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In the Name of God بسم الله

Ayat Tatheer Notes

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The only hadith which can be used by Sunnis to show that ayat tatheer was revealed for the wives is this one:


حدثنا علي بن حرب الموصلي ، حدثنا زيد بن الحباب ، حدثنا حسين بن واقد ، عن يزيد النحوي ، عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس في قوله : ( إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت ) قال : نزلت في نساء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم خاصة
 وقال عكرمة : من شاء باهلته أنها نزلت في أزواج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

Ibn Abbas said concerning ayat tatheer that it was revealed specifically for the wives (Tafsir ibn Kathir)


Some Shias like to use the argument that ayat tatheer was placed in its position around verses speaking about the wives because the sahaba placed it there, and it is not in its proper place. I don't think we need to use such an argument and we can still argue that ayat tatheer is in its rightful position and it is still not about the wives. Now, our usual response to this is that the ayah clearly cannot be just about the wives, because the pronoun used is masculine ('ankum). However, the reply given is the fact that the pronoun changed to masculine due to Ahl being a collective noun and a masculine word, so Allah addresses them in the masculine. Now, how would we respond to this?

Among the many ways to reply, a very easy way to disprove the argument is that in the next verse (33:34), the pronoun switches to feminine again. If the reason for the verses switching to masculine in ayat tatheer was due to the word ahl being masculine, then Allah should have continued to use masculine in 33:34, since He is continuing his address to the wives as Ahl al-Bayt, a masculine word. But this is not the case. Thus, it is clear that ayat tatheer didn't change to masculine because of Ahl being a masculine word and  that ayat tatheer cannot be about the wives only.



 The Qur’an is the book which is not arranged in chronological order, rather, after Allah had completely revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet ((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)), he(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was instructed to arrange each verse and chapter in the place we find them today. For example “Read [O Muhammad!] in the name of your Lord who created. (96.1) He created man from a clot” ,  we find that the first verse revealed was placed in 96th chapter, and the last verse revealed was , “Al yawma akmaltu lakum dinakam wa atmamtu alaikam ni’mati wa raditu’ lakumul islama dinan”,” which means “Today I perfected your religion for you and completed my favor to you and have chosen for you Al-Islam as your religion.” (5:3) , which is in the third verse of the 5th chapter. Thus we find that the Qur’an is not arranged in chronological order, rather, after God had completed revealing the Qur’an to the Prophet ((صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)), he was instructed to arrange each verse and chapter in the place we find them today. There is consensus that it was Prophet Muhammad who identified the place of each verse within its chapter. There are a number of hadiths in the Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal (164-241 H / 780-855 CE), Sunnan of at-Tirmithi (209-279 H / 824-892 CE), and other hadith sources that state that the Messenger used to tell the recorders of the revelation in which chapters to place newly revealed verses.

So the above question can be answered by saying that the verse of tatheer was not revealed in serial order with the verses before and after it , it was revealed seperately as evident from various ahadees and those verses which were before and after tatheer were already revealed but Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)commanded verse of tatheer to be placed in that position. That is why we find the verses before it and after it in feminine form. YET it did not change anything because we know that the masculine forms that were used in tatheer were because of the collective noun AHLEBAYT(as mentioned by al-samarkandi (d. 375 AH)) in tafsir bahrul ulum) and since the wives were addressed with that , it isn’t strange from the grammatical point of view and It is evident from various other examples from Arabic literature (11:73) etc.


  1. Where is the evidence that Surah 33:34 was revealed before ayat tatheer? This objection is invalid, since there is no proof that 33:34 was revealed before ayat tatheer.
  2. Even if we were to accept that yes the beginning of Surah 33:33 (not ayat tatheer part) and surah 33:34 were revealed together, ayat tatheer was revealed after them and the Prophet (s) is the one that placed ayat tatheer in the middle of both the verses, the objection is still not valid. Reason being is that this would then mean that the Prophet would have committed a grammatical mistake in his compilation of the Qur'an. If it is true that ayat tatheer addresses the wives but it is in masculine because Ahl is a masculine word, then the Prophet (s) would have known this. He would have also known that if Allah were to keep on addressing the wives, then the verses should remain masculine since Allah is continuing his address to the wives as Ahl. But apparently, the Prophet (s) didn't know this and so he placed it in between the two verses, and has thus committed a grammatical error (astaghfirullah). Rather, what should be said is that the Prophet (s) knew that ayat tatheer was not about the wives, and the reason it is masculine is because Allah (s) is not addressing only women, and so he placed ayat tatheer in the middle of verses which address the wives and have feminine pronouns to show that ayat tatheer is in fact a parenthetical phrase, and the masculine wording proves it.



