Sunday, 30 September 2012

Bribery and Corruption

The Bloomsbury essential dictionary defines Bribery as; “the act of giving somebody money or another essential incentive to do you a favour, especially an illegal or dishonest one”. It defines Corruption as; “dishonest behavior engaged in for personal gain.”

Even without going into much detail we all know that bribery and corruption are socially, morally and mentally indecent. However, it is unfortunate how these vices have become the order of the day. One does not have an excuse to engage in such behaviors because Allah clearly prohibits them. If we truly fear Allah and we want to enter His paradise, then we must behave as good Muslims so that the whole world will see the beauty of Islam in us. Allah says:
And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc), nor give bribery to the rulers that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.” Ch2 V188

What we need to put into consideration here is that we will all account for our wealth on the Day of Judgment. We will account for each and every penny, how it was acquired and how it was spent. Another important issue is that any wealth that is unjustly gotten will not benefit the owner. Why do we think our children have become the source of our nightmares nowadays? Do we think we will feed them with Haram (unlawful means) and expect good out of them? Why do we think robbers, thieves, kidnappers, etc have become rampant nowadays? Why is it that we gather all sorts of worldly things yet we can’t sleep with both eyes closed?

We need to ponder on these questions and ask how the sahaba’s [companions of the Prophet (S.A.W)] lived their lives, the way he praised them and how he warned about the wrongdoers.
 Here is a hadith:Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (S.A.W) as saying: 0 people, Allah is Good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good. He then made a mention of a person who travels widely, his hair disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication):” O Lord,0 Lord,” whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted? (Sahih Muslim, Book 5, Hadith 2214)

Allah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying:”O Messengers, eat of the good things, and do good deeds; verily I am aware of what you do” (Ch23 V51). And He (SWT) also said: “O those who believe, eat of the good things that We gave you” (Ch2 V172)

Let us all look at these issues properly and fear Allah (S.W.T) Who warned us beforehand not to indulge in such activities. May He protect us and continue to guide us aright.

from the Ideal Muslim Worker

The End Of The World

Sahih Al Bukhari - Book of Afflictions And The End Of The World
Volume 009, Book 088, Hadith Number 237.
Narrated By Abu Huraira : Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established
(1) till two big groups fight each other whereupon there will be a great number of casualties on both sides and they will be following one and the same religious doctrine, 
(2) till about thirty Dajjals (liars) appear, and each one of them will claim that he is Allah's Apostle, 
(3) till the religious knowledge is taken away (by the death of Religious scholars) 
(4) earthquakes will increase in number 
(5) time will pass quickly, 
(6) afflictions will appear, 
(7) Al-Harj, (i.e., killing) will increase, 
(8) till wealth will be in abundance... so abundant that a wealthy person will worry lest nobody should accept his Zakat, and whenever he will present it to someone, that person (to whom it will be offered) will say, 'I am not in need of it,
 (9) till the people compete with one another in constructing high buildings, 
(10) till a man when passing by a grave of someone will say, 'Would that I were in his place 
(11) and till the sun rises from the West. 
So when the sun will rise and the people will see it (rising from the West) they will all believe (embrace Islam) but that will be the time when: (As Allah said,) 'No good will it do to a soul to believe then, if it believed not before, nor earned good (by deeds of righteousness) through its Faith.' (6.158) And the Hour will be established while two men spreading a garment in front of them but they will not be able to sell it, nor fold it up; and the Hour will be established when a man has milked his she-camel and has taken away the milk but he will not be able to drink it; and the Hour will be established before a man repairing a tank (for his livestock) is able to water (his animals) in it; and the Hour will be established when a person has raised a morsel (of food) to his mouth but will not be able to eat it."

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Greatest Verse (Ayat Al-Kursi)

Surah Al-Baqara, Verse 255 The Verse of The Throne:

"Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great."
(English - Shakir)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was reported to have described Verse 255 in Al-Baqara "the greatest verse" in The Qur'an. [Bukhari]. The text of this glorious verse adorns the wall of Muslim homes, shops and mosques. It is amongst the most memorized and frequently recited  verses in The Qur'an. It is the only verse in The Qur'an that is mentioned by a name, Ayat Al-Kursi. Though kursi literally means chair or footstool, Ayat Al-Kursi is widely translated as "The Verse of The Throne" of the Almighty. Al-Kursi must not be confused with Al-Arsh (The Throne) which is infinitely higher and greater than Al-Kursi. Only a brief overview is presented here. Reading the authentic commentaries is therefore essential for better understanding. The grandeur and uniqueness of Allah is described in Ayat Al-Kursi that has the following ten Arabic segments:

Allah, there is nothing worthy of worship except Him

Belief in Islam begins with rejecting the worship of false and multiple gods. Ayat Al-Kursi affirms belief in Allah, the One and Only Creator Who does not have partners, associates, spouse or a son, and is The Only One worthy of worship.

