Western academic Valerie Hoffman explored the role of devotion to the prophet’s family in a ground-breaking article she wrote in 1992. She noted that numerous hadiths, recognized by Sunnis and Shias
alike, state that love for the prophet’s family is a duty for Muslims. Here are some of the hadiths she cited:
I have left you two things which will keep you from going astray if you cling to them: the book of God, a rope extending from heaven to earth, and the people of my house. The Gentle, Wise One informed me that these two will never be separated until they are returned to my pool, so take care how you behave toward them when I am gone.
Whoever prays a prayer in which he does not bless me and my family, it will not be accepted.
The people of my house are like the Ark of Noah; whoever rides it is saved, and whoever stays behind is shaken by hellfire.
Place the people of my house among you as the head is to the body and the eyes to the head; the head is not guided without the eyes.
Love of my family for one day is better than a year’s worship. Whoever dies in this love enters paradise.
None of you believes until I am loved by him more than his own self, and my family is more loved by him than his own. (Hoffman-Ladd 1992,
Hoffman, Valerie J. 1992. "Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism." International Journal of Middle East Studies no. 24 (4):615-637.
Transdisciplinary scholar of Islam and Sufism.