One of the divine gifts received by Ali through the Holy Prophet
was a sealed book brought by Gabriel. The great scholar and historian,
Allama Abu'l-Hasan Ali Bin al-Husain Mas'ud, who is respected
by both sects, writes in his Isbatu'l-Wasiyya: "Gabriel and
the trusted angels brought from Allah Almighty a sealed book to
the Holy Prophet and said to him: 'All those present there with
you except your wasi (successor) should leave so that I may give
you the Kitab-e-Wasiyya (the book of the last testament).'
Then the Holy Prophet ordered all those present there to leave
except Amiru'l-Mu'minin, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain. Gabriel said:
'O Prophet! Allah sends His salaam to you and says that this is
the document in which He has made you a promise and has made His
angels witnesses to it and that He Himself is witness to it.'
Then the Holy Prophet began to tremble and said: 'Salaam (salutation)
is He, and salutation is from Him, and salutation returns to Him.'
Taking the book from Gabriel he read it and gave it to Ali. The
Holy Prophet said: 'This is a promise and trust from my Lord to
me. Verily, I have performed my duty and have delivered Allah's
Amiru'l-Mu'minin said: 'May my mother and father sacrifice their
lives for you! I also bear witness to the truth of this message.
My ears, eyes, flesh, and blood bear testimony to it.'
The Holy Prophet said to Ali: 'Here is my will from the side of
Allah. Accept it and be a guarantor for it before Allah. It is
for me to fulfill my duty.' Ali said: 'I shall be a guarantor
for it, and it is for Allah to help me.'
In this book Amiru'l-Mu'minin has been asked to fulfill the following
'To be friendly with Allah's friends; to be hostile to Allah's
enemies. To have patience with oppression; to patiently endure
and pacify anger when his rights are usurped, when he is abused,
and when he is unjustly attacked.'
The Amiru'l-Mu'minin said: 'I accept it, and I am content with
it. If indignity is shown to me, if hadith are rejected, if the
ordinances of the Holy Qur'an are set at naught, if the Ka'ba
is razed to the ground, and if my beard is colored with the blood
of my head, even then I will endure and be patient.'
After that Gabriel, Michael, and the other close angels were declared
witnesses of Amiru'l-Mu'minin. Similarly, Hasan, Husain, and Fatima
were also entrusted with the same responsibility. The problems
and conditions that they had to face were told to each in detail.
After that the testament was sealed with a raw gold stamp and
given to Ali. The testament contains hadith of Allah Almighty,
the hadith of the Holy Prophet, the opposition of those who oppose
and change divine ordinances and all the events and calamities
that occurred after the Holy Prophet.
And this is what Allah says: 'And everything have We secured in
a Manifest Imam (Guide, i.e. Ali).' (36:12)"
In short, the Holy Prophet transmitted his knowledge to Ali and
Ali's descendants, the infallible Imams. Had it been otherwise
the Holy Prophet would not have called Ali the "gate of knowledge"
and would not have said: "If you want to take advantage of
my knowledge, go to Ali's door."
If the Holy Imam had not possessed all of the Holy Prophet's knowledge,
he would not have declared before all friends and enemies: "
Ask me whatever you like before I die and leave you."
No one else except Ali ever claimed this merit for himself. When
others who claimed to possess knowledge were questioned about
known and unknown facts, they were put to shame.
Hafiz Ibn Abdu'l-Barr Maghribi Andalusi in his Isti'ab fi Ma'rifati'l-Ashab
said, "Whoever uttered the words 'Ask me before I die and
leave you' was a liar, except Ali Bin Abi Talib." Abdu'l-Abbas
Ahmad Ibn Khallikan Shafi'i in his Wafaya and Katib-e-Baghdadi
in his Ta'rikh, v. 13, p.163, report that one day Maqatil Bin
Sulayman, who was one of the distinguished ulema, renowned for
his ability to answer difficult questions quickly, declared before
a public gathering: "Ask me about anything below the firmament."
