Shi'ite Faith: School of Love and Affection

( 41 )

Of all the great distinctions, which the Shi'ite faith enjoys among all the religions of the world, one is that its very basis and foundation lay in love. Since the lifetime of the Prophet himself when this religion was founded, it has been a source of love and fraternity; along with the Holy Prophet having said "Ali and his shi'ites are exultant", we find hosts of 13 men rallying around Ali -- fond, warm and devoted to him. Hence shi'ite faith, a religion of devotion and dedication. Alliance with him is the school of love and devotion. Element of love operates with full vigor in Shiaism. History of Shiaism is the other name of biography of a ceaseless line of dedicated, selfless and venturesome devotees.

Ali is that very person from whom men never resiled even if he enforced Hadd (Punishment Prescribed by the Quran) on them and lashed them. Virtually in accordance with the rule of Shariat he cut off the hand of one of them, but nothing could impair their love with Ali. He himself says:

"Even if you find me striking a faithful with this sword so as to offend him, he will never show enmity towards me, and if I bestow the whole world on a hypocrite, so that he may become my friend, he will not accept me as his friend, because the Prophet has said: "Oh! Ali faithful will not become your enemy and the hypocrite will not make friends with you".

( 42 )

Ali is the scale and yardstick to measure the natures and temperaments. He who has a pious nature and sound temperament is never annoyed with him, let Ali's sword fall on him; and he who has a polluted nature will not associate with Ali, let Ali be kind towards him, because Ali is nothing but the Truth personified. There was a gentleman of distinction and faith from amongst the friends of Amir-ul-Momineen. Unfortunately he defaulted and the default involved corporeal punishment. Amir-ul-Momineen got his right palm cut off. Holding it in his left hand the convict went ahead bleeding, Ibn Kawa, a Kharijite rebel wanted to capitalize the situation for the benefit of his own band and to the detriment of Ali. Pretending pity, he approached the convict and said, "Who has chopped off your hand?" He said, "My hand has been cut off by the foremost of Prophet's successors, the leader of the brilliant of the doomsday, the nearest to Truth among the faithful, Ali-Ibn-Abi Talib, the Imam of guidance, the first to reach the beneficence of the heavens, the champion of the intrepid, revengeful against followers of the evil, the munificent in alms, the leader to the path of virtue and perfection, the oracle of truth and magnificence, the gallant Meccan and the magnanimous of the believers". Ibn Kawa said, "You be cursed, he chops your hand off and you praise him like this?" He said "Why should I not praise him while the fact is that his affinity is blended in my flesh and blood. By God, he did not remove my hand except as 'ordained by Allah". Such devotion and alliance as we find in the history of Ali and his friends, invite our attention to the phenomenon of love and devotion and its effects.