Ali's (a.s.) humility
- :Yousuf N. Lalljee
Ali was humble and hated pomp and arrogance. Even as Caliph he used to sweep the floor of his own house, chop wood for fuel, carry water on his shoulders, mend his own shoes, wash his own clothes and milk his goat, Ali's wife Fatima did similar domestic jobs with her own hands, grinding wheat in the hand-mill, baking bread, lighting the oven, washing the dishes and tending to her children.
Returning one day with some dates from the bazar he received many offers from people anxious to carry them for him. Ali refused them all, saying, "Whosoever is responsible for looking after his children, has the bigger responsibility of carrying the burden himself." Ali was often seen walking barefooted and on one occasion when he happened to be riding a horse he was distressed to find people following him on foot. Asking them what they wanted, he was told that they felt elated by walking in his retinue. To this Ali replied, "Go back to your business. By walking behind a rider, you will breed feelings of inferiority in yourselves and infect me with arrogance." On another occasion when Ali was discussing the essential qualities of a ruler in a sermon, a member of the congregation rose and praised Ali for his eloquence. Ali said that his subjects ought not to praise him, for he wanted no flattery, being all too conscious of his own unworthiness. Concluding his sermon he said, "To a person who has been influenced by the superb Majesty of God, everything else appears petty and frivolous. He looks upon all other things as shallow and trivial. The worst ruler is one who is given to pride and arrogance and hears flattering words from other. All praise is due to God. You should not praise me because I herewith declare before God and all of you that are here that I have many responsibilities which still lie undischarged. In the face of this how can any one applaud me and consider me praiseworthy ? You should not accord me that treatment which is only befitting to tyrants. Neither become afraid of me nor ever hesitate to tell the truth. Do not show any consideration to me if you feel that I am wanting in justice, and never conceal the truth from me.
I cannot trust any flatterer because he might mislead me and his tempting talk might beguile me into vainglory. I pray to God to save me from an erroneous path. We men are all alike and there is no other Master than God."
Adapted from: "Ali, the Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"
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