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Imam Ali proposes to Fatima

When the daughter of the Prophet (a.s) reached the prime of youth, the notables from among the companions of the Prophet (a.s) had the honor of meeting him (the Prophet). They put before him their desire of having honor to be related to him by marriage. Abu Bakr visited him and proposed to his daughter, but he (a.s) refused and said to him: “I am waiting for Allah’s Act in respect of her.” Then Umar visited him, and he gave him an answer similar to that of his companion.[1] When the Muslims came to know that the affair of Fatima al-Zahra’ was in the hand of Allah, and that the Prophet (a.s) had no right to decide it, they refrained from asking him about that. After a period of time, a group of the companions met Imam Ali and mentioned to him his kinship to the Prophet (a.s), his extreme bravery in Islam, and his supporting the Prophet (a.s) in all situations and battles. They urged him (Imam Ali) to propose to the Prophet’s daughter, that he might be successful in relating to him by marriage and to add the honor of the relation of marriage to the honor of his jihad. Accordingly, he (a.s) slowly and hesitatingly went to the Prophet (a.s). He was silent, so the Prophet (a.s) asked him: “What is the need of Ibn Abi Talib?”[2]

Shyness overcame Imam Ali for a while, and then he answered: “I have remembered Fatima, O messenger of Allah!”

The Prophet answered him while delight manifested on his face and a smile appeared on his lips, saying: “Welcome! Surely Allah has commanded me to marry you to my daughter!”

Delight covered Imam Ali’s heart with the good of this life and the hereafter that the Generous Creator wanted to him. He was the cousin of the Prophet (a.s) and would be his son-in-law. In some exegesis of the Qur’an it has been mentioned that it was he who was meant by this verse: “And He it is Who created man from the water, then He has made for him blood relationship and marriage relationship, and your Lord is powerful.[3]”[4] Then the Prophet turned to his companions and told them about what Allah had commanded him. He said to them: “An angel came and said to me: ‘O Allah’s Prophet, surely Allah recites you greetings and says to you: ‘I have married Fatima before the exalted chiefs (in the heaven); therefore, marry her to him (before those who are) on the earth.”[5]

The Prophet went in to his daughter. His holy soul was full of delight, so he told her about that, saying: “I have married you to the best one of my community. He is the greatest of them in knowledge, the most meritorious in clemency, and the most inspired in peace.”[6] He said to her again: “O Fatima, did you not know that Allah, the Great and Almighty, looked thoroughly over the people of the earth and chose your father from them and made him a prophet, then he looked over them a second time and chose your husband? He inspired me to marry you to him, and I have made him (Imam Ali) as a guardian.”[7]

He also said to her: “He (Imam Ali) was the first of my companions to be a Muslim, the most senior of them in peace, the greatest of them in knowledge and clemency.”[8]

As these excellent ideals and high values were available in the personality of Imam Ali (a.s), the Prophet (a.s) married him to his daughter to whom there was no equal among the Muslims except the Commander of the faithful (Ali). This has been mentioned in the holy tradition: “If Ali had not been created, there would have been no equal to Fatima.”[9]


[1] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 8, p. 11. Tarikh al-Khamis, vol. 1, p. 407. Dhakha’ir al-‘Uqqba, p. 29.

[2] Some of those who have harbored malice against (Imam Ali), the Commander of the faithful, explained that (Imam Ali) kept silent because he was afraid of that the Prophet would refuse him due to his poverty. This is an imaginary explanation, for the Prophet (a.s.) paid no attention to any of the Muslim’s qualities except his virtues and his reverential fear. He paid no attention to wealth and property. He fraternized with Ali though he had knowledge of his poverty. In al-Hakim’s Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 14, and in (the book) al-Isti‘ab, vol. 3, p. 35, it has been mentioned: “When Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) associated as brother with his companions, Ali went to him and asked: ‘You have associated as brother with your companions and have not fraternized me with anyone?’ ‘You are my brother in this world and in the next world!’ Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) replied.” There are other traditions indicating that Ali was the soul of the Prophet (a.s.) his brother, his testamentary trustee (of authority), his helper, and his successor after him over his community. Imam Ali obtained this high position because of his great relationship with Allah.

[3] Qur’an, 25, 54.

[4] Nur al-Absar, p. 42. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 6, p. 218. Al-Mustadrak, vol., 3, p. 153.

[5] Majjma‘ al-Bayan (Beirut), vol. 9, p. 175.

[6] Al-Khatib, al-Muttafaq. Al-Sayuti, Jama‘ al-Jawami‘, vol. 6, p. 398.

[7] Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 6, p. 153.

[8] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 26. Majjma‘ al-Zawa’id, vol. 6, p. 101. Al-Riyad al-Nadira, vol. 2, p. 194.

[9] Al-Manawi, Kunuz al-Haqa’iq, p. 124. Man la Yahdarahu al-Faqeeh, vol. 3, p. 249.

Adapted from: "The Life of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.)" by: "Ayatullah Kashif al-Ghita"

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