Virtues of Imam Ali

Virtues of the commander of Faithful Imam Ali (peace be upon him)

Many are the virtues of the commander of faithful Imam Ali (peace be upon him). The authors of the world cannot count it. Imam's virtues have been written in a lot of books and volumes and the follower of books will find that clearly and to cover all these books and volumes is something impossible, because imam (peace be upon him) is the core of perfection and virtues. People of virtues took their virtues from him (peace be upon him). Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is the is peak of virtues because he derives his virtues from the infinite light who is the prophet Mohammad, because Imam Ali is the cousin of the prophet and Imam said: (I am from Mohammad is like light derived from light).

Ali’s Virtues Before His Birth

Section One
God almighty said to Abraham (a.s): As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation![23]

Beyond doubt, Imam `Ali (a.s) is one of those princes, a virtue making him peerless.

Section Two
The orator of Khawarizm quoting `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud has reported that the Holy Prophet (s.a) said: O `Abdullah! An angel came to me carrying a message from God who said: O Muhammad! Ask the prophets coming before you what they commissioned for? I said: You say what they were commissioned for? He answered: The very essence of their mission is based on the Wilayah of you and `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.[24]

Section Three
The holy name of `Ali has been written on the divine throne.
Khawarizmi has reported `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud on the authority of the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: When God created the universe and Adam and blew in him His spirit, Adam sneezed and began to praise Allah immediately. God said: My servant! Now that you praised me, by My glory, were if not for the sake of two of my servants, I would never have created you. Adam said: O God! Are those two worthy servants from my issue? God said: Yes. Now raise your hand and behold what you see. Adam opened his eyes towards heaven and saw an inscription reading: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad (the prophet of mercy) is His Messenger and `Ali is Allah’s proof for the people. Whoever recognizes `Ali’s right, he is pure inwardly and whoever denies his right will be deprived from my mercy and will suffer. I swear by My glory that whoever obeys `Ali, I will give him a place in heaven even if he is sinful and by My glory, if anyone disobeys him, I will punish him with fire even if he has obeyed me.[25] 

Jabir ibn `Abdullah has reported the Holy Prophet (s.a) as having said: Two thousand years before the creation of heavens and the earth, there was an inscription on the gate of heaven reading: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and `Ali ibn Abi-Talib is his brother.[26]

There is a Hadith in Manaqib in which the Holy Prophet has been quoted as saying: Gabriel came to me while he had spread his two wings. On one wing there was the inscription: There is no god but Allah, Muhammad in His messenger and on the other wing, there was the inscription: There is no god but Allah, `Ali is Muhammad’s successor.[27]
In Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Holy Prophet (s.a) has been quoted by Jabir as having said: Before the creation of the heavens and the earth, there was the following inscription on the gate of paradise: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and `Ali is the brother of the Messenger of Allah.[28]

Section Four
There are narrations in which the Holy Prophet (s.a) has said: I and `Ali are of the same light.
Salman has quoted the Holy Prophet (s.a) as having said: I and `Ali were light in the presence of God casting light on the world of creation. This light glorified God fourteen thousand years before the creation of Adam and when God Almighty created Adam, this light was transferred to his loin and in the long period between us and Adam, we were in the pure loins till we were separated in the loin of `Abd al-Muttalib into two parts. One part was me and the other was `Ali.[29]

Salman has also reported the Holy Prophet (s.a) as having said: I and `Ali were a single light before God. Fourteen thousand years before the creation of Adam, when God created Adam, He placed this light in his loin. Then this light was divided into two, part of this light was placed in `Abdullah’s loin and the other part was placed in Abu-Talib’s loin. Therefore, `Ali is from me and I am from `Ali. His flesh is my flesh and his blood is my blood. Hence, whoever loves `Ali is because he loves me and whoever is hostile to him is my enemy. 

Section Five
Adam has resorted to `Ali as mentioned in the Torah.
Khawarizmi has reported Ibn `Abbas who asked the Holy Prophet (s.a) about the words that Adam received from God and he repented thereby. The Holy Prophet (s.a) answered: Adam asked God to accept his repentance through the station of Muhammad, `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn. God Almighty too accepted Adam’s repentance and restored his position in honor of those holy persons.

Ali’s Virtues At Creation And Birth 
Ali (a.s) was born on 13th of Rajab, thirty years after the year of the Elephant in Ka`bah. This virtue belongs only to him, for no one was ever born in Ka`bah except him neither in the past nor in the future.

The author of Basha’ir al-Mustafa has reported Yazid ibn Qa`nab as saying: I and `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and a group of the tribe of `Abd al-`Uzza were sitting near Ka`bah when we saw Fatimah Bint Asad, the mother of Amir al-Mu'minin while she was nine months pregnant and signs of delivery were manifest in her, came from afar raising her hands in prayer and saying: O Lord! I believe in You, Your Messengers and their books while accepting as truth the words of the prophet Ibrahim (a.s) who rebuilt this house. O Lord! I ask You through the one who built this house and the one I have in my womb to make the hardship of his birth easy for me.

Yazid ibn Qa`nab says: I saw the wall of Ka`bah was opened and Fatimah went inside it and the wall returned to its former state. The group of people who were sitting there rose up to unlock the door but it was not opened. We inferred that the wall had been opened on the order of the Lord and that it was a favor God had done to that lady and her son. Three days passed and on the fourth day, Fatimah carrying the new-born infant in her hands came out of Ka`bah, saying: Beyond doubt, I am superior to the believing women of former times, for Asiyah, the daughter of Muzahim, worshipped God secretly and God did not like to be worshipped except under necessity that is in Pharaoh’s house which was the cradle of atheism and oppression.

Mary, the daughter of `Imran, too came out of the mosque of Jerusalem and her place of worship on the order of Lord and then gave birth to Jesus (a.s) eating fresh date from a dry palm-tree. However, I entered Ka`bah on the order of Lord and fed on heavenly fruits. After delivery too when I intended to come out of Ka`bah, an invisible caller told me to name the auspicious infant `Ali, for Allah the most High says: I name him after My own name, reared him with special rearing, making him aware of My own profound knowledge. It is he who, in a near future, will clean My house from idols, will break them, and will declare the rule of one God on the roof of My house. He will glorify Me. Happy is one who loves him and obeys his orders and ill-fated is one who is hostile to him and disobeys his orders.[30]

The narrator says: When `Ali was born, the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a) was thirty years old. The Holy Prophet loved him greatly and asked his mother, Fatimah to place `Ali’s cradle near his bed.
The Messenger of Allah was personally in charge of bringing up `Ali. He bathed `Ali with his own hands and fed him and rocked his cradle at sleep time. When `Ali was awake, the Holy Prophet (s.a) would speak to him and put him on his chest, saying: This dear infant is my brother, guardian, supporter, asset, the chosen one, my son-in-law, successor, the husband of my daughter, my trustworthy, and the caliph after me. The Messenger of Allah would always put `Ali on his shoulders and took him to mountains of Mecca so as to be engaged in prayer away from the eyes of the idol-worshippers.

Imam Ali’s Virtues in Boyhood and Maturity
Virtues are sometimes acquired for a person due to deeds and their consequences and at other times it has no relation with his deeds. What is discussed in this chapter concerns `Ali’s acquired virtues as mentioned by the narrators. These acquired virtues are sometimes related to `Ali’s spiritual aspect and personality or it is related to his physical aspect.


All virtues belong to Imam Ali   

Ibn Abi al-Hadeed said the best thing about this aspect:

The virtues of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) had reached a high standard of greatness, majesty, to extent that it is ugly to account it and explain it. What can I say about a man whose enemies and opponents admitted his merit? They could not deny his attributes nor conceal his virtues. I knew that Umayyads seized the authorities of Islam in east and west of the earth and they worked hard all the tricks to extinguish his light, incite him, claim defects, and disadvantages to him and curse him on all platforms. They threatened his eulogists, locked, and killed them. They prevented narrating any Hadeeth about his virtue to the extent that they banned naming anyone after his name. Nevertheless, that raised his status and name. Imam was like musk when it was covered, its perfume spread, like the sun that cannot be covered with hands, and like day. What can I say about a man to whom all virtues were ascribed and he is the peak and fountain of virtues. All those who came after him followed his style and took advantage of his knowledge.

The most honorable knowledge is the divine science, because the honor knowledge is linked to the topic and the topic is the most honorable in existence. From the words of Allah: Holy Koran, Imam Ali quoted, narrated, to Imam Ali ended, and from him began the Mu'tazila. Mu'tazilites are the masters of monotheism, justice and thinking deeply. People – from them – learnt this art because their master is Wasil bin Ata'a who learned from Abu Hashim bin Abdul Allah bin Mohammad bin al-Hanafiya.

Abu Hashim is the student of his father and his father is the student of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). While Ash'arism are belong to Abu al-Hasan who is Ali bin Ismail bin Abi Bashar al-Ash'ari, a disciple of Abi Ali al-Jebaee and Abu Ali is one of the masters of Mu'tazila. Therefore, Ash'ari – at the end – belongs to the master and teacher of Mu'tazila: Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him). The Imami and Zaidi belong clearly to Imam Ali.

In knowledge, one of part of knowledge is jurisprudence, where Imam Ali is the bases and origins of this knowledge. All the Islamic jurists depend and make use of Imam's jurisprudence. The companions of Abu Hanifa, like Abu Yousef and Mohammed and the others, took their knowledge from Abu Hanifa. Al-Shafi'i took his knowledge from Mohammed bin Hassan, whose knowledge is ascribed also to Abu Hanifa. Ahmad ibn Hanbal derived his knowledge from Shafei whose, knowledge is ascribed to Abu Hanifa. Abu Hanifa derived his knowledge from Ja'far ibn Mohammad (peace be upon him) and he derived his knowledge from his father Ja'far (peace be upon him) and ends up to Imam Ali (peace be upon him). As for Malik bin Anas, he derived his knowledge from Rabia, from Akrama, from Abdul Allah bin Abbas and Abdullah bin Abbas from Imam Ali. It is possible to say that Shafee derived his knowledge from Malik. The origin of Shiite jurisprudence is from Imam Ali. The jurists of the prophet companion were Ibn Abbas and Omar bin al-Khatab and both of them took their knowledge from Imam Ali. It is clear that Ibn Abbas took his knowledge from Imam Ali, but everyone knows that Omar used to ask Imam Ali about many problems. Omar said in many situations and many times (without Ali, Omar is dead) and his famous saying: (My Allah prevent me from facing any problem without Abu Hassan) and his saying (No one judge and Imam Ali is present). All sects narrated the prophet's Hadeeth (The best judge among you is Ali).

Another part of knowledge is interpretation of the Holy Koran. This part of knowledge was taken from Imam Ali and he established its branches. If anyone checks books of interpretation, he will know more about this aspect, because the majority of this knowledge was derived from Imam Ali and Ibn Abbas. People know the situation of Ibn Abbas that he was the discipline of Imam Ali. Ibn Abbas was asked: What is your knowledge in comparison with the knowledge of your cousin? Ibn Abbas replied: it is like a drop of rain in an ocean.

His knowledge in grammar and Arabic. All People have been aware that Imam Ali, who invented, created and dictated Abu al-Aswad al-Do'ali the bases of grammar. When he said to him that speech is divided into three parts: noun, verb and preposition and he divided the words into definite and indefinite and dividing syntax into nominative, putting a noun in the accusative, genitive, and apocopate (form or mood). This is almost a miracle because manpower does not meet this limitation nor derive this deduction.

If anyone came back to birth characteristics, virtues, humanitarian, and religious, he will find that Imam Ali is in the peak of it.

The courage: he made people forget who was before him and did not allow anyone to be mentioned after him. His statuses in the battles are immortal and will be remembered till the Day of Judgment. He is the courage who never ran away nor feared from army. He killed all people who fought him. He did not need for second strike that he used to kill his enemies with one strike. When Imam Ali called Muawiyah for fighting and finish the war, Amr bin al-As said to Muawiyah: he is fair man. Muawiyah said: you did not cheat me save today! Do you command me to fight Imam Ali and you know that he is the bravest! I think you coveted the Emirate of Sham after me! Arabs were proud to be standing in the war in front of him.

