The names of Imam Ali (as)’s sons
In this article we have set out to refute the false claim made by Ansar.org’s star pupil Afriki in his article on the marriage of Umme Kalthum (as), wherein he tried to present the romantic image of love / affection between Imam ‘Ali and the Khalifas. Afriki was able to use his supernatural psychic abilities to inform his readers that such was Imam ‘Ali (as)’s love for these personalities that he named his sons in their memory.
However, let us take this version of history that weaves itself around the core element of persecution, and its concomitant of mutual hatred between ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and the rest of the Sahabah, and let us compare it with some other facts, the historic authenticity of which is accepted by both Ahl as-Sunnah and Shi’ah. For example, the fact that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib himself names three of his sons Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman. (See al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, pp. 268-269, where these three sons of ‘Ali are listed as numbers 12, 6 and 10 respectively.) No one, not even the most magnanimous of people, names his son after his enemies who were responsible for the death of his wife. That is why one simply cannot find a Shi’i today named Abu Bakr, ‘Umar or ‘Uthman.
This is one of the greatest evidences that these Nasibi love to flash in our faces as ‘proof’ that Imam ‘Ali (as) loved the three khalifas. If we examine the lives of the Arabs we see that the names Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were common names, it was not exclusively reserved to a specific Arab tribe, so we would urge our opponents to at least examine in depth before arriving at a conclusion. The fact is these names were common amongst the prominent Arab tribes, and amongst those with these names were Kaafir’s, Muslims and munafiqs and hence these are not names that in any way point to the superiority of the three Khalifas.
Incidentally, Ali (as) had 12 sons, thus the author is mistaken in trying to give the impression that he had 3 whom he named after the 3 khalifas.
Famous Arabs that were called Abu Bakr
In Ahl’ul Sunnah’s authority work Al Isaba Volume four “Dhikr ‘Abu Bakr” Ibn Barr states:
The first was Abu Bakr bin Quhafa, the second Abu Bakr bin Shuab Laisy and the third was Abu Bakr Nafee bin al Harith Saqfi.
In the Risala Taseemee’thul Isma page 4 we read that the grandson of Prophet Ilyas (as) was called Abu Bakr.
If our opponents are still not convinced then we shall cite Sibt Ibn Jauzi al Hanafi’s “Tadhkirathul Khawwas, under the Chapter “Dhikr Abu Bakr” who provides a complete list of those individuals that were called Abu Bakr along with the tribe that they belonged to:
- Abu Bakr bin Abdur Rahman Mukhdhoomee
- Abu Bakr bin Hamam al Hameeree
- Abu Bakr bin Muhammad bin Muslim Qurshee
- Abu Bakr bin Abi Maleeka al Timeemee
- Abu Bakr bin Sireen
- Abu Bakr bin Marwan ibn Muhammad al Thathree
- Abu Bakr Younis bin Bakeer al Shaybanee
- Abu Bakr al Bahili
- Abu Bakr al Sakhthayanai
Famous Arabs called Umar
We are quoting from Ahl’ul Sunnah’s leading work Asadul Ghaybah Volume 4 under the letter “Ayn” that provides a list of men from those tribes that had the name Umar:
- Umar al Aslama
- Umar al Jamai
- Umar bin Hakim Salma
- Umar bin Salim Khuzamee
- Umar bin Suraqa Qurshee
- Umar bin Sa’d al Numaree
- Umar bin Sa’d Salma
- Umar bin Sufyan Qurshee
- Umar bin Abi Salma Qurshee
- Umar bin Amr Salmi
- Umar bin Abdullah
- Umar bin Ikrima
- Umar bin Umar Laysee
- Umar bin Ameer Ansari
- Umar bin Auf Nakhai
- Umar bin Ghazia
- Umar bin La Haqq
- Umar bin Malik bin Ukba
- Umar bin Malik Ansari
- Umar bin Mu’awiya Ghazree
- Umar bin Yazeed al Khaza’ee
- Umar Yamani
Famous Arabs that were called Uthman
We are again quoting from Asadul Ghaybah Volume 3 under the letter “Ayn” that provides a list of 19 people with tribal ancestry that were called Uthman:
- Uthman bin Arqam
- Utman bin Adhrak
- Uthman bin Haneef
- Uthman bin Rabia
- Uthman bin Shumaas
- Uthman bin Abi Talha
- Uthman bin Abu’l Aas
- Uthman bin Amr
- Uthman bin Abd al Rahman
- Uthman bin Abd’ Ghanam
- Uthman bin Ubaydullah
- Uthman bin Affan
- Uthman bin Uthman Thaqfee
- Uthman bin Umar Ansari
- Uthman bin Umar
- Uthman bin Qays
- Uthman bin Muhammad
- Uthman bin Fadhoown
- Uthman bin Ma’dh
We have proven from the books of Ahl’ul Sunnah that the names Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were common amongst the Arab tribes; these were the names of the sons of various parents. Perhaps Afriki could try and use some honesty for once in his life, and answer this:
‘What revelation did you receive that led you to conclude that Imam ‘Ali (as) had named his sons after Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman due to his love of the three khalifas’?
