Knowledge and Wisdom of Amir al-Mu’minin Ali (A.S.)
Imam Reza Network
Imam Reza Network
Ali (a.s) was having a naturally purified nature. That is why he was blessed by the Creator of the universe with supreme knowledge and wisdom. In addition to that he was bestowed by the training of the Holy Prophet (S) from the day he was born. In fact we should consider Ali (a.s) a miracle of the Holy Prophet (S) with regard to knowledge, superiority, morals and good qualities.
That in whichever field one looks; Ali (a.s) is found to excel in it. None of the Prophet's companions got this superiority. It was due to the fact that the majority of them entered the company of Prophet after spending a better part of their life while Ali was with the Prophet every moment. They only got a chance now and then. On the other hand Ali (a.s) used to remain with the Prophet whether he was alone or in company. This was so because the Prophet had said that he was the city of knowledge and Ali, its gate and also said that one who desires knowledge should enter from that gate. Salman Farsi relates that the Holy Prophet (S) said, "In my community Ali (a.s) is the most knowledgeable after me."
A saying of Ibne Abbas is recorded in the book of Istiab according to which Ali is given nine out of ten parts of knowledge and others are made to share the remaining tenth portion. At another place it is mentioned that total knowledge was divided into five parts, four of which were given to Ali and the fifth was shared by all the people and this part also is shared by Ali (a.s) and in this Ali is having the larger portion.
Ibne Abbas reportedly said that his knowledge was obtained from the knowledge of Ali (a.s) and the knowledge of Ali (a.s) was derived from the knowledge of the Prophet and the knowledge of the Prophet was derived from the knowledge of Allah. Ibne Abbas adds that his knowledge and that of all the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) together is like a drop in relation to the seven seas.
Dailami has related from Ibne Masood in Firdausul Akhbar that the Holy Prophet (S) said, "Wisdom is divided into ten parts, out of which nine are given to Ali (a.s) and the tenth is given to other people. Imam Razi has written in Arbaeen that Ali (a.s) said, "The Messenger of Allah (S) taught me a thousand chapters (doors) of knowledge and each door opened upon me a million doors."
Ahmad Ibne Hanbal quotes Musayyab that from the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) there was none who could challenge: Ask me whatever you want. None of the companions was having the knowledge of Quran like Ali (a.s). Tibrani has quoted Umme Salma in Awsat that the Holy Prophet (S) said, "Ali is with the Quran and the Quran is with Ali. And the two shall not separate till they come to me at the Pool of Kauthar." Ahmad Ibne Hanbal has related from Umar that the Holy Prophet (S) used to say to Ali (a.s), "You have the most knowledge of Quranic verses among them."
Ali (a.s) was a great scholar of Taurat, Injeel and Zabur. Imam Fakhruddin Razi has quoted the following saying of Ali (a.s) in his book, Arbaeen: If I am given rulership I will judge the people of Taurat by Taurat, the people of Injeel by Injeel, the people of Zabur by Zabur and the people of Quran by Quran so perfectly that each book would say: Ali has commanded regarding us, the same as is the command of Allah." In the science of Quranic exegesis also none could equal Ali (a.s).
Allamah Ibne Abde Barr has quoted Abdullah Ibne Abbas in his book, Al-Istiab that when we were proved something regarding the exegesis of Quran from Ali (a.s) there remained no need for us to ask anyone else. With regard to the knowledge of Quran also the status of Ali (a.s) is the highest. Most of the biographers are unanimous that Ali (a.s) had memorized the whole of Quran and recited it to the Holy Prophet (S) in his lifetime.
Ali was most knowledgeable in the science of traditions also, due to the fact that he had the most opportunity of the Prophet's company. Thus it is mentioned in Sawaiqul Mohreqa that when he was asked why he was the one to relate the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) the most, he replied, "When I asked something from the Holy Prophet (S) he informed me of it and when I was silent he used to inform me himself." In the same way Ali was most proficient of all in Islamic jurisprudence, legal code, scholastic theology, mysticism, astronomy, literature and eloquence, poetry, wit, science of the book, interpretation of dreams, knowledge of the 'Jafr' and 'Jame' (scrolls of knowledge) and mathematics etc. There are traditions with regard to all of the above in the book of Arjahul Matalib.
