Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 661) and Nowruz

The following is an interesting anecdote about the meeting of Imām ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib with the paternal grandfather of Abū Ḥanīfa shortly following the Muslim conquest of Iran. There are many variations to this story, which can be found in different sources, but this one is more detailed than most and can be found in a 12th century Persian political treatise entitled Bahr al-Favā’id (“The Sea of Precious Virtues”):

“Abū Ḥanīfa is called the father of the jurists and chief of the religious scholars. His full name is al-Nu‘mān ibn Thābit ibn Zūṭā…he was descended from royalty and it was his grandfather who sent pālūdah (faluda; a cold, sweet beverage) to the Caliph ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib on New Year’s Day (Nowrūz). ‘Alī asked: ‘What day is this?’ and was told ‘the New Year.’ He replied: “Make every day such a New Year’s day!”

(Anonymous, The Sea of Precious Virtues [Bahr al-Favā’id]: A Medieval Islamic Mirror for Princes [Salt Lake City: Utah University Press, 1991], translated by Julie Scott Meisami, p. 227)

Another reference from al-Dhahabī’s Siyār A‘lām al-Nubalā’:
والنعمان بن المرزبان والد ثابت هو الذي أهدى لعلي الفالوذج في يوم النيروز فقال علي نورزونا كل يوم وقيل كان ذلك في المهرجان فقال مهرجونا كل يوم

(It was [Abu Hanifa’s grandfather] who gifted `Ali bin Abi Talib with Faluda on the day of Nawruz (the Persian New Year). `Ali said, ‘May every day be like Nawruz!’ It was also said, ‘This is done as part of Mehregan (a Persian harvest festival).” So he replied, ‘May every day be as Mehregan!” )


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