Shia and Sunni Muslims have quoted the Holy Prophet as saying, “Ali is with truth, and truth is with Ali. Truth revolves around him wherever he is.” This was how the lifestyle of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was
In the name of Allah
Imam Ali (as), from birth to martyrdom, represents an exceptional personality. His birth took place in Ka’bah – which has never happened for anyone else before or after him. His martyrdom took place in the mihrab [praying place] of the mosque. Between these two points, the whole life of Amir al-Mu’minin (as) is filled with jihad, patience for the cause of Allah and moving towards divine satisfaction. Imam Khamenei, Jun 26, 2010
What did the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) say about Amir al-Mu’minin’s (pbuh) virtues?
Many things have been said about the Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him). However, not everything has been touched upon. What has been said and written about the characteristics of the Commander of the Faithful (God’s greetings be upon him) does not constitute all his characteristics. It is only part of his characteristics. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) has been quoted as saying, “My brother, Ali, has characteristics which are countless”. That is to say, people cannot count his characteristics because they are beyond the understanding of ordinary people. This is the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Well, we need a role model and a leader. Therefore, we should adopt such an outlook towards the Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him). May 14, 2014
From Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) viewpoint, Ali (pbuh) is the standard for justice
From the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) perspective, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is the criterion for truth and justice. Shia and Sunni Muslims have quoted the Holy Prophet as saying, “Ali is with truth, and truth is with Ali. Truth revolves around him wherever he is.” This was how the lifestyle of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was. Jun 26, 2010
Imam Ali’s (pbuh) lesson to the world of Islam today
The life of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is full of lessons for us. Clarifying the issues for those who were confused was the most important characteristic among the characteristics of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) – who was the embodiment of all the good features that a person and a leader should have. Insight is the most important characteristic that we need in the present conditions. In all conditions, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) relied on his great courage and selflessness to raise public awareness, strengthen the faith of the people and help them think more clearly. In the Battle of Siffin, when the enemies realized that they were being defeated, they put copies of the Holy Quran on spears to stop the war. Some people went to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and tried to persuade him to surrender and end the war. They spoke about the Quran. It was a strange and cunning act. Imam Ali (a.s.) told them, “You are wrong. You do not know them. These people who say the Quran should be the judge do not really believe in the Quran. I knew these people since they were young children, and they were the worst both as children and as adults. They do not believe in the Quran. They only speak about the Quran when they are trapped.” Of course they did not listen to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). They insisted on their demands, and the world of Islam paid the price.
The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) used to raise public awareness and help them develop insight. Today we are in need of this insight. Today those who are opposed to the world of Islam and unity among Muslims enter the arena using religion and morality as a means. It is necessary to be vigilant. Whenever they want to mislead public opinion of non-Muslim people, they speak about human rights and democracy. And whenever they want to mislead public opinion of the world of Islam, they speak about the Quran and Islam. This is while they do not believe either in Islam or human rights. The Islamic Ummah should know this. The Iranian nation has experienced these things during the past 31 years. And today all of us should be aware of this. Jun 26, 2010
The worthlessness of power and rule in Ali’s (pbuh) eyes
Power in itself is neither a blessing nor a blight. If it is used in the way of Allah and for the benefit of the people, it will be a blessing. But if it is used to further one’s personal interests and satisfy one’s whims and material desires, it will be a blight and affliction. Those officials who use their power and position to an amass a fortune and further their material gains will not be able to serve the people in an optimal manner, since their personal interests will clash with the interests of the people. Aug 3, 2005
Unity and justice, a priority for Ali (pbuh)
In a hymn to Imam Ali (a.s.), it is written that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) paid great attention to certain issues during his eventful life. Justice and unity were among the things he always paid great attention to. These are great lessons for us. Unity of the Islamic Ummah was of paramount importance to Imam Ali (a.s.). Administration of justice in the Islamic society was also important to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). The fact that he always pursued justice is evident in all cases. He went through the toughest tests of his life – the difficulties and wars which were imposed on him – as a result of administering justice. He tolerated great hardships, such as the three wars he fought during his brief rule. This is because he always sought to administer justice. He always pursued justice decisively. He also gave up his own rights for the sake of God, Islam, and unity of Muslims and never engaged in any confrontation. He always held Islam, Muslims, the Islamic Ummah, and Islamic unity in high regard.
