Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Bio

He was a great scholar, unique orator, a great literary figure and a journalist. He always supported Congress but his journalist is quite peculiar. His manner of thinking was different. He made the same efforts to safeguard the rights of the Muslims and save Islam as done by other people.

At that time Muslims were divided into two group: One group demanded the rights of the Muslims within India and the other group demanded a separate homeland.

Abul Kalam was born in Calcutta. He began to write articles in newspapers at the age of 10. His articles were published in “The Paisa Akhbar” and “The Akhbar-i-Aam”. He issued a periodical “Nairang-i-Alam” at an early age. In addition to this he was the editor of several periodicals. His mother tongue was Arabic. He began to translate several Arabic periodicals in the beginning. Maulana believed, “a journalist promotes goodness and opposes evil”. He should be free from every pressure. In other words, he believed that journalism was a means for the fulfillment of high deals. He acted upon these principles in his newspaper. His journalism called missionary Journalism.

His writings do not have the ardor of Zafar Ali Khan. He takes after the manner of Sir Syed. His writings have their own effect. He always talked from a high place. He was like a calm and quiet river which has depth but no waves.

Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) – The Prophet of Islam

Before the advent of Islam, Arabia was inhabited by warring tribes, whose inter-tribal feuds lasted for generations, and at times culminated in bloody conflicts in which hundreds of precious lives were lost. Idolatry was prevalent among the Arabs and the sacred house of God built by Prophet Abraham housed hundreds of deities of demigods which were worshipped by the Arabs. They suffered from false sense of prestige and killed their female issues remorselessly. The Arabian society had degenerated to its lowest depths-feudalism was at its zenith and the poor were ruthlessly oppressed and exploited. Justice was denied to the weak and the maxim “might is right” was at no other time more applicable.

In such a gloomy atmosphere which had encompassed pre-Islamic Arabia, there glittered a light in the birth of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Never before or after any individual placed in such adverse circumstances had so completely purged his society of the multifarious deep-seated evils, giving it a new and healthier shape, and had so much influenced the course of contemporary and future history. Muhammad’s (PBUH) practical teachings had transformed a savage race into a civilized people who brought about the most wonderful revolution in the history of mankind. He was the benefactor of humanity and being the last and greatest of all the prophets, his teachings were universal and for all times to come.

Born in Makkah in 571 A.C., Muhammad (PBUH) sprang from Arabia’s noblest family, Banu Hashim of Quraish, to whom had been entrusted the custodianship of Kaaba, built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ismail. Muhammad’s (PBUH) father, Abdullah, the youngest son of his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, the Custodian of Kaaba, had died before his son was born, His mother, Amina, too, died, six years later.

Young Muhammad (PBUH) was afterward brought up by his grandfather Abdul Muttalib and on his death, two years later, by his uncle Abu Talib, the father of famous Ali, the lion-hearted.

Islam, the religion sponsored by Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the injunctions of the sacred book of God, Holy Quran, evolved a complete code of life, and the great Prophet translated its precepts into practice which made a lasting salutary effect on his countrymen. He stood like a rock against the surging waves of opposition and ultimately won the field. His forbearance, magnanimity, patience, and the city for organization stand unparalleled in the annals of mankind.

Muhammad (PBUH) proclaimed the sovereignty of God and liberated mankind from the thraldom of unholy associations with His Divinity. He upheld the dignity of man and practised the high ideals of equality, fraternity and justice he preached.

He advocated the unity of God and thereby the unity and equality of mankind. He denounced the differences of colour and race and was the “Prophet in human colour and consequently a true specimen of Islamic unity and brotherhood”.

He was a great promoter of education and advocated the “pursuit of learning even unto distant China”. He inculcated a love for learning among the illiterate Arabs which paved the way for their outstanding intellectual achievements, ultimately making them pioneers in the domains of science and arts during the Mediaeval times.

As a peace maker he set an example for the world to follow. The peace terms dictated by him on the conquest of Makkah stand as a landmark in the annals of treaties made among various nations of the world from time immemorial. No conqueror has ever offered more generous terms to the conquered, who were his sworn enemies and who harassed and maligned him throughout his life. Even his greatest living enemy, Abu Sufian, the leader of the nefarious Quraish group, was not touched. So much so, when his ten thousand crack troops were gasping to avenge the misdeeds of the Quraish of Makkah, the erstwhile enemies of Islam, the Prophet due to his boundless magnanimity and spirit of tolerance, gave orders not to strike anyone and declared that anyone who would take refuge in the house of Abu Sufian would be safe.

