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Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and Ibadah (Worship), Namaz/Salat (Prayer)

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and Ibadah (Worship)From the point of view of Islamic teachings, every sin leaves a black stain and the effects of distortion in the human heart which in turn weakens a person's aptitude for good and righteous actions and consequently further deviate him towards other sins and foul deeds. On the other hand: worship, prayer and remembrance of Allah (SWT), develop a human being's religious consciousness, strengthen his aptitude for virtuous deeds and diminish his proneness to sin. This means that worship, prayer and remembrance of Allah (SWT), efface the mal-effects of sins and replace these with fondness for virtue and goodness.

In the Nahj al-Balaghah there is a sermon which deals with Salat, Zakat and delivering of trust; after emphasizing the importance of Salat, Amir al-Muminin (as) further says:

Certainly, prayer removes sins like autumn strips leaves off from trees, and it liberates you from the rope (of sins) tied around your neck. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) likened it to a refreshing stream at one's door in which one takes a purifying bath five times in a day and night. Will after so much cleansing any dirt remain on him?

Also a heart filled with the remembrance of Allah (SWT) is a heart that finds peace and tranquility. Allah (SWT) says in Noble Qur'an: "Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." (Surah al-Rad 13:28)

Ibadah or service, of the One God and negation of everything else as an object of service and worship, is one of the essential teachings of God sent apostles, a feature never absent from the teachings of any prophet. As we know, in the sacred religion of Islam, too, worship occupies a preeminent position, with the only difference that worship in Islam is not regarded as a series of devotional rituals separate from everyday life and as pertaining solely to another world. Worship in Islam is located in the context of life and is an unalienable part of the Islamic philosophy of life.

From the point of view of Islam, every good and beneficial action if performed with a pure, God seeking intention is viewed as worship. Therefore learning, acquisition of knowledge and livelihood and social service, if performed for God's sake, are acts of worship. Nevertheless, Islam also specifies a system of rituals and formal acts of worship such as Namaz/Salat (Prayer), Sawm (fasting) etc., which have a specific philosophy for performing them.

In order to elucidate the approach of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) towards worship, now we shall proceed to cite few statements from the Nahj al-Balaghah about the differences in various approaches of people towards worship.

  • A group of people worshipped Allah (SWT) out of desire for reward; this is the worship of traders. Another group worshipped Allah (SWT) out of fear; this is the worship of slaves. Yet another group worshipped Allah (SWT) out of gratitude; this is the worship of freemen.
  • Even if Allah (SWT) had not warned those disobedient to Him of chastisement, it was obligatory by way of gratefulness for His favours that He should not be disobeyed.
  • My Lord, I did not worship you out of fear from Your Fire, nor out of desire for Your Paradise; but I found You worthy of worship, so I worshipped You.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and concentration in Namaz/Salat (Prayer)

Imam Ali (as) and concentration in NamazThe degree of concentration possible, will of course vary with individuals but we must mention here, the perfection in concentration achieved by Amir al-Muminin (as). In the Battle of Siffin an arrow head pierced the thigh of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). It was not possible to pull it out because of the unbearable pain it caused. When Imam Hasan (as) was consulted in the matter, he told the people to just wait till his father stands for prayer and to remove the arrow while Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was praying.

Accordingly the arrow was pulled out while Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) praying and Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was totally oblivious of the excruciating pain. When Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) stood for prayers, the world ceased to exist for him, his entire being was totally immersed in the contact he had established with his Creator and his relationship with Him.

In Noble Qur'an (Surah Yusuf 12:31) showed that when Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) went in front of the women they cut their fingers but did not feel the pain. If the beauty of Prophet Yusuf (as) a creature of Almighty Allah (SWT) removed pain then think of the beauty of Allah (SWT) and when Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) stood in the presence of Allah (SWT) then all pain from removing the arrow from his thigh was gone.

At the same time the following incident indicates, how much Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was conscious to fulfill the need of poor? Even in the middle of his prayers.

Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (ra) says that one day he was praying with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) when a beggar came to the Prophet's mosque (Masjid-e-Nabavi) in Madina and began to ask for alms. No one responded to his pleas. The beggar raised his hands towards heavens and said, "Allah! Be a witness that I came to Thy Prophet's mosque and no one gave me anything."

