Birth of Hazrat Ali (R.A.):
Hazrat Ali, The Lion of Allah, came to this world in the most unusual circumstances. It was the will of ALLAH (S.W.T.) that a baby born in the oddest conditions became one day the flag bearer of the mighty religion of Islam. It was the 13th day of the holy month of Rajab when Fatima, Hazrat Ali mother went to Kabah to perform pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, she felt the pangs of childbirth. She secluded herself in the grounds of the Holy Kabah and it was there, she gave birth to the Imam Ali (R.A.).
Hazrat Ali Family Tree
descended from the tribe of the Hashemite. His father's actual name was Abd Manaf, but he was known by the name, Abu Talib which means "father of Talib". Talib was the eldest brother of Hazrat Ali (R.A.) and so was the name.
Hazrat Abu Talib
(R.A.) was the keeper of the sacred Kabah. He was the son of Abdul Muttalib, whose real name was Shaybah. Shaybah's father was Hashim, who was a significant man of his lineage.
Hazrat Ali mother name
was Fatima who also belonged to the Hashemite tribe. She was the daughter of Asad whose father was Hashim. Hazrat Abu Talib (R.A.) and Fatima were cousins. It was a great honour to be born in a family of Hashemites.
Hazrat Ali (R.A.) also had the honour of being related to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.). Hazrat Abdullah, father of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.) and Abu Talib were brothers. Hence, Ali (R.A.) and the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) were first cousins.
Hazrat Ali (R.A.)'s ancestry goes back to Hazrat Ismail (A.S.) and Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.), who were also the Prophets of ALLAH (S.W.T.) some 2,500 years ago.
Significance of Hazrat Ali (R.A.)'s Name:
When Fatima came back with her child, Abu Talib wanted to name him Zaid, but Fatima desired that her son be named after her father, Asad. When the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.) and Hazrat Khadijah (R.A.) came to see the new born baby, the baby opened his eyes for the first time and saw the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.). The Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) asked the baby's parents to name him Ali, because he was born in the House of ALLAH (S.W.T.). The word Ali has been derived from Allah. No one before had the privilege to be named so. The name became more significant, because it was suggested by the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) himself.
Life of Hazrat Ali (R.A.):
Imam Ali lived a life of 63 years that comprises of many important events. To discuss the life of Hazrat Ali (R.A.), I've divided it into three different periods. The first period of his life consists of the first 32 years (from 600 CE to 632 CE), which was a long period of his education and accomplishments. During this period, Ali Bin Abu Talib (R.A.) acquired his education under the supervision of the great Prophet (S.A.W.W.). He learned everything about Islam and its greatness. It was after the Hijri years that he became famous for being one of the greatest warriors the world had ever seen. He proved his military skills in the great battles of Badar, Uhud and Khandaq (The Ditch). He distinguished himself as a great Arab knight in his conquest of the Khyber. He was not only a skilled swordsman, but also unbeatable at hand-to-hand combats. He killed many enemies in hand-to-hand battles. He was unbeatable in war and duels. Hence, he was given the title of "The Lion of Allah".
Apart from being an excellent warrior, he was a fair judge. His wisdom and knowledge acquired him the honour of being a justice. He was famous for his discretion on various sensitive cases. People loved him for his well-reasoned judgements. Furthermore, he also acted as the governor of Yemen, which gave him a lot of experience as an administrator. He also learned a great deal about politics during his tenure as the governor of Yemen. The verses of the Holy Quran about the Declaration of Immunity were announced by him on behalf of the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.). When the great Prophet (S.A.W.W.) passed away, he was a complete youth. He was an epitome of Islamic virtue, justice, wisdom, courage and administration. So, it was thought that after the Prophet (S.A.W.W.), he would be made the Caliph of the Islamic state. But it did happen, and hence Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A.) became the first caliph of Islam. He too was an excellent administrator and loved by all. After him, the caliphate shifted to Hazrat Omar (R.A.) and after him, to Hazrat Othman (R.A.).
The second period of Hazrat Ali (R.A.)'s life is the period when he counselled the Caliphs. During this period, he didn't take part in active politics. It was the period of inaction and meditation. It was an age of inaction, because he spent most of his time in spiritual contemplation by praying to ALLAH (S.W.T.). He mostly kept himself away from the worldly business. The more he kept himself aloof from the world outside, the more his soul became strong. And this is how he got nearer and nearer to ALLAH (S.W.T.).
