Shrine of Imam Ali (AS) Najaf (Iraq).

IMAMAT 29 Years.



On Friday, the 13th of the blessed month of Rajab (600 A.D.), thirty years after the Year of the Elephant, 12 years before the Mab'ath-ordainment of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) as Allah's Messenger, Fatimah bint Asad ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf felt that she was about to give birth to her child. She came to the Sacred Ka'bah and began to circumambulate praying as she walked, "O Allah! I believe in You and in the messengers and the scriptures You have sent. I believe in what has been said by my grandfather, Abraham (a.s.) who built the Ancient House (the Ka'bah). So, for the sake of the builder of this House, and for the sake of the child in my womb, I implore You to make my labor easy "(3)

Miraculously, the wall of Ka'bah was opened and Fatimah bint Asad entered and the wall closed behind her. 'Abbas bin 'Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet's uncle witnessed this miracle. He and his companions rushed to the gate of the Sacred House, which was locked, and tried in vain to open it. Understanding that the Divine was at work there, he and his companions ceased to interfere. The news of this incident soon spread throughout Mecca.

Imam Ali (a.s.) was born within the Ka'bah with his body in humble prostration before the Almighty Allah. Nobody before or after him has ever been born in the Ka'bah. Fatimah stayed in the Ka'bah for three days and as the fourth day approached, she stepped out, carrying her baby in her arms. Everyone were rush to see the newly-burn child but he would not open his eyes. Fatimah found the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) waiting to receive the newly-born child in his anxious arms and he opened his eyes. So the first face that little Ali saw in this worldwas the smiling face of the Apostle of God, Muhammad(s.a.w.).
Imam Ali's (a.s.) birth inside the honored Ka'bah is unique in the history of the world. No-one has ever blessed with such an honor.(4) It is an undisputed historical fact recognised by all historians that the Holy Ka'bah is the birthplace of Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.).
Glad tidings were brought to Abu Talib and his household. Upon their arrival at the Sacred House they saw prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (s.a.w.) there with the child in his arms.(5) He carried the baby Ali to the house of Abu Talib, where he, himself was brought up.

A great banquet was prepared, slaughtering many animals, in honor of the blessed new-born child.(6)
The party was attended by a crowd of people. They offered their congratulations, spent hours of merriment expressing their high feelings towards their chieftain, the sheikh of Al-Abtah, and towards his blessed child.
Days passed quickly as the blessed child grew up in the arms of his parents and his cousin, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), who used to visit frequently his uncle's house, where he had formerly tasted the warmth of affection, and drank from the fountains of sincerity and loyalty during the years of his childhood and youth.

Fatimah bint Asad was like a mother to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) because he was brought up under her care. He was grateful for her kindness and she was among the first to believe in him and she emigrated with him in the group of the emigrants. When she died and Imam Ali (a.s.) gave the news of death of his mother, Prophet said "She was my mother also and say our mother died." The Prophet shrouded her with his own shirt and he laid her to rest in her grave. He made Salat maiete for her and dictated to her the last words (which were) the statement of the authority (wilaya) of her son, the Commander of the faithful (peace be on him), so that at the examination after burial, she would be able to reply with those words. He singled her out with this great favour because of her position with God, (May He be magnified and exalted), and with him,( peace be on him). The report of that is well known.

The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) continued to visit frequently his uncle's house, although he was now a married man, living with his wife, Khadijah, in their own house. He cherished Ali and surrounded him with affection and care, speaking to him tenderly, rocking his cradle or carrying him in his arms.


Six years passed after Ali's birth. The Quraish (Prophet Muhammad's (s.a.w.) tribe) suffered from an acute economic crisis which had a heavy effect on Abu Talib(chief of Bani-Hasham), who had to support a large family, as well as a host of poor people who used to come to him as a prominent figure in the community at Mecca. Could the "Chosen One" (s.a.w.) and Bani Hashim (his family) accept such a hard situation for their leader?

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) went to his uncle, Al-Abbas Ibn Abdul-Muttalib, the wealthiest of the Bani Hashim, and said, "O uncle! your brother, Abu Talib, sustains a large family, and the people are badly afflicted by the situation. So, let us go to him to lighten his hammad though he to be sustained by us."(7)

The proposal from Al-Mustafa (the Chosen One) (s.a.w.) was gladly accepted by his uncle, Al-Abbas, and they both hurried to Abu Talib and talked him into accepting the suggestion.

