The Infallible Successors of the Greatest Prophet (S.A.W.)
Amir al-Mu'minin Hadrat 'Ali (AS) is the first perfect example of the education and training of the Holy Prophet (SA).
'Ali (AS) was educated by the Holy Prophet (SA) from the period of his infancy. 'Ali (AS) was always with the Holy Prophet (SA) like a shadow until the last moment of the Prophet's life. Like a butterfly which sacrifices its life for the candle, 'Ali (AS) also was with the Holy Prophet (SA). 'Ali (AS) parted with the Holy Prophet (SA) when he took the sacred body of the Prophet (SA) in his arms and buried him.
'Ali (AS) was endowed with a worldwide personality. One may dare say that the discussions and deliberations about this important personality have not been made to such an extent about any other important personality of the world. Shi'ah, Sunni, Muslim, and non-Muslim scholars and writers have written more than one thousand books regarding his personality.
With all the innumerable discussions and inquisitiveness made by friends and foes about 'Ali (AS), no one has been able to find any weaknesses in his faith. Nor has any one been able to find any weak point in his bravery, piety, knowledge, justice, and other praiseworthy ethics, because he recognized and possessed nothing but virtue and perfection.
According to history, from among all rulers who have come to power since the demise of the Holy Prophet (SA) until the present time, 'Ali (AS) is the only person who fully complied with the sirah of the Holy Prophet (SA) and who never deviated from the policies of the Prophet (SA) in the period of his rule over the Islamic society. 'Ali (AS) implemented the laws and religious precepts of Islam without any misinterpretation or distortion just as they were executed in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (SA).
In the case of "the 6-member council" for the selection of the khalifah (caliph) which had a meeting according to the order of the second khalifah after lengthy discussions the uncertainty regarding khilafah emerged between 'Ali (AS) and 'Uthman. The "council" conditionally offered the position of khilafah to 'Ali (AS) provided that he would deal with the people in the same manner as the first and second khalifahs did. Imam 'Ali (AS) rejected the offer and said: "I will not transgress the limits of my knowledge." Then the "council" offered the khilafah with the same condition to 'Uthman. He accepted the offer and became the khalifah, although he adopted a different sirah afterwards.
No one from among the Companions of the Holy Prophet (SA) could be a match to 'Ali (AS) insofar as self-sacrifices, self-devotion, self-dedication, etc for the cause of the truth were concerned. It cannot be denied that in the absence of this devoted harbinger of Islam, unbelievers and polytheists would have easily extinguished the light of the Nubuwwah in the night of Hijrah and afterwards in any one of the battles of Badr, 'Uhud, Khandaq, Khaybar, and Hunayn and would have resulted in the fall of the banner of the truth.
Upon first entrance into the social environment, 'Ali (AS) had a very simple life. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (SA), after the Prophet's demise, and even during his own glorious khilafah period, he lived like the poor and in the most humble condition. He had no superiority over the needy insofar as food, clothing, and housing were concerned and used to: "The ruler of a society should live in such a way so as to be the source of consolation for the needy and the distressed and not the cause of their regret and disappointment." Although the ruler of the entire Islamic State, he had only seven hundred dirhams on the day of his martyrdom with which he wanted to hire a servant for his house.
'Ali (AS) used to work to meet the needs of life. Particularly he was interested in agriculture and spent his time in planting trees and digging water canals. Whatever he earned in this manner or through the war-booty, he distributed among the needy. He endowed the properties which he had cultivated for the needy or distributed among them the money received as sale proceeds of such properties. Once, during the period of his own khilafah, 'Ali (AS) ordered to those concerned to bring the revenues of his endowments to him and then spend them. When these revenues were collected, the amount reached 24 000 gold dinars.
'Ali (AS) always defeated his rivals in all the battles in which he took part. He never refrained from combatting an enemy. 'Ali (AS) said: "If the entire Arabia rises up in opposition and combat against me, I will not lose my courage and I will not fear anything."
With such bravery and valour, for which the history of the brave men of the world has not found any equal, 'Ali (AS) was extremely compassionate, kind, generous, and magnanimous. In the battles, he never killed women, children, and the weak. 'Ali (AS) did not take anyone as a captive and did not pursue those who ran away. In the Battle of Siffin, the army of Mu'awiyah took a lead, occupied the canal of Euphrates , and banned the water on 'Ali (AS). Later, after a bloody battle, 'Ali (AS) occupied the water canal. Then he issued orders allowing the enemy to take water.
In the period of his khilafah, 'Ali (AS) welcomed everyone without having chamberlains and doorkeepers, walked on foot. all alone, and walked in the alleys and the bazaars. He ordered the people to fear Allah and guard against evil and protected them against injustice of one another. 'Ali (AS) helped the poverty-stricken people and widows kindly and humbly and kept the shelterless orphans in his own house, personally providing their requirements and educating them.
