History of the Caliphs

By: Rasūl Ja’farīan

Translation by: Ali Ebrahimi

p. 173-178
In the first version of the book, we proportionately and briefly discussed about Imām ‘Alī (a)’s role in the changes of Prophet’s significant time. Imām’s position and his reliability to the Messenger (s) is briefly discussed. Imām ‘Alī (a) had the honor to be brought up in the house of Messenger (s).[1] In this regard, a great deal of attractive narrations collected by Ibn Abi l-Hadīd exist. Among them, in a narration by Zayd Ibn ‘Alī Ibn Husayn, he said that in that time the Messenger made meat and date soft by putting it in his mouth for being easily eaten and then it was put in Imām ‘Alī’s mouth.[2] Imām ‘Alī (a) was the first one who believed in the Messenger (s) due to this kinship.

He said, “No one but the Messenger took me the lead in prayer.”[3]

Since, in this regard, a great deal of witnesses and evidence exists; therefore, there is no room for doubts of equitable people. Concerning Imām’s embrace Islam, it is reportedly said that he was invited by the Messenger (s) to embrace Islam and this indicates Imām’s mental maturity.[4]

Mas‘ūdī says, “Some said that Imām in the time of his embrace Islam was not old enough so he was only an infant in that time.”[5]

The prophet truly knew the value of devoted companions, while Imām’s self-sacrifice in all the fields was observed, hoe the prophet can consider him like the others. This triggered that in every right time, Imām’s reliability and value was expresses to people through the prophet’s remarks about Imām’s features and characteristics. These are the issues available to us in reliable sources of history and hadith under the title of Imām’s virtues. Later on when in second century, the books of hadith were compiled, their compilers and narrators were to the most part influenced by tendencies of ‘Uthmān’s followers who couldn’t tolerate any virtue for Imām. Additionally what the Umayyads and ‘Uthmān supporters in the Umayya time made about caliphs and companion defenders was narrated. Some of these fakes ascribed to caliphs were, in essence, Imām’s virtues. These distortions came to a deadlock for Imām’s narrated virtues and their narrators were respectively serious and reliable to be remained in books. Narrators of Kūfa, in this regard, played a significant role in keeping these virtues.

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said, “‘Alī is the one for whom a great deal of true virtues is said.”[6]

He said, [إن ابن أبي طالب لا يقاس به أحد[7 “No noe deserves being compared to ‘Alī.”

Among these virtues, some narrations for whose correctness there is no doubt can be mentioned. Significance of some is to the extent that through them Imām’s personality in the Messenger’s eyes can be imagined.

Abū Sa‘īd Khudrī said, كان لعلي من النبي (ص) دخلة ليست لأحد وكان للنبي (ص) من علي دخلة ليست لأحد غيره فكانت دخلة النبي (ص) من علي ان النبي (ص) كان يدخل عليهم كل يوم[8] “No one met the prophet more than ‘Alī, so did the Prophet. The Prophet’s meeting was to come up to them every day.”

Also Zayd Ibn Thābit said to Imām, أنت من رسول الله (ص) بالمكان الذي لا يعدله أحد[9] “No one owns thy dignity in front of the Messenger (s).”

These words were said by Zayd when he used to tenaciously support ‘Uthmān. This caused Imām to know the Prophet (s) as long as none of the other companions did so.[10] One evidence indicating the Prophet’s heed to Imām was that he married Fātima (s), world selected women, to him. Abū Bakr and ‘Umar had popped the question to Fātima before but they were rejected by the Prophet.

But Imām (a) proposing marriage to Fātima was accepted and said, لست بدجال[11] “I’m not deceiver.” “Fātima is yours.”

Having married Fātima, Imām (a) was asked to find a house but it was far from the Prophet’s. And this was done through Hārith Ibn Nu‘mān’s devotion and leaving his house for ‘Alī.[12]

Perhaps due to such a reason, ‘Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Umar said, “ For knowing ‘Alī’s status to the prophet, you’d better see location of his house to that of the prophet.”[13]

In the course of the brotherhood, the Messenger selected ‘Alī (a) as his “brother”.[14] When the Messenger made sermon, Imām ‘Alī (a) used to repeat his remarks in a farther distance.[15] And in the time of the Prophet’s anger, no one but ‘Alī (a) dared to talk to him.[16] People made ‘Alī (a) as their mediator in solving their problems.[17]

Quoting ‘Āyisha, the Sunnites said, “Fātima among the women and ‘Alī among the men were the most beloved to the Messenger.” [18]