The third and final stage of Imam Ali (R.A.)'s life was when he became the fourth Caliph of Islam. His caliphate lasted for five years only. It wouldn't be wrong if I call this period of his life the phase of frustration for when he took control of the State of Islam, things had gone out of hand. During the 5 years of his term, he had to fight 3 major battles:
- The battle of Camel
- The battle of Siffin
- The battle of Nahrawan
The worst part was that these battles were not fought against disbelievers, but fellow Muslims. As a result of these battles, a significant number of Muslims lost their lives. Ali (R.A.) had to face continuous betrayal even from his most trusted friends, which lead to his disappointment. I will also name this stage of his life as the period of grand betrayal. When Hazrat Muawiyah (R.A.) accused Hazrat Ali (R.A.) of taking part in the killing of the caliph Othman (R.A.), he felt betrayed. When the people of Medina didn't answer his call for Jihad against Amir Muawiyah, he was greatly grieved. It came as a shock to him when Hazrat Ayesha, his mother-in-law stood against him. The people of Basra, despite their oath of allegiance to him, betrayed him when the time came. His own army left him during the battle of Siffin. His own brother deceived him when he thought that Ali (R.A.) had not rewarded him enough. He joined hands with Muawiyah who paid him handsomely. His cousin Abdullah bin Abbas also ruined the Bait-ul-Mal during his governorship of Basra. The final betrayal came from a Kharijite when Imam Ali (R.A.) got married.
Causes of Failure of Ali (R.A.):
When Hazrat Ali (R.A) became caliph, a long time had gone by since the death of the great Prophet (S.A.W.W.). The lifestyle of the Muslims had changed considerably. Muslims had conquered many lands and countries and with every victory came a huge amount of wealth. Muslims diverted from the path of simplicity, which was taught by the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.). Ali (R.A) was a man of old ways who lived a simple life and wanted for the Muslims to lead a plain life too. But a vast majority of Muslims preferred living lavishly. He desired to create a state that he could call the Kingdom of God on earth. He wanted to be a caliph like Hazrat Omar (R.A), but he didn't have the harshness of Omar (R.A.) to enforce the policies and reforms he had in mind. Amir Muawiyah had the support of huge majority, because he too indulged in such worldly luxuries. This weakened Hazrat Ali (R.A)'s claim to the caliphate. He was a man of principles and he refused to succumb to the worldly comforts which lead to grand betrayals. This is how Imam Ali (R.A.) lost the fight against his own fellow Muslims.
Ali (RA) had a noble face with a straight nose and a beautifully formed mouth. He had commanding eyes, sparkling all the time. There was a touch of music to his voice. He was a medium to high statured man with a strong personality. In his youth, he was quite handsome and vigorous. As he aged, he became rather bulky. Although he had a thick beard, his gray hair gave way to baldness. There was an aura of intelligence and wisdom about him, distinguishing him among others.
Hazrat Ali (R.A.) – A Man:
Ali (R.A) was a great man. He had many contrasting attributes to his personality. He was a brave and courageous warrior and yet it was not in his nature to fight. He loved peace and harmony. He killed loads of enemies on the battlefront, but he hated bloodshed. He never started a fight himself. He was not harsh to his slaves and servants. He treated them with love and kindness. Imam Ali (R.A.) loved doing his own work. He would not let anyone do his job. If anyone asked to help, he would refuse nicely. Despite being a great military man, he had a kind heart. In matters of wisdom and knowledge, he was second to none. People would consult him in sensitive matters, which he would solve with well-reasoned judgement. He kept himself away from worldly charms and led a simple life. Even when he was a caliph, he lived in a small and simple house. He believed in charity, so he always took care of the poor and the distressed. He treated the orphans and widows with utmost care and respect and helped them in any way he could.
He had a special bond with ALLAH (S.W.T). When he prayed, he used to forget about his surroundings, such was his involvement in prayers. He loved the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) more than anything in the world and so he followed the Prophet (S.A.W.W.) in all circumstances, no matter how harsh they were. Ali (R.A) had learned Quran by heart. He was a great orator and would give references to Quranic verses wherever necessary.
As a general and military man, he had no parallel. He never turned his back on a battle field. During the battle of Uhud, he was wounded so badly that it was impossible to dress his wounds. He bore the pain without a word. He was a patient and friendly man. He was valiant yet forgiving.
His book Nahj ul-Balagha is a proof of his erudition and wisdom. He was a master of similes and metaphors. To bring his point up, he would use the best of similes and metaphors.
Imam Ali (R.A) was a great philosopher and poet. You can learn the depth of his philosophical thoughts through his writings. He did a lot of work on Islamic Theology. He was the father of Islamic jurisprudence. He was a fair and impartial judge and a great administrator too. His idea of politics was free from duplicity and hypocrisy.
Hazrat Ali (R.A) was loved by our Prophet (S.A.W.W) so much that he married his beloved daughter to him.
Information About Wives of Hazrat Ali and Children of Hazrat Ali:
As long as Imam Ali (R.A) was married to Hazrat Fatima (R.A), he didn't have any other wives. Hazrat Fatima (R.A) gave Ali (R.A) three sons and two daughters. The sons were Hassan, Hussein and Mohsin. Mohsin died in his early childhood. His daughters were Zainab and Umm Kulthum.
