Hazrat Ali-ul-Murtaza (RA)
“And of the people is he who sells himself, seeking means to the approval of Allah . And Allah is kind to [His] servants.”
(Holy Quran 2: 207)
It is held unanimous by the Scholars of the two Islamic schools, that this verse was revealed for Hazrat Imam Ali (RA), when he readily slept in the bed of the Prophet (PBUH) , when the latter to the will of God had to migrate from Mecca to Medina, thereby saving the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and risking his own.
“You are in the same position in relation to me as Hazrat Haroon (AS) was with relation to Hazrat Musa (AS). But the only difference is: there will be no prophet after me.” (Holy Prophet PBUH)
Hazrat Ali (RA) was born some thirty years after the birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). His father, Abu Talib, was the real uncle of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who brought him up after the death of the Holy Prophet’s grandfather, thus making him a cousin of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Hazrat Ali’s patronymic name was ‘Abul Hasan’. The Holy Prophet gave him another name, “Abu Turab” which was most liked by Hazrat Ali. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) took Ali in his childhood from his father, Abu Talib, and brought up him like his own son. He went on to become one of the greatest companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the 4th Khalifah of Islam.
First youth to accept Islam
When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) started receiving revelations Hazrat Ali (RA) was about ten years old. The Holy Prophet disclosed his mission before Hazrat Ali (RA) and he accepted it immediately, thus he became the first youth to enter the folds of Islam. When the Holy Prophet started to preach openly, he invited all of his family members to a feast and announced his mission before them. Nobody listened to him, but young Hazrat Ali (RA) stood up and said. “Though my eyes are sore, my legs are thin and I am the youngest of all those present here yet I will stand by you, Oh Messenger of Allah.” Hearing this all the leaders of Quraish laughed but Hazrat Ali (RA) proved his words to be true after supporting the Holy Prophet in his mission from the beginning till the end.
Migration to Madina
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) loved Hazrat Ali (RA) very much. The night when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was migrating to Medina, his house was surrounded by the bloodthirsty tribesmen, who had plotted to assassinate him. They were ready to kill any person who came out of the house. In such a situation, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) asked Hazrat Ali (RA) to sleep in his bed. He happily and immediately followed the command.
Although the Meccans did not accept his mission, they considered the Holy Prophet the most trustworthy man of Mecca and continued keeping their trusts (cash and gold etc.) with him. It was Hazrat Ali (RA) to whom the Holy Prophet gave the deposits to return to the owners, when he was leaving Mecca for Medina. Hazrat Ali (RA) migrated to Medina after returning the deposits.
Life in Medina
Hazrat Ali (RA) was very close to the Holy Prophet, and the closeness was changed to a permanent relationship when he married his most beloved daughter, Fatimah (RA) to Ali (RA).
Hazrat Ali (RA) also had the distinguished honour that the progeny of the Holy Prophet continued through Hazrat Ali’s sons from Hazrat Fatimah (RA) namely Hazrat Hassan and Hussain (RA). The two children were the most beloved of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to the expedition of Tabuk in 9 A.H., he left Hazrat Ali (RA) in charge of Medina. On this some hypocrites remarked that the Holy Prophet did not like Hazrat Ali. On this the Holy Prophet remarked, “You are in the same position in relation to me as Aaron was with relation to Moses. But the only difference is: there is no prophet after me.”
His Bravery and the “Dhulfiqar”
Hazrat Ali (RA) was a very brave man. He participated in almost all the battles against the non-believers during the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The stories of his bravery are famous in history.
In the first battle of Islam at Badr, he was holding the flag of Islamic army. When three famous warriors of Quraish challenged the Muslims, according to Arab tradition, Hazrat Ali (RA) along with Hazrat Hamzah (RA) and Hazrat Abu Ubaidah (RA) accepted the challenge. He killed his opponent, Walid only with one thrust of his sword and cut him in two pieces. Then he helped Hazrat Abu Ubaidah (RA) to kill the next Quraishi warrior.
In the battle of Uhud when Hazrat Mus’ab bin ‘Umair (RA), the bearer of the Islamic standard, was martyred, it was Hazrat Ali (RA) who held it up. Seeing this one of the non-believers, Abu Sa’d challenged him. Hazrat Ali (RA) attacked him and he fell down on the ground.
In the battle of the Trench, all-Arabia fame warrior, ‘Abdwood challenged the Muslims after jumping on his horse across the trench. Nobody dared to accept his challenge except Hazrat Ali. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) warned Hazrat Ali about ‘Abdwood but Hazrat Ali insisted on going and fighting with him. Then the Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave him his famous sword “Dhulfiqar” and put a turban on his head before he went to fight with ‘Abdwood. A few minutes later people saw ‘Abdwood’s head was cut off from his body by Ali.
