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Ali His Legacy Muslim and Non-Muslim Point of View A.S. Hashim, MD From Wikipedia.com
Sources of Reference ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Ibn Qutaybah, Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. "Ali". Madelung, Encyclopaedia of the Holy Prophet and Companions Tabatabaei, Lapidus, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid Dakake Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 3 Holt, P.M.; Lambton, Ann K.S.; Lewis, Bernard. Cambridge History of Islam. Watt, William Montgomery. Muhammad at Mecca. Oxford University Press.
In this Slide Show Knowledge According to Henry Corbin Nahjul Balaaghah Works Muslim Points of View about Ali Sunni Views Shi'a Views Sufi Views Non-Muslim Point of View of Ali Historiography of Ali’s life Wilferd Madelung The Reports and Monographs
Knowledge Ali is revered not only as a warrior and leader, but as a writer and religious authority. Range of disciplines: from theology and exegesis to calligraphy and numerology, from law and mysticism to Arabic grammar and Rhetoric regarded as having been first adumbrated by Ali. Shi'a and Sufis believe that Muhammad told about Ali "I'm the city of knowledge and Ali is its gateway..." أنا مدينة العِلْم وعليٌّ بابها، فمنْ أراد المدينه فاليدخل مِنَ الباب Muslims regard Ali as the major authority on Islam. Ali himself gives this testimony:
Knowledge Continued Ali has said: Not a single verse of the Quran was revealed to the Messenger of God which he did not proceed to dictate to me and make me recite. I would write it with my own hand, and he would instruct me as to: its Tafseer تفسير (the literal explanation) and the Ta'wil تأويل (the spiritual exegesis), the nasikh ناسخ (the abrogating verse) and the mansukh منسوخ (the abrogated verse), the muhkam محكم and the mutashabih متشابه (the fixed and the ambiguous), the particular الخاص and the general العام...
Tawhid According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Ali is credited with having established Islamic theology and his quotations contain the first rational proofs among Muslims of the Tawhid (Oneness of God). Nahjul Balaaghah contains 11 references about Tawhid, Ibn Abi al-Hadid has quoted As for theosophy and dealing with matters of divinity, it was not an Arab art. Nothing of the sort had been circulated among their distinguished figures or those of lower ranks. This art was the exclusive preserve of Greece whose sages were its only expounders. The first one among Arabs to deal with it was Ali.
In Sermon 168, Ali: about Allah مَا وَحَّدَهُ مَنْ كَيَّفَهُ، وَلاَ حَقِيقَتَهُ أَصَابَ مَنْ مَثَّلَهُ، وَلاَ إِيَّاهُ عَنَى مَنْ شَبَّهَهُ، وَلاَ صَمَدَهُ مَنْ أَشَارَ إِلَيْهِ وَتَوَهَّمَهُ. كُلُّ مَعْرُوف بِنَفْسِهِ مَُصْنُوعٌ، وَكُلُّ قَائِم فِي سِوَاهُ مَعْلُولٌ. فَاعِلٌ لاَ بِاضْطِرَابِ آلَة، مُقَدِّرٌ لاَ بِجَوْلِ فِكْرَة، غَنِيٌّ لاَ بِاسْتِفَادَة …. Assigning to Allah conditions means disbelieve in His Oneness, or making the likes of Him negates His reality, or illustrating Him would not signify Him, or he who alludes to Him or imagines Him would not mean Him. Everything we know has been created, but what exists beyond that is the very source to create it. Allah works not with help of instruments. He fixes measures but not with a variation of thoughts. He is most rich but not by acquisition…..
In later Islamic Philosophy In later Islamic philosophy: (especially in the teachings of Mulla Sadra and his followers, like Allameh Tabatabaei), Ali's sayings and sermons were increasingly regarded as central sources of metaphysical knowledge, or divine philosophy. Members of Sadra's school regard Ali as the supreme metaphysician of Islam.
According to Henry Corbin: According to Henry Corbin, the Nahjul Balaaghah may be regarded as one of the most important sources of doctrines professed by Shi'a thinkers especially after 1500AD. Its influence can be sensed in the logical co-ordination of terms, the deduction of correct conclusions, and the creation of certain technical terms in Arabic which entered the literary and philosophical language independently of the translation into Arabic of Greek texts.
