Thee, and provide for us a right course in our affair. [18:10]


As they sought refuge in the cave, they prayed to their Lord for mercy and blessings and that He (SWT) takes care of their affairs and makes the matter easy for them in attaining His pleasure. In simple words, they exercised complete Tawakkul (dependency on Allah’s will) and Tasleem (submission).


In fact the Qur’an states that the cause of Allah’s mercy to them was that these youths abandoned and renounced the false beliefs of the polytheists of their time and they did so by their own free will. When they took that bold step considering their high position at that time and the risks that were at stake for them, Allah (SWT) awarded them by granting them salvation by His mercy. That salvation was represented in the cave in a mountain which protected them from the evil of the nonbelievers. Hence, Allah (SWT) says:


وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلا اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنْشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَيُهَيِّئْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مِرْفَقًا.


And when you forsake them and what they worship save Allah, betake yourselves for refuge to the cave; your Lord will extend to you largely of His mercy and provide for you a profitable course in your affair. [18:16]


In the context of our discussion, the exegetists interpret the cave of the People of the Cave to represent the Prophet (SA) and his purified progeny. In fact, one of the names of Ahlul Bayt (AS) is the كهف “cave”. Supporting that, Abi Hamza Al Thumali narrates that Imam Al Baqir (AS) said, "إن مثلنا فيكم كمثل الكهف لأصحاب الكهف." Our position to you is like that of the cave to the People of the Cave. (Kitab Al Ghayba)


The resemblance here lies in the fact that just like the cave protected the believing youths who resorted to it for the sake of Allah (SWT), likewise anyone who seeks refuge in the cave represented by Ahlul Bayt (AS) will also attain salvation. This tradition in itself proves the concept of intercession (Shafa’at) and intermediacy which is reflected in the “cave” that will provide guidance and protection.


Furthermore, when Imam ‘Ali (AS) describes the position of the 12th Awaited Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) from his progeny, he says in his regards that he is"أوسعكم كهفاً وأكثركم عِلماً" His cave is the most spacious among you and he is the most knowledgeable among you. (Kitab Al Ghayba)


Some scholars interpret the “cave” to symbolize Imam Mahdi (AFS), and the People of the Cave to be the 313 companions who will support him, while the “raqeem” is an attribute to the special book in the hands of the 12th Imam which contains the names of the “army of rage” which is the promised number (raqam).


Source of Help & Protection

وَ غِياثِ الْمُضْطَرِّ الْمُسْتَكينِ وَ مَلْجَاءِ الْهارِبينَ وَ عِصْمَةِ الْمُعْتَصِمينَ.


Rescue for the distressed and the helpless, shelter for the fugitives and protection.


After we acknowledge the fact

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