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  • 11/10/2011

Peshawar Nights: Ali's piety

Ninth Session-part 8


*Abu Talib was guided by Allah to name his son Ali

*Revelation of Lawh (tablet) to Abu Talib

*Ali's name is not a part of the Adhan and Iqama (call for prayers)

*Ali's piety

*Abdullah bin Rafi'i's report

*Suwaid bin Ghafla's report

*Ali's abstaining from eating Halwa

*Ali's dress



In the same way that the bee, the mother of Moses, and the mother of Jesus were instructed by Allah, though none of them was a prophet, Abu Talib was also instructed to give a name to his son.

Moreover, no one has ever said that Abu Talib was a prophet or that wahi (revelation) was granted to him. A heavenly voice and a tablet contained the instruction to name the child. Your own ulema have written this fact in their books.

Sheikh: Where have our ulema stated this?

Well-Wisher: There are many such books.



Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Faqih Shafi'i, in his Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, Mawadda VIII, from the report of Abbas Ibn Abdu'l-Muttalib, which Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi also quotes in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 56, and Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in his Kifayatu't-Talib narrate with slight variation in wording, that when Ali was born, his mother Fatima Bint Asad named him after her father, Asad. Abu Talib did not agree with her and said: "O Fatima! Let us go to the Qubais hills, and invoke Allah (some reporters say that he said they should go to the Masjidu'l-Haram). He may tell us the name of this child." It was night when they reached the Abu Qubais hills (or the Masjidu'l-Haram) and began their invocations. Abu Talib prayed: "O Creator of this dark night and bright moon, let us know Your will regarding this child's name."

At that time a voice came from the sky. When Abu Talib raised his head, he saw a tablet like a green jewel, with four lines written on it. He took the tablet and clasped it to his chest. When he read it, he found these verses written on it: "I have conferred a special honor on you both by giving you a pure, distinguished son. He has been given the name 'Ali' from the side of Allah. It is derived from 'Ali' (The Exalted)."

Ganji Shafi'i writes in Kifayatu't-Talib that a voice came in reply to the verses of Abu Talib reciting these two couplets: "O people of the exalted Prophet's House! I have distinguished you with a pure child. Verily, he has been named 'Ali' from the side of Allah Almighty. This name is derived from Allah's own Name, Al-Ali."

Abu Talib was immensely pleased and fell down in prostration before Allah. As a token of thanksgiving for this great event, he sacrificed ten camels. He hung the tablet in the Masjidu'l-Haram. The Bani Hashim used to take pride in it before the Quraish. The tablet remained hanging there until it disappeared in the time of war between Abdullah Ibn Zubair and Hajjaj.

This report also supports the previously mentioned hadith which say that from the very beginning Abu Talib had been a believer. He implored Allah Almighty to name the child. When he saw Allah's merciful bounty, he fell down in prostration before Him. Is this the behavior of an unbeliever?



You have claimed that Shia jurists insist that the name of Ali is considered compulsory in the Adhan and Iqama (calls for prayer). In fact not a single Shia jurist has stated that the name of Ali is an integral part of the Adhan or the Iqama. In all the books of jurisprudence Shia jurists invariably say that bearing witness to the vicegerency of Amiru'l-Mu'minin is not part of the Adhan or Iqama. To say it in the Adhan and the Iqama with that intention is unlawful. If, at the time of beginning prayers, the intention is that the name of the Holy Imam is an integral part of the prayers, the performance becomes void. But of course after mentioning the name of the Holy Prophet, to mention the name of Ali without considering it essential to the purpose, but merely for the sake of grace and blessedness, is desirable. Allah has mentioned his name at every place after the name of the Holy Prophet as I have already said before.

Now we come to our main point: no one among the distinguished companions had as exalted lineage as Ali did.



As for Ali's piety, no one else compared to him. Both his friends and his foes agree that, after the Holy Prophet, no one was as pious as Ali was.

Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha and Muhammad Ibn Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, report from Umar Ibn Abdu'l-Aziz that the Holy Imam was superior in piety to all of mankind. He says: "We do not know anyone in the community after the Holy Prophet who was more devout and pious than Ali Bin Abu Talib."

Mullah Ali Qushachi, for all his extreme intolerance, writes that human beings are at a loss to comprehend the merits of Ali. In his Sharh-e-Tajrid he says: "Men are astounded when they hear of the practices of Ali's life."



Abdullah Bin Rafi'i says that at the end of a fast day, he went to Amiru'l-Mu'minin. He saw that a sealed bag was brought to him. When Ali opened it, it was found to contain unsifted flour. The Imam took three handfuls of flour, ate it, drank a little water, and offered thanks to Allah. Abdullah Bin Rafi'i said: "O Abu'l-Hasan! Why have you sealed the mouth of the bag?" The Imam replied: "It is so that my sons, who love me, may not mix olive oil or sugar with the flour, which would cause Ali's self to relish its taste."

