Shi'a view of Ali: Wikis


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This is a sub-article to Shi'a and Ali

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
‘Alī Amīrul Mu'minīn
Imams of Shi'a Islam

Rank First Shī‘ah Imām
Name ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib
Kunya Abu al-Hasan
Birth 13th Rajab 22 BH
Oct. 9, 599 C.E.
Death 21st Ramadhān 40 AH
Jan. 28, 661 C.E.
Birthplace Ka‘bah (Makkah, Saudi Arabia)
Buried Imām ‘Alī Mosque (Najaf, Iraq)
Life Duration Before Imāmate: 33 years
(22 BH - 11 AH)
- 33 years with Muhammad
- 20 years with his father Abū Tālib
- 27 years with his mother Fātimah bint Asad

Imāmate: 29 years
(11 - 40 AH)
Titles *Amīrul Mu'minīn
(Arabic: Commander of the Faithful)

(Arabic: The Satisfied One)

*an-Naba'ul ‘Adhīm
(Arabic:The Great News)
(Urdu:The Solver of Problems)

*Imāmul Muttaqīn
(Arabic:Leader of the God-conscious)

(Arabic:The Successor)


(Arabic:The Truthful)
Spouse(s) Fātimah
Ummul Banīn
Khawlah bint Ja`far (al-Hanafiyyah)
Father Abū Tālib
Mother Fātimah bint Asad
Children Hasan
Umm Kulthūm
(See:Descendants of ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib)

Ali · Hasan · Husayn
al-Sajjad · al-Baqir · al-Sadiq
Musa (Twelver) · Ismail (Ismaili)

File:Shia Imam.jpg
Conventional depiction of Ali in a Shi'a devotional icon

This article discusses Orthodox Shi'a sources on the biography of ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (599-661), the cousin and son-in-law to Prophet Muhammad, member of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt [2] and first Caliph.

Ali is regarded as the first Imam and is considered, along with his descendants, to be one of the divinely appointed successors of Muhammad who are the only legitimate religious and political leaders of the Muslim community.[3] Though Imam Ali was regarded, during the lifetime of Muhammad, as the Prophet's initial successor, it would be 25 years before he was recognized with the title of Caliph (successor).

Tradition states that Ali was born in Mecca (inside the Ka'ba [4]), to the tribe Quraysh. Ali's father, Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, was custodian of the Ka'ba and a Sheikh of Banu Hashim; an important branch of the powerful tribe of the Quraysh. His mother was Fatimah binte Asad who was also from Banu Hashim. In Arab culture, this was a great honor for Ali that both of his parents were belong to Banu Hashim. Ali was also one of descendants of Ismail the son of Ibrahim.

During his childhood, Ali had spent his first six years under his father's house until, as a result of famine in and around Mecca, he was requested by the Prophet to leave his father's house and come to the house of his cousin, the Prophet Muhammad. [5] It would be another four years until Muhammad would announce his Prophethood. When the divine command came for Muhammad to begin to preach, Imam Ali, only a child of ten years, arose and was the first male to publicly announce his support for his cousin. [6] Over the coming years, Ali stood firmly in his support of Muhammad during the persecution of Muslims in Mecca.

Ali migrated to Medina shortly after Muhammad. There Muhammad told Ali that he had been ordered by God to give his daughter, Fatimah, to Ali in marriage. [7] For the ten years that Muhammad led the community in Medina, Ali was extremely active in his service, leading parties of warriors on raids, and carrying messages and orders. With the exception of Tabuk, Ali took part in all the battles fought for Islam during this time.

After the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan, the Companions of Muhammad in Medina selected Ali to be the new Caliph. He encountered defiance and civil war (First Fitna) during his reign. Tragically, while Ali was praying in the mosque of Kufa, Ibn Muljam, a Khawarij assassin, struck him with a poison-coated sword. Ali died on the 21st of Ramadan in the city of Kufa in 661 CE. Imam Ali is highly regarded for his knowledge, belief, honesty, devotion to Islam, loyalty to Muhammad, his equal treatment of all Muslims, and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies. In addition, he is respected as the rightful successor of Prophet Muhammad. [8]. Ali retains his stature as the foremost authority on the Tafsir (Quranic exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and religious thought.

The compilation of sermons, lectures, and quotations attributed to Ali are compiled in the form of several books. Nahj al-Balagha is the most revered of them. It is considered by historians and scholars to be an important work in Islamic literature. [9] [10]


Early life

Fatimah binte Asad, the wife of Abu Talib, pregnant with Ali, completed her pregnancy term of 270 days but had not yet been induced into labor to give birth to the post-term baby. Abu Talib suggested to his wife that she perform circumambulations around the Ka'ba and pray for divine assistance. In the midst of performing her rounds, she went into labor; at one corner of the Ka'ba, designated as the Rukne Yamani, the Ka'ba split open and she was given a push from behind towards the direction of the opening.