Abu Talib said, "If you let me have Aqil and Talib, I will let you do as you see fit..."(8)
Al-Abbas took Ja'far, and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) took Ali (a.s.), then six years old.(9)
Having chosen Ali (a.s.), the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: "I have chosen whom Allah had chosen for me above you - Ali." (10)

Ali (a.s.), from his early childhood, lived under the patronage of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). He did grew up under Prophet care and drank from the fountains of his affection, tenderness and knowledge. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) brought him up as The Lord had taught him. He never separated from Prophet until he joined the Almighty.


Imam Ali (a.s.) referred to the vast dimensions of the education he received at the hands of his guide, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) in one of his speeches known by the title " Al-Qasi'ah" (censure):


" know what my relations with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) were. From the very beginning of my life, he loved me and I loved him. He took me in his lap when I was a baby and thence I was always with him. He often kept me embraced to his heart. He used to lay me next to him. We used to be so close to each other that I felt the warmth of his body and smelled the fragrance of his odor. When I was a baby, he fed me with his hands, often chewing hard bits for me. He never found me lying nor weak and wavering. From the time of his (the Prophet (s.a.w.)) infancy, Allah had appointed the greatest of His angels to always be with him, and His Arch Angel was leading him towards exemplary qualities and high moral values, and I followed him (s.a.w.) step by step as a baby camel follows its mother. Daily he used to place before me a fresh standard of efficiency and used to order me . to follow it. Every year he used to stay in a grotto of the Hara' for some time, and nobody used to be with him but me. None could then see or hear him but I. During those days Islam was the religion of only the Prophet and his wife, Khadijah. I was the third of the trio. Nobody else in this world had accepted Islam. Even then I used to see the divine light of revelation and prophethood and smell the heavenly fragrance of prophethood."(11)

In his own words, this text reveals how Imam Ali (a.s.), during his childhood, was treated by the Messenger (s.a.w.) with care, tenderness and self-denial. The Prophet went to the extent of chewing morsels of food and putting them in Ali's mouth, holding him in his arms and treating him as though he were his own beloved son.
During his boyhood and youth, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) exerted his efforts to form Ali's personality. He used to instruct him to do as he did, to follow his wake. Every day the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) would demonstrate a new example of high morality for Ali to follow, step by step, as is described in his speech.
Therefore, it is a mistake not to believe that Ali (a.s.) was initially and purposely chosen to come as an illustration of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) in his thought, attitudes and diverse aspects of his conduct, even in his way of walking.(12)

Imam Ali (a.s.) was so pure in spirit and straightforward in morality, according to the education he received from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), that many shadows of the hidden future were lighted before him. He says: "...When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) received the first revelation, Satan lamented so loudly that I asked the Holy Prophet: Who is lamenting and why? He replied, 'It is Satan who has given up hopes of acquiring complete sway over human minds. In his disappointment, he is lamenting over the chance lost. Verily Ali, you also hear whatever I hear, and you see whatever I see, only you are not a prophet. But you are my wazir (minister), successor and helper, and you will always hold the truth and justice."(13)

The path which he walked, in the proximity of Allah, the Exalted, to obey His commands and to enact His Messenger's practice, qualified him to be a minister to prophethood--the post that is entrusted only to those who already covered a long distance towards the peak of virtue and the fear of God. It was only the prophethood's calling that separated him from the Prophet (s.a.w.). So he deserved and rightly ascended to the ministerial platform. Thus was Imam Ali (a.s.)!


Although Imam Ali (a.s.) lived in the custody of his father and brothers for six tender years, with a prominent role played by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) in attendance, it became a complete task of rearing him and educating him when the responsibility fell to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) from his sixth year. As already mentioned, it was then that he moved to the Prophet's house because of the financial crisis which befell his father, Abu Talib.
Since that early age, Imam Ali (a.s.) lived with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). It was there that he spent his teens and adolesence during which he was a close observer of all the developments that happened in the life of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).

So, Imam Ali's (a.s.) education was not an ordinary one, nor one which a normal child receives from his father, or elder brothers. The training and instruction he received was very special and it suffices to know that he followed Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) like his shadow, even during periods of exclusive privacy inside the Hara' grotto where the mental and spiritual developments were witnessed through which Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was passing.
Imam Ali (a.s.), remembering those momentus days, during a decisive period of his life, recalls "...Every year he used to stay in a grotto of Hira' Mountain for some time, and nobody would be with him but I..."(14)

Yes, it was only Imam Ali (a.s.) who witnessed the tremendous spiritual change which had been ripening in the soul of Al-Mustafa (s.a.w.), until the blessed Divine revelation shined forward upon him.
Owing to the far-reaching extent of the spiritual and moral level to which his soul had attained, Imam Ali (a.s.) deeply felt the revolution that had taken place in the unseen world, where Satan had been defeated, after losing hope of being worshipped by hearing the final message revealed to the Seal of the Prophets (s.a.w.). He had seen the preliminary signs of prophethood personified in no one less than his tutor and guide, when the light of deliverance shone, and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) received the first Divine Communique entrusting him with his mission for mankind:


"Read: In the name of your Lord Who created. Created man from a clot. Read:
And your Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not."

