The Qur'an, in many different verses, refers specifically to the virtues of the Ahlulbayt (as) and their outstanding position in Islam.
Whenever the Noble Qur’an refers to the Ahlulbayt, it refers to a specific group of people who were related not only by blood, but more importantly, by ideology and faith to the Prophet.
However, it does not refer to all of his blood relations, his friends or his wives.
"Allah only desires to keep away uncleanliness from you, O People of the House (Ahlul Bayt), and to make you as pure as possible." (33:33)
All scholars of Islam and the narrators of the Prophetic tradition unanimously agree that Ahlulbayt (the household of the Prophet ) which Almighty Allah uses in the above verse of the Noble Qur’an refers to the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, Lady Fatima al-Zahra, his cousin, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and their children Hassan and Hussain.
Tabarani (Sunni Scholar) narrates from one of the respected wives of the Prophet, Umm Salamah that the Messenger of Allah once told his daughter, Lady Fatima to call her husband ‘Ali and their two sons, Hassan and Hussain. [al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur]
When they came, the Messenger of Allah covered them with a cloak, put his hand on them and said, “O Allah, these are Ale Muhammad (the family of Muhammad), so shower Your blessings and favours upon Al-e-Muhammad just as You showered them on Al-e-Ibrahim. You are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.”
Umm Salamah says that she raised the cloak to join them, but the Prophet took it from her hand saying, “You are also on the right.” [Tirmidhi, Manaqib Ahlul-Bayt, Vol. 2, 308]
Verse of Love
"Say, I do not ask from you any reward for it (preaching the message) but love for my relatives (qurba which here refers to the Ahlul Bayt)." (42:23)
When explaining this verse, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (Sunni Scholar) says, “Without doubt, no one was as near to the Prophet as Lady Fatima, ‘Ali, Hassan, and Husayn.
This is a well-known fact for all the chains of narration, that these were his ‘al’.” Thus, ‘al’ or ‘ahl’ refers only to the immediate family of the Prophet—namely: Lady Fatima, ‘Ali, Hassan, and Hussain.
The Verse of Malediction (Mubahilah)
"But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say, ‘Come, let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, and let us beseech Allah and invoke His curse upon the liars." (3:61)
This milestone event in the Islamic history has been narrated by all the historians, narrators, and commentators of the Qur’an. It is an event which reveals the exalted status of the Family of the Prophet.
The narrations say that a delegation of Christians from Najran came to the city of Madinah in order to meet with the Prophet to discuss his prophethood and the religion he was preaching.
The Verse of Prayer (Salat)
"Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. O you who believe, call for divine blessings upon him, and salute him with a becoming salutation." (33:56)
In the five obligatory prayers, during the tashhahud (testimony), those offering their prayers must salute the Prophet and his progeny—a term exclusively reserved for ‘Ali, Lady Fatima, Hassan, Hussain, and their righteous descendants.
The emphasis on the Prophet’s family in salutation is another indication of their pivotal position after the Prophet. By asking the believers to exalt these noble personalities, Allah, the Almighty reminds the Muslim nation that He has chosen the Ahlulbayt for the role of leading the Muslim nation.
The Verse of Feeding
"...And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive. ‘We feed you for Allah’s sake and pleasure only. We desire from you neither reward nor thanks. Surely, we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful Day,’ so Allah will ward off from them the evil of that Day and cause them to meet with splendour and happiness and reward them for their steadfastness with a garden and with silk." (76:5-13)