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First Imam Hazrat Ali a.s. (Hz. Ali ibn. Abi Talib a.s.) -II

2011-06-23

First Imam Hazrat Ali a.s. (Hz. Ali ibn. Abi Talib a.s.) ---Life --(2nd part)

 
Hamza was targeted by Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan, who had him killed by the spear of her Abyssinian slave, and she savagely mutilated his body personally. 

 
With the apparent victory, the Muslims ignored the warning of the Prophet not to move from their appointed strategic place and ran to loot the battlefield.  They were caught unaware by the spare contingent of the pagan army under Khalid bin Walid, and many perished in the act of looting, while others fled for their lives.  Many of the senior companions of the Prophet used to reminisce saying that they never ran faster in their lives than in the battle of Uhod! 

 
The Prophet was injured in the onslaught led by Khalid bin Walid.  Ali hastened to the rescue and stood by to protect the Prophet.  At that station, he repelled several attempts by the pagan contingent.  Finally, the pagans were driven away.  Fatima (the wife of Ali and the daughter of the Prophet) tended to the wounds of her father.  The Prophet asked Ali why he did not flee for his life like the others had done.  Ali replied that his life belonged to the Prophet, and he had no business with the others, and being a believer would not want to become a disbeliever! 

 
In the fifth year of al-Hijra the arch enemy of lslam, Abu Sufyan, the Umayyad chief of the pagans of Makkah raised an army 'of about ten thousand confederates of Jewish and other tribes of the Arab idolaters and marched on to Madinah.  With this force, he was confident that he could wipe out Islam and its Prophet.  However, the Prophet learning of the mighty force marching towards the home of the Muslims, had a ditch dug out between the city of Madinah and the advancing force of the infidels.  Whereas this kept back the general advance of the confederate army, a hand full of the infidels jumped across the ditck led by Amr bin Abd Wudd.  They jeered and slung abuses at the Muslims and challenged them to send their best for a duel.  Ali was a gallant warrior, and the Muslims were frightened of his armor clad gigantic personality.  It was Ali who repeatedly asked permission of the Prophet to allow him to face the challenge.  When none else dared to come out, the infidels flung further abuses and provocative language at the Muslims.  Finally Ali was allowed to face the enemy.  The Prophet prayed Allah for Ali and said: "today total Faith has gone out to face total infidelity." 

 
Ali had a brisk duel with Amr and cut down the challenger with one stroke of his famous sword.  Prophet declared, "the single stroke of Ali's sword is superior to years of ibada (obedience to Allah)." The Muslims initially watched the encounter from a distance.  However, some believers got encouraged with the success of Ali and joined him to eliminate the remaining threat from the infidels who had crossed over the ditch.  Ali perused Ikramah bin Abu Jahl into the ditch and killed him. 
 
In the month of Zi-Qa'd, in the sixth year of al-Hijra, the Prophet undertook journey to Makkah for Haj accompanied by about fourteen hundred unarmed Muslims.  It was traditional in all of Arabia to suspend all kinds of hostilities during the months of Haj.  However, the Makkans came out armed to stop the advance of the pilgrims.  The Prophet made a halt at the well of Hudaybiya.  After tense negotiations (from within his own ranks of the Muslims, and-from that of the pagan Makkans) a treaty was concluded under which the Prophet had to carry out his rituals of a lesser Hajj at the very campsite, and would return the following year for a full ritual Haj.  Ali represented the Muslims and wrote the contents of the Treaty of Hudaybiya.

First Imam Hazrat Ali a.s. (Hz. Ali ibn. Abi Talib a.s.) ---Life --(3rd part)

Early in the seventh year of al-Hijra, the Prophet learned that the Jewish tribes in the valley of Khaybar, about eighty miles north of Madinah, were planning mischief against the Muslims.  He decided to march to Khaybar and eliminate the threat to their homes and lives.  He took about 1600 believers with him but Ali was unable to go with the Muslim army at that time because of sore eyes. 

 
The Muslims took the smaller fortresses one by one, and laid siege over the grand citadel of Khaybar. Each of the repeated attempts made by the Muslims was repulsed effectively by the ferocious Jewish warriors.  Even the most senior and trusted companions of the Prophet failed to break into the defenses of the citadel.  By this time the Muslims were getting somewhat discouraged and demoralized.  Finally, the Prophet declared, "Tomorrow I shall hand over my flag to one who loves Allah and His Prophet, and who is beloved of the Lord an d His Prophet, a fearless champion who n ever turns his back upon a foe; and at his hands the Lord will give victory.  " Hopes ran high in the hearts of all potential commanders to earn that benediction.  However, All arrived at the scene with sore eyes.  The Prophet healed them with his saliva, and gave him the Standard of die Muslim army.  He faced his first adversary in Marhab, a formidable warrior, and cut him into two with one stoke of his famous sword.  This was followed with successful duels with six other Jewish warriors.  He then led the Muslims to a general attack, and won the day by subduing the fort of Khaybar.  Some miraculous feats are reported in the books of history concerning the way Ali pulled out the gate of the fort and, first used it as a shield for himself and then threw it as a bridge over the ditch for the Muslims to cross over.  The Prophet did not evict the vanquished people from their homes.  The people ceded half of their property to the Muslims for submission, and in return, they were allowed to continue to cultivate the land for their subsistence.  The grove of Fadak was retained by the Prophet, and gave it to his daughter Fatima for her family to use. 

