Dhū l-Faqār (Arabic: ذوالفقار) is the name of the well-known sword of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and Imam 'Ali (a). It is an Arabic word, and it was called so since it had projections and jags, like the spinal cord, on its back.
Some people, such as Mirza Abu l-Qasim al-Qummi and Ibn Shahrashub, maintained that the sword had two barbs, but most sources reject the view, taking it to be like standard swords with a single barb.
The word "Dhu l-Faqar" is an Arabic word which literally means that which possesses the spine. The word "Faqar" means the spine. It is said that since the sword had projections and jags on its back, it was called "Dhu l-Faqar".
The word "Faqar" also means separation. When Imam al-Baqir (a) was asked about the appellation of the sword as Dhu l-Faqar, he replied: "everyone who was stroked by 'Ali's (a) Dhu l-Faqar was separated from his family in this world and from the Heaven in the afterlife".
Some scholars, such as Mirza Abu l-Qasim al-Qummi and Ibn Shahrashub, took the sword to be of two barbs, but most sources reject the view.
The sword was first owned by the Prophet (s). According to a hadith from Imam al-Rida (a): "Gabriel brought the sword to the Prophet (s) from the sky".
There are different views about how the sword was transferred to Imam 'Ali (a).
According to a hadith, the Prophet (s) said: "God has given me Dhu l-Faqar and told me: 'O' Muhammad! Take this sword and give it to the best person on the Earth'. I asked Him: 'Who is the best person on the Earth?' He replied: 'My successor (or Khalifa) on the Earth; 'Ali b. Abi Talib'."
Another view is that Dhu l-Faqar was one of the presents given to the prophet Sulayman (a) (Solomon) by Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba. The sword was after many centuries finally owned by Munabbah b. Hajjaj who was killed in the Battle of Badr by Imam 'Ali (a). Then Imam 'Ali (a) owned the sword.
According to al-Tabari, the sword was owned by 'As b. Munabbah who was killed in the Battle of Badr. The sword was owned by the Prophet (s) as a booty of the battle, and then in the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet (s) gave it to Imam 'Ali (a). In this battle, Imam 'Ali (a) made a lot of sacrifice for the Prophet (s) such that the Gabriel appeared for the Prophet (s) and praised 'Ali's (a) sacrifices. The Prophet (s) replied to Gabriel: "I am from 'Ali and 'Ali is from me". He then heard a cry from the sky: "There is no sword except Dhu l-Faqar and there is no chivalry except 'Ali".
Al-'Allama al-Majlisi cited the Quranic exegesis, al-Saddi al-kabir, that the Quranic verse,
|“||and we sent down iron, in which is great violence and advantages to men||”|
|— Quran, 57:25|
refers to Dhu l-Faqar which was sent down from the sky to the Prophet (s).
According to some Shiite sources, after Imam 'Ali (a), Dhu l-Faqar was inherited by his senior son, Imam al-Hasan (a) and then Imam al-Husayn (a) and finally to Imam al-Mahdi (a). And it is now in the hands of Imam al-Mahdi (a). According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "Imam al-Mahdi's (a) sword when he appears is Dhu l-Faqar".
There are hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Rida (a) to the effect that Dhu l-Faqar is a sign of imamate, and it was in the hands of Imams (a) when they were alive.
However, according to other sources, Dhu l-Faqar was inherited by Imam al-Hasan's (a) grandson, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah known as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya. He rose against al-Mansur al-'Abbasi, the second Abbasid caliph, and was killed then. Eventually the sword was possessed by Harun al-Rashid, the fifth Abbasid caliph, and when the Turks rebelled against al-Mustansir, the Fatimid caliph, in Cairo, they plundered their assets, including Dhu l-Faqar.
For many Muslims, and especially Shiites, Dhu l-Faqar is a symbol of Imam 'Ali's (a) gallantry and power. In religious portraits, Imam 'Ali (a) is usually portrayed with his Dhu l-Faqar (which is taken by laypeople to have two barbs).
- The material of this article is mainly taken from ذوالفقار in Farsi WikiShia.