Imam Ali (a.s)

A Matchless Youth Of Islam

Top raking in the battlefield as well as the field of knowledge

Turn over the pages of world history and see if you can find a man who was as brave, courageous, wise and intelligent as Ali Ibn Abi Talib? Doubtlessly ever since the beginning of creation, Ali (a.s) is, for the entire creation, a personality which personifies divine secret. He came down to earth as a light, which beautified the world. His pure life, his noble race, his spiritual loftiness, his high virtues, extraordinary courage and bravery all show that he was rising higher and higher in rank upwards towards heavens.

The good name of his father was Abde Manaf, the second; also known as Abu Talib. Abu Talib was the son of Abdul Muttalib who was a very great personality belonging to the tribe of Quraish in the family of Bani Hashim. The blessed name of his mother was Fatima binte Asad. She was the daughter of Ibn Abde Manaf. She had also a distinguished personality.

The basic nobility of Ali (a.s) is that he was the first child, both of whose parents belonged to the Hashemite race. His

another gracefulness is that he was born in the Holy Ka’ba. No one else could get this honor either before his birth or afterwards. His respected mother is the ninth woman who embraced Islam at the invitation extended by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and thus she is among those fortunate ladies who hastened in embracing the true religion.

As mentioned earlier when Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was only eight years old Abdul Muttalib passed away and the young Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was put under the care of Abu Talib and Fatima binte Asad. They gave the orphaned child parental love and affection. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) could not forget that love even for a second in his whole life.

Days passed by and finally came the time when Fatima binte Asad felt labor pains. In restlessness she came to the wall of the Ka’ba and raising her hands towards the heavens prayed,

“My Lord! I put faith in You and in all the Messengers sent by You and in all the Holy Books revealed by You. I also testify the prophethood of Ibrahim (a.s) who founded this holy house of Ka’ba. O God! Please for the sake of the magnificence of the House of Ka’ba and of high ranks of the one who founded this Holy House, make easy for me the delivery of the child which is in my womb and which is talking with me and which is my companion in solitude and about whose greatness I have full faith that he is one of the signs of Your Highness and Might.”

Those who were present became spellbound to see that the wall of Ka’ba split and Fatima entered the Holy House and immediately thereafter the wall became, as it was earlier

before her entry. The life partner of Abu Talib remained in the Holy Ka’ba for three days as a guest of Almighty God. On the fourth day people again saw that the wall split and Fatima came out with a child in her arms.

Addressing the people Fatima Binte Asad proudly said, “O people! By granting this pious and virtuous child God Almighty has granted me a rank over all the women of the world because till today no woman had the honor of delivering in this House of God. He provided this special facility and kept me as His guest for three days and when I desired to go out He again opened the walls for me and there came a voice from the unseen, “Give this child the name ‘Ali’ which is derived from My name, Aliyul A’laa.”[1]

This was no dream or vision. It all happened before the eyes of people in broad daylight. The great philosopher Mir Damad says:

The Lion of God (Asadullah) came into existence. Whatever was secret has come out in the open.

‘Asad’ means tiger. This daughter of a tiger gave birth to a tiger child and that too in Ka’ba the House of God, the holiest piece of land in the whole world.

In those earlier days of Muhammad’s prophethood when all the Arab tribes stood up against him and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and all those who had embraced Islam were in the risk of losing their lives at every step, Abu Talib was the only one who had given Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) protection.

[1] Highest of the high

Abu Talib was extremely intelligent, wise and brave. The time immediately after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) announced that he was the Messenger of God was the most crucial time for Islam. Abu Talib and his son Ali were ever ready to protect the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Abu Talib was then safeguarding the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) while maintaining his relations with the chiefs of Quraish. Thus he provided every possible facility for the spread of the Holy Prophet’s message assisting him in the most intelligent manner.

Ten years after the declaration of prophethood when Abu Talib died, the Holy Prophet was seen weeping in the funeral gathering and saying, “O my beloved uncle! How will I live after your passing away? This is indeed a very difficult situation.” He called this year, ‘The Year of Sorrow’ because in this year he lost two of his most dear and helpful personalities viz. Abu Talib and Khadijah (a.s).

We have mentioned earlier that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had lived since he was eight till he married Khadijah, in the house of Abu Talib and that Abu Talib and his wife Fatima binte Asad were as good as the Holy Prophet’s parents in love and affection. When Fatima binte Asad expired in Medina the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used his shirt as her shroud cloth and then himself lowered her pious body in the grave and recalled the days when he was under her loving care and stayed at the grave so that she might feel happy and peace.

Yes, Ali (a.s) was the son of such gentle and honorable parents. When Ali was six years old, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) brought him to his own home and nurtured him

with utmost care. It is no exaggeration to say that Ali (a.s) was brought up in the lap of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and to mention that Ali and Muhammad were both two parts of a single radiance (Noor). This is also what the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said.

Three years later, when Almighty God made Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) His Messenger for the guidance of entire mankind when he was busy worshipping Only One God in the cave of Mt. Hira and when he returned home after getting the first revelations, first of all he narrated the whole event to his younger cousin, Ali (a.s) who was then only nine.

Ali (a.s) accepted the Holy Prophet’s invitation wholeheartedly and testified that Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was the Messenger of Allah. Thus he proved that for whom God created distinction in an unparalleled manner had nothing to do with seniority of age. This is the first Muslim who understood the meaning of Islam in its totality and attached himself with it fully.

History shows that Ali had never accorded any respect to idols. He had always remained aloof from idol-worship. Even since he opened his eyes he began to recognize himself and found himself in the cool shade of the affection of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). The Messenger of God informed him of the events relating to his prophethood and Ali (a.s) readily testified Muhammad’s messengership. Ali (a.s) has touched upon this matter in Nahjul Balagha:

“If they are asking you to curse me (their intention is that) you may not know that I am the one who first of all put faith in Only One God.”

