The faculty of prophesying (i.e. the divinely inspired utterances and the foretelling of future events) is one of the peculiarities of the prophets and their divinely appointed successors, because their prophecies indicate the accuracy of their Prophethood. In this regard, the Holy Prophet (S) foretold of many matters that came true after his passing away, not to mention the prophecies mentioned in the Holy Quran.
For instance, in the Battle of the Ditch (khandaq), the Holy Prophet (S) foretold that Muslims would conquer Syria, Persia, and Yemen.
On another occasion, he (S) foretold Imam Ali (‘a) that he would be martyred at the hands of the most wretched person.
The Holy Prophet (S) foretold Lady Fatimah Al-Zahra' (‘a) that she would be the first to catch him to the other world.
He (S) foretold Muslims that his grandson Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) would be slain on the land of a region called Karbala'.
He (S) foretold that one of his wives would ride on a camel and she would be barked by the dogs of a region called Al-kaw'ab.
He (S) foretold ‘Ammar ibn Yasir that he would be martyred at the hands of the transgressing party and that the last drink he would drink in this world would be a cup of milk.
He (S) foretold, yet secretly, that his family members would be exposed to oppression at the hands of the Umayyad and ‘Abbasid dynasties.
Imam Ali (‘a), in his capacity as the keeper of the secrets of the Holy Prophet (S) and as the divinely selected successor of him (S), foretold of many events that came true.
When people pledged allegiance to Imam Ali (‘a), he headed for the Prophet’s Mosque wearing the turban, garment, and sandals of the Holy Prophet (S), climbed the minbar, crossed his fingers, put them under his belly, and said,
O groups of people, pose your questions to me before you lose me. This (chest) is the container of knowledge. This is the saliva of Allah’s Messenger. Here is what Allah’s Messenger has fed me perfectly and quietly. Ask me, because I have the knowledge of the past and the last generations’
Ask me before you lose me. I swear by Him Who split the grain and created the souls; if you ask me about each Quranic verse one by one, I will tell you whether it was revealed at night or in daylight, at Makkah or at Al-Madinah, and during a journey or in hometown; and I will tell you whether the verse is repealing (another verse) or is repealed (by another verse), whether it is decisive or allegorical; and I will tell you about its interpretation and about the reason for its revelation.1
In fact, Imam Ali (‘a) very frequently asked people to pose their questions before him, because he had the knowledge of all things and had the answers to all questions.
On one occasion, he (‘a) said,
O people, ask me before you lose me. Verily, there is very much knowledge between my two sides.2
On another occasion, he (‘a) said,
You may ask me before you lose me. I swear by Him Who grasps my soul; if you ask me about anything that will come to pass in the period between your existence and the coming of the Hour of Resurrection, and if you ask me about any group that will guide one hundred persons to the true guidance or any group that will mislead one hundred persons, I will in details inform you about the founder, leader, and driver of any of these groups.3
On another occasion, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
Ask me before you lose me. I will definitely answer any question that is posed to me about whatever is beneath the Divine Throne. None after me will claim this except a liar or an impostor.4
On another occasion, the Imam (‘a) said,
O people, ask me before you lose me. Behold! I know the paths of the heavens better than I know the paths of the earth.5
Let us now present a number of Imam Ali’s prophecies.
At the last hour of his lifetime, Imam Ali (‘a) fainted several times. In one of these times, he recovered consciousness and found his son Imam Al-Hasan (‘a) weeping heavily. He thus said to his son,
O son, what for is this weeping? Your father will see neither fear nor horror after this day. O son, do not weep. You will be killed by poison.6
(1) Abdullah ibn Naji reported that his father once was in the company of Imam Ali (‘a) on his march towards Siffin. When the Imam (‘a) passed by Nineveh, he was in extreme pain and horror. He thus raised his voice and said in a sad tone,
Be patient, O Abu-’Abdullah! Be patient at the bank of the Euphrates.
The companion asked, ‘Who is Abu-’Abdullah?’
The Imam (‘a) answered,
One day, I visited the Messenger of Allah (S) and found him shedding heavy tears. I thus asked, ‘O Allah’s Prophet, has anyone enraged you? What for are your eyes shedding such flowing tears?’
The Prophet (S) answered, ‘Archangel Gabriel has just left me after he told me that my community will slay my grandson Al-Husayn. May I show you some of the dust on which he will be slain?’
‘Yes, you may,’ I answered.
The Prophet (S) extended his hand and grasped some dust. Once my eyes fell on the dust, I could not stop weeping.7
(2) Hirthimah ibn Qays reported that when Imam Ali (‘a) resided in the land of Karbala' to lead a congregational prayer during his journey towards Siffin, He, upon the accomplishment of the prayer, took a handful of the dust, smelt it, and said,
Oh for you, O dust! From you, O dust, a people will be resurrected and allowed to Paradise without judgment.8
(3) ‘Urwah Al-Bariqi reported that Mikhnaf ibn Sulaym sent him to Imam Ali (‘a) and he could catch him in Karbala' where the Imam (‘a) was pointing to the land with his hand and saying,
At this very place! At this very place!
A man inquired about the meaning of these words, and the Imam (‘a) answered,
The precious family of Muhammad shall reside at this very place. Woe will betide them at your hands, and woe will betide you at their hands.
When the Imam (‘a) was asked for an explanation, he said,
You will kill them; therefore, woe will happen to them at your hands. Accordingly, you will be sent to Hellfire due to killing them; and this is the woe that will betide you because of them.9
(4) Al-Hasan ibn Kathir reported on the authority of his father that Imam Ali (‘a) stopped in the land of Karbala'. A man said, ‘This is the land of Karbala'.’ The Imam (‘a) sadly said,
Yes, it is. It is the land of agony (karb) and misfortune (bala).
The Imam (‘a) then pointed to some certain places and said,
At this very place, they will install their tents. At this very place, their blood will be shed!10
(5) Abu-kabrah reported that he was in the company of Imam Ali (‘a) when he climbed the minbar of the Al-Kufah Mosque, praised and thanked Almighty Allah, and said,
What will you do when misfortune will befall the offspring of your Prophet under your eyes?
The attendants answered, ‘We will do as excellently as possible for the sake of Allah.’
Refuting their claim, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
I swear by Him Who grasps my soul in His hand; misfortune will befall them in your presence and you will come out to fight against them.
The Imam (‘a) then cited this poetic verse as explanation:
They brought him seductively and then abandoned him hoping for redemption. Behold! They will have neither redemption nor accepted excuse.11
(6) Abu-Hirthimah reported that he was in the company of Imam Ali (‘a) on the bank of the River Euphrates near Karbala'. They passed by a tree under which there were droppings of a deer. The Imam (‘a) picked up a handful of dust, smelt it, and said,
From this area, seventy thousand persons will be allowed to Paradise without judgment.12
(7) Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
Al-Husayn shall be slain. I do know the dust on which he shall be slain. It is between the two rivers.13
(8) Thabit ibn Suwayd ibn Ghaflah reported that while Imam Ali (‘a), one day, was delivering a speech, a man stood up and said, ‘O Leader of the Believers, I have just come from Wadi Al-Qira and learnt that Khalid ibn ‘Arfatah had died. Please, implore Allah’s forgiveness for him.’
The Imam (‘a) answered,
This is untrue. He has not died and he will not die before he leads an army of deviation. The bearer of his pennon will be kabib ibn kimaz.
Another man stood up and said, ‘O Leader of the Believers, I am kabib ibn kimaz and I am one of your devotees.’
