BORN within the precincts of the Holy Kaaba, in Mecca on Friday, the 13th Rajab, 30 Amulfeel, to Hazrat Abu Talib and Hazrat Fatima bint-e- Asad. Such is the status of this personality for whom the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said “ Ali is to me what Aaron was to Moses”. Hazrat Ali has thus had the unique honor to be born in the House of God. Hazrat Ali ibn Abu Talib was one of prophet’s PBUH trusted companions and part of Ahl ul Bayt. Amongst the Muslim ummah he is revered as the fourth caliph of Islam. When Holy Prophet (PBUH) reported that he had received a divine revelation, Ali, then only about ten years old, believed him and professed to Islam. According to Ibn Ishaq, Hazrat Ali was the first male to enter Islam.
When Hazrat Ali was about five years of age, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) took him away from his uncle Abu Talib to bring him up as his own child. Thus from his earliest days, Hazrat Ali came directly under the tutelage of the Apostle of God, to share his high ethics and morals. Hazrat Ali was ever ready to run the risk of his own life for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) at times of danger and he was affectionately attached to him with un-swerving faithfulness. The cousins were so fond of each other that they lived together till death parted them. As Hazrat Ali says: The Holy Prophet brought me up in his own arms and fed me with his own morsel. I followed him wherever he went, like a baby camel which follows its mother. Each day an aspect of his character would beam out of his noble soul and I would accept it and follow it as a command.
Ten years in the company of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had kept him so close and inseparable that he was one with him in character, knowledge, self sacrifice, forbearance, bravery, kindness, generosity, oratory and eloquence. From his very infancy, he prostrated himself before God along with the Holy Prophet, as he himself said “I was the first to pray to God along with the Holy Prophet”. Hazrat Ali lived a simple life. He refused any luxury food and wore simple clothes thinking of the poor. He would sleep on the ground and even sit on the floor. He repaired his own clothes and shoes and even did manual labour. He spent nights in Salaah and would fast for three days in a row. Honesty, piety, justice and love of truth were the main marks of his character.
In 623 A.H. Holy Prophet (PBUH) told Hazrat Ali that he had chosen him to give his daughter Fatimah Zahra’s hand in marriage. Holy Prophet (PBUH) said to Fatimah: “I have married you to the dearest of my family to me”. He was a model of simplicity and self-denial. He led a simple life from the cradle to the grave, and was a true representative of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He had neither a servant nor a maid when Syeda Fatimah, the most beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was married to him. She would grind corn with her own hands. Purity of motives and selflessness were the keynote of his life. He was a wise counsellor, a true friend and a generous foe.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) designated Hazrat Ali as one of the scribes who would write down the text of the Qur’an, which had been revealed to Holy Prophet (PBUH) during the previous two decades. As Islam began to spread throughout Arabia, Ali Ibne Abu Talib helped establish the new Islamic order. He was instructed to write down the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, the peace treaty between the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Quraysh in 628. Hazrat Ali was a reliable and trustworthy aide whom the Prophet (PBUH) asked to carry the message and declare the orders. He did not leave his simplicity even though he was the Khalifah and the ruler of a vast state. Once a person named ‘Abdullah Ibn Zarir had an opportunity to take meals with him. The meal was very simple. ‘Abdullah asked, “O Amirul Mu’minin, don’t you like the meat of birds?” Hazrat Ali replied, “The Khalifah has a right in Muslim (Public) property only to the extent sufficient for him and his family.”
The death of “the lion of God” occurred before dawn of Friday, the twenty-first of the month of Ramazan, in the year 40A.H. He was a victim of the sword. Ibn Muljam al-Muradi, killed him at the mosque of Kufa, which he had come out to in order to wake the people for the dawn prayer on the night of the nineteenth of the month of Ramazan. He lingered through the day of the nineteenth and the night and day of the twentieth and the first third of the night of the twenty-first. Subsequently he died a martyr and met his Lord. Addressing Hasan and Hussain, he said, proclaim the truth; work for the next world. Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed. I advise you, and all my children, my relatives, and whosoever receives this message, to be conscious of Allah, to remove your differences, and to strengthen your ties. I heard your grand father (PBUH) saying: “Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting.”
He was born in the House of Allah, the Kaaba, and martyred in the House of Allah, Masjid-e-Kufa. The Lion of Allah, the most brave and gentle Muslim after the Prophet (PBUH) himself began his glorious life with devotion to Allah and His Messenger; and ended it in the service of Islam. “And do not speak of those who are slain in the way of Allah as dead; nay, they are alive, but you perceive not.” Quran 2:154. Hazrat Ali is the epitome of piety and chastity. Perseverance, patience and a vast knowledge base are amongst some of the virtues he possessed. Indeed he is one of the most comprehensive personalities to serve as an example for the Muslim Ummah to follow.
— The writer is a senior banker with interest in Religion.