Please note, who can be wiser than the one who has proficiency in all the sciences? And how there be any error in his judgment or views. Error is possible when one is having deficient knowledge about a particular thing. There are many well-known thinkers and philosophers who presented theories regarding sciences and arts, against which people have raised thousands of objections. Why is it that theories are modified or disproved everyday? The main reason is that they do not have the correct knowledge of the facts of the universe. They prop up theories based on conjecture and create a farce. On the other hand consider one who has authentic knowledge of the truths of divine recognition, who has received training from the Holy Prophet (S)? Can he ever commit a mistake in deriving conclusions? Also, his thoughts and judgments cannot move away from the correct center.
The fact is that the world has taken few benefits and guidance. After the Holy Prophet (S) there was such a powerful flood of materialism in the Islamic world that it completely turned away from religious instruction. And they dissociated from those who could have bestowed this treasure to them. In such circumstances, how could Ali have spread his sciences while for the ruling powers the aim of Islamic life was something else?
It is only to the credit of this divine thinker that even in such sorrowful period whenever he got an opportunity he provided guidance. His tenure of worldly rule was such that the enemies did not allow him to rule peacefully a single day. Even then he did not forget his duty in such severe times. The sermons he delivered everyday after the noon prayers were limitless treasures of sciences and arts.
He was always concerned for correcting the beliefs of the people and acting correctly on the religious commandments. He wanted to remove the defects in the knowledge and deeds of the people that had come into being during the tenure of the previous caliphs. It was a pity however that people were not ready to follow in the footsteps of Ali (a.s).
The wise sayings, wise thoughts and knowledgeable discussions of Ali (a.s) are still available. Which thinker has the audacity to refute them? No thinker, philosopher or reformer can dare to refute the views of Ali with regard to divine sciences, jurisprudence, secrets of nature and politics and administration, and replace them with his or her own theories.
The principles of governance keep changing everyday, but the system of Ali's rulership is such that there is no scope of changes and alteration as it is something that can never change. When the world realizes the truth and ponders upon them, it would certainly try to accept him.
In any case our aim for the above discussion was to prove that Ali is the wisest one in Islam and he was having perfect wisdom, which is the foremost among the four greatest moral qualities.
In this field the step of Ali is neither found towards extremism nor towards conservatism, it is on that middle or the medium line, which is known as the straight path. If he had moved away from this line even a little bit, Ali would not have been what he actually was. When people saw the cunning and intrigue of Muawiyah they mentioned it to Ali (a.s) and he said, "Muawiyah is not more cunning than I am but these things do not befit me." Cunning is included among the low qualities and cannot be considered a virtue.
After this brief explanation we would now invite the attention of our esteemed readers to the intellectual accomplishments of our other Imams (Peace be upon them all).
Worship Of Imam Ali (a.s)
When the time for prayers arrived he used to pale. Once, someone inquired about this. He said, "It is the time for fulfillment of that duty, the burden of which was refused by the heavens, the earth and the mountains. But despite my feeble physique I agreed to carry the burden." The Imam used to say, "I do not know anyone in this community who has prayed with the Messenger of Allah (S) before me. I have prayed nine years before others did."
It is mentioned in Sharh Nahjul Balagha that during the battle of Siffin, Ali (a.s) used to spread his prayer mat between two rows of fighters and perform the prayers even as arrows rained from all sides and the battle continued to rage. He had not a slight fear of those arrows. Even after the completion of prayers he did not leave his place before reciting additional supplications and devotions. Allamah Ibne Abil Hadid writes that Ali (a.s) was so habitual of recommended prayers (Nafila) and performed such lengthy prostrations that his forehead began to resemble the knee of the camel. He used to be so much engrossed in Prayers that he became absolutely oblivious of everything else. So much so that he was not even aware of his body. It is mentioned that once an arrow pierced his foot but it was very painful to him if someone tried to remove it. So they were advised to wait till Ali (a.s) was engrossed in prayers. Thus when Ali (a.s) was praying, the people removed the arrow and Ali (a.s) was hardly aware of it.
