Aqil b. Abi Talib

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Aqil b. Abi Talib
Personal Information
Full Name'Aqil b. Abi Talib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib
TeknonymAbu Yazid
LineageBanu Hashim
Well-Known RelativesThe Prophet (s) (cousin), Imam Ali (a) (brother), Abu Talib (Father)
Birthten years after 'Am al-Fil
Place(s) of ResidenceMecca, Medina, Kufa, Syria
Religious Information
Known forBeing one of Sahaba, Brother of Imam Ali (a)

ʿAqīl b. Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: عقیل بن أبي طالب) was one of the Prophet's (s) companions (sahaba), Imam Ali's (a) brother, and Muslim's father. He was a great genealogist of Quraysh, and was quick at repartees.


'Aqil was a son of Abu Talib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib. According to one of his offspring's names, his kunya was Abu Yazid. Based on reports, he was twenty years older than Imam Ali (a).[1] Therefore, his birth had been ten years after 'Am al-Fil. He was a genealogist of Quraysh. 'Aqil was quick at repartees and talked back to his interlocutors whoever they were.[2]

'Aqil reluctantly was present in the army of pagans during the Battle of Badr. He became captive in this war and his uncle al-'Abbas paid 4000 dirham as fidya to set him free.[3]

Family tree of the Prophet (s)
400 CE
'Abd al-'Uzza
'Abd Manaf
430 CE
'Abd al-Dar
464 CE
'Abd Shams
'Abd al-Muttalib
497 CE
Khadija (a)
Abd Allah
b. 545 CE
Abu Talib
Muhammad (s)
b. 571 CE
'Ali (a)
b. 599 CE
Fatima (a)
'Abd Allah
Al-Hasan (a)
b. 625 CE
Al-Husayn (a)
b. 626 CE

Becoming Muslim

There are different narrations about the time at which he became Muslim. According to what Ibn Qutayba believes 'Aqil became Muslim right after his freedom. On the basis of Ibn Hajar's statements, he converted to Islam when Muslims conquered Mecca.[citation needed] Yet Ibn Hajar states in the following: Some have said he became Muslim after Hudaybiyya peace treaty was made, and he migrated to Medina at the beginning of 8th year of Hijra.[4]

He took part in the Battle of Muta. According to a narration, he was one of those who did not run away in the Battle of Hunayn.[5]

After the Prophet (s)

To share the government treasure (bayt al-mal) among people, he was invited along with two other people to write down people's names based on their status in 'Umar b. al-Khattab age.[6]

During Imam Ali's (a) Government

According to Ibn Abi l-Hadid, 'Aqil went to Iraq, then to Syria, and after that came back to Medina, not having participated in any battles of Imam Ali (a). Even though he told Imam Ali (a) his sons and he were ready to assist him in wars, Imam (a) did not oblige him to take part in the wars.

'Aqil and Requesting for Money from Bayt al-Mal

At the time Imam Ali (a) was governing the Islamic territory and all the Islamic lands treasure was under his control, 'Aqil met him and asked him to pay his debts, stating that he himself was not able to pay them. When Imam Ali (a) learned his debt was 100 thousand dirhams, he said: "I take oath to God that I cannot afford this much now, wait until I receive my salary, then I will help you as much as I can". 'Aqil asked Imam (a) to lend the money from the government treasure, but Imam Ali (a) refused to do so. Imagining it was money, 'Aqil who was blind, touched the cauterizing-iron which Imam Ali (a) had brought near his hand. Imam Ali (a) replied to his protesting reaction by stating: "You are not able to endure the heat of this peace of iron, so how can I tolerate the burning fire of the hell which is the consequence of violating people's right?"[7]

Visiting Mu'awiya

'Aqil visited Mu'awiya for requesting for financial assistance. It is not plain that his visit happened at the time of Imam Ali (a) or after his death.

Some think this visit took place when Imam Ali (a) was alive. Their reason is this narration: Once when 'Aqil was beside Mu'awiya, Mu'awiya said: "If Abu Yazid (Aqil's kunya) had not learned that I am more beneficial to him than his brother, he would not have come to me." 'Aqil replied: "My brother is more blessing to me when it comes to religion, and you are more beneficial when it comes to the mundane life. I have chosen mundane life, and I ask God to bless my destiny and end."

