Ali (a.s), The Magnificent
The life of Hazrat Ali stands out as a beacon, radiating its light into the darkness of this world. A world torn asunder by strife, struggle and wan, a world in which the value of human life is regarded as next to nothing.
It must be borne in mind that it was Ali who gave a distinctive outlook to the intellectual, social, cultural and political concepts of his times. Ho was the Warrior-Saint of Islam, who spent his entire life fighting the holy wars and who in spite of his multifarious activities lit the torch of knowledge that gave unprecedented impetus to learning-a marvel of the times in which he lived. The wonderful personality he possessed has made him the greatest hero of all times.) In the world of today, his many-sided spiritual precepts might help to solve some of the problems with which the world is faced today. His ideas were conciliatory and his message was always one of peace. He lived for justice and was very firm in his belief that every one should have a right to live in security, that there should be food, shelter and clothing for all. Humanity he considered as one family where there should be tolerance for all irrespective of race, creed and color and irrespective of wealth or adversity.
Nowhere was his humane attitude more apparent than when he was dispensing justice. He had the strictest ideas of duty and responsibility and even the poorest and most insignificant of suitors always found him ready to give his case a fair and prompt hearing. He was quick to forgive an offender as he was slow to resent an injury, a human attitude which too many of his contemporaries were prone to interpret wrongly as a weakness; it was this humane attitude which above all stamped Ali as the ideal man.
In order to keep his finger on the pulse of the people, Ali often disguised himself as a traveler, perambulating the lanes of the city at night to find out for himself the condition of the poor and the needy, and to lend succor to them and at the same time to bring the delinquents to book. His tremendous physical energy thus found an outlet in the performance of many a philanthropic deed, but even so, his sense of responsibility to his people was so great that he was frequently struck with remorse for what he had left undone. Hence the bitter tears of self-deprecation which he so often shed at his prayers.
He sought always to prevent those civil wars in which blood would be shed in vain, but in his fight against the forces of evil and barbarity he showed extraordinary determination, unwavering purpose and an iron will. He was at once a recluse and a warrior, a thinker contemplating in the wastes of the desert and a commander fighting the Lord’s battle against heretical foes. In his personality he combined a pious resignation to God with the greatest heroism in combat.
In his attempts to establish God’s kingdom on earth, he was constantly beset by enemies who wanted to extinguish the torch of Islam, and whose activities were the more resented as they were carried out in the name of God and religion. Pitched as he was against envy, hatred and malice, he never permitted himself to falter or to stray from the path of right, even though this singleness of purpose was to coat him his life.
In the words of Gibbon, “The birth, the alliance, the character of Ali which exalted him above the rest of his countrymen, might justify his claim to the vacant throne ci Arabia. The son of Abu TaIib was in his own right, the chief of Bani Hashim and the hereditary prince or guardian of the city and temple of Mecca. Hazrat Ali had the qualification of a poet, a soldier and a saint; his wisdom stilt breathes in a collection of moral and religious sayings; and every antagonist, in combats of the tongue or of the sword was subdued by his eloquence and velour. From the first hour of his mission to the last rites of his funeral, the Apostle Muhammad were never forsaken by a generous friend, whom he delighted to name his brother, his vicegerent, and a faithful Aaron of a second Moses.”