Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (P.B.U.H) – part 1

 

Misconceptions & fabrications

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The two personalities in history with the most fabrications, alterations and misconceptions

against them are the Holy Prophet of Islam Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and his rightful successor Ali Ibn Abi

Talib (P.B.U.H). As discussed in previous articles the notion of fabricating misconceptions and wrong

information about the Prophet is rationally understood, as any tyrant that uses the name and slogan of

Islam must do the following:

 Distort the image of Prophet Mohammad.

 Fabricate brutal and barbaric actions and decisions carried by the Prophet to legitimize crimes.

 Fabricate supressing and crushing freedom of expression must be linked to the Prophet’s

tradition, by fabricating narrations and stories about him doing the same thing.

Therefore, witnessing the barbarism and brutality of today’s self-proclaimed Islamic states and

terrorist organizations is linked to the distorted image of Prophet Mohammad, portrayed by tyrants of

Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. However, distorting the image of Imam Ali was another method for

altering the image and reputation of Prophet Mohammad as well, since history states that Ali was

raised, nurtured and taught solely by Prophet Mohammad. Ultimately, distorting the image of Ali Ibn Abi

Talib would translates to failure for Prophet Mohammad as a care-taker, teacher and a father in-law.

In addition, to targeting the Prophet of Islam by taking aim at Imam Ali, tyrants and their aides have

been able to accomplish many goals that vary from politically motivated to ideologically, socially,

religiously and even military. Therefore, the hazy vision surrounding the personality of Imam Ali would

never be worthy of assuming the post of Caliphate, or title of most knowledgeable man after the

prophet and other attributes granted to Ali by the prophet himself. The hostility toward Ali Ibn Abi Talib,

his household and followers is undeniable, where slaughtering, displacement and persecution was the

usual end of them. Therefore, it would be beneficial to examine some of the most known and

widespread misconceptions about Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (P.B.U.H) that are completely false and their

falsehood can be proven by an overwhelming consensus in Islamic tradition.

The birth of Imam Ali (P.B.U.H)

According to unanimity of scholars, the birth of Imam Ali happened on the 13th day of Rajab

(Lunar Calendar) on the year 601 AD. However, the miraculous fact about the birth of Imam Ali

according to historians is the events surrounding the birth time, which includes the Ka’ba in the holy city

of Mecca. Upon the time of Ali’s birth, once his mother (Fatima Bint Assad) began to have contractions,

she approached the house of God (the Ka’ba) and ask for the aid of almighty. Witnesses’ testimonies

indicate, the wall burst open and Fatima entered the house of God, then the wall came back together

and anyone attempting to open the door failed to do so. Three days later, Fatima Bint Assad came out of

the Ka’ba from the same split in the wall after it happened again, while carrying a child and that child

was name Ali by his father Abi Talib.

Although during the Umayyad era, many of Ali’s attributes and well characters were denied,

challenged and distorted, yet the consensus among Islamic scholars about the birth of Imam Ali inside

the house of God is undeniable. Here are some of the most respected and known Sunni sources that

affirm the news of Ali’s birth inside the Ka’ba.

 Al-Mustadrak Ala Al-Sahihain by: Al-Hakim Al-Nisaburi

 Kefayat Al-Athar by: Al-Kanji Al-Shafi’ie

 Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir by: Mohammad Al-Alusi

 Moruj Al-Thahab by: Al-Masoodi

 Tathkerat Khawas Al-Umma by: Sibt Ibn Al-Jozi

 Al-Manaqib by: Mohammad Saleh Al-Tirmidhi

Note: all of these famous Sunni scholars have affirmed the authenticity of any tradition that states

Ali Ibn Abi Talib was born in the Ka’ba. There are tens of others sources, yet the mentioned sources in

this article shall be sufficient.

The title: Commander of the Faithful

Among the most famous titles allocated to Imam Ali (P.B.U.H), one title is very special and

outstanding more than others, yet it was the first one taken from him and used by every tyrant that

ruled the Islamic Empire. The title is ‘Commander of the Faithful’. This title holds a great deal of

importance, as it grants the bearer a religious legitimacy alongside his political authority. Although there

are numerous narrations that indicate this title was solely granted to Imam Ali by the holy Prophet, yet

as mentioned all Caliphs and self-proclaimed commanders of the Islamic Empire used this title and

called themselves: Commander of the faithful. The legitimacy of this title for Imam Ali has been

confirmed by several Shi’i and Sunni sources, where either by direct testimony this fact is stated, or by

giving a clear indication the prophet identifies Ali as Commander of the Faithful.

 Kitab Al-Kafi by: Al-Kulayni (Shi’i source)

 Al-Amali by: Sheikh Al-Sadooq (Shi’i source)

 Al-Mustarshid by: Al-Tabari (Sunni source)

 Helyat Al-Awlia’a by: Al-Hafidh Al-Isfahani (Sunni source)

 Tarikh Ibn Asaker by: Ibn Asaker (Sunni source)

 Al-Mujam Al-Sagheer by: Al-Tabarani (Sunni source)

There are tens of other sources that affirm this notion and allocation of the title to Ali Ibn Abi Talib

by the Holy Prophet.

