Tuesday 24th of May 2022
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Ali's humility

    Ali was humble and hated pomp and arrogance. Even as Caliph he used to sweep the floor of his own house, chop wood for fuel, carry water on his shoulders, mend his own shoes, wash his own clothes and milk his goat. All's wife Fatima did similar domestic jobs with her own hands, grinding wheat in the hand-mill, baking bread, lighting the oven, washing the dishes and tending to her children. 

    Returning one day with some dates from the bazar he received many offers from people anxious to carry them for him. Ali refused them all, saying, "Whosoever is responsible for looking after his children, has the bigger responsibility of carrying the burden himself." Ali was often seen walking barefooted and on one occasion when he happened to be riding a horse he was distressed to find people following him on foot. Asking them what they wanted, he was told that they felt elated by walking in his retinue. To this Ali replied, "Go back to your business. By walking behind a rider, you will breed feelings of inferiority in yourselves and infect me with arrogance."

    On another occasion when Ali was discussing the essential qualities of a ruler in a sermon, a member of the congregation rose and praised All for his eloquence. Ali said that his subjects ought not to praise him, for he wanted no flattery, being all too conscious of his own unworthiness. Concluding his sermon he said, "To a person who has been influenced by the superb Majesty of God, everything else appears petty and frivolous. He looks upon all other things as shallow and trivial. The worst ruler is one who is given to pride and arrogance and hears flattering words from other. All praise is due to God. You should not praise me because I herewith declare before God and all of you that are here that I have many responsibilities which still lie undischarged. In the face of this how can any one applaud me and consider me praiseworthy? You should not accord me that treatment which is only befitting to tyrants. Neither become afraid of me nor ever hesitate to tell the truth. Do not show any consideration to me if you feel that I am wanting in justice, and never conceal the truth from me. I cannot trust any flatterer because he might mislead me and his tempting talk might beguile me into vainglory. I pray to God to save me from an erroneous path. We men are all alike and there is no other Master than God."



There are many verses which point to the caliphate of 'A1i ibn Abi Talib (as). It is not possible to enumerate them all here. But the event of Mubahalah (malediction, imprecation) which took place in the ninth year of the hijrah should be noted.

In this year a delegation consisting of fourteen Christians came from Najran to meet the Prophet. When they met the Prophet they asked him: "What is your opinion about Jesus?" The Apostle said: "You may take rest today and you will receive the reply afterwards." The next day three verses of the third chapter of the Qur'an (3:59-61) about Jesus were revealed. When the Christians did not accept the words of Allah and insisted on their own beliefs, the Apostle recited the following verse:

But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: "Come let us call our sons and your-sons, and our women and your women, and our selves and your selves, then let us be earnest in prayer and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars (3:61).

The next day the Christians came out on one side; and on the other side, the Apostle came out of his house carrying Husayn in his arms with Hasan walking by his side holding his hand. Behind him was Fatimah, and behind her, 'A1i. When the Christians saw the five pure souls they abstained from the proposed malediction and submitted to a treaty with the Prophet.

In this verse, according to Jabir ibn 'Abdillah al-Ansari, the word "sons" refers to Hasan and Husayn, the word "women" refers to Fatimah, and the words "our selves" refer to the Prophet and 'A1i . Thus 'A1i ibn Abi Talib ( a. s.), has been referred to in the verse of Mubahalah as "the self" of the Prophet.

It also follows that just as it is unlawful to seek to be superior to the Prophet, similarly it is unlawful to supercede 'Ali he being the "self" of the Prophet according to the words of Allah. Anyone who presumed to supercede him was in essence presuming to supercede the Prophet.




