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HandWiki. Verse of Mawadda. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 23 June 2024).
HandWiki. Verse of Mawadda. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 23, 2024.
HandWiki. "Verse of Mawadda" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 23, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, October 28). Verse of Mawadda. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Verse of Mawadda." Encyclopedia. Web. 28 October, 2022.
Verse of Mawadda

The Verse of Mawadda (Arabic: آية الْمَوَدَّة) refers to verse 42:23 of the Quran, the interpretation of which is disputed. This verse is often cited in Shia sources to support the elevated status of the family of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, known as the Ahl al-Bayt. Most Sunni authors reject the Shia view and offer various alternatives.

الْمَوَدَّة al-bayt mawadda

1. Shia View

The word "kinsfolk" (al-qurba) in this verse is interpreted in Shia exegeses as Muhammad's kin, the Ahl al-Bayt.[1] Ibn Ishaq similarly narrates that the prophet specified al-qurba as his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and their two sons, Hasan and Husayn.[2] Quoted by Madelung, Hasan referred to the Verse of Mawadda in his inaugural speech as the caliph after the assassination of his father in 661:

I am of the family of the prophet [Ahl al-Bayt] from whom God has removed filth and whom He has purified, whose love He has made obligatory in His Book [Quran] when He said: "Whosoever performs a good act, We shall increase the good in it." Performing a good act is love for us, the family of the prophet.[3]

The quote above contains the last sentence of the Verse of Mawadda.[4] The Isma'ili jurist al-Qadi al-Nu'man (Template:Died in) writes that the Sunni Hasan al-Basri (Template:Died in) had once reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas (Template:Died in) that Muhammad considered Ali, Fatima, and their sons as the al-qurba. Al-Basri later changed his mind, saying that this verse means gaining proximity to God through obedience to him. This and other prevalent Sunni interpretations of the Verse of Mawadda are challenged in a theological argument attributed to the Shia Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Template:Died in), who also labeled al-Basri a "misconstruer of God's words" (al-muharrif li kalam Allah).[5]

In Twelver Shia, this love also entails obedience to the Ahl al-Bayt as the source of exoteric and esoteric guidance.[1][6] This obedience is believed to benefit the faithful first and foremost, citing the following passage of verse 34:47,[2] which contains the passage, "Say, 'I ask not of you any reward; that shall be yours (fa-huwa la-kum).'"[7]

2. Sunni View

Some Sunni commentators agree with the Shia view, including Baydawi, Razi,[8] and Ibn Maghazili.[2] Most Sunni authors, however, reject the Shia view and offer various alternatives.[9] The view preferred by al-Tabari (Template:Died in) is that the Verse of Mawadda instructs Muslims to love the prophet because of their blood relations to him.[10][11] Madelung rejects this view because the Verse of Mawadda was likely revealed in Medina, where many Muslims did not have family ties with Muhammad. Instead, Madelung suggests that the Verse of Mawadda demands love towards relatives in general, saying that the wording does not agree with the Shia interpretation.[10] This is what al-Tabari writes, arguing that the verse should have ended with mawaddat al-qurba for the Shia interpretation to hold. Alternatively, Ibn Ajiba (Template:Died in) suggests that the present ending (mawaddat fi al-qurba) creates a more emphatic injunction to love Muhammad's kin.[9]


  1. Lalani 2000, p. 66.
  2. Mavani 2013, pp. 41, 60.
  3. Madelung 1997, pp. 311-2.
  4. Madelung 1997, p. 312.
  5. Lalani 2000, pp. 66-7.
  6. Mavani 2013, p. 41.
  7. Nasr et al. 2015, p. 2361.
  8. Momen 1985, p. 152.
  9. Nasr et al. 2015, p. 2691.
  10. Madelung 1997, p. 13.
  11. Gril 2003, p. 236.
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