Described as the nafs (soul) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), there are over 100 verses which have been revealed in praise of Imam Ali (as).
Agnomen: Abu. 'l-Hasan
Father's name: Abu Talib ibn `Abd al-Muttalib
Mother's name: Fatimah bint Asad
Birth: In the Holy Ka'bah in Mecca on Friday, 13th Rajab 23 BH
Death: Died at the age of 63, in Kufah on 21st Ramadan 40 AH whilst in sujood (prostration) of Fajr prayer
"Knowledge is the enlivener of the soul, the illuminator of the intellect and the annihilator of ignorance." - Imam Ali (as) [Ghurar Al-Hikam]
`Ali was born within the Ka'bah with his eyes closed and his body in humble prostration before the Almighty. Fatimah stayed in the Ka'bah for three days and as the fourth day approached she stepped out, carrying her gem in her arms. To her great surprise, she found the Holy Prophet waiting to receive the newly-born child in his anxious arms. Imamate feeling the subtle touch of prophethood, Ali opened his eyes and saluted the Divine Prophet: "Asalamu alayka ya Rasula'llah" (Peace be on you, O Messenger of Allah).
Always with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Ten years in the company of the Holy Prophet had kept him so close and inseparable, that he was one with him in character, knowledge, self-sacrifice, forbearance, bravery, kindness, generosity, oratory and eloquence.
From his very infancy, he prostrated before God along with the Holy Prophet. As he himself said: "I was the first to pray to God along with the Holy Prophet."
Under Divine instruction, the Apostle of Allah married his beloved daughter Fatimah to Ali, though others vainly tried for her hand.
Among their children, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum have left their marks on the history of the world.
After the death of Hadrat Fatimah, `Ali married Ummu1-Banin. `Abbas was born out of this wedlock and was so handsome that, he was fondly called Qamar Banu Hashim. He personified loyalty and bravery and proved it in the battlefield at Karbala'.
In Mecca, life for the believers and the Apostle became unbearable owing to the cruelties and persecution of the unbelievers; so the Holy Prophet decided to emigrate to Medina.
On the night of his departure from Mecca, the Holy Prophet asked `Ali to sleep in his place on his bed, so he could leave for Medina without the unbelievers having any knowledge of his absence. Though 'Ali knew that the house was surrounded with forty armed enemies, he dauntlessly slept the whole night and said that he had never slept better. The Holy Prophet reached Medina safely and soon after, `Ali joined the Apostle at Medina.
'Ali executed every order, command and injunction of the Holy Qur'an and the Apostle, as it should be done and none was his equal.
The idolaters of Mecca would not allow Islam to grow and spread in peace. Abu Sufyan, the chieftain of the Umayyad tribe, a bitter enemy of the Holy Prophet and Islam marched to Medina at the head of one-thousand well-armed and trained fighters with the intention of killing the Apostle of Allah and the believers.
The Holy Prophet collected his small band of three-hundred and thirteen faithful followers. The defence was made up of ill-equipped fighters, including young boys and old men. Instead of waiting for the attackers, the Prophet decided to meet them at a little distance from Medina at a place called Badr (150 Km from Medina).
The fighting was fast and furious and the unbelievers were defeated. `Ali made a name for himself for his bravery. It was his sword that routed the enemy.
Next year Abu Sufyan came again with 10,000 men. The Prophet met him at Uhud with a 1,000 believers who were posted at various strategic places of defence. A few Muslims were given specific instruction not to leave their position, no matter what happened.
The battle began and with the help of Allah, the believers inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, who began to flee. In spite of the strict instructions of the Holy Prophet, a few Muslims deserted their post and ran after the enemy to loot.
Khalid ibn al-Walid, one of the officers of Abu Sufyan, seeing the position occupied by Muslims undefended, attacked the believers. Many believers were killed including Hamzah, the brave uncle of the Prophet and winning fight began to become a losing one. `Ali came to the rescue (of the life of the Prophet) and beat off the attack.
After Hamzah and Ja'far, 'Ali was the flag bearer of Islam. Ali was the only commander of the Holy Prophet during his life and no other person was given the command of the Prophet's armies in the battles in which the Holy Prophet was himself taking part.
The wife of Abu Sufyan, cut open the liver of Hamzah and drank his blood. Then she made a necklace of the ears and noses of the martyrs and wore it round her neck.
When the Muslims returned to Medina to weep and mourn for their dead, the Apostle ordered that the mourning of Hamzah be observed before the mourning of their own dead.
The battle of Khandaq took place because Abu Sufyan collected many infidel tribes against the Prophet and invaded Medina. To make Medina safe the Prophet ordered a trench (Khandaq) to be dug around a part of the City, and therefore this battle is called the Battle of the Trench. In this battle the enemy warrior Amr ibn `Abdawad challenged the Muslims to a single combat. All the companions of the Prophet were present, yet none stirred except `Ali. But Muhammad restrained him. The challenge was repeated for the second time, even then no one moved to accept it but Ali. Again the Apostle stopped him. When they were challenged for the third time and again there was a silence from all, and again 'Ali offered to face `Amr, the Prophet gave him the permission. The Lion of Allah jumped to the battlefield and accepted the challenge.
The Holy Prophet of Islam said: Total Iman(faith) is now going to fight total kufr (disbelief) and one stroke of Ali's sword is better than all the prayers and worship of those in heaven and earth.
'Ali with one stroke of his sword, Dhu1-Faqar, killed the warrior. In the general encounter the enemy was defeated.
The Jews of Khaybar breached their agreement with the Prophet and started harassing and killing the Muslims. An army led by the Apostle surrounded the fortresses of Khaybar. `Ali was at Medina because of pain in his eyes.
For many days, the Muslims attacked the fort but were unsuccessful. After some days the Holy Prophet declared: Tomorrow, I will give the flag to one who will not run away. He will attack repeatedly and Allah will crown him with victory. Allah and the Apostle are his friends and he is their friend.
Next morning soon after prayers, a horseman came galloping, a cloud of dust flying behind him. It was `Ali and when he dismounted, Muhammad asked him about his eyes. When 'Ali said that they were still paining, the Prophet applied his saliva. The pain vanished and `Ali said that his vision had never been better.
Muhammad gave the flag of Islam to Ali and prayed for him. 'Ali dauntlessly marched to the fort. Marhab, the brave enemy warrior, came out to meet 'Ali in a single combat. According to the Arab custom, Marhab talked of his deeds of bravery and said that his mother called him Marhab (frightful). 'Ali retorted that his mother called him Haydar (Furious Lion). 'Ali cut Marhab into two pieces and the fort of Khaybar was conquered by Yadu'llah (Ali).
At Hudaybiyyah, Ali was asked by the Holy Prophet to draft and write the peace treaty.
On the occasion of Mubahilah with the Christians of Najran, the Holy Prophet asked 'Ali to give them the terms of settlement.
'Ali is the founder of the land revenue system which protected the rights of the tillers of the soil. He gave the world this system, for it was unknown before.
`Ali is the father of the Arabic Grammar. He gave the language its grammar.
The Chapter of Repentance (al-Bara'ah or at-Tawbah) had to be recited to the people of Mecca, Abu Bakr offered to do so and started on his way. The angel Gabriel came with a message from God, asking the Prophet to recall Abu Bakr and to go himself or to send a person like him. As the Holy Prophet could not go, he decided to send 'Ali and `Ali represented the Holy Prophet to carry this Chapter to the Quraysh.