Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه), My hero…
Hearing the name Ali (رضي الله عنه) takes me back to Madrassa days. Me, sitting in the corner against the wall sipping on my water and rolling my eyes at my loss. A huge sigh of “whatever”. My friend across the room dusting her hands jubilantly at her victory. The other two just laughing and shaking their heads. Normally it’s the other way around. But not this time. This time she had won. This time Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) was indeed the hero.
I smile as the memories still linger. Aah! the days when we would fight about who was a better hero. The days we would talk more and more about our favourite Sahabas. Mine being Hadhrat Umar (رضي الله عنه) and Zahra’s being Hadhrat Ali(رضي الله عنه). We were such passionate little hearts craving to know more about the legends of legends. The heroes of heroes.
We had taken turns in writing essays about our favourite Sahabah. And off course Zahra had to fight and state hers as a fact. “The brave young soldier stepped forth, one amongst the first three to participate in the one on one duel known in Arabic as mubaarazah. His fierce grace a lithe courage struck staggering fear into the hearts of his enemies. He, one of the first few believing men, was one of the greatest warriors of all time. He was strong, physically and spiritually, he was given the title Asadullah the LION of Allah. He was one of the Asharah mubasharah, the ten sahaabah who were given the glad tiding of Jannah. His unwavering belief and love for Islam and our Nabi ﷺ was and still is an inspiration for us all. He was the cousin of our Rasool ﷺ and was married to one of the best women of Islam, the Queen of Jannah. He lived simply and died a great death. A legend, and the father of two legendary As’haab. HE is none other than the fourth khalifah of Islam, Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه).”
She paused and looked up from her essay, a smile lingering on her lips. “How can you deny that this is not the hero of heroes?” She stated more than asked. Well, I hate to say that she had won me over. Not fully off course. I could not admire any sahaabah more than I had admired Hadhrat Umar (رضي الله عنه). But I was awestruck by this amazing character too.
So much so that I decided to read up more about him…And I was hooked.
The story of Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) captured my heart and will stay close to home forever. He is definitely one of the heroes of heroes. His rank was so high, being the fourth Khalifah and yet not once did he let it take over and show even an inkling of greed. He had lived such a simple life despite the fact that he was a leader. He would spend his days leading the people onto the straight path and inviting others to Islam. He spent his nights in Salaah to connect with his creator. What a guiding star for us all!
Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) was a very courageous man but his heart was filled with fear and love for Allah. A narration that is commonly known with regards to the sincerity of Hadhrat Ali is that once he got into a fight with a disbeliever and when he had sat on top of him, overpowering the disbeliever ready to deliver the final blow with his sword, the disbeliever had spat on his face. Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) immediately retracted his sword and replaced it in the sheath and got off the man. The man was astonished and surprised at Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه)’s pardon and mercy. He questioned Hadhrat Ali regarding his mercy and said, “After spitting in your face you let me go.” Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) replied: “I am the lion of Allah, not the lion of lustful desires. This act of mine, is a witness and an indication of the truth of my religion” when the man spat in his face Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه)’s intention had changed, if he had killed the man it would have been out of anger and not for Allah’s pleasure, “half the act would be for god and the other half as for himself. And any deed done for god should not be divided between Him and another and should be done solely for Him” the man was astonished at the reply and his heart was lit with Imaan. Such sincerity was in the heart of Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) that he refrained from killing a man because it would not be fully for Allah’s pleasure. From this incident I’ve learnt that every deed that we carry out should be done with utmost sincerity and to gain Allah’s pleasure alone. If there is no Ikhlaas in our deeds, then it may be destroyed. And a deed done with sincerity is a deed done only for Allah’s pleasure.
The bravery of this great Khalifah is of high stature. So much so that one of his greatest achievements was when the Muslims failed to conquer one of the forts that were secured by the Jews, Nabi ﷺ announced: “I will definitely give the flag to such a man who loves Allah and his Rasool and Allah and his Rasool love him.” The sahaabah waited in anticipation the next day for their name to be called out intending on taking the flag. Rasulullah ﷺ said: “where is Ali ibn Abi Taalib?” One of the sahaabah replied saying the he was experiencing some pain in his eyes. Nabi ﷺ told the sahaabah “bring him to me.” When Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) came forward, Nabi ﷺ rubbed his Mubarak saliva over his eyes and he immediately found relief and comfort. Thereafter, Nabi ﷺ handed him the banner of the Muslim army and ordered him to attack the army. The sahaabah attempted to remove the door but none of them could do so. Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) stood by it and raised it with one hand. When the sahaabah asked him the secret of his strength he replied: “This is the help of Allah and his assistance”. Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) shouted to the Jews of khaibar, they became scared and frightened and dispersed in the cities, and Allah granted victory over khaibar on his hands. In this incident we can see the strength of Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) and also his full faith in Allah. Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) was a brave and mighty soldier of Islam and thought us many lessons, one of the most important being that we should always put our full trust in Allah for indeed Allah knows best. Allah is all knowing and all seeing. And He alone can grant person strength and victory over an enemy.
