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Hadith Madinat al-Ilm

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Hadith of the city of knowledge written in Thulth, a script variety of Islamic calligraphy

Imam 'Ali (a)
First Imam of Shi'a

Event of GhadirLaylat al-MabitYawm al-DarCaliphateTimeline

Nahj al-BalaghaGhurar al-hikamAl-Shiqshiqiyya Sermon

Excellences of Ahl al-Bayt (a)Al-Wilaya VerseAhl al-Dhikr VerseUlu l-Amr VerseAl-Tathir VerseAl-Mubahala VerseAl-Mawadda VerseAl-Sadiqin VerseHadith Madinat al-'IlmHadith al-ThaqalaynHadith al-RayaHadith al-SafinaHadith al-Kisa'Al-Ghadir SermonHadith al-ManzilaHadith Yawm al-DarHadith Sadd al-AbwabHadith al-WisayaLa Fata Illa AliThe First Muslim

'Ammar b. YasirMalik al-AshtarAbu Dhar al-Ghifari'Ubayd Allah b. Abi Rafi'Hujr b. 'Adiothers

Related Topics
Holy Shrine

Hadīth Madīnat al-ʿIlm (Arabic: حدیث مدینة العلم, literally: Hadith of the city of Knowledge) is a hadith from the Prophet (s) about Imam Ali's (a) virtue and eminence in knowledge over other companions of the prophet (s). It is among the proofs of Imam Ali's (a) religious authority after the Prophet (s).


Hadith of Madinat al-'Ilm has been narrated in different ways such as the following:


Hadith of the city of Knowledge is frequent among Shi'a and is considered correct and true by Sunni scholars such as: Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, Hakim al-Naysaburi, Khatib al-Baghdadi, and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti; so that in al-Ghadir, the names of twenty one Sunni hadith narrators are mentioned who regarded this hadith as correct and true.


Narrators of the companions and Tabi'un

Other Narrators

  • Hafiz Yahya b. Mu'in al-Baghdadi
  • Al-Shaybani
  • Al-Tirmidhi
  • Al-Tabari
  • Hakim al-Naysaburi
  • Ibn Maghazili
  • Al-Sam'ani
  • Ibn Athir
  • Al-Dhahabi
  • Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki
  • Al-Suyuti
  • Al-Alusi

Sunni Scholars' Quotes

Al-Ganji al-Shafi'i

"All the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and the companions of the Prophet (s) (including Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman) and the Followers have consulted with 'Ali (a) about religious rulings and have acknowledged his virtues, knowledge and wisdom; and this hadith is not great about his nobility and virtues because his position is greater than this before God and the Prophet (s)."[4]

Abu Sa'id Khalil al-'Ala'i

"What reason is there to reject this hadith? Some has considered this hadith weak while they have presented no evidence against its authentic and definite evidences and documents."[5]

Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani

"This hadith has many documents and it is not appropriate to weaken it."[6]

Companions' Acknowledgement of Ali's (a) Excellence in Knowledge

'Umar b. al-Khattab

'Umar always took refuge to God from a moment he faces a problem in knowledge and 'Ali (a) would not be there and said, "Without 'Ali (a), 'Umar would surely be perished."[7]


"Beware that 'Ali b. Abi Talib is the most knowledgeable among people to the conduct of the Prophet (s)."[8]

Ibn al-'Abbas

"By God, 'Ali (a) is granted nine tenth of all knowledge; and by God, he owns a share of what you own from the remaining one tenth."[9]

'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud

"Surely the Qur'an is revealed in seven letters and each of those seven letters has an appearance and a meaning and Ali (a) has the knowledge of the appearance and the meaning."[10] "The most knowledgeable person from Medina about religious obligations is Ali (a)."[11]

Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan

Mu'awiya used to write what he was asked about so that he later ask them from 'Ali (a). When he heard the news of Ali's (a) martyrdom, he said, "knowledge stopped by the death of the son of Abi Talib."[12]


There are some books which are written concerning this hadith, some of which are as follow:

  • Husayni Milani, Sayyid 'Ali. Ana madinat al-'ilm wa 'Ali babuha. Qom: Nashr al-Haqa'iq, 1434
  • Sa'iq, Badr al-Din. Ana madinat al-'ilm wa 'Ali babuha. Qom: Matba'a al-'Irfan, 1372
  • Shawkani, Muhammad 'Ali al-. Jawab 'ala ma'na hadith ana madinat al-'ilm wa 'Ali babuha. Sana'a: Dar al-Hijra, 1411
  • Maghribi, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. al-Siddiq al-. Fath al-Malik al-'Ali bi sihha hadith bab madina al-'il 'Ali. Najaf: al-Maktaba al-Haydariyya, 1388


  1. Al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak 'ala l-sahihayn, Vol.3, P.126
  2. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Vol.3, P.1102
  3. Al-Tirmidhi, al-Jami' al-sahih, Vol.5, P.637
  4. Al-Ganji, Kifayat al-talib, PP.220-223
  5. Al-Suyuti, al-La'ali l-masnu'a, Vol.1, P.155,333
  6. Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Lisan al-mizan, Vol.2, P.155
  7. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Vol.3, P.39
  8. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Vol.3, P.462
  9. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Vol.3, P.40
  10. Abu Na'im Isfahani, Hilyat al-awliyya, Vol.1, P.65
  11. Amini, al-Ghadir, Vol.3, P.91
  12. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Vol.2, P.463


  • Isfahani, Abu Na'im al-. Hilyat al-awliyya wa tabaqt al-asfiyya, Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, Beirut;
  • 'Allama Amini, al-Ghadir, Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, Beirut;
  • Ganji al-Shafi'i al-. Kifayat al-talib, Dar 'Ihya' al-Turath; Beirut;
  • Hakim al-Naysaburi al-. al-Mustadrak ala al-sahihayn, Ed. Mustafa Abd al-Qadir 'Ata, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, Beirut;
  • Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Ed. 'Ali Muhammad al-Bajawi, Dar al-Jayl, Beirut;
  • 'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar al-. Lisan al-mizan, Mu'assisat al-'A'lami li-l-Matbu'at, Beirut;
  • Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-. al-La'ali al-masnu'a fi al-ahadith al-mawdu'a, Ed. Abu 'Abd al-Rahman Salah b. Muhammad, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, Beirut;
  • Tirmidhi al-. al-Jami' al-sahih, Ed. Ahmad Muhammad Shakir, Markaz-i Ittila'at wa Madarik-i Islami;