In Nahjul Balaghah, Imam Ali (a.s.) says: “So I did not get involved until I saw a group of apostates who had turned their back on Islam and were inviting people to annihilate the religion of Muhammad.”
This means when Imam Ali (a.s.) realized that the issue of Islam and interests of the Islamic Ummah were at stake, he believed that staying silent was not right and entered the scene to create unity among Muslims. This goes back to the period after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) when the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) suffered great hardships. He even pursued justice in those times. Creating unity was the type of justice he pursued in this case. These are lessons for us.
The Islamic Ummah has suffered from injustice at all times. It has also suffered from disunity, discord, and conflicts. The world of Islam has always suffered from these bitter realities. The more you refer to the history of Islam – particularly the history of Islam in the recent centuries – the more clearly you perceive these realities. The world of Islam is in need of unity.The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) should be the focal point of unity in the world of Islam. The enemies of Islam are trying to foment discord among different Muslim groups by means of Imam Ali (a.s.) who is himself the source of unity among Muslims. These are facts that the Muslim world should be aware of. Jul 6, 2009
The man who offered all his existence for the cause of Allah
From his childhood to the moment he was martyred, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) remained rock solid for the sake of Allah. He made wholehearted efforts and was never frustrated with his efforts for Allah. Dec 17, 2008
Ali (pbuh) is a point for solidarity and unity among the Islamic sects
The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is a personality whose greatness, characteristics, and high status in Islam are not debated among Muslims. Therefore, we can confidently claim that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) can serve as the common point among all sects of Islam. In all eras and at all times, all the sects of Islam – except for a small group of Navasib who are not considered among Muslim sects – consider the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as having a high and prominent status, as is described in the religious texts of the Shia and the Sunni. Therefore, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is the commonality among all sects of Islam, and he can serve as the point of departure for unity among Muslims.
That is exactly what the world of Islam requires today. The enemies of Islam who are in fact the proponents of no Islamic sect support one particular sect in favor of another sect one day and decide to support yet another sect the next day. They are seeking to create splits among Muslims. And in such an era which is characterized by lack of unity among Muslims, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) can serve as the symbol of this unity. He can serve as a common point which all Muslims recognize. No particular group of Muslims can claim that the commander of the Faithful (a.s.) belongs to them. In ziarat-e jame, we Shia Muslims say: “We are famous for our trust in you.” We are famous for our reverence and love for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and the descendants of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), so we cannot claim that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) only belongs to us. All the Muslims living across the world following various sects of Islam admit the fact that this great personality and this unique man who was the embodiment of Islam did not defy the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) even for a moment. He never defied the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), and he never showed any laxity from his childhood, to his adolescence, to his youth, and to the end of his life, and he did not for a moment skimp on efforts for the sake of God, Islam, and the Quran.
Therefore, one of the points that I want to talk about is that we – regardless of whether we are Shia or Sunni or follow another sect – must set the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as the yardstick and pivot of unity. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) belongs to all of us. And that magnanimous also adopted slogans and a lifestyle that are not peculiar to a particular group of people. I will elaborate more on this point. Jul 16, 2008
It is completely wrong to make the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) a reason for discord among Muslims. Aug 8, 2006
What does Shia mean?
The affection for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is very valuable. We have a tradition that says those who love a person will have that person beside them on Judgment Day. Affection is of paramount importance. However, affection is not enough by itself. We need to follow Imam Ali (a.s.) as well. We, who are known as Shias in the world, have interpreted Shia as ‘those who follow Ali’. We must follow him and purse the same goals as he did. However, it goes without saying that we will not achieve the status of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), no matter how hard we try. But we must aspire to reach the peak.
