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Upbringing of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as): Amirul Momineen (Commander of the faithful)

Upbringing of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)Amirul Momineen (Commander of the faithful), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was born three years before the marriage of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) with Hazrat Khadija (sa). Although Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) lived in the custody of his father and brothers for six tender years, then he (as) moved to Holy Prophet Muhammad's (saw) house because of the financial crisis which befell his father, Hazrat Abu Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib.

Since that early age, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) lived with the Messenger of Allah (saw). It was there that he spent his teens and adolescence during which he was a close observer of all the developments that happened in the life of the Messenger of Allah (saw).

So, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib's (as) education was not an ordinary one, nor one which a normal child receives from his father, or elder brothers. The training and instruction he received was very special and it suffices to know that he followed Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) like his shadow, even during periods of exclusive privacy inside the grotto of the Hira Mountain where the mental and spiritual developments were witnessed through which Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was passing.

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) referred to the vast dimensions of the education he received at the hands of his guide, the Messenger of Allah (saw) in one of his speeches known by the title "Al-Qasi'ah" (censure):

"...you know what my relations with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) were. From the very beginning of my life, he loved me and I loved him. He took me in his lap when I was a baby and thence I was always with him. He often kept me embraced to his heart. He used to lay me next to him. We used to be so close to each other that I felt the warmth of his body and smelled the fragrance of his odor. When I was a baby, he fed me with his hands, often chewing hard bits for me. He never found me lying nor weak and wavering. From the time of his [Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)] infancy, Allah (SWT) had appointed the greatest of His angels to always be with him, and His Arch Angel was leading him towards exemplary qualities and high moral values, and I followed him (saw) step by step as a baby camel follows its mother. Daily he used to place before me a fresh standard of efficiency and used to order me to follow it. Every year he used to stay in a grotto of the Hira Mountain for some time, and nobody used to be with him but me. None could then see or hear him but me. During those days Islam was the religion of only the Prophet and his wife, Khadija. I was the third of the trio. Nobody else in this world had accepted Islam. Even then I used to see the divine light of revelation and prophethood and smell the heavenly fragrance of prophethood."

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was so pure in spirit and straightforward in morality, according to the education he received from the Messenger of Allah (saw), that many shadows of the hidden future were lighted before him. He (as) says: "...When Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) received the first revelation, Satan lamented so loudly that I asked Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw): Who is lamenting and why? He (saw) replied, 'It is Satan who has given up hopes of acquiring complete sway over human minds. In his disappointment, he is lamenting over the chance lost. Verily Ali, you also hear whatever I hear, and you see whatever I see; only you are not a prophet. But you are my wazir (minister), successor and helper, and you will always hold the truth and justice."

In his own words, this text reveals how Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), during his childhood, was treated by Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) with care, tenderness and self-denial. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) went to the extent of chewing morsels of food and putting them in Imam Ali's mouth, holding him in his arms and treating him as though he were his own beloved son.

Religion of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as): Amir ul Momineen (Commander of the faithful)

Religion of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)As has been declared by all the historians of Islam, Amir ul Momineen (Commander of the faithful), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) from his childhood was adopted and looked after by Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Therefore naturally his religion tendencies from his childhood were those of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

The question as to when he embraced Islam is out of consideration. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was Muslim from the very beginning. His religion was the religion of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

The famous historian Masoodi says: The general census of opinion amongst the Muslims historians and theologians is that Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was never a non-Muslim and never prayed before idols, therefore the question of his embracing Islam does not and cannot arise.

It is particularly poignant, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) never invited Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) to Islam as he did others later on, because he was already a Muslim by God granted nature. He was never polluted with the permissiveness of the Ignorant Era, and was never involved in any of its debased practices. As it is related: The Messenger of Allah (saw) informed Imam Ali (as) of his Message and Call and he immediately believed in the truthfulness of the Final Message, and offered to receive and carry out the Messenger of Allah's orders. That was why he was given the attribute of: 'Karramallahu wajhah'. May Allah grant him honor. This is amazing in the light of the fact that Imam Ali (as) was still a mere boy of ten at the time!

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) loved each other

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)Allama Tabarani and Imam Hakim (in his Saheeh) say: Whenever Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was in anger nobody dare addressed him but Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as).

Bin Abil Hadeed quotes the uncle of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib saying:

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was so fond of Imam Ali that once when Imam Ali was a young boy he sent him out on some errand and the child took long time to return, he started getting worried and anxious and in the end he prayed to Allah (SWT), "Please Lord do not let me die unless I behold Ali once again."

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib's (as) holy personality began its wonderful manifestation even during the period of his mother's pregnancy. At that time, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) had not yet announced his prophethood, and yet when he passed before Fatima bint Asad, who being his aunt was senior to him, she used to stand up in reverence and respect for him, and somehow something within her never allowed her to turn her face away from Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) as long as he was around.

When people asked her about this peculiar behaviour of hers, she would say that she could not help it, that some irresistible urge from within made her do so.

