Ḥadīth al-Kisā' (Arabic: حَديث الکِساء, the cloak hadith) is one of the virtues of the Prophet (s), Imam 'Ali (a), Lady Fatima (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), and Imam al-Husayn (a). This incident occurred in the house of Umm Salama, the Holy Prophet's wife. The Prophet (s) covered himself, his daughter, his son-in-law, and his two grandsons with his kisa' and said: "O Allah! These are my Ahl al-Bayt (family) so repel all impurity from them and purify them with a thorough purification." Then the Tathir verse was revealed.
None of the hadiths about the event of kisa' have expressed it completely, but each one had mentioned a part of it. The following is the description of the event using the entire body of hadiths in this regard:
"The Prophet (s) was in the house of one of his wives, Umm Salama. He was expecting an important message about some of his relatives, so he told Umm Salama not to let anyone in. In the same time, Lady Fatima (a), the daughter of the Prophet (s) decided to make a food, named 'asida, for her father and brings it to him. Umm Salama says: 'I couldn't prevent Fatima from entering', the Prophet (s) told his daughter: 'Go and bring your husband and your two sons', so Fatima (a) went to her house immediately and returned with 'Ali (a), al-Hasan (a), and al-Husayn (a). Umm Salama went to a corner and started a prayer by a cue from the Prophet (s).
The Prophet (s), Ali (a), Fatima (a), al-Hasan (a), and al-Husayn (a) sat around a cloth spread for the food. The Prophet (s) covered himself and 'Ali (a) and Fatima (a) and al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a) with his kisa' (cloak), raised the palm of his right hand to the sky and said: O Allah! These are my Ahl al-Bayt (family) so repel all impurity from them and purify them with a thorough purification."
Then Jabra'il (Gabriel) came down and revealed the Tathir verse: Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from only you, O Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Household), and purify you with a thorough purification.(Qur'an 33:33)
Umm Salama wanted to enter under the kisa', but the Prophet (s) prevented her. She asked: 'Am I not one of the Ahl al-Bayt?'. The Prophet (s) said: 'you are on the path of righteousness and goodness, you are one of the wives of the prophet of Allah.'"
Al-'Allama al-Hilli says: the revelation of the Tathir Verse in the house of Umm Salama is one of the subjects on which the Islamic Umma has ijma' (consensus) and it is narrated from Imams (a) and many of the companions.
The place of the revelation of the Tathir Verse and the event of Kisa' is undoubtedly the house of Umm Salama. Ibn Hajar says: the verse is revealed in the house of Umm Salama. 'Umar was asked about the Tathir Verse, he said: "ask 'A'isha about it", and 'A'isha answered: "the verse is revealed in the house of Umm Salam, so ask her because she is aware of it more than me." In his al-Durr al-manthur, Suyuti quotes Ibn Mardawayh as saying that Umm Salama stated that:"Al-Tathir verse was revealed in my house."
The authenticity of the event is not doubted at all, and great Muhaddiths have narrated it in their books. The hadith is Mustafid, and even with broader research, it could be claimed to be Mutawatir. The event was so famous in the Islamic society that the day of it became known as the day of Kisa' and the five persons who were the subject of the special favor of God in the event were known as Ahl al-Kisa' or Ashab al-Kisa' (the people of Kisa').
Al-Tabari has written in his book Dala'il al-imama: the Muslims built a consensus that in the time of the revelation of the Tathir Verse, the Prophet (s) called 'Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn and covered them with his kisa' and prayed: 'O Allah! These are my family so repel all impurity from them and purify them with a thorough purification'."
In Shi'a Books
In Sunni Books
Hadith al-Kisa' is narrated in Sunni Hadith books as well. The hadith is narrated in Sahih Muslim: Aisha says: one day, the Prophet (s) came, with a kisa' (cloak), woven from black wool, on his shoulder. First, al-Hasan (a) came and the Prophet (s) covered him with the kisa', then al-Husayn (a) came, he covered him with the kisa', then Fatima (a) came and went under the Kisa', and then 'Ali (a) came and the Prophet (s) covered him with the others with the kisa' and said: "Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from only you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and purify you with a thorough purification."
Ibn Hajar in al-Sawa'iq al-muhriqa: it is narrated with authentic chain of transmission that the Prophet (s) covered the four with a kisa' and said: "O Allah! These are my Ahl al-Bayt and special people to me, so repel all impurity from them and purify them with a thorough purification.". Ibn Athir in Usd al-ghaba and Ahmad b. Hanbal in his Musnad have narrated the hadith. Ibn Taymiyya writes in Minhaj al-sunna: "the Hadith al-Kisa' is one of the authentic Hadiths that al-Tirmidhi has narrated it from Umm Salama, and Muslim had narrated it from Aisha in his Sahih."
Hadith al-Kisa' is also narrated in Sunni exegetic books by: al-Zamakhsahri in al-Kashshaf, Fakhr al-Razi in al-Tafsir al-kabir, and al-Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, and al-Suyuti in their exegetic books. Al-Qurtubi in the exegesis of the Tathir Verse, narrated from Umm Salama: when the Tathir verse was revealed, the Prophet (s) called 'Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn and covered them with a kisa'.
Argumentation of Imams using Hadith al-Kisa'
Expressing one of the reasons of his legitimacy for the caliphate of the Prophet (s), Imam 'Ali (a) mentioned the Hadith al-Kisa' and told Abu Bakr: "The Tathir verse is revealed about me and my family or you and your family?" He answered: "indeed, about you and your family". Imam 'Ali (a) asked: "I swear you to Allah! My family and I were the subject to the supplication of the Prophet (s) that: 'O Allah! These are my Ahl al-Bayt who are coming toward you, not toward the fire' or you?"…
Also, Imam 'Ali (a) mentioned Hadith al-Kisa' as a reason for his priority for ruling and for the caliphate of the Prophet (s), in the council which 'Umar b. al-Khattab had set to assign the next caliph.
Once the companions of the Prophet (s) were boasting about their virtues, Imam 'Ali (a) mentioned Hadith al-Kisa', expressing the superiority of himself and his family.
After the peace of Imam al-Hasan (a) with Mu'awiya, and after the speech of Mu'awiya, Imam al-Hasan (a), in his speech, mentioned the Mubahala Verse and Hadith al-Kisa' as the virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a).
Books about Hadith al-Kisa'
Some of Shi'a scholars have written books about the authenticity of Hadith al-Kisa', such as:
- Sanad-i Hadith-i Kisa', Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi, 1356/1937-38.
- Ayat al-Tathir fi l-khamsat ahl al-Kisa', Muhyi al-Din al-Musawi al-Ghurayfi, 1377/1957-58.
- Hadith al-Kisa' 'ind ahl al-Sunna, Sayyid Murtada 'Askari, first publication: 1395/1975, the second publication with the addition of Shi'a sources: 1402/1981-82.
Also there are commentaries about Hadith al-Kisa', such as:
- Al-Tuhfa al-kisa'iyya, Shaykh Bafghi Yazdi (d. 1310/1892-93)
- Kashf al-Ghita' 'an Hadith al-Kisa', Shaykh 'Ali Al 'Abd al-Ghaffar al-Kashmiri (d. 1345/1926-27)
|For the full text, see text:Hadith al-Kisa'.|
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