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Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Published on 22nd September, 2002

The Life of Imam Ali ('a) - The First Holy Immaculate Imam

By Imam Reza.net


Imam Ali ('a), the First Muslim, an intimate associate of the Holy Prophet of Islam ('s) in the life and holy Islamic mission, the Greatest Guardian of Islam, the Immediate Successor to the Holy Prophet of Islam ('s) and the First Holy Immaculate Imam of the Shi'ites in the World, Imam Ali ibn Abu Taleb ('a) was born inside the Holy Kaaba at Mecca on Friday, the 13th day of Rajab, 600 A.D. It is an undisputed fact that Imam Ali ('a) was born a Muslim.

Regarding divine right of Imam Ali ('a) the Holy Prophet of Islam ('s) declared:

"Whomsoever I have authority over, Ali ('a) has also authority over him,
O Allah! befriend whoever befriend him and be hostile to whosoever is hostile to him".

Ali ('a): The Unique and Magnificent

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Some of famous sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam ('s) regarding the uniqueness and magnificence of Imam Ali ('a) as recorded in all the authentic Sunni and Shi'ite sources:

  • "I am the city of knowledge and Ali ('a) is the gate."

  • "Ali ('a) is with truth and truth is with Ali ('a). They will never separate until they join at the Pool of Kawthar in the Hereafter"

  • "Every prophet has a vicegerent and inheritor and Ali ('a) is my vicegerent and inheritor."

  • "You [Ali ('a)] are to me as Aaron unto Moses, only there is no prophet after me."

  • "Only the faithful believer will love you and only hypocrites will hate you."

Birth of Ali ('a) in the Holy Kaaba

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Imam Ali ('a) was born in the Holy Kaaba at Mecca on Friday, the 13th day of Rajab, 600 A.D. Both the Holy Prophet ('s) and Imam Ali ('a) belonged to the same clan. They were Hashimites, the clan of Bani Hashim. Muhammad's ('s) father was Abdullah, and that of Imam Ali ('a), Abu Talib. They were brothers and their father was Abdul Muttalib. Thus the Holy Prophet ('s) and Imam Ali ('a) were cousins. Imam Ali ('a) had two brothers, Ja'far and Aquil.

Imam Ali's mother Fatima, was the daughter of Asad, a famous magnate of the Quraish clan. She was also the Aunt of the Holy Prophet, being the wife of Abu Talib, the Prophet's paternal uncle. When she was pregnant, she promised Muhammad ('s) to make over to him whatever child was born to her, be it male or female. Muhammad ('s), brought forth, gladly accepted the offer.

Ali's holy personality began its wonderful manifestation even during the period of his mother's pregnancy. At that time, Muhammad ('s) had not yet announced his prophethood, and yet when he passed before Fatima, who being his aunt was senior to him, she used to stand up in reverence and respect for him, and something within her never allowed her to turn her face away from Muhammad ('s) as long as he was around. When people asked her about this peculiar behaviour of hers, she would say that she could not help it, that some irresistible urge from within made her do so.

This statement was disbelieved by those who wished to test her. So one day they made her sit and they asked two strong men to hold her down when Muhammad ('s) passed by. Then they asked Muhammad ('s) if he would walk in front of her, to which he gladly agreed. As he came in front of her, Fatima began to rise and she stood erect throwing both men aside. Muhammad ('s) who alone was aware of this mystery, used to smile.

The Holy Prophet ('s) was keenly awaiting the birth of his cousin Ali ('a). During her pregnancy whenever Fatima was alone, she heard from within her a mysterious whisper which was to the glorification of God.

History of The Holy Kaaba

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The Kaaba. Photo credit. S.AbidinTo understand the significance and importance of his place of birth, it is essential to know a little of the history of the Kaaba. The first House of God was rebuilt and renovated at the command of Allah by the Prophet Abraham assisted by his worthy successor, his son Ismail, under the supervision and guidance of the Angel Gabriel. 

The verses of the Holy Qur'an say :

"And remember when Abraham raised the foundation of the House with Ismail, 
(Praying) Our Lord! accept (this service) from us; 
verily Thou and Thou (alone) art the All-hearing and All-knowing.
 
Chap. 2-Verse 127.

