Twenty-four similarities between Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and Holy Kaaba

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Ameerul Momineen, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and the Holy Kaaba are both central to Islamic tradition and reverence. There are religious, symbolic, and spiritual similarities that can be drawn between them, based on the Noble Quran and hadith. This is a topic extensively reported by leading Muslim scholars.

Birth in Holy Kaaba

Muslims are unanimous that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is the only one to have been born inside the Kaaba. None before nor after him can lay claim to this achievement.

Renown Ahle Tasannun scholar, from Al-Azhar University (Cairo), Shaikh Momin Ibn Hasan Momin Shablanji has recorded in his book Noor al-Absaar Fi Manaqeb Aal Nabi al-Mukhtar (s.a.w.a.) on page 85 right at the beginning of the biography of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.):

لَمْ يُوْلَدْ فِي الْبَيْتِ أَحَدٌ قَبْلَهٗ سِوَاهُ

No child was born in the House (of Allah) before him

  • Also refer Al-Mustadrak of Hakim Nishapuri v 3 p 483

Kaaba has not dignified Ali (a.s.), Ali (a.s.) has dignified the Kaaba

While drawing parallels between Ali (a.s.) and Kaaba, it is important to note that this comparison is a matter of pride for the Kaaba and not Ali (a.s.).

Ali (a.s.) has dignified the Kaaba with his birth, Kaaba has not dignified Ali (a.s.), as we recite in the 17th Rabi al-Awwal Ziyarat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)

السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا مَنْ شُرِّفَتْ‏ بِهِ‏ مَكَّةُ وَ مِنًى …

Peace be upon you (Ali), through whom Mecca and Mina were dignified…

  • Al-Mazaar of Shaheed al-Awwal p 89-98
  • Iqbaal al-A’maal v 2 p 608-610

Similarities between Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the Holy Kaaba

1. Raised by Prophets (a.s.)
2. Divine Call
3. Prayer for Love
4. Exclusive Virtues That Can Never be Superseded
5. Ali (a.s.) is visited by people, he (a.s.) does not visit them
6. Looking at Ali (a.s.) is worship and visiting him is an obligation
7. First House, First Muslim
8. Guidance
9. Identifying the Correct Imam
10. Facing
11. Worship is Void
12. Pure and For the Pure
13. Pledge of Allegiance
14. Failed Attempts at Destruction
15. Defiled by Idols Temporarily
16. Return (Raj’at)
17. Split Image
18. Burial Place of Prophets (s.a.)
19. Symbol of Allah
20. Place of Visitation
21. Conducive for Prayers and Blessings
22. Mother and Father
23. Leader of All
24. Monotheism

Raised by Prophets (a.s.) Back to Top

Kaaba was raised by Ibrahim (a.s.) and Ismail (a.s.), while Ali (a.s.) raised by Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Allah informs about the establishing of Kaaba:
And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House…(Surah Baqarah (2): 127

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) informs about his own upbringing in the famous Sermon of Qasiah:
Certainly, you know my position of close kinship and special relationship with the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.). When I was only a child he took charge of me. He used to press me to his chest and lay me beside him in his bed, bring his body close to mine and make me smell his fragrance. He used to chew something and then feed me with it… 

  • Nahjul Balagha Sermon of Qasiah, No 192
Divine Call Back to Top

Both the Kaaba and Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) are so special that Allah arranged for his Two Greatest Prophets to invite all the faithful for their visitation.

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) invited the people for Hajj on divine command:
‘And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage)’ (Surah Hajj (22): 27)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited the faithful to the Mastership of Ali (a.s.) in Ghadeer on divine command:

O people! This is the last stand I make in this gathering.

Thus, listen, obey, and submit to the command of your Lord, for Allah is your Master, then (His Messenger) Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), who is now addressing you, is your Master. Then, after me, Ali is your Master and your Imam by the command of Allah, your Lord.

  • Al-Ehtejaj v 1 p 55-66
Prayer for Love Back to Top

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) prayed to Allah to fill the hearts of the people with the love of the dwellers (of the House of Allah in Mecca) and prayed ‘…therefore make the hearts of some people yearn towards them (Surah Ibrahim (14): 37)

Similarly, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed to Allah that his nation should gather on the love and Mastership of Ali (a.s.).

