Friday, September 28, 2007
The Life Of Hazrat Ali
Hadrat Ali was the son of Abu Talib, a prominent Quraish chief and custodian of the Holy Ka'bah. Abu Talib was so-called because he was the father of "Talib," the eldest brother of Hadrat Ali. The real name of Abu Talib was 'Abd Manaf.' However, he was more popularly known by his surname than by his real name. Abu Talib was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdul Muttalib was also a surname, his real name being Shaybah. Abdul Muttalib was the son of Hashim. Hashim was a great man of his line, and his descendants came to be known as Hashimites.
The mother of Hadrat Ali was Fatima. She was the daughter of Asad who was a son of Hashim. Fatima was a cousin of Abu Talib. Thus, both the father and mother of Hadrat Ali were Hashimites, and that was a great honour.
Ancestry of Hadrat Ali and the holy Prophet
The holy Prophet was the son of Abdullah who was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdullah and Abu Talib were real brothers. Abu Talib was thus the real paternal uncle of the holy Prophet of Islam. Hadrat Ali was the first cousin of the holy Prophet. The holy Prophet and Hadrat Ali had a common grandfather who was Abdul Muttalib.
Abdul Muttalib was the son of Hashim, who was the son of Abd Manaf, who was the son of Qusay, who was the son of Murrah, who was the son a Kaab, who was the son of Luayy, who was the son of Ghalib, who was the son of Fihr, who was the son of Malik, who was the son of Nadr, who was the son of Kannah. Beyond Kannah, the ancestry extended to Hadrat Ismail, and Hadrat Ibrahim, who flourished some 2,500 years earlier.
Date of birth
The exact date of birth of Hadrat Ali is not known with any degree of certainty. According to Traditions, Hadrat Ali was born on the 13th of Rajab in the 28th year of the Elephant era. The Elephant era, according to the annals of Arabia commenced when Abraha, the Christian Viceroy of Yemen, invaded Mecca with the intention of destroying the Ka'bah, and shifting the centre of pilgrimage to Yemen. The invasion failed, the Christian army had to beat a retreat without achieving its object. That marked the retreat of Christianity from the heartland of Arabia and paved the way for the rise of Islam.
The holy Prophet of Islam was born in the 'Year of the Elephant'. According to scholars, 'The Year of the Elephant' corresponds to the year 571 of the Christian Era [CE]. On this basis, the year of the birth of Hadrat Ali would have to be placed around 599 or 600 CE. In any case, Hadrat Ali was at the junction of two centuries, the sixth and the seventh.
Birth of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali was born in unusual circumstances. On the 13th day of the holy month of Rajab, Fatima, the mother of Hadrat Ali, visited the Ka'bah to perform the pilgrimage. During the course of the pilgrimage and while circumambulating the Ka'bah, Fatima felt the pangs of childbirth. She retired to a secluded place in the precincts of the holy Ka'bah, and there Hadrat Ali was born. Hadrat Ali has thus had the unique honour to be born in the House of God. This unparalleled honour had endowed Hadrat Ali with a halo of sanctity that has become the subject of many legends. A hundred years later, Zain-ul-Abidin, a grandson of Ali (son of Hadrat Hussein), met an Arab woman at Najaf who told him that her grandmother had helped Fatima on the occasion of Hadrat Ali's birth. She narrated that according to the account of her grandmother, the child was beautiful; a smile played on his lips; he did not cry like other children; and his birth did not cause any pain to his mother.
Fatima wanted to name her child "Asad" after her father and Abu Talib wanted to name him Zaid. When both mother and the child returned home, the holy Prophet, and Hadrat Khadijah came to see her newborn child. Since his birth, he had not opened his eyes, and that worried both Fatima and Abu Talib. However, when the holy Prophet took the child in his lap, then he opened his eyes. So the first person that Hadrat Ali saw after his birth was the holy Prophet. When the holy Prophet was asked whether he approved of the child being named either Asad or Zaid, he said that since the child was born in the House of God, he should be named Ali (the word Ali being a derivative of Allah). Hadrat Ali had thus had the distinction of being named after Allah. No one before him had ever been so named. Furthermore, the name acquired more sanctity because it was suggested by the holy Prophet.
The biographer and his hero
A biographer can be considered the alter-ego of the hero, whose biography is written. There is a common bond between the biographer and the hero which transcends the considerations of time and space. In writing this biography of Hadrat Ali, I have had some communion with the soul of Hadrat Ali, and in some mysterious way, I had the necessary guidance in appreciating such events in the life of Hadrat Ali which were otherwise obscure. Just as a lover locks the image of his beloved in his heart, thus the biographer locks the image of his hero in his heart, and he can enter into a dialogue with such image.
Biography and history
There are differences in the approach between a biographer and a historian. A biography is usually an exercise in hero worship and the biographer is prone to paint the picture of his hero in bright colours. On the other hand, the approach of a historian is for the most part objective and constructively critical. Every hero of a biographer may not necessarily be a great men from the viewpoint history. Where the hero is a great man in history, his biography has to be projected in the context of history. Hadrat Ali is indeed a great man in the history of mankind in general and the history of Islam in particular. In undertaking this study in the life of Hadrat Ali, I have had to act not only as a biographer, but as a historian as well. This means that besides narrating the main events in the Hadrat Ali's life, I must examine the impact of such events on history. As such, I must critically examine the main events in Hadrat Ali's life in order to ascertain their causes and effects. Of course such criticism has to be constructive.
Greatness of Hadrat Ali
Greatness is a phenomenon in which specially gifted persons who are endowed with extraordinary qualities appear on the world stage from time to time. History is the science which studies this phenomenon of greatness. Usually every person who scales the heights of greatness and acquires a place in history is a success from the worldly point of view. Here there is a peculiarity in the greatness of Hadrat Ali. He was great, indeed very great, but he was not a success from the worldly point of view in the conventional sense that the word 'success' is understood. We have thus to undertake a study to probe into the causes that militated against the success of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view in spite of his greatness. We will also have to consider how he is great when he did not succeed in the worldly sense.
Periods in the life of Hadrat Ali
The life of Hadrat Ali can be divided into three distinct periods. The first period comprises the first 32 years of his life and extends from 600 to 632 CE. I call this period the period of the education and action. It was during this period that he received his education under the loving care of the holy Prophet; imbibed with values of Islam; and acquired all the attributes that contribute to greatness. In the post-Hijri years, he emerged as the greatest warrior of the age. He distinguished himself as a great warrior in the battles of Badr, Uhud and the Ditch. His crowning success was his conquest of the Khyber. In battle he killed more men [through hand-to-hand combat] than any other single man in history. All those who fought in the duels against him were invariably killed. He came to be known as the "Lion of God."
He acted as a Justice, and acquired fame for his wise and well-reasoned judgments. He acted as the Governor of Yemen, and acquired a good deal of experience as administrator. He had the honour of announcing the verses of the Holy Qur'an about the "Declaration of Immunity" to the people on behalf of the Holy Prophet on the location of the Hajj. When the holy Prophet died, Hadrat Ali was in the prime of his youth and he was enlightened, experienced, wise, valiant -- the embodiment of virtue. He had expected that because of his outstanding qualities and his relationship to the holy Prophet, he would be chosen as the Caliph. He was however, passed over, and this state of affairs continued for 24 years when the office of the caliphate was held by Hadrat Abu Bakr, Hadrat Umar and Hadrat Othman.
This period constitutes the second period of the life of Hadrat Ali. During this time, although Hadrat Ali acted as the Counsellor to Caliphs, he generally kept aloof from active politics. I call this period as the period of inaction and contemplation. It was a period of inaction from the political point of view, because he kept aloof from politics. It was the period of contemplation from the spiritual point of view, for this period was spent by Hadrat Ali mostly in prayer, religious exercises and dialogue with God. The further he went from the world, the nearer he got to God.
The third period began when Hadrat Ali was elected as Caliph. This period only lasted for five years. I call this period the period of frustration. Hadrat Ali found the caliphate to be a bed of thorns. During those five years, he fought three battles: (i) the Battle of the Camel, (ii) the Battle of Siffin, and (iii) the Battle of Nahrawan. All three battles were fought against the Muslims and led to considerable bloodshed. It was a matter of the great shock for him, that instead of fighting against non-Muslims, he had to fight against Muslims. During this period, Hadrat Ali had to suffer from frustration because of repeated and continuous betrayals, even by men close to him. At the outset of his caliphate, he was betrayed by Banu Umayya when Muawiyah defied him and accused him of involvement in the murder of Hadrat Othman. He was betrayed by the people of Medina who did not respond to his call to undertake 'jihad' against Muawiyah. He was betrayed by Talha and Zubair, who took the oath of allegiance [from] him and later defected. He was betrayed by Hadrat A'isha his mother-in-law, who took top arms against him. He was betrayed by the people of Basra who had taken the oath of allegiance [from] him but later defected. At Siffin he was betrayed by his own army who would not fight when the victory was in sight. In the matter of arbitration, he was betrayed by his umpire Abu Musa Ashari, who instead of defending his cause, deposed him. He had to face the succession of the Kharijites who had originally fought on his side at the battle of Siffin. He was betrayed by Khurrity b. Raashid who had been his ally, but later revolted against him, and created trouble in Basra. He was betrayed by his own brother Aquil who was not satisfied with the allowance that Hadrat Ali gave him, and joined Muawiyah who rewarded him handsomely. He was betrayed by his cousin Abdullah b. Abbas when he had appointed as the Governor of Basra, and who left his post after misappropriated heavy fines from the Bait-ul-Mal. The final active betrayal came when Hadrat Ali was married, by a fanatic Kharijite.
Causes for the failure of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view
The usual phenomenon of greatness is that men succeed in life, and because of such success may acquire greatness. The usual law is that greatness is the consequence of success. Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. This means that if you succeed, you become great, but if you fail, you are pushed aside and are forgotten. In Hadrat Ali's case we come across an extraordinary exception to this law of success and greatness. Hadrat Ali's greatness was of a different species. His greatness did not flow from success in life. Such greatness was inherent in him. It preceded his encounter with the world and it outlived his death, although he did not succeed in his worldly life as the word 'success' is usually understood. Instead Hadrat Ali became more famous after death than when he was alive.
We will now consider the causes which militated against Hadrat Ali's success in spite of his greatness. His greatness was of such a dimension that he towered extremely high above the people around him. It was a case of Gulliver in the land of dwarfs. He was so high that he could not bend to meet the people, and that people were so low that they could not rise to meet him. As such, a proper equation could not be established between Hadrat Ali and the people around him, and this was the main cause as to why he was frequently betrayed, and why he did not succeed in the worldly affairs like ordinary people. Hadrat Ali [was] very much ahead of his time and the people in that era simply could not keep up with him.
By the time Hadrat Ali came to office, a generation had passed since the death of the holy Prophet. During this period, the Muslims had made large conquests. Th[is] had brought great wealth, and wealth had changed people's lives. A capitalist class sprang up among the Muslims. Hadrat Ali, a great Muslim of the old type, wanted to enforce the austere discipline of the original Islam. He himself lead a very simple life, and aimed to follow in the steps of Hadrat Umar. Hadrat Ali, however, lacked the harshness of Hadrat Umar, and could not enforce the reforms he had in mind. There was a gulf between Hadrat Ali and the capitalist class who wielded considerable influence. Hadrat Ali was very parsimonious in the spending of public funds; while Muawiyah, who himself had lead a luxurious life, was quite liberal in the spending of public funds. The capitalist class among the Muslims preferred Muawiyah to Hadrat Ali as they were given to the worldly way of life. While Hadrat Ali was more concerned with the Hereafter than this world, people around him were more concerned with the world than the Hereafter. This difference in outlook could not be bridged, and that is why there were many betrayals in the camp of Hadrat Ali. These betrayals weakened his position of considerably for he was a man of strong principles and would not compromise with those principles. The people who were opposed to him were masters in propaganda and they didn't hesitate to adopt any means, whether fair or foul, to gain their ends. Hadrat Ali lost the game because he would not abandon his principles at any cost.
