By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan RimlawiGod says in His Glorious Book: “There are those among people who give their lives to seek God’s pleasure. God is affectionate to His servants”.
Quranic exegesis explains that it is Imam Ali whom this verse talks about. He is also one of Allah’s arguments that ought to convince people, since; he is the greatest Islamic personality second only to the Messenger and was loved by him.
Ali (a.s.) gave Islam all his life and has lived throughout in Allah’s houses. He is the only one born in Kaaba. His life was always associated with prayers with the Messenger, He used to say: “O God, I was the first to hear the call and the first to answer.
Nobody has performed prayers before me except Allah’s Messenger. He was the first to pray with the Messenger when he was a child even before the Prophet was ordered to start his mission.
He used to live with Muhammad and acquire all his morals and spirituality to the extent his personal traits became that of the Messenger.
He also used to be taught by the Prophet all fields of knowledge until he became the door of the city of knowledge, as the Prophet said: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its door”. He also never said anything that was not truthful, to the extent the Messenger gave him this medal: “Ali is with the truth and the truth is with Ali, it goes with him wherever he goes”. He was also the Mujahid who took part in all the Messenger’s battles and was a vital force in achieving victory in all of them. It is said that in the battle of Bader, Ali killed half of the unbelievers that were killed in this battle although he had not had any practice on how to use the sword.
In the battle of Al-Khandaq, the Messenger (p.) said when Ali went down to the arena to fight Amr Bin Wid Al-Ameri: “Belief as a whole is going to fight unbelief in its entirety.”
Thus, Ali was the first among Muslims second only to the Messenger. Therefore it was his right to become the ruler after him. The Messenger himself declared that whoever believes that he has authority on; then Ali has the same authority on him too. Moreover, he was so purified that he did not commit any sins or wrong deeds. For Ali’s infallibility was not just an ordinary one, but rather one of the highest degree. Thus when we remember Ali (a.s.) on the anniversary of his martyrdom, we remember this Islamic unique personality that has reached the highest levelly of perfection in moral behavior, knowledge, spirituality and fighting for the cause of Allah.
As we are going to see, Imam Ali’s will that was dictated when he was in severe pain as a result of the fatal wound inflicted by the fanatic Abdulrahman Bin Malijam, was not a will of one he is giving his money or property to, but rather a will for all Muslims. He addressed his will to his two sons Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein (a.s.), because they would be left in change of Muslim affairs after him, but the will was also addressed to all his children as well as all who will read it.
Thus, whoever reads this will, bears the responsibility of executing it.
The will says:“I advise you to fear Allah and obey his commands, for this is the meaning of piety that leads to Heaven. Do not go after this vicious world thought it may try to entice you, do not seek it through it might seek you. One should not compromise his principles and his belief for anything in this world, “and do no give force for anything which the world refuse you -for this world is not infinite and in it you gain some and you win some, you should not be all allured by its wins or frustrated and depressed by its losses, for the Hereafter is the world that lasts.
Let the eternal reward and Blessings of Allah be the prompting factors for all you say and do. Be an enemy of tyrants and oppressors, and be a friend and helper of those who are oppressed and tyrannized” regardless of who the oppressors and the oppressed are”.
Then the Imam moves to the social aspect, the one relating to the welfare of the community and the nation as a whole.
“To you, to my other children and to all who acquire this: fear Allah and be pious, and be honest and fair when dealing with one another.Give each man his right, and be the organized society in which each man knows his role and position.
If everybody in the community leaves himself to be led by his desires, the nation will definitely fail in pursuing its causes, “and improve mutual relations because I have heard your grandfather, the Holy Prophet(p.)saying, “To remove mutual enmity, ill-feeling and hatred is better than recommended prayers and fasting”.
For enmity could devastate the society and harm Islam and Muslims. Fear Allah when the question of helpless orphans arises. You should never let them starve. So long as you are there to guard and protect them they should not be ruined or lost.
In this part of his will, the Imam is clearly telling us that the orphans are the responsibility of the society that should look after them as each of you looks after his own children.
They should not be left to their fate, lest they will deviate and may even find their way to become criminals.
Fear Allah in respect to your neighbors. The Holy Prophet (p.) had always advised, cautioned and reminded us of this responsibility, so much so that we often thought that the Prophet of Allah(p.) might on the next occasion assign them a share from our heritage”.
For Allah wanted us to be tolerant and endure any harm they might cause us. “Fear Allah in respect of the Holly Qura’n, lest others should excel and surpass you in following its tents and in acting according to its orders, Fear Allah so far as prayers are concerned because prayers are pillars of your faith.” Prayers are the pillars of our faith if they are accepted, other religious duties will be accepted, but if it were rejected they too would be rejected. Prayer also removes sins.
Allah in the matter of His Holy House(Kaa’ba); let it not be deserted because if it is deserted, you will be lost.
Do not forget Allah, struggle in His cause with your tongue, with your wealth and with your lives.
Develop mutual liking, friendship and love and help one another. Take care that you do not spurn and treat one another badly and unsympathetically.
Exhort people to do good and abstain them from evil, otherwise the vicious and the wicked will be your overlord and if you willingly allow such persons to be your rulers then your prayers will not be heard by Allah.
Be the community in which you watch one another, if you abstain from exhorting to do good and forbidding evil, it will be reflected on your rulers who will turn corrupt and disloyal to the covenant they made with Allah.
Even when Imam Ali (a.s.) talked to his clan it is only to prevent them from doing wrong. Since his clan is responsible to punish those who killed him; “whose is slain wrongly, we have given power unto his her, but let him not commit excess in slaying” the Imam wants them to abide by Allah’s Shariah on his own murder, without any a vengeful tribal acts like those dominant in our communities.
“O sons of Abdul Muttalib! Let there be no retaliation for the act of my murder, do not roam about with a drawn sword and with the slogan: “Amir Al-Mumimin is killed”, and do not start the massacre of my opponents and enemies. There are no class privileges in murder; only the murderer is killed regardless of his social or political level. See to it that only one man, that is my assassin, is killed, as the punishment of the crime of murder is death and nobody else is molested. The punishment to the man who attempted the Murder shall take place only when I die of the wound delivered by him and this punishment shall be only one stroke of sword to end his life. He should not be tortured before his death; his hands and feet should not be amputated because I have heard the Holy Prophet(p.) saying: “Do not amputate hands and feet of anybody, be it a biting dog”.
Thus the Imam, who is always great, even regarding issues where others act in a worldly manners. He is the patient who endured all kinds of pains, and he is the joy of living with God and loving God and loving God. Is not he the one who said that you cannot live the way I do for I want nothing from this world and added: I want you only to help me by piety, advise, chastity and perseverance.
This is Ali’s will that you have to abide by… Are you going you abide by it? For “he that alters the will after hearing it shall by accountable for his crime”.
May peace be on him the day he was born, the day he was martyred and the day he will be brought back to life.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.