^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib the Forth Rightly Guided Caliph
Died (40H) at 60 years of age
Praise be to Allah, and may Allah increase the honor and raise the rank of our Master Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam.
Allah the Exalted said in the Qur’an:
Verse 23 of Surat-ul-Ahzab means: “There are men among the believers, who were honest in the oath they made to Allah, some have died and some are still waiting to follow the same path, and they never changed their oath.”
Thereafter, this is an aromatized life story of one of the: Pious and just caliphs, the guided imams, the Amirs of the Believers, heirs of the knowledge of the best Messenger; it is the life story of our Master ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib may Allah raise his rank.
His Caliphate lasted four years and nine months from 35 AH from the day when ^Uthman may Allah raise his rank had died.
He is our Master Abu al-Hasan ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, the son of Hashim, the son of ^Abdu Manaf, the cousin of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, and the father of the grandsons al-Hasan and al-Husayn; the masters of the youth of Paradise.
He was the first boy to embrace Islam, among the most prominent figures of the Religion; and among the most distinguished mujahidin and courageous people. He was a good example of those who are detached from the worldly interests, and among the famous speakers and pious scholars.
His mother is Fatimah Bint Asad, the son of Hashim. He was born ten years before Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^ alayhi wa sallam received Revelation, and was raised at the house of the Prophet. The name that he was known by was Haydarah, likening him to a lion and it was said that his mother gave him this name.
Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam gave him the title of Abu Turab.
The story behind this name is notable. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam came to Fatimah (^Aliyy’s wife) asking for ^Aliyy. She told him that he was lying down in the mosque. The Prophet went to him and found that his dress had dropped off his back revealing the earth soil on ^Aliyy’s back.
As the Prophet started to brush the earth soil (turab) off ^Aliyy’s back he said to him: “Sit up Abu Turab.” Fatimah said: “I swear by Allah that no had called him by this name except for the Messenger of Allah, and I swear by Allah that it was the most beloved name to him.”
^Aliyy is described as being almost average in height. He was bald with a few fine hairs and fair complexion. He had black wide eyes with traces of kuhl and always had a smile on his face.
He had a sizable belly and had broad shoulders and body. He had bulky biceps and triceps on both his upper arms and thighs, with thinner forearms and shins. He had thick palms and a hairy body.
^Aliyy was one of the bravest Companions, deeply rooted in the knowledge of the Religion and deducing judgment and was one of the most disinterested in this life. He never prostrated to an idol and won every challenge and was victorious in all his confrontations.
It was mentioned that one day Mu^awiyyah asked Darrar as-Sada’iyy to describe ^Aliyy for him, to which Darrar replied, “pardon me from this”. Mu^awiyyah insisted saying, “you shall describe him to me”. Darrar said, “if I cannot escape this then, by Allah he had a distant vision of things, he was very strong and his speech was determent. He was fair and just. His knowledge was extensive and his wisdom was great. He was indifferent to this world but found restitution in the loneliness caused by nightfall. His speech was full of morals and good example and he was a ponderous. He answered us when we inquired and made us feel close to him. Despite this closeness our high regard of him left us in gravity of chatting with him. He used to honor the men and women of Religion and stay close to the needy.
^Aliyy never enticed the powerful oppressor by lending his support and never discouraged the powerless oppressed by holding back his aid. Allah is my witness, I once saw ^Aliyy in one of his exceptional moments when after nightfall ^Aliyy was standing under the pitch black sky freckled with the glitter of stars, with a grip on his beard; he was swaying to the rhythm of the ailing. He was weeping the tears of the mourning and was crying out: “You life, lure other than me. To me, you dispose yourself Or to me, you expose your temptations Not a chance, for I have divorced you three times cutting off my return to you. Your existence is short and your virtues are few. I am ailing for not having more good deeds and for my long distance from Paradise and for the loneliness of the journey to it.” To this Mu^awiyyah wept and he said, “May Allah have mercy upon Aba Hasan (meaning ^Aliyy), by Allah he was truly as you described. How much did you mourn his death, oh Darrar” He replied “As extreme as the mourning of a mother who witnessed in her own home the murder of her only son.”
Khalid Ibn Ummayah said: I saw ^Aliyy and his izar (loincloth, a dress wrapped around the bottom part of the body) had reached his knees.
^Abdullah Ibn al-Hudhayl said: I saw ^Aliyy wearing an extremely loose-fitting shirt. If he extended the full sleeve it would reach his finger nail, and if he raised his arm, it would reach the middle of his forearm.
He used to dress a lifted loincloth (izar) <it was showing some of his legs>, they spoke about that to him, he said: “This makes the heart fear Allah and this is what the believer should take heed of.”
Also, he was seen with a loincloth (izar) which was up to the middle of his legs, and a dress which was lifted to that level too.
He had with him a staff to help him in walking in the markets, he was ordering them to be God-fearing and to sell things lawfully, he was saying to them: “Measure and weigh justly.” He was also saying to them: “Do not inflate the meat.”