Allah is Ever-Living, Self-Existing and All-Sustaining

Allah describes His creation as "the living". [21:30, 35:22]. In Ayat Al-Kursi, Allah describes Himself as "Ever-Living". Allah is outside the dimension of time, having no beginning or end. Allah is independent of needs and exists without needing any support. All His created things depend on Him for all their needs.

Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Allah

Ayat Al-Kursi corrects the corruption that had entered into earlier Scriptures that ascribe to God characteristics of human beings. Allah The Most High does not have the weakness of created things. Allah says, "nothing of fatigue touched Us" during His creation of "the heavens and the earth, and all between them" [50:38]. Allah is thus never in need of "rest". Allah is ever-awake with complete authority over His creation.

To Allah belongs everything in the heavens and the earth

Ayat Al-Kursi declares that Allah is the sole owner of all of His creation. We are His servants. He has given us this life for a fixed period of time to worship Him by obeying the guidance in The Qur'an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]. There is Paradise to those who obey and become worthy  of His Mercy, and Hell Fire to those who disobey.

Who can mediate with Allah in His presence except by His permission?

Ayat Al-Kursi refutes the idea that anyone or anything has the power to impose its will on Allah. Such influence would be contrary to Allah's complete authority and sovereignity. Pleading for others can therefore exist only by Allah's design and permission. Believers supplicate to Allah The Exalted to bless Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with the right of mediation on Judgement Day.

Allah knows what happens to each of His creation in this life and what awaits them in the Hereafter

Allah has perfect knowledge of all of His creation: their past, present and future. Though Allah has given us free will to choose after making clear to us the truth from falsehood, Allah knows the choices we will make as He exists outside the dimension of time.

And none can encompass any of Allah's knowledge except what He pleases

As The All-Knowing (Al'Alim), Allah is the sole source of all knowledge. What we "know" is only what Allah has conveyed and allowed us to know. The Believers supplicate to Allah to increase their knowledge [21:5]. Allah promises "We will show them our signs in all the regions and in their own souls, until it becomes clear to them that The Qur'an is the Truth" [41:53]. Many relate today's problems to "the mischief that has appeared on land and sea because of the deeds of men, that Allah may make them taste some of their deeds so that they may return to the Truth" [30:41].

Allah's 'Kursi' extends over the heavens and the earth

Though 'Kursi' has been equated with knowledge, sovereignity and kingdom, it is proper that we do not speculate. It is beyond us to grasp the enormity of 'Kursi' that "extends over the heavens and the earth". Allah knows best.

And the care of them (the heavens and the earth) burdens Him not

Managing His creation is easy for Allah. All matters are insignificant, modest and humble before Allah.

And Allah is The Supreme, The Greatest

Allah is beyond comparison or limitation. Allah is The Perfect, The Absolute and The Supreme. Nothing is greater than Allah. Recite Ayat Al-Kursi with knowledge and sincerity, and live by it. Then, nothing will stand in the way of you entering Paradise except your own death [sahih]. To those worshipping false and mutiple gods, free yourself from falsehood - submit to Allah of Ayat Al-Kursi, live by His guidance and earn a place in Paradise.

-Dr. Y. Mansoor Marican, Ph.D

Monday, 17 September 2012

7 Allah Loves & 7 Allah does not Love

Seven Qualities that Allah Loves

1. Tawbah (Repentance)
"...For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly (in repentance)..."  (Surah Al Baqarah 2:222)

Repentance is a form of detoxification – Sincere repentance cleanses and beautifies the Iman (faith).
We all commit sins but Allah loves those who after committing sins, seek forgiveness with deep sorrow and regret.

This is the only way by which the past can be set right. Allah has a concern for those He loves, therefore each time we slip and relapse into the abyss of desires and sincerely repent, He (exalted be Him) leads us out of it to the summit of forgiveness and further relieves us of hardship and provides for us.

