Al-Muhsin b. al-Imam Ali (a)

Priority: b, Quality: b
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Al-Muhsin b. al-Imam Ali (a)
FatherImam Ali (a)
MotherLady Fatima (a)

Al-Muḥsin b. ʿAlī (Arabic: المُحسِن بن علي) is the fifth child of Imam Ali (a) and Lady Fatima (a). When a group of people promoting the caliphate of Abu Bakr attacked Imam Ali's (a) house to force him pay allegiance to Abu Bakr, Muhsin was aborted and martyred. The date of his martyrdom has not been precisely documented but according to historical accounts, it has occurred forty days or more after the demise of the Prophet (s).


Family tree of Lady Fatima (a)
Fatima bt. Za'ida
Khuwaylid b. Asad
Abd Allah
Prophet Muhammad (s)
Lady Fatima
Imam Ali
Umm Kulthum

According to some narrations, the Prophet (s) named Lady Fatima's (a) third son as "Muhassin" (مُحَسِّن).[1]

Since Shi'a believes that Muhsin b. Ali was martyred before his birth, only the date of his martyrdom has been mentioned in Shi'a sources.

However, Sunni scholars have two different views regarding his birth and demise. A small number of them believe that both his birth and demise happened during the Prophet's (s) life; while most of their sources have been silent on the date of his birth and only have mentioned that he passed away in childhood. This could be understood from their statements such as:

  • Ibn Hazm, Ibn Hajar, Abu l-Fida', and Qunduzi have written, "He died in childhood".[2]
  • Ibn Dimashqi and Ibn Kathir have written, "He died when he was a child."[3]
  • Al-Tabari and Ibn Athir have written, "He died in childhood".[4]
  • Ibn Qutayba and Ahmad al-Tabari have said, "He perished when he was a child"[5] and "He perished in childhood".[6]
  • Salihi al-Shami and Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki have written, "He died due to miscarriage".[9]

None of the above mentioned sources has stated "during the Prophet's (s) lifetime". The above mentioned statements even may imply that Muhsin was born dead. Only Ibn Hazm has written, "He died in childhood very soon after his birth"[10] which implies that he might have been born alive. So, their statements do not demonstrate that whether Muhsin's birh and demise happened during the Prophet's (s) lifetime or after his demise.

Muhsin in References

The majority of Shi'a and Sunni historical and genealogical references have spoken of Muhsin and a large number of hadiths and historical reports leave no doubts about his existence. Although Shi'a and Sunni references disagree about the date of his birth and the way he passed away, the fact of his existence cannot be false due to the large number of reports.

Shi'a References

Shi'a references have indicated that the reason of Muhsin b. 'Ali's martyrdom was miscarriage, although there are disagreements among them over the way and the time of martyrdom and the person who caused it. Most of Shi'a references have stated that Muhsin b. 'Ali was the son of Lady Fatima (a), some of which are:

And many other Shi'a scholars of next centuries have mentioned his name as the son of Imam Ali (a) and Lady Fatima (a).

Sunni References

The Sunni references which have mentioned the name of Muhsin as the son of Lady Fatima (a) are as followes:

  1. Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 241/855-6) in Musnad[21]
  2. Al-Bukhari (d. 256/869-70) in al-Adab al-Mufrad[22]
  3. Ibn Qutayba (d. 276/889-90) in al-Ma'arif[23]
  4. Al-Baladhuri (d. 279/892-3) in Ansab al-ashraf[24]
  5. Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Dulabi (d. 310/922-3) in al-Dhurriyya al-tahira[25]
  6. Al-Tabari (d. 310/922-3) in Tarikh al-umam wa l-muluk[26]
  7. Ibn Hibban al-Busti (d. 354/965) in al-Thiqat[27]
  8. Al-Hakim al-Nishaburi (d. 405/1014-5) in al-Mustadrak 'ala l-sahihayn[28]
  9. Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi (d. 456/1063-4) in Jamhara ansab al-a'rab[29]
  10. Al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1065-6) in al-Sunan al-kubra[30]
  11. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr al-Qurtubi (d. 463/1070-1) in al-Isti'ab
  12. Al-Shahristani (d. 545/1150-1) in al-Milal wa al-nihal[31]
  13. Ibn 'Asakir al-Dimashqi (d. 571/1175-6) in Tarikh Dimashq (in the biography of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a)[32]
  14. Ibn 'Asakir, in Tarjumat al-Imam al-Husayn 'alayhi al-salam min tarikh[33]
  15. Ibn Athir (d. 630/1232-3) in Usd al-ghaba[34] and in al-Kamil[35]
  16. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 654/1256-7) in Tadhkirat al-khawas[36]
  17. Muhibb al-Din al-Tabari (d. 694/1294-5) in Dhakha'ir al-'uqba[37]
  18. Abu l-Fida' (d. 732/1331-2) in al-Mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar[38]
  19. Shahab al-Din al-Nuwayri (d. 733/1332-3) in Nihayat al-arab[39]
  20. Shams al-Din Dhahabi (d. 748/1347-8) in Siyar a'lam al-nubala'[40]
  21. Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1372-3) in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya[41]
  22. Al-Zarandi (d. 750/1349-50) in Nazm durar al-simtayn[42]
  23. Haythami (d. 807/1404-5) in Majma' al-Zawa'id[43]
  24. Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (d. 852/1448-9) in al-Isaba[44]
  25. Ibn Dimashqi (d. 871/1466-7) in Jawahir al-matalib[45]
  26. Salihi al-Shami (d. 942/1535-6) in Subul al-huda wa al-rashad[46]
  27. Al-Qunduzi (d. 1294/1877) in Yanabi' al-mawadda[47]

And many others have mentioned the name of Muhsin in the list of Fatima (a) and Ali's (a) children.


