Birthplace of Ali ibn Abi Talib

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Ali ibn Abi Talib (ca 599-661 CE) was a prominent figure in early Islamic history. He had been taken into his cousin Muhammad's (saw) household as a child, and was the first converts to Islam when he was only ten years old. Later, he married Muhammad's (saw) daughter Fatima Zahra and fathered Muhammad's (saw) two grandsons. He was one of Muhammad's (saw) trusted lieutenants.

Shia view[edit]

Shi'a and Alevi Muslims believe that Ali was the rightful successor to Muhammad, and the first of the Shi'a Imams whom the Shi'a believe to be the divinely ordained spiritual leaders of humankind.

Shi'a sources in particular say that Ali was the only person born inside the Kaaba in the city of Mecca.[1] The tradition states that Ali's mother was at the wall of the Kaaba when it parted, and she entered, to emerge three days later holding the infant Ali in her arms. Numerous sources contend that he was born beside the Kaaba, but not inside the area apparent upon entering through the door, as it was filled with idols. According to the tradition, Ali did not open his eyes until his cousin Muhammad approached. Muhammad took the baby in his hands, put his tongue inside Ali's mouth in an act representing the passing of knowledge, and when the baby sucked on the saliva of this man, he opened his eyes. This is why Muhammad was the first person whom Ali saw as a newborn. Muhammad asked Fatima Binte Asad if she had a name picked out for the child. She informed him that while she was inside, 'being cared for by the beings of heaven who assisted in the effortless delivery of the child', she was told by a majestic voice that this child has been named Ali, meaning "the exalted one".[citation needed]

Sunni views[edit]

In constrast to the Shia view, most Sunni scholars believe that Ali was not born inside the Kaaba, and instead accept the fact that Hakeem Bin Hizam was the only man in history born to be born inside the Kaaba, as stated by Sunni scholar Al-Dhahabi in his book Siyar Alam al-Nubala.

The Sunni scholar Al-Hakim, in his book Mustadrak, is the core Sunni source affirming Ali's birth inside the Kaaba, with works from other scholars mainly serving as secondary sources of this same book. This story is rejected by the majority of Sunnis, however, as the source Hadith for this story has not been reliably narrated.

Extensive refutations of the Shia position have been made by Sunnis, as Shia have traditionally argued that Ali enjoys a special status above other companions of the Prophet Muhammad due to being born inside of the Kaaba; it still remains a contentious issue between the two sects.


  1. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. "Ali". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 

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