Is Hz. Ali a prophet? Will you give information about Hz. Ali?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hz. Ali is not a prophet. He is a Companion and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and he is the fourth caliph.

He is the son of the paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), his son-in-law and the fourth caliph. His father is Abu Talib; his mother is Fatima bint Asad of Quraysh. His grandfather is Abdulmuttalib. His nicknames are Abu Hasan, Abu Turab (father of the soil) and Haydar; His title is Amirul-Mu'minin (leader of the believers). He is also called 'the lion of Allah'.

Hz. Ali grew up near the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) when he was a little child. It is known that he became a Muslim when he was ten years old. He is the first person to become a Muslim after Hz. Khadija. Once, Hz. Ali saw the Prophet (pbuh) and Hz. Khadija worshipping; when the Prophet (pbuh) told him about the evil of polytheism and the meaning of oneness, Hz. Ali became a Muslim at once. He was always with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in Makkah. He narrates how he broke the idols in the Kaaba as follows:

"Once, I went to the Kaaba with the Messenger of Allah. He wanted to step on my shoulders. He realized that he would not be able to stand when I stood up. Then, he came down, placed me on his shoulders and stood up. I thought I would reach the horizon. There was an idol on the Kaaba. I pushed it from the right and the left. The idol fell down and broke into pieces. I came down from the shoulders of the Messenger of Allah. Then, we returned." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, 1/384)

When the Messenger of Allah was ordered by Allah to warn his relatives and convey them the truth, he brought them together on Safa Hill and conveyed them the divine orders but the Qurayshi polytheists made fun of him. He wanted to organize the second meeting. Hz. Ali prepared a feast and invited Sons of Hashim. After the feast, the Messenger of Allah addressed them as follows:  

"O Sons of Abdulmuttalib! I was sent to you and the whole humanity. Who among you will pay allegiance to me as my brother and friend?"

Only Hz. Ali stood up and paid allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) with the words that he wanted. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah praised Hz. Ali by saying, "You are my brother and vizier." (Musnad, 1/159; Tabari, 2/217-8; Haythami, Majmauz-Zawaid, 8/302)

Before the Prophet (pbuh) migrated, he gave the things that had been entrusted to him to keep to Hz. Ali. Hz. Ali lay in the bed of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that night and confused the polytheists. Thus, Hz. Ali distracted the attention of the polytheists that came to kill the Prophet and risked his life; thus, he enabled the Prophet to gain time during the Migration. Hz. Ali migrated to Madinah after delivering the things that the Prophet gave him to their owners. He was always with the Prophet in Madinah; he took part in all jihad expeditions and battles. He was wounded in the Battle of Uhud. He carried the standard (flag) in the Battle of Badr. He was also the leader of the vanguards. He determined the places that overlooked the way and informed the Prophet about them. Those places were invaded by the Muslims, enabling them to win the battle.

He was one of the three mujahids who went forth for single combat against Qurayshis before the Battle of Badr started. He killed his opponent Walid b. Mughira with his sword. Then, he ran to help Abu Ubayda, who was in a difficult position, and killed his opponent too. He was given the nickname "the Lion of Allah". He was given, a sword, a shield and a camel from the booty of Badr. (see Ahmad bin Abdullah at-Tabari, ar-Riyadun-Nadira: 1/245)

After the Battle of Badr, Hz. Ali married Hz. Fatima, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Prophet performed their marriage ceremony. Hz. Ali, who lived in the same house as the Messenger of Allah until that time, moved to another house after his marriage. Hz. Ali had three sons and two daughters from Hz. Fatima.

In the Battle of Uhud in the third year of the Migration, the polytheists attacked the Muslims due to the mistake of the archers; the Prophet (pbuh) was wounded and fell into a ditch and the enemy spread the rumor that he had died. However, Hz. Ali, who retreated by fighting, reached the ditch and protected the Prophet. No party won the battle in which Hz. Ali received a few wounds.

After the Battle of Uhud, Hz. Ali commanded the Muslims in the war that occurred due to the treason of Sons of Nadr against them. Hz. Ali fought heroically and killed their most famous warriors.

He was given the duty to write the conditions of peace in the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. Hz. Ali started to write the treaty as follows: "Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Muhammad Rasulullah..." However, the polytheists objected to that phrase. The Prophet told Hz. Ali to write "Muhammad b. Abdullah" instead of "Rasulullah" but Hz. Ali insisted on writing "Rasulullah". (Musnad, 4/291)

Hz. Ali was the standard-bearer during the conquest of Makkah. He entered Makkah from the place called "Kada". Makkah was conquered without shedding any blood. They broke all the idols in the Kaaba together with the Messenger of Allah.