 
In the eighth year of al-Hijra, the pagans of Makkah violated the peace treaty signed with them two years earlier.  The Prophet took ten thousand believers with him and marched to Makkah.  The city was subdued without active fighting, and the archenemy of Islam had to embrace Islam along with other infidels of Makkah.  Upon the conquest of Makkah, the holy Ka'ba was cleansed of hundreds of idols.  The grand idol, Hubal, treated as a deity by the pagans of Makkah was fixed on a high position, beyond reach.  The Prophet asked Ali to mount his shoulders to reach it and destroy it.  Ali initially hesitated but complied on second command, and standing on the shoulders of the Prophet, he pulled the heavy idol from its high place and knocked it down to the floor where it crashed to pieces.  The Prophet recited: "Truth has come and falsehood being perishable, has vanished.  X'VH: 82.

 
It was the same year of al-Hijra when the Prophet sent Ali to Yemen as his envoy to replace Khalid bin Walid.  Khalid had earlier been sent to Yemen to collect the obligatory taxes.  He ransacked the place and caused havoc amongst the southern tribes with loss of life and dignity, in his pre­ Islamic ruthless style.  The news of this event caused much grief to the Prophet.  Khalid was recalled and rebuked for his conduct.  To compensate the families of the victims, the Prophet dispatched Ali to Yemen with money.  On arrival there, he distributed the compensation according to the needs of each family.  There was still some money left which was also given away to the needy.  The people were impressed by this true soldier of Islam and admired him for his generosity, kindness, piety and knowledge. 

 
By virtue of the verse in Qur'an, Ayae tat-heer....... And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye Members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless." XXXIII: 3 3, the Prophet included Ali as a member of his family (Ahle Bait).  It is reported in numerous ahadith that the Prophet laid his woolen blanket over himself, his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and her sons Hasan and Husain, and said, "O Allah., these are my Ahle Bait." 

First Imam Hazrat Ali a.s. (Hz. Ali ibn. Abi Talib a.s.) ---Life --(4th part)

 

 
The following year, the Christians of Najran came to Madinah to see and to verify the Truth of the Prophet of the Muslims.  They remained adamantly opposed to all arguments, or to accept evidence from the scriptures.  In the end, they opted to go out in the open for Mubahela (a method employed in the olden times to invoke the curse of Truth over Falsehood). 

 
Allah revealed in al-Quran: "The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him Be, and he was. The Truth (comes) from Allah alone; so be not of those who doubt.  If anyone disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee, say: come!  Let us gather together our sons, and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!" III: 59-61.  Ali accompanied the Prophet with Fatima and their two sons, Hasan and Husain (the five infallible members of the Ahle Bait of the Prophet) at the Mubahela representing the men, the women and the children of all Muslims to face the Christian challengers fi7om Najran for the test of the Truth.  Seeing the Prophet and his Ahle Bait, their faces glowing with the light of the Truth, the Christians withdrew from Mubahela and returned home, not converted as Muslims, but in peace with the Muslims and the Islamic State. 

 
In the same year, Sura Tauba was revealed to the Prophet.  He sent Abu Bakr to Makkah to deliver it to the pilgrims.  But soon, the Archangel Gabriel reappeared with instructions that the Message must be delivered by the Prophet himself or one of his family.  The Prophet hastened to dispatched Ali on his personal camel.  Ali caught up with Abu Bakr, took charge of the important Divine Proclamation and arrived in Makkah.  He proclaimed in the name of Allah the early verses of the Sura Tauba, stating that the city of Makkah would, from then on, be a sanctuary for all Muslims, and forbidding all idolaters and polytheists to enter the Holy Precinct, and forbidding the carrying of idols in the Sanctuary. 