Now we must pay attention to what the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) put high on his agenda in his life which is full of lessons and meanings for us. One is justice which could probably be claimed to be one of the most prominent points in his lifestyle. Being severe with oppressors, being sympathetic towards the oppressed, and helping the oppressed to claim their rights are characteristics that are clearly observed in many parts in the biography and words of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as well as in his sermons in Nahj al-Balagha. Just pay attention to these meaningful remarks by the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.): “I swear by God that if I spent a whole night on the thorn bushes of Sa’dan or if I was dragged with chains on the ground with my hands and legs bound, it would be easier for me to bear than the time I meet my Creator while I have oppressed some people or have appropriated some worldly possessions for myself.” [Speaking in Arabic]. That is the prominent point in the government of the Commander of the Faithful. Even if I were in the hardest situation in life, I would never encroach on the rights of a single person in order to accumulate worldly possessions for myself, he said. In Imam Ali’s (a.s.) opinion, the world – in the sense of worldly possessions – is to be totally rejected and abandoned. Addressing the world, he said, “Go and deceive someone else!” He meant desires and material beauties of life could not deceive him, and therefore he told them to go away and find someone else to deceive. That was the slogan shouted by the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). In our Islamic system of government as it is today – which has been founded on Islam – what is the most important issue? What requires more attention? The answer is justice. Jul 16, 2008
Why didn’t Ali (as) fight for the caliphate after the death of the Prophet?
When the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) passed away, the Commander of the Faithful thought that it was his right to be the caliph. And in order to do this, he took action, delivered speeches and invited the people to accept his caliphate. But, he withdrew when he saw that it was not possible and when he saw that if he entered the arena and continue to invite the people, the Muslim community would disintegrate. “Therefore, I exercised patience while there was a thorn in my eye and while sorrow had blocked the path of my throat” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 3]. For twenty-five years, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) did not say anything about his right – he regarded it as his absolute right – for the sake of the unity of the Islamic Ummah, the solidarity of the Islamic community and the maintenance of the Islamic government. Are these jokes? Are these things easy to do? These are the things which help an individual conquer the peaks of glory in human history. These are the things which turn an individual into the brightest sun – which never sets – in human history. Jul 28, 2007
After the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) demise, the event of Saqifah and the issue of caliphate arose. Well, it was clear that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) had the right to be the caliph and that he considered himself to be the rightful caliph, but he did not enter into any debate and uproar. When the issue of pledging allegiance came to an end, he accepted the new ruler because he did not want to stand up against people and because he did not want to give rise to any fitna. Later, he drifted away from political affairs. That is to say, he did not create any obstacle on the way of those who were in charge of affairs.
After some time, he felt that the Islamic community needed him: “Until I witnessed that some people have turned away from Islam and that they want to wipe out the religion of Muhammad (God’s greetings be upon him and his household”. It was then that he entered the arena. He began to cooperate and help those people who were in charge of managing the community and he guided them wherever they made a mistake including scientific, political and all other areas. This has been acknowledged by everyone. This is not something that we Shia Muslims claim. The narration and history books of Muslims – including both Shias and Sunnis – are full of the Commander of the Faithful’s (a.s.) services: “If it had not been for Ali, Umar would have been destroyed” [speaking in Arabic].
This has been narrated by Sunnis many times. So, this is not what we alone say. The guidance and assistance that that great personality provided included the organization of the army, the observance of Islamic rules, the management of political affairs and other such issues. He was a true mentor. He was the pivot and center of casting light in the Islamic community. These 25 years were spent in a way that all of you know. Oct 13, 2006
The resistance of the Iranian people, the manifestation of Ali’s (pbuh) justice
The resistance of the Islamic Republic is the manifestation of the justice-based outlook of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). What we the people of Iran – particularly officials – are responsible for is that we should make this version of justice bear a close resemblance to its original version. Inside the country, the slogan of justice should be taken seriously. The slogan of preserving religion should be taken seriously. The path of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) should be taken seriously. This is what can help us reach our ideals and the lofty goals of the Iranian nation. The characteristics of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) – those characteristics which are required for the progress of society and protecting the life of Islamic community – were similar to the characteristics of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Of course, there is a certain distance between that great peak [Imam Ali (a.s.)] and ordinary individuals. Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) did not stand on ceremony with anyone. He was not the kind of person to show fear and weakness and to retreat. As the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) had recommended, he did not “wonder at the small number of those who follow the right path” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 200]. He did not fear loneliness. He did not fear to be alone. He was right. Therefore, God was with him. He moved forward with diligence and Allah the Exalted made the Iranian nation and Muslim nations follow him with their hearts and souls and with their bodies. And we saw what a great movement was created as a result of this. Imam (r.a.) was like this.