Opposition of the Quraish
The Quraish had played the leading role in the extension of the Muslim dominion. Although Hadrat Ali was a Quraish, he could not win their support. In his book Ali, the Superman, Dr. Mohyuddin observed the following about the Quraish's opposition to Hadrat Ali:
"Hadrat Ali hoped to establish a world-Islamic Empire, a kingdom of God on earth, where peace was to reign supreme and mankind could move steadily towards perfection. That he failed so completely, is one of the and enigmas of Islamic history. The student is perplexed, and indeed despondent, when he discovers that the entire tribe of the Quraish gave wholehearted support to the first two Caliphs, Abu Bakr (who belonged to the tribe of Banu Adi, but not to their two successors, who also belonged to the Quraish tribe). It is baffling indeed that they obeyed Abu Bakr and Umar blindly, but deserted Othman and Ali, whom they bitterly opposed and finally murdered. From the moment that Ali came to power, he was resisted and obstructed by the Quraish in spite of the fact that the aristocratic Quraish knew that Ali had noble blood in his veins, blood which had flowed in the veins of the holy Prophet, and that in addition he had those personal traits of character, which made him unique amongst all the people of his age. Ali's knowledge, piety, bravery, generalship, services for the propagation of Islam, and his achievements on the battlefield for the defence of Islam, made him superior to the first two Caliphs. He was superbly equipped to fill the office of the Caliph, yet the entire race seems to have taken up arms against him. In spite of his qualities of mind and spirit, he seems to have been sacrificed to the prevailing tribal spirit of his countrymen. Perhaps it was his superiority more than anything else which led to his downfall. He knew himself to be superior to his contemporaries and he hated the petty tribal chiefs of the Quraish who were interested only in their self aggrandizement. What is more, he let them know his contempt for them, and frequently acted independently of them in defiance of established custom."
Hadrat Ali, The Man
Hadrat Ali was of medium-high height. He had a superb head with a face as noble as the man himself. His nose was straight, and his mouth was beautifully formed. His eyes were most commanding, being full of light and luster. There was an note of music in his voice. There was an aura of spirituality and a strong personal magnetism about him. In his youth he was handsome and full of fiery vigour. When he was older he became corpulent and bulky. His gray hair gave way to baldness. His beard, however, remained thick and luxuriant, and he often dyed it red. He was stout, genial, charitable, meditative, reserved, and he was a man who towered high above the people around him because of his intellectual and spiritual attainments.
Hadrat Ali, the man
Hadrat Ali was endowed with all the qualities that make a man great. He was not only great, he was regarded as a superman, an ideal man. He was the paragon of virtue. He enjoyed fame for his piety and religious devotions. He was the embodiment of Islamic values. In his love of God and His Messenger, he was second to none. When praying to God, his absorption was so intense that he often lost consciousness. His mind was so sure that he could hold communion with God. He had learned the Holy Qur'an by heart, and he could quote appropriate verses to suit every occasion. He was most truthful and honest. He was most humble. He was simple in his habits. He avoided display and luxury. He lived the life of an ascetic. Even when he was Caliph he lived in an ordinary house. The door of his house remained open to everyone at all times. He was most generous. He was most liberal in giving charity. He always came to the help of those who were distressed and involved in any difficulty. He looked after widows and orphans as if they were members of his own household. He was a warrior, a general, and a man conspicuous for his bravery and valour. Indeed he was braver than any other man in history. He fought hundreds of duels in his lifetime, and in all such encounters his rivals were worsted. In the various battles, he killed a record number of enemies. He was skilful swordsman and his sword never missed its mark. In the various battles that he fought, he never turned his back. In the battle of Uhud, he received so many wounds that the nurses were unable to dress them. He bore the pain with great patience. The people around him misunderstood him, yet he did not lose patience. He was most chivalrous, and forgiving. He would forgive even his worst enemies. He was a great scholar. His book Nahj ul-Balagha is a living proof of his scholarship and erudition. There was a sense of humour about him, and sometimes he said things in a lighter vein to bring home the point he had in mind. He was a master of the simile and metaphor, and when bringing home a point he always illustrated it with appropriate metaphors and similes. He was a great philosopher, and there was great depth in his thoughts which were expressed in his writing. He was known for his wisdom. He was indeed wiser than Solomon. Most of his wise sayings have attained the dimensions of proverbs. He was a great orator. His sermons were most impressive. He was a master of rhetoric. He is regarded as the father of Islamic learning. He has left a deep mark on Islamic theology. He was the founder of Arabic grammar. He was a great poet. He was the father of Sufism. He was the father of Islamic jurisprudence. He was in impartial judge and his famous judgments are the most valuable assets of Islamic jurisprudence. He was a skilful administrator. He introduced numerous reforms. He was an eminent political thinker for his political thought had an air of modernity about it. The greatness of Hadrat Ali as a man is multi-dimensional in character, and after the holy Prophet, he was the greatest Muslim whose memory is honoured by Muslims all over the world.
Wives and children of Hadrat Ali
The principal wife of Hadrat Ali was Hadrat Fatima, the favourite daughter of the holy Prophet. During the lifetime of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali at one stage proposed to marry a daughter of Abu Jahl. When the holy Prophet came to know of this proposal, he became annoyed and declared that if Hadrat Ali wanted to marry another wife, he should divorce Hadrat Fatima first. Thereupon Hadrat Ali abandoned the idea of marrying another wife. Hadrat Fatima was the mother of three sons and two daughters. The sons were Hasan, Hussain, and Mohsin. Mohsin died during childhood. The daughters were Zainab and Umm Kulthum.
After the death of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali married a number of wives. They were:
(1) Umm-ul-Bunian who was the daughter of Hazam b. Khalid. Hadrat Ali had five sons from her, namely: Abdullah, Jafar, Abbas, Othman, and Umar. All of them except Abbas were martyred in the battle of Karbala along with Hadrat Hussain.
(2) Khaula was the daughter of Jafar Hanfiyah. She was the mother of the son known as Muhammad b. Hanfiyah.
(3) Umm Habib who was the daughter of Rabiah. She gave birth to a son Umar, in the daughter Ruqiya.
(4) Asma who was the daughter of Umais. She was in the first instance married to Hadrat Jafar, an elder brother of Hadrat Ali. On the death of Hadrat Jafar, Hadrat Abu Bakr married her. After the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr she married Hadrat Ali. She had to sons from Hadrat Ali, namely: Yahya and Muhammad Asghar.
(5) Laila who was the daughter of Masud. She was the mother of two sons, namely Ubaidullah and Abu Bakr.
(6) Umama who was a daughter of Abi Al Aa's and Hadrat Zainab and elder sister of Hadrat Fatima. Her son from Hadrat Ali bore the name of Muhammad Awsat.
(7) Umm Saeed who was a daughter of Urwa. She bore Hadrat Ali two daughters, namely: Umm-ul-Hasan and Rumia.
(8) Muhyat was a daughter of the famous Arab poet Imra-ul-Qais. She gave birth to a daughter who expired in infancy.
Hadrat Ali married nine wives in all including Hadrat Fatima. The number of wives at a time however did not exceed four. He had a few slave girls of whom Humia and Umm Shuaib bore him 12 daughters, Nafisa, Zainab, Ruqiya, Umm-ul-Karaam, Humaira, Umm Salma, Sughra, Khadija, Umm Hani, Umm Kulthum Jamana and Maimuna. Hadrat Ali was, in all, the father of 15 sons and 18 daughters. [total = 33 children
Man of many distinctions
Hadrat Ali was a man of many distinctions. He owed his distinctions to his relationship with the holy Prophet, his valour, his knowledge and his spiritual attainments.
He had the distinction of being a Hashimite both on the side of his father as well as his mother.
He had the distinction of having a name which was derivative of the name of Allah. No other person before him bore the name of Ali.
His relationship with the holy Prophet
On opening his eyes after his birth, the first person who he saw was the holy Prophet.
The holy Prophet gave him his name.
As an infant he had the honour of sucking the tongue of the holy Prophet.
He was the first cousin of the holy Prophet. He became a ward of the holy Prophet, and was brought up as a family member of the household of the holy Prophet.
He received his training under the loving care and guidance of the holy Prophet.
When the holy Prophet declared his mission, he was the first teenager to be converted to Islam.
Hadrat Khadijah and Hadrat Ali were the first two persons to pray behind the holy Prophet.
When the holy Prophet invited the Hashimites to a dinner, and aked them to aid him in his mission, Hadrat Ali was the only person to respond to the call of the holy Prophet.
He risked his life for the sake of the holy Prophet and slept on his bed when the holy Prophet left for Medina and the Quraish youth besieged the house with a view to killing the holy Prophet.
When the holy Prophet left for Medina, he entrusted to Hadrat Ali the task of returning the belongings of the people. They had placed their belongings in the custody of the holy Prophet for safekeeping.
When the holy Prophet joined the Muhajirs and the Ansars in fraternity in Medina, he allied himself in fraternity with Hadrat Ali.
The holy Prophet married his beloved daughter Fatima Zahra to Hadrat Ali.
He was commissioned by the holy Prophet to write the agreement which came to be known as the Hudaybia Pact.
After the conquest of Mecca, he had the unique distinction of standing on the shoulders of the holy Prophet and destroying the idols in the Ka'bah.
He was entrusted by the holy Prophet with the special mission of announcing the Quraish Sura "Al Bara'at" (Immunity) to the people on the occasion of the pilgrimage.
He was the only person to whom the holy Prophet referred to as the "Maula" [Master] of the Ummah
When the holy Prophet proposed "Mubahala" [a special kind of debate] with the Christians and the Najran, he chose Hadrat Ali as his "second man."
The progeny of the holy Prophet descends through Hadrat Ali.
He was the only person to whom the holy Prophet imparted "inward knowledge."
The holy Prophet conferred many appellations on Hadrat Ali such as Hidar-iKarrar, Abu Turab, Asad-ullah, Syedul Arab, etc.
The holy Prophet declared his relationship to Hadrat Ali as that of Moses and Aaron.
When the holy Prophet died, Hadrat Ali washed him and prepared his dead body for burial.
He participated in all the wars of early Islam which were fought under the command of the holy Prophet.
In all the battles, Hadrat Ali was the flag-bearer for the forces of the Muslims.
He was the greatest man among the Muslims. For his unusual bravery, he won such titles as "Asad Allah," (the Lion of God) or "Haidar-e-Karrar" (the warrior who nobody could match.)
During his lifetime, he killed over 1000 enemies. In the Battle of Badr alone killed two dozen people.
He fought over a hundred duels and in all the duels, his adversaries, however strong, were killed.
He was the conqueror of the Khyber.
He was the most learned man of his age. He was a living encyclopaedia of knowledge and learning.
After the holy Prophet, he was the most eloquent person of the age.
