Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 43
Showing reverence to the Family of Allah's Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)), and to purify you with a thorough purification.'' (33:33)

"And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.'' (22:32)

346. Yazid bin Haiyan reported: I went along with Husain bin Sabrah and `Amr bin Muslim to Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with them) and, as we sat by his side, Husain said to him, "Zaid, you acquired great merits, you saw Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), listened to him talking, fought by his side in (different) battles, and offered Salat (prayer) behind him. Zaid, you have indeed earned great merits. Could you narrate to us what you heard from Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)?'' Zaid said, "By Allah! I have grown old and have almost spent up my age and I have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), so accept what I narrate to you, do not compel me to narrate what I fail to narrate". He then said, "One day Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) stood up to deliver a Khutbah at a watering place known as Khumm between Makkah and Al-Madinah. He praised Allah, extolled Him, and exhorted (us) and said, `Amma Ba`du. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Rubb and I will respond to Allah's Call, but I am leaving with you two weighty things: the first is the Book of Allah, in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.' He exhorted (us to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said, `The second is the members of my household, I remind you (to be kind) to the members of my family. I remind you (to be kind) to the members of my family. Husain said to Zaid, "Who are the members of his household, O Zaid? Aren't his wives the members of his family?'' Thereupon Zaid said, "His wives are the members of his family. (But here) the members of his family are those for whom Zakat is forbidden".  He asked, "Who are they?'' Zaid said, "Ali and the offspring of `Ali, `Aqil and the offspring of `Aqil and the offspring of Ja`far and the offspring of `Abbas.'' Husain asked, "For all of them the acceptance of Zakat is forbidden?'' Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) said, "Yes".
[Muslim].

Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "I am leaving behind me two weighty things. One of them is the Book of Allah; that is the strong rope of Allah. Whosoever holds firmly to it, will be the guided, and whosoever leaves it goes astray".

Commentary:  This Hadith brings out the following points:

1. Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was a human being. He too was subject to the inevitable law of death.

2. It stresses upon the establishment of a firm bond with the Book of Allah (the Qur'an) and lays emphasis on showing respect and honour to the members of the Prophet's family.

3. The members of the Prophet's family are classified into two categories:

Firstly, wives of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) or Mothers of the believers. This is established from the categorical Verses of the Noble Qur'an.

Secondly, persons who have close relationship with Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) . They are Banu Hashim and Banu Abdul-Muttalib and include descendants of `Ali, `Aqil, Ja`far, `Abbas and Harith (May Allah be pleased with them). Sadaqah is unlawful for the latter category.

347. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "Show reverence to Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) by honouring the members of his family.''
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary:  In this Hadith, the love and respect for the members of the Prophet's (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) family has been tied with the love and respect of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). In other words, a person who loves and respects the descendants of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) will be deemed to be a lover and admirer of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). On the contrary, one whose heart is devoid of the love of the descendants of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), will be considered devoid of the love and respect of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). But love and respect here does not mean that they are taken for sinless persons and their status is exaggerated beyond reason, as is the case with the Shiites. Their whole religious thinking is founded on the exaggeration of the qualities of the members of the family of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and they have exhausted their imagination in proving them sinless. While their love and respect lies in adopting the noble features of their character and cherishing their piety. Their love and respect does not lie in sentimental attachment with a particular family and exaggerating its praise beyond all limits.