Today, if the officials of the country and if all our people want to conquer the high peak of greatness, honor and dignity which they desire, they should follow the same path. They should continue this path by showing complete courage and wisdom and taking risks in the face of global powers and oppressors. Success lies in resistance. Jul 28, 2007
The man for whom his enemy wept
What are the characteristics that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is known for? What is this greatness that Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) showed? Where is this greatness? What are the dimensions of this greatness? This is one of the issues which no human being except for an infallible person can claim to understand because it has deep and unknown dimensions and it is like an ocean. In an ocean, we can see storms, waves, water and astonishing creatures, but only the person who has managed to reach the depth of the ocean can understand it. No one has managed to understand the depth of the ocean-like character of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), except for those who had access to sources of divine knowledge and who benefited from divine blessings. What we see is only the surface of things.
We can only see some signs. Besides, not all of us can see these signs. Not all of us can see the deep points in Nahjul Balaghah and in the sayings of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Only great scholars and wise people with deep knowledge can understand these points. What we see in the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) are these things: his courage, his praying, his liberated outlook, his commitment to counseling the people to do good and advising them against evil, his jihad, his sacrifices and self-less efforts, his awareness of the developments of the time, his capability to know human beings, his mercy and kindness towards the weak, his fearlessness in the face of arrogant, oppressive and autocratic people, his persistence in administering justice among the people and his enmity towards oppression. These things are only the surface of this deep ocean. Nevertheless, you can see how complicated, astonishing and beautiful this surface is. Whom can we find to enjoy all these outstanding characteristics? The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is like this. And it is not only Shia Muslims who say this.
These are things which are among the facts of history and even the enemy of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) has acknowledged them. In a meeting with Muawiyah, somebody said something against the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) in order to flatter him. Muawiyah became angry at this person and he began a sentence in praise of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Muawiyah used to ask the companions of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) – those who confronted Muawiyah after the demise of that great Imam (a.s.) – to speak to him about Ali (a.s.) and they used to do it. There is a narration which says, Muawiyah sometimes shed tears. These are the astonishing facts about Ali (a.s.). This is while the enmity of Muawiyah towards Ali (a.s.) is not a secret. Everybody knows it. Jul 28, 2007
A superb human being, a perfect Muslim
I would like to say a few things about the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). The life of the Commander of the Faithful is the life of a complete Muslim and a perfect individual. The Commander of the Faithful (A.S.) is a role model. His childhood and teens were spent in the arms of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and under his tutelage. He was raised by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and he was educated by him. During his early teens and youth – when the issue of be’that arose and when he experienced difficult events with the be’that of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) – he was always attached to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and he experienced all these events with him. From the first day of be’that until the day it was announced in public, he was subject to all attacks and difficulties. He himself says, “I followed him like a lamb which moves after its mother”.
“Every day, he taught me new things with his behavior and he asked me to be committed to these teachings”. It was the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) who educated and built this noble and heavenly personality. “Each year, he spent some time in the Cave of Hira. It was only me who used to go and visit him. No one else did this. At that time, no house had begun to follow Islam except the one in which the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and Khadijah were living. And I was the third among them. I used to see the light of revelation and I smelled the scent of prophethood”. [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 192]. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was raised like this.
This young individual – this young, religious and enlightened person who was connected with divine revelation and who was a true believer and a completely pious person – devoted all these 13 years and all his existence to defending the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and his mission. He also undertook the most difficult tasks during the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) migration to Madina. That is to say, he undertook the task of transferring women – fawatims – returning to owners the things that were held in trust by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and then reaching the troops and going to Madina.