The power and hand: Imam Ali is an example of power. In al-Ma'arif by Ibn Qutaiba: he (Imam Ali) knocked down all who fought with him. He uprooted the gate of Khyber and through it. A group of people gathered to turn the gate, but they could not do that. He who rooted up the great stone with his hand after the army could not uproot it and water flow.

The generosity: Ali's status is very clear. He was fastening, starving, and prefer the other on his food. Allah revealed the holy verse in Ali: (They feed the destitute, orphans, and captives for the love of God, saying * We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks). The interpreters narrated that Imam Ali had only four Dirhams. He gave one at night, day, publicly and privately and Allah revealed (Those who spend their property for the cause of God, any time during the day or night, in public or in private …). It was narrated that he was watering some palm tree for Jews till his hands became hard and he was giving his fees as charity (Zakat) and tie a stone on his stomach because of hunger. Al-Sha'abi said about Imam Ali: he was the most generous man. He was on the way that Allah loves; generosity. He never said (No) for a beggar.

Muawiyah who was his most hatred enemy said to Mahfan bin Abi Mahfan when he said to him: I came to you from the meanest person. Muawiyah said: Woe! How can you say that he is meanest person? If he has a house of gold nuggets and house of straw, he would spend the house of straw before the house of gold nuggets. He was sweeping the treasury house and praying in it. He who said: O gold, O silver. Go and lure other people and not me?! He who left no inheritance and the whole world was in his hand save Sham.

The patience and forgiveness: he was the most forgetful man among people for the guilt and harmful.  The truth of what we have said appeared clearly al al-Jamal Battle, when he grand victory over Marwan ibn al-Hakam who was his most hatred person, but Imam forgave him. Abdullah bin Zubair was cursing him publicly and in his speech in Basra, said: the scoundrel and mean Ali bin Abi Talib had came to you. Nevertheless, Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) said: Zubair still one us; the prophet's household. At the battle of Jamal, Imam's army captive Abdullah, but Imam Ali forgave him and told him: Go I do not want to see you again. Also, Imam Ali caught Sayid ibn al-Aas after the Battle of al-Jamal and Sayid was his enemy, Imam Ali turned away from him and did not say anything to him. all people know what Aisha did, when Imam Ali granted victory against her at the battle of Jamal, he honored her and sent twenty women from Abd Qays with her and sent her to Medina. The women were dressing turbans and carrying swords. During the way, Aisha said bad things about Imam Ali and grumbled and said: Ali bin Abi Talib exposed me by his men and soldiers, who commanded them to be with me. When she reached Medina, the women throw their turbans and said to Aisha: we are women like you. People of Basra fought him, cursed and insulted him. When Imam Ali granted victory against them, he commanded to stop fighting and called in the military camp: do not follow who runs away, do not kill wounded, do not kill prisoner, whoever throws his weapon he is safe and who joins the camp of Imam he is safe too… He did not rip off their equipments and goods, captured their families nor stool their money. He can do that if want. But he refused everything save forgiveness, pardon and followed the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his household) on the conquest of Mecca, he pardoned and grudges are still high and the abuse did not forget. When Muawiyah controlled the riverbank, Imam's companions told him to prevent water for Imam Ali and his soldiers and said: let them die thirsty, as Uthman died. 

Ali (peace be upon him) and his companions asked them to open the way to drink water. But the companions of Muawiyah refused and said: No, by Allah, neither you nor your army drink any drop of water and you will die thirsty as Uthman died. When he (peace be upon him) saw that death inevitably occurring. He marched with his companions and attacked the army of Muawiyah severely. Imam's army defeated Muawiyah's army and moved them from the riverbank. Muawiyah's army became in the desert with no water. The companions of Imam Ali said to him: prevent them from drinking water as they did. Imam said: by Allah, I will not do like them. Open the water bank and let them have water and drink. We can kill them by our swords in the battlefield.

His jihad for the sake of Allah: It is well known for the friend and enemy that Imam Ali is the master of Mujahideen, as if Jihad is for Imam Ali alone. The greatest incursion that the prophet led is the battle of Badr, where seventy men were killed and Imam Ali killed half of them and Muslims killed the rest.  For further information, check al- Maghazi by Mohamed Ben Omar Waaqidi, Tareekh al-Ashraf by Yahya bin Jaber Al-Baladhuri and other books. There is no need for redundancy in this aspect, because it is well known for everyone.

The eloquence: Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is the master of eloquence and rhetoricians. About his words, it was said: his words are below the words of Allah and above words of human and from him; people learnt public speaking and writing. Abdul Hamid bin Yahya said: I memorized from the rhetoric treasure a hundred sermons of Ali bin Abi Talib. It was more than enough. It is sufficient for all people what Usman al-Jahidh said in praising Imam Ali in his book (al-Bayan al-Tabyeen) and his other books.

The ethics, Imam has high ethics, smile face, cheerfulness, and smiling. He was very well known of being so even his enemies considered that as defect. Sa'sa'a bin Souhane and other Shiites companions said: he was one of us, pliable, very humble and we were felling fear from him for his charisma.

Asceticism in this world: Imam Ali is the master of ascetics. He never fed up of any kind of food. His dress was of the harshest type. Abdullah ibn Abi Rafe said: one day during Eid, I visited him. He presented a sealed bag and I found him eating very dry bread from that bag. I said: O Commander of the Faithful, why do you seal it. He said: I feared from those two boys to mix it with fat. He was dressing patched cloth. The patches were from skin and fibers. His slippers were made of fibers. He was dressing a cloth made of white cotton fibers. He was dipping his bread with vinegar or salt. If he wanted higher food, he may eat vegetables. If he wanted higher food, he may take a little of camel's milk. He used to eat a very little meat and used to say: do not make your stomach graves for animals. However, he was the strongest one. Hunger does not invalidate his power. He who divorced the world and the money was collected to him from all the lands of Islam save Sham and he was distributing it among poor.

The worship: he was the most worshiper among people and Imam Ali was most people in prayer and fasting. From Imam Ali, people learnt night prayer and Voluntary Prayer. What is your opinion of a man keeps his religion duties to extent that he prays between the two armies at the night of Hareer and prays while arrows are located between his hands and pass on his head and he does not fear of that. What do you think a man who was his forehead like the callus of the camel for long prostration? When you think about his calls for Allah, soliloquy, and it content of glorifying for Allah, the submission for his majesty and reverence for Allah's powers, you will know the real loyalty in his heart. It was said to Ali bin Al Hussein (peace be upon them), who was at the peak of worship: Where is you worship in comparison with the worship of your grandfather? He said: my worship in comparison with my grandfather's worship is like the worship of my grandfather to the worship of the prophet (Allah bless him and his household).

His Reading for Koran: he is the promising in this aspect. All people agreed that he was memorizing Koran at the time of the prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and his household) and no one else memorized Koran. Imam Ali is the first person who gathered Koran. It was narrated that he was late in recognizing Abu Bakr as caliph. Narrators do not agree with Shiite that he delayed because he does not accept recognizing Abu Bakr as caliph, but they say: he was busy in gathering Koran and this is clear proof that he was the first who gathered Koran. If Koran was gathered at the time of the prophet (may Allah bless him), no one would be busy in gathering Koran after the death of the prophet. When you check the books of reciting Koran, you will find that the major Koran reciters come back to him, like Amro ibn al-Ala and Assem bin Abi al-Nejood and others, because they return to Abu Abdul Rahman al-Salami. Abu Abdul Rahman was his student, and he learnt the Koran from him.

The attitude and organizing: he has the soundest opinion among people. It is he who advised Omar bin Khattab when Omar determined to fight the Romans and the Persians war. It is he who advised Uthman of issues, if Uthman accepted it, the following accidents might not occurred. But his enemies said: he does not have opinion, because he was complying Sharia and do not break it. He works only according to religion. Imam said: Had it not for religion and fearing Allah, I would have been the most artful. The other caliphs were working according to what they  think right and not according to the Islamic rules. There is no doubt that who works according to his opinion is not like who works according to the Islamic rules.

As for politics: he was great politician strong in executing the rules of Allah. He used to control his rulers and fought the enemies of Allah in Jamal, Safeen and Nahrawan. He did that to execute the rules of Allah and did that with his hand and his companions.

What can I say about a man that free non-Moslems like him and they do not believe in Islam. The philosophers glorify him although they do not like people of the religion,

Kings of the Turk draw his image on their swords.

The image of Imam Ali was drawn in the swords of Ehd al-Dawla and the sword of his father Ruken al-Dawla.

As if they are, optimize him.

What can I say about a man whose father is Abu Talib the master of desert, Sheikh of Quraish, the head of Mecca. It was said: can the poor prevail?  Abu Talib prevailed and he was poor and Quraish used to call him Sheikh. Afeef al-Kendi said: when Abu Talib saw the prophet (peace be upon him and his household) pray according to the principle of Islam and there was a boy and woman with him. abu Talib said: I asked al- Abbas, who is this? Al-Abbas said: This is my nephew, claims he is the messenger of Allah to people and no one followed him save this boy – who is my nephew too – and this woman, his wife. He said: What do you say about that? al-Abbas said: we are waiting of what Sheikh will do – means Abu Talib. Abu Talib is the one who maintained the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his household) since his childhood, protected him when he grow older and saved him from the hypocrites of Quraish. Abu Talib suffered a lot for sake of the prophet. It was narrated that when Abu Talib died, Allah inspired the prophet (peace be upon him) and told him: Get out of them, your supporter has died. Imam Ali has the honor of this fatherhood that the prophet is his cousin and he is the master of all nations. His brother is Ja'af who's the prophet said to him (you are similar to me in body and ethics) and he went happy. His wife is the master of the women of the world; his sons are the masters of young people of heaven. The fathers and mother of the prophet are the father and mothers of Imam Ali and they are linked by blood. They did not separate since Adam until Abdul Mottalib died and they became the masters of people; The prophet is the first and Imam Ali is the second.

What can I say about a man preceded people in faith? He believed in Allah and his prophet, while all people were worshiping stones and denying Allah. No one preceded him in faith. It was narrated that Imam Ali is the first person who believed in Allah and a very few people contradicted that.

If we want to explain his merits and virtue, we shall need volumes to cover them all.


`Ali’s Marriage with Lady Fatimah

Ibn `Abbas reports: When Fatimah, the honorable daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a) reached maturity, prominent suitors came to the Messenger of Allah, asking her hand in marriage, having the impression that their requests would be accepted but the Holy Prophet (s.a) rejected their requests, saying: I am waiting for Allah’s decree, for Fatimah’s marriage is on His decree.

Sa`d ibn Mu`adh Ansari who knew this, said to `Ali ibn Abi-Talib: By God, the Messenger of Allah has no one in mind save you. `Ali answered: Marriage needs wealth which I have not! The Messenger of Allah too knows that I have no wealth! Sa`d said: I put you under an obligation to do so. `Ali said: What should I say to the Holy Prophet? Sa`d said: Say: I have come here to ask the hand of Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad in marriage. To this end, `Ali came to the presence of the Messenger of Allah but due to modesty, he had lowered his head and did not say anything. The Messenger of Allah said: O `Ali, I see a sign of request in your face. What is your request? `Ali said: Asking your daughter’s hand in marriage! The Holy Prophet (s.a) who looked happy and had a smile on his lips, said: I will accept it eagerly. On his return, `Ali told Sa`d the whole story. Sa`d said: The Messenger of Allah had accepted your request, for he keeps his promise and never breaks it.

On that night, the Messenger of Allah called Bilal, saying: I married my daughter to my cousin. I wish to hold a marriage banquet to set it as a tradition among my Ummah. Now, go to sheep-selling market, buy a sheep and five mudd of barley, and make a pot ready for cooking them. I will invite Muhajir and Ansar to this banquet. Bilal carried out what the Holy Prophet had ordered. A large group of people gathered in the Holy Prophet’s house, ate from the food yet no shortage was seen in it. Then, the Holy Prophet ordered Bilal to take the food to the houses of his wives and to say to them: Eat of this food, you and any woman who comes to you. Bilal carried out this order.