"And remember when we made the House a resort for mankind and a sanctuary (saying), 
Take ye the station of Abraham a place of prayer (For you); 
and covenanted with Abraham and Ismail (saying) purify ye to my House for those who make the circuit, 
and for those who prostrate (adoring)." 
Chap. 2-Verse 125

This verse clearly depicts the purpose of the Ka'aba, namely that it was to be a place of worship and that it was pure and sacred.

Another indication of Ali's special merit was his birthplace. No one else, from Adam down through all the prophets, possessed such a distinction. Of all human beings, he alone was born in the sacred precinct of the Ka'aba. At the time of the birth of the Prophet Jesus his illustrious mother was forced to leave the Baitu'l Muqadas. A voice said to her:

"O Mary! Leave the Baitu'l-Muqaddas, since it is the place of worship and not of childbirth."

But when the time of Ali's birth approached, his mother, Fatima bint Asad, was asked to enter the Ka'aba. She was expressly called to enter the Ka'aba, the door of which was locked. She went to the Masjidu'l-Haram, where she felt labour pains. She prayed to Allah in the precinct of the Ka'aba, saying:

"O Allah! I pray to you in the name of your honour and awe, to put me at my ease in this labour." 

Suddenly, the wall of the Ka'aba, which was locked, opened. Another report says that a voice was heard saying:

"O Fatima! Enter the House."

Fatima went into the House of Allah in front of a crowd of people who were sitting round that place and the wall returned to its original condition. The people were greatly astonished. Abbas was also there. When he saw what had happened, he immediately told Abu Talib because he had the key to the door. He instantly came there and tried his best to unlock the door, but the door did not open.

For three days Fatima bint Asad remained inside the Ka'aba, apparently without sustenance of any kind. This unusual event was the talk of the town. At last, on the third day, the passage through which she had entered again opened and Fatima came out. The people saw that she had in her hands a lovely child. Both sects (Shias and Sunnis) agree that no one else had ever been given such distinction.

Hakim in his Mustadrak and Nuru'd-din Bin Sabbagh Maliki in his Fusulu'l- Muhimma, Fasl I, p.14, say:

"No one before Ali ('a) was born in the Ka'ba. This was a distinction given to Ali ('a) in order to enhance his honour, rank, and dignity."

Ali ('a) was Born a Muslim

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On the third day of this happening, with awe the wonder- struck crowds surrounding the Ka'aba witnessed the lock falling of its own accord, and to their surprise Fatima emerged radiant from the sacred premises, cheerfully holding her new-born babe in her arms. Muhammad ('s) was waiting to receive her and her new-born and the first face that little Ali ('a) saw in this world was the smiling face of the Apostle of Allah, Muhammad ('s), whom he greeted thus:

"Assalaamo alaika ya Rasoolallah (Peace be upon thee 0 Prophet of Allah).

Thus it is an undisputed fact that Ali ('a) was born a Muslim, and his first words testified to the Prophethood of Muhammad ('s). Muhammad ('s) lovingly took him into his arms. Ali's first bath after his birth was given by Muhammad ('s) with a prediction that this babe would give him his last bath. This Prophecy was fulfilled on the demise of the Holy Prophet ('s). The child accepted no other food other than the moisture of Muhammad's tongue, which he sucked for several days after his birth. Muhammad ('s) fondled him in his lap in his infancy and chewed his food and fed Ali ('a) on it; he often made him sleep by his side and Ali ('a) enjoyed the warmth of Muhammad's ('s) body and inhaled the holy fragrance of his breath.

Ali ('a) was born in the sanctuary of Allah, to which the devil had no access, he did not cry at birth but was found smiling. Thus God had interposed a veil between the evil spirits and the child who was to grow up to exalt His Holy Name. All has been described as having been found like a priceless pearl in the shell of the Ka'aba, or a sword in the sheath of Allah's House, or as a lamp found in Allah's abode shedding light all around.

The sanctified birth of Ali ('a), as that of Holy Prophet Muhammad ('s), was foretold in the scriptures, when God said to Abraham, who asked for a blessing on Ishmael;

"And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold I have blessed him and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly, twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation". (Genesis 17 : 20).

The felicitous Prophecy in Genesis 17:20 about the advent of a prophet is said to point to the appearance of Muhammad ('s) and Ali ('a). While the Twelve Princes' of the Mosaic Scriptures are held to be none other than the twelve Holy Imams ('a).

