Why the names of Ahle Bait (as) are not mentioned in Holy Quran? – General vs Specifics

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Index: Why the names of Ahle Bait (as) are not mentioned in Holy Quran?
1. Allah’s Sunnah
2. Distortion in the Quran
3. Examination
4. General vs Specifics
5. Example of the past nations
6. People of the Reminder

The skeptics raise doubts about the Shiite belief with vis-à-vis Imamat. Their primary objection is – why are the Ahle Bait (a.s.) or the Imams (a.s.) not named in the Holy Quran so that the Muslims could take guidance?


The Holy Quran discusses the general, the Great Prophet (s.a.w.a.) the specifics

It is the view of majority of theologians, commentators of the Noble Quran and traditionalists that the Holy Quran deals with the general, leaving the details to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Allah the High says:

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَالذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ

…and We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them…” (Surah Nahl 16: Verse 44).

Allah the Almighty has revealed many verses regarding the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and in particular about the virtues of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).

In line with divine practice, the Quranic verses do not mention their names, leaving the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), as the teacher of the Holy Quran, to elucidate, explain and interpret the verses.

All Muslims agree that the Holy Quran has been revealed on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Therefore who better than him (s.a.w.a.) can explain it to the Muslims. He (s.a.w.a.) has mentioned the names of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) / infallible Imams (a.s.) in relation to many Quranic verses. It is not our objective to delve into the topic at this stage given the vastness of the subject. Suffice it is to say that the Holy Quran has never undertaken the responsibility of mentioning names and other details. This was always the responsibility of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.).

Hence the very question as to why names of Ahle Bait (a.s.) are not mentioned is flawed.

Imam Jafar Sadiq’s (a.s.) reply to the skeptics

Abu Baseer (r.a.) narrates: I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) regarding the verse:

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِيالأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you.’ (Surah Nisa 4:Verse 59).

He (a.s.) informed: ‘Ulul Amr’ are Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.).

Abu Baseer (r.a.) said: People question why the names of Ali (a.s.) and Ahle Bait (a.s.) are not mentioned in the Quran?

He (a.s.) said: Inform them that prayers (salaat) was revealed on Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) but Allah did not mention the number of units (whether 2,3 or 4) in the Holy Quran, rather the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had explained the same to the people.

The command for poor-rate (zakaat) was revealed, but Allah the High did not specify the quantity; this was explained by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

The command for Hajj was revealed, but Allah the High did not mention the number of circumambulation of Kaaba; this was explained by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

The verse –

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِيالأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

is revealed regarding Ali (a.s.), Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) explained the verse and informed regarding Ali (a.s.) – Of whomsoever I am Master (and obeying me is obligatory), Ali is his master (and obeying Ali a.s. is obligatory)’.

Imam (a.s.) continued, ‘You can find the recommendation of Ahle Bait (a.s.) in the Book of Allah, Allah had joined us with Quran (Saqalain) which will not be separated till they reach the Pond of Kausar which Allah had bestowed us.’

if the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was silent about the verse (of Ulul Amr), then the progeny of so and so person would have claimed that they are included in Ahle Bait (a.s). But Allah had acknowledged them in His Book:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْتَطْهِيراً

(Surah Ahzaab (33): Verse 33)

Thus only Ali (a.s.), Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) are intended in this verse (of Ulul Amr), and regarding them (as also Fatima Zahra s.a.) ‘Hadees-e-Kisa’ was revealed to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who prayed to Allah, ‘O Allah, these are my Ahle Bait (a.s.)…’

  • Al-Kafi vol. 1 p. 284
  • Shawahid al-Tanzil vol. 1, p. 191, tradition 203 of Hakim Haskani, a Ahle Tasannun scholar

Hence in all aspects of religion viz. prayers, Zakat, Hajj, Allah the High has merely made a general reference, and it is the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who has provided details. Likewise, Allah the Almighty has referred to the Ulul Amr in the Holy Quran, while the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has specified names of individuals (a.s.) who will lead the nation (i.e. Ulul Amr).

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