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Birth of Ali (a) in Ka’ba – A unique distinction
By: Hyder Reza Zabet
Hazrat Ali (A.S,) was born in Makkah on Friday, the 13th day of Rajab, 600 A.D. he (A.S.) is the only unique personality in the world who was born in the Holy Kaaba and was martyred in the Mosque. Both the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and Hazrat Ali (A.S.) belonged to the same clan Bani Hashim.
To understand the significance and importance of his place of birth, it is essential to know a little of the history of the Ka’ba. The first House of God was rebuilt and renovated at the command of Allah by the Prophet Abraham assisted by his worthy successor, his son Ishmael, under the supervision and guidance of the Angel Gabriel.
The verses of the Holy Qur'an say: "And remember when Abraham raised the foundation of the House with Ishmael, (Praying) Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us; verily Thou and Thou (alone) art the All-hearing and All-knowing. Chap. 2-Verse 127.
"And remember when we made the House a resort for mankind and a sanctuary (saying), Take ye the station of Abraham a place of prayer (For you); and covenanted with Abraham and Ishmael (saying) keep ye two my House clean for those who make the circuit, and for those who prostrate (adoring) ... Chap. 2-Verse 125.
This verse clearly depicts the purpose of the Ka’ba, namely that it was to be a place of worship and that it was pure and sacred. No one else, from Adam down through all the prophets, possessed such a distinction of being born in the Ka’ba. Of all human beings, Ali (A.S.) alone was born in the sacred precinct of the Ka'ba.
At the time of the birth of the Prophet Jesus his illustrious mother was forced to leave the Holy House. A voice said to her: "O Mary! Leave the Baitu'l-Muqaddas, since it is the place of worship and not of childbirth." But when the time of Ali's birth approached, his mother, Fatima Bint Asad, was asked to enter the Ka'ba.
She was expressly called to enter the Ka'ba, the door of which was locked. She went to the Masjidu'l-Haram. She prayed to Allah in the precinct of the Ka'ba and suddenly the wall of the Ka'ba, which was locked, opened.
Another report says that a voice was heard saying: "O Fatima! Enter the House." Fatima went into the House of Allah in front of a crowd of people who were sitting round that place and the wall returned to its original condition. The people were greatly astonished. Abbas was also there. When he saw what had happened, he immediately told Abu Talib because he had the key to the door. He instantly came there and tried his best to unlock the door, but the door did not open.
For three days Fatima Bint Asad remained inside the Ka'ba, apparently without sustenance of any kind. This unusual event was the talk of the town. At last, on the third day, the passage through which she had entered again opened, and Fatima came out. The people saw that she had in her hands a lovely child. Both sects (Shias and Sunnis) agree that no one else had ever been given such distinction.
Hakim in his Mustadrak and Nuru'd-din Bin Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l- Muhimma, Fasl I, p.14, say: "No one before Ali (A.S.) was born in the Ka'ba. This was a distinction given to Ali (A.S.) in order to enhance his honor, rank, and dignity."
The first face that little Ali (A.S.) saw in this world was the smiling face of the Apostle of Allah, Muhammad (S.A.W.), whom he greeted thus: "Assalaamo alaika ya Rasoolallah (Peace be upon thee O Prophet of Allah). Muhammad (S.A.W.) lovingly took him into his arms. The child accepted no other food other than the moisture of Muhammad's tongue, which he sucked for several days after his birth.
Muhammad (S.A.W.) fondled him in his lap in his infancy, and chewed his food and fed Ali (A.S.) on it; he often made him sleep by his side, and Ali (A.S.) enjoyed the warmth of Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) body and inhaled the holy fragrance of his breath.
Ali (A.S.) was born in the sanctuary of Allah, to which the devil had no access. Thus God had interposed a veil between the evil spirits and the child who was to grow up to exalt His Holy Name. The sanctified birth of Ali (A.S.), as that of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), was foretold in the scriptures, when God said to Abraham, who asked for a blessing on Ishmael:
"And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly, twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17 : 20).
The felicitous Prophecy in Genesis 17:20 about the advent of a prophet is said to point to the appearance of Muhammad (S.A.W.) and Ali (A.S.). While the Twelve Princes' of the Mosaic Scriptures are held to be none other than the twelve Holy Imams (A.S.).
Hazrat Ali's birth inside the Ka’ba is unique. This is the only known occasion on which a child was born within the precincts of the holy place ever since its foundation thousands of years ago.
When Ali (A.S.) was about five years of age, Muhammad (S.A.W.) took him away from his uncle Abu Talib to bring him up as his own child. Thus from his earliest days, Ali (A.S.) came directly under the tutelage of the Apostle of Allah, to share his high ethics and morals.
Ali (A.S.) was ever ready to run the risk of his own life for Muhammad (S.A.W.) at times of danger and he was affectionately attached to him with unswerving faithfulness. The cousins were so fond of each other that they lived together till death parted them. As Hazrat Ali (A.S.) says:
“The Holy Prophet brought me up in his own arms and fed me with his own morsel. I followed him wherever he went, like a baby camel which follows its mother. Each day an aspect of his character would beam out of his noble soul and I would accept it and follow it as a command.”
Ten years in the company of Muhammad (S.A.W.) had kept him so close and inseparable that he was one with him in character, knowledge, self-sacrifice, forbearance, bravery, kindness, generosity, oratory and eloquence.
From his very infancy, he prostrated himself before God along with the Holy Prophet, as he himself said, “I was the first to pray to God along with the Holy Prophet.”