Imam Ali Describes The Prophet Mohammed

shiawisdom December 12, 2017

Imam Ali (as) states: He (Muhammad (S)) was not vulgar nor did he condone vulgarity, and he was not one to shout in the marketplace. He did not reward evil with evil, rather, he would forgive and overlook. He never in his life struck anything with his hand except when he was fighting in the name of Allah. He never struck a servant nor a woman, and I never saw him taking revenge for an injustice dealt him, except if the prohibitions of Allah were transgressed. For if the prohibitions of Allah were transgressed he was among the strongest of them in anger. He was never given a choice between two matters but he chose the simplest of the two. If he entered his home he was a man like any other; cleaning his own garment, milking his own goat, and serving himself.

He would guard his tongue against that which did not concern him. He would attract them (the people) and not repel them. He would ennoble the noble of the people and charge them with their affairs. He was wary of the people and guarded himself against them but without depriving them a warm smile or fitting conduct. He would inquire after his companions and would ask the people about their affairs. He would encourage that which was good and strengthen it, and he would discourage that which was evil and undermine it. He was balanced and consistent. He would never be neglectful that they would not learn neglect and grow indifferent. He had a provision for every occasion and he never fell short of justice nor exceeded it.

The closest people to him were the best among them, and the best among them in his eyes were the most comprehensive in advice. The highest of them in stature with him was the best among them in looking after the people and assisting them. He would not rise nor sit down without praise [to Allah]. If he visited a gathering he would sit wherever the group ended (and not at their head) and he encouraged the same. He would give all those sitting with him they're just due [to the extent that] they would each feel that none was more important to him than them. If someone were to sit with him or come in search of a favor he would be patient with them until they (the guest) would be the one to leave. Whoever came to him with a request was never turned away except with that which they had asked for or with a kind word. His cheerfulness and good manners encompassed them all such that he became a father to them and they all became equal in rights. His gatherings were those of knowledge, humbleness, patience, and integrity. In them, there would be no raising of voices nor transgressions of prohibitions. They would not expose one another's errors but would be equal, encouraging each other in the fear of Allah. In them, they would respect their elders, be merciful to their children, give preference to those in need, and protect the stranger."

Ali (as) continued: "He was continually smiling, gentle in manners, soft in nature. He was not severe, harsh-hearted, loud, abusive, or miserly. He would disregard that which he disliked, and no one ever despaired of him. He never responded to disparagement or evil words. He forbade upon himself three things: Argument, arrogance, and that which did not concern him. And he relieved the people of three: He would not degrade any among them or abuse them, he would not search after their honor or private matters, and he would not speak except in matters which he hoped to be rewarded for. When he spoke his attendees would lower their heads as if birds had alighted upon them. Once he finished they would speak. They would not vie with one another in his presence to speak, but when one would talk in his presence the rest would listen until he finished. Speech in his presence was that of the first among them. He would laugh with them, and wonder with them. He had patience with the strangers when they were gruff in speech and requests, to a degree that his companions would fetch them to him. He would say: 'If you see someone in need, fetch him to me.' He would not accept praise except those who were balanced and not excessive. He would not interject into someone's speech unless they transgressed, in which case he would either rebuke them or else leave.

He was the most generous of heart, truthful of tongue, softest indisposition, and noble in the relationship. He who first set eyes upon him feared him, but he who associated with him loved him. Those who described him would say: 'I have never seen before or after him anyone similar to him, peace be upon him'." [Nahjul Balagha]


Resolution Methods for Privation & Adversity

shiawisdom January 16, 2017

Part 17: The economic factors for generating, sustaining and developing wealth to fight poverty

(Based on the thoughts & theories of Ayatollah Sayed Murtadha Al-Shirazi)

