Hazrat Ali Radiallahu Anhu – Biography
Ameer al-Momineen, Asadullahil Ghalib, Haidar-e-Karaar Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali al-Murtuda Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anhu
Ameer al-Momineen, Asadullahil Ghalib, Haidar-e-Karaar, Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali al-Murtuda (may Allah be pleased with him) holds a significant position in the Silsila Aaliyah Qaadiriyah Barakaatiyah Razaviyyah Nooriyah as the second Imam.
His blessed name is Ali, and he is known as Abul Hassan and Abu Turab. He is also honored with the titles of Murtuda, Asadullah, and Haidar-e-Karraar.
His father was Abu Talib, and his grandfather was Abdul Mutallib. Abu Talib was the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
His mother’s name was Fatima bint Asad, who belonged to the Banu Hashim clan, a branch of the Quraysh tribe. When she passed away, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) personally conducted her funeral and used his blessed Kurta (long shirt) as her shroud. He prepared her grave and even lay down in it before her burial, ensuring her comfort and adorning her with the garments of Paradise.
Even during his time in the womb, miraculous events took place. His mother reported seeing bright individuals in her dreams, who gave her glad tidings. She also experienced discomfort when attempting to prostrate before idols, preventing her from bowing down to any idol.
Hadrat Ali Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anhu was born on a Friday. The exact date is mentioned differently in narrations, with some stating the 13th of Muharram and others mentioning the 13th of Rajab. His birth occurred 30 years after the incident of the Elephant (known as the Year of the Elephant). Notably, he was born inside the Holy Kaaba, making him the first and only person to have such an honor.
When Hadrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was born, he did not drink milk for three days, causing great sadness in the household. Upon hearing about this, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) arrived, took Hadrat Ali in his blessed arms, and showed immense love to him. The Prophet then placed his tongue in the mouth of Hadrat Ali, who suckled on the tongue of the Prophet and began to drink milk.
At the age of five, Hadrat Ali was kept by the Prophet Muhammad in his blessed home and was taken care of until he reached ten years old.
Hadrat Ali had remarkable physical features. He had a strong and well-built physique, though he was not very tall. He had a tan complexion and was exceptionally handsome. His face was radiant like the full moon, and he had large, shining black eyes. His shoulders were broad and resembled those of a lion. He had a long and full beard, and his body was muscular, covered in abundant hair. His hands and wrists were strong and firm, and his grip was so powerful that it would leave a person breathless. His thighs and legs were also robust and sturdy. He walked swiftly, emulating the manner of the Prophet Muhammad. He possessed such good health that he could wear summer clothes in winter and vice versa.
Regarding his lineage, Hadrat Ali was the son of Abu Talib, the grandson of Abdul Mutalib, and descended from a noble ancestry, going back to Kinana.
Hadrat Ali embraced Islam at the invitation of the Prophet Muhammad. Allah commanded the Prophet to propagate Islam among his family and correct their beliefs and behavior. Hadrat Ali was among the first to accept Islam, being the first among the youth (children) to do so.
His excellence and virtues were numerous. Allama Ibn Hajar Makki writes that Hadrat Ali’s knowledge was vast, and he was deeply connected to Allah. He was firm in matters of faith, spoke words of righteousness, and distinguished between right and wrong. His decisions were always just. He had no desire for the worldly pomp and splendor. The night and its silence were dear to him, and he would often cry in fear of Allah and engage in deep contemplation. He was quick to assist others, always restraining his own desires. He preferred wearing thick clothing and would eat any food that was available, not giving preference to taste. Despite his high status, when among people, he seemed like one of them and did not emphasize his position. Whenever someone called him, he would respond. Despite his humility, people were often afraid to approach him. He respected those inclined towards religious matters and befriended the poor and needy. Even if someone famous was guilty, they knew Hadrat Ali would not compromise justice. The weak did not fear that he would look down upon them due to their weaknesses.
Zar’raar then solemnly swore an oath and recounted a scene he witnessed. He described how, when it was dark and even the stars were hidden, he saw Hadrat Ali standing on the pulpit, firmly holding his beard. Hadrat Ali was in a state as if he had been bitten by a snake, weeping and calling upon Allah. He addressed the materialistic world, telling it to stay away from him, as he had divorced it irrevocably. He expressed his sadness and spent his time weeping in fear of Allah.
Upon hearing this account, Hadrat Ameer Muawiyah began to weep so intensely that tears flowed down to his beard, and he could not control his weeping until he wiped his tears with his sleeves. The entire gathering also wept. Hadrat Ameer Muawiyah, while weeping, acknowledged the truth of Hadrat Ali’s description, saying, “May Allah have mercy on Hadrat Ali. I swear by Allah, he was exactly as you have described.”