It is because of this that the Ahle Sunnat people, who recognize him as the fourth caliph, remember him with the title of ‘Karam Allaahu wajhahu’ (high ranking is the face which never bowed before idols) and to the names of other caliphs they add ‘Raziallaahu anhum’ meaning ‘May God be pleased with them.’

It was only Ali who testified to the Messenger of God

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) did not propagate the call of Islam openly for three years after he was made God’s Messenger. The wisdom behind it was that he wanted to bring into effect this program stage-by-stage or step-by-step because all the Arab tribes, especially those in Mecca were staunch idol-worshippers. They would have jointly erected a common wall in the path of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) whose call was to worship Only One God. After three years God Almighty commanded the Holy Prophet to announce to all of his relatives that God had made him His Messenger, and to start guiding people towards Islam.

And warn your nearest relations,[1]

Accordingly the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) invited all of his uncles and their sons for a feast in the house of his uncle, Abu Talib. Forty members of Bani Hashim attended. After dinner, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) addressed them, “O sons of Abdul Muttalib! God Almighty has made me His messenger for guiding all and especially my near and dear relatives and God has commanded me to warn you against His disobedience.

[1] Surah Shoara 26:214

So I intend to give you two orders, which are very easy for you to carry out, but they are very weighty in the balance of Divine Justice. O sons of Abdul Muttalib! By carrying out these two divine commands, you will become the leaders of the whole world and the whole world will accept your leadership.

These two commands, if obeyed by you, will admit you to Paradise and you will be protected from the fire of Hell. Those two commands are ‘Belief in God’ and ‘recognizing me as God’s messenger’. Please also hear and remember that the one who, before leaving this place, will accept my call and will assist me in my mission will be my deputy, my minister and my legatee.”

Obviously, for the audience, this was a suggestion, which was beyond their imagination. All were wondering at what Muhammad was saying. There was a pin drop silence. All sat with their heads bowed down and no one gave any response. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) repeated his words thrice but none responded positively. Yes, at all the three occasions, a 13-year-old boy got up and every time announced courageously, “O Prophet of God! I will assist you.”

At last the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) announced before all, “O Ali! You are my brother, my deputy, my minister and my legatee.” This tradition is present in the books of both the Sunnis and Shias and it is known as ‘the tradition of warning’ (Hadith-e-Inzaar).[1]

[1] It can be seen in books like Tabaqat byMuhammad Ibn Saad, Vol. 1, Pg. 124, Kanzul Ummal Vol. 6, Pg. 397 quotedby Tabari, Abu Naeem Isfahani, Baihaqi and others.

On the Bed of the Messenger, Ali’s Self-sacrifice

Ten years after Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was made the Messenger of Allah, the chiefs of Quraish held a secret meeting and planned that Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) be either killed or be externed from Mecca or he may be imprisoned. The chiefs of forty tribes attended that meeting. Majority opinion was to assassinate the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Forty persons surrounded the Holy Prophet’s house that very night. This was one of the most remarkable events in the history of Islam in which a youth of Islam, with his extraordinary courage and faith foiled the evil plan of Quraish.

According to the devilish plan the tribal chiefs had decided to attack a sleeping Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) by all the forty fellows at a time to turn it into a mob offence so that the charge may not fall on any one tribe or man and revenge may be weakened.

But the Omnipotent Allah wanted to protect His Messenger, so under divine order Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) left his house earlier that night making Ali (a.s) sleep in his bed; so that the enemies might remain unaware of his flight. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said to Ali (a.s),

“O Ali! You sleep in my bed so that the enemies might not feel any doubt about my presence here.” Ali (a.s) replied, “Will your precious life be protected by my sleeping in your honor’s bed?” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) answered, “Yes, O Ali!” So Ali (a.s) did as he was asked to do. Ali (a.s) was only twenty-three at that time. He slept quite restfully and later mentioned that he had never before slept so comfortably and deeply. Thus Ali (a.s) protected the Holy Prophet’s life by risking his own life.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) escaped from the siege and took shelter in a mountain cave of Thawr , which was outside Mecca . Ali (a.s) was in the bed of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The forty planners thought that Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was asleep.

Soon after midnight when the entire city was fast asleep these forty evil fellows, with arms in their hands entered the house of Khadijah and surrounded the bed, which was in the middle of the courtyard. But then, suddenly, they saw that Ali (a.s) removed the sheet from his face and roared, “I am Ali Ibn Abi Talib. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has left the town.”

This stunned all of them who had naked swords in their hands. None of them dared to step forward. They saw that their conspiracy had failed completely, so they left the place in shame.

This courageous deed of Ali in a dark night now shines like a dazzling star in the annals of Islamic history. This crown on a youthful Ali will continue to shine forever. At that eventful moment the conveyor of divine revelations, angel Gabriel came down to the earth and sat by the side of Ali (a.s) saying: Well done, well done, son of Abu Talib. Almighty God takes pride in mentioning this great deed of yours to angels; and then he recited this verse of Quran, which praises his bravery, faithfulness and courage:

And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants.[1]

[1] See Usdul Ghabah, Ibn Athir, Vol. 4, Pg.25, Mustadrak, Nishapuri Vol. 3, Pg. 4, Musnad, Ahmed bin Hanbal,Vol. 1, Pg. 341

The 25 year old hero of the Battle of Badr

The first and the greatest confrontation of Islam with blasphemy is the Battle of Badr. It took place in the second year of Migration (Hijrah) at a place called Badr, which was at a distance of about eighteen kilometers from Medina and about six kilometers from the Red Sea . On one side was a huge number of Meccan infidels along with a considerable number of seditious polytheists. On the other was only a small army of new Muslims numbering three hundred and thirteen.

When the polytheists of Mecca came to know that in Medina, the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his Islamic mission was gaining ground and number of new converts was rising day after day, they decided to root out all the youthful Muslims before their mission spreads all around. In the army of idol-worshippers there were one thousand experienced warriors. With them were also women belonging to every tribe for entertaining them and for inspiring them to fight on with their songs and music.