The way of their fasting was such that when Imam Hasan and Imam Husain were indisposed, all made a vow to keep three fasts. When it was time to fulfill the vow they all fasted for three days. But everyday at the time of breaking the fast a beggar approached their door and each of them gave him their shares and broke their fast with only water. Again the next day they fasted without eating anything else. Thus they fasted for three days continuously. The Almighty accepted their fasts and Surah Dahr was revealed in their praise.
Imam Ali (a.s) fasted most of the days and was busy in prayers all night long. So much so, that the neighbors report hearing one thousand Takbiratul Ehram (Allaho Akbar) in one night.
Many times his condition became so serious that people used to think that his soul has departed from him.
Valour Of Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s)
If a detailed account were complied regarding the valour of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) it would make up a considerably thick volume. It is the unanimous opinion of all the Muslim historians that a brave and valiant warrior like Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) has not been born into this world to this date. On the day of the battle of Uhad a call emanated between the earth and the sky: "There is no brave youth except Ali and there is no sword except Zulfiqar."
In the battle of Khyber the Prophet (S) gave him the title of "The victor who does not flee" and the Holy Quran said: Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall. (Surah Saff 61:4)
This proves that Ali (a.s) was a champion beyond comparison. Not once, but hundreds of times, the bravery of Ali (a.s) became apparent to all the people. And every time he remained unprecedented. It is narrated from Musab Ibne Umair in Mustatraf that Ali (a.s) used to be very careful and knew well all the techniques of offence and defense. It was not possible for anyone to get a hit at him. He wore the coat of mail only on his chest and it did not cover his back. Someone said: Do you not fear that someone may attack you from behind? He replied, "May Allah not keep me alive if I allow the enemy to approach me from behind." It is mentioned in Khazinatul Adab that when Adi bin Hatim had the honor of meeting the Messenger of Allah (S), during the conversation he remarked, "The greatest poet, the greatest philanthropist, and the greatest warrior was from our community." The Prophet (S) asked him who they were. He replied, "The greatest poet was Imrul Qays bin Hujr, the greatest philanthropist was Hatim bin Sa'ad (that is my father) and the greatest warrior was Amr bin Maad Yakrab." The Messenger of Allah (S) said, "It is not this way; the greatest poet was Khunsa binte Amr, the greatest philanthropist is Muhammad the Messenger of Allah and the greatest warrior is Ali Ibne Abi Talib."
Qutaybah has written in Ma'rif that when the confrontation of Siffin intensified, Ali (a.s) challenged Muawiyah to a duel and said: Let the two of us fight it out among us, so that after the slaying of one the Muslims would be safe. Amr Ibne Aas said: Fair enough! Muawiyah said, "You are asking me to fight Abul Hasan? While you know that he is such a warrior that none can escape him? This shows that you desire the rulership of Syria after me."
It is narrated from Ibne Abbas in Riazun Nazarah that a person asked him, "Was Ali (a.s) himself participating in fighting in the battle of Siffin?" Ibne Abbas said in reply, "I have not seen anyone like him, ever ready to put his life into perils. I used to see him come out fighting bare head (without a helmet), holding the turban in one had and sword in the other. He was so confident of himself that he did not even fear that the enemy may attack his head."
It is mentioned in Hayatul Haiwan that such powerful was the strike of Ali's sword that it used to cut everything in half in a single shot. If his sword fell on the head it cut the full body into half and if it fell sideways, it similarly divided the body into half.
From the instructions Ali (a.s) issued to his son Muhammad Ibne Hanafiah during the battle of Jamal, we come to know the level of his courage and his method of fighting. He said, "A mountain may move from its place but our feet must not. Fight with your teeth clenched and do not worry if you have to sacrifice your life on the way of Allah. Keep your eye on the last row of the opponent army. Keep your feet fixed on the ground like a tent-peg."
