The Quran refers to those few people who had brought faith upon Jesus, followed him, supported him and helped him as the Hawa`riyyuns. These were the disciples of Jesus. This name, Hawa`riyyuns is especially employed for those people who followed Jesus and helped him and not for the followers of any other prophets, although every prophet has a Hawari (sincere companion) says the Prophet Muhammad in the following Hadith :
"Every prophet has a Hawari (sincere companion), and my Hawari is Zubair"
The Definition of Hawa`riyyuns
Literally, the word Hawa`riyyuns is the plural of Hawa`riyun which means "he who whitens clothes", "He who has been appointed chosen and purified from all kinds of defects", "a companion and a helper".
The exegetes have derived it from the root word Hawr, which possess the following definitions : to whiten, to bleach, to purify, to clean, to change, to transform, to amend and to alter, etc.
Different opinions have been given by the Mufassirs as to why the followers of Iísa (Jesus) were given this title:
Imam Ibn kathir(d.774/1352) has stated, "The helpers of Jesus have been named Hawariyyuns because of their white clothes." .
Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani has stated from Sufyan Sawri that he has said, "Hawari means a helper" and Qatadah(d.117/695) has said that, "It carries the definition of he who is capable of being a Caliphate (Caliph or minister)." Yunus ibn Habib has mentioned that Hawari is a sincere person and Ibn Al-Kalbi has defined it as meaning a friend.
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