Beyond doubt, kinship with the Messenger of Allah is both a unique privilege and superiority over others. Hence, God considers the honor of kinship with the Holy Prophet (s.a) as part of the honor of nearest relations when we read in the Holy Qur’an: “and warn your nearest relations” (26:214).
Elsewhere, God says: “and most surely it is a reminder for you and your people” (43:44). It is for this reason that God Almighty has prohibited giving charity to them due to their honor and dignity. Hence, the closer a person is to the Messenger of Allah, the more honorable and dignified he or she is.
Imam `Ali (a.s) has said: We are a family beyond comparison.
Abu-`Uthman Jahiz who was an ardent enemy of Imam `Ali says: `Ali was truthful in what he said! How can we compare anyone with this family when the Messenger of Allah, two purified persons, `Ali and Fatimah, their two sons, Hasan and Husayn, two martyrs of Islam, Hamzah and Ja`far who flies in paradise with two wings, the great chief of Hijaz, `Abd al-Muttalib, the provider of water to the Hajj pilgrims, `Abbas, the wise man of Batha' and Najdah, Abu-Taib are from this family in which all the merits and virtues are gathered. Ansar are their helpers and Muhajir are those who immigrated towards them. Accepter is one who has accepted them and Faruq, that is, the distinguisher between justice and injustice is among them. True disciples are their disciples and if Dhu’l-Shahadatayn (the man of double testimony) was honored with this title, it is because his testimony is about them.
A proof of their dignity is that the Messenger of Allah said: Verily, I am leaving among you two valuable things. You will not go astray after me as long as you adhere to them. One is greater than the other. They are the Book of Allah, which is a rope stretched from the heavens to the earth, and my Household. They will never separate from one another until they come to me at the Pond.
Verily, if the household of the Holy Prophet (s.a) was like other people, `Umar would not ask `Ali to be his father-in-law to obtain the honor of kinship. `Umar reported the Holy Prophet (s.a) as saying: Every relation through blood or marriage on the Day of Judgment will be cut off except relation with me, which will never be cut off. These were good traits of all members of the Holy Prophet’s household. Nevertheless, Imam `Ali (a.s) has special privileges for the blessed days of his life and his excellent qualities the description of which requires voluminous books to cover.
Imam `Ali is a man of noble birth, supreme position, abundant knowledge, wonderful rhetoric, eloquent speech, and broadmindedness. Based on this, his morality is an example of his pure and genuine character. `Ali’s personality testifies to the former honors of his family. This is `Ali’s description by an enemy let alone by his devotee in whose veins the love for `Ali runs.
Imam `Ali’s dignified mother was Fatimah bint Asad ibn Hashim ibn `Abd-Manaf, a lady who undertook to rear the Messenger of Allah in his childhood, fondling him on her lap. She was among the first women who believed in Allah and His messenger and immigrated to Medina with the Holy Prophet (s.a).
The day this lady passed away, the Messenger of Allah personally undertook to perform her funeral rites, shrouding her in his own garment and when the digging of grave was knee-deep, removed the earth from the grave, lay down in the grave for moments and said: O Lord, who are living forever, you make the living die and the dead to become alive, through Your messenger, Muhammad and the messengers before me, forgive my mother, Fatimah bint Asad, instill the profession of faith into her ear and widen her grave, for you are the Most Merciful.
At this time, the Holy Prophet (s.a) instilled the right words in her ear, repeatedly saying: Your son, your son! Not Ja`far or `Aqil! Those attending the funeral service said: O Messenger of Allah! What you did for `Ali’s mother, Fatimah, you did not for others. You shrouded her in your own garment, lay down in her grave before burial, and instilled into her ear, you said: Your son, your son; Not Ja`far or `Aqil. What is the meaning of all this? The Messenger of Allah said: One of the days I was speaking about how people were naked and bare-footed when they will be on the Resurrection Day.
Hearing this, Fatimah bint Asad became very sad, saying: woe to the humiliation of that day! I promised her that I would shroud her in my own garment so that she would not come to the Resurrection Day naked. I lay down in her grave to make her safe from tightness of grave. The reason I said: Your son, your son, Not Ja`far or `Aqil, was that the examining angels entered her grave, asking her: Who is your Lord? She said: God Almighty is my Lord. She was asked: Who is your prophet. She said: Muhammad. She was asked: Who is your Imam? She kept silent, not knowing what to answer. I said to her: Your son, your son, meaning that your Imam and leader is your son, `Ali, not `Aqil or Ja`far.
Imam `Ali was the first Hashemite of two Hashemite lineage. He was born a Hashemite, both on the mother and father sides.
Imam `Ali’s dignified father was Abu-Talib, `Abd-Manaf ibn `Abd al-Muttalib Known as Shaybat al-Hamd, literally meaning a model of thanksgiving or the thanksgiving old man.
`Ali and the Holy Prophet’s lineage gather together in `Abd al-Muttalib, the son of Hashim ibn `Abd-Manaf, the son of Qasi ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka`b ibn Lu’ay ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr ibn Malik ibn Nadr ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Ma`d ibn `Andan ibn Mubdi` ibn Mani` ibn Adad ibn Ka`b ibn Yashjub ibn Ya`rub ibn Humaysa` ibn Qaydar ibn Isma`il ibn Ibrahim, the Friend of God.
`Ali was the Holy Prophet’s full blood cousin on both sides. His uncles were `Abbas, Hamzah ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, his brothers, `Aqil and Ja`far, his sons, Hasan and Husayn, and his wife, lady Fatimah, the princess of the world women. Due to Allah’s Grace, Imam `Ali has been honored by God Almighty with all the excellent qualities of this family. These blessings are tied to all members of the Holy Prophet’s household.