A man put this question to him: "When did the Prophet Adam
perform Hajj? Who cut his hair when he finished it?" Maqatil
was perplexed and remained silent.
Another man said to him: "Does the ant absorb food through
the stomach or through another channel? If it is through the stomach,
where are its stomach and intestines?"
Maqatil was again dumbfounded. He said: "Allah has put this
question into your heart, so that my pride in my knowledge might
be put to shame."
Only one who is perfectly competent to answer all questions can
make such a claim. In the whole Community no one except Ali Bin
Abi Talib possessed such rank.
Since he was the "gate of knowledge" of the Holy Prophet,
he had full knowledge of all known and unknown matters just as
the Holy Prophet did. Therefore, he was able to say, 'ask me'
and gave prompt and satisfactory answers to all questions. Among
the Companions, too, there was not a single person except Ali,
who made such a claim.
Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Muwaffaq Bin Ahmad Khawarizmi
in Manaqib, the great Khwaja Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
Baghawi in Mu'jim, Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra, v. II,
p.198, and Ibn Hajar in Sawa'iq, p.76 have quoted Sa'id Bin Musayya
as saying that no one of the Companions, except Ali Bin Abi Talib,
ever said: "Ask me whatever you like."
A large number of your prominent ulema, like Ibn Kathir in his
Tafsir, v.IV, Ibn Abdu'l-Barr in Isti'ab, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi
in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Muhyi'd-din Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Imam
Ahmad in Musnad, Hamwaini in Fara'id, Ibn Talha in Durru'l-Manzum,
Mir Seyyed Ali Shafi'i in Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim
Ispahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul,
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, and several other
eminent Sunni scholars have reported with slight variation of
wording from Amir Bin Wathila, Ibn Abbas, Abi Sa'id al-Buhturi,
Anas Bin Malik, and Abdullah Bin Mas'ud that Amiru'l Mu'minin
announced from the pulpit: "O people! Ask me anything you
like, before I die. Verily, my heart is the storehouse of all
knowledge. Ask me, because I have the knowledge of all that has
passed and all that is to come."
Abi Dawud in his Sunan, p.356, Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in his Musnad,
v.I, p.278, Bukhari in his Sahih, v.I, p.46 and v.X, p.241, have
reported authoritatively that Ali said: "You may ask me about
whatever you like; I understand the nature of any matter which
you might ask about."
Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi, in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch.XIV, p.74
reports from Mu'affaq Bin Ahmad Khawarizmi and Sheikhu'l-Islam
Hamwaini reports from Abu Sa'id Buhturi that he (Abu Sa'id) said:
"I saw Ali on the pulpit while he was putting on the Holy
Prophet's mantle, sword and the turban. He uncovered his chest
and said: 'Ask me anything you like, before I die, because my
breast contains great wisdom. This is my stomach which is a storehouse
of knowledge. This is the saliva of the Holy Prophet; this is
what the Holy Prophet has fed me as grain. I swear by Allah that
if a carpet is spread and I sit on it, verily, I will instruct
the follower of the Torah, according to the Torah. I will instruct
the followers of the Gospels according to the Gospels, until both
the Torah and the Gospels are made to speak and bear witness to
the following: Ali has spoken the truth and the verdict that he
has given is according to what has been revealed in us. When you
recite the Book you don't understand this much.'"
Sheikhu'l-Islam Hamwaini in his Fara'id and Mu'ayyidu'd-din Khawarizmi
in his Manaqib report that the Holy Imam spoke these words from
the pulpit: "Ask me about what you do not understand before
I die. I swear by Allah who split the grain and created man that
if you ask me about any verse of the Holy Book of Allah, I will
tell you about it - when it was revealed, during the day or at
night, at a halting place or on the way, on the plain or in the
hills, about whom it was revealed, a believer or against a hypocrite,
what Allah meant by it, and whether the verse is general or particular."