Because of his knowledge and wisdom he is known as the "Second Solomon."
His wise sayings and aphorisms have attained the status of classical proverbs.
He was the first person to write a grammar of the Arabic language.
Among the early Muslims, he was the only person whose collections of writings have come down to us and this collection [is] preserved under the title of Nahj-ul-Balagha.
He was a distinguished poet.
He enjoys fame as the "father of rhetoric."
He was an authority on Mathematics.
He was a master of the science of Physics.
He had a deep medical knowledge.
After the holy Prophet, he is regarded as the greatest philosopher of Islam.
He was a calligrapher and wrote in a beautiful hand.
His spiritual attainments
He was the first person to learn the Qur'an by heart.
According to the commentators, there are at least 300 verses in the holy Qur'an which have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali
After the holy Prophet, he was the Chief Judge among the early Muslims. He is regarded as the "father of fiqh." [jurisprudence]
He is the first revivalist among the Muslims. He interpreted the doctrines of Islam and systematized them.
He is regarded as the "father of Sufism." All schools of Tasawwuf [authentic Sufism] trace their origin to him.
Because of his multidimensional greatness and outstanding qualities, Hadrat Ali is known by many appellations, and each appellation illuminates one particular aspect of his excellence.
Some of these appellations are as follows:
(1) Murtada - he with whom God is pleased
(2) Maula - the master
(3) Haidar-i-Karrar- the brave warrior against whom no one could stand
(4) Asad Allah - the lion of God
(5) Al-Ghalib - the victorious
(6) Sher-i-Yazdan - the bravest man of the age
(7) Mushkil Kusha - wine whom resolves the difficulties of the people
(8) Shah-i-Awlia - the king of saints
(9) Shah-i-Mominin - the king of the pious
(10) Abu Turab - father of the earth
(11) Amir-ul-Momineen - leader of the faithful
(12) Amin-ul-Momineen - the trustee of the faithful
(13) Imam-ul-Muttaqeen - the leader of the God-fearing
(14) Sayyid-ul-Arab - the chief of the Arabs
(15) Al Wasi - the beneficiary under the Prophet's 'testamentary statement'
(16) Al Hadi - the guide
(17) Al Zahid - the chaste
(18) Al Abi - the pious
(19) Al Salah - the reformer
Hadrat Ali in the Holy Qur'an
References to Hadrat Ali in the Qur'an
According to the commentators of the Holy Qur'an, there are numerous verses in the Holy Qur'an which have implied references to Hadrat Ali. According to the Shi'ah commentators there are as many as 300 verses in the Holy Qur'an which have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali. According to the Sunni commentators this number is much smaller. According to the consensus of commentators, some of the verses which refer to Hadrat Ali are as follows:
Verse 33, Sura 33
"Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing."
Hadrat Ali is obviously included in the expression "Folk of the Household."
Verse 61, Sura 3
"And whoso disputeth with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, then we will pray humbly (to our Lord) and (solemnly) invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie."
This verse alludes the deputation of the Christians of Najran who came to Medina to hold a discussion with the holy Prophet about the truth of Islam. In this verse, the reference to "our sons, and our women" includes references to Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Fatima, Hasan and Hussain.
Verse 3, Sura 9
"And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve."
In pursuance of this verse, the holy Prophet commissioned Hadrat Ali to go to the 'Greater Pilgrimage' to announce the verses of the Sura "Immunity" wherein God absolved the Muslims from all obligations under treaties previously concluded with the idolators.
Verse 23, Sura 42
"Say O Muhammad to mankind: 'No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.' "
According to Traditions, when the holy Prophet was asked as to who were the relatives alluded to in the verse, the holy Prophet said, "Verily, the reference is to Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain."
Verse 21, Sura 45
"Do those who commit evil deeds suppose that We shall treat them like those who believe and do good deeds - that their lives and their deaths shall be equal.No, bad is their judgment."
According to Ibn Abbas, "the doers of good" cited to in this verse, refer to to to Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Hamza and Hadrat Ubaydah b. Harith.
Verse 17, Sura 11
"Is he to be counted equal with those who rely on a clear proof from his Lord and the witness from Him recites it, and before it was the Book of Moses, and example and a mercy? Such believe therein. Whoso disbelieves therein, the Fire is his appointed place. So be not you in doubt concerning it. Lo, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of mankind believe it not."
One day, in one of his sermons, Hadrat Ali said that there was hardly a man from among to the Quraish who had not been referred to in the Holy Qur'an. Hadrat Ali was asked to recite some verse which alluded to him. Thereupon he recited the above verse.
Verse 4, Sura 66
"Now if both of you turn to Allah repentant, it will be better for you as your hearts are already so inclined. But if you backup each other against him, surely Allah is his helper, and Gabriel and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, all other angels too are his helpers."
According to Ibn Abbas, the holy Prophet said that the "righteous men" alluded to as "helper" in this verse, refers to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 18, Sura 32
"Is he who is a believer like him who is an evil doer? Verily they are not equal."
According to Ibn Abbas, "believer" in this verse refers to Hadrat Ali, and "evil doer" refers to Walid b. Utba.
Verse 54, Sura 25
"And He it is Who created man from water, and has appointed for him kindred by blood, and kindred by marriage, and your Lord is all powerful."
According to the Traditions, "kindred by blood and kindred by marriage" refers to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 36, Sura 24
"The lamp of light is lit in houses which Allah has allowed to be exalted so that His name be remembered in them. Therein He is glorified in the mornings and evenings."
According to the Traditions, the holy Prophet said that be "houses" referred to in this verse include the house of Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Fatima.
Verse 55, Sura 5
"Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger, and the believers who observed prayer and pay the poor rate."
According to the Traditions, "the believers" referred to in this verse includes a reference to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 12, Sura 58
"O ye who believe! When you consult the Messenger in private, give alms before your consultation. That is better and purer for you. But when you do not find the wherewithal, Lo! Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
According to the Traditions, when this verse was revealed the holy Prophet wanted to fix an amount which every person who consulted the holy Prophet should pay. Hadrat Ali contended that since the people were generally poor no amount should be fixed and the option should rest with the person concerned, to pay whatever alms he could.
Verse 181, Sura 7
"And of those We have created, there are people that guide men in the truth, and do justice therewith."
According to the Traditions, the reference to "people that guide men with truth" includes a reference to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 57, Sura 43
"And when the son of Mary is cited as an example, lo, the people jeer thereat."
According to the Traditions, the holy Prophet is said to have told Hadrat Ali that one day his example would be like that of Jesus Christ. A section of the people would love him so much that they would willingly die for him, whereas there would also be other people who would fight against him.
Verse 29, Sura 48
"Muhammad is the Apostle off God. And those with Him are firm against the disbelievers, and Merciful amongst themselves. Thus see them bowing down, and prostrating themselves in prayer, seeking grace from Allah and His pleasure. Their mark is upon their faces, being the traces of prostrations. Such is their description in the Torah. And their description in the gospel is like a seed that sends forth its sprout, then makes its strong; it then becomes thick, and stands on its stem, delighting the sowers, and causing the disbelievers to burn with rage at the sight of them. Allah has promised to those of them who believe and do good works, forgiveness and a great We reward."
According to the commentary of Imam Abu Musa, this verse was revealed in favour of Hadrat Ali
Verse 43, Sura 13
Assessment of Hadrat Ali by Western Scholars
Philip Hitti In his book History of the Arabs, Professor Hitti assessed the character of Hadrat Ali as follows: "Valiant in battle, wise in council, eloquent in speech, true to his friends, magnanimous to his foes, Ali became both the paragon of Muslim nobility and chivalry, and the Solomon of Arabic tradition around whose name, poems, proverbs, sermonettes and anecdotes innumerable have clustered. He had swarthy complexion, large black eyes, bald head, a thick and long white beard, and was opulent and of medium stature. His sabre Dhul Fiqar, which was wielded by the Prophet on the battlefield of Badr, has been immortalized in the words of this verse found engraved in many medieval Arab records, "no sword can match Dhul Fiqar, and no young warrior can compare with Hadrat Ali." A later Fidayan movement which developed ceremonies and insignia savouring of medieval European chivalry and the modern scouts movement, took Ali for its father and model. Regarded as wise and brave by all the Islamic world, as the idealistic and exemplary by many Fidayan and dervish fraternities, as sinless and infallible by his partisans, and even held to be the incarnation of the deity by the Ghulah (extremists) among them, he whose worldly posthumous influence was second only to that of the holy Prophet himself. The throngs of pilgrims that still stream to his Mashhad at Najaf and to that of his son Husain, the Shi'iah arch-saint and martyr at nearby Karbala, and the passion-play enacted annually on the tenth of Muharram through the Shi'iah world, testify to the possibility that death may avail a Messiah more than life."
Sir William Muir In his book, The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall, Sir William Muir paid his tribute to Hadrat Ali in the following words: "In the character of Ali, there are many things to commend him for. Mild and beneficent, he treated Basra when prostrate at his feet with a generous forbearance. Towards theocratic fanatics, who wearied his patience by incessant intrigues and senseless rebellion, he showed no vindictiveness. Excepting Muawiyah, the man of all others whom he ought not to have estranged, he carried the policy of conciliating his enemies to a dangerous extreme. In compromise indeed and in procrastination lay the future of his caliphate. With greater vigour, spirit, and determination, he might have averted the schism which for a time threatened the existence of Islam, and which has never ceased to weaken it. Ali was wise in counsel and many an adage and astute proverb have been attributed to him. But like Solomon, his weakness was for others more than himself.
Charles Mills In his book A History of Muhammadanism, Charles Mills assessed Hadrat Ali as follows: "As the chief of the family of Hashim, and as the cousin and son-in-law of him whom the Arabians respected almost to idolatry it is apparently incredible that Ali was not raised to the caliphate immediately after the death of Muhammad p.b.u.h. In the advantage of his birth and marriage was added the friendship of the Prophet. The son of Abu Talib was one of the first converts to Islam, and was Muhammad's favourite appellation of him, the Aaron of a second Moses. His talents as an orator, and his intrepidity as the warrior commanded to a nation in whose judgment courage was virtue and eloquence was wisdom. But the pride and loftiness of his spirit endured not to caution inseparable from the schemes of policy, and continually precipitated him into rashness. His opposition to Abu Bakr would not have ceased if Fatima had lived. But upon her death, six months after that of her father, the Companions of Muhammad relaxed in their friendship to his family. In the reign of Abu Bakr, Umar and Othman, a dignified independence was preserved by Ali. On the invitation of the Caliphs, he assisted in the councils of Medina, but he was principally occupied in the tranquil pursuits of domestic life and the various duties of his religion. On the murder of Othman the Egyptians who were at Medina offered him the caliphate. Indignant that the power of nomination should be usurped by the strangers, Ali declared that the suffrages of the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina alone could be available. The public voice soon echoed the opinion of the murderers, and the scruples of Ali were soon removed. In apprehension of the enmity of A'isha, his relentless fall, and of the whole family out of Muawiyah, he declined to receive in private the proffered allegiance of the chiefs. With his accustomed simplicity, he proceeded to the mosque clad in a cotton gown, a coarse turban on his head, his slippers were in one hand, and a bow instead of a staff, occupied the other."