Later on in Madina, he became the best commander, the best believer, the best student of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and the best worshiper among Muslims. During wars, all hopes were pinned on the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). In mosques and during prayers, all hearts were influenced by his enlightened heart. Whenever the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) took the minbar, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) understood his teachings better than all other students and he asked questions more than all other students. There is a narration which says, “When people asked Hazrat, ‘Why do you quote the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) so much?’ he answered, ‘I used to ask the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) questions and he used to answer them. Whenever I did not ask a question, he himself explained the matter to me’”. Therefore, he was an excellent student. These 10 years were spent like this with all their sorrow, grief, sweetness and bitterness. Oct 13, 2006
Continuous Jihad a lesson that the Islamic nation should learn from Imam Ali (pbuh)
Today – after the passage of many centuries – how should we approach this Eid and this phenomenon? It is not enough to say the name of Ali. It is not enough to associate oneself with him. We do not think that great personalities in history, religious leaders, prophets and saints are merely some historical mementos. Rather, they are lessons and role models for us. They are guides for each and every step in our lives. What lesson do we learn from them? This is important. What lesson should the Islamic Ummah learn from the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), the Holy Prophet of Islam (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) and other divine personalities? What guideline should the Islamic Ummah adhere to in life? This is important. We should take this outlook towards the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).
What is clear is that these personalities were the manifestation of making efforts in the way of God and His religion. “I testify that you fought in the way of God, that you acted according to His Book and that you followed the tradition of His Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household)” [quoting ziyarat]. We testify that he engaged in jihad in the way of God in a complete way. This is what we read in Amir al-Mu’minin’s ziyarat and other prayers related to the Imams (a.s.). This jihad always falls on our shoulders and it includes intellectual and practical jihad, jihad during the time of war and peace, and jihad against enemies and one’s selfish desires, wealth, life and tongue. These are lessons.
What you do for the sake of promoting religion and raising the position of the Islamic Ummah is a kind of jihad. The lessons that you study in order to achieve the goal of improving the Islamic Ummah is a kind of jihad. The effort that you make for creating unity and solidarity among the entire Islamic Ummah is a kind of jihad. When you fight against your satanic temptations inside yourselves, this is jihad. When you feel in your hearts and show in your words and actions that the enemies of God, religion, and the Holy Quran are your enemies, this is jihad in the way of God. These are the lessons of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and other religious personalities. Jihad is not confined to the arena of war. Today, the Islamic Ummah is in such a terrible situation because of forgetting about jihad in the way of God. Aug 8, 2006
Piety, the eternal lesson of Imam Ali (pbuh)
Today, which is the 13th of Rajab, marks the auspicious birth anniversary of the Commander of the Faithful and Master of the Pious, Imam Ali-ibn-Abi Taleb (peace and greetings be upon him). He is the peak of human dignity and an eternal model for the faithful and the virtuous and all upright and high-minded people in the world to follow at all times. Piety is the eternal lesson that His Holiness Ali-ibn-Abi Taleb (peace and greetings be upon him) taught to all human generations in words and in practice. Piety means constant watchfulness of one’s words, deeds, thoughts and intentions.
Many of our faults and flaws are due to the lack of watchfulness. We commit many sins inadvertently and without prior intention just because of negligence. Therefore, if we heed our words and deeds, we can prevent many of our flaws and sins. If we remain careful of our thoughts and intentions, we will not be afflicted with jealousy, malevolence, spite, greed, covetousness and baseless fears.
Salvation is for those who are pious and watchful of themselves. Fairness and honesty also stem from watchfulness. The perseverance of human beings and nations, their pursuit of truth and justice and their progress and development also originate from this quality, which is the source of all virtues. Thus, our worldly progress and welfare and also our salvation in the hereafter are all contingent on piety. This is the lesson taught to us by the Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him).
Today, the Iranian nation and the great Muslim Ummah are in need of paying attention to this lesson. Of course we should always heed this lesson. But at the present juncture, it is more important to us than at any other time. You, the Iranian nation, observed piety in your revolution. You also observed piety in defending your country, revolution and religious and national principles. This is why today, by the favor of Allah, you are dignified and held in high regard in the world. Today, the honor, dignity and power of the Iranian nation in the eyes of world public and governments and even its enemies are incomparable in the Islamic world. This is due to the piety of our nation. Also, whatever shortcoming we have is due to the lack of piety.