As an administrator, the Prophet accomplished what looked like an impossible task and overcame situations which would have defied the ablest administrators of the world.

The mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was to emancipate mankind from the shackles of slavery-mental or physical. He translated his noble ideas into practice by establishing a State in Medina based on equality, liberty, fraternity and justice.

The Prophet of Istam fulfilled during his lifetime the almost impossible task of knitting together the warring tribes of Arabia, who forming into an irresistible force, heralded the greatest revolution in the annals of mankind -both material and mental.

The four obligatory duties prescribed by Islam, namely Prayer, Fasting, Zakat and Haj, enabled the Prophet to realise the moral as well as material well-being of his follower.

Prayers-five times a day-in which the ruler and the ruled stood shoulder to shoulder, taught them the inestimable advantages of fraternity, and instilled in their hearts the spirit of equality of man.

Fasting-infused in them the spirit of sacrifice and abstenation from worldly pleasures. It elevated their moral standard.

Zakat-enabled the adherents of the new faith to evolve an egalitarian economy, as it provided a check on the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. This added immensely to the equitable distribution of wealth and to the material well-being of the poorer classes of the community.

Haj-Annual pilgrimage to Makkah-enabled the Muslims all over the world to meet one another and exchange views on problems facing the world of Islam.

The Prophet of Islam, being a great leader of men, both in war and peace, proved his mettle during the defensive wars fought against his enemies, including Badr, Ohad, Khandak and Khyber. His organising capacity and the spirit which he had inculcated among his warriors, won the field for him despite enemy’s superiority in men and arms.

Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) possessed innumerable qualities of head and heart. He was a very kind-hearted man, who never abused or cursed anybody. Whenever such occasion arose and his Companions implored him to curse his torturers, he prayed for the latter’s reformation. Once, while praying in Kaaba, when he prostrated, one of his opponents placed the heavy skin of a camel on his back. He remained in this condition for a pretty long time till he was rescued by some of his Companions. Even then he did not curse the miscreant. On another occasion, when he had gone to Taif, the hostile elements instigated the hooligans and children to shower stones on him and his Companions. He was badly injured and his Companions requested him to curse the children. But, kind-hearted as he was, he said instead: “O God, forgive these ignorant ones and show them the right path”. Once an evil-minded Jew became his guest. He entertained him to his fill and gave him his bedding to sleep, but, out of spite, the Jew discharged feces on the bedding and slipped away, leaving his sword behind. The Prophet, finding his guest gone, was sorry because he had left his sword behind, and began to wash the bedding with his own hands. Meanwhile, the Jew returned to fetch his sword and observed the Prophet washing the dirtied bedding. The Prophet did not utter even a word of complaint. Instead he said: “Dear friend, you had left behind your sword. Here it is”. Struck by the unusual courtesy and angelic character of Muhammad (PBUH), the Jew instantaneously embraced Islam.

The teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam created a society based on principles of equality and justice, thus demolishing all barriers tatween one man and the other. He was the greatest benefactor of mankind who liberated them from the shackles of race and colour bars. This spirit of equality taught by the Prophet later led to the birth of several slave ruling dynasties in Muslim countries.

The Prophet of Islam was totally impartial in his dealings with his relations and strangers. He refused a maid servant even to his dearest daughter, Hazrat Fatima, who was overworked and badly needed such a help. He, no doubt, advised his followers to help their relations, neighbours and needy persons according to their means. “No religion of the world prior to Islam”, says Ameer Ali, “had consecrated charity, the support of the widow, the orphans and the helpless poor, by enrolling its principles among the positive enactments of the system”. Mercy and kindness were the virtues mostly emphasised by Muhammad (PBUH) who, according to a Hadith in Bukhari, once said: “The man who plants a tree is blessed when people and birds are benefited by its fruit. A man was sent to Paradise, simply because he saved a thirsty dog from death by offering him water and the other was condemned because he tied and starved a cat to death”. (Bukhari).

