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ALI

DURING THE PRECEDING KHALIFAS

 

EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS:

  Abu Bakr the Khalifa

  Ali's objection

  Khilaafah and Imamah

  Fatima's (a.s.) reaction

  Fatima (a.s.) dies

  War of Rejecters, danger to Islam

  Ali gives support to Abu Bakr

 

ABU BAKR (r)      (أبو بكر (ر      

Once finished with burying the body of the Prophet (pbuh), Ali (a.s.) was startled when he heard unexpected news.  He was taken aback when he heard that Abu Bakr (r) had become the Khalifa.  (For more detail about Abu Bakr's Khilaafah see Book 6 of the Series of Islamic Books for Beginners.  Also see the last chapter in this book)

   Ali (a.s.) learned that while he was absorbed with the burial matters of the Prophet (pbuh) many people went to a house outside Medina.  In that house there were arguments, shouting, and highly emotional matters about who would succeed the Prophet (pbuh).  Although the body of the Prophet (pbuh) was not buried yet, they argued over who should be the new leader.

   In this tense and highly charged atmosphere Ali's name was not even mentioned, as if people had forgotten him totally.  The matter came to an end when the notable Companion Omar (r) gave his allegiance to the 61 year old Abu Bakr (r).  Most of the others followed suit and gave allegiance to him.  Imam Ali (a.s.) and numerous other notable Companions were not there to share, or give their points of views, or even vote.

   Simply said in retrospect, the choice of the Khalifa took place in a matter of an hour or two, more or less on impulse, without Ali or many notable Companions present!

 

IN THE DAYS IMMEDIATELY AFTER     

   Ali (a.s.) went home with a heavy feeling and told his grieving wife Fatima (a.s.) and his children about the new Khalifa.  Fatima's anger was immediate, "But they cannot do that, my father wanted you to be the one, it was a matter to prevent distress to this nation, to prevent trouble," such was her feelings.  It expressed a feeling of pain added to the pain over the death of her father (pbuh) and the empty vacuum left in Medina.

   Pressure mounted on Ali to give allegiance to Abu Bakr.  At first Ali refused despite the fact that both Abu Bakr and Omar visited his home.  It is said that Fatima (a.s.) did not give them permission to even enter, and when the house was entered anyway Fatima turned her head sideways to avoid looking at them. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 3, Page 39)  It is also narrated that Fatima (a.s.) was angry with Abu Bakr till the day she died. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 3, Page 39.)

 

ALI'S FEELINGS     

   On his part, Imam Ali (a.s.) kept relatively silent.  He felt hurt, since what the Prophet had wanted was something for the good of the budding Islamic nation.  The Prophet wanted Imam Ali (a.s.) to follow him, but alas this was negated.  Events would be different now, Ali thought, and the course of history would take a different direction.  Ali (a.s.) kept going to the mosque, praying behind Abu Bakr (r), and he kept his friendship with Abu Bakr and everyone else.  However, on a number of occasions, Ali reminded Abu Bakr (r) and others that his right (the right of Ali for Khilaafah) had certainly been denied him, without consultation or his permission.  Because this was such a fundamental principle of rights, Imam Ali (a.s.) adamantly refused giving allegiance to Abu Bakr for several months.  That was despite pressure on him, be it by Omar (r), Abu Bakr (r) or others.  A purist like Imam Ali (a.s.) will firmly stand by his principles.

 

BUT WHY ALL THIS?     

   At stake is a key point of immense significance, not only immediately but for the future.  Being an Imam, the spiritual choice and the leadership to follow the Prophet (pbuh), Ali (a.s.) would have ruled, directed, and managed the Islamic Ummah in the same manner as the Prophet (pbuh) had previously done.  History would have been quite different.  Ali was Designated by Allah as the Imam, the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned that (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Page 164.  Also Sahih Muslim, Page 119.) and the famous gathering of Ghadeer Khum was fresh in the minds of numerous people.  They remembered what he said!

   Khilaafah should have been more than a temporal administration of the nation.  As it turned out, Khilaafah lacked the specific spiritual leadership.  Thus, Khilaafah could be benevolent (as during the Khulafaa Al-Rashidoon), or autocratic, dictatorial, wicked and bad (as during the reign of Benu Umayya and Benu Abbas).

   Imamah, on the other hand, is a spiritual leadership, with a strict administration of the nation in the Islamic way.  Imamah is an extension of Prophethood but without the matter of Revelation.  If Ali was given the chance to rule as the Prophet (pbuh) had designated, the welfare of the Islamic nation would have been vastly different, and vastly improved.

 

FATIMA (a.s.) DIES:     

   Fatima, dainty and delicate all through her life, was nick-named Al-Zahraa or Al-Batool.

   Fatima was singularly unhappy and very sad after the Prophet (pbuh) died.  Granted that missing her father was too much to take, but in addition she saw her husband Imam Ali denied his rightful place, the Khilaafah.  She felt this was unjust, very unfair, and did not follow the commands of the Prophet (pbuh), especially since the method of choosing the first Khalifa was to be questioned.  She detested ignoring the Prophet's verbal recommendations at Ghadeer Khum that Ali was to succeed him.  She urged having a campaign against the new Khalifa to raise such a point, and she even delivered a speech of great magnitude to the Ansaars delineating the matter of Khilaafah, religion, and her inheritance that also had been denied her.  Her husband, Imam Ali (a.s.), prevented her from going further since the welfare of Islam was at stake.  It would not benefit the new Islamic nation, he felt.

   As if this wasn't bad enough, what made it worse was that Fatima inherited a piece of realty, an estate, and because he claimed differently, the new Khalifa, Abu Bakr (r), prevented her from her right to the property (The property was given back to the heirs by Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz, almost 70 years later.).  The estate was called Fadak, and it was one of their means of livelihood.  Fadak brought about objections and arguments with the new Khalifa and the arguments ended when Fatima reminded Abu Bakr of a Hadith that said:

 

 

"He who angered Fatima (a.s.) would have angered the Prophet,"

 and with that Fatima departed from Abu Bakr (r) with anger".