He used to wear a black head-band and a black turban, before him our Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam wore a black turban on his head on the day when Makkah was opened; he loosened its two ends on his honored shoulders.
Master ^Aliyy used to wear the ring in his left hand, it was engraved with “Muhammadur-Rasulullah” it means: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” His ring was engraved also with “Lillahi-l-Mulk” it means: “The Dominion belongs to Allah.”
It was narrated that ^Ammar Ibn Yasir, may Allah raise his rank, said: The Messenger of Allah said to ^Aliyy: “Allah has made you decorated with an ornament which the slaves were never decorated by what is more beloved than it. Allah made you free of the worldly desires, and made the worldly desires away from you; and made you a leader of the needy; and made the needy your followers.”
Ibn at-Tiah came to our Master ^Aliyy and said: O Amir of the Believers Bayt al-Mal (the state trust) was filled with gold and silver. He said: Allahu akbar (means Allah is the greatest in status), He then got up leaning on Ibn at-Tiah until he reached the place where the state fund was while saying what means:
“O gold and silver lure other than me, take this and take that <while giving away the money>.”
He kept on saying that until no dirham or dinar was left, he then ordered that they sprinkle it with water and prayed two rak^ahs in it.
It was also narrated that once he entered the place of the state fund and found something in it, he said: I do not want to see this here while the people are in need of it. He then ordered that it be distributed amongst those who need it. Then he ordered the place to be swept, and they sprinkled it with water; then he prayed in it or slept in it.
Master ^Aliyy was very humble in his manner and in his dress. Once after buying some dates, some people said to him: “O Amir of the Believers we can carry it for you.” He said: “The father of the kids is supposed to carry this for them.” Also when at one time he was criticized for his modest dress his reply was: “What is it to you My simple attire keeps me away from arrogance and that what Muslims should take heed of.”
Al-Asbagh said: We came with ^Aliyy, we passed by the grave of al-Husayn (the spot where he was buried after the death of his father ^Aliyy), ^Aliyy said: Some youth from the family of Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam will have their ridding animals rest here. They will rest from their travel here, and their blood will be spilled right in here.
Another example of ^Aliyy’s virtues is when Allah answered his supplication against a belier. ^Aliyy Ibn Zadhan relayed that at one time someone had belied something which ^Aliyy had said.
To reach the truth of the matter ^Aliyy said to him, “I will supplicate against you if I’m correct.” The liar said: Yes, so ^Aliyy supplicated against him. The liar was blinded before leaving the session.
Abi Dhar may Allah raise his rank said: The Messenger of Allah sent me to call ^Aliyy to come to him, I went to his house, I called him; he did not answer me. So I went back and told the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. He said to me: Go back and call him. Abu Dhar said: I went back calling him, and I heard the sound of a hand mill grinding, I proceeded to see who was there, I saw that the hand mill was grinding by itself, nobody was there. I called ^Aliyy, he came out delighted and pleased; I said to him: The Messenger of Allah wants to see you.
He came with me and I kept looking at the Messenger of Allah and he was looking at me; then he said: O Aba Dhar, what is the matter I said: A wondrous matter, I saw a hand mill grinding at the house of ^Aliyy by itself with nobody doing the grinding.
One day two adversaries came to him asking for his judgment between them. ^Aliyy sat leaning against a falling wall listening to their case. One of them said: “O Amir of the Believers the wall is about to collapse.” ^Aliyy said: “Allah is the Protector.” ^Aliyy passed his judgment and satisfied the inquirers and only after he left them did the wall come to a crumble.
It was said that the Messenger of Allah said sallallahu ^ alayhi wa sallam said: “^Aliyy is the most knowledgeable one in deducing judgment in my nation.”
^Umar Ibn al-Khattab may Allah raise his rank said: The most knowledgeable one amongst us in deducing judgments is ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib. Ibn Mas^ud may Allah raise his rank said:
We used to say that the most knowledgeable one in deducing judgments is Madinah was ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib.
Ahmad, al-Hakim, and other than them related that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam said what means: “He who cusses ^Aliyy has cussed me, and he who cusses me has cussed Allah.” It means that he who cusses ^Aliyy has committed a big sin. The Prophet assimilated the cussing of ^Aliyy to that of himself to illustrate its abhorrence.
This is a warning about cussing ^Aliyy.
Muslim, and other than him related that our Master ^Aliyy said:
“The Prophet who did not read or write committed to me, and he is truthful in his commitment, that only a Muslim would love me and only a hypocrite would hate me.”
So if cussing the Muslim is a sin, so how about the one who cusses ^Aliyy peace be upon him.
Among his virtues also is that the Messenger of Allah said on the day of Khaybar: “I will give the flag to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and whom Allah and His Messenger love, Allah would facilitate victory for him.” ^Umar Ibn al- Khattab said: “Before hearing this from the Prophet leadership never appealed to me, but now I wish it upon myself.” However, the Messenger of Allah called on ^Aliyy and gave him the flag.
