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Untold truths on the birth of Imam Ali (AS) – By Sheikh Zakzaky

By Ibrahim Usman
During the birthday commemoration of Ammerul Mu’mineen, Ali Bin Abi talib (AS) at the Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, Nigeria, Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), read out and discussed the rarely discussed traditions regarding the miraculous and unprecedented birth of Imam Ali Bin Talib (AS). Below is an excerpt.

His Miraculous Birth

Imam Ali (AS) was born on Friday, 13th Rajab, 23-25 before Hijrah, when the Holy Prophet was 28 -30 years. This was thirty years in the Year of Elephant, thirty years after the birth of the Holy Prophet. His miraculous birth had left a lad mark to this day. He was born inside the Holy Qa’abah. This is one of his exclusive and unrivalled divine status.

Three nights inside the House of AllahMaryam, mother of Prophet Isa (AS) was ordered by Allah to move out of the mosque when pain of labour came to her, and Prophet Isa (AS) was born out of the mosque. According to many traditions related by Yazidi Bin Qa’anam, who was sitting close to the Qa’abah together with Abbas Bin AbdulMutalib and other people from Abdul Uzza, Fatimahh Bint Asad, mother of Imam Ali (AS), was circumambulating around the Qa’abah when labour came to her. She said: “O Allah, I believe in You and whatever that was revealed to Prophets and divine Books; I also believe in the words of my grandfather Ibraheem Al-Khaleel, it is he who built the House of Refuge. By he who built this House and what lies in my womb, I ask You to make my labour easier”. According to the narrator, the Qa’abah immediately cracked and opened up from behind, Fatimah Bint Asad, entered inside out of their sight, while cracked wall closed back to normal. He said, they went to the front door to open it, but could not open. He said, they gave up knowing that it was an act of Allah. Fatimahh Bint Asad came out of the Qa’abah after three days with a new born baby, Ameerul Mu’mineen. The cracked wall on the Qa’abah at the Ruknil Yamani still exist today, you can see it. She then said: “I am favored above women preceding me. Asiya Bint Mazahim (wife of Fir’aun) secretly worshipped Allah in a place unworthty of worship (in the house of Fir’aun where idols were worshipped); Maryam Bint Imran, mother of Prophet Isa (AS) tapped the root of a dead palm tree with her hand, and ate fresh dates from it; and I entered the House of Allah and ate fruits from Jannah (Paradise)! As I was about to step out, I heard a voice saying, ‘O, Fatimah, name him Ali, for he has been elevated. Allah the Most Elevated said: ‘His name is derived and carved from my name; I have trained him with my training; I have endowed him with my hidden secret knowledge; He will break and destroy idols on my House; and he will proclaim the call to prayers on top of it; He will glorify my name, bless he who pledges allegiance to him; Woe unto he who disputes and disobeys him;  “

As Fatiah Bint Asad stepped out of the Qa’abah, she saw many people glaring at her and the baby in amazement. They had been waiting all these days outside to see her exit. The baby kept his eyes shut from people, until she presented him before the Holy Prophet, who was then 30 years old, yet to receive revelation from Allah. As the Holy Prophet took him, he opened his eyes. The first thing Imam Ali (AS) saw in his life was the face of the Holy Prophet.

Birth Foretold

Another Hadith from Jabir Bin Abdullah al-Ansari said: “I asked the Holy Prophet (SAWA) about the birth of Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS), the Holy Prophet reply: ‘Ah! You have asked about the unsurpassed birth; none was borne (Khairu Mauludin) after me, in the tradition of Maseeh (Prophet Isa (AS), like him). Allah has created me and Ali from a single Light of the same source, 500,000 years before creation. We were glorifying the name of Allah, and when Adam was created we were placed in him. I sojourned in his right side; Ali sojourned in his left side. From there we experience transfer from one pure and unsoiled womb and ancestry to the other. This had continued without break, until Allah was placed me in a pure ancestry of a pure one, Abdullahi Bin bdulMuttalib, and into the unsoiled womb of Aminah; while Allah was placed Ali in a pure ancestry of a pure one, Abu Talib, and into the unsoiled womb of Fatimah Bint Asad…” (Bihaar Anwar Volume 35, page 10).

It is also reported in that, the Holy Prophet (SAWA) told Jabir Bin Abdullah al-Ansari that before Ali was placed in his mother’s womb, there lived a pious man in a cave called Mathram, Bin Rughaib Bin Shayqatan. His strict devotion had been exemplary and subject of discussion during his time. He had engaged in strict devotion and servitude to Allah for about 190 years without requesting Allah to grant his personal worldly wishes. For the first time these years, Mathram asked Allah to show him a pious servant out of His most pious servants, and Allah sent Abu Talib to him. When Mathram saw Abu Talib, he rushed to him, kissed his head and sat before him.

With deep respect Mathram asked Abu Talib: “Who are you?”

Abu Talib replied: “A man from the Valley (Tihama)”.