When the Prophet of Islam came to know that the army of infidels was advancing towards Medina he prepared an army of the above mentioned three hundred and thirteen fighters comprised of both, the emigrants who had migrated from Mecca and the Helpers (Ansar) who were resident new Muslims. Both the armies came face to face at Badr.

Obviously the strength of Muslims was less than one-third of the infidels and they were also short of arms, horses and war provisions. Yet this was such that if the Muslims were to be defeated in it, Medina would once again go back into the hands of the polytheists and the fifteen-year efforts of the Muslims would have gone in vain. Apparently there was

no possibility of Muslim victory because, firstly, they were new Muslims and so there was a likelihood of their being awed by the big and strong Meccan army. But at that moment, Almighty God revealed this verse,

O Prophet! Urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand. [1]

This verse encouraged Muslims and doubled their resolve for sacrifice and made them firmer in fighting and the resultant condition of Muslims frightened the enemy forces.

When both the armies confronted one another closely, according to the custom in those days, three great champion warriors came out of the enemy army named Utbah, his brother Shayba and his son Walid. Walid was very proud. He was of heavy built and had very strong muscles.

As commanded by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), his uncle Hamzah who was the chief of the Muslim army and who had fought many battles courageously, stepped out for a test of strength. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also made another Muslim champion, Ubaidah and Ali to accompany Hamzah. These three stood firmly to confront Utbah, Shayba and Walid respectively. Hamzah was the commander of the Muslim army and he was well known for his bravery. People also knew a lot about the battle experience of Utbah. But no one knew about the level of courage and bravery and the fighting spirit of young Ali.

[1] Surah Anfal 8:65

The battle commenced, Shayba attacking Hamzah, Ubaid hitting Utbah and Walid pounced on Ali (a.s). Both the armies stared anxiously at the contest. When the battle hotted up, Ali (a.s) gave a strong strike and cut off the right hand of Walid. Walid wanted to run away but Ali did not allow him escape and brought him down dead.

Ubaidah attacked his uncle, Utbah with his sword, which tore up the latter’s skull. But in the same condition of serious injury Utbah gave a hit of his sword to Ubaidah’s thigh, which made him faint and die in a few moments. Thus Ubaidah was martyred. Then Ali went forward to help his uncle Hamzah. He saw that both rivals had lost their swords as well as their shields and were fighting an unarmed battle like wrestlers. Both were badly tired but continued their struggle. Ali very intelligently aimed at Shayba’s head and when he saw Hamzah riding Shayba, he requested the latter to push down the head of Shayba. No sooner it was done, Ali’s sword finished Shayba with a lightning strike of his sword.

Thereafter Abu Sufyan’s son Hanzala who was also a very strong sandow pounced on Ali (a.s) but Ali (a.s) foiled his attack and finished him with his sword. Seeing this all other fighters of the army of polytheists attacked Ali simultaneously but Ali (a.s) continued to kill them one after another. Now the morale of the Muslim army rose up and the small Islamic battalion courageously attacked the multitude of armed enemies, routed them, killed seventy of their well-known persons, chief of whom was Abu Jahl. Out of these seventy, Ali had finished thirty-six.[1]

[1] A'laamul Waraa, Pg. 86

Utbah was the first to start fighting on behalf of the Meccan infidels. He was the father of Abu Sufyan’s wife; Hind. Abu Sufyan was also the chief of the tribe of Bani Umayyah. It was the fire stoked by him that resulted in the Battle of Badr. This cunning woman (Hind) and her crafty husband Abu Sufyan both were deadly enemies of the Prophet of Islam. In this battle Hind’s father, uncle, brother and son had all fallen prey to Ali’s sword. Therefore the fire of enmity in their hearts against Ali (a.s) never cooled and finally her hypocrite son Muawiyah and her dirty grandson Yazid made a severe strike on Islam and took complete revenge from the martyrs of Kerbala thus showing their original nature.

The defeat of Meccan warriors despite their superiority in number and arms became a topic of discussion through Arabia . Ali’s heroism became a talk of the town everywhere. The news reached upto Abyssinia and King Negus called migrant Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib and his companions to convey this good news.

After the Battle of Badr, Abu Sufyan’s wife continued to mourn her father, son, uncle and brothers (Utbah, Hanzala, Shayba and Walid) who were, in her words “Like moons for me”. She said, “O Ali! You have broken my back by killing them.”[1]

Ali (a.s) himself, in reply to a letter from Muawiyah, writes:

“O Muawiyah! You are threatening me with war! I am the same Abul Hasan who finished your grandfather, brother,

[1] Irshad of Mufid, A'laamul Waraa, Tabarsi, and Tafsir of Ali IbnIbrahim and Sharh Nahjul Balagha,Ibn Abil Hadid

uncle and your mother’s uncle in the Battle of Badr. That same sword is still in the hands of Ali.” [1]

“There is no brave youth but Ali and there is no sword but Zulfiqar”

A year passed after the Battle of Badr. Hind’s fire-spitting wailings were still ringing in the atmosphere of Mecca . Abu Sufyan’s heart was full of fire. He did not sit calmly even for a day, and continued to gather war material and men. So those who had fled from Badr after defeat again gathered at a place and all the idolatrous Arab tribes also got prepared to help Abu Sufyan. He rallied three thousand men. Women of Meccan infidels also made a group for assisting and inspiring their men. A big army with war material, horses and camels left Mecca and advanced towards the field of Uhad, which is at a distance of about six kilometers from Medina .

In response, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also made war preparations. He gathered an army of 700 to oppose 3000. This was the second biggest war between Islam and disbelief, and that too very near to Medina , the center of Muslims. This city was in risk due to this war. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) himself arranged the rows of the Muslim army and appointed fifty persons in a narrow pass between two mountains, making Abdullah ibn Zubair their chief and instructed them emphatically never to leave that position disregarding the victory or defeat of Muslims. They were cautioned to remain armed all the time, as it was a strategic pass.

