Al-Huda the Message Continues 1/38
Foundation, NJ USA Newsletter for September 2004
Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6
Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 -Article 11 - Article 12
LIFE OF ALI (a) DURING THE TIMES OF THE PROPHET (s)
(except from Dr.Sayed Haider Hussain Shamsi's book, " The lives of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt ". This book can be read online in the book section of this website).
The birth of Imam Ali took place under unique circumstances inside the holy Ka'ba. It is considered unique because no prophet or saint has ever been born in a holy sanctuary. Fatima binte Asad, the expectant mother of Ali was praying outside the Ka'ba when she suddenly felt the labor pains. Just then the wall of the holy sanctuary opened. As she stepped in, the wall closed behind her. Shortly after that she gave birth to her baby. When they came out, Muhammad took the newborn in his arms and named him Ali. The infant looked at his face and smiled.
Muhammad nurtured Ali in his childhood, and the child fully assimilated the habits and the qualities of the Prophet. When he grew up, Ali accompanied Muhammad wherever he went, and followed him like his shadow. This early association blossomed in his devout love for the Prophet whom he emulated in every manner, and assisted him in the delivery of the Message at every step. The association between the two was not accidental. Muhammad himself was born in the Shabe Abi Talib (the house of Abu Talib just out side Makkah) and was raised and nurtured by Ali's parents, Abu Talib and Fatima binte Asad. Abu Talib took special care of his nephew Muhammad, and protected him against all odds as long as he lived.
Ali came into focus as a young lad of about I I years when he became known as one the first to witness Muhammad as Allah's Messenger. The other person to acknowledge the Prophetic mission of Muhammad was his wife Khadija.
Now that Muhammad was commanded by Allah to proclaim his Prophet-hood and invite his kinsmen to Islam, he asked Ali to act as his messenger. Ali called on the elders of Quraish to extend the Prophet's invitation. He and his father arranged a feast known as dhil-Asheera. The Prophet delivered the Message, asking them to forsake the idols and worship Allah alone. In the face of great hostilities, when he asked if any one would help him in his work, none other than Ali stood up and declared his unconditional and unfettered support of the Prophetic Mission.
The Quraish of Makkah unleashed their torment to the early believers, but the Prophet continued to convey the Message undaunted by the insults and the harsh treatment of the Makkans. All protected and defended the Prophet at every opportunity despite his young age. Along with handful of the early believers, Ali endured the harsh economic and social blockade of his parent's house by the arrogant Quraish when the Prophet refused to abandon his mission.
On the night of Hijra, when the enemies of the Prophet were lying in wait for him, he willingly and gratefully undertook the hazardous task of sleeping in the bed of the Prophet so that the Messenger of Islam would not be hurt. It helped the Prophet escape the assassins in the darkness of the night. Allah recognized this service of Ali in the Qur'an: “And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is full of kindness to (His) devotees." 11: 207.
After the departure of the Prophet for Madinah, Ali acted on behalf of the Prophet and returned to the Makkans the valuables that they had placed with the Prophet for safe keeping.
When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he initiated the foundation of a cohesive society in the form of Brotherhood in Islam. He assigned one Muhajir (migrant) from Makkah as a brother unto one resident Ansar (helper) in Madinah.
Since Ali was delayed in Makkah carrying out the duties entrusted to him by the Prophet, he was unable to participate in the newly formed brotherhood. On his arrival in Madinah, when Ali asked the Prophet who would be his 'brother' according to the new rule, the Prophet told him: "You and I are brothers in this world and the Hereafter. "
The idolaters of Makkah could not bear the escape of a handful of Muslims from under their noses. They wanted to kill the Prophet as well as his followers. In the second year of al-Hijra (the Islamic calendar year) they came out in Badr, in the outskirts of Madinaf4 well equipped with arms, eight hundred and fifty strong on foot, and one hundred on horseback. They were almost three times larger in number than the poorl3f equipped and hastily raised 'army' of just three hundred and fourteen. Muslims defenders (80 Muhajirs and 234 Ansars). Of these, only seventy were on camels and only two were on horseback! This was the first of the several confrontations the early Muslims had to face against the pagans in defense of their faith and property. The soldiery of Ali was unknown and untested until this first battle. With a resounding victory for Islam seventy of the bravest Quraish were slain and forty-five were taken prisoners of war. Ali emerged as the undisputed hero for the Muslims. He alone was responsible for almost one half of the carnage of the pagans in that battle. There was no family in Makkah that was not affected by Ali's sword in the Battle of Badr. Ali was to be looked upon as a deterrent and a formidable force in the future. He was not only the 'brother' of the new Prophet but also his fighting hand. The Prophet hardly ever used his sword himself pleased with his unparalleled bravery as well as chivalry, the Prophet declared All openly as Asadullah (the Lion of Allah), and Yadullah (the Hands of Allah).