Hazrat Ali (RA) gets the Title of ‘Asadullah’
Because of his bravely Hazrat Ali (RA) was popularly called “Asadullah”(The Lion of Allah).
In the battle of Khaibar against Jews, the Muslims tried to conquer the strongest Jewish fort, Qumus, but were not successful in the beginning. Then the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “I will give the command and the standard tomorrow to such a brave person who loves Allah and His Prophet and whom Allah and His Prophet love. Everybody was desiring to be that fortunate man. The people were rather surprised when the next morning the Holy Prophet (PBUH) called Hazrat Ali who was sick and his eyes were sore. The Holy Prophet applied his finger, wet with his saliva, over the eyes of Ali (RA) and they were cured immediately. Then he gave the standard, and advised him. “First of all call them towards Islam. Even if one man is guided towards Islam because of you, it would be better than red camels.”
Following the advice of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Ali (RA) invited the Jews towards Islam. Instead of accepting the Right Path they sent their commander Marhab, the great warrior of Arabia and one of the bravest men of his time. He challenged Hazrat Ali (RA) to fight. Hazrat Ali (RA) accepted the challenge and slew him in one attack. His famous sword cut Marhab’s body into two pieces.
Marriage of Hazrat Ali (RA) with Hazrat Fatima (RA)
Hazrat Ali (RA) received the great honour of becoming the second son-in-law of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) after Hazrat Usman, by marrying the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Fatima (RA).
When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Medina, Hazrat Fatimah was unmarried. There were a number of proposals for her. First Hazrat Abu Bak’r requested for her hand. The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) asked him to wait for a heavenly direction. Hazrat Abu Bak’r discussed this matter with Hazrat Umar and asked him to also propose for his marriage with Hazrat Fatimah, which he did and got the same reply from the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Then people persuaded Hazrat Ali to try his luck. But considering his straitened circumstances he was reluctant to propose. Moreover, keeping in view the turning down of the proposals of seniors like Abu Bakr and Umar he thought that he stood no chance. But people around him encouraged him to try on the score of his relationship with the Holy Prophet (PBUH). However, he put up his proposal before the bride’s father, who accepted it. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also talked over this point with Hazrat Fatimah, saying that Hazrat Ali wanted to marry her. She kept quiet. This silence is considered as approval.
It was a simply arranged marriage as recommended in Islam.
Through this marriage, Hazrat Ali had two sons and two daughters, namely Hazrat Hasan, Hazrat Husain, Hazrat Umm Kulsum and Hazrat Zainab. These are well known in the annals of Islamic History and have left deep and everlasting landmarks. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) loved these children very much. Amongst his daughters, only Hazrat Fatimah (RA) had the honour to maintain the future generation of her august father (PBUH).
The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) has said:
“Among men there have been many perfect; but among women only four: Hazrat Aasia the wife of Phraoh, Hazrat Mariam the daughter of Imran, Hazrat Khadijah (RA) the daughter of Khuwaylid, and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad (PBUH)”.
Hazrat Ali (RA) the great scholar of Islam
Hazrat Ali (RA) was not only a great warrior but a great scholar as well. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said about him, I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.” He was one of the great jurists among the Companions. The Holy Prophet appointed him as the Qadi (Judge) of Yemen during his life time. He was a master of Arabic and his writings were as effective as his speech.
Special Messenger of the Holy Prophet
In 9 A.H., the first Hajj of Islam took place. Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was appointed as the leader of the Hajj group. After he left Medina revelation came to the Holy Prophet, according to which the treaty with the non-believers had to be dissolved and they were given four month’s notice. The announcement was to be made on the great day of Hajj. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) asked Hazrat Ali (RA) to carry the message of Allah on his behalf. He gave Hazrat Ali (RA) his own she-camel, Qaswa on which Hazrat Ali (RA) rode and went to Mecca to read out the message before the crowd on the occasion of Hajj.
Excellence of Hazrat Ali
There are so many virtues and services of Ali (RA) that it is difficult to mention them all in this blog. On many occasions the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had prayed for him. When he sent Hazrat Ali to Yemen in Ramadan 10 A.H. he blessed Ali (RA) with the following prayer: “0 Allah put truth on his tongue, and enlighten his heart with the light of guidance.” Then he himself put turban on his head and gave the black standard.