The Messenger of Allah made a supplication for him asking Allah to protect him from the extreme hot and extreme cold weather. Allah answered his supplication. As a result ^Aliyy may Allah raise his rank used to wear heavy warm clothes in hot temperatures and very light clothes in cold temperatures and would never be affected by that. This was related by an-Nasa’iyy in “Khasa’is (characteristics) of the Amir of the Believers (^Aliyy).
The Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam said about ^Aliyy to show his high rank and virtue: “I am the city of knowledge and ^Aliyy is its door.”
He got also the honor of being the first boy to embrace Islam, and that he was one of those who went down in the grave of the Prophet to bury him and he took part in washing him, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. Beside many other merits and virtues, and praised traits, and that he was one of those whom the Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam passed them the good news that they will be in Paradise.
He participated in the battles with the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, he showed a notable and distinguished bravery in them. The Prophet gave him the flag in many events, when the Messenger of Allah invaded Kazaz the son of Jabir al-Fihriyy (the First Battle of Badr), he gave his white flag to ^Aliyy.
In the Major Battle of Badr, the Prophet had two black flags, one of them was with ^Aliyy; it was called al-^Iqab; the other one was with some of the Ansar. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam ordered him to duel with al-Walid Ibn ^Utbah, ^Aliyy did and killed him.
In the battle of Uhud while he was still young and energetic, our Master ^Aliyy killed three of the brigades commanders and other leaders, who were renowned for their animosity to Islam.
In the battle of al-Khandaq while the blasphemers were advancing on their horses towards the Muslims they had with them ^Amru the son of ^Abdi Wad, who was an aging non-believer and was known to be among the strong Arabs. He stopped with his horses then ^Aliyy said to him: “I invite you to believe in Allah and His Messenger and to embrace Islam.”
^Amru answered: “I have no need for such.” ^Aliyy said: “Then I invite you to a challenge of strength.” ^Amru replied: “Why My nephew I swear by Allah that I don’t like to kill you.” ^Aliyy answered: “I swear by Allah that I do like to kill you.” ^Amru became enraged and leaped at ^Aliyy as they both became entangled in a rumble. ^Aliyy killed him fast and ^Amru’s men left defeated. Such was ^Aliyy’s bravery; a degree that is rare among other men.
At-Tabaraniyy related that one of the Companions said: “We were with ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib when the Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam sent him with the flag, as we approached the fort of Khaybar, some people came out to fight him. A Jewish man hit him with his sword, making his shield fall to the ground. ^Aliyy then pulled a door from the fort and used it as a shield. He kept on fighting with the door as his shield until Allah granted him victory. Then he put the door aside. I tried with seven of the Companions to move it, but we couldn’t.”
In the Battle of Hunayn, he was steadfast with the Muslims who remained steadfast with the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, as he was steadfast in Uhud and other battles. Every time we look in the books of the biographies and life stories, we would find the name of ^Aliyy, may Allah raise his rank, brightening. He spent his life as a mujahid, who defended
Islam, opens the heavily fortified forts and destroys the idols in order to make what was revealed by Allah subhanahu wa ta^ala prevail.
Our Master ^Aliyy, may Allah raise his rank, had many great sayings and preachments among them are these: “What I fear mostly is to adhere to the desires of the self and to have much hope in this life, for following the desires of the self is a barrier between you and the truth, and having much hope in
this life makes you forget about the hereafter.”
“This world is reaching closer and closer to its end, and we are getting closer and closer to the hereafter, and each dwelling place has its seekers, so be among the seekers of the hereafter and not among the seekers of this life. Today is the time for work, and tomorrow is the time for judgment.”
“Things that we should pay attention to are many, but those who pay attention to those many things are few.”
“How beautiful is the humbleness of the wealthy who seek goodness of the hereafter. Even better than this is the chastity Of the poor who abstain from the wealth of the rich relying on Allah subhanahu wa ta^ala.”
“It’s enough self discipline if you avoid doing all that you dislike being done by others.”
“The foolish is he who criticizes the faults of others and then accepts them of himself.”
“Do not interpret badly a word that someone said if you can find a good interpretation to it.”
The death of our Master ^Aliyy may Allah raise his rank occurred on the 21st of Ramadan in 40 AH. One of the Khawarij sect, ^Abdur-Rahman Ibn Miljim al-Muradiyy leaped and hit the forehead of our Master ^Aliyy with the sword when he went out to pray Subh (Dawn Paryer). He died a proud and happy martyr at the age of sixty having got already the good news that he will be in Paradise. His Caliphate lasted four years and nine months may Allah raise his rank, and forgive our sins by the virtue of our Master ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib; and make us assembled with the martyrs; highly ranked righteous people, and what a great company that would be.
And all praise is to Allah.