The Imam (‘a) asked repeatedly,
Are you kabib?
Each time, the man answered in the affirmative. The Imam (‘a) said,
Yes, by Allah, you will. You are the bearer of the pennon and you will bear it and enter from this very gate.
The Imam (‘a) pointed to one of the gates of Al-Kufah Mosque known as Bab Al-fil.
Thabit commented: Some years later, ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad ordered ‘Umar ibn Sa’d to lead an army for fighting Al-Husayn. Khalid ibn ‘Arfatah was on the front of the army while kabib ibn kimaz was the standard-bearer. Carrying the pennon, I saw kabib entering the mosque from the gate of Bab Al-fil.14
(9) Abd Al-Samin reported that Imam Ali (‘a), in one of his speeches, said,
Ask me before you lose me. By Allah, I will answer all of your questions whether you ask me about a bygone thing or a coming event.
Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqas stood up and asked, ‘O Leader of the Believers, can you tell me the number of the hairs in my head and by beard?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
By Allah, you have just asked me a question about which my dear friend the Messenger of Allah (S) had foretold that you would ask it. Under the origin of each hair in your head and your beard, there is a devil sitting there. In your house, there is a goat-like (person) who will kill my son Al- Husayn.
At that time, ‘Umar the son of Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqas was still creeping child.15
(10) One day, Imam Ali (‘a) said in one of his sermons,
Ask me before you lose me’ If I wish, I can tell each one of you about his end result, the issues in which he will engage himself, and all of his affairs.
Tamim ibn Usamah, a wicked man, asked sarcastically, ‘How many hairs are there in my head?’
The Imam (‘a) glanced at him and said,
By Allah, I know how many hairs there are in your head. However, if I tell you, you will ask for evidence, which is now missing. Nevertheless, I will tell you about your coming deeds and words. I have been told that on each hair of your head, there is an angel cursing you and a devil instigating you. The evidence is that there is in your house a goat-like (son) who will slay the son of Allah’s Messenger and urge people to slay him.16
(11) Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said to Al-Bara' ibn ‘Azib,
My son Al-Husayn will be slain while you will not stand to help him, although you will be able to do.
Al-Bara' answered, ‘This will never happen, O Leader of the Believers.’17
(12) Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
I see coming that palaces shall be built around the tomb of Al-Husayn and marketplaces shall surround the tomb. After days and nights from now, the tomb of Al-Husayn shall be a center of pilgrimage from all provinces. This shall come to pass after the extermination of the descendants of Marwan.18
When Imam Ali (‘a) sent a message to the people of Al-Kufah asking for their help against the rebellions, he said to Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas,
This day, my son Al-Hasan will come to me along with exactly ten thousand horsemen and infantry soldiers; neither minus one nor plus one.
Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, after that incident, said:
When Al Hasan along with the troops arrived there, I had no other concern but to ask the clerk about the number of the troops. ‘They are ten thousand horsemen and infantry soldiers; neither minus one nor plus one,’ said the clerk. I realized that the prophecy of the Imam (‘a) was one item of the knowledge he had received from the Holy Prophet (S).19
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have asked ‘Amr ibn Al-kamq,
‘Where have you resided?’
‘I resided in the quarter of my folks,’ answered ‘Amr. Imam Ali (‘a) instructed,
‘Do not reside there.’
The Imam (‘a) warned ‘Amr against settling in the quarter of his folks (i.e. tribe) because they would not be able to protect him against any misfortune. He (‘a) rather ordered him to live in the quarter of the Banu-’Amr ibn ‘Amir tribe, because they would not give him up in calamities.
The Imam (‘a) then said to ‘Amr with sad tone,
After my departure from this world, you will be slain and your head will be cut off. It will be the first head in Islam to be moved from one place to another. Your slayer will encounter anguish. Except for the quarter of the Banu-’Amr ibn ‘Amir who will neither give you up nor disappoint you, the peoples of all other quarters will give you up totally.20
Prophesying Maytham’s martyrdom, Imam Ali (‘a) said to him,
After my passing away, you will be arrested and crucified. The next day, your nose and mouth will bleed so heavily that your beard will turn red. On the third day, you will be stabbed to death with a lance.
The place where you will be crucified is at the door of the house of ‘Amr ibn kurayth. You will be among other nine persons and your cross will be the shortest and the nearer to the ground. I will show you the date-palm tree on whose trunk you will be crucified.21
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said to Rashid,
How will your patience be when the illegitimate son of the Umayyads will summon you and cut off your two hands, two legs, and tongue?
Rashid asked, ‘Will this lead me to Paradise?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
You will be always with me in this world and the other world.22
Imam Ali (‘a) said to Juwayriyah ibn Mus-hir Al-’Abdi,
I swear by Him Who grasps my soul in His Hand, you will be pulled before the ignoble, base-born man who will cut off your hand and your leg. Then, he will crucify you under a short trunk of a tree.23
Imam Ali (‘a) told Mazra’ that he would be crucified between two terraces of the mosque.24
Imam Ali (‘a) said to Hujr ibn ‘Adi,
What will your answer be when you are summoned to repudiate me?
Hujr answered, ‘By Allah, if I will be cut into pieces by swords and cast into fire, I will prefer that to rejecting you.’
Imam Ali (‘a) said to him,
May Allah lead you successfully to ever item of decency and may He reward you abundantly on behalf of your Prophet’s Household.25
When the tyrannical governor Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf arrested Qambar the servant of Imam Ali (‘a), he asked him to choose the kind of death. Qambar answered, ‘You may choose for me the kind of death, because I will kill you the same way you kill me. However, the Leader of the Believers (i.e. Imam Ali) told me that I would be slaughtered wrongfully.’
Thus, Al-Hajjaj ordered his men to slaughter Qambar.
Imam Ali (‘a) informed Kumayl that he would be killed at the hands of Al- Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.26
On more than one occasion, Imam Ali (‘a) informed that he would not die naturally; rather, he would be killed at the hands of the most wretched of all people. Let us now refer to some of these occasions:
(1) Rawh ibn Umayyah Al-Du'ali reported that Imam Ali (‘a), once, fell terribly ill that we feared lest he would die. When he recovered health, we visited and congratulated him for restoration to health. He (‘a) answered,
I did not fear lest I would depart this life, because the veracious and the divinely verified Prophet (S) told me that I would not die until I would struck (by sword) on this (i.e. the left side of his forehead) so intensely that this (i.e. the beard) would be dyed with the blood of this (i.e. the head). He (i.e. the Prophet) told me that I would be killed by the most wretched person of this community’27
(2) Abdullah ibn Sab’ reported that Imam Ali (‘a) said in one of his speeches,
By Allah Who split the grain and created the souls, this beard will be dyed with the blood of this head.
A man stood up and said, ‘By Allah, we will eradicate the offspring of any one who dares to do so.’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
Remember Allah. I plead that none will be killed in retaliation for me except my killer.28
(3) Abu’l-tufayl said the following:
I was present in the funeral procession of Abu-Bakr the day he died. I was also present when ‘Umar took oath of allegiance and Ali was sitting on the side.
A young, handsome, well-dressed Jewish boy came. He was a descendent of Prophet Aaron and he stood on a place that was above ‘Umar and asked, ‘O amir Al-mu'minin, are you the most knowledgeable person in this nation with their book and the commands of their Prophet?’
‘Umar kept his head down.
The Jew then said, ‘I meant you.’ He repeated his words until ‘Umar finally asked, ‘Why is that?’
He said, ‘I have doubts about my religion and I have come to you for guidance.’
‘Umar said, ‘Go to this young man.’