(Bukhari, Vol. 3, Page 39.)

 

Fatima's  anger continued until her death, which took place not much later.

   Thus, Fatima Al-Batool, who spoke like her father, who was loved by her father, the woman who was captivating and delightful with charm and loveliness, was in great distress in the last months of her life.  She was the very one about whom the Prophet (pbuh) said endearingly:

 

 

 فاطمةٌ بِضعةٌ مني

"FATIMA IS PART AND PORTION OF MYSELF."

 (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Page 206, Manaaqib Qarabatu Rasool Allah.)

 

The Prophet (pbuh) had told her a day or two before he died that she would be the first of his family to follow him, and hearing that made her cheerful and smiling.  It was about 6 months after the Prophet (pbuh) when she died.  She was only in her twenties!  Imam Ali (a.s.) took care of her burial at night, as she had wished, so that no one knew where her grave would be, and that the Khalifa or others of his administration could not be in her funeralsuch was her feeling and anger. (Al-Tibari, Vol. 4, Page 407.  Also Ibn Atheer, Vol. 3, Page 206.)

 

IMAM ALI WITHOUT FATIMA     

   To Imam Ali Medina had become extremely empty.  To begin with, a) he felt a painful vacuum when the Prophet died, then b) the denial of his Khilaafah, then c) the distress and anger of Fatima.  Now Fatima was gone and Ali was left behind along with two boys and two girls all under the age of 8 years.  This made the vacuum even more painful.  Al-Hasan was 8 years old, Al-Husain only 7 years old, and Zainab and Umm Kulthoom were two younger girls.

 During the reign of Abu Bakr (r), an aftermath of a serious nature took place.  It was the War with the Rejecters, those who wanted to renounce Islam or stop paying the Zakat.  The war was costly in lives especially of those who memorized the Quran.  Review of this history makes one wonder had Imam Ali been the man to follow the Prophet as was expected would that war ever have risen?  After all, Ali's imprint upon the minds as the hero of heroes and the Lion of Allah was still fresh in the minds.  That by itself would have been a great deterrent to many.

 Seeing so many casualties after the clashes with the rejecters and such schism, Ali (a.s.) developed deep fears for the future of Islam.  Things were not going smoothly for Islam and there were potential bad consequences.

   But, Ali (a.s.) saw that Abu Bakr (r) was doing a good job, so he reasoned that if the administrator was good, he should be helped.  And with that in mind, Imam Ali gave his support to Abu Bakr (r), though he kept holding to his right for Khilaafah, since that was something indicated by the Prophet (pbuh).

   Days kept rolling, Ali (a.s.) was either busy at home, or locally in Medina.  The Muslim nation was expanding at a fast rate through Iraq and Syria, and the news was taken enthusiastically.  It was the budding dynamic Islamic nation against two mammoth superpowers, the Roman and the Persian.  The feverish spirit of Islam carried the Muslims in a wonderful momentum as the Prophet (pbuh) started it, and this momentum was continued in a spectacular way against the Persian and Roman empires.  The Prophet (pbuh) foretold these happenings six  years before, at an unlikely moment during the ditch affair, and the people could hardly believe it then!

 

IMAM ALI DURING ABU BAKR'S KHILAAFAH     

   Imam Ali's contribution was limited by the nature of affairs after the Prophet (pbuh).  It is bewildering to see a person so experienced in war and peace, with such an intellect in power of analysis and wisdom, and so knowledgeable in religious matters, not asked by the administration to participate!  Why, one may ask?

 Was it because Ali (a.s.) had such an overpowering personality that it might have over-shadowed everyone around?  The answer may be yes.

 Or was it because Ali might have proven to be too much competition, and with such an overpowering personality that those who were anxious to later head the Muslim Nation were fearful of him? The answer may be yes, too.

 Or was it a resentment because Ali accomplished so much for Islam, and had barely reached his 33rd birthday, and the Prophet (pbuh) gave him his due recognition?  The answer may be yes, too.

   As it turned out Ali (a.s.) contributed little to the administration of Abu Bakr (r).

 

ALI'S SPECIFICS during Abu Bakr's Khilaafah     

EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS:

Ali puts the Holy Quran into a written text

Ali begins writing Tafseer of the Qura n

Ali tutors his children

Al-Hasan learns to write

Ibn Abbas learns at the hands of Ali

Ali the Marji' (the Reference)

Ali works in his grove, to support family and to buy then free an average of one slave per week (about 100)

  

ALI'S SPECIFICS     

   Three important points should be explained to begin with:

1.  Designation (Al-Nass):  Designation (Al-Nass) means that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had designated Ali to be the Imam of the Ummah and he was to follow the Prophet (pbuh) after his death.  Al-Nass is very important since each Imam Designates the one to follow him until the twelfth Imam, Al-Mahdi (a.s.).  This is in accordance to the "Information of Designation" given by Jubra'eel to the Prophet (pbuh). (See Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 4, Page 164.  Also Sahih Muslim Page 119 (Both are Sunni in school of Islamic thought).  They reported that the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the number of the Imams after him will be twelve.)

2.  Imamah:  The Designated Ones by Prophet Muhammad are the Imams after him.  They are to lead the Ummah in temporal and religious matters.

3.  Safeguards by Allah (Ismah):  The Ismah means Allah has safeguarded all the Prophets and the Specified Imams after Prophet Muhammad from:

▪    Religious error,

▪    sin, and

▪    Forgetfulness

 

 ALI PUTS THE QURAN INTO A WRITTEN TEXT:  Once time permitted Ali began to put the Holy Quran into written text.  Ali had priorities, first of which was to put the Quran in writing.  Arabic in those days was written without dots or vowels.

