Is there any hadith to show which side first asked for marriage in the marriage of the daughter of The Prophet (SAWW) to Imam Ali (a.s.)?
When Fatima (a.s.) grew youth, the great companions hurried to the Prophet (a.s.) one after the other so that he might honor them by marrying his pure daughter to them but the Prophet (a.s.) responded to none of them. From those who had asked the Prophet (a.s.) for his daughter’s hand was Abu Bakr whom the Prophet (a.s.) refused his request and said to him, ‘I am waiting, regarding her, for the Fate (of Allah).’ After him came Umar and the Prophet (a.s.) replied to him as he had replied to his former friend.1
The Prophet (a.s.) announced that the marriage of Fatima (a.s.) was in the hand of Allah and he himself had nothing to do concerning the matter. When Muslims knew that, they refrained from asking the Prophet (a.s.) for his daughter’s hand any more.
Sometime later, some companions met Imam Ali (a.s.) and mentioned to him his close kinship to the Prophet (a.s.), his great jihad for Islam, and his support to the Prophet (a.s.) in all his battles and situations. They asked him to propose to Fatima (a.s.) and win the honor of the Prophet’s affinity. Imam Ali (a.s.) went to the Prophet (a.s.) hesitatingly because of shyness. He came to the Prophet (a.s.) lowering his sight to the ground. The Prophet (a.s.) asked him,
‘What do you want, my brother?’
Imam Ali (a.s.) was silent for a while out of shyness and then said, ‘O messenger of Allah, I remembered Fatima.’
The Prophet (a.s.) answered smilingly while delight appeared on his face, ‘Welcome! Allah has ordered to marry my daughter to you.’
1 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, vol.8 p.11, Tareekh al-Khamees, vol.1 p.407, Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.29.
 Noor Al-Absar, p.42, Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.318, Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol.3
Imam Ali’s heart was filled with delight for the honor that Allah granted him. He was the Prophet’s cousin and then he was going to be his son-in-law. It has been mentioned in some tafsirs that this verse (And He it is Who has created man from the water, then He has made for him blood relationship and marriage relationship, and your Lord is powerful. 25:54) concerned Imam Ali (a.s.).1
The Prophet (a.s.) told his companions that Allah had ordered him to marry his daughter to Imam Ali (a.s.). He said to them, ‘An angel came and said to me: O messenger of Allah, Allah sends you greeting and says to you: I have married Fatima to Ali in the high Heaven, so you marry her to him in the earth.’
Then, the Prophet (a.s.) went to Fatima (a.s.) and said to her, ‘I marry you to the best one of my umma. He is the most knowledgeable, the most prudent, and the first Muslim.’
On another occasion, he said to her, ‘O Fatima, do you not know that Allah observed the people of the earth, and then He chose your father from among them and sent him a messenger, and once another He observed and then He chose your husband and revealed to me so that I married him (to my daughter) and took him my guardian?’
On a third occasion he said to her, ‘He (Imam Ali) is the first of my companions in being Muslim, the most of them in knowledge, and the greatest of them in prudence.’
All high qualities, ideals, and values were available in Imam Ali (a.s.) and therefore, Allah had chosen him a husband for the daughter of the Prophet (a.s.). In traditions it is mentioned that: “If Ali was not created, there would be no equal for Fatima.’
1 Majma’ al-Bayan, vol.9 p.175.
 Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.32.
 Jam’ al-Jawami’, vol.6 p.398.
 Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.32.
 Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.153.
 Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol.5 p.36, Majma’ az-Zawa’id, 6 p.101, Ar-Riyadh an-Nadhirah, vol.2 p.194.
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