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was bowing (Ruku) while offering prayers at that time. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) beckoned and called his attention to his finger, on which was a ring. The beggar came forward and promptly drew Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib's (as) ring from his finger and left the place. In other words Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) did not wait till his prayers were finished. He (as) was so particular to give alms, that while he was still praying he told the beggar by gesture that he might pull out his ring, sell it and spend the money to meet his needs.

It may be noted that giving alms while bowing in prayers is not included in the teachings of Islam. It is neither an obligatory nor a commendable act. Both the Shi'ah and the Sunnis alike, agree that Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) did so and this incident occurred in the presence of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) who raised his face towards heaven and prayed. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) had not yet finished his prayers when angel Jibril (Gabriel) brought the following verse of Noble Qur'an.

Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who establish prayers and give charity while they bow (in prayer). (Surah al-Maeda 5:55)

Two healthy, fat Camels and sincere Namaz/Salat (Prayer) of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)

Two healthy Camels and sincere NamazOnce, two healthy, fat Camels were gifted to Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked his companions (Sahabah): "Can anyone amongst you perform two Rakats (units) of Salat with complete perfection (in all of its actions) and with complete humility in which not a single worldly thought does enters into your minds and no thoughts of the transient world run through your heart so that if any of you can do this, then I can gift one of these camels to you?" None of the companions spoke, there was still silence. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) repeated his challenge second and third time, however none of his companions replied to his request and did not move from their place. At that point, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), stood up and accepted this challenge saying, "O Messenger of Allah! I can perform two Rakats (units) of Salat and for the duration of the entire prayer, none of the affairs of the world runs through my mind! Insha Allah."

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "O' Ali! Stand up and offer your prayer, may Allah send His blessings upon you."

Thus, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) began his Salat, and when he was about to complete his prayers by beginning the Salam of the last Rakat, angel Jibril (Gabriel) descended upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and whispered to him that Almighty Allah (SWT) says that to give one of the camels to Ali.

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said to Jibreel (as): "My condition was, that during the performance of Salat the affairs of the transient world should not come into the mind, only then would I give that person one of the camels but, when Ali was in Tashahhud, he began to think to himself, which healthy, fat camel he would choose?"

Jibreel (as) then said, "O Messenger of Allah! Indeed Almighty Allah (SWT) conveys His regards to you and He says, that Ali was thinking which of the two healthy, fat Camels to take so that he could slaughter it in the way of Allah and distributes its meat to the needy and the destitute for the pleasure of Allah. Thus, his thinking and intention about this (material world) was for Allah and it was not for his (own) self (and his own personal benefit), nor was it for this transient world."

At this point of time, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) began to cry and gave both of the camels to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) proceeded to slaughter them both and gave all of their meat to the needy people.

Ali Se Pehle Ibadat Ka Sar Anjaam Na Tha
Adab Khuda Ka Mohammad Ka Ehtram Na Tha
Namaz Hoti Bhi Qayim Tau Kis Tarha Hoti
Khuda Ka Ghar Tau Bana Tha Magar Imam Na Tha

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said that: "Anyone who performs two Rakats (units) of Salat and doesn't bring the worldly thoughts in his mind, Allah (SWT) will be satisfied with him and He forgives all his sins."

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) says: Fikro Sa'atin Khairun Min Ibadate Sab'ena Sanah [An hour's reflection (on Allah's creation) is better than the Ibadat of 70 years].

Emphasis on reciting Namaz/Salat (Prayer) at the earliest time

Emphasis on reciting Namaz/Salat (Prayer)Traditions have greatly emphasized on punctuality with regard to prayer times and performing it on time. One should not delay prayer without a valid excuse. Our guides did not ever miss the best time of prayers even in the most difficult circumstances.

Thus in the book Irshad ul Quloob a narration states that one day Hazrat Amir al-Muminin Ali (as) was in the midst of fighting during the battle of Siffin. In spite of these circumstances he often glanced at the sun between the rows of fighters. Ibne Abbas asked him why he kept glancing at the Sun? Hazrat Amir al-Muminin Ali (as) said, "I am looking towards Zawaal (decline of Sun from its Zenith) so that I may perform Prayer." Ibne Abbas asked him if there was opportunity to recite prayer in these trying circumstances? Hazrat Amir al-Muminin Ali (as) replied, "Why are we fighting these people? Our aim in fighting these people itself is the establishing of Prayer."