Nahjul Balaaghah Nahjul Balaaghah, a highly valued book, consists of: 254 sermons, 48 letters, and 212 sayings of Imam Ali Nahjul Balaaghah is unique to Imam Ali None of the Sahaaba was ever able to produce anything like it: neither in substance nor in literary eloquence. No wonder Ali was referred to as: Sayyid al-Bulaghaa‘ سيد البلغاء (Prince of Literary Expression) and Sayyid al-Fu'qahaa, سيد الفقهاء (Prince of the Jurisprudents)
Scholar of Arabic Literature Ali was also a great scholar of Arabic literature and pioneered in the field of Arabic grammar and rhetoric. Numerous short sayings of Ali have become part of general Islamic culture and are quoted as aphorisms and proverbs in daily life. They have also become the basis of literary works or have been integrated into poetic verse in many languages. Already in the 8th century AD, literary authorities such as Abdul-Hamid al-Amiri pointed to: the unparalleled eloquence of Ali's sermons and sayings, as did al-Jahidh الجاحظ in the following century.
Ali's Quotations Even staffs in the Diwan of Benu Umayya recited Ali's sermons to improve their eloquence. Of course, Peak of Eloquence (Nahjul Balaaghah) is an extract of Ali's quotations from a literal viewpoint as its compiler mentioned in the preface. While there are many other quotations, prayers (Du'aas), sermons and letters in other literal, historic and religious books. In addition, some hidden or occult sciences such as Jafr, Islamic numerology, the science of the symbolic significance of the letters of the Arabic alphabet, are said to have been established by Ali through his having studied the texts of al-Jafr and al-Jamia الجامعه.
In Sermon 1, Ali: about Tawhid أَوَّلُ الدِّينِ مَعْرِفَتُهُ، وَكَمَالُ مَعْرِفَتِهِ التَّصْديقُ بِهِ، وَكَمَالُ التَّصْدِيقِ بِهِ تَوْحِيدُهُ، وَكَمَالُ تَوْحِيدِهِ الاِْخْلاصُ لَهُ، وَكَمَالُ الاِْخْلاصِ لَهُ نَفْيُ الصِّفَاتِ عَنْهُ، لِشَهَادَةِ كُلِّ صِفَة أَنَّها غَيْرُ المَوْصُوفِ، وَشَهَادَةِ كُلِّ مَوْصُوف أَنَّهُ غَيْرُ الصِّفَةِ، فَمَنْ وَصَفَ اللهَ سُبْحَانَهُ فَقَدْ قَرَنَهُ، وَمَنْ قَرَنَهُ فَقَدْ ثَنَّاهُ،وَمَنْ ثَنَّاهُ فَقَد جَزَّأَهُ، وَمَنْ جَزَّأَهُ فَقَدْ جَهِلَهُ، وَمَنْ جَهِلَهُ فَقَدْ أشَارَ إِلَيْهِ، وَمَنْ أشَارَ إِلَيْهِ فَقَدْ حَدَّهُ، وَمَنْ حَدَّهُ فَقَدْ عَدَّهُ،…. Foremost in Faith is to acknowledge Allah, and to acknowledge Him is to attest to Him. The height of attesting is to believe in His Oneness. The height of believing in His Oneness is sincerity to Him. The height of sincerity to Him is to disavow descriptions of Him (since every description is unlike the described), and to attest that descriptions attributed to Him are not His. Thus he who describes Allah would have associated with Him, and he who associates would have duplicated Him; and he who duplicates Him would have subdivided Him; ….
Works Nahjul Balaaghah (Way of Eloquence) contains: Eloquent sermons, letters and quotations attributed to Ali It was compiled by al-Sharif al-Radhi (d. 1015AD). Despite ongoing questions about the authenticity of the text, Recent scholarship suggests that most of the material in it can in fact be attributed to Ali. This book has a prominent position in Arabic literature. It is also considered an important intellectual, political and religious work in Islam.