The Holy Prophet defined and prescribed the rights of individuals as set forth in the Holy Quran. He said: “It is the part of faith that you should like for your brother what you like for yourself” (Bukhari). He enjoined upon the faithful to show the greatest respect for one’s mother after God when he said : “Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” (Bukhari). For other relations he said: “Anyone who is not kind to his youngsters and obedient to his elders is not from us” (Tirmizi). As regards Muslims as a whole, he proclaimed: “The Muslims are a single hand like a compact wall whose bricks support each other” (Muslim).

Even during his early life, when Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) had not yet been bestowed the mantle of Prophethood, he was known for his piety, truthfulness and trustworthiness. He was known by the title of “Amin” (Trustworthy) among the Makkahans, who kept their valuables with him. When he migrated to Medina, he left behind his cousin Hazrat Ali, to return to their owners the articles kept with him as a trust. Even his sworn enemies acknowledged his truthfulness. Once he climbed the hill of Safa and addressed the Quraish, asking them. “If I tell you that there is a huge army hidden behind this hill ready to attack you, will you believe me?” All shouted with one voice: “Surely, because you have never spoken a lie.” Such was the high reputation of the Prophet of Islam, even before God conferred Prophethood on him.

The generosity of the Prophet of Islam knew no bounds. Indeed, it was one of the greatest characteristics of the House of Muhammad (PBUH) that no supplicant was ever refused, and this principle was rigidly followed not only by Hazrat Fatima and her sons but even by their grand children. Once while he was grazing his herd of goats he gave the entire herd to a person who asked for it. The supplicant was surprised by his extraordinary generosity. During the last days of the Holy Prophet of Islam, the Muslims had become very prosperous. Nevertheless, he lived abstemiously contending himself with frugal diet and at times going without food.

He always resisted the temptation of power and vengeance. His was the sublimest morality of returning good for evil: to the weak and undefended he was a helper; to the defeated he showed unusual mercy. Never proud or haughty, known for his strict adherence to justice, one who undertook his share of common labour, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shunned no hardship and led the life of a common man.

Delivering his last address to the Muslims from Mount Arafat, the Prophet said:

“O, People! Listen to my words as I may not be with you another year in this place. Be humane and just among yourselves. The life and the property of one are sacred and inviolable to the other. Render faithfully everyone his due, as you will appear before God and He will demand an account of your actions. Treat women well; they are your help-mates and can do nothing by themselves. You have taken them from God on trust. O People! Listen to my words and fix them in your memory. I have given you everything; I have left to you a law which you should preserve and be firmly attached to a law clear and positive: the Book of God and the Sunnah” (i.e., Practice of the Prophet):

This greatest benefactor of mankind and the last Apostle of God passed away from this world on 12th Rabiul Awwal 11 A.H., 632 AC and was buried in the room occupied of his wife, Aisha Siddiqa. He had accomplished his task.

Muhammad (PBUH) led an exemplary life. Even before he was assigned his mission, he spent his time in meditation, devotion, contemplation, fasting and service to his fellow beings. His virtuous life earned for him the title of ‘Amin’ (Trustworthy). Later the Revelation commanded him to preach the faith to the people.

He taught them the unity of God and the four obligatory duties enjoined by Islam-namely Prayer, Zakat, Fasting and Haj (Annual Pilgrimage to Makkah). He himslef practiced what he preached and set an example for others. He stood sometimes so long in prayers during the night that his feet got swollen. He spent the major part of night in prayers and meditation. He prayed not only for himself but for the entire creation.

His prayers and devotion to God enabled him to check such worldly desires and impulses which could distract him from the supreme goal. Islam enjoins upon its followers to observe one month’s fast in a year. This has proved to be a very effective source of controlling one’s worldly desires. The Holy Prophet of Islam fasted for more than three months during a year, besides one month’s obligatory fast.

His was a comprehensive life. He went through all sorts of trials and tribulations for establishing the kingdom of God on earth. Faithfully and sincerely he performed his duties to God and His creatures, to wife and children, to relations and neighbours, to friends and foes, to the needy and disabled, to allies and aliens-in fact to all human beings. An account of his comprehensive life preserved in Traditions (Hadith) has served as a beacon light not only for his followers but to entire humanity during the last fourteen centuries or more. His exemplary life covering different spheres of human activity continues to inspire and guide human beings for the last more than 1,400 years.

