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"A versatile genius...chivalrous ...strength of character, humanity and sincerity....pious and tenderhearted...eloquent, intellectual and persuasive...loyal and trustworthy....humble, simple and abstentious ...learned, wise and just....the greatest jurist of early Islam...devoted and brave...'Lion of God'."
How could all these qualities be demonstrated in one individual? Indeed, when we speak of Ali, son of Abu Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), all these and more can be said of him.
As the youngest son of Abu Talib's large family, Ali was brought up by the Prophet himself. This along with the naturally humane and intellectual qualities in Hazrat Ali allowed him to develop into one of the most respected men of Islam. The Prophet's (pbuh) tutelage from early childhood helped cultivate these extraordinary qualities in him.
Ali is known as the first child to accept Islam and was so well respected and admired by the Prophet that he married the most beloved daughter of the Prophet, the beautiful Fatimah, when she was 18 and Ali was 21.
They lived a simple and humble life together. Ali earned his living with manual labor and they lived simply and most frugally. Faced with extreme poverty, they exhibited humanitarianism, charity, self-sacrifice, and self-denial almost unparalleled in the history of Islam. They preferred to go without their meager meals, albeit they were fasting for three days, rather than refuse beggars at their door. In Surah Dahr (Insan) Allah has honored their humane act by revealing the verses: "And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive. (Saying), We feed you for the sake of Allah alone. No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks."
Ali was so well loved and respected by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that he was chosen to carry the message of Islam to the people of Yemen, where earlier Muslim missionaries had failed. It is said that due to his extreme grace, eloquence, intelligence, and persuasion, the tribe of Hamdan embraced Islam immediately. He was able to popularize Islam in many beforehand hostile regions.
In addition, Ali was known to be extremely chivalrous. He was gifted with extraordinary daring and courage that he devoted to the service of Islam, performing wonderful deeds of heroism. From his famed Nahj al Balagha (The Peak of Eloquence) come abundant examples of his wise and profound scope of thought and action. He remains an everlasting luminous example of a lifestyle worth emulating. Wisdom knows no time or distance and heart embraces no foreign feelings as we see in the following examples of Hazrat Ali's words:
"The tongue is a wild beast; when it is let loose, it wounds."
"Whoever sets himself up as a leader of other people should start educating himself before educating others, and let him teach by his conduct before teaching by his tongue. And the education and refinement of one's self is more worthy of respect than the education of other people."
"Generosity awakens affection more than kinship does."
"Everyone who is being overtaken by death asks for more time, while everyone who still has time makes excuses for procrastination."
"Remember that enjoyments pass while consequences remain."
"Beware of disobeying God when alone, for the witness is the Judge."
"Make a fortune by means of charity."
"Do not be embarrassed to give but a little, for it is even less generous to withhold altogether."
"Patience is twofold: patience in the face of what you dislike, and patience in the absence of what you like."
And like the wonderful advise Luqman (pbuh) gave to his son, Hazrat Ali likewise extends wisdom to his son, Hazrat Hassan, that we can all pass on to our children...timeless and true:
"My son, remember four things from me, and four more; you will come to no harm as long as you act in accordance with them:
The richest of riches is intelligence, and the greatest poverty is stupidity.
The loneliest isolation is conceit, and the noblest value is goodness of character.
To someone who asked for counsel, Hazrat Ali said:
"Do not be one of those,
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|Women in Islam - Then & Now|
|Supplications for Muslims|
|Wisdom of the Prophet|
|10 Principles of Success|
|How I Embraced Islam|
|Qur'an & Science|
|Stories of the Sahabah|
|Funny, Isn't It?|
|Dawa with Taste|
|Silver Linings From|
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