Then, the Messenger of Allah attended the gathering of his wives, saying: I have married my daughter, Fatimah to my cousin. I intend to send her to him. She is your daughter, do whatever you can for her nuptial ceremony. The Holy Prophet’s wives who were overjoyed, perfumed and adorned Fatimah with their Jewels and took to her house the dowry which Salman and Bilal had prepared on the order of the Holy Prophet. A cloak of Khaybar, a jug, a ewer, a tub, curtain, a mattress of date fiber and a pillow were all that made up the dowry. Then, they informed the Holy Prophet to come. Seeing this scene and having tears on his cheeks, the Holy Prophet raised his hands in prayer and said: O Lord! Make this marriage auspicious to a couple most of whose vessels are made of clay.

The wives of the Messenger of Allah chose Ummu-Ayman as housekeeper to meet the needs of the bride.

Then, the Messenger of Allah called Fatimah to come to his presence. When Fatimah’s eyes fell on her husband, `Ali, who was sitting beside her father, she started weeping. The Messenger of Allah who intended to put her hand in `Ali’s hand, while weeping said: My daughter, Fatimah! I did not marry you to `Ali on my own, rather, God on your behalf and Gabriel on `Ali’s behalf, arranged this marriage in heaven between you two.

At that time, God Almighty commissioned the tree of Tuba to give away ornaments, robes, pearls and rubies and ordered the Paradisiacal women to get together and pick up heavenly ornaments, pearls and rubies. They obeyed Allah’s order, take pride in it till the Day of Judgment and offer those ornaments to one another, saying: These are all from the blessings of Fatimah.

Verily, my daughter, I have married you to the best of my kinship. I married you to one who is a master in this world and will be a righteous man on the Day of Judgment. Putting Fatimah’s hand in `Ali’s hand, the Messenger of Allah said: Now, go to your house. May God Almighty brings about love between you and improve your affairs till I come to see you again. The bride and the bridegroom sat beside each other for a few moments while the Holy Prophet’s wives too were with them. Of course, there was a curtain between `Ali and them and Fatimah was sitting next to women.

After the passage of a short time, the Messenger of Allah entered the bridal chamber. Seeing that the Holy Prophet had come, the women hurriedly left the house except Asma’ bint `Umays. As for the reason she stayed there, she said: When Khadijah was in the bed of death, she was weeping. I said to her: Why are you weeping at this time while you are one of the greatest women in world, the wife of the Messenger of Allah, and you were given the good tiding that you will go to paradise? Khadijah said: The reason I am weeping is that my daughter, Fatimah is very young and she will need someone to help her on her wedding night. I am afraid there will be no woman to help her! I said: O my lady, don’t worry, I promise to meet her needs on that night if I live long enough till then. So, when all women left the house, I stayed there. The Messenger of Allah who had ordered all women to leave the house, seeing my shadow said: Who are you? I said: I am Asma’ bint `Umays. He said: Did I not tell you to leave the house? I said: Yes, O Messenger of Allah, but my staying here is not meant to disobey you, rather, I promised to Khadijah to stay with Fatimah on such a night and told him the whole story. Hearing this, the Messenger of Allah started weeping, prayed for me and said: I pray to God to safeguard you from Satan from four sides. Then, he said to me: Fill a tub of water and bring it here. I carried out his order. The Messenger of Allah filled his mouth with water and poured it back to the tub, raised his hands in prayer and said: O Lord! This bride and groom are from me and I am from them. Cleanse them of impurity in the same way you cleansed me of impurity.

Then, he called Fatimah, took a handful of water and sprinkled it on her face and breast. He took two handfuls of water and sprinkled them on her side and head! Then, he sprinkled some water on her body, repeated the same prayer and told Fatimah to drink a few draughts of it, to rinse her mouth with it and to perform ablution with it. The Messenger of Allah then asked for another tub and did the same with `Ali. After doing so, he left Fatimah’s house and on his way home, he repeatedly prayed for them not for anyone else.

Ibn `Abbas reports: On the night Fatimah was sent to `Ali’s house, to honor this honorable Lady, the Messenger of Allah was in front of her, Gabriel on the right side, Michael on the left side, and seventy thousand angels were following her, glorifying the Lord till dawn. There are many Hadiths in this relation but this one is above all.

`Ali, the Holy Prophet’s Brother
Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad has quoted Zayd ibn `Awfi as saying: I went to the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a) where `Ali was speaking about covenant of brotherhood among the companions. He said: O Messenger of Allah, when I saw that you made covenants of brotherhood among your companions but I was ignored, my soul was going out of my body! If this is because I have done something wrong and you are angry with me, here I am for any punishment you deem proper! Seeing `Ali’s sad face, the Messenger of Allah said: By God Almighty Who appointed me as prophet, the reason I forsook to speak to you was nothing but to reserve you as a brother for myself. As for your position to me is like Aaron’s to Moses except that there will be no prophet after me. O `Ali, you are my brother and heir. I said: What will I inherit from you? He said: What the former prophets have left behind among their followers and that is the book of Allah, and the tradition of His messengers. You will be with me in paradise while my daughter is with you. You are my brother and friend. Then, the Messenger of Allah, as a sign of happiness for this great occasion recited the verse “They shall as be brethren, on raised couches, face to face” (15:47).

 Ibn Mughazili, the Shafi`ite jurisprudent has reported Anas as saying: On the day of Mubahalah (mutual curse), the Messenger of Allah made a covenant of brotherhood among his companions. At this time, `Ali was standing in a place the Holy Prophet could see him and knew his position but did not say a word about brotherhood with him. He left the place for home with tearful eyes. The Messenger of Allah asked for `Ali. Those present in that place said `Ali had gone home weeping. The Messenger of Allah said to Bilal: Go quickly and bring `Ali here. When Bilal arrived in `Ali’s house, he found `Ali weeping. Lady Fatimah asked `Ali for his weeping, saying: May Allah never make you weep! `Ali said: the Messenger of Allah made covenant of brotherhood between Muhajir and Ansar, but he did not say a word about me though he saw me standing there! Lady Fatimah said: Don’t worry. Perhaps my father has reserved you for himself! Bilal reports: I said: O `Ali, go and see the Messenger of Allah. `Ali went to the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a) who asked `Ali about the reason for his weeping. `Ali said: O Messenger of Allah! You made the covenant of brotherhood among the companions, but you did not say a word about my brotherhood with anyone, though you were seeing me! The Messenger of Allah said: O `Ali, I reserved you for myself. Are you not happy for being the brother of the prophet? `Ali said: Yes indeed, O Messenger of Allah! I am really happy but how did I obtain such an honor? The Holy Prophet took `Ali’s hand in his hand, took him up the pulpit, raised his hands in prayer and said: O Lord! `Ali is from me and I am from `Ali. His position to me is as Aaron’s to Moses. Then he said: Whomever I am the master, `Ali is his master too. Following this event, `Ali happily set out for his house. Following him, `Umar ibn Khattab said: congratulations for this position. Now, you are my master and that of every Muslim!

Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman reports: the Messenger of Allah made covenant of brotherhood between Muhajir and Ansar in a way he made each the brother of his peer. Then, he took `Ali’s hand in his hand, saying: `Ali is my brother. Hudhayfah further reports: Beyond doubt, the Messenger of Allah is the master of all prophets and leader of the pious ones as well as the messenger of the lord of the universe, who is peerless, and `Ali, his brother too is peerless in universe.

Only Door of `Ali’s House Open to the Masjid

The fact that the doors of the companions’ house open to the Masjid were closed except that of `Ali proves `Ali’s unique position.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Musnad has quoted Zayd ibn Arqam as saying: The doors of houses belonging to some of the Holy Prophet’s companions opened to Masjid which they frequented at will.

One of the days, the Messenger of Allah ordered all the doors to be closed, saying: You have to close the doors opening to Masjid and there is no exception in this regard save the door of `Ali’s house which will never be closed. With this order, some of the companions started to speak to one another about the reason behind it and envy `Ali. They would say: What is this privilege that the Holy Prophet has given to `Ali? Zayd reports: The Messenger of Allah rose up and after praising Allah said: It is not me who have issued the order to close all the doors to Masjid except that of `Ali, to which some of you have protested. By God, I have neither closed nor opened the door of any house. This decree has been issued by God Almighty and I am the one to convey it. Hence, in conveying this decree, I will obey God and will carry out His decree.

Ibn Mughazili in Manaqib has quoted `Adi ibn Thabit as saying: The Messenger of Allah after entering the mosque said to the companions: God Almighty revealed to prophet Moses (a.s): Build for me a pure mosque in which no one but Moses, Aaron, and the children of Aaron will reside. He also revealed to me to build a pure mosque in which no one but me, `Ali, and his children will reside.

Hudhayfah ibn Usayd Ghifari has been reported as saying: When the companions of the Holy Prophet came to Medina, they had no house to live in. Hence, they had made their resting-place in the mosque but the Messenger of Allah barred them from doing so, saying: Mosque is the place of worship. So you must not use it as a place for rest or sleeping, for you may have nocturnal pollution which will undermine its sanctity. Following this order, the companions moved from the mosque and built houses around it based on their need and ability and opened a door to the mosque. The Messenger of Allah in another order, gave Mu`adh ibn Jabal the mission to close the doors opening to the mosque. To this end, Mu`adh went to Abu-Bakr first to convey the message, saying: The Holy Prophet has ordered you to move from the mosque and block the door of your house to the mosque. Abu-Bakr said: I will eagerly accept the Holy Prophet’s order. He immediately blocked the entrance to the mosque and left that place.

Then Mu`adh conveyed the Holy Prophet’s message to `Umar, saying: Block the door of your house opening to the mosque and leave the place. `Umar said: I will obey the Holy Prophet’s order but I wish one of the windows of my house would open to the mosque. Mu`adh conveyed to the Messenger of Allah what `Umar had wished. Then, Mu`adh went to `Uthman when the Holy Prophet’s daughter was in his house and conveyed the message. `Uthman too complied with the Holy Prophet’s order and left the mosque.

Mu`adh’ last message was conveyed to Hamzah who obeyed the Holy Prophet’s message, left the mosque and blocked the door of his house to the mosque. Amid this, `Ali was thinking about whether this order would include him too though the Messenger of Allah had built a house for him among his own houses in the mosque.

But the Messenger of Allah removed any doubt about it by saying: O `Ali, you stay where you are, for you are purified and this order does not include you and your family. When this news reached Hamzah, he said: O Messenger of Allah! I was surprised that you sent all of us out of mosque but you kept only a youth of Bani `Abd al-Muttalib in it. The Holy Prophet said: This was not a decision of my own, for I would not give privilege to anyone if I had to decide. By God, this is a grace God Almighty has bestowed upon `Ali. As for you, I have good news about you. God and His messenger are pleased with you. So be happy. This good news became manifest in the battle of Uhud when Hamzah was martyred. This privilege of `Ali was heavy for some of the companions. So in their gathering, they started to complain and tried to know the reason. Hearing this, the Messenger of Allah rose up among the companions and said: It is heavy for some men to see that I have allowed `Ali to stay in the mosque, and have started to complain about it. By God, sending out some people from mosque and allowing `Ali to remain in the mosque was not on my order. God Almighty revealed to Moses (a.s) and his brother: Build houses for your close relatives, making them Kiblah for them, perform prayer in them. Following this decree, God ordered Moses again not to allow anyone to reside or have sexual intercourse with his wife in that place of worship except Aaron and his progeny. Since `Ali’s position to me is like that of Aaron to Moses, and he is my brother, no one has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife in this place except `Ali and his progeny. The Messenger of Allah further said: If anyone is displeased with this, the way is open for him. Let him go from here to there, pointing with his holy hand toward Syria.

Some Traditions on the Virtues of Imam Ali (AS) 

It is narrated that: 
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "He who wants to see Noah (AS) in his determination, Adam (AS) in his knowledge, Abraham (AS) in his clemency, Moses (AS) in his intelligence and Jesus (AS) in his religious devotion should look at Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS)." 