2. Taharah (Purification)
"...Allah loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Surah Al Baqarah 2:222)
This is the external purification. The secret to this is performing the acts with the intention of following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

The removal of filth from the body by performing wudhu (ablution) and ghusl (ritual bath) and removal of filth from the garment, body and place of prayer. They are acts that purify the body and radiate the Iman. It is a means by which Almighty Allah will wipe out our sins and raise our ranks.

3. Taqwa (Piety)
"...for Allah loveth the righteous (the pious)." (Surah Al Tawbah 9:4)
The fear of Allah is the source of a pure soul – it is borne out of love and obedience. Thus, a pious person is constantly driven to do good only.

He/She is humble and does not flaunt piety in front of others. The fear of Allah beautifies the Iman and is the origin of all good as one continues to strive to do only what pleases Allah and stay away from the things that would displease him.

Piety is an internal quality as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice." (Sahih Muslim, Book #032, Hadith #6219) and it is a quality that puts us above others in the sight of Allah.

4. Ihsan (Goodness & Perfection)
"...for Allah loves those who do good;-" (Surah Ali 'Imran 3:134)

Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) says,
"Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you." (Sahih Bukhari, Book #2, Hadith #47)

Ihsan goes beyond a noble trait; it is an integral part of Islam. It is the secret to an attentive heart – knowing that Allah is watching everything. This fills the heart with respect and veneration and one becomes too embarrassed to go against Allah's commands. It promotes performance of good deeds for the sake of Allah and not for show-off or to gain praise or fame.

5. Tawakkul (Trust in Allah)
"...For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)." (Surah Ali 'Imran 3:159)
The secret and reality of trust in Allah is the reliance of the heart on Allah alone. Therefore trusting in Allah by word of mouth is different from trusting in Him by the heart.

Reliance is doing and hoping; doing everything necessary within one's capability to achieve one's aim and hoping with tranquility of heart and soul and putting one's trust in Allah with firm belief that whatever the outcome might be, it is as a result of the Will of Allah and His Decree.

One should never feel that too much time has passed by without supplications being answered; rather we should always place our hope on the One who is able to do all things. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him ) says, "If you all depend on Allah, with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full bellies at dusk" (At-Tirmidhi)

6. Qist (Justice)
"...for Allah loveth those who judge in equity." (Surah Al Ma'idah 5:42)
"...for Allah loves those who are fair (and just)." (Surah Al Hujurat 49:9)
Justice is a prerequisite to peace which is missing in our contemporary society. It involves giving other people the right we give ourselves, treating people the way we would like to be treated.
Justice sounds like a word meant for the leaders alone but rather it affects us all.
It means:
- To be equitable in speech and in actions.
- With no degree of discrimination or false testimony.
- It involves being fair with regards to one's family and those who are in our custody; justice between children by not giving one preference over the other.
- By not committing wrong against oneself such as engaging in sinful practices and immoral acts.
- Justice with Allah in not associating any being with Him in worship and obedience.

7. Sabr (Patience)
"...And Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast (As-Sabirin (the patient))." (Surah Ali 'Imran 3:146)
Patience is one of the most noble of virtues and traits. It is to endure what one dislikes with a sense of acceptance and submission and anticipating Allah's reward.

Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "patience to Iman is like the head to a body: if the head is cut off, the body perishes as well." (Gems and jewels – wise sayings, interesting events & moral lessons from the Islamic history, compiled by Abdul-Malik Mujahid (Darussalam))

Muslims should adhere to patience when afflicted with calamity and should not yield either to desperation nor despondence because if we are patient, everything that was destined and preordained for us will occur and we will be rewarded. If we complain and are hopeless, then all that was destined for us will still occur, but we will be blamed for our impatience at Allah's Will.

Seven Qualities that Allah does not Love

1. Israaf (extravagance)
"...But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters (Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance))." (Surah Al An'am 6:141)

Excessive spending and lavishness in everything is the core of evil and leads to greater evil. It makes one forget the hereafter and preparing for it. Such acts would be a cause of humiliation and disgrace on the Day of Judgment.

That is why Almighty Allah has prescribed zakah (obligatory alms) and sadaqah (voluntary charity) in order to bless the wealth and to curb extravagance in eating, drinking, clothing and in everything we do.