[1] Sharh NahjulBalagha, Faizul Islam, 5: 822

Command of the opponents was in the hands of Abu Sufyan. He also arranged his army and giving the flag in the hands of Talha ibn Abi Talha told him, “The cause of our defeat in Badr was the flag-bearer who could not uphold the flag.” The flag-bearer of the infidel army Talha ibn Abi Talha came forward and addressing Muslims cried, “O Muslims! It is your belief that if I die by your hands I will go to Hell and if you are killed by my hand you will get Paradise . So whosoever desires to go to Paradise may step forward so that I may send him straight to Paradise .”

In response, Ali (a.s) who was then only twenty-six went forward into the battlefield. Talha hit him with his sword but Ali (a.s) averted the strike with his shield and gave a strike in return with his own sword, Zulfiqar, cutting off both his legs. Talha came down and the flag, which was a sign of the enemy’s power, also fell on the ground. Ali (a.s) wanted to kill Talha but the latter entreated him to consider his family affinity administering an oath, therefore Ali spared his life.

When Muslims asked Ali (a.s) the reason for leaving him alive, he replied, “The injury is deadly and he is not likely to live any more.” According to the History of Tabari, when the flag-bearer of the infidel army fell on the ground, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) exclaimed loudly, “Allah is the Greatest (Allaho Akbar)” and asked Ali (a.s), “Why did you not kill him instantly?” Ali (a.s) replied, “At that very moment his wife came up before me and administered an oath. So I left him alive.”[1]

[1] Tarikh, Tabari, Vol. 3

Then Abu Saeed ibn Abi Talha stepped forward and picked up the flag of the polytheists but Ali gave no respite even to him and finished him with a stroke of his sword. His brother, Usman ibn Abi Talha was standing behind and he took up the flag; Ali killed him also. The next one to pick up that flag was another brother, Harith ibn Abi Talha. Ali also dispatched him to Hell soon.

When all the four brothers were killed, Abu Aziz, son of Uthman raised their flag. But he could also not survive the hit of Ali and died. Thereafter their flag was picked by one Abdullah ibn Jamila but he too could not save himself from the sword of Ali. Thereafter the enemy flag was picked up by Artaab ibn Sharahjil, who was the chief of the tribe called Abdud Daar. He too was found dead very soon cut by the sword of Ali (a.s). After him came forward Sawaab, a slave of that tribe to hold their flag but he also was slashed by Ali’s sword.

Thereafter began retreat of the enemy and Muslim army men fell on the defeated army. Ali (a.s), his uncle Hamzah and Abu Dujanah Ansari fought very bravely and routed the enemy forces who began to flee leaving behind them their dead and taking with them whatever provision they could. Some of the Muslims followed the fleeing army and some engaged in gathering war booty.

When the group of warriors whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had stationed in the narrow mountain pass saw that the enemy was defeated, they also left their position and began to gather booty. Only twelve of them headed by Abdullah ibn Zubair did not budge from their position and were martyred by a trick of Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan

ordered Walid to attack Muslims from the said narrow pass. Accordingly Walid killed the twelve of them and attacked the unaware Muslim fighters who were busy gathering war booty. In the meantime the fleeing army also returned and a very severe war restarted in favor of the polytheists, as the Muslims were unprepared for such a sudden change of events.

Seventy Muslims were martyred and the remaining began to flee. The polytheists even attacked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Only Ali, Talha and Zubair surrounded the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to defend him. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) suffered a serious wound on his holy forehead and his teeth were also broken inuring his pious lips. Now the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered, “Break the strength of the infidels.” So this hero of Islam attacked them forcefully, which again scattered them. All of them fell on Ali (a.s) who fought furiously and killed two of them.

Imam Sadiq (a.s) says, “When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) saw that Muslims were fleeing from the battlefield he became very sorrowful and angry. He asked Ali (a.s), “Why did you not go with the fleeing fellows?” Ali replied, “How can we turn back after embracing Islam? I am your follower.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked Ali, “Stop the army attacks with force.” Hearing this, Ali (a.s) became furious and he gave such a heavy counter attack to the infidels that their army became scattered and the one who was leading them died.

At that moment the conveyor of revelation came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) from the unseen and said, “O Messenger of Allah! This is called courage and sacrifice as was

exhibited by Ali (a.s).” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied, “Verily Ali is from me and I am from Ali.” Jibraeel exclaimed, “I am from both of you!”

Surely the courage, bravery and self-sacrifice of Ali have become proverbial in this world of encounters. At a time when the army of polytheists had defeated the Muslims and surrounded the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), attacking him from all sides and when Islam was in severe danger, it was Ali (a.s) who was moving around the lamp of prophethood like a moth caring the least for his own life. He was not only defending the Prophet but was also attacking the enemy. In such a risky situation Ali (a.s) fought so bravely and continued to attack the enemy so furiously that their courage broke down and they retreated. Ali (a.s) suffered ninety wounds all over his body in this exemplary fight. When Ali (a.s) was fighting in this way there came a voice from the unseen:

There is no hero youth like Ali and no sword like Zulfiqar.[1]

When Abu Sufyan observed that many Muslims were martyred and the field of battle had almost become vacant, he, in order to inspire his army and with a view to demoralize the Muslims who had hidden behind mountains raised a slogan loudly, “Long live my God Hubal.”

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), in order to maintain the morale of Muslims asked Ali (a.s) to raise such a slogan that it may take out the wind out of the enemy cry. Ali said loudly

[1] A'laamul Waraa, Tarikh, Tabari Vol. 3, Pg.17 and Tafsir, Ali Ibrahim: Pg. 106

ringing the atmosphere: Allah is my Lord, Who is the Greatest.

Abu Sufyan was compelled to raise another slogan: There is Uzza goddess of the polytheists with us and you have no Uzza. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked Ali (a.s) to reply: Our Helper and Protector is the Creator of the universe, Allah and He is not with you. Finally the Sufiyanis lost courage and leaving the battlefield retreated to Mecca .