In Mustadrak al-Wasael by al-Mirza al-Noori 41/220, we read the Hadith of ‘Ali(رضي الله عنه) talking about marriage:

عن علي ( عليه السلام ) ، قال : ” من أراد منكم التزويج إلى أن قال فإذا زفت زوجته ودخلت عليه ، فليصل ركعتين ثم ليمسح يده على ناصيتها ، ثم ليقل : اللهم بارك لي في أهلي و بارك لهم في ، وما جمعت بيننا فاجمع بيننا في خير ويمن وبركة ، وإذا جعلتها فرقة فاجعلها فرقة إلى خير ، فإذا جلس إلى جانبها فليمسح بناصيتها۔ مستدرك الوسائل – الميرزا النوري ج 41 ص 220۔
Translation: From ‘Ali (as): …So when his wife is wed to him and she entered on him, he should pray two Raka’at then wipe his hand on her forelock, then he should say: “O Allah bless my Ahel for me and bless me for them(masculine plural), if you have gathered us then gather us for goodness and if you wish to separate her then make her separation into goodness.” then if he sits by her side he would wipe her forelock.

Above we have bolded the feminine words and the masculine ones , as we see ‘Ali(رضي الله عنه) is talking about the newly wed wife ALONE because eventually he mentions about meeting and seperation. We find that he addresses the wife in feminine however when he reaches the part where he calls the newly wed wife “Ahel” he refers to her in masculine plural, this is because the word “Ahel” is a collective noun. The same is in Ayatul-Tathir when Allah refers to the wives as Ahlul-Bayt he uses masculine plural, and then again after that he switches back to feminine. There is NO rule that speaker cannot refer the addressed in the previous form(feminine singular) after using the other form(masculine plural), as we find through this Shia hadeeth.


  1. The hadith is weak due to Musa b. Isma`il b. Musa b. Ja`far being anonymous and so cannot be used as evidence.
  2. The version of this hadith in Bihar doesn't have the change in wording to masculine —ثم إذا زفت إليه ودخلت عليه فليصل ركعتين ثم ليمسح يده على ناصيتها وليقل: اللهم بارك لي في أهلي وبارك لها في ما جمعت بيننا فاجمع بيننا في خير ويمن وبركة، وإن جعلتها فرقة فاجعلها فرقة إلى خير
  3. The earlier historical versions of this du'a do seem to change the wording to masculine, however there is no switch back to feminine afterwards— للهم ، بارك لي في أهلي ، وبارك لهم في ، وارزقني منهم ، وارزقهم مني ، اللهم اجمع بيننا ما جمعت إلى خير ، وفرق بيننا إذا فرقت إلى خير
  4. Due to the differences in reports, it is fair to say that if there is a grammatical error in one of them, it was due to a transmitter. We have already explained why the grammar in ayat tatheer cannot switch back to feminine as Allah is continuing his address to the wives as Ahl al-Bayt. Since Ahl al-Bayt is a masculine word (according to those who think this is why the wording changed to masculine in ayat tatheer), then the verses after (33:34) should also be in masculine wording. This hadith cannot be used as evidence to suggest that one can just switch back to feminine wording after addressing people with a masculine plural word.

We have already answered the reason why the change in gender of the pronouns took place from feminine to masculine, as the similar thing happened in (11:73) . Regarding the query that why did the gender of pronouns again changed back to feminine gender, then another answer to it is, because when the word “Ahlebayt” was used even Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was included since messenger of Allah(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was the head of his household(ahlebayt) and even Bukhari has narrated from Abu Bakr(رضي الله عنه) that he said: “Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) should be considered to belong to his Ahlul Bayt.” (Ibn Hajar in Sawaaiqul Muhriqa, pg. 228).  Thus if the same gender would have been continued then the commands in the verse(34) which were given to wives of Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) would have been applied to Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) also. So, inorder to prevent that the verse again switched to its normal manner in which it was addressing the wives of Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).


  1. If a Sunni  uses this argument— suggesting that the Prophet was included in ayat tatheer along with the wives, then we say thank you very much, since you have just gone against the hadith of Ibn Abbas—shown at the start— who says the verse is solely about the wives. 
  2. The verse cannot be speaking about the wives AND Prophet (s), nor can it be speaking about the wives AND Ahl al-Kisa', and the reason for that can be found here.
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  • Advanced Member

Another argument:

On 1/2/2006 at 11:07 AM, Abbas said:

When one wishes to refer to a word, one can either go according to the wording (lafz) or the meaning (ma’na).

