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MAULA ALI (RA): The gate to the city of Knowledge

by Minhaj

Maula Ali (RA) is the spiritual brother of Holy Prophetﷺ, his son-in-law, a man of chivalry, warrior, poet, grammarian, mathematician, law expert and chief judge[Qadi] among the companions. Sayyiduna Ali(RA) after studying with the Prophetﷺ became the repository of knowledge in regard to explanation of Quran and Sunnah among the Sahaba(RA). He was the paramount figure in the Prophet(peace be upon him)’s household and the interpreter of the Holy Quran and Hadith. His blessed life is marked by the lessons of guidance, wisdom and enlightenment. His knowledge and wisdom are beyond comparison.

The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.” ►[Hakim Al-Mustadrak, Hadith #4637; Graded as Sahih by Imam al-Hakim]

In this article we present traditions related to his extensive knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah.

Maula Ali(RA)’s in-depth knowledge of Holy Quran

Sayyiduna Ali(RA) learned the Quran directly from the Messenger of Allahﷺ. Many traditions depict his in-depth understanding of Holy Qur’an. It is well known that even in the earliest times of Islam, Sayyiduna Ali(RA) loved the Quran and he never missed a class in regard to the Quran and its meaning. These classes during the first few years of revelation were held within the house of Arqam. During these times mostly Chapters calling towards faith[Iman] and warning of the Day of Judgement were being revealed.

Hadrat Abu Tufail(RA) said: “I was present when Hdarat `Ali(RA) said in a sermon, “By Allah, ask me, for I am certainly able to answer all your questions. Ask me about the Book of Allah for I am most knowledgeable about every single verse therein. I know when it was revealed, at night or during the day, and where, on the mountains or the plains.”►[Ibn Abd al-Barr Jame’al-Bayan Vol.1 Page 252;Ibn Saab Al-Tabqat Al-Kubra Vol-2 Page 338]

Hadrat Ibn Mas`ud(RA): “The Quran was revealed in seven dialects each of which has an open  as well as an hidden meaning, and Hadrat `Ali (RA) had full knowledge of both.” ►[ Sahih Ibn Hibban Vol.1 , Page 276;Imam Suyuti Al-Itqan Fi Ulum al-Quran, Page 130]


Sayyida Ayesha(RA) a great scholar in her own right, acknowledged his master of the Sunnah, for Hadrat Ali(RA)’s knowledge and wisdom was profound. Hadrat Ali(RA) reported more than twelve thousand prophetic traditions which have been recorded in various books of Hadith. This is the highest number of transmissions of  Hadith by any companion of Holy Prophetﷺ.
Ummul Momineen Hadrat Ayesha(RA) , the wife of Prophetﷺ said, “Ali is the greatest man of knowledge[aalim] concerning the Sunnah.”[Tarikh Damishq,Page 408]

The knowledge and wisdom of Sayyiduna Ali(RA) was beyond comparison.

Kumayl Ibn Ziyad an-Nakh’ai reported :
Hadrat Ali(RA) took me by the hand and brought me to the outskirts of the desert. When we reached there he sat down. After catching his breath he said, “O Kumayl, heart, are vessels [for knowledge] ,and the best of them are those that contain the most. Memorize what I say to you. People can be divided into one of three classes:
1. Punctilious people of knowledge [who practice what they know]
2. People of knowledge who continuously remain learning as their means of salvation.
3. Hooligans who follow any and everybody along with the passing wind; they are not enlightened by knowledge and they don’t know any reliable source to refer to[in religious matters]. Knowledge is better than wealth because while knowledge guards you, you must guard your wealth. Furthermore, knowledge accumulates with practice,while wealth depletes with usage. Loving the scholar is part of practicing Deen.►[Tadhkira al-Huffaz by Imam Dhahabi]

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