Ali (a.s) had bathed himself in his own blood. Each of his ninety wounds was bleeding. The great physician, Abu Ubaidah observed Ali (a.s) and said, “I want to give you First Aid and take you to Medina on a stretcher for further remedy. I have never seen anyone who could fight after receiving so many injuries. How did you do all this?”[1]

But Tabari has written in his History that Ali (a.s), in such a seriously wounded condition, brought water in his shield and began to wash the blood from the pious face of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) saying, “May God’s chastisement fall on those who colored the face of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in blood.”[2]

A courageous attack in the darkness of the night

Bani Nuzayr was the tribe of the black-hearted Jews, who lived around the suburbs of Medina . After breaking treaties with Muslims, this tribe had begun to conspire to kill the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)

[1] Tarikh, Tabari Vol. 3, Yaqubi Vol. 2, IbnAthir Vol. 2, A'laamul Wara, Tabarsi Pg. 9, Muhammad Payghambari…Pg. 25, 261 [2] Tarikh, Tabari, Vol. 3, Pg. 20

learnt about it he prepared an army under the command of Ali (a.s) in the year 2 A.H.

This army surrounded the tribe of Bani Nuzayr. Ali (a.s) had erected a tent for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at some distance. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was resting in it one night when a Jew shot an arrow towards the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) but it missed the target and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) remained safe. But he said, “Uproot this tent from here and pitch it in a lower area.” So the order was carried out accordingly.

The Muslim warriors who were guarding the Holy Prophet’s tent could not find Ali (a.s) nearby. They asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) about Ali’s whereabouts. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied, “I can see that presently Ali (a.s) is engaged in a job, which would benefit all of you.”

Very soon thereafter Ali (a.s) returned to the tent with the head of the Jew who had shot the above-mentioned arrow towards the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Ali (a.s) threw that head at the feet of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked, “O Ali! How could you know about him?” Ali (a.s) replied, “I had kept a watch from a secret place on the group of enemy men. This man was sitting in their midst. All of them had naked swords in their hands but I attacked so suddenly that my sword hit its target killing this fellow. Others escaped.” Thereafter Ali (a.s) took ten guards from his army and followed those who had fled and killed them all before they could enter their fort.

As this tribe of Banu Nuzayr was likely to cause serious harms and as they were not prepared to embrace Islam

either, they were allowed to pack their baggage from that area and move to Syria to join other Jews there.

Battle of the Ditch and Ali's Bravery

A year after the Battle of Uhad, Jews living around Medina extended their hands of friendship towards idolatrous Arab tribes. This aided the idolaters to recollect their strength. Ten thousand warring Jews also joined the idolaters and they advanced to crush Muslims in Medina .

Salman Farsi, whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had honored by calling him 'Min Ahlil Bait' (among Ahlul Bait) suggested that a ditch might be dug all around Medina , as was a practice in Iran during wars. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) accepted this suggestion for protecting the life and property of the people of Medina from outside attacks. The Jews and polytheists wondered on seeing this new technique, which they had never seen before.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered that the aged, children and women should gather at a safer place and proper arrangements be made for their protection. At the eight gates of the city, Emigrant (Muhajir) and Helper (Ansar) warriors were posted and the Holy Prophet's cousin Zubair was made their chief.

The attacking armies surrounded Medina and camped outside the city for twenty-seven days. At last a very strong sandow of Quraish spurred his horse to jump over a comparatively narrow part of the ditch and entered the field crying loudly, "Is there anyone among Muslims who can come forward to fight with me?" His loud voice was heard all over the city but none dared to meet his challenge.

It was only Ali (a.s) who got up and sought the permission of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to challenge Amr ibn Abde Wudd but the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked him to sit down. Amr sounded another challenge but all kept sitting head down like cold bodies.

Once again the brave youth of Islam, Ali (a.s) sought the Prophet's leave but for reasons known only to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) he was again asked to restrain himself. But for the third time the enemy of Islam sarcastically said, "Is there none who can face me?" As written in history books, all were sitting meekly when Ali (a.s) sought permission for the third time and was allowed to proceed and fight the arrogant sandow.

Amr could now see that a gate of the city opened and a youth advanced towards him. When he came nearer, Amr recognized the twenty-seven-year-old youth was none but Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Ali (a.s) told Amr, "Do not make so much haste. The one whose heart and mind are bright and whose determination is firmer than mountains is coming to give you a proper response."

Amr, exhibiting his pride, did not even look at Ali (a.s). Ali (a.s) once again addressed him saying, "I am a solider of Islam, I give you three options because I have heard that you are in the habit of accepting one of three options put before you. My first condition is that you should embrace Islam. If this not possible for you, then you should go back from where you have come."

Amr rejected both these demands saying, "I can neither accept Islam nor can I return because my tribe's women will taunt at me." Then Ali (a.s) said, "Then come forward and

fight with me." Amr laughed at these words of young Ali and said, "Is there no one among you who can accept my challenge? I do not intend to kill you with my sword because my relations with Abu Talib were cordial and you are still very young. It is insulting for me to fight you."

Ali said, "But I want to fight you. My last wish is that since I am on my feet, you too should come down from your horse and start fighting."

Amr got down from his horse and in a fit of anger gave a stroke of his sword on the head of Ali (a.s). Ali (a.s) averted that stroke with his shield very brilliantly, but the stroke was so powerful that the shield broke into two and Ali's head was injured.

Now the lion of Islam, Ali (a.s), also frowned menacingly and gave such a powerful stroke with his sword, Zulfiqar that it cut down one of the sandow's thigh and touched the other one. The champion fell to the ground and Ali (a.s) mounted his chest and was about to behead him, but the arrogant fellow spat on the radiant face of Ali (a.s).