Imam Ali's ('a) Upbringing

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When Ali ('a) was about five years of age, Muhammad ('s) took him away from his uncle Abu Talib to bring him up as his own child. Thus from his earliest days, Ali ('a) came directly under the tutelage of the Apostle of Allah, to share his high ethics and morals. Ali ('a) was ever ready to run the risk of his own life for Muhammad ('s) at times of danger and he was affectionately attached to him with unswerving faithfulness. The cousins were so fond of each other that they lived together till death parted them.

As Imam Ali ('a) 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 Muhammad ('s) 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."

According to Ibne-e-.Maja page 12, Raiz-un-Nazarah Vol. II page 158, Usdul Ghaba Vol. IV page 1, and Izalathul Khafa un Khilafatul Khulafa page 252, Ali ('a) used to say :

"I have prayed to Allah along with the Holy Prophet (s) seven years before any other person did".

The First Believers : Ibn Abbas, Anas, Zaid bin Aqram, Salman Farsi and others have said:

"Indeed it was Ali ('a) who was the first to declare his Islam, and some say that there is a consensus for this. (Major Jarret's translation of Suyuti's History of the Caliphs page 171)

The Illustrious Ali ('a) was thus the first to readily embrace Islam and testified to Muhammad (s) being the Apostle of Allah.

Often did the Holy Prophet ('s) go into the depths of the solitary desert around Mecca with his wife Khadija and his young cousin and disciple, Ali ('a), so that they might together offer their thanks to their Allah for His manifold blessings.

Imam Ali's ('a) Nobility:

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The Commander of the faithful, Ali b. Abi Talib ('a) and his brothers were among the leading members of the second generation of descendants of Hashim. In this way he gained two marks of nobility, through his growing up under the care and education of the Apostle of God ('s). He was the first of the family of the House and of the Companions to believe in God and His Apostle.

He was the first male whom the Prophet ('s), summoned to Islam and who answered. He never ceased to support the religion and to strive against the polytheists. He constantly defended the faith and fought against those who supported deviation (from the truth) and despotism. He spread the teachings of the sunna (the practice of the Prophet) and the Qur'an, judged with justice and enjoined people to do good.

Imam Ali ('a): "The Greatest Guardian of Islam"

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He was with the Apostle of God ('s), twenty-three years after the (coming) of the prophetic mission. Of these, thirteen years were in Mecca before the migration when he shared with him all the persecutions and bore most of his hardships. Then there were ten years in Medina after the emigration when he defended him against the polytheists and strove with him against the unbelievers.

He protected him with his own life from the enemies of religion until the time God, the Exalted, took (the Prophet) to His heaven, raised him to the highest place in heaven and bestowed His blessings and peace on him and his family. On that day the Commander of the faithful ('a), was thirty-three years of age.

On the day of the demise of the Holy Prophet ('s), the community differed over his Imamate. His Shia who were all the Banu Hashim, Salman, Ammar, Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad, Khuzayma b. Thabit - the man who is known as the possessor of two testimonies - Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Jabir b. Abd Allah al-Ansari Abu Said al-Khudri and people like them among the important emigrants and Ansar, (all these) maintained that he was the successor (khalifa) after the Apostle of God ('s) and the Imam.

(They did this) because of his outstanding merit (fadl) above all mankind, through the fact that there were gathered in him the qualities of outstanding merit, judgement and perfection, such as him being the first of the community to enter the faith, his superiority over them in knowledge of the laws, his precedence over them in fighting and the distinction which set him apart from them in the extent of his piety, asceticism and righteousness.

Imam Ali ('a):"The Successor of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s)"

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Furthermore he had been specially singled out by the Holy Prophet of Islam ('s) from among all his relations because of the qualities which no other relation, apart from him, shared with the Holy Prophet ('s) and because of the nomination (nass) of his authority (wilaya) by God, may God be magnified and exalted, in the Qur'an where He, may His name be exalted, says:

"Your authority (wali) is God and His Apostle and those believers who perform the prayer and pay alms (zakat) while they are bowing (in prayer)."

It is known that no one except him paid alms while bowing (in prayer).

It has been established in language that wali means "the most appropriate for authority" (awla), without there being any opposition (to this definition).