Inside the Ka'ba Fatimah gave birth to Ali, and it wasn't until Muhammad had looked upon the infant that the infant's eyelids opened. At the time of Ali's birth a special relationship was hence imparted between Muhammad and Ali, and would be manifested from the time of the Prophet's Call in the year 610 A.D. until the Prophet's demise in the year 632. [11] Imam Ali would be given the privilege of being to only person to be born inside the Ka'ba. [12]

In a Muslim tradition regarded as authentic by Shias and included in Mawaddat al-Qurba and Peshawar Nights, Alis mother Fatima bint Asad named him after her father, Asad. Abu Talib did not agree with her and said:

"O Fatima! Let us go to the Qubais hills, and invoke Allah (some reporters say that he said they should go to the Al-Masjid al-Haram). He may tell us the name of this child."

The answer to the prayer was Ali, derived from one of 99 Names of God, Al Ali (The Exalted) ref.


When Ali was about six years of age, Muhammad was granted permission from his uncle Abu Talib to bring him up as his own child. From his earliest days, Ali came directly under the tutelage of the Apostle of Allah, to share his high ethics and morals. For ten years, Imam Ali remained in the care of Muhammad. The Prophet had kept him so close and inseparable that he was one with him in character, knowledge, self-sacrifice, forbearance, bravery, kindness, generosity, oratory and eloquence. From his very infancy, he prostrated himself before God along with the Holy Prophet, as he himself said, [13]

A series of articles on

Ali callig.gif
Imam of Islam

Family tree · Descendants · Succession to Muhammad · Birthplace · Timeline of Ali's life · First Fitna · Hadith of the pond of Khumm

Nahj al-Balagha · Qalam-e-Mowla · Zulfiqar · Imam Ali Mosque

Ali the Warrior · Ali caliphate · The Fourteen Infallibles · The Twelve Imams · Ali in Quran · Sunni · Shi'a

"I was the first to pray to God along with the Holy Prophet."

Muhammad's era

Ali was the first person to delcare in public his belief in Allah's Messenger, Muhammad, and his message of Islam - though Ali had been born a muslim. [14]. His announcement came with the Prophet's first speech, directed to his family, about his divinely appointed mission. Tradition states that when the verse "And warn your close tribe (Quran 26:214)" was revealed to the Prophet, he called Ali and said to him,

"Ali, God has commanded me to warn my tribe of near kindred. I was troubled by this, since I knew that when I discuss the matter to them they would respond in a way which I would not like. I kept silent until Gabriel came to me and said "If you do not do what you are commanded, your Lord will punish you." So prepare a measure of wheat for us, add a leg of lamb to it, fill a large bowl of milk for us, and then invite sons of Abd al-Muttalib for me so that I may speak to them what I have been commanded to tell them."

Once the Prophet had gathered the members of Banu Abd al-Muttalib he spoke to them, saying,

"Banu Abd al-Muttalib, I don't know of any young man among Arabs who has brought for his people something better than what I have brought to you. I bring the best of this world and the world after, since God has commanded me to summon you to him. Which of you will aid me in this matter, so that he will be my brother, my executor (Wasi), my successor (Caliph) among you?"

They all held back from the words of the Prophet, and though Ali was the youngest, he replied,

"I will be your helper, O' Prophet of Allah." He put his hand on the back of Ali's neck and said "This is my brother, my executor (Wasi), my successor (Caliph) among you, so listen to him and obey him."

Some Banu Abd al-Muttalib rose up laughing and saying to Ali's father, Abu Talib,

"He has commanded you to obey your son and to obey him!"

(Reference to this section can be found here: [15])

Marriage with Fatimah

The Shī‘ah believe that there were never any arguments or differences between ‘Alī and Fātimah,[1][2] and believe that ‘Alī never sought the hand of Abu Jahl's daughter in marriage.[3] They also believe that Muhammad did not grant him the title "Abū Turāb" in displeasure, but rather from his delight at the battle of al-Ashira.[4]

Boycott of Banu Hashim

Muhammad’s denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Ka'aba. So they persecuted Muslims. According to the tradition, the leaders of Makhzum and Abd Shams, two important clans of Quraysh, declared a public boycott against the clan of Banu Hashim, their commercial rival in order to put pressure on the clan.

At this time, Muhammad arranged for some of his followers to emigrate to Ethiopia. The boycott lasted for three years. Ali stood firmly in support of Muhammad during the years of persecution of Muslims and boycott of Banu Hashim in Mecca.

