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Before we delve into the topic itself, a few introductory aspects are crucial to understand:
In light of what was just mentioned, it is clear that the Banu Hashim and in specific the progeny of Abu Talib loved and venerated the three Khalifas radiya Llahu ‘anhum. It should be remembered that naming the offspring after them did not happen out of coincidence, rather we find that in every generation of the family of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the children were named with the names Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman. And up to this very day history has attested to the pure and sound bond that existed among these illustrious people.
I shall first cite just a few references of the Ahlus Sunnah and thereafter, in support of them, I shall present a few Shia sources. I shall truncate the text that I am to present keeping them confined to the theme under discussion.
1. This is as excerpt from the book Nasab Quraysh by Abu ‘Abdullah Mus’ab ibn ‘Abdullah al Zubairi:
…عمر بن علي و رقية و هما توأم امهما الصهباء…من مبي خالد بن الوليد و كان عمر آخر ولد علي بن ابي طالب…
العباس بن علي…اخوته لابيه و امه بنو علي و هم عثمان و جعفر و عبد الله فقتل اخوته قبله.
‘Umar ibn ‘Ali and Ruqayyah were twins and their mother was al Sahba’ who was a captured by Khalid ibn al Walid (during the apostasy wars). ‘Umar was the last child of ‘Ali…
‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali: his full brothers were: ‘Uthman, Jafar and ‘Abdullah.
2. Ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari has penned the following children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his book al Ma’arif under the discussion regarding the khilafah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
…الحسن و الحسين و محسنا…و محمدا…و عبيد الله و ابا بكر…وعمر…و يحيي و جعفر و العباس و عبد الله.
Hassan, Hussain, Muhassan, Muhammad, ‘Ubaidullah, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Yahya, Jafar, ‘Abbas and ‘Abdullah.
3. Abu Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Ahmed ibn Sa’id ibn Hazm has stated the following under the discussion of children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his acclaimed book Jamharat al Ansab:
الحسن ابا محمد الحسين ابا عبد الله و المحسن ابا عبد الله…و عمر امه الصهباء…و العباس…ابو بكر و عثمان و جعفر و عبد الله و عبيد الله و محمد الاصغر و يحيي…و قتل ابو بكر و جعفر و عثمان و العباس مع اخيهم الحسين.
Hassan: his agnomen was Abu Muhammad, Hussain: his agnomen was Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhassan, his agnomen was Abu ‘Abdullah as well… ‘Abbas… Abu Bakr, ‘Uthman, Jafar, ‘Abdullah, ‘Ubaidullah, Muhammad al Asghar and Yahya. Abu Bakr, Jafar, ‘Uthman and ‘Abbas were martyred with their brother in Hussain in Karbala’.
1. Mus’ab al Zubairi has mentioned the following regarding the children of Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
…و عمر بن الحسن و القاسم و ابا بكر لا عقب لهما قتلا بالطف
‘Umar ibn al Hassan, Abu Bakr and al Qasim. The posterity of Abu Bakr and al Qasim did not carry on. They both were martyred in Karbala’.
2. Ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari has written:
فولد الحسن حسنا امه خولة…و زيدا…و عمر…و الحسين الاثرم…طلحة.
Khowlah bore the following children of Hassan: Hassan, Zaid, ‘Umar, Hussain al Athram and Talhah.
3. Ibn Hazm states:
ولد امير المؤمنين الحسن بن علي الحسن بن الحسن…و زيد بن الحسن…و عمر و الحسين و القاسم و ابو بكر و طلحة…و عبد الرحمن و عبد الله…فاما عبد الله و القاسم و ابو بكر فانهم قتلوا مع عمهم الحسين رصي الله عنهم.
The children of Hassan were: Hassan, Zaid, ‘Umar, Hussain, Qasim, Abu Bakr, Talhah, ‘Abdur Rahman and ‘Abdullah. As for ‘Abdullah, Qasim and Abu Bakr, they were martyred with their uncle Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
The readers should bear in mind that these are merely a few references that I have cited here otherwise there are countless of books that are replete with the above mentioned details and much more. I have sufficed on these in order to keep the discussion concise.