If the Commander of the faithful ('a), was, by the stipulation of the Qur'an, more appropriate for authority among the people than themselves because of his being their wali according to the textual nomination (nass) in the Clear Explanation (i.e. the Qur'an, tibyan), it was obviously necessary for all of them to obey him, just as obedience to God, the Most High, and obedience to His Apostle, peace be on him and his family, was required because of the information about their authority (wilaya) over creatures which is given in this verse with clear proof.

Another reason for their support for the Commander of the faithful was because of what the Prophet ('s), said on the day (of the assembly) at his house. 

He had especially gathered the Banu Abd al-Muttalib there in order to make the (following) solemn pledge:

"Whoever helps me in this matter will be my brother, my testamentary trustee (wasi) my helper (wazir), my heir and my successor after me."

Then the Commander of the faithful ('a) stood up before him among all the gathering of them, and on that day he was the youngest of them, and he said:

"O Apostle of God, I will help you".

Then the Prophet ('s), said:

"You are my brother, my trustee, my helper, my inheritor and successor after me".

This is a clear statement about the succession after the Prophet ('s).

The Day of Ghadir Khumm

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In addition, there is also what the Prophet ('s) said on the day of Ghadir Khumm. The community had gathered to listen to the sermon (in which he asked):

"Am I not more appropriate for authority (awla) over you than yourselves?"

Yes, they answered.

Then he spoke to them in an ordered manner without any interruption in his speech:

"Whomsoever I am the authority over (mawla), Ali is also the authority over."

Thus he (the Prophet) required for him (Ali), through laying down obedience to him and his authority (over them), the same authority as he had over them, and which he made them acknowledge and which they did not deny. This is clear (evidence) of the nomination (nass) of him for the Imamate and for succession to his position.

Furthermore there is (the Prophet's) ('s), statement to him at the time of setting out to Tabuk:

"You are in the same position with respect to me as Aaron (Harun) was to Moses (Musa) except that there is no prophet after me."

Thus he required him (to have) the office of helping (i.e. administering) and to be characterised by love and outstanding merit over everyone. (He also required) his deputising for him both during his life and after his death. The Qur'an gives evidence for all that coming to Aaron (Harun) from Moses ('a) when God, may He be magnified and exalted, said in giving a report of what Moses, peace be on him, said:

"Make Aaron, my brotherly a helper for me from my family. Give me support through him and make him participate in my affair so that we may glorify You much and we may remember You frequently in that You have been a watcher over us." [ XX 29-35]

God, the Most Exalted said:

"Your request is granted Moses". ( XX 36)

This (verse) confirmed that Aaron had a share with Moses in prophecy, and in helping in delivering the message and his support was strengthened through him by his aid. (Moses) also told him of deputising for him (when he said):

"Deputise for me among my people. Act for (their) benefit and do not follow the path of the corrupters." (VII 142)

This confirms his succession by the precise statement of revelation. Therefore when the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, gave all the ranks which Aaron had from Moses to the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in the same extent, except for prophethood, (all such things) were required of him as helping the Apostle, giving him support, outstanding merit and love, because these qualities were definitely required by that. Then by the clear statement there is his deputising for him during his life and "after the prophethood" which (gives evidence of his succession) by specification of the exception, (of Prophethood) when he excludes him from it by mentioning "after".

The Imamate of the Commander of the faithful ('a), was for thirty years after the Prophet ('s). For twenty-four years and six months of these he was prevented from administering the laws (of the office) and had to exercise precautionary dissimulation (taqiyya) and withdrawal. For five years and six months of these, he was troubled by wars against the hypocrites, those who broke their pledges, the unjust and those who deviated (from the religion) and he was plagued by the seditions of those who had gone astray.

In the same way the Apostle of God ('s), had been prevented from (administering) the laws of his office through fear and through being spied upon, and through being a fugitive and through being exiled, so that he had no power to fight the unbelievers and no means of defending the believers. Then he emigrated and for ten years after the emigration he remained making war on the unbelievers and being troubled by the hypocrites until the time that God, may His name be exalted, took him unto Himself and made him dwell in the gardens of Paradise.