After the death of Hazrat Fatima (R.A.), Hazrat Ali (R.A.) married many women. The wives of Hazrat Ali (R.A.) were,
- Umm-ul-Bunian who was the daughter of Hazam bin Khalid. She gave him five sons namely Abdullah, Jafar, Abbas, Othman, and Omar. Except Abbas, all of them were martyred in the battle of Karbala along with Hazrat Hussein.
- Khaula who was the daughter of Jafar Hanfiyah. She gave birth to a son known as Muhammad bin Hanfiyah.
- Umm Habib who was the daughter of Rabiah. She gave birth to a son Omar and a daughter Ruqiya.
- Asma who was the daughter of Umais. She had two sons from Hadrat Ali namely Yahya and Muhammad Asghar.
- Laila was the daughter of Masud. She gave birth to two sons, Ubaidullah and Abu Bakr.
- Umama who was the daughter of Abi Al Aa's and Hazrat Zainab. She gave birth to a son whose name was Muhammad Awsat.
- Umm Saeed who was a daughter of Urwa. She bore Hazrat Ali (R.A.) two daughters namely Umm-ul-Hasan and Rumia.
- Muhyat was the daughter of the famous Arab poet Imra-ul-Qais. She gave birth to a daughter who died in infancy.
Titles and Names of Hazrat Ali (R.A.):
Imam Ali (R.A.) was given many titles based on his unparalleled qualities, which include
- Murtada: He with whom God is pleased
- Haidar-e -Karrar: The brave warrior against whom no one could stand
- Asad Allah: The lion of God
- Al-Ghalib: The victorious
- Sher-i-Yazdan: The bravest man of the age
- Amir-ul-Momineen: Leader of the faithful
- Amin-ul-Momineen: The trustee of the faithful
- Imam-ul-Muttaqeen: The leader of the God-fearing
- Sayyid-ul-Arab: The chief of the Arabs
Shahadat of Hazrat Ali R.A:
Hazrat Ali (R.A) was martyred with a sword covered with poison. On 19th Ramadan 40th Hijri, Ali (R.A.) went to the mosque of Kufa to perform his Fajar prayers. He started to pray and when he went into prostration, Ibn-e-Muljim struck him on his head with the poisoned sword. When the sword struck him, blood started running down his face. All his face and beard were covered with blood. When people heard that the caliph had been attacked, they ran towards the mosque to rescue him, but it was too late. Hazrat Ali (R.A.) had fallen to the ground. He was still alive, but was too weak due to heavy blood loss. Hazrat Hassan (R.A) and Hazrat Hussein (R.A.) ran to their father and tied his wound with a piece of cloth. Ali (R.A.) told his sons that Ibn-e-Mujlim had attacked him. Both the sons picked Hazrat Ali RA up and brought him home where he died.
Hazrat Ali (R.A) died because of the wound and the poison that the sword was covered with. He was fasting when he died. Roza Hazrat Ali is at Najaf-e-Ashraf in Iraq. Hazrat Ali's grave is visited by thousands of devotees and followers every year to pay tribute to the Lion of ALLAH S.W.T. He left the world but he still lives in the hearts of all the Muslim Ummah. Muslims remember him as a great companion of the Prophet (S.A.W.W.) who was just, kind, brave and virtuous.
Hazrat Ali Quotes
The internet is swarmed with Imam Ali quotes, and truly his wise words should be a part of every literature. We are just providing a few significant imam Ali sayings here:
You are the master of what you say until you utter it. Once you deliver it, you are its captive. Preserve your tongue as you do your gold and money. One word could bring disgrace and the termination of bliss.
The best kind of wealth is to give up inordinate desires.
Avarice is disgrace, cowardice is a defect and poverty often disables an intelligent man from arguing his case. A poor man is a stranger in his own town. Misfortune and helplessness are calamities; patience is a kind of bravery. To sever attachments with the wicked world is the greatest wealth. Piety is the best weapon of defence.
Be friends with the righteous and avoid the evil doers, stay away from the hypocrites and do not accompany the treacherous.
The poor is one who does not have any friend.
Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them. Do not behave with them like a barbarian, and do not appropriate to yourself that which belongs to them. Remember that the citizens of the state are of two categories. They are either your brethren in religion or your brethren in kind. They are subject to infirmities and liable to commit mistakes.
Whoever wants to be a leader should educate him before educating others. Before preaching to others he should first practice himself. Whoever educates himself and improves his own morals is superior to the man who tries to teach and train others.
There are many educated people who have ruined their future on account of their ignorance of religion. Their knowledge did not prove of any avail to them.
Woman is a delicate creature with strong emotions who has been created by the Almighty God to shoulder responsibility for educating society and moving toward perfection. God created woman as symbol of His own beauty and to give solace to her partner and her family.