Some others believe his meeting with Mu'awiya was after Imam Ali (a)'s death. This idea is preferred by Ibn Abi l-Hadid. The reason of this side is the letter which 'Aqil wrote at the end of Imam Ali (a)'s government and the answer to this letter.[8]


It is said that his death occurred during Mu'awiya's government, yet some believe it to be at the beginning of Yazid's caliphate, before the Battle of Harra.[9]


  1. Muslim
  2. 'Abd Allah al-Asghar
  3. 'Ubayd Allah
  4. Umm 'Abd Allah
  5. Muhammad
  6. Ramla
  7. 'Abd al-Rahman
  8. Hamza
  9. 'Ali
  10. Ja'far al-Asghar
  11. Uthman
  12. Zaynab
  13. Fatima
  14. Asma'
  15. Umm Hani
  16. Yazid
  17. Sa'id
  18. Abu Sa'id
  19. Ja'far Akbar
  20. 'Abd Allah al-Akbar

Among all his offspring, only Ja'far al-Akbar, Muslim, 'Abd Allah al-Akbar, 'Abd al-Rahman, and Muhammad are martyrs of Karbala. Some believe that six of 'Aqil's offspring were martyrs beside Imam al-Husayn (a).[10]

'Aqil's letter to Imam 'Ali (a)

After event of Hakamiyya and consequently the separation among Imam Ali (a)'s friends, Dahhak b. Qays al-Fihri, by Mu'awiya's order and along with an army consisting of 3 or 4 thousands soldiers, plundered and killed people and their properties in towns and villages, and confiscated Ka'ba pilgrims (haji) and killed some of them. Kufans hesitated in defending the innocent people and confronting the enemy despite Imam Ali (a)'s order. Having being notified of this happening, 'Aqil wrote a letter to his brother (Imam Ali (a)) which some of it has been brought in the following:

"Damn this age when Dahhak attacked you. Dahhak is an unfortunate mean person. When I learned about these things (pointing to Dahhak's attack and disloyalty of Kufans), I supposed your followers have abandoned you. My mother's son! Write your opinion for me. If you would rather death, I will bring all your brothers and nephews to you. Since we live until you live, and die when you die. I take oath to God that I do not wish to live even a second after you. I take oath to God that our life is unpleasant after you. God bless you."[11]


  1. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 1078; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 42, p. 121.
  2. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 69.
  3. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 1078.
  4. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 438.
  5. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 438.
  6. Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh Yaʿqūbī, vol. 2, p. 40.
  7. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-balagha, vol. 11, p. 245.
  8. Madanī al-Shīrāzī, al-Darajāt al-Rafīʿa, p. 155.
  9. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 439.
  10. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 69-70.
  11. Maḥmūdī, Naḥj al-saʿāda, vol. 5, p. 209-300.


  • Balādhurī, Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā al-. Ansāb al-ashrāf. Edited by Muḥammad Bāqir al-Maḥmūdī. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1394 AH.
  • Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Yūsuf b. ʿAbd Allāh. Al-Istīʿāb fī maʿrifat al-aṣḥāb. Edited by ʿAlī Muḥammad al-Bajāwī. Beirut: Dār al-Jīl, 1412 AH.
  • Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd, ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd b. Hibat Allāh. Sharḥ Nahj al-balagha. Qom: Maktabat Āyat Allāh al-Marʿashī, 1404 AH.
  • Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī. Al-Iṣāba fī tamyyīz al-ṣaḥāba. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmīyya, 1415 AH.
  • Madanī al-Shīrāzī, al-Sayyid ʿAlī Khān al-. Al-Darajāt al-rafīʿa fī ṭabaqāt al-Shīʿa. Edited by al-Sayyid Muḥammad Ṣādiq Baḥr al-ʿUlūm. Qom: Manshūrāt Maktabat Baṣīratī, 1397 AH.
  • Maḥmūdī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Naḥj al-saʿāda fī mustadrak Nahj al-balagha. Beirut: al-Taḍāmun al-Fikrī, 1387 AH.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār al-jāmiʿa li-durar akhbār al-aʾimmat al-aṭhār. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1403 AH.
  • Yaʿqūbī, Aḥmad b. Isḥāq al-. Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī. Tehran: ʿIlmī wa Farhangī, 1378 Sh.