The life of Amir al-Mu’menin (PBUH) is so appealing that it brings about feelings of either utmost infatuation or utmost envy in both friend and foe. The Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) has said regarding Ali, “Two groups, regarding you, will be annihilated: extremist friends and extremist foes.”1

Ali’s foes have gone to extreme levels of hate and anger towards him because of his persistence in the path of truth.  But, it is amazing that even his gravest enemies admit his greatness.2 For the same reasons, some of his friends may go to extreme lengths to express their love that they may fall into trouble if they remain ignorant.  Although not many people have given this attribute to Ali during his lifetime, nonetheless Ali (PBUH) fell victim to such claims, and reacted quite harshly to them. 

The political and social life of Amir al-Mu’menin (PBUH) sets a perfect example.  During his lifetime, incidents of his persistence to practicing the law of the Lord were reported that others were incapable of doing, a matter that even the Imam (PBUH) himself made note of this in one of his letters.3

One of the most important manifestations of the life of Imam Ali (PBUH) was his piety, which had engulfed his entire life.  A pious man whom ruled the Islamic society; he has all and can have all, but stayed away from it.  A few went to Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz and spoke of the pious, asking about the most pious person.  Several of the people present suggested Abouzar and Umar, but Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz said, “Ali is the most pious of all.”4

Imam (PBUH) would gather the poor and act kindly and patiently towards them.5 At times, during his prayer, his only shirt would be wet, and he would even give the sermon in that situation.6 Once, a companion of his saw his very simple food and asked, “Why would you have such a meal when the best foods are in Iraq?…”7

Aswad ibn Gheis says, “Imam Ali (PBUH) used to feed people around the Kufa mosque, but he always ate in his own home. One of the companions said to himself: “Perhaps Ali is eating a better meal at home.” Thus, he left the meal he was having and followed the Imam towards his home. Imam Ali (PBUH) called his servant at home and asked him to get the companion some food. The servant brought a bread and bowl of yogurt.  He then broke the bread into the yogurt bowl. The bread had pieces of bran in it (not made from a fine flour).  The man turned to the Imam (PBUH) and said, “If you had asked for flour that does not have bran, it would have been better.” The Imam (PBUH) said whilst tears rolled in his eyes, “By Allah! I had never seen bread made of bran (fine flour).”8

What is meant by this conversation was not that the eating of these things is wrong, rather that for the Imam, following the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) in all areas was crucial. 

Another aspect in the life of the Imam (PBUH) was his interaction with workers, many of which have been recorded in historical texts.  The Imam was very careful of his staff and their deeds; and in the short period of his rule, he had written numerous letters, admonishing his staff for their misconducts.9

Indeed! The life of Amir al Mu’menin (PBUH) was the life of a complete humanity and the true example of a godly human being.  For reasons said, the life of Imam Ali (PBUH) is the ultimate example of a person who wants to be devoted.  The same way that one should always learn from.  There yet remains a long path to it. 

Selection taken from the book The Political and Thinking Life of the Shiite Imams by Hujjatul Islam Rasul Ja’farian



1- The Messenger of God (peace be upon him and his family and peace be upon him) said to Ali (peace be upon him): “He perishes in his legs, an excessive lover and an excessive hater” (Al-Ma’iyar wa Al-Mawaznah, page 32). The imam also says: “He perishes in the legs, an excessive lover… and an excessive hater.” (Nahj al-Balagha, sermon 127)

2.We can refer to the reaction of Muawiyah in the following story: 

3.Nahjul Balaqa, Letter 45.

4.Al-Me’yar wa al-Mawazinah, p. 240.

5.Ibid, p. 240

6.Ibid, p. 241

7.Ibid, p. 249

8.Insab al-Ashraf. Vol. 2, p. 187; Al-Gharat. Vol. 1, pp. 85, 87, 88.

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