The Martyrdom:

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The martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful ('a) occurred before dawn of Friday, the twenty-first of the month of Ramadan, in the year 40 A.H. He was a victim of the sword. Ibn Muljam al-Muradi, may God curse him, killed him at the mosque of Kufa, which Imam Ali ('a) had come to, in order to wake the people for the dawn prayer on the night of the nineteenth of the month of Ramadan.

He had been lying in wait for him from the beginning of the night. When he (the Commander of the faithful) passed by him while the latter was hiding his design by feigning sleep amid a group of people who were asleep, he (Ibn Muljam) sprang out and struck him on the top of his head with his poisoned sword when Imam Ali ('a) was in Sajdah leading the Jamaat prayers.

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. Then he, peace be on him, died a martyr and met his Lord, Most High, as one who has been wronged. He, peace be on him, knew of that before its time and he told the people of it before its time.

His two sons, al- Hasan and al-Husayn ('a) performed the tasks of washing him and shrouding him according to his bequest. Then they carried him to al-Ghari at Najaf in Kufa and they buried him there. They removed the traces of the place of his burial according to his bequest which was made about that to hath of them by him, because of what he, peace be on him, knew about the regime of the Umayyads which would come after him, and their hostile attitude towards him. (For he knew) the evil action and abuse to which they would be led by their wicked intentions if they had been able to know that place. His grave ('a), remained hidden until al-Sadiq Jafar b. Muhammad ('a) pointed it out during the Abbasid regime. For he visited it when he came to visit Abu Ja'far (al-Mansur) while the latter was in al-Hira. Then the Shi'a knew of it and they began from that time to make visitation to his (grave) ('a).

On the day of his martyrdom Imam Ali ('a) was 63 years of age.

The Last Will of Imam Ali ('a)

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Imam Ali's ('a) last will to his sons Imam Hasan ('a) and Imam Hussain ('a) after the attempt on his life by a stab from Ibn Muljam:

"My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world, and do not be seduced by it. Do not resent anything you have missed in it. 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 grandfather ('s), say: 'Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting.'

Fear Allah in matters concerning orphans. Attend to their nutrition and do not forget their interests in the middle of yours.

Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbours. Your Prophet often recommended them to you, so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance.

Remain attached to the Quran. Nobody should surpass you in being intent on it, or more sincere in implementing it.

Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. It is the pillar of your religion.

Fear Allah in relation to His House; do not abandon it as long as you live. It you should do that you would abandon your dignity.

Persist in jihad in the cause of Allah, with your money, your souls, and your tongue.

Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that, the worst among you would be your leaders and you will call upon Allah without response.

O Children of Abdul Muttaleb! Do not shed the blood of Muslims under the banner: The Imam has been assassinated! Only the assassin should be condemned to death.

If I die of this stab of his, kill him with one similar stroke. Do not mutilate him! I have heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say: 'Mutilate not even a rabid dog'".

Imam Ali ('a) - First in Many Fields

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  1. He was the only man to be born in the Ka'aba.

  2. He was the first to offer homage to the Holy Prophet ('s)

  3. He was the first to offer prayers after the Holy Prophet ('s)

  4. He was the first to offer his services for Jihad.

  5. He was the first to receive religious instructions from the Holy Prophet ('s).

  6. He was the first to compile and codify the Holy Quran.

  7. He was the first to be styled as "brother" by the Holy Prophet ('s) and on every occasion

  8. He was the first to give burial to the Prophet ('s).

  9. He was the first to offer to sleep in the Prophet's ('s) bed on the night of his emigration to Medina.

  10. He was the first to be appointed commander in all those battles in which the Holy Prophet ('s) did not participate personally.

  11. The honour of the propagation of the Quranic Sura, "al Bara'at" fell to Imam Ali's ('a) lot.

  12. He was the only man to be titled as the "Second Aaron" by the Holy Prophet ('s).

  13. The honour of owning a house which opened into the courtyard of the Prophet's ('s) mosque was reserved for Imam Ali ('a) alone.

  14. He was the first to have the honour of being nominated by the Holy Prophet ('s) as his successor, testator and vice regent.

Sayings of Imam Ali ('a)

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1. During civil disturbance adopt such an attitude that people do not attach any importance to you - they neither burden you with complicated affairs, nor try to derive any advantage out of you.

2. He who is greedy is disgraced:

  • he who discloses his hardship will always be humiliated.

  • he who has no control over his tongue will often have to face discomfort.