Such were the exceptional qualities of head and heart possessed by the great Prophet of Islam whose noble teachings produced a society of virtuous people who laid the foundation of true democracy in the world in which there was no distinction between the ruler and the ruled.

Writing in the Legacy of Islam, David De Santillana says: “The Prophet uttered some charming words with regard to neighbourly relations: “Be kind to your neighbour. Draw the veil over him. Avoid injury. Look upon him with an eye of kindness, if you see him doing evil forgive him. If you see him doing good to you, proclaim your thankfulness”.

The celebrated British writer, George Bernard Shaw, in his letter to Mr. Najmi Saqib of Cyprus acknowledges that Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) teachings on the status of women, exposure of female children and kindness to animals, were “far ahead of Western Christian thought, even of modern thought”.

The great Western historian, Edward Gibbon observes: “The good sense of Muhammad (PBUH) despised the pomp of royalty; the Apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the family; he kindled the fire, swept the floor, milked the cows and mended with his own hands shoes and his woollen garments. Disdaining the penance and merit of a hermit he observed without effort and vanity, the abstemious diet of an Arab and a soldier. On solemn occasions he feted his Companions with hospitable plenty; but in his domestic life, many weeks would elapse without a fire being kindled in the hearth of the Prophet”.

“Muhammad (PBUH) was a man of truth and fidelity”, says Thomas Carlyle, “true in what he said, in what he spoke, in what he thought; he always theant something; a man rather taciturn in speech, silent when there was nothing to be said but pertinent, wise, sincere when he did speak, always throwing light on the matter”.

“His intellectual qualities, “says Washington Irving, “were undoubtedly of an extraordinary kind. He had a quick apprehension, a retentive memory, a vivid imagination and an inventive genius. His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vainglory as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So, far from affecting a regal state, he was displeased if on entering a room any unusual testimonial of respect was shown to him. If he aimed at universal domination it was the dominion of the faith: as to the temporal rule which grew up in his hands, he used it without ostentation, so he took no step to perpetuate it in his family.’

In his Histoire de la Turqui, Lamertine observes: “Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of national dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of 20 terrestrial Empires, that is Muhammad (PBUH). As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”

“It is impossible,” says Mrs. Annie Besant, “for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia who knows how he taught and how he lived to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to you, yet I re-read them as a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for the mighty Arabian leader.”

The famous English writer and literary critic Dr. Johnson says: “His purely historical character, his simple humanity, claiming to be a man among men, his intense realism, avoiding all mystical remoteness; the thoroughly democratic and universal form under which his idea of the divine monarchy led him to conceive the relations of men, the force of his ethical appeal all affiliate Muhammad (PBUH) with the modern world”.

The celebrated English writer Robert Briffault pays rich tributes to the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam, when he says: “The ideas of freedom for all human beings, of human brotherhood, of the equality of all men before the law of democratic government, by consultation and universal suffrage, the ideas that inspired the French Revolution and the Declaration of Rights, that guided the framing of the American Constitution and inflamed the struggle for independence in the Latin-American countries were not inventions of the West. They find their ultimate inspiration and source in the Holy Quran. They are the quintessence of what the intelligentsia of medieval Europe acquired from Islam over a period of centuries through the various societies that developed in Europe in the wake of the Crusades in imitation of the brotherhood associations of Islam. It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civilization would never have arisen at all, it is absolutely certain that but for them it would never have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution.”

Imam Husain (RA) – Short Biography

No event in the history of mankind has, perhaps, stirred human sentiments more deeply than the tragedy of Karbala. The martyrdom of Imam Husain, grandson of the Prophet of Islam at Karbala, is being celebrated for the last 14 centuries with tears and wails throughout the world of Islam. The sacrifice of the pious Imam for the cause of truth and righteousness was so colossal and the tragedy which resulted from it was so poignant that it continues to serve as a beacon light to all fighters for freedom and truth. This has inspired not only Muslim but also non-Muslim writers, including Shelley, Chakbast, Sarshar and Nasim.

