Martyrdom of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) was a ‘momentous matter in the skies’ and the earth. Being a significant event, it had extraordinary links with the past. In fact, as we will see, Imam’s (a.s.) martyrdom had connections with many past prophets, successors and virtuous ones.
Prophet Nuh (a.s.)
Prophet Nuh (a.s.) had prepared the grave of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) many centuries in advance as this narration indicates:
When Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) began digging the earth to prepare the grave of their father, they found a ready-made grave with the writing –
‘In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful. Here is the grave prepared by Nuh for Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), successor of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), 700 years before the great deluge.’
- Ithbat al-Hodaat v 3 p 164
- Irshad al-Quloob v 2 p 435
- Behar al-Anwar v 42 p 216
Prophet Saleh (a.s.)
The killer of of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has been likened to the killer of Prophet Saleh’s (s.a.) she-camel:
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed Ameerul Momineen (a.s.):
The most evil one from my nation will rise, he will be the equal of the killer of Saleh’s camel from the nation of Thamood. He will strike you on the partition of your head (caused by the strike of Amr Ibn Abd Wud in Khandaq) so much so that your beard will be dyed with the blood and the people will be in throes of sorrow and lamentation…
- Fazail al-Ashhor al-Thalathah p 110
- Ithbaat al-Hudaat v 3 p 89
It must be noted that Zul Qarnain was not a prophet, rather he was a pious servant enjoying a high status in front of Allah. His stature is evident from the incident in the Surah Kahf (18), where Allah mentions him by name.
Traditions state that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is the Zul Qarnain of this nation.
- Ithbaat al-Hudaat v 3 p 54
- Al-Eeqaaz p 370
- Tafseer al-Burhaan v 2 p 239 under Surah Maidah (5): 3
- Tafseer al-Burhaan v 5 p 421 under Surah Tahreem (66): 4
- Manaqib Aal-e-Abi Talib (a.s.) v 3 p 90
- Mashariq Anwar al-Yaqeen p 86
- Behar al-Anwar v 38 p 93, 216
One reason for the comparison could be the double strike that was inflicted on Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) head in a manner similar to Zul Qarnain, who also received a double strike and was revived by Allah on each occasion.
Traditions report that Abdul Rahman Ibn Muljim struck Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on the head at the same place as Amr Ibn Abd Wudd in the Khandaq battle.
- Behar al-Anwar v 42 p 281
Prophet Yusha Ibn Noon (a.s.)
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was martyred thirty years after the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This bears resemblance to the death of Prophet Yusha Ibn Noon (a.s.) who passed away thirty years after Prophet Moosa (a.s.), as this narration indicates:
Abdullah bin Masud narrates:
I asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – O Messenger of Allah! Who will perform your ghusl after your demise?
He (s.a.w.a.) replied – Every prophet is given ghusl by his successor.
I asked – Who is your successor O Prophet of Allah?
He (s.a.w.a.) replied – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).
I asked – How long will he live after you, O Prophet of Allah?
He (s.a.w.a.) said: He will live for thirty years. The successor of Prophet Moosa (a.s.) lived for thirty years after him…
- Kamal al-Deen v 1 p 27
- Nahj al-Haqq p 368
- Tafseer al-Safi v 4 p 168 under (Surah Ahzab (33): 33)
- Tafseer al-Burhan v 4 p 442 (Surah Ahzab (33): 33
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
The grief of the Muslims over the martyrdom of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was like their grief over martyrdom of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.):
Osaid Ibn Safwan, the companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), narrates:
On the day that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) passed away there was intense wailing and grief among the people (of Kufa). It was just like the day when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) passed away.
- Amaali-e-Sadooq (r.a.) – Majlis 42, tradition 11
Successors of past prophets
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) being successor of Prophet (s.a.w.a.) saw a repeat of events witnessed by successors of past prophets like when their bodies united with the prophets after death:
As already informed by Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) before his death – when the Muslims visited his grave a few days after burying him, they found the grave empty. This is because Imam’s (a.s.) blessed body was united with the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) body in Medina.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed – When a prophet dies in the east and his successor dies in the west, Allah will unite them.
- Kanz al-Fawaid p 140
Killer of illegitimate birth
Killer of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was of illegitimate birth just like the killers of past prophets and successors were of illegitimate birth.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) informed: The prophets and divine proofs were killed by men born to unfaithful and immoral women.
- Kamil al-Ziyaaraat p 78
Skies wept on killing
On Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) martyrdom, skies wept in grief, like they wept in the past over other messengers.
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed Ameerul Momineen (a.s.):
Surely the skies and the earth weep over a believer’s death for 40 mornings, they weep over a scholar for 40 months, the skies and the earth weep over messengers for 40 years and the skies and the earth will weep over you, O Ali, for 40 seasons / years.
- Manaqib Aal Abi Talib (a.s.) v 2 p 347
- Madinah al-Maajiz v 3 p 68
- Behar al-Anwar v 42 p 308
Visiting Ali (a.s.) is like visiting Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
In his life time and after his martyrdom, visiting Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has same reward as visiting Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). In fact, on many occasions like birth of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and proclamation of prophethood (Ma’bath), there is a special ziyarat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).
Why is it so?
Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) – the great Shiite scholar and reporter of traditions (Muhaddith) – has answered the question in his magnificent book of supplications and ziyaaraat, famous as Mafatih al-Jinan:
The prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ali (a.s.) are two illustrious leaders who share close proximity and these are two lights that are united in perfection. So, one who visits Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is like the one who visited the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
- Mafatih al-Jinan under the Ziyarat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on 17thRabi al-Awwal which according to Allamah Majlisi (a.s.) is the best of all ziyaaraat and can be recited any time
And we also witness this in numerous traditions.
Among these traditions is one reported by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn al-Mashhadi from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) thus:
A Bedouin lamented to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – O Prophet of Allah, my house is far from your house. Whenever I am eager to visit you and see you, I set out to visit you but am unable to see you, then I visit Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). He (a.s.) comforts me with his talks and exhortations. Then I return saddened and grievous with not having met you.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed – One who visits Ali (a.s.) then he has already visited me. One who loves him, then he has already loved me. One who takes him as an enemy has already considered me as an enemy.
Convey to your tribe that one who visits him then he has already visited me. And I, Jibrail and the virtuous believers (Ameerul Momineen a.s.) will reward the visitor on the Day of Judgment.
- Al-Mazaar al-Kabeer p 38
The many links of Ameerul Momineen’s martyrdom with past prophets and successors is in addition to the many links in his lifetime with past prophets. Yet the Muslim nation chose to ignore Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) superior claim to caliphate and instead selected others who had no links with Islam, leave alone with prophets.