Ali wrote the Surahs according to their chronological order.  He knew the occasion and the circumstance of every Ayah, its meaning, and its order in the Surah.

 

 ALI BEGINS WRITING TAFSEER OF QURAN: It took several months to finish off the text of the Quran.  Now Ali (a.s.) started the difficult task of writing the Tafseer of the Holy Quran.  He wrote about the reason for Revelation, at what occasion the Ayah was revealed, and in regard to what instructions, among other things.  By the time Abu Bakr died Ali was still working on the Tafseer.  The text became known as MUS'HAF of FATIMA.

 

 ALI TUTORS HIS CHILDREN:  Ali was also busy teaching Islam to his children.  Al-Hasan, Al-Husain, and their sisters therefore had the best teacher and the best schooling.  Discussions at their level advanced progressively as the children became older.

 

 ALI WORKS IN THE PALM GROVE:  Ali worked in his orchard to support his family, help the poor and the needy.  Whatever money was left over was used to buy then free one slave from captivity.  Ali probably freed about 100 slaves during Khilaafah of Abu Bakr.

 

 ALI TUTORS IBN ABBAS:  Ibn Abbas was in his teens when the Prophet asked Allah to make him a man of Knowledge in Islam.  Ibn Abbas was a brilliant student, and his tutor was Imam Ali, the very best.

 

 

 QUESTIONS-I     

1.     What was happening while Ali was busy with the burial matters of the Prophet (pbuh)?

2.     How old was Abu Bakr when he became Khalifa?

3.     For what reason did Ali not give his allegiance to Abu Bakr at first?

4.     Was Ali the only one who did not give allegiance to Abu Bakr at first?

5.     What was Fatima's reaction when Ali was bypassed for the Khilaafah?

6.     What was at stake when Imam Ali was bypassed for the Khilaafah?

7.     What is the importance of Imamah in relation to Khilaafah?

8.     Explain the importance of Fadak.

9.     Describe Fatima's (a.s.) wish in regard to her funeral.  Why?

10. Why did Ali later on give his support to Abu Bakr?

11. Mention 3 possible reasons Ali was not given a leading role during Abu Bakr's Khilaafah?

12. What is meant by Al-Nass?

13. In what two matters was an Imam supposed to lead the Ummah?

14. Explain the Ismah.

15. What was the first thing Ali put in writing during Khilaafah of Abu Bakr?

16. What was the second thing Ali put in writing during Khilaafah of Abu Bakr?

17. Whom did Ali tutor at home during Khilaafah of Abu Bakr?

18. Where did Ali work during Khilaafah of Abu Bakr?

19. Who else was tutored by Ali besides his children?

20. How many slaves was Ali able to free in each month?

21. Quote 3 sayings of Imam Ali about knowledge.

22. Quote 3 sayings of Imam Ali about goodness of character.

23. Quote a saying of Imam Ali about children.

24. Quote a saying of Imam Ali about sincerity.

25. Quote 2 sayings of Imam Ali about belief.


 

 

 

IMAM ALI (a.s.)     

DURING KHILAAFAH OF OMAR (r)

 

EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS:

Omar (r) appointed as Khalifa

Ali gives support to Omar

Ali active in Omar's Council

Ali teaches and educates

Ali now married again

Ali finishes off writing Tafseer of the Quran

Ali writes the wealth of Hadith

Ali starts writing the Ah'kaam

Ali's family expands, he teaches at home

Ali continues to work in his orchard, earns enough to buy then free one slave per week

 

OMAR (r)         (عمر (ر)     

    When Omar (r) was appointed as a Khalifa by Abu Bakr (r), Ali (a.s.) was 35 years old. (See For more detail about Omar's Khilaafah see Book 6 of the Series of Islamic Books for Beginners.  Also see the last chapter in this book.)  Imam Ali (a.s.) was pleased that Omar (r) was strict in his administration.  To be strict was necessary, since people before Islam were used to fighting, killing, stealing, looting, hurting, and transgressing.  Though Islam was predominant by now many people needed discipline to change their ways to be along the Islamic Directives.  People's early habits were too deeply rooted in hundreds of past generations for them to change to Islamic ways without firmness.

 Omar (r) did was keep on the Islamic tempo, i.e., the expansion of Islam as started by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  The activities against the Roman and Persian Empires met spectacular success and kept the Arab mind in awe and wonderment.

 Imam Ali (a.s.) was delighted for the expansion of Islam during Omar's rule, and satisfied with the dogmatic, strict rule of Omar.  Omar (r) was quick to the draw, scaring everyone, and he commanded obedience.

 Ali (a.s.) also approved of the manner Omar lived: very plain, and down to earth.  No pomp, opulence, or luxury.  The Khalifa lived like an ordinary person.

 Money from the conquered territories kept pouring in, it was enticing and very attractive to everyone.  Excess money led to inflation, but that was to be noticed later.  The excess wealth was a worrisome thing, and though Omar (r) fought it successfully, his successor succumbed to it.

 While talking about wealth, Omar (r) unfortunately categorized people according to their endeavor in the battles during the Prophet's era (Tabaqat).  He paid them from the public treasury according to those ranks.  This created a feeling of social superiority in some, less privileges for others, and naturally it created a form of class struggle.

 Omar prevented the Companions from leaving Medina.

 Omar prevented writing the Hadith.

 

REFLECTIONS ON OMAR'S REIGN     

   Thinking in retrospect, Omar (r) was close to the ideals Imam Ali (a.s.) had in mind than anyone else.  One can speculate that if Imam Ali (a.s.) were in place of Omar (r) or the one to follow him, the glory of the Islamic society and its size would have expanded further and further.

