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Who is the first Imam?

Date: 27/02/2014 A.D 27/04/1435 H

Edited by: Bayynat editor

It was Friday 13th of Rajab 30, Lady Fatima bint Asad, the wife of Abu Talib entered the precincts of the Kaaba and prayed to Allah saying “O my protector, ease my pain”. All of a sudden the wall of the Kaaba opened up and she, as if by some unseen force went inside the Kaaba and the wall closed.

Ali entered the house of Muhammad from the very first day of his birth. Ali’s mother Fatima bint Assad also lived there and looked after his own son as well as Muhammad (p.) so much so that later the Holy Prophet used to say that she was like his own mother.

It was after the adoption of Ali (a.s.) that he lived with the Holy Prophet (p.) in his house.

Wherever Muhammad (p.) went Ali (a.s.) was with him all the time. Even in the Mountain of Hira when Muhammad (p.)went for meditation Ali (a.s.) went with him most of the time. Sometimes they stayed on the mountain for 3 or 4 days. Sometimes Ali (a.s.) took his food there. In Nahjul Balagha, Ali(a.s.) said that “I used to go with the Holy Prophet (p.) like the baby camel goes with its mother.”

The three people seen in prayers in the Kaaba were Muhammad, Khadija and Ali before anyone else accepted Islam. For 3 years, young and poor people of Mecca were accepting Islam secretly. The first open declaration came when the Quranic verse tells the Prophet to “come out openly and warn the people of your own clan.”

Invitations were sent to leaders of the Banu Hashim to come to the house of Muhammad (p.)for dinner. Forty of them came, ate food and then heard Muhammad (p.)about his mission of “No god but Allah and Muhammad (p.) is the messenger of Allah” and whoever offers his help to propagate this religion will be his deputy and successor.

No one stood up except Ali (a.s.). After announcing this 3 times Muhammad (p.) declared that Ali (a.s.) will be his deputy to his mission and will be his successor after him.

On several occasions, we see Ali (a.s.) protecting Muhammad (p.) from the abuses of the enemies of Islam. When Muhammad (p.) went to Taif, a nearby town, to preach Islam children of Taif hurled stones and it was Ali (a.s.) who protected the Prophet(p.) and drove the stone throwing children away from the Prophet.

As a youth, Ali (a.s.) was strongly built, strong arms, wide chest and a very strong brave and shining face. Children of his age and even older than him were frightened of him and whenever they tried to mock the Prophet, they always ran away when they saw Ali (a.s.) standing by for protection.

Time passed and hostility of the Quraish increased so much so that Muhammad (p.) was ordered by Allah to leave Mecca. Ali (a.s.) slept on Muhammad’s bed without hesitation and when the infidels entered the house of Muhammad (p.) to kill, they found Ali (a.s.) who was not afraid at all at the sight of 40 swordsmen breaking into the house.

Three months after the Prophet (p.) settled in Medina, the marriage between Ali and Fatima (a.s.) was celebrated. This was most happy and celebrated marriage. The distinctiveness of their respective characters blended so well with each other that they never quarreled and complained of one another and led a happy and most contended life.

Materially the couple did not possess much, but spiritually they were at the highest level of assent. They had no worries if they go hungry or their clothes had patches. They would be more concerned if an orphan goes away from their door without receiving any food.

Ali was kind, sympathetic, responsive, and warmhearted person, qualities quite contrary to the other phase of his character and more suited to pious and God fearing people.Ali’s bravery and piety both became legendry. Life in Medina while the Holy Prophet was alive was the busiest for Ali. But he remembers these times as the best times of his life. He says in NahjulBalagha: “Life with my brother was a life of ease and happiness.”

The battles of Badr, Ohud, Khandaq and Khyber were fought in the defense if Islam and won on the hands of Ali (a.s.). He was not only the standard bearer of the flag of Islam in these battles, but always led the forces of Islam against infidelity and came out victorious. Khyber was the climax of these battles when Ali’s victory brought prosperity in the Muslim ranks.

Here are a few selected quotes by Imam Ali(a.s.) from NahjulBalagha:

- He who adopts greed as a habit devalues himself, he who discloses his hardship agrees to humiliation, and he who allows his tongue to overpower his Nafs (conscience) debases the Nafs.

- Knowledge is a venerable estate, good manners are new dresses and thinking is a clear mirror.

- Charity is an effective cure, and actions of people in their present life will be before their eyes in the next life.

- Meet people in such a manner that if you die they should weep for you and if you live they should long for you.

- Keep walking in your sickness as long as you can.

-A simple cure through exercise and ignoring the sickness as much as possible

- Faith stands on four supports: on endurance, conviction, justice and Jihad.

- The tongue of the wiseman is behind his heart and the heart of the fool is behind his tongue.

- Even if I strike the nose of a believer with this sword for hating me, he will not hate me, and even if I pile all the wealth of the world before a hypocrite for loving me he will not love. This is because it is pronounced by the tongue of the beloved Prophet: O’Ali, a believer will never hate you and a hypocrite (Muslim) will never love you.

- There is no wealth like wisdom, no destitution like ignorance, no inheritance like refinement and no support like consultation.

- The people of the world are like travelers who are being carried while asleep.

- Do not feel ashamed for giving little, because refusal is smaller than that.

- The perfect jurist of Islam is he who does not let people lose hope from the mercy of Allah, does not make him despondent of Allah’s kindness and does not make him feel safe from Allah’s punishment.

- Two categories of people will face ruin on account of me; he who loves me with exaggeration and he who hates me intensely.

- Protect your belief by charity; guard your wealth by paying Allah’s share, and ward off the waves of calamity by praying.

- Beware of disobeying Allah in solitude, for the witness is also the judge.

The famous French historian and Orientalist Gabriel Enkiri writes in his famous book ‘Le chevalier de l’Islam’:“In the extremely superfine, grand and noble character of Ali, there were two traits which, it is difficult to believe that can be united in one man.

Besides Ali, history cannot show any other man who has displayed these two qualities at one and the same time, and each one, in such a marked way that none can surpass him.

He was the greatest marshal of his time. In addition, he was the wisest man who could explain and expound religion, philosophy, science, sociology and ethics, in a style which was not and which cannot be improved; what is more, he was such a great speaker that his speeches enchant you even fourteen centuries after his death”.

Source: www.al-Islam.org.

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