The Jew asked, ‘Who is this young man?’
‘Umar answered, ‘He is Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Messenger of Allah, the father of Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn the grandsons of the Prophet, and the husband of Fatimah the daughter of the Prophet.’
The young Jew then went to Ali and asked, ‘Are you such a person?’
(Imam) Ali said,
Yes, I am such a person.
The Jew said, ‘I want to ask you about three and three and one.’
(Imam) Ali smiled and asked,
O descendant of Aaron, what prevents you from saying ‘seven’ (instead of three and three and one)?
The Jew said, ‘I ask about three. If you answer me, then I will ask you about the rest. If you cannot answer, then I will assume that there are no scholars among you.’
Imam Ali asked,
I adjure you by the Lord in whom you believe, if I answer whatever you ask, will you then leave your religion and accept our religion?
He said, ‘I have come for no other reason but that.’
Imam Ali said,
You may pose your questions.
He said, ‘Tell me about the first drop of blood that was spilled on earth, what drop was that? Tell me about the first fountain that gushed out on earth. Which one was it? Tell me about the first thing that moved on earth; what was that?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered these questions, and the Jew then said, ‘Tell me about the other three. Tell me about Muhammad; Kow many Imams (i.e. leaders with divine authority) who possess the quality of justice will be there as his successors? In which garden of Paradise will he be? Who will be with him in Paradise?’
Imam Ali answered,
O descendant of Aaron, there will be twelve fair Imams as successors of Muhammad. No one’s betrayal will harm them and they will not feel frightened because of people’s opposition to them. In the matters of religion, they will be stronger than the firm mountains on earth. In Paradise, Muhammad will dwell with the Twelve Imams who possess the noble quality of justice.
The Jew said, ‘By Allah save Whom no one deserves to be worshipped and obeyed, you have said the truth. I find them in the book of my father Aaron. He has written it in his own handwriting. My uncle Moses had dictated to him. Now, tell me about the ‘one’. Tell me about the executor of the will of Muhammad: how long will he live after him? Will he die or will he be killed?
Imam Ali (‘a) said,
O descendant of Aaron, he will live after him thirty years, no less and no more. Then, he will be hit with a strike here, (meaning over his head), and then this (beard) will be stained with this (blood from his head).
The Jew screamed loudly, broke his Jewish religious object, and said, ‘I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; One and Only Lord Who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, and I bear witness that you are the executor of his will. You must be above all and no one must be above you. Your greatness must be acknowledged and you must not be weakened.’
Imam Ali (‘a) then took him to his house and taught him the religion of Islam according to the true guidance.29
(5) Declaring the martyrdoms of his two sons Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn and him, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
Behold! By Allah, I as well as the two sons of mine shall be slain. In the last of the age of this world, Allah shall send a man from my offspring to demand with retaliation for us. He will be hidden from sights so that the people of deviation will be discriminated until the people of ignorance will believe that Allah has nothing to do with the Family of Muhammad!30
Referring to the post on which the Al-Kufah Mosque leaned, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
I see coming that the Black Stone31 will be installed at this very place. Woe betide them! The excellence of the Black Stone does not lie in itself; rather, it lies in its place and foundation. The Black Stone will stay here for a while and it will be taken to there (i.e. Bahrain) for another while. Then, it will be taken back to its original place.32
Imam Ali (‘a) foretold the martyrdoms of his descendants at a place called Fakh at the hands of the tyrannical ‘Abbasid ruler, Al-Hadi. Describing these martyrs, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
They are the best of the inhabitants of the earth.33
Imam Ali (‘a) prophesied that a man from his descendants would revolt against the tyrannical ruler and would be martyred in Al-Madinah at a place called Ahjar Al-Zayt.34
Further details can be seen in the book of Hayat Al-Imam Musa ibn Ja’far by Baqir Sharif Al-Qarashi.
Imam Ali (‘a) prophesied the martyrdom of his descendant Ibrahim ibn Abdullah ibn Al-Hasan who, along with his brother, revolted against the tyrannical ‘Abbasid ruler, Abu-Ja’far Al-Mansur, and were martyred.
About Ibrahim, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
He (Ibrahim) will be killed after he achieves victory and he will be overcome after he achieves triumph. He will be hit by an arrow whose shooter is unknown and this arrow will kill him. How miserable them shooter will be! May Allah paralyze his two hands and weaken his arm!35
(1) Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said to Imam Al-Husayn (‘a),
O Husayn, the ninth of your descendants shall be the one who undertakes the establishment of the truth, demonstrates the true religion, and spreads justice.
Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) asked,
‘Will this take place unquestionably?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
Yes, it will. I swear it by Him Who sent Muhammad with Prophethood and chose him (for it) from among all of His created beings. However, his advent shall be preceded by occultation and perplexity during which none shall keep himself steady on the true religion except the sincere ones, who connect directly with the spirit of certitude, with whom Allah has made covenant concerning loyalty to our leadership, in whose hearts Allah has written faith, and whom He has aided with a spirit from him.36
(2) Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
This son of mine is a chief, just as the Messenger of Allah (S) has named him as chief and master. In the future, a man from his progeny, having the same name of your Prophet, shall appear at a time of negligence, absence of the truth, and prevalence of oppression.
The inhabitants and denizens of the heavens shall be elated by his advent. He is a man with a bright forehead, a high nose, a strong belly, and open legs. There is a mole on his right cheek and his teeth are shining. He will fill in the earth with justice in the same way as it will have been filled with injustice and inequity.37
(3) In one of his sermons, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
Then, he who represents me in my family members shall be a man who orders in accordance with the order of Allah and he shall be powerful and judging according to the judgment of Allah. That shall come to pass after a dusty and scandalous time at which misfortunes will be too hard to bear, hope will be cut off, and bribes will be welcomed.38
(4) Al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah reported Imam Ali (‘a) as saying,
Al-Mahdi belongs to us. He shall appear at the last of the age of this world. There is no other mahdiin any other nation to be expected except him.39
(5) Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
Allah shall bring forth a people whom He loves and they love Him. From amongst them, one stranger; namely, Al-Mahdi shall prevail. He will prevail on the countries of Muslims safely. Time will be pure for him, his words will be listened to and obeyed by the aged and the youths alike, and he will fill in the earth with justice as it has been filled with injustice.40
(6) Al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah reported that he once came to Imam Ali (‘a) and found him thinking deeply and beating the ground. Al-Asbagh asked, ‘O Leader of the Believers, what for are you thinking and beating the ground? Do you have any desire in this world?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
Nay, by Allah! I have never desired for this world or for leadership even for a single day. I have been thinking of one who will be born from the eleventh descendant of mine; namely, Al-Mahdi who shall fill the earth with justice as same as it would be filled with injustice and wrong. He will be the cause of perplexity and he will have an occultation during which many peoples will deviate and many others will find the true path.
Al-Asbagh asked, ‘Will this come to pass?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
Yes, it will. This has been predetermined (by Allah). How can you have knowledge with such a matter? O Asbagh, these are the most virtuous people of this community along with the most righteous members of this progeny.
Al-Asbagh asked, ‘What will happen after that?’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
Then, Allah shall do whatever He wills. Verily, Allah has His Own wills, goals, and end results.41
Imam Ali (‘a) was delivering a speech about future events when A’sha Bahilah who was still a boy interrupted the Imam’s speech and said deniably, ‘Your discourse is very similar to myths!’
The Imam (‘a) glanced at him and said,
If you have committed a sin for what you have just said, then may Allah prevail on you the boy of Thaqif!
