In the name of Allah
Ali's birth place
Another indication of Ali's special merit was his birthplace. No one else, from Adam down through all the prophets, possessed such a distinction. Of all human beings, he alone was born in the sacred precinct of the Ka'ba. At the time of the birth of the Prophet Jesus his illustrious mother was forced to leave the Holy House. A voice said to her: "O Mary! Leave the Baitu'l-Muqaddas, since it is the place of worship and not of childbirth."
But when the time of Ali's birth approached, his mother, Fatima Bint Asad, was asked to enter the Ka'ba. And this was not an accidental affair as if a woman was in the mosque and suddenly she was delivered of a child. She was expressly called to enter the Ka'ba, the door of which was locked. Some uninformed people think that Fatima Bint Asad was in the Holy Mosque when she felt labor pains, could not go out, and gave birth to the child. The fact was otherwise. It was the month of Fatima Bint Asad's confinement. She went to the Masjidu'l-Haram, where she felt labor pains. She prayed to Allah in the precinct of the Ka'ba, saying: "O Allah! I pray to you in the name of your honor and awe, to put me at my ease in this labor." Suddenly, the wall of the Ka'ba, which was locked, opened.
Another report says that a voice was heard saying: "O Fatima! Enter the House." Fatima went into the House of Allah in front of a crowd of people who were sitting round that place and the wall returned to its original condition. The people were greatly astonished. Abbas was also there. When he saw what had happened, he immediately told Abu Talib because he had the key to the door. He instantly came there and tried his best to unlock the door, but the door did not open. For three days Fatima Bint Asad remained inside the Ka'ba, apparently without sustenance of any kind. This unusual event was the talk of the town. At last, on the third day, the passage through which she had entered again opened, and Fatima came out. The people saw that she had in her hands a lovely child. Both sects (Shias and Sunnis) agree that no one else had ever been given such distinction.
Hakim in his Mustadrak and Nuru'd-din Bin Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l- Muhimma, Fasl I, p.14, say: "No one before Ali was born in the Ka'ba. This was a distinction given to Ali in order to enhance his honor, rank, and dignity."
The Imam Ali Mosque, third holiest shrine in the world for Shi'a Muslims,is covered in gold tiles
The central focus of Najaf is the Imam Ali Mosque (also known as Meshed Ali or the Tomb of Ali), located in the city center. The mosque was built over the tomb (whether actual or symbolic) and shrine of Imam Ali, Muhammad's martyred son-in-law.
The shrine of Ali is the third holiest in the world for Shi'a Muslims and a major place of pilgrimage. Many Shi'a bring their dead to the tomb of Ali, carrying the coffin around the sarcophagus before burial.
The Imam Ali Mosque in April 2003
Niche marking the spot where Imam Ali was killed
The mosque is resplendent in gold, with 7,777 tiles of pure gold covering the dome and two 35-meter high golden minarets each made of 40,000 gold tiles. Inside, the mosque is decorated with the opulence typical of Shi'a mosques, with neon lights reflecting off mirrored tiles and hammered silver walls. ****tered in the mosque is an often-looted treasury of precious ******s donated by sultans and other devotees over the years.
Glittering dome of the Imam Ali Mosque
Interior walls of the Imam Ali Shrine, covered in hammered silver
Aerial view of the Imam Ali Mosque - the white part is the inner courtyard
Najaf includes several other shrines, including a mosque marking the spot where Ali was martyred. There are also cells for Sufi mystics that have formed monastic communities there.
North of the Imam Ali Mosque is the Wadi as-Salam ("Wadi of Peace"), the largest cemetery in the Muslim world - and perhaps the entire world. It contains the tombs of several prophets, along with millions of Shi'a Muslims who have buried here so they might be raised from the dead with Imam Ali on Judgment Day