To be continued.

Resolution Methods for Privation & Adversity

Part 14: The economic factors for generating, sustaining and developing wealth to fight poverty (10) (Stimulating wealth flow)
(Based on the thoughts & theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murtadha Al-Shirazai)
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
The flow of wealth and funds will result in active and healthy economy, where citizens have access to funds for consumption, transactions are facilitated and inflation is contained and reduced. However, accumulation of wealth and funds, will freeze and prevent them from a healthy flow in the markets, which will also prevent the creation and flow of new wealth and fund generation methods. Therefore, the Islamic system has discouraged accumulation of wealth and the 34th verse of Quran’s 9th chapter indicates: “and those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah, give them tidings of a painful punishment”. (Note: the phrase way of Allah would not necessary hold a religious aspect, as other verses of the Holy Quran and traditions of Prophet Mohammad and his holy household, indicate that any action, deed, statement and effort which would benefit the people is considered an action in the way of Allah.)
The prohibition of accumulation in this verse is not bound to gold and silver, but since those two items are the most notable and known examples their names are mentioned. Presently, states around the world have maintained a continuous policy of wealth accumulation under the name of (RESERVE) or (Emergency fund). Unfortunately, billions or hundreds of billions in dollars and precious metals are stashed in reserves and funds, where the entire management process of these funds are granted to administrational bureaucrats.
Nevertheless, the methodology of Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) shows that funds received from taxation or other sources were granted to the masses immediately, as Imam Ali never left any funds in the state treasury at the end of the day. This methodology and policy of Imam Ali would assure that all the funds and wealth of a nation is directed to the masses, including the lower class. Therefore, poverty and privation is minimized vastly, flow of wealth leads to stronger economy and this trend would ultimately benefit the state and its citizens on all levels and aspects. In general, once the consumption ability of the masses is increased, the investment opportunities are available in a broader range, infrastructures, cultivation, manufacturing and mining are sought to be excellent opportunities for wealth growth. Nonetheless, this strong and healthy economy would translate into an ability to pay more taxes, which will also end up in the hands of people in different shapes, services and plans.
Therefore, pouring the reserve funds into the hands of the masses would create and enormous direct and indirect ability to diminish poverty and privation, which would lead to a stronger state and public. This method would also increase the gross domestic production, which is the real reserve fund and power that could support and sustain any currency regardless of the size of an economy.
According to some historians and researchers, the necessity of stimulating flow of wealth and funds was among the primary reasons behind the Prophet Mohammad’s decision to change the goods exchange methods to currency and monetary system. The system considered gold and silver as standard for exchange, comparison and equivalency, where the worth of the currency was set. Therefore, for instance 1 Dinar was equivalent 4.6 g of gold and other measurement.
The shift to this system enabled the consumers to explore various options for trade transactions, as transportation and other related aspects to any trader deal were facilitated. Therefore, exchanging a good for another was not the method to conduct a transaction, which also prevented some goods being kept aside until expire, because the goods exchange method made them unpopular.

SINCERITY OF INTENTIONS

By: Zeinab Alsheraa
During ethical dilemmas the issue of whether something is morally principled can be determined by the ends justifying the means or the idea that “it is the thought that counts.” In all cases, the purpose and intentions are always taken to consideration. Then comes the issue of whether the intention is justifiable or sincere. Without a sincere intention, all actions then become invalid, especially towards God, since it is the pillar of worship and the prerequisite of an action to be accepted.
Types of Intentions
There are three types of intentions that engulf the basic motives of people. They are the underlying reasoning behind any action—for nothing is done simply just because.
1- For Self
This is the merchant of intentions, when actions are calculated specifically to see what outcome would provide the most benefits to oneselves. This is the idea that ‘if I help this person today, then tomorrow they may help me when I am in need.’ People will perform a task if they are bargained a benefit from it. This may be a direct benefit, such as a favor owed, or indirect such as self image. Someone may act in accordance to what will give off a desired appearance towards oneself. For example, a person may help in a nursery to give off an image that they are gentle and loving. Their overall purpose is their self image and pride, despite their actions.
2- For Others
These intentions are to please others. This is where people crave the approval and attention from others, desiring likes on their Facebook posts. This builds upon the idea of seeking validation from others and attempting to please society by “fitting into” its social constructs.
3- For God
This contains the truest form of sincerity. The intention for God can be broken down into a summary by Imam Ali, “a group of people worship God out of desire for reward; this is the worship of traders. Another group worships God out of fear; this is the worship of slaves. Yet another group worships God out of gratitude; this is the worship of free men.”
How to be Sincere
Doing good actions
The more right one does, the closer they will be to God. When one is closer to God then they will be more sincere and will be led to a more sincere path, for a line in the Quran reads “As for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them in Our ways” (29:69).
Attaining knowledge
One must first be educated and informed about their actions. They must need to know what their actions will result of so one can be guided by the true faith. Knowing right and wrong and the outcomes of certain decisions, one would be compelled to have a more integral action.
Having honesty
This is where one must admit if an action they have performed is not as it appears to be. If one assumes that another has done a righteous action when they really have not, they must answer truthfully, to leave room for sincerity with their honesty.
Being aware
The clearest way to have sincerity is to be aware of what can affect your sincerity. Three things have the most prominent way of affecting one’s intention:
1- When you known when others are watching
Knowing that someone else is observing you can turn your purpose towards pleasing/impressing that person instead of God. The best way to avoid this is to simply perform certain actions away from the public view.
2- When you want to gain something out of it
This again is being a bargainer, only doing an action in order to attain a result. One should prioritize and not guarantee themselves anything but the pleasure of God from any deed carried out.
3- Self Satisfaction from the action
This is one to be wary of since it is about pride. One might have done something and believed it to be for the sake of Allah but then afterward they feel prideful of their action and carry enigma that they are better than others. This foils any intention a person may have had if their intention in the beginning does not match their motive at the end. The best way to avoid this is to remain humble and not expect any outcome or credit.
Sincerity is a result of certainty. The lack of sincerity and the suffering ostentation relate to the wavering faith of a person. There is a distinction between the awareness of faith and the certainty of it and the latter completes the circle of a believer’s faith by validating their intentions.