'Ali (AS) had a special regard for knowledge and learning and gave particular attention towards promotion of knowledge and education and used to say: "There is no suffering like ignorance." While 'Ali (AS) was arraying his troops in the bloody Battle of Jamal, an Arab went forward and asked him the meaning of Tawhid. The people rushed toward the Arab from every direction and confronted him by saying that such a moment is not an appropriate time for asking such questions and for discussion. 'Ali (AS) asked them to disperse away from the Arab and said: "We are fighting the people in order to revive such truths." Then, while arraying the troops, 'Ali (AS) called forth the Arab and clarified the matter for him with an eloquent statement.
Another similar case symbolizing the religious discipline and amazing divine power of 'Ali (AS) has been narrated in the course of the Battle of Siffin. While the two armies, like two roaring seas, were intermingling and fighting and much blood was gushing out from every direction, 'Ali (AS) came to one of his soldiers and demanded a glass of water for drinking. The soldier filled a wooden bowl with water and offered it to 'All (AS). 'Ali (AS) noticed a crack in the bowl and said: "Drinking water in such a bowl is makruh (undesirable -though not unlawful but refraining from it is preferable in Islam)". The soldier said: "This is not a time to be so meticulous about these things in such a situation when we are under the shower of arrows and the flashes of thousands of swords". In short, the answer he got from 'Ali (AS) was: "We are fighting for the enforcement of such Islamic precepts and insofar as the rules are concerned there is nothing large or small".
After the Holy Prophet (SA), 'Ali (AS) was the first person who talked about scientific realities by the philosophical mode of thinking, that is, he talked with independent logic. He also coined many scientific terms. In order to safeguard the Holy Qur'an from error and mutilations, 'Ali (AS) formulated and arranged the rules of Arabic grammar.
Scientific intricacies, divine knowledge, ethical, social, and political matters, and even mathematics that are made available to us by means of the lectures, letters, and other eloquent remarks of 'Ali (AS) are amazing.
Lectures, letters, aphorisms, and the short remarks available as a memorial of 'Ali (AS) all testify that from among Muslims, 'Ali (AS) is most familiar with the sublime aims of the Qur'an and has duly perceived the principal and practical education of Islam. He has proved the authenticity of the hadith of the Holy Prophet (SA): "I am the city of knowledge and 'Ali is the gate of the city". 'Ali (AS) has combined this knowledge with practice.
In short, the prominent personality of 'Ali (AS) is beyond description and his infinite virtues are countless. History has never witnessed a personality attracting as much the attention and the views of the scholars and philosophers of the world as he has.
AL-SIDDIQAH AL-KUBRA FATIMAH (AS)
Al-Siddiqah al-Kubra (the most strictly veracious) Fatimah (AS) was the only beloved and honourable daughter of the Holy Prophet (SA) who, as a result of her wisdom, faith, righteousness, decent attributes, and praiseworthy ethics, had filled the pure heart of her respectable father with her affections.
As a result of her wisdom, piety, and worship, Fatimah (AS) obtained the title of "Sayyidat Nisa' al-'Alamin" (the head of all the women of the worlds) from her great father. The Holy Prophet (SA) stated: "The happiness of Fatimah is my happiness and my happiness is the happiness of Allah. The anger of Fatimah is my anger and my anger is the anger of Allah."
The Lady of Islam Khadijah al-Kubra, gave birth to Hadrat Fatimah (AS) in the 6th year after Al-Bi'that al-Nabawiyyah. Fatimah (AS) married Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (AS) in the 2nd year after the Hijrah. Fatimah (AS) passed away three months and odd days after the demise of her great father.
In her life, she always preferred the pleasure of Allah over her own happiness. In her family circle, she trained and educated her children. She divided the household chores between herself and her housemaid. One day, she engaged in the household chores herself and the other day, the housemaid was supposed to perform them. Fatimah (AS) resolved the problems of Muslim ladies and worshipped Allah during her leisure time. She spent her personal property, specially the overflowing income of Fadak (a few villages nearby Khaybar), for the cause of Allah and kept no more than what was necessary for herself. Sometimes, she gave her daily food to the needy and the poor, spending her day with hunger. The elaborate speech delivered by Fatimah (AS) in the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (SA) to the Companions and groups of Muslims, the arguments she raised with the "first khalifah" on the subject of the attachment of Fadak, and her other remarks which have remained as her memorial, are all obvious proofs for the magnanimity of her status, her courageous and brave spirit, and her perseverance.
Hadrat Fatimah (AS) is the respectable daughter of the Holy Prophet (SA), the wife of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (AS), and the mother of the eleven Imams and leaders of Islam. The offspring of the Holy Prophet (SA) are all from her generation.
According to the explicit text of the Holy Qur'an, Fatimah (AS) is endowed with the status of the 'Ismah.
AL-'IMAM AL-HASAN (AS) AND AL-'IMAM AL-HUSAYN (AS)
These two honourable Imams (AS) are brothers and the sons of 'Ali (AS) and Fatimah (AS). According to the ahadith the Holy Prophet (SA) had deep affections towards these honourable grandsons whom he called his own sons. The Holy Prophet (SA) was not able to endure their slightest pain and dissatisfaction and used to state: "These two sons of mine are Imams and leaders, be they rising or sitting". The terms 'rising' and 'sitting' are used ironically and signify taking charge of superficial khilafah and rising to fight with the enemies of Islam and non-acceptance of superficial khilafah and rising against it. He added. "Hasan and Husayn are the two leaders of the youth of the Heaven."