In Manzalat tradition which is one of the most definite merits of Imām, the Messenger regarded his relationship with ‘Alī (a) as that of Moses with Aaron.[19] In case of any problem, when someone was to be sent for settling things, The Messenger sent ‘Alī (a).[20] Once Imām was asked, why is it that you quote traditions more than the other companions? He answered, لأني كنت إذا سألته أنبأني وإذا سكتّ ابتدأني “Because When I asked the Messenger a question, He taught me the knowledge and when I kept silent, he started to speak himself.”[21]

Imām used to say, I faced nothing unknown unless I asked of the Messenger about it and committed the answer to my memory[22]. I memorized everything he said and never forgot anything.[23]

In a letter he wrote, وأنا من رسول الله كالصنو من الصنو والذراع من العضد “My relation with the Messenger is that of one branch with another or of the wrist with the arm.”[24]

He said, “I followed the Messenger just as a baby camel follows its mother.”[25]

إني لم أردّ على الله ولا على رسوله ساعة قطّ

“I never disobeyed God or his Messenger at all.”[26]

Concerning the declaration of aquittance, God told His Messenger, This message must be delivered either by you or someone on behalf of you. That is why he made Abū Bakr return midway and handed the message to Imām ‘Alī so that it might be read on “Greater Pilgrimage”.[27] There are beautiful sentences, in Qāsi‘a sermon, about Imām’s intimacy with the Messenger. Here are some of his remarks,

“You know my position of close kinship and special relationship with the Prophet. From the very beginning of my life he took me in his lap and kept me embraced to his chest. He used to lay me beside him in his bed, bring his body close to mine and make me smell his fragrance. He used to feed me with his hands often chewing something for me. He never heard me lying nor did he see me doing something wrong. When he was weaned, God appointed his greatest angel to be with him day and night so that he might cover the paths of greatness and avail himself of the worldly virtues. And I used to follow him like a young camel following in the footprints of its mother. Every day he showed me in the form of a banner some of his high traits and commanded me to follow them. Every year he used to go in seclusion in Harā’.I saw him and no one did so but me. In those days, Islam was the religion of Holy Prophet and his wife, Khadīdja exclusively. I was the third of the trio. I beheld the divine light of revelation and prophethood and smelled the heavenly fragrance of messngership.”[28]

Being on such intimate terms with the Messenger, Imām said, “By God, there is no verse revealed unless I know about what and where in it was sent.[29] According to Ibn ‘Abbās, no verse was sent by God unless ‘Alī (a) was Amīr and noble. God reproved Muhammad’s companions but always spoke highly of ‘Alī (a).[30] Regarding those who wondered at ‘Alī (a) being the divider of Heaven and Hell, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said, “Hasn’t this been narrated that the Messenger told ‘Alī (a), لا يحبك إلا مؤمن ولا يبغضك إلا منافق “Only the believer loes thee and only the hypocrite loathes thee.” “Yes”, they said. Continued he, “As the believer abides in the heaven and the hypocrite abides in the Hell, ‘Alī (a) is the divider of the Heaven and the Hell.”[31]

‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz used to say, “If this ignorant people were informed of what we knew about ‘Alī (a), not two of them would obey us.”[32]

As Salmān states, “Should ‘Alī (a) leave you, there would remain nobody to inform you of the prophet’s secrets.”[33] How right Ibn Abi l-Hadīd is to say, “No one helped the Prophet as much as Abū Tālib and his sons,’Alī (a) and Dja‘far did.”[34]Once somebody complained to the Prophet about ‘Alī (a) and he stated three times, Leave ‘Alī (a) alone.[35]

فإن علياً مني وأنا منه وهو ولي كل مومن

“‘Alī is from me and I am from him; he is guardian of every faithful.”

At the night of immigration, ‘Alī (a) saved prophet’s life [36]. In the battle of Badr 30 polytheists were put to death by him. In the battle of Uhud, where many escaped the battle, he remained with prophet and saved his life. One stroke of ‘Alī’s sword inflicted on ‘Amr Ibn ‘Abdiwad in Khandaq was considered by the Prophet to be worth more than the worship of Jinn and mankind. This blow put the enemy to rout.[37] In most battles, Imām was the flag bearer of Muslim’s army.[38]

Undoubtedly, Imām’s knowledge had no parallel in Prophet’s companions. This is an issue cited by the prophet and his companions, and testified by history. This word of the Messenger, انا مدينه العلم وعلي بابها “ I am the city of knowledge and ‘Alī (a) is its door,” bears abundant evidence of this. Uttered on the pulpit, Imām ‘s remark, سلوني قبل ان تفقدوني “Ask me before you miss me,”[39] was also indicative of the superiority of his knowledge. This claim, according to Sa‘īd Ibn Musayyib, was laid by no one but Imām.[40]

The prophet charged him with the duty of teaching ablution and tradition to people.[41] ‘Āyisha, whose animosity toward Fātima and ‘Alī (a) dated back to prophet’s time, said, [علي أعلم الناس بالسنة [42 “‘Alī is most conscious of Sunna.”