Professor Nicholson In his book A Literary History of the Arabs, Nicholson remarked: "Ali was a gallant warrior, a wise counsellor, a true friend and generous foe. He excelled in poetry and in eloquence. His verses and sayings are famous throughout the Muhammadan East, though few of them can be considered authentic. He can be compared with Montrose and Bayard in the fineness of spirit. He had no talent for the stern realities of statecraft and was overmatched by unscrupulous rivals who knew that war is the game of deceit. Thus his career was in one sense a failure - his authority as Caliph was never admitted while he lived, by the whole community. On the other hand he has exerted down to the present-day a posthumous influence only second to that of Muhammad himself. Within a century of his death, he came to be regarded as the Prophet's successor jure divine; as a blessed martyr, sinless and infallible, and even by some as an incarnation of God. The Ali of the Shi'ite legend is not a historical figure glorified, rather he symbolizes in a purely ethical fashion, the religious aspirations and political aims of a large section of the Muslim world."
John J. Pool In his book Studies in Muhammadanism, John J. Pool observed: "The fact is that Ali was too mild a man for the stirring times in which he lived. He was too slow to resolve and too undecided in action. At any time he preferred compromise and delay to energy and promptness, and with fatal results. The death of Ali was an epoch-making event. We come now to the parting of ways. Henceforward the Commanders of the Faithful ceased to be elected by the votes of the people of Medina and Mecca. Arabia was no longer to be the seat of temporal power. For the future, in Islam, might was to take the place of right."
Edward Gibbon In his book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon observed the following about the assassination of Hadrat Othman and the succession of Hadrat Ali: "A tumultuous anarchy of five days after the martyrdom of Othman was appeased by the inauguration of Ali. His refusal would have provoked a general massacre. In this painful situation, he supported the becoming pride of the chief of the Hashimites; declared that he would rather serve than reign; rebuked the presumption of the strangers and required the formal, if not the voluntary, assent of the chiefs of the nation. He has never been accused of promoting the assassination of Othman, though Persia indirectly and secretly celebrates the festivals of that holy martyr. The quarrel between Othman and his subjects was assuaged by the early mediation of Ali, and Hasan, the eldest of his sons, was insulted and wounded in the defence of the Caliph."
While commenting on the failure of Hadrat Ali and matters pertaining to statecraft, Gibbon observes as follows: "A life of prayer and contemplation had not chilled the martial activity of Ali, but in a mature age, after a long experience of mankind, he still betrayed in his conduct the rashness and indiscretion of youth."
Thomas Carlyle In his book On Heroes and Hero Worship, Thomas Carlyle observed: "As for this young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble minded creature, as he shows himself, now and always afterwards, full of affection, of fiery daring something chivalrous in him, brave as a lion, yet with a grace, truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood. He died by assassination in the mosque at Kufa, death occasioned by his own generous fairness, confidence in the fairness of others. He said: if the wound proved not unto death, they must pardon the assassin, but if it did, they must slay him straightaway, so that the two of them in the same our might appear before God, and see which side of that quarrel was the just one."
Dr. Henry Stubbe In his book An Account of the Rise and Progress of Muhammadanism, Dr. Henry Stubbe observed: "Ali was of a brown complexion, a little man with a somewhat large belly, he had a contempt of the world, its glory and pomp. He feared God much, gave many alms, was just in all his actions, humble and affable, of an exceedingly quick wit, and of an ingenuity that was not common. He was exceedingly learned, not only in those sciences that terminate in speculation, but those which extend to practice."
Major Price In his book Memoirs of the Principal Events of Muhammadan History, Major Price observed: "His virtues and extraordinary qualities have been the subject of voluminous panegyrics, and his war-like exploits from his youth upwards have been particularly celebrated in the "Khawer Nama," a poem well-known in the East and which may perhaps contend in extravagance with the wildest effusions of European romance. With his acknowledged talents and magnanimity, it is however, difficult to account for the train of civil mischief and perpetual discontent which continued to disturb him for the whole of his reign. His gallant spirit was probably incapable of bonding to the ordinary shifts of political craft, and it is perhaps true that the Arabian chiefs were not yet sufficiently disciplined to see the sovereign authority quietly monopolized by any particular family."
J.J. Saunders In his book A History of Medieval Islam, J.J. Saunders observed:"His moral qualities were respectively recognized. He was a brave fighter and an eloquent orator and a loyal friend. Many things of his are quoted to prove his mastery of proverbial wisdom, a gift highly honoured among the Semites. He displayed towards his foes a patience and magnanimity expressive of a humane and generous disposition. His religion was founded on genuine piety. He was shocked by the growing luxury and corruption of the age, and to his many doubts whether Othman was an upholder or a violator of the law may be attributed to the hesitating and ambiguous attitude he adopted towards the regicides, which proved so fatal to his rule and reputation. As his temper was indolent, he drifted rather than led. He was easily outmatched by the astute and the forceful, and he lacked the commanding personality to impose his will on a turbulent society. His authority was challenged by the political shrewdness of Muawiyah, and the furious zealotry of the Kharajites, his inability to overcome either delivered Islam to schism and grave believers were driven to see in a reunion of the Empire under the Umayyads the only escape from tribal and sectarian anarchy. Yet he has been raised by a powerful sect little below that of Muhammad himself, the Shi'ah or party of Ali laid down as an article of faith that he was designated by God and the Prophet to be the lawful Caliph and Imam of the Islam, his three predecessors being treated as usurpers, and that Divine Revelation continued to be interpreted by his descendants, and his supposed grave at Najaf, a sandhill on the edge of the desert six miles west of Kufa, is annually visited by thousands of devout pilgrims who curse his supplanters and revere him as the friend of God and the first of Imams."
"And those who disbelieve say 'you are not a Messenger' say to them, 'sufficient is Allah as the witness between me and you, and so is he who possesses knowledge of the Book."
According to commentators, the phrase "whosoever has the knowledge of the Book" alludes to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 64, Sura 8
"O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and for such of the followers as follow you."
According to commentators, the phrase "such of the followers as follow you" alludes to Hadrat Ali.
The Sayings of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali was the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. Some of the Sayings of Hadrat Ali, which breathe wisdom and have attained the dimension of aphorisms are on record. Some of these are:
Fear God and you will have no cause to fear anyone.
Resignation to the Will of God is the cure for the disease of the heart.
The Word of God is the medicine of the heart.
Lead such a life that when you die people will mourn you, and while you are alive they long for your company.
The days of your life pass away like clouds, so do good while you are alive.
Of all follies, the greatest is to love the world.
Opportunity is swift of flight, but slow to return.
The most happy is he to whom God has given a good wife.
He who knows himself knows God.
Do not sell your conscience for anything but heaven.
The disease of the heart is worse than the disease of the body.
To fight against one's desires is the greatest of all fights.
The strongest among you is he who subdues himself.
Wealth and greed are the roots of all evil.
Riches without faith are the greatest poverty.
A man's worth depends upon the nobility of his aspirations.
Knowledge enlivens the soul.
The learned lives although he dies.
The sum total of excellence is knowledge.
To respect the learned is to respect God.
Generosity hides shortcomings.
The wealth of a miser is as useless as a pebble.
Desire is one's most inveterate enemy.
Those who walk on the surface of the earth shall one day be interred in it.
Every breath of man brings him nearer to death.
People are asleep as long as they live. They are awakened when they die.
Patience is the fruit of faith.
Virtue never dies.
A man's glory from his virtue is greater than the glory of his pedigree.
No shelter is safer than piety.
A man's behaviour is the index of his mind.
Courtesy costs nothing but buys everything.
Clemency graces power.
Jealousy devours virtue as fire devours fuel.
He that lends a listening ear to reproach is one of those [who] deserves reproach.
Forgiveness is the crown of greatness.
Carnal appetites are nets spread by the devil.
Every arrow does not hit [its] mark, nor is every prayer granted.
Ostentatiousness spoils prayer.
Fear none but your sins.
He who praises you murders you.
A man who praises himself displays his deficiency of intellect.
Honour your parents and your sons will honour you.
A man is hidden under his tongue.
The tongue of a wise man lies behind his heart.
The tongue pierces deeper than [a] spear.
He who purifies his heart from doubt is a believer.
The opinion of a wise man is [like] an oracle.
To seek council is to go to the fountain of guidance.
Association with a fool is tyranny to the soul.
God hastens the fall of tyrants.
Tyranny leads to moral cowardice.
A tyrant's success is his moral defeat.
It is better to die than to beg.
When a man begs, he loses his faith.
Hajj is the jihad of every believer in faith.
A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.
Silence is the best reply to a fool.
The best speech is one that is short and reasonable.
Speech is like a medicine, a small dose will cure but an excess will kill.
He that has no courage has no religion.
His grief is long whose hope is short.
The right of freedom of speech consists in speaking the truth.
Repentance washes away sin.
Folly is an incurable disease.
To assist the wrong is to oppress the right.
Sinning is a disease, repentance is its medicine, and abstinence from it is a sure cure.
Sorrow makes a man old before his time.
Pride impedes progress and mars greatness.
To forgive is the crown of greatness.
He who understands humanity seeks solitude.
Right is the best argument.
Misrepresentation spoils narration.
As a man's wisdom increases so his desire to speak decreases.
He who seeks to do justice with men, let him desire for them what he desires for himself.
The greatest sin is the sin which the sinner considers to be ordinary.
Contentment is an asset which is never exhausted.
Governments are a trial for man.
He who fights against the truth, the truth will defeat him.
Finding fault with others is one's greatest fault.
Haste is a [kind] of madness.
Greed is perpetual enslavement.
He who does not know his own worth, is doomed to destruction.
The best investment is one with which duties are performed.
Anger is a fire kindled, he who restrains anger extinguishes the fire; he who gives vent to it is the first to be consumed by it.
Jihad is the highway of prosperity.
None is more solitary than a miser.
Knowledge is the ornament of the rich and the riches of the poor.
Knowledge is the sum total of excellence; he who teaches you a letter binds you with a fetter of gratitude.
As long as we do not hope we do not fret.
He who indulges in jokes and loose talk loses a part of his wisdom.
Truth [may be] bitter, but it's a result is sweet; falsehood appears to be sweet but it is poisonous in its effect.
Miserliness is the root of many evils.
Knowledge and practice are twins, and both go together for there is no knowledge without practice, and no practice without knowledge.
He who dissembles, plays with his honour.
When God wants to humiliate a person, He deprives him of knowledge.
When your power increases, decrease your desires accordingly.
He who listens to a backbiter loses a friend.
It is not justice to decide a case on mere conjecture.
He who does not know his own worth is shameful.
He who practices thrift will never be in want.
He who does not know should not be ashamed to learn.
Patience is to faith what the head is to the body. When patience goes, faith goes [and] when the head goes, the body goes.
The grace of God is the best guide.
A good disposition is the best companion.
Wisdom is the best friend.
Good breeding is the best inheritance.
There is nothing more hateful than pride.
Be among men like a bee among birds.
Mix with the people with your tongue, but be separate from them in your deeds.
Be generous, but do not be a spendthrift.
Do not run after the world, let the world to run after you.
A wise man is he who does not despair of the bounty and mercy of God.
He who is aware of his own faults is oblivious to the faults of others.
What the eye sees the heart preserves.
The vision of the eye is limited; the vision of the heart transcends all barriers of time and space.
Do not be misled by appearances for these are apt to be deceptive.
Do not have too many irons in the fire; concentrate on one thing at a time.
What you do not like for yourself, do not like it for others either.
Contentment is the treasure which is never exhausted.
