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We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.
 

Why Ali

AboutMail Box Letter Relevant to this Topic
 Letter 10
: Ali-yun Wali Allah
 Letter 07: Nomination of Ali and Refusal of Majority equals Failure of Prophet
 Letter 03: Mawlayiat of Ali (AS), Zaid and the Ahadith

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Why do shias revere Imam Ali so much? Was he God or a prophet or an imam? Why did
the Nusaris considered Ali to be a deity? Why would hatred against Imam Ali take you outside the bounds of Islam? Why was Ali the first and foremost in everything and why do many people hate Ali and his Shias? Why is Ali so important in Islam? The question arises, Why Ali? Obviously, by Ali, we Mean Ali (AS) Ibn Abu Talib.

Iblees or Satan as we know him, was of the jinn, but before the creation of Adam (AS), he was a teacher of 60,000 angels. Some traditions point out the fact that he had been worshipping Allah for 400,000 years.

Similarly, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Before he undertook the path of sin, Iblis was with the angels and was called `Azazil.' He was among the residents of the earth and was one of the most active worshippers and knowledgeable persons among the angels. This fact caused him to be arrogant. Iblis was from a genus called Jinn.''
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 2, Verse 34

Iblis believed in Tauheed and still knows that Allah is one worthy of worship. But he mistook the meaning of worship as bowing to Allah only. As a matter of Fact, true worship is to do as Allah commands us to do, true worship is to bow where Allah wants us to, as also pointed out by Allama Talib Johri.

And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers.
Quran [2:34]

One rejection of Sajdah by Iblis burnt out all his previous sajdahs (for Allah). Why did it happen? Did he reject Tauheed or Allahs attributes? He merely rejected an order of Allah.

The east and the west, everything belongs to Allah.

And Allah's is the East and the West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah's purpose; surely Allah is Ample giving, Knowing.
Quran [2:115]

Every Muslim Prays Salat. He prostrates to Allah Almighty. It should not matter where you turn your face towards and then offer prayers, but it does. Because Allah himself wants us to face towards the Qiblah.

Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qiblah which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your face towards it, and those who have been given the Book most surely know that it is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not at all heedless of what they do.
Quran [2:144]

 So far we have established the fact that worshipping Allah is to do as Allah tells us to do.

Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.
Quran [3:32]

And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and goes beyond His limits, He will cause him to enter fire to abide in it, and he shall have an abasing chastisement.
Quran [4:14]

I swear by the star when it goes down. Your companion does not err, nor does he (Muhammad) go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed, The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him, The Lord of Strength; so he attained completion;
Quran [53:1-6]

So if we have to worship, we have to do as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) tell us to do, because he says nothing out of his own desire, he says only which is revealed to him. Yes i am hinting towards the event of Gadeer where Imam Ali was declared a Mawla. Not to ignore the fact that he has been declared a Wali along with Allah and Prophet himself in Quran,

Only Allah is your Vali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.
Quran [5:55]

All sunni and shia scholars unanimously declare the third entity to be declared a vali as Imam Ali (AS).

It is narrated by Ammar Yasir (RA) that a beggar came to Ali and stood besides him. Ali was kneeling in prayers. Ali put out his ring and gave it to the beggar. Then Ali (AS) called on the Prophet (SAW) and gave him the news. At this occasion, this verse (5:55) was revealed.

Click below for scanned page:
The Ghadir Declaration, by Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri, pages 48-49

The question now arises why Ali and no one else? Setting aside the facts that Mawla Ali was foremost in bravery, chivalry, nobility, spirituality and knowledge. Also setting aside the fact that he was the closest to prophet Muhammad in the divine mission and had been under Prophets training since his birth for at least 36 Years.

The Messenger of Allah said: Loving Ali is the sign of belief, and hating Ali is the sign of hypocrisy.
Sahih Tirmidhi, volume 5, page 643
Sunan Ibn Majah, volume 1, page 142
Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal volume 1, pages 84,95,128
Tarikh al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih), v1, part 1, p202

Logically speaking, Lets say if you study in a college and with you also studies the son/brother of the principal of the college. In every test and exam, the principal' son/brother attains the highest marks no matter how hard you work. The teachers seem to have a different attitude towards him and they seem to favor him. When it is time to choose the head of the student body (a monitor or house captain or head boy), the teachers choose the same boy. Now no matter how deserving he might be, every other student will have a doubt inside his heart that he was chosen just because he is the principal's son or brother.