The Commander of the faithful, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)and his brothers were among the leading members of the second generation of descendants of Hashim. In this way he gained two marks of nobility, through his growing up under the care and education of the Apostle of God, May God bless him and his family. He was the first of the family of the House and of the Companions to believe in God and His Apostle. He was the first man whom the Prophet, May God bless him and his family, summoned to Islam and he answered. He never ceased to support the religion and to strive against the polytheists. He constantly defended the faith and fought against those who who supported deviation (from the truth) and despotism. He spread the teachings of the sunna (the practice of thc Prophet) and the Qur'an, judged with justice and enjoined (people) to do good.

He was with the Apostle of God, May God bless him and his family, twenty-three years after the (coming) of the (prophetic) mission. Of these, thirteen years were in Mecca before the migration when he shared with him all the persecutions and bore most of his hardships. Then there were ten years in Medina after the emigration when he defended him against the polytheists and strove with him against the unbelievers. He protected him and his life from the enemies of religion until the time God, the Exalted, took (the Prophet) to His heaven, raised him to the highest place in heaven and bestowed His blessings and peace on him and his family. On that day the Commander of the faithful, (a.s.) was thirty-three years of age.

On the day of the death of the Prophet, (s.a.w.) the community differed over his Imamate. His Shia who were the Bani Hashim, Salman, Ammar, Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad, Khuzayma ibn Thabit - the man who was known as the possessor of two testimonies - Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Jabir ibn Abd Allah al-Ansari Abu Said Al-Khudri and people like them among the important emigrants and Ansar, (all these) maintained that he was the successor (khalifa) after the Apostle of God (May God bless him and his family) and the Imam. (They did this) because of his outstanding merit (fadl) above all mankind, through the fact that there were gathered in him the qualities of outstanding merit, judgement and perfection, such as him being the first of the community to enter the faith, his superiority over them in knowledge of the laws, his precedence over them in fighting (jihad) and the distinction which set him apart from them in the extent of his piety, asceticism and righteousness.

Furthermore he had been specially singled out by the Prophet from among (all) his relatives because of (the qualities) which no other relatives, apart from him, shared with the Prophet and because of the nomination (nass) of his authority (wilaya) by God, May God be magnified and exalted, in the Qur'an where He, (May His name be exalted), says:

  "Your authority (wali) is God and His Apostle and those believers who perfrom the prayer and pay alms (zakat) while they are bowing (in prayer)." [ V. 55 ]

It is known that no one except him paid alms while bowing (in prayer).

It has been established in language that wali means "the most appropriate for authority" (awla), without there being any opposition (to this definition). If the Commander of the faithful(s.a.) was, by the stipulation of the Qur'an, more appropriate for authority among the people than themselves because of his being their wali according to the textual nomination (nass) in the Clear Explanation (i.e. the Qur'an, tibyan), it was obviously necessary for all of them to obey him, just as obedience to God, the Most High, and obedience to His Apostle (peace be on him and his family), was required because of the information about their authority (wilaya) over creatures which is given in this verse with clear proof.

Another reason for their support for the Commander of the faithful was: because of what the Prophet (s.a.w.), said on the day (of the assembly) at his house. He had especially gathered the Banu Abd Al-Muttalib there in order to make the (following) solemn pledge:

"Whoever helps me in this matter will be my brother, my testamentary trustee (wasi) my helper (wazir), my heir          and my successor after me".

Then the Commander of the faithful (a.s.) stood up before him among all the gathering of them, and on that day he was the youngest of them, and he said:

      "O Apostle of God, I will help you".

Then the Prophet (s.a.w.), said:

      "Sit down, you are my brother, my trustee, my helper, my inheritor and successor after me".

This is a clear statement about the succession (after the Prophet).

In addition, there is also what the Prophet, (s.a.w.), said on the day of Ghadir Khumm. The community had gathered to listen to the sermon (when he asked):

           "Am I not more appropriate for authority (awla) over you than yourselves?"

Yes, they answered.

