(33) وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلاَ تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الأُولَي وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلاَةَ وَءَاتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ اِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهّـِرَكُمْ تَطْهِيراً
33. "And stay in your abodes and do not display your finery, like the former times of Ignorance, and establish the prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanness, O' you the people of the House! And purify you (with) a thorough purification."
This verse addresses the wives of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), but certainly its purpose is all the Muslim women who must practice these commandments respectively.
Sin is a pollution for the spirit, and the family of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) must be far from this pollution.
In the field of observing chastity, this verse says:
like the former times of Ignorance, …"
The Arabic word /qarn/ is derived from /wiqār/ in the sense of 'heaviness', which implicitly refers to staying at homes. Some others have also said that it may be derived from /qarār/ which, from the point of consequence, does not much differ from the first meaning.
The Arabic word /tabarruj/ means to be manifest before the eyes of people. It is derived from /baraja/ which means to be apparent in front of the eyes of all.
The objective meaning of the Qur'ānic word /jāhilīyyah/ (ignorance) apparently is the same Ignorance which existed at the time of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). As the history indicates, at that time women had not a correct veil. They used to cast the lap of their shawls behind their heads in a way that their throat and a part of their breast, necklace, neck and ear-rings were seen, and by this style the Qur'ān dissuades the wives of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) from these sorts of treatments.
No doubt this ordinance is general, and the emphasis of these verses on the wives of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is as a stressed recommendation. It is just like that we tell a scholar that he, who is a scholar, should not tell a lie. The concept of this statement is not that telling a lie is permissible for others, but the purpose is that this man who is a scholar must avoid this action more seriously and more emphatically than others.
However, this statement shows that in future there will come some Ignorance similar to the Ignorance of Arabs, and today, in our time, we see the traces of this prophecy of the Qur'ān in the civilized material world. But the former commentators, who could not foresee such an affair, had been in trouble for commenting this word. So, they have commented the phrase /jāhilīyyatil 'ūlā/ (the former times of Ignorance) as the time between the age of Adam and that of Noah, or the time between the age of David and Solomon, when women came out in public with some dresses that their bodies were manifest, so that they could name the Ignorance before Islam as the
second Ignorance. But, as we said before, these statements are not needed, and the apparent meaning is that /jāhiliyyat-il-'ūlā/ is that very Ignorance of before Islam which is referred to in another place of the Qur'ān, too. (Sura 'Āl-i-'Imrān, No. 3, verse 143, Sura Al-Mā'idah, No. 5, verse 50, and Sura Al-Fath, No. 48, verse 26) and the second Ignorance is the Ignorance which will come into being later (like our age).
However, the verse of the Qur'ān has stated three Divine instructions as follows:
 As it was pointed out a group of the commentators were in doubt about the meaning of the Arabic phrase /jāhilīyyat-il-'ūlā/ mentioned in the verse under discussion, as if they could not believe that after the advent of Islam there will come into being in the world a kind of Ignorance that the Ignorance of the Arabs before Islam comparing with it will certainly be an insignificant matter. But today this matter is completely clear for us, who are witnesses of the horrible manifestations of the Ignorance of the twentieth century, and this must be counted as one of the miraculous prophecies of the Qur'ān. If in the age of first Ignorance the Arabs had some wars and robberies and, for example, for several times the market of 'Akkāz was the scene of foolish blood-sheds, and some people were killed, in the Ignorance of our time some universal wars take place wherein sometimes more than twenty million people are slain, and more than that are injured or become deformed. If in the Ignorance of Arabs women displayed their finery, and put their scarves aside in a way that a part of their breast, throat, necklace, and ear-rings were seen, in our age they form some clubs under the title of 'Necked Club' (the example of which is famous in England) wherein, with utmost excuse, individuals become nude for indecent exposures. If in the age of Arab Ignorance the polluted women put a sign above their own houses in order to invite some individuals toward themselves, in the Ignorance of our age there are some persons who introduce some things in this field in some special newspapers or in the sites of internet which are earnestly shameful to be mentioned and the Ignorance of Arabs were hundred times more honourable than this. In short, there are some corruptions in faithless material world of today that leaving them unmentioned is better, and this commentary ought not to be polluted by it. What was said was only a small portion out of very many kinds of them in order to show the life of those who get distance with Allah and, with having thousands of universities, scientific centres and famous scholars, they are fully polluted by corruptions, so much so that even these very scientific centres and their scholars sometimes cooperate with them.
obey Allah and His Messenger. …"
If in the field of worship the Qur'ān emphasizes on ritual prayer and poor-rate, it is for the sake that prayer is the most important way of communication with Allah and in the meantime that the poor-rate is a great worship, it is counted as a firm connection with the servants of Allah.
The Qur'ānic sentence: "obey Allah and His Messenger" is a general ordinance which envelops all the Divine programs. These three instructions also show that the above ordinances are not allocated to the wives of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), but they are for all, although they have an emphasis concerning them.
At the end, the verse says:
kind of) uncleanness, O' you the people of the House! And
purify you (with) a thorough purification."
The application of the Arabic word /'innamā/ here, which is usually for restriction, is an evidence that this merit is only for the family of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.).
The Arabic term /yurīdu/ refers to the genetic will of Allah, else, 'the religious will' and, in other words, the necessity of keeping one's self pure does not restrict to the family of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and, according to the command of religion, all people are dutifully responsible to be pure from any kind of sin and pollution.
It may be said that 'the genetic will' causes a kind of fatalism, but regarding to the discussions we had about the infallibility of Divine prophets and Imams the answer of this question will be made clear, and here it can be briefly said: the
infallible ones have a sort of acquired eligibility by means of their own deeds, and a kind of innate competency gifted from the side of Allah so that they can be a paradigm for people.
In other words, the infallible ones, for the sake of Divine aids and their own pure deeds, are in a state that they do not go toward sins while they have power and authority to commit sin. It is just like that never a wise person is ready to take a piece of fire and puts it in his mouth, while there is neither a compulsion nor any aversion in this action. This is a mood emerged from inside of the self of a man as the result of information and innate natural principles, without being any compulsion and predestination in the action.
The Arabic term /rijs/ means an impure thing, whether it is impure from the view of the man's nature, or according to the intellect or religion or all of them.
The Qur'ānic word /tathīr/ means 'to purify' and in fact, it is an emphasis on the negation of any kind of uncleanness; and its mentioning here in the form of 'absolute object' is counted another emphasis on this meaning.
According to the view of all scholars of Islam and commentators, the application of the term Ahl-ul-Bayt here refers to the family of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and this is the thing which is understood from the apparent of the verse itself. The objective meaning of the word /bayt/ (house), which has been mentioned here in an absolute form, with the context of the verses before and after it, is the house of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.)
Who Are the Prophet's Family (Ahl-ul-Bayt)?
There are a lot of traditions recorded in the sources of the Sunnites and Shi'ah which indicate the addressees in the abovementioned verse are only five persons. They are: the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), Ali (a.s.), Fātimah (a.s.) Hassan and Husayn (a.s.). There are more than one hundred and thirty narrations mentioned in this regard in the book entitled Shawāhid-ut-Tanzīl, which is one of the famous books of the Sunnites. The book entitled Ihqāq-ul-Haqq introduces more than seventy traditions taken from the famous sources of the Sunnites which allocate this verse to the above mentioned five persons.
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 The Commentaries of Nūr-uth-Thaqalayn, Burhān, and Sāfī