The Battle of Badr had far reaching consequences for Ali. Whereas this son
of Abu Talib intimidated the pagans of Makkah, some among the believers carried
grudges and jealousy, even animosity against him. The nascent faith had not
yet cleansed their hearts of the old bias they had carried against the man who
had, with his sword, cut down their kinsmen, even their closest relatives,
their fathers, uncles, sons and husbands. This hostility, which they were
unable to express during the life of the Prophet, for fear of annoying Allah's
Messenger, showed up immediately after his death. The history, in the years to
come, was to witness how the anti-Ali faction came out of the hole, succeeded in
isolating the 'brother of the Prophet’ from the affairs of the Islamic State
for 25 years. Even in his own Caliphate, the same group rose in rebellion
with one pretext or another, and finally plotting to end his life with a sword.
In the years that followed, the might and valor of Ali in the service of Islam
was to be avenged by his adversaries in killing his sons, his grandsons and
kinsmen in the battle of Karbala in an effort to get even with Ali, the Lion of
After the battle of Badr, the Prophet gave his only daughter Fatima in
marriage to the virtuous Hashimite hero of Islam. Together they had two sons, Hasan
and Husain, who succeeded as Imams after him, and they laid down their lives
upholding and defending the values of Islam.
In later years, Ali continued to be the victorious champion of Islam while
others had failed in some of the most threatening battles the Prophet had to
undertake in defense. of Islam, the Muslims and the nascent Islamic State that
was emerging in Yathrib. As a consequence, Ali received many valedictory titlcs
from the Prophet, and wide acclaim among the believers. Only a few of these
are briefly narrated below.
The enemies of lslam did not wait long to avenge their shameful defeat at
Badr. The following year, they came back at Uhod under the command of Abu
Sufyan, the chief of the Makkan infidels. They laid their siege right at the
outskirts of Madinah with three times the force they had mustered previously at
Badr. This time they were determined to exterminate Islam by killing the Prophet
and his followers. Here again the Muslims were outnumbered three to one and
poorly supplied. However, All and Hamza raged havoc in the ranks of the
infidels, and Ali felled each of the seven standard bearers of the Makkan pagans
successively. Together with the valiant believers, the enemy was routed and
scattered in all directions. The battlefield resounded with the voice "There is
none victorious other than Ali and there is no equal to the sword Zulfiqar."
Hamza was targeted by Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan, who had him killed by
the spear of her Abyssinian slave, and she savagely mutilated his body
With the apparent victory, the Muslims ignored the warning of the Prophet not
to move from their appointed strategic place and ran to loot the battlefield.
They were caught unaware by the spare contingent of the pagan army under
Khalid bin Walid, and many perished in the act of looting, while others fled for
their lives. Many of the senior companions of the Prophet used to reminisce
saying that they never ran faster in their lives than in the battle of Uhod!
The Prophet was injured in the onslaught led by Khalid bin Walid. Ali
hastened to the rescue and stood by to protect the Prophet. At that station, he
repelled several attempts by the pagan contingent. Finally, the pagans were
driven away. Fatima (the wife of Ali and the daughter of the Prophet) tended to
the wounds of her father. The Prophet asked Ali why he did not flee for his
life like the others had done. Ali replied that his life belonged to the
Prophet, and he had no business with the others, and being a believer would not want
to become a disbeliever!
In the fifth year of al-Hijra the arch enemy of lslam, Abu Sufyan, the
Umayyad chief of the pagans of Makkah raised an army 'of about ten thousand
confederates of Jewish and other tribes of the Arab idolaters and marched on to
Madinah. With this force, he was confident that he could wipe out Islam and its
Prophet. However, the Prophet learning of the mighty force marching towards the
home of the Muslims, had a ditch dug out between the city of Madinah and the
advancing force of the infidels. Whereas this kept back the general advance of
the confederate army, a hand full of the infidels jumped across the ditck led
by Amr bin Abd Wudd. They jeered and slung abuses at the Muslims and
challenged them to send their best for a duel. Ali was a gallant warrior, and the
Muslims were frightened of his armor clad gigantic personality. It was Ali who
repeatedly asked permission of the Prophet to allow him to face the challenge.
When none else dared to come out, the infidels flung further abuses and
provocative language at the Muslims. Finally Ali was allowed to face the enemy.
