Early youth of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS)
Ali ibn Abu Talib describes this enlightening period of his age as under: The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) used to go to the Cave of Hira but nobody except he (pbuh) and I did know about it. At the time when the religion of Islam had not yet reached the homes, he (pbuh) and his wife Khatijah (SA) were the only Muslims. I was the next person to them who saw the light of revelation and prophet hood and smelled the fragrance of the Prophet hood.
When the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) of Islam was ordered by God to invite his family members to embrace Islam. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) according to the advice of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) invited forty persons of the Prophet's family at his home. Although the food was quite little but all of them ate fully well. After the meal was over the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) spoke to those present saying, "Oh the sons of Abdul Mutalib, God has ordered me to invite you to embrace Islam and get you introduced to it."
Whosoever, having believed in my Prophet hood, promises to help and assist me shall be my brother, deputy and successor and my caliph.
He (pbuh) repeated this sentence thrice but no one except "Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS)" gave a positive response. As many times as the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) addressed the persons present, nobody except Imam Ali (AS) answered. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) was rising again and again to his feet and promising help to him and announcing his faith.
This is the very reason why the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "This Ali, is my brother and successor listen and lend ears to what he says and obey his orders." When Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) entered from his early youth into the phase of puberty, the part of age when all the human energies and powers are strong and firm, even in this part of the life he remained closely associated to the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) like a flying moth which moves around the Candle. He defended Islam and the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) with his strong, energetic arms.
When the enemy besieged and surrounded the Muslims in the battle of Hunain and they abandoned and left behind the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) running away for their lives, it was only and only Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) who defended and saved the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and made the enemies retreat and take to their heals.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) killed Marhab the chief of army of Jews in the Khyber battle, whose power and bravery was making everybody tremble but Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) cut him into two and pulled apart the gate of the Khyber fort which used to be opened and closed by twenty men together. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS) used it as a bridge over the trench for the Islamic army to cross over to the Khyber fort. Many such events are the specimens and evidences about the faith, and spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (AS).