Revelation of The Purification Verse
The Prophet covered Ali, Fatimah, Al-Hassan, and Al-Hussein with a garment and prayed saying:
“God these are my family. I ask Thee to honor Mohammad and the family of Mohammad.” In response to his prayer the following revelation came: 33:33 “God wants only to keep abomination away from you and make you members of the family of Mohammad spotless.”
After entering the cloak, Jibrael (AS) then delivers the most important message which represents the climax of the message and the ultimate purpose behind the event of the cloak. Lady Fatima (AS) narrates that Jibrael (AS) delivers to her father the revelation of the Quranic verse instantaneously 33:33: The purpose of the Tradition of the Cloak is now obvious as the sun and the divine aim has been reached. The Purification verse (Ayat Al Tat-heer) has been revealed to be stamped in the Holy Quran till the end of time. Allah (SWT) has expressed the Irada (desire) and as we know, whenever Allah (SWT) desires something it immediately happens according to his will.
Allah (SWT) has intended to purify the Prophet (SA) and his AhlulBayt, those who are under the cloak, from any impurity whatsoever, whether physically, spiritually, or otherwise. It is not just an attempt for purification which may or may not be complete. Rather, Allah (SWT) states that He desires “to purify you a thorough purification.” This purification as Allah (SWT) describes it as thorough and complete reaching 100% success.
What exactly is this purification from? What is it that Allah (SWT) wants to purify them from such that He (SWT) is declaring this event in the Holy Quran till the end of time? As we logically concluded earlier, it must be purification from disobeying Allah (SWT) and committing any sins, mistakes, or falters. It must be protection from having any shortcoming, deficiency, or weakness.
As we explained earlier, the grand role and duties of the divine guides demands that they be protected from sinning or failing in their responsibilities. Otherwise, their position as role models and examples will be scathed and there will be no point in trusting them as divine representatives if they themselves make mistakes or exercise poor judgment, even if it is a minor falter or a once in their lifetimes. The concept of infallibility of the Prophets and Imams is made crystal clear in the Quran (Quran 4:80, Quran 4:13, Quran 7:61, Quran 3:161, Quran 10:15, Quran 21:27, Quran 46:9, Quran 53:1-5, Quran 33:21, Quran 59:7, Quran 33:56, Quran 20:115, Q 12:53, Q 47:33, Q 76:24, Q 59:7, Q 3:31, Q 4:65, Q 9:33, Q 65:11, Q 2:151, Q 3:164, Q 68:4, Q 61:2-3, Q 2:44, Q 2:124, Q 4:59, Q 76:24.) When it comes to divine leadership Allah tells us not to obey sinners (76:24.) The concept of divine guides being purified from error cannot be more obvious and it is pointless to try and argue against it.
What is the natural effect of thorough purification which Allah (SWT) has intended? It is none other than infallibility (‘Ismah)! In fact, the Purification verse has descended to highlight the idea of “infallibility” (‘Ismah) of the Prophet and his household.
Only a few people witnessed the Prophet (SA) casting his cloak over the purified AhlulBayt (AS), so in order to disseminate that news as broadly as possible among the people and make them aware of the special position of his progeny, the Prophet (SA) would pass by the house of Imam Ali (SA) for a period of nine months and he would call out: “Peace be upon you, O People of the House!” and then he would recite the: “purification verse.” Tirmidhi English reference: Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3206
Whenever the AhlulBayt (AS) found it necessary to draw attention to their unique spiritual rank, they would refer to this verse. This particular verse is one of the scriptural proofs for the inerrancy of the Household of the Prophet which points to their utter purity and unique character. This is consistent with the Quranic concept that all prophets and imams appointed by God are infallible. The Prophet (SA) himself has testified that, “The verse of purification Surah 33:33 was revealed concerning five people: myself, Ali, Hasan, Husain, and Fatima.” The following three Hadiths define the exact family members.
Sahih Muslim A’isha “Allah be pleased with her” reported: One morning, The messenger of Allah “Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him” went out wearing a striped mantle of a black camel’s hair. Then, Al-Hasan Ibn Ali came, whom he wrapped in it. Then Al-Husain came whom he wrapped in it. Then Fatima came whom he wrapped in it. Then Ali came whom he wrapped in it. Then he recited: “Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye Members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.” (Quran 33:33). The Book of The Merits of the Companions- Sahih Muslim– Book 31, Hadith 5955
Narrated ‘Umar bin Abi Salamah – the step-son of the Prophet (ﷺ):“When these Ayat were revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ): ‘Allah only wishes to remove the Rijs from you, O members of the family, and to purify you with a thorough purification (33:33)’ in the home of Umm Salamah, he called for Fatimah, Hasan, Husain, and wrapped him in the cloak, and ‘Ali was behind him, so he wrapped him in the cloak, then he said: ‘O Allah! These are the people of my house, so remove the Rijs from them, and purify them with a thorough purification.’ So Umm Salamah said: ‘And I, Prophet of Allah?’ He said: ‘You are in your place (meaning you are already a member of my household), and you are goodness.'” English reference: Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3205 and also Hadith 3787
Sahih Muslim Moreover, when the (following) verse was revealed:” If any one disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee, say: come let us gather together, our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie” (Quran 3:61), The Messenger of Allah “Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him” called Ali, (his wife) Fatima, (their sons) Al-Hasan and Al-Husain and said “O Allah! They are my family.” The Book of The Merits of the Companions- Sahih Muslim – Book 31, Hadith 5915