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If ever there were a reflection of the sublime qualities embodied by the Holy Prophet (SAW), it would be seen in his young cousin and son-in-law, Ali (AS). There was no other person closer to Muhammad (SAW), in whom he confided with everything he had – from his knowledge and wisdom, to union in marriage with his daughter, to the safety of his own life. Here are 10 ways that Imam Ali (AS) was an integral part of the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), from the Imam’s birth to the Prophet’s death:

1. Birth

Ali (AS) was the first and only person to have been born inside the Holy Kaaba. When he was born, his eyes remained closed until the Holy Prophet (SAW) held him. The first person he laid eyes on was Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who then gave him the name Ali. 

2. Youth

The Prophet (SAW) and Lady Khadija (AS) adopted Imam Ali (AS) as their son when he was 5 years old after the death of their own infant sons. Not only did adopting him fill a void in their lives as the son they had yearned for, but it also provided the Prophet (SAW) with the chance to groom Imam Ali (AS). He educated him, provided a direct example of excellence in akhlaq, and imparted perfect, divine knowledge and wisdom for which Imam Ali (AS) is revered today.

3. Call to Islam

Alongside Lady Khadija, the wife of the Holy Prophet (SAW), Imam Ali (AS) was the first to embrace Islam upon the Prophet’s return from the Cave of Hira where he received his first revelation, “Read, in the name of your Lord…” (Quran, 96:1)

4. The Family Feast

In the early days of his mission, the Prophet (SAW) spoke about Islam in secret to very limited people. As more and more people were drawn to the deen, the Holy Prophet (SAW) was then given the divine instruction to make his mission public, beginning with his family. He invited all members of his extended family to a feast famously known as Daawat-e-Dhul Ashira. At this dinner, when he began to speak of Islam, he was ridiculed by members of his family. On three separate occasions, when he asked his guests who would support him on his mission, only Imam Ali (AS) –a young boy at the time — responded eagerly, ready to do as the Prophet (SAW) asked.

5. The Prophet’s Bed

As Islam was spreading, the enemies of the Prophet (SAW) grew. Eventually, remaining in Mecca became a threat to his life. He decided to migrate in the stealth of the night. In order to throw off the enemies, the Prophet (SAW) trusted none other than Ali (AS) to sleep in his bed that night as he made his escape. Imam Ali (AS) slept with ease even with the prospect of being killed.

6. The Brotherhood

When the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina, the Prophet (SAW) created an initiative of brotherhood, in which each immigrant (Muhajir) was paired with a helper (Ansar, or native inhabitant of Medina) to help with this transition and create bonds of unity and goodwill amongst the people. In this brotherhood, the pair of Muhammad (SAW) was only Ali (AS).

7. Mubahila

On the famous event of Mubahila, where the Prophet (SAW) was engaged in a debate with the Christians of Najran, the two groups had settled on invoking a curse on the liars. Now, whoever disputes with you ˹O Prophet˺ concerning Jesus after full knowledge has come to you, say, “Come! Let us invite our children and your children, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves—then let us sincerely invoke Allah’s curse upon the liars” (Quran, 3:69). The Prophet’s “self” was none other than Ali (AS). 

8. Ghadeer 

On his return home from his final Hajj, the Prophet (SAW) received divine instruction to stop at a place known as Ghadeer-e-Khum and deliver a sermon that would perfect the religion and complete his mission. He created a tall pulpit for the crowd to bear witness, and raising Imam Ali (AS)’s hand, stated that Ali (AS) would be the master of the Muslims and successor of the Prophet (SAW). Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.” (Qur’an 5:3)

9. The Golden Hadith

In the Battle of Tabouk, many of the alleged companions refused to assist the Prophet (SAW) in joining his army, and instead decided to stay back in Medina. Their intention was to plot a riot in his absence and spread propaganda against the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW), in his wisdom, asked Imam Ali (AS) to remain behind in Medina. The people taunted Imam Ali (AS), stating that he was left behind because the Prophet (SAW) was displeased with him. It was on this occasion that his famous words, Hadith-e-Manzilah, or the Golden Hadith, were stated: “You are to me the way Harun was to Moses, except there is no prophet after me.”

10. Death of the Prophet (SAW)

While the circumstances surrounding the Prophet (SAW)’s successorship were being debated, Imam Ali (AS) remained loyal to the Prophet (SAW) even after his death, as he played an integral role in his transition to the next world. Ali (AS) was the one to bathe the body of the Holy Prophet (SAW) for his final ghusl and prepared his burial.