The 13th day of Rajab, the 7th month of the lunar calendar, is the birthday anniversary of Imam Ali (PBUH), the 1st Imam of Shia Muslims. Iran’s calendar marks the date as Father’s Day.
Imam Ali, whose birthday is an occasion to celebrate manhood, is respected by both Sunni and Shia Muslims for his honesty, belief, courage, knowledge, loyalty to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and devotion to Islam.
He was born in Kaaba in Mecca, Arabia (now Saudi Arabia), in 599 AD to Abu Talib, an uncle of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Fatimah Bint Asad.
He was the first man (and the second person after the Prophet’s wife Khadijah) to convert to Islam after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received his divine revelation and declared Islam in public based on Allah’s order.
From 610 AD to 622 AD, Imam Ali spent much of his time providing for the needs of believers in Mecca, especially the poor, by distributing what he had among them and helping them with their daily chores.
On the night of the Prophet’s emigration to Medina, knowing that his enemies were plotting to assassinate him, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked Imam Ali (PBUH) to take his place and sleep in his bed. The Prophet then left Mecca and reached Medina safely several days later (his arrival marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar). When the plotters entered Muhammad’s house with drawn daggers, they were deeply surprised to find Imam Ali (PBUH), whom they did no harm.