The advice of old men is dearer than the bravery of young men.
That knowledge is superficial which is merely on the tongue; that knowledge is real which demonstrates itself in your practice.
To waste time is one's greatest loss.
He who knows to keep his secret, knows the way to success.
Foresight is the way to safety.
No relationship is stronger than the relationship that exists between man and God.
Enlighten the heart with prayers.
Strengthen your heart with faith.
Suppress all lust with piety.
Do not sell the Hereafter for the world.
Do not speak in a state of ignorance.
Refrain from unnecessary talk.
Do not tread the path from which you can apprehend the danger of running astray.
In the affairs of God, do not be afraid of the accusations of evil mongers.
In all that you do, seek the protection of God.
Do not covet what is undesirable.
If you seek the truth, neither stray from the right path nor be assailed by doubts.
Do not become a slave to your desire.
That wealth is no wealth which brings dishonour.
Whatever harm accrues of silence can be remedied. But whatever harm is done because of speech cannot be remedied.
It is better to restrain your desires than to stretch your hand before others.
A little that is burned because of honest labour is better than a larger amount gained through dishonest means.
Guard well your secret.
He who seeks more than what is necessary indulges in error.
To oppress the weak is the worst tyranny.
Do not bank on false hope, for that is the capital of the dead.
A wise man takes a lesson even from a minor lapse.
Overpower desire and suspicion by patience and faith.
He who does not take the middle course strays.
A stranger is he who has no friends.
When hopes are frustrated despair becomes the way of life.
He who trusts the world the world betrays him.
Similes of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali had the peculiar skill to explain things by giving appropriate similes. In his various addresses and sermons, we come across many instances of his brilliance of expression that brings home the truth through these interesting examples.
The world: The world is like a serpent which is outwardly very soft skinned but poisonous within.
Falsehood: Like the feathers of a peacock, falsehood might look very attractive, but is as ugly as [as are the] feet of a peacock. Falsehood has no legs to stand upon.
The unbelievers: Unbelievers are like bats who can see in the dark, but who are blinded by daylight and [so] cannot see.
The people who did not respond to his call: When Hadrat Ali exhorted the people of Iraq to respond to his call for war against Muawiyah, they did not respond to his call. He said, "You are like a pregnant woman who undergoes the ordeal of childbirth, but gives birth to a dead child."
The tree and the fruit: When after the death of the holy Prophet, the Quraish based their claim to the caliphate on the ground that they belonged to the same tree as the holy Prophet. Hadrat Ali said, "It is strange that they look to the tree, but neglect its fruit."
The people of Basra: When the people of Basra, who had originally taken the oath of allegiance to him, [yet] later chose to fight against him, Hadrat Ali said that these people were near the water but far from the sky.
People of the age of ignorance: Referring to the people of the age of ignorance in the pre-Islamic era, Hadrat Ali said that they were like an egg which has broken in the nest.
The people of Kufa: Addressing the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali said: "When I invite you to fight, your eyes begin to move in their sockets as if you [were] in the agony of death. You are like camels whose herdsmen have disappeared, and when these animals are collected on one side, they scatter on the other side."
Mughira b. Shu'aba: Mughira was regarded by the Quraish as a wise man. When Mughira favoured Muawiyah, Hadrat Ali said, "Mughira has profited from Islam only to the extent of seeking worldly gain. He is oblivious to the Hereafter."
The people who run after the world: About the people who run after the world, Hadrat Ali said, "Those people who chase after the world are like beasts who lunge at one another, with the strong oppressing the weak."
The people who are not deceived by the world: About the people who are not deceived by the world, Hadrat Ali said, "Those who have understood the deceptive character of the world, do not feel distressed on death. They are like the people who migrate from a famine-struck land to a land of plenty."
Hadrat Ali's complaint against the Umayyads: During the caliphate of Hadrat Uthman, Hadrat Ali had a complaint that the Umayyadds were was holding from him what was due to him. He said, "The Umayyads are withholding what is due to me, just like the camelman who milks the she camel withholds milk from the young one of the camel.
Falsehood of Muawiyah: Referring to the falsehood of Muawiyah, Hadrat Ali said that falsehood had appeared in his case like the horns on the head of a young goat.
Shedding of sins through prayer: In a sermon, Hadrat Ali said that through prayer the sins of men were shed just [like] a tree sheds its leaves.
Cleanliness and prayers: In another sermon, Hadrat Ali said, "Prayer is like a hot spring of water which flows at your door and provides you with the wherewithal for cleanliness."
Crumbs after meals: In a sermon, Hadrat Ali said that the world had run its course, and nothing had been left of it except the crumbs after the meals.
The people who did not respond to his call: Hadrat Ali compared the people who did not respond to his call to a camel who ran away from the herd shrieking with pains in its belly.
Hearts of the people: Hadrat Ali prayed for the hearts of the people to melt at the mention of the God's words, just like salt [is] dissolved in water.
Ignorant persons: Hadrat Ali said that ignorant persons were like persons riding on beasts of burden who could not see. He deplored that such ignorant people dealt with the injunctions of Islam as wind scattered straw.
Ashas b. Qais: Hadrat Ali said that among his companions, Ashas b. Qais was what Abdullah b. Abi Sahi was in the time of the holy Prophet.
Patience and faith: Patience and faith bear the same relation in a human being. Like a head is attached to the body (and a body cannot be without a head) so there can be no faith without patience.
Disease and sins: Disease sheds sin just [like a] tree sheds its dead leaves.
Death of the virtuous: Hadrat Ali compared the death of the virtuous to the migration journey of the people from a famine-struck land to a land of plenty.
Days of life: The days of life pass like clouds in the sky.
Devotion to the world: Those who are devoted to the world are like barking dogs and ferocious animals who lunge at one another and where the strong devour the weak.
Seekers of the world: Those who seek the world are like a loose camel roaming about causing mischief.
Virtue of silence: Hadrat Ali advocated the virtue of silence by advancing the simile that water can be preserved in a waterskin only when its mouth is tied.
Thirsty camels on a water pond: When the people flocked to him and urged him to accept their allegiance, Hadrat Ali compared them to thirsty camels who flocked to a water pond when their harnesses were untied.
The caliphate of Hadrat Umar: When Hadrat Abu Bakr died, Hadrat Umar became the Caliph. Hadrat Ali held that the second Caliph was like a person riding a camel, whose reins, if tightened would injure the camel, and if loosened would endanger the rider.
Umayyad use of the Bait-ul-Mai: Referring to the appropriation of the funds of the Bait-ul-Mai by the Umayyads for personal ends during the caliphate of Hadrat Uthman, Hadrat Ali held that they ate away the public funds, just as the camel eats away the grass.
Withholding the milk of the she camel from its young: Hadrat Ali had the complaint that during the caliphate of the Hadrat Uthman, the Umayyads withheld from him what was his right, just like the camelman who, while milking the she camel, withholds its milk from its young one.
Handle of the grinding stone: When Hadrat Abu Bakr became the Caliph, Hadrat Ali held that Hadrat Abu Bakr had assumed the mantle of the caliphate forcibly while he knew that he (Hadrat Ali) was as essential for the caliphate as a handle was necessary for turning the grinding stone.
The simile of a sinner: A sinner is like a person riding on an animal [of] which he had no control, and which is running fast to hurl him into a precipice.
Drops of rain: The injunctions of God descend like drops of rain.
Summer clouds: When the people of Kufa did not respond to the call of Hadrat Ali to meet the challenge off Muawiyah, Hadrat Ali said that he longed for warriors who in their action and speed would be like summer clouds.
The goat and the lion: Addressing the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali said, "I want you to tread the path of the truth, but you run from it like a goat runs away when hearing the roar of the lion."
Taking the thorn out of the foot with a thorn: On another occasion Hadrat Ali said that the people of Kufa were like a person who picked out [a] thorn from his foot with a thorn.
Solution of salt in water: With reference to the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali prayed "O God, melt their hearts like salt dissolves in water."
Bull with crooked horns:When Talha defected after taking the oath of the allegiance to him, Hadrat Ali compared him to a bull with crooked horns.
Shaking plants: Referring to the piety of the Companions of the holy Prophet, Hadrat Ali said that they shuddered at the mention of the Hereafter [like] plants shake when a strong wind blows.
Pregnant woman separating from the child: Addressing the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali said that they were not dependable and that they were likely to leave him like a pregnant woman is separated from [her] child at childbirth.
Households of the holy Prophet: Hadrat Ali described the household of the holy Prophet to be like stars, in that if one star sets another star rises.
Foaming waves of the sea: While addressing Hadrat Uthman, Hadrat Ali said that treason was likely to rage like the foaming waves of the sea.
For more information, the reader is advised to purchase the book Hadrat Ali r.a., by Prof. Madud-ul-Hasan, Published by Islamic Publications (
courtesy Angel Publishing LLC. Sam Hopkins
Ashura means “tenth,” the day of the Islamic month of Muharram on which one of the most important battles in history took place. Fifty years after his death, Muhammad’s followers and family were locked in strife over who had the right to continue the Prophet’s work of spreading Islam.
This year’s Ashura, always the same in the Islamic calendar, falls on Tuesday, January 30.
Muhammad’s cousin Ali had married his daughter, Fatima, establishing the line of imams (religious leaders) to whom Shi’ite Muslims are loyal. Shi’a, the community’s name, is actually an Arabic contraction of shi’at Ali, “the faction of Ali.”
In the Islamic year 61 (680 a.d./c.e.), an epic battle unfolded at Karbala, in what is now Iraq.
When the dust settled, 72 members of Muhammad’s family, Banu Hashim, were dead. Hussein ibn Ali, Muhammad’s grandson, was decapitated and his body mutilated. This was unequivocal civil war.
This may be ancient history, but it makes it that much more difficult for foreigners or, more importantly, those who would meddle without even a passing awareness of sectarian nuance, to sort out the disordered state of Iraq since 2003.
Following the ouster of Saddam Hussein, Shi’ites recommenced their annual treks to Karbala, and Sunnis seized the opportunity to inflict maximum carnage, killing scores during Ashura in 2004. This was perhaps the first major indication of the internecine horror that would rear its head in the post-Ba’athist period.
Ahead of this year’s Ashura, heavy fighting erupted on Sunday in Najaf, where Iraqi forces have been in charge of security since December 20. A Sunni insurgent group was thought to be entrenched there along the road to Karbala, aiming to attack processions of Shi’ite pilgrims on their way to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.
Instead, it emerged on Monday that the group was actually a Shi’ite doomsday cult led by a man claiming to be the Mahdi (”guided one”), an Elijah-like personage in Islam expected to usher in a perfect world before the End of Days. He planned to do this by destroying the leadership of what is ostensibly his own community.
“Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala”
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the militant political organization Hizbullah in Lebanon, voiced the Shi’ite refrain, “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala” in reference to his own warfare with Israel.
Nasrallah also promised victory over his enemies on behalf of all Arabs and all of Islam. But would all Arabs or all Muslims accept him as defender of the faith? Certainly not.
There is also the issue of Ashura as the most prominent precedent of martyrdom in Shi’a Islam. Comprising only 15% of the ummah, as the Islamic community is known, Shi’ites have endured oppression in nearly every country where they are a minority-and even in some, like Iraq and Bahrain, where they are a majority.
Did the Shi’a forge an identity despite or because of their tribulations starting at Karbala? Would victory have diluted their faith or decentralized their leadership? Those questions may be up for reevaluation in modern times, with the ascendant power of the Shi’ite state of Iran and their factional strength in Lebanon and Iraq.