Now note the facts. Imam Ali was the first person to stand up for prophet's Mission at the feast of Banu Hashim. He was the cousin of Prophet Muhammad as well. He was given the duty to return all the belongings of the people during the Migration to Medina. He was the hero of battles of Badr, Uhud, Khaibar, Khandaq, Hunain etc. He was given the flag at khyber, the very flag about which the prophet had said and is reported by Bukhari too;

Narrated Sahl: On the day (of the battle) of Khaibar the Prophet said, "Tomorrow I will give the flag to somebody who will be given victory (by Allah) and who loves Allah and His Apostle and is loved by Allah and His Apostle." So, the people wondered all that night as to who would receive the flag and in the morning everyone hoped that he would be that person. Allah's Apostle asked, "Where is 'Ali?" He was told that 'Ali was suffering from eye-trouble, so he applied saliva to his eyes and invoked Allah to cure him. He at once got cured as if he had no ailment. The Prophet gave him the flag. 'Ali said, "Should I fight them till they become like us (i.e. Muslim)?" The Prophet said, "Go to them patiently and calmly till you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them what is enjoined upon them, for, by Allah, if Allah gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels."
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 253

Before going ahead, I must ask you that that if Prophet (SAW) prayed for victory, if he (SAW) prayed that Allah bestows victory of Khyber on any of his companion, then wouldn't his prayers get accepted? Will not any companion of Prophet (SAW) conquer Khyber through the wasila of the prayers of prophet Muhammad (SAW)? Why was then, Ali (AS) required to do the job? Maybe because the flag was not important for the victory of Khyber, for that, Rasool (SAW) himself was sufficient. The flag of Khyber was to show who loved Allah and his Rasool (SAW), and who was loved by Allah and his Rasool (SAW). Ali (AS) carried this flag, the flag of choice of Allah and his Prophet (SAW). The opponents of Ali (AS) in any battle field fought against Ali as well as this flag.

Ali was the very man who was given the hand of Prophet's daughter in marriage, the very daughter for whom the prophet had rejected many other men which included many famous Asahab as well. Ali was declared to be to him (SAW) what Aaron was to Moses. At Gadeer, Ali was declared the Mawla.

Do you see the link between the college example and this example? Believing in Mawla Ali's Vilayat and Imamat might be the ultimate test because of the doubts which arose in people's heart. People were polytheists before the advent of Prophet (SAW). Believing in One God was not a big deal (link it with the Iblees example written above). Many thought that this special attitude towards Imam Ali was because he was Prophet's brother and not because it was the revelation revealed to him. Any hints?

People had not seen God, neither his angels nor the revelations. People had not seen heaven, hell or Qayamah. People who believed in Rasool (SAW) had faith in the unseen, and this faith in the unseen would be tested, and at times historically, was shattered due to the favorable attitude Rasool (SAW) had towards his blessed family. As Yazeed (the cursed) said,

Banu Hashim staged a play for Kingdom there was no news from the skies nether was there any revelation.
Shazrah al Dhahab page 69 Dhikr Shahadth Husayn
Maqatahil Husayn Volume 2 page 58 Dhikr Shahdath Husayn

Speaking about doubts, doubts against Prophet Muhammad's decisions have existed before Gadeer as well.

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Wa'il who said: Sahal b. Hunaif stood up on the Day of Siffin and said: O ye people, blame yourselves (for want of discretion) ; we were with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the Day of Hudaibiya. If we had thought it fit to fight, we could fight. This was in the truce between the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and the polytheists. Umar b. Khattab came, approached the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, aren't we fighting for truth and they for falsehood? He replied: By all means. He asked: Are not those killed from our side in Paradise and those killed. from their side in the Fire? He replied: Yes. He said: Then why should we put a blot upon our religion and return, while Allah has not decided the issue between them and ourselves? He said: Son of Khattab, I am the Messenger of Allah. Allah will never ruin me. (The narrator said): Umar went away, but he could not contain himself with rage. So he approached Abu Bakr and said: 'Abu Bakr, aren't we fighting for truth and they for falsehood? He replied: Yes. He asked: Aren't those killed from our side in Paradise and those killed from their side in the Fire? He replied: Why not? He (then) said: Why should we then disgrace our religion and return while God has not yet decided the issue between them and ourselves? Abu Bakr said: Son of Khattab, verily, he is the Messenger of Allah, and Allah will never ruin him. (The narrator continued): At this (a Sura of) the Qur'an (giving glad tidings of the victory) was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He sent for Umar and made him read it. He asked: Is (this truce) a victory? He (the Messenger of Allah) replied: Yes. At this Umar was pleased, and returned.
Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4405

So Imam Ali could well be the difference between doubts. Doubting the Prophet (about his special attitude towards Imam Ali) could be Doubting everything he brought.

Imam Ali could infact be the difference between believing and hypocrisy, as the Prophet (SAW) himself stated so in one of the hadith above. Just like refusing to prostrate to Adam made Azazul the Iblees, refusing to accpet Ali as an Imam, Mawla and hating Ali can make one a disbeliever.