   Generally speaking highly questionable persons with spotted past can easily be suspected or recognized.  Unsuspectingly, Omar (r) put some questionable men in sensitive positions. Two examples were Mu'awiya appointed a ruler over Greater Syria, and Amr ibn Aas being appointed a ruler over Egypt.

 

WHAT DID IMAM ALI (a.s.) DO?     

   The advances of the Islamic forces to the heart of the Roman and Persian empires was constantly being broadcasted by word of mouth.  The news of the expansion was exhilarating!

   Imam Ali (a.s.) was not asked to be in charge of any operation, let alone being the Commander in Chief, which was the least he deserved!

 Was it a short-sightedness on the part of the administration?

 Or was it an indirect move to deny him any chance to show his unparalleled capacity?

 Or was Ali too valuable in Medina rather than outside?  The answer maybe yes or no to any or all of these questions.

   Nonetheless Ali (a.s.) didn't object to this treatment.  The dilemma was not this, but the fact that the Companions and the notables were not allowed to establish themselves outside Medina by decree of Omar! In other words Ali (a.s.) had to be in Medina if he preferred it or not.  None raised any objections however and everyone obeyed this order.  People were content to be in Medina, to be near Prophet Muhammad.

   During the reign of Abu Bakr (r), Ali (a.s.) and Omar (r) showed anything but attraction to each other.  However, during Omar's reign Ali often gave his opinion when asked.  Be it in Shari'ah, Fiqh, administrating, or otherwise there was always Ali (a.s.) to consult with.  It was to such an extent that Omar (r) said several times:

 

 

لولا علي لهلك عمر

"WERE IT NOT FOR ALI

OMAR WOULD HAVE BEEN DOOMED."

(M.J. Chirri, Ameerul Mu'mineen, Page 173)

 

AT HOME:     

   Ali spent time at home, concentrating on teaching and educating Al-Hasan and Al-Husain and the other children.  The amount of knowledge Ali fed his children was enormous.  He married after Fatima (a.s.) died and had many children, notable among them was Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafia and Al-Abbas.

   Al-Hasan and Al-Husain were handsome teenagers by now, with exceptional intelligence and quickness of mind.  Numerous people wanted to be close to them or even touch them, since that meant closeness to the Prophet (pbuh)!

   Ali and his children were often seen going to the main Mosque to pray in congregation or solo, and they would join, if not lead, groups in studying Islam.  There was always need for Islamic studies, since Islam touches upon every aspect of life.  There were constant religious problems to be solved, and a stream of people coming to ask questions.  Ali was the encyclopedia of Islam, the very Reference.

 

TWELVE YEARS WITHOUT THE PROPHET (PBUH)     

   It had been twelve years since the beloved Muhammad (pbuh) had died, and the vacuum left was still acute.  Imam Ali (a.s.) noticed the appearance of white hairs in his beard and many more on his head, he was 45 years old.  Al-Hasan (a.s.) was by now 19 and Al-Husain (a.s.) 18 years old.  They were good looking, winning in their manners, and very pleasing to talk to.  These two showed unparalleled intelligence and aptitude, and their Islamic knowledge was enormous.

   Imam Ali's family had expanded by now, since the stepmothers who replaced Fatima had given birth to several children.  Umm al Baneen was one of them and the most notable of her children was Al-Abbas.  He was about 15 years younger than Al-Husain, good looking, handsome, and with high intelligence, quick temper, and the charm of Benu Hashim.

   Ali's house was filled with children, and Al-Hasan and Al-Husain had partly the responsibility of educating, teaching, and directing these brothers and sisters as did Ali himself.

  Any extra money earned was distributed immediately to the needy and the poor.  Imam Ali (a.s.) and his family had a repulsion against accumulation of wealth, or money.  They were compulsive but not obsessive in helping the needy and poor.  They could have become extremely rich, since a lot of material wealth came to them, but they preferred to live on very little and give the excess money to the needy.

 

IMAM ALI'S CONTRIBUTIONS     

   The twelve years after the Prophet (pbuh) died were filled with works for Islam by Imam Ali.  Ali's limitation to the boundaries of Medina (as decreed by Omar) had its tremendous advantages.  The seat of government took place in the Great Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi).  Modesty of the building and its simplicity meant little to the people.  What was important was to let the spirit and ideals of Islam go deeper in the hearts of people, and let its roots also go deeper in their hearts.

 Imam Ali (a.s.) was the man to seek, he was the man to learn from, the one with a clear answer to every problem.

 People knew Ali was not the Khalifa, but being the Imam, the central religious figure, people seeked his guidance like bees going after a flower.  Imam Ali (a.s.) gave of his fountain of knowledge with unbound generosity, and the more he gave the more people seemed to want.

 Imam Ali (a.s.) was the encyclopedia of Islam, he was the central religious figure.  It was this encyclopedia that people treasured most.  The information and guidance, given free for the asking, was highly appreciated.  Therefore an institute of learning, headed by Imam Ali (a.s.) as the central figure, without bylaws or constitution, was arising in Medina, especially in its Mosque.  This was a spectacular undertaking.

 Numerous group discussions were held, and they were popularly sought after by hordes of people, local or from outside.  Al-Hasan and Al-Husain were active participants, and so were their younger brothers.  Not only people but even the renowned Khalifa Omar (r) praised Ali admiringly.  On a number of occasions he said:

 

 

 لا بقيتُ لمُعضِلةٍ ليس لها أبو الحسن

MAY I NOT LIVE FOR THE DAY IN WHICH

A RELIGIOUS PROBLEM EXISTS

TO WHICH ALI HAS NO ANSWER.

(M.J. Chirri, Ameerul Mu'mineen, Page 215)

 

   In other words Omar (r) was saying that he was lost without Ali.

 But answering religious problems is not enough, the answer has to be correct from the Islamic point of view, just as what Muhammad (pbuh) would have said.  People went after the person who was always accurate, precise, and ready to answer, and that was Imam Ali.

