According to Shi‘a doctrine, all the messengers, prophets, and divinely ordained imams descended from monotheistic fathers, grandfathers, and ancestors. Allah states this when He addresses the Prophet Muhammad,
“Who sees you, O Prophet Muhammad, when you stand up at night for prayers, and your movements among those who fall prostrating (among your ancestors).”
From this verse, we understand that the father, grandfather, and great-grandfathers of the Prophet—all the up to Adam—were believers in Allah; they did not associate anyone or anything with Allah.
Similarly, Prophet Ibrahim also descended from monotheists. According to history, his father died as a monotheist, thereafter, he became the custody of his uncle, who is metaphorically referred to as his “father” in the Qur’an.
Likewise, the father of Imam ‘Ali, Abu Talib was also from a monotheistic descend. Logic dictates that such a man who fiercely defended the Prophet for many years and never yielded to the demand of the Quraysh to hand him over to them, and whose death, along with that of Khadijah, prompted the Prophet to call that year “the year of sadness” was a believer in Allah and one who died as a Muslim.
Traditions found in some of the sahhah, saying that he is being punished by Allah should not be taken as authentic, and their chains of narrators must be doubted since politics played a great role in distorting the traditions of the Prophet; in addition to, the character assassination of great personalities of Islam, such as Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Abu Talib’s proper name was ‘Abd al-Manaff or ‘Imran. He defended the Prophet for forty-two years – before the Prophet started his mission and afterwards. It has been said about him, “Whoever reads the tradition of the Prophet will know that if it were not for Abu Talib, Islam would not continued its progress.” There is no doubt about the full submission and faithfulness of Abu Talib to the unity of Allah and the religion of Islam.
 Noble Qur’an, 2.218-219.
 Ibn Abi al-Hadid al-Mu‘tazili, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah. Vol. 1. 142.