The people whom the Prophet calls "Ahl-al Bayt -the Family or the Household of the Prophet Muhammad -" are 4; Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn. There is a very important hadith (tradition) about the Family of the Prophet who are confirmed as Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn in the book called "Müsned" written by Imam-ı Ahmed bin Hanbel.
This tradition was told by our mother Ümmü Seleme, who was an innocent and honest wife of the Prophet Muhammad, as follows:
Ümmü Seleme said: "I was busy with my worship in my room when the Prophet's daughter Fatima entered the room. She kissed the Prophet's hand and sat in front of him. Then, her husband Ali came in and sat next to her. Their sons Hasan and Hüseyin followed them and sat in the presence of the Prophet. The Prophet had a coarse, red woolen cloak knitted from camel wool that was sent from Yemen. He put it on them. Just then, Gabriel came and read the following verse from the Sura Ahzab to the Prophet:
"İnnema yüridüllahü li yüzhibe ankümürricse ehlel beyti veyütehhireküm tethira - O! The Prophet's Family! God has willed to remove uncleanness from you and to purify you." (Ahzab, 33)
Thereupon, the Prophet raised his hands while the others were still under the cloak around him and prayed: "Oh My God! This is my family, please purify them". He recited this prayer twice. I witnessed this event and asked him: "O, the Prophet! Am I not included in that group?" He answered: "Your destiny is also good."
These four great people are the family of the Prophet "Ahl-al Bayt" which is also called as "Al-i Aba together with the Prophet”. God ordered to love the relatives of the Prophet with the verse:
"Kül la es'elüküm aleyhi ecren illel meveddete fil kurba -I ask you only to love the Prophet's kindred". (Al-Shura, 23)
To love the Family of the Prophet Muhammad means to love the Prophet Himself and whoever loves the Prophet loves Allah.
There are four great "Gavs" known as "Aktab-ı Arbaa -Four Poles, Four Axial Saints" from the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad and from the Family of Hasan and Husayn. They are, first of all, Sayyid Abd-al Qadir Gilani, who is the greatest Scholar of Sufism, the Friend of God, the Sultan of the Muslim Saints (Awliya) and a great Wali; the second isSayyid Ahmed al Rufai from Basra, who is known as the gate of Hazrat Ali and accepted as the last friend of God (Hatem-ül Evliya), who had wide, advanced Knowledge of Sufism, spiritual Knowledge and the Knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence and Religious Laws (Fikih). The third is Sayyid Ahmed al Bedevi, whose grave in Tanta and who was the teacher of Hodja Abdullahi Ensari and the fourth is Sayyid İbrahim-i Dusuki, a great Friend of God from Dusuk.
These great Walis- the Friends of God represent Imam-ı Ali perfectly. There are no other "Gaws (Axial Saints)" except them. If some people claim that there are, they say it because of either for their love and partisanship for their religious teachers, or for not knowing the truth. "The title of Gaws (Axial Saints)" means to be seen in every small particle of the 18 thousands worlds at the same time and to have limitless authority. There are no veils for them. They maintain and continue their help to show the right way and to guide people by using their limitless authority spiritually as they are alive.
They are the last sources of all the friends and the scholars of God to consult. They guide those whom they choose in this world, they teach them the Knowledge of Divinely bestowed Knowledge, Wisdom, Gnosis and the Knowledge of God, True Knowledge (Theosophia). Nothing is a veil or an obstacle for them. This is the reality. Some people know it, but it is useless to tell those who do not understand it.