A group of extremists are constantly finding ways to malign the impeccable character of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). Their desperate aim is clearly to lower the status of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) through any means possible so as to show their own ‘leaders’ and pseudo-caliphs and the wives in good light.
The incident that follows later brings to the fore how the propaganda campaign against Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is old as Islam itself. The malicious and vengeful talks against Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) were completely misleading and aimed at confusing the Muslims into aligning with the pseudo-caliphs and wives and companions and abandon Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s (a.s.) divine right to Imamate. The lies only gained currency because the Muslims in their ignorance were not aware of the truth or they never bothered to reflect on the historical facts. Once the facts were pointed out to them, they immediately realized the folly of their ways and repented.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) guides the wayward Muslim
It has been narrated that Saalim came to Imam Baqir (a.s.) and said that I have come to speak to you about that person.
Imam (a.s.): About which person?
Saalim: Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
Imam (a.s.): Regarding which affair?
Saalim: Regarding his actions (errors – Allah forbid).
Imam (a.s.): Reflect over the traditions that have reached you from the narrators.
Imam (a.s.) continued: Has this tradition reached you that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) on the Day of Khaibar had given the standard of Ansaar to Sa’d Ibn Maaz and his attack was repelled? Then he (s.a.w.a.) sent Umar Ibn Khattab with the standard of the Muhaajir? Sa’d was brought injured and Umar returned in a state that the he called his companions a coward and they were calling him a coward.
This is what the Muhaajir and Ansaar did until he (s.a.w.a.) repeated thrice: Tomorrow, I will certainly give the standard to a person who is vigorous and will not flee from the battlefield. Allah and His Messenger love him and he loves Allah and His Messenger.
He (Saalim) said: Yes and the entire nation also agreed (that Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said so)
Imam (a.s.): O Saalim! If you say that Allah loves him but does not know what he (Ali a.s.) is going to do, you have disbelieved. And if you say that Allah loves him and Allah knows what he is going to do, then where is the error you claim you have seen from him?
Saalim: Repeat (the narration) for me
Imam (a.s.) repeated it.
Saalim: I have been worshipping Allah in a state of deviation for seventy years.
- Al-Ehtejaaj vol. 2 p. 328
The incident highlights many important points:
- Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) loves Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and is their beloved and was given the standard of Islam accordingly
- Those who were sent before Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) with the standard did not possess these qualities
- If the enemies of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) manufacture reports that he (a.s.) angered the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) or Fatima Zahra (s.a.) or committed some error like consuming alcohol (Allah forbid), then we must understand that this is the result of extreme envy and jealousy at seeing Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) possessing virtues that the extremists wish for their leaders. Else how can they claim that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), the beloved as also the lover of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has angered them (Allah forbid)? Did Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) not know at the time of bestowing the standard of Islam that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) would anger them (Allah forbid)? Then it is clear that these reports are fabricated and coined with the explicit aim of lowering Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s (a.s.) status.
- Throwing big names of scholars and their books does not prove that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) erred in religion (Allah forbid). Reports of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) acting in alignment with the wishes of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the truth (Ali is with truth…) and the Quran (Allah is with the Quran…) and infallibility (the Verse (33) of Tatheer Surah Ahzaab (33)) are innumerous and only too well-documented. In the face of so many well-established reports in favour of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), stray reports maligning him (a.s.) regardless of their narrators and authors have no meaning. The well-established, well-documented and numerous is always preferred to the scarce and uncommon. Else all well-established beliefs like Divine Unity (Tauheed), Divine Justice (Adl), Prophethood and Hereafter (Maad) would come into question because there are stray reports casting aspersions on all these beliefs or at least the important details.
- For those who express shock, innocently or otherwise, at the so-called errors and mistakes of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and draw mindless conclusions we say – do not be dismayed at the reports. The system of character assassination is as old as religion itself and the past nations did not even spare Jibrail – the arch angel about whose infallibility there is no doubt. Smear campaigns were launched by the Bani Israil against Jibrail – the harbinger of bad news for the Bani Israil. Allah has hinted at this in the Holy Quran over two verses – ‘Say: Whoever is the enemy of Jibreel…so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.’ (Surah Baqarah (2): Verses 97-98).
- Not just Jibrail (a.s.), Prophet Moosa (a.s.) himself was not spared, with lies and accusations flying thick and fast – again a fact highlighted by Allah the Almighty in the Majestic Quran – ‘
O you who believe! Be not like those who spoke evil things of Moosa, but Allah cleared him of what they said, and he was worthy of regard with Allah
- .’ (Surah Ahzaab (33): 69).
- And those well-versed with the Holy Quran will testify that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself was subject to taunts and accusations by infidels and companions and wives alike, as also the People of the Book.
- Considering all this, we are inclined to say that if reports are being spread about Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s (a.s.) ‘errors and mistakes’, then Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) finds himself in very good company! His reward is increased manifold and those who believe in him notwithstanding the lies will also be rewarded suitably.
Incident of Khaibar from Ahle Tasannun
That Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) delivered the nation on the Day of Khaibar is widely acknowledged by all Muslims including the Who’s Who of the Ahle Tasannun (or Sunnis as they are erroneously called).
Many decades after this incident the companions continued envying Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) for the status bestowed on him by Allah the High and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on that day. They wished to exchange all their wealth and power and status just for the moment when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on divine command handed over the standard of Islam to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) establishing him as the lover of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and their beloved.
Without delving into the details of the incident, we list the most important AhleTasannun references for interested readers:
- Under the al-Sihaah al-Sittah
- Sahih al-Bukhari in the Book of Traveling and Jihad under the Chapter of the Prophet’s standard traditions nos. 2,975 and 3009 He has also recorded it in the Book of Creation under the Chapter of Virtues of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
- Sahih Muslim in the Book of Traveling and Jihad tradition 132 and in the Book of Virtues of Companions under the Chapter of Virtues of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)traditions 32, 33, 34 and 35
- SahihTirmizi tradition 3,724 under the virtues of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
- Sahih Ibn Maajah tradition 118 in the Chapter of Virtues of Companions
- Sunan Abi Dawood vol. 10 p. 320
- Al Khasais p. 4-6 of Nesaai, who did not record it in his Sunan, which is rather surprising, since he recorded it widely in his al-Khasais. Perhaps it was for fear of being killed by the Naasibis, which eventually was his fate.
- Under miscellaneous Ahle Tasannun sources
- Musnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal vol. 1 p. 185, 320, vol. 2 p. 384, vol. 5 p 322 vol. 5 p. 353
- Sunan al-Baihaqi vol. 6 p. 362
- Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb vol. 7 p. 337
- Majma al-Zawaid vol. 6 pp. 150-151, vol. 9 pp. 123-124
- Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain, vol. 3 p. 38
- Al-Tabaqaat al-Kubra, vol. 2 p. 1 tradition 80
- Kanz al-Ummal, traditions 30,128, 30,130, 30,132, 36,496
- Hilyah al-Muttaqeen vol. 1 p. 26
- Tarikh al-Baghdadi vol. 7 p. 401