Some men asked about that boy of Thaqif, and the Imam (‘a) answered,
He is a boy who will prevail on this city. He shall violate all the prohibitions of Allah and he shall behead this boy (i.e. A’sha Bahilah)’ He will rule over you for twenty years’ He will then die a natural death.42
On another occasion, Imam Ali (‘a), predicting the future of the people of Al- Kufah, said,
When Marwan ibn Al-hakam was taken as prisoner of the Battle of the Camel, Imam Al-Hasan and Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) interceded with their father to release him, provided that he would swear allegiance to the Imam (‘a). However, Imam Ali (‘a) dispensed with the allegiance of Marwan ibn Al-hakam and declared,
He has already sworn allegiance to me after the slaying of ‘Uthman. I do no need his allegiance to me. His hand (with which he will swear allegiance) is Jewish. If he swears allegiance to me with the palm of his hand, he will betray with his forefinger. Behold! He will have leadership that will be as short and dirty as a dog licking its nose. He (Marwan) is the father of the four rams. The community will have to suffer a bloody day at his and his son’s hands.45
About the reign of Mu’awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
Soon after me, there will be put on you a man with a broad mouth and a big belly. He will swallow whatever he gets and will crave for what he does not get. You should kill him but I know you will not kill him.
He will command you to abuse me and to renounce me. As for abusing, you do abuse me, because that will mean purification for me and salvation for you. As regards renunciation, you should not renounce me, because I have been born on the natural religion (Islam) and I was foremost in accepting it as well as in migrating.46
On another occasion, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
Beware that the worst mischief for you in my view is the mischief of the Umayyad dynasty, because it is blind and it creates darkness. Its sway is general but its ill effects are for particular people. He who remains clear- sighted in it will be affected by distress, and he who remains blind in it will avoid the distress.
By Allah, you will find the Umayyad dynasty after me the worst of all people for yourselves, like the old unruly she-camel that bites with its mouth, beats with its forelegs, kicks with its hind legs, and refuses to be milked.
They will remain over you until they will leave among you only those who benefit them or those who do not harm them. Their calamity will continue until your seeking help from them will become like the seeking of help by the slave from his master or of the follower from the leader.
Their mischief will come to you like evil eyed fear and pre-Islamic fragments, wherein there will be no minaret of guidance nor any sign of salvation to be seen.47
Warning against the oppression of the Umayyad dynasty, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
By Allah, there will be left no prohibition of Allah but they (i.e. the Umayyads) will make it lawful and no pledge but they will break it, until there will remain no house of bricks, or of woolen tents, but their oppression will enter it.
Their bad dealings will make them wretched, until two groups of crying complainants will rise; one will cry for his religion, and the other for this world; and the help of one of you to one of them will be like the help of a slave to his master; namely, when he is present, he obeys him; but when the master is away, he backbites him. The most distressed of you all will be he who bears best belief about Allah. If Allah grants you safety, then accept it; and if you are put in trouble, then endure it, because surely good result is for the God-fearing.48
When Imam Ali (‘a) returned to Al-Kufah after the Battle of Siffin, many men of the Khawarij accompanied him not to mention many others who resided at Al-Nukhaylah. Kurqus ibn Zuhayr Al-Sa’di and Zur’ah ibn Al-Burj Al-ta’i, two chiefs of the Khawarij, met Imam Ali (‘a). Kurqus said to the Imam (‘a), ‘Repent from your fault and lead us out to fight against Mu’awiyah.’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
I had warned you against consenting to the arbitration, but you refused to obey me. Now, you are considering it a sin that I committed! Verily, it is not a sin; rather, it was out of weakness of your reason and failure of management against which I have already warned you.
Zur’ah said to the Imam (‘a), ‘By Allah, if you do not declare your repentance from the arbitration, I will kill you.’
Imam Ali (‘a) answered,
Misery may betide you! How wretched you are! I see coming that you will be killed and wind will blow on your dead body.49
Predicting the rule of Abd Al-Malik and the bloodshed that would take place during his reign, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
I see coming that he is shouting in Syria and is extending his banners to the outskirts of Al-Kufah. He is bent towards it like the biting of the she- camel. He has covered the ground with heads. His mouth is wide open and the trampling of his footsteps on the ground has become heavy. His advance is broad and his attacks are severe.50
Describing the mentality of Abdullah ibn Al-Zubayr, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
He is wickedly cunning and as stingy as a lizard. He installs snares of religion to hunt worldly pleasures. After all, he will be the crucified man of Quraysh.51
When Al-Mukhtar ibn Abi-’Ubaydah Al-Thaqafi prevailed on Al-Kufah and demanded with retaliation for the slaying of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a), ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad led a great army from Syria to fight against him. However, an army led by Ibrahim ibn Al-Ashtar encountered ‘Ubaydullah’s army, shouting, ‘Revenge for Al-Husayn!’ The army then had to retreat.
Abdullah ibn Yasar ibn Abi-’Uqayb Al-Du'ali declared, ‘My dear friend, Ali ibn Abi Talib, foretold me that we should encounter the Syrian on the bank of a river called Al-Khazar. They would first make us retreat and we would think of unavoidable defeat. However, we should attack them and kill their commander.’
At that night, ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad was killed and his army fled.
One day, Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) was asked, ‘The Leader of the Believers, Imam Ali (‘a), foretold something about Al-Mukhtar, but he did not foretell when and whom he would kill.’
Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) answered,
‘Truthful were the words of the Leader of the Believers. May I tell you when that will take place? It will take place three years from now and the heads of ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad and Shimr ibn Dhi’l-Jawshan, may curse of Allah be upon both of them, shall be brought on so-and-so. We will eat while the heads shall be in front of us and we shall look at them.’52
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
I swear by Allah that very soon, O descendants of Umayyah, you will see your rule at the hands of other people and you will see it move to the house of your enemies.53
Imam Ali (‘a) foretold Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas that his descendants, the ‘Abbasid dynasty, should be the rulers for a long period.
One day, Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas came to Imam Ali (‘a) carrying his newborn whom he had named Ali for seeking blessings by this name. Imam Ali (‘a) carried the newborn and then said to the father,
Take him, O father of the kings!54
On another occasion, Imam Ali (‘a) said to Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas,
When the monarchy of the descendants of Umayyah collapses, your descendants will be the first descendants of Hashim to rule. However, they will commit horrible things.55
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
The son of Hind will not die until a cross will be hanged to his neck.56
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said to his son Imam Al-Husayn (‘a),
You will have a male baby who shall be the best of all the inhabitants of the earth.57
Al-Nu’man ibn Sa’d reported Imam Ali (‘a) as saying,
A man from my descendants will be poisoned to death wrongfully in the land of Khurasan. He will be my namesake and his father the namesake of Moses the son of ‘Imran. Behold! Whoever visits him (i.e. his tomb) in his strange land, Allah the Almighty and All-majestic will forgive all of his sins f the past and the coming.58
Imam Ali (‘a) once passed by a land and asked about its name. ‘It is called Baghdad,’ he was told. He thus said,
On this very land, a city will be built.59
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said to Al-Hasan ibn Dhakwan,
You will live a very long lifetime and you will be carried to a city, which will be built by a man from the descendants of my uncle Al-’Abbas, called Baghdad. However, you will not reach the city; rather, you will die in a region called Al-Mada'in.60
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said,
This community will face woe at the hands of their rulers the cursed tree that your Lord the All-exalted has mentioned (in the Quran).61
The beginning of them is green but the end of them is haggard. After them, the rule over the community of Muhammad (S) will be run by men: the first of them will be the most clement of them,62 the second the most annihilating,63 the fifth the most stable,64 the seventh the most knowledgeable,65 the tenth the most faithless and he will be killed by the closest person to him,66 the fifteenth the busiest and the least wealthy,67 the sixteenth the most faithful and the most respecting for family relation ties.68 I see coming that the feet of the eighteenth of them will be submerged in blood after his soldiers will assassinate him.69 After him, three of his sons will rule and all of them will rule wrongfully and will lead to deviation.70 The twenty-second of them will be the aged man whose lifetime will be long and whose conduct will be accepted by the subjects.71 The rule of the twenty-sixth of them will run away from him like the running away of an ostrich and he will be supported by foolish and nonsensical people. I see coming that he will be killed on a bridge in Al- Zawra'.72
‘This is due to what your two hands have sent before; and because Allah is not in the least unjust to the servants. (22:10)’73
Imam Ali (‘a) is reported to have said to Al-Ahnaf,
O Ahnaf, I see coming that he (i.e. the chief of the Negroes) is advancing with an army, which has neither dust nor noise, nor rustling of reins, nor neighing of horses. They are trampling the ground with their feet as if they are the feet of ostriches.
