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Examples of Imam Ali’s (A.S) Moral Virtues

An Extraordinary Example of Altruism

part 2


In the battle field, Ali hugged al-Zubayr, saying, “Why have you rebelled against me?”‌ Al-Zubayr said, “I have come to take the revenge of `Uthman!”‌ Ali said, “May God kill either of us who has had a hand in the killing of `Uthman.”‌ Then he spoke softly to him reminding him of Allah’s Messenger, who had said, “You will fight Ali and you will be the wrong party.”‌ Al-Zubayr said, “I seek Allah’s forgiveness. If I had not forgotten this word, I would not have rebelled.”‌ The Imam said, “Zubayr! Now, go back.”‌ Al-Zubayr said, “How can I go back? My going back would be considered as fear, a disgrace which cannot be washed away.”‌ The Imam said, “Go back before disgrace is accompanied with Hellfire.”‌ Al-Zubayr went back and as soon as he intended to go out of the Army of the Camel, his son `Abdullah cried out, “Where are you going?”‌ Al-Zubayr said, “My Son! Ali reminded me of something I had forgotten.”‌ The son said, “This is no the case, you are afraid of the swords of the Hashimites!”‌ The father said, “No, I remembered what the time had made me forget. Are you blaming me for fear?”‌ He took the spear and attacked the right wing of Ali’s army. Addressing his soldiers, Ali said, “Let no one fight him. Open the way for him. They have provoked him!”‌ Al-Zubayr so attacked both sides of the army. No one fought him or resisted against him. Returning to his army he said to his son, “Does a timid man act like that?”‌ Then he took his way and left.

Ali’s kindness towards the enemy made a hero of him in the battlefield. Did the Army of the Camel realize that what the Holy Prophet had foreseen was not particular to al-Zubayr alone but everyone who fought Ali would be a wrongdoer?

Again Ali came to the battlefield and called Talhah saying, “Why did you rebel against me?”‌ Talhah claimed that he wanted to take the revenge of `Uthman. Ali said, “May Allah kill either of us who has had a hand in killing `Uthman. Haven’t you heard the words of the Holy Prophet saying: (O God) Befriend one who befriends Ali and bear enmity to one who bears enmity to Ali. Were you not the first man who swore allegiance with me and breached your allegiance? Allah says:


فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ

Whoever breaks his faith, he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul (48:10)”‌


Expressing his regret, Talhah said, “I seek Allah’s forgiveness.”‌ He went back. Sensing that Talhah intends to leave the battlefield, Marwan ibn Hakam threw an arrow towards him. Talhah died immediately without having a chance to inform the people of Basrah of their treacherous and unjust act which he and al-Zubayr had planned.

Addressing his army, Ali said, “When you defeat the Army of the Camel, do not kill the wounded and the captives, nor follow the deserters, nor expose people’s private parts, nor cut anyone’s ears or noses, nor loot anyone’s property except what they leave in the battlefield.”‌

The enemy’s defeat was certain. Yet, no order of attack was issued. The Army of the Camel attacked the right wing of Ali’s army, pushing them back. It was at this moment that the order of attack was issued and the Army of the Camel suffered a disgraceful defeat, this is Ali’s kindness towards the enemy and his mercy on people in the battlefield. Does history remember a ruler to have behaved like this towards the rebels?



Author: Allama Hussein Ansariyan

Translator: Dr. Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani

P. 168-189

Other Links:

Examples of Imam Ali’s (A.S) Moral Virtues: part 1

Examples of Imam Ali’s (A.S) Moral Virtues: part 2
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