Migration to Medina

In 622 CE, the year of Muhammad's migration to Yathrib (now Medina), Ali risked his life by sleeping in Muhammad's bed to impersonate him and thwart an assassination plot, so that Muhammad could escape in safety.[5][6] This night is called "Laylat Al-mabit". According to some hadith a verse was revealed about Ali concerning his sacrifice on the night of hijrah which says "And among men is he who sells his NAFS (self) in exchange for the pleasure of Allah"[7][8]

Ali survived the plot, but risked his life again by staying in Mecca to carry out Muhammad's instructions: to restore to their owners all the goods and properties that had been entrusted to Muhammad for safekeeping. Then he went to Medina with Fatima binte Asad (his mother), Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad), and two other women.[5]

Then Muhammad went on his final Hajj (pilgrimage) and when returning, he called all those who were ahead to come back and those who were behind to come ahead. They had stopped at a place called Khumm. The Prophet sat on a pulpit made of saddles. He then said "man kuntu mawla hu fa hadha aliun mawla." which is translated as whoevers' master I am, Ali is also his master. The Sunni's translate it however as howevers 'friend' I am Ali is also his friend.

Succession to Muhammad

After Muhummad's death, a sudden panic overcame the many tribes within the Arabian Peninsula. The question of succession as to who would receive the Caliphate. Though it was well known through many traditions related by the Prophet and Qur'an as to who was to succeed Muhammad (Imam Ali [16]), a small number of prominent companions took to the "Saqifah Bani Sa'ida" or Saqifah, a roofed building used by the tribe of Sa'ida, in the city of Medina, to decide amongst themselves as to who was going to lead the muslims. [17] Such companions as Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, and Sa'd ibn Ubadah ,who was killed at Saqifah [18], were present. The small secret band of companions exchanged arguments until the majority gave their bay'at (allegiance) to Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr's era

Shia believe that the reason Ali did not aid Abu Bakr in the Rida wars was that those getting killed by Abu Bakr were his Shia.

Umar's era

Ali Asgher Razwy, a 20th century Shi'a Twelver Islamic scholar states:

Umar, on his deathbed, had appointed six Muhajireen as members of a panel which was to choose one out of themselves as the future khalifa of the Muslims. They were Ali ibn Abi Talib, Uthman, Talha, Zubayr, Abdur Rahman bin Auf and Saad bin Abi Waqqas. Except Ali, all other members of the panel were capitalists, or rather, neo-capitalists. When they came from Makkah, they were penniless and homeless but within twelve years, i.e., from the death of Muhammad Mustafa in 632 to the death of Umar in 644, each of them, except Ali, had become rich like Croesus. Between these two dates, they had accumulated immense wealth, and had become the richest men of their times.

Ali did not qualify as a member of this exclusive "club" but Umar admitted him anyway. Apart from the fact that Ali made his living as a gardener whereas his other five co-members lived on the revenues of their lands and estates, there was another gulf, even more unbridgeable, that separated him from them. In character, personality, temperament, attitudes, philosophy and outlook on life, Ali and the rest of them were the antithesis of each other.[9]

Uthman's era


When the Shī‘ah refer to ‘Alī, they normally add "peace be upon him" ("‘alayhis salām") after it. Alternatively, the phrase "Allah has honoured his face" ("karram-allāhu wajhahu") is also used after his name, in reference to the Shī‘ah belief that ‘Alī converted to Islām at such a young age that he never joined in any idol worship of the traditional Meccan gods. His face, they say, was never defiled by prostrations before the idols.

Famous Hadith used by the Shi'a


Shi'a state Ali is the source of the following:


Other people have views on the Shi'a view of Ali:

Sunni view of the Shi'a view

Non-Muslim view of the Shi'a view

Some non-Muslims believe that some pro-Ali hadith are biased [12]:

"By One who splits seeds and creates breath, the illiterate prophet gave me a covenant: `Nobody except a believer will love me, and nobody except a hypocrite will hate me.' " [13]

They have a similar view on the Sunni view of Ali.

See also


  1. ^ Husayn, Mufti Ja‘far (2006). Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi-Talib. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. p. 119.  
  2. ^ Ordoni, Abu-Muhammad. "30". Fatimah The Gracious. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. p. 140.  
  3. ^ Ordoni, Abu-Muhammad. "31". Fatimah The Gracious. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. pp. 141–144.  
  4. ^ Husayn, Mufti Ja‘far (2006). Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi-Talib. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. pp. 119–120.  
  5. ^ a b Tabatabae (1979), p. 191
  6. ^ Ashraf, (2005) pp.28-29
  7. ^ Qur'an 2:207
  8. ^ Tabatabae, Tafsir Al-Mizan
  9. ^ A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims on [1]
  10. ^ Ibn Abu al-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 5, p. 346, as quoted in Tragedy of al-Zahra
  11. ^ The Quran Compiled by Imam Ali (AS)
  12. ^ Free-Minds, a place to discover Islam based on GOD Alone
  13. ^ Sahih Muslim

External links

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