THE FELICITOUS BIRTH
The Kaaba is a very ancient structure. Its foundation was laid by Hazrat Adam (a.s.) and the walls were raised by Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) and Hazrat Ismail (a.s.). Although this building is devoid of any designs and embellishments, made out of lime and stones, every stone is the fountainhead of felicity. The Holy Quran says about it:
“Allah has rated Kaaba as an honorable abode.”
This eminence of the Kaaba is permanent and eternal. From the day of the laying of its foundation, it has the same eminence, and shall be there for ever. This is expressed through various acts of worship in Islam. Therefore every Muslim, be the person an Aarb, an Ajam, a Westerner or an Oriental, will face towards the Kaaba when standing up to pray! When they circumabulate the building, they exercise care to see that their shoulders don’t move away from it. This circumambulation is a very important pillar of the performance of the Haj.
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was born at this felicitous place on the 13th of Rajab, Friday, of 30 Aam al Feel. This privilege of taking birth in the holy place went to none before him and anyone after him! The chronichlers of the traditions and the biographers of Ameer al Momineen (a.s.) have recorded this as a very important event in his life. Therefore Hakim Neshapoori writes:
“It is proved from continuous narrations that Ameer al Momineen Karam Allah Wajhu was born at the center of Kaaba from the womb of Fatima bint e Asad.’ “5 Mustadrak, Vol 3, Page 483 Shah Wali Allah too reports about this birth with some detail: “Reports in continuity prove that Ameer al Momineen Ali (a.s.) was born on Friday, 13th Rajab of 30 Aam al Feel at the center of Khana e Kaaba. Besides him none was ever born there, before or after him.’ Ref: Izalat al Khafa, Page 251
The modern time scholar Abbas Mehmood Okkad has termed this felicitous birth as the renaissance of the felicity of the Kaaba and the fore er of the worship of, one and only, Allah there:
a.s.) was born inside the Kaaba and Allah kept his face away from bowing to the idols there. His birth there Was the beginning of the new era of worship of one and only Allah”
“Ali ibne Abi Talib (
Abqariat al Islamia, Page 863
Similarly every historian and biograsapher has mentioned about this fact. However, some, accepting the birth of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) in the Kaaba have tried to lessen the importance of the event. Sometimes they express a view that taking birth inside the Kaaba is not of any importance, particularly when it was used as a place for installation of idols. The reply to them is that if a mosque is converted into a temple, a church or any other place of worship, it will remain a mosque. Its sanctity will not diminish because of the change. Similarly, if idols were installed in the Kaaba, its sanctity remained unchanged. Even when Kaaba was declared as the Qibla (direction in whicl Muslims turn to pray) it continued to have the idols till Makka was conquered and the idols removed from there. Sometimes they say that Fakhta binte Zohair gave birth to Hakeem ibne Hazam inside the Kaaba thirteen years before the Aam al Feel. They say that there is no sanctity of being born inside the Kaaba when even an infidel was born there.
This attitude is contrary to the position taken by the historians and biographers who have admitted in clear terms that besides Hazrat Ali a.s.), no one else was born inside the Kaaba prior to or after him. Besides this, it can be sanctimonious only for a Muslim to have taken birth inside that holy precinct. For an infidel, it is immaterial where he is born! The event of an infidel taking birth inside the Kaaba will not be of any significance to him like meeting the Prophet (s.a.) or even visiting the precincts of the Kaaba. However, a person in the Faith of Islam will consider it a good fortune to have seen the Prophet (s.a) or he had the opportunity to visit the Holy Place. It cannot be said about Ali ibne Abi Talib that he was ever under the influence of infidelity or that he was born an infidel. Therefore it is mentioned in the books of Ahl al Sunnat that when Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was in his mother’s womb, and she wanted to bow in front of the idols, he used to turn inside in such a way that it became impossible for her to bow! Although this narrative is not accep ble according to the Shia belief, it is a positive proof that Ali (a.s.), from the womb of his mother to his grave, was never in the influence of infidelity. And those who have written about the birth of Ibne Hazam have termed it as an accidental birth. But Hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s birth there was according to the wish of Allah. Therefore Abbas bin Abd al Mutallib says that he and Yazid ibne Taanab and some persons of Bani Hashim and BaniUzza were sitting near the Kaaba when Fatima binte Asad came and stood near the Kaaba for a while. Hardly any time elapsed when there appeared signs of concern on her face. She lifted her shaking hands towards the sky and prayed, “O my Sustainer! I have faith in You, your Prophets and the Books Revealed to them. Ease my difficulty for the sake of this very House, its Bulider and the one who is in my womb! Make the birth of the child I am carrying easy for me! I am confident that he is one of the radiant signs of Your Greatness and Your Majesty!” Abbas saya that when Fatima Bimte Asad finished the prayer, they saw the rear wall of the Kaaba go asunder and she entered through that opening without any hesitation. Then immediately the opening closed and the wall was the same way as it was earlier.
The veracity of this narrative has been accepted by the scholars of both the schools of thought. Therefore, from among the erudite Shia scholars, Allama Abu Jafar Toosi in “Amali’, Allama Majlisi in “Bahar al Anwaar” and from the scholars of Ahl al Sunnat, Mir Saleh Kashafi in “Munaqib” and Maulvi Mohammed Mobin in “Wasilat al Najat “have recorded this event. This tradition highlights the fact that this event did not happen all of a sudden as an accident. The miracle is that the wall of the Kaaba went asunder and Fatima Binte Asad went boldly in and the wall came back to its original position. It was a manifestation of the Divine Power of Allah.o
Fatima binte Asad emerged from the Kaaba three days after the birth of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) with the babe in her arms.
The Prophet (s.a.), who was waiting eagerly outside, went forward and took the son of his beloved uncle in his arms. The baby opened his eyes and the first person on whose face he set his eyes was the Prophet (s.a.). The Prophet (s.a.) put his tongue in the mouth of the new born and, they say, he transferred the Ilm e Nabuwat (the Divine Prophetic Knowledge) to him. Witnessing this event, the Prophet (s.a.) has said, “Khasni bilnazr wa khasasat bil Ilm – He chose me for the first glimpse and I selected him for the Ilm (knowledge)”
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) has several relationships with the Kaaba. The Prophet (s.a.) has termed him ‘like the Kaaba’, that his own forbears had constructed it and were the protectors and keepers of the edifice. Hassan ibne Kalak attempted to demolish it when Fahr ibne Malik defeated and imprisoned him. Abraha ibn e Ashram attacked with a fleet of elephants when Hazrat Abd al Mutallib steadfastly stood at the entrance to the Kaaba. If the idolators had converted it into a storehouse of idols, it was Hazrat Ali (a.s.) who, astride the shoulders of the Prophet (s.a.), demolished the idols and threw them out. Therefore, his birth was the prelude of the purification of the Kaaba.
While Hazrat Ali (a.s.) had the singular privilege of being born in the holy precincts of the Kaaba, the timing of his birth was very felicitous that he was born in the monthe of Rajab which is one of the sanctimonious months in the Islamic Calendar. On the 27th of this month the Annunciation of the Prophet (s.a) took place and commenced the invitation for the people to embrace Islam. This also is an indication of the nearness and affinity that Ali (a.s.) had for Islam! Hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s life had been a mirror of Islamic teachings and character. Islam and
Ali (a.s.) grew under the tutelage of the Prophet (s.a).