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Imam Ali’s Lion-Heartedness on the Battlefield

Ali’s lion-heartedness on the field of battle seems at first sight to be strangely at odds with his gentleness on all other occasions, but one must remember that although his mighty blows frequently cleft his enemies in two, he never departed from his own chivalrous code. This code of chivalry is admirably summed up in the instructions which he gave to his son, Muhammad Ibn Hanafia, on presenting him with the flag of command at the battle of Siffin

“O son! Let the mountains move from their places but your foot should not falter from that place that has been assigned to you in the battlefield. Install your foot firmly on the ground as though a nail had been driven into it. Let your one jaw rest firmly on the other. Keep an eye on the last rank of your enemy. Enter the battle with a firm determination that you have lent yourself to the cause of God. With all this, always think that success lies in the hands of God. Above all never raise your hand against the sick women, aged and children. Even if they abuse you it behooves you to give them refuge. Never mutilate the limbs of the enemy or and other person. Give a decent burial to the dead bodies of your enemies.”

Ali’s own behavior at the Battle of the Ditch also illustrates his adherence to this code. While fighting a duel Ali had thrown his opponent, Amar, on the ground Amar had drawn his sword to cut off his head, when the latter spat on his face. Ali then left his enemy and sheathed his sword. Asked why he left such a dangerous foe alive, Ali said, “I would have killed Amar in the way of God, but when he spat on my face, I got enraged and his death at that juncture would have been attributed to a motive of retaliation rather than in the spirit of Jehad.”



The late George Gordon was a famous Christian historian, linguist, philosopher and poet of Egypt. Arabic was his mother tongue, at the same time he was well versed in English, French, German, Persian and Latin, and be used to contribute to historical and philosophical magazines of France, Germany and England.
About Hazrat Ali he said

“None can praise Ali to the extent that he deserves. So many instances of his piety and fear of God are cited that one starts loving and venerating him. He was a true, strict and scrupulous follower of Islam. His words and deeds bore stamps of nobility, sagacity and courage of conviction. He was a great man having his own independent views about life and its problems. He never deceived, misled, or betrayed anybody. In various phases and periods of his life he exhibited marvelous strength of body and mind which were due to his true faith in religion and in his sincere belief in truth and justice. He never had a servant and never allowed his slaves to work hard. Often he would carry his household goods himself and if anybody offered to relieve him of the weight he would refuse.”


(From Tarikh-aI-Khulafa of Jalaluddin-as-Suyuti- as translated from the original Arabic by Major H. S. Jarret, Culcutta edition, 1881)

1.The Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal says There hath not come down to us regarding the merits of any one of the Companions of the Apostle of God, what bath been transmitted concerning Ali. (Al Hakim).

2.Ibn Asakir from Ibn Abbas says There hath not been revealed in the Book of God (Quran) regarding any one what hath been revealed concerning Ali, and that three hundred verses have been revealed concerning Ali.

3. At-Tabrani and Ibn Abi Hatim record from Ibn Abbas that he said The Lord never revealed the words ‘O True Believers’ but that Ali was understood to be the Lord and chief of them; and verily the Lord hath reproved the Companions of the Prophet in various places, but hath never mentioned Ali save with approval.

4. At-Tirmizhi, An-Nasai and Ibn Maja from Habshi b. Jonada say that the Apostle of God said Ali is a part of me and I of Ali.

5.At-Tabrani records in the Awsat from Jabir b. Abdallah that the Apostle of God said: The people are of various stocks but I and Ali are of one stock.

6. At-Tabrani records in the Awsat and Saghir from Umme-Selma that she narrated, ‘I heard the Apostle of God say Ali is with the Quran and the Quran with Ali, they shall not be divided until they arrive at the fountain of Kausar in Paradise.’

7. Ibn Sa’d records on the authority of Ali that he said: By Allah a verse of the Quran was never revealed but I know regarding what it was revealed and where it was revealed and concerning whom it was revealed, for my Lord hath given unto me a wise heart and an eloquent tongue.

