Prophet's Tribe, Ahlal Bayt (Family) & Righteous Successors
Who are the descendants of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ?
Traditionally, sons continue their father's legacy and similar was the case with most previous Prophets, either their immediate son or a male descendant of their son would normally succeed them as prophets. But since Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the final prophet sent for humankind and he was declared by Allah ﷻ as the “Seal of the Prophethood” he could not have a son, for if he had, then his son or a male descendant through his son would have continued prophethood legacy which would be in conflict with what Allah ﷻ decreed. A prophetic hadith informs us that when Ibrahim, the son of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ died, he prayed: “he has a wet-nurse in Paradise, and if he had lived he would have been a Siddiq and a Prophet.’” Due to this prophetic statement the companions such as Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa, a famous hadith narrator said “He died when he was small, and if it had been decreed that there should be any prophet after Muhammad (ﷺ), his son would have lived. But there is no prophet after him.” This implies if any of the Prophet’s son would have survived then either he or a male descendant of him would have become a prophet.
As all other Prophets were honored with sons, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was honored with finality of prophethood which others did not get. They were all sent to their individual nations and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was sent to entire humankind, in fact he was sent as a mercy for entire creation. When the Prophet’s son, born to his first wife Khadijah al Kubra, died, Amr bin As and Hakam bin As, two Qurayshi opponents of the Prophet, taunted by calling him abtar literally meaning ‘tail-less’; implying that there would be no-one to continue his lineage and his progeny has been cut off. At this moment Allah ﷻ revealed Sura al-Kauthar (Chapter 108) of the Quran. It was revealed to give good news to the Prophet that the abundance of Allah’s unbounded grace, wisdom and knowledge, mercy and goodness, spiritual power and insight, in highest degrees, and of progeny has been bestowed upon him. Kauthar comes from the root word ka-tha-ra, and other derivatives of the word are: katha-ratun: multitude; katheerun: much, many, numerous; aktharu: more numerous (emphasis); kath-thara: to multiply; takathur: act of multiplying; is-thak-thara. Kauthar also refers to the birth of his daughter Fatima al-Zahra (r.a) signifying that, through her, his descendants would be in abundance. Allah ﷻ says in the Quran: “Surely! We have given you; Kauthar (immeasurable abundance)”
This immeasurable abundance called kauthar also includes the continuation of Prophet Muhammad’s lineage through his daughter Fatimah (r.a) and son in law Ali ibn Abi Talib. A prophetic hadith tells us that: “The lineage of every mother’s children is attributed to their father except for Fatimah’s children. So I am their guardian and I am their lineage.” It is for this reason why Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to say: “Fatimah is part of me and he who makes her angry, makes me angry.” This does not only imply that Fatimah (r.a) is from the Prophet’s blood but also means that Prophet is attached in a spiritual way with her unlike with anyone else as we shall see. Ali (r.a) narrated a hadith from the Prophet ﷺ telling Fatimah (r.a): “Indeed Allah becomes angry when you are angry and He is pleased when you are pleased.” Allah’s pleasure is connected to the Prophet’s pleasure and the Prophet’s pleasure is connected to Fatimah’s pleasure and that shows her spiritual status in this world and hereafter among women. It is due to this reason why Prophet ﷺ told her that she was: “chief of all the ladies of Paradise or the chief of the believing women.”
Due to this spiritual connection Prophet ﷺ had with Fatimah (r.a), he used to call Hassan and Hussain, the two sons of Ali and Fatimah, his own sons. Ali (r.a) narrates that when Fatimah (r.a) gave birth to Hasaan (r.a) then the Prophet ﷺ came to us and said: "Show me my son! What have you named him?’" I informed him that I named him Harb. The Prophet ﷺ said, "No! He is Hasan." Then when Hussain (r.a) was born the Prophet ﷺ came to us and said: "Show me my son! What have you named him’? I informed him that I named him Harb." The Prophet ﷺ said, "No! He is Hussain." Ali (r.a) also narrates that Haasan (r.a) was an exact look-alike of the Prophet ﷺ from chest to head and Hussain (r.a) was an exact look alike of the Prophet ﷺ from chest to feet. A lady named Umm al-Fadl once came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! I saw an awful dream.” He replied “Blessed be it.” She continued “I saw a piece of your flesh put in my lap!” The Prophet ﷺ smiled and said “My daughter Fatima will beget a son, and you shall take him in your lap. Later on Fatima conceived a child from her husband Ali, and Um al-Fadl placed the new-born in her lap.” The child born was Hussain (r.a). This incident shows that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is spiritually part of Hassan (r.a) and Hussain (r.a) through his daughter Fatimah (r.a). Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had four daughters, however Allah ﷻ decided to continue his lineage only through Fatimah (r.a). To better understand this one has to realize the status of Fatimah bint Muhammad (alaihi Salaam).
