We call his name when in desperation, when we need inspiration, strength, hope, a role model to look up to and guidance to the truth… but how many do actually know him?
Imam Ali (A), the first Imam for shiaa-muslims, cousin of the holy Prophet Muhammad (S), husband of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima Al-Zahraa, father of the two imams Hassan and Hussein, and one of the five members of Ahl Al-Bayt.
He was, is and will always be one of the great ideal that everyone can look up to and try to have as a source of inspiration because of all the characteristics that he possesses. Since his attributes are many, I’m focusing on a few that he is well-known for.
- Imam Ali (A) was the first to follow our dear Prophet (S) and be a muslim. The Prophet (S) said “Angels blessed me and Ali for 70 years because during that period were the only ones reciting the Creed”. Imam Ali (A) was also raised by the Prophet (S) and thus knew him well and believed him more than anyone else did, which is very clear in the Islamic history and the hadiths.
- The Prophet (S) said: “Ali is the most erudite among my people and he is the most capable to make decisions after me”. This is one of the many hadiths about Imam Ali’s (A) knowledge. He knew about the unknown things to us, he knew about the past, the future and their own time. He could judge people according to their own religions and beliefs. The knowledge he had was from God and the Quran, but much deeper and wider than anyone can ever conceive. That’s why he always knew where the truth were and could judged based on it and be fair
- Courage and strength are clearly described through history as some of the strong attributes. The Imam (A) was always standing by the Prophet’s (S) side in wars, conflicts and stood against any plan that was made to kill the Prophet (S). He was loyal both to the Prophet (S) and to Islam and could risk his life for them. His bravery didn’t know anylimits and he could stand up for the truth no matter how much opposition he faced.
- But still, his kindness and generosity towards others left a clear trace after his death. Imam Ali (A) helped the poor and the people who needed help without them knowing who it was who took care of them. And so when he died and they didn’t receive the money/help that they normally got they realized who it truly was. He was caring even towards those who hated him, which is well-known if we read about his martyrdom. He forgot his pain when he saw his murderer maltreated by the others and told them to take it easy on him. [I'll write about it in one of the next posts]
- “The peak of eloquence” or “Nahj Al-Balagha“ is a book where Seyyed Sharif ar-Radhi (RA) assembled some speeches, letters and apophthegm by the Imam (A) that clearly showed his knowledge but also his great eloquence. His fluency in the language and intelligent mind could put any of his knowledge into speeches and apophthegms that people anytime could follow to find themselves and the truth. The book is a masterpiece in shiaa-Islam that could be read by anyone because it includes any subject between heaven and earth.
Imam Ali (A) wrote many books and put together the holy Quran.
After all this has been said and no matter how much we dig into books, history and Islam we won’t be able to describe him fully because as the Prophet (S) said : “Nobody knows Ali except me and God”.