“Among the faithful are men who fulfill what they have pledged to Allah. Of them are some who have fulfilled their pledge, and of them are some who still wait, and they have not changed in the least” (33:23). On the 21st night of the holy month of Ramadan, the followers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his successors experienced another great suffering after the prophet’s death. When the first Imam, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) was martyred after he received the fatal injury over his head on the 19th of Ramadan.
But what was the reason behind deep oppositions against this pious and god-fearing man and the true successor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)? Why would anyone intentionally decide to deprive him of his rights, spread lies against him, harm him, or take his life? Who was Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)?
He was the first male person who heard our dear Prophet’s recitation of the revealed words of Allah on the 27th of Rajab, known as Mab’ath Day, and accepted him as the Almighty’s true last and greatest messenger wholeheartedly when he was only ten years old.
When the Prophet (PBUH&HP) gathered the Quraish tribe to announce his message of monotheism publicly, it was the young Ali (AS) who openly testified to the Oneness of God and the mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), when all the others remained silent and did nothing but giving blank looks. This sowed the first seeds of evil sentiments in the hearts of polytheist Arabs against the Commander of the Faithful. They would hatch any plot against the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) including the bid to assassinate him in Mecca.
Again, there was no one but Ali (AS) who saved his leader’s life by sleeping on his bed that very night so that the ones who had surrounded them would think that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was lying in bed; as a result, the Prophet safely left Mecca. The Arab infidels also imposed several wars upon the Prophet at Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Hunayn, and Khaybar. Thanks to the flashing blade of Imam Ali (AS), the Zu’l-Feqar, all these plots were aborted as well.
Not only did Imam Ali (AS) excel on the battlefields, but he also displayed other merits, such as knowledge, prudence, wisdom, piety, courage, and generosity. It was Ali (AS) who gave his ring as alms (Zakat) while in genuflection during the ritual prayer, which brought divine approval for the Imam as the 55th verse of Maedah chapter bears testimony:
“Your guardian is only Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down.” (5:55)
The feelings of hostility towards the Most Virtuous Believer, Ali (AS), reached its climax among his enemies when on God’s express command Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) publicly proclaimed Imam Ali (AS) as his successor at the historic assembly of Ghadir Khum on 18th Dhu al-Hijjah 10 AH.
“Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.” (5:3)
But Imam Ali (AS) was deprived of his true right of political leadership for a quarter of a century. In 35 AH, when Ali (AS) took up the political rule at the desperate Muslims’ insistence, he only abode by the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s teachings (Sunnah). However, for his very insistence on spreading justice and observing the true rights of each individual, his enemies, the seditions, the pledge-breakers, and the Renegades (Khawarij) declared hostility and war against him, which later on became known as The Battle of Jamal.
The renegades, just as ISIS in our time, were appeared to be devoted to God to the extent that from their long and incessant prostrations their foreheads were covered with calluses, while they were ignorant of Islam’s truth and were unable to distinguish between right and wrong.
Finally, the Supreme emblem of Justice was struck on the head on the 19th of Ramadan, the first of the three grand nights of Qadr (Laylat al-Qadr) in prayer and worship, in the Grand Mosque of Kufa by the poisoned sword of the renegade, Ibn Muljam al-Moradi.
Despite the severity of the wound, the first phrase that came to the lips of the Commander of the Faithful was: “Fuzto wa Rabb-il-Kaaba.” It means by the Lord of the Kaaba I have succeeded.
So, the pledge made to God by Imam Ali (AS) decades ago was fulfilled in the early hours of the 21st of Ramadan as his soul flew towards the ethereal heavens. After he embraced martyrdom, the poor and homeless never again saw the man who in the middle of the night, bring food and water for them.
The orphans of Kufa could not find anyone who would kindly listen to and sympathize with their pain. When he left this earthly life behind, no ruler ever came to power who could surpass him in justice and in observing the rights of all the people, rich or poor, equally. No man ever set foot on earth who, like him, was endowed with the infinite and divine knowledge of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Prophet once said “I am the city of knowledge and Ali (AS) is the gate to this city. Anyone who is willing to enter this city must first pass the gate.” Such was the man whom we lost on the second night of Qadr.
Every day of our lives is filled with the moments in which we long for an anchor to whom we could rest our hopes. As Muslims, having hope in Allah is our way of dealing with such moments. Each one of us faces many issues, be it related to our financial status, problems at work, family, or any other social or personal challenge. Our friends and the ones around us might try to soothe us, giving us some hope and helping us not to give up and stand aside. Sometimes you might hear words like “Never lose your faith in God” or “Allah helps the ones who help themselves” or even “God knows that you have tried.” These words may help you at that moment and move your emotions from distress to hope. But is this a long-run solution? Are we supposed to have hope in Allah? Is that possible, with all the problems and the difficulties of modern life?
The American Heritage defines the word hope as to wish for a particular event to happen. It also gives an archaic definition as to have confidence; to Trust” . As the meaning suggests, it refers to having a positive outlook toward future events. Also, it presents trust and confidence in the one who makes everything come true with his will power.
