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Did the Salaf say “‏كرم الله وجهه” when Sayyidina ‘Ali was mentioned?

Posted by muhammedm on March 29, 2010

أبدأُ بالحمدِ مُصَلِّياً على مُحمَّدٍ خَيِر نبيْ أُرســـــِلا

While researching about a topic that some of our brothers deem bida’, I came across several fatawa which claimed there was no basis for the above expression nor did the Salaf use it; at first I came upon the expression in Sharh us Shamail of Mulla ‘Ali, and I wondered if it was Mulla ‘Ali who wrote it or was it from Imam Tirmidhi himself as the expression was inside parenthesis giving the impression that it was the original text of Shamail by Imam Tirmidhi. And so my findings led me to the following, suffice it to say the Salaf would say the above expression for Sayyidina ‘Ali (Allah ta’ala be pleased with him) and so the argument that the Salaf didn’t use it is incorrect, to say the least. For surprises me is not only the flinging of the word bida’, but the expression is used in the hadith works which are widely distributed and studied, so is there any excuse for claiming it’s bida’?

1- Musnad of Imam Ahmed, hadith number 15941, regarding the hadith of Sayyidina ‘Ali receiving the flag from Sayyiduna Muhammed (peace be upon him), Imam Ahmed records in his work: ‏فقال علي بن أبي طالب كرم الله وجهه

2- Sunan Nasai, hadith number 4348, “on the authority of Abi ‘Ubayd Mawla Ibn ‘Awf he said, “I saw ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Allah ta’ala ennoble his face, on the day of ‘Id”. From the reading of this narration, it seems the Tabi’, Mawla ibn ‘Awf, is saying ‘May Allah ta’ala ennoble his face’.

3- Sunan Nasai, hadith number 5518, “Malik bin ‘Umayr narrated to me, he said, Sa’sa’ said to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Allah ta’ala ennoble his face,”.

4- Sunan Nasai’, hadith number 825, “(‘Ubaydillah bin ‘Abdillah said) ‘Ibn ‘Abbas said, “do you know the name of the man who was with al-‘Abbas?” I said, “No”, he said (‘Ibn Abbas) ‘Ali, Allah ta’ala ennoble his face.”

5- Sunan Nasai’, hadith number 5533, “on the authority of al-Harith bin Suwayd, on the authority of ‘Ali, Allah ta’ala ennoble his face, on the Authority of an-Nabi (peace be upon him)…”

6- Musnad Imam Ahmed, hadith number 1775, “Isma’il narrated to us, Ayyub narrated to us, on the authority of ‘Ikramah, that ‘Ali set fire a group of people…that (Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas’s criticism) reached ‘Ali, Allah ta’ala ennoble his face…”

Link for Musnad Ahmed:

Link of Sunan an-Nasai’:

As for the argument that Shia’hs started this expression, they who claim this have to prove it, since the above clearly shows that the Tabi’in would say it, and number 4 gives the impression that a Sahabi, Sayyidina ‘Ibn ‘Abbas, said it. As for the reason why the Ahlus Sunnah said the above phrase, the reason is because the Khawarij would say ‘May his face be blackened’, and in response to this Ahlus Sunnah said ‘May Allah ta’ala ennoble his face’.

Ma’ Salama


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