 Unlike others Ali (a.s.) did not regard the religious problems a challenge.  To him they were only problems that raised a need for an Islamic solution, and he was happy to help.

 No arguments or disagreements ever arose between Imam Ali (a.s.) and knowledgeable Muslims.  The reason was that Ali (a.s.) was the authority, the undisputed central authority and figure in Islamic knowledge.

 

IMAM ALI FEELS SAD, OMAR (r) DIES     

   Omar as the head of the Islamic Ummah lived in a humble house, and in an unpretentious manner.  He lived just like any ordinary person in the now Islamic empire.  He followed the ways of the first great Khalifa, Abu Bakr (r).  Having no pomp or guards may sound good, but it has a deadly opportunity for potential risk, the risk to his life!  Thus, the shocking and unfortunate did occur.  Omar (r) was deadly wounded by a non-believer, who was sane and not deranged, who knew what he was doing.

   The bustling town of Medina was startled and shocked, with the saddest and most worried looks showing on the people's faces.  The news traveled fast and everyone was equally saddened.  The leadership is not to be left vacant, a new Head of State is to take the seat.  People learned of a complex arrangement by which a Khalifa was to be chosen, since this was the wish of Omar (r) in his last days.

   Uthman (r) became the third Khalifa, the one to replace Omar (r).  (For further detail see chapter of Khilaafah at the end of this book).
 

ALI'S SPECIFICS during Omar's Khilaafah       

EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS:

   Ali finishes writing Tafseer of the Quran

   Ali writes the Hadith

   Ali starts to write Al-Ah'kaam

   Al-Hasan helps his father in the writing

   Ibn Abbas learns at the hands of Ali

   Ali the Marji'

   Ali continues to work in his orchard, to support his family and buy then free on the average one slave per a week (520) during Omar's Reign

 

 TAFSEER (MUS'HAF FATIMA):  Ali (a.s.) started to work on Tafseer of the Quran during Khilaafah of Abu Bakr and continued to the finish by now.  The Tafseer is called Mus'haf Fatima, and it consisted of three Volumes.  It was the reference for Tafseer to Ahlul Bayt after him.

 

 AL-HADITH:  Once finished with writing down the Tafseer, Imam Ali set to the massive task of writing down the Hadith:  All what the Prophet (pbuh) said about the Aqeeda (Faith), Ibadat, Akhlaaq (Ethics), Mu'aamalaat (dealing with people), or Inheritance among other things.  The massive works was known as SAHEEFA OF ALI, and it became the reference to Sunni and Shi'i people afterwards.  It took many years of hard work, and it was prioritized and well categorized.  At this time Omar (r) discouraged writing down the Hadith, but Ali, Abu Rafi (Servant of the Prophet) and Al-Ansaari had different points of view.  Everyone of them was busy writing the Hadiths he had memorized, and each produced his own treatise.  They thought a registered Hadith at this time will be a far more accurate record than having to write it two or three centuries laterman's memory is not to be fully trusted.

 

 AL-AH'KAAM:  Once finished with the massive work of putting the Hadith in written text Imam Ali undertook another massive work.  Ah'kaam are the rules and regulations of the various aspects of Islamic duties, such as acts of worship, personal relationship, personal behavior, etc.  Very possibly this works was finished during the times of the next Khalifa.

 

 AL-HASAN HELPS WRITE:  Al-Hasan, now in his early youth, and having been educated by his father, became the second hand to Ali.  He helped Ali (a.s.) to write the Hadith and Ah'kaam (See Al-Sayooti.)

 

 FREEING THE SLAVES:  Ali used to work in his grove, and the money earned was used to maintain the family and the extra money was used to pay for one slave's cost to be freed.  During Omar's Khilaafah Ali freed approximately 520 slavesat the rate of one slave a week!

 

 TUTORING AT HOME:  Ali's family has grown, but despite pressure on his time, Ali (a.s.) tutored all children at home.  He taught them the Quran, its Tafseer, and Hadith.  The environment at home was buzzing with religious activity.  His was the best school in Islam.

 

 IBN ABBAS:  Ibn Abbas now in his early twenties continued to be a good student of Imam Ali, and the fruits of his studies began to attract attention.  Even Omar (r) had many religious conversations with him, one of them was before his death, and it was about Ali's Khilaafah.

 

 

QUESTIONS-II     

1.     Who appointed Omar (r) as Khalifa?

2.     Describe 5 important aspects of Omar's (r) Khilaafah.

3.     How did Ali view Omar's Khilaafah?

4.     Mention 3 points possibly explaining why Ali was not asked to be in charge of military operation during Khilaafah of Omar.

5.     What was the degree of help Ali (a.s.) rendered to Omar (r)?

6.     Who is Umm al Baneen?

7.     Who is Al-Abbas?

8.     Mention a few important points Ali was distinguished with during Khilaafah of Omar.

9.     How was Omar killed?

10. What writing did Ali first finish off during Khilaafah of Omar?

11. What is Mus'haf of Fatima?

12. What writing did Ali finish off after the Tafseer during Khilaafah of Omar?

13. What writing did Ali start after the Tafseer during Khilaafah of Omar?

14. What is Saheefa of Ali?

15. What is Al-Ah'kaam?

16. Who helped Ali in writing the treasure of knowledge during Khilaafah of Omar?

17. Who was Ali tutoring besides his children during Khilaafah of Omar?

18. What is meant by saying: Ali the Marji?

19. Did Ali continue to work in his orchard during Khilaafah of Omar?

20. How many slaves was Ali able to free during Khilaafah of Omar?

21. Mention 5 sayings of Imam Ali about man's character.

22. Mention a saying of Imam Ali about maturity in religion.

23. Mention 3 sayings of Imam Ali about learned men.

24. Mention a saying of Imam Ali about teaching.

25. Mention a saying of Imam Ali about greed.


 

 

 IMAM ALI (a.s.)     

