Ali ibn Abi Talib Named His Sons after the Three
Caliphs [includes a rebuttal of Answering-Ansar]


If Ali’s wife was killed by Umar, and if he himself was persecuted by Abu Bakr and Uthman, then why in the world did Ali name three of his sons after the Three Caliphs? It is a historical fact that Ali named three of his own children as Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman.

This fact is recorded by the classical Shia scholar, Shaikh Mufid, in “Kitab al-Irshad”, pp. 268-269, where these three sons of Ali are listed as numbers 12, 6 and 10 respectively. excerpts this book and it is viewable here:

Therefore, this is not a matter of debate, since itself documents how three of Ali’s sons were named Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman.

No one, not even the most magnanimous of people, names his son after his enemies who were responsible for the death of his wife and unborn child. That is why one simply cannot find a Shia today named Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman.

This fact categorically rejects the Shia paradigm which is based upon the false idea that Ali disapproved of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. In fact, not only were they not enemies, but rather they were Sahabah (companions) and friends to each other, so much so that Ali honored them by naming his children after them. This shatters the very basis of Shi’ism which is centered around the supposed oppression of the Ahlel Bayt at the hands of the Sahabah.

Rebuttal of Answering-Ansar’s Article “Names of Imam Ali’s sons”

The first thing that should jump out at the reader is that Answering-Ansar could not deny that Ali named his sons Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. Instead, Answering-Ansar had to explain away this phenomenon by claiming that Ali did indeed name three of his sons with these names, but that it had nothing to do with his love for the Three Caliphs.

Answering-Ansar claims that Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman were common names like Tom, Richard or Harry today. Therefore, reasons Answering-Ansar, it is not surprising that Ali named his sons with these names.

My response to this is simple: if three men named Tom, Richard or Harry came to my house and killed my wife and unborn child, then I don’t think I would ever name my kids Tom, Richard or Harry. Whether or not that these are common names, the fact that these three individuals did what they did would be enough for me to stay away from these three names. Regardless of the fact that these are common names, there is no chance that a man today would name his children Tom, Richard or Harry after the murderers of his wife/child who had the same exact names. Likewise, the Shia accuse Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman of oppressing his family, killing his wife and unborn child; it is therefore highly unlikely that Ali would then name his children after them. Why would a person name one of his sons after the man who killed another one of his sons?

Furthermore, if Ali named one of his sons after one of the Three Caliphs, then perhaps we could claim coincidence. But rather, Ali named three of his children after the Three Caliphs. Think about it: if Tom, Richard or Harry came into my home and killed my wife/child, do you think I would then name my children after all three of these individuals? Fine, if one of my children was named Tom, then we could claim coincidence. But suddenly when it becomes Tom, Richard, and Harry, it just seems like too big a coincidence.

Ali had eighteen sons, and there are hundreds of names to choose from. Why in the world would he pick three names after the three people he hated and who oppressed his family? Answering-Ansar is asking us to accept a very big coincidence. The Shia faith is based around the oppression of the first Three Caliphs and yet here we see that Ali named his sons after them.

Answering-Ansar would have us believe that it is just one big coincidence that Ali named his sons after Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. They say again and again that these are very common names and so it is not a big coincidence at all. We remind these Shia that Ali named two of his sons Umar and two of his sons Uthman. Surely, this is not random chance, but rather we see that Ali named his sons after prominent Islamic figures, as many Muslims do today. Maybe one Umar could be a chance, but Ali named two of his sons Umar, and another two he named Uthman, and another one he named Abu Bakr!

Let us look at the naming scheme chosen by Ali for his sons:

1. Muhammad ibn al-Hanafia
2. Muhammad al-Asghar
3. Muhammad il-Awsat

4. Abbas “abul-fazil”
5. Abbas al-Asghar

6. Jafar al-Akbar
7. Jafar al-Assghar

8. Abdullah il-Asghar
9. Abdullah il-Akbar
10. Abdullah “Abi Ali”

11. Uthman al-Asghar
12. Uthman al-Akbar

13. Umar al-Akbar
14. Umar al-Asghar.

15. Abu Bakr ibn Ali

16. Al-Hasan
17. Al-Hussain
18. Awn

Is it all coincidence that Ali named the majority of his sons with duplicate names, with names of family and companions? Fourteen of the eighteen sons are named in either duplicate or triplicate. This was not random! It would be an astronomical coincidence. If Ali’s naming scheme was random, why can we not find other common names of Arabia? Like Obaid, Zuhayr, Zubayr, Sufyan, Bilal, Amr, Yasir, Miqdad, Abu Dhar, Faris, Abdul-Rahman, Abdul, and any other of the hundreds of names…

