Rafed English

Election of Ali

In this dilemma several of the principal men of Medina approached Ali and desired him to accede to their request. In reply he assured them that he had no wish for temporal power and would willingly accept the authority of any other person elected by them. They, however, insisted that there was no one so well qualified as he. Notwithstanding their persistence, Ali was resolute in his refusal and said that he would rather like to serve as an adviser than take the reins of government in his hands.

The insurgents, who had themselves been responsible for the prevailing disturbed condition at Medina, were anxious to put the city back to its normal state and were much annoyed at the difficulty in the choice of a Caliph. and insisted that before they quitted Medina, the citizens, in exercise of their right, must elect a Caliph within one day, as they were the proper persons to determine the controversy. If the choice was not made within the time allowed by them, they would put to the sword the leading men of Medina.

Upon this the populance again came to Ali in the evening and explaining to him the situation, earnestly entreated him to reconsider their position and the danger to the religion. Overcome at length by their pathetic expostulations, Ali consented with reluctance saying: "If you excuse me and elect another, whomsoever you may think fit to choose, I shall most submissively yield obedience to him. If I am compelled to comply to accept the offer, I must say frankly at the outset that I shall conduct the administration quite independently, and I shall deal with all of you according to the Holy Book of the Lord and to the best of my knowledge and judgment." They unhesitatingly assented and proferred to give him their hand in token of doing fealty to him; but he refused to do anything unless it was done in public, so that no one might have cause to grumble. "Ali was apprehensive of the intrigues of Ayesha, Talha and Zubeir and the whole house of Umayyah (of which Moawiya, Osman's lieutenant in Syria, was chief), who, he knew, would avail themselves of every opportunity to oppose and disturb his government." Ockley's History of the Saracens p. 289.

Adapted from: "Ali, the Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"

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