Mawadda of Ahl al-Bayt (a)

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From wikishia

Mawadda (Arabic: مَوَدَّة) is an Arabic word which means "love", adopted from Mawadda verse. This verse and some other narrations such as hadith Bab Hitta and also the conduct of the Prophet (s) indicate that loving the Ahl al-Bayt (a) is incumbent upon Muslims.

In the Mawadda Verse

In the verse of Mawadda, the love of the progeny of the Prophet (s) has been considered as the reward for his mission. "Relatives" in the verse refers to those about whom the Tathir verse was revealed. According to al-Hakim al-Nishaburi, after the martyrdom of 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), al-Hasan b. 'Ali (a) gave a speech for people and introduced himself and said:

"I am one of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) to whom Gabriel descended; and I am from the Ahl al-Bayt (a) God repelled from them any evil. And I am from the Ahl al-Bayt (a) God made their love incumbent upon every Muslim and said, "Say, 'I do not ask you any reward for it except love of [my] relatives.' Whoever performs a good deed, We shall enhance for him its goodness." (42:23) To do goodness is the love of us the Ahl a-Bayt (a)."[1]

As al-Khwarazmi narrated from Ibn 'Abbas, when the al-Mawadda verse was revealed, some people told the Prophet (s), "who are these relatives of yours, whose love has been incumbent upon us? The Prophet (s) answered, "'Ali (a), Fatima (a), and their two sons."[2]

In Hadiths

Al-Tabari narrated from Abu Daylam that when 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) was brought into Damascus as captive, a man from Syria stood up and, filled with jubilation, spoke boldly about the murdering of Imam al-Husayn (a), his companions, and the capturing of his family and children. Imam al-Sajjad (a) told him, "Have you ever recited the al-Mawadda verse?" the man said, "Does 'Qurba' (relatives) refer to you? Imam (a) answered, "yes".[3]

Ibn 'Asakir narrated from Imam al-Husayn (a) saying, "the relationship God has counted great and has made observing it incumbent upon people and regarded as reward for the Prophet's (s) mission, is our relationship."[4]

The Shafi'i hadith scholar, al-Hafiz Abu 'Abd Allah al-Ganji narrated from al-Tabarani that the Prophet (s) said, "God created prophets (s) from different trees (different origins) and created me and 'Ali (a) from one tree (origin). I am the root of that tree and 'Ali (a) is a branch of it, Fatima (a) is its conception and al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a) are its fruits. Anyone who hangs on to one of them will survive and anyone who turns away from them will fall. And if a person worships three thousand years between Safa and Marwa, while not having our love, God will throw him in the hell." He (s) then recited the Mawadda verse. About the reference of the hadith, Abu Abd Allah Ganji said, "this hadith is highly good."[5]

Abu Nu'yim al-Isfahani narrated from Zadhan that 'Ali (a) said, "About us, the people of HaMim (two Suras of Qur'an begin with HaMim), it is set that our love will not be observed except by the faithful and then he (a) recited al-Mawadda verse."[6]

After narrating narrations about incumbency of the love of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), Ibn Hajar al-Makki said, "From aforementioned hadiths, the incumbency of the love of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and absolute prohibition of having hatred towards them were understood. Al-Bayhaqi, al-Baghawi and others have asserted on the incumbency of the love of them. Al-Shafi'i has also expressed that in some poems narrated from him."[7]

After narrating the hadith Bab Hitta, he has said, "the resemblance of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) to Bab Hitta (Hitta door) is that God made entering with humbleness while repenting through it, which was in Ariha, to Jerusalem, forgiving for Israelites and the love of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) a cause of forgiveness for the Islamic Umma."[8]

Conduct of the Prophet (s)

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, the great Shafi'i commentator and theologian of the 6th/12th century has justified the incumbency of the love of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) in the following way, "there is no doubt that the Prophet (s), loved 'Ali (a), Fatima (a), al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a); thus, this is incumbent upon all the Umma, since God has said, 'and follow him so that you may be guided.' (Quran 7:158) and he (s) also said, 'If you love God, follow me so that God loves you.' (Quran 3:31) And elsewhere the Qur'an also states, 'In the Apostle of Allah there is certainly for you a good exemplar,' (Quran 33:21)." Al-Razi interpreted Al Muhammad (family of Muhamamd) as 'Ali (a), Fatima (a), al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a) and said, "family of Muhamamd are those who are relatives of the Prophet (s); therefore, anyone who has a stronger and more complete relationship with the Prophet (s) would be considered his family. And there is no doubt that Fatima (a), 'Ali (a), Hasan (a) and Husayn (a) had strongest attachment with the Prophet (s). Therefore, they (a) are family of the Prophet (s)." He then brings a reference from a hadith narrated by Zamakhshari that when the Mawadda verse descended, people asked the Prophet (s), "who are those relatives of yours, whose love is incumbent upon us?" The Prophet (s) said, "Ali (a), Fatima (a) and their two sons (a)."[9]

Why the Prophet (s) Asked for a Reward

Question: In different verses of the Qur'an, it is stressed that divine prophets (a) did not ask for a reward, and this is one of the characteristics of prophets (a). They emphasized that their reward is upon God and no one else ("Surely, my reward is upon no one but God", [11:29, 26:127, ...]). Thus, how can the love of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) be considered as the reward of Prophet's (s) mission?

Answer: From related verses, it can be understood that the Prophet (s) did not ask any material or non-material reward from Muslims for himself, "Say, 'I do not ask you any reward for it, and I am no impostor." (38:86) and that he (s) asked the love of his Ahl al-Bayt (a) as the reward for his mission, it would be for their own benefit. "Say, 'Whatever reward I may have asked you is for your own good. My [true] reward lies only with Allah.'" (Quran 34:47) The reward the Prophet (s) asked people and is in fact for their own benefit is that they would accept his religion and act upon it, since his religion is the path to God and choosing the path to God is the cause of human's happiness. "Say, 'I do not ask you any reward for it, except that anyone who wishes should take the way to his Lord.'" (Quran 25:57) However, going on the way toward God requires knowing it which needs guides who know the way well and steadfast in passing through it. These guides are the infallible Ahl al-Bayt (s) of the Prophet (s). It is obvious that if anyone wants to fully benefit from their guidance, he would need to love them in advance, admires and dignifies them so that their personalities would be attractive to him. This is mentioned in the Mawadda verse.


  1. Ḥākim al-Nishābūrī, al-Mustadrak ʿalā l-ṣaḥīḥayn, 1978, vol. 3, p. 172.
  2. Ibn al-Maghāzilī, al-Manāqib, hadith no. 263.
  3. Ṭabarī, Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī, 1421 AH, vol. 25, p. 16-17.
  4. Ḥākim al-Ḥaskānī, Shawāhid al-tanzīl, 1393 AH, vol. 2, p. 144, footnote.
  5. Ganjī al-Shāfiʿī, Kifāyat al-ṭālib, Dār Iḥyāʾ Turāth, p. 1317.
  6. Abū Nuʿaym al-Iṣfahānī, Tārīkh Aṣbahān, Dār al-Kutub, vol. 2, p. 165.
  7. Haytamī, al-Ṣawāʿiq al-muḥriqa, 1425 AH, p. 217.
  8. Haytamī, al-Ṣawāʿiq al-muḥriqa, 1425 AH, p. 190-191.
  9. Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth, vol. 27, p. 166.


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