Eschatology notwithstanding, martyrdom is worldly defeat. Long-downtrodden Shi’ites are now tasting their first hint of victory, and they will crave more. The Sunni establishment is visibly rattled by this thought. A leading Saudi cleric, Abdul Rahman al-Barak, issued a fatwa (religious edict) in late December condemning Shi’ites as “more dangerous than Jews or Christians.”
Such resounding defamations within Islam indicate more turning points in history’s current course. While the neo-conservatives and Bush have been too focused on making history reflect the past, a succession of daily events reminds us that what is thought to be finished is seldom, if ever, forgotten.
Shias in Iraq mark Ashura festival amid tight security
courtesy CBC News
June 7th, 2007
Stop Asking me “Is Photo Blogging Bigger than Yellow Journalism”
Originally uploaded by flickr photographerno1
I recently joined I talker , a citizen journalism group, each one honestly sincerely giving his unbiased views on world news, through links words and pictures.
I joined Digg it too but I am treated as a leprous spam.I am buried with a nail stuck through my online coffin.
I am a photo blogger .
A word to be taken very seriously, as a religion.
We have a prophet , fire and brimstone he calls himself Brandon Stone.
He has his spirtual blog kingdom called Photo Blog Org.
A no nonsense Photo blog site, if this is not a photo blog it will be removed, words that evangelise on the soul of photo blogging.
I am lucky I am a member of this elitist , escoteric group..no I have not yet reached its Hall of Ill Fame not yet but I will quite shortly I am sure.
I shoot pictures that transform silence into poetry.
Ok let me talk less about myself, journalism,I talk about the watery gruel served here at home in India sucks , the same hackneyed pens blotting away half what they wont or cant write.Photojournalists , barring a few , the majority need psychiatric care, badly , pictures are awful by any standard.Stringer type .I puke putting it less harshly.The Photo editorial , well its gone AWOL…I never worked for a newspaper but I would in earlier days seeking promotion as Bollywoods Most Wanted Designer No1 would move into this ancestral priinting publishing New Grub Street of a house called Times of India.
Malvika Sanghvit he ex Bombay Times editor was extremly kind she had seen me drugged Kafkaesque in the Elphinstone college archive corridors, did give me space on Mumbai Times first page in my chequred Djellaba and a Moroccan cap.
I did than her dressing her son up like Amir Khan, Aati Kya Khandala .
I used to dress up her ex Mr Vir Sanghvi who loved sleevless Nehru jackets at Burlingtons of Bombay where I worked as an apprentice to late Mrs Shashi Kapoor Jeniffer Kendall .
So this and meeting Mr RK Karanjia for a job at Blitz , Mr Karanjia Father of Indian Press told me son , stick to your fathers trade, so from a fashion designer I downgraded myeslf to my present profession .. Yes I stitch celebrity clothes I call my self Tailorman.
So the curiosity of peeking into newspapers has not gone, than came Electronic media, later 20 months back I became baptised as a Blogger dipped in the Holy Waters at PhotoBlog Org.
Photo Blog is bigger than journalism, journalism seminal stained old newspaper ending up at the Kabbadi..where as we photo bloggers dead but always alive..at every click.
Google Search got a bargain for free.
We add tags Technorati, Feedburner, Delicious, all got us by the balls , free.
We write , with no syntax discipline, bloopers but fuck we are read even as a photo gallery powered by Coppermine.
We write opionatedely but some guy will read out us , word of mouth our online notoriety spreads.
The hardliners, lady journalist , wannabe novelists jornalistic penpushers prostituting the written word, all out to singe our multi colored brindle toned sepia stained ass, but we are there on Blog Stats.Kicking and Alive.
I write pedestrian poetry that even Mr Saddam Late Hussain liked it posthomously I got 2350 hits in a single day.
I am not a Hijda or perhaps possess the Hijdas resilience to survive beyond the lettered word.. yes I think photobloggers are far better judge of character, when I say we I speak for a photoblogging like minded coterie like me.
Every Sunday Shobhan Saxena wears a Devils mask to scare us away, but our numbers keep on increasing..The Photo Blog of Journalism cannot die.
Dont waste your obituaries.
Dont play Misty for me.
The Photo Blog has made us larger than our puny dawrf sized life.
We dont need an Exipiry date as yet.
Beyond shelf life a Photo Blog.
June 7th, 2007
a dead indian
i am a dog
if i lift my leg to pee
you will see
the liquid flow
of my blog
to a viking princess who pretended
that she fell in love
with this frog..
haikus, origin of the flame, quezelcoatl, mahapatra
all lost in a poetic smog
my ship of destiny
keeled over on the wastelands
of her weblog..
to lady lambeth..
two facist women poets taking a swing
welcome welcome to poem hunter forum
the referee jefferson carter can do nothing
the clawing gnawing and the punching
on the edge a tag team waiting
angie tara no hope bring
howlin sufi poets wrestling king
the undertaker trade martin
liberal pussy that loves to sing
gregory collins surfing wrestling
david hazell and his sting
micheal shepherd retired
taken up boxing
ted sheridan with his poetic ping
gives allen james saywell
dressed as martin luther king
a left hook upswing
before sending him
in a crate to beijing
rajah fark me
with a indian nose ring
frank james christopher ryan jr.
yogic kundalini in a coil spring
world heavy weight poets
fighting on a budget of a shoe string
abdulla kasai in a mask fighting
rythmic ranting misguided jihad
wanting christian enemies duck
to his left arm tauntings..
The title of this post is child labor so I wont digress, begging child with another toddler tied to his waist is child labour , hard labour, I did a pictorial sketch on traffic signal kids at Bandra Turner Road, I know what child labour is in this connotation , in a system that sucks. Child prostitutiion is child labour , the worst of its kind, parents hand over their children to pimps in Goa Pushkar , all hand in glove. Destinys Child makes me throw up, what I see through the crass viewfinder of a childs degradation.
At I talker it is about news journalism, I write poetry of unending pain, I have a girl child 19 years so the pain is more realistic, no melodrama, no pretensions. I am a blogger , I write blogs of pain, I shoot pain that hides as a speck in a frail childs eyes.It hurts terrbly. Little kids in cities are banned from working, but it goes on clandestinely ,the widow mother, runaway father, either the widow will sell her body , or her child will beg, or work at a tea vendors stall. The nights are harsh..always.
We ban , but we dont find an alternative , no relocation, banned from one traffic signal they move to the next. I saw this child, I cropped the picture of the mother , not to sensationalize child labour, but to make you humanize a fault that rises in most third world countries.
This child sitting on the street , looked at me I saw a future like a tear drop in my eye.. yes I cry not just for Imam Hussain but for a Man child too.. We all are beggars sometime or other ..begging for the goodies of life, a ladies love, a good post , recognition what not , we beg we steal , we borrow the breath of life from a somnolent God..an insensitive God..but a God not to be messed with all the same..
Blessed are the meek..
faceless no cheek
man producing superman
a saint a crook and a freak
yes within the beggar child
the beggar childs God we seek
a human shout a silence and a squeak
posted at I talker
June 6th, 2007
Something has gone wrong with our servers. It’s probably Matt’s fault.
We’ve just been notified of the problem.
Hopefully this should be fixed ASAP, so kindly reload in a minute and things should be back to normal.
Bullshit that you very well know
a feeling of disgust that
takes time to go
to edit my post at Word Press
my anger shows
luckily I cross blog from
Flickr says Firoze
Matts fault each time
ASAP wont reload
to much crowding overload
things should be back to normal
I drink a toast for the road
cybernetic silence that corrodes
dedicated to Prophet of WordPress Matt
and Archangel Mark
Yes we bleed
A pledge indeed
In memory of
Who gave his head
But for his life
Or for the survival
of his family
Did not plead
He gave his 6 months
Old Ali Ashgar a Mujhaideen
Such sacrifice never seen
He gave Ali Akbar aged eighteen
To protect Allahs honor and
Yes Shia children
Shia mothers wean
On Faith of our Imam
We do lean
Shedding blood is a
Allah Ho Akbar
Enemies of Shiasm
Call us heretics
And find this obscene
But unlike them
We do not kill innocent
People in the name of Jihad
And use Allah as a smoke screen
The chant of Ya Hussain
Perforates their spleen
A cry that lies unhidden in our gene
A heart beat of Koran Sura Yasin
Hussain kept it alive against
A Yazidi killing machine
Shah ast Hussain , Baadshah ast Hussain
Deen ast Hussain, Deen panah ast Hussain
Sar dad no daad dast dar dast-e-Yezid
Haq ke bena la -ila ast Hussain
With his Blood he did clean from
The apostasy of Yazid the Serpent Seed
The son of Satan in between
innocence now your sanctimonious sympathies we do not need
this is one file that yazidiyat on the sands of Karbala could not delete
Hindu followers of Muslim imam
By Yoginder Sikand
One of the most important events in early Muslim history was the battle of Karbala fought in 680 CE in which Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet through his daughter Fatima and her husband Imam Ali, was slaughtered along with a small band of disciples in a bloody battle against the tyrant Yazid. This event occurred in the Islamic month of Muharram, and it is for this reason that this month is observed with great solemnity in many parts of the Muslim world.
What is particularly striking about the observances of the month of Muharram in large parts of India is the prominent participation of Hindus in the ritual mourning. In several towns and villages, Hindus join Muslims in lamenting the death of Hussain, by sponsoring or taking part in lamentation rituals and tazia processions. In Lucknow, seat of the Shia nawabs of Awadh, prominent Hindu noblemen like Raja Tikait Rai and Raja Bilas Rai built Imambaras to house alams, standards representing the Karbala event. The Hindu Lambadi community in Andhra Pradesh have their own genre of Muharram lamentation songs in Telugu. Among certain Hindu castes in Rajasthan, the Karbala battle is recounted by staging plays in which the death of Imam Hussain is enacted, after which the women of the village come out in a procession, crying and cursing Yazid for his cruelty. In large parts of rural India, Hindus believe that if barren women slip under a Moharrum alam they would be blessed with a child.
Perhaps the most intriguing case of Hindu veneration of Imam Hussain is to be found among the small Hussaini Brahmin sect, also called Dutts or Mohiyals, who are found mainly in Punjab. The Hussaini Brahmins have had a long martial tradition, which they trace back to the event of Karbala. They believe that an ancestor named Rahab traveled all the way from Punjab to Arabia, where he became a disciple of Imam Hussain. In the battle of Karbala, Rahab fought in the army of the Imam against Yazid. His sons, too, joined him, and most of them were killed. The Imam, seeing Rahab’s love for him, bestowed upon him the title of Sultan or king, and told him to go back to India. It is because from this close bond between Rahab and Imam Hussain that the Hussaini Brahmins derive their name.
After Rahab and those of his sons who survived the battle of Karbala reached India, they settled down in the western Punjab and gradually a community grew around them. The Hussaini Brahmins practised an intriguing blend of Islamic and Hindu traditions. A popular saying refers to the Hussaini Brahmins or Dutts thus:
Wah Dutt Sultan,
Hindu ka Dharm
Musalman ka Iman,
Adha Hindu Adha Musalman
Oh! Dutt, the king
[Who follows] the religion of the Hindu
And the faith of the Muslim
Half Hindu, half Muslim.