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed – Jibrail came to me and instructed – Allah orders you to love Ali (a.s.) and that you order (Muslims) to love him and accept his Mastership (Wilayat). Surely I (Allah) grant eternal residence in Paradise to lovers of Ali (a.s.) due to their love for him. And I punish his enemies and those who abandon his Mastership with the Fire.

  • Hilyah al-Abraar v 2 p 337
Exclusive Virtues That Can Never be Superseded Back to Top

Virtues of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) are exclusive and specific to him. No other personality (barring the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) can surpass him in his virtues. Ali (a.s.) is just like Holy Kaaba with its virtues that no other structure can surpass.

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) enjoys a unique position of reverence equivalent to that of Holy Kaaba which none of the companions of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) can be ascribed with. Therefore, respect for Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) becomes obligatory on every Muslim as is the respect of Holy Kaaba.

Superseding Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) by someone else is like giving preference to some other structure over the Holy Kaaba.

Ali (a.s.) is visited by people, he (a.s.) does not visit them Back to Top

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared:

(O Ali) You enjoy the status of the Kaaba, it is visited by the people, it does not visit the people.

  • Osod al-Ghaabah fi Marifat al-Saḥaabah vol 4 pg 31

According to such reports Ali (a.s.) being like the Kaaba, did not have to approach the Muslims for allegiance after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) martyrdom, rather the Muslims were to visit Ali (a.s.) for allegiance.

Years later when the Muslims realized their mistake and approached Ali (a.s.) for allegiance, he (a.s.) accepted it.

Looking at Ali (a.s.) is worship and visiting him is an obligation Back to Top

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed:

The likeness of Ali (a.s.) in this nation is with the veiled Kaaba –

  • looking at which is worship and
  • visiting which is an obligation
  • Al-Mustarshid p 387
  • Al-Manaqib v 3 p 202
  • Al-Umdah p 302
  • Behaar al-Anwaar v 38 p 199, v 40 p 43
First House, First Muslim Back to Top

Allah has given the Kaaba precedence over all structures and has made it the First House.

In Surah Ale Imran (3): 96, Allah declares:
Most surely the First House appointed for men is the one at Bakka…

Likewise, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has many firsts to his credit. Ali (a.s.) and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) are Allah’s first creation. In the Tradition of Light (Noor), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared: ‘I and Ali are (created) from the same light.’

On the same lines, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has other firsts – he was the first male to believe in Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), first to offer prayers (salat), first one to hold the banner of Islam in battle (of Badr) and so on.

Guidance Back to Top

Allah has made the Holy Kaaba as a guide for the entire universe. In Surah Ale Imran (3): 96, Allah declares: Most surely the First House appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and a guidance for the nations.

Similarly, guidance is centred around Ali (a.s.) as the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed:
Indeed Allah has appointed Ali (a.s.), his wife (s.a.) and his sons (a.s.) as divine proofs on His creation. They are the doors of knowledge in my nation. One who accepts guidance through them is guided on the ‘Straight Path’.

  • Shawahid al-Tanzeel v 1 p 76 under Surah Fateha (Ahle Tasannun)
Identifying the Correct Imam Back to Top

While the Kaaba is a Symbol of Allah and His House and a Guidance for Mankind, it achieves this in a particular manner. In this regard, the Hajar al-Aswad occupies a specific and important position and one of its critical functions of the Hajar is that it points towards the Proof of Allah. Whenever the Kaaba was renovated and the Hajar had to be installed, it was always the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) or the Imam of the Time (a.s.) who managed to install it successfully. When others tried to install the Hajar, it would not stabilize in its position.

Likewise, while the Imam is a guide in his lifetime, there is always the danger that nation would deviate after him. There is a particular way in which the Imam ensures that the nation is guided to the correct Imam even after him. One of the ways to identify the next Imam is through the burial and funeral prayers of the preceding Imam. Only an Imam can perform the burial rites and funeral prayers of the previous Imam which is the proof of the latter’s Imamat.

On the three occasions when the Muslim nation was in intense confusion on the death (martyrdom) of their guides, i.e. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) and Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), it was the burial rites and funeral prayers performed by the rightful successors (i.e. Ali (a.s.), Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.), Imam Mahdi (a.s.)) that cleared all doubts about the correct Imam.

