Dhawi l-Qurbā (Arabic: ذَوي القُربی) literally means close relatives. It has been used in 11 verses of the Qur'an, including the Verse of Khums and the Verse of Mawadda in which the love for "Dhawi l-Qurba" is considered as the reward for Prophet Muhammad's (s) mission. Although there are disagreements between Shi'a and Sunni scholars about the instances of "Dhawi l-Qurba", Shi'a hadiths and some Sunni ones show that definite instances of "Dhawi l-Qurba" include 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), Fatima (a), and their children.
The Arabic word qurb (قُرب) is an infinitive meaning closeness; an antonym of "bu'd" (بُعد) which means remoteness. "Qirāba" (قِرابة) and "qurbā" (قُربی) mean kinship by blood. According to al-Zamakhshari, "qurba" is an infinitive like "zulfa" and "bushra", which means closeness. According to many Arabic dictionaries, "qurba" means kinship or relation by blood.
Dhu l-Qurba in the Qur'an
The word, "al-qurbā", is used in 11 verses of the Qur'an to refer to close relatives and kin. It is sometimes used with "dhī" (ذی) or "dhawi" (ذوي) before it, and sometimes with "uli" (أولی) before it, and just in one case it is used without any associated words: "… al-mawadda fi l-qurba" (love for the relatives). Thus, a word such as "ahl" (أهل), "dhi", "dhawi", and the like should be elliptical before "al-qurba" in this verse. It seems that in most of these verses, the word refers to the relatives of every Muslim. Still, according to exegeses of the Qur'an and hadiths from the Prophet (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a), there are 4 verses in which "Dhawi l-Qurba" refers to the household of the Prophet (s):
- The Verse of Mawadda: "Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives (al-qurba); and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful."
- The Verse of Khums: "And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and the Messenger and the near of kin (Dhawi l-Qurba) and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer."
- The Verse of Fay': "What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger from the people of the townships, belongs to Allah, to His Messenger and kindred (Dhawi l-Qurba) and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; so that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you."
- "Then give to the near of kin (Dhi l-Qurba), his due."
Instances of Dhi l-Qurba
There are different views about the instances of "Dhawi l-Qurba" especially in the Verse of Mawadda.
- Relatives by marriage, that is, polytheists of the Quraysh: the majority of Sunni exegetes have appealed to some hadiths and interpreted "dhi l-qurba" as referring to polytheists of the Quraysh who were relatives of the Prophet (s) by marriage. Thus, the verse should mean that the reward for the Prophet's (s) mission was the love for Quraysh polytheists. This interpretation is propounded by al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir, and al-Alusi. They support the interpretation with the fact that the Sura in which this verse occurs was Makki. They have ignored other hadiths from the Prophet (s) in which "dhi l-qurba" is interpreted differently because they take them unreliable.
- Relatives by marriage in Medina (and Ansar): some exegetes of the Qur'an believe that Ansar brought a lot of money and property for the Prophet (s), because they were his relatives through Salma bt. Zayd al-Najjar ('Abd al-Muttalib's mother) and Amina bt. Wahab. Thus, the verse was revealed that the Prophet (s) did not ask for any rewards except the love for the relatives.
- Silat al-rahim (family ties): according to other exegetes, "the love for the near relatives" is addressed to the Quraysh or all people, and it means: I do not ask of you for any reward except your love for your own relatives (which is silat al-rahim or family ties).
- Closeness to God: according to others, "qurba" here means closeness to God, and "al-mawadda fi l-qurba" means closeness to God by obeying Him. Thus, the verse means: I do not ask for any reward except your love for God by being close to Him. Shi'a exegetes have responded to and rejected the above four possible interpretations.
- Ahl al-Bayt (a): according to the majority of Shi'a scholars which is close to consensus, "dhi l-qurba" in the Verse of Mawadda refers to Infallible Imams (a), and according to others, it also includes Fatima (a). However, there are many Sunni exegetes and scholars of hadiths who, in spite the efforts by other Sunni scholars to interpret "dhi l-qurba" as referring to Quraysh polytheists, have appealed to some hadiths to interpret it as referring to Ahl al-Bayt and close relatives of the Prophet (s), especially 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), Fatima (a), their children, and so on. Such scholars include Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Bukhari, al-Tabari, al-Hakim al-Nishaburi, al-Zamakhshari, al-Shafi'i, Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki, al-Hafiz al-Kunji, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Shablanji, al-Suyuti, Muhyi l-Din al-'Arabi, Ibn Kathir, and al-Qurtubi. For example, in his interpretation of the verse, "Then give to the near of kin his due", al-Alusi says: "it refers to Fatima." And al-Zamakhshari says in his al-Kashshaf: "when the verse was revealed, the Prophet (s) was asked about his relatives the love for whom was obligatory for people. He said: 'Ali, Fatima, and their two sons". Al-Fakhr al-Razi takes "dhi l-qurba" to refer to the household of the Prophet (s) and says: "the household of Muhammad (s) are those whose affair goes back to that of Muhammad (s). He who has a better, more perfect, and firmer relation with the Prophet (s) counts as his household. And undoubtedly, Fatima, 'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn have the firmest relation with the Prophet (s). This is an obvious fact which comes from mutawatir hadiths."
In his Sharh ihqaq al-haqq, Sayyid Shahab al-Din Mar'ashi Najafi mentions about 50 great Sunni scholars who have cited the hadiths regarding the Verse of Mawadda in their books. Al-Sayyid Hashim al-Bahrani has cited 17 Sunni hadiths and 22 Shi'a hadiths in his Ghayat al-maram wa hujjat al-khisam.
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