We should know that the title of Siddiq Akbar is especially for His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and it cannot be applied to anyone else. Salman Farsi and Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari say that the Holy Prophet (S) held the hand of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and said:
“Indeed, this is the person who was the first to bring faith in me. And he is the discriminator of right and wrong in this nation and he is the chief of believers. And he is the one who shall meet me first on Judgment Day, and he is the Siddiq Akbar.”1
The second saying of the Prophet is: Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari narrates that the Holy Prophet (S) told Ali (a.s.): “You were the first to believe in me and you are the Siddiq Akbar.”
The third saying of the Prophet is: Ibn Abbas and Abu Laila say that according to the Holy Prophet (S), Siddiq Akbar are three: “Habib Najjar, the companion of Prophet Isa (a.s.), who had brought faith in Isa (a.s.) and said: O people of my nation, follow the Prophets. The second was Hizqeel, from the group of Firon. But he believed in Allah and he was the one who said: O people of my nation, would you slay one who says that the Almighty is his Lord? The third is Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.); and he is superior to both of them.”2
This tradition tells us that except for these three persons, there is no other Siddiq Akbar. Although one can call anyone as Siddiq Akbar.
The fourth prophetic tradition is as follows: Regarding the following verse of the Holy Quran:
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors.” 3
Ibn Abbas says that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) asked the Messenger of Allah (S): “Would we be able to see the Prophet in Paradise also?” Holy Prophet (S) replied that there had been a close confidant of every prophet who had brought faith in him first of all. Then this verse was revealed that they are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed the bounties. That is with the prophets, the truthfuls, the martyrs and the righteous ones. And they shall be their good companions. After this, the Holy Prophet (S) called His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and said: “O Ali! The Almighty Allah has revealed the reply to your question and made you my confidant, because you brought faith in me before others did and you are the Siddiq Akbar.”4
The fifth tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) is related by His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) himself wherein the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “This Siddiq Akbar is Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).” The writer has refrained from quoting this tradition in full, although it is absolutely authentic and its reporter is Abu Ja’far al-Aqeeli.
The gist of this narration is that Holy Prophet (S) told His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) that on Judgment Day except for the four of us, no one would be astride a mount. A person from the Helpers (Ansar) got up and beseeched the Prophet to inform them who these four were. The Prophet replied:
“One of these is myself. I shall be astride the Buraaq. And my brother Salih, the prophet shall be on the she-camel whose legs were severed. And my Uncle Hamza shall be stride the she-camel, Ghazba. And my brother, Ali (a.s.) shall be on a she-camel of Paradise and the standard (Liwaul Hamd) shall be in his hand, and he would be calling out: ‘There is no god, except Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (S).’ All the people would be saying that he is a proximate angel or a Messenger sent by Allah or a bearer of the throne (Arsh). An angel from inside the Arsh would reply: ‘O People! This is neither a proximate angel, nor a Messenger sent or a bearer of the throne, this is Siddiq Akbar, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).’”
So far, we have mentioned the saying of the Holy Prophet (S). Now, one should also know that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) has called himself by the title of Siddiq Akbar as apparent from the following traditions.
First Tradition: Maaza Adwiya reports that he heard Ali (a.s.) saying from the pulpit of Basra that he was the Siddiq Akbar.5 In the same way, in Sharh Tajrid of Allamah Qaushiji, on page 389, we see that Ali (a.s.) said to a huge crowd: “I am the Siddiq Akbar. I brought faith before Abu Bakr did.” It should be clear that Ali (a.s.) has not attributed something new to himself; it was exactly what Holy Prophet (S) had declared about him.
Second Tradition: Ibaad Ibn Abdullah says that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) said: “I am the slave of Allah and the brother of the Messenger of Allah (S). I am Siddiq Akbar. Except me, one who calls himself Siddiq Akbar, is a blatant liar. I have prayed seven years prior to everybody else.”6 It should be clear that this statement of Ali (a.s.) is based on the saying of the Messenger of Allah (S). Thus, except for Ali (a.s.), no one has the right to call himself Siddiq Akbar.
Third Tradition: Maaza Adwiya says that he heard Ali (a.s.) saying from the pulpit of Basra that he was the Siddiq Akbar and that he had brought faith before Abu Bakr and had accepted Islam before Abu Bakr. From the sayings of the Holy Prophet (S) and Ali (a.s.) it becomes clear that for one to be Siddiq Akbar it is necessary that he should have precedence in faith and in Islam.
Now the people of justice mat decide whether Ali (a.s.) is eligible for the title of Siddiq Akbar or someone else. But it is extremely regrettable that justice has disappeared from the world. Common Muslims don’t even know that it is the special appellation of Imam Ali (a.s.) and according to the statement of the Prophet no one has even a share in it. The same is the case with the title of Farooq Aazam (the great discriminator) as will be proved from the traditions mentioned below.