Ali named three of his sons after the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad is a common name, and is in fact, the most common name amongst the Muslims. Would it be justified then for someone to claim that perhaps it was another Muhammad after whom Ali was naming his sons after? It is altogether too obvious that Ali named his sons after the Prophet and nobody else.

Looking at the names of Ali’s sons, we find that all of the names are those of Hashimites or prominent Sahabah (Companions). For example, there is the name Abbas which was the name of the Prophet’s uncle, and then there is Jafar the name of Ali’s brother, and the name Abdullah which is the name of the Prophet’s son. And then we have the name Abu Bakr, two Umars, and two Uthmans. This is surely not a random naming pattern, but rather it is very deliberate indeed.

Let us look at how astronomical the coincidence is that the Shia are asking us to accept. Ali had eighteen sons. Naming one son, randomly, with the name of someone he hates has a likelihood of happening 1/18 times, or a 5.6% chance. Mathematically speaking, we see that the chance that five of his sons would have the name of someone Ali hates is virtually nil.

(1/18)x(1/18)x(1/18)x(1/18)x(1/18) = 1/1,889,568 = <0.000001%

There is less than one percent of a one percent chance that the naming of his sons was random. If the Shia are still not convinced and would like to live in the fantasy world that this is just a coincidence, then there is nothing any rational person can do to convince them.

When we hear the name Abu Bakr, do we stop and ask “which one?” When we hear Umar, do we stop and ask “which one?” When we hear Uthman, do we stop and ask “which one?” When we look into Shia books and read about how supposedly Ali was oppressed by Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, do we then question which people we are talking about? Suddenly, when Ali named five of his sons after the Three Caliphs, then it doesn’t refer to that Abu Bakr, that Umar, or that Uthman! This is the double standard of the Shia, and the myopic way in which he views history, oblivious to facts and reality.

Answering-Ansar then makes the feeble argument that Ali named his sons in a different order (i.e. not in the order of the Three Caliphs). But this argument is impotent because Ali had these children before the completion of the first three Caliphates. Therefore, there was no “order” of Caliphs as of yet. Furthermore, Ali was friends with these three individuals and there is no necessity that he name his children in the order of their rank, since most people do not even know how many children they plan to have! How many Shia parents name their eldest son as Hasan and a younger one as Ali? Does anyone stop them and say “oh, that’s out of order” since Ali was the first Imam whereas Hasan was the second? Surely this is nonsense!

To completely negate this rather creative (yet insignificant) argument, we shall provide an example very dear to the Shia: we call the reader’s attention to the seventh Imam of the Shia, Imam Musa al-Kadhim, who named his elder son with the name of the sixth Imam of the Shia and named his younger son with the name of the second Imam of the Shia! Is this not “out of order” according to Answering-Ansar’s argument? We give points to Answering-Ansar for their creativity, but in reality it shows how the Shia propagandist will further any argument to score a point regardless of if it is based in evidences or not.

In any case, the coincidence is too large, since Ali named three of his children after all three of the Three Caliphs. We think the reader will appreciate the weakness of Answering-Ansar’s claims, and this fact–namely that Ali named his sons Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman–shows that the Shia paradigm cannot possibly be a true one and rather it is based on Shia myths and fabrications. The Four Rightly Guided Caliphs were good friends and Sahabah (Companions) to each other. Indeed, Ali was the vizier and top aid of the Three Caliphs during their respective Caliphates. It is up to the reader to either accept the less than 1% chance that it was a coincidence that Ali named his sons with the names of the men who supposedly killed his wife and unborn child, or to accept the more rational conclusion that Ali was on good terms with them and named his sons after them.

Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi | Email : ahlelbayt[a] | English Version