He also predicted his own martyrdom. He said that his murderer
was Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi, though that accursed man
claimed to be loyal and a supporter.
Ibn Kathir writes in Usudu'l-Ghaiba, c.IV, p.25 and others also
have reported that Ibn Muljim came to the Holy Imam, he recited
some verses in praise of Amiru'l Mu'minin in the presence of the
companions. He said: "You are the true guide, free from all
faults and doubts. You are generous and kind and are the son of
those lion-hearted and gallant ancestors, who were so distinguished
in bravery from the very beginning. O, successor of the Prophet!
Allah has given you this rank and bestowed upon you that virtue
and greatness present in the Holy Qur'an."
The companions were very surprised at his eloquence and ardent
love. Then the Holy Imam replied in verse: "I advise you
to love me open-heartedly, even though I know that you are one
of my enemies."
Ibn Hajar says in his Sawa'iq-e-Muhriqa, p.82, that the Holy Imam,
replying in verse to Ibn Muljim, said: "I wish him to live,
but he wants to kill me. This outward friend belongs to the Murad
Abdu'r-Rahman said: "Perhaps you have heard my name and you
dislike my name."
The Holy Imam said: "No, it is not so; I know without the
least doubt that you are a murderer, and it will not be long before
you will stain my white beard with the blood of my head."
Ibn Muljim said, "If it is so, you may have me killed."
The companions also insisted that he should be killed.
But the Holy Imam said: "It can never be. My religion does
not allow retaliation before the commission of the sin. I know
for certain that you are my murderer, but religious orders concern
manifest acts. Since you have not yet committed an unjust action,
I cannot inflict any penalty on you."
Thomas Carlyle of England writes in his series of lectures, "On
Heroes," that Ali Bin Abi Talib was murdered because of his
justice. That is, if he had retaliated before the commission of
the sin, he would have surely remained safe. This was often the
case with kings of the world who immediately killed anyone - even
a near relative - whom they suspected to be their enemy.
This event is another proof of the fact that no one has a knowledge
of the unseen except a Prophet or Imam who is ma'sum (innocent
in the sense of preserved from error). If he were merely infallible,
he might, on account of his being aware of the realities, cause
a disturbance. But a Prophet or Imam, who is also infallible,
even after recognizing his murderer, does not make reprisals before
the actual commission of the sin. Are these examples not sufficient
to prove that the Holy Imam was fully aware of future events?
Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi reports in the beginning of Yanabiu'l-Mawadda
the verses of Amiru'l-Mu'minin which have been taken from Ibn
Talha Shafi'i's Durru'l-Munazzam. The Holy Imam said: "Verily,
I have complete knowledge of all beginnings, and I am accused
of hiding the knowledge of the ends. I am the discloser of all
hidden and inexplicable matters. I have before me the record of
all the past and the present. Truly, I have dominion over all
things, great and small, and my knowledge encompasses the whole
The Holy Imam also said: "I could load seventy camels with
commentary on the sura of al-Fatiha (of the Holy Qur'an)."
The Holy Prophet has said: "I am the city of Knowledge and
Ali its gate. Also Allah Almighty says that we should enter the
house through the gates. So whoever wishes to seek knowledge should
come through the door."
Apart from other facts, these two instances are sufficient to
prove the superiority of Ali to others. He should have directly
succeeded the Holy Prophet as the leader of the Muslims. When
it is an admitted fact that Ali was the most learned of all, it
is absurd to assume that an ignorant man had the right to supersede
Even Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his book about the first sermon says:
"A man of low order was given priority over the man of the
most exalted rank." This remark is an acknowledgement of
the Holy Imam's superiority, but his fanaticism compels him to
add, "Allah willed that the inferior supersede the superior
This statement is unfortunate, coming as it does from a man like
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid. All sensible people would object to it. His claim
contradicts Allah's justice. But surely Allah is All-Just and
All-Wise. He does not give preference to an inferior man and let
him supersede a more deserving person.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "Say: Are those who know and
those who do not know alike?" (39:9)
Again He says: "Is then he who guides to truth more worthy
to be followed, or he who himself goes not aright, unless he is
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid clearly admits that Ali was the man who most deserved
the caliphate. He says in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.I. p.4:
"Verily, Ali was superior to all mankind after the Holy Prophet
of Allah. Regarding the matter of the caliphate, he was the most
deserving of all the Muslims."