Because if i blame Prophet (SAW) for showing biasness and giving Preferential treatment to Imam Ali (AS), then i am blaming Prophet (SAW) for not acting like a Prophet at all, i am denying the Quran that what ever the Prophet (SAW) does is not out of his own will. Read Muhammad of The Quran to know more about the level of obedience required.

Similarly, those who hate Ali (AS) are hating the Prophet himself because Imam Ali was the nafsur Rasool (at Mubahila), the man who is included in the Ahlulbayt and the Verse of Purity, was taken to Mubahila and for whom our love is a sign of faith.

For those who do not know, Right from the commencement of his mission to the last moment of his departure from this world, the Holy Prophet called only Ali on all important occasions.

  • He called the ten year old Ali at the time of making known his mission.
  • At the time of inviting his tribe to the worship of one Allah, it was the thirteen year old Ali who gave answer to the call of the last prophet of Allah. As the feast of the Banu Hashim goes narrated by Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS):
     

    Apostle said, o sons of Abdul Mutalib, i have known no Arab who has come to his people with a nobler message than mine. I have brought you the best of this world
    and the next. God has ordered me to call you to him. So which of you will cooperate with me in this matter, my brother, my executor, and my successor being among you? The men remained silent and I (Ali), though the youngest, most rheumy eyed, fattest in body and thinnest in legs said, o prophet of god, I (Ali) will be your helper in this matter. He (SAW) laid hand on the back of my neck and said, this is my brother, my executor and my successor amongst you. Hearken to him and obey him. The men got up laughing and saying Abu Talib, he has ordered you to listen to your son and obey him.
    Life of Muhammad, a translation of Ibn Ishaqs Sirat Rasul Allah, A.Guillaume, pg 118

  • At the time of migration from Makka to Madina, he called Ali and asked him to lie down on his bed to face his enemies, who had planned to kill him during that night, and Ali wholeheartedly agreed to give his life to save the messenger of Allah.
  • It was Ali, who was designated, as his executor of will, to return the deposits entrusted by the residents of Makka to the al-amin prophet after the Holy Prophet migrated to Madina.
  • In the battle of Badr, Ali was asked by him to fight and repulse the hordes of enemy soldiers when many of his companions were quietly watching the fighting from a safe distance.
  • In the battle of Uhad, when the enemy had an upper hand and the danger to the Holy Prophet's life was imminent, because all his companions had run away from the battlefield and disappeared, it was Ali who stood by the Holy Prophet and brought to naught all the plans of the enemy.
  • In the battle of Khundaq, Ali was called, as the embodiment of faith to fight against the incarnation of disbelief, Amr bin Abdwud, to win victory for the disheartened Muslims.
  • In Khaybar, when all the companions of the Holy Prophet tried and failed to subdue the enemy, Ali was called to come to the rescue of the deficient and depressed Muslims and conquer the fort of Khaybar single-handedly.
  • At the time of going to Tabuk, the Holy Prophet designated Ali, as his vicegerent, to take charge of the affairs in Madina, saying that Ali was to him as Harun was to Musa.
  • Ali was called to preach the verses of al Barat which contain complete disassociation from idolatry, because only he or the Holy Prophet, according to the command of Allah, were competent to convey them to the people (on account of exact similarity or equality between the two). So Ali went to Makka and relieved Abu Bakr who had earlier been sent to do this job.

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported a narration from Abu Ja`far Muhammad bin `Ali bin Al-Husayn who said, "When Bara'ah was revealed to Allah's Messenger , and he had sent Abu Bakr to oversee the Hajj rites for the people, he was asked, `O Messenger of Allah! Why not send this message to Abu Bakr' So he (SAW) said, (It will not be accepted to have been from me if it is not from a man from my family.) Then he called for `Ali and said to him, (Take this section from the beginning of Bara'ah and proclaim to the people on the day of the Sacrifice while they are gathered at Mina that no disbeliever will enter Paradise, no idolator will be permitted to perform Hajj after the year, there will be no Tawaf while naked, and whoever has a covenant with Allah's Messenger, then it shall be valid until the time of its expiration.) `Ali rode the camel of Allah's Messenger named Al-`Adba' until he caught up with Abu Bakr in route......
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 9, Verse 3

  • The Purge of the Symbols from the Walls of the Kaaba was significant in that the Holy Prophet made Ali his partner in their effacement. The Prophetís move in making Ali stand on his shoulders with the seal of prophet-hood under his feet, was intended to convey to the people around and to show the world that he had designated Ali as his partner and Successor in the very House of God.
  • The Final declaration at Ghadir-E-Khum confirmed finally what had been formerly pointed out time and again.