Later on, some companions of the Prophet also built their houses close to the Mosque with doors opening into the courtyards. Sometime afterwards, while they were leisurely sitting in the Mosque, a voice was heard

"Ye people l Close your doors opening into the Mosque." The people were struck with wonder to hear the voice, but they sat dumb without stirring to carry out the Command, till they heard again the injunction to close the doors on pain of Divine Wrath. Terrified at this warning, they all approached the Prophet, who was in his apartment. Ali also came out of his apartment which was adjacent to the Prophet's rooms since the day of Fatima's marriage with him. He stood by the Prophet when he ordered that all the doors opening into the Mosque, excepting that of Ali and his own, should be closed. People began to murmur. The Prophet was angry at their attitude and addressed them thus : "Verily, God ordered His apostle Moses to build a holy Mosque, and he allowed Moses, Aaron and the two sons of Aaron, viz. Shabbar and Shabbir, to live therein. I was likewise ordered to construct a holy mosque wherein myself and my brother Ali and his two sons, Hasan and Husain are allowed to live. Verily, I do only what I am ordered to do. I never undertake to act on my own wish. Certainly I have not ordered of my own accord to close your doors or to let Ali's door open. It is God who granted Ali an abode in the Holy Mosque." Consequently, the companions, whose houses skirted the quadrangle of the Mosque, closed their doors.

It is recorded on the authority of Sa'd, that the Apostle of God said to Ali : "It is not lawful for any to be in the Mosque while under the obligation of performing a thorough ablution except for me and for thee," Major Jarret's translation of Suyuti's His. p. 175.

Omar b. AI-Khattab said : "Verily. Ali hath been endowed with three qualities, of which had I but one, it would be more precious to me than were I given high bred camels." It was asked of him what they were? He replied : "His marriage with fatima, the daughter of the Prophet; his remaining in the Mosque while that is permitted to him which is not lawful for me; and carrying the Standard on the day of Khaibar." Major Jarret's translation of Suyuti's His. p. 175. Tirmizi Misltkath 463, Nasai page 9, Riazunnazarah Vol. II page 192, Ibn-e-Maghazili and Kanzul-Ummal page 29.

The Martyr of the prayer niche

Reports which have come down of the Motive for his Murder and how the Event occurred.

[What is reported by a group of historians (ahl al-siyar),including Abu Mikhnaf, Ismail b. Rashid, Abu Hashim al-Rifa`i, Abu `Amr al-Thaqafi and others who relate:]'

A group of the Kharijites gathered at Mecca and they mentioned the leaders (of the people) and blamed them and their actions. They mentioned the people of al-Nahrawan and they asked God's mercy for them. Then they said to each other: "If (only) we devoted ourselves to God, and went to the leaders (Imams) of error (dalal) and sought a moment when they were inattentive and then rid the country and men of them for the sake of God, and also avenged our brothers, the martyrs of al-Nahrawan."

They made a compact to do that after performing the pilgrimage. `Abd al-Rahmin b. Muljam, may God curse him, said: "I'll take care of (killing) `Ali for you."

Al-Burak b. `Abd Allih al-Tamirni said: "I will take care of (killing) Mu'awiya for you."

`Amr b. Bakr al-Tamimi said: "I will take care of (killing) `Amr b. al--`As for you."

They made a compact to do that and bound themselves to its fulfilment. They agreed (to carry it out) on the night of the nineteenth of the month of Ramadan. On that they separated.

Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, set out - he was numbered among Kinda - until he came to Kufa. There he met his colleagues. But he kept his task secret from them out of fear that something of it might get spread around. The situation was like this when one day he visited one of his colleagues from Taym al-Rabab. At this man's house he met by chance Qatam, daughter of al-Akhdar of Taym. The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, had killed her father and brother at al-Nahrawan. She was (also) one of the most beautiful of the women of her time. When Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, saw her, he fell in love with her and his admiration of her became very intense. He asked to marry her and became engaged to her. Then she said to him: "What dowry do you suggest for me?"

"Make your decision on that," he answered.

"I have decided," she said, "that you should (give me three thousand dirhams, a young serving boy, a servant and the murder of 'Ali b. Abi Talib."

