Dear brothers and sisters, we continue our series on the companions of the Prophet SAWS and this week it is about one of the 10 people who have been guranteed paradise.
Ali bin Abi Talib was the cousin of the prophet SAWS, husband of the Prophets daughter Fatima who was the leader of the women and father of Hassan and Hussain who themselves are leaders of the youth of Janna.
After the death of the Prophet SAWS, he was the fourth of the companions of the Prophet to be appointed as the khalifa or leader of the Ummah.
Ali, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, was the closest of the companions to the Prophet SAWS in terms of lineage and was indeed grown up around the Prophet SAWS.
As a result he would be with the Prophet SAWS, and that made him learn truth, mannerisms, generosity. Later on, Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, mother of the believers, looked after him and he became Muslim when he was 10 years old.
Ali bin Abi Talib was the first to be Muslim of the children and was the first to pray with the Prophet SAWS after Khadija. The Prophet SAWS spoke of Ali in the highest regard and these are referenced in today’s reminder by the imam. The first is translated to say:
I heard the prophet peace and blessings be upon him say (‘Whoever loves Ali, loves me; and whoever loves me has loved Allah; and whoever hates Ali, hates me and whoever hates me hates Allah.'”
Dear brothers and sisters, we use the reminders of the companions of the Prophet SAWS in order to learn from their life, their characteristics and their manners. In the case of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the first trait to speak of is of his bravery.
The imam reminded us of the battle of Khaybar through the following translated hadith:
On the day (of the battle) of Khaibar the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Tomorrow I will give the flag to somebody who will be given victory (by Allah) and who loves Allah and His Apostle and is loved by Allah and His Apostle.” So, the people wondered all that night as to who would receive the flag and in the morning everyone hoped that he would be that person.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked, “Where is `Ali?” He was told that `Ali was suffering from eye-trouble, so he applied saliva to his eyes and invoked Allah to cure him. He at once got cured as if he had no ailment.
The Prophet (ﷺ) gave him the flag. `Ali said, “Should I fight them till they become like us (i.e. Muslim)?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Go to them patiently and calmly till you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them what is enjoined upon them, for, by Allah, if Allah gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels.”
Alongside his bravery, he was also a knowledgeable and successful in inviting others to Islam. One example of this is given in today’s reminder and that is of the expedition to the people of Hamdan, just outside Yemen.
The Messenger of God sent Khalid b. al-Walid to the people of the Yemen inviting them to Islam, and I was among those who went with him. He persisted in the matter for six months, but they did not respond, so the Messenger of God sent ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and ordered him that Khalid and those who were with him should return, but if any of them would like to follow him he should allow them.
Al-Bara’ said, “I was one who followed ‘Ali, and as we reached the borders of the Yemen the people got the news. They gathered around him and ‘Ali led us in the morning prayer. When he had finished [the prayer], he lined us up in one row. Then he moved before us, praised and extolled God, then read to them the letter of the Messenger of God.
All of Hamdan embraced Islam in one day, and he wrote to the Messenger of God about it. When the Prophet read ‘Ali’s letter he fell down, prostrating himself to God. Then he sat up and said, ‘Peace be upon Hamdan, Peace be upon Hamdan’ [After the conversion of Hamdan] the people of the Yemen followed in succession with their acceptance of Islam.
Dear brothers and sisters, from this we learn the importance of delivering the message of truth and the manner in which it is done. He was known for his chivalry and the personification of gallantry, bravery and generosity.
Our belief of the companions of the Prophet SAWS is that we love the companions of the prophet SAWS, and do not differentiate, or exclude any of them. Our role is to follow the Prophet SAWS and dislike who he disliked, and love the companions as he loved the companions.
There is a point of contention amongst Muslims regarding Ali which has contributed to the shia and sunni split. What must be noted in regards to this point is that firstly, we believe that the order of the khalifa was as Allah SWT ordained and secondly, our primary focus should be on the fundamentals of our faith, especially in this country and not on debating with others on this point.
As people belonging to the same Ummah of the Prophet SAWS, we need to adopt the characteristics mentioned today as each and every day is an opportunity for us to give dawah, either in the conversations we have with our non-Muslim neighbours, colleagues and friends or subtly in the actions and mannerisms we show in the everyday things we do.