So Ali used to keep himself aloof from delicious foods so that he might not be subdued by them. Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi has also cited this hadith in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, chapter 51, from Ahnaf Bin Qais.



Moreover, the Sheikh, in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, and Tabari in his Ta'rikh have reported from Suwaid Bin Ghafla that he said: "One day I had the honor of visiting Amiru'l-Mu'minin. I saw before him a cup of milk which was so sour that I could smell its foulness. The Imam had dry bread in his hand. It was so dry that it could hardly be broken. The Imam broke it by putting it under his knee and, after making it soft in the sour milk, ate it. He asked me to eat with him. I told him that I was fasting. The Imam said: 'I have heard from my friend, the Prophet of Allah, that if one is observing a fast and has an inclination for some food, but does not eat it for the sake of Allah, then Allah will give him heavenly foods.'"

Suwaid continued: "Seeing the condition of Ali, I was astounded. I asked the Imam's servant, Fizza, who was standing near me, why she did not fear Allah, that is, why had she cooked the barley bread without removing its husk. Fizza said on oath that Ali himself had ordered her not to remove its husk.

The Imam asked me what I was saying to Fizza. I told him that I had asked her why she did not sift the flour. Ali said: 'May my father and mother be sacrificed to the Holy Prophet! The Holy Prophet never removed the husk; he never satisfied his hunger with wheat bread for three consecutive days. I follow the practice of the Holy Prophet.'"



Muwaffaq Bin Ahmad Khawarizmi and Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i write in their Manaqib that one day during the time of Ali's caliphate, some halwa (a sweet dish) was brought to him. He picked up a little of it, smelled it, and said: "How appealing and sweet-smelling it is! But Ali does not know its taste. I have never yet eaten halwa." The narrator said to him: "O Ali! Is halwa unlawful for you?" The Imam said: "What Allah has made lawful can never be unlawful. But can I be content to fill my stomach while there are starving people in the country? Should I sleep with my stomach full when people throughout the Hijaz are dying of hunger? How can I content myself with my name being Amiru'l-Mu'minin? Why should I not be associating myself with the people in their penury and sufferings?"

Also Khawarizmi reports from Abi Bin Thabit that one day 'faluda' (a delicious syrup) was brought before Ali, but he suppressed his desire and did not drink it.

These are some examples of his practice regarding eating and drinking. He ate dry barley bread sometimes with vinegar or salt and sometimes with a little vegetable or milk. There were never two kinds of food on his table cloth.

In the year 40 A.H. on the night of the 19th Ramadhan, when Abdu'r-Rahman Ibn Muljim Muradi inflicted the fatal wound, he was a guest at the house of his daughter, Umme Kulthum, to end his fast. When bread, milk and salt were put on the table cloth, Ali who had great affection for his daughter, Umme Kulthum, angrily said: "I have never seen a girl being so unkind to her father." Umme Kulthum said: "Father! What wrong have I done?" Ali said: "Have you ever seen your father having two kinds of food together on the table cloth?" Then he ordered that the milk be removed. However he ate a few morsels of bread with salt and then said: "We shall have to give account for all the lawful things; for unlawful acts there is chastisement."



Ali's dress was very simple. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid in his Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha, Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad, Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, and others of your ulema have written that: "His dress was of coarse cloth, purchased for five dirhams." He patched his clothes. The patches were of hide or palm leaves. His shoes were also made of palm leaves. Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul, Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, and Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazali in Sharh-e-Nahju'l-Balagha have written that Ali had so many patches on his clothing that when during the time of his caliphate, his cousin, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, saw them and felt sad. Ali said: "I have so many patches on my clothes that now I feel shy of the patcher. What has Ali to do with worldly adornment? How should I be content with the pleasure which is to fade away and the blessing which is not to last?"

Another person objected to Ali's appearance saying: "Why do you patch clothes even during the days of your caliphate and supremacy? It makes the enemy look down upon you." Ali said: "This is the kind of dress which subdues our passions, removes the sense of pride in man, and is adopted by a believer."

Muhammad Bin Talha in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, Khawarizmi in his Manaqib, Ibn Athir in his Kamil, and Sulayman Balkhi in his Yanabiu'l-Mawadda have reported that Ali and his servant had identical clothing. He purchased two pieces of cloth of the same kind and price. One he wore himself and the other he gave to his servant, Qanbar.

These were Ali's customs regarding food and clothing. He himself ate dry barley bread and gave bread made of wheat, sugar, honey and dates to the beggars and orphans. He wore the patched clothes himself but gave fine clothes to orphans and widows.

Source: al-islam.org

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