If it is according to the lafz, then the word is singular, so the singular must be used, masculine or feminine.

If it is according to the ma’na, then both the gender and the numbers have to be taken into consideration.

Taking the example of Qawm, we have seen how it can be referred to as masculine or feminine. But this is as long as the reference is to its singular lafz, and not its meaning. When the plural is used for Qawm, its singular lafz is ignored and the meaning behind the word, I.e. the individual members of the Qawm, is referred to, and this we can see in many, many verses in the Qur'an.

The same goes for Ahl.

Either the references to “Ahl” in the verse 33:33 are in regards to its literal lafzi form, or the meaning behind the lafz. If it is the lafz of Ahl that the words around it return to, then it must be singular, because the lafz is singular. But this is not so in the Qur'an, so lets move on.

HOWEVER, if it is the meaning of the word Ahl that we wish to bring to attention, then the references to it will be in the plural (and this is so in the Qur'an). But in this case, the masculinity/femininity of the word Ahl will have to be IGNORED. If Ahl-ul-Bait is exclusively the wives, as is being claimed by this line of argument, then the references must be in FEMININE PLURAL, not masculine plural.

I have found a verse from the Qur'an which demonstrates this point:

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ

And there should be amongst an Ummah that shall invite to good... (3:104)

Here the feminine wording of the word Ummah has been ignored, and the meaning has been targetting, I.e. community of people. Therefore the Ummah is referred to in the masculine plural.

If the reference would have been lafzi here, it would have been feminine singular.

In summary: As long as the references in 33:33 are in plural, it doesn’t make the least bit of difference whether the word Ahl is masculine of feminine. What will make all the difference is who are included in the Ahl-ul-Bait. As the reference is in plural masculine, all possibility that this verse is exclusively for the wives is extinguished.


A possible objection by someone could be that the Prophet (s) called his one wife Ahl al-Bayt and used the masculine plural pronoun:


فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَانْطَلَقَ إِلَى حُجْرَةِ عَائِشَةَ فَقَالَ ‏ "‏ السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ ‏"‏‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ وَعَلَيْكَ السَّلاَمُ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ، كَيْفَ وَجَدْتَ أَهْلَكَ بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكَ فَتَقَرَّى حُجَرَ نِسَائِهِ كُلِّهِنَّ، يَقُولُ لَهُنَّ كَمَا يَقُولُ لِعَائِشَةَ، وَيَقُلْنَ لَهُ كَمَا قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ

The Prophet (ﷺ) left and went towards the dwelling place of Aisha and said, "Peace and Allah's Mercy be on you, O the people of the house!" She replied, "Peace and the mercy of Allah be on you too. How did you find your wife? May Allah bless you. Then he went to the dwelling places of all his other wives and said to them the same as he said to Aisha and they said to him the same as Aisha had said to him (Reference)



al-Nawawi has stated


وقال النووي في "الأذكار" (ص 356-358) :

" اعلم أن الأفضل أن يقول المُسَلِّم : السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ ، فيأتي بضمير الجمع وإن كان المسلَّم عليه واحداً ، ويقولُ المجيب : وَعَلَيْكُمُ السَّلامُ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَركاتُه . . .

Al-Nawawi said in al-Adhkaar (p. 356-358): 

Note that it is preferable for the Muslim to say “al-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu”, using the plural pronoun (-kum), even if he is greeting only one person. The respondent should say, “Wa ‘alaykum al-salaam wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu.” 

Even if we do not use the word Ahl al-Bayt or any masculine word, we still can address ONE person with plural masculine pronoun (kum), when sending Salams.

This shows us that when you greet people, one should use the plural masculine pronoun (maybe as a sign of respect?). So when the Prophet (s) greets his one wife here with a plural masculine pronoun, it was not because Ahl is a masculine word, as it has been shown that when a plural pronoun is used, the word Ahl being masculine is not considered.

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On 4/27/2019 at 1:12 PM, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

حدثنا علي بن حرب الموصلي ، حدثنا زيد بن الحباب ، حدثنا حسين بن واقد ، عن يزيد النحوي ، عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس في قوله : ( إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت ) قال : نزلت في نساء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم خاصة
 وقال عكرمة : من شاء باهلته أنها نزلت في أزواج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

Assalaamualeykum Brother,

I hope you are doing well, the above quote you have mentioned is not a hadeeth, rather it is a khabar. It is not what Holy Prophet (sawas) said, it is what Ibn Abbas said. it hold less or no value compared to authentic hadeeth which says wives are not included in ahle kisa when this ayah was revealed.


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