Part 1: Surah Najm, did a star descend on Imam Ali (as)’s house?
In this Part1, we will comment upon the Sunni and Shia sources that mention this narration.
There is a popular narration regarding the revelation of Surah Najm, which says that this Surah was revealed about the descending of a star on Imam Ali (as)’s house. The story goes like this….
Rabi’ah bin Muhammad related through his chain of narrators from Anas bin Malik:
One star descended from the sky and the Prophet (saww) said: “Pay attention and see on whose house the star lands. The person of this house will be my successor after me.” thus, we looked at it and it landed on the house of Imam Ali (as). A group said: “Muhammad (saww) made a mistake due to his excessive love of Ali (as).” Therefore, two verses from the chaoter of the Star were revealed. “By the setting star! Your companion (i.e the Prophet) has not strayed, he is not deluded” (Quran, 53:1-2).
[Mizan al i’tidal, 2:45 and Abi al Hasan Ali bin Muhammad ibn Maghazili, in Manaqib Ali bin Abi Talib, (Edition: Tehran: al-Maktab al-Islamiyyah,1982), p.266]
The author of Mizan al-i’tidal regarded this hadith as false and said: “Jorjani, who is a transmitter of this hadith has rejected the veracity of Rabi’ah bin Muhammad.” [ibid.]
As for the shia sources, we can find all narration from different sources, related to this issue in Bihar al anwar, Vol 35, Chap 8. In this chapter Allama Majlisi has mentioned total 11 narrations.
What is interesting is that all these narrations have differences between them (a peculiarity of fabricated narrations). In some narrations it is reported that the event of the star took place in the year of the conquest of Mecca and in others it was after the event of Ghadir and in others it was during the illness of the Prophet (saww). None of these can be reconciled with the fact that Surah Najm was revealed in Mecca, before the Hijrah to Madina (ref to Tafseer al Mizan, Allama Tabatabai).
There are other striking differences between the narrations themselves, for example some state that the star descended during the day, while others suggest that it descended during the night. In some reports it says that the star came down after the night prayer, while other narrations say that it wad during the dawn, during the sunrise or midday.
Ayatullah Asif Muhsini (ra) has compiled a book called “Mashra’atu Bihar al Anwar”, in which he has collected the authentic narrations. Interestingly, he did not even consider this chapter worth mentioning, because not even one narration in this chapter is authentic.