While the Muslim community is amazed about the esteemed status of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and his Shias, here is another interesting incident on the subject.
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was seated with his companions one night in the Mosque, conversing with them.
He said (s.a.w.a.): O my nation, when you remember the earlier prophets then send salutations on them. When you remember my grandfather Ibrahim (a.s.), then send salutations on him, then on me (s.a.w.a.).
They said: O Prophet of Allah, why should we remember Ibrahim like that?
He (s.a.w.a.): Know that on the Night of Ascent (Meraaj) I was taken to the third sky. A pulpit of light was raised for me. I sat at the top of the pulpit and Ibrahim (a.s.) sat one level below me and all the earlier prophets (a.s.) sat around the pulpit.
Then Ali (a.s.) was brought in front of us while he was mounted on a camel of light and his face shone like the moon and his companions surrounded him (shining) like stars.
Ibrahim (a.s.) – O Muhammad, which great Prophet is he or is he a proximate angel?
I replied – He is neither a great Prophet nor is he a proximate angel. Rather he is my brother and my cousin and my son-in-law and the inheritor of my knowledge – Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.).
Ibrahim (a.s.) – And who are these surrounding him like stars.
I replied – His Shias.
Ibrahim supplicated – O Allah, please include me among the Shias of Ali.
Then Jibrail (a.s.) descended with the verse –
وَإِنَّ مِن شِيعَتِهِ لَإِبْرَاهِيمَ
And most surely Ibrahim was among his Shias. (Surah Saaffat (37): 83)
Majma' al-Bahrain v 4 p 356
Some skeptics will be quick to dismiss this as exaggeration (ghuluv). They are the ones who have not deliberated on the Verse of Mubahelah in Surah Aal Imran (3:61): Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves..
This verse announces Ali (a.s.) as the Nafs / Self of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
By virtue of his selection as the ‘self’ of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has achieved superiority over all creation except the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Since the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is superior to all creation, his self (Ali a.s.) also achieves a similar status. By creation we mean the entire world of creation including but not limited to the divine prophets and messengers, angels, etc. with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being the sole exception.
Hence if Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) wishes to be included among the Shias of Ali (a.s.), it should not appear astonishing at all.