Also: Nahjul Balaaghah نهج البلاغه Also Nahj al-sa'adah fi mustadrak Nahj al-balaghah by Muhammad Baqir al-Mahmudi represents all of Ali's extant speeches, sermons, decrees, epistles, prayers, and sayings have been collected. It includes the Nahjul Balaaghah and other discourses which were not incorporated by al Sharif al-Radhi or were not available to him. Apparently, except for some of the aphorisms, the original sources of all the contents of the Nahjul Balaaghah have been determined. There are several Comments on the Peak of Eloquence by Sunnis and Shi'as such as Comments of Ibn Abi al-Hadid and comments of Muhammad Abduh.
Honorific titles Ali's descendants by Fatimah are known as: Sharifs شريف, or Sayyids سيد. These are honorific titles in Arabic, Sharif شريف means 'noble' and Sayed or sayyid سيد means 'lord' or 'sir'. As Muhammad's only descendants, Sharifs and/or Sayyids are respected: by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'as place much more emphasis and value on the distinction.
Muslim Points of View about Ali 1. Muslim View 2. Sunni View 3. Shi'a View 4. Sufi View
Muslim Views about Ali Except for Muhammad, there is no one in Islamic history about whom as much has been written in Islamic languages as Ali. Ali is revered and honored by all Muslims. Having been one of the first Muslims and foremost Ulamaa (Islamic scholars), Ali was extremely knowledgeable in matters of religious belief and Islamic jurisprudence, as well as in the history of the Muslim community. Ali was renowned for his unparalleled bravery and courage. Muslims honor Muhammad, Ali, and other pious Muslims and add pious interjections after their names
Sunni Views about Ali Contemporary Sunni Muslims generally regard Ali with respect as one of the Ahlul Bayt and the last of the Rashidoon Khalifas and view him as one of the most influential and respected figures in Islam. Also, he is one of the Al-Asharah Al-Mubashsharah, which is The Promised Ten to be in heaven.
Shi'a Views about Ali The Shi'a regard Ali as the most important figure after Muhammad. According to them, Muhammad suggested on various occasions during his lifetime that Ali should be the leader of Muslims after his demise. 1. This is supported by numerous Hadith, including Hadith of the pond of Khum, 2. Hadith of the two weighty matters, 3. Hadith of the pen and paper, 4. Hadith of the invitation of the close families, 5. and Hadith of the Twelve Successors. 6. In particular, the Hadith of the Cloak is often quoted to illustrate Muhammad's feeling towards Ali and his family: See next slide
Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5955 One morning Muhammad went out wearing a striped cloak of black camel's hair when along came Hasan b. Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came Ali and he also took him under it and then said: إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا God only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O People of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.
Ali as Viewed by the Shi’a According to this view, Ali (as the successor of Muhammad) not only ruled over the community in justice, but also interpreted the Shari’ah Law and its esoteric meaning. Hence Ali was regarded as being free from error and sin (infallible), and appointed by God by Divine decree (Nass نص ) through Muhammad. Ali is known as the "perfect man" (al-insan al-kamil الانسان الكامل ) according to Shi'a viewpoint.
Ziyarah زياره Shi'a usually go to Shrine of Ali in Najaf for Ziyarah زياره (visitation), They pray there and read “Ziyarah Aminul-Allah زيارة أمين الله” or other Ziyarah names. Under the Safawi Empire, Ali’s grave became the focus of much devoted attention, exemplified in the visitation made by Shah Ismail to Najaf and Karbala. The Shrine is visited especially more on religious occasions, such as during Ramadhan and Ashuraa.
Burial Place in Najaf Imam Ali’s Shrine: Multitudes of visitors every year. Inside it reflects reverence that uniquely affects the heart.
Sufi Views about Ali Almost all Sufi orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through Ali, an exception being Naqshbandi, who go through Abu Bakr. Even in this order, there is Ja'far al-Saadiq, the great great grandson of Ali. Sufis, whether Sunni or Shi'a, believe that Ali inherited from Muhammad the saintly power Wilaayah الولايه, Wilaayah makes the spiritual journey to God possible. Imam Ali represents the essence of the teachings of the School of Islamic Sufism. Sufis recite Manqabat Ali منقبات in the praise of Ali (Maula Ali), after Hamd and Naat in their Qawwali.