Now what fascinated me most about this dynamic character was that when he would make wudhu, he would shake. A man who stood up and fought an entire army yet he would shake when performing wudhu. And when he was questioned regarding the shaking, his reply was: “how can I not shake, don’t you know who I’m going to meet? I’m going to stand before the heavens and the earth”. For a moment, can we at least try to picture the connection that this servant will have with his creator. The concentration level that he is at is something unknown to the present world. The humbleness and focus during his Salaah has been spoken of in many books as such. One incident that comes to mind is the one during which Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه)’s house was on fire whilst he was performing Salaah. People gathered around and would shout to get his attention and warn him of the dangerous fire. They were shouting and shouting. Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) completed his Salaah and made his salaam. When he approached the people they asked him, “Oh Ali! didn’t you hear us calling out to you that the house is burning.” He replied “can you hear when you are praying?”. “Can you actually hear others or hear a thing when you actually praying?” Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) was finding it hard to comprehend the fact that people actually heard whilst reading their Salaah. This is the level of concentration that we are referring to. A connection so deep that he was not even aware of his surroundings. A connection so beautiful that nothing else mattered except him and his Allah. How then can we dispute about heroes when these such people thread the very earth tat we walk upon? How can we not agree that these were the heroes of heroes.?
Nabi ﷺ said: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali (رضي الله عنه) is the gateway”
Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) grew up in the lap of Nabi ﷺ. He was fortunate enough to be a young boy when Islam came alive and remained faraway from idol-worship. He learnt most of his character and actions from Nabi ﷺ himself. He was the first boy to accept Islam and grew up to be a very knowledgeable man, so much so that he became known as Baab ul ilm meaning gate of learning. Once Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) was asked:” where is your knowledge with that of Ali ibn abu Talib?” he said: “it is like that of a drop of rain in the great ocean “. Hadhrat Ali was such an aalim that he could recognize the hidden things of the Quran and its secrets. He said: “most definitely Allah has given me an understanding heart and a curious tongue” Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) would ask Nabi ﷺ regarding everything until he became a great ocean of knowledge. It is said: “Ali was an appropriate arrow from the arrows of Allah against his enemies and the learned one of this ummah”.
I can go on and on narrating stories upon stories teaching us lesson after lesson and proving that this blessed Sahabah was one from the heroes of heroes. But alas, I will leave it to you to do more research and become in more awe of the many beautiful traits that this man possessed.
On the 17 of Ramadan 40 A.H Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) left early from his home on his way to Salaah. Ibnul muljin hid along the path that Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) normally took. As he walked by, Ibnul muljin struck him with the sword on his head so severely that the sword went through his skull. The sword was dipped in poison and as a result affected Hadhrat Ali. After a few days Hadhrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) breathed his last breath and left this abode in the Mubarak month of Ramadan. On this day Islam lost a very great leader.
Writing this essay was not only an honour, but was also a beautiful remembrance of all the amazing stories that we have learnt in Madrassah. It was a very tough decision to pick out from the many that I have learnt along the way. It has been a reminder for me as a Muslimah to do a quick Imaan check and put my intentions in place. learning about the sahabah has always sparked a joy in my heart and it is with a hopeful heart that I lift my hands on this beautiful day and ask my creator to choose me to walk the grounds that these pious sahabah thread. These dynamic characters had sacrificed everything for the sake of Islam so that we can be sitting here as Muslim today. They devoted their lives and gave up lavish and luxury. They chose hardship over ease.
Just as sailors lost at sea scan the night sky for guidance from the stars, we too need to need to draw guidance from the sahabah who were like these guiding stars, and only then will we reach our destination which is Jannah. Inshallah.
May Allah guide us all to be followers of the true heroes of heroes. Ameen.