‘Ali ibn Abi Talib

‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib
June 13, 2018
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas
June 13, 2018

BACK Return to Table of contents

 

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib

 

Some stories just never get old and one never tires in reading them repeatedly. It transports you to another era. That feeling of warmth seems to linger much longer the more you read. The life story of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the best of the children of Adam ‘alayh al Salam has a similar effect. Rich memoirs radiating brilliantly through the passage of time, not dimming in brightness nor dulling in evoking powerful emotions. Perhaps the story of the migration from Makkah to Madinah is unique in its magnificence and brilliance. It was a new chapter in the history of Islam, the rays of hope after many years began to shine just as the shimmer of divine help began to reveal itself. As strange as it may seem, leaving Makkah was the path that led back to it with the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum as conquerors and victorious as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala indicates to it in the Qur’an:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِيْ فَرَضَ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لَرَادُّكَ إِلَىٰ مَعَادٍ

Indeed, [O Muhammad], He who imposed upon you the Qur’an will take you back to a place of return.[1]

 

The polytheists sure to quell the rise of Islam were worried. Most of the Muslims had already left for Madinah with their families and possessions and Makkah lay bare of believers besides a few, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, ‘Ali, and a few others, some who were incapable of freeing themselves from the bonds of the disbelievers. When most of the Muslims left Makkah and settled in Madinah, it occurred to the idolaters that if Islam struck roots in the oasis in the north, and became viable, it would pose a threat to them and their way of life. They realised that this was the final chance they had to plot the assassination of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam before Islam flourished.

As they wrapped up the loose ends of their discussion and decided to murder the Messenger of Allah in cold blood, Jibril ‘alayh al Salam came with the news of their scheme to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, however, was ready to meet an exigency like this. Apprised in time of the plan of the Quraysh to kill him, he called his devoted cousin, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, disclosed to him the plan of the Quraysh, and his own plan to outwit them. His plan was to put ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his own bed, and then to slip out of the house at an opportune moment.

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu received a visit from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the middle of the day, a peculiar occurrence, as the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not habitual of seeing his closest friend at this time of the day.

 

قال إن الله قد أذن لي في الخروج فقال أبو بكر : الصحبة يا رسول الله ، قال :نعم

He said to Abu Bakr, “Allah has now permitted me to emigrate.”

 

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu then sought permission to join him on this journey, and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam acceded his request.

 

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrating the incident depicts the emotions of her father in the following words:

 

فرايت ابا بكر يبكي وما كنت احسب أن أحدا يبكي من الفرح

I saw Abu Bakr crying, and until that day I never thought someone could shed tears out of happiness.

 

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then instructed ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to sleep in his bed that night.[2]

The young companion ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepts this task without hesitation, a show of his complete love for his prophet.

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu seeking companionship on the journey and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu laying his life on the line, the epitome of love for assisting the cause. Knowing full well that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is being forced out of his home his closest friend Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu does not leave his side. Sure, that he is being hunted ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu takes his place. They are not following the instructions of a wealthy man hoping for a healthy payment nor of a man leaving for leisure, they are following a man who is being driven out by his own people, who have placed a price on his head.

One may wonder then, what drove them to such lengths in sacrifice? A treasure that lay in their chest which they had worked on tirelessly to perfect; iman. These greats had perfected their iman which differentiated them from the common folk, this deep conviction submits a man to lay down his family, wealth, and life for the cause of Islam.

Without a shadow of doubt, I say if ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was asked to select one night from his life as the greatest, he would choose the night of hijrah. A night of ransom and sacrifice, a night which would test the conviction of faith that threatened to burst through his bosom, a night of helping the Beloved salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu stayed calm and at peace with himself because he trusted Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala fully. When people have full trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, they never lose. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu then stayed behind to give the belongings of people back to them. People had trusted the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with their valuable belongings and now they must be given back. This was his first duty, the second greater duty left to him was to spend the night in the bed of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The polytheists surrounded the house of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They peeked inside and beheld a recumbent figure covered in a blanket and were satisfied that their “quarry” was safe. The opportune moment for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to escape came and he exited out of the precincts of his house, took a handful of dust and began dispersing it in their direction reciting:

 

وَجَعَلْنَا مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدًّا وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدًّا فَأَغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُبْصِرُوْنَ

And We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them, so they do not see.[3]

 

As for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu he lay covered from head to toe withering in pain from the attack of the idolaters who thought him to be the Prophet of Allah. Throwing stones at him, a weakening measure before the assassination. He remained steadfast not giving up his identity nor the ploy of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. A brave man, a dauntless companion. Just before daybreak, the pagan head-hunters stormed into the house with drawn swords to kill the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. But their surprise and dismay knew no bounds when they noticed that it was ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and not Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who was sleeping in the bed.

The command was for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to travel to Madinah after fulfilling his duties in Makkah. His journey was filled with fears and uncertainties, so he sought to travel under the darkness of night and hide during the day. He entered Madinah after a treacherous journey, his feet swollen and bleeding. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was informed of his arrival and his most blessed and handsome face lit up with joy! He called for his cousin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, however the Sahabah informed him that he could not walk anymore. The pains of this ghastly travel had caught up with him and he fell to the ground upon entering the sanctity of Madinah.

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam walked to him, finding him defeated and unable to walk, held him close and cried. Though no words were exchanged their embrace and tears shared a thousand words.

تبين من بكى ممن تباكى

اذا اشتبكت دموع في خدود

 When tears and cheeks become one; the phony are separated from the true.

 

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam rubbed over his legs with his blessed saliva and prayed for him, the result was that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu never complained of leg pain from that day forth.[4]

The incident of hijrah will be spoken of from pulpits and lecture podiums, it will be written by authors and translators alike. Children will be enthralled by the story just as adults will take many life lessons from it. In every era, by every demographic the sacrifice of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu will never be forgotten. His passion to let his life hang in the balance as a decoy for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whilst the unsheathed swords advanced towards him will be recorded together with great warriors and heroic soldiers. The desire to give his life so that the sun of Islam may shine bright will be repeated till there remain no voices to speak nor any pens to write.

Dear reader, the life of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, unleashes wave after wave of sacrifice and high aspirations going beyond the realms of possibilities. Glittering like stars above are tales of greatness which would be casted as mere works of fiction if reliable books of history did not corroborate them, earmarking them as authentic incidents. His teknonyms are Abu Turab and Abu al Hassan. The father of the Princes of paradise. The fourth Khalifah and the cousin of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The beloved of the Messenger of Allah and his flag bearer. Loved amongst the Sahabah and close to every believer. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

He was a part of all the battles with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam fighting by his side besides the Battle of Tabuk. Complying with the directives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam he stayed back in Madinah during the Tabuk expedition. Some uncouth hypocrites approached him and aroused his anger by taking a hit at him saying, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has left you behind with the women and children!” Agitated he came with their statement to the Messenger of Allah, who replied to him quelling his agitation:

 

ألا ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه ليس نبي بعدي

Are you not pleased that you are to me as Harun was to Musa? But, there will be no prophet after me.[5]

 

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu was killed whilst he performed his prayer in the masjid. ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Muljim stabbed him at close quarters on Friday which resulted in his demise the Sunday night that followed. This just ruler passed away in the 40th year of the hijrah, however his life story remains very much alive. His piety, abstinence, just nature, and passion to sacrifice remains a guiding light for those wanting to revive the bravery of the warriors in the Islamic cause. It remains a guide for those wishing to imitate the life of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Their lives are filled with lessons, not fictional tales but pure and true. They lived as legends and died the same.

 

Perhaps you dear reader, may develop high aspirations and become a flag bearer of the Islamic cause.

 

NEXT⇒Abdullah ibn Abbas


[1] Surah al Qasas, 85

[2] Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 1 pg. 228; Fiqh al Sirah, vol. 1 pg. 161

[3] Surah Yasin: 9.

[4] Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 42 pg. 68; Usd al Ghabah, vol. 1 pg. 792.

[5] Sahih al Bukhari, 4154; Sahih Muslim, 2404. Narrated by Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Back to top