On one occasion the Holy Prophet said to Ali, “You pertain to me and I pertain to you, ” He also said, “When I am patron of anyone, Ali is his patron also.” (Tirmizi)
Once the Holy Prophet said, “Only a hypocrite does not love Ali and a believer does not hate him.” (Muslim)
According to a Hadith transmitted by Imam Ahmad the Holy Prophet said to Ali, “You have a resemblance to Jesus whom the Jews hated so much that they slandered his mother and whom Christians loved so much that they placed him in a position not rightly his. Ali afterwards said, “Two (types of) people will perish on my account, one who loves me so excessively that he praises me for what I do not possess, and one who hates me so much that he will be impelled by his hatred to slander me.”
The famous praise of Hazrat Ali (RA) by the Holy Prophet at the Pond of Khumm (Ghadeer Khumm) states:
‘O people, Allah is my Lord and I am the lord of the believers. I am worthier of believers than themselves. Of whomsoever I had been Master, Ali here is to be his Master.
This has been interpreted by Sunni scholars as follows: “This (Ghadeer declaration) was the declaration of Hazrat ‘Alī’s spiritual sovereignty and its unconditional acceptance is binding on the believers till the Day of Judgment. It clearly proves that anyone who denies Hazrat ‘Alī’s spiritual leadership in fact denies the Prophet’s leadership.”
Ashra Mubashara (Blessed Ten)
Hazrat Ali (RA) is one of the ten companions who were informed by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) about the award of Paradise for them during their lifetime. This means these companions were chosen among 124000 companions for this great blessing.
Shock of the Holy Prophet’s Death & Pledge of loyalty (Bai’at) to the former Khalifahs
The death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was a great shock to Hazrat Ali (RA). He had attended him day and night during his illness, and after his death he gave bath to the Holy Corpse and enshrouded it.
Hazrat Ali (RA) had taken pledge of loyalty on the hands of all the three Khalifahs before him. However he was late in taking pledge at the hand of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA).
The reason why he was late in taking pledge on the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was the serious illness of his beloved wife, Hazrat Fatima (RA) and that he was busy in collection of the Holy Qur’an. It is mentioned in the famous history book, Tabaqat ibn Sa’d: When Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) enquired of Ali (RA) why he was so late in taking pledge of loyalty and whether he disliked his “Khilafat”, Ali (RA) replied, “I do not dislike your leadership but the fact is that I had taken an oath after the death of the Holy Prophet not to put on my sheet (i.e. not to engage in any work) except for performing Salat until I have collected all the parts of the Holy Qur’an.” Then Hazrat Ali (RA) took pledge of loyalty on the hand of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) and helped him throughout his Khilafat. He was very active during the time of Hazrat Umar (RA) and also married his daughter, Umm-i-Kulthum (RA) to him. In the matter of Hazrat Usman’s election he voted in his favour.
Hazrat Ali (RA) was one of the very important members of “Shura” (Advisory Council) during the time of the first three Khalifahs. He was also the great jurist (Mufti) of Medina during the time of past Khalifahs. He was among the panel of six persons who had to select the Khalifah amongst themselves after Hazrat Umar (RA). Hazrat Usman had great regard for him and consulted him in all the matters. His sons were the main guards at Hazrat Usman’s residence when the rebels laid siege to his house.
Thus we conclude that Hazrat Ali (RA) gave his fullest possible support to all of his predecessors.
Period of his Khilafat
The period of Hazrat Ali’s (RA) Khilafat extending to four years and about nine months, was marked by civil war. His rule was characterized by a series of revolts for the first time in the history of Islam. He was elected as the Khalifah in the most critical period of Islamic history. The martyrdom of Hazrat .Usman was an extraordinary event about which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had already prophesied. Hazrat Ali (RA) was in a very difficult situation. Hazrat Ali (RA) faced many problems and difficulties with extraordinary courage and presented before us an exemplary character.
He could not locate the real assassins of Hazrat Usman and this could not be achieved until peace was established. Therefore his first task was to create an atmosphere of peace in the state. But the Sabaites (insurgents) never wanted peace. They worked on both sides. On the one side they made it difficult for Hazrat Ali (RA) to find out the assassins, and on the other hand they sent their agents to Syria to incite the people (especially Umayyads) against Hazrat Ali. Their main aim was to let the Muslims fight among themselves so that they might prosper. Although Hazrat Ali (RA) knew all this but he was unable to take any firm action because of the civil war.
The third problem faced by Hazrat Ali (RA) was the Kharijite (dissenters) movement. They were extremists and misled a number of innocent Muslims. They did not hesitate to use sword against persons who do not agree with them. They developed many beliefs foreign to Islam, although they appeared to be very pious but very politically, they were corrupt. Hazrat Ali (RA) dealt with them with an iron hand. He realized that if they were not wiped out in the beginning they would mislead future generations. He was successful in destroying their strong hold. However some of them, who escaped, went underground but they were never in a strong position.
