The Causes of Martyrdom of Imam Ali (A.S.) Part 2

The Fatal Sword Blow that ended the Rule of Justice

On 19th Ramazan is that tragic day in history when the Supreme Symbol of Justice was fatally wounded while engrossed in the Morning Prayer. As a matter of fact, the Grand Man, after spending the first of the three Grand Nights of Qadr in prayer and worship, was struck in the Grand Mosque of Kufa by the poisoned sword of the renegade, Abdur-Rahman Ibn Muljam al-Moradi.
Yet despite the severity of the wound, the first phrase that came to the lips of the Commander of the Faithful was: “Fuzto wa Rabb-il-Ka’ba. It means By the Lord of the Ka’ba I have succeeded. Let us try to present you glimpse of the exemplary life of Imam Ali ibn Taleb (AS), the dearest ward, cousin, son-in-law and divinely-designated vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Here we recite to you ayah 19 of Surah Towba of the holy Qur’an where God Almighty says:
“Do you regard the providing of water to Hajj pilgrims and the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque as similar [in worth] to someone who has faith in Allah and [believes in] the Last Day and strives in the way of Allah? They are not equal with Allah, and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing lot.”
The ayah that we recited was revealed in honour of and the merits of Imam Ali (AS), who since childhood strove in the path of God, risking his life and limb. It is God’s testimony to his faith when compared to persons who merely provided water for the Hajj pilgrims or were custodians of the keys of the holy Ka’ba. His whole life was spent in the way of God and for the sake of God, whether he stood in the niche of prayer, whether he plunged himself in the thick of battle, whether he delivered eloquently unmatched speeches of wisdom, and whether he presided over the only instance of the model government of social justice the world has ever seen. This was Imam Ali (AS), who transcends history and historical development and continues to loom larger than life despite the passing away of a millennium and almost four centuries since he was struck the fatal blow on the tragic 19th of the blessed Ramadhan, but instead of gloom was thrilled at the prospect of returning to his Creator. So, what can one write about a person whose words on his peerless merits pleased God to such an extent that He decided to immortalize them in the pages of the Heavenly Scripture so that they would remain forever as a criterion between truth and falsehood, or belief and hypocrisy? We are indeed incapable of doing justice to Imam Ali (AS) the One and Only Commander of the Faithful.
Imam Ali (AS) needs no introduction. He is indeed the colossus, and in fact much greater than the meaning of this word. As the person second only in merits to his cousin, caretaker, and father-in-law, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), he serves as the Barometer of Faith. Even the followers of other religions are familiar with him and have written books on his unrivalled virtues, since his sense of justice and practical demonstration of justice, appealed to their innate human conscience. Not for no reason did he say that he is so well-versed in the books that God had revealed to the past prophets that his judgement of the followers of the Torah, Evangel, and other scriptures, would make them admit that Ali ibn Taleb has indeed spoken the truth by meting out the finest form of justice. No wonder, the Prophet likened his position to that of God’s Revealed Word, the holy Qur’an itself. He is thus, the Qur’an an-Nateq or literally the Speaking Qur’an. This however, does not mean that he was a mere Hafez or memorizer of the heavenly scripture, or simply an authoritative scholar of its divine contents. No, this would be injustice to him. Imam Ali (AS), as the only person to witness the entire revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet and the first one to compile it between two covers as “mus’haf” according to the order of revelation – only to see his compilation rejected by those who had seized the political rule of the Islamic state from him – was the Living Qur’an or Qur’an Animated.
Thus, in view of this undeniable reality, admitted by all denominations of Islam, coming back to ayah 19 of Surah Towba that we recited to you earlier in this programme, what was the reason for its revelation? Exegetes of the holy Qur’an, including our prominent Sunni brethren such as Abu Ja’far Tabari, Fakhroddin Razi, Jalaloddin Suyuti, and others, say it was revealed following the boastings of Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Talha ibn Shayba about their respective duties of supplying water to the pilgrims and holding the keys to the Ka’ba. This made Imam Ali (AS) say that compared to them, he has been praying to the One and Only God, along with Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and the Mother of Believers, Hazrat Khadija (SA), a long time before anyone else were Muslims, and striving sincerely ever since in the way of Allah. On closer scrutiny, we find that the ayahs preceding and following this particular ayah, actually speak volumes of the firmness of faith of Imam Ali (AS), who is truth personified, who never ceases to give zakat (even in the state of prayer), who strives in the way of God (risking life), who fears no one nor submits to anyone except the Creator, and who migrates for the sake of sake of the Almighty without bothering about any worldly possession. Moreover, it was Imam Ali (AS), who as testified by all scholars and historians, was deputed by the Prophet to go to Mecca to recite these initial ayahs of Surah Towba upon their revelation.
No wonder, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) used to say: “O Ali, if not for you, it would have been impossible to distinguish true believers from hypocrites.”
Here the question might arise as to what is a hypocrite, in religious terminology, especially of Islam, since a whole surah in the holy Qur’an was revealed by God condemning them and their dangerous traits?
The answer is obvious. A hypocrite is a person whose claim to profess Islam is not only not out of sincere conviction, but whose malicious heart is so thoroughly darkened by pagan, agnostic, atheist, or any other unnatural belief, that he never lets go of an opportunity to undermine Islam and to weaken the beliefs of Muslim. What, if a hypocrite were to rise through political stratagems to become head of the Muslim State?
The result would be catastrophic. There would be distortion on a mass scale. The naïve, unsuspecting Muslim masses would be misled. The tenets of faith would be twisted out of context, ironically in the name of Islam. Falsity would become widespread. This was the situation that the divinely-appointed vicegerent of the Prophet was facing, especially from the hypocrite-in-chief, Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, when his fruitful life was cut short by the poison-soaked sword of the Khwarej or renegade, Abdur-Rahman ibn Muljam al-Moradi.
Here, is a passage from some of the several letters by the Commander of the Faithful, addressed to the heathen-at-heart hypocrite, Mu’awiyah:
“May Allah protect me from and may withhold me from behaving towards mankind the way you have behaved and from tyranny, exploitations and murders that you commit.
“You have misguided the whole generation of men around you. Having no faith in the truth of Islam you have led others astray. You have thrown them in the depths of ignorance… Apostasy and avariciousness have taken a firm hold of your mind, your intelligence is of inferior order and you cannot differentiate what in the end is good for you and what is not.”
“Let us, you and I, have a single combat. Let it be a combat unto death. Let the soldiers of both armies stand aside and let two of us alone combat with each other. Let the world see and realize who is the sinner and who has forgotten Allah and the Day of Judgement. Will you accept this invitation of mine? Have you the courage for it? Are you a man to face death boldly and bravely or are you merely a vampire sucking the blood of others surreptitiously?”

The Causes of Martyrdom of Imam Ali (A.S.) Part 1

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