Then he spoke to them in an ordered manner without any interruption in his speech:

            "Whomsoever I am the authority over (mawla), Ali is also the authority over."  

Thus he the Prophet required for him (Ali), through laying down obedience to him and his authority (over them), the same authority as he had over them, and which he made them acknowledge and which they did not deny. This is clear (evidence) of the nomination (nass) of him for the Imamate and for succession to his position.

Furthermore there is the Prophet's (peace be on him and his family), statement to him at the time of setting out to Tabuk:

           "You are in the same position with respect to me as Aaron (Harun) was to Moses (Musa) except that there is no prophet after me".      

Thus he required him (to have) the office of helping (i.e. administering) and to be characterised by love and outstanding merit over everyone. (He also required) his deputising for him both during his life and after his death. The Qur'an gives evidence for all that coming to Aaron (Harun) from Moses, (peace be on them) when God (May He be magnified and exalted), said in giving a report of what Moses (A.S.), said:

             "Make Aaron, my brotherly a helper for me from my family. Give me support through him and make him participate in my affair so that we may glorify You much and we may remember You frequently in that You have been a watcher over us." [XX .29-35]  

God, the Most Exalted said:

                 "Your request is granted Moses."   [XX .36 ]

This (verse) confirmed that Aaron had a share with Moses in prophecy, and in helping in delivering the message and his support was strengthened through him by his aid. (Moses) also told him of deputising for him (when he said):

               "Deputise for me among my people. Act for (their) benefit and do not follow the path of the corrupters." [ VII.142 ]

This confirms his succession by the precise statement of revelation. Therefore when the Apostle of God (a.s.), gave all the ranks which Aaron had from Moses to the Commander of the faithful,(a.s.), in the same extent, except for prophecy, (all such things) were required of him as helping the Apostle, giving him support, outstanding merit and love, because these qualities were definitely required by that. Then by the clear statement there is his deputising for him during his life and "after the prophethood" which (gives evidence of his succession) by specification of the exception, (of Prophethood) when he excludes him from it by mentioning "after".

Ghadir Khum

On this day the Messenger of Allah spent approximately five hours in this place; three hours of which he was on the pulpit. He recited nearly one hundred verses from The Glorious Quran, and for seventy three times reminded and warned people of their deeds and future. Then he gave them a long speech. The following is a part of his speech which has been widely narrated by the Sunni traditionists:

The Messenger of Allah declared: "It seems the time has approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. I am leaving for you two precious things and if you adhere both of them, you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The two shall never separate from each other until they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Then the Messenger of Allah continued: "Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?" People cried and answered: "Yes, O' Messenger of God." Then Prophet (s.a.w.) held up the hand of Ali and said: "Whoever I am his leader (Mawla), Ali is his leader (Mawla). O' God, love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him."
more info.

The Imamate of the Commander of the faithful, (a.s.) was for thirty years after the Prophet (s.a.w.). For twenty-four years and six months of these he was prevented from administering the laws (of the office) (and had to) exercise precautionary dissimulation (taqiyya) and withdrawal. He was elected by Muslems as thier Caliph (656-A.D.).

As Caliph for five years and six months, he was troubled by wars against the hypocrites, those who broke their pledges, the unjust and those who deviated (from the religion) and he was plagued by the seditions of those who had gone astray. In the same way the Apostle of God (s.a.w.), had been prevented from (administering) the laws (of his office) through fear and through being spied upon, and through being a fugitive and through being exiled, so that he had no power to fight the unbelievers and no means of defending the believers. Then he emigrated and for ten years after the emigration he remained making war on the unbelievers and being troubled by the hypocrites until the time that God (May His name be exalted), took him unto Himself and made him dwell in the gardens of Paradise.

The death of the Commander of the faithful,(a.s.) occurred before dawn on Friday, the twenty-first of the month of Ramadan, in the year 40 A.H. (661-A.D.).
He was a victim of the sword. Ibn Muljam al-Muradi,( May God curse him) killed him at the mosque of Kufa, when he had come out to wake the people for the dawn prayer on the night of the nineteenth of the month of Ramadan. He was lying in wait for him from the beginning of the night. When he (the Commander of the faithful) passed by him while the latter was hiding his design by feigning sleep amid a group of people who were asleep, he (Ibn Muljam) sprang out and struck him on the top of his head with his sword which was poisoned. He lingered through the day of the nineteenth and the night and day of the twentieth and the first third of the night of the twenty-first. Then he, (a.s.) died a martyr and met his Lord, Most High. He knew of that before its time and he told the people before its time.