2. Istikbaar (Pride)
"...verily He loveth not the arrogant (proud)."  (Surah Al Nahl 16:23)
And the Prophet says,
"Pride is to completely disregard the truth and scorn (looking down upon) the people" (Muslim)
Sometimes a person might be deceived by his/ her knowledge, wealth and property, lineage and ancestry, or worship and be arrogant and boastful.
Al-Hasan Al-Basri advised that: "Do not become proud merely because you worship often, for consider what happened to Iblis after he spent a great deal of time worshipping" (Gems and jewels – wise sayings, interesting events & moral lessons from the Islamic history, compiled by Abdul-Malik Mujahid (Darussalam))
Pride is among the greatest means of damage to a person's wealth and circumstances. It distances one away from Allah's love and "He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter paradise." (Sahih Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0166)

3. Mukhtal fakhoor (Arrogant boaster)
"...for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster." (Surah Luqman 31:18)

Being arrogant and boastful are a deadly combination – beauty, knowledge, wealth and noble lineage should be taken as gifts from Almighty Allah and one should be humble and grateful for them rather than make them a means of pride and oppression.

Servants of Allah cannot be true to themselves as long as they are flattering themselves, walking in an arrogant manner and looking down on people who are inferior to them and not mix with them. The one who is arrogant in this world will be disgraced on the Day of Judgment.
Prophet Muhammad says, "The arrogant will be gathered on the Day of Judgment in the form of small ants. Humiliation will surround them from everywhere." (At-Tirmidhi)

4. Udwaan (Transgression)
"...for Allah loveth not those given to excess (Transgression)." (Surah Al Ma'idah 5:87)
Human characteristics have limitations, which if surpassed would be transgression and if one falls short of it, it would be a defect – for example, generosity has a limitation, when surpassed, it becomes extravagance, when courage is surpassed, it becomes rashness; when ibadah (worship) is surpassed, one falls into the risk of adopting bid’ah - some of the Companions almost fell into this trap.

Narrated by Anas bin Malik: "A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven." Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever." The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast." The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever." Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers)."" (Sahih Bukhari, Book #62, Hadith #1)

Therefore, moderation is the best way to deal with all matters – it is not to exaggerate and make it hard for ourselves by prohibiting the permissible things. And not to transgress the limits by excessively indulging in the permissible matters but rather we should only use what satisfies our need and not fall into extravagance.

5. Zulm (Evil, wrongdoing)
"...but God loveth not those who do wrong (Zalimun (oppressors, polytheists and wrong doers))." (Surah Ali 'Imran 3:57)
This is a reprehensible trait whose existence spoils the Iman and darkens the heart. The wrongdoers are those who have chosen the tempting transient life instead of the hereafter. All acts of wrongdoing such as stealing, breach of trust, embezzlement, usurping the rights of others, and bribery, have serious consequences in the hereafter.
In a Hadith, Abu Dharr reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: "My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another." (Sahih Muslim, Book #032, Hadith #6246)

6. Khiyaanah (Treachery)
"...for Allah loveth not the treacherous." (Surah Al Anfal 8:58)
The treacherous one is two-faced and inconsistent in words and deeds. Acts of treachery lead to betrayal, disloyalty, perfidy, deception and hypocrisy which in turn soil the Iman.

7. Ifsaad (Mischief-making)
"...And Allah loveth not those who do mischief." (Surah Al Ma'idah 5:64)
This is a comprehensive term which includes great crimes, sins, oppression, carrying false tales, hypocrisy, tyranny and all kinds of mischief. All these acts are despicable and stain the Iman.

Hasten today to adopt the qualities that Almighty Allah loves and don't rest until they become second nature to you; hasten today to abandon all the qualities Allah does not love and don't relent until you hate them with all your heart. The Prophet said: "Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts." (Al-Haakim in Al-Mustadrak and Al-Haythami in Majma Az-Zawaa'id)

Therefore the key is supplication, resorting to Allah and sincere desire to please Him followed by action, so we say,
"O Allah make Iman beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts."