Woe to you (the people of Al-Basrah’s) inhabited streets and decorated houses which possess wings like the wings of vultures and trunks like the trunks of elephants; they are the people from among whom if one is killed, he is not mourned, and if one is lost, he is not searched for. I turn this world over on its face, value it only according to its low value, and look at it with an eye suitable to it.74
About the rule of the Buyid Dynasty, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
From Daylaman,75 the sons of the fisherman76 will appear and their power will spread so widely that they will hold sway over Al-Zawra' and dethrone the caliphs’ They will rule one hundred years or little more’ Among them is the luxurious, the son of the hand-maimed person; he will be killed by his cousin on River Tigris.77
Imam Ali (‘a) predicted the establishment of a government ruled by some descendants of him in Morocco, the western part of the Arab homeland under the leadership of Abdullah Al-Mahdi, the first king of the Magharibah dynasty, about whom Imam Ali (‘a) said,
Then, the owner of Kairouan, the fresh, the white-skinned, the descendant of the pure lineage, the well-chosen from the progeny of the one about whom Allah re-decided78 and whose father shrouded with his own garment.
Imam Ali (‘a) prophesied that some descendants of the Holy Prophet (S) would lead an uprising in tabaristan (now Mazandara, northern Iran), saying,
In talaqan, there is a treasure for Muhammad’s Household. Allah shall make it apparent when He wills. The callers to it are rightful; they rise by the will of Allah and invite to the (true) religion of Allah.79
About the misleading and deviant sect of the Qarmatians (qaramitah), Imam
Ali (‘a) said,
They shall pretend to bear love and affection towards us ostensibly, but they harbor animosity and rancor towards us in their inner selves. The sign of this (animosity) is that they shall kill our heirs and abandon our practical course.80
Describing the Mongols, Imam Ali (‘a) says,
I see coming a people whose faces are like shields covered with rough- scraped skins. They dress themselves in silken and woolen clothes and hold dear excellent horses. Their killing and bloodshed shall take place freely until the wounded shall walk over the dead and the number of runners-away shall be less than those taken prisoner.81
One of the companions stood up and said, ‘O Leader of the Believers, you have been given knowledge of hidden things.’
Imam Ali (‘a) smiled and said,
O brother of the tribe of Kalb, this is not knowledge of hidden things other, these matters have been acquired from him (namely, the Holy Prophet) who knew them. As regard knowledge of hidden things, that means knowledge of the Day of Judgment, and the things covered by Allah in the verse:
‘Surely, Allah is He with Whom is the knowledge of the hour; and He sends down the rain; and He knows what is in the wombs; and no one knows what he shall earn on the morrow; and no one knows in what land he shall die. Surely, Allah is Knowing, Aware. (31:34)’
Therefore, Allah alone knows what is there in the wombs, whether male or female, ugly or handsome, generous or miserly, mischievous or pious, and who will be the fuel for Hell and who will be in the company of the prophets in Paradise. This is the knowledge of the hidden things, which is not known to anyone save Allah. All else is that whose knowledge Allah passed on to His Prophet and he passed it on to me, and prayed for me that my bosom may retain it and my ribs may hold it.82
Imam Ali (‘a), foretelling his companions about the imminent calamities and misfortunes that they would have to face, said,
Certainly, a time will come upon you after me when nothing will be more concealed than the truth, nothing more apparent than falsity, and nothing more current than forging lies against Allah and His Prophet.
For the people of this period, nothing will be more valueless than the Quran being recited as it ought to be recited, nor anything more valuable than the Quran being misplaced from its position, and in the towns, nothing will be more hated than virtue, nor anything more acceptable than vice.
The holders of the Book will throw it away and its memorizers will forget it. In these days, the Quran and its people will be exiled and expelled. They will be companions keeping together on one path, but no one will offer them asylum.
Consequently, at this time, the Quran and its people will be among the people but not among them, will be with them but not with them, because misguidance cannot accord with guidance even though they may be together.
The people will have united on division and will therefore have cut away from the community, as though they were the leaders of the Quran and not the Quran their leader. Nothing of it will be left with them except its name, and they will know nothing save its writing and its words. Before that, they will inflict hardships on the virtuous, naming the latter’s truthful views about Allah false allegations, and enforcing for virtues the punishment of the vice.83
All these prophecies came true after the passing away of Imam Ali (‘a). When Mu’awiyah came to power followed by the descendants of Marwan, they spared no efforts in fighting against Islam and oppressing and slaying the true guardians of the religion. The laws of the Quran were thus suspended, vice and wickedness were spread deliberately, falsity and fabrications were the major job of people, and all people hurried towards sinning and committing the most hideous indecencies.
Describing this manner, Imam Ali (‘a) says,
They took to the right and the left piercing through to the ways of evil and leaving the paths of true guidance. Do not make haste for a matter which is to happen and is awaited, and do not wish for delay in what the morrow is to bring for you.
For, too many are the people who make haste for a matter, but when they get it, they begin to wish they had not got it. How near today is to the dawning of tomorrow! O my people, this is the time for the occurrence of every promised event and the approach of things which you do not know. Behold! Whoever from among us catches them during these days, will move through them with a burning lamp and will tread on the footsteps of the virtuous, in order to unfasten knots, to free slaves, to divide the united, and to unite the divided.
He will be in concealment from people. The stalker will not find his footprints even though he pursues with his eye. Then, a group of people will be sharpened like the sharpening of swords by the blacksmith. Their sight will be brightened by revelation, the delicacies of commentary will be put in their ears, and they will be given drinks of wisdom, morning and evening.
Their period became long in order that they might complete their position of disgrace and deserve vicissitudes, until the end of the period was reached, and a group of people turned towards mischief and picked up their arms for fighting.
The virtuous did not show any obligation to Allah, but calmly endured, and did not feel elated for having engaged themselves in truthfulness. Eventually, the period of trial came to an end according to what was ordained. Then, they propagated their good views among others and sought nearness to Allah according to the command of their leader.84
When Allah took the Prophet to Himself, a group of men went back on their tracks. The ways of misguidance ruined them and they placed trust in deceitful intriguers, showed consideration to other than kinsmen, abandoned the kin whom they had been ordered to love, shifted the building from its strong foundation, and built it in other than its proper place.
