Ābār ʿAlī (Arabic: آبار علي, lit. Wells of 'Ali) is an area mostly covered with date palm groves, 8 kilometers south of Medina in which water wells attributed to Ali b. Abi Talib (a) are located. The place is a Miqat of Hajj. This area is referred to as Abar 'Ali, Dhu l-Hulayfa, and Masjid al-Shajara.
The word "Abar" (Arabic: آبار) is the plural form of "bi'r" (Arabic: بِئر) meaning water well, and "Abar 'Ali" refers to water wells attributed to Imam Ali (a). In Arabic, the word "al-Bu'ra", from the same root, means pit.
Today it is mostly known as Abar 'Ali. The area with water wells was originally called "Shajara" and "Dhu l-Hulayfa", but at a point in history it came to be called Bi'r Ali or Abar 'Ali. Some researchers have written on this. All the three names appear on the board indicating the place: Abar 'Ali, Dhu l-Hulayfa, and Masjid al-Shajara.
Miqat of Hajj
Since Abar 'Ali and Masjid al-Shajara are located in the same area, both Shi'a and Sunni Muslims take it to be a Miqat of Hajj (Miqat of Medina). Sunni sources since 8th/14th and 9th/15th centuries took Abar 'Ali, Dhu l-Hulayfa, and Masjid al-Shajara to be the same place and the Miqat of Medina.
Sources differ on the history of the place, and particularly, its water wells and when they were dug. According to some sources, the water wells were already there before the Prophet's (s) Hijra (or immigration) to Medina, and on his command, Ali b. Abi Talib (a) fought tribes of Jinns near these wells and defeated them. Sunni sources cited this event and took it to be opinions of laypeople, emphasizing its falsity. Contemporary Shiite scholars raised objections to the contents and chains of narrations of this story.
Others believe that these wells did not exist before that, and they were dug by Imam Ali (a) himself. On this view, Imam Ali (a) dug these water wells during the periods when the first three caliphs were ruling; he endowed these wells to pilgrims of hajj.
The attribution of the wells to Imam Ali (a)
Some Sunni scholars have sought to deny the attribution of these wells to Ali b. Abi Talib (a), that is, they take "'Ali" in "Abar 'Ali" to be someone other than Imam Ali (a), including a contemporary Sunni scholar in Egypt who attributed "Abar 'Ali", the pilgrims' Miqat in hajj, to Ali b. Dinar, the king of Darfur south of Sudan. According to him, in 1315/1897-8, in his hajj pilgrimage 'Ali b. al-Dinar dredged, restored and restarted the water wells of Dhu l-Hulayfa, and since then they were called "Abar 'Ali". However, many Sunni scholars have called these wells "Abar 'Ali" in works that date back to times before the period of 'Ali b. Dinar, including: Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (d. 852/1449), al-'Ayni (d. 855/1451-2), al-Samhudi (d. 911/1505-6), Ibn Najim al-Misri (d. 970/1562-3), and al-Ru'ayni (d. 954/1547-8). Moreover, other cases have been made to reject this view.
- The material for writing this article is mainly taken from آبار علی in Farsi WikiShia.