Hazrat Alira was born ten years before the Holy Prophetsa was commissioned as a prophet. His father, Abdul Manaf, who was known as Abu Talib, was the leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Quraish tribe of Mecca. Abu Talib was the uncle of Holy Prophetsa and father of Hazrat Alira.
The Holy Prophetsa was eight years of age when his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib passed away. Abu Talib, despite his poverty, graciously took in the Holy Prophetsa and cared for him as his own son. Thus, from the very beginning Hazrat Alira was with the Holy Prophetsa.
Hazrat Ali’sra mother, Hazrat Fatima bint Asad, took care of the Holy Prophetsa like her own son. Not only did she accept Islam, but was fortunate enough to have also migrated to Medina. When she passed away, the Holy Prophetsa said that after Abu Talib, he was most grateful to Hazrat Fatima bint Asad.
Acceptance of Islam
Hazrat Alira was at the tender age of ten when the Holy Prophetsa was commissioned by God.
Once, when Hazrat Alira found the Holy Prophetsa and his wife Hazrat Khadijara praying, he enquired as to what the Holy Prophetsa was doing. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa told him about Islam and that he was the Messenger of Allah, and invited him to Islam. Due to the fact that Hazrat Alira knew the Holy Prophetsa all his life and had a lot of respect for him, he knew that what he was telling him was the truth. Thus, he accepted Islam and is counted among the first to have accepted Islam.
Hazrat Ali’s courage
On the fourth year of Nabuwat, when the Holy Prophetsa was commanded to spread the message of Islam to his relatives, he asked Hazrat Alira to arrange for a meal to be prepared with his relatives.
After the meal, the Holy Prophetsa announced to his relatives that he was the Messenger of Allah and asked, “Who among you will stand by me and help me?”
Upon this, nobody had the courage to say anything, but Hazrat Alira, who at the time was just a young boy, stood up and wholeheartedly declared, “O Prophet of Allah, though I am just a young boy, but still I am present to stand by you.”
(Tafsir Tibri, Sura Al-Shura)
From this incident, we can see the brave and courageous character of Hazrat Alira.
When the Holy Prophetsa was commanded by God to leave Mecca and migrate to Medina he immediately left with Hazrat Abu Bakrra.
That night the Holy Prophetsa told Hazrat Alira to remain behind in Mecca, and to return all the belongings of the people of Mecca as the Holy Prophetsa was entrusted with the precious belongings of some non-believers in Mecca. The Holy Prophetsa requested Hazrat Alira to sleep in his bed and to cover himself with his blanket.
That night the Angel Gabriel brought news to the Holy Prophetsa about the disbelievers of Mecca who were conspiring to kill him. Many young men from various clans of the Quraish were outside the Holy Prophet’ssa house. However, by the grace of Allah, the Holy Prophetsa had already left. When the men entered the house to kill the Holy Prophetsa, they removed the blanket to only realize that Hazrat Alira was there instead, ready to sacrifice himself for the Holy Prophetsa.
After the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthmanra, the companions of the Holy Prophetsa along with other Muslims agreed to elect Hazrat Alira as the fourth Khalifa. Upon this, Hazrat Alira said that that was no light decision and only those companions who took part in the Battle of Badr should make such a decision. Thus, the companions who took part in Badr agreed and elected Hazrat Alira as the fourth Khalifa. Seeing the dire state of the Umma and the state of the people, Hazrat Alira agreed.
Hazrat Alira first took the Bai‘at of Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra, and then the rest of the companions.
Looking at history we can see that the period of Hazrat Ali’sra Khilafat, especially the end, was a turbulent period for Islam. Muslims were no longer united. They had split into different factions, putting their interests above all else.
Hazrat Ali’sra policy was purely based on the teachings of the Quran. He never compromised Islamic ethics and principles for the sake of holding onto power.
He made no distinction between the rich and poor. He did not try to please the rich at the expense of the poor and weak.
A lesson for all Muslims
Once, during a battle between the Muslims and the disbelievers, we read an incident which shows the beautiful nature of Hazrat Alira. During battle Hazrat Alira subdued the enemy and pinned him to the ground. The enemy knew that he had been defeated, and out of fear and anger spat on Hazrat Ali’sra face. Upon this Hazrat Alira calmly inserted his sword back into its sheath and walked away.
The enemy, in a state of confusion, enquired from Hazrat Alira as to why he had walked away. Hazrat Alira explained that everything he had done until then was for the sake of Allah. When the enemy spat on his face, Hazrat Alira got angry. He said that if at that point he had killed the enemy then it would’ve been out of personal spite and not for Allah.
Asadullah – Lion of God
Hazrat Alira was among the first to accept Islam. He spent a major part of his life with the Holy Prophetsa. His bravery and courageous character was second to none. Studying history, we see that he endured intolerable levels of hardships, both when he was the Khalifa and the time prior to that, but he remained firm and steadfast on reestablishing peace within the Muslims. His entire life was spent in the great service of Islam.