The virtues of Imam Ali (a) have been mentioned in Shi’a and Sunni sources. Sunnis have considered the revelation of many verses to be about Imam Ali (a) and have also introduced him as an instance of some Quranic expressions such as "salih al-mu'minin" (the righteous among the faithful), "sadiqin" (the truthful), "hadi" (guide) and "khayr al-bariyyah" (the best of creatures). Moreover, there are many hadiths, in Sunni sources, narrated from the Messenger of God (s) praising Imam Ali (a). These hadiths described him as being always with the truth and also as an argument against the people on the Day of Resurrection.
Sunni Exegetes and the Virtues of Imam Ali (a) in the Qur'an
Sunni exegetes have considered several verses to show the virtues of Imam Ali (a):
- The Prophet of Islam (s) considered all the verses about dignity (karama) to include Imam Ali (a).
- When this verse, “if you back each other against him, then [know that] Allah is indeed his guardian, and Gabriel, the righteous among the faithful,” (66:4) was revealed, the Prophet (s) said, “the righteous among the faithful is Ali (a).”
- The Prophet (s) interpreted the verse that orders the faithful to be with the truthful (9:119) as to be with Imam Ali (s) and his companions.
- When this verse, “you are only a warner, and there is a guide for every people,” (13:7) was revealed, the Prophet (s) put his hand on his chest and said that he was the warner, then he pointed to Ali (a) and called him the guide of the Islamic nation.
- It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (s) that he considered Ali (a) as the instance of this verse “Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds, it is they who are the best of creatures.” (98:7)
- After the revelation of verse 181 of surah al-A'raf, “among those We have created are a nation who guide by the truth and do justice thereby,” (7:181) the Prophet (s) interpreted the guided nation as Ali (a) and his Shi’a.
- After the revelation of these verses, “and the Foremost Ones are the foremost ones, they are the ones brought near [to Allah], [who will reside] in the gardens of bliss,” (56:12) the Prophet (s) narrated from Gabriel that they are about Ali (a) and his Shi’a, who overtake each other towards the Heaven and get closer to God.
- Other verses such as Ikmal verse (5:3), Laylat al-Mabit verse (2:207), Wilayah verse (5:55), Mubahalah verse (3:61), and other verses were also revealed about Imam Ali (a).
Sunni Hadiths on the Virtues of Imam Ali (a)
There are hadiths narrated in Sunni sources about the virtue of Imam Ali (a):
- The Prophet of Islam (s): “Ali to me, is like my head to my body.”
- In a hadith, the Prophet (s) introduced Ali (a) as the best person, and anyone who does not accept him is an unbeliever.
- In the battle of Tabuk, Prophet Muhammad (s) addressed Imam Ali (a) and said, “To me, you are like Aaron to Moses, except for there is no prophet after me.”
- Anas b. Malik narrates that he was with the Prophet (s) when Ali (a) entered. The Prophet (s) said, "Ali and I will be the argument against the Ummah on the Day of Resurrection."
- Umm Salamah, the Prophet's wife, narrated from the Messenger of God (s) that anyone who insults Ali (a) has insulted him, and whoever insults him has definitely insulted God.
- Ibn ‘Abbas narrates from the Messenger of God (s) “the love of Ali (a) devours sins, as fire devours firewood.”
- The Prophet (s) said, “Ali (a) is with the truth and the truth is with him; they will never separate from each other until they come to the pool of Kawthar.”
- This article is mainly taken from "فضایل امام علی(ع) در کلام اهلسنت" on Persian Wikipasokh.