Mathram: “From which Tihama?”

Abu Talib: “Makkah”.

Mathram: “From which lineage?”

Abu Atalib: “From the lineage of AbduMunaf”.

Mathram: “From which of the sons of AbduMunaf”.

Abu Talib: “From Banu Hashim”.

Suddenly Mathram stood up, kissed the head of AbuTalib for the second time and said: “Glory be to Allah, Who fulfilled my wish by showing me that pious servant of His before I die.  Know that, Allah the Most High has me revealed unto me good news about you”.

“What is the good news?” asked Abu Talib.

“A child will be born from you; he is the pious servant of Allah, Master of the Pious, and the Heir apparent of the Prophet of Allah, Creator of the worlds. If you meet that child, extend my salaam (greetings) to him. Tell him that Mathram sends greetings to him, that he (Mathram) testifies to the Oness of Allah, Who there is none worthy of worship but Him, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and you (Ali) are his true Successor; With Muhammad Prophet hood is completed, and with you (Ali) the Will is completed and fulfilled”, said Mathram.

Abu Talib cried, and asked Mathram: “What will be the name of the baby?” Mathram replied: “Ali”.

Then Abu Talib said: “I cannot comprehend the true reality of what you are saying until you present to me a clear proof”.

Mathram: “What do you want me to ask Allah to give you instantly that will be a proof unto you?”

Abu Talib: “I want heavenly food now”.

Mathram supplicated and there was instantly a bunch of fruits from Janah (Paradise), of which Abu Talib ate and took home. It was that heavenly fruits Abu Talib ate that transformed into water in his body, and from that Ali was borne.

When Ali was borne, the earth shook for some days that the Quraysh feared. Out of so much fear they decided to move their idols to the top of mountain of Abi Qubays, so that they seek protection from the idols. When they moved the idols, the mountain itself started shaking; the idols fell down and broke into pieces. On seeing that, they gave up. Abu Talib climbed on top of the mountain and addressed them thus: “O you people, something great has happened this night. Allah has created a creature that if you do not obey him and surrender to is Imamate, this calamity will never stop and you will never have a place to hide in Tihama (Makkah)”. They said him: “O Abu Talib, we have said what you said, we have surrendered to him”. 

At this instance, Abu Talib cried, raised his hands up and invoked Allah with His Most High names, the Muhammadan lofty status, the Peak of High Standard (reference to the name of Ali) and the Fatimy brilliance, that the people of Makkah be delivered from the calamity they were experiencing. With this supplication the people of Makkah were delivered. The Arabs used to write and recite this supplication in times of calamity during the Jahiliyyah period for deliverance without actually comprehending its true meaning.

The night Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS) was born, the sky became very bright, and as well brightened the stars; the Quraysh witnessed miraculous occurrences. Abu Talib walked the roads and markets of Makkah, telling people of the good news that, “the proof of Allah is fulfilled and completed”. When the people began to witness so much miraculous occurrences, they asked him of what happened. He told them that the Proof of Allah was born. These events continued till day break, and they did not see him again until after forty days.

The Hadith by Jabir continued. Jabir asked the Holy Prophet: “O Prophet of Allah, when Abu Talib disappeared from their sight, where did he go?” The Holy Prophet replied that Abu Talib went in search of Mathram, who had already died in a cave Mount Lukam. “O Jabir, conceal this, for it is among the exclusive secret signs of Allah”. The Holy Prophet narrated to Jabir that, Mathram has described to Abu Talib a cave in the Mount of Luka where he would find him. When Abu Talib reached the cave, he found Mathram had already died, his body wrapped and his face facing the Qiblah. He found two snakes, black and white, guarding the cave and the dead body. When they saw Abu Talib they quickly gave way into the cave and allowed him inside. As he stood before the dead body, he said, “Peace be unto you, servant of Allah”. By His grace, Allah brought back Mathram back to life, rubbing his face saying: “I testify in the unity of Allah, Who there is none worthy of worship but Him. I also testify that Muhammad is His Messenger, and I testify that Ali is the Servant of Allah (Waliyyullah) and Leader (Imam) after the Prophet of Allah”.

Abu Talib said to Mathram: “Good news to you, Ali has arrived this world”. Mathram asked him: “What was the sign of the night of his birth?” he told him how after the passage of the third part of the night, the pain of labour came to Fatimah Bint Asad, and he read to her a prayer which brought relief to her. As Abu Talib stood up to go and get women that would assist her in delivery, he heard a voice telling not to go, as soiled hands cannot touch the unsoiled and pure body of Servant of Allah (Waliyyullah).


The Four Pious Midwives


Four women, clad in silken garments with scent of special al- Musk, came to Fatimah Bint Asad to assist her during delivery. They supervised the delivery of Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS). He came out smoothly glowing, in a prostrating state saying: “I testify to the unity of Allah, Who there is none worthy of worship but Him. I also testify that Muhammad is His Messenger, and I testify that Ali is the Heir of the Prophet of Allah. With Muhammad Prophet Hood is perfected; with me Imamate is perfected; and I am Ameerul Mu’mineen”.