Moreover, the Holy Prophet's explicit statement at the conclusion
of this hadith confirms Ali's superiority: "He who is desirous
of seeking knowledge must come to the door." The "door"
here is of course Ali.
So is this portal of guidance whom the Prophet has ordered us
to seek more worthy or he whom the people have chosen? The answer
is obvious. The Holy Prophet's order must be obeyed. Second, the
Holy Prophet also established the criterion for priority and preference,
which is the possession of the highest knowledge.
Sheikh: If, Ali had the right
of priority because of his superior knowledge, the Holy Prophet
of Allah should have specifically stated it so the Community might
know that obedience to him was compulsory. But no such categorical
statement is to be found.
Well-Wisher: I am greatly pained
to hear such statements from you. You have an unfortunate tendency
to reject anything - even the obvious truth - when it contradicts
your view. My respected brother, I have been citing those statements
for the last ten nights. The audience and several local newspapers
will bear testimony to this fact. But still you say that you have
not seen any explicit statement of the Holy Prophet. Even your
own authentic books are replete with clear declarations on this
Let me ask you this: Does the Community need the Holy Prophet's
knowledge and sirat (traditions and customs)?
Sheikh: It is an obvious fact.
All the Companions and the Community need the guidance, knowledge,
and customs of the Holy Prophet until the Day of Judgement.
Well-Wisher: May Allah bless
you! If there were no other specific hadith except the Hadith
of Medina, even this would have been sufficient to prove my point.
The Prophet explicitly says: "I am the city of knowledge
and Ali is its gate; he who wishes to seek knowledge should come
to the door."
What declaration can be more explicit than this hadith in which
the Holy Prophet says that "Anyone who desires to have the
benefit of my knowledge should come to the door of Ali because
he is the gate of knowledge!" Now dawn is approaching. For
the whole night I have been ardently discussing this topic and
have taken all of your time. But at this moment you have cooled
my ardor. Like your predecessors, you refuse to listen, and consequently,
disregarding all my cogent reasoning, you are denying the obvious
What declaration can be superior to the declaration about knowledge?
Would any sane person advocate rejecting a wise man in favor of
an ignorant one? Of course not. Therefore, you must accept my
point, which is not only my point but an accepted principle of
all knowledgeable people: since Ali was superior in knowledge
and wisdom among the entire Community, obedience to him is obligatory.
Accordingly, as I have already mentioned, your own prominent ulema,
like Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal (Musnad), Khawarizmi (munaqab), and
even the fanatic Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq have quoted the Holy
Prophet as saying: "In my Community Ali Bin Abi Talib excelled
all others in knowledge."
There was not a single person among the Companions who compared
to Ali in knowledge. Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Munaqab, Muhammad
Bin Talha in Matalibu's-Su'ul, Hamwaini in Fara'id and Sheikh
Sulayman Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, ch.XIV, report from Kalbi
that the great scholar of the Community, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, said:
" The knowledge of the Holy Prophet is from Allah's knowledge;
the knowledge of Ali is from the Holy Prophet's knowledge. My
knowledge and all the Companion's knowledge, compared to Ali's,
is like a drop of water before the seven seas."
In Nahju'l-Balagha, sermon 108, Ali says: "We (the infallible
Imams) are the Tree of Prophethood, the secure abode of the divine
message, the descending place of angels, the mines of knowledge,
and the sources of wisdom."
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, v.II, p.236 commenting
on this sermon, says: "This attribute was clearly possessed
by the Holy Imam since the Prophet of Allah has said: 'I am the
city of knowledge and Ali is its gate; whoever wishes to seek
knowledge should come to the gate.'
Also the Holy Prophet said: 'Ali is the best judge among you.'"
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid goes on to say: "The faculty of judgement
requires many kinds of knowledge: The standard of his knowledge
was so high that no one could equal him. In fact no one approached
him. So he was entitled to claim: 'We are the mines of knowledge
and the sources of wisdom.' Hence, after the Holy Prophet no one
had better right to claim these things for himself."