The Prophet prayed Allah for Ali and said: "today total Faith has gone out to
face total infidelity."
Ali had a brisk duel with Amr and cut down the challenger with one stroke of
his famous sword. Prophet declared, "the single stroke of Ali's sword is
superior to years of ibada (obedience to Allah)." The Muslims initially watched
the encounter from a distance. However, some believers got encouraged with the
success of Ali and joined him to eliminate the remaining threat from the
infidels who had crossed over the ditch. Ali perused Ikramah bin Abu Jahl into the
ditch and killed him.
In the month of Zi-Qa'd, in the sixth year of al-Hijra, the Prophet undertook
journey to Makkah for Haj accompanied by about fourteen hundred unarmed
Muslims. It was traditional in all of Arabia to suspend all kinds of hostilities
during the months of Haj. However, the Makkans came out armed to stop the
advance of the pilgrims. The Prophet made a halt at the well of Hudaybiya. After
tense negotiations (from within his own ranks of the Muslims, and-from that
of the pagan Makkans) a treaty was concluded under which the Prophet had to
carry out his rituals of a lesser Hajj at the very campsite, and would return the
following year for a full ritual Haj. Ali represented the Muslims and wrote
the contents of the Treaty of Hudaybiya.
Early in the seventh year of al-Hijra, the Prophet learned that the Jewish
tribes in the valley of Khaybar, about eighty miles north of Madinah, were
planning mischief against the Muslims. He decided to march to Khaybar and
eliminate the threat to their homes and lives. He took about 1600 believers with him
but Ali was unable to go with the Muslim army at that time because of sore
The Muslims took the smaller fortresses one by one, and laid siege over the
grand citadel of Khaybar. Each of the repeated attempts made by the Muslims was
repulsed effectively by the ferocious Jewish warriors. Even the most senior
and trusted companions of the Prophet failed to break into the defenses of the
citadel. By this time the Muslims were getting somewhat discouraged and
demoralized. Finally, the Prophet declared, "Tomorrow I shall hand over my flag
to one who loves Allah and His Prophet, and who is beloved of the Lord an d His
Prophet, a fearless champion who n ever turns his back upon a foe; and at his
hands the Lord will give victory. " Hopes ran high in the hearts of all
potential commanders to earn that benediction. However, All arrived at the scene
with sore eyes. The Prophet healed them with his saliva, and gave him the
Standard of die Muslim army. He faced his first adversary in Marhab, a
formidable warrior, and cut him into two with one stoke of his famous sword. This was
followed with successful duels with six other Jewish warriors. He then led
the Muslims to a general attack, and won the day by subduing the fort of
Khaybar. Some miraculous feats are reported in the books of history concerning the
way Ali pulled out the gate of the fort and, first used it as a shield for
himself and then threw it as a bridge over the ditch for the Muslims to cross
over. The Prophet did not evict the vanquished people from their homes. The
people ceded half of their property to the Muslims for submission, and in return,
they were allowed to continue to cultivate the land for their subsistence.
The grove of Fadak was retained by the Prophet, and gave it to his daughter
Fatima for her family to use.
In the eighth year of al-Hijra, the pagans of Makkah violated the peace
treaty signed with them two years earlier. The Prophet took ten thousand believers
with him and marched to Makkah. The city was subdued without active
fighting, and the archenemy of Islam had to embrace Islam along with other infidels of
Makkah. Upon the conquest of Makkah, the holy Ka'ba was cleansed of hundreds
of idols. The grand idol, Hubal, treated as a deity by the pagans of Makkah
was fixed on a high position, beyond reach. The Prophet asked Ali to mount
his shoulders to reach it and destroy it. Ali initially hesitated but complied
on second command, and standing on the shoulders of the Prophet, he pulled the
heavy idol from its high place and knocked it down to the floor where it
crashed to pieces. The Prophet recited: "Truth has come and falsehood being
perishable, has vanished. X'VH: 82.
It was the same year of al-Hijra when the Prophet sent Ali to Yemen as his
envoy to replace Khalid bin Walid. Khalid had earlier been sent to Yemen to
collect the obligatory taxes. He ransacked the place and caused havoc amongst
the southern tribes with loss of life and dignity, in his pre Islamic ruthless
style. The news of this event caused much grief to the Prophet. Khalid was
recalled and rebuked for his conduct. To compensate the families of the
victims, the Prophet dispatched Ali to Yemen with money. On arrival there, he
distributed the compensation according to the needs of each family. There was
still some money left which was also given away to the needy. The people were
impressed by this true soldier of Islam and admired him for his generosity,
kindness, piety and knowledge.