3. Avarice is disgrace:

  • cowardice is a defect.

  • poverty often disables an intelligent man from arguing his case.

  • a poor man is a stranger in his own town.

  • misfortune and helplessness are calamities.

  • patience is a kind of bravery.

  • to sever attachments with the wicked world is the greatest wealth.

  • piety is the best weapon of defence.

4. Submission to Allah's Will is the best companion:

  • wisdom is the noblest heritage.

  • theoretical and practical knowledge are the best signs of distinction.

  • deep thinking will present the clearest picture of every problem.

5 . The mind of a wise man is the safest custody of secrets; 

  • cheerfulness is the key to friendship.

  • patience and forbearance will conceal many defects.

6 . A conceited and self-admiring person is disliked by others:

  • charity and alms are the best remedy for ailments and calamities.

  • one has to account in the next world for the deeds that he has done in this world.

7. Man is a wonderful creature:

  • He sees through the layers of fat (eyes) 

  • Hears through a bone (ears) and 

  • Speaks through a lump of flesh (tongue).

8. When this world favours somebody it lends him the attributes and surpassing merits of others and when it turns its face away from him it snatches away even his own excellences and fame.

9. Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company.

10. If you overpower your enemy then pardon him by way of thankfulness to Allah for being able to subdue him.

11. Unfortunate is he who cannot gain a few sincere friends during his life and more unfortunate is the one who has gained them and then lost them (through his deeds).

12. When some blessings come to you do not drive them away through thanklessness.

13. He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers.

14. Every person who is tempted to go astray does not deserve punishment.

15. Our affairs are attached to the destiny decreed by Allah even our best plans may lead us to destruction.

16. There is a tradition of the Holy Prophet ('s) "With the help of hair dye turn old age into youth so that you do not resemble the Jews". When Imam Ali ('a) was asked to comment on this tradition he said that in the early stage of Islam there were very few Muslims. The Holy Prophet ('s) advised them to look young and energetic and not to adopt the fashion of the Jews (priest) having long white flowing beards. But the Muslims were not in minority then theirs was a strong and powerful State they could take up any style they liked.

17. For those who refused to side with any party Imam Ali ('a) or his enemies Imam Ali ('a) said: They have forsaken religion and are of no use to infidelity also.

18. One who rushes madly after inordinate desire runs the risk of encountering destruction and death.

19. Overlook and forgive the weaknesses of the generous people because if they fall down Allah will help them.

20. Failures are often the results of timidity and fears; disappointments are the results of bashfulness; hours of leisure pass away like summer-clouds therefore do not waste opportunity of doing good.

21. If the right usurped from us is given back to us we shall take it otherwise we shall go on claiming it.

22. If someone's deeds lower his position his pedigree cannot elevate it.

23. To render relief to the distressed and to help the oppressed make amends for great sins.

24. O son of Adam when you see that your Lord the Glorified bestows His favours on you while you disobey Him you should fear Him (take warning that His Wrath may not turn those very blessings into misfortunes).

25. Often your utterances and expressions of your face leak out the secrets of your hidden thoughts.

26. When you get ill do not get nervous about it and try as much as possible to be hopeful.

27.  The best form of devotion to the service of Allah is not to make a show of it.

28. When you have to depart from this world and have to meet death (eventually) then why wish delay (why feel nervous about death).

29. Take warning. He has not exposed so many of your sinful activities that it appears as if He has forgiven you (it may be that He has given you time to repent).

30. When Imam Ali ('a) was asked about Faith in Religion he replied that the structure of faith is supported by four pillars:

  • Endurance 

  • Conviction 

  • Justice and 

  • Jihad.

Endurance

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Endurance is composed of four attributes: 

  • Eagerness.

  • Fear.

  • Piety and 

  • Anticipation (of death). so whoever is eager for Paradise will ignore temptations; whoever fears the fire of Hell will abstain from sins; whoever practices piety will easily bear the difficulties of life and whoever anticipates death will hasten towards good deeds.

Conviction

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Conviction has also four aspects to guard oneself against infatuations of sin; to search for explanation of truth through knowledge; to gain lessons from instructive things and to follow the precedent of the past people because whoever wants to guard himself against vices and sins will have to search for the true causes of infatuation and the true ways of combating them out and to find those true ways one has to search them with the help of knowledge whoever gets fully acquainted with various branches of knowledge will take lessons from life and whoever tries to take lessons from life is actually engaged in the study of the causes of rise and fall of previous civilizations.