Sunni references: 
Sahih al-Bayhaqi 
Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in 
Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid, v2, p449 
Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhruddin al-Razi, under the commentary of the Verse of Imprecation (Mubahilah), v2 p288. He wrote this tradition has been accepted as all genuine. 
Ibn Batah has recorded it as a tradition related by Ibn Abbas as is stated in the book "Fat'h al-Mulk al-Ali bi Sihah Hadith-e-Bab-e-Madinat al-Ilm", p34, by Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Siddeeq al-Hasani al-Maghribi. 
Among those who have admitted that Imam Ali (AS) is the store house of the secrets of all the Prophets is the Chief of Gnostics, Muhyiddin al-Arabi, from whom al-Arif al-Sha'rani has copied it in his al-Yawaqeet wa al-Jawahir (p172, topic 32). 

It is also narrated that: 
The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "There is amongst you a person who will fight for the interpretation of the Quran just as I fought for its revelation." The people around him raised their heads and cast inquisitive glances at the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and at one another. Abu Bakr and Umar were there. Abu Bakr inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (PBUH&HF) replied in the negative. Then Umar inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (PBUH&HF), replied "No. He is the one who is repairing my shoes (i.e., Ali)." 
Abu Said Khudri said: Then we went to Ali and conveyed the good news to him. He did not even raise his head and remained as busy as he was, as if he had already heard it from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF)." 

Sunni references: 
al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p122, who said this tradition is genuine based on the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim. 
al-Dhahabi, also records it in his Talkhis al-Mustadrak and admitted that it is genuine according to the standard of the two Shaikhs. 
Khasa'is, by al-Nisa'i, p40 
Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp 32-33 
Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p155 
Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haythami, v9, p133 
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and al-Hakim recorded with authentic document from Abu Said al-Khudri, that the Apostle of God said to Ali: "Verily you will do battle for (implementation of) the Quran, as you has done for its revelation." 

Sunni reference: Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p173 

al-Hakim recorded that Anas Ibn Malik narrated that the Holy Prophet said to Ali: 
" You shall inform my nation about the truth and what they dispute after me": 

Sunni reference: 
al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p112, who wrote this is an authentic Hadith according to the stipulation of the two Shaikhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim). [This would mean that the chain of narrators are considered to be authentic as stipulated by Bukhari and Muslim] 


Imam Ali’s Spiritual Virtues

`Ali’s spiritual virtues are related to faith which is above all virtues, for faith in man will lead him to the eternal blessing of paradise and divine pleasure and he will be rescued from the painful punishment of hell. On polytheism which is the opposite of faith Allah Almighty says: “Surely, Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and He forgives what is besides this to whom He pleases.” (4:16)

Therefore, Imam `Ali (a.s) is far from associating anything with Allah and all Muslims unanimously agree that Imam `Ali (a.s) was a pioneer in faith as compared to other companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a). He was the first among men who believed in Allah and his messenger. He never associated anything with Allah even for a moment nor worshipped any idol.

He is the one who toppled all the idols from Ka`bah when he put his feet on the Holy Prophet’s shoulders and went up to the roof of Ka`bah. 

Reporting ibn Maryam on the authority of Imam `Ali (a.s), Ahmad ibn Hanbal says: The Messenger of Allah and I went to the sacred Mosque. When we reached Ka`bah the Holy Prophet said: Sit down. I sat down. He put his feet on my shoulders so that I will raise him to the roof of Ka`bah. As a result of heaviness of prophethood, I was not able to rise up. Finding me in this position, the Holy Prophet (s.a) took his feet off my shoulders and sat down on the ground. This time, the Holy Prophet ordered me to mount his shoulders. I too obeyed his order. The Holy Prophet raised me in a way I could fly in sky. At that time, I set my foot on the roof of Ka`bah. I found there the statue of an idol made of copper or lead.[31] I shook it in a way it was unseated. The Holy Prophet said: Throw is down. I threw it down in a way that it shattered into pieces. Then, I came down from the roof of Ka`bah, leaving the sacred mosque hurriedly along with the Holy Prophet. When we saw the houses of Mecca, we ran more hastily lest the people of Mecca should see us.[32] 

Al-Tabari, the author of Khasa’is has quoted the prophet (s.a) as saying: The angels sent greeting on me and `Ali for seven years in heaven, for during this period of time no voice except that of `Ali and me was raised to heaven by saying: There is no god but Allah.[33]

In the book, Yawaqit, Abi- `Umar Zahid has quoted Layla Ghifar on the authority of the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: Actually, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib is the first person among people who believed in Islam and the first person whom I will see on the Day of Judgment, the last person to whom I say farewell and trust my last will and testament at deathbed.

Ibn `Abbas has been quoted by Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his book Musnad as saying: The first person who worshipped God with the Holy Prophet after Khadijah was `Ali (a.s).[34]

Salman Farsi has been quoted by Abu’l-Mu’ayyad as saying: I heard from the Messenger of Allah saying: the first person whom I see at the pond is the first man of faith and Islam, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s).[35]

`Amr ibn Maymun has been quoted by Ahmad ibn Hanbal as saying: I was in the presence of Ibn `Abbas when nine groups joined our gathering. They said: We wish to talk to you privately. Either rise up and come along with us or make this gathering private. He said: I will come along with you. This happened when Ibn `Abbas had not lost his sight.

When Ibn `Abbas attended their gathering, they started speaking to him. 
The narrator says: I and those who were in the presence of Ibn `Abbas did not hear their discussion but we saw that Ibn `Abbas who was angry while rising up and putting the dust off his clothes said: Woe to the people who speak ill of a person who has ten marks of distinction among the companions of the Holy Prophet.

Then he said: These people blame a person about whom the Messenger of Allah in Khaybar battle said: I will soon assign to fight them a person who loves God and His messenger and God and His messenger too love him. It was at this time that everyone was curious as to whom this honor would be given. But it was a wishful thinking for all, for the Holy Prophet asked: Where is `Ali? 
They said: He is in the place of the grinding, busy with grinding so as to prepare food for the strugglers. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: Was there no one else to do this job? At any rate, `Ali was informed that the Holy Prophet had sent for him. `Ali came to the Holy Prophet with eyesore in a way he could not see before his feet. The Holy Prophet rubbed his saliva on `Ali’s eyes which cured him immediately. Hoisting the banner of Islam for three times, the Holy Prophet then gave it to `Ali and told him to go ahead. `Ali conquered Khaybar Fort in no time and brought Safiyyah, the daughter of Huyay as a captive to the presence of the Holy Prophet.

When the Holy Prophet (s.a) sent so-and-so (i.e. Abu-Bakr) to read Surah of Bara’ah, he sent `Ali after him to take the mission from him. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: This mission is carried out by none except me or one who is from me.

The Holy Prophet (s.a) asked his cousins: Which one of you in this world and the hereafter will be my follower? They all answered in negative except `Ali who was present in the gathering but silent. All of a sudden, he rose up and said: I will be a follower of you in this world and the hereafter! The Messenger of Allah said: Yes, indeed you will be my friend in this world and the hereafter.

- Ali was the first to embrace Islam after Khadijah.
The Messenger of Allah spread his cloak on `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn and quoted the following holy verse: “Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you, a thorough purifying.” (33:33)

`Ali sacrificed his life for the Messenger of Allah by putting on his clothes and lying in his bed at that night, which is called Laylat al-Mabit when the Holy Prophet left Mecca for Medina secretly away from the eyes of the people of Quraysh. The polytheists were throwing stones at `Ali’s body thinking that it was the Holy Prophet. Abu-Bakr too came and called for the Messenger of Allah. `Ali quietly said: The Holy Prophet is not here. He is heading for Bi’r Maymun. If you hurry, you will reach him. The polytheists kept on throwing stones at `Ali but he wrapped his garment over his head till morning when the polytheists found out that they were throwing stones at a wrong target. They swore at him saying: Whatever stones we threw at him, he did not say anything but was raising his voice. Hence, it was strange for us as to whether it was Muhammad or someone else lying in his bed.

In the battle of Tabuk when the Holy Prophet’s companions were along with him, `Ali said: Will you give me permission to take part in this battle with you? The Holy Prophet (s.a) said, “No.” `Ali was greatly impressed by the Holy Prophet’s unusual answer and started weeping. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: Are you not happy that you are to me like Aaron to Moses, except that you are not a prophet? I do not like to pass away from this world unless you will succeed me.

The Holy Prophet (s.a), on another occasion, said to `Ali, “You are the leader of every believer after me.”

The Messenger of Allah, on the order of Allah, closed all the doors opening to Masjid al-Nabi. The door of `Ali’s house was the only one which remained open. He sometimes entered the mosque while he was in a state of ceremonial impurity, for there was no other way for going and coming.

The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: Whomever I am a master, `Ali is his master.

Ibn `Abbas says: Allah Almighty made us known in the Holy Qur’an that He is pleased with the companions who swore allegiance under that Tree, for “He was Aware of their in depth faith.” Does anyone have any Hadith at hand to the contrary?

`Afif Kindi has been quoted by Ahmad ibn Hanbal as saying: I was a merchant who once went to `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib who was a merchant too to buy goods from him on my way to Hajj. When we were in Mina, a man came out of the camp next to ours looking at the sun. When he saw that the sun was moving towards the west and had passed by the middle of the sky, rose up to perform his prayer. Then I saw a woman coming out of the same camp following the man in his prayer. A young boy came out of the camp and performed prayer with him. Since this scene was strange to me, I asked `Abbas who that man is. He said: It is Muhammad ibn `Abdullah ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, my nephew. I asked who that woman was. He said: His wife, Khadijah, the daughter of Khuwaylid. I asked who that young boy was. He said: `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, his cousin. I asked what that act was. He said: He is praying and believes he is a prophet but no one follows him except this woman and this young boy. He believes he will soon possess the treasures of Caesar and Khosrow and will conquer their territories!

Ibn `Afif, the cousin of Ash`ath ibn Qays, embraced Islam after some time. He used to regretfully say: If I were a Muslim on that day, I would be the second man, after `Ali, who had embraced Islam and I would enjoy the virtue of being a pioneer in Islam.[36]

Zayd ibn Arqam has been quoted as saying: the first person who performed prayer with the Messenger of Allah was `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.[37]

Ahmad ibn Hanbal has related that the Holy Prophet (s.a) said to his daughter, Fatimah: My daughter! I gave you in marriage to one who is a pioneer in Islam among the Ummah, his knowledge is above others and his forbearance is great in hardships. Are you not pleased with this marriage?[38]

Tha`labi in his commentary on the holy verse, “And as for the foremost, the first of the Muhajirs and the Ansar (9:100)” says: Scholars have unanimously believed that the first person who believed in Islam after Khadijah was `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.[39] Abu-Dharr and Salman have been reported as saying: The Messenger of Allah took `Ali’s hand in his hand saying: This is the first person who believed in me. He is a distinguisher between justice and injustice among the Ummah, the leader of the believers, and the first person who will shake hand with me on the Day of Judgment. He is the greater accepter of Islam.[40]

`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib has been quoted as saying: I heard from `Umar ibn Khattab saying to those who blamed `Ali ibn Abi-Talib: Be silent and do not speak ill of `Ali, for I heard from the Messenger of Allah saying: There are three qualities in `Ali and I wish one of them was in me, while one of those qualities alone is more beloved to me that what the sun shines on. The Holy Prophet said this when I, Abu-Bakr, Abu-`Ubaydah Jarrah and a number of the companions were present. Then, the Messenger of Allah put his hand on `Ali’s shoulders and spoke of those three qualities by saying: O `Ali, you are the foremost to Islam and the foremost to faith. Your station to me is like that of Aaron to Moses (a.s). Then he added: O `Ali! One who claims that he loves me but he is your enemy is telling a lie, for love for you is love for me and enmity with you is enmity with me.[41] 
When the Qur’anic verse “And warn your nearest relations” (26:214) was revealed, the Holy Prophet (s.a) gathered `Abd al-Muttalib’s sons numbering forty altogether in Abu-Talib’s house and had a meal of a leg of mutton, one Kilo of wheat and some milk prepared for them whereas the meal of each one of them at one meal was four-year camel and sixteen pounds of milk. This group of people ate from that little food and felt full. This was nothing but a miracle becoming manifest in that gathering. 

