“Panjtan-i Pak (the Blessed Quincunx), Ashbah al-Khmsa (the five shadows) or Ashab al-Kisa (persons of the mantle) is a term coined for the five holy bodies, i.e., the Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain. They were created out of the substance of Illiyyun (Bihar al-Anwar, 25:10). The Koran (83:18) says, “Nay! Most surely the record of the righteous shall be in the highest places (illiyyun).” The word illiyyun is the plural of illiy or illiyyah. It is derived from the Hebrew elyou meaning the highest. These five holy bodies were conceived in their mystical dimension as being a Light that God created before the creation of this universe. The Light descended in turn upon Adam and then upon each of the prophets until it became embodied in five holy bodies.
According to Bihar al-Anwar (25:24), “When God created Adam, the father of mankind, and breathed His spirit into him, Adam looked to the right hand side of the empyrean. There he saw five figures in the form of silhouettes. He asked: “God, have You created any one from the dust before me?” God replied: “No.” Adam said, “So who are these five figures which I see resembling my own shape?” God answered, “These are five of your offspring. If it were not for them, I would have not created you. They are five people whose names are derived from My Own. If it were not for them, I would have not created paradise or hell, the heavens and the earth, the skies and the lands, the angels, the human beings and the jinn. I am “Mahmud” and this is Muhammad. I am “Aala” and this is `Ali. I am “Fatir”and this is Fatima, I am “Ihsan” and this is Hasan. I am “Muhsin” and this is Hussain. By My Glory, whoever bears even an atom’s weight of grudge against them will be cast into hell. O Adam! They are My chosen ones. For them, I will save or cast others to perdition. If you want anything from Me, you should resort to these five people.”
In the Tafsir of Tabari (12:5), it has been quoted from Abu Sa’id Khudari that the Prophet said, “The Koranic verse (33:33) has been revealed about five persons namely, myself, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain.” In Mushkilul Athar (1:332), Umm Salama is quoted as saying, “This verse was revealed with regards to the Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain.”