Imam ÝAlī (Ýa): The Complete Manifestation of Tawḥīd

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Imam ÝAlī (Ýa): The Complete Manifestation of Tawḥīd

Question: How did Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) manifest his belief in the oneness of God during his lifetime?
Concise answer:
Detailed answer: In the second sermon of the Nahj al-Balāghah, Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) speaks in regards to his belief in the oneness of God (which is the root of all virtues which someone can possess) and he says: I give witness that there is no object of worship except Allah, who is one and has no partners.[1] He then adds: My testimony in regards to the reality of Tawḥīd is not a simple testimony, rather it is a testimony whose sincerity has been tested and whose essence and nature has been structured within my convictions (meaning that this is not a belief that is limited only to my tongue).[2] [3] This is not a testimony which soon passes (we are bound to this conviction for as long as we live and it is a provision for times of fear and terror which we are going to face).[4]

Before Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) invited anyone else to the path of this truth, he was himself a complete manifestation of it. During the entire period of his life, he never once prostrated in front of an idol and he was never under the influence of polytheism to even the least degree. Every step that he took was for the sake of God and every action that he undertook was for God’s satisfaction. From the beginning until the end of the Prophet’s (ṣ) life, he was constantly in his service and he would strive to do his very best in this service. The story of his fight against ÝAmr ibn ÝAbd Wadd, when he had knocked him down and was about to kill him, is quite well known and one of the famous stories of early Islamic history. During this instance when ÝAmr was on the ground and the Imam (Ýa) was about to kill him, the Muslims suddenly saw Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) pause (and according to some reports he stood up and began to walk around for a few steps). He then returned and killed ÝAmr. When the Muslims asked him why he had acted in this way, he replied: He insulted my mother and then spit on me. I feared that if I were to kill him at that moment it would be due to my own desires, so I left him until my anger had subsided, and then I returned and killed him for the sake of God (alone).[5]

During one point in his caliphate, some individuals suggested that the Imam (Ýa) use the funds of the public treasury in order to strengthen the foundations of his government. Their idea was to give this money to some of the leaders in the society and therefore, reduce the problems of their revolt and sedition (which would come about if they were not given this money). Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) refused to do this and said that he would never use money that was not his (money from the public treasury that belonged to the people). He swore that for as long as he lived and for as long as the day and nights continued (meaning that for as long as the world continued), he would never do such a thing.[6]

Whenever Imam ÝAlī (Ýa) would stand up in prayer, he was so overtaken with God that he would see and hear nothing but him, and he would only think of him. During one famous instance, he had been wounded during the Battle of Uḥud and an arrow had penetrated deep in to his leg. The removal of this arrow was very difficult so the Prophet (ṣ) ordered that it be removed while the Imam (Ýa) was busy in his prayers. After he had completed his prayers, he mentioned that he had not realized that they had removed the arrow from his leg.[7] This was the level of Imam ÝAlīÝs belief in God and some of the manifestations of his faith.[8]


Footnote: [1] «وَ اَشْهَدُ اَنْ لا اِله اِلاّ الله وَحْدَهُ لا شَریکَ لَهُ»

[2] شَهادَةً مُمْتَحَناً

[3] اِخْلاصُها، مُعْتَقَداً مُصاصُه

[4] «نَتَمَسَّکُ بِها اَبَداً ما اَبْقانا، وَ نَدَّخِرُها لاَهاویلِ ما یَلْقانا»

[5] Manāqib Ibn Shahr Āshūb, vol. 2, p. 115 (Mustadrak al-wasāÞil, vol. 18, p. 28); Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 41, p. 51: «قَدْ کانَ شَتَمَ اُمّى وَ تَفَلَ فى وَجْهى فَخَشِیتُ اَنْ اَضْرِبَهُ لِحَظِّ نَفْسى فَتَرَکْتُهُ حَتّى سَکَنَ ما بى ثُمَّ قَتَلْتُهُ فِى اللهِ»

[6] Nahj al-balāghah, Sermon 126.

[7] Manāqib mutaḍawīyah, written by Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Kashfī Ḥanafī, p. 364, Bombay Print (also narrated in Aḥqāq al-ḥaq, vol. 8, p. 602)

[8] Payām Imām Amīr al-MuÞminīn (Ýa), Ayatullah Nāṣir Makārim Shīrāzī, Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, Tehran, 1387 Hijrī Shamsī, vol. 1, p. 273.
Published on: « 1393/02/21 »
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