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Dust Is My Bed

Dust is my bed,
embracing me,
and it is my cover
The sands are around me,
engulfing me,
even from behind me,
And the tomb recounts [ the story of ] the darkness
of my calamity
And the light has destined
that my pleasure is in meeting [Allah]

Dust is my bed, embracing me, and it is my cover
The sands are around me, engulfing me, even from behind me,
And the tomb recounts [ the story of ] the darkness of my calamity
And the light has destined
that my pleasure is in meeting [Allah]
that my pleasure is in meeting [Allah]

And where is my family's compassion?
They sold my loyalty!
They sold my loyalty!
My loyalty...
And where are my groups of friends? They left my brotherhood!
They left my brotherhood!
My brotherhood...
And where is the bliss of money? It is behind me...
And where is the glory of fame and compliments?
This is my end; dust is my bed

Dust is my bed, embracing me, and it is my cover
The sands are around me, engulfing me, even from behind me,
And the tomb recounts [ the story of ] the darkness of my calamity
And the light has destined
that my pleasure is in meeting [Allah]
that my pleasure is in meeting [Allah]

And the beloved bade farewell to his love and cried my elegy
and cried my elegy...
my elegy...
And the tear flow dried after the crying
after the crying..
the crying...
And the vast universe shrank,
narrowing my space,
And the grave with my corpse has become
my land and my sky
That is my end; dust is my bed
And fear fills my estrangement
and sadness is my illness
I hope for steadfastness, and, verily, it is
-I swear- my remedy

And to the Lord I supplicate sincerely;
You are my hope.
Hoping- O Allah- for a Paradise
that contains my bliss

And to the Lord I supplicate sincerely;
You are my hope.
Hoping- O Allah- for a Paradise
that contains my bliss

And to the Lord I supplicate sincerely;
You are my hope.
Hoping- O Allah- for a Paradise
that contains my bliss

And to the Lord I supplicate sincerely;
You are my hope.
Hoping- O Allah- for a Paradise
that contains my bliss

Allah Is In Every Breath

When things are down, and you are out of your mind, just remember, Allah (swt) is the All-Kind.

When your life is in darkness, and nothing is right, just remember, through the darkness, Allah (swt) is the Light.

When nothing makes sense, and your heading for demise, just remember, it doesn't make sense but, Allah (swt) is the All-Wise.

When times are troubled, and no one seems to care, just remember, Allah (swt) won't hurt you, He is Just.

When your heart is breaking, and your pain makes you fall, just remember, Allah (swt) sees all.

When you are weak, and the road seems long, just remember; seek strength from the All-Strong.

When life is a burden, and everything is unstable, just remember, Allah (swt) is Able to do all.

When the way is cloudy, and there is no one by your side, just remember, Allah (swt) is the Only Guide.

When no one wants to listen, or is willing to lend an ear, just remember, Allah (swt) is the All-Hearing.

When you are poor and penniless, and you are stuck in a niche, just remember, Allah (swt) is the Rich.

When you are down in your misery, and there is no where to run, just remember, you can always run to the One.

When you’re all alone, and your pain has no end, just remember, Allah (swt) is the only one you can depend on.  

And when your scars are hurting, and your heart is in fear, just remember, Allah (swt) is with those who are patient.

from::jafarabuhuseina On 1/4/2006

The Fourth Caliph, Ali(R.A.)

“You [Ali] are my brother in this world and the next.” (Hadith)
Ali’s Election

After Uthman’s martyrdom, the office of the caliphate remained unfilled for two or three days. Many people insisted that Ali should take up the office, but he was embarrassed by the fact that the people who pressed him hardest were the rebels, and he therefore declined at first. When the notable Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him) urged him, however, he finally agreed.
Ali’s Life

Ali bin Abi Talib was the first cousin of the Prophet (peace be on him). More than that, he had grown up in the Prophet’s own household, later married his youngest daughter, Fatima, and remained in closest association with him for nearly thirty years.

Ali was ten years old when the Divine Message came to Muhammad (peace be on him). One night he saw the Prophet and his wife Khadijah bowing and prostrating. He asked the Prophet about the meaning of their actions. The Prophet told him that they were praying to God Most High and that Ali too should accept Islam. Ali said that he would first like to ask his father about it. He spent a sleepless night, and in the morning he went to the Prophet and said, “When God created me He did not consult my father, so why should I consult my father in order to serve God?” and he accepted the truth of Muhammad’s message.

When the Divine command came, “And warn thy nearest relatives” [26:214], Muhammad (peace be on him) invited his relatives for a meal. After it was finished, he addressed them and asked, “Who will join me in the cause of God?” There was utter silence for a while, and then Ali stood up. “I am the youngest of all present here,” he said, “My eyes trouble me because they are sore and my legs are thin and weak, but I shall join you and help you in whatever way I can.” The assembly broke up in derisive laughter. But during the difficult wars in Mecca, Ali stood by these words and faced all the hardships to which the Muslims were subjected. He slept in the bed of the Prophet when the Quraish planned to murder Muhammad. It was he to whom the Prophet entrusted, when he left Mecca, the valuables which had been given to him for safekeeping, to be returned to their owners.

