Aḥkām concerning the ahl al-bayt

In: Islamic Law and Society
Nebil A. Husayn University of Miami

Search for other papers by Nebil A. Husayn in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Although Islamic law generally identifies all free Muslim males as equal members of society, irrespective of race or ancestry, a peculiar exception is made for those who claim patrilineal descent from the Arab chieftain Hāshim b. ‘Abd Manāf, the great-grandfather of the Prophet Muḥammad. Drawing on hagiography and ḥadīth, Sunni and Shi‘i authors ascribe special nobility, privileges and customs to members of the clan of Hāshim. Jurists also incorporated their adoration of and respect for the Prophet’s family into their views of Islamic law. In particular, since the Prophet Muḥammad was revered as an individual who was pure (ṭāhir, zakī), some jurists held that Hāshimids possessed the same purity. The Prophet’s identities as an Arab and as a Qurashī also conferred certain legal privileges on members of these groups. After noting parallels to other high-status groups in early Muslim society, I examine more than a dozen laws that classical Sunni and Twelver Shi‘i jurists characterized as specific to the Prophet’s progeny and Household (ahl al-bayt).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 938 173 12
Full Text Views 105 26 0
PDF Views & Downloads 178 64 0