Hazrat Abu Talib named him Zaid after his ancestor, Qasi ibne Kalab. Fatima binte Asad named him Haider after her father Asad. Asad and Haider both the words mean a tiger. Therefore, in the battle of Khaiber, while reciting the rajz (the martial poetry) combating with Marhab, he said, “Annalazi samatni ami Hydera – I am that whose mother has named him Hyder!” The Prophet (s.a.), under divine inspiration called him with the name of Ali (a.s.). There is another opinion that Hazrat Abu Talib himself gave him the name of Ali (a.s.). As a proof they present the following couplet of Abu Talib: “Samaita beali kay yadoom lahu

Azal alu wafakhar alaza doomahu

I have given him the name of Ali (a.s.)

that eminence and success always follow him. Respectability is theonly wealth that remains
for ever.

This name that literally means greatness and high status proved most appropriate for Hazrat Ali (a.s.). Although the Umawis tried their level best to play down his name and the Kunyat, they couldn’t succeed in doing it. Therefore Abu Nayeem Isfahani writes in Halyat al Aulia that the son of Abd Allah ibne Abbas was Ali and Kunyat Abul Hassan. One day Ali bi n Abd Allah went to Abd al Malik who said that he could not tolerate his name and kunyat. He didn’t change his name but changed his kunyat to Abu Mohammed! With this bent of mind, for centuries no Muslim ruler by the name Ali was there. But today, in the Muslim population anywhere, after Mohammed, the most popular name is Ali. Despite centuries of suppression and oppression, the name (Ali) spread all over the world with the spread of Islam!

He has several titles that signify his various qualities. The most popular are Murtada, Wasi and Ameer al Momineen. His first Kunyat is Abul Hassan. Another well known Kunyat is Abu Turab. Generally Arabs keep the Kunyat on the name of the first son. For instance, Hazrat Abu Talib adopted the Kunyat as Abu Talib when his first son Talib was born. Hazrat Abd al Mutallib had his Kunyat based on the name of his first-born son as Abu Harith. The second Kunyat of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was on the suggestion of th Prophet (s.a.). It is written in Seerat Abu Hisham that during the battle of Ashira, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and Ammar ibne Yassir went towards the lake of Bani Mudlaj and lay down under the shade of a tree on green grass. Hardly any time passed when the prophet (s.a.) too arrived there, and seeing Hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s dusty clothes he said, “maalaka ya Abu Turab- O Abu Turab, in what condition are you!” From that day, hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s Kunyat became Abu Turab.Allama Halabi has written:

“In the battle of Ashira the Prophet (s.a.) had given to Hazrat Ali (a.s.) the Kunyat of Abu Turab when he found him and Ammar ibne Yassir sleeping and Ali (a.s.)was covered in dust”

Ref: Vol 2, Page 142

In the beginning this Kunyat was suggested for Hazrat Ali only. Prior to him none had this Kunyat. Therefore Sheik Aal alDeen writes: “For the first time ever, Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)

Was addressed with the Kunyat of

Abu Turab.”

Ref: Mahazarat al Awail, Page 123

Bukhari has included this incident in his Sahih that the Prophet (s.a.) once came to the residence of Fatima Zehra (a.s) and not finding Ali a.s.) at home he enquired about him. Fatima (a.s.) said that they had some difference of opinion and and that in a state of anger he went out. The Prophet (s.a.) asked one person to go and look for Ali (a.s.). The person noticed Hazrat Ali (a.s.) lying on the floor of the mosque. He returned and informed his whereabouts to the Prophet (s.a.). The Prophet (s.a.) then went to the mosque and noticed Ali (a.s.) covered all over in dust. He dusted his clothes and said, “Qum ya Abu Turab! – Gewt up, Abu Turab!” After this event he was known with the Kunyat of Abu Turab.

This narration, when compared with the earlier tradition sounds different and is not plausible according to the norms of Darayat. Thereason for the non plausibility is that during the entire married life of Hazrat Fatima and Hazrat Al (a.s.) there is no instance of ever being any differences between them. Their lives have been examples of most cordial marital relationship. From the tradition where Ammar Yassir was also there, it appears that the Prophet (s.a.) had suggested the Kunyat of Abu Turab in Jamadi al Thani, 2H, because the Battle of Ashira was fought in that period. Fatima Zehra (a.s.) was married to Hazrat Ali(a.s.) on First of Zil Hijja 2H, that is, six monthsafter the proposal of this Kunyat. In that event there is no chance of any difference of opinion between the two and the need to go away from home in anger. Because at that time Janabe Syeda was not married to Hazrat Ali (a.s.). It appears that the tradition has been concocted to please the Umawi rulers who used to address Hazrat Ali (a.s.) with this Kunyat while they carried out their campaign of vilification against him. A name that is associated with an unpleasant memory would never be a popular name. Although this Kunyat of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) is the most likeable of this titles Therefore, Sahl ibne Saad says:

“Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Ta-aala Anhu liked Abu Turab More than all his names. “”

Sahih Bukhari, Vol 8, Page 63


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