They are the source of every shortcoming and the door of gropers in the dark. They were moving to and fro in amazement and lay intoxicated in the way of the people of the Pharaohs. They were either bent on this world and taking support on it or away from the faith and removed from it.85
On many occasions, Imam Ali (‘a) talked about some future events and, on other occasions, described the general manners of the people who would live in the last age of the earth. Let us now refer to some of these discourses.
(1) Imam Ali (‘a), predicting that humanity would be in wear and tear because of abandoning the courses of redemption and true guidance, said,
Shortly, a time will come for people when high positions will be given only to those who defame others, when vicious people will be regarded as witty, and the just will be regarded as weak.
People will regard charity as a loss, consideration for kinship as an obligation to be thanked, and worship grounds for claiming greatness among others. At this time, authority will be exercised through the counsel of women, the posting of young boys in high positions, and the running of the administration by eunuchs.86
(2) Imam Ali (‘a) says,
A time will come when nothing will remain of the Quran except its writing, and nothing of Islam except its name. The mosques in those days will be busy with regards to construction but desolate with regard to guidance.
Those staying in them and those visiting them will be the worst of all on earth. From them, mischief will spring up, and towards them, all wrong will turn. If anyone isolates himself from it (i.e. mischief), they will fling him back to it, and if anyone steps back from it, they will push him towards it.87
(3) On another occasion, Imam Ali (‘a) said,
A severe time will come upon the people wherein the rich will seize their possessions with their teeth by way of miserliness although they have not been commanded to do so. Allah the Glorified says,
‘Forget not generosity among yourselves. (2:237)’
During this time, the wicked will rise up while the virtuous will remain low, and purchases will be made from the helpless although the Prophet, peace be upon him and his descendants, has prohibited purchasing from the helpless.88
- 1. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 10:117.
- 2. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 10:121.
- 3. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 2:286.
- 4. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 10:128.
- 5. Ibn Abd Al-Barr, Al-Istiab 3:39.
- 6. Baqir Sharif Al-Qarashi, Hayat Al-Imam Al-Hasan, pp. 573.
- 7. Nasr ibn Muzahim, Waq’at Siffin, pp. 158.
- 8. Nasr ibn Muzahim, Waq’at Siffin, pp. 157.
- 9. Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir 13:57-8; Al-tabarani, Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir 3:106.
- 10. Nasr ibn Muzahim, Waq’at Siffin, pp. 158.
- 11. Nur Al-Din Al-Haythami, Majma’ Al-Zawa'id wa Manba’ Al-Fawa'id 9:190; Al-tabarani, Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir 3:110, No. 2823. The people of Al-Kufah, during the reign of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, had sent thousands of letters to Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) informing him that they were ready to support him in his rising against the tyrannical ruler and asking him to save them from the Umayyad dynasty.
However, when the Imam (‘a) responded to them and came to their country, they rallied one another against him and killed him along with the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S), including the Imam’s sons, brothers, and cousins in addition to the most prominent personalities of Islam.
They then trampled his body, cut off his head, and carried it on spearheads as gift to the tyrant ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Al-Kufah, and then to Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah in Damascus.
- 12. Al-Haythami, Majma’ Al-Zawa'id 9:190; Al-tabarani, Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir 3:118, No. 2825.
- 13. Al-Haythami, Majma’ Al-Zawa'id 9:190; Al-tabarani, Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir 3:117, No. 2824.
- 14. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 2:286.
- 15. Ja’far ibn Qawlawayh Al-Qummi, Kamil Al-Ziyarat, pp. 74.
- 16. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 10:14.
Husayn the son of Tamim ibn Usamah was still child when Imam Ali (‘a) foretold his future. When he grew up, he became the leader of ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad’s police forces. ‘Ubaydullah chose him to carry an oral message to ‘Umar ibn Sa’d, ordering him to fight against Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) and threatening him with punishment if he would refuse. Because of this message, ‘Umar ibn Sa’d led the army that killed Imam Al-Husayn (‘a).
- 17. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 10:14.
When Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) was martyred, Al-Bara' ibn ‘Azib remembered Imam Ali’s foretelling and regretted that very much. He thus said, ‘How great my regret is! I did not present myself with Al-Husayn to win the honor of martyrdom in defense of him
- 18. Musnad Al-Imam Zayd, pp. 47.
The Umayyad ruling authorities and their fans exerted all possible efforts to efface the tomb of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) and extinguish his immortal uprising. However, when their dynasty collapsed and they became rotten, the holy tomb of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) appeared as the most precious mausoleum in the world that is visited ceaselessly by people from all countries of the world. Only the happy can have the honor of visiting this holy tomb, which has become the epitome of human integrity and the guide to self-sacrifice for the truth and honor. Peace of Allah be upon Al-Husayn, his sons, and his companions whom were martyred in defense of him
- 19. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 41:328.
- 20. Baqir Sharif Al-Qarashi, Hayat Al-Imam Al-Hasan 2:378.
After Imam Ali (‘a) was martyred and Mu’awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan came to power, he ordered his constables and agents to arrest ‘Amr ibn Al-kamq. When ‘Amr knew about that, he hid himself in the quarter of his folks Banu-Khuza’ah. However, they gave him up to the constables of Mu’awiyah who executed him. They then beheaded him and took his head as present to Mu’awiyah in Syria.
- 21. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 34:302.
- 22. Shaykh Al-Mufid, Al-Ikhtisas, pp. 77.
Rashid Al-kajari was brought before Ziyad ibn Abih, the deputy governor of Al-Kufah during the reign of Mu’awiyah, who asked him, ‘What did your friend (i.e. Ali ibn Abi- talib) say to you about the way of your death? We will kill you as same as he told you.’
Rashid answered, ‘He said to me that you would cut off my hands and my legs and then crucify me.’
Ziyad declared, ‘By Allah, I will make his word false.’ He thus ordered the constables to free Rashid.
When he was about to leave, Ziyad said, ‘By God, we do not find anything wrong with what his leader had told him. Therefore, cut off his hands and legs and crucify him.’
‘Wait a moment,’ Rashid said to him, ‘I still have something to tell you which the Leader of the Believers told me.’
‘Cut out his tongue,’ ordered Ziyad.
‘This, by God, is the verification of the words of the Leader of the Believers,’ declared Rashid.
- 23. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 2:219.
During the reign of Mu’awiyah, Ziyad ibn Abih summoned Juwayriyyah, cut off his hand and leg and crucified him on tree trunk.
- 24. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 2:294.
During Mu’awiyah’s reign, Ziyad arrested Mazra’, killed him, and crucified his body between two of the mosque’s terraces.
- 25. Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 24:290.
During the reign of Mu’awiyah, kujr ibn ‘Adi was arrested. He was asked to reject Imam Ali (‘a), but he refused to do. Therefore, he was put to death.
- 26. Al-Hashimi, Kumayl ibn Ziyad Al-Nakha’i, pp. 90.
- 27. Ibn Al-Athir, Usd Al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat Al-Sahabah 4:34.
- 28. Ibn Al-Athir, Usd Al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat Al-Sahabah 4:34.
- 29. Shaykh Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi 1:529.
- 30. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 51:112.
- 31. The Black Stone in a stone built into the eastern wall of the Holy Ka’bah. It is an object of veneration and it now consists of three large pieces and some fragments, surrounded by a stone ring and held together with a silver band. It is reported that the Black Stone was descended from Paradise and it was white, but it turned black because it absorbed the sins of the human beings. In AD 930, it was carried away by the fanatics of the Qaramitah sect and held for ransom for about 20 years later.
- 32. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 10:14.