ALI:  DURING KHILAAFAH OF UTHMAN

 

EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS

  Ali advises Uthman (r) at first

  Ali detects a mellow ruler

  Al-Hasan and Al-Husain are married

  Al-Hasan and Al-Husain in Africa's campaign

  Uthman listens to Marwan, Ali is ignored

  Uthman appoints corrupt relatives as State Governors

  Uthman mistreats Ibn Mas'ud and Abu Dhar

  People object to Uthman and revolt

  Ali tries to help

  Uthman is defended by Al-Hasan and Al-Husain

  Uthman is killed by the rebellious

 

 

UTHMAN (r)      (عثمان (ر      

NOT A FIRM ADMINISTRATION

   At first the administration under Uthman (r) seemed alright.  Ali advised Uthman (r)  many times as he was used to doing during Omar's Khilaafah.  Uthman listened to and acted upon Ali's suggestions during the first few years, then he changed his ways.  (For more details about Uthman's Khilaafah see Book 6 of the Series of Islamic Books for Beginners.  Also see the last chapter in this book.)

   Within a few years in Uthman's Khilaafah the vivacious Islamic spirit or the spirit of expansion imperceptibly halted.  Gone was the alert administration of Omar (r), instead there remained quietude and mellowness.  The Islamic movement became soft and subdued.  Imam Ali (a.s.) was perturbed, he detected a disturbing sense of relaxation and accommodation.  He, along with others, felt it was Uthman's mellowness of nature to be the cause.

   Because of this the Romans became very emboldened, both in Asia Minor and Africa, and even on the sea.  As a result several confrontations took place, notable among them was in North Africa.

 

CAMPAIGN FOR NORTH AFRICA     

   The latest news was about the new direction, North Africa.  Preparations for such a large force was underway and both Al-Hasan (a.s.) and Al-Husain (a.s.) wanted to participate, since now they were free to go out of Medina.  Previously it was impossible because of Omar's decree which had barred any of the notables and Companions to live outside Medina, to limit the growth of the cult of personality.  This limitation, which had its share of advantages and disadvantages was abolished by Uthman (r) when he became the Khalifa.

   Both Al-Hasan (a.s.) and Al-Husain (a.s.) were now free to go to Africa.  Having finished their preparations, they bade their father, wives, children, and relatives good bye.  They headed north, then west to Egypt, traveling several weeks, until they joined the Muslim force.  It was a long, tiresome trip, along sandy areas and rocky ones, up the elevations and down into the valleys.  Finally they were in Egypt, with the wide blue Nile, the luscious groves, the hazy skies, and the famous pyramids.

   It wasn't too long before Al-Hasan (a.s.) and Al-Husain (a.s.) were on their way west, along with the new Muslim forces, to face the Romans in Tunisia.

   The Roman force was huge and well prepared, it was overwhelming.  A ferocious, prolonged, and bloody battle broke out.  It continued into the second and third day with numerous casualties falling from both sides.  During the last day the Muslims got the upper hand and the Roman army began to retreat, breaking into pieces.  It crumbled under the pressure and finally surrendered.  They surrendered by the thousands, nay the whole army in its totality, arms and all.  After this decisive battle, the way lay open to Islam for all of North Africa.

   Al-Hasan and Al-Husain did very well, and they were very happy and content now that the Romans had lost and would no longer pose danger to Islam.

 

AL-HASAN AND AL-HUSAIN RETURN     

   Imam Ali (a.s.), along with his family and the families of his two sons, saw the far away caravan moving in their direction.  Al-Hasan and Al-Husain were in it.  They could see them from far away in dusty travel clothes happy and excited, but showing the effect of travel.  For the next few days a smiling Al-Hasan and Al-Husain kept giving the details of their participation in the North African war, to the children and others.  It felt good to be home with family and relatives.

 

THE SPOILS OF WAR     

   Upsetting news soon arrived, however.  Khalifa Uthman (r) had unreservedly given a tremendous portion of the spoils of the North African battle to his family member (his secretary), Marwan.  Marwan the son of Hakam, was so bad that he along with his family was exiled by the Prophet from Medina for many years.  The exile was imposed because of the tremendous hurt Hakam had inflicted on the person of the Prophet and on Islam for many years.

   The large spoils given to Marwan by Uthman produced a stir, leading to much criticism and bad comments.  Numerous people became very upset that the spoils had been given in such manner.  There were objections and numerous people resented Uthman's manner of administration and the favoritism as well as its excesses.

 

OBJECTIONS ABOUT UTHMAN'S MANAGEMENT     

   Criticism about Uthman (r) gradually mounted until finally it exploded.  People noticed that:

1.  Uthman lived in luxury and this was shocking to some.  They compared this to the simple way of living of Khalifas Abu Bakr (r) and Omar (r).  Uthman preferred the pretentious and luxurious, and so did many in his government.  The Muslims felt the public treasury (like the tax money of present day) was for the public, to be used wisely, that excess wealth is and was important only if used wisely.  Self-indulgence is un-Islamic and destructive.

2. Uthman appointed his undeserving family members to the most prestigious and sensitive positions.  They were of Benu Umayya family.  The government became a family affair, that of Uthman's.

  The State Governors were all of Benu Umayya clan, and so were the majority of officers, employees, and appointees!  They had the power, wealth, and all the privileges.  For example:

 The governorship of Syria was under Mu'awiya who was the son of Abu Sufyanwho had been the biggest enemy of Islam and had twice led the disbelievers against Islam.

 The governorship of Iraq was given to Ibn Aqaba, also a relative of Uthman, who once lead a congregational Salat of Subh in an intoxicated condition.  He once performed four Rak'as for Morning Salat instead of two!

 The governorship of Egypt was given to Ibn Sar'h who was Uthman's brother in nursing (both had been nursed by the same woman), who during the Prophet's time was exiled from the area because he was so evil and had dealt the Prophet and the Muslims such bad treatment .

