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A narration regarding ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) not killing a polytheist who spat on him

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by HadithAnswers.com


Is the following narration authentic and what is its reference?

This is just the gist of the narration:

Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) was fighting a polytheist and was about to kill the polytheist when the polytheist spat in his face. Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) stopped and walked away. When asked he said that at first he was going to kill him for the sake of Allah, but after he spat at my face I was angry and was going to kill him out of personal anger so I didn’t.


I have not come across this narration in any primary source nor have I come across a chain of narrators for this incident.

A similar narration appears in Shi’i books. (Refer: Mawsu’atul Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib Fil Kitabi Was Sunnah Wat Tarikh)

Another similar narration in Sunni sources:

Imam Ibn Hisham (rahimahullah) has recorded a narration which states that on the day of Uhud when the war intensified, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sat under the flag of the Ansar. He then ordered ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) to advance in attack. Abu Sa’d ibn Abi Talhah, the flag bearer of the polytheists challenged Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) to a duel. ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) overpowered him and brought him to the ground. He then turned away and did not deliver the coup de grâce. When questioned regarding this he said that Abu Sa’d exposed his private parts therefore he did not kill him. Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) then said, “I knew that Allah had certainly killed him.”

(Sirah Ibn Hisham, vol. 3 pg. 28. Also see: Al Bidayah Wan Nihayah, vol. 4 pg. 187, Subulul Huda War Rashad, vol. 4 pg. 287-288, Sharhuz Zurqani ‘Alal Mawahib, vol. 2 pg. 409-410)

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist. 

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