After eating the food, the Holy Prophet (s.a) addressing the gathering and declaring his divine mission, said: let it be known to you that God has sent me to you, sons of `Abd al-Muttalib in particular and to other people in general, for He says: “And warn your nearest relations.” I hereby invite you to two formulas which are light on the tongue but heavy and meaningful in action. By uttering these two formulas, you will soon wield the control of affairs of the Arab and non-Arab and various nations will be subdued to you. You will be redeemed from the fire of hell and enter paradise. Those two formulas are bearing witness to the unity of God Almighty and bearing witness to my mission and prophethood.

Anyone of you, who will respond positively and assist me in my mission, will be my brother, my heir and successor after me. From that gathering, even a single person did not give a positive answer. `Ali relates: I who was the youngest in the gathering, rose up saying: O Messenger of Allah, give me the honor of this mission. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: Take your seat and let me see what the others say. The Holy Prophet (s.a) repeated his words for the second time but there was still silence. Once again I rose up expressing my positive response. The Holy Prophet (s.a) again ordered me to sit down. He then repeated his words for the third time. This time too. All kept silent and there was no response. I rose up and expressed my readiness. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: O `Ali, remain in your place. Verily, you are my heir, successor, brother and vizier. When the Holy Prophet (s.a) completed his words, those in the gathering rose up and addressing Abu-Talib mockingly said: Congratulation to you that if you accept the religion of your nephew, your son, `Ali, will be your leader and chief.[42] 

- Knowledge
It is unanimously believed that `Ali was the wisest among the people of his time. All people resorted to him learning from his rational and transmitted science. There are proofs testifying to what we have said:

First: `Ali ibn Abi-Talib was extremely clever and intelligent, having a hunger for knowledge. He was a constant company of the Holy Prophet, from childhood to the day the Messenger of Allah departed from this world, benefiting from the ocean of his knowledge. Evidently, the Holy Prophet (s.a) was superior to all human beings and his knowledge was above all. Naturally such an intelligent and clever student who accompanied such a perfect man and was hungry for knowledge on the one hand and the student’s interest in learning from childhood till the end of his life had made `Ali a student of high capacity who was walking in a path leading to the zenith of perfection on the other.[43]

Second: `Ali’s superiority over the people of his time is that God Almighty has said of him: “… and the retaining ear might retain it” (69:12). Tha`labi, a Sunni commentator, in interpreting the verse says: The Messenger of Allah said to `Ali: I called on God Almighty to make you a true example of this verse.

Abu-Nasir Hafi¨, the Shafi`ite, has related: The Messenger of Allah said to `Ali: God Almighty has ordered me to call you and teach you the knowledge so that you will retain it. The above mentioned verse was revealed on the same occasion. O `Ali, you have the hearing ear and are the retainer of knowledge.[44]

Third: `Ali’s superior knowledge is that the Messenger of Allah said, “`Ali is the most competent among you in relation to judgment.”

Evidently, passing a fair judgment requires an in-depth knowledge and full faith. Since `Ali was the most competent and qualified, his knowledge too was certainly above all.[45]

Bayhaqi quoted `Ali as having said: The Holy Prophet (s.a) gave me the mission to set out to Yemen for passing judgment among them. Being surprised by the order and its referring to me, I said: O Messenger of Allah! Do you assign me a judge while I am still too young not knowing the principles of judgment! The Holy Prophet (s.a) put his hand on my chest, prayed for me and said: O Lord! Guide his hear, make his tongue steadfast in telling the truth. `Ali said: By the God who cleaves a grain in the earth, after this prayer, I did not pass any judgment between two persons in which there was a bit of doubt.[46]

Nasa’i, in his book of Sahih, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, in Musnad, have reported `Ali as saying: When the Messenger of Allah sent me to Yemen for judgment among people and I was very young, I said to the Messenger of Allah: You are sending me to people among whom there are many differences and hostilities in relation to legal problems and I do not have experience in passing legal judgment. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: God Almighty will guide you tongue in telling the truth and will keep your heart steadfast so that you will judge among people without having any doubt.[47]

Fourth: Salman Farsi reports: the Holy Prophet (s.a) has said: The most knowledgeable among my Ummah after me will be `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.[48]

Fifth: The eloquent of Khawarizm and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud have reported the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: Wisdom has been divided into ten parts, none parts of which have been given to `Ali and the people have been given just one part of it.[49] 

Sixth: Tirmidhi has quoted the Holy Prophet as saying: I am the city of knowledge and `Ali is its gate.[50]

Baghawi, in Sihah, has reported the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: I am a collection of wisdom and `Ali is the gate of it.[51]

Ibn `Abbas has quoted the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: I am the city of knowledge and `Ali the gate thereof. Therefore, anyone who wishes to enter it should go through its gate.[52]

Khawarizmi has quoted Ibn `Abbas on the authority of the Holy Prophet: I am the city of wisdom and `Ali is the gate thereof. Therefore, whoever longs for wisdom should enter the city through its gate.[53]

Seventh: Baghawi, in Sihah, has quoted Abil-Hamra' on the authority of the Holy Prophet as saying: Whoever wishes to understand about the knowledge of Adam, the perception of Noah, the piety of John, and the power of Moses, should look at `Ali, for he has all the virtues of these men altogether. 

Bayhaqi has reported that the Holy Prophet (s.a) said: Whoever wishes to find out about Adam’s knowledge, Noah’s piety, Abraham’s friendliness, Moses’ power and Jesus’ worship, should look at `Ali, for he has all these virtues.[54]
In the book of al-Manaqib, the following is recorded: Harith A`war Hamdani has reported that the Holy Prophet who was among his companions says: I will soon show you Adam in his knowledge, Noah in his insight and Abraham in his friendliness. At this time, `Ali joined the Holy Prophet’s companions. Abu-Bakr who was present said: O Messenger of Allah! You have compared a man with three prophets, happy will be this man. Now let us know who this man is. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: Do you not know him? Abu-Bakr said: No, messenger of Allah, for His messenger knows better. The Holy Prophet (s.a) said: That man is `Ali ibn Abi-Talib. Turning approvingly to `Ali, Abu-Bakr said: May you enjoy these virtues. O Abul-Hasan, is there anyone like you who has such a high position?[55]

`Ali has also been quoted as saying: By God, no single verse of the Qur’an was revealed whose occasion and place of revelation I did not know. Virtually, God Almighty has blessed me with an intelligent and knowing heart, and a guidance-seeking and asking tongue.[56]

`Abd al-Rahman Salmi has been reported as saying: By God, in the Quraysh tribe, I did not find anyone as knowledgeable as `Ali in relation to the Holy Qur’an.[57]

Abul-Bukhtari has also been reported as saying: I saw `Ali having the Holy Prophet’s woolen garment on, his turban on the head, his sword fasten to his side, wearing his ring and sitting on the pulpit of Kufah. Exposing his chest, `Ali said: Pose your questions to me before I depart from among you, for there is much knowledge within my chest. Then he emphatically said: This chest is the storage of knowledge and what I say to you is the knowledge I have derived from the mouth of the Holy Prophet (s.a). This knowledge is one which was revealed to the Holy Prophet who fed it to me because of his interest in me, that is to say I enjoyed from that special consciousness without seeing the angel of revelation. If I were given the position of judgment, I would issue religious decrees for the followers of Torah, Gospel, and the Psalms according to their own books in a way that with God’s power, these books would be able to speak to you saying `Ali is speaking truthfully about what we contained and made you aware of. Then, each of those books would blame its followers, saying: Why do you not ponder on and adhere to what you are reading?[58]

On another day, `Ali attended the gathering of people saying: Pose your questions to me before you lose the opportunity when I am not among you. Ask the ways of heavens, for I know them better than those of the earth.[59]

Ahmad ibn Hanbal quoting the Messenger of Allah as saying to Fatimah: My daughter! Are you not pleased[60] for giving you in marriage to the most pioneer among my Ummah, the most knowledgeable of religion and the greatest of them in forbearance?[61]

Ibn `Abbas has quoted the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: Actually nine tenth of knowledge has been bestowed upon `Ali and by God `Ali shares the other one tenth of knowledge with all the people.[62]

`A’ishah has been quoted as saying: `Ali was the most knowledgeable in relation to the Holy Prophet’s tradition.[63]

Ibn `Abbas has been quoted as saying: In one of his sermons `Umar said: `Ali is the most knowledgeable of us in judgment and his insight is above us.[64]

Abu’l-Mu’ayyad, in his book of Manaqib, has reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that `Umar, once, delivered a speech in which he said, “`Ali is the most versed of all of us in judicature.” 

Eighth: `Ali’s scientific supremacy is based on the fact that the fundamentals of all sciences go back to him, for he laid the foundations of religion, expressed the principle rules of Shari`ah and established the rational and transmitted sciences. As for jurisprudence, obviously the very fundamentals of Fiqh are attributed to him, for all the jurisprudents refer to him in problems related to Fiqh. As for attribution of Imamiyyah to `Ali, there is no room for argument, for the scholars and jurisprudents of Imamiyyah have derived their knowledge from `Ali and his infallible progeny. As for Hanafiyyah whose leader is Abu-Yusuf and Muhammad, they have derived their jurisprudence from Abu-Hanifah who is the student of Imam Sadiq who was the student of his father, Imam Baqir who was the student of Imam Sajjad who learnt his knowledge from his father, Imam Husayn and he too from his father, Amir al-Mu’minin.

As for Shafi`ites, they have derived their jurisprudence from Shafi`i and he from Muhammad ibn Hasan, the student of Abu-Hanifah and Malik. Therefore, the knowledge and sect of Shafi`i are attributed to these two persons.

As for Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of Hanbaliyyah sect, he derived his knowledge from al-Shafi`i.

Malik, the founder of the Malikiyyah, benefited from Rabi`at-al-Ra'y who was the student of `Ikrimah and `Ikrimah from Ibn `Abbas who was the student of Amir al-Mu’minin.[65]

As for Khawarij, we should say that their leaders were the student of Imam `Ali.

The founder of syntax is Imam `Ali, too. In this relation, Imam `Ali said to Abu’l-Aswad Du’ali: All words are classified as three things: a noun, a verb or a preposition. The Imam then elaborated on their inflection.

As for the interpretation of the Qur’an (Tafsir), it is unquestionably attributed to Imam `Ali, because Ibn `Abbas was a student of Imam `Ali.[66]

Ibn `Abbas reported: Amir al-Mu’minin kept on speaking to me about the exegesis of the letter “b” in “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” from early night till morning; yet, the interpretation of the letter did not come to an end.

As for theology, beyond doubt `Ali is the founder of this science on which he has elaborated. `Ali used to speak about theology in his sermons delivered to people who, in turn, benefited from it. Scholars too referred to him for solving their scientific problems. Those who tried to learn this science were four groups; namely: Mu`tazilah, Ash`ariyyah, Shi`ah and Khawarij. The attribution of Shi`ism to `Ali is obvious and requires no explanation.

As for Khawarij, their scholars used to refer to Imam `Ali who was an authority for them. 

As for Mu`tazilah, this group is scientifically related to their master, Wasil ibn `Ata', who was the student of Abu-Hashim `Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah. Abu-Hashim was the student of his father and his father was the student of his dignified father, Imam `Ali.

As for Ash`ariyyah, they were the students of Abu’l-Hasan `Ali ibn Abi-Bishr al-`Ash`ari who was the student of Abu-`Ali Al-Jiba’i who was one of the great leaders of Mu`tazilah.[67] 

As for the spiritual path and intuition, all Sufis who have taken this path, attribute the Khirqah and other tools of this science to `Ali saying. So do the followers of futuwwah.[68] The valorous men of the time too have learnt the lesson of courage from `Ali to whom they are indebted, for on the day of battle of Uhud, Archangel Gabriel descended from the heavens crying out: There is no man (fata) more valorous than `Ali and no sword sharper than Dhu’l-Fiqar.[69] Moreover, one day, the Holy Prophet came out with happy mien and said to his companions: I am a valorous man, the son and brother of valorous men. The reason for my being valorous is that I am the master and leader of the Arabs. As for being the son of a valorous father, I am the son of Abraham (a.s), the friend of God, a prophet about whom God has said: “… a young man making mention of them, and he was called Abraham” (21:60). As for being the brother of a valorous man, I am the brother of `Ali about whom Gabriel said: There is no man more valorous than `Ali.[70]

As for eloquence, its founder was `Ali, for he had reached the zenith of this technique. It has been rightly said that `Ali’s words are above the words of all creatures and beneath those of the Creator. All orators have learnt eloquence from him.[71]

Ninth: The Holy Prophet’s companions learnt the principles of religion from `Ali alone, often referred to him for religious decrees and if they were faced with problems they would seek the solution from him alone.

