Why Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) finds mention in all key events related to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?
Critical events related to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) like his birth on 17th Rabi al-Awwal and declaration of Islam (be’that/Mab’ath) on 27th Rajab are closely linked to Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).
In fact there is a special ziyarat related to Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on the occasion of Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) birth as also declaration, but there is no specific ziyarat for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself!
A question many raise is – It would have been more appropriate had there been ziyaaraat for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) rather than Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on such occasions.
Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) – the great Shiite scholar and reporter of traditions (Muhaddith) – has answered the question in his magnificent book of supplications and ziyaaraat, famous as Mafatih al-Jinan:
These are two illustrious leaders who share close proximity and these are two lights that are united in perfection. So one who visits Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is like the one who visited the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). And this is witnessed by the Holy Quran in the ‘Verse of Our Selves’ in the incident of Mubahelah (Surah Ale Imran (3): 61), where the self of Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) is none other than Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).
And we also witness this in numerous traditions.
Among these traditions is one reported by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn al-Mashhadi from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) thus:
A Bedouin lamented to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – O Prophet of Allah, my house is far from your house. Whenever I am eager to visit you and see you, I set out to visit you but am unable to see you, then I visit Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). He (a.s.) comforts me with his talks and exhortations. Then I return saddened and grievous with not having met you.
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed – One who visits Ali (a.s.) then he has already visited me. One who loves him, then he has already loved me. One who takes him as an enemy has already considered me as an enemy.
Convey to your tribe that one who visits him then he has already visited me. And I, Jibrail and the virtuous believers (Ameerul Momineen a.s.) will reward the visitor on the Day of Judgment.
Al-Mazaar al-Kabeer p 38
Mafatih al-Jinan under the Ziyarat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on 17th Rabi al-Awwal which according to Allamah Majlisi (a.s.) is the best of all ziyaaraat and can be recited any time