We should point out that in our Shi’a text Bihar al Anwar, Volume 45 page 38 we read the testimony of Imam ‘Ali (as) that he named one of his sons Uthman because on the day he was born he (as) stated:
إنما سميته بأسم أخي عثمان بن مظعون
Ali (a.s) said:’ I named him after my brother Uthman bin Madhoon’
This is why the name Uthman was kept by Imam ‘Ali (as) it does not prove Uthman bin Affan’s merit, not even in the slightest.
With regards to Imam ‘Ali (as)’s son Umar, we should point out that one of Imam ‘Ali (as) close Sahaba was Umar the son of Umm’ul momineen Salma (ra). Umar was brought up by Rasulullah (s) and he fought alongside Imam ‘Ali (as) at Jamal, and was in fact one of his commanders during that battle. During his reign Imam ‘Ali (as) appointed him as Governor over Bahrain and Faris. To prove our point we suggest our opponents consult Asada al Ghabah Volume 4 page 134 under the letter “Ayn”. We assert that Imam ‘Ali (as) named his son Umar after this great faithful commander. We are fully aware that the Nasibi will advance some Sunni text claiming that Imam ‘Ali (as) named his son Umar after the second khalifa – but an Ahl’ul Sunnah work can not be advanced as evidence to convince us.
When as we have proved these names were common amongst the Arabs there exist no grounds for Afriki to conclude that Imam ‘Ali (as) named his sons after the three khalifas. When these names were common amongst the tribes how can it be concluded that this Umar was named after this Umar?
When a name becomes common in a society then it is common sense that it is not on account of love a specific individual. Zayd for example was a common name amongst the Arabs, but there is no basis to claim that people were named this after a specific Zayd. Similarly the names Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were very common Arab names, when the forefathers of the three khalifas were also called Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman could Afriki explain on account of the love for which individuals were their names kept?
There is no proof from the Qur’an or hadith that naming a child can only be based on account of love for a specific individual. If Imam ‘Ali (as)’s naming his sons Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman was due to his love for the three Khalifa’s then by the same token then Rasulullah (s) must have hated Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, since he (s) did not name a single son after these three personalities. If these three were indeed his most beloved companions why did he not name a single son after them?
If keeping a name is proof of love of another person then we should point out that amongst our Ahl’ul Sunnah friends’ names such as Abdur Rahman, Ubaydullah and Ghulam Ahmad are very common. Abdur Rahman Makhdoomee was the killer of Imam ‘Ali (as), Ubaydullah bin Ziyad was one of the killers of Imam Husayn (as) and Ghulam Ahmad was a deviant who falsely proclaimed himself to be a Prophet. So with these facts in mind we ask our Ahl ul Sunnah brothers:
- Do you love Abdur Rahman killer of Imam ‘Ali (as)?
- Do you love Ubaydullah killer of Imam Husayn (as)?
- Do you love the false Prophet Ghulam Ahmad?
If you do not love these individuals then why do you keep these names? From here we can see that there is no harm in keeping names, even if the same names were those of kaafirs, munafiqs etc. To keep such names does not constitute love of a particular kaafir / munafiq / Nasibi either.
We read in Ahl’ul Sunnah’s classical work Tahdheeb al Tahdheeb page 11 there is list of 118 Salaf elders called Yazeed. If names are based on love of another individual, can we concluded that these esteemed figures were all named after Yazeed ibn Mu’awiya killer of Imam Husayn (as)? Do these Ahl’ul Sunnah Salaf love Yazeed? Ibn Qutaybah in al Maarif cites Abdullah bin Abi bin Salul as a hypocrite and yet Abdullah is a very common name amongst Ahl’ul Sunnah, has this name been kept by them on account of their love for this hypocrite?
In fact historically there were two famous personalities with the name of Abdullah.
1. Abdullah bin Salul (a hypocrite)
2. Abdullah ibn Saba (one of the most popular personalities among Ahle Sunnah)
There are lot of Abdullahs among Ahl’ul Sunnah. Does this really mean they are named in love and respect of these 2 personalities??
There are another 2 famous personalities from Iran.
1. Khusro Parwaiz
2. Abu Lulu Ferooz (The killer of Umar)
In Pakistan, among Ahl’ul Sunnah, Parwaiz is a very common name. And there are a lot of people with the name of “Ferooz” in Pakistan (in fact, the biggest Urdu books publishing house in Pakistan has the name of “Ferooz Sons Ltd.”)