No precedent can be found of the bravery Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) exhibited on the night of Migration (Hijrat). Surrounded by the bloodthirsty enemies it was only Ali (a.s) who could sleep with utmost tranquility on the bed of the Holy Prophet (S). After migration to Medina, the series of battles started. Ali (a.s) was the standard bearer in all these campaigns and in all of them the credit for victory went to him alone. If we go into the details of each and every battle the present work may be so prolonged as to fail in the aim for which it is written.
However, there is a very significant point in all these battles. Wherever and whenever Ali (a.s) exhibited his unsurpassed bravery it was invariably with the aim of achieving victory for Islam. Not once did he attack or slay anyone due to personal grudge or selfish motives. Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) lifted his sword only against the infidels who attacked the Muslims or the Muslims who created mischief and corruption and oppressed innocent people. He never slew any innocent person. Neither did he ever harm women or children, burn inhabitations or destroy them.
As long as he felt that the well being of Islam was in fighting he fought in an exemplary way. When he saw that the well being of Islam or Muslims was not in violent combat he sheathed his sword and acted with patience.
This is how a true warrior should be. In Islamic terminology this is the definition of a brave one. It is this type of valour that is one of the meritorious moral virtues.
Piety Of Amir’ul-Mu’minin (a.s)
Imam Fakhruddin Razi has written in Arbaeen that in the lifetime of the Prophet (S) a group of companions was famous for its austerity; like Abu Zar Ghiffari, Salman Farsi and Abu Darda etc. All these great personalities followed the example of Ali (a.s) in simplicity and austerity.
It is narrated from Qabida in Majmaul Ahbab fil Manaqib al Ashab that: We have not seen anyone among the people more pious than Ali (a.s).
Ibne Athir has narrated from Hasan bin Salih in Tarikh Kamil that once in the presence of Umar Ibne Abdul Aziz the conversation steered towards piety. He said: Of all the people, Ali (a.s) was the most pious.
It is mentioned in Usud al-Ghaba that Ammar Ibne Yasir has narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) told Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s), "O Ali! The Almighty Allah has bestowed you with such a merit as He has not bestowed anyone else. And that is piety in the world, which is an ornament for the people in view of Allah. Allah has made you such that neither you got anything from the world nor the world got anything from you. He gave you the love for poor people and He made you satisfied by their following you and He made them pleased by making you their Imam."
It is narrated from Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) that he said, "The Messenger of Allah (S) told me, 'O Ali! When people became attached to the material world and forsake the Hereafter. Usurp the inheritance of others and destroy the religion and plunder the wealth of Allah; what would be your condition?' I said, 'I would leave them and forsake whom they follow. And I would betake Allah, His Prophet and the abode of the Hereafter. I would be patient on worldly calamities and difficulties, till the time I meet you.' The Prophet said, 'It is true, you will do this only.'"
Ahmad Ibne Hanbal has written in his Manaqib that one day the Satan suggested to Ali (a.s), "Always keep the public treasury full of wealth and gold coins." Ali (a.s) came to the Baitul Maal (Public treasury) and ordered that people may be summoned. Then he started distributing till everything was finished and he said, "O Gold and Silver, defraud others." When the public treasury became empty he ordered it to be sprinkled with water. Then he performed two rakats (Units) of prayers of thankfulness.
It is mentioned in Usdul Ghabah that Imam Hasan (a.s) narrated, "Neither my respected father collected wealth nor he left behind anything, except for six hundred Dirhams with which he desired that slaves may be freed." In the same book it is narrated from Abu Naeem that he heard Sufyan say, "The Amir (Ali) never placed a brick upon a brick or a bamboo upon a bamboo to construct a house. If he wanted he could have inhabited from Medina to Jurab."
Ibne Athir has written in Tarikh Kamil that Harun Ibne Antara narrates from his father that he went to Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) to obtain his share of poor people. It was a cold season and Ali (a.s) was shivering as he had only an old cloth thrown over himself. The narrator said to him, "The Almighty Allah has appointed a share for you in the Public Treasury. Why have you not taken anything for yourself?" He replied, "By Allah, I do not like anything of your property. By Allah, this is my own quilt that I had brought with me from Medina."