Hazrat Ali (RA) tried his utmost to unite the Muslims and bring them back on one platform but he was not successful. The tragic death of Hazrat Usman (RA) signal for blood shed among the Muslims. The Companions were not to be blamed for it at all. This was caused by anti-Islamic elements in the form of Sabaites, (‘Abdullah ibn Saba and his followers). Historical facts bear it out that Abdullah ibn Saba became the greatest enemy of Islam. It was he who shattered the unity of Muslims forever. After completing their mission the Sabaites made pretence of being Hazrat Ali’s friends but they never helped him nor the cause of Muslim Unity. No sooner had Hazrat Ali (RA) assumed Khilafat than a group of the same miscreant Sabaites who had brought about the cold-blooded assassination of Hazrat Usman (RA) began to demand due retribution for the murder of the Khalifah and started to incite Muslims only to create division among them. Thus they played a double role. A group of them showed themselves as friends of Ali and another group (much smaller than the first) went to Syria and other parts of Islamic State to incite the Muslims against Hazrat Ali (RA).
Hazrat Ali (RA) faced all these problems with courage and never lost heart. He was a man of strong will power and determination and was quite right in his decisions.
Wives and Children
(a) Hazrat Ali’s first wife was the most beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Fatimah (RA). He got three sons (Hasan, Husain and Muhsin), and two daughters (Zainab and Umm-i-Kulthum) from her. The youngest son, Muhsin died in childhood.
After the death of Hazrat Fatimah he married a number of wives from time to time:
(b) Umm al-Banin bin Hizam from whom he got ‘Abbas, Ja’far, ‘Abdullah and Usman. All of these were martyred at Karbala.
(c) Saila bint Mas’ud who gave birth to ‘Ubaidullah and Abu Bakr. They were martyred at Karbala.
(d) Asma bint Umais who gave birth to Yahya and Muhammad Asghar.
(e) Sahba bint Rabi’a who gave birth to Umar and Ruqayyah.
(f) Amamah bint Abil ‘As: She was daughter of Zainab (RA), daughter of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Hazrat Ali (RA) got Muhammad Aswat from her.
(g) Khaulah bint Jalfar who gave birth to Muhammad ibn
(h) Umm-i-Sa’id who gave birth to Ummul Hasan and Ramlah Kubra.
(i) Mahyah bint Ummul Qais, she gave birth to a daughter who died in childhood.
Martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (RA)
After the battle of Nahrwan the “Khwarij” had gone underground. As a matter of fact they were as much against .Hazrat Ali (RA) as they were against Hazrat Mu’awiyah (RA). They were still working against the Khilafat and they were greatly disgusted with the civil war that seemed endless.
To end this state of affairs, they worked out a dangerous plot. According to them Muslims were divided because of differences between Hazrat Ali (RA) and Amir Mu’awiyah. They also disliked ‘Amr ibn ‘As and considered him as chief planner for Amir Mu’awiyah. They decided, therefore, to assassinate all the three of them. It was planned that the three personalities would be struck at the same time on the same day.
Three persons, appointed to assassinate Ali, Mu’awiyah, and ‘Amr ibn ‘As (RA) were Abdur Rehman Muljam, Bark ibn ‘Abdullah, and ‘Amr ibn Bark respectively. Early hours of the 17th of Ramadan, 40 A.H., was fixed for the assassination.
After the Fajr Salat of the 17th Ramadan in the year 40 A.H. (661 A.D.) the three appointed Kharijis struck the three men. Amir Mu’awiyah escaped with a scratch, Hazrat Amr ibn ‘As did not turn out for the Imamat because he was sick that day and thus was unhurt, but Hazrat Ali (RA) was mortally wounded with the poisoned sword of Ibn Muljam. He passed away in the evening of Ramadhan 20, 40 A.H. (21 Ramadhan)
Ibn Muljam was caught by the people after he had struck Hazrat Ali. Hazrat Ali (RA) asked the Muslims to slay him if he died. At the same time of his death Hazrat Ali (RA) called his sons and advised them to serve Islam and to be good with the Muslims. When somebody asked him should the Muslims take pledge of loyalty at the hands of his elder son, Hazrat Hassan, he replied, “I leave this decision to the Muslims.” He also advised people not to kill any person other than the assassin to avenge him.
He was sixty three years old at the time of his death and had ruled for four years and nine months as the Khalifah.
Other Great Quotes