Henceforth we shall present Shia references to prove the names of the children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. There are very slight nuances between the facts recorded in the books of the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia. Nonetheless, the Shia are not very comfortable with this issue therefore they have tried their best to keep it concealed from the people.
I shall quote directly from the books of the Shia and will not be quoting from any secondary sources. May Allah, save me from making a mistake or misquoting. The readers should not suffice merely on comparing the pages in the references which are being cited. Rather they should find the relative chapters in the books of the Shia and study them; especially for this chapter.
1. Abu al Faraj al Isfahani, a notable Shia historian and the author of al Aghani, has, in his book Maqatil al Talibiyin, listed the names of the martyrs of Karbala’. He has listed the names of the brothers of Hussain ibn ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as well. He writes:
و ابو بكر بن علي بن بي طالب عليه السلام لم يعرف اسمه و امه ليلي بنت مسعود بن خالد …
و عثمان بن علي بن ابي طالب عليه السلام و امه ام البنين أيضا قال يحيي بن الحسن عن علي بن ابراهيم عن عبيد الله بن الحسن و عبد الله بن عباس قالا قتل عثمان بن علي وهو ابن احدي و عشرين سنة.
2. Sheikh al Mufid has written the following in his book al Irshad under the chapter: the children of Amir al Mu’minin:
فاولاد امير المؤمنين عليه السلام سبعة و عشرون ولدا ذكرا و انثي الحسن و الحسين…و عمر و رقية كانا توامين…و العباس و جعفر و عثمان و عبد الله الشهداء مع اخيهم الحسين بطف كربلا امهم ام البنين…محمد الاصغر المكني بابي بكر و عبيد الله الشهيدان مع اخيهما الحسين بالطف امهما بنت مسعود.
The children of Amir al Mu’minin were twenty-seven sons and daughters in total. Among them were: Hassan, Hussain, ‘Umar, Ruqayyah (they were twins)… ‘Abbas, Jafar, ‘Uthman and ‘Abdullah (they were all martyred alongside their brother Hussain in Karbala’; their mother was Umm al Banin)… Muhammad al Asghar, whose agnomen was Abu Bakr, and ‘Ubaidullah (they were also martyred alongside their brother Hussain in Karbala’; their mother was Bint Mas’ud).
3. ‘Ali ibn ‘Isa al Irbili has written in Kashf al Ghummah that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had fourteen sons and nineteen daughters. He has then listed the names of his sons. He writes:
الذكور: الحسن و الحسين و محمد الاكبر و عبيد الله و ابو بكر و العباس و العثمان و جعفر و عبد الله و محمد الاصغر و يحيي و عون وعمر و محمد الاوسط عليه السلام.
The sons: Hassan, Hussain, Muhammad al Akbar, ‘Ubaidullah, Abu Bakr, ‘Abbas, ‘Uthman, Jafar, ‘Abdullah, Muhammad al Asghar, Yahya, ‘Awn, ‘Umar and Muhammad al Awsat.
4. Ibn ‘Inabah has mentioned the following of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his book ‘Umdat al Talib:
و امه ام اخوته عثمان و جعفر و عبد الله ام البنين فاطمة بنت حزام بن خالد.
الفصل الخامس:في ذكر عقب عمر الاطرف بن امير المؤمنين عليه السلام…و امه الصهباء و الثعلبية.
5. Mulla Baqir al Majlisi has penned the following names of the martyrs of Karbala’, who were martyred on the tenth of Muharram, in his famous book Jila’ al ‘Uyun:
نو فرزندان امیر المومنین: حضرت سید الشہداء وعباس وپسر او محمد وعمر وعثمان وجعفر وابراہیم وعبد اللہ اصغر ومحمد اصغر پسران امیر المومنین علیہ السلام ودر ابوبکر اختلاف کردہ اند۔
The nine sons of Amir al Mu’minin: Hussain (Sayed al Shuhada’), ‘Abbas and his son Muhammad, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, Jafar, Ibrahim, ‘Abdullah al Asghar and Muhammad al Asghar. There is disagreement regarding Abu Bakr as to whether he was martyred in Karbala’ or not.