It is narrated from Zaid Ibne Abi Wahab that one day Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) came out of his house in such a way that his lower garment was having patches all over it. Ibne Na'ja the Khariji, became angry on seeing him and said, "You are the Chief of the believers, such clothes do not befit you." Imam (a.s) replied, "What concern do you have with my clothes. This dress of mine is remote from pride and it is deserving to serve as a model for Muslims."
Ahmad Ibne Hanbal has written in Manaqib that during the temporal rule of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) he purchased a shirt worth three dirhams. Its sleeves were somewhat long, which he got shortened. Then he said, "Thanks be to God Who bestowed such a dress." One day he was standing in the Kufa market to sell his sword, and he kept repeating, "By Allah, if I had the money to purchase this garment, I would not have sold my sword."
Ahmad Ibne Hanbal has written in Musnad that according to the narrator Suwaid Ibne Ghafla, "One day I went to Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) and found him sitting on an old and tattered sack. I said, "You are the ruler of the Muslims and owner of the Public treasury, and you sit on an old sack? You also have to receive foreign visitors. Don't you have anything better in your house?" He said, "O Suwaid, a wise man does not become attached to a house that one has to eventually leave. We have the abode of eternity before our eyes, towards which we would soon depart. The diet of the Imam consisted of dry barley bread or grains half filled with husk. One day something special was placed before him. He did not eat anything. He was asked, "Is it unlawful." He said, "No, but I don't want to make myself used to things that the Holy Prophet (S) had never consumed." Once someone said, "The Almighty Allah has made you the owner of a great kingdom, why do you not eat good food?" He replied. "I have heard from the Messenger of Allah (S) say that it is not allowed for the caliph to take more than two measures from public wealth. One measure for himself and one for the guest."
It is narrated from Suwaid bin Uqbah that, "One day I went to the Imam at the Administrative Headquarters. At that time a loaf of barley bread and a cup of milk was kept in front of him. The bread was so hard and dried that he used to press it with his hands and sometimes with his thighs to break it. I was very disturbed to see it. I told his slave-maid Fizza, "You also do not pity the Amir'ul-Mu'minin? You should at least remove the husk from the flour before making bread. Don't you see there is so much husk in it?" Fizza said, "What can I do? The Imam has taken an oath from me that I would never sieve the flour to make bread." The Imam said, "O Suwaid, the Holy Prophet (S) and his Ahl ul-Bayt have never eaten wheat bread to satiation for three consecutive days, and never was the flour sieved for them. One day I was hungry in Medina and I came out to find some work. I saw that a woman had collected mud and was trying to mix it with water (to plaster a wall etc). I told her to give me one piece of date for each bucket of water. I pulled out sixteen buckets for her and my palms became sore. I brought the dates to the Holy Prophet (S) and related to him the whole incident, then we both shared the dates."
Zaid says that one day he went to Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) and saw a pot of water kept near him and on the other side was a canvas bag with its mouth sealed. "I thought he would remove precious things from it and give them to me. When the Imam broke the seal and opened the bag I saw that it contained parched barley meal. He took out a handful, mixed it in a cup of water, offered to me and took some himself. I could not restrain myself, and I said, 'Sir, living in Iraq you have such food? While different kinds of eatables are available here?' He said, 'This is sufficient for survival.' I said, 'Why do you keep the bag sealed?' He replied, 'So that my family may not mix oil etc. in it. I do not want anything to be a part of my diet except barley.'"
It is written in Sharh Nahjul Balagha that the Imam always observed a diet of vinegar and salt. If he exceeded in it he ate some vegetables and if he further increased it, he drank some camel milk. He used to eat very little meat and he said, "Do not make your stomach a graveyard of animals."