Hussein Al-Rumaithi - The primary principle in Islam is freedom, which has been the base of Prophet Mohammad’s message to the world, where the Quran’s 157th verse of chapter 7 states: “and relieve them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them”. In addition, Imam Ali (P.B.U.H) has narrated the following beautiful traditions about freedom, where he states:
  • O’ people, Adam was not born either as a slave nor a concubine, all people are free.
  • The blessing and success of a free person is the legitimate acquisition.
  • Freedom is pure and clean of venom and deceit.
  • He, who terrifies people has disavowed freedom.
Therefore, freedom is the essence and primary factor behind all growth and economic prosperity, which makes the late Great Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Al-Shirazi to issue a fatwa prohibiting anything that causes a reduction in production. The late Ayatollah Al-Shirazi states: “Any law or plan that causes curtailment, reduction in production (Agricultural or industrial) is prohibited. In addition, it would be prohibited to plan and execute what harms humans and denigrates the dignity, even if it is only reducing daily income.” (As an example, Imam Al-Shirazi argues that overwhelming or hammering is exporting services or products to another country’s market, for less than cost or sale price at origin country. This act can lead to great job losses and increase in unemployment rates, closure of manufacturers and bankrupt them, which will also lead to production being reduced and as a result social, economic and political unrests are inevitable. Therefore, hammering the market is among the unfair and unethical competitions. In addition, Imam Al-Shirazi states: trade is absolutely free, except trade of prohibited goods and services like drugs and narcotics. Islamic law has no place for smuggling or any other similar notions that harm the economy, and a trader has no right to buy and sell harmful products, or conduct any type of business that causes inflation or drop in prices. ) Nonetheless, freedom is the driving power behind the flourish of innovation, intellect and bright minds. Therefore, these aspects can also lead to possible technological breakthroughs in cultivation or manufacturing, and ultimately the opportunities would only expand and resources would only be greater, which leads to a diminishment of privation and poverty. Imam Al-Shirazi argues in his famous jurisprudential encyclopedia (Freedoms & Economy chapters) that current freedoms in the world only represent 10% of what Islam has presented as freedoms for humans.  

Voice of Human Justice: Ali Ibn Abi Talib

February 6, 2015

Politics never bends Ali(a). Ali bends politics

(Part 1) By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi The main principle difference between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims lays in the concept of succession after Prophet Mohammad and Imam Ali has the primary role in this event, since Shi’a Muslims claim he is the rightful Caliph after the Prophet. However, Imam Ali remains the only person from that era, who everyone agrees was the most pious, truthful, brave, knowledgeable, generous, tolerant, wise, sagacious and dependable after the prophet. Imam Ali himself, compares his devotion and following to the prophet to the following of a weaned camel to its mother. This assimilation is an ancient Arabic quote that shows the extent of devotion one person has to another, where it is narrated if the Prophet and Ali were together, there was only one footstep. Regardless, of the historic events, which led to marginalization of Imam Ali, this article will bring few examples to show how Ali as a political leader was, and why the United Nation has named him the most just and wise ruler in history. The Muslim world today is facing some of the hardest challenges, and the modern era has proven the leaders in the Muslim world are unworthy of trust and authority. The Muslim leaders claim to be followers of Mohammad and yet they have failed to implement the teachings of Mohammad. They mobilize their masses to protest satiric pictures of Prophet Mohammad and attempts to burn the Quran, yet they stab Mohammad in the back by their conducts and policies and don’t even follow the Quran. Imam Ali’s rule as the caliph of Muslims was short and civil clashes occupied most of his era, but the results of his policies in the Islamic empire are astonishing and outstanding. Therefore, in this part we will address some of the events recorded in history about Imam Ali and see what kind of leader was Ali.

Power Does Not Legitimize Revenge

When Imam Ali became the caliph of Muslims, some of his companions came to him and asked him why wouldn’t he reclaim the land of Fadak, which was taken unwillingly from his wife Lady Fatima Al-Zahra (daughter of Prophet Mohammad)? Why wouldn’t he take revenge for the hardships he was put through? This type of question seems to be very realistic, since most political dynasties and powers tend to wipe out and overthrow the orders and policies of previous governments. However, here is how Imam Ali replied to his companions, and set an excellent examples of humanity. Imam Ali replied: in regard of your question, I would let the Prophet to be my model. His companions asked: how is Mohammad your model in this specific case? He answered: When the Prophet regained Mecca and took over his birth city, although the Quraysh tribe confiscated his house and wealth and showed him nothing but calamity and misfortune, the Prophet did not reclaim his properties and did not take revenge. In addition, I don’t want people to say, Ali has been waiting for this opportunity to take power and use his power to take revenge. This is a responsibility on my shoulder and I have to deliver. Nonetheless, I would never reclaim something, which Allah has been giving us good deeds for. Due to the oppression we were put through, we are receiving deeds from Allah, therefore, Allah would reclaim our rights on judgement day.

