When human being is in the normal and natural condition, he can better be the master of his wits and control himself and take distance and move away from the sins and bad acts and get himself aside from them. But when the flames of anger, rage or jealousy are lit, then it is only with difficulty that man could think and keep in view fact and God. Therefore, most of the crimes are committed at times when man looses his normal natural condition.
But, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) who was a self made and sublime person his approach and behavior was different than that of the others. He, in all the conditions, kept his attention focused and concentrated on God and took distance from anything which did not have the approval of God, whether he was at home or in the battle field, both in joy or anger.
We would better have a glance upon his behavior and conduct in the battle field to prove our point. In the battle of Khandak "the trench" all the people of Medinah dug up a great trench on the sides of the city and filled it up with water to block the enemy's way. Amro bin Abduwad, the famous and gallant Arab warrior among the enemy army, challenged the Muslims to send him a match for the fight. Nobody among the Muslims plucked the courage to give him a response and came out to face him. On this occasion Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) came out taking stable and strong steps to face him with a heart full of faith. He said, "Oh Amro do not boast off too much about your bravery and man-hood. The one who has the power and energy to fight you is standing before you".
Amro viewed him and said: "You would better turn back I do not like to kill you because I was a friend of your father."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) replied: "By God, I like killing you."
Amro got angry and climbed down from the horse and quickly attacked Imam Ali (AS) with his sword but the sword did strongly strike Imam Ali's (AS) shield and so it was not effective. Then Imam Ali (AS) by blowing a strike of his sword made him fall to the earth and climbed upon his chest to kill him. But Amro, out of his rage and anger spitted at Imam Ali's (AS) face. Suddenly Imam Ali (AS) came down from his chest and started walking on the ground. Then he came again towards him. Amro enquired him, "what is the meaning of it that firstly you struck me an effective blow and then let me go free?"
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "Oh Amro I use my sword for God and not myself? At the time when I saw you fall to the ground and climbed your chest, you spit at my face and made me angry. Had I killed you in such condition I would had no reward to my credit because I was angry. Therefore, I got up from your chest and started walking so that my anger and hot temper is cooled down and subsided and I may do my job purely for God."
The bravery, ferocity, self-preservation and control of Imam Ali had a very deep effect over the Arab champion. And attracted the attention and eyes of both the friends and foes to such an extent that the friends raised the slogan of Takbeer (Allaho Akbar) from the depth of their heart and the enemies hearts were filled up with tenor and harassment, so far so, that it ended upon the defeat of the enemy. This is the sole reason why his deed was decisive and fate making such as the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said about it. "The job that Ali (AS) did on the day of the Khandak (battle of trench) and the sword strike by him (against the enemy) is more precious to God then the collective prayers of the mankind and Jins together.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib's (AS) Mercy and Compassion:
We learnt about the bravery and dauntlessness of Imam Ali (AS) in the battle field but we should not omit this point that if a man is brave, ferocious, and dauntless but he does not possess the qualities of mercy and generosity then that bravery and gallantry has no value. The bravery of Imam Ali (AS), when he stepped into the battle field, was such that he did care and was attentive to the injured, thirsty and hungry ones. He would attack an aggressive enemy and kill him but when he came across an injured thirsty and hungry enemy he would save him from thirst and hunger and if he was injured then he would extend his treatment.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) did fiercely fight the enemy but never killed him while he was in a thirsty or hungry condition and he never destroyed and dismantled the houses of the enemy. Because he considered all these acts as against the norms of nobility and generosity. This is the reason, why having taken the river water from the control of the Muawiyah's forces in the battle of Siffin he ordered his warriors to let the water free for all and sundry and do not resist against the army men of Muawiyah if they wanted to use the water.
The army men of Imam Ali (AS) objected and said "the enemy having taken the water's control in their hand had stopped us from using it. So that they wanted us to submit to them through this way. We would better do the same to them."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) replied, "No we will fight the enemy manly and we consider this act against the human nobility and generosity. If we do the same what they did then what would be the difference between them and us? Beware, works are for God and we should not take steps against His wish and will."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) Conduct during his ruler ship:
1. Siding with the masses
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS), with all the difficulties that he had to face, used to personally attend the affairs and works. He would get himself informed about the problems of the people. He did not drive away his enemies due to personal enmities. So far so that he used to give them their rights from the Baitul Mal (Islamic treasury). Moreover, he did not give any privileges to his friends due to their friendship. He continuously used to order his officials and workers to have a conduct of justice with the people and if he observed any misdeed or misconduct of his subordinates and workers he did not spare them. So when one of the ladies known as Sooda approached him for justice, he was then offering his prayers. He shortened his prayer and smilingly greeted her and asked, "What is it that you want?"
With tears rolling on her face, Sooda complained about the tax officer and his excesses.
He, in the same standing condition of his prayers, wept and said: "Oh God be a witness that I have not ordered them to commit excesses and aggressions against your slaves."
He at once picked up a skin piece and jotted down the dismissal order of his official and gave it to Sooda to take it to him as soon as possible.
Another day he received the information that son of Hunaif (the Governor of Basra) made himself present on a very colorful, richly provisioned dinner table of one of the nobles and notables and possibly the blood thirsty and cruel chance seekers and opportunists may make the most of his political station and position.