Non-Muslim Point of View of Ali 1. Thomas Carlyle 2. Dr. Henry Stubbe 3. Charles Mills 4. Washington Irving 5. Edward Gibbon 6. William Muir 7. Khalil Gibran 8. Wilferd Madelung
Ali: Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish historian, critic, and sociological writer: “As for this young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble-minded creature, as he shows himself, now and always afterwards; full of affection, of fiery daring. Something chivalrous in him; brave as a lion; yet with a grace, a truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood.” [On Heroes, Hero-Worship, And the Heroic In History, 1841, Lecture 2: The Hero as Prophet. Mahomet: Islam. May 8, 1840)]
Ali: Dr. Henry Stubbe (1632-1676) About Ali: “He had a contempt of the world, its glory and pomp, he feared God much, gave many alms, was just in all his actions, humble and affable; of an exceeding quick wit and of an ingenuity that was not common, he was exceedingly learned, not in those sciences that terminate in speculations but those which extend to practice.” [An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mohammedanism, 1705, p. 83]
Ali: Charles Mills (1788 - 1826) “As the chief of the family of Hashem and as the cousin and son-in- law of him whom the Arabians respected …, it is apparently wonderful that Ali was not raised to the Caliphate immediately on the death of Mohammad. To the advantages of his birth and marriage was added the friendship of the Prophet. The son of Abu Talib was one of the first converts to Islamism and Mohammad’s favorite appellation of his was the Aaron of a second Moses. His talents as an orator, and his intrepidity as a warrior, were grateful to a nation in whose judgment and courage was virtue and eloquence was wisdom.” [An history of Mohammedanism, London, 1818, p. 89]
Ali: Washington Irving (1783-1859) "He was of the noblest branch of the noble race of Koreish. He possessed the three qualities most prized by Arabs: courage, eloquence, and munificence. His intrepid spirit had gained him from the Prophet the appellation of The Lion of God, Specimens of his eloquence remain in some verses and sayings preserved among the Arabs; And his munificence was manifested in sharing among others, every Friday, what remained in the treasury. Of his magnanimity, we have given repeated instances; his noble scorn of everything false and mean, and the absence in his conduct of everything like selfish intrigue." [Lives of the Successors of Mahomet, London, 1850, p. 165]
Ali: Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) The British historian Edward Gibbon stated: "The zeal and virtue of Ali were never outstripped by any recent proselyte. He united the qualifications of a poet, a soldier, and a saint; his wisdom still breathes in a collection of moral and religious sayings; and every antagonist, in the combats of the tongue or of the sword, was subdued by his eloquence and valor. From the first hour of his mission to the last rites of his funeral, the apostle was never forsaken by a generous friend, whom he delighted to name: 1. his brother أخي, 2. his vicegerent وخليفتي فيكم, 3. and the faithful Aaron of a second Moses ووصيِّ.".
Ali: William Muir View Scottish Orientalist William Muir declared that: Ali was: "Endowed with a clear intellect, warm in affection, and confiding in friendship, He was from the boyhood devoted heart and soul to the Prophet. Simple, quiet, and un-ambitious, when in after days he obtained the rule of half of the Muslim world, It was rather thrust upon him than sought." [The Life of Mahomet, London, 1877, p. 250]
Ali: Philip Khuri Hitti (1886-1978) Professor of Semitic Languages at Princeton University: “Valiant in battle, wise in counsel, Eloquent in speech, true to his friends, magnanimous to his foes, He became both the paragon of Muslim nobility and chivalry (futuwah فتوه ) And the Solomon of Arabic tradition, around whose name poems, proverbs, sermons and anecdotes innumerable have clustered.” [History of the Arabs, London, 1964, p. 183]
Ali: Khalil Gibran View The poet Khalil Gibran said of him: "In my view, Ali was the first Arab to have contact with and converse with the universal soul. He died a martyr of his greatness, He died while prayer was between his two lips. The Arabs did not realize his value until appeared among their Persian neighbors some who knew the difference between gems and gravels."
Historiography of Ali’s life The primary sources for scholarship on the life of Ali are the Quran and the Hadith, as well as other texts of early Islamic history. The extensive secondary sources include, in addition to works by Sunni and Shi'a Muslims, writings by Christian Arabs, Hindus, and other non-Muslims from the Middle East and Asia and a few works by modern Western scholars. However, many of the early Islamic sources are colored to some extent by a positive or negative bias towards Ali.