3. Worst of all people complained about Marwan, the Secretary of State.  Marwan was also related to Uthman, but he and his father were the meanest enemies of the Prophet.

   The condition and welfare of the Islamic nation were at stake; they were deteriorating rapidly, and the years passed swiftly.  People kept complaining bitterly to Imam Ali (a.s.), and he was pained and feeling sorry.

 

IMAM ALI (a.s.) IS PAINED     

   Ali was 56 year old, and much had happened in the 23 years after the Prophet's (pbuh) death.  Ali was preoccupied and disturbed by much that was said about Uthman and his bad administration, all of which was in the negative.  Imam Ali worried about the future of the Islamic nation; there was much at stake.  People complained vehemently to Ali about the deteriorating conditions and about the Governors of Benu Umayya who acted like dictators using the public treasury (like tax money) as they pleased as if the money belonged to them.

   Imam Ali was also pained because Uthman being indecisive or incapable left matters in the hands of his Secretary of State, the highly questionable Marwan!  Marwan, the real power, craftily played his hand in a clever way, engineering everything to his own advantage and to the advantage of his family Benu Umayya.

   Because of these and other matters, thousands of extremely concerned people came from Iraq and Egypt to express their grievances to the Khalifa.  They wanted a radical change for the betterment of the State, a change in the administration of Uthman.  They went to Ali to see if he could help.

   Ali went to Uthman many times to advise him and give suggestions.  Ali wanted to prevent trouble, he foresaw much trouble ahead.  Alas it was frustrating for Ali (a.s.), for Uthman listened to him but ignored his advice.  Uthman was the prisoner of his own making, he was the prisoner of the influence of Marwan.  Yet Uthman was ultimately the responsible one, after all he was the Head of State.

   Imam Ali (a.s.) heard Uthman many times promise people that he would follow in the footsteps of Abu Bakr (r) and Omar (r), but he did not.  This led to loss of confidence and credibility and it raised angry voices.  It escalated.

   Imam Ali (a.s.) had sleepless nights.  The nation was in danger, even of disintegration.  Ali saw,

 the clashes between the different clans,

 people's indulgence in luxury and material comfort,

 the tendency toward easy living, and

 the abuse of power.

   All of these hurt him very much.  As if this was not enough, Imam Ali began to hear that A'isha, the Mother of the Faithful and wife of the Prophet (pbuh) was in a campaign to bring down Uthman. (Taareekh Al-Tibari, Vol. 4, Page 407.  Also Ibn Atheer, Vol. 3, Page 206.)  This was too much to take.

   Ali's attempts to calm down the highly emotional situation went to no avail, people were too distressed and angry to listen.

 How could they be otherwise, since they also found out that some great Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) were even ill-treated and harmed by Uthman himself.  How could they forget that Abu Dhar had been severely beaten then exiled to a far away village?!  This was all done because Abu Dhar was exposing the excesses of a) the Khalifa (r), b) Mu'awiya in Syria, and c) the rest of Benu Umayya, whom the Khalifa had appointed as Governors. (M.J. Chirri, Ameerul Mu'mineen, Page 279)

 How could people forget the brutal treatment given to Ibn Masud who wanted to execute his duty Islamicly as the treasurer in Iraq, but the governor from Benu Umayya wanted to use Iraq's state treasury as if it belonged to him personally? (M.J. Chirri, Ameerul Mu'mineen, Page 281)

   Yes, the times were very bad, Imam Ali (a.s.) was agonizing, and he kept saying to himself, if they had just given the Khilaafah to its rightful person to begin with, as the Prophet had wanted, none of this would ever happen!  All of it would have been prevented.

 

ALI (a.s.) REFLECTS     

mam Ali (a.s.) was worried, his mind wondered about many things:

1.     the many "millionaires" that had emerged, such as Talha, Zubair, Ibn Auf, and others;

2.     the many corrupt Umayya governors; and

3.     the suffering masses.

 Then Imam Ali's mind would go to Umm Al-Mu'mineen, A'isha, and the agitation she led against Uthman. (Taareekh Al-Tibari Vol. 3, Page 407.  Also Ibn Atheer Vol. 3, Page 206.)

 Then Ali's (a.s.) mind would wander about Abu Dhar and Ibn Masud, Ammar ibn Yasir, and the ill treatment they received at the hands of Uthman (r).

 Imam Ali (a.s.) was frightened about the affairs of the nation and the direction it was heading to.  How good it was, Ali thought, when Khalifa Omar (r) was alive, but what a difference between then and now, and what would Omar (r) say if he were alive to see all of this!?

 Imam Ali discovered too that thousands of people came all the way from Egypt and Iraq to Medina.  They were very concerned people asking for, nay demanding, radical change in Uthman's administration.  Uthman (r) was ultimately the responsible person, after all, he was the Head of State, the entrusted one.  Their mood was highly charged and things were getting hot.  There were thousands of new faces in Medina nowthey wanted change for the better in the government.

 

THEY ASK ALI FOR A SOLUTION     

   Imam Ali was the center of attention, the man to identify with, the figure head.  Everyone came to him asking for a solution concerning Uthman.  Ali (a.s.) was the go between, and he succeeded in persuading Uthman (r) to speak to the people.  As a result Uthman spoke to the public and delivered a speech in the Mosque this time promising to:

1.     abide by his promises,

2.     change his administration as demanded, and

3.     replace the corrupt Governors and institute reforms.

   Having been so assured, and feeling at ease that a change would soon come, the rebellious people left Medina, all of them.  But to their dismay these people discovered foul play.  They discovered a letter to the Governor of Egypt commanding: "When those people arrive, put them to the sword!"  Now the letter inflamed the emotions even more and these people kept repeating, "How could the Khalifa double cross us, how could he do this to us?!"