Ali (a.s) got down from him and cleaned the spit with his sleeve. After a few moments when his anger cooled down he again climbed Amr's chest. The Quraish sandow asked, "Why had you gone away for a while? And why did you come again? Ali (a.s) replied, "Had I killed you at that very moment my feeling of personal revenge would have tampered my holy intention of fighting only for Islam and for God's pleasure. Now I want to decapitate the enemy of Islam." And he cut off Amr's head and threw the severed head at the feet of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

Thus was killed a champion on which an idolater army was taking pride. Their morale broke down while the morale of Muslims rose and even weak person became brave. The danger lurking on the life of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was thus removed by Ali (a.s). It was in this war that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) uttered these historical words of truth:

The stroke of Ali (a.s) on the day of the Battle of Ditch is more valuable than the combined worship of men and jinns.

When Ali (a.s) was sent to fight with Amr, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had also said, "The whole faith is going to confront whole disbelief."

The victory of Islam in the Battle of Ditch is another name of Ali's success which broke the backbone of the conspiracies of the polytheists and which made the path clear for Islam to advance all around. Such were the everlasting effects of the great deeds of this youth of Islam, named Ali (a.s), the invincible hero of Islam.

After Amr was killed, his sister who was in the army of the Meccans sought the Holy Prophet's permission to have a last look at her fallen brother. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) allowed it. When she reached the corpse she found that the extremely precious coat-of-mail worn by her dead brother was safe and intact and that his killer had not even touched it. She asked astonishingly, "Who killed my brother?" People told her that Ali (a.s) had killed him. Amr's sister exclaimed, "I am proud of the fact that my brother's killer is extraordinary in bravery and has high respectable virtues." Then she sang: Had my brother's killer been anyone other

than a brave and honest man like Ali (a.s) I would have continued weeping on Amr forever.[1]

Ali (a.s) and the Jews of Bani Quraiza

The tribe of Bani Quraiza had broken their treaty with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and joined in conspiring against Islam. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) proceeded toward them taking Ali (a.s) with him as the commander of the Muslim army and surrounded the area where Bani Quraiza resided and gave them a deserving punishment by killing all the troublemaker Jew soldiers including their chief, Huyy ibn Akhtab. When this Huyy ibn Akhtab came to know that his killer was also Ali (a.s) who had killed Amr ibn Abde Wudd, he exclaimed, "I have the honor of being killed by this very great man indeed." Ali (a.s) retorted, "Yes, the good are been killed by the evil ones and the evil ones are being killed by the good ones." [2]

After the removal of Bani Quraiza Jews, the risk, which was around Medina , was also removed forever and their women and property came in the control of Muslims.

Test of Ali's Steadfastness and Courage in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)

The world saw one of the most astonishing events relating to Ali on the day when he was asked by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to write the historical treaty of Hudaibiyah. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) intended to perform the Optional

[1] Tarikh, Tabari, Tarikh, Ibn Athir,Ibn Abil Hadid, A'laamul Waraa, Majmaul Bayan, Tabarsi. [2] Irshad of Mufid

Pilgrimage (Umrah) with a large number of Muslims in the 6th year of the Hijri era (after migration to Medina ).

When they reached a place called Hudaibiyah, Suhail ibn Amr, a deputy of the Meccan idolaters came and requested the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) not to proceed further, because if armed Muslims were to enter Mecca a battle would necessarily ensue causing much bloodshed. Thereafter the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was requested to prepare a treaty whereby the armed Muslims might not harm the Meccans. This, Suhail was a cunning fellow who intended to look after the interests of Meccans in every respect.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) called Ali (a.s) and asked him to prepare a treaty so that he might put his seal of confirmation on it. Ali, in the presence of all great men of Islam, placed a red leather sheet on his thigh and inscribed:

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

But Suhail objected to it saying, "As this matter is for both the parties, write it in such a way that it may be acceptable to us also. Write: In Your Name O Allah."

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Ali, "O Ali! Erase 'Bismillah' and write as he says." The bright-hearted youthful Ali became rather restless and said, ""O Messenger of Allah! Had it not been your order, I would have never erased 'Bismillah'."

Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) dictated saying, "Now write: This agreement takes place between Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah and Suhail ibn Amr."

But Amr objected again saying, "If I accept the words "Rasoolullah' (The Messenger of God) then it would mean that I have believed in your messengership or prophethood. So change these words and write 'Muhammad son of Abdullah'."

Ali retorted, "Muhammad is truly and definitely the Messenger of Allah." The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Ali, "Remove the words "Rasoolullaah'." Ali, very painfully said, "O Messenger of Allah! My hand does not dare to erase the words 'Rasoolullaah'." The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, "Just place my hand on these words so that I may erase them myself." Ali (a.s) complied with this order and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) erased the said words and asked Ali to write: 'Muhammad ibn Abdullah' there and complete the agreement.[1]

From this event, can one not measure the extent of Ali's faith, sincerity and love for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)? This is the brave youth of early Islam who when he got up to defend Islam, no one even dared to look at him with a bad intention. This is the youth who, after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) from this world, took up the banner of guiding the Muslim Ummah and who shed all his perspiration and all of his blood to water the tree of Islam.

Ali (a.s) - the conqueror of Khyber

The Muslims returned to Medina after the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. Only twenty days had passed when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) heard that the Jews who had fled Medina had joined the Jews of Khyber. Khyber was a huge fort with

[1] A'alaamul Waraa, Pg. 1

a number of small castles in it. Nearly 14000 Jew warriors were already there. They had sufficient arms and ammunition, water and other provisions. These Jews decided to attack the Prophet of Islam at a convenient time and take revenge. On hearing about this, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) took pre-emptive action and invaded them before they could attack the Muslims.