The Way He Was Martyred

In many references it is recorded that Muhsin was martyred when the house of Lady Fatima (a) was attacked to force Imam Ali (a) to give allegiance. Ibrahim b. Sayyar known as al-Nazzam (d. 230/844-5), a nobleman of Mu'tazila, and al-Shahristani (d. 548/1153-4), in his book al-Milal wa al-nihal, say that the blow of the door to the stomach of Lady Fatima (a) on the day of allegiance caused miscarriage of Muhsin. He writes:

"On the day of allegiance, the stomach of Lady Fatima (a) was struck so that she (a) lost her baby and there was a shout that, "Burn her house and those inside it."[48]

Because of this belief and some other beliefs, al-Nazzam has been excommunicated by some Sunnis.[49]

Also, Ibn Abi l-Hadid has mentioned miscarriage of Muhsin on the day of allegiance in his discussion with his teacher, Abu Ja'far al-Naqib.[50] It is evident that miscarriage of Muhsin happened after the demise of the Prophet (s), when the agents of Abu Bakr were trying to force Ali (a) to pay allegiance.

Date of Martyrdom

The exact date of Muhsin's martyrdom is not known. However, through investigating the historical reports, it can be understood that this event occurred one month after the demise of the Prophet (s) or later and it is not true that the house of Ali (a), as it is widely believed, was attacked several days after the demise of the Prophet (s).

This mistake has happened because, according to the historical reports, the house of Fatima (a) was attacked several times. During the first attack no conflict has occurred, but because some people think that the door of the house was burned in the first attack, they say that Muhsin was martyred several days after the demise of the Prophet (s).

Accordingly, Muhsiniyya Days, which is several beginning days of Rabi' I [and is considered to be the anniversary of the martyrdom of Muhsin], is not confirmed by historical reports.

There is some evidence that proves this matter, including social and political movements of Lady Fatima (a) and the return of the army of Usama b. Zayd.

Burial Place

None of the first hand reliable historical and maqtal sources have referred to the place where Muhsin (a) was buried. However, there is a narration which states Imam Ali (a) has asked Fidda, Lady Fatima's (a) servant, to bury Muhsin (a) at the threshold of the house.[51]

Retribution of His Murderer

In his Kamil al-ziyarat, Ibn Qulawayh has narrated a hadith based on which the first member of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) whose case will be processed on the Day of Judgment is Muhsin (a). Then his murderer will be put on trial followed by the trial of Qunfudh.[52]


  1. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 1, p. 355.
  2. Ibn Ḥazm, Jumhurat ansāb al-ʿarab, vol. 16, p. 37.
  3. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 7, p. 367.
  4. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 118.
  5. Ibn Qutayba, al-Maʿārif, p. 211.
  6. Ṭabarī, Dhakhāʾir al-ʿuqbā, p. 55.
  7. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 411.
  8. Sibṭ b. al-Jawzī, Tadhkirat al-khawāṣ, p. 57.
  9. Shāmī, Subul al-hudā wa l-rashād, vol. 1, p. 50; Ibn Ṣabbāgh, al-Fuṣūl al-muhimma, p. 125.
  10. Ibn Ḥazm, Jumhurat ansāb al-ʿarab, vol. 16, p. 37.
  11. Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī, vol. 2, p. 213.
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  21. Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 98.
  22. Bukhārī, al-Adab al-mufrad, p. 177.
  23. Ibn Qutayba, al-Maʿārif, p. 211.
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  25. Dūlābī, al-Dhurrīya al-ṭāhira, p. 61-62.
  26. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 118.
  27. Ibn Ḥibbān, al-Thiqāt, vol. 2, p. 142.
  28. Ḥākim al-Niyshābūrī, al-Mustadrak ʿalā l-ṣaḥīḥayn, vol. 3, p. 165, 168.
  29. Ibn Ḥazm, Jumhurat ansāb al-ʿarab, vol. 16, p. 37.
  30. Bayhaqī, al-Sunan al-kubrā, vol. 6, p. 166; vol. 7, p. 63.
  31. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 77.
  32. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tarjumat al-Imam al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī, p. 16.
  33. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tarjumat al-Imam al-Ḥusayn, p. 28-29.
  34. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 4, p. 308.
  35. Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 3, p. 397.
  36. Sibṭ b. al-Jawzī, Tadhkirat al-khawāṣ, p. 57.
  37. Ṭabarī, Dhakhāʾir al-ʿuqba, p. 119.
  38. Abū l-Fadāʾ, al-Mukhtaṣar fī akhbār al-bashar, vol. 1, p. 252.
  39. Nuwayrī, Nahāyat al-arab, vol. 5, p. 257-258.
  40. Dhahabī, Siyar aʿlām al-nubalāʾ, vol. 3, p. 425.
  41. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 7, p. 367.
  42. Zarandī, Naẓm durar al-simṭayn, p. 37.
  43. Haythamī, Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid, vol. 8, p. 52.
  44. Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Iṣāba, vol. 6, p. 191.
  45. Ibn Damishqī, Jawāhir al-maṭālib, vol. 2, p. 121.
  46. Shāmī, Subul al-hudā wa l-rashād, vol. 6, p. 358; vol. 11, p. 50. 55.
  47. Qundūzī, Yanābīʿ al-mawadda, vol. 2, p. 67, 142.
  48. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 57-58.
  49. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 57-58.
  50. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ nahj al-balāgha, vol. 14, p. 193-197.
  51. Sabziwārī, Jāmiʿ al-nūrayn, p. 206.
  52. Ibn Qūlawayh, Kāmil al-zīyārāt, p. 334.


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