- 33. Minhaj Al-Bara’ah fi Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 7:83.
- 34. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 7:217.
- 35. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 7:48.
- 36. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 51:110.
- 37. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 51:110.
- 38. Al-Salami, ‘Aqd Al-Durar, pp. 182.
- 39. Hayat Al-Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi, pp. 183.
- 40. Al-Qanaduzi, Yanabi’ Al-Mawaddah, pp. 416.
- 41. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 51:118.
- 42. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 2:289.
Isma’il ibn Raja', a reporter, said, ‘With my own eyes, I saw A’sha Bahilah within the captives of the army of Abd Al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Ash’ath that had revolted against Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafi (the boy of Thaqif). After words of reproach and rebuke, Al-Hajjaj ordered his headsman to behead A’sha Bahilah.’
- 43. Historicists reported that Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafi was killed due to a sting of a beetle.
- 44. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 116.
- 45. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 6:146.
Marwan ibn Al-Hakam came to power after the abdication of Mu’awiyah ibn Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah. His four sons, Abd Al-Malik, Al-Walid, Sulayman, and Yazid, came to power successively after him. During their reigns, people suffered the most unbearable misfortunes because of their oppressions and persecutions.
- 46. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 57.
- 47. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 93.
- 48. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 98.
- 49. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 2:268.
- 50. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 137. Abd Al-Malik ibn Marwan came to power in Syria after his father Marwan ibn Al-kakam and then after the killing of Al-Mukhtar ibn Abi-’Ubayd Al-Thaqafi in his encounter with Mu•’ab ibn Al-Zubayr, he proceeded towards Iraq. He clashed with Mus’ab’s forces at a region called Maskin near Dayr Al-Jathaliq in the outskirts of Al-Kufah.
After defeating him, he made a victorious entry into Al-Kufah and took allegiance from its inhabitants. Then, he sent Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafi to Makkah to fight against Abdullah ibn Al-Zubayr. Consequently, this man besieged Makkah and stoned it, and shed the blood of thousands of innocent persons like water. He killed Abdullah ibn Al-Zubayr and hung his body on the gallows. He perpetrated such atrocities on the people that one shudders at the thought of them.
- 51. Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Al-Thaqafi, Al-Gharat 2:679.
- 52. Tafsir Al-Imam Al-’Askari, pp. 552.
- 53. Minhaj Al-Bara’ah fi Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 7:216.
- 54. Al-Mubarrad, Al-Kamil 2:217.
On the last days of his wicked lifetime, Mu’awiyah was attacked by many diseases. He consulted a Christian physician who suggested that he would hang to his neck a cross. Mu’awiyah thus died while the cross was hanged to his neck. (Abu Hanifah, Al-Manaqib wa’l-Mathalib ñ a manuscript)
- 55. Ibn Shadhan, Fada’il Amir Al-Mu'minin, pp. 141.
- 56. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 41:305.
- 57. Further details can be seen in the author’s two-volume book entitled Hayat Al-Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin.
- 58. Shaykh Al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar Al-Ridha 2:258.
- 59. Ibn Shahr'ashub, Manaqib Ali Abi Talib1:422.
- 60. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 41:307.
- 61. This is an indication of the Umayyad dynasty; the tree accursed by the Holy Quran.
- 62. Abu’l-’Abbas Al-Saffah, the first ‘Abbasid ruler, was the least hardhearted to the descendants of Imam Ali (‘a).
- 63. Abu-Ja’far Al-Mansur, the second ‘Abbasid ruler, was the most lethal, the most courageous, and the most cunning. He killed great numbers of people through trickeries and cunning schemes
- 64. The reign of Harun Al-Rashid, the fifth ‘Abbasid ruler, is considered the golden reign of the ‘Abbasid dynasty, because it was characterized by political stability.
- 65. Al-Ma'mun, the seventh ‘Abbasid ruler, was the most knowledgeable of all those who ruled during the era of the ‘Abbasid dynasty. He was well-known for intelligence and attentive inclination towards sciences.
- 66. The tenth of the ‘Abbasid rulers, Al-Mutawakkil, was the most faithless. He was the most antagonistic and aggressive towards the Holy Prophet’ descendants and their devotees. He was killed at the hands of his private slaves.
- 67. The fifteenth ‘Abbasid ruler, Al-Mu’tamid ruled for twenty-three years during which he was engaged in internal and external wars
- 68. It is reported that Al-Mu’tasid bi’llah, the sixteenth ‘Abbasid ruler, saw in dream that a man came to the River Tigris, extended his hand to the water of the river, and the water was gathered in his hand. He then opened his hand and the water flew. The man asked Al- Mu’tasid, ‘Do you know who I am?’ ‘No, I do not,’ answered Al-Mu’tasid. The man said,
‘I am Ali ibn Abi Talib. When you sit on the seat of caliphate, treat my descendants kindly.’ Hence, when he became the caliph, Al-Mu’tasid was kind and loving to the descendants of Imam Ali (‘a). For this reason, the Imam (‘a) described him as faithful and respecting for family relation ties.
- 69. Al-Muqtadir bi’llah, the eighteenth ‘Abbasid ruler, was killed in a battle led by Munis who had occupied Al-Mawsil (Mosul), lead an army, and returned to Baghdad to fight against the caliph.
- 70. The three sons of Al-Muqtadir bi’llah; namely, Al-Radhi bi’llah, Al-Muttaqi bi’llah, and Al-Muti’ lillah, ruled respectively after their father.
- 71. The ‘Abbasid ruler who lived a long lifetime was either Al-Qadir bi’llah who lived for eighty-six years and ruled for forty-one years, or Al-Qa'im bi-Amrillah who lived for seventy-six years and ruled for forty-four years. However, these were the twenty-fifth and the twenty-sixth rulers of the ‘Abbasid dynasty, but not the twenty-second. It is probable that historicists or narrators of the tradition have made a mistake, confusing between twenty-second and twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth. It is also probable that Imam Ali (‘a) did not consider the reigns of Al-Qahir bi’llah, Al-Radhi bi’llah, Al-Muqtadir bi’llah, and Al-Muktafi bi’llah, because they ruled very short times and the reigns of them were confused with one another.
- 72. It is probable that the twenty-sixth ‘Abbasid ruler is Al-Rashid bi’llah who ran away under the protection of ‘Imad Al-Din Al-Zinji and he was then killed by a warrior in Isfahan. It is also probable that the twenty-sixth ‘Abbasid ruler is Al-Musta’sim, the last of them, because he was killed as well.
- 73. ‘Allamah Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 41:322.
- 74. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 127.
The Chief of the Negroes claimed to be a descendant of the Holy Prophet (S) by showing himself as Ali the son of Muhammad the son of Ahmad the son of ‘´sa the son of Zayd the son of Ali the son of Al-Husayn the son of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was born in the village of Warzanin in the suburbs of Ray (southern Tehran) and belonged to the Azariqah sect of the Khawarij. However, experts on lineage and biographers have not accepted his claim to being a Sayyid (i.e. descendant of the Holy Prophet) and have given his father’s name as Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Rahim instead of Muhammad ibn Ahmad. The former was from the tribe of Abd Al-Qays and had been born of a maid-slave from Sind. Ali ibn Muhammad rose as an insurgent in AH 255 in the reign of Al-Muhtadi bi’llah, the ‘Abbasid ruler, and associated with him the people from the suburbs of Al-Basrah under promise of money, wealth, and freedom. He entered Al-Basrah on the 17th of Shawwal, AH 255 killing and looting, and in only two days, he put to death thirty thousand individuals; men, women, and children, and displayed extreme oppression, bloodshed, savageness, and ferocity.