Benevolence Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Wahidi in his Tafsir has related from Ibne Abbas that Ali (a.s) had four dirhams and nothing beyond that. He gave in charity a dirham at night and a dirham during the day. Another one he gave secretly and one, openly. Then the Almighty Allah revealed the following verse: (As for) those who spend their property by night and by day, secretly and openly (Surah Baqarah 2:274)
Thalabi has written in his Tafsir that Abu Zar Ghiffari narrated that one day he was praying with the Messenger of Allah (S) when a beggar came to the mosque soliciting alms, but none gave him anything.
Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) was also praying, but he indicated the small finger of his right hand on which he was wearing a ring and gave the ring to the beggar. Thus the Almighty Allah revealed the following verse: Only Allah is your Guardian and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow. (Surah Maidah 5:55)
The enemies of Ali (a.s) also confessed to his generosity. It is mentioned in Matalibus So'ool that when Mahqan Ibne Abi Mahtan told Muawiyah that he had come to him from the greatest miser. Muawiyah said, "Woe be to you. Do you call Ali a miser? If he is given a house of gold and a house of straw, before the house of straw, the house of gold would be finished."
Shoba has written that Ali (a.s) was so generous and he liked giving charity so much that he never uttered 'No' to anyone who asked him for something. He used to irrigate the farms of a Jew, himself, till he got boils on his palms and whatever he earned therefrom, he gave it all in charity and in order to control his hunger he tied a stone on his stomach.
Allamah Kafawi has written in Tabaqat that once Ali (a.s) was in a duel with an infidel. The infidel said, "I like this sword of yours, let me see it." At once Ali (a.s) handed him the sword. The man said, "Now that I am having your sword, how would you escape me now?" Ali (a.s) said, "You had begged me for it and my generosity did not permit that I should have refused you, even though you are a disbeliever. As for the question of my survival, the shield of Allah's help is sufficient for me." Hearing this reply the opponent converted to Islam.
The Imam used to say, "I am surprised at those who purchase slaves with their wealth and make freemen slaves by doing monetary favors to them."
The account of the generosity and charity of Imam Ali (a.s) is so vast that if mentioned in detail would alone make up a thick volume. Therefore we are content to write this much.
Patience Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) was patient in all the calamities that befell Ahl ul-Bayt after the departure of the Messenger of Allah (S) from this temporal world. Actually it began during the lifetime of the Prophet (S) when people prevented him from writing a will in favor of Ali's successorship. After the sorrowful passing away of the Prophet of God the absence of the companions in the funeral was another fact that caused unhappiness to the Imam. Then the forcible insistence for pledging allegiance! The crashing of the burning door on the side of Fatima by a person well known for his ferocity as a result of which the unborn fetus was aborted. Then the deprivation of Amir'ul-Mu'minin from the right of caliphate. Rejection of the Quran he had compiled etc. They all were such terrible events that if they had befallen anyone else he would have either been fed up with his life and committed suicide or fought with the enemies. If not, then he would have started complaining about Allah Almighty. However, Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) did not do any of these.
Patient is one who, keeping in mind the circumstances restrains his desires for vengeance. The patient person has the consequences in his view and he does not give preference to a little gain in exchange of a larger benefit. In order to maintain patience in all such circumstances Ali (a.s) had to bear untold torture. He says thus in Nahjul Balagha: I remained patient while there was a thorn of sorrow in my eye and suffocation in the throat.
Ibne Abil Hadid truly said: At such a time a valiant warrior like Ali (a.s) chose to keep his sword sheathed. Only Ali could accomplish this feat.
We add here that: If the welfare of Islam had not been intended, nothing could have restrained the sword of Ali(a.s).
Humility Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Baghawi has narrated in his Mojam that Abu Salih reports from his grandfather that he saw Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) purchasing dates worth a dirham. Then he placed the dates on a cloth and began to lift them. When the narrator offered to carry them for the Imam he said, "The father of the children is more deserving to lift this load." By this action the Imam intended to offer a lesson for his followers that they must not feel ashamed to perform any chore connected with the house and family.
