Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (A.S.), the Inheritor of Islam
On Friday, the 13th of the blessed month of Rajab, 12 years before the mission of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) as Allah's Messenger, Fatima, daughter of Asad, felt that she was about to give birth to her child. Abu-Talib brought her to the Sacred Ka'aba in Makkah and let her enter and told her to sit down, then he went out. She raised her hands in prayer to beseeching Allah, the Most High, saying: "O Allah! I believe in You and in the messengers and the scriptures You have sent. I believe in what has been said by my grandfather, Abraham (A.S.) who built the Ancient House (the Ka'aba). So, for the sake of the builder of this House, and for the sake of the child in my womb, I implore You to make my labor easy."
No one before or after him has ever been born in the House of Allah, the Most High. It is a mark of him being honoured by Allah, the Most High, may his name be exalted, and of his position being dignified in its progress. Glad tidings were brought to Abu-Talib and his household. They hurried there while happiness spread over their faces.
Muhammad Mustafa (the chosen) proceeded among them and took the child in his anxious arms. He carried the baby, Ali, to the house of Abu-Talib because the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) was living at that time with his wife, Khadija, in their own house since their marriage.
It came to Abu-Talib's mind to name his new born child "Ali" and thus it was.
Abu-Talib prepared a great banquet, and slaughtered many animals, to honor the blessed new-born child.
Indeed, the party was attended by a crowd of people. They offered their congratulations, spent hours of merriment expressing their high feelings towards the new blessed child. His cousin Muhammad (S.A.W.), who used to frequent his unlce's house, where he had formerly spent the warmth of affection, and drank from the fountains of sincerity and loyalty during the year of his childhood and youth.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) continued to frequent his uncle's house, although he was now a married man, living with his wife, Khadija, in their own house. He cherished Ali and surrounded him with affection and care, speaking to him tenderly, rocking his cradle or carrying him in his arms.
Days passed quickly as the new blessed child grew up in the arms of his parents: Abu-Talib and
Under the Patronage of the Messenger of Allah:
Six years passed after Ali's birth. The Quraish suffered from an acute economic crisis which had a heavy effect on Abu-Talib, who had to support a large family, as well as a host of poor people who used to come to him as a prominent figure in the community at Makkah.
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) went to his uncle, Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib, and proposed to him that each of them should sustain one of the family of Abu-Talib. Therefore, his uncle, al-Abbas, gladly accepted the proposal. They both hurried to Abu-Talib and talked him into accepting the suggestion.
Al-Abbas took Ja'far, and Muhammad (S.A.W.) took Ali (A.S.), then six years old.
Thus, Ali (A.S.), from his early childhood, lived under the patronage of Muhammad (S.A.W.), grew up under his care and drank from the fountains of his affection and tenderness. The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) brought him up as his Lord had taught him. He never separated from him until he (S.A.W.) joined the Almighty.
Imam Ali (A.S.) referred to the vast dimensions of the education he received at the hands of his guide, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) in one of his speeches:
"...every year he used to stay in a grotto of the Hara' for some time, and nobody used to be with him but I. None could then see or hear him but I. During those days Islam was the religion of only the Prophet and his wife, Khadija. I was the third of the trio. Nobody else in this world had accepted Islam. Even then I used to see the divine light of revelation and prophethood and smell the heavenly fragrance of prophethood."
It is particularly poignant, that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) never invited Imam Ali (A.S.) to Islam as he did others later on, because he was already a Muslim by God-granted nature. He was never polluted with the permissiveness of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance and never involved in any of its debased practices. As it is related: The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) informed Imam Ali (A.S.) of his Message and Call and he immediately believed in the truthfulness of the Final Message and offered to receive and carry out the Messenger's orders. That was why he was given the attribute of "Karramallahu Wajha" (i.e. may Allah grant him honor).
Imam Ali (A.S.) was the most sincere among people towards the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and his Message. No sooner had the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) told him about the Divine call then he responded to it with all his heart and body and without being surprised. When Allah, the Almighty, told His Messenger to warn his nearest kin, he (S.A.W.) gathered his kinsmen and preached them his message and then asked them to respond to his call and support him. At this time Ali bin Abi-Talib, stood up and said: "O Messenger of Allah I will back you up in this matter."
The Messenger of Allah repeated his words but no body responded, except Imam Ali (A.S.). Then he (S.A.W.) turned to him and said: "Sit down, you are my brother, vicegerent, minister, inheritor, and successor after me."
