Ali bin Abi Talib

Ali belonged to the clan of banu hashim, the most distinguished clan in all Arabia; and in Banu Hashim, he belonged to the most distinguished family – the family of Abdul Muttalib. Abdul Muttalib had ten sons. Two of them were Abdullah, the father of Muhammad Mustafa, and Abu Talib, the father of Ali. Abdullah and Abu Talib were the children of the same mother whereas their other brothers were born of the other wives of their father.

Ali’s mother, Fatima, also belonged to the clan of Hashim. She was the daughter of Asad the son of Hashim. Asad and Abdul Muttalib were brothers. She was thus the first cousin of Abdullah and Abu Talib.

Ali’s mother, Fatima bint Asad, was the second woman in all Arabia to accept Islam, the first being Khadija.

Fatima bint Asad was the foster-mother of Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of God. She brought him up as her own son, and in fact, loved him more than her own children, and he called her his mother.

Ali’s father, Abu Talib, was the Defender of Islam, and he was the Protector and Guardian of Muhammad. He supported Islam and Muhammad consistently, and he was undaunted in the face of opposition and threats from the pagans.

Both in Makkah and Medina, Muhammad Mustafa declared that Ali was his brother in this world and in the Hereafter.

Ali was the victor of the battle of Badr. He alone killed half the number of all the Makkans who were killed in that battle.

Muhammad Mustafa, the Apostle of God, gave his only daughter, Fatima Zahra, in marriage to Ali. God blessed this marriage with children. Those children were God’s most devout servants. Their greatest pleasure in life was to wait upon their Lord.

In the battle of Uhud, most of the Muslims fled from the battlefield. One who did not flee, was Ali. He saved the life of his master, Muhammad, that day.

At the siege of Medina, Ali killed Amr bin Abd Wudd, and thereby saved Medina from being overrun, and its people from being massacred.

Ali captured Khyber. With Khyber’s conquest, Islam became a state with territory. Until the conquest of Khyber, Islam was only a city-state, confined to the walls of Medina.

Ali was the secretary who indicted the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.

When Makkah capitulated to the Prophet, Ali rode his shoulders, and smashed the idols in the Kaaba. He and his master, Muhammad, purified the House of God for all time by removing all vestiges of idolatry and polytheism from it. In this manner, Ali collaborated with Muhammad, the Messenger of God, from beginning to end, in constructing the framework of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

In the battle of Hunayn, the Muslims fled once again. Ali put himself between the Apostle and the pagan warriors who wanted to kill him. He fought against them until the Muslims rallied.

In October 630 (9 A.H.) the Apostle led an expedition to Tabuk, and he appointed Ali his viceroy in Medina.

Among all the companions of the Prophet, Ali was the most knowledgeable. He had thorough knowledge of the Qur’an, and its interpretation. He was the best of all judges, and he was the most eloquent orator of the Arabs.

Just before his death, the Prophet equipped and organized an expedition to Syria, and he appointed Usama bin Zayd bin Haritha, its general. With the exception of Ali, he ordered all the Muhajireen to serve under Usama. Ali was to stay with him in Medina.

In the defence of Islam, it was Ali’s family which offered the greatest sacrifices. Obaidullah ibn al-Harith who was killed in the battle of Badr, and was the first martyr of Islam in the battlefield, was his first cousin. Mas’ab ibn Umayr and Hamza were killed in the battle of Uhud, and both of them were his uncles. Jafar Tayyar who was killed in the battle of Mootah was his elder brother.

When Muhammad Mustafa died, Ali performed his obsequies, and gave him burial. He knew what the other companions were doing when he was busy with these duties but he did not allow anything to distract him. He kept his duty ahead of his interests, and his principles ahead of politics.