Would it be fair to say that these Ahl’ul Sunnah people got these names in Respect and Love of these 2 personalities?
We read in Muruj ud Dhahab under the Chapter “Death of Abu Bakr” that on his death bed one of Abu Bakr’s regrets was that he did not kill Asheesh bin Qays. This clearly alludes to the fact that Abu Bakr deemed this individual to be a hypocrite and that it was permissible to shed his blood. We should point out that the grandfather of Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Ibn Majah (author of Sunan Ibn Maja) was called Asheesh was he named so, on account of his parents love for the hypocrite Asheesh bin Qays? We should also point out that one of the Kaafir Arab Kings was called Numan, Imam Abu Hanifa’s name was also Numan, was he named this due to his parents love of this kaafir king?
One of Yazeed’s general’s was called Muslim bin Aqba who led the troops at Harra who slaughtered the Sahaba and their sons (who had broken their allegiance to Yazeed) and raped their women. Ahl’ul Sunnah’s leading Imam of hadith is Muslim author of Sahih Muslim, was he named as such due to his parents love for Muslim, Yazeed’s Nasibi commander?
As we have proven, a name means nothing, and it certainly does not constitute love for a specific person, if it does then we should point out:
Rasulullah (s) named one of his sons Uzza
If the claim is that Imam ‘Ali (as) named his sons after these three then Hanafi scholar Shibli Numani in Seerathun Nabi Volume 1 page 191 quotes Imam Bukhari’s “Tareekh al Sagheer” that Rasulullah (s) named one of his sons Abdul Uzza:
That is interesting as Uzza was the name of a false God, as pointed out by Allah (swt) in Surah Najm verses 19-22 (taken from Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali’s transliteration):
“Have ye seen Lat. and ‘Uzza, And another, the third (goddess), Manat?…..These are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority(whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord!”
So whom was this Uzza that Rasulullah (s) called his son Uzza on? Was it based on an idol (astaghfirullah)? If Ahl’ul Sunnah are going to say Rasul(s) didn’t name his son because he loved an idol, we will also say Imam ‘Ali (as) didn’t name his sons Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman on account of his love for the three khalifas.
Nasibi Afriki had posed this little brainteaser:
No one, not even the most magnanimous of people, names his son after his enemies who were responsible for the death of his wife. That is why one simply cannot find a Shi’i today named Abu Bakr, ‘Umar or ‘Uthman.
Our reply is simple. During the old times the names Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were common place amongst the Arabs. Similarly the name ‘Ali was also common place amongst the Arabs. Asadul Ghaybah cited thirteen people who were called Ali. By the time of the Nasibi Banu Ummayya regime it became an offence to keep the name ‘Ali. In Ahl’ul Sunnah’s authority work Tahdheeb Volume 7 page 319 under the chapter “Dhikr ‘Ali bin Rahba” we read that:
“During the Banu Umayyad reign when information was received that a child had been named ‘Ali, he would be killed”.
Individuals named ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn were labelled as Shi’a and were persecuted, even killed. Such was the hatred vented by the State, that no Banu Ummayya soldier was named ‘Ali, Hasan or Husayn, neither did the descendants of Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman keep these names. The oppression of Banu Ummayya in effect forced the Shi’a to bear enmity towards ‘Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman.
In summary, Ali (as) had 12 sons – some had very common names – like Ibrahim, Umar, Uthman, Abu Bakr. The latter 3 names are very common names amongst the Arabs like Tom, Dick or Harry amongst the Christians, and were common in pre-Islamic times also. To suggest therefore that because a man with 12 sons has a couple with the same names as his putative friends, and that he therefore called them after them, when these are very common names, is ridiculous – many men have friends called Tom, Dick and Harry, and many will have sons also by that name, but very few of these sons will have been named after their fathers’ friends. I mean there could have been a case if a man’s friends are called Engelbert, Darwin and Zebediah, and these are also the names of even some of his sons, but the names Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were like Tom, Dick and Harry, and these names had no such religious connotations in those early days� it was much later on that they came to be associated with Sunni Islam. Further, we have shown that Ali (as) actually named those sons of his with these names after other individuals and that the name “Abu Bakr” was not the name of the 1st khalifa by which he was addressed but an epithet added some years later – the oldest sources always refer to him as Ibn Abi Quhafa (Son of Abi Quhafa).
Further, the order of the sons should chronologically follow the order of the Khalifas, in Sunni superiority from Abu Bakr to Uthman, but it doesn’t, it’s random. What a pathetic argument from the Nasibis, it defies all laws of probability, and what a delight to be able to shut their smug little mouths up with it�please refer to the arrogance and pride with which Afrki makes his opening comments on this issue.