Favoritism Has No Place in Ali’s Government

When Imam Ali became the caliph of Muslims, he started implemented what is today known as social welfare, which is called (Bayt Al-Mal) in Arabic and it means, house of wealth. His decision to distribute equal shares to all Muslims from Bayt Al-Mal was not received well by beneficiaries of the previous systems. Therefore, many of the elites in Medina and other places left to Damascus and gathered around Muawiya, who was the enemy of Imam Ali and later on waged a war against Imam Ali. However, the story that shows favoritism had no place in Ali’s conduct is the following: Aqeel was one of the brothers of Imam Ali and he was a blind man, known to be among the poorest of Kufa. Therefore, one day he comes to his brother the caliph of Islamic empire and asks him for an allowance on top of his share from Bayt Al-Mal, and tells Imam Ali: my share is not enough, and I need more and since your are my brother and the caliph, I hope you would grant me more than my share. Imam Ali puts a piece of coal in fire and when it the coal blazed well, he picked it up and brought it close to Aqeel’s hand. Aqeel screamed and shouted, he felt the heat from the blazed coal, and wondered why his brother would do such a thing. Imam Ali replied: this was a coal blazed by man, and you could not take the heat of it, how do you expect your brother to take the heat of hell-fire on judgement day? As a reminder I would like to ask, how many leaders favor their relatives and close circles and give them all the benefits? I assume the list would be very long and continuous.

Imam Ali Defines Integrity

Two of the most prominent companions of Prophet Mohammad (Talha & Zubair), came to Imam Ali’s house and wanted to meet with him. They entered his room and sat down before him, and greeted him. He replied back by greeting them and asked them if the intention of their meeting is personal or if it is related to state affairs. Talha & Zubair said, their meeting was for a personal purpose and not a state-affairs related matter. Therefore, Imam Ali turns off the candle he was using and lit another one. They asked Imam Ali, why did he do that, and he replied: when you entered my room I was busy reviewing the affairs of Muslims and the Islamic nation, therefore, that candle belonged to Bayt Al-Mal and Muslims. You are here to see me and you have a personal matter with me, therefore, this candle I am using now, is from my own pocket and belongs to me not Bayt Al-Mal.

Interaction with the Public

One of the main reasons the gap between the political elites and the public is widening is the lack of interaction. As long as the political leaders are not aware of the pains and sufferings of the masses, they would never be able to build trust and dependable relation with their citizens. Therefore, in this case Imam Ali will put forward one of the most astonishing examples humanity has ever seen and heard in history. It is narrated that one day, Imam Ali the caliph of Muslims was walking through the allies of Kufa, he sees a woman dragging firewood and groceries and she seemed very tired and in need of help. Imam Ali offers help to that lady and tells her, he would carry the firewood to her house, and since that lady did not know who Imam Ali was, she agreed and let Imam Ali help her and carry the big load of firewood on his back. During the way to her house, Imam Ali, asks the woman about her husband and why isn’t he doing this instead of her. She replies: my husband went with Ali to one of the battles and he was killed and she has five little kids in the house and no breadwinner. Imam Ali brings the firewood inside the house and tells the lady, today I want to help you in the house work, so why would you want me to do? She tells Imam Ali: I will cook the meal and you would take care of the children. Imam Ali agrees and starts playing with the kids, and he lets them ride on his back and during this whole time Imam Ali is shedding tears and telling the kids: PLEASE FORGIVE ALI, PLEASE FORGIVE ALI, PLEASE FORGIVE ALI. The woman was about to finish her house work and her neighbor enters her house and sees the caliph of Muslims (Imam Ali) playing with the kids and they are riding on his back. She shouts to the woman: do you know who this man is? She answers: no I don’t, he is a nice and generous man who offered me help and carried the firewood to my house and then we he heard about my situation he offered to stay and help with the children. The neighbor says: O’ woman, this man is the caliph of Muslims, he is Ali Ibn Abi Talib. The woman was shocked and did not know what to do and she starts apologizing to Imam Ali. Imam Ali, replies by saying: I am the one who should apologize to you, I am the one responsible for this hardship of yours. I apologize to you and your kids. These were four examples setting the bar very high for all political leaders and there are hundreds of other examples from the life of this great man that we will discuss in coming parts. I leave you with these four examples to compare the conduct of our current leaders and the ones of Imam Ali. To be continued…

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