HOW THE WORLD WILL ACHIEVE JUSTICE

by: Zeinab Alsheraa

The problems ranging in today’s society stem off the issues of injustice. The world has deviated from Hitler’s Nazi regime to the Ku Klux Klan and other forms of racism. Sexism has come and not left the premises along with prejudice. In the case after 9/11, Muslims still feel the effects of 9/11’s misinterpretations of the whole religion of Islam. Out of fear and to give a false sense of security, people began to generalize and label ‘Muslims’ as terrorists in order to purge their fears onto anything for a feeling of comfort knowing who the ‘bad guy’ is. Is it fair to the 1.6 billion peaceful Muslims to have a group of attackers speak for the faith of Islam at large? These acts of prejudice, racism, and bigotry in general ostracize individuals and in turn demote equity. But God does not leave his servants astray in an environment that hinders fairness. The prophets were first sent to lead the people and now it is the imams that can enlighten the people to the path of due process.

What is Justice?

Intrinsically, it is the ultimate set of virtues encompassing all morals that ultimately lead to peace. Islam has encouraged and exalted it through abundant verses from the Quran.“Allah commands (people) to maintain justice, kindness, and proper relations with their relatives. (16:90)” There are two prominent forms of justice in this life: justice towards God and justice towards society.

1- Justice towards God:

This is the utmost revered concept and title of credibility of justice. It is not possible to achieve justice to Him because Allah does not require anything and is self-sufficient. But this form stands for believing in the Lord and conveying sincerity and love towards Him. This is where the acts of constant worship and rigid obedience come into place, along with the persisting efforts to stray away from any displeasures towards Him.

The injustice of this is self-wronging; the negligence and disobedience to God. The result is humility and disappointment.

2- Justice towards society:

This form can be achieved through the practice of adhering to individuals’ rights, abstaining from mistreating them, have sympathy to those in fragile conditions (such as poverty, weak health,etc.), and treating them with dignity and courtesy. Amir Al-Mu’mineen stated “you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself.”

The injustice of this occurs when the rights of individuals are neglected, their dignities disrespected, and interests disregarded. This behavior leads to social corruption. The lowest point of social corruption is harming a weak individual that has no means of defending oneself except to supplicate to God.

 

Promotion of Justice in this Dunya

The Prophet had stated before his departure of the dunya that he has left behind two things for the Ummah to follow: the holy book and his family. In order today to have equity one must differentiate before right and wrong and what better way to do so then to follow the Ahlul-bayt? They may have been faced with different situations then we may face today but the beauty of Islam is that its teachings transcend all limits. It is a religion for all places, people, and time. Despite any changes that may take place, the principles from Ahlul-bayt are applicable and prevail to any situation. Sometimes a simple issue may be complicated by technicalities and opinions but in remembering the principles of Ahlul-Bayt, the right choice becomes lucid. In order to put things into perspective in any situation, one only needs to ask “Would Imam Ali or Lady Fatima be seen doing this?”

The True Justice

Despite some efforts, some individuals may still find themselves troubled with certain predicaments. This may falter the faith in fairness in the world, but one must remember that true justice isn’t by people, but by the Creator, Allah. We are here to be tested and Allah is the examiner. It is his prerogative to choose which way a person will be tested. The justness of Allah is that he does not burden a person with at test beyond his or her abilities. Allah had not given us wings and therefore does not test us based on flying. We cannot claim that because He had not given us wings that we are wronged. It is not up to us to decide how we will be tested. In the same sense, Allah does not ask a servant to perform wudhu (ablution) that has no hands, because it is beyond their ability. This is the unique belief to Shia Muslims that God is always just—as His name states; Al-Adl or The Just. It is only to Him do we turn to for justice, not to any other creation by Him.