Rafed English

Fatima (a.s.) in the Holy Qur'an; The verse of Purification (tat-heer)

This is: 'Verily, verily God intendeth but to keep off from you [every kind of] uncleanness, O ye the People of the House, and purify you (with) a thorough purification.' (Qur'an 33:33)

Ummu Salamah (the wife of the Prophet) said: The Prophet (sawa) was in my house and also Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain; I prepared some food for them and they ate and went to sleep and he (sawa) covered them with a robe or cloak and said: 'O Lord! These are the people of my house; keep off from them all uncleanness and purify them with a thorough purification.'

In another narration, Ummu Salamah said that the verse was revealed in her house and 'I was sitting at the door of the house, and said: O Messenger of Allah! Am I not from the People of the House? He replied: 'You are in a good (right) way - you are with the wives of the Prophet'. She added: And in the house (then was) the Messenger of Allah (sawa), Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain. 40

What is the meaning of the rijs (uncleanness) in the verses above?

Rijs in language means anything unclean which may stick to the body or other material thing; it can also refer to the non-material side of the personality. Allah called pork rijs, and at the same time called atheism, polytheism and the consequences of bad deeds rijs: 'But as to those in whose hearts is a disease, it addeth unto them uncleanliness to their uncleanliness, and they shall die while they are infidels.' (Qur'an 9:125) And 'Whomsoever willeth God that He should guide him aright, He expandeth his breast (heart/mind) for Islam, and whomsoever He intendeth to leave straying, He maketh his breast straight and narrow as though he is climbing into the very skies; thus doth God lay ignominious chastisement (rijs) on those who believe not.' (Qur'an 8:126)

In light of this, it seems that the word (as used in the verses in question) refers to the negative moral attributes which represent the uncleanness of the soul. In addition, the word has another meaning: the intellectual mistakes in recognising things that appears to point to individual infallibility. This is a Divine favour that Allah effects inside the self to prevent it from false belief and wrong doing, through the fact that this word also entails a notion of repulsion and rejection, and the need to abstain from it.

This verse is a clear proof of the infallibility of Ahlul Bayt (as), because the 'lam' (corresponding to the sound of letter L) in the word 'rijs' (i.e. al-rijs) makes it inclusive of all that can cause shortfall in a person's personality, and all that causes repulsion from it when it deviates and commits mistakes by it (the rijs). Therefore, it points to the will of Allah to remove all deep causes of deviation or mistakes. In other words: Allah has stored in Ahlul Bayt (as) the knowledge and special attributes of sanctity and purity to remove all rijs from them and effect purity in them.

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[40] Al-Tabari, vol. 22, p. 5-8; Fada'il al-Khamsah fil Sihah al-Sittah, vol. 1, p. 214.

Adapted from the book: "Fatimah (as); a role model for men and women" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlullah"

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