Another story, which seems less reliable, is related as to how the Dutts of Punjab came to be known as Hussaini Brahmins. According to this version, one of the wives of Imam Hussain, the Persian princess Shahr Banu, was the sister of Chandra Lekha or Mehr Banu, the wife of an Indian king called Chandragupta. When it became clear that Yazid was adamant on killing the Imam, the Imam’s son Ali ibn Hussain rushed off a letter to Chandragupta asking him for help against Yazid. When Chandragupta received the letter, he dispatched a large army to Iraq to assist the Imam. By the time they arrived, however, the Imam had been slain. In the town of Kufa, in present-day Iraq, they met with one Mukhtar Saqaffi, a disciple of the Imam, who arranged for them to stay in a special part of the town, which even today is known by the name of Dair-i-Hindiya or ‘the Indian quarter’.
Some Dutt Brahmins, under the leadership of one Bhurya Dutt, got together with Mukhtar Saqafi to avenge the death of the Imam. They stayed behind in Kufa, while the rest returned to India. Here they built up a community of their own, calling themselves Hussaini Brahmins, keeping alive the memory of their links with the Imam.
The Hussaini Brahmins believe that in the Bhagwadgita Krishna had foretold the event of the Imam’s death at Karbala. According to them, the Kalanki Purana, the last of eighteen Puranas, as well as the Atharva Veda, the fourth Veda, refer to Imam Hussain as the divine incarnation or avatar of the Kali Yug, the present age. They hold Imam Ali, Imam Hussain’s father, and son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, in particular reverence, referring to him with the honorific title of ‘Om Murti’.
The Hussaini Brahmins, along with other Hindu devotees of the Muslim Imam, are today a rapidly vanishing community. Younger generation Hussaini Brahmins are said to be abandoning their ancestral heritage, some seeing it as embarrassingly deviant. No longer, it seems, can an ambiguous, yet comfortable, liminality be sustained, fuzzy communal identities giving way under the relentless pressure to conform to the logic of neatly demarcated ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ communities. And so, these and scores of other religious communities that once straddled the frontier between Hinduism and Islam seem destined for perdition, or else to folkloric curiosities that tell of a bygone age, when it was truly possible to be both Hindu as well as Muslim at the same time. «
Today is the eve of the birthday of the second Imam , Imam Hassan Ibn Ali, son of Hazrat Ali and elder brother of Hazrat Imam Hussain..
Birth and Childhood of Imam Hassan (a.s.):
In the mid of the month of Ramadan, the 3rd year of Hijrah, a son was born in the small mud house of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). The Prophet Muhammad (saw), on behalf of Almighty God, named him Hassan. Imam Hassan (a.s.) was brought up in the lap of his father Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and mother Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and learnt lessons from the school of his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Imam Hassan (a.s.) had a great worth and status in the eyes of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Such as, one day he Prophet Muhammad (saw) was on the tribune, delivering a speech to the people, he heard the voice of his weeping. He came down from the tribune, went to calm him down, and then returned to his place. When the people asked him the reason for this act. He (saw) said, "Whenever I hear the voice of his weeping I get restless". The Prophet Muhammad (saw), having offered his prayer along with the people, would lift Imam Hassan (a.s.) into his lap and would say, "Whosoever loves me, must love this child as well". Sometimes, he (saw) lifted this child upon his shoulder and said, "It is hoped that God will purify this Ummah through him". Or he would say, "Whosoever loves Hassan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) he loves me and whosoever nurses grudge and has enmity against them has enmity with me". "Hassan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are the two chiefs of the youths of the paradise". Then Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, Hassan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are the two earrings of the Empyrean, paradise of God takes pride and potentates due to them.
Awareness and Courtesy of Imam Hassan (a.s.):
One day, an old man was performing ablution. His ablution was futile and invalid. Imam Hassan (a.s.) ought to make him aware of his fault but how? If he said to him you are wrong possibly his heart might break and he got annoyed and did not accept it. He along with Imam Hussain (a.s.) decided to create a scene and ask the old man to make the judgment. Imam Hassan (a.s.) addressed Imam Hussain (a.s.) and said, "I perform a better ablution as compared to yours." Imam Hussain (a.s.) said "I perform it better than you do." Both of them approached the old man and said, "You come and see our ablution and decide who performs a better ablution." Both of them got busy with performing ablution and ended it in a correct and nice way. The old man understood what was the secret of their act and became aware that they meant him to find out his fault, in this way. So he said to them "The ablution performed by both of you is correct, I am an old man, who did not know how to perform the ablution correctly. You made me aware about my fault. I am much thankful to you."
Piety and Purity of Imam Hassan (a.s.):
Imam Hassan (a.s.) was the most pious, devout and ascetic worshiper and adorer of God. Whenever he went to Mecca for pilgrimage, he would go walking on foot. Whenever he performed ablution or stood for his prayers he saw himself in the court of God and his body started trembling he said, "The time has come for me to submit the deposit of God to Him."
When he came to mosque, he would raise his head, in the prayer place, towards the sky and say, "Oh God this is your guest standing in your court. Your defaulter servant has come towards you. And he hopes that you will forgive his bad deeds, by virtue of your kindness and forgiveness."
The Fortitude and Forbearance of Imam Hassan (a.s.):
One day he was crossing a street riding a horse. On the way he came across a man who was one of the friends of "Muawiyah". When that man knew he was Imam Hassan (a.s.) he started using an un-respectful language. Imam Hassan (a.s.) stopped and listened to him and then facing him said, "I think you are a traveler and stranger and not a local person. You have been provoked by the enemies about us and their false words about us have made you cynical and pessimistic about us. If you have a need I may fulfill that need. If you are hungry, I will order to feed you. If you require a dress and clothes, I will order to dress you up. If you don't have residence to live in I will take you along with me to my house and extend hospitality and give you treatment. When that disrespectful person heard those words from the Imam (a.s.), he got very much ashamed and repented. He was so upset and uneasy about what he had done that he started weeping and apologized and said, "The words of your enemies had affected me. Before this (event) you and your father were the greatest enemies of mine among all the people. But now that I have witnessed this courtesy of yours, you are the most respectful and gracious to me among all the people.
I became aware that you are a family who has the capability of becoming the heirs of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Till the time I am living I will be a friend and devotee of you and would defend your right. So he did what he had said.
The Charity and mercifulness of Imam Hassan (a.s.):
1. A person came to Imam Hassan (a.s.) and said "poverty and bad luck is torturing me. You are a family of chastity, purity and infallibility. Get me saved from this cruel enemy?" Hazrat Imam Hassan (a.s.) called his servant and said, "How much money do you have available?" He replied "five thousand Dinnars" He said, "Give all of this money to this man so that it may become the capital of his business and life and he may relieve himself off and get rid of poverty and resource less ness.
2. One day, Imam Hassan (a.s.) went to the house of God. In the very condition when he was busy praying he heard a man addressing his God and saying, "Oh God, I need ten thousand Dirhams to get it shaped as the capital of my life and you the merciful one give me this boon and blessing". The moment Imam Hassan (a.s.) returned back, he sent the said amount for him.
3. A poor and distressed man came to Imam Hassan (a.s.) and recited a rhyme meaning thereby, "I am left over with nothing, not even a single dirham. You can perceive my condition fully well and know it. I have nothing left with me to sell except my honor. I know you are the purchaser and buyer of it." The Imam Hassan (a.s.) at once called his servant and said, "Whatever money you have got with you, give it to this man."
The servant gave ten thousand Dirhams to him. Hazrat Imam Hassan (a.s.) asked the servant to make excuse as well, because, he did not possess more than that amount to be given out to him. He advised him to take that money and use it for his life and running the wheels of it and possibly getting rid of poverty and distress.
These few stories exhibit this fact that in the same way Imam Hassan (a.s.) was thoughtful and consider ant about the dooms day of the people, he was careful and considering about their Worldly affairs, for, the World is connected and patched up with the justice day. And the hunger and poverty stricken man cannot think about his dooms day. We must fully know that the Imam's helps and aids to the people as were not of the sort to encourage people about begging. Instead, these were extended in a manner to extend job and activity chances for them.
Imam Hassan's (a.s.) Caliphate:
On the 21st night of the Ramadan of 40th Hijra his father Hazrat Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib (a.s.) passed away making all the people sorrowful and grieved. Imam Hassan (a.s.) who was 27 years of age came along with the people to the mosque and climbed the tribune and said, "Last night, a man, who was unique in knowledge piety, conduct and character among the previous ages people as well those to come in future, has gone out of you. He participated the battles along with the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and strived hard to guard Islam. A person who was the thorn of the eyes of the enemies and the fruit of the heart of friends. And he did not spare and accumulate anything from the wealth of the world for himself, except for seven hundred Dirhams by which he wanted to provide a servant for his family."
At this moment, the Imam (a.s.) wept bitterly and the people too wept. Then he spoke about himself. So that the people may know that the Imamate has been handed over to him and that people might not go astray and did not get misled. He said, "I am the son of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), Ali (a.s.) and Fatima (s.a.). I am the flame of the lighted lamp of Prophet hood. The families from which God has driven the dirt, contamination and pollution away.
Then Abdullah Ibn-e-Abbas stood up and said "Oh people this is the son of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and your Imam, beware, that he is the right heir and successor of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). So take the oath of allegiance and loyalty for him".
People moved in shape of groups towards Imam Hassan (a.s.) and took the oath of allegiance for him. Imam Hassan (a.s.) made it a condition that they would fight anyone against whom he fought and whenever he deemed it fit to make peace, they would also accept it. All of them accepted it, and willingly agreed and submitted to his Imamate.
The Conspiracies of Muawiyah:
Muawiyah had established a government and dominion in Syria and for years he had played tricks with cunning ways and means against Hazrat Ali (a.s.). He killed the friends of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and brought into existence the perverted group and sect of Khwaraj Now, when he heard that people, after the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), took oath of allegiance to elect Imam Hassan (a.s.) for the caliphate post as the successor of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). This thing was very hard for him to tolerate. He sent spies to Kufa and Basra to find out and get him informed about what was going on. And thereafter, they may plot and hatch conspiracies against Imam (a.s.) if they deem fit and suitable they might start subversion and sabotage and create chaos, and disorder.
Imam Hassan (a.s.) gave the order that the spies should be arrested and killed. Then he wrote a letter to Muawiyah: "Oh Muawiyah! You send spies and set your hands upon subversion? I presume that you intend to fight a war and you like war. If it is so, then I am also ready for it and the war is at hand. Do wait "Insha Allah".
Muawiyah! I am surprised over you that you are the candidate for a job, which you don't deserve and are not worthy for it. Neither you have any superiority in the religion nor you have left any good effect, mark or impression from yourself as a monument and memorial. Muslims have taken oath of allegiance for me (caliphate). It would be to the interest and benefit of Islam that you too accept this act (caliphate) like the rest of the Muslims. Oh Muawiyah! Do not move the untrue and illusive (Batil) ahead, and you also take the oath and allegiance of faithfulness to me like the others, and do consider the blood of the Muslims respect worthy. If you do not accept my advice and wish to create disorder and chaos and spill the blood of Muslim I will quickly attack you along with the other Muslims, and will put you on trial.
Muawiyah in reply to the Imam Hassan (a.s.) wrote:
In the same way as Abu Bakr, due to his experience and expertise took the caliphate from Hazrat Ali (a.s.), I am more deserving than you and have more experience and it is better that you be my follower so that you get the caliphate after myself, and I will give you, whatever is the income of Iraq.
