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Service to Islam by Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) at Dawat Zul Ashira

Service to Islam by Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)The first occasion on which Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) offered his services to the cause of Islam was when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was first ordered by Allah (SWT) to preach Islam openly and this occasion is known as Dawat al-Asheera (Dawat Zul Ashira) - Holy Prophet Muhammad's (saw) first public invitation.

For three years Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was preaching Islam under absolute secrecy, at the end of the third year of his mission, that is the fourth year after Besat (the day when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) proclaimed his prophethood), Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) received orders (Noble Qur'an, 26:214) to preach his near relations and to admonish them.

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) directed Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) to prepare a meal and to invite the sons and grandsons of Abdul Muttalib. This was done and about forty (40) of them accepted the invitation and came, but Abu Lahab, made the company break up before Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) had an opportunity to speak. Next day, a second invitation was issued and when they came, the frugal meal was served.

Then Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) rose and declared his sacred mission and said, O sons of Abdul Muttalib. Almighty Allah (SWT) has assigned me to warn you of the painful torments of the wrongdoers and give you the good news of His reward to the pious believers. Become Muslims and follow me to achieve salvation. I swear by Almighty Allah (SWT) that among all Arabs I do not know anyone who has brought his people anything better than what I have brought you. I have brought you prosperity and salvation both in this world and in the hereafter. The Gracious God has commanded me to call you all to worship Him. Now which one of you is willing to help me with the task? Concluded by demanding, anybody who announces his readiness to help me to bear this burden will be my brother, my successor, and the executor of my will, as Aaron was unto Moses?

The assembly remained mute with astonishment, not one venturing to accept the offered perilous office, until Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) who was the youngest about twelve (12) years of age, stood up and declared his allegiance and full support for Holy Prophet Muhammad's (saw) mission: O Prophet! I will, though I am indeed the youngest of those present, the most rheum of them as to the eyes, and the slenderest of them as to the legs. O Messenger of Allah (SWT)! I am your assistant. I am your supporter.

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked him to sit down. He (saw) repeated the same saying three times but no one except Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) replied to him. On this, locking his arms around the generous and courageous youth, and pressing him to his bosom, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) declared: "Behold my brother and my Vazir (Successor) and the executor of my will among you. Listen to him and obey him."

Many historians are of the opinion that it was a momentous declaration at a momentous occasion. The first and the greatest service done to the cause of Islam. If the appeal of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was then left unanswered, the propagation of Islam would have been nipped in the bud.

Thomas Carlyle, the author of Heroes and Hero Worship, is of the opinion that: Though all the people gathered there, were not enemies of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), yet most of them were dead against this religion, and some were quite uninterested. To them, the whole thin, (an adult person preaching a new religion and a young courageous youth offering his services vehemently) looked like a big farce. They laughed at both of them, and dispersed advising Imam Ali's father (Hazrat Abu Talib) to obey his youngest son from that day onward. But these two people (Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali) proved to the world that there was nothing laughable in their declaration and they had wisdom and courage enough to make their mission a success. Carlyle further says that young Ali had really such a personality as could be liked, loved and venerated by everybody. He was the man of excellent character, loving and lovable, so intensely brave that if anything stood against his bravery it was consumed as if by fire, yet he was so gentle and kind that he represented the model of a Christian Knight.

As was said this was really the first and the greatest service to Islam. History bears witness that from this day to the last day of his life, Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) sincerely, bravely and nobly acted as the defender of the faith to fulfill his pledge.

Service to Islam on the Night of Migration (Shab-e-Hijrat)

Service to Islam on the Night of MigrationThe second great occasion on which Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) offered his services to the cause of Islam was when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was forced to leave his birth place, Makkah to avoid persecution, making somebody stay in his place in such a way that his enemies would believe that he was still in his house and thus he might safely go away in the darkness of the night.

There is no doubt to it that every body loves his soul and very rarely gets ready to sacrifice it for another person but because of the fact that Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) loved the soul of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) even more than his own one, hence, he got prepared to lay his life for him on the night of migration (Shab-e-Hijrat).

This departure to Madinah (formerly known as Yathrib) is called migration (Hijrah), and the Muslim era is named after this event. It took place during 622 AD thirteen (13) years after Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) started preaching Islam.

People of Madinah were favourably inclined towards Islam and some who had embraced this new religion had promised every kind of support to Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Many Muslims who had left for Madinah were warmly welcomed by the people of Madinah (Ansar/Helpers). Quraish, realizing that Islam was gaining a good support with a firm hold in Madinah and those who had fled Makkah were being happily settled there, decided to strike at the very root. Their hatred of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was so intense that nothing would satisfy them but his death. They gathered at Nadwa and decided that a few people from each clan of Quraish would jointly attack Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and strike him with their swords at one and the same time. Thus no individual of any single clan would be responsible for his death and Bani Hashim would not be able to kill any person or fight against any single clan and as they were not strong enough to fight against all the clans of Quraish, at the same time they would be forced to be satisfied with blood-money (Diyat). They further decided to besiege the house of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) during the night so that he may not go away and then to kill him next morning.

Thus about forty (40) men got ready and encircled the house of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Allah (SWT) revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (saw) of the intrigue planned against him and ordered him to leave Makkah the very same night. It was a serious and dangerous occasion. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was ordered by Allah (SWT) to leave Makkah immediately in such a way that none of his enemies might suspect his departure and if possible, none of his friends might know of it. The walls of his house were barely seven feet high and anyone placing a stone and standing upon it could easily peep into the house. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) knew the house was surrounded. Whom could he ask to sleep in his bed covering himself with his coverlet, such a person should not expose his identity till dawn (till Holy Prophet was out of danger) and should be unarmed, so that he might not rouse the suspicion of peeping enemies; he should thus be willing to bear the brunt of the enemies anger in the morning and be ready to be killed. To whom but to Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), the staunch and loyal supporter of Islam, could Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) turn at this most perilous moment. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) informed Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) of the whole plan and of the positive danger of taking his place, saying that the least could be expected of those enemies, would be death.

Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) asked: "If I take your place, and leave you alone to go through the enemies, will your life be safe?"

Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied: "Yes. Allah (SWT) has promised me a safe passage through them."

Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) bowed down his head before Allah (SWT) as a sign of thanksgiving. He lied down on the bed of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and covered himself with Holy Prophet's coverlet. In fact, Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) used to say later that the best sleep he had ever had was on this night (Shab-e-Hijrat).

Night of Migration (Shab-e-Hijrat)Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) after making arrangements to return the properties entrusted to him by several nonbelievers, came out of his house and started proceeding towards a mountain cave of Thawr (Noble Qur'an 9:40) in the south of Makkah with Hazrat Abu Bakr in the darkness of night.

In the morning Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) was found out by the enemy only when one of them pulled the coverlet. When they wanted to attack him knowing that he was Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) and not Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), only then the enemy sheathed his sword.

And among men is he who sells himself (soul) to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants. (Noble Qur'an, 2:207)

It is held unanimous by the scholars of both the Islamic Schools, that this verse was reveled for Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), when he readily slept in the bed of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), when the latter to the will of Almighty Allah (SWT) had to migrate from Makkah to Medinah. The one who would agree to offer himself instead of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) who was wanted by the enemy must essentially have:

  • The safety of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) preferred to his own safety
  • Implicit faith in the duty of a man to earn the pleasure of Almighty Allah (SWT) and His Prophet Muhammad (saw), at any cost, even at the cost of his own life
  • The courage of surrendering himself willingly with the utmost peace of mind, to sleep under the swords, ready to fall upon him
  • The confidence and faith in Almighty Allah's (SWT) protection

On the night of Hijrah, Allah (SWT), the glorious revealed to Jibril (Gabriel) and Mikail (Michael) that, I have established brotherhood between you two and have ordained the life of one longer than the life of the other. Now, are you willing to make a present of the extra length of life to the other?

But each preferred the longer life for himself. Then Almighty Allah (SWT) revealed:

Why not follow the example of Ali ibn Abu Talib. I have established brotherhood between him and Muhammad. He is now sleeping on the bed of Muhammad in order to save his life by sacrificing his own. Now descend both of you to the earth and protect him from his enemies.

Both the angels descended. Jibrail took up his position near Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib's (as) head and Mikail near his feet. Jibrail was crying out aloud Excellent. Excellent O son of Abu Talib! There is none like you. Almighty Allah (SWT) is making boast of you before the angels.

And it was on this very occasion that the above verse was revealed.

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) - The Champion of Islam

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) - The Champion of IslamAmir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) was the son of Hazrat Abu Talib, the Shaykh of the Banu Hashim. Hazrat Abu Talib was the uncle and guardian of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the person who had brought Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) to his house and raised him like his own son. After Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was chosen for his prophetic mission, Hazrat Abu Talib continued to support him and repelled from him the evil that came from the infidels among the Arabs and especially the Quraysh.

In Madinah, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was forced to defend himself and his followers, and was thus forced to face many battles. At each and every battle, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was the hero. And it was he who fought single-handedly with famous warriors of Arabia, defeated the enemies and brought victory to Islam.

Imam Ali (as) was present in all the wars in which Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) participated, except the battle of Tabuk when he was ordered to stay in Madinah in place of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). He did not retreat in any battle nor did he turn his face away from any enemy. He never disobeyed Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), so that Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

"Ali is never separated from the Truth or the Truth from Ali."

Records of these battles carry with them chronicles of his bravery, courage and chivalry. Even the enemies sang songs of his valour and gallantry. Everyone of these battles was an outcome of very grave circumstances and conditions, and combination of very serious events and dangerous forces against the safety of the Muslims and Islam. There were many such encounters, where the events had far-reaching effects. In each of them, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) alone broke through evil combinations and carried the Muslims and Islam to a position of safety, eminence and power.

The courage of Imam Ali (as) was proverbial. In all the wars in which he participated during the lifetime of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), and also afterward, he never displayed fear or anxiety. Although in many battles such as those of Uhud, Hunayn, Khaybar and Khandaq the aides to Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the Muslim army trembled in fear or dispersed and fled, he never turned his back to the enemy. Never did a warrior or soldier engage Imam Ali (as) in battle and come out of it alive. Yet, with full chivalry he would never slay a weak enemy nor pursue those who fled. He would not engage in surprise attacks or in turning streams of water upon the enemy. It has been definitively established historically that in the Battle of Khaybar in the attack against the fort he reached the ring of the door and with sudden motion tore off the door and cast it away.

Also on the day when Makkah was conquered, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) ordered the idols to be broken. The idol "Hubal" was the largest idol in Makkah, a giant stone statue placed on the top of Holy Ka'bah. Following the command of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), Imam Ali (as) placed his feet on Holy Prophet Muhammad's (saw) shoulders, climbed to the top of Holy Ka'bah, pulled "Hubal" from its place and cast it down.

Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) was very close to Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), and the closeness was changed to a permanent relationship when he married his most beloved daughter, Fatimah Zahra (sa) to Imam Ali (as).

Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) also had the distinguished honor that the progeny of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) continued through Imam Ali's sons from Fatimah Zahra (sa) namely Imam Hasan and Imam Hussein (as). The two children were the most beloved of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017