8. Ibn Sa’d and others on the authority of Aby Tofail record that Ali said: Ask ye me regarding the Book of God, for verily there is not a verse but I know whether it was revealed by night or by day, in the plains or on the mountains.

9. At-Tirmizhi and Al-Hakim record from Ali that the Apostle of God said: I am the City of Knowledge and Ali is its gate.

10. Ibn Mas’ud says that the Prophet said: To look upon Ali is Devotion.

11. lbn Asakir on the authority of Caliph Abubakr records that the Prophet said: Looking upon Ali is worship.

12. Muslim records on the authority of Ali that he said By Him who hath cleft the seed and created the soul, verily the Prophet promised me that none but a true believer should love me, and none but a hypocrite hate me.

13. At-Tirmizhi from Abu Sa’id al Khudri says that he said: We used to distinguish the hypocrites by their hatred of Ali.

14. At-Tabrani from Umme Selma says that the Apostle of God said: He who hath loved Ali, verily he hath loved me, and he who hated Ali, verily he hath hated me, and who hath hated me, he hath hated the Lord.

15. Abu Ya’Ia and Al-Bazzar from Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas say that the Apostle of God said: Who grieveth Au, grieveth me.

16. Ahmad records and Al Hakim verifies it on the authority of Umme Selma that she narrated, ‘I heard the Apostle of God say: He who hath reviled Ali, verily, he hath reviled me.’

17. Sai’d b. AI-Mosyyeb says that Omar b. Al-Khattab used to beg God to preserve him from a perplexing case when the father of Al-Hasan was not present to decide; and that Omar said: None of the Companions used to say ‘ask ye of me’, except Ali.

18. At-Tabrani says in the Awsat from Ibn Abbas that he said: Ali possessed 18 eminent qualities which belonged to no other of his people.

19. Al-Bazzar records on the authority of Sa’d, that the Apostle of God said to Ali: It is not lawful for anyone to be in the mosque, while under the obligation of performing a total ablution, except for me and for thee.

20. Abu Ya’la from Abu-Horeira says that Omar b. al-Khattab said: Verily, Ali hath been endowed with three qualities, of which had I but one, it would be more precious to me than were I given high bred camels. It was asked of him what they were; he replied: His marriage with Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet; his remaining in the mosque while that is permitted to him, which is not lawful for me; and his carrying the Standard on the day of Khaibar.

21. The two Sheikhs (Bokhari and Muslim) record on the authority of Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas that the Apostle of God left Ali b. Abi Talib behind as his Vicegerent during the expedition of Tabuk, and Ali said, “O Apostle of God, dost thou leave me behind among the women and children ?“ He replied: “Art thou not content to be to me in relation of Aaron to Moses, save that there shalt be no prophet after me?”

22. And from Sahl b. Sa’d that the Apostle of God said on the day of Khaibar: I will surely give the Standard tomorrow to a man, at whose hands the Lord will give victory, one who loveth God and His prophet and whom God and his prophet love; and the people passed the night in perplexity as to the one among them to whom it would be given. And when they entered upon the dawn, they went early to the Apostle of God, each one of them hoping that it would be given to him, but he said: Where is Ali the son of Abu Talib? They said to him, ‘He complaineth of pain in his eyes.’ He replied, ‘Then send for him,’ and they brought him and the Apostle of God applied his saliva upon his eyes and prayed for him, and he was healed so that it was as if he had no pain, and he gave him the Standard.

23. Muslim records on the authority of Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, that when this verse ‘Let us call together, our sons and your sons etc. Surah III-54 was revealed, the Apostle of God summoned Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain, and said, ‘O God! These are my family.’

24. At-Tabrarni records in the Awsat and Abu No’aim fri the DaIael on the authority of Zadan that Ali was relating a tradition when a man accused him of speaking falsely, and Ali said to him, ‘Shall I curse thee if I have lied’ and he said ‘curse’ and Ali cursed him, and he did not quit the place till his sight left him.

25. Abut Qasim-al-Zajjaji narrates in his Dictations that Ali wrote a work on the principles of the Arabic language and the Grammar of the Arabic language.

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