Imam Ali (A.S) in the eyes of Non-Muslims
"Ali was so popular even among the non-Muslims that when he died, all the Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians of Kufa, particularly their women and children who were personally looked after by Ali, lamented his death and wept as one does for one’s father. Mourning was observed even in Jerusalem and the Lord Bishop also could not restrain his tears."(Prof. M. G. Reynold’s Book on Islam, Chapter 3.)
Imam Ali (a.s.) in the Bible:
"Sarah, thy wife, shall bear thee a son and thou shall call him Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. And as for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly, twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation." (Genesis 18: 19-20)
The Death of Imam Ali (a.s.)
When Ali was leaving his abode, observes S. Ockley in his famous work, ‘The History of the Saracens’, the household birds began making a great noise and when one of Ali’s servants attempted to quiet them, Ali said, "Leave them alone, for their cries are only lamentations foreboding my death."
The Deer hunting incident of Harun ar
"During the reigns of the Ummayyad Caliphs his blessed resting-place could not be disclosed, and so it was also under the Abbasids until the reign of Harun-ar-Rashid. But in the year 175 A.H. (791 A.D.), Harun happened to go hunting in these parts, and the deer he was chasing took refuge on a small piece of raised ground. However much he asked his hunting dogs to capture the quarry, they refused to go near this spot. He urged his horse to this place, and the horse too refused to budge; and on this, awe took possession of the Caliph’s heart, and he immediately started to make inquiries of the people of the neighborhood, and they acquainted him with the fact that this was the grave of Hazrat Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Holy Prophet. Harun ordered a tomb to be erected over the grave, and people soon began to settle down in its vicinity." (The Shrine of Ali at Najaf from, "The Shi’ite Religion", by Dwight M. Donaldson)
ALI (A.S.) AS VIEWED BY THE HISTORIANS
George Jordach, the famous Christian writer from Egypt in his book Ali (A.S.) speaker of Human Rights asks, Have you heard about any king among the kings of the world, who had all the wealth and resources at his disposal which no other ruler could get and then too he chooses for himself a life of sufferings and sorrows though he belongs to the noblest of all the clans and his gynecology was accepted as the most pious among the world and he says, "No honour is nobler than humility and kindness." Advising his friends he said, "If you are my friend then wear the dress of a destitute." About himself he prayed, "O Lord forgive me for my mistakes the people are not aware of." While he punished his admirers for calling him god, he gave brotherly advice to his enemies, he did not approve of its and reprimanded them for their misbehaviors. His opponents created enmity with him, wronged him, spoke ill of him and came to fight with him still people heard him saying, "Oblige your brothers by warning them, correct them by showing favours and giving them favours." He said , "You should tie the knot of love and affection with your brother, remembering that your brother is not strong enough to break the knot nor is he capable of harming you." When the people advised him to treat the oppressors (who had become very strong in the previous regimes) kindly, so that they may not weaken his government, Ali (A.S.) replied, "Your friend is he who saves you from ills and your enemy is he who induces you to do bad deeds. Adopt truthfulness even if you are the loser, and avoid telling lies even if you are profited by it."
When somebody who was under his obligation came to fight with him he said, "If a person does not acknowledge your obligations, you should not stop obliging him." When he was advised to behave like other rulers to win over his enemies he replied, "Whosoever’s heart is overpowered by sins is not a victor and whosoever succeeds through bad means is in reality a loser." He always overlooked the misbehaviors of his enemies which he alone was aware of and said, "It is in the nature of a brave man to ignore the mistakes he has seen in others." When his enemies said, something which some of his friends did not believe, he said, "When you hear something which is likely to benefit people then do not doubt the person."
Do you know any religious head who gave orders to his officers in these words, "People are your brothers either because of your religion (followers of Islam) or are equal to you as they too are the inhabitants of this earth like you. Therefore forgive them and overlook (their mistakes) as you expect the same attitude from your Lord."
Do you known such a king who gave away his kingdom to establish truth, or a rich person who chose only a bread of barley for his survival, and life to him was meant to be spent for the benefit of the mankind. Have you seen any brave person in history who may have to face a group of selfish and greedy persons and among them his own relatives and after the battle is over it was discovered that the victor was the loser and he even after losing the battle returns victorious. Because his enemies were inhuman and had used their swords like tyrants with mean devices like fraud, treachery, bribe, lies and cheating and he with his great human qualities of rights, justice and equality and with a clear heart and far sighted intelligence overlooked not only the advantages he would get but even his own self and this sacrifice turned the victories of his enemies into defeat and his own defeat proved to be a victory, a victory for the high qualities of a human being.