About the Earlier Western Scholars There had been a common tendency among the earlier western scholars against these narrations and reports gathered in later periods due to their tendency towards later Sunni and Shi’a partisan positions; such scholars regarding them as later fabrications. This leads them to regard certain reported events as inauthentic or irrelevant. Leone Caetani considered the attribution of historical reports to Ibn Abbas and A'isha as mostly fictitious while proffering accounts reported without Isnad اسنادby the early compilers of history like Ibn Ishaaq.
Wilferd Madelung Professor of Arabic at Oxford University Wilferd Madelung has rejected the stance of: indiscriminately dismissing everything not included in "early sources" and in this approach tendentious alone is no evidence for late origin. According to him, Caetani's approach is inconsistent. Madelung and some later historians do not reject the narrations which have been complied in later periods and try to judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures.
Until the Rise of the Abbasi Khilaafah Until the rise of the Abbasi Khilaafah, few books were written and most of the reports had been oral. The most notable work previous to this period is: The Book of Sulaym ibn Qays, who lived before the Abbasi Khilaafah, Sulaym ibn Qays, was a companion of Ali. When paper was introduced to Muslim society, numerous monographs were written between 750 and 950 AD. According to Robinson, at least twenty-one separate monographs have been composed on the Battle of Siffin.
The Reports and Monographs Abi Mikhnaf is one of the most renowned writers of this period who tried to gather all of the reports. 9th and 10th century AD historians collected, selected and arranged the available narrations. However, most of these monographs do not exist anymore except for a few which have been used in later works such as History of the Prophets and Kings by Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.932AD).
Shi'a of Iraq Actively Participate Shi'a of Iraq actively participated in writing monographs but most of those works have been lost. On the other hand, in the 8th and 9th century AD: Ali's descendants such as Muhammad al-Baaqir and Ja'far al-Saadiq narrated his quotations and reports which have been gathered in Shi'a Hadith books. The later Shi'a works written after the 10th century AD are about biographies of The Fourteen Infallibles and Twelve Imams. The earliest surviving work and one of the most important works in this field is Kitab al-Irshad الارشادby Sheikh Mufid مفيد (d. 1022AD). The author has dedicated the first part of his book to a detailed account of Ali. There are also some books known as Manāqib which describe Ali's character from a religious viewpoint. Such works also constitute a kind of historiography.
In Sermon 110, Ali: About the Quran وَتَعَلَّمُوا الْقرْآن فَإِنَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْحَدِيثِ، وَتَفَقَّهُوا فِيهِ فَإِنَّهُ رَبِيعُ الْقُلُوبِ، وَاسْتَشْفُوا بِنُورِهِ فَإِنَّهُ شِفَاءُ الصُّدُورِ، وَأَحْسِنُوا تِلاَوَتَهُ فَإِنَّهُ أَنْفَعُ الْقَصَصِ. وَإِنَّ الْعَالِمَ الْعَامِلَ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمِهِ كَالْجَاهِلِ الْحَائِرِ الَّذِي لاَ يَسْتَفِيقُ مِنْ جَهْلِهِ، بَلِ الْحُجَّةُ عَلَيْهِ أَعْظَمُ، وَالْحَسْرَةُ لَهُ أَلْزَمُ، وَهُوَ عَنْدَ اللهِ أَلْوَمُ. Learn the Quran for it is the fairest of discourses; and understand the Quran thoroughly for it is the blossom of the hearts. Seek cure with its light for it is the cure for hearts. Recite it well for it is well nigh the best narration. Certainly, a scholar who acts not according to his knowledge is like the off-headed ignorant who finds no relief from his ignorance, But the plea of Allah is greater on the learned and the grief more incumbent, and before Allah he is more blameworthy.
In Conclusion Ali: His Knowledge, Works, and Views: Knowledge Nahjul Balaaghah Works Sunni Views Shi'a Views Sufi Views Non-Muslim Point of View of Ali Historiography of Ali’s life
Finally we quote the Quran: By the Token of Time Verily Man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to Truth and exhort one another to patience. بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ وَالْعَصْرِ إِنَّ اِلانسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