Giving Ring as Charity

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Giving ring as charity refers to giving Imam Ali's (a) ring (khatam) to a beggar in the ruku' of his prayer. This event has been narrated in Shi'a and Sunni books of hadiths and according to exegetes, the verse of Wilaya was revealed about it. Giving ring as charity is mentioned among the merits of Imam Ali (a). Some shi'a jurists referred to it and concluded that: minor movements of the body in prayer, do not make it invalid. Some others have raised this question that hearing others during prayer is incompatible with descriptions of the mystical states of Imam Ali (a) during prayer. Some others have answered this question that both Imam Ali's (a) prayer and his giving were for God; thus, there is no contradiction between the two.

The Event

According to some hadiths, one day a beggar entered the mosque of the Prophet (s) and asked for help; but, no one gave him anything. He raised his hands toward the sky and said, "O God! Witness that I asked for help in the mosque of Your Prophet (s) and no one gave me anything." When he said this, Imam Ali (a) was performing ruku' in prayer and pointed to the small finger of his right hand which had a ring on. The beggar went near and took the ring off from Imam's (a) finger.[1] This event is reported to have happened in 9/630-1 or 10/631-2.

Revelation of al-Wilaya Verse

Exegetes have considered the event of Imam Ali's (a) ring-giving as the context of the revelation of al-Wilaya verse.[2] Qadi Iji said that there is a consensus among exegetes over the revelation of this verse about Ali (a);[3] however, in some Sunni commentaries, it is mentioned that al-Wilaya verse was revealed about other people.[4]

Many companions of the Prophet (s) such as Ibn 'Abbas, 'Ammar, Abu Zhar, Anas b. Malik, Abu Rafi' and Miqdad have maintained that al-Wilaya verse had been revealed about Imam 'Ali (a) subsequent to giving away his ring. Imam 'Ali's ring-giving has been brought up in exegeses of the Qur'an and hadith books of both Shiite and Sunni scholars.

Features of the Ring

It is transmitted form Imam al-Sadiq (a) that the ring Imam Ali (a) gave to the beggar weighed four mithqals and its stone weighed five mithqals which was a red ruby, and its price was equal to the tax of Syria (three hundred camel-bearing parcels of silver and four camel-bearing parcels of gold). It belonged to Marwan b. Tawq who was killed by Imam Ali (a) in the war. Imam Ali (a) took the ring as a war booty to the Prophet (s) and the Prophet (s) gave it to him as a gift.[5]

Understandings in Fiqh

Some Shi'a jurists refer to Imam Ali's (a) ring-giving in ruku' to prove that minor movements of the body do not make the prayer invalid.[6] Also, some others have referred to it as an argument to prove that intention is an act of heart and does not need to be mentioned by the tongue.[7] Also, since the verse refers to the ring-giving as zakat, they have deduced from it that zakat can include recommended acts of charity as well.[8]

Some have said that paying attention to the beggar and hearing his words in the prayer is incompatible with descriptions of the mystical states of Imam Ali (a) during prayer. Some others have answered this question, saying that both Imam Ali's (a) prayer and his giving were for God; thus, there is no problem if someone hears the voice of a beggar and also gives him for the sake of God; the same way that the Prophet (s) heard the voice of a crying child and finished the prayer faster than usual.[9] 'Allama Majlisi said that paying attention to another person's prayer does not disagree with the perfection of prayer and presence of heart in the prayer.[10]


  1. Ḥākim al-Ḥaskānī, Shawāhid al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 209-239.
  2. Ḥākim al-Ḥaskānī, Shawāhid al-tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 209-239.
  3. Ījī, Sharḥ al-mawāqif, p. 405.
  4. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān, p. 425.
  5. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 2, p. 326-327; Nūrī, Mustadrak al-wasāʾil, vol. 7, p. 259-260.
  6. Fāḍil Miqdād, Kanz al-ʿIrfān, vol. 1, p. 158; Fāḍil Kazimi, Masālik al-afhām, vol. 1, p. 244.
  7. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 81, p. 281; Astar Ābādī, Āyāt al-aḥkām, p. 244.
  8. Fāḍil Miqdād, Kanz al-ʿIrfān, vol. 1, p. 158.
  9. Ṭabasī, "Nishan-i wilāyat wa jarayān-i Khātam bakhshī", p. 49.
  10. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 81, p. 281.


  • ʿĀmilī al-Shahīd al-Thānī, Zayn al-Dīn ʿAlī b. ʾAḥmad al-. Masālik al-afhām ilā Āyāt al-āḥkam. n.p: n.d.
  • Astarābādī, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. Āyāt al-aḥkām fī tafsīr al-kalām al-malik al-ʿallām. Edited by Muḥammad Bāqir Sharīfzāda. Tehran: Kitāb Furūshī-yi Miʿrājī, 1394 AH.
  • Baḥrānī, Sayyid Hāshim b. Sulaymān al-. Al-Burhān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Qism al-dirāsāt al-Islāmīyya. Qom: Muʾassisat al-Biʿthat, 1374 Sh.
  • Fāḍil Miqdād al- Ḥillī. Kanz al-ʿIrfān fī fiqh al-Qurʾān. Qom: Intishārāt-i Murtaḍawī, 1425 AH.
  • Ījī, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-. Sharḥ al-mawāqif fī ʿilm al-kalām. Beirut: ʿĀlam al-Kutub, n.d.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār al-jāmiʿa li-durar akhbār al-aʾimmat al-aṭhār. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Ṭabʿ wa al-Nashr, 1410 AH.
  • Nūrī, Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad Taqī al-. Mustadrak al-wasāʾil wa mustanbaṭ al-masāʾil. Qom: Muʾassisat Āl al-Bayt, 1408 AH.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr: 1408 AH.
  • Ṭabasī, Muḥammad Jawād. 1379 Sh. "Nishan-i wilāyat wa jarayān-i Khātam bakhshī". Farhang-i Kawthar 48: (46-49)