When the Divine Mission entered a delicate stage of confrontation, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) announced his public call in the Sacred House (Ka'aba) in Makkah and loudly proclaimed to the people that he was Allah's Messenger sent to them. The success of extending the invitation was to increase the number of believers. The growth in numbers had a great impact on the attitude of the disbelievers, who resorted to terrorist tactics. Thus, the Quraish commenced their attack and campaign to outcast believers from among their members, torturing them and trying to suppress their faith. The physical torture to which the believers were subject became such that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) ordered them to immigrate to Habashah (
The polytheists besieged the Muslims in one of the districts of Makkah called "Shi'b Abu-Talib" (a mountain pass) and agreed to boycott the Muslims, to isolate them through an economic and social blockade, and not to deal with the Bani Hashim and their followers in matters of buying and selling and in marriage.
The crisis was intensified on the Muslims who began to suffer poverty and deprivation and even ate plants because only a little food was secretly reaching them from some sympathizers. They endured this unjust siege for nearly three years, during which time the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), Khadija and Abu-Talib spent their properties.
After the elapse of these three heavy and painful years, and with the Muslims' patience, prosperity and easiness came. Allah, the Almighty sent a worm to eat up the document of the pact which was hanged, by the Quraish, on the door of the Ka'aba with the exception of the name of Allah. Thus, the boycott was stopped and the siege was ended.
At the end of the siege, Khadija, the faithful wife of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and affectionate governess of Imam Ali (A.S.), was brought up in her house, and died.
Therefore, sufferings and sadness continued. Only three days after the death of Khadija, Abu-Talib, the Prophet's uncle, died. Thus, he (S.A.W.) lost his uncle, his supporter and his sponsor, while Imam Ali (A.S.) lost his father. It was for this reason, the Prophet (S.A.W.) called this year "The Year of Sadness".
To Dar al-Salam:
While Islamic call (Da'wa) was entering a new stage in its steady advance, the leaders of the Quraish held an urgent meeting in a place called "Dar Nadwa" to consult about the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.). They decided to collectively assassinate him. Each tribe should send one of its men to carry out the assassination at night, thus laying the blame of the proposed murder on one tribe. But Angel Gabriel (A.S.) told the Messenger (S.A.W.) that Allah enjoined that he should also emigrate from Makkah to Yathrib (Madinah). When darkness spread, the conspirators hurried to besiege the house of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) so as to prevent his escape. Here came another role for Imam Ali (A.S.).
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) told Imam Ali (A.S.) about all that was transpiring. He asked him to sleep in his bed and cover himself with the Prophet's (S.A.W.) garment. Therefore, Imam Ali (A.S.) did just that. Then, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) left the house, without being seen by the polytheists.
At daybreak, the conspirators broke into the house of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) to commit their crime. When they entered the Holy Prophet's chamber, Imam Ali (A.S.) jumped out of the bed, shouting at them: "What do you want?"
"Where is Muhammad (S.A.W.) ?" they asked.
He (A.S.) replied to them, saying: "Did you appoint me to watch him? Didn't you say that you would expel him from your town? Now he has left you."
Their plot was foiled and they left the house in failure. It occurred to them to search for the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), and track him through the mountains and valleys. Indeed, Imam Ali (A.S.) carried out the Messenger's order and slept in his bed, sacrificing himself. He (A.S.) was a symbol of bravery, courage, and devotion. The following verse was revealed concerning him: "And among people there is one who sells his self (soul) seeking the pleasure of Allah; and verily, Allah is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants." Holy Qur'an (Baqara: 2:207)
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) discussed with Imam Ali (A.S.) what he should do during his emigrtion to Madinah. He told Imam Ali (A.S.) to stay behind in Makkah to hand the deposits of the people back to them, and then to join him in Madinah, bringing with him Fatima al-Zahra' (A.S.) and the rest of the women of his household.
Within a few days the convoy arrived in Quba. The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) received them. He embraced Imam Ali (A.S.) and wept for the pains and the hardships they had suffered. Then, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), Imam Ali (A.S.) and the rest of the Immigrants (Muhajirin) continued on their way to Yathrib in order to start a new phase of implementing and establishing the state in the Islamic history.
Important Event of Madinah:
The first deed done by the Messenger of Allah (A.S.) when he reached the city of Yathrib (Madinah) was the building of the first mosque in order to be a landmark for Muslims who now had a centre of their own for open, uninhibited gatherings, a school for learning the Qur'an and a headquarters for receiving necessary instructions merited in Makkah.