By analysing all the above mentioned details which have been quoted from the sources of the Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia it is obvious that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had named his children after Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
1. The famous Shia historian Ahmed ibn Abi Yaqub ibn Jafar has enumerated the children of Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his book al Tarikh al Yaqubi. He states:
و كان للحسن من الولد ثمانية ذكورهم الحسن بن الحسن (المثني) و امه خولة بنت منظور الفزارية و زيد بن الحسن و امه ام بشر بنت ابي مسعود الانصاري الخزرجي و عمر و القاسم و ابو بكر و عبد الرحمن لامهات اولاد شتي و طلحة و عبيد الله.
Hassan had eight sons: Hassan ibn Hassan (also known as al Muthanna; his mother was Khowlah bint Manzur al Fazariyah), Zaid ibn al Hassan (his mother was Umm Bishr Bint Mas’ud al Ansari al Khazraji), ‘Umar, Qasim, Abu bakr, ‘Abdur Rahman (from various concubines), Talhah and ‘Ubaidullah.
2. Sheikh ‘Abbas al Qummi has likewise made mention of ‘Umar ibn al Hassan and Abu Bakr ibn al Hassan as the sons of Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his book Muntaha al Amal.
Mas’udi the acclaimed Shia historian has written in his book al Tanbih wa al Ashraf that three of the children of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu were martyred with him in Karbala’. He states:
ومن ولده ثلاثه علي الاكبر وعبد الله الصبي و ابوبكر بنو الحسين بن علي.
And from amongst his children were, ‘Ali al Akbar, ‘Abdullah al Sabi and Abu Bakr. They were all the sons of Hussain ibn ‘Ali.
The readers should likewise know that the name of one of the sons of ‘Ali Zayn al ‘Abidin was ‘Umar. The reference for this will be quoted in the second volume, Allah willing.
It should also be borne in mind that one of the sons of Musa al Kazim radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Abu Bakr. Abu ‘Isa al Irbili has written that Musa al Kazim had twenty sons and eighteen daughters. He has enlisted the names of all of them. In that list the last name (twentieth) is that of Abu Bakr.
We end this chapter with the name of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Her name had been very frequently kept by the Ahlul Bayt for many generations. I shall quote a few references which the readers can refer to for further detail:
وأما أولاده فكانوا ستة خمسة ذكور وبنت واحدة وأسماء أولاده محمد القانع الحسن، جعفر، ابراهيم، الحسين وعائشة
He had five sons and one daughter. His son’s names were: Muhammad al Qani’, Jafar, Ibrahim and al Hussain. His daughter’s name was Aisha.
 Nasab Quraysh p. 43: Children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
 Al Ma’arif
 Jamharat al Ansab 1/37-38: Children of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
 Nasab Quraysh p. 50.
 Jamharat al Ansab p. 38-39.
 Nasab Quraysh p. 61
 Al Ma’arif p. 94
 Maqatil al Mu’minin p. 34.
 Maqatil al Mu’minin p. 33.
 Al Irshad p. 167-168.
 Kashf al Ghummah (Arabic with Persian translation) 1/590.
 ‘Umdat al Talib p. 356.
 ‘Umdat al Talib p. 361.
 Jila’ al ‘Uyun p. 464-465.
 Al Tarikh al Yaqubi 2/228.
 Muntaha al Amal 1/240.
 Al Tanbih wa al Ashraf p. 263.
 Kashf al Ghummah 3/10.
 Al Irshad p. 283.
 Kashf al Ghummah 3/39.
 Kashf al Ghummah 3/89.