Justice

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Justice also has four aspects:

  • Depth of understanding. 

  • Profoundness of knowledge .

  • Fairness of judgment and 

  • Dearness of mind; because whoever tries his best to understand a problem will have to study it whoever has the practice of studying the subject he is to deal with will develop a clear mind and will always come to correct decisions whoever tries to achieve all this will have to develop ample patience and forbearance and whoever does this has done justice to the cause of religion and has led a life of good repute and fame.

Struggle

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Jihad is divided into four branches: 

  • to persuade people to be obedient to Allah.

  • to prohibit them from sin and vice; 

  • to struggle (in the cause of Allah) sincerely and firmly on all occasions and 

  • to detest the vicious. Whoever persuades people to obey the orders of Allah provides strength to the believers; whoever dissuades them from vices and sins humiliates the unbelievers; whoever struggles on all occasions discharges all his obligations and whoever detests the vicious only for the sake of Allah then Allah will take revenge on his enemies and will be pleased with Him on the Day of Judgment.

31 . There are four causes of infidelity and loss of belief in Allah: hankering after whims a passion to dispute every argument deviation from truth; and dissension because whoever hankers after whims does not incline towards truth; whoever keeps on disputing every argument on account of his ignorance will always remain blind to truth whoever deviates from truth because of ignorance will always take good for evil and evil for good and he will always remain intoxicated with misguidance. And whoever makes a breach (with Allah and His Messenger) his path becomes difficult his affairs will become complicated and his way to salvation will be uncertain.

Similarly doubt has also four aspects.

  • Absurd reasoning.

  • Fear.

  • Vacillation and 

  • hesitation; and unreasonable surrender to infidelity because one who has accustomed himself to unreasonable and absurd discussions will never see the Light of Truth and will always live in the darkness of ignorance.

One who is afraid to face facts of life death and the life after death will always turn away from ultimate reality one who allows doubts and uncertainties to vacillate him will always be under the control of Satan and one who surrenders himself to infidelity accepts damnation in both the worlds.

32 . A virtuous person is better then virtue and a vicious person is worse than vice.

33 . Be generous but not extravagant be frugal but not miserly.

34 . The best kind of wealth is to give up inordinate desires.

35 . One who says unpleasant things about others will himself quickly become a target of their scandal.

36 . One who hopes inordinately impairs his deeds.

37 . When Imam Ali ('a) marching at the head of his army towards Syria reached Ambar the landlords of the place came out to meet him in zeal of their love faithfulness and respect no sooner had they seen Imam Ali ('a) they got down from their horses and started running in front of him. Imam Ali ('a) asked the reason of their strange actions. They replied that it was their custom to show their love and respect in that way. 

Imam Ali ('a) replied:

"By Allah, by your action you do no good whatsoever to your rulers but you tire yourself and put yourself in toils in this world and in trouble in the next. How unfortunate is that exertion, which brings harm here and in the Hereafter and how useful is that ease which keeps you in comfort in this world and away from the Hell in the next."

38 . Imam Ali ('a) once said to his son Imam Hasan ('a):

"My son, learn four things from me and through them you will learn four more. If you keep them in mind your actions will not bring any harm to you: 

  • The greatest wealth is wisdom.

  • The greatest poverty is stupidity.

  • The worst unsociableness is that of vanity and self-glorification and 

  • The best nobility of descent exhibits itself in politeness and in refinement of manner.

The next four things my son are: 

  • Do not make friendship with a fool because when he will try to do you good he will do you harm.

  • Do not make a miser your friend because he will run away from you at the time of your dire need.

  • Do not be friendly with a vicious and wicked person because he will sell you and your friendship at the cheapest price and 

  • Do not make friend of a liar because like a mirage he will make you visualize very near the things which lie at a great distance and will make you see at the great distance the things which are near to you.

39 . Recommended prayers cannot attain the pleasures of Allah for you when obligatory prayers are left unattended.

40 . A wise man first thinks and then speaks and a fool speaks first and then thinks.

To Refer Nahjul Balagha [The Collection of Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali ('a)]

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Last Updated Saturday, 16 August 2008