Imam Ali (as) and the battle of Thaat as-Salasil
In the eighth year A.H. a force of twelve thousand men united in a league to attack Medina at night. Their decision was only to kill the Prophet and his minister Ali. Some of the Muslim scholars were under impression that the Prophet was acquainted with the situation by revelation but in the meanwhile the plot was reported to him by some spies, who lived about Mecca.
The Prophet put the matter before the crowd in the mosque for discussion and then Abu-Bakr was ordered to fight against them with an army of four thousand strong warriors.
Abu-Bakr advanced with his men slowly until they came into view of the enemy. Now two hundred horsemen came before Abu-Bakr and said: “We have prepared for this war just to kill Muhammad or his cousin Ali. What do you mean by bringing this army?”
Abu-Bakr said: “I have been ordered to propose Islam to you and if you refuse it I will fight you.''
They reviewed their army with its high power and ability and hereby Abu-Bakr was frightened and decided to go back to Medina.
The return of the army, in that bad state, depressed the Prophet deeply. Then Umar was appointed as commander. He also succeeded in nothing and came back in the same state as Abu-Bakr did.
At last Ali ibn Abu-Talib was called upon and after a short discussion with the Prophet he was ordered to face the enemy.
Ali (s), on the contrary to the two previous commanders, carried his men through a short cut with all speed to go unexpectedly upon them. He used to move at night until he came into sight of the enemy.
Again two hundred knights came and asked him: “Who are you?”
He replied: “My name is Ali, the son of Abu-Talib. I invite you to resign yourselves to Islam.”
They said: “You are our aim. We will kill you and your men by all means. The fixed time for meeting will be tomorrow at noon.”
Ali (s) said: “What ails you, woe be to you. You threaten me with killing. I will fight you tomorrow at the time.”
In the same evening, according to Ali’s command, the Muslims fed their horses and prepared their defensive position to fight the obstinate enemy.
When daybreak appeared, the Muslims offered the prayer with the leadership of Ali (s) and then they made a sudden attack upon the enemy while it was still dark.
The rear guards had not yet entered into the field when a great number of the enemy was killed by the vanguard and many of them were bound with ropes and chains.
The captives with their cattle were carried to Medina. The Prophet, accompanied by the believers, went out of the city to meet Ali (s) and his honored army.
Ali (s) arrived at Medina, amid acclamation of the crowd, with a great deal of spoils of war.
The above tradition was quoted from the reliable sources of the Shia. It was somehow different from what the Sunni scholars had mentioned.
The residential quarters of the enemy were stony places that there were sparks arising when the horses' hooves hit the stones. The horses were gasping too.
This self-sacrifice was so worthy of praise that a surah was revealed from the Heaven about this feat and other devoted soldiers. The Holy Qur’an says: (I swear by the runners breathing pantingly, then those that produce fire striking, then those that make raids at morn, then thereby raise dust, then rush thereby upon an assembly. Most surely man is ungrateful to his Lord) 100:1-6.
Most of the commentators believed that this surah was revealed to praise Ali (s).
Adopted from the book : "Imam Ali (a.s.); Sunshine of Civilized Islam" by : "Muhammad Huseyn Tahmasebi"
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