So you tell me! Why Ali? Was the Prophet (SAW) preferring Ali (AS) over others because he was his cousin and son in law? Or was the calling of Ali on important occasions a divine commandment of Allah? If you say the Prophet (SAW) was biased, then welcome to the army of Iblis. If you say that Ali (AS) was special, then you are a shia. And after reading about the merits of Ali (AS) in historical events as well as inclusion in important Quranic ayats, you believe that Ali (AS) was not special, then you lack intellect.

Anyhow there were several reasons why there was a general hate towards Imam Ali from the people contrary to the Quranic and Prophetic orders.

  1. Imam Ali was the undisputed Muslim hero; the war champion, Haider e Qarar (who doesnít run away from battles), Shah e Mardan (king of men), Sher e Yazdaan (Lion of yazdan), Kuwat e parvardigaar (strength of Almighty himself), la fata (unconquerable). He killed many pagans and infidels during various gazwas. Before conquest of Mecca, there were only 10,000 Muslims, but after the fall of Mecca, the number rose to 120,000. People who rejected Islam for 23 years converted overnight. Most of their pagan brothers, fathers, husbands, sons were killed by Imam Ali during anti-Islamic wars. They didnít forget their loved ones and naturally hated their killer, Imam Ali.
  2. Imam Aliís excellence exceeded everyone elseís, his qualities remained unshared. Jealousy amongst the Arabs was common. Most of the people around him were jealous of him and the preferred treatment he used to received from Prophet (SAW).
  3. Imam Ali was Prophet Muhammadís ultimate first choice in all fields. The flag carrier, cousin, son in law, war hero, even a successor. Muslims didnít wanted prophethood and Imamat to remain in one family. They started to oppose imam Ali. It is natural too that if a student in a university is a close relative of the chancellor, and this student is preferred by all teachers, made the head of council and gains the highest marks and excels in sports (deservedly), people will still doubt the ability of the student and the honesty of the chancellor considering their relationship. Same was the issue with Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali.
  4. Imam Ali was the head of spirituality after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He thought (and the shias) that caliphate was his first and foremost right as well but he remained silent as people denied him his place. After Uthman's murder he was given an oath of allegiance by everyone and was forced to rise up to the occasion and take control of the political house of Caliphate. As he was also the Imam of time and a staunch protector of Quran and Prophet's Shariah, it was his first and foremost duty to hold accountability of everyone who was in authority. He didn't see who he was dealing with as the laws of God were foremost, corruption caused by Mawiya caught his eye and Imam Ali's plan to remove him led to Mawiya's rebellion against Imam Ali and resulted in the battle of Siffin. Mawiya started a propaganda against Imam Ali in Syria and started to abuse him from the pulpit. The propaganda was so severe and successful that when Imam Ali was stabbed on his neck in the mosque and the news spread to Syria, people were shocked and wondered what was a man like Ali doing in a mosque (they believed Ali had nothing to do with mosques). The trend of hatred began..
  5. Linked with point 4, when Quran was raised on Spears in Siffin, Imam Ali's own men threatened him to stop the battle or they will unsheathe their swords against the Imam. A group later on broke away known as the Kharjites, planned against Imam Ali and also fought the battle of Nahrwan later on. No more than 10 survived the battle and their existence till the end of times has been foretold by the Imam himself.
  6. Loving Ali is a sign of belief and hating him reflects the wickedness of a person, as the Prophet (SAW) himself declared. I guess the amount of believers have been far lesser than those of the hypocrites and disbelievers everytime. That is why we see more people having grudge against him rather than loving him and pledging loyalty to him.

It is narrated from Ubaiullah bin Abdullah that he heard from Ali (AS) saying "I (Ali) am the slave of Allah and brother of his Prophet (SAW) and I am the siddique al Akbar (the greatest friend of Muhammad (SAW)). Whoever claims this for himself after me is a liar. I have prayed Salat with Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for seven years before anyone else prayed".
  
Click below for scanned page:
Tareekh e Tabari, Volume 2, page 65

Is it our fault if the mentioning of Ali (AS) brings a smile to our face? We are only following the strict orders of Rasool (SAW). Hub e Ali Rehmat Allah Bughz e Ali Lanat Allah (Mercy of Allah be on the love of Ali, and curse of Allah be on the hate of Ali), this slogan has been given to us when the Prophet (SAW) himself said;

The Messenger of Allah said: Loving Ali is the sign of belief, and hating Ali is the sign of hypocrisy.
Sahih Tirmidhi, volume 5, page 643
Sunan Ibn Majah, volume 1, page 142
Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal volume 1, pages 84,95,128
Tarikh al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih), v1, part 1, p202

Verily Allah loves the believers and curses the hypocrites. However you interpret love and hate as, one thing is confirmed. A believer can never dislike Ali (AS), and a hypocrite will never love him.

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