Ali (a.s.) is cousin of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w). The prophet adopted and educated him and honoured him by giving him his daughter in marriage. He was the first person, who believed in Islam and he is the first Imam of Shiites all over the world today. To preserve the sacred religion of Islam. he, along with the prophet, fought a number of battles against the infidels; and the bravery and devotion displayed by him, to a consuderable extent accounts for the spectacular conquests of the Muslems. However, more important than all these merits is his moral virtues.
It is his chivalry, equity, chastity, kindness, patience, generosity, wisdom and insight that make him the symbol of a perfect figure or an ideal man; and this is a fact that enemies and friends equally acknowledge. The book <Nahdj-UI-Balagheh> , which is known to be a collection of his speeches and a reflection of his thoughts, contains most eloquent aphorisms with excellent meanings and minute points which are clear indications of his high-mindedness and perfect integrity. In an age and in an environment that the darkness of ignorance was so widespread that the eyes of mind could hardly see any truth. such a clearsightedness is indeed miraculous and amazing. Thus the authur of such a masterpiece rightly deserves to be reckoned as a genius of his own time. To give an account of this magnanimous man's life, even in a sketchy manner, calls for the compilation of a book.

His two sons, al- Hasan and al-Husayn, (a.s.) performed (the tasks) of washing him and shrouding him according to his bequest. Then they carried him to al-Ghari at Najaf in Kufa and they buried him there. They removed the traces of the place of his burial according to his bequest which was made about that to both of them by him, because of what he, (a.s.) knew about the regime of the Umayyads (which would come) after him, and their hostile attitude towards him. (For he knew) the evil action and abuse to which they would be led by their wicked intentions if they knew that (place). His grave, (a.s.) remained hidden until al-Sadiq Jafar b. Muhammad, peace be on them, pointed it out during the Abbasid regime. For he visited it when he came to visit Abu Ja'far (al-Mansur) while the latter was in Al-Hira. Then the Shi'a knew of it and they began from that time to make visitation to his (grave), (a.s.).

On the day of his death he was 63 years of age.

	Ref:Kitab al Irshad - Pages 1 - 6
	The Book Of Guidance By Shaykh al Mufid Translated by I.K.A Howard

Imam Ali (as) First in many Fields

1. He was the only man to be born in the Kabah (The house of God)

2. He was the first to offer homage to the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF)

3. He was the first to offer prayers after the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF)

4. He was the first to offer his services for Jihad.

5. He was the first to receive religious instructions from the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF)

6. He was the first to compile and codify the Quran

7. He was the first to be styled as "brother" by the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and on every occasion

8. He was the first to give burial to the Prophet (PBUH&HF)

9. He was the first to offer to sleep in the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) bed on the night of his emigration to Medina

10. He was the first to be appointed commander in all those battles in which the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) did not participate personally

11. The honor of the propagation of the Quranic Sura, "al Bara'at" fell to Imam Ali's (as) lot

12. He was the only man to be titled as the "Second Aaron" by the Prophet (PBUH&HF)

13. The honor of owning a house which opened into the courtyard of the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) mosque was reserved for Imam Ali (as) alone

14. He was the first to have the honor of being nominated by the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) as his succesor, testator and vice regent.

... and many many more


1. Al-Baladhiri, Ansab Al-Ashraf, vol. 2, p. 177.

2. Look up Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah by Ibn Abi al-Hadid, vol. 4, p. 561.

3. Al-Arbili, Kashf Al-Ghummah, vol. 1, chapter on Imam Ali (a.s).

4. A Brief History of the Fourteen Infallibles, World Organization for Islamic Services, (Tehran: 1984), pp. 51.52.

5. Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki, al-Fusul al-Muhimmah fi Ma'rifat al-A'immah, Ch. 1, p. 13.

6. Al-Bihar, vol. 35, p. 18.

7. Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusul al-Muhimmah, Ch. 1, p. 14. Ibn Abi al-Hadid. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, p.151.

8. Sirat bin Hisham, chapter on Ali bin Abi Talib, the first male who accepted Islam, p. 284; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 35, p. 44; Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p.15.

9. Khalid Muhammad Khalid, Fi Rihab Ali, 2nd ed., Dar al-Andalus, Beirut, p.46. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 15.

10. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p.15, quoting al-Baladiri and al-Isfahani.

11. Nahj al-Balaghah, Subhi al-Salih (ed.), 1967 p. 300.

12. Abd al-Fattah Abd al-Maqsud, Ali bin Abi Talib, vol. 1, p.39.

13. Nahj al-Balaghah, p.301.

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