Ibn Abdu'l-Barr in Isti'ab, v.III, p.38, Muhammad Bin Talha in
Matalibu's-Su'ul, p.23, and Qazi Aiji in Mawaqif, p.276 have quoted
the Holy Prophet as saying: "Ali is the best judge among
Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, p.115, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim in Hilyatu'l-Auliya,
v.I. p.65, Muhammad Jazari in Asniu'l-Matalib, p.14, Muhammad
Bin Sa'd in Tabaqa, p.459, Ibn Kathir in Ta'rikh-e-Kabir, v. VII,
p. 359, and Ibn Abdu'l-Barr in Isti'ab, v.IV, p.38, quote Umar
Ibn Khattab as saying: "Ali is the best judge among us."
It is reported in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda that Ibn Talha, author of
Durru'l-Munazzam says: "You should know that all the secrets
and mysteries of the divine books are contained in the Holy Qur'an.
Whatever is in the Holy Qur'an is contained in the sura al-Fatiha.
Whatever is in the sura of al-Fatiha is contained in the verse
'Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.' (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent,
the Merciful). Whatever is in the verse, 'Bismillah ar-Rahman,
ar-Rahim,' is in the Ba (B) of 'Bismillah.' Whatever is in the
Ba of 'Bismillah,' is contained in the dot below the letter Ba
of 'Bismillah.' Ali said: 'I am that dot which is below the letter
Ba of Bismillah.'"
Also Sulayman Balkhi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, reports Ibn Abbas
as saying: "Once on a moonlit night after the Isha prayer,
Ali, taking me by the hand led me to the graveyard of Baqi and
said: 'Abdullah! Recite.' I recited the verse 'Bismillah ar-Rahman
ar-Rahim.' The Holy Imam continued telling me the secrets and
mysteries of the Ba of 'Bismillah' until dawn."
Both sects unanimously agree that regarding his knowledge of the
unseen and his being the heir of the knowledge of the prophets,
Ali holds a unique position among all the Companions.
Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, Khatib-e-Khawarizmi
in Manaqib, and Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda have
recorded from Ibn Talha Halbi's Durru'l-Munazzam that Ali said:
"Ask me about the unseen and unknown mysteries, because truly
I am the heir of the knowledge of the holy prophets and messengers
Also Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha,
and Sulayman Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda report that Ali declared
from the pulpit: "Ask me about what you do not understand
before I die. Inquire of me about the paths of the skies because,
verily, I know more about those paths than the paths of the earth."
Ali made this long before the invention of the telescope. People
often asked him about the heavenly bodies and he answered their
The great scholar and traditionist, Sheikh Ali Ibn Ibrahim Qummi
of the 3rd century A.H. in his commentary on the sura Saffat (No.
37), the eminent scholar, Sheikh Fakhru'd-Din Ibn Tarih Najafi,
known for his piety, in his Kitabu'l-Lughat Ma'rafat-e-Majma'u'l-Bahrain,
which was compiled about 300 years ago, and Allama Mullah Muhammad
Baqir Majlisi, in his Biharu'l-Anwar, v.XIV, report that Ali said:
"The stars in the skies are populated with cities as the
earth is." Now for Allah's sake, be fair. At that time there
was no conception of modern astronomy. The world accepted the
Ptolemaic theory that the earth was the center of the universe.
If a man disclosed something new about the stellar regions and
that was proved to be true a thousand years later, wouldn't you
say that he had knowledge of the unseen?
The fact is that, after the Holy Prophet, Ali was the most knowledgeable
man in philosophy, grammar, fiqh (jurisprudence), astronomy, astrology,
jafr (divination), mathematics, poetry, rhetoric, and lexicography.
In all the sciences he made significant contributions which the
experts in that field have adopted as a basis for further development.
For example, he told Abu'l-Aswadu'd-Du'ali (a writer who is generally
credited with having invented the vowel marks of written Arabic)
that there were three parts of speech: the noun, the verb, and
the preposition. Also, he laid down the principles of grammar
and syntax of the Arabic language as well as details of pronunciation
and vocabulary. By fixing correct pronunciation in writing, he
protected the Qur'an from future misinterpretation.
In the preface of Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha by Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali,
you will find how this scholar admitted and praised the merits
of Ali in all fields of knowledge.
He says: "What can I say about the man to whom all the merits
are attributed, who is a perfect model for every nation to follow,
and with whom all wish to identify themselves? He is of course
the fountain head of all merits. After him, whoever achieved prominence
received benefit from him, for he followed in his footsteps."
Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says that the knowledge of the four great jurists,
Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i, and Imam Hanbal, derived
from Ali's knowledge. He says: "Those companions who were
well versed in jurisprudence learned it from Ali."