Husain was born in the 4th A.H. in Medina. His mother, Fatima, was the favourite daughter of the Prophet of Islam and his father, Hazrat Ali, was one of the most talented and outstanding personalities of early Islam. Brought up by this ideal couple under the fostering care of the Prophet, Husain soon distinguished himself as a promising scholar, warrior and saint. The ideal training which he received from his parents and maternal grandfather made him as one of the noblest sons of Islam. Even in his early teens, he was noted for his piety and nobility, chivalry and scholarship.

The two brothers, Imam Hasan and Husain, continued to flourish during the time of the first four Caliphs. They commanded great respect of all classes of Muslims for their sterling traits. They were shown great consideration even by the successive Caliphs. It was during the Caliphate of their father, Ali, that trouble arose when Ameer Muawiya revolted against the Central authority of Islam which led to the division of Muslim Caliphate into two-one led by Hazrat Ali and the other by Ameer Muawiya. The martyrdom of Hazrat Ali left the field open for Ameer Muawiya. Imam Hasan, who succeeded his father compromised with and abdicated in favour of Ameer Muawiya in the larger interests of Islam. He was soon poisoned to death.

Muawiya dealt the greatest blow to the democratic spirit of Islam during the closing years of his reign when, on the advice of Mughira, the Governor of Basra, he nominated his son Yazid as his successor. The democratic spirit of Islamic Caliphate degenerated into monarchy. It was also a breach of contract with Imam Husain. He obtained the oath of fealty to Yazid through questionable means. He himself visited Medina for the purpose and was successful in his efforts to some extent. But the four notable personalities of Islam who took exception to his un-Islamic practice were Husain, the son of Ali, Abdulla, the son of Umar, Abdur Rahman, the son of Abu Bakr and Abdulla, the son of Zubair. “Two men threw into confusion the affairs of the Muslims”, says Imam Hasan of Basra, “Amr, the son of Aas, when he suggested to Muawiya the lifting of the Koran on the lances and Mughira, who advised Muawiya to take the covenant of allegiance for Yazid. Were it not for that, there would have been a Council of Election till the day of resurrection, for those who succeeded Muawiya followed his example in taking the covenant for their sons” (History of Saracens).

Yazid, the most cursed personality in the annals of Islam, ascended the throne of Damascus in April 683 A.C. He was a tyrant who revelled in vicious pleasures of life. He hated and took delight in persecuting Muslim divines. He tried to obtain the allegiance of the four notable Muslims including Imam Husain through intrigue and force. But, Husain, who had inherited the virtuous and chivalrous disposition of his father, Ali, was not a man to be won over by force or favour. He remained adamant and refused to acknowledge such a vicious and dissolute person, as the Caliph, supposed to be the spiritual as well as political Head of the world of Islam.

Immediately after his accession, Yazid ordered Waleed ibn Utaba, the Governor of Medina, to force Imam Husain for the oath of fealty to him. Meanwhile, Husain received messages from the citizens of Kufa imploring him to free them the tyrannical Omayyad rule. He received hundreds of such letters from the residents of Kufa offering him their allegiance. The kind hearted virtuous Husain considered it his duty to respond to the call of the oppressed. He sent his cousin Muslim ibn Aqeel as his emissary to Kufa. Thousands of Kufis rushed to swear fidelity to Husain on Muslim’s hands. The reports sent by Muslim from Kufa were highly heartening. He invited Husain to come to Kufa.

But the Kufis were soon won over through force and favour and turned their backs on Muslim, the emissary of Husain. He met a pitiable death. In the meantime, Imam Husain, along with his family members, relations and companions left for Kufa. When he approached the borders of Iraq, he was surprised at the absence of the promised Kufi soldiers. A few stages from his destination he learned the tragic end of his emissary. Eager, fierce and impetuous, the Kufis were utterly wanting in perseverance and steadfastness. “They knew not their minds from day to day. One moment, ardent as fire for some cause or person, the next day they were as cold as ice and as indifferent as the dead.” He was confronted with a strong detachment of Omayyad army under the command of Hur, who, under the orders of Ubaidullah ibn Zayad, forced Husain and his party to march towards Karbala, a place about 25 miles north-east of Kufa. Here, close to the bank of the Euphrates, Husain encamped along with his companions. The circle of steel formed by the Umayyad soldiers closed in around him. The Umayyad Governor, Ubaidullah ibn Zayad wished to persuade or force Husain to surrender. He cut off all access to the Euphrates, hoping to reduce him to thirst. But Husain, the son of Ali was made of a different metal. He remained obdurate and firm in his resolve not to acknowledge a vicious tyrant as the Caliph of Islam.

