Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sayyidina 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (Asadullah)

Muslims greatly respect Ali for his knowledge, belief, honesty, his unbending devotion to Islam, his deep loyalty to the Prophet (saw), his equal treatment of all Muslims and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies. In addition, Ali retains his stature as the foremost authority on the Tafsir (Quranic exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and religious thoughts. Ali also holds a high position in almost all Sufi Muslim orders (Turuq) which trace their lineage to Prophet Muhammad (saw) through him. In this way, his influence continued throughout Islamic history.

With the exception of the Battle of Tabuk, Ali took part in all the battles and expeditions fought for Islam. He was the standard-bearer in every battle that he partook in.

Ali was prominent at the Battle of Uhud, as well as many other battles where he wielded a bifurcated sword known as "Zulfiqar", given to him by the Prophet (saw). Muslim historians reported that Ali, alone, destroyed all the standard bearers. He also had the special role of protecting the Prophet (saw) when most of the Muslims' army escaped at the battles of Uhud and it was said of him: "La fata illa Ali, La saifa illa Zulfiqar" (There is no brave man except Ali and there is no sword which renders service except Zulfiqar)." For his bravery and strength, he was known as "Asadullah" - the Lion of Allah.

On the nineteenth of Ramadhan, while Ali was praying in the mosque of Kufa, Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam assassinated him with a strike of his poison-coated sword. Ali, injured with the wound from the poisonous sword, lived for two days and died on the 21st day of Ramadan in the city of Kufa in 661 CE. He was born in the House of Allah (Ka'abah) and passed away in the House of Allah (Masjid-e-Kufa).

In these two days, he dictated his will to his household:

My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and be steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world, and do not be seduced by it. Do not resent anything you have missed in it. Proclaim the truth; work for the next world. Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed.

I advise you, and all my children, my relatives, and whosoever receives this message, to be conscious of Allah, to remove your differences, and to strengthen your ties. I heard your grandfather, peace be upon him, say: "Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting."

Fear Allah in matters concerning orphans. Attend to their nutrition and do not forget their interests in the middle of yours.

Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbors. Your Prophet often recommended them to you, so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance.

Remain attached to the Quran. Nobody should surpass you in being intent on it, or more sincere in implementing it.

Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. It is the pillar of your religion.

Fear Allah in relation to His House; do not abandon it as long as you live. If you should do that you would abandon your dignity.

Persist in jihad in the cause of Allah, with your money, your souls, and your tongue.

Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that, the worst among you would be your leaders, and you will call upon Allah without response.

O Children of Abdul Muttalib! Do not shed the blood of Muslims under the banner: The Imam has been assassinated! Only the assassin should be condemned to death.

If I die of this stab of his, kill him with one similar stroke. Do not mutilate him! I have heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say: "Mutilate not even a rabid dog."

Source: Najul Balagha

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