Apart from the expedition of Tabuk, Ali fought in all the early battles of Islam with great distinction, particularly in the expedition of Khaybar. It is said that in the Battle of Uhud he received more than sixteen wounds.

The Prophet (peace be on him) loved Ali dearly and called him by many fond names. Once the Prophet found him sleeping in the dust. He brushed off Ali’s clothes and said fondly, “Wake up, Abu Turab (Father of Dust).” The Prophet also gave him the title of ‘Asadullah’ (‘Lion of God’).
Ali’s humility, austerity, piety, deep knowledge of the Qur’an and his sagacity gave him great distinction among the Prophet’s Companions. Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and Uthman consulted him frequently during their caliphates. Many times ‘Umar had made him his vice-regent at Medina when he was away. Ali was also a great scholar of Arabic literature and pioneered in the field of grammar and rhetoric. His speeches, sermons and letters served for generations afterward as models of literary expression. Many of his wise and epigrammatic sayings have been preserved. Ali thus had a rich and versatile personality. In spite of these attainments he remained a modest and humble man. Once during his caliphate when he was going about the marketplace, a man stood up in respect and followed him. “Do not do it,” said Ali. “Such manners are a temptation for a ruler and a disgrace for the ruled.”

Ali and his household lived extremely simple and austere lives. Sometimes they even went hungry themselves because of Ali’s great generosity, and none who asked for help was ever turned away from his door. His plain, austere style of living did not change even when he was ruler over a vast domain.
Ali’s Caliphate

As mentioned previously, Ali accepted the caliphate very reluctantly. Uthman’s murder and the events surrounding it were a symptom, and also became a cause, of civil strife on a large scale. Ali felt that the tragic situation was mainly due to inept governors. He therefore dismissed all the governors who had been appointed by Uthman and appointed new ones. All the governors excepting Muawiya, the governor of Syria, submitted to his orders. Muawiya declined to obey until Uthman’s blood was avenged. The Prophet’s widow Aisha also took the position that Ali should first bring the murderers to trial. Due to the chaotic conditions during the last days of Uthman it was very difficult to establish the identity of the murderers, and Ali refused to punish anyone whose guilt was not lawfully proved. Thus a battle between the army of Ali and the supporters of Aisha took place. Aisha later realized her error of judgment and never forgave herself for it.

The situation in Hijaz (thc part of Arabia in which Mecca and Medina are located) became so troubled that Ali moved his capital to Iraq. Muawiya now openly rebelled against Ali and a fierce battle was fought between their armies. This battle was inconclusive, and Ali had to accept the de facto government of Muawiya in Syria.

However, even though the era of Ali’s caliphate was marred by civil strife, he nevertheless introduced a number of reforms, particularly in the levying and collecting of revenues.

It was the fortieth year of Hijra. A fanatical group called Kharijites, consisting of people who had broken away from Ali due to his compromise with Muawiya, claimed that neither Ali, the Caliph, nor Muawiya, the ruler of Syria, nor Amr bin al-Aas, the ruler of Egypt, were worthy of rule. In fact, they went so far as to say that the true caliphate came to an end with ‘Umar and that Muslims should live without any ruler over them except God. They vowed to kill all three rulers, and assassins were dispatched in three directions.

The assassins who were deputed to kill Muawiya and Amr did not succeed and were captured and executed, but Ibn-e-Muljim, the assassin who was commissioned to kill Ali, accomplished his task. One morning when Ali was absorbed in prayer in a mosque, Ibn-e-Muljim stabbed him with a poisoned sword. On the 20th of Ramadan, 40 A.H., died the last of the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Islam. May God Most High be pleased with them and grant to them His eternal reward.

With the death of Ali, the first and most notable phase in the history of Muslim peoples came to an end. All through this period it had been the Book of God and the practices of His Messenger - that is, the Qur'an and the Sunnah - which had guided the leaders and the led, set the standards of their moral conduct and inspired their actions. It was the time when the ruler and the ruled, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, were uniformly subject to the Divine Law. It was an epoch of freedom and equality, of God-consciousness and humility, of social justice which recognized no privileges, and of an impartial law which accepted no pressure groups or vested interests.

After Ali, Muawiya assumed the caliphate and thereafter the caliphate became hereditary, passing from one king to another.

from Stories of the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet SAW) -