`Ali used to correct wrong judgments passed by `Umar. One example is when `Umar ordered a pregnant woman who had committed adultery to be stoned, but Imam `Ali told him not to execute the sentence. When `Umar asked him for the reason, Imam `Ali said, “If this woman’s sin has been proven and she has to be stoned to death, what is the sin of the infant she has in her womb? 

Therefore, give her respite and delay her punishments, as to give birth to child. Punish this woman when the nursing period comes to an end.” `Umar complied with `Ali’s order saying: If `Ali were not here, `Umar would perish![72]

A woman, no more than six month pregnant was brought to `Umar. He ordered the woman to be stoned to death because of the sin she had committed. `Ali was informed of the affair and stopped his order. `Umar asked for the reason. `Ali said: God Almighty has said: “The bearing of him and the weaning of him was thirty months” (46:15). God Almighty has also said: “And the mothers should suckle their children for two whole years” (2:233). Therefore, if we deduct 24 months which is the period of suckling from thirty months, the remaining six months is the period of bearing. `Umar let that woman go saying: If `Ali were not here, `Umar would be perished.[73]

An insane woman who was pregnant, charged with adultery was brought to `Umar. He immediately ordered to stone her to death! `Ali was informed of the issue. He stopped `Umar saying: Have you not heard what the Messenger of Allah has ordered on this case? `Umar said: What is the order of the Messenger of Allah? `Ali said: The Messenger of Allah said: Several groups of people are exempt from duty; one who is insane till he becomes mentally healthy, another is a child until he reaches maturity, and the last one is one who is asleep until he wakes up. Hearing this, `Umar let the woman go and did not punish her.[74]

One day `Umar in his sermon said: Anyone who sets his daughter’s marriage portion more than what is normal, the excess will be returned to the public treasury! A woman from among those present rose up and objected to this, saying: Why do you deprive us of the blessing God has bestowed on us in the Holy Qur’an? God Almighty has said: “… and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from if anything” (4:20). `Umar expressed regret for what he had uttered, saying: All people are wiser and more familiar with the religious precepts than `Umar, even the women behind the curtain.[75]

A woman charged with adultery was brought to `Umar. He immediately ordered the woman to be stoned to death! `Ali who was present in that place before the execution of the order, said: Stop the order so that the crime will be investigated. Then, he turned to `Umar and said: Is this woman to be stoned to death on your order? `Umar said: Yes. Then, he recounted the woman’s admission of adultery. `Ali said: Perhaps you have been furious to her or you have intimidated her? `Umar said: Yes, the case is so. `Ali said: Have you not heard from the Messenger of Allah saying: Confession with torture is not valid and no punishment is carried out on a person who confesses in this way. Getting confession by intimidation, putting someone in prison, or chaining a person is not valid either. `Umar let that woman go immediately saying: No mother is able to give birth to a person like `Ali. Verily if `Ali were not here, `Umar would be perished.[76]

Abu’l-Mu’ayyad has reported that one day when `Umar was speaking to people, said: What will you do if we will persuade you from good to evil? He repeated this three times but received no answer. At that moment, `Ali rose up from among people, saying: In that case we will make you repent and restore justice. In other words, we will make you take back what you have said. Should you accept it, it will be better. `Umar said: And if I do not repent? `Ali said: We will then behead you with the sword of law. `Umar said: Thanks God, He has set a person among the Ummah who will rightfully guide us from deviations and will show us the right path.[77]

Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab has reported `Umar as having said: O Lord! Do not spare my life in relation to a complicated problem for whose solution `Ali is not alongside me so as to guide me to its solution, for among this Ummah there is no one except `Ali who can solve problems.[78] 

Jabir has quoted `Umar as saying: There were eighteen merits for the Holy Prophet’s companions altogether and thirteen of them belonged solely to `Ali and he shared the other five with us.[79]

Ibn `Abbas has been reported as saying: Knowledge has been divided into six parts. Five parts have been allocated to `Ali and he shares the other part with us too. Nevertheless, he is wiser than all of us in the remaining one part.[80]

There are many narrations on `Ali’s superior knowledge which cannot be counted. 

Tenth: Imam `Ali endeavored to collect the Qur’anic verses more than anyone else after the departure of the Holy Prophet (s.a).

Abul-Mu’ayyad has reported `Ali as saying, “After the departure of the Holy Prophet, I made a vow not to put on my cloak unless I will collect all the Qur’anic verses. As a result, I did not do anything except after doing so due to the great task I had undertaken.” `Ali taught the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an to people and Ibn `Abbas was distinguished among all for learning the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an.

Eleventh: Imam `Ali had amazing merits and scientific perfection. One of the stories told is that two men who were co-travelers came to him. One of them had five loaves of bread and the other had three. They chose a place to sit down, test and have a meal. At this time, a third person came along and ate with them. After having the food, he gave eight Dirhams to them for the food he had eaten and left. The one who had five loaves of bread took five of the eight Dirhams and gave the rest to his co-traveler, but the latter considered this division as unjust and refused to take the three Dirhams. So they started quarreling. Therefore, they came to `Ali and informed him of the issue. Turning to one who had three loaves of bread, Amir al-Mu’minin said: Your co-traveler has been fair to you and has given you more than what you deserve. But the man insisted that he had not been given his due share, saying that the money should be divided equally between them. `Ali said: Now that you do not accept your co-traveler’s share, you must know that what is due to you is not more than one Dirham. The man being surprised said: Why? `Ali said: Each of you have eaten 2⅔ of a loaf of bread from the eight loaves. Therefore, out of three loaves of bread belonging to you has been eaten by the third person and out of the five loaves of bread belonging to your co-traveler, 2⅓ of the bread has been eaten by the third person. Therefore, the price of one third of the bread belonging to you eaten by the third person is no more than one Dirham. Hence what is due to you is only one Dirham.[81]

Another judgment passed by `Ali is about a woman who was riding on the back of another woman. A third woman arrived and prodded the woman who was giving the ride, spurring her to move more quickly. At this time, the woman on the top fell down on the ground and lost her life. `Ali’s judgment was that two thirds of blood money had to be paid by the woman who was giving ride and the woman who had prodded her, for the woman’s death was because of their acts and annulled one third of blood money, for the woman killed had done a futile attempt and there was no compensation for it. This judgment passed at the time of the Holy Prophet (s.a) was approved by him.[82]

One of the other judgments passed by `Ali was about a slave girl jointly owned by two persons who had sexual intercourse with her during the period of purity. The slave girl became pregnant, so the case became dubious for them. As for the child, `Ali drew lot between them. This judgment too was approved by the Holy Prophet (s.a) who raised his hands in prayer, saying: Thanks God who has set among us Ahl al-Bayt a person acting according to the tradition of Prophet David. By David’s tradition, the Holy Prophet (s.a) meant divine inspiration.[83]

Another example of judgment passed by `Ali was when a cow had killed an ass. The owners of the two animals went to Abu-Bakr for judgment informing him of the case. Abu-Bakr said: An animal has killed another animal. So the owner of the killer animal does not have to pay anything! The two persons referred the case to `Umar who passed a judgment similar to that of Abu-Bakr. Then, they informed the case to `Ali who said: If the cow has gone to the place of the ass and has killed it, the owner of the cow has to pay the price of the ass to its owner and if the ass has gone to the place of the cow and it has killed the ass, the owner of the cow does not have to be compensated. Hearing this, the Holy Prophet said: Actually, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib has passed judgment among you based on God’s decree and there is no doubt about this judgment.[84]

One of the other judgments passed by `Ali is about two women who had a dispute over a child each claiming that the child belonged to her. They came to `Ali to offer a solution. `Ali first advised each of them to give up her baseless claim but they both insisted on what they said believing the other party’s claim to be false. To resolve this problem, `Ali ordered Qanbar to bring his sword. The two women said: What is the sword for? `Ali said: I will cut the child into two parts and give a half to each of you. At this point, one of the two women cried out saying: O Amir al-Mu’minin! If you are supposed to cut the child into two parts, I will give up my claim. Give the child to this woman. `Ali found that the child belonged to her and the other woman’s claim was false. Therefore, he gave the child to his true mother and the other woman whose claim was false, took back her word and confessed the truth.[85]

One of the other judgments passed by `Ali is when a building collapsed on a group of people but two young boys survived and each of them claimed that the other was his slave. There was no witness in this relation either. To settle the dispute, they went to `Ali to find a solution for their problem. To discover the truth, `Ali ordered the two young boys to put their heads out of a window. Then he said to Qanbar: cut off the head of the slave. One of the two young boys pulled his head out of the window starting to run away but the other one remained in the same place. The one who had pulled his head out of the window confessed that he was the slave and the other was the master.[86]

Another example of the judgments passed by `Ali is about a man who had drunk wine at the time of Abu-Bakr. The man was brought to Abu-Bakr and admitted that he had drunken wine but he said he did not know that drinking wine was forbidden and it was unlawful, for he said he was living among people for whom drinking wine was lawful. Hearing this, Abu-Bakr was at a loss, not knowing how to carry out the punishment, for the problem was of an unknown nature to him. So he had to inform the problem to `Ali so as to find a solution for it. 

`Ali said: Send with him two trustworthy men to the group of Muhajir and Ansar making them swear by God if there is anyone to whom the verse on the prohibition of drinking wine had been recited or had reported the Holy Prophet as having said anything about this issue or not.

Should anyone bear witness that the wine-drinker knew about the unlawful nature of wine-drinking, give him punishment for wine drinking, otherwise make him repent and let him go, for he has not been aware of the unlawful nature of wine-drinking. Abu-Bakr carried out `Ali’s instruction. When inquiry was made, it was found out that the verse on the prohibition of drinking wine had not been recited to him. Therefore, they made him repent and let him go.[87] 

One of the other reasons for `Ali’s superiority over other companions of the Holy Prophet is that Abu-Bakr was asked a question about the meaning of the word “abban” in “And fruits and herbage” (80:31). He helplessly said: If I say I do know what I really do not know of the book of Allah, which sky shall cast its shade on me and which earth shall give accommodation to me? As a matter of fact, I know the meaning of fakiha (fruits) but I have no idea of what the word “abban” means.

Being informed of what Abu-Bakr had said, `Ali said: Glory be to Allah. He is free from all defects. Did Abu-Bakr not know that the meaning of “abban” was herbage? The reason God has brought this word in His book is to remind His servants that not only He has prepared a provision for men and for cattle but the cattle enjoy a vital material too so that in this way the human life in eating fruits and his physical power in eating the meat of some of the animals are strengthened.[88]

Another story about `Ali’s supreme position is when Abu-Bakr was asked a question about the meaning of kalalah to which he said: I will express my opinion about it. If my feeling is near to the truth, it would be from divine grace and if I make a mistake, it would be from me and Satan. Being informed of this, Amir al-Mu’minin said: there is no room here for expressing one’s feeling. Is he not sure that kalalah is a term sometimes used for a full blood brother and at other times for half-brother?[89]

Another story based on `Ali’s superiority over the other companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a) is that a Jewish scholar came to Abu-Bakr, saying: Are you the caliph who succeeded the prophet of this nation? Abu-Bakr said: Yes! The Jewish scholar said: In Torah, we have it that the successors of the prophets are above their followers. Now, considering that you are the successor of the prophet of this Ummah, tell me where is God, in heaven or on earth? Abu-Bakr said: God is in heaven, placed on the throne. The Jewish scholar said: Therefore, He is not on the earth. In other words, He is in one place and is not in the other place.

