Ali Bin Abi Talib
(The fourth rightly guided Caliph)
His full name is Ali bin Abi Talib (RA). He was the cousin and the son-in-law of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH). His linage meets the Prophet (PBUH) at his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib Bin Hashim. His father was Abu Talib, the full brother of Abdullah, the Prophet’s father. He was the first child of Banu Hashim to be born within the precinct of the Kabah. His birth occurred ten years before the Prophethood. At his birth, his mother named him Asad (Lion) after her own father, Asad Bin Hashim. His father Abu Talib was not present at the time of his birth, but when he returned, he did not like this name and he renamed him Ali.
Abul Hasan was his nickname, in reference to his oldest son Al-Hasan. He was also nicknamed Abu Turaab which was an appellation given to him by the Prophet (PBUH) and Ali liked to be called by. His nicknames also include, Abul Husain, Abu Qasim Al-Hashime and Abu As-Sibtain (i.e. Hasan and Husain). He was also known as The Commander of the Believers and the fourth of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.
Ali was related to the Prophet (PBUH) through his father and mother. Abu Talib was Muhammad’s uncle and became his guardian after Muhammad’s grandfather was died, and Fatimah bint Asad acted as the Prophet’s mother after the death of his own mother. When Ali was five years old, his father became impoverished, and he was taken in and raised by Muhammad and his wife Khadijah. Ali accepted Islam when he was only nine or ten years of old. He was the first amongst the children, who accepted Islam.
When the polytheists and the enemies of the Prophet (PBUH) plotted to kill the Prophet (PBUH), the Prophet (PBUH) asked Ali to take his place and sleep in his bed; the Prophet (PBUH) then left Makkah secretly with Abu Bakr and migrated to Madinah. Allah saved His Messenger, Abu Bakr and Ali from the bad consequences of the plotters. Ali waited as was instructed by the Prophet (PBUH), returned belongings of the people to them and then left to Madinah.
After his arrival in Madinah, he got married to the Prophet’s daughter, Fatimah. She gave birth to Al-Hasan, Al-Husain, Zainab Al-Kubra and Umm Kulthum Al-Kubra. Ali did marry another woman while Fatimah was alive.
Ali participated in every single war expedition that led by the Prophet (PBUH). He had a special role in every battle that he fought. He showed a great bravery and had a distinguish role in the battle of Badr, Uhud, Fadk and Hunain. When the Prophet (PBUH) was preparing the expedition of the Khayber he said:
“I shall give the flag to someone at whose hand Allah will grant victory; he loves Allah and Allah and His Messenger love him.”
Ali was appointed the commander of this expedition and Allah granted the victory on his hand. It shows the manifest excellence of Ali. He was the one, who wrote down the Hudaibiyyah agreement (a peace treaty between the Prophet and the Quraish).
When Abu Bakr (RA) was named as caliph (ruler of the Islamic community) Ali pledged allegiance to him. He supported Abu Bakr and remained close to him. After the death of Abu Bakr and selection of Umar bin Al-Khattab as a caliph, Ali accepted his selection and even gave one of his daughters, Umm Kulthum to him in marriage. After the death of Umar bin Al-Khattab, Ali accepted and pledged allegiance to Usman as a new caliph. Ali supported Usman and also remained close to him. After the death of Usman Ali himself was chosen as the fourth caliph. His reign and the period of Caliphate was for four years, nine months and three days.
He was of medium height, black-eyed, handsome face as if it were the beauty of the full moon. He had broad shoulders, and delicate palms, bald-headed. He had a large beard, his breastbone was like that of a ferocious predator. His forearm was not distinguishable from the rest of the hand for they appeared to be merged. If he held a man by his arm, he held it with tenacity and the man could not wriggle his grip. He was close to being corpulent. He had strong arms and hands and when he walked to the battle he strode with a firm heart and he was extremely brave.
Ibn Muljam attack Ali while he was on his way to the mosque for the Fajr prayer. The total number of Ali’s children from his loins was fourteen males and nineteen females. It is also said that there were seventeen females. May Allah be pleased with him.