There was a ditch dug all around Khyber. So Muslims surrounded it and camped outside Khyber for about three weeks. The famous historian, Waqidi, has written that this event took place in the 7th year of the Hijri era. About 14000 Jews were living in Khyber, which is situated at a distance of 16 Farsakhs (nearly 96 Kilometers) from Medina on the road to Syria . (It should be noted that a sufficient number of Jews were living in Syria also). Therefore there was a constant danger to Muslims from the Jews living in Khyber as they could attack Medina at any moment, as their hearts were full of hatred towards the Prophet of Islam.

After waiting for twenty days, Abu Bakr took permission from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), and took up the banner of Islam and advanced towards Khyber but returned without success. The next day Umar took up the flag but he also returned defeated by the Jews. He also struck terror in the hearts of Muslims by narrating the strength and bravery of the Jews.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) frowned and said, "Tomorrow, I will hand over the flag of Islam to a man who never shows his back to the enemy, who loves God and His Prophet and whom God and His Prophet also love and who does not return until he gets victory by the help of God Almighty."

Muslims gathered around the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) next morning. Both Abu Bakr and Umar had wished and hoped that they would be given the flag to make an attack.

Saad ibn Waqqas who was considered a brave warrior says, "I was sitting just in front of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) so as to attract his attention. I even got up once under some pretext but I lost all hope when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, 'Call Ali (a.s).' Those sitting around him said, 'Ali (a.s) is suffering from sore eyes and is not able to see even the ground under his feet.' Yet the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, 'Bring Ali (a.s) to me.'

Ali (a.s) was brought to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) who hugged him, applied his saliva to his eyes, which removed all pain and made them bright. Giving the flag of Islam in Ali's hands, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) prayed to Allah: O Lord! Give victory to Ali (a.s).'"

Saad says, "Ali (a.s) jumped up from his place and rushed at a lightning speed to the fort of Khyber. The Muslim army behind him also attacked the fort."

Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari says, "Ali (a.s) took such a swift action that I could not even wear my armor." Saad shouted, "O Ali (a.s)! Just wait a moment so that the brave warriors of Islam may back you up closely." But Ali heard nothing and reached the fort. As usual the gate of that fort opened and the deadly warrior of the Jews named Marhab came out and attacked Ali swiftly with his sword.

Ali (a.s), the thirty-year-old tiger of Allah, who had won many wars before, offered a return blow. People saw that Ali's sword Zulfiqar, flashed like lightning and Marhab fell on the ground dead. No sooner than Marhab died, the

Muslim army fell on the enemy soldiers who retreated and closed the huge gate of their fort. Ali (a.s) swiftly reached that gate and gave a mighty jerk to it. Pulling up the heavy gate Ali (a.s) gave it a turn by his hand and flung it away. Muslims went inside the fort and won the war capturing Khyber.

Three champions of the Jews named Harith, Marhab and Yasar (all brothers) got killed in Khyber by the sword of Ali (a.s). Their back broke and they became ready for a truce with Muslims. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) embraced Ali (a.s) affectionately and said, "O Ali! Allah and His Messenger are pleased with you." Tears rolled down Ali's eyes. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked the reason for weeping. Ali replied, "O Messenger of Allah! These are tears of joy. They came out on hearing that God and His Prophet are pleased with me."

Did the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) not see how much strength was there in the arms of Ali (a.s)? Did they not observe how easily and quickly Ali (a.s) uprooted the heavy iron gate, which required many men just for opening and closing it; Ali flung that heavy gate in such a manner that it covered the ditch around that fort? Muhammad Ibn Jurair Tabari a famous Sunni historian reports from Rafe who says, "I was one of the eight persons who were there when Ali (a.s) flung away that heavy gate. All of us together tried to move that gate aside but could not even move it."

What calls for consideration is the event when after the Holy Prophet's passing away, this Ali was dragged with a rope around his neck! The famous Shia scholar, Shaykh

Mufid writes: That gate of Khyber required twenty persons for opening and closing it. Praising this tiger of God, Ibn Abil Hadid says:

Forty people were unable to move that iron gate.

The existence of Jews in the land of Hijaz was likely to create a danger to Muslims at any moment. But Ali (a.s) provided ease and peace to Medinites. But how strange is it that when the bravery of Ali is discussed, the readers of history raise various explanations. Was Khyber to be won without Ali (a.s)? Has the shadow of Jews ever fallen on Medina after the capture of Khyber? Perhaps God Almighty wanted that Ali (a.s) should rise up in strong support for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) so that even the biggest trouble to confront Islam and Muslims should be averted by Ali's sword, Zulfiqar and none should dare attack them again.[1]

Valor of Ali (a.s)

Mecca was conquered in the 8th year of the Hijri era. Eight years after the Holy Prophet's migration to Medina when Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) entered Mecca with a 12000-strong army, the Meccans, without any ado, threw away their weapons and declared faith in Islam before the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The Prophet of Islam entered Ka'ba and broke down all the idols with the help of Ali (a.s). Thereafter, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Ali (a.s), "Put

[1] This eventful Battle of Khyber is recorded in almostall Shia and Sunni books like A'laamul Waraa, Tabarsi, Tarikh,Tabari, Yaqubi, Ibn Hisham, Kamil, Ibn Athir and Sahih Bukhari etc.

your feet on my shoulder to reach the roof and throw down the idols installed over there."

Obeying the command, Ali (a.s) placed his right foot on the holy shoulder, reached the roof and after breaking the said idols threw them down and then he jumped to the ground directly (without touching the holy shoulders). The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked, "O Ali (a.s)! Why did you not get the support of my shoulder while coming down? I was waiting for it." Ali replied: O Messenger of God! You had commanded me to do so only for going up and not for coming down. How could I do that without your command? I am thankful to Allah that I averted any disrespect to the honor of His Messenger."

Only Ali was entitled to propagate

Surah Barat was revealed in the 9th year of the Hijri era. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) handed over this Surah to Abu Bakr and asked him to proceed to Mecca and read it out to the Hajj pilgrims. It should be remembered that, till then the polytheists also were joining the Hajj Pilgrimage.