"You can have all you asked for," he replied. "But as for the murder of 'Alf b. Abi Talib, how can I do that?"

"You should look (for a time) when he is careless," she said. "If you kill him, I will cure myself (of my obsession against him) and life with me will be a pleasure for you. If you are killed, God has nothing in this world which is better for you (than such a death)."

"The only thing which has brought me to this town (misr), "he said, "when I was a fugitive from it and could find no protection with its inhabitants, was to kill 'Ali b. Abi Talib, which you have asked me for. So you will have what you have asked for."

"I have been looking for someone to help you and strengthen you in that (undertaking)," she said. Then she went to Wardan b. Mujalid (another) from Taym al-Rabab. She gave him the information and asked help for Ibn Muljam, may God curse him. He undertook to share responsibility for that for her.

Then Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, went out and came to a man from Ashja` called Shabib b. Bajura and said to him: "Shabib, would you like nobility (sharaJ) in this world and the next life?"

"What is that?" he asked.

"Will you help me to kill 'Ali b. Abi Talib?"

Shab-b was one who held the view of the Kharijites, so he said to Ibn Muljam: "May a wailing woman wail for you (at your death), Ibn Muljam. For you have come to something which is horrific. How will you be able to do it?"

"We will lie in wait for him in the great mosque," Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, replied. "Then when he comes to the dawn prayer, we will attack him. If we kill him, we will satisfy ourselves and attain our venr,eance."

He insisted until he agreed and went with him into the great mosque to Qatam, while she was performing the rite of i'tikafs there and put up a tent. They both said to her: "We have reached agreement on killing this man."

"When you want (to do) that," she said, "come to me in this place."

Then they left her and waited for several days. They came to her finally on the right of Wednesday, the nineteenth of the month of Ramadan in the year 40 A.H. She ordered some silk which she tied around their chests. They put on their swords, and went out and sat opposite at the door from which the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, would come out to the prayer. However before that, they had told al-Ash'ath b. Qays of the resolution in their spirits to kill the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. Al-Ash'ath b. Qays, may God curse him, agreed with them in what they had agreed upon.

Hujr b. `Adi, may God have mercy on him, was (also) spending that night in the mosque. He overheard al-Ash'ath saying to Ibn Muljam:

"Hurry, hurry to your task, for dawn is beginning to appear."

Hujr perceived the intention of al-Ash'ath and said to him: "You are going to kill him, you one-eyed man."

He left directly to go to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and tell him the news to warn him about the group. However, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, missed him on the way and went into the mosque. Ibn Muljam came to him first and struck him. Hujr approached as the people were crying: "The Commander of the faithful has been killed!"

[`Abd Allah b. Muhammad al-Azdl has reported:]6

On that night I was praying in the great mosque with men who were inhabitants of the town. During that month they used to pray from the beginning of the night to the end of it. I looked towards the men who were praying near the door and `All b. Abl Talib, peace be on him, came out for the dawn prayer. He began to call out: "The prayer, the prayer."

I was hardly aware of the call before I saw the flashing of swords and I heard someone saying: "Judgement belongs to God, `All, not to you and your companions."

Then I heard `All, peace be on him, saying: "Don't let the man escape from you."

Then `Ali, peace be on him, was struck and Shabib b. Bajura came to strike him but he missed him, and his blow fell on air. The group fled towards the gates of the mosque and the people rushed to seize them.

A man caught Shabib b. Bajura, knocked him down and sat on his chest and took his sword to kill him with it. When he saw the people rushing towards him, he was afraid that they would act precipitantly against him without listening to him. Therefore he jumped off him and let him go and threw the sword from his hand. Shabib made his escape to his house-Then his paternal cousin came to him. He saw him untying the silk cloth from his breast and said: "What is that? Perhaps (it was) you (who) killed the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him." (Shabib) meant to say `no' but he said "yes". His cousin went away and put on his sword. Then he went to (Shabib) (again) and struck him with it until he killed him.