Ibne Abbas has related that Hazrat Amir al-Muminin Ali (as) never omitted the Midnight Prayer, not even during the battle of Siffin when it was extreme winter.

It is reported that on the day of Ashura at the time of Zawaal, Abu Thamama Saidawi came to the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Hussain (as) and said, "O my Master! We shall all be killed without any doubt and the time for noon prayer (Zuhr) has arrived. So you please lead us in Prayer. This shall be our last Prayer and we hope that on this great occasion we meet the Lord in the condition of having performed one of the religious obligations. Chief of Martyrs, Imam Hussain (as) lifted his head towards the sky and said, "You have remembered Prayer, may Allah (SWT) include you among the praying ones. Yes, it is the time for Prayer." Then he said, "Recite Azaan (the call for Prayer)."

After Azaan, Imam Hussain (as) called out, "O son of Sa'ad. Have you forgotten the Islamic Sharia (Religious Laws)? Would you not halt hostilities so that we can offer Prayer?" Thus Imam Hussain (as) offered the Prayer under perilous circumstances (Namaz-e-Khauf) in such a way that Zuhair Ibne Qayn and Saeed bin Abdullah Hanfi stood in front of Imam Hussain (as) and whenever an arrow was shot towards the Chief of Martyrs one of them acted as a shield and took the arrow upon himself. At last Saeed received thirteen arrow wounds in addition to the injuries caused by spears and swords and finally Saeed fell down and breathed his last.

Enmity of Bani Umayyah (Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan) towards Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)

Enmity of Bani Umayyah towards Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)It is very unfortunate to see on the pages of Muslim history, "That it was in the days of Bani Umayyah, more than seventy thousand minbar (pulpit in mosques) upon which they cursed Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), in some of what Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan made a Sunnah for them."

When Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was martyred in Masjid-E-Kufa, while performing Morning Prayer during the month of Ramadan. The news of his death was spread throughout the Muslim world. When the news of his martyrdom in the prayer niche reached Sham (Syria), all the people were surprised. They were so influenced by the speeches delivered against Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) by the men hired by Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan that they asked themselves, "Did Imam Ali prays?" The extent of the influence of cursing and false accusation is so much that as you can see the most pious man who lived his whole lifetime to establish the prayer, is presented as being one who does not pray in the minds of the Syrians.

This type of false accusation did not stop till today. The people from the progeny of Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, even today have the same type of thinking, mentality and enmity towards Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as).

On 12th June 2008, one such person Dr. Israr Ahmed on QTV, a component of ARY network, uttered words to the effect that (Naudbillah Thumma Naudbillah) Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) once drank wine and under its influence he misread a verse while leading congregational prayers. Utterance of such nonsense for one "made pure" by Allah in Noble Qur'an (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:33) is something for which Allah (SWT) shall appropriately penalize this person in this world and in the hereafter.

But as one Muslim Ummah, we unanimously condemn the lowly and ignorant speaker, Dr. Israr Ahmed, for his blasphemous statements against the immaculate Imam, Amir al-Muminin Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) based on a fabricated narration from Tirmidhi through unreliable narrators who have been roundly condemned and criticized by all Rejaali scholars, regardless of their sects.

The ignorant Dr. Israr Ahmed should have atleast checked what the Ulema of Rejaal have said about the narrators of this so called hadith. Even common sense requires from an intelligent person to stay away from unnecessary controversies, but this misguided scholar chose to invoke a great fitna. What he did was not an error. He wants to cause a great fitna, he is working for anti-Muslim unity. And this is yet another attempt of the enemies of Islam and Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his Ahlul Bayt (as) to instigate the Muslim Ummah and spur unrest in the Muslim community.

United we stand free with dignity, Divided we get enslaved by the Zionist New World Order.

We Muslims are busy bickering over whether to fold or unfold our hands during Namaz/Salat (Prayer), while the enemy is devising ways of cutting them off. [Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini (ra)]

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