Determination, perseverance and resolution also stem from piety. One of the epithets of the Commander of the Faithful bestowed on him by the holy prophet (peace be upon him and his infallible household) was “the one who advances vigorously without retreating”. This epithet did not relate only to the battlefield.
In all the spheres of life, the Commander of the Faithful was the one who advanced vigorously without retreating. This means that he always held a firm, logical and strong stance on principles and never backed off, and that he persevered in promoting values and firmly dealt with injustice, oppression, deviation, evil and wrongdoing. If you study the life of the Commander of the Faithful, you will notice that he was characterized by this feature during his whole life. This is also the only remedy for our present condition.The late Muhammad Iqbal, in a poem, says:
“Do you know what ‘the one who advances vigorously’ means?
It is one of the attributes of the Commander of the Faithful Ali.
For human communities in an unstable and capricious world, Survival is not possible, unless they are characterized by this quality.” Do you want to survive? Are you eager to be held in high regard? Do you wish to advance in science and technology? Do you want your youngsters to feel proud and dignified? Do you wish to have a bright future? Then, you should be firm and perseverant and vigorously pursue your objectives.
Any nation that is characterized by this quality will have a bright future. Fortunately, the Iranian people began treading this path following the revolution, and they have since been continuing this path with strong resolve and determination. However, more vigorous efforts and perseverance are needed. Aug 19, 2005
If Imam Ali (pbuh) had become the caliph after the Prophet (pbuh)…
The disaster of martyring the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) – “I swear to God that the foundations of guidance have been annihilated” – did not inflict a loss just for that era, rather it inflicted a heavy loss for the entire history. Twenty five years before that martyrdom, Fatima Zahra said to the women of Madina at a time when she was sick and bedridden, “If Ali had been entrusted with caliphate, he would have smoothed the path for the people” [speaking in Arabic]. “Sojoh” means smooth in Arabic. “And he would have led them to happiness without them receiving any wound” [speaking in Arabic]. He would not have allowed – these are my own words – the power of the government and the ruling-oriented spirit of Islam to inflict the slightest wound on the body of the Islamic community. He would not have allowed it to inflict the slightest wound. He would have furthered the task and he would have prevented any kind of harm whatsoever.
The best form of government is one in which the government does not inflict wounds on its people and one that creates a prosperous life for them in both material and spiritual terms: “Those who follow this path do not become tired. Riders on this horse do not get bored. The water of this spring does not become impure and contaminated.” This is what Fatima Zahra said on that day. This event [the caliphate of Ali (a.s.)] was delayed for 25 years, but finally the Islamic Ummah gathered and elected the Commander of the Faithful as the caliph. During those years – from the month of Dhul-Hijja of the year 35 to the month of Ramadan of the year 40: his government lasted four years and nine or ten months – he accomplished great feats. He started certain tasks which would have allowed him to continue the path and to insure the world of Islam for many centuries if the sword of treachery and treason had not existed and if that grave crime had not been committed by Ibn Muljam and the elements working behind the scenes. Therefore, the disaster that took place on that day was full of heavy losses for the world of Islam and for the history of Islam. Once more, they made the world of Islam drift away from that fresh and pure spring that could quench the thirst of the world of Islam. Therefore, this disaster is for all times. Nov 5, 2004
The account of Imam Ali (pbuh) accepting to be the ruler and the reaction of his opponents
I would like to speak about a few measures that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) adopted. These measures have been reflected in the statements of that great personality. There are thousands of such measures in the Commander of the Faithful’s (a.s.) life. The people insisted and they pledged their allegiance with him, but Hazrat did not agree at first. Then the people insisted more. Everyone – including great personalities, ordinary people, chiefs and old companions – said that it should only be Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and no one else. They came and took Hazrat with insistence. Hazrat said, “Let us go to the mosque then.”
He took the minbar and delivered a sermon, expressing his viewpoints. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) said, “I will return to the people the property that the selected caliphs and the nobility have seized in an unjust manner wherever I find them.” During those years, some people had managed to take money from the public funds. He said, “By Allah, even if I had found that by such money women have been married or slave-maids have been purchased I would have returned it to its owners” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 15]. He said, “The people and great personalities should know that this is going to be my method.”