One of the men from Hamdan followed Ibn Muljam, may God curse him. He flung his cloak over what was in Ibn Muljam's hand and took his sword from him. Then he took him to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. In the meantime the third had escaped and dodged among the people.

When Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, was brought before the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, the latter looked at him and said: "A life for a life. If I die, kill him as he killed me. If I live, I will consider my judgement on him."

"By God", said Ibn Muljam, may God curse him, "I have bought his life for a thousand lives. I have plotted against him for a thousand lives. If he has betrayed me, then may God destroy him."

"Enemy of God," cried out Umm Kulthum, "you have killed the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him."

"I have killed only your father," he retorted.

"Enemy of God," she cried, "I hope that there is no danger for him."

"I think you are only crying for `Ali," he replied. "Indeed, by God, I struck him. If I had been divided among the people of the land, I should have destroyed them."

Then he was taken from his presence, peace be on him, while the people (wanted) to tear his flesh with their teeth as if they were wild beasts. They were crying out: "O enemy of God, what have you done? You have destroyed the community of Muhammad, may God bless him and his family. You have killed the best of people."

He was silent and did not speak. He was taken to the prison.' Then the people went to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and said: "Commander of the faithful, give us your order about the enemy of God. For he has destroyed the community, and corrupted the faith."

"If I live," answered the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, "then I will consider my judgement on him. But if I die then do to him what the Prophet did with a murderer. Kill him and after that burn him in a fire."

When the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, died (the people) wept for him. (After) his family had finished his burial, alHasan, peace be on him, sat in council and ordered Ibn Muljam to be brought to him. He was brought to him and when he stood before him (al-Hasan) said: "O enemy of God, you have killed the Commander of the faithful and you have increased corruption in religion."

Then he ordered him to be beheaded. Umm al-Haytham, daughter of al-Aswad of al-Nakha'a asked to be given his corpse so that she could be in charge of burning it. He gave it to her and he made her burn it in a fire.'

The poet said about the affair of Qatam and the killing of the Commander of the faithful peace be upon him:

I have never seen a dowry, given by a generous man, like the dowry of Qatim (whether the man was) rich or needy.

(It was) three thousand (dirhams), a slave and a young servant, and the striking of `All with a sharp piercing sword.

(There has been) no dowry more precious - and no violence except that it was less than the violence of Ibn Muljam.

As for the two men who were in agreement with Ibn Muljam to kill Mu'iwiya and `Amr b. al.`As, the one struck Mu'iwiya while he was bending (in prayer). However his blow was delivered weakly and he was saved from its consequences. The man was seized and killed immediately. As for the other he went (to carry out) his mission that night. However `Amr had felt sick and had put a man in his place to pray with the people; the man was called Kharija b. Ab% Habiba al-`Amir%. He struck with his sword when he thought that it was `Amr. He was seized and taken to `Amr who has him killed. Khirija died on the second day!'.



Says the Shaykh Abü Ja'far, the mercy of Allah be upon him: Our belief concerning the Pond (al- hawd) is that it is true. Its width is the distance between Ayla' (2) and San'a', and it belongs to the Prophet, on whom be peace. And verily in it there are as many pitchers as stars in the sky. And verily on the day of resurrection the giver of drink out of it will be the Prince of Believers, Ali ibn Abi Talib, on whom be peace. He will give his friends water to drink and drive away his enemies. He who drinks of it once will never thirst again. And the Prophet said:                                                    

       A group of persons among my followers will be dragged before me, when I shall be at the pond (of Kawthar), and be taken towards the left side (i.e. hell). Then shall I raise the cry: My companions, [122] my companions, O my Lord! And I shall be told: You do not know what they did after you.

(1). Hawd is rendered as "basin" by Wensinick, Handbook of Early Muh. Tradition, 33-34. Cp. MC, 195 (art. 21) 231 sqq. 258,268,274.  

(2) Among Sunnites, Ayla (S.Syria) and Aden, MC,232.


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