I do not want to take more of your time by quoting further from
this great scholar. But I urge you to read his preface to his
Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha. You would learn how the illustrious historian
and scholar has acknowledged the merits of Ali. He says, "Ali's
case is strange. Throughout his life he never uttered the words:
'I do not know.' He possessed knowledge of everything."
At the end, the author says: "This fact can be counted as
one of the miracles of the Holy Imam. Such knowledge is beyond
the reach of human power and understanding."
People came to the Holy Prophet and congratulated him on the birth
of Imam Husain. One of the men said: "O Holy Prophet! we
have observed something strange in Ali." The Holy Prophet
asked, "What did you see?" The man said: "When
we came to offer congratulations, we were stopped and told that
120,000 angels had come from heaven and were with you. We were
astonished as to how Ali could know this and how he could count
The Holy Prophet smiled and asked Ali how he could know that so
many angels had come to him. The Holy Imam said: "May my
father and mother sacrifice their lives for you! Each of the angels
who came to you and saluted you spoke in a different language.
On calculation, I found that they had spoken in 120,000 languages,
so I knew that 120,000 angels had come to you."
The Holy Prophet said: "O, Abu'l-Hasan! May Allah increase
your knowledge and modesty." Then turning to the people the
Holy Prophet said: "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is
its gate. There is no greater event and no greater sign than he
is. He is the Imam of the people, the best of mankind, trustee
of Allah and repository of His knowledge. He is the 'people of
Dhikr', among those referred to by the words of Allah: 'So ask
you the people of Dhikr if you know not.'(16:43) I am the treasury
of knowledge and Ali is its key. So whoever wishes to obtain the
treasure must come to the key."
If you can point to a single companion or relation of the Holy
Prophet who could rival Ali's merits, I would certainly bow my
head before him. But if you cannot, then it would be your religious
duty to attach yourselves to the truth without caring what the
world might think. (Then he raised his hands towards the sky and
prayed to Allah:) "O, Allah! Be my witness that I have clearly
indicated the way to truth and have discharged my religious obligation."
Nawab: Holy sir, for the last
several nights, we have heard many discussions in these sessions.
Some of us used to discuss the points of arguments among ourselves
each day. I thank Allah Almighty that He has shown us the way.
The utterly false information of the opponents misled us. Now
it is clear that the Shia Ithna Asharis are rightly guided.
Both those of us who have attended these meetings and many people
of the city who have read the accounts of these debates in the
newspapers have been shown the truth about Islam. Of course they
all cannot publicly declare their faith because of their personal
dealings with the opponents, but they have told us in private
that they have accepted Shia'ism.
But some of us are not afraid of anyone and are prepared to announce
that during these nights we wanted to reveal our change of allegiance.
There was no opportunity to do so. We have heard your convincing
arguments, and now our belief is quite firm.
Permit us now to draw the curtain aside. Let our names be recorded
as Shias of our master, Amiru'l-Mu'minin and the twelve Imams.
Kindly announce to the people of the Shia sect that we are one
with them. Bear witness on the Day of Judgement before the Divine
Court of Justice and before your exalted grandfather that we have
complete faith in the twelve Imams as the successors and vicegerents
of the Holy Prophet of Allah.
Well-Wisher: I am glad that
some of you have recognized the truth. According to a hadith recorded
by Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal in Musnad Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha,
by Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-su'ul, by Ibn Maghazili
in Faza'il, by Khawarizmi in Manaqib, by Sulayman Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda,
and by many others, the Holy Prophet has guided us to this path.
He said, "Ali's path is the path to truth." I hope that
my other brothers in Islam will also give up their intolerance.
Nawab: We are extremely grateful
for your kind and learned interpretation of facts. There is still
one point which disturbs us. It concerns the imamate of the twelve
Imams and their names. In the past ten nights Amiru'l-Mu'minin
Ali was the focus of our discussion. First tell us the verse of
the Holy Qur'an which proves the imamate of the twelve Imams.
Second, are the names of the twelve Imams recorded in our books?
Well-Wisher: It is an appropriate
question and I would be happy to respond. But it is now nearly
dawn, and my answer cannot be brief.
Tomorrow is the birthday of the grandson of the Holy Prophet Imam
Husain and the Qizilbash family has arranged a celebration in
the Risaldar Imambara. Perhaps I will reply to your question on
Nawab: I quite agree with you.