Being helpless in answer, Abu-Bakr began to talk roughly to him saying: This saying of yours is that of an atheist. Get away from me or I will have you killed! Being astonished and making fun of Islam, the Jewish scholar left the place. Meeting him on the way, `Ali said: I was informed of what passed between you and Abu-Bakr. The answer to your question is this: We believe that God Almighty is the determiner of all times and places. He is too powerful to be in one place and not in another place or in one time and not in another time. He exists in every place but not in the scope of proximity and His knowledge encompasses all objects. There is nothing outside His prudence and there is no being outside His domination or deprived from His Grace.

I will now inform you of what, one of your books, accepts as truth. Now that you are getting to know the truth, will you accept and believe it? The Jewish scholar said: Yes. `Ali said: Is it not in one of your books that one day when Moses (a.s) was sitting, suddenly an angel appeared to him from the east. Moses (a.s) said: Where do you come from? The angel said: I came from the presence of the Lord of universe. Then another angel came from the west and when Moses (a.s) asked: Where do you come from? The angel said: I came from god Almighty. Another angel came. Again Moses asked his: Where do you come from? He said: From the seventh heaven and from the presence of God Almighty. The fourth angel who came to the presence of Moses (a.s) said: I come from the seventh layer of the earth and from the presence of God Almighty. At this time, Moses (a.s) said: Glory be to God Almighty, for no place is depleting from His existence and no place is nearer to Him than another place. The Jewish scholar confirmed what he heard, saying: What you say is right and there is no doubt in it. I testify that being caliph and successor to the Holy Prophet is your indisputable right but another person has usurped it.[90]

During `Umar’s caliphate, Qudamah ibn Ma¨`un had drunken wine. When the issue was proved, `Umar decided to punish him. In defense of himself, Qudamah said: It is not fair to punish me, for God Almighty says: “On those who believe and do good, there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful of their duty and believe and do good deed” (5:93). Therefore, I am not to be punished for the sin I have committed, for I am careful of my duty and a believer. `Umar gave up punishing him and let him go. Being informed of this affair, `Ali went to `Umar immediately, saying: this verse does not apply to Qudamah, for a man who is careful of his duty does not consider as lawful what is unlawful. If he believed in this verse, he would never commit such an act and would not consider it as a lawful act. Turning to `Umar, `Ali said: Send for him immediately and make him repent so as not to repeat it. If he repented, punish him, for punishment is not annulled with repentance. However, if he insisted on his words, kill him, for in this case he is not a Muslim anymore because of taking distance from the Islamic Ummah.

Being informed of `Ali’s judgment, `Umar decided to carry out the punishment but did not know the extent of punishment. `Ali said: One who drinks wine receives eighty lashes. Commenting on the philosophy behind this issue, `Ali said: One who drinks wine becomes drunk, will say something unfair, and slanders God and the messenger of God. Therefore, he has to be punished. So `Umar gave Qudamah eighty lashes making him give a pledge not to repeat it again.[91]

One of the other fair judgments passed by `Ali was when `Umar was informed that a woman had attended a gathering of strange men flirting with them. So he sent a group to her house to find the fact. Entering the woman’s house, the fact-finding group conveyed `Umar’s message to her. The woman who was shaking with fear left her house along with the caliph’s agents. On the way, she went into labor and aborted the fetus she had in her womb as a result of which it lost its life after a few moments. `Umar called the Holy Prophet’s companions asking about the fate of the dead infant. They unanimously said: As you decided to punish the woman for the wrong she had done, no responsibility is on you! Nevertheless, `Umar was not satisfied with their judgment, turned to `Ali asking: O Abul-Hasan, what is your judgment in this relation? `Ali answered: If this group have expressed their opinion without pondering to make you pleased they have undoubtedly misled you having passed a wrong judgment and if they have pondered on it, they have not thought of the truth of the problem. Now, listen carefully to me to make the case clear to you. The aborted infant has blood money which is on your charge, for it was because of your mistake that the woman aborted her child. `Umar said: By God, among these people, it was you who have passed a fair judgment. Now, do not leave this place before you divide this blood money among Banu-`Adi (`Umar’s tribe) and give it to the heirs of the infant. `Ali divided the blood money among `Umar’s tribe and gave it to the next of kin.[92]

Another example of the judgments passed by `Ali was that an old man married a woman and after some time the woman became pregnant but the man claimed he had not had any intercourse with her saying: This is not my child. This happened under the caliphate of `Uthman. Not knowing how to find the truth, the caliph started to investigate the issue asking the woman: Have you been to bed with your husband and has he deflowered you? The woman said: No. `Uthman ordered to give punishment to the woman. Being informed of this, `Ali denounced the judgment, pursued the case with further precision and said: Perhaps the man has reached her without ingress and his semen has reached her. Therefore, `Ali asked: How was your intercourse? The man said: I came before defloration and my semen reached her vulva. `Ali said: This child belongs to the old man. My judgment is to punish this man for his denial.[93]

One of the other hard cases on which `Ali passed a fair judgment is as follows: A woman gave birth to a son having two heads, two bodies but one flank. This was a quite strange issue for the Holy Prophet’s companions, for they did not know whether this was one man or two men. To remove any ambiguity, they referred to `Ali for the answer. `Ali said: Take his sleeping and awakening into consideration. Wake him up after sleeping. If the two wake up at the same moment, they are one but if one is asleep and the other awake, they are two, hence two shares of inheritance must be given to them.[94]

Another story of `Ali’s judgment concerns a hermaphrodite. To distinguish the sex, `Ali ordered to count the hermaphrodite’s right and left ribs. In this way, `Ali passed a judgment and determined the sex of the creature, saying: It is a male not a female.[95]

One of the other merits of `Ali is his injunctions on rebels and outlaws. The Shafi`ite Imam says: I learnt the injunctions concerning the atheists from the Messenger of Allah and those concerning the rebels and outlaws from `Ali ibn Abi-Talib Abu-Talib.[96] .

Twelfth: Imam `Ali’s superiority over other people is that he challenged the scholars of his time, revealing his superior knowledge asking them to pose to him questions nobody but he could answer. On various occasions, he used to say: Pose to me your questions and receive the answers before I will depart from among you.

Addressing Kumayl ibn Ziyad sorrowfully and pointing with the finger to his chest, `Ali would say: I have stored a great amount of knowledge here. I wish I could find those worthy of receiving this knowledge so that I would make them familiar with these divine mysteries and blessings. This is because I am a proof of God on the earth for people. The earth is never deplete of a leader who propagate divine guidelines among people whether he is seen openly by people in society or he is in hiding out of fear of the oppressors’ tyranny. This appointment of Imam is an indisputable divine tradition, to prevent the evident proofs of God from being put into oblivion.

In his sermons, Imam `Ali used to admonish people by saying: it is incumbent on you to get to know the person about whose knowledge you are sure. The knowledge which was with Adam on his descent and after him, all prophets and the seal of them, prophet Muhammad were blessed with it, gathered in the household of the Messenger of Allah. You people who are not independent of knowledge have to resort to the progeny of the Messenger of Allah and not the others.[97]

`Ali’s Prescience
One of the spiritual merits and superiorities of `Ali was his prescience which has not been related in the history of Islam for the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (s.a).

An example of `Ali’s prescience was that he used to say: Pose your questions to me before I will depart from among you. By God, if you ask me about a hundred deviated groups or a hundred guided groups, I will inform you of their leaders throughout the time till the Day of Judgment. Amid this, a man rose up and mockingly said: If your knowledge is to that extent, tell me how many hairs are there on my face and head. `Ali said: By God, my friend and my beloved, the Messenger of Allah informed me of this question of yours. I can privately tell you that for each hair on your head, there is an angel who will curse you and for each hair on your face there is a Satan who whispers into your heart to do evil. Let it be known to you that in your house, there is a kid (son) who will kill the son of the Messenger of Allah in a not too far future. I would bring up the main reason behind your question if answer to this question did not create a problem. Yet, the reason I will not say more about your question is the same information I gave about you and your cursed son.

At the time the man posed this question, his son was no more than a small child but it was not long before the child became the same commander of the army of Yazid in the events of Karbala’ who killed Imam Husayn.[98] 

One of the other examples of `Ali’s prescience was his words about Talhah and Zubayr when they went to him to get permission to go on the minor Hajj! Reacting to this, `Ali said: By God, you two are not leaving here for performing minor Hajj! In fact, you have not intended to do so. Your main destination is Basrah. But let it be known to you that God will foil their plot and will return their trick to themselves. I will soon gain victory over them. The situation later turned out to be what `Ali had foreseen.[99]

Another example of `Ali’s prescience is when he was holding a session to receive allegiance from people. In that session he said: A thousand-strong crowd (no more, no less) will come to you from Kufah. Ibn `Abbas who was a devoted student and kept everything under watch reports: To speak about the fixed number of a thousand made my heart beat anxiously, saying to myself: If the crowd will turn out to be less or more than a thousand, the blind-hearted hypocrites will start mocking and denying him. For this reason, I started counting newcomers one by one till it came to be 999. The fact that the number of those attending the session was not a thousand brought sadness to me, saying to myself: Can a true leader like `Ali say something wrong. Amid this, I saw a person coming from afar. When he came near, I found out that he was Uways Qarani whose presence made the number perfect.[100]

Another example of `Ali’s prescience was the prophecy of the killing of Dhu’l-Thadyah, the Kharijite to people in the battle of Nahrawan. 

 Searching for Dhu’l-Thadyah’s body after the battle among those killed, `Ali said: By God, I am not telling lie, for he has been killed. Soon, he was found killed among the dead. To assure others, `Ali tore Dhu’l-Thadyah’s shirt on the top exposing swelling on his shoulder looking like a woman breast with a few hairs on it. If this swelling were pulled his shoulder blade would be pulled too and if it were set free, his shoulder blade would go back to its place.

About `Ali’s prescience, Jandab ibn `Abdullah Azdi reports: A horse rider who informed `Ali of the situation in the front, coming to `Ali said: the Khawarij have crossed Nahrawan river. `Ali said: They have not crossed the river yet. The man said: By God, they have crossed it. `Ali said: They have never crossed the river. A second man came, reporting what the first man had said, adding: I saw them crossing the river. Again `Ali said: By God, they have not crossed the river, for all of them except a few will be killed here while referring to their killing place.

 Jandab reports: I took an oath in my heart to be the first one to fight `Ali if what the reporters say is true and to be among `Ali’s army if they are wrong. We then went to the front with `Ali to discover the truth. It was there that I found out what `Ali had said was true, for they had not crossed the river and eventually all of them except a few were killed there.

 Another example of `Ali’s knowledge about things before they happen, is his own martyrdom, saying: By God, this will be dyed, pointing to his beard which was dyed with the blood running from his head.

One of the other examples of `Ali’s prescience was when he said: Juwayriyah ibn Ma`shar would be hanged after amputation of his hands and legs. A short time after this, under the rule of Mu`awiyah, Ziyad ibn Abi- amputated his hands and legs and then hanged him.

Foreseeing the martyrdom of Maytham Tammar, `Ali said: He would be the tenth person killed with a dagger in his side at the door of the house of `Amr ibn Harith and then hanged by a palm tree, pointing the tree to Maytham. Thence, he would come to the tree, performed prayer, to `Amr: As I will be your neighbor, you have to observe good neighborly relations. Soon afterwards, `Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad hanged him by the same tree and had him stricken in his side which led to his martyrdom.

Imam `Ali also foresaw amputation of hands and legs of Rashid Hejri as well as his hanging.[106]

Another example of Imam `Ali’s prescience was foreseeing the martyrdom of his faithful aide, Kumayl ibn Ziyad by Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, the cruel. After not long time since the martyrdom of `Ali, Hajjaj martyred Kumayl and `Ali’s prediction came true.[107]

On another occasion, Imam `Ali foresaw the martyrdom of Qanbar at Hajjaj’s hands, for he had heard these predictions from the Messenger of Allah and he had to inform people of it at a proper time. One day when Hajjaj was sitting among his treacherous collaborators he said: I would like to kill one of the aides of Abu-Turab to get near to God, introduce one to me. They said: One who has been long with Abu-Turab is Qanbar. So he immediately summoned him saying: Give up the faith of Abu-Turab! Qanbar said: Do you know any better faith than that of `Ali? Being helpless to give an answer, Hajjaj said: I have decided to kill you. It is up to you to choose its kind! Qanbar said: I will give you the option. Hajjaj said: Why? Qanbar said: I will kill you the same way you will kill me, for my master, Amir al-Mu’minin had informed me that I would be martyred by a blood-thirsty like you! The blood-sucking Hajjaj immediately ordered to behead Qanbar and the executioner beheaded him. In this way Qanbar went to heaven.