Thereupon Ibn Kawwa, the Khariji, stood up and said: Let me know what
Allah means by saying, "Those who acknowledged belief and
performed good actions are the best of men."
The Holy Imam said: "The verse refers to us and our followers,
whose faces, hands and feet will be glittering on the Day of Judgement.
They will be recognized by their foreheads."
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad and Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi in
Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch.XIV, p.74, report from Ibn Abbas that Ali
spoke these words from the pulpit: "Ask me about what you
do not understand before I die. There is no verse about which
I do not know more than anyone else does. I know how and when
it was revealed. Ask me about any disturbances, for there is no
disturbance about which I do not know who caused it and who was
killed in it."
Ibn Sa'd in Tabaqa, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in
Kifayatu't-Talib, ch.52, and Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya,v.I,
p.68, report with authentic references that Amiru'l-Mu'minin said:
"By my Lord, no verse was revealed, but I know definitely
about whom it was revealed, and where it was revealed. Verily,
Allah has bestowed upon me a wise heart and an eloquent tongue."
In the same books it is reported that Amiru'l-Mu'minin said: "Ask
me about the Book of Allah. There is not a single verse about
which I do not know whether it was revealed in the hills or on
Khawarizmi reports in his Manaqib from A'mash, who reported that
Ubaya Bin Raba'i said: "Ali frequently used to say: 'Ask
me about what you do not understand before I die. I swear by my
Lord that there is not a green field, or a desert land, or a group
of people who misguide a hundred men or guide a hundred men, but
I know them. I know better than anyone else those who lead the
people or incite them to evil until the Day of Judgement.'"
Jalalu'd-din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, p.124, Badru'd-din
Hanafi in Umdatu'l-Qari, Muhibu'd-din Tabari in Riyazu'n-Nuzra,
v.II, p.198, Suyuti in Tafsir-e-Itqan, v.II, p.319, and Ibn Hajar
Asqalani in Fathu'l-Bari, v.VIII, p.485 and also in Tahdhibu't-Tahdhib,
v.VII, p.338, report that Ali said: "Ask me anything you
like, and I swear by Allah that I will tell you of all things
that will happen up to the Day of Judgement. If you ask me about
the Book of Allah, I swear by my Lord that there is not a single
verse which I do not understand well. I know if a verse was revealed
during the night or in the day, on the plains or in the hills."
Can anybody except one who has knowledge of the unseen make such
claims before both friends and foes?
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali has recorded the same reports in his
Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.I, p.208 from Ibn Hilal Saqafi's Gharat.
He says that a man stood up and said: "Let me know about
the hair of my head and beard."
The Holy Imam said: "My friend, the Holy Prophet has informed
me that there is an angel in the root of each hair of your head
who curses you. There is a devil in the root of each of the hairs
of your beard who misleads you. There is a calf in your house
who will kill the son of the Holy Prophet."
This man was Anas Nakh'iy, whose son, Sinan, was a small child
at the time of Ali's prophesy. In 61 A.H. Sinan reached Karbala
and was one of the murderers of Imam Husain.
Some reporters say that the man who had asked the question was
Sa'd Bin Abi Waqas and that his son ("calf") was the
accursed Umar Bin Sa'd, who was the chief of Yazid's army, a central
figure in the tragedy of Karbala. It is also possible that both
of them had asked the question in two different meetings.
These reports, however, show that the Holy Imam drew attention
to the fact that he was aware of the unseen.
Your eminent ulema, like Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad and Ibn
Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.I, p.208 have reported
that during the days of his apparent caliphate, Amiru'l-Mu'minin
was sitting in the Kufa mosque with his companions when a man
said that Khalid Ibn Uwaita had died in Wadiyu'l-Qurba. The Holy
Imam said: "He is not dead, nor will he die, until he becomes
the leader of the misguided army. His standard bearer will be
Habib Bin Ammar."
A young man stood up from the assembly and said: "I am Habib
Ibn Ammar and am one of your true and sincere friends."
