It is the law of nature that the traits of the ancestors are transferred to the progeny. Every individual is a reflection and inheritor of the qualities of his forbears. Although uninitiated person may not be able to fathom the subtle transfer of traits from the previous generations to the latter, only a trained physiognomist (Qiyafa shinas) can do it. By looking at a person and hearing him, they can make an educated guess as to the place of his residence and the tribe he belongs to. Certain tribes in Arabia excelled in their incredible capability of determining the origin of a person by just a cursory look at him. They would say who is the son of which person and belongs to which family not having met him anytime in the past! The author of Mustaraf writes about the physiognomic skills of the tribes of Bani Lahab and Bani Mudlaj that if there was any doubt about the parentage of a child, it would be presented before any member of these tribes. By looking at the child and the men in the group, he would point out the person who had fathered the baby! Once a trader’s son passed through the abode of one of these tribes astride a camel.. One person from the tribe looked at the boy and his slave walking in front of the camel and expressed surprise over the resemblance between the two of them. When the boy heard this, doubts entered his mind. When he returned home, he talked to his mother and learned that his natural father was the slave. Once Zaid and his son Ossama were taking rest lying in the Masjid e Nabavi with their faces covered. Majzaz ibne Awar, a person from the tribe of Mudlaj saw their exposed feet and correctly determined as to which were the feet of the father and those that belonged to the son. The person, though, had never met and known either Zaid or Ossama.

This natural instinct is not there only in some humans, but it is also evidenced in several fauna and flora. One Australian Pastor, Mendel, conducted trials on animals and plants. He crossed the seeds of long and short growing varieties of peas. The crop that resulted was all of long grown peas. He again sowed the seeds from this crop and the result was that 75% were long growing and the rest were short growing. Similarly Mendel made trials by crossing white rooster having black spots with a black hen. When the egg from this mating was hatched, the chick was bluish in color. He again crossed this bluish rooster with another hen. The resultant chicks from the eggs thus laid hatched into two blue chicks, one white with black patches and another black chick. Mendel concluded from these experiments that when certain characteristics recess in the first generation, they come back in the latter generations!

These similarities are not only restricted to physical looks but also the character and disposition of the progeny too will be a reflection of the forbears. Therefore, the modern school of genetics has proved that the fetus created by the fusion of the male sperm and the female ovum contain in them the characteristics of the ancestors from both the parents. Each cell of the fetus contains forty six thousand chromosomes that can be seen only through a very sophisticated microscope. Each such chromosome contains at least thirty thousand genes. These genes perform the function of transmitting the characteristics of the forbears to the generation after generation. Therefore, it is the mother’s womb where one starts inheriting

the traits of the ancestors. When the baby arrives in the world, he will not only have similarities with the parents and grandparents, but will also manifest, progressively, the mental and physical characteristics of the past generations in the family. It must be borne in the minds that the skills that are acquired with personal effort are not generally inherited. These skills are a result of the environment that a person grows in and the type of upbringing he is given. If the environment and the upbringing are not congenial, then the inherited characteristics of the head and heart might be curbed over a period of time. But these traits might manifest themselves in the later generations.

In accordance with this hypothesis, if a person’s ancestors had been persona non grata, then the offspring too is likely to have the undesirable characteristics. To the contrary, if the ancestors were persons of good character, then the offspring too will manifest such qualities. Therefore, to judge a person his family background is a very important yardstick. A person whose ancestral chronology is in the darkness, correct assessment of his character and behavior pattern cannot be pre-determined. This is why it is said, “man lam yaaraf al nasb lam yaaraf al naas- One who doesn’t know the ancestry of a person, cannot fathom his personality.” To comprehend the personality and ancestral greatness of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), it is important to make a study of his ancestors who have gone by. This will illustrate the nobility and chivalry of character that was transferred to the progeny from generation to generation.

The chronological chart of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) is:

Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)

ibne Abd al Mutallib

ibne Hashim

ibne Abd Manaf

ibne Qasi

ibne Kalab

ibne Mara

ibne Kaab

ibne Lavi

ibne Ghalib

ibne Fahr

ibne Malik

ibne Nazr

ibne Kanana

ibne Khazima

ibne Mudrak

ibne Ilyas

ibne Mudar

ibne Nazar

ibne Maad

ibne Adnan.

The history of Arabia bears witness that all the personalities of this chronological tree have been distinguished persons of their times. They were the followers of the Ibrahimi Faith, progressive in outlook and possessors of spotless character. During the dark, idolatrous times, they were the torch- bearers of the monotheistic Ibrahimi Faith. They endeavored to uphold justice and human rights. They stood firm against the elements of trouble and promoted brotherhood, humanity and thoughtfulness in people. They encouraged trading activity to promote economic growth. They always took up the cause of the weak and down trodden. They hosted the Hajis coming from far away places for the annual ritual. These were the traits that made them favorites of the populace.


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