After a few days, this course of action aroused the opposition of certain people. Of course, poor people and the oppressed class of society always wish that this course of action is adopted, but it is evident that influential personalities and those who are the real addressees of this statement were displeased. They organized a meeting and said, “What is this course of action that Ali wants to adopt?” Walid ibn Aqabah – who was the governor of Kufa during the time of Uthman – was chosen as their representative. He went to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and said that there are certain conditions for their allegiance to him: “We will pledge our allegiance to you the day when you do not take away from us the property that we gained during the time of Uthman” [speaking in Arabic]. After Walid ibn Aqabah, Talha and Zubayr came.
Of course, we consider Talha and Zubayr to be different from Walid ibn Aqabah. Walid ibn Aqabah was in fact one of those people who had just converted to Islam. His family members were against Islam and anti-revolutionaries and they had fought against Islam. After the victory of Islam – in the late nabavi era – he converted to Islam just like the others from Bani Umayyad. However, Talha and Zubayr were among the old companions of Islam and the close friends of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). But even Talha and Zubayr – who were the great personalities of Islam in those days and who were among the remaining companions of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) – went to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and made certain complaints.
They said, “You equated us with others in dividing the public funds. You considered us and others who are not like us as equals” [speaking in Arabic]. They continued, “What condition is this? Why do you not differentiate between us?” “You considered us and those who are not like us as equals in dividing the property that God the Exalted bestowed on the people with our swords and spears” [speaking in Arabic]. They said, “It was we who moved Islam forward. It was we who took the trouble and who worked hard. Now, are you equating us with those who have just embraced Islam, who are Ajams [non-Arabs] and who come from countries who have been conquered by us?”
I have not seen the Commander of the Faithful’s (a.s.) answer to Walid ibn Aqabah. History has not recorded it, but he gave answers to others. Hazrat took the minbar and gave a harsh response. On the issue of the equal division of public funds, he said, “I am not the first person to issue such an edict. You and I were witnesses that the Messenger of God (God’s greetings be upon him) issued a similar edict” [speaking in Arabic]. He said that both they and Hazrat were alive at that time and that they all witnessed that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) adopted a similar course of action. So, he was not starting a new tradition, only pursuing the same thing that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did.
He said that he wanted to implement the same values and the same ideological and practical bases in society. And He did that until the end of his life and, of course, he paid the price for that. The price for that was the emergence of three wars. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) stood firm. It is evident that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) considered the right to caliphate as something that belonged to him, but this did not take place after the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) demise. For 25 years, he did not make any moves for what he considered to be his right. And when some people wanted to say something, he would keep them quiet: “Your girth is loose and you have put it on the wrong way… Now leave this story of devastation about which there is hue and cry all round” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 162]. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) has made such statements. He did not react to that issue for 25 years! But he endured three wars for the sake of an issue that seemed less important than the former – the issue of social justice, revival of nabavi principles and rebuilding the firm structure that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) had built. These wars were the Battle of the Camel, the Battle of Siffin and the Battle of Nahrawan. Notice how important this task was for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). This was the great feat that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) accomplished.
The commander of the Faithful (a.s.) has said something else in this regard. It is not bad for us to become familiar to some extent with Alavi teachings. He says, “Observing others’ rights should not prevent you from bringing them to justice.” It is obligatory for you to observe the rights of someone who is a pious individual, who is a mujahid in the way of God, who has made great efforts, who has been in the front lines and who has accomplished great feats. If this person commits a wrongdoing and violates a right, that obligatory duty should not prevent you, who are managers and officials, from violating justice for his wrongdoing. So, you should differentiate between things. The rights of someone who is a good and valuable person, who has a good background and who has made great efforts for Islam and the country, should be asserted and we hold such individuals in great respect. However, if they commit a wrongdoing, observing their rights should not make us ignore the wrongdoing that they have committed. This is the Commander of the Faithful’s (a.s.) logic. Nov 5, 2004