Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) are the People of Remembrance

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فِيمَا بَيَّنَ الرِّضَاؑ عِنْدَ الْمَأْمُونِ مِنْ فَضْلِ الْعِتْرَةِ الطَّاهِرَةِ اَنْ قَالَ وَ اَمَّا التَّاسِعَةُ فَنَحْنُ اَهْلُ الذِّكْرِ الَّذِينَ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَسْئَلُوا اَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ لا تَعْلَمُونَ فَنَحْنُ اَهْلُ الذِّكْرِ فَاسْاَلُونَا اِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ فَقَالَتِ الْعُلَمَاءُ اِنَّمَا عَنَى بِذَلِكَ الْيَهُودَ وَ النَّصَارَى فَقَالَ اَبُو الْحَسَنِؑ سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ وَ هَلْ يَجُوزُ ذَلِكَ اِذاً يَدْعُونَنَا اِلَى دِينِهِمْ وَ يَقُولُونَ اِنَّهُ اَفْضَلُ مِنْ دِينِ الْاِسْلَامِ فَقَالَ الْمَأْمُونُ فَهَلْ عِنْدَكَ فِي ذَلِكَ شَرْحٌ بِخِلَافِ مَا قَالُوا يَا اَبَا الْحَسَنِ فَقَالَؑ نَعَمْ الذِّكْرُ رَسُولُ اللّهِ ﷺ وَ نَحْنُ اَهْلُهُ وَ ذَلِكَ بَيِّنٌ فِي كِتَابِ اللّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ حَيْثُ يَقُولُ فِي سُورَةِ الطَّلَاقِ فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ يا اُولِي الْاَلْبابِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَدْ اَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ اِلَيْكُمْ ذِكْراً رَسُولًا يَتْلُوا عَلَيْكُمْ آياتِ اللّهِ مُبَيِّناتٍ فَالذِّكْرُ رَسُولُ اللّهِ ﷺ وَ نَحْنُ اَهْلُهُ

Among Imam Reza’s (peace be upon him) explanations in front of Mamoon (l.a.) about the superiority of the Progeny of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), he (peace be upon him) said, “As for the ninth (verse which is a proof of our superiority), then we are the people of remembrance about whom Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – says, ‘Then ask the people of remembrance if you don’t know so we are the people of remembrance; ask us if you are not knowing.” The scholars argued, “By this, He implies the Jews and the Christians.” Imam Abu al-Hasan (Reza) (peace be upon him) retorted, “Glory be to Allah! Is this possible? In this case, they will call us towards their religion and they will say that it (their religion) is superior to Islam.” At this Mamoon interrupted, “Do you have any explanation contrary to what they are saying, O Aba al-Hasan?” He (peace be upon him) answered, “Yes. Remembrance (ذكر) implies the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and we are his family (اهل). This is explained in the Book of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – when He says in Surah Talaq So fear Allah, O people of intellect, those who believed; indeed Allah has sent upon you a remembrance, a messenger who recites for you the clear verses of Allah’. Thus, remembrance is the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and we are his family.


Almost all or at least most of the scholars of Ahl Tasannun suggest that people of remembrance (اهل الذكر) means people of the book (اهل الكتاب) viz. the Jews and the Christians. Here, Imam (peace be upon him) is using this verse as a proof of the superiority of the Ahle Bait (peace be upon him). Thus, they are the most superior and hence, it is the duty of the entire nation to submit to them.

“Glory be to Allah” in its secondary meaning is used for expressing amazement (كلمة تعجب).

If you ask the Jews and the Christians what is right and what is wrong? Islam or Judaism/Christianity? The answer is obvious. No wise man will ever accept such an interpretation.

In the verse of Surah Talaq, which Imam (peace be upon him) has quoted as evidence, remembrance does not mean the Holy Quran because here it also talks about the recitation of verses which the Book does not do, it is done by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny).

Of course, even if we assume that remembrance means the Majestic Quran, then the Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) are the people of the Holy Quran. Nobody knows the Book of Allah like they do, as mentioned earlier. As tradition says, فَقَالَ اَبُو جَعْفَرٍؑ وَيْحَكَ يَا قَتَادَةُ اِنَّمَا يَعْرِفُ الْقُرْآنَ مَنْ خُوطِبَ بِهِ (Kafi, vol. 8, p. 311, H. 485) Imam Muhammad Baqir (peace be upon him) said, “Woe unto you, O Qataadah! Only the addressee of the Quran knows it.

There is absolutely no disagreement between the Shia and Ahl Tasannun scholars that the Holy Quran is NOT an ordinary book which can be understood by all and sundry. It is loaded with concepts, codes, hidden meanings, knowledge of the unseen, etc. So a scholar, who is not connected to the knowledge of the unseen, even if he is an expert in Arabic literature, cannot comprehend the Holy Quran. Only he can understand it whom the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) has taught its esoteric meanings; and he has taught none except the Ahle Bait (peace be upon them).


1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 173, H. 2

2.    Oyoon al-Akhbaar al-Reza (peace be upon him), vol. 1, p. 239, Chapter 23, H.1 باب ذكر مجلس الرضاؑ مع المأمون في الفرق بين العترة و الأمة

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