Ahmad Ibne Hanbal has narrated in his Musnad from Zadan that he saw Imam Ali (a.s) holding a cane in his hand ushering people in the market and guiding those who had lost their way. He also helped people lift heavy loads and all the time recited the following verse of Quran: (As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil). (Surah Qasas 28:83)
Then he said that this verse is regarding the powerful people.
Ahmad Ibne Hanbal has also narrated in Manaqib that Abul Matar al-Basari says that he saw Imam Ali (a.s) among the crowd of date-vendors. A slave maid was weeping and the Imam asked her why she was weeping. She said that she had purchased a dirham worth of dates for her owner but he has returned the dates and the date-seller was not taking it back. The Imam told the shopkeeper that she was a mere servant and she had no say in the deal. So he must accept the returns and reimburse the money. But the shopkeeper pushed the Imam aside and refused to listen to him. Someone asked angrily, "O man! Do you know who it is?" "No," he replied. "He is Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s)." When the shopkeeper heard this, he at once accepted the dates, repaid the money and began to implore the Imam to forgive his behavior and not remain displeased with him. The Imam said, "I can only remain happy with you if you give full measure and do not misbehave with the customers."
Forbearance Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Ghazzali has written in Ihyail Uloom that one day the Imam called for his slave. He did not reply. He called him two or three times but he still did not reply. The Imam arose from his place and saw that he was sleeping. He asked him, "O boy! Did you not hear my call?" "Yes, I heard it." "The why didn't you reply?" "Because I was fearless of your punishment," he replied. The Imam said, "Go! I free you for the sake of Allah."
Affection Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Ibne Hanbal writes in his Musnad that when the verse: O you who believe! When you consult the Apostle, then offer something in charity before your consultation; (Surah Mujadilah 58:12)
was revealed, the Prophet told Ali (a.s), "Go and command those people to pay alms (Sadaqah)." "How much should I ask them to pay?" asked Ali (a.s). "One Dinar", replied the Prophet (S). Ali (a.s) said, "They are unable to pay this much." "Half a Dinar", said the Prophet. "They cannot even pay this much" said Ali (a.s). The Prophet said, "A grain of gold." Ali (a.s) said, "Maybe they cannot even afford this." The Prophet said, "O Ali! You are very kind to the people. All right! Tell them to give only one dirham." Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) used to say, "The reduction in this command was due to me."
It is narrated from Abu Saeed Khudri that when the Messenger of Allah (S) attended a funeral he never asked about any deed of the deceased but inquired about his debt position. It that person remained indebted after death the Prophet did not recite his funeral prayer. One day he attended a funeral and as was his custom, he asked if the departed one had any debts. People told him that the person had died indebted by two dinars. The Prophet moved away from the bier, and told the companions to recite his funeral prayer. Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) said, "O Messenger of Allah, those two dinars are my responsibility. The deceased one is free from the debt." The Prophet was pleased to hear this, and he recited the funeral prayer. Then he prayed for the well being of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s).
During the course of his caliphate, Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) saw an old and weak woman carrying a load of food grain on her back. She was out of breath due to her weakness. He moved forward at once and took the load on his shoulders and carried it to her house.
When Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) took the control of Islamic government he ordered his sons to prepare a list of all the deprived people, the poor, the destitutes, widow and orphans of Kufa. He also told them to be accurate and not leave out anyone. Thus he dispatched one son to the east another to the west and so on. When the lists were prepared, during the whole tenure of his Caliphate, it was the habit of the Imam that he used to carry loaves of bread and dates on his shoulder during the night and distribute them to the needy people. Once the Imam was down with high temperature. Hasan and Husain (a.s) offered to fulfill his duty. The Imam said, "No, the Almighty Allah has entrusted me with the responsibility of this government. Let me perform my duty." Thus he went out in the feverish condition also.
Hospitality Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Ibne Hajar Makki has written in Asnial Matalib fi Silatul Aqarib that one day Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) began to weep. When people asked him about it he said that seven days have passed but he did not have a guest. "I am fearful that maybe Allah has considered me degraded."
Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) used to say, "Three things are most dear to me: Hospitality, Jihad with the sword and keeping fast on a hot day."
