Imam Ali (as),First youth to accept Islam
Ali was born some thirty years after the birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He belonged to the most respectable family of Quraish, the Banu Hashim. His father "Abu Talib" was the real uncle of the Holy Prophet who brought him up after the death of the Holy Prophet’s grandfather. Ali’s mother was Fatima Daughter of Asad, who belonged to Banu Hashim. Ali’s patronymic name was "Abul Hasan".
The Holy Prophet gave him another name,"Abu Turab" which was most liked by Ali. The Holy Prophet took Ali in his childhood from his father, Abu Talib, and brought up him like his own son.
First Youth to Accept Islam
When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) started revelations, Ali was about ten years old. The Holy Prophet disclosed his mission before Ali and he accepted it immediately, thus he became the first youth to enter the folds of Islam. When the Holy Prophet started to preach openly, he invited all of his family members to a feast and announced his mission before them. Nobody listened to him, but young Ali stood up and said. "Though my eyes are sore, my legs are thin and I am the youngest of all those present here yet I will stand by you, Oh Messenger of Allah."
Hearing this all the leaders of Quraish laughed but Ali proved his words to be true after supporting the Holy Prophet in his mission from the beginning till the end.
The Holy Prophet loved him very much. The night when the Holy Prophet was migrating to Medina, his house was surrounded by the bloodthirsty tribesmen, who had plotted to assassinate him. They were ready to kill any person who came out of the house. In such a situation, the Holy Prophet asked Ali to sleep in his bed. He followed the command gladly and immediately jumped in the bed.
Life in Medina
Ali was very close to the Holy Prophet, and the closeness was changed to a permanent relationship when he married his most beloved daughter, Fatima to Ali .
Ali also had the distinguished honor that the progeny of the Holy Prophet continued through Ali’s sons from Fatima namely Hassan and Hossein.The two children were the most beloved of the Holy Prophet.
His Bravery and the "Dhulfiqar" (His sword)
Ali was a very brave man. He participated in almost all the battles against the non-believers during the time of the Holy Prophet. The stories of his bravery are famous in history.
In the first battle of Islam at Badr, he was holding the flag of Islamic army. When three famous warriors of Quraish challenged the Muslims, according to Arab tradition, Ali along with Hamzah (his uncle) and Abu Ubaidah accepted the challenge.
In the battle of Uhud, when Mus’ab bin ‘Umair, the bearer of the Islamic standard, was martyred, it was Ali who held it up. Seeing this one of the non-believers, Abu Sa’d challenged him. Ali attacked him and he fell down on the ground naked. Ali felt pity on him and left him in that condition.
In the battle of the Trench (Khandagh), all-Arabia fame warrior, "Abdwood challenged the Muslims after jumping on his horse across the trench. Nobody dared to accept his challenge except Ali. The Holy Prophet warned Ali about "Abdwood but Ali insisted on going and fighting with him. Then the Holy Prophet gave him his famous sword "Dhulfiqar" and put a turban on his head before he went to fight with "Abdwood. A few minutes" later people saw "Abdwood’s head was cut off from his body by Ali.
Because of his, bravely Ali was popularly called "Asadullah" (The Lion of Allah).
In the battle of Khaibar against Jews, the Muslims tried to conquer the strongest Jewish fort, Qumus, but were not successful in the beginning. Then the Holy Prophet said, "I will give the command and the standard tomorrow to such a brave person who loves Allah and His Prophet and whom Allah and His Prophet love. Everybody desired to be that fortunate man. The people were rather surprised when the next morning the Holy Prophet called Ali who was sick and his eyes were sore.
The Holy Prophet applied his finger, wet with his saliva, over the eyes of Ali and they were cured immediately. Then he gave the standard, and advised him. "First of all call them towards Islam. Even if one man is guided towards Islam because of you, it would be better than red camels."
Following the advice of the Holy Prophet, Ali invited the Jews towards Islam. Instead of accepting the Right Path they sent their commander Marhab, the great warrior of Arabia and one of the bravest men of his time. He challenged Ali to fight. Ali accepted the challenge and slew him in one attack.
He showed great bravery in each and every battle he fought and earned fame. He was counted as one of the great warriors of Arabia.
Ali the Great Scholar of Islam
Ali was not only a great warrior but a great scholar as well. The Holy Prophet said about him, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate." He was one of the great jurists among the Companions. The Holy Prophet appointed him as the Judge of Yemen during his life time. He was a master of Arabic and his writings were as effective as his speech. More about his scholarly services to Islam would be mentioned at the end.
Excellence of Ali
There are so many virtues and services of Ali that it is difficult to mention them all in this short book. On many occasions the Holy Prophet had prayed for him. When he sent Ali to Yemen in Ramadan (10 A.H), he blessed Ali with the following prayer: "Oh Allah put truth on his tongue and enlighten his heart with the light of guidance." Then he himself put turban on his head and gave the black standard.
On one occasion the Holy Prophet said to Ali, "You pertain to me and I pertain to you," He also said, "When I am patron of anyone, Ali is his patron also." Once the Holy Prophet said, "Only a hypocrite does not love Ali and a believer does not hate him."
According to a Hadith the Holy Prophet said to Ali, "You have a resemblance to Jesus whom the Jews hated so much that they slandered his mother and whom Christians loved so much that they placed him in a position not rightly his. Ali afterwards said, "Two (types of) people will perish on my account, one who loves me so excessively that he praises me for what I do not possess, and one who hates me so much that he will be impelled by his hatred to slander me."
Sayings of Imam Ali (a.s)
1. During civil disturbance adopt such an attitude that people do not attach any importance to you - they neither burden you with complicated affairs, nor try to derive any advantage out of you.
2. He who is greedy is disgraced; he who discloses his hardship will always be humiliated; he who has no control over his tongue will often have to face discomfort.
3. Avarice is disgrace; cowardice is a defect; poverty often disables an intelligent man from arguing his case; a poor man is a stranger in his own town; misfortune and helplessness are calamities; patience is a kind of bravery; to sever attachments with the wicked world is the greatest wealth; piety is the best weapon of defense.
4. Submission to Allah"s Will is the best companion; wisdom is the noblest heritage; theoretical and practical knowledge are the best signs of distinction; deep thinking will present the clearest picture of every problem.
5. The mind of a wise man is the safest custody of secrets; cheerfulness is the key to friendship; patience and forbearance will conceal many defects.
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