Afterwards, Abu Talib saw them and he greeted them. They sat before Fatimah Bint Asad, and one of them brought out a heavenly perfume from a finest silver container (Ju’nah)Then one of these women picked him up and placed him on her lap. Ameerul Mu’mineen looked at her and with the most peak of eloquence, said: “Peace be unto you, mother”. She replied: “Peace unto you, my little son”. He asked her: “How is my father?” she replied: “He is fine, in the glory of Allah”. At the point, Abu Talib could not hold back and interrupted: “Do you have father other than me?” Ameerul Mu’mineen replied: “You are my father, but all of us are from Adam, our father. This is Hawwa’u, our mother”.

The second women carrying perfume container came forward and picked Ameerul Mu’mineen. He looked at her and said: “Peace be unto you, my sister. She replied: “Peace be unto you, my brother”. He then asked her: “What is the story of my uncle?” she replied, “He is fine, and sends his greetings to you”. Abu Talib again interrupted: “Who is this sister and uncle?” Ameerul Mu’mineen replied: “This is Maryam Bint Mazahim, and the uncle I am talking about is Isa, son of Maryam”. She then poured the perfume on him.

The third woman took Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS) and wrapped him in a fine clothe. Abu Talib suggested that the baby be bathed as was the tradition, but the Lady said: “O Abu Talib, he is born pure and purified. Know that, he will never experience the pain of a metal in this world except from a man who is hated by Allah, His Messenger, His Angel, the seas, as well as the heavens and earth. The Hell Fire will long for him (Killer of Ameerul Mu’mineen)”. Abu Talib asked: “Who is this man?” She replied: He is called Ibn Muljam the cursed. He will kill him in Kufa, 30 years after the death of Muhammad (SAWA)”.

“As I listened to them:, said Abu Talib, “The son of my brother, Muhammad Bin Abdullah picked him up from them and wrapped him in his arms. He talked to him and Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS) asked him about everything. He (Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS) talked to Muhammad Bin Abdullah concerning the secrets of knowledge, which was exclusively reserved between them”. The women disappeared. “I said to myself”, Abu Talib continued, “I wish I had known the other women”. To his surprise, Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS) reading his mind, said to him: “The first woman was Hawwa’u; the second woman that put scent on me was Maryam Bint Mazahim; the other woman that covered me with clothes was Asiya Bint Mazahim; the woman carrying the container of perfume was mother of Musa Ibn Imran. Go to Mathram and tell of what you witnessed; you will find him in a valley, inside a cave (he gave him the exact location)”.

“That was why I came to tell you of the good news regarding my son, Ali”, Abu Talib said to Mathram in reply to his question regarding what occurred on the night of birth of Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS). He further told Mathram that Ameerul Mu’mineen (AS) described to him the two snakes he saw. He also narrated to him how after the exclusive discourse between Ameerul Mu;mineen (AS) and Muhammad Bin Abdullah and himself, he finally returned to his baby state.

Mathram cried and prostrated in gratitude to Allah. He asked Abu Talib to cover him up, and returned back to death. “I called out his name three times without reply. I became lonely with no one to talk to. The two snakes came out and said to me, ‘Peace be unto you Abu Talib. Go back to the Servant of Allah, for you are more deserving by divine right to protect him than any other person’. I then asked them who they were. They replied, ‘We are his good deeds, Allah has created us out of his good deeds. Our duty is to repel any harm from him, and on the Day of Judgment, one of us will be on his right, the other on his left and escort him to Paradise (Jannah)’”. It was then Abu Talib went back to Makkah.

Jabir said: “I said to the Holy Prophet: Allahu Akbar! Some people are saying Abu Talib died unbeliever”. The Holy Prophet replied him: “O Jabir, Allah knows best the hidden secrets. When I ascended the heaven (Isra’i), I saw four shining lights and asked Allah what it was. Allah said to me, ‘O Muhammad that was AbdulMuttalib; that was Abu Talib; that was your father, Abdullah:; and that was your brother Talib. I then asked, O my Lord, what makes them worthy of this great status? They deserved it for their effort in concealing the faith, expression of disbelief and patience on it till their death’”.



To the people of Makkah, Abu Talib was practicing their traditional religion, but before Allah he is a believer, follower of Muhammad. They therefore regarded him as an elderly worthy of being listened to and obeyed. Asiya Bint Mazahim concealed her belief and attained a great status before Allah. So many pious people at different times and era concealed their belief for fear of intimidation, but secretly expressed belief and therefore achieved great status before Allah. This was the case with Najashi, the believer from the people of Fir’aun.

Enemies of Ameerul Mu’mineen, Ali Bin Abi Talib, could not find any fault from him, and therefore turned against his father and branded him unbeliever!