After the Conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent Khalid b. Walid to the tribe of Sons of Khuzayma. This tribe said "sabbana" instead of "aslamna" meaning "We became Muslims" due to their ignorance. Therefore, Khalid b. Walid became very angry and fought them. When the Prophet (pbuh) was informed about the incident, he became very sad and sent Hz. Ali to make up for that mistake. Hz. Ali went to Sons of Khuzayma, paid blood money for the ones that were killed and paid for the damages.  

During the Battle of Hunayn, the Muslims were in a very difficult situation and scattered at a certain point in the battle. Although there were more than one thousand Muslims, only very few of them showed patience and resisted. Not only did Hz. Ali show patience in this battle but he also caused the Muslim army to gather again thanks to his heroism and management.

When the Messenger of Allah went to the Expedition of Tabuk in the 9th year of the Migration, he made Hz. Ali stay in Madinah to take care of Ahl al-Bayt but Hz. Ali felt sad since he could not take part in that expedition. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said to him, "Do you not want to be in the position of Harun (Aaron) compared to Musa (Moses) related to me?" Hz. Ali became very pleased with that compliment. (Bukhari, Fadailu Ashabin-Nabi, 9; Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 30, 31)

When the verses of the chapter of at-Tawba were sent down, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent Hz. Ali to Makkah. He informed them that no polytheists would be able to make hajj in the Kaaba from then on.

It was difficult for Islam to enter the region of Yemen. The Prophet gave the duty to Ali b. Abi Talib. Hz. Ali said, "It is a very difficult duty." The Messenger of Allah prayed for him as follows: "O Lord! Let Ali’s tongue be his translator and his heart be the source of the light of guidance." Thereupon, Ali took a black flag and went to Yemen. Thanks to his guidance, the whole tribe of Hamadan accepted Islam in Yemen in a very short time. (Abu Dawud, Aqdiya, 6; Tirmidhi, Ahkam, 5; Musnad, 1/83, 88, 111, 136, 149, 156)

When the Prophet died, Hz. Ali was one of the people who were in his room. When Hz. Abu Bakr was chosen the caliph, Hz. Ali was busy with enshrouding the body of the Messenger of Allah in his room.  

During the caliphate of Hz. Umar, he took care of all of the legal affairs of the state and virtually worked as the chief judge of the state. After the martyrdom of Hz. Umar, he was among the consultation committee of six people that was appointed to choose the new caliph; he was one of the two last candidates left among those six people.   

During the caliphate of Hz. Uthman, he did not like the attitude of the administration but he informed Hz. Uthman about the complaints and offered solutions for them. He did his best to soothe the people who besieged Hz. Uthman’s house.   

After the martyrdom of Hz. Uthman, the leading people of Islam paid allegiance to him. However, his period was a chaotic period as a predestination of Allah. He had to cope with many problems that needed to solved when he became the caliph. The disorders led to the civil conflicts like Jamal and Siffin. He worked very hard and made sacrifices to eliminate the conflicts that occurred in the Islamic state.

Finally, he was wounded by a Kharijite called Abdurrahman b. Muljam on the way to mosque for the morning prayer in Kufa in 40 H/661 AD. He was martyred due to that wound.

Hz. Ali was one of the leading Companions related to tafsir, hadith and fiqh since he was always together with the Prophet. As the Messenger of Allah puts it, he was the most knowledgeable person of the ummah as "the gate of the land of knowledge". He worked very hard to lead people to the truth in the way of the Prophet; although the period of his caliphate was full of civil conflicts, he contributed a lot to the teaching and learning of Islam.

After he became dominant in Madinah fully, he established a school in the center. He gave the duty of teaching Arabic grammar to Abu Aswad ad-Duali, teaching the Quran to Abdurrahman as Sulami, teaching natural sciences to Kumayl b. Ziyad. He appointed Ubada b. as Samit and Umar b. Salama to study Arabic literature. He managed the state by dividing it into separate departments like treasury, army, legislation and jurisdiction. He did not divide financial issues into two as distribution and collection.   

When he distributed the wealth of the nation, he acted very carefully. He was very careful related to taking his share and served as a model by not violating the rights of anybody. Those who saw him in Kufa say that he went to mosque by shivering in winter since his garment was very thin.

He prepared the following regulation for the administrators and officials about how to act:

1. Always show love and kindness in your heart toward people. Do not treat them as if they are monsters and do not reprimand them.

2. Treat everybody equally whether they are Muslims or not.  Muslims are your brothers. Non-Muslims are human beings like you.

3. Do not feel ashamed of forgiving. Do not hurry when you punish. Do not lose your temper at once when your inferiors make mistakes.