 
In the tenth year of al-Hijra, the Prophet of Islam arrived in Makkah for Hajj with thousands of his followers.  Ali was in Yemen at that time.  He also arrived in Makkah in time to participate in the Haj, personally conducted by the Prophet.  This was one of the most important events in the history of early Islam, and every Muslim wanted to perform Haj with the Prophet.  After completion of the Haj, and on the way back to Madinah, the Prophet of Islam was ordained by Allah to carry out the last duty of his Prophetic Mission thus: "O Apostle!  Proclaim the (Message) which hath been sent to theefrom thy Lord.  If thou didst not, thou wouldst have not fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission.  And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief.  For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith." V: 70 

 
He made a stop at the well called Ghadire Khumm and gathered all those who could be recalled.  A makeshift pulpit was erected and the Prophet addressed the congregation: "It seems as if I would soon be summoned to go to Allah and I have responded to it I entrust you with two very precious and grand things,.one of which is greater than the other: the Book of Allah and my Ahle Bait. Take heed of the way you treat these two trusts, because the Qur'an and the Ahle Bait will never separate until they return to me by the Hawd al-Kawthar (the pond). " He then said: "Allah is my master and I am the master of every believer.  " Then he took the hand of Ali and raising his arm high above his shoulders for all to see, and said: " Ali will be the maula (master) of whoever deems me his (maula) master. 0 Allah!  Place within Your own vilayah whoever accepts the vilayah of Ali and be the enemy of whoever shows animosity to him. " All those who attended the congregation under the hot mid-afternoon sun congratulated Ali on the honor that had just been bestowed upon him by the Will of Allah.  This event has been recorded in both Shiite and Sunni books. 

 
It was at this place and occasion when the last revelation of the Qur’an was delivered to the Prophet: "... This day have those who rejected Faith given up hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear me.  This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.  " V:4.  This completed the Book of Allah as well as the long and onerous task of the Prophet. 
 
Soon after his return to Madinah the Prophet became ill and passed away.  However, while the members of the Ahle Bait were busy making arrangements for the burial of the Prophet, the senior companions hurried to a heated conference that was being held at Saqueefa Banu Saada to determine the successor to the Prophet.  At the conclusion of the meeting, Abu Bakr was elected as the first Caliph.

First Imam Hazrat Ali a.s. (Hz. Ali ibn. Abi Talib a.s.) ---Guidance --(1st part)

 
Allah says in Qur'an that there is no compulsion in Faith.  However Allah favored Man with guidance and intelligence so that he may choose what he wishes to believe and to set his own course for the conduct of his life.  In the end, those who choose virtuous conduct will enjoy the everlasting bounty of Allah in the gardens of Paradise, while those who follow evil ways will have to endure the everlasting wrath of Allah in the doom of Hell.

 
    Allah has ordained: "O ye who believe!  Obey Allah, obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among You.  If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer to Allah and His Apostle, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination." IV:59.

 
    To obey Allah, there is the Word of Allah: the Book, al-Qur’an.

 
    To obey the Prophet, there is the word of the Prophet: al-Hadith.  Allah authenticates the word of the Prophet: "Nor does he say (aught) of(his own) desire.  It is no less than revelation sent down to him.  He was taught by one Mighty in Power." LIII:3-5.

 
    To obey those charged with authority are by Allah's Will.  The Qur'an says: "And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our Command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only)." XXI: 73.

 
     Allah has further clarified His ordinance: "..fight ye the chiefs of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them..."IX:12. "And We made them (but) leaders inviting to the Fire; and on the Day of Judgment no help shall they find"XX'VIII: 41.  "But those who were blind in this world will be blind in the Hereafter, and most astray from the Path.  " XVII:72.

 
    It is Allah's grace that He gave mankind the will to choose their path, including the choice of a leader (Imam) for guidance-.- For making such a choice, Allah warns in the Qur'an: "One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams: those who are given their records in their right hand will read it (with pleasure), and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least." XVII: 7 1. 

 
    To the believers, the Prophet warned, "Choose your Imams wisely, for those who died without recognizing the Imam of their Time died the death of the Times before the Truth came to them."

 
     The Prophet spared no effort to illustrate to the believers that Ali was the Imam of Guidance after him.  Ali was nurtured by the Prophet from the very beginning of his life.  By his own words, Ali lived his life like the shadow of the Prophet, "like a baby camel follows its mother!" He protected the person of the Messenger of Allah on numerous occasions and defended the Message of Islam from its very inception.  His gallant feats of soldiery were exemplary to the believers and a source of encouragement and have remained unmatched throughout history.  It is beyond the scope of this book or even this chapter on the First Imam to describe all the events, the circumstances or the ahadith quoted from the Prophet about him.  Only a few of the major events of his life have been described above along with the relevant ahadith of the Prophet.  A few other important ahadith are given below to highlight the life of the Patriarch of the Imams of Ahle Bait during the life of the Prophet of Islam.  For details and for research, the reader is referred to the sources listed in the Bibliography.