Muawiyah not only denied and turned his face from taking the oath of allegiance, he also sent spies to kufa to martyr the Imam Hassan (a.s.). Thus the Imam Hassan (a.s.) was forced to wear armored Jacket under his clothes and then stand for offering the prayers. Once when one of the agents of Muawiyah threw an arrow towards him the arrow got ineffective due to the armored Jacket and so the Imam Hassan (a.s.) remained safe.
It did not take long that Muawiyah, on the pretext of bringing into effect Islamic unity, gathered a huge army and mobilized it to fight the Imam in Iraq. When the news of the movement of Muawiyah's army reached the Imam Hassan (a.s.), he invited the people to the mosque. He climbed the tribune and after the praise of God and the salutation to the holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "Muawiyah has moved towards Iraq along with his army. It is your turn to get ready for the war and defend your honor and religion." But those despicable, vanquished and comfort loving people did not give a response to Imam (a.s.). Adi Ibn-e-Hatim stood up from among the people and very sadly addressed them saying, "What kind of people are you. What does this dead silence mean? Why do you not reply to the Imam Hassan (a.s.) and the son of your Prophet Muhammad (saw)? Are you not afraid of subject and suffering? Be afraid of God's anger and torment and chastise and obey the order of your Imam Hassan (a.s.). Get up and manly press your weapon in your hands and defend your honor, respect and religion. So that the God and Imam (a.s.) are pleased with you.
These words alerted a group so they announced their readiness to take part in the battle. Adi Ibn-e-Hatim told the Imam (a.s.), "We are ready and waiting for your order." Imam Hassan (a.s.) said, "I am proceeding towards the Nakheela Camp and whosoever is prepared and willing may go to that place, although I know that you will not practice upon your promise and Muawiyah will deceive you.
Disobeying the Imam Hassan (a.s.):
When Imam Hassan (a.s.) reached most of those who were shouting the slogans of "war", "war" were not present there and had gone back and turned their back upon the promise they had made with him. Because those who had participated were comprised of:
1. Khawarij who had come to fight against Muawiyah and not for the sake of obeying the command of Imam Hassan (a.s.).
2. Those materialist and world adorers and greedy ones who were after the war booty.
3. Those who had participated for the sake of accompanying and following their tribal chiefs and not due to any religious inspiration.
This is the reason Imam Hassan (a.s.) addressed them saying, "You betrayed me, like you had betrayed my father, who was your Imam before me. I don't know whether you will fight siding with Imam or someone who absolutely does not believe in God and His Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Then he selected a man named Hakam as the army commander and put four thousand men under his command so that he moves to the city of Ambaar and stays there and applies restraint to the forces of Muawiyah till getting further orders. But Muawiyah deceived him by giving him money and making false promises. And he joined his army along with his two hundred men.
Imam (a.s.) selected another man from the tribe of Bani Murad as his successor and said, "Although I do not have trust upon you. But this is a trial, you may also proceed."
When Muawiyah came to know about his arrival, he sent his delegates with five thousand Dirhams for him and promised to give him a governorship. He was too deceived by Muawiyah and joined him.
Imam Hassan's (a.s.) Grief:
When the news of the joining of tribal chiefs with Muawiyah reached the Imam Hassan (a.s.). He was much affected and shocked and said, "Did I not say several times that you do not have any faithfulness and trustworthiness, and your conduct with me is that of artifice, and cunningness? He then decided to gather an army himself and move. By the efforts of his friends nearly four thousand men gathered. Imam (a.s.) along with "Sabaat" went to Madayan and sent twelve thousand men under the command of Obaidullah bin Abbas and his helper Qais bin Saad, as a file leader and fore runner to meet and resist Muawiyah, so as to test their spirit and strength of devotedness. Muawiyah sent his agents along with one million Dirhams among the forces of Imam Hassan (a.s.) to get Qais deceived but Qais did not yield to his desire and answered them, "tell Muawiyah you cannot take my faith from me and I will not desert and leave Imam by any of your artifices and frauds."
The agents who got disappointed by Qais and went towards the real Commander Obaidullah bin Abbas and lured and deceived him and he along with a group of his followers joined Muawiyah at the nighttime. When the army men of Imam Hassan (a.s.) became commander less, Qais took over the Command and lead the Jamaat prayers. Qais was fighting fiercely and ferociously and had made Muawiyah harassed and fearful. As a result, he sent a few spies among the army men of Qais, so that they may make this propaganda that Imam Hassan (a.s.) has entered into peace treaty with Muawiyah and you are fighting for no reason. By this way Muawiyah succeeded in separating and detaching the group of Khawarij from the Imam's forces and in deceiving them to attack the Imam Hassan (a.s.) and what he desired did materialize.
The Rioter Khawarij:
This stupid and silly group did believe in what spies of Muawiyah told them and disobeyed the orders of Imam Hassan (a.s.) and they raised a hew and cry that Imam Hassan (a.s.) had also become an infidel like his father (Maaz-Allah) and had joined hand with Muawiyah. Suddenly, a platoon attacked the tent of Imam Hassan (a.s.) and looted whatever they found, to the extent that they even pulled out the carpet of Imam Hassan (a.s.) from beneath him.
Imam Hassan (a.s.) was forced to leave that place and he rode upon horse and a group of his friends were all around him. One of them (the attackers) rushed out of his hiding place and injured the Imam Hassan (a.s.). Imam Hassan (a.s.) was carried to one of his friend's house and provided medical care and treatment. It came to that, most of his governors, secretly and confidentially, wrote letters to Muawiyah saying we are at your command and disposal as soon as possible come to Iraq, we will arrest the Imam Hassan (a.s.) and hand him over to you. Muawiyah sent all those letters to Imam Hassan (a.s.) along with a covering letter saying, "These people did not remain faithful to your father and they will not remain on your side either. I am ready to sign a pact with you and overlook the war.
Why Imam Hassan (a.s.) accepted the Truce?
The adventurer Khawarij and the dishonest friends of Imam Hassan (a.s.) made it inevitable for the Imam Hassan (a.s.) to accept truce with Muawiyah. But truce did not mean that Imam Hassan (a.s.) colluded and put up with Muawiyah and agreed to his cruel and brutal activities. But it meant to make a no war pact with Muawiyah for a certain period. Because, if Muawiyah became victorious he would had smashed and destroyed all the hopes of Islam and would have destroyed the foundation of Islam and killed all the true Muslims. Besides, the Roman Empire was seeking a chance to attack the Islamic lands, and this mutual difference of Muslims was the best opportunity for it. Thus Imam Hassan (a.s.) who was smoldering with pain spoke to his untrue and unfaithful friends, "I know that you would practice craftiness and artifice, a group who do not have neither shame nor religion have unconditionally handed themselves over to Muawiyah, woe to you, By God, Muawiyah will not fulfill his commitments. I wanted to establish for you the religion of the right but you did not help me. You started moving on the path of opposition and confrontation and committed dishonesty with me, which forced and obliged me to sign the treaty. By God, if I had friends and helpers I would not have surrendered the work to Muawiyah because, I consider the caliphate to be prohibited for Bani Ommayide. You will soon taste the bitterness of the conduct of Muawiyah, day and night. After the Imam Hassan (a.s.) was forced to make truce with Muawiyah, he wrote a letter to him saying, "I wanted to revive the right and put an end to rescinded and vanity and establish the ruler ship of God and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) but people did not agree and accompany me. Now, I am making a truce with you upon the conditions, which I know that you will not fulfill and comply with. But soon you would repent, but that will be a time when it will not be of benefit to you.
Then, he sent his cousin Abdullah Bin Harris to see Muawiyah so that he should get him committed upon the conditions, which he had presented after a negotiation with him, and write down the agreement, and treaty of truce.
A part of the truce treaty is as under: -
1. The blood of the Shias must remain respect worthy and their rights must not be confiscated and crushed.
2. Filthy language must not be used against Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and his Shias.
3. Muawiyah should practice upon the Book of God (The Quran) and the Sunnah of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).
4. The friends and companions of Imam Hassan (a.s.) must remain safe and secure from his mischief's and brutalities wherever they live and no one has the right to resist them.
5. Imam Hassan (a.s.) does not call Muawiyah, Ameerul Momineen and will not take his name in the Khutbas (sermons).
6. Muawiyah must not hand over the caliphate to anybody after himself.
The Breaking of the Pact:
After the peace pact was conducted, Muawiyah focused his attention upon Kufa and held the Juma prayer congregation at Nakheela. He evidently and clearly said in his Jumma speach "Oh people I did not fight against you so that you should offer your prayers and keep fast, instead, it was for the reason that I rule over you although you do not like it. I will crush all the conditions of truce pact conducted with Hassan bin Ali (a.s.) under my feet. But the conduct of Muawiyah in certain matters showed that he was strongly embarrassed and harassed due to the influence of Imam Hassan (a.s.) so that sometimes he was obliged to put into practice few of the points of the peace pact.
So that once when Ibn-e-Ziad the governor of Kufa followed and chased (to punish) one of the friends of Imam (a.s.), Imam Hassan (a.s.) wrote about the incident to Muawiyah, who at once reprimanded Ibn-e-Ziad about this event.
Finally Muawiyah Decided to make Yazeed his successor:
But the pact, which he had signed with Imam Hassan (a.s.), stopped him from this act. He decided to poison the Imam Hassan (a.s.) so that the way to the succession of his son Yazeed should become open and clear. And then make the people forcibly take oath of allegiance (for Yazeed's). Therefore, he contacted "Jodah bint Asash" the wife of Imam Hassan (a.s.) and deceived by luring her and sent a poison for her, with the message that if you make your husband take this poison you will get a prize of one hundred thousand Dirhams from me. Besides, I will select you as the wife of Yazeed and you will become the wife of the caliph of Muslims.
The dishonest hand poisoned the Imam's Utensil (food):
The womanly scruples regarding the money and fame blinded the eyes of the wife of Imam Hassan (a.s.) and made her accept the suggestion of the cunning fox and commit such a dishonesty which history will never forget. Although Imam Hassan (a.s.) had said several times that I will get martyred by my wife. And people had requested him that if it is so then divorce her and turn her out of your house. But Imam Hassan (a.s.) replied, "She has not yet committed any crime and if I turn her out of the house, I would not have done a right thing. Because, she will make this step an excuse and will say, Imam has turned me out of his house without any fault. So that by this means she may cover her crime up and show her work as correct. Beware; Muawiyah will not let me go. If I leave my wife, even then she will not abandon her dishonesty except this that she will carry her program forward under the cover of her being oppressed.
Finally on the 28th day of Safar, 50th Hijrah when the weather was extremely hot and the Imam Hassan (a.s.) was fasting, Jodah bint Asash, poisoned his milk pot and presented to him for breaking the fast.
Imam Hassan (a.s.) drank a portion of the poisonous milk and then addressed her, "Oh the enemy of God and Prophet Muhammad (saw) you have killed me. God kill you. By God, you and Muawiyah both will become abject, despised and helpless." And the same happened as he had foretold, and predicted. Jodah bint Asash was turned out of Muawiyah's court with humility and not very long had passed that she died. And Muawiyah too died of a terrible life taking pain.
Imam Hassan (a.s.) passed away having faced pain and discomfort. And was buried in the graveyard of Baqi in Medina. God and Prophet's blessings be upon his pure soul
Zarb by Nasir Bhai Rafaee Dongri ...
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