Abu Bakr had not gone a long distance when again the angel bringing Divine Revelation came and said to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.): Allah Almighty says that this duty cannot be carried out by anyone except you or one who is from you. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Ali (a.s), "Just get mounted immediately and take the Surah Barat from the hands of Abu Bakr. Tell him that the Prophet has said that this job is not to be done by him."

When Ali contacted Abu Bakr and conveyed the Prophet's message, Abu Bakr asked, "Is there any revelation about me

also?" Ali replied, "The propagation of this Surah cannot be done except by the Prophet of God or by me."

Then Ali reached Ka'ba, which was till then in the control of the polytheists who were carrying out the undesirable rituals of the days of darkness and ignorance. There the brave messenger of the Prophet's message drew out his sword (as this Surah Barat was a warning to polytheists) and waving it said,

And an announcement from Allah and His Apostle to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Apostle are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce a painful punishment to those who disbelieve.[1]

Thereafter he said, "From next year, no polytheist will be allowed to perform Hajj here and henceforth no one is permitted to circumambulate the holy Ka'ba naked. If I see anyone naked I will compel him or her to put on clothes." The polytheists got dressed at once and continued circumambulating the Ka'ba.[2]

Ali-Soul of the Prophet-Self of the Messenger

It was in the 9th year of Hijri era when a group of Christian priests from Najran came to Medina to have a dialogue with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) with regard to the truth of the Holy Prophet's messengership in the light of their own

[1] Surah Tawbah 9:3 [2] This is mentioned in reliable Tafsir and Hadithbooks by both the Shias and the Sunnis and there is no dispute regarding thisevent.

beliefs. They asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), "You say that Jesus is a servant of God and not the Son of God. But is it possible that someone could be born without a father?" The angel Jibraeel arrived with the holy verse:

Surely the likeness of Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was.[1]

Stepping forward, the Prophet said, "Isa was born without a father but Almighty God created Adam without father and mother."

The Christian spiritualists of Najran could not offer any reply and they became spellbound; yet they remained stubborn illogically. Prejudice prevented them from embracing Islam and from conceding to the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) due to their ego.

Under divine orders, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) invited them to an imprecation ceremony (Mubahila). He said:

Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars. [2]

The Christian scholars accepted the proposal and the next day they arrived before the people of the town along with their sons and women and their near and dear ones. After some time, they saw the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) approaching them, holding the finger of Imam Hasan (a.s) while Imam Husain (a.s) was in his arms. Behind him was his dearest

[1] Surah Aale Imran 3:59 [2] Surah Aale Imran 3:60

daughter, Fatima Zahra (a.s) and behind her walked the Master of the Universe, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s).

The Christian scholars asked the people, "Who are these persons with whom Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) is coming?" The Muslims replied, "The one whose finger the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is holding is his grandson Hasan (a.s), the one who is in his arms is his another grandson Husain; the lady behind him is his daughter, Fatima and one behind her is the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, Ali (a.s)."

The Christian priests could see that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was stepping forward with full confidence, peace of mind and total certainty as if he had no fear at all in calling for God's curse. The radiance of the faces of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his nearest and dearest ones dazzled their eyes and affected them to such an extent that their legs began to tremble. All of them jointly came up to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and requested him, "Please avert cursing. We are prepared to pay whatever tax (Jizyah) you propose." The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) conceded their demand and allowed them to go back and did not raise his hands for inviting divine curse.

Ali (a.s) was thirty-two at that time when people knew him as the self of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). It was as if an announcement was made on that day that Ali was the shining face of Islam who had full confidence and trust of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). This explanation is still ringing in the history books and in the commentaries of the Holy Quran.

This high ranking group of the best personalities of Islam was such that a group of priests from Najran came forward

and said, "Verily, if the hands of these persons were to rise in condemnation of the liars then none among Christians would survive on the surface of the earth."

Ali - The Real Leader of Islam

The list of Ali's spiritual virtues, his angelic habits and his wonderful achievements is very long. No one else equals it, especially in bravery, courage and moral nobility. The summary of the Holy Prophet's twenty-three years' propagation is that none other than Ali (a.s) was entitled to and worthy of being the vicegerent of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

So the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) made arrangement for announcing it in such a way that when he was returning from his last Hajj he halted at a place called Ghadeer Khumm and, obeying Allah's orders, bestowed his legacy (vicegerency) to Ali (a.s). Angel Jibraeel came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at this place and said, "Almighty Allah says that you should pronounce before the people whatever We have revealed to you (in the matter of immediate vicegerency of Ali (a.s). If you do not it would mean that you did not perform the duty of messengership. So convey this matter to the people and fear not, because God will protect you from the evil of the people."

The sun was shedding fire at midday on the sandy land of Arabia . The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) of Islam issued orders for halting pilgrim caravans. He also ordered that who have gone ahead should be called back and those who were behind should be allowed to reach there. When all Muslims gathered at Ghadeer Khumm the sun was at its zenith. The Hajj pilgrims were covering their faces with their clothes to

protect themselves from scorching heat. Some had sat down under the shades of their camels.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered that a platform should be prepared and a pulpit raised with the packsaddles of camels. When this was done, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) climbed that high platform and took Ali (a.s) by his hand and raised it so much that the whiteness of his armpit could be seen. The minimum number of that audience is recorded as twenty thousand though some historians have mentioned the figure of one hundred and twenty thousand. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) announced:

O People! Very soon I will go away from you. After me, God Almighty has made Ali (a.s) your leader and guardian and my vicegerent. Then he added: O Allah! Befriend one who is friendly with Ali, and be the enemy of one who has enmity with Ali.

Thus, in a sense, the Day of Ghadeer is the Day of Coronation of the Lion of Allah. This most courageous and bravest youth of Islam was only thirty-two at that time.

A Persian poet, Sarmad has so rightly said:

Though all the days belong to Almighty God Who is Omnipotent and Ever-lasting, the holiest of all the days is the Day of Ghadeer.