   Now extremely inflamed the people returned to Medina and put up a siege to the house of the Khalifa (r), and even cut off its water supply!  They were furious.

   The situation was ominous.  Imam Ali (a.s.) once more tried to troubleshoot and he met with Uthman many times.  Al-Hasan (a.s.) and Al-Husain (a.s.) were stationed at the door of the house of the Khalifa (r), guarding it for dear life, along with a few others.  They were the means of supplying the Khalifa with food and water.

   Every person was extremely upset, everyone was saying something, they were going in circles.  Eventually Uthman was killed by the angry fellow Muslims.

   Ali (a.s.) came to his sons Al-Hasan and Al-Husain screaming, "Why didn't you protect him with your lives?"  He was furious, very angry to the point that he did not even see the blood running down the head of Al-Hasan, who had been wounded by an arrow!

   Al-Hasan and Al-Husain were defending the Khalifa (r) with others when suddenly the angry people made a commotion at the front of the house, which proved to be a diversion.  At the same time some others took advantage of this and entered Uthman's house through the back, killing him in an outrage of anger!!

 

AN IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH     

   Once the Khalifa (r) was killed an agonizing terrifying feeling gripped the people.  Imam Ali (a.s.) took the news the hardest.  He was sad and very much in pain.  He saw an Islamic nation in disorder and chaos, losing its head, doing the unthinkable!!  Each person wanted to do something to correct the situation but it was too late and they knew it.  You cannot collect the water after you spill it, can you?

   Feelings aside, suddenly people could find no Head of State, no central figure to call a Khalifa.  This lofty seat, the Head of State, was suddenly empty.  There was a vacuum and it had to be filled.  But there was no specific guideline or framework to fall upon for choosing a Khalifa.  The three previous Khalifas became Heads of State because of varying modalities of choice, none of which applied to the present situation.  Not only that but also conditions indicated an impending disastrous aftermath because of the excesses of Uthman's regime.

   People focused their eyes on Ali (a.s.); in other words, they were saying, "Now that we made such a mess, you, Imam Ali, take the Khilaafah and put things right."  They wanted him to set this situation right.  The situation was extremely difficult, the responsibility was very heavy, it was weighty, but someone had to do something.  Now the genius of Ali (a.s.) had to be put to work.


 

 

ALI'S SPECIFICS during Uthman's Khilaafah       

EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS:

   Ali finishes writing Al-Ah'kaam

   Ali writes the Jafr

   Ali compares the Quranic text he wrote with the one written  during Khilaafah of Uthman.  Surahs were the exact replica

   Tutoring the family at home

   Ali the Marji' (Religious Reference)

   Ali continues to work in his orchard, to support family and buy then free one slave at the average of once a week.  He freed 600 during Khilaafah of Uthman.

   

 AL-AH'KAAM:  With more diligent work and persistence, Ali (a.s.) finished off writing the Ah'kaam.  They are the teachings of the Prophet about the rules and regulations of the various aspects of the Islamic duties.  This includes acts of worship, the laws of inheritance, dealing with others in the community, society and even internationally.

 

 When the Holy Quran was to be officially put in writing during Uthman's Khilaafah, Ali made sure that the copy worked on was the exact replica as the one he had put in writing before.  It was a painstaking work to ensure the exactness of the manuscript.

 

 Ali's family had expanded but the schooling of the children continued to be a major undertaking.  Al-Hasan, Al-Husain, Muhammad Ibn Al-Hanafia were active teaching Al-Abbas and his brothers and sisters about Islam.  The treasure of Islamic Directives was practically limitless, and the schooling at home was quite active.  This was done under the supervision and active participation of Ali when time allowed.

 

 AL-JAFR:  Once finished with Al-Ah'kaam, Ali wrote the Jafr, the white and the red.

 

 ALI THE REFERENCE:  Ali continued to be the Religious Reference to people, not only at the Central Mosque but other places as well.  People continued to seek his guidance.  Numerous sayings and Du'aas were registered, and some of those sayings follow: 

 

 QUESTIONS-III     

1.     Describe Khilaafah of Uthman in its first years.

2.     What happened to the vivacious Islamic spirit during Uthman's Khilaafah?

3.     What was one of the first items Uthman abolished of Omar's restriction?

4.     Who participated in the North Africa campaign?

5.     Describe the North African campaign with the Romans.

6.     What upset the Ummah about the spoils of war of the North African campaign?

7.     Who is a) Marwan, b) his relation to Uthman, c) his position?

8.     Who is a) Mu'awiya, b) his role during Uthman's time?

9.     Who is Ibn Sar'h and his relation to the Prophet (pbuh)?

10. Describe Ali's (a.s.) feeling about the Ummah during the last years of Uthman.

11. Explain the dangers facing the Ummah during Uthman's rule.

12. Mention 4 items that were particularly dangerous to the Ummah during Uthman's rule.

13. What was A'isha, the Mother of the Faithful, campaigning about Uthman?

14. Explain how Uthman harmed Abu Dhar.

15. Explain 8 points Ali was wondering about during the last years of Uthman.

16. Describe the 3 points Uthman promised the rebels in the Mosque.

17. Why did the rebels return from Egypt to put siege to Uthman's house?

18. Who was dispatched to defend Uthman?

19. How was Uthman killed?

20. Who got wounded in defense of Uthman?

21. What did Ali finish off writing during the Khilaafah of Uthman?

22. What did Ali do when the Holy Quran was officially put in writing?

23. How many kinds of Al-Jafr are there?

24. How many slaves was Ali able to free during Khilaafah of Uthman?

25. Mention 3 sayings of Ali about nobility of character.

26. Mention a saying of Ali about good will.

27. Mention a saying of Ali about gathering wisdom.

28. Mention a saying of Ali about ignorance.

29. Mention a saying of Ali about mettle of men.