Have you come across such a brave fighter in the history , who loves his own enemies and wishes to see in them good human qualities and who treats them with kindness. He instructed his own people not to start the war till they are attacked first, and when the enemies lose the battle by the will of Allah and are on the run he orders them not to kill the fleeing soldiers nor even chase them or attack the injured soldiers or harass the women.
When his eleven thousand blood-thirsty enemies prevented him from drawing drinking water from the river so that he and his soldiers may die of thirst, and when he conquers the river after a bloody fight he invites them (his enemies) to draw water just as he and his people were drawing. He even allows them to carry with them as much water as they like and then says ,"A person who dies fighting for the cause of Allah will not be rewarded as much as the man who forgives his enemies, and does not take revenge."
Such a brave fighter who never had a parallel, never used his bravery against his enemies. Enemies who were all united against him and spoke with one voice and had come with one mission - to kill him -yet he confined himself to verbal condemnation only, though he could have easily slain them. He goes before them bareheaded and unarmed. While they are fully armed and their bodies fully covered with armour. He meets them and reminds them of their old friendship. He also moans for their adopting the wrong path. But when they refuse to hear him and he realises that mere good words are not going to have any effect on them and that their only purpose of coming there was to kill him, he just alerts his soldiers and does not order them to fight. But when the enemies begin to attack him and his soldiers, he finished them all in no time, and when he sees them lying dead before him he weeps on their corpses though they deserved no sympathy as they were all greedy and selfish people and had made his life miserable.
In the history of the entire world we cannot get a man of such strong convictions who may not have slowed his activities or had become nervous fearing revolt. What else can shake the faith of a person who sees that his enemies are very strong and united and are accusing him with charges of infidelity and seduction and are threatening him with death and destruction of his faith, still he doesn’t slow his activities nor any hindrance deviates him from his path, nor he stops preaching his mission. He continues to do so with the same zeal and at all costs, with no benefit for himself either in terms of wealth or high position. The only happiness he tried to achieve was to see the success of his mission.
Have you ever found in the history of the universe a person whose heart was redundant with elegance, generosity, affection and compassion, and was surrounded on all sides by greedy, selfish, disobedient, malicious, merciless power seekers, who though divided among themselves and cutting each others throat only to destroy him and he with his statements full of love and kindness invites them towards peace, safety and security.
If you examine the happenings of the world through your heart and mind, you will be attracted by such a splendid personality and his high ideals that everything in this world will look humble, you will lose the charm of this world and life in it. Even your children, your relatives, your wealth and power will have no value in your eyes, before this personality.
This personality is so tall that you cannot accommodate him with ordinary people, and his intellectual sight so deep that you cannot compare it with the thinking and wisdom of other people. Can you find such an enlightened person who himself suffered sorrows and pains to see that others may draw comfort and benefits from him? Who paved the way of happiness and content for his friends and foes alike?
Such a sagacious learned person who had the knowledge with all its pros and cons of everything and was aware of all sciences and even those which had hardly found any footing in the minds of the people. His natural instinct was such that the sciences which were later discovered in the east already had its roots and base in him.
Have you ever seen such a perfect and comprehensive mind which recognized the basic fact that caused the formation of a collective society. What Ali (A.S.) had understood fourteen hundred years ago is now being debated by the scholars of east and west. That is the means of life and its economy for which the people of today are running in different directions to achieve them. One party ignoring the law of nature and justice are using their minds on wrong methods. The rich are dying to acquire more wealth, the rulers striving hard to exploit their labour and to keep them under control, the innovators of the religion in order to increase the number of their followers and companions and to achieve their wrongful gains are busy using meaning-less slogans and wrong logic.
Are you aware of any such intellectual who one thousand four hundred years ago fixed such norms that shattered thousands of superstitions and who said, "If a person is hungry then surely his share has been grabbed by another person." Then he says, "Wherever I have seen abundant wealth I have noticed along with it somebody’s rights usurped."
A sage and a farsighted person had discovered the real secret of humanity more than a thousand years ago and said, "Good characters, good conduct and good behaviors are found in the blood of those who have been deprived respect by their kings and rulers, whose lives were considered useless and who were always subjected to sufferings and losses. Who always fought the tyrants and said, "By Allah I will snatch the rights of the oppressed from the oppressors and drag the tyrant to the spring of righteousness by putting a bridle in his nose, even is he does not like it."