Whenever he had a guest, the Imam used to be exceeding happy and did not leave any stone unturned in rendering him all the comforts and facilities. He asked the guest about his favorite dish and ordered that only that one be prepared for him. However insignificant a person his guest may be, he used to seat him next to himself. Himself he ate that same barley bread softened in water and grains of salt, but he served his guests the most delicious foods.
Imam Ali’s (a.s) Kindness To Relatives
Imam Ali (a.s) regularly inquired about the well being of all his relatives and kinsmen and used to try his utmost in fulfilling all their needs. Ibne Abbas says that he has not seen anyone more excellent than Ali (a.s) in kindness to relatives. He says, "One day I fell sick and my illness became prolonged. Every morning and evening, Ali (a.s) visited me. Sitting near my head used to recite supplications and blow them on me. He brought to me whatever I desired." Most of the time he distributed to others whatever he received as his share of war-booty. So much so that sometimes Ali (a.s) also spent his bare sustenance on his relatives. Aqil (the Imam's brother) had many children. One day he complained to the Imam that the stipend he received from the public treasury was insufficient for his family, and that Imam give him some more from it. The Imam said, "O Aqil, the public treasury is the share of the Muslims and I have no right to spend anything from it. It is however possible that I give you something for your children from my share." From that day it was his practice to first dispatch food to Aqil's house. If something remained he ate just enough to survive or he remained hungry.
Imam Ali’s Kind Behavior To The Slaves
Qambar the slave of Imam Ali (a.s) says: I spent my days under the slavery of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) in such a way that he used to feed me first then eat himself. First he clothed me then he wore himself. One day the Imam purchased two shirts. He saw that the shirt of Salman Farsi was patched at many places. So he gave one shirt to him and told me to put on the second. I said that the Imam's shirt was also quite worn out, but he said, "You wear it. I will buy another one for myself when it is possible." He never awoke me for some errand and never made me work when I was sick. He never gave me tasks beyond my strength or capacity. The Imam tried to free me many times but I implored and pleaded the Imam not to do so.
Contentment Of Imam Ali (a.s)
Comfort-loving people increase the necessities of life so much that a drop becomes a sea. On the other hand Ali (a.s) reduced the necessities of life to such an extent that the sea was reduced to a cup. All the necessities of life were so less that lesser than it is not possible. He was content with whatever came his way and thanked the Almighty. The desire to hoard or save anything never arose. He never stored anything more than was needed. The thought of tomorrow never bothered him, neither was he aggrieved at what was happening that day. During the time of his caliphate he had control over the Islamic wealth. At this time also Ali was the same. He still ate the same barley bread soaked in salted water, wore the same patched dress, sat on the ground created by Allah and the same broken sack was Ali's seat. Whatever share of stipend he received from the public treasury he gave it all away to the destitutes and the needy people. Then he relied on the Almighty and maintained self-control. He was only trying to have just sufficient strength to enable him to survive and always strived to gain the pleasure of Allah. The minimum needed for life was maximum for Ali. He remained hungry often through two meal times. Never asked anyone for anything. Always obtained livelihood through hard work. Never complained to Allah. He was happy in whatever condition Allah kept him. More than himself, he cared for others. Always tried to assure that none should sleep hungry, though himself often remained hungry.
Forgiveness Of Imam Ali (a.s)
It is written in Sharh Nahjul Balagha that during the battle of Jamal when Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) overpowered Marwan, in spite of the fact that he was his deadly enemy, he did not kill him.
Ibne Abil Hadid has also written in Sharh Nahjul Balagha that in Siffin when the army of Muawiyah obtained control over the river, by the order of Muawiyah, water supply was cut off from the army of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) and they were not given access to a single drop of water. When the Imam saw that his men were almost dying of thirst, he attacked the opponents and gave them a crushing defeat and snatched the control of the river. Now the Imam's men said that they would not give a drop of water to the enemy and let them die of thirst. The Imam said, "By Allah! I will not take revenge from them. I will not commit the sin they have committed."