On the basis of his honourable father's will, al-Imam al-Hasan (AS) was chosen for khilafah. The people also promised their allegiance to him. He ruled as a khalifah in Islamic countries, excluding Syria and Egypt , which were under the reign of Mu'awiyah, and conducted the affairs just as his great father did.
In the period of his ruling, al-'Imam al-Hasan (AS) mobilized an army to put an end to the trouble of Mu'awiyah, but he finally discovered that the hearts of the people were lured by Mu'awiyah and that the leaders of his own army had correspondence with Mu'awiyah and were waiting for him to issue an order to kill or arrest the Imam (AS) and surrender him to the enemy. For this reason, the Imam (AS) had to agree to the peace offer.
Al-'Imam al-Hasan (AS) entered into peace negotiations with Mu'awiyah under specific terms, but Mu'awiyah did not keep up his promise and, after the conclusion of the peace agreement, he went to Iraq and ascended a pulpit in the presence of the Muslims and said: "I was not fighting with you for the cause of religion, so that you would recite salat or observe sawm; rather I wanted to rule over you and now I have achieved my goal" Mu'awiyah added: "I disregard all the promises that I have made to al-Hasan."
After the peace treaty, for nine and a half years, al-Imam al-Hasan (AS) lived under the domination of Mu'awiyah in a gloomy atmosphere and under the most bitter and unpleasant conditions. The Imam (AS) had no life security even in his own house. Finally, at the instigation of Mu'awiyah, the Imam (AS) was poisoned by his wife (Ja'dah) and became martyred.
After the martyrdom of al-'Imam al-Hasan (AS), his honourable brother, al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS), succeeded him by the order of Allah and according to the will of his brother al-Imam al-Hasan (AS) He began to guide and lead the people, but the conditions and circumstances were similar to those existed at the time of al-Imam al-Hasan (AS). With his full control over the situation, Mu'awiyah had seized all the work potentialities available to al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS).
Mu'awiyah died after about nine and a half years and the position of khilafah, which had turned into monarchy, was transferred to his son, Yazid.
Unlike his father, Yazid was a young man intoxicated with conceit and displayed interest in revelry, obscene acts, and lack of discipline. As soon as this proud young man took the rein of the affairs of the Muslims he ordered the governor of Madinah to ask al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS) to promise his allegiance to Yazid or else send. the Imam's head to him. When the governor proposed the subject of allegiance to al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS), the Imam (AS) asked for some time and left Madinah overnight for Makkah along with his companions. He sought refuge in the sanctuary of Allah which is an official haven in Islam. But after residing in Makkah for a few months, he realized that Yazid would by no means leave him alone and that he would definitely be killed if he did not promise his allegiance to Yazid.
On the other hand, during this period, the Imam (AS) had received several thousand letters from Iraq promising their cooperation and assistance and inviting him to rise against the oppressors of Banu Umayyah.
By observing the prevailing general conditions and circumstances and the symptoms al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS) realized that his movement would not have an outward progress. Nevertheless, having denied his allegiance, he decided to offer his sacrifice and get killed with a decision of his uprising, al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS) left Makkah for Kufah with his companions in the course of his travel, he encountered the massive troops of the enemy in Karbala (nearly 70 km away from Kufah).
While travelling, the Imam (AS) invited the people to assist him and informed his companions of his decision to be killed giving them the option to stay with him or to leave him. Therefore, from the day they encountered the troops of the enemy, no one had remained with the Imam (AS) other than only a few people who were devoted to him and who were willing to give their lives for the cause . As a result, they were easily surrounded by the large number of enemy soldiers. They were even prevented from having water. In such a situation, al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS) was compelled to choose between offering his allegiance to Yazid and his martyrdom.
Al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS) did not resign himself to his allegiance to Yazid and became prepared to be killed. A day came when he fought the enemy from morning to evening along with his companions. In this battle, he himself, his children, his brothers, his nephews, his cousins, and his companions, who were totally about 70 people, were martyred. Only his honourable son, Al-'Imam 'Ali al-Sajjad (AS), who was unable to fight due to serious illness, survived.
After the martyrdom of al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS), the enemy troops plundered his properties, took his family as prisoners, and took them from Karbala to Kufah and from Kufah to Damascus along with the decapitated heads of the Martyrs.
In the process of this captivity, al-'Imam 'Ali al-Sajjad (AS) in his sermon delivered at Damascus and also Zaynab al-Kubra, in her addresses delivered in public gatherings in Kufah, in the court of Ibn Ziyad, the Governor of Kufah, and in the court of Yazid in Damascus, unveiled the truth and revealed the oppression and cruelty of Umayyads to the people of the world.
In any case, this movement of al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS) against the oppression, tyranny and indiscipline - which ended with the bloodshed of al-'Imam al-Husayn (AS), his children, his relatives and his companions together with looting of his property and imprisonment of his women and children - is a special event with its important characteristics and details, which has no parallel in the pages of history of world movements. It can definitely be said that this event serves as the basis for the survival of Islam. Had this event not taken place, Umayyads would have totally wiped off Islam.