According to one of the well-known successors called ‘Atā’, ‘Alī is the most impoverished one among the Prophet’s companions.[43]

‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz also called him the most devout of the companions.[44] Hundreds of pages can be written about Imām’s virtues but this amount will suffice our book which is a short review of Islam’s history.

[1] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 90
[2] Sharh nahdj al-balāgha, vol. XII, pp. 198-201
[3] Nahdj al-balāgha, sermon 131
[4] al-Mi‘yār wa l-muwāzina, pp. 68-69; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. I, p.112
[5] al-Tanbīh wa l-ishrāf, p. 198
[6] Ibn Djūzī, Manāqib Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, p. 160; Tabaqāt al-hanābilā, vol. I, p. 319
[7] Manāqib Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, pp. 163
[8] ‘Abd al-Razzāq, al-Musannaf, vol. X, p. 140; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 98 and in the footnote of Tārīkh Dimashq, vol.XXXVIII, p. 33; Amālī Ibn al-Shiykh, p. 33; Hadith III, section 27
[9] al-Futūh, vol. II, p. 165
[10] See Subul al-hudā wa l-Rishād, vol. VI, p. 642
[11] Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. VIII, p. 22. this can be read in two ways “ لست’ lastu” and “ ´لست lasta”. Ibn Sa‘d considered the first one and interpreted as I am not deceiver. It means that the prophet had pledged ‘Alī of his marriage to Fātima. A research in the narration of proposal, show there existed no promise. So what does the Prophet’s
remark mean? Hence the reading lasta seems to be more probable, implying a reference to the previous suitors.
[12] Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. VIII, p. 22
[13] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, pp. 180-181
[14] Sahīh Tirmidhī, vol. XIII, p. 170; Ibn Abī Shayba, al-Musannaf, vol. XII, pp. 62 – 82; al-Mustadrak, vol. III, p.14; Rabī‘ al-abrār, vol. I, p. 807; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. I, p. 270, vol. II, p. 145
[15] Rabī‘ al-abrār, vol. III, p. 732
[16] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 107; al-Mustadrak, vol. III, p.130
[17] al-Tarātīb al-idāriyya, vol. I, pp. 56-58
[18] al-Istī‘āb, vol.I, p.378; Tārīkh Djurdjān, p.218
[19] As mentioned in the text, no one doubts this tradition
[20] Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. VII, p. 435; al-Tarātīb al-Idariyya, vol. I, p.p 443,444;3
[21] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol II, p. 98
[22] Nahdj al-balāgha, Sermon 208
[23] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 121
[24] Nahdj al-balāgha, Letter 45
[25] Tasnīf Nahdj al-balāgha, p. 355
[26] Nahdj al-balāgha, Sermon 195
[27] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. I, p. 382; vol. II, p.p. 123,155
[28] Nahdj al-balāgha, Sermon192
[29] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 99
[30] Ma‘rifat al-sahāba, vol. I, p. 298; al-Mu‘djam al-Kabīr, vol. XI, p. 264; Hilyat al-awliyā’, vol. I, p. 64
[31] Tabaqāt al-hanābila, vol. I, p. 320
[32] Rabi‘ al-abrār, vol. I, p. 499
[33] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 183
[34] Sharh nahdj al-balāgha, vol. VII, p. 174
[35] al-Amālī fī Āthār al-sahāba, p. 80, footnote of Musnad Ahmad, vol. IV, p. 437, Sahīh Tirmidhī, no.3796; Musnad Tayālisī No.829; Traits of ‘Alī (a), Nasā’ī, p. 65; al-Hilyat al-’awliyā’, vol. VI, p. 294; al-Mustadrak, vol. III, p. 110; al-Mu‘djam al-Kabīr, vol. XVIII, p. 128; and see→, vol. IV, p. 322
[36] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. I, p. 260
[37] Tārīkh Mukhtasar al-duwal, p. 95; Ibn Abi l-Hadīd, Sharh nahdj al-balāgha vol. V, p. 7
[38] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. II, p. 91,94; Hayāt sahāba, vol. II, p.p. 514-515
[39] Nahdj al-balāgha, Sermon 189
[40] Tārīkh Yahyā Ibn Mu‘ayn,vol.III,p. 143
[41] Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. IV, p. 52
[42] Tārīkh al-Kabīr, Bukhārī,vol.II, p. 255
[43] Maqtal al-imām al-Amīr al-Mu‘minīn (ā)
[44] Ibid, p.107
Source: maaref-foundation.com


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