Hadrat Ali, as the fourth Khalifa of the Prophet Muhammad, holds a highly esteemed position. Numerous great scholars and the verses of the Quran and Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad have praised him. Hadrat Imam Muhammad Ghazzali wrote in his work “Ihyaa al-Uloom” that on the night of the Hijra (migration), while Hadrat Ali was asleep in the blessed bed of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah sent revelation (wahi) to Hadrat Jibraeel and Hadrat Mikaeel, saying, “I have made both of you brothers to each other, and I have granted one of you a longer lifespan than the other. Will any of you offer part of your lifespan to the other?”
Neither of them responded. Allah said, “Neither of you represents the example of Ali. I have made him the brother of My beloved Prophet. Look, he is asleep in the bed of his brother and is willing to sacrifice his life for him. Both of you go to the Earth and protect him from his enemies.” Hadrat Jibraeel descended and stood at the head side of Hadrat Ali, while Hadrat Israfeel stood at his feet, guarding him throughout the night. It was on this occasion that Allah revealed the verse, “And among men, is one who sells his own self seeking the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is full of kindness to His servants” (Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:207).
Hadrat Ali then obtained three portions of flour on credit from a jew named Sham’oon. He gave one portion to Bibi Fatima, who made five breads with the flour. As Iftar time approached and they were about to eat, a beggar came to their door and greeted them, saying, “Peace be upon you, O Ahle Bait (family) of the Prophet. I am a poor Muslim among the poor Muslims. Please feed me something, and Allah will feed you from the bounties of Paradise.” Upon hearing this, all of them gave their bread to the beggar, and they only drank water to break their fast. The same situation repeated on the second and third day, with needy individuals appearing at their door during Iftar, and each time, they selflessly gave away their share of food.
In the morning, Hadrat Ali took Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain to visit the Prophet Muhammad. When the Prophet saw how weak the children were, he went to Bibi Fatima and observed her weakened state. This saddened the Prophet deeply. It was at that moment that Hadrat Jibraeel (Gabriel) descended with the verse from the Quran, “And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive” (Quran, Surah Al-Insan, 76:8).
This verse from the Holy Quran was also revealed in praise of Hadrat Ali, “Those who spend their wealth [in Allah’s cause] by night and by day, secretly and publicly, will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve” (Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:274).
Hadrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) states that Hadrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) had only four dirhams with him. He would distribute one dirham in charity at night and one during the day. He would give one dirham discreetly and another openly. It was upon this act of generosity that the aforementioned verse of the Quran was revealed.
Hadrat Dharr bin Hubaish (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that Hadrat Ali said, “I swear by the name of the One who caused a tree to grow from a seedling and who created life, that the Prophet Muhammad said to me, ‘O Ali! Only a true believer will have genuine love for you, and anyone who harbors enmity towards you is a hypocrite.'”
Hadrat Imran bin Hasin (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet Muhammad said, “Ali is mine and I am his, and he is beloved to all the believers.”
Hadrat Sahl ibn Saad (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates an incident from the day of the Battle of Khaibar. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Tomorrow, I will give this flag to the person through whom Allah will grant us victory. That person loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah and His Messenger love him.” The next morning, all the companions of the Prophet eagerly gathered, hoping to be chosen as the flagbearer. However, the Prophet asked, “Where is Ali bin Abi Talib?” It was mentioned that his eyes were infected. The Prophet called for him, applied his blessed saliva to his eyes, and they were instantly healed. The Prophet then entrusted him with the flag.
Hadrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) exemplified a beautiful character throughout his life. Despite his exalted status, he never displayed arrogance or superiority. He lived a simple and humble life, even engaging in household chores. It was not uncommon to see him sewing patches on his torn clothing. Even during the command of the Prophet Muhammad to dig a trench, Hadrat Ali worked like an ordinary laborer.
His kindness and generosity were remarkable. He never caused harm to anyone, and even when someone made a mistake, he would patiently and lovingly explain to them. Hadrat Abu Dhar Ghaffari (may Allah be pleased with him) described Hadrat Ali as highly exalted, brave, truthful, soft-hearted, and kind. He had an immense desire to help the poor, and he would travel long distances to assist the sick, elderly, poor, orphans, and the downtrodden.
Hadrat Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) affirmed that Hadrat Ali was the bravest among the people, earning him the title “Ashja’un Naas” (the bravest of people). Volumes can be written solely on his acts of bravery. During the Battle of Khaibar, the shield of Hadrat Ali was damaged. In his fervor for the love of Allah and His Messenger, he uprooted the door of the fortress of Khaibar with his bare hands and used it as a shield. After the battle, even forty strong men together could not move the door from where Hadrat Ali had placed it.