Ali said, "I have never told a lie and never will. I am,
as it were, seeing Khalid, the chief of the misguided army, and
you are his standard bearer. You people will enter the mosque
there (pointing to the Babu'l-Fil), and the flag of the standard
will be torn by the gate of the mosque."
Years passed. During the caliphate of the wicked Yazid, Ubaidullah
Bin Ziyad became the governor of Kufa and sent formidable forces
to fight Imam Husain. One day many of those who had heard Amiru'l-Mu'minin's
prophecy about them concerning Khalid and Habib Ibn Ammar, were
sitting in the mosque when the noise of the soldiers and their
slogans was heard. The people saw that Khalid Ibn Uwaita, the
chief of the misguided army going to Karbala to fight against
the son of the Holy Prophet, entered the mosque through the same
Babu'l-Fil to stage a demonstration. Habib Ibn Ammar was carrying
his standard. When Habib entered the mosque, the flag of his standard
was torn by the gate of the mosque. The hypocrites were shown
how deep Ali's knowledge was and how true his prophecies were.
Don't these signs and predictions prove that Ali had knowledge
of the unseen?
If you carefully study the Nahju'l-Balagha, which is a compilation
of Ali's sermons and pronouncements, you will find that there
are clear prophecies about calamities and disturbances, affairs
concerning the great kings, the revolts of the Zanj people, the
domination of the Mongols, Genghis Khan's reign, the accounts
of the oppressive caliphs, and their treatment of the Shias.
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid discussed these facts in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha,
v.I, p.208-211. The great scholar, Balkhi Hanafi, in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
also discusses how Ali frequently displayed his deep knowledge
in his sermons and predictions.
The Holy Imam also foretold that Mu'awiya would subdue the Kufans
and order them to reject him (Ali). For instance, the Holy Imam
said: "Shortly after me a man with a large throat and a fat
stomach will dominate you. He will eat whatever he gets; if he
does not get it, he will demand it. So you should kill him. But
you will never kill him. Verily, he will soon order you to call
me by ill names and to keep aloof from me. So I permit you to
abuse me because it is a verbal thing, which for me is a source
of purity and for you security against the harm of this man. But
since aloofness and hatred are from the heart, you should not
acquire hatred for me. I was born in the nature of Islam and unity
of Allah and I have taken the lead in matters of belief and Hijra
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, and your other
high-rankingulema confirm the fact that the man referred to above
was Mu'awiya Bin Abu Sufyan. When his domination was firm he ordered
the people to abuse and revile Ali. This wicked practice continued
for eighty years, and the Holy Imam was abused in the mosques,
and in the sermons of the Jum'a prayers.
While Umar Bin Abdu'l-Aziz Amawi was caliph, however, he forbade
this hateful practice.
Ali's foretelling this evil practice is another proof of his possessing
knowledge of the unseen. Ali foretold many events which were confirmed
after many years.
Before the battle of Nahrwan, the Holy Imam prophesied the killing
of the Kharijis and specifically of Tazmala, known as "Dhu'th-Thadiyya".
He predicted also that of the Kharijis not even ten persons would
survive and that of the Muslims not more than ten persons would
be killed. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid and the great scholar, Balkhi, and
others have reported that what the Imam said came true. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid,
in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.I, p.425 writes, "This
is one of those reports, which have been almost consecutively
narrated. It is quite well known and has been reported widely.
It is regarded one of the miracles of the Holy Imam."
You see, therefore, the vast difference between Ali and other
"caliphs." If he did not possess knowledge of the unseen,
how could he prophesy events which occurred years later?
For instance, he prophesied Mitham Tammar's murder at the hands
of Ubaidullah Bin Ziyad, Juwairiyya's and Rashid Hajari's murder
by Ziyad, and Amr Bin Humuq's murder at the hands of Mu'awiya's
friends. He foretold the martyrdom of his son, Imam Husain to
many people as well.