Another example of `Ali’s prescience was that a man came to him saying: I passed by Wadi al-Qira, saw Khalid ibn Arfatah passing away and buried there. O Amir al-Mu’minin, seek forgiveness for him. `Ali said: He has not died and will not die till he will lead the deviated group whose standard bearer is Habib ibn Hammar. At this time, a man sitting there said: O Amir al-Mu’minin, I am a Shi`ite following you. `Ali said: Who are you? He said: Habib ibn Hammar! `Ali said: Beware not to be the standard bearer of that group but I am sure, you will be! You will enter the mosque through this gate, pointing to the gate called Bab al-Fil. When `Ali was martyred, Imam Hasan was poisoned and passed away, when Imam Husayn’s uprising came about and Karbala’ event happened, and `Umar ibn Sa`d was appointed as commander of the army by `Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad and equipped Kufah’s army to fight Imam Husayn, he entrusted the army command to Khalid ibn `Arfatah and made Habib ibn Hammar its standard bearer. The latter entered the mosque from the same gate, i.e., Bab al-Fil, and thence went to Karbala’, taking part in the fight against the son of the Holy Prophet (s.a).[109]

Another occasion which shows Imam `Ali’s prescience was when addressing Bara' ibn `Azib. `Ali said: My son, Husayn will be killed while you are alive but you do not help him. After martyrdom of the master of the martyrs, Bara' said: By God, `Ali informed me of Husayn’s martyrdom. Yes, he was martyred but I did not help him. He expressed regret as long as he lived following the events of Karbala’ for not having helped Imam Husayn.

One of the other examples of `Ali’s prescience is a Hadith reported by Juwayriyah ibn Ma`shar Abdi on the authority of `Ali about Imam Husayn. He has reported: When I was accompanying `Ali on the way to Siffin, when we reached the high lands of Karbala’, `Ali stood in a corner of the army camp, looking right and left, he started weeping. Then, he said: By God, this is their landing place where they are killed. Someone asked: O Amir al-Mu’minin, what is the name of this land? `Ali said: This is the land of Karbala’ and the place of martyrdom of a group who will go to paradise without reckoning. People did not understand what he meant till Imam Husayn and his companions were martyred there.

The last example of `Ali’s prescience is about the building of the city of Baghdad, Abbasid rule, their performance for five hundred and odd years, name of each of them and their fall by Hulagu Khan.

`Allamah Hilli says: My father has related this news and has a few words as to why Mongol did not invade the cities of Hillah and Kufah nor the two holy cities of Najaf and Karbala’, for Mongol did not invade any city without having ruined it and killed its inhabitants. It was for this reason that when Hulagu besieged Baghdad, looting by Mongols had intimidated everyone though Baghdad had not collapsed yet.

When the news of Mongols reached the people of Hillah, they all left their homes for deserts out of fear and a few of them including my late father, Sayyid Majd al-Din ibn Tawus and the great jurisprudent, ibn Abi’l-`Izz who remained in the city. These people gathered in a place, exchanged views on how to save themselves and residents of Hillah and finally decided to write a letter to Hulagu expressing their allegiance to him and assuring him that they would not confront him but were obeying his instructions. They sent the letter to Hulagu through a Persian-speaking man. Having received the letter, Hulagu ordered two men by the names of Tekolm and Aladdin to go to the city of Hillah and convey to the inhabitants of the city the message to the effect that if you obey the sultan, you must rush to meet him. The two men came to the city of Hillah informing people of Sultan’s order but no one dared to take any action or go to Hulagu with them, for they did not know what would finally happen. My father said: If I go to Hulagu by myself and brief him on the affair, there will be no need for the presence of others. Sayyid ibn Tawus and ibn Abi’l-`Izz too approved his decision, saying: You go to Hulagu along with these two agents and convey to him the decision of others. It is well to mention that my father went to meet Hulagu before the conquest of Baghdad and the killing of the last Abbasid caliph.

Receiving my father, Hulagu said: How did you decide to come to me when the end of affairs is not clear, when Caliph’s problem with me is still unresolved, when he may decide to make peace with me and I may leave him to himself and leave this place? My father said: What we have done is based on a narration from our master, Amir al-Mu’minin who has spoken of Baghdad in this way: Al-Zawra' and what will make you comprehend what Al-Zawra’ is? It is a land abounding in Manna trees. Sky-touching buildings will be made there and people turn to it from everywhere. There are abundant treasures in the depth of it persuading its inhabitant to suffer a lot in order to gain it. The sons of `Abbas will turn it into the seat of their rule. They will also turn it into a place of debauchery, oppression, injustice and violation of the rights of the deprived people. The leaders of this city are a group of adulterers, lewd scientists, and treacherous viziers. Their employees are the sons of Persia and Rome. If there is any praiseworthy act, no one will do it and if there is any blameworthy act, they will not forsake it. In that city, men have inclination towards men and women have intercourse with women. Amid this tumult, people of this city will be afflicted with murder and looting by the dominating Turks. Long-lasting moaning and cries will be raised among the residents of this city. What will make you comprehend what the Turks are? They are people with slant eyes, shield-like faces who are iron-clad with no hair on their faces. Their commander is a man with loud voice whose authority is all-encompassing with a great ambition. He will not pass by any city without conquering it. No banner is raised against him without being toppled. Woe to one who is hostile to him. He keeps on seizing all the cities till he conquers everywhere and brings them under his control.

When we heard, read about and saw all these features about you, we found out that you have all these features in you, so we set our hope on you and decided to come to you. Hearing this, Hulagu became extremely pleased and happy. So, he wrote a decree in the name of my father in which he gave amnesty to the residents of Hillah and the nearby cities and never invaded them.

- Ali’s Courage In Battlefields
Muslims unanimously believe that `Ali was the most courageous man after the Holy Prophet (s.a) in the battlefields. `Ali attacked the enemy in such a way that surprised the angels in heaven! 

 Speaking about fighting between `Amr ibn `Abd-Wudd `Amiri and `Ali who eventually killed him, the Holy Prophet (s.a) said: The killing of `Amr by `Ali is better that the worship of Jinn and human beings.

 In the battle of Badr in which many atheists of Quraysh were killed by `Ali, Gabriel was present. All the Muslims heard him saying with a loud voice: There is no man more valorous than `Ali and there is no sword sharper than Dhu’l-Fiqar.

 Ahmad ibn Hanbal has written: Following martyrdom of his father, Hasan ibn `Ali made a speech in which he said: O people, yesterday an honorable man departed from among you and rushed to the hereafter who was unrivaled among the former nations, and the future generations too will fail to comprehend him, for anytime the Holy Prophet (s.a) sent him to a battle, he was accompanied by Gabriel on the right side and by Michael on the left side and he would not return from battlefield until he achieved victory.

 Khawarizmi has reported: `Abdullah ibn `A’ishah quoted his father as saying: Anytime the polytheists looked at `Ali in the battlefield, they would make their last will and testament, for they could see death before their eyes.

Imam `Ali’s situations in this field are too many to be counted. Only through his sword did the religion of Islam raise and achieve maintenance and the wrong diminish and fade away.

In the coming chapter about jihad, we will refer to some of his campaigns.

- Ali’s Piety
It was unanimously believed that `Ali was the most pious man after the Holy Prophet (s.a). He was detached from the world which he had divorced three times. The Holy Prophet (s.a) has been quoted by `Ammar ibn Yasir as saying: O `Ali, God Almighty has adorned you with an ornament which was extremely praiseworthy with Him whereas He has not adorned anyone of His servants with such an adornment. This divine ornament has three stages which are all rooted in you: He detached you from the world; made the world look disgusting to you; and placed the love for the poor in your heart to the extent that they are pleased with your leadership and you are pleased to be followed by them. Happy is one who has the love for you, he is steadfast in following you and practically approves your instructions. Woe is to your enemy and one who denies you. As for your friends and followers, they are your brothers in faith and they will abide in paradise with you. As for your enemies and those who have denied you, God Almighty should place them in the abode of liars.

`Abdullah ibn Abi- al-Hudhayl reports: I saw `Ali wearing a Razi shirt which was such that, if stretched, it would reach the nail of his finger and if let loose, it could hardly reach the elbow.

`Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz reports: Among this Ummah we do not know anyone more pious than `Ali after the Holy Prophet (s.a).

Qubaysah ibn Jabir reports: I have not found anyone more pious than `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.

Suwayd ibn Ghaflah reports: I went to see Imam `Ali while he was in Caliphate’s seat. Before the Imam, there was a bowl of sour yoghourt the smell of which I could feel. A loaf of bread of barley the husk of which I could see was in his hands. The Imam was breaking the dry bread with his hand and when the bread is too hard to be broken by his 

hand, the Imam would break it with his knee and then throw it in the yoghurt. He then asked me to approach him and share him in eating that food. “I am observing fasting,” I apologized. The Imam said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: He whom is prevented by fasting from eating from food that he desired, it will be incumbent upon Allah to feed him from the food of Paradise and serve him from its drink.” At this time, I said to Fiddah, his slave-girl who was standing by him: Don’t you fear Allah for treating this old man as such? Fiddah said: He has asked me not to sieve the flour. `Ali asked: What are you talking about? I told him the story. At this time `Ali said: May my parents be ransom for the one for whom the flour was not sieved, nor did he eat fill bread of wheat for three straight says until he passed away.

One day Imam `Ali (a.s) went to the market, bought a shirt for three Dirhams and wore it. The sleeve of the shirt was not long enough to cover his wrist completely and the shirt itself was not long enough to cover the legs properly. Raising his hand in prayer while wearing it, Imam `Ali said: O Lord, thank you for blessing me with a shirt which both covers my body and gives me splendor among people.

Imam `Ali (a.s) used to say: O yellow gold and white silver! Deceive someone else and set the trap on the way of others.

One day, Imam `Ali who had prepared his special sword for selling went to the market, saying: Who will buy this sword? By God who makes the grain grow in the earth, this sword has long served the Messenger of Allah, removing the dust of sorrow from his holy face. If I could afford to buy one piece of clothes, I would never sell it.

One day, Imam `Ali who was wearing a garment with patches attended a gathering. An ignorant man started blaming him. Imam `Ali said: Wearing this shirt for a leader like me is not blameworthy, for it makes my heart humble on the one hand, and a believer who sees me wearing it will follow me on the other.

One day, Imam `Ali went to the market buying two coarse shirts. He said to Qanbar, his servant: Choose between the two. He chose one and put it on. Putting on the other one, `Ali found that the sleeves were too long, so he cut it short and wore it.

Imam `Ali appointed a man from the tribe of Thaqif as governor of the city of `Akbar, saying to him: Come to me tomorrow after the Noon Prayer. I have a business with you. The man reports: I went to see him the next day. Contrary to what is usual with rulers, I did not find any doorkeeper to stop me at the time of appointment. So I went to the Imam and found him sitting with a clay bowl and a jug of water only. At this time, the Imam ordered to bring him a sealed package. I said to myself: The Imam considers me as trustworthy, so he wants to show me a precious Jewel he has kept hidden from others. Soon, he removed the seal from the package and opened it. Suddenly, my eyes fell on some soft flour of barley and wheat. He poured it into a bowl, added some water to it, ate a little of it and offered the rest to me. To see this scene made me lose my patience, so I said: O Amir al-Mu’minin, it is strange that you are living in a country like Iraq which abounds with so many blessings yet you are living a hard life.

The Imam said: By God, the seal I have put on this package is not because of meanness so that no one will eat with me rather I wish to use it to the extent of my need. I am also afraid that one of my kinsmen may take away some of it and add some delicious food to it and as a result of it add some non-pure food which I do not like. The Imam then warned me against eating a food about which I was doubtful. He further said: Do not eat anything but lawful (Halal) food.