By virtue of the verse in Qur'an, Ayae tat-heer....... And Allah only wishes
to remove all abomination from you, ye Members of the Family, and to make you
pure and spotless." XXXIII: 3 3, the Prophet included Ali as a member of his
family (Ahle Bait). It is reported in numerous ahadith that the Prophet laid
his woolen blanket over himself, his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and her
sons Hasan and Husain, and said, "O Allah., these are my Ahle Bait."
The following year, the Christians of Najran came to Madinah to see and to
verify the Truth of the Prophet of the Muslims. They remained adamantly opposed
to all arguments, or to accept evidence from the scriptures. In the end,
they opted to go out in the open for Mubahela (a method employed in the olden
times to invoke the curse of Truth over Falsehood).
Allah revealed in al-Quran: "The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that
of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him Be, and he was. The Truth
(comes) from Allah alone; so be not of those who doubt. If anyone disputes in
this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee, say:
come! Let us gather together our sons, and your sons, our women and your women,
ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray and invoke the curse of
Allah on those who lie!" III: 59-61. Ali accompanied the Prophet with Fatima
and their two sons, Hasan and Husain (the five infallible members of the Ahle
Bait of the Prophet) at the Mubahela representing the men, the women and the
children of all Muslims to face the Christian challengers fi7om Najran for the
test of the Truth. Seeing the Prophet and his Ahle Bait, their faces glowing
with the light of the Truth, the Christians withdrew from Mubahela and returned
home, not converted as Muslims, but in peace with the Muslims and the Islamic
In the same year, Sura Tauba was revealed to the Prophet. He sent Abu Bakr
to Makkah to deliver it to the pilgrims. But soon, the Archangel Gabriel
reappeared with instructions that the Message must be delivered by the Prophet
himself or one of his family. The Prophet hastened to dispatched Ali on his
personal camel. Ali caught up with Abu Bakr, took charge of the important Divine
Proclamation and arrived in Makkah. He proclaimed in the name of Allah the
early verses of the Sura Tauba, stating that the city of Makkah would, from then
on, be a sanctuary for all Muslims, and forbidding all idolaters and
polytheists to enter the Holy Precinct, and forbidding the carrying of idols in the
In the tenth year of al-Hijra, the Prophet of Islam arrived in Makkah for
Hajj with thousands of his followers. Ali was in Yemen at that time. He also
arrived in Makkah in time to participate in the Haj, personally conducted by the
Prophet. This was one of the most important events in the history of early
Islam, and every Muslim wanted to perform Haj with the Prophet. After
completion of the Haj, and on the way back to Madinah, the Prophet of Islam was
ordained by Allah to carry out the last duty of his Prophetic Mission thus: "O
Apostle! Proclaim the (Message) which hath been sent to theefrom thy Lord. If
thou didst not, thou wouldst have not fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission. And
Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief. For Allah guideth not
those who reject Faith." V: 70
He made a stop at the well called Ghadire Khumm and gathered all those who
could be recalled. A makeshift pulpit was erected and the Prophet addressed the
congregation: "It seems as if I would soon be summoned to go to Allah and I
have responded to it I entrust you with two very precious and grand things,.one
of which is greater than the other: the Book of Allah and my Ahle Bait. Take
heed of the way you treat these two trusts, because the Qur'an and the Ahle
Bait will never separate until they return to me by the Hawd al-Kawthar (the
pond). " He then said: "Allah is my master and I am the master of every believer.
" Then he took the hand of Ali and raising his arm high above his shoulders
for all to see, and said: " Ali will be the maula (master) of whoever deems me
his (maula) master. 0 Allah! Place within Your own vilayah whoever accepts
the vilayah of Ali and be the enemy of whoever shows animosity to him. " All
those who attended the congregation under the hot mid-afternoon sun
congratulated Ali on the honor that had just been bestowed upon him by the Will of Allah.
This event has been recorded in both Shiite and Sunni books.
It was at this place and occasion when the last revelation of the Qur’an was
delivered to the Prophet: "... This day have those who rejected Faith given up
hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear me. This day have I
perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for
you Islam as your religion. " V:4. This completed the Book of Allah as well as
the long and onerous task of the Prophet.
Soon after his return to Madinah the Prophet became ill and passed away.
However, while the members of the Ahle Bait were busy making arrangements for the
burial of the Prophet, the companions hurried to a heated conference that was
being held at Saqueefa Banu Saada to determine the successor to the Prophet.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Abu Bakr was elected as the first Caliph.
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