Maqtal Amir al-Mu'minin (book)

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Maqtal Amir al-Mu'minin
Author Ibn Abi l-Dunya
Original title (مقتلُ الامام أمیرالمؤمنین علی بن ابی طالب(ع
Language Arabic
Series 1 vol.
Subject Martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a)
Genre hadith

Maqtal al-Imām Amīr al-Muʾminīn ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (a) *(Arabic: (مقتلُ الامام أمیرالمؤمنین علی بن ابی طالب(ع) is an Arabic book written by Ibn Abi l-Dunya (d. 281/894-95), a Sunni scholar of hadith. The book cites hadiths regarding the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a). He also concerns himself with a biography and virtues of Imam Ali (a).


Main article: Ibn Abi l-Dunya

Abu Bakr 'Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. 'Ubayd al-Baghdadi is a Sunni historian and muhaddith in the 3rd/9th century. He wrote many works (about 130 essays), including Maqtal Amir al-Mu'minin (a). He was originally an Umayyad or one of their companions, but he also had good relations with the Abbasids. Ibn Abi l-Dunya is characterized as a pious and moral person. Al-Harith b. Abi Usama, Muhammad b. Khalaf b. al-Waki' and Muhammad b. Khalaf al-Marzban have narrated from him.


The book is, in fact, a short essay regarding the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a), virtues of the Imam (a), his daughters and sons in law. All hadiths in the book are narrated by al-Hafiz al-Husayn b. Safwan al-Bardha'i (d. 340/951) from Ibn Abi l-Dunya. This is why his name is at the beginning of all hadiths in the book.

The book also contains reports that cannot be found in other sources, such as Ibn Muljam al-Muradi's negotiations with Imam Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan's (a) funeral prayer on his father's body with four takbirs, Imam Ali's (a) will to his sons to refer to Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya which are incompatible with Shiite principles.

Parts of the Book

  • Ibn Muljam's and two other people's negotiations for a surprise attack,
  • Amir al-Mu'minin Ali b. Abi Talib's (a) will,
  • Amir al-Mu'minin Ali b. Abi Talib's (a) demise,
  • Amir al-Mu'minin Ali b. Abi Talib's (a) age,
  • Amir al-Mu'minin Ali b. Abi Talib's (a) appearance,
  • The Holy Prophet (s) gave Imam 'Ali (a) the good news of going to the Heaven,
  • The Imam's (a) appearance,
  • Ghusl, burial shrouding, prayer and burial of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali's (a) corpse,
  • The place where Imam Ali (a) was buried,
  • The fate of Ibn Muljam and his being killed,
  • Elegies and praises,
  • The acknowledgement of Imam 'Ali's (a) superiority by his opponents,
  • A divine sign that appeared in horizons when Imam 'Ali (a) was martyred,
  • Amir al-Mu'minin Ali's (a) sons,
  • Imam 'Ali's (a) asking for the Prophet's (s) permission to give his name and kunya to his son,
  • Remarks of al-Zubayr b. Bakkar.


Since the book is written in the first half of the 3rd/9th century, it counts as an old and reliable book. It mentions chains of narrations of hadiths. It was cited by later authors.

Number of Hadiths

The book contains 119 hadiths with chains of narrations. The editor mentioned the sources of hadiths in footnotes.

Manuscripts, Translations and Publication

A manuscript of the book together with a collection of essays is available in the Zahiriyya Library in Damascus under the number 95.

Maqtal Amir al-Mu'minin (a) was translated to Farsi by Mahmud Mahdawi Damghani and published by Tasu'a Publications in Mashhad in 2000.

The book was edited by Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz Tabataba'i and published in 1408/1987 and once again it was edited by Muhammad Baqir Mahmudi and published by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran in 1411/1990.