He dismantled houses, burnt mosques, and after continuous killing and devastation for fourteen years, was killed in the month of Safar, AH 270 in the reign of Al-Muwaffaq bi’llah. Then, people got rid of his devastating deeds. Imam Ali’s prophecy is one of those prophecies which throw light on his knowledge of the unknown. The details of his army given by Imam Ali; namely, that there would be neither neighing of horses nor rustling of weapons therein, is a historical fact.
The historian Al-Tabari has written that when this man reached near Al-Karkh (a sector of Baghdad) with the intention of insurrection, the people of that place welcomed him, and a man presented him a horse for which no rein could be found despite a search. At last, he rode it using a rope for the rein. Similarly, there were at that time only three swords in his force: one with himself, one with Ali ibn Aban Al-Muhallabi, and one with Muhammad ibn Salm, but later they collected some more weapons by marauding.
- 75. Daylaman, or Daylam, is a city northwest Iran.
- 76. The father of the three kings of the Buyid dynasty was a fisherman. He used to catch fish for a living for his dependants and him.
- 77. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 7:49.
The luxurious man is ‘Izz Al-Dawlah Bakhtiyar the son of Mu’izz Al-Dawlah Abu’l-Husayn whose hand was mutilated because he had absconded a battlefield. ‘Izz Al-Dawlah was so luxurious that he had no concern but to amuse himself and drink intoxicants. He was killed by his cousin ‘Asud Al-Dawlah FannaKhosrow in the palace of Al-Jass on River Tigris and robbed his monarchy. Mu’izz Al-Dawlah, the Buyid ruler, dethroned Al-Mustakfi, the ‘Abbasid caliph, and appointed Al-Muti’ li-Amrillah as the caliph.
- 78. Re-deciding of Almighty Allah is known in the Muslim theological terminology as bada'. The meaning of bada' in relation to the affairs of creatures can be defined as arriving at an opinion about an issue while this opinion was not present in the past or, in other words, concluding an idea that was absent until that time.
An example of the natural meaning of bada' (i.e. in relation to all things created) is that the opinion of somebody about a certain act may be changed because he has concluded a result that he has not known before according to which he must change his opinion and idea about that act. Therefore, it looks wise to leave doing that act after learning about the true interest and show regret for the previous opinion. Bada’ in this sense is impossible for Almighty Allah, because it is part of ignorance and imperfection two matters that are impossible for Almighty Allah to hold, as is confirmed by the belief of the Imamiyyah Shi’ah Muslims. Laying stress on this faith, the Imamiyyah Shi’ah Muslims adhere to the following rule stated by Imam Ja’far Al- Sadiq (‘a):
‘Whoever claims that Almighty Allah changes a previous decision (i.e. on the basis of bada') on account of regretting (a previous action) is decided by us as having disbelieved in Allah the All-great.’
He is also reported as saying: ‘Indeed, I disavow anyone who claims that Almighty Allah has changed a previous decision about an affair because He has come to know about something that He had not known in the past!’ On the other hand, our Holy Imams (‘a) are reported to have stated some sayings giving the false impression that bada' in the previous sense might be applicable to Almighty Allah. For instance, Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported as saying:
‘Almighty Allah has not changed a decision about an affair like what He has done in the case of my son Isma’il.’
Because of such traditions, some writers of certain Muslim sects have accused the Imamiyyah Shi’ah Muslims of believing in bada’ in the aforesaid sense so as to defame Shi’ism and the School of the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a). They have added this false claim to the other vituperative campaigns that they lead against the Shi’ah. The fact in this regard is that we, the Shi’ah, believe in bada' as exactly as it is stated by Almighty Allah in the Holy Quran:
‘Allah erases what He pleases and establishes what He pleases, and with Him is the basis of the Book. (13:39)’
Accordingly, the Imam (‘a) meant that Almighty Allah’s decision in the case of Isma’il, the Imam’s son, was unprecedented; so, none of Almighty Allah’s other decisions were like it. The Lord took back Isma’il before his father to tell people that Isma’il would not be the Imam after his father, while circumstances led them to believe that Isma’il, Imam Al-Sadiq’s eldest son, would be the next Imam. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported as saying:
‘Almighty Allah has not changed a decision about an affair like what He has done in the case of my son Isma’il. He took his life before me so that people would realize that Isma’il would not be the next Imam.’ Similar to this meaning of bada’ is the abrogation (naskh) of previous religious laws by the new law brought by our Prophet Muhammad (S), and even the abrogation of some laws brought by the Holy Prophet (S) himself.
- 79. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 7:49.When Isma’il the son of Imam Al-Sadiq and from whose lineage Abdullah Al-Mahdi the first king of the Magharibah dynasty came dead during the lifetime of his father, Imam Al- Sadiq (‘a) shrouded him with his garment and allowed the most prominent personalities of the Shi’ah of that time to see his face so that they would be sure that he died and he was not the next Imam. Nevertheless, some people (namely, the Isma’iliyyah Muslims) did not believe in the death of Isma’il; rather, they believed that he was still alive and he was only raised to the heavens, just like Jesus Christ (‘a).
- 80. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 10:14. The Qarmatians spread mischief, insurgence, robbery, and devastation in the Muslim countries. They violated all the prohibitions of Almighty Allah and prohibited the legal. Just like Communists in ideology, the Qarmatians abandoned the faith of Islam and spread anti-Islamic teachings. They killed a big number of the descendants of Imam Ali (‘a) and declared their hostility towards the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a).
- 81. The Mongols were inhabitants of the Mongolian desert in the north west of Turkistan. These semi-savage tribes lived by marauding, killing, and devastating. They used to fight among themselves and attack neighboring areas. Each tribe had a separate chief who was deemed responsible for their protection. In AH 656, two hundred thousand Tartars marched on Baghdad. Al-Mu’tasim bi’llah’s army and the people of Baghdad jointly faced them, but it was not in their power to stop this torrent of calamity.
The result was that the Tartars entered Baghdad on the tenth of Muharram (the ‘Ashura' Day) carrying with them bloodshed and ruin. They remained busy killing for forty days. Rivers of blood flowed in the streets and all the alleys were filled with dead bodies. Hundreds of thousands of people were put to the sword while the ‘Abbasid ruler was trampled to death under foot. Only those people who hid themselves in wells or underground places and hid from their sight could survive. This was the devastation of Baghdad which shook the ‘Abbasid Kingdom to its foundation, so that its flag could never fly thereafter.
- 82. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 127.
To know hidden things on a personal level is one thing, while to be gifted by Allah with knowledge of any matter and to convey it to others is different. The knowledge of the future which the prophets and vicegerents of prophets possess is gained by them through Allah’s teaching and informing. Allah alone has knowledge of events which are to happen in the future. Of course, He passes this knowledge on to whomever He wills. Thus, He says:
‘He alone is the Knower of the unseen, neither does He reveal His secrets unto any one else save unto that one of the Messengers whom He chooses. (72:26:27)’
In this way, Imam Ali (‘a) also received knowledge of the future through the instructions of the Holy Prophet (S) or inspiration from Allah, for which these words of Imam Ali (‘a) stand evidence. Of course, sometimes, it is not proper or expedient to disclose certain matters and they are allowed to remain under a veil. Then, no one can be acquainted with them.
- 83. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 146
- 84. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 102.
- 85. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 150.
- 86. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Aphorism No. 102.
- 87. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Aphorism No. 379.
- 88. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Aphorism No. 477.