4. Do not take sides; do not favor some people. Such deeds will lead you to oppression and tyranny.

5. When choosing your officers, make sure to choose the ones that have not served cruel rulers and have not been held responsible for the crimes and oppression of the state.

6. Choose righteous, honest and kind people, and the ones who can say the sad truth without expecting any material interests and without fear.

7. Do not neglect to do research about the people you will appoint.

8. Pay the government officials enough salary to prevent them from resorting to ill-gotten gains and immorality.

9. Check the movement of the government officials and use sincere people that you trust to do it.

10. Respond to letters and applications personally

11. Earn the trust of the people and convince them that you want their goodness.

12. Never break your vow and promise.

13. Pay special attention to tradesmen and merchants but do not allow them to profiteer, to sell goods on the black market and to stockpile.

14. Help hand workmanship because it reduces poverty and increases the standard of life.

15. Those engaged in agriculture are the state's source of wealth and they should be protected like a treasure.

16. Keep in mind that your sacred duty is to look after the poor, the disabled and orphans. Do not allow your officials to hurt them and to treat them badly. Help them and protect them. Do not prevent them from entering into your presence when they need your help.

17. Avoid shedding blood. Do not kill the people who do not have to be killed according to the decrees of Islam. (Hz. Ali'den Devlet Adamlarına Öğütler, Seha Neşriyat)

Hz. Ali (ra) was a caliph who himself practiced all of those commands. His five-year caliphate was full of very important incidents, wars and troubles. He wanted to fight patiently against mischief in the right way; eventually, he was martyred.

Hz. Ali was aware of all the beauties of Islam because he was always with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He was a revelation scribe, a hafiz, a tafsir scholar, and a hadith scholar. He narrated more than five hundred hadiths from the Prophet. He gave more importance to practice than theory of the decrees. He said,

"Tell people the hadiths that they can understand. Do you want them to deny Allah and the Prophet?" (Bukhari, Ilm 4)

Hz. Ali had three sons (Hasan, Husayn and Muhsin) and two daughters (Zaynab and Umm Kulthum) from Hz. Fatima.

Hz. Ali was a worshipper, a hero, a brave person, a philanthropist, a pious and generous person. After the Muslims started to be better off in Madinah, Hz. Ali decided to have a servant and asked the Messenger of Allah about it. The Messenger of Allah sat between his daughter and son-in-law and said,  

"Shall I tell you something better than a servant. Say Allahu akbar thirty-three times, Alhamdulillah thirty-three times and Subhanallah thirty-three times when you go to bed." (Bukhari, Fadailul-Ashab 9)

Once, Hz. Ali and his family sat at the dinner table when they had a little food. A beggar came and they gave the food to the beggar. The next day, they gave their food to an orphan and on the third day to a slave. This incident lasted for three days and then the following verses were sent down:

"As to the Righteous, they shall drink of a Cup (of Wine) mixed with Kafur,- A Fountain where the Devotees of Allah do drink, making it flow in unstinted abundance. They perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive,- (Saying),"We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks. We only fear a Day of distressful Wrath from the side of our Lord." But Allah will deliver them from the evil of that Day, and will shed over them a Light of Beauty and (blissful) Joy." (al-Insan, 5-11)

Hz. Ali had a very famous sword called "Dhulfiqar". The sword had double blades. It was given to Hz. Ali by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as a gift.

The great spiritual inheritance Hz. Ali had through his generosity, humaneness and closeness to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) made him a legend in the eye of people for centuries. Once, he had four dirhams. He gave one of them away openly, one of them secretly, one of them during the day and one of them at night. Then, the following verse was sent down about him:

"Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (al-Baqara, 2/274)

Hz. Ali reported many hadiths from the Prophet (pbuh). (see Musnad, 1/75 et al.)

Hz. Ali stated the following:

"A person is hidden under his tongue. If you make him speak, you will know how much he loses from his value."

"It is better for man to die after he grows old and knows his Lord than to die at a very young age and go to Paradise without being called to account."

"A slave should hope only from his Lord and should fear only his sins."

"An ignorant person should not be ashamed of asking what he does not know. A scholar should not be ashamed of saying ‘Allah knows best’ related to an issue that he cannot decree.

"What I fear for you the most is to obey the desire of your souls, and to have long-term desires. The first one drives you away from the right path and the second makes you forget the hereafter."

"The most difficult of the deeds are the following three deeds: to give the soul its due, to remember Allah in any case and to offer and treat plenty of things to your brother."

"Taqwa (piety) means stopping doing wrong and not being deceived."

"Hearts are like vessels. The good one is that one that is full of good things."

"I will be a slave to a person who teaches me a letter."

Hz. Ali is one of the leading figures of this ummah and Companions that played an important role for Islam to reach us.

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