The people of Madinah Munawwarah pledged their allegiance to Hadrat Ali, and his caliphate lasted for 4 years, 8 months, and 9 days. He acquired vast knowledge from the holy court of the Prophet Muhammad. Hadrat Ali declared, “Ask me whatever you wish from the Quran. There is no verse that I am not aware of. I even know whether it was revealed during the day or night, and whether it was revealed on soft or mountainous land.”
Hadrat Ali narrated 586 Hadiths (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad. His knowledge, wisdom, and judgments were highly regarded, with Hadrat Umar al-Farooq stating, “The best judge among all the companions is Hadrat Ali.” Hadrat Saeed ibn Habeeb said, “There was no person in Madinah Munawwarah except Hadrat Ali who could confidently say, ‘Ask me anything you want to know.'”
Hadrat Abdullah ibn Mas’ood also acknowledged Hadrat Ali’s superior knowledge, stating, “None has more knowledge of the obligations (Fara’idh) than Ali, and none has a greater understanding.” Hadrat Ali himself mentioned that if he were to compile a commentary on Surah Al-Fatiha alone, it would fill 40 camels with books.
LOVE FOR HADRAT ALI: The scholars have recorded that Hadrat Ali al-Murtuda (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet Muhammad said the following about me: ‘You have a special connection with Hadrat Esa (Jesus). The Jews harbored such intense hatred towards him that they even accused his honorable mother, Bibi Maryam, while the Christians exceeded the limits of love for him by (Allah forbid) calling him the son of Allah. Beware, for a similar situation will arise with you. There will be two groups: one group will hold you in such high regard out of love that they will transgress the limits, and the other group will dislike you and make accusations against you.'”
From these blessed words, it becomes evident that both the Kharijis and the Shia sects are misled, while the true followers are the Ahle Sunnat wa al-Jama’at (the Sunni Muslims) who exhibit profound love for Sayyiduna Ali while maintaining the boundaries of Islamic teachings.
HIS POETRY: Among the Arabs, renowned for their eloquence and mastery of language, Hadrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was also a distinguished poet. He composed poems praising Allah and numerous verses eulogizing the Prophet Muhammad, which can be found in historical and Seerah books. Here are a few stanzas from his poems for seeking blessings:
Radeena Qismatal Jabaari feena
Lana ilmuw wa lil Juhhaali Maalu
“We are pleased with the portion our Lord has allotted,
That He blessed me with knowledge while the ignorant possess wealth.”
Li Annal Maala Yufni Anqareebin
wa Innal ilma Yabqaa Laa Yazaalu
“For wealth will soon diminish and come to an end,
But knowledge will remain, for it knows no limits.”
WIVES AND CHILDREN: There are various opinions among scholars regarding the wives of Hadrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and the number of wives he had. His first wife was Bibi Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her), the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. He was not allowed to remarry as long as she was in his Nikah (marriage contract). His second wife was Bibi Umama, the granddaughter of the Prophet and the daughter of Sayyida Zainab (may Allah be pleased with them). He married her based on the request of Bibi Fatima before her passing. His third wife was Hadrat Asma bint Umais, who was previously married to his brother Hadrat Jaafar Tayyar. After Jaafar’s demise, she married Hadrat Abu Bakr and, after his demise, she entered into Nikah with Hadrat Ali. His fourth wife was Hadrat Khaula bint Jaafar bin Qais. His fifth wife was Umm al-Baneen. His sixth wife was Umme Habeeb bint Rabiaa. His seventh wife was Sayyida Laila bint Mas’ood. His eighth wife was Umme Sa’ad bint Urwah, and the name of his ninth wife is unknown. There are various narrations regarding the number of his children. Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan mentioned twelve sons and nine daughters, while Allama Muhammad Mia mentioned 18 sons and 18 daughters.
INCIDENTS RELATING TO HIS SHAHAADAT: The martyrdom of Hadrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was a deeply tragic event in the history of Islam. Three Kharijites, Abdur Rahman bin Muljim, Bark bin Abdullah Tameemi, and Amr bin Bukair Tameemi, conspired to assassinate Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Ameer Muawiyah, and Hadrat Amr ibn al-A’as (may Allah be pleased with them all) on the same day. These traitors planned to attack these noble companions on the 17th of Ramadan, 40 Hijri. Bark traveled to Syria and attacked Hadrat Ameer Muawiyah, who was injured but not martyred. Bark was captured, and although his hands and feet were severed, he was eventually set free. Amr bin Bakeer went to Egypt to kill Hadrat Amr ibn al-‘Aas. On that day, Hadrat Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) was unwell and appointed Sahl Aamiri or Khaarija to lead the prayer. Mistaking him for Hadrat Amr, Ibn Bukair attacked and killed him. Ibn Bukair was subsequently captured, brought before Hadrat Amr, and executed.