The second important step taken by the Holy Prophet in Madinah was the fraternizing of Makkan Immigrants (Muhajirin) with the Madinite Helpers (Ansar) in the bond of Islamic brotherhood. He fraternized each Immigrant with a Helper joining them together as brothers in faith. And he (S.A.W.), himself, clasped the hand of his beloved cousin, Ali bin Abi-Talib (A.S.), as the supreme symbol of brotherhood, fraternity and solidarity in the Islamic society.
Tasks After Immigration:
Going over the history of those crucial early years of the Final Message, we realize that the role of Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (A.S.) was unsurpassed. In all the wars Islam fought against enemies, Imam Ali (A.S.) was always the victor, not merely through taking part in the excursions in person, but by his sacrifices and bravery which surpassed all others. His combat skills and feats of daring were so well-known that many of the enemy would not face him, knowingly, on the battlefield.
Imam Ali (A.S.) took part in all wars faced by the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) except the Battle of Tabuk, where he did not participate in obedience to the Messenger's (S.A.W.) order. In all these wars he played the largest role, not counting those which he had led himself.
With regard to the expedition to Tabuk and the Commander of the Faithful's Deputising for the Prophet at Madinah, Sheikh Mufid said in his book 'Irshad' said: when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was ready to go out, he appointed the Commander of the faithful, (A.S.) as his deputy over his family, his children and his place of emigration. He told him: "Ali, Madinah will only be properly looked after by myself or by you." He said that because he (S.A.W.) knew the wicked intention of the Bedouin and many of the Makkans, and those around them whom he had attacked and whose blood he shed. He was concerned they would seek (to control) Madinah when he was away from it and occupied Byzantine territory. Since there was no one to take his place there, there would be no safety from their treachery, from the corruption they would cause in (Madinah) the place of emigration, and from their overreaching themselves to actions which would hurt his family and his successors. He (S.A.W.) knew that no one could take his place in terrifying the enemy, guarding the place of emigration and protecting those who were there except the Commander of the faithful Ali (A.S.).
Thus he (S.A.W.) clearly appointed Imam Ali (A.S.) as his deputy, and gave an explicit nomination of him to the Imamate after him. This is indicated by the account that has made clear that when the hypocrites learnt that the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) had appointed Ali (A.S.), as his deputy over Madinah, they were envious of him because of that. After (the Prophet's) departure, (Ali's) position there began to distress them, for they know that (the city) would be protected and that there would no opportunity for a man with hostile or covetous intent. That grieved them and they have preferred (Ali) to leave with (the Prophet) because of the occurrence of corruption and confusion which they hoped for during the absence of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) from Madinah and while it would be free of a man to guard it who would cause terror and fear. Therefore they accused him of (seeking) luxury and ease by remaining with the people while those of them who had departed were undergoing hardships, through journeying and (risking) danger. They spread rumours about him and said: "The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) did not appoint him as deputy as an act of honour, privilege and love. He only left him behind because his finding him hardensome."
With this rumour they slandered him like Quraish had slandered the Prophet by (attributing to him) madness sometimes, and poetry at other times, by (accusing him of) magic at times and of being a pagan soothsayer at others. They knew that (the facts) were opposite and contrary to that, just as the hypocrites knew that (the facts) were opposite and contrary to the slanders they were spreading against the Commander of the Faithful (A.S.).
When the Commander of the faithful (A.S.) learned of the rumours spread by the hypocrites against him, he wanted to show them to be liars and to reveal their shameful action. So he followed the Prophet (S.A.W.) and told him: "Apostle of Allah, the hypocrites are alleging that you left me behind because of finding (me) burdensome and because of hatred."
"Go back to your position, brother," the Prophet said to him. "Madinah will only be properly looked after by myself and by you. You are my deputy among my family (Ahlul-Bait) and in the place of my emigration and my people. Are you not content, 'Ali, that you have the same rank with regard to me as Aaron had with regard to Moses, except that there is no prophet after me?"
History records nothing on his account but resistance and triumph in all circumstances regardless of help him or deserted him at any stage of the battle. This is a fact which can be explained only through the merits which Imam Ali (A.S.) had been endowed with: true faith, seeking Allah's help and depending on Him, serving Him alone, and being indifferent to anything except Him, big or small. Further, Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (A.S.) enjoyed superior valor and resolution and was fearless and sublime.
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