Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH): “Don’t be the slave of others; Allah has created you free…” (1)

The best introduction about a person or a thing can be given by the best introducer; and certainly the best introducer for Imam Ali (PBUH) is the Holy Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT). The Holy Quran recognizes Ali (PBUH) as the Wali (Master); whose Mastership is the final step for the perfection of religion, the completion of Allah’s (SWT) favor on mankind, and the formation of an Islam, which Allah (SWT) is content with.

In his words about Imam Ali (PBUH), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said, “No one other than me and Ali was able to know Allah in the deserving manner; and no one other than me and Allah was able to know Ali in the deserving manner.”(2) Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) describes Imam Ali’s (PBUH) comprehensiveness as such, “Whosoever wants to observe the knowledge of Adam, the understanding of Nuh/Noah, the patience of Ibrahim/Abraham, the asceticism of Yahya/John, and the braveness of Musa/Moses should look at Ali.” (3) The following narration illustrates the narration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) about the rank of Imam Ali (PBUH), “Ali’s rank with respect to mine is similar to my rank with respect to Allah.” (4)

Imam Sadiq (PBUH) recognizes the “Mastership of Ali” as a better quality than being of “Ali’s progeny”. He said, “The fact that I accept Ali Ibn Abitalib’s Mastership is far more valuable to me than the fact that I am from his descendants; (this is simply) because, his Mastership is obligatory, whereas my relationship with him is just a virtue.” (5) Also Imam Kadhim (PBUH) talks about Imam Ali’s (PBUH) Mastership. He recognizes Mastership of Ali (PBUH) as the complement and factor which cause good deeds to be useful. He has a special prayer in this subject, “O Allah! I bear witness that Ali is Amir al-Mu’minin, the Master of all successors, and the Leader of all the pious. He is my Leader and the only clear path to my guidance. He is the one whom without his Mastership and without following him, I could not trust my deeds, no matter how pure they are. And no matter how good my deeds are, without him I do not see them (as deeds) that would save me.” (6)

So far, all of the praises were from the words of Almighty Allah (SWT), the great Prophet and his progeny (PBUT). What about others? We will briefly point to what others who had a chance to feel a bit about the life of Imam Ali (PBUH) say about him.

Mulla Sadra (the great Islamic philosopher) in his explanation on Usul al-Kafi, narrates the divine monotheistic sermon of Imam Ali (PBUH), that was delivered to a mass of people when he was about to collect militants for the battle against Mu’awiyah. Mulla Sadra expands on what Shaikh al-Kulayni, author of Usul al-Kafi had said about this sermon, ” If all of the creatures gather, other than the great prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Idris, Seth, David, Moses, Jesus and Prophet Muhammad, they will never be able to describe the Oneness of Allah in the same manner that Imam Ali described.” (7) This means that not any prophet can deliver such a profound sermon about the oneness of Allah (SWT).

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the leader of the Hanbali sect says, “The caliphate was not an ornament for Ali, but rather he was the ornament of the caliphate.” (8)

Khalil Ibn Ahmad Farahidi, the great scholar of Arabic literature and initiator of the concept of “Aroodh”, (9) was asked, “Why Ali Ibn Abitalib is the leader of all in every aspect?” Farahidi replied, “Because everyone is in need of Ali and he is needless from everyone.” Further, when he was asked upon his opinion about Imam Ali (PBUH) he said, “What can I say about the man whose friends had to hide his virtues out of fear, and his enemies did the same thing because of their jealousy and extreme hate. And then his virtues appeared from amongst these two hided limits, and filled the earth from East to West.” (10)

Fakhr al-Razi in his interpretation of the Holy Quran mentions, “Whosoever follows Ali Ibn Abitalib in his religion will have received guidance, because the Prophet said, ‘O Allah! Wherever Ali is, accompany truth with him.”(11)

Ibn Nadim, a great scholar of literature, narrates from the book of “Akhbar” by Waaqidi (a great Islamic historian), “Ali Ibn Abitalib is one of the miracles of Prophet Muhammad, similar to that of the other miracles, such as the cane of Moses and the bringing back to life of Jesus.” (12)

There can be infinite things to say about Amir al-Mu’minin, for he always strived for the truth and was on the right path. Wherever the essence of truth, justice, and freedom exists, a wide horizon of sayings will follow. Nonetheless, being a true follower of Imam Ali (PBUH), considering him as a role model in rituals and morality is not easy at all. For being on the right path and attaching self to justice is a hard practice…

(Reference: Daneshnameh Imam Ali (PBUH), vol. 4, Article of Hayate Arefaneh Imam Ali (PBUH) by Ayatullah Jawadi Aamuli (with minor changes))

Amir al-Mu’minin said, “We become happy with your happiness and we become sad with your sorrow.” (13)



1. A part of Amir al-Mu’minin’s (PBUH) letter to his son, Imam Hassan (PBUH) (Nahj al- Balaghah, Letter 31).

2. Manaqib Ibn Shahr Ashub, vol. 3, pp. 267 – 268. Irshad al-Qulub, vol. 2, p. 221

3. This tradition is narrated by two great Sunni scholars: Ibn Asakir and Ibn Kathir. (Ibn Asakir in Tarikh Madinat Dameshq, vol. 42, p. 313. Ibn Kathir in al-Bidayah wa al-Nahayah, vol. 7, p. 357)

4. Tabari in Zakha’ir al-Uqbaa, p. 64

5. Fada’il Ibn Shazaan, p. 125 and Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 39, p. 299

6. Mahajj al-Da’awaat, p. 234

7. Sharh Usul al-Kafi by Mulla Sadra, p. 342

8. Tarikh Madinat Dameshq by Ibn Asakir, vol. 42, p. 446

9. He is the one whose student was the leading scholar in Nahw known as Sibeweyh.

10. Tanqih al-Maqaal, vol. 1, p. 403

11. Tafseer al-Kabir by Fakhr Razi, vol. 1, p. 210

12. Index of Ibn Nadim, p. 111

13. Basa’ir al-Darajaat, p. 260

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