Whatever he said to his people then, shows that he had understood them fully. He saw that a group of rich and upper class people inspite of their inability and incapacity to rule had occupied the seats of the government and were forcing their helpless and unlucky subjects to submission and humility. Addressing this upper class he said, "Your powerfuls are sitting in high positions and those who are weak and helpless are living the life of misery and humility." What he meant was that the poor have been forced by the oppressors and tyrants to live the life of suppression and without getting a chance of demonstrating their good qualities and good characters. While the rich are hiding their defects and weaknesses under their rich garments. Then writing about Nahjul Balagha (A collection of Ali (A.S.)’s sermons and letters) George Jordach writes, "Have you read Nahjul Balagha from the relics of the eastern world and seen how eloquent and in how impressive style he has derived and framed singular and rarest sentences on his thoughts and conceptions which are all full of human feelings, and as long as humanity exists in this world with its thoughts, imaginations and feelings this book will attract him. Every sentence well-measured and connected with each other. Every piece of his work pleasing and at the same time deep and full of meanings. He has described facts and incidents with zeal and fervor and has also informed the world about things beyond this universe. New meanings have been expressed in beautiful phraseology connecting excellent meanings with a charming appearance. When you keep the book before you, you will see in it an ocean full of storms and torrents. It is like the events of the world which cannot be changed. Even the change of one letter from the original text changes the whole conception. Its style of narration is exhilarating, even more than a magical melody. It’s beautiful appearance for an intelligent seeker is more than a charming impression. It is a world full of splendor and wonderful things which has been filled with varieties of beautiful things. A pleasure for the eyes and ears and a test for the intelligence.
Elaborating further George writes, "If he has opened his tongue for the purpose of condemning something then even a storm or a hurricane cannot bear it. If it is chiding, then it is a volcano with the thunderings and the rains of lightnings and fire on the head of the sinners. If it is logic and reasonings then the senses and wisdom have been overpowered and the doors of all other examples have been shut except his own reasonings and quotations. If he wants to attract your heart towards any other thing on which you want to concentrate then he quietly diverts your feelings and wisdom and takes you to the reality of the subject. He then gets you strength so that you may probe into it. When he advises you he talks like a father to you and gives you immeasurable love. His eloquence is greater than all eloquences. All the qualities of Arabic language which existed then or were born later have been used to describe its content and finally it was accepted and declared by the world that his literary work is below the word of God and above the work of all human beings.
Such a vast
knowledge of high standard with great eloquence and perfect bravery with such
love and gratitude that no limit can be visualized. If from all these qualities
a man would have received even one it would have been enough to blind man. And
when all these qualities are found in one person then what must be his
condition. And sometimes it so happens that this thinker writer, intellectual,
administrator, ruler and commander suddenly leaves the company of the people,
officers and soldiers and goes in seclusion and doesn’t keep any contact with
any one only to arouse the human qualities in man and stir his feelings. To
transmit to the ears of the heart smoothly and quietly nice words which are
proof of warm love and extreme sentiments. According to him, "He is
poor who has no friends; do not feel happy over others misfortunes; get closer
to the people through kindness and favours; forgive your oppressors; do not
disappoint the person from your obligations who does not want to oblige you; if a person severs his relations with you form new relations with him; befriend the person who keeps grudge against you."
Such a great person who was considered a great thinker of all the great thinkers of the world, a well wisher who proved a better well wisher than all the well wishers of the world, the most learned among all the scholars of the world.
In giving love and kindness he surpassed all the lovers of the world. As renouncer of the world no person could compete with him, and as a reformer he has surpassed all the reformers of the world. A sharer of griefs of all the grief stricken people. In calamities he was a companion of the sufferers. A man who taught morals to the moral teachers of the world and to the brave he taught the art of fighting and for speaking truth he always risked his life. He crossed the highest peak of all human greatness and qualities and in all qualities his preaching and practice was the same. He never delayed any good work and was always on the fore front. This person was so great and so imminent that the huge overpowering strength of the enemies had no effect on him and the victories of others was never considered worthy because everything during that period had reversed. The right had become wrong, light was darkness, earth was sky every word had its opposite meaning but on Ali (A.S.)’s thinking was the deepest of all the thinkers among human beings. He sacrificed his life for truth and reality. He was father figure of the martyrs, a proclaimer of justice and a man from the east who will always remain alive. Then praying, George says, "O mother nature what would have happened if you would have shown mercy on us and gifted us during every age one brave man like Ali (A.S.) with the same kind of heart, mind, tongue and Zulfiqar (Ali (A.S.)’s sword). Haroon Bin Antara narrates that his father went to see Ali (A.S.) during winter and found him shivering with cold as he was without a shirt and had covered himself with a bed sheet. Haroon’s father asked, "O leader of the faithfuls, Allah has provided you a share in the Baitul Maal (National Exchequer) then why are you suffering like this." Ali (A.S.) replied, "By Allah I do not take anything from Baitul Maal, and this bed sheet too is the one that I brought from Madina."