The Holy Quran insists on the fact that the believers must never lose hope in the Mercy of Allah:
"Say [that Allah declares,] ‘O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah will forgive all sins. Indeed, He is the All-forgiving, the All-merciful." Quran (39:53)
It gives many examples of the state of the ones who were on the verge of giving up when Allah assisted them in some way. One of those examples is about Jacob, who was waiting for his dear son, Joseph, for many years. No one could even think that he might find his lost son again. When his sons went to Egypt to meet the king for the second time and saw what has befallen on their other brother Benjamin, Jacob advised them and said: “Go, my sons, and look for Joseph and his brother, and do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Indeed no one despairs of Allah’s mercy except the faithless lot.” Quran (12:87)
He has all the power and strength to do whatever He wishes to do, that’s for sure. He has invited and asked the believers to have faith in His Power, assistance, mercy, forgiveness, satisfaction, bounty, etc. All that he is trying to convey is that we must be hopeful because we have Allah on our side. The Quran gives us another example, the very first Muslims who emigrated to Medina with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), hoping for Allah to help them. Almighty Allah says that the money donated to Islam belongs to the poor, the needy, and the emigrants who left their houses to support their own prophet:
“The spoils that Allah gave to His Apostle from the people of the townships are for Allah and the Apostle, the relatives, and the orphans, the needy and the traveler so that they do not circulate among the rich among you. Take whatever the Apostle gives you, and refrain from whatever he forbids you, and be wary of Allah. Indeed, Allah is severe in retribution. [They are also] for the poor Emigrants who have been expelled from their homes and [wrested of] their possessions, who seek grace from Allah and [His] pleasure and help Allah and His Apostle. It is they who are truthful.” Quran (59:7-8)
Furthermore, He insists on the fact that he forgives the sins of those who repent, calling himself Forgiving 91 times in the Quran . His Forgiveness and Mercy are higher than any other creature, great enough to be on our side whenever we call Him wholeheartedly.
To conclude, one must remember the fact that no human and non-human power, wish, desire, etc. is higher than that of Allah. He asks all his creatures to believe in Him and rely on his willpower. So why should we doubt? Having hope in Allah can turn us into optimistic individuals who are proven to be more productive in their daily life, physically and mentally healthier, and more flexible in hard times and situations .
- American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
- Subhani, Jafar The Eternal Prism , Pp 307-308 at
- Conversano, C., Rotondo, A., Lensi, E., Della Vista, O., Arpone, F., & Reda, M. A. (2010). Optimism and its impact on mental and physical well-being. Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health: CP & EMH, 6, 25–29.
Love and kindness are two of the main components of Islam. To the extent that Allah regards Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) as kind and benevolent towards people of all nations in the Holy Quran: “We did not send you but as a mercy to all the nations (21:107).” And says that if he had not been gentle to people, they would have surely scattered from around him. (3:159)
Imam Hussain (AS), following in his grandfather’s footsteps, also placed particular emphasis on this prophetic trait and ethic. He was not only gentle and affectionate towards his children, family, and relatives, but also showed great care, compassion, and respect towards others, even his enemies. The whole Fifty-seven years of Imam Hussain (AS)’s life are replete with such exemplary behavior. He did not give up this attitude towards others even in the hardest situations, like when he was at war with his enemies in the desert of Karbala.
Here we will see only a few examples of Imam Hussain’s (AS) love and affection towards others in the last days of his life:
Imam Hussain (AS)'s Attention to Children:
During the battle, in Karbala, Imam Hussain (AS) would sympathize with his family and children and treated them with love and care whenever possible.
At the night before Ashura, Imam Hussain (AS) refers to his relatives and companions as the best ones ever: “It is a fact that I am not aware of any companions more faithful and honest than my companions and any relatives more righteous and kind than my relatives.” Imam Hussain (AS) then permits all his companions to leave him without any restrictions to save their lives, but they don’t accept. On several occasions, such as the morning of Ashura, he addresses them with the most respectful titles like “the nobles.” Also, it is narrated that during the battle, Imam (AS) would be present near his martyred companions himself, and wept and prayed for them one by one, even for the African slave, Jawn.
Imam Hussain (AS) never used foul language or even one wrong word against his enemy. He would not hesitate to take advantage of any opportunity to stop the violence and invite his enemies to peace. For instance, when Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions came across Hur, and his army, who were supposed to intercept Imam Hussain (AS) outside Kufa, Imam Hussain (AS) quenched their thirst. He, along with his companions, also even gave water to their horses.
Another example of Imam Hussain’s compassion for the enemy is his encounter with Umar ibn Sa’ad and the other commanders of the enemy’s army on the day of Ashura, and his effort to persuade them to stop the war. In fact, Imam (AS) did not want them to commit an unforgivable sin- i.e., killing the innocent Imam (AS) and his companions- that would make them end up in hell.
So, it was only Imam Hussain's (AS) love and mercy towards humankind that touched every one’s heart, even his enemy to the extent that some of whom, like Hur, would surrender to righteousness, accompany Imam Hussain (AS), perform their prayer in congregation behind him, fight against his enemy and finally be martyred along with him.
This is Imam Hussain’s (AS) lesson of tolerance and benevolence towards all human beings, which is beyond any religion or sect; that if one does not want to follow a particular religion, he/she can at least live a human life .