Roshd Islamic Shia Website : Ocassion Letters 2012/06/04
Birthday of Imam Ali - Amir al-Mu'minin (PBUH) : The Gate to the City of Knowledge 

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The Gate to the City of Knowledge (1)

One day a group of Jewish scholars went to the second Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab, and said,” O Umar! You are the Caliph after Muhammad. We have a few questions for you. If you can answer them, it reveals that the religion of Islam is true and that Muhammad was a Messenger of Allah. But if you are unable to answer them, it shows that the religion of Islam is false and Muhammad was not a Messenger.

Umar said,” Ask whatever you want”.

The Jewish scholars said:”Tell us

1- What are the locks of the heavens?

2- What are the keys to the heavens?

3- Which grave moved its occupier?

4- Who was the person who warned his nation but was neither a human nor from the Jinn?

5- What were the five living things which were not created in a womb?...

Umar, who did not have the answer to those questions, lowered his head out of shame.

So the Jews happily said,” We testify that Muhammad was not a Messenger and Islam is false”.

At this moment, Salman Farsi who was present there turned to the Jewish scholars and said,” Wait here so that I will bring to you a man who can answer all your questions”.

Then he went to Ali ibn Abi Talib and said,” O Abal Hassan! Save Islam!”

Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) asked,” What has happened?” Salman narrated the whole incident. Ali (PBUH) went to the mosque wearing the cloth of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP). As soon as the second Caliph saw Ali (PBUH), he became happy and said,” O Ab al-Hassan! Indeed you are the only person who can answer all the questions of these Jews”. Then, Ali (PBUH), turned to the Jews and said,” Ask whatever you want, with the condition that if I answer all your questions, you have to become Muslims”.

The Jewish scholars accepted, and after reiterating their questions, Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) answered their questions as follows:

“The lock of the heavens is associating a partner with Allah; because when a person associates a partner with Allah, his deeds would not be raised.

The key to the locks is testifying to the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of His Messenger, Muhammad (PBUH&HP).

The grave which moved its occupier was the whale that swallowed Prophet Yunus (PBUH) and moved him around the seven seas (2).

The one who warned his nation but was neither a human nor from the Jinn was the ant at the time of Prophet Solomon son of David, who said,” O Ants! Enter your houses, so that Solomon and his army may not crush you under their feet while they do not know (3)”.

Five things which walked on the earth but did not come out of a womb were Prophet Adam, Eve, the camel of Salih(4), the sheep of Abraham(5), and the staff of Moses (which turned into a serpent)(6)...”

At this point, two of the Jewish scholars became Muslims and testified to the oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP); however, the third person said,” If you answer this question of mine, I will believe too”. Ali (PBUH) said,” Ask whatever you want”.

The Jew said,” Tell me about the nation who were alive, but then died and God resurrected them after 309 years?...”

Ali (PBUH) said,” That is the story of the companions of the cave (Ashaab Kahf)”, and he narrated the incident in detail.

Then, he turned to the Jew and said,” O Jewish man! Was the story that I narrated for you similar to that which is in the Torah?”


The Jewish man replied,” Indeed! Without a single word more or less. O Abal Hassan! Don’t call me a Jew anymore. I testify that there is no God but Allah, that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, and you are the most knowledgeable of this nation” (7)


 (The above is a selection taken from “Al-Ghadeer fi al-Kitab Wa al-Sunnah Wa al-Adab (8)”, by Late Allamah Amini (with some summarizations and additions))

The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 13th of Rajab, the birthday anniversary of the gate to the knowledge of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), the commander of the believers, and the first Imam of Shiites,

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH).

Roshd Islamic Shia Webiste




1- It refers to the Hadith from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) that,” I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gate to it”. (Shawaahid al-Tanzil li Qawaid al-Tafdil, by Haakim Haskaani, vol. 1, pp. 104, 105, 107, 377, 432- Rooh al-Ma’ani fi Tafsir al-Quran al-Adhim, by Alusi, vol. 16, p. 90.


2- Based on the will of Allah (SWT), a giant whale swallowed Yunus (PBUH), who was a Prophet. Allah (SWT) has narrated the story in the Holy Quran, Chapter 37, verses 139 to 144. For instance, in verse 142, He says,” So the fish swallowed him while he was worthy of being blamed!” Yunus stayed in the stomach of the whale for a while, and it moved him anywhere around the sea (for further information refer to the aforementioned verses).

3- The Holy Quran, (27:18)

4- Salih (PBUH), one of the Prophets, took a female camel out of a mountain, with the will of Allah (SWT), in order to prove the oneness of God and his prophethood. The Holy Quran refers to this incident. In verse 27 of Chapter 54, Allah (SWT) says,” Surely We sent the she-camel as a trial for them; [and we told Salih to] watch them and have patience” (for more information, refer to the verses).

5- Abraham (PBUH), the great Prophet, was ordered by Allah (SWT) to slaughter his son, Ishmael (PBUH). When he was about to fulfill the order, he realized that the knife does not cut the head of his son. At this moment, Allah (SWT) sent a sheep so that Abraham (PBUH) would slaughter it instead of his son. Allah (SWT) described this great test verse 107 of Chapter 37 of the Holy Quran as follows:” And We ransomed him with a Feat sacrifice”.

6- One of the miracles of Prophet Moses (PBUH) was that his staff turned into a serpent. In verse 20 of Chapter 20, Allah (SWT) says,” So he cast it [his staff] down; and it was suddenly a serpent running”.

6- Al-Araais, by Abu Ishaaq Tha’labi, pp. 232-239.

7- Al-Ghadeer, vol. 11, p. 295.