The Birth of Imam Ali, Ameer - al - Mu'mineen (A.S)
Twenty-three years before the Hijra, on the thirteenth of Rajab, a miraculous birth took place. Fatima-bint-Asad, the wife of Abu Talib, was Divinely Guided with sudden labor pains to the Holy Kaaba. As her immense labor pains weighed her down, Fatima knelt before the Kaaba and began praying to Allah to make the birth of her child comfortable and easy. Before she knew it, the walls of the Kaaba miraculously split open by the Will of Allah.
Fatima Bint Asad entered the Holy Kaaba ( House of God ), and then the Holy walls reunited and joined as one. She stayed in the Kaaba for three days, during which she gave birth to a virtuous baby boy. The infant was born with his eyes closed and in humble prostration before Allah. As the fourth day approached, the Kaaba doors reopened and Fatima walked out with her pride and joy in her arms. Prophet Muhammad (S) was there to greet her and his new cousin. Women surrounded Fatima anxiously awaiting the name she decided to give to her son. Fatima told them that while she was inside the Kaaba, she kept hearing a voice say, Name this child Ali. The name Ali is an optimistic and cheerful name. It signifies nobility, eminence, and elevation. No one before Ali (AS) had ever had that name, and no one before him or after him ever had the honor of being born inside the sacred walls of the Holy Kaaba. The birthplace of Ali (AS) signifies the righteousness within him and that he would one day lead a virtuous and pious life.
A few years after his birth, Ali (AS) had the honorable privilege of moving to and living with the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (S). The Prophet (S) asked his uncle, Abu Talib, to allow Ali (AS) to be under his care so he can raise him as if he were his own child. Ali (AS) grew up with the feeling that Prophet Muhammad (S) and Khadija (AS) were his parents. As a child, Ali (AS) played with the Prophet's daughter, Fatima (AS), as if she were his sister.
As Ali (AS) was under the care of the Prophet (S), he believed and practiced what the Prophet (S) did. Ali (AS) received love, education, and guidance firsthand from the Holy Prophet (S) himself. The Prophet (S) always visited a cave, Hira, in a mountain called Noor. Ali (AS) had the superb honor of joining the Prophet (S) and his wife (AS).
In history there were numerous occasions when the Holy Prophet designated Ali as his Deputy and successor after him. From the moment of Zulasheera to the time of the conquest of Khyber and the occasion of the battle of Tabuke the Holy Prophet made it abundantly clear that no one deserved more than Ali to be his Deputy and successor. But at the time of Ghadeer this was clearly ordered by Allah through a clear verse revealed on the Prophet. The Verse said,
"O' apostle; proclaim the whole of that which hath been sent down to thee from thy Lord, for if thou dost it not, it will be as if thou hast not at all performed the duty of His Prophethood. And God will protect thee from evil men, verily God guideth not the unbelievers." ( Sura 5 : V.67.)
