The Charging Lion — Imam Ali (peace be upon him)

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What can one say of the second greatest Muslim ever after the Prophet, the Prince of Believers and The Charging Lion of Allah? What can one say of the first Imam, Imam Ali son of Abu Talib (peace be upon him)? 

(Islamic Insights) Words cannot do justice to the Imam whose martyrdom is commemorated in the Holy Month of Ramadan. What can one say of the second greatest Muslim ever after the Prophet, the Prince of Believers and The Charging Lion of Allah? What can one say of the first Imam, Imam Ali son of Abu Talib (peace be upon him)?{mxc}

Imam Ali was the only human being in history born inside the Holy Kabah. Thirty years after the birth of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him and his family), Imam Ali's mother, Fatimah Bint Asad, miraculously entered the Holy Kabah through a crack which opened in its wall. After a few days on Rajab 13, she gave birth to Imam Ali.

At an early age, Imam Ali was taken into the care of his older cousin, the Holy Prophet Muhammed.  He became the first male to announce his Islam when the Prophet received the revelation.  From the very beginning, Imam Ali was the right-hand of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

In times of war, Imam Ali participated in every battle the Prophet led, except for one –Tabuk.  The reason he was not part of that battle was because the Holy Prophet asked him to stay in Medina to govern its affairs.  The school of companions and the school of Ahlul Bayt both revere Imam Ali for his heroic stands on the battlefield.  One of the more famous battles was the battle of Khaybar, in which the Muslims failed to break through the fortress gates, until Imam Ali arrived to save the day.

The Prophet always expressed the importance of Imam Ali's position. For example, the Prophet said, "Oh Ali, you are to me as Aaron was to Moses –except that there will be no Prophet after me."  On the final pilgrimage to Mecca, the farewell pilgrimage, the Prophet ordered the pilgrims to gather in an oasis called Ghadeer Qum. At this time, he reiterated the appointment of Imam Ali as his successor. The Prophet said, "Whosoever I am his Master, Ali is his Master! Oh Allah, be an ally to his allies, be an enemy to his enemies, be a victor to his victors, and let down whoever lets him down."  The narration of Ghadeer Khumm has been related through over 100 narrators, which makes it "mutawaatir (frequently narrated, and therefore, accepted across the board as having happened).

However, the Prophet's commands were not followed and Imam Ali's rights to govern as successor were usurped in the most devious conspiracy in Islamic history.  Imam Ali was patient under the unjust rule because he did not have enough supporters to revolt, and any revolt without widespread support would have destroyed Islam in its infancy.

Throughout the reigns of the first three caliphs, the caliphs constantly sought Imam Ali to solve their problems.  Umar son of Al Khattab, the second Caliph, was reported to have said on several occasions, "if it were not for Ali, Umar would have perished!"

Imam Ali was elected as the fourth Caliph by the people of Medina.  During this time another conspiracy was made to disturb Imam Ali’s rule, namely by Muawiya.  Imam Ali fought the battles of Jamal, Siffeen and Nahrawan against the conspirers.  Although Imam Ali annihilated the military opposition, Muawiya resorted to terrorist tactics to create instability in Imam Ali's government.

On the 21st of the month of Ramadan, 40 AH, Muawiya sent an assassin to murder Imam Ali. Abdul Rahman Ibn Muljam waited for Imam Ali to prostrate in prayer and then he struck him on his head with a sword smothered with poison. Imam Ali suffered from his injuries for three nights before he was martyred.  When Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain caught Ibn Muljam, Imam Ali told them to make the assassin's bed comfortable and to give him good food.  In the case Imam Ali passed away, Imam Ali told them to punish the assassin with only, "A strike for a strike," not an excessive punishment.

History has witnessed that Imam Ali was a man of intellect, logic and wisdom.  A well-known collection of his mind-boggling sermons and sayings is Nahjul Balagha (Peek of Eloquence). Imam Ali is buried in the Masjid Al Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq and his shrine is visited by millions every year.



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