This statement was disbelieved by those who wished to test her. So one day they made her sit and they asked two strong men to hold her down when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) passed by. Then they asked Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) if he would walk in front of her, to which he gladly agreed. As he came in front of her, Fatima bint Asad began to rise and she stood erect throwing both men aside. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) who alone was aware of this mystery, used to smile. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was keenly awaiting the birth of his cousin Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as).

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) started acting as the bodyguard of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) even when he was just a boy of 13 or 14 years. The young men of Quraish under instigation of their parents used to stone Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) took up the work of acting as his defender, he fell upon those young men, broke the nose of one, teeth of the other, pulled the ears of the third and threw down the fourth. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) often fought against those who were older than him, was often himself hurt, but he never forsook the self imposed duty. After some days he got the nick name of Qaazim (the breaker of thrower) and nobody dared throw anything at Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) when Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was with him and he would not allow Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) to go out of the house alone.

Offering himself as a sacrifice at the night of Hijra (migration) and his subsequent behaviour in all the battles are enough proofs of the intensity of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib's (as) love to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) informed Imam Ali (as) about the dangerous situation and his plan to migrate to Yathrib (Medina). Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked Imam Ali (as) if he would sleep in his bed covering himself with Holy Prophet Muhammad's (saw) blanket. It was a dangerous situation; the walls of Holy Prophet's (saw) house were hardly seven feet high. Anybody could peep in and see whether Holy Prophet (saw) was in the house or not? But when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked Imam Ali (as) if he would accept this danger to his life? Imam Ali (as) replied with a counter question, "If I sleep in your place, in your bed, will your life be saved?" "Yes," replied Holy Prophet (saw), "Allah (SWT) has promised me save passage." Imam Ali (as) thanked Allah (SWT) and slept in the bed of Holy Prophet (saw) covering himself with Holy Prophet's (saw) blanket without any hesitation. Holy Prophet (saw) left his house unobserved by the waiting assailants.

Commenting on the sacrifice of Imam Ali (as), Imam Ghazali in his Tarikhe Khamees writes that it was for this occasion that revelation from Allah (SWT) came, "And among men there is who sells himself (soul ) seeking the pleasure of God; and verily, God is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants." Noble Qur'an (2:207)

Wife, Children and Home Life of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as): Commander of the faithful

Wife, Children and Home Life of Imam Ali ibn Abu TalibAmir ul Momineen (Commander of the faithful), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was married to Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa), the daughter of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) from Hazrat Khadija (sa). At the time of his marriage Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) being in his 21st year and Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) in 15th year of her life. Other narrations says Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) is in 10th year of her life.

It was very happy marriage. The transcendental distinctiveness of their respective characters blended so well with each other that they never quarreled and complained of one another and led a happy and contended life. Each one of them was rich in his own rights; Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) was the only heir of one of the richest women of Arabia, Hazrat Khadija (sa), and had inherited many orchards and gardens in Makkah and Madinah, besides that she was the daughter of the head of a rich clan and a king of a fast growing kingdom. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was a marshal who had very handsome shares from the spoils of wars. Yet all that they owned went to the poor cripples and orphans and they themselves often starved. Their only luxury in life was prayers, and the company of each other and their children; and they willingly shared the sorrows and suffering of poor. They were given a slave girl, Bibi Fizza, but Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) had made arrangement that every alternate day was the off day of Bibi Fizza and her mistress would do all the household work. Even when Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) was ill on Bibi Fizza's off day, Bibi Fizza would not be allowed to attend to the duties, but Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) would work; and the hero of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Khaybar and Hunain was seen grinding oats, lighting the oven, preparing the bread and looking after the children.

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as) says, "Amir al-Mu'minin used to cut wood, fetch water and sweep, while Fatimah (his wife) used to grind, knead and bake the bread."

Even when he was Caliph, he used to go shopping and carry home his purchases himself. People seeing their Caliph, the highest person in the community doing so, used to hurry to him to help him with his burden, but he would deny them that pleasure and say: "It is more fitting for a family head to carry his (own) burden."

Hazrat Salman Farsi (ra) says: What a household, the daughter of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and wife of his vicegerent leading the life of a poor labourer. If they had spent one tenth of what they were distributing daily they would have led a life of ease and comfort.

From Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), the Lady of Light (Hazrat Fatima Zahra) had four children and the fifth (Mohsin) was a still birth. The causes of this mishap and also that of her death are very sad and tragic incidents of their lives. The names of their children were Hasan, Hussain, Zainab (wife of Abdullah ibn Jafar) and Umme Kulthum (wife of Ubaydullah ibn Jafar).

During the lifetime of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) did not marry another woman. After her death he married Yamamah and at her death another lady, having the name of Hanafia, from whom he had a son, Muhammad Hanafia, and after her death, he married again, thus he had many children some of whom had unparalleled places in the history of mankind, e.g. Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain (the hero of Karbala), Hazrat Zainab (the defender of Islam in Kufa and Damascus), Hazrat Abbas (the commander of Hussain's army) and Muhammad Hanafia, the hero of the Battle of Nahrawan.

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016