He got seriously annoyed and reprimanded him for this act of his and wrote him a letter saying. "I have heard that you joined a richly provisioned (colorful) dinner table which the poor were not allowed to join. Be aware! That I am your Imam, leader and chief if I wish and am inclined to it I can lay hand and provide myself with the best food but I will not do such a thing because it is possible that there might be some hungry people in the nooks and corners of my country who go to sleep with empty stomachs. I have contented myself with a simple dress and small quantity of food, which is bread and dates, from this world of yours. Although you can not do this, which I practice but try it that your way and path is not segregated from that of mine."
He, through this letter, gave him a good advice and exhortation and reminded him about his duty. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) lived his life with such a justice and equity that when Muawiyah a staunch and extreme enemy of Imam Ali (AS) met one of his companions "Adi Ibn-e-Hatim" and asked him, "How did you find Imam Ali (AS) during his reign and rule?"
He replied, "The oppressive and coercive ones did not have the courage of oppression during his reign and the weak ones always took benefit from his justice and never allowed disappointment find its way towards them. So that he repeatedly used to say, "Is it right and just that people consider and think I am their leader and Imam but I do not share their difficulties and hardships?"
Still again, we read in the history that one day the governors accompanied by his old friend Ibn-e-Abbas came to see him.
They saw their leader repairing and mending his shoes. Imam Ali (AS) turned his face towards them and said, "What do you think is the price of this shoe?" They replied, "It's value is not much. It can't be more than a few Dirhams."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "By Lord this post that I have got, if I could not make use of it in connection with the salvation and safety of the poor, have not and arresting and stopping the cruelties or restoration of the right and truth, then for me it's value would be lesser than this shoe."
2. Canceling the distinctions and Privileges
The moment people took oath of an allegiance at his hand and accepted his caliphate he climbed the pulpit and tribune and addressed them, "By God till the time I possess even one single palm date tree in Medinah. I will not take anything from the Baitul Mal (Islamic treasury).
His brother Aqeel stood up and said, "Do you take me equal to a black skinned living in Medinah?"
He said, "Oh brother sit down, you do not have any superiority over that black man except through faith and piety."
One summer night his brother Aqeel invited him to dinner at his house so that he may attract the attention of his brother towards himself and he increases his monthly stipend.
He said, "Oh brother from where did you procure and provide this dinner."
He replied "For a few days, I and my wife spent lesser amount of money thus saved the surplus money to invite you to dinner."
He said, "From tomorrow onwards I would issue an order that your monthly salary may be curtailed and decreased to the equal of the amount that you saved because, you can, as per your own confession, spend lesser than that."
Aqeel was very much perturbed and annoyed and he started shouting appealingly. Imam Ali (AS) picked up a piece of iron lying near him heated it up (on a nearby lamp) and took it near his hand.
Aqeel cried, "Oh I am burnt."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "What a surprise that you are so much afraid and cry of a fire which is provided by me alone. How are you prepared to get me burnt in the fire of God's anger? These are the money and property of the people and I am the trustee and custodian of them."
Again, we observe that a group of the officials objected up on him and said, "Had you given a larger contribution and portion to the rebellious and the governors, you could run and manage the newly established Islamic government in a better way. Then, you might have ruled with authority and justice.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) replied, "What a surprise you want me to lay the foundations of my government, which is formed in the name of Islam, upon the pillars of excess and injustice? By God, I will definitely never do such a work."
Moreover, had the Muslim's money and property been my own property I would not have done this thing still less all of it belongs to the people and I am not more than a trustee.
3. Attending the Complaints
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) during his ruler ship personally attended to the complaints. During the hot days of summer, when all the people rested at their homes, he sat by the shadow of a wall, so that if someone had a complaint he might reach him and tell him about it.
One of the hot scorching summer days, when he was perspiring sitting besides and leaning at the wall. A woman who was depressed and disturbed came and said, "My husband has committed excess and ousted me from the house in this hot weather. I wish you to attend to my problem."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) hung his head down and said, "Oh lady the weather is hot, and can you possibly wait till it becomes better. Then I will accompany you and attend to your matter. The woman said, "I am afraid that the temper and anger of my husband may shoot up even higher. It is better that you do the needful right away.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "very well, you walk on and I follow you." Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS), along with the lady, came to the door of the young man and called him out of the house. He did not recognize Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) and knew that his wife has called this man to her help.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "This woman says you turned her out of the house. I have come to advise you that you should have the fear of God and be kind, nice and do good to your wife. The self-loving, egotist giving an insulting reply to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "This matter is not your concern. I would do whatever I please. Now, when she has brought you along with her I shall burn her with fire."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) was angry and annoyed at this response of the man and shouted objecting. Thereafter, he laid his hand on his sword to punish the youth. When people heard the loud voice of the Imam, they rushed out of their houses. As their eyes met Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS), they respectfully came close to him and saluted and greeted him. The rude and impolite youth knew that he was facing Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS). So he got embarrassed, loosing his wits fell down to the ground and started making excuses and apologizes and said, "I will accept whatever you say and hereafter I shall respect my wife and not annoy her."
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) said, "I hope you will do the same." Then he addressed the woman saying, "return to your home, I hope that you would also be a good wife to your husband." The Ghadeer Affair :