  • Awalim al-Uloom v 11 p 108
  • Ithbaat al-Hudaat v 2 p 100 (with variation)
Facing Back to Top

The Holy Kaaba is the direction for salat (ritual prayers). It is obligatory for all Muslims to face the Kabaa while praying, supplicating and even for slaughtering animals for food.

Ali (a.s.) is the direction for all matters of faith. No man’s faith is complete till his faith is focussed on Imamat of Ali (a.s.). Ali is the Wajh (face) towards whom we should face (Tawajjoh) in all matters of faith.

We recite in Dua Nudbah regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.):

Where is the Face of Allah through whom the friends attend towards him?

Worship is Void Back to Top

Just as prayers are rejected without aligning with the Kaaba, prayers (along with all other acts of the Shariah) become void, without Mastership of Ali (a.s.).

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) warned:

…I swear by the One who raised me a prophet, on the Day of Resurrection, even if you bring actions equal to mountains that are devoid of the mastership of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), Allah will surely throw you in the Fire.

  • Al-Amali of Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) p 308
Pure and For the Pure Back to Top

The Kaaba is pure. When Ibrahim (a.s.) and Ismail (a.s.) completed the construction of the Holy Kaaba, Allah ordered them:
…and purify My House for those who make the circuit (tawaf) and stand to pray and bow and prostrate themselves. (Surah Hajj (22): 26)

Ibrahim (a.s.) and Ismail (a.s.) purified the Holy Kaaba. As a result, anyone in an unclean state was not permitted to enter or stand in the precincts or even pass through the Holy Kabaa. He should immediately leave the Holy Kabaa.

Likewise, Allah has safeguarded Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) from all impurity. He (a.s.) is one of the Inmates of the Cloak, for whom the Verse of Purification (Ayat-e-Tatheer) was revealed.

Ali (a.s.) is pure and those who devoted to him are pure. One of impure birth will never be devoted to him, as he (a.s.) informed Qambar:
O Qambar, surely Allah presented our Mastership to the residents of the skies and the earth from the men and jinn and fruits and others. Then all that which accepted our Mastership turned out pure, clean, and sweet. And that which did not accept our Mastership turned out impure, repulsive and rotten.

  • Al-Ikhtesaas p 249
Pledge of Allegiance Back to Top

Both the Holy Kaaba and shrine of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) at Najaf are centres of paying (renewing) allegiance for the faithful. This swearing of allegiance is so crucial that it is one reason why visitation of Kaaba is obligatory for an able and faithful Muslim; likewise, is the case with Najaf shrine and shrines of other Imams (a.s.)

In the world before this one (Aalame Zarr / Mithaq) Allah extracted from the creation, allegiance (covenant) for his Godhood, Prophethood of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imamat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and eleven of his infallible sons (a.s.). All creation testified to the triple covenant. Then Allah ordered Hajar-e-Aswad (originally an angel) to safeguard these covenants.

When the pilgrim visits the Holy Kaaba, he specifically visits the Hajare Aswad (from near or afar) to renew his covenant made in Aalam-e-Zarr.

Likewise, the faithful throng the shrine of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) to fulfil and renew their covenant of Imamat in Aalam-e-Zarr as we recite in Imam’s (a.s.) ziyarat:

جِئْتُكَ يَا مَوْلَايَ زَائِراً لَكَ وَ مُسَلِّماً عَلَيْكَ وَ لَائِذاً بِكَ وَ قَاصِداً إِلَيْكَ أُجَدِّدُ مَا أَخَذَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ فِي رَقَبَتِي مِنَ الْعَهْدِ وَ الْمِيثَاقِ وَ الْوَلَايَةِ لَكُمْ وَ الْبَرَاءَةِ مِنْ أَعْدَائِكُمْ

I come to you, my master, as a visitor to you, submitting to you, seeking refuge with you, and intending towards you. I renew what Allah has taken for you in terms of the covenant, the pact, and the allegiance to you, and disavowal of your enemies…

  • Al-Mazaar under Ziyarat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), also refer Mafatih al-Jinan
Failed Attempts at Destruction Back to Top

Both the Kaaba and Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) owing to their greatness and precedence invited much jealousy and hatred from opponents, so much so that they attempted to extinguish both.

Abraha in the Year of the Elephant (Aam al-Feel) converged on the Kaaba (out of jealousy) to destroy it with an army of elephants, only to see his army perish under attack from a flock of small birds.

Likewise, enemies desire to extinguish Mastership of Ali (a.s.) but Allah perfected it.

يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ

They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse. (Surah Saff (61):8)

  • Tafsir Noor al-Saqalain v 5 p 316
Defiled by Idols Temporarily Back to Top

Kaaba was made for the Monotheists, but it was temporarily defiled by the presence of idols. Kaaba was purified of all uncleanliness with the advent of Islam and intervention of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ali (a.s.) who, cleared the Kaaba of all defilements.

The seat of Imamat and Caliphate was made for the pure monotheist and infallible family of Prophet (s.a.w.a.), but in the interim it was defiled by the Three Idols.

Return (Raj’at) Back to Top

Kaaba was originally established by Prophet Adam (a.s.) and was in fact the First House raised on earth. Then Allah lifted it during the flood of Prophet Nuh (a.s.). Kaaba returned (as a new structure) the second time under the supervision of Ibrahim (a.s.) and Ismail (a.s.).

Likewise, Ali (a.s.) was granted a life of 63 years the first time, which terminated with his martyrdom. Allah will bring him (a.s.) back (Raj’at) in the last era for a relatively longer and more fulfilling tenure as leader and guide of the faithful.

Split Image Back to Top

A structure in the split image of the Kaaba is established on the fourth sky called Baitul Mamoor. It is exactly above the Kaaba so that if a stone falls from Baitul Mamoor, it will land exactly on the Kaaba. The angels do tawaaf of Baitul Mamoor, just like humans do tawaaf of the Kaaba.

In the heavens there is an angel created by Allah in the split image of Ali (a.s.). When the angels wish to do ziyarat of (visit) Ali (a.s.), they gaze at this angel.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) while narrating details of his Ascent (Meraj):

… By Allah! I have seen the image (of Ali (a.s.)) in the sky near Sidratul Muntaha. Allah had created that image to fulfill the longing of angels who were eager to see him (a.s.). There I witnessed that the respect and humility shown by angels to the image of Ali (a.s.)…

  • Hayat al-Quloob under the Meraj of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
Burial Place of Prophets (s.a.) Back to Top

Around the Kaaba are the graves of several prophets – according to reports this number equals seventy prophets including Prophet Ismail (a.s.).

Mulla Ali Qari, the Ahle Tasannun scholar narrates:

Don’t you see that grave of Ismail (a.s.) is inside the Masjidul Haraam near the hateem and to pray there is superior vis-a-vis other places.

  • Mirqaat, Sharh al-Mishqaat vol 2 pg 69

Around Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) are the graves of two of Allah’s great prophets, the Two Fathers of Humanity i.e. Prophet Adam (a.s.) and Prophet Nuh (a.s.).

Just like it is not polytheism (shirk) to visit the Kaaba because of the graves around it, rather it is perfect Tauheed; the same yardstick applies to visitation of the Ali’s (a.s.) shrine at Najaf and other shrines of infallibles (a.s.).

Symbol of Allah Back to Top

Kaaba is the Sha’erallah (Divine Symbol).

Ali (a.s.) is Sign of Allah (Ayatullah), rather His Greatest Sign (Al-Ayat al-Uzma) as he (a.s.) used to say:

No Sign of Allah is bigger than me and no News from Allah is greater than me.

  • Tafseer al-Qummi (r.a.) v 2 p 401
  • Shawahid al-Tanzeel v 2 p 417 (Ahle Tasannun)
Place of Visitation Back to Top

Both the Holy Kaaba and the Najaf shrine of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) are thronged by millions of pilgrims across Muslim sects to pay their respects and seek blessings and favours. This is in addition to the prophets, angels and other chosen personalities who visit both these places of worship. 

Conducive for Prayers and Blessings Back to Top

The entire Masjidul Haram and particularly the Kaaba is conducive for supplications, seeking forgiveness of sins, paying respects to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), seeking blessings and favours. All these acts of worship are just as applicable to the Shrine of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).

Mother and Father Back to Top

Mecca is Ummul Qora – Mother of all Cities, Ali as is Abul Aimma (a.s.) – Father of all Imams (a.s.).

Leader of All Back to Top

Kaaba is the Leader of all Houses, while Ali as is the Leader of all Believers (Yasoob al-Momineen).

Monotheism Back to Top

The Holy Kabaa is the House of Monotheism, while Ali (a.s.) is the Flagbearer and Saviour of Monotheism.

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