The Mother of the Believers Ayesha (r.a) narrates: “I have not seen anyone who resembled the Prophet more in manners, habits, character and in the method of sitting and standing than Fatimah the daughter of the Messenger of Allah.” Prophet Muhammad’s example is best for all men and his example was imbibed in the personality of Fatimah (r.a) for women thus explaining for us her ‘chief of the women of paradise’ station in the hereafter. Since she is the leader among women through her practice of the Prophets way, her two sons also gained the leadership status among the youth of paradise for following in the footsteps of prophethood. The Prophet said: “Al-Hasan and al-Hussain are the leaders of the Youth of Paradise.” Allah ﷻ selected Hassan and Hussain for the Prophet’s lineage to continue and gave them a status ‘leaders of the youth of paradise’ not given to others. This was obviously due to their immense sacrifice, of Hassan giving up his leadership to preserve unity and prevent bloodshed among Muslims, and Hussain sacrificing his own blood to teach a lesson for all to never bow down to tyranny.
It is recorded that the Prophet ﷺ once took Hasaan and Huasain by the hand and said: “Whoever loves me and loves these two, and their father and mother, he shall be with me in my level on the Day of Judgement.” The Prophet ﷺ referred to the four; Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain as part of his ahlal bayt i.e. his family. When the Verse 33 of Surah Al Ahzaab (Chapter 33) was revealed the he referred to all four as part of his household, and prayed for their purity: “Allah only wishes to remove uncleanness from you, O members of the (Prophet's) household, and to purify you completely.” It is famously recorded that the Prophet ﷺ surrounded with his garment Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Hussain, and said: “O Allah! These are the People of my House, therefore remove uncleanness far from them and cleanse them with a thorough cleansing.” This was prophets prayer for purity for all four including upcoming descendants of Hassan and Hussain so that they are mindful and guard that purity and teach it to others. The Prophets lineage continued in the descendants of Imam Hassan and Hussain who are called syeds and sharifs in the Muslim world. They are numerous and spread throughout the Muslim world today. With honor comes higher responsibility therefore, many of these descendants were great bearers of knowledge among the Muslims for centuries and spread the light of Islam among them. Interestingly, majority sufi saints (awliyyah) that spread the light of knowledge in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, in South Asia like Pakistan and India, including the North African region, were Prophet's descendants through his daughter Fatimah (r.a) and son in law Ali (r.a). A few notable from hundreds of sufi saints credited for serving Islam: Shaykh Abdul Qadir Gilani – Iraq, Sayyid Mir Ali Hamdan – Kashmir, Ibrahim Bin Adham – Iraq, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya – India, Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari – Pakistan, Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadhili - North Africa.
 Al Quran 33:40
 Sunan Ibn Majah - Vol. 1, Book 6, Hadith 1511 – Sunnah.com
 Qasim or Abdullah
 Al Quran 108:01
 Tabarani’s Mujam ul kabeer 3:44 #2623 - Chishti, Irshad Soofi Siddiqui. 2010. Madinah to Karbala Holy Blood on Unholy Hands Volume One. Abd al-Qadir Soofi Publications - (Chishti 2010)
 Sahih al-Bukhari 3714 – Sunnah.com
 Haakim in al-Mustadrak 3:167 # 4730 - Chishti, Irshad Soofi Siddiqui. 2010. Madinah to Karbala Holy Blood on Unholy Hands Volume One. Abd al-Qadir Soofi Publications. - (Chishti 2010)
 Sahih al-Bukhari 3623, 3624
 Chishti, Irshad Soofi Siddiqui. 2010. Madinah to Karbala Holy Blood on Unholy Hands Volume One. Abd al-Qadir Soofi Publications - (Chishti 2010)
 Jami Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3779 – Sunnah.com
 Sireen, Allamah Muhammad ibn. 2000. Ta'abeer ar-Ruya (Dreams & Interpretations) . Karachi: Darul Ishaat - (Sireen 2000)
 Adaab Al Mufraad - Book 40, Hadith 947 – Sunnah.com
 Jami Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3768 – Sunnah.com
 Jami Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3733 – Sunnah.com
 Al Quran 33:33
 Jami Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3205 – Sunnah.com
 Awliyyah means ‘friends of Allah (swt)’. These are spiritually close to Allah (swt) through their ibaadah (worship and obedience) of Him and following the Prophet’s example. They are guides for the Muslims and means for them to come closer to Allah (swt).