In the year 35 Hijri after the shahaadat of Hadhrat Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) the reigns of the khilaafat were taken up by Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah). Since he is the external dimension of Rasulullah’s spiritual munificence (faidh) in the Chishtiyyah Chains, discussion on him is of pivotal importance.
His name is Ali and his nicknames were Abu Turab and Abul Hasan. His title is Asadullah (The Lion of Allah). The following is his ancestral tree:
Ali the son of Abi Talib, the son of Abdul Muttalib, the son of Hashim, the son of Abd Manaf. His lineage links up with Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) in the third ancestral generation, i.e. Abdul Muttalib. It is indeed a wonderful coincidence that the one furthest in ancestral ties (i.e. Abu Bakr) was the closest regarding Khilaafate and the one whose ancestry was closest (i.e. to Nabi-e-Akram) was furthest in the matter of the Khilaafate.
According to Hafiz Bin Hajr who wrote in Isabah, the correct view is that he was born ten years prior to Nubuwwat. He was in fact brought up in the lap of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). He therefore enjoyed an exceptionally high degree of resemblance, close relationship and affinity with the morals, habits and attitudes of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). All agree that Hadhrat Ali is among those fortunate ones who was blessed with Islam since childhood. However there are differences regarding the age when he had accepted Islam. There are three versions, viz. 8, 9 and 10 years. He would say:
“I commenced Salaat seven years before others.”
According to Hadhrat Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) there is no other Sahaabi whose excellences and virtues are narrated in such abundance as those of Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah). It is the view of some Masha-ikh that on account of the hatred for Hadhrat Ali during the era of Banu Umayyah, the Ulama-e-Haqq would make it a point to profusely narrate his excellence in a bid to counter and refute the opposition. Imaam Nisai and others have in fact complied treatises on the excellences and virtues of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu).
Courage, bravery and dare in the battlefield are among his special qualities while his special occupation was the dissemination of Uloom-e-Zaahiriyyah and Uloom-e-Baatiniyyah.
During the Battle of Khaibar, he received the honour of Hubbullah (Love of Allah) and Hubbur Rasool (Love of the Rasool) from Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) said: “Tomorrow the flag will be given to the one who loves Allah and His Rasool and Allah and His Rasool too love him.”
Inspite of Hadhrat Ali’s eyes paining, Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) handed him the flag. He rubbed his mubaarak saliva on Hadhrat Ali’s eyes and the pain miraculously disappeared.
The fear which overwhelmed him in his acts of Ibaadat and obedience was unique. Numerous episodes of this kind are narrated of Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah) in the books of history. When it was time for Salaat his body would shiver and his face would become pale. When asked about this state, he said:
“It is the time for the execution of that trust (Amaanat) which the heavens, the earth and mountains were unable to bear when Allah Ta’ala presented it to them. But I have accepted to bear this responsibility.”
Kumail narrates that once he accompanied Hadhrat Ali to the qabrustaan. Turning his attention to one grave he said:
“O inmate of the grave! O decomposed one! O one of fear and solitude! What is your condition? It is in our knowledge that your wealth has already been distributed. Children have been rendered orphans and wives have married other husbands. This is what we know. Now inform us of your condition.”
He then turned to Hadhrat Kumail and said:
“If he (inmate of the grave) had permission to speak, he would have said:
‘The best provision is taqwa.’ ”
So saying, Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah) broke down crying and said:
“O Kumail! The grave is a container of deeds. At the time of maut one will become aware of one’s deeds and misdeeds.”
Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah) was appointed the Khailfah in the year 35 Hijri. He occupied this post for five years minus three days. On 18th Ramadhaan in the year 40 Hijri, Abdur Rahman Ibn Muljim martyred him in Kufa.
After the Battle of Nahrwaan, three members of the Khaarji sect gathered in Makkah Muazzamah. They were Abdur Rahman Bin Muljim, Amr Bin Bukair and Bark Bin Abdullah. These three evil elements plotted to kill Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah), Hadhrat Muawiyah Bin Sufyan (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hadhrat Amr Bin ‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu). Ibn Muljim undertook to kill Hadhrat Ali. Amr Bin Bukair agreed to assassinate Hadhrat Amr Bin ‘Aas and Bark assumed the task of killing Hadhrat Muawiyyah. Ibn Muljim succeeded in his evil plot thereby coming within the scope of the aayat:
“He has lost this world and the Aakhirah.”
The other two failed in their evil missions.
Hadhrat Ali’s practise was to proceed very early to the Musjid. On the way to the Musjid he would arouse sleepers by announcing: ‘As-Salaah! As-Salaah!’ One night Ibn Muljim hid himself along the road leading to the Musjid. As Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah) passed near to him, Ibn Muljim struck his forehead with his sword which penetrated Hadhrat Ali’s brain. His beard was drenched with blood. People having witnessed the attack rushed forward and arrested Ibn Muljim. Hadhrat Ali forbade them from killing him. However, he issued the following instruction: Should I survive, I shall do with him as I please. If I die, strike him a single blow as he had done to me. After Hadhrat Ali’s death, Ibn Muljim was executed.
Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) had already predicted this evil event. Once he said to Hadhrat Ali:
“O Ali! Among the former Ummats the vilest man was the one who had cut the legs of Nabi Salih’s camel. The vilest man of later times will be the one who will colour your beard red with your own blood.”
1) Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah) said:
“Several days would pass without us having anything to eat nor would Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) have anything.
I was walking along the road when I saw a dinar laying on the ground. I was uncertain whether to pick it up or leave it. Finally I picked it up because we were in dire straits of want. I brought some flour and presented it to Fatimah, telling her to bake some bread. She began to knee the dough. Her weakness was so much that the hair from her forehead was drooping into the basin. Finally, she baked the bread. I went to Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) and explained this incident to him. He said:
“Eat it, for it is rizq which Allah has bestowed to you.”
2) Hadhrat Qais Bin Abi Hatim narrates that Hadhrat Ali said:
“If there is taqwa, no act is insignificant. How can an accepted deed be insignificant?”
3) He would say:
“Whoever is contented with the taqdeer (decree) of Allah will be rewarded for his contentment even though the decree will come to pass (as Allah Ta’ala wills whether one is pleased or displeased). Whoever is discontented with Allah’s taqdeer, his deeds will be destroyed (go unrewarded) while his discontent will not change taqdeer.”
(It is, therefore, futile to be displeased. Man’s displeasure or pleasure cannot change Allah’s Decrees. But, Man’s contentment will be rewarded and his discontent punished although such discontent cannot change taqdeer – Translator).
4) Hadhrat Ali said:
“The world is carrion and its lovers are dogs. Whoever loves to take anything from this world, should therefore associate with dogs.”
Explaining this statement, Allamah Sha’rani (rahmatullah alayh) said that the meaning of the world in this context is a reference to things in excess of needs.
5) Hadhrat Ali (karramallahu wajhah) narrates:
“Once Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) emphasised to me:
‘O Ali! Regarding you, two groups will be destroyed. The one group will be those who will become extreme and fanatical in your love and they will praise you for such things which are not in you. The other group will be those who will harbour malice for you. On account of their malice they will slander you.”
[Masha’ikh-e-Chisht, Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Zakariya (r.a.)]