The occasion was after the last pilgrimage in 10th Hijri. The Prophet delivered his Sermons on Mount Arafat, had the final rounds of the Kaaba and left for Madina. More than 120,000 pilgrims were coming out with him from Makka going to the North. Half way through their journey where the routes were separated for various pilgrims, the Holy Prophet ordered the whole caravan to halt. All those who went ahead were called back and for those who were behind they waited for them to arrive. The place was Ghadeer, near the pool of water. That is why it was named Ghadeer-e-Khom. When all assembled at this place the Holy Prophet stood up on top of the pulpit and said,
"O'people, shortly I shall be called towards my creator where I shall have to give an account as to how I have conveyed His message to you and you in your turn will be asked as to how you have accepted and carried out the teachings. Now tell me what you will say". Thereupon all the pilgrims declared as one man, "O'Apostle of God, we testify and declare that you have conveyed the message of God fully, you have strived your utmost to guide us to the Right Path and taught us to follow it. You were most kind to us and you never wished for us but our good, may God repay you for all that." After that the Prophet said,
"Do you not testify that there is no god but Allah,that Muhammad is His creature,His servant, and His apostle, that there is the Heaven and the Hell,that death will over take every one of you,that you will be brought back from your graves that the Day of Judgement will surely dawn and human beings will be resurrected from their graves to account for their deeds. The whole crowd declared in unison, "We believe and testiy all this." Hearing this the Apostle declared, "I am leaving amongst you two most important things worthy of obedience, the Qur'an and my progeny (Ahlulbayt). Take care how you treat them, they will not separate from each other till they reach me at the fountain of Kauser." Then he said, " The Almighty God is my Lord (Maula) and I am the Lord of all muslims and have more right and power on their lives than they themselves. Do you believe in this assertion of mine?" They all in one voice replied " Yes O'Apostle of God. Three times he asked the same question and three times he received the same affirmative reply. At this solemn affirmation he said, "Hear and remember that to whomever I am Lord or Maula, Ali is the Lord and Maula to him. He is to me what Aron was to Musa. The Almighty God be a friend to his friends and a foe to his foe, help those who help him and frustrate those who betray him. While saying this he raised Ali High over his shoulders in order to be seen by all the muslims assembled there. Thereupon the Holy Prophet received the final revelation: "This day I have perfected your religion for you and have filled up the measure of my bounties upon you and I am pleased with Islam to be your Deen,"(religion) (Sura 5 :V 3 ).
"O'people, shortly I shall be called towards my creator where I shall have to give an account as to how I have conveyed His message to you and you in your turn will be asked as to how you have accepted and carried out the teachings. Now tell me what you will say". Thereupon all the pilgrims declared as one man, "O'Apostle of God, we testify and declare that you have conveyed the message of God fully, you have strived your utmost to guide us to the Right Path and taught us to follow it. You were most kind to us and you never wished for us but our good, may God repay you for all that." After that the Prophet said, "Do you not testify that there is no god but Allah,that Muhammad is His creature,His servant, and His apostle, that there is the Heaven and the Hell,that death will over take every one of you,that you will be brought back from your graves that the Day of Judgement will surely dawn and human beings will be resurrected from their graves to account for their deeds." The whole crowd declared in unison," We believe and testiy all this." Hearing this the Apostle declared, "I am leaving amongst you two most important things worthy of obedience, the Qur'an and my progeny (Ahlulbayt). Take care how you treat them, they will not separate from each other till they reach me at the fountain of Kauser." Then he said, " The Almighty God is my Lord and I am the Lord of all muslims and have more right and power on their lives than they themselves. Do you believe in this assertion of mine?" They all in one voice replied " Yes O'Apostle of God." Three times he asked the same question and three times he received the same affirmative reply. At this solemn affirmation he said, "Hear and remember that to whomever I am Lord or Maula, Ali is the Lord and Maula to him. He is to me what Aron was to Musa. The Almighty God be a friend to his friends and a foe to his foe, help those who help him and frustrate those who betray him. While saying this he raised Ali High over his shoulders in order to be seen by all the muslims assembled there. Thereupon the Holy Prophet received the final revelation: "This day I have perfected your religion for you and have filled up the measure of my bounties upon you and I am pleased with Islam to be your Deen,"(religion) (Sura 5 :V 3 ).
urthermore theFre is (the Prophet's), peace be on him and his family, statement to him at the time of setting out to Tabuk:
You are in the same position with respect to me as Aaron (Harun) was to Moses (Musa) except that there is no prophet after me.
1. He was the only man to be born in the Kabah (The house of God)
2.He was the first to offer homage to the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF)
3.He was the first to offer prayers after the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF)
4.He was the first to offer his services for Jihad.
5.He was the first to receive religious instructions from the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF)
6.He was the first to compile and codify the Quran
7.He was the first to be styled as "brother" by the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and on every occasion
8.He was the first to give burial to the Prophet (PBUH&HF)
9.He was the first to offer to sleep in the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) bed on the night of his emigration to Medina
10.He was the first to be appointed commander in all those battles in which the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) didnot participate personally
11.The honor of the propagation of the Quranic Sura, "al Bara'at" fell to Imam Ali's (as) lot
12.He was the only man to be titled as the "Second Aaron" by the Prophet (PBUH&HF)
13.The honor of owning a house which opened into the courtyard of the Prophet's (PBUH&HF) mosque was reserved for Imam Ali (as) alone
14.He was the first to have the honor of being nominated by the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) as his succesor, testator and vice regent.
... and many many more
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