Early that morning, Hadrat Ali awoke and informed Hadrat Imam Hussain that he had dreamt of the Prophet Muhammad. He said, “I expressed my dissatisfaction to the Prophet, saying that I had not found comfort in his Ummah. The Prophet advised me to curse the tyrants, and I supplicated, ‘O Allah! Take me away from these people and replace me with someone who will be a source of great hardship for them.'”
While Hadrat Ali was still conversing with Hadrat Imam Hasan, the Muazzin announced the time for prayer. Hadrat Ali walked towards the Masjid for Salah, and as he entered, Ibn Muljim attacked him from behind a pillar, striking him on his blessed face with a poisoned sword. The people in the Masjid apprehended Ibn Muljim and brought him before Hadrat Ali. Hadrat Ali commanded, “Imprison him, but provide him with a comfortable bed and good food. If I survive, I will decide whether to forgive him or seek retribution. If I pass away, then execute him as well.”
Hadrat Ali passed away on the 21st of Ramadan due to the severe injury inflicted upon him. He was 63 years old at the time.
HIS FINAL ADVICE: Before his passing, he called Hadrat Imam Hasan and Hadrat Imam Hussain and advised them, saying, “I counsel you to remain pious and not to desire worldly possessions, even if the world desires them for you. If you lose any worldly possession, do not grieve over it. Show mercy to orphans and assist the weak.” He then turned to his son, Hadrat Muhammad bin Hanafiyyah, and imparted the same advice. Finally, he recited the Kalima (testimony of faith), and his soul ascended from this earthly realm to the heights of the hereafter. Inna Lillaahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji’oon! (Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return!)
GHUSL AND KAFFAN: Hadrat Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain, and Abdullah ibn Jaa’far performed the ritual washing (ghusl) of his body and shrouded him in three pieces of cloth as his kaffan. Hadrat Imam Hasan led the funeral prayer.
MAZAAR-E-PAAK: There are numerous narrations regarding the location of his blessed grave, but the most famous narration places it in Najf Ashraf, Iraq. The shrine of Sayyiduna Ali is venerated in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.
THE AQIDA OF THE AHL AS-SUNNAH WA AL-JAMA’AH: Hadrat Ali was endowed with many noble qualities and virtues. It is the belief of Ahle Sunnat wa al-Jama’ah (the Sunni Muslims) that Hadrat Ali is the fourth Khalifa of Islam, a belief that the Shia sect rejects and thus opposes the other Khulafa. The Shia belief regarding Khilafat and other related matters is considered to be completely deviant. Therefore, it is essential for the Ahle Sunnat wa al-Jama’ah to distance themselves from the Shia sect and avoid any association with them. The great Imam Abu Hanifa, Sayyidina Nau’man bin Thaabit, said, “The most exalted individuals after the Prophet Muhammad are Abu Bakr, followed by Umar, Uthman, and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all).”
Dar Qutni recorded in his Sunan that Sayyiduna Ali said, “Whoever claims that I (Ali) am superior to Abu Bakr and Umar, I will punish him according to the punishment of a slanderer.” The same narration is also found in the well-known Shia book Rijal-e-Kashi.
The son of Hadrat Ali, Imam Muhammad bin Hanafiyyah, narrated, “I asked my father who was the best person after the Holy Prophet, and he answered, ‘Abu Bakr.’ I then asked him who was the best person after Abu Bakr, and he replied, ‘Umar'” (Sahih Bukhari).
Hadrat Abdullah bin Salma reported from Hadrat Ali, “After the Noble Messenger, the best person is Abu Bakr, and then the best person after Abu Bakr is Umar” (Sunan Ibn Majah).
Hadrat Imam Jalal al-Din Suyooti recorded that Sayyiduna Ali said, “The most exalted individuals after the Prophet Muhammad are Abu Bakr and Umar. A true believer cannot harbor love and hatred for Abu Bakr and Umar simultaneously” (Tarikh al-Khulafa).
Sayyiduna Ghaus al-A’zam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said, “The belief of Ahle Sunnat wa al-Jama’ah is that the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad is the greatest of all nations, and among this Ummah, the greatest are the Asharah al-Mubasharah (the ten companions promised Paradise). These ten individuals are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Talha, Zubair, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Sa’ad, Sa’eed, and Abu Ubaidah Al Jarah (may Allah be pleased with them all). Among these ten, the most exalted are the Khulafa ar-Raashideen (the rightly guided caliphs), with Abu Bakr as-Siddique being the most esteemed, followed by Umar al-Farooq, Uthman al-Ghani, and Ali al-Murtuda (may Allah be pleased with them all).”