Among the virtues and excellence of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is his position as the Self / Nafs of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) according to the famous Verse of Mubahelah (Surah Ale Imran (3): 61.
In his position as Nafs-e-Rasool, he is entitled to certain privileges that are meant exclusively for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). These privileges have been granted by Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself to Ali (a.s.) – like sleeping in his bed on Lailah al-Mubeet / night of migration.
Another important privilege granted to Ali (a.s.) is divorcing the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives in his absence.
They are wives of Prophet (s.a.w.a) only if they follow protocol
The Noble Quran warns the wives to stay in line else there would be consequences:
يَا نِسَاء النَّبِيِّ مَن يَأْتِ مِنكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا
O wives of the prophet! Whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this is easy for Allah. (Surah Ahzab (33): 30)
There are many reports documented by both the schools on the ‘open decency’ mentioned in the verse.
Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) narrates that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) instructed Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) regarding the wives:
Surely this nobility (of being Ummul Momineen) will remain only for those (wives) who continue in their obedience, then whosoever of them disobeys Allah after me by coming out in war against you then divorce her from the marriage and remove from her the noble position of Ummul Momineen (Mother of Believers),
- Kamaluddeen v 2 p 459
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had already warned the wives that they would be divorced if they did not follow etiquette:
Whosoever of you fears Allah and does not perform open indecencies and does not come out (in battle) shall be my wife in the hereafter.
- Kanz al-Ummal v 12, p 142-143, trad 10,443
Ali (a.s.) is in charge of wives and can grant divorce
In the Battle of Jamal, after the rebellious wife’s camel litter had been struck down, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) declared:
I implore you for Allah’s sake, is there anyone who heard the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) tell me – O Ali, the wives are in your charge after me.
Thirteen men, some of them from Battle of Badr, rose and testified that they had heard the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
At this the rebellious wife wept so loudly that everyone could hear her weeping.
- Al-Ehtejaj v 1 p 164
- Behar al-Anwar v 32 p 202
When they did not follow protocol, they were divorced
After what she did with Imam Hasan (a.s.) i.e. prevented Imam (a.s.) from being buried near his grandfather (s.a.w.a.), Imam Husain (a.s.) divorced the rebellious wife of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on his behalf.
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had delegated right to divorce his wives to Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and he (a.s.) in turn delegated it to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and he (a.s.) to Imam Husain (a.s.).
He (s.a.w.a.) had informed – Surely from my wives there will be one who will not want to face me on the Day of Judgement, she is the one divorced by my successors.
- Ithbat al-Hodat v 2 p 255
- Ithbat al-Wasiyyah p 163
Among the virtues of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and his infallible sons (a.s.) is the right to divorce the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives. No other companion was granted this authority. Hence to give preference to wives and companions over the Ahle Bait (a.s.) is against the intellect and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) narrations.