This small band of 72 souls which included respectable ladies, men and children of the House of Fatima, encamped on the western bank of the Euphrates at Karbala surrounded by a powerful Umayyad army of 4,000 soldiers commanded by Amr bin Saad. A showdown seemed imminent as Husain was determined to shed the last drop of his blood for the sake of truth and righteousness and Ubaidullah was also bent upon preventing the flower of Muslim nobility escaping from his hands. Diabolical forces had arrayed themselves against the few members of the Prophet’s house-hold. Husain, therefore, allowed his companions to leave him and go to places of safety. But who could bear to leave the grandson of the Prophet in the lurch!

Now started a period of trials and tribulations for the descendants of Muhammad (PBUH). For days, the vicious army of Ibn Saad surrounded their tents but dared not come within reach of Husain’s sword. They immediately cut off their water-supply with a view to reducing them to hunger and thirst, thus forcing them to surrender. For four days, commencing from the 7th to the 10th Muharram not a drop of water entered the mouth of Imam Husain and his companions who were dying of thirst in the grilling heat of the Arabian desert, without their fortitude and perseverance for a noble cause being impaired in the least. Faced with this dire catastrophe which would have made the stoutest heart shudder and, strongest feet stagger, Husain and his companions did not wince at all. The restraint and patience and the power of endurance exhibited by this heroic band of Karbala were indeed superhuman. These noble qualities of theirs stand unrivalled.

At last the fateful hour arrived. This was on the 10th of Muharram, a memorable day in the history of Islam. One of the enemy’s chief named Hur, horrified at the miserable plight of the grand children of the Prophet, deserted along with thirty followers to meet the inevitable death. None could dare face the Fatimides in single combats. But the enemy archers picked them off from a safe distance. One by one the defenders fell—friends, cousins, nephews and sons-until there remained the grandson of the Prophet and his infant son, Asghar. He was crying with thirst. Carrying him in his arms he drew near the enemy positions and delivered a memorable sermon. But, instead of giving water to the crying child, they transfixed him with a dart. Husain brought the dead child smeared with blood and placed him in the lap of his mother.

He knew that the end was near. During his last moments Husain demonstrated the highest spiritual and moral greatness by praying for the very persons who had killed his infant child and other family members. Coming out of the tent, he made a desperate charge. The enemy soldiers fell back as they could not stand up against fierce attack of Husain, the son of the “Lion of God”. But he was too much exhausted due to loss of blood and excessive thirst. The valiant Imam got down from his horse and offered his last prayers to his Creator. As he prostrated, the murderous crew rushed upon him and Saran ibn Uns struck the fatal blow. “They cut off his head, ruthlessly trampled on his body, and with savage ferocity subjected it to every ignominy”. His tents were pillaged. His head was carried to the inhuman Obaidullah, who struck his lips with a cane. “Alas”! exclaimed an aged Muslim, “On these lips have I seen the lips of the Apostle of God”. “In a distant age and climate”, says Gibbon, “the tragic scene of the death of Husain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.”

Thus, fell on the 10th Muharram 61 A.H., one of the noblest personalities of Islam and along with him perished the members of the House of Fatima, the flower of Muslim nobility, piety and chivalry. The only male survivor was sickly Zainul Abedin, son of Husain who escaped general massacre at the intervention of Husain’s sister, Zainub.

The female members of Husain’s family were despatched to Damascus along with Zainul Abedin. Their pitiable condition evoked sympathy even from alien quarters and Yazid, fearing an outburst in his capital in favour of the oppressed and persecuted family, hurriedly sent them back to Medina.

The massacre of the Prophet’s family at Karbala sent a wave of horror and indignation throughout the world of Islam. Medina rose in revolt against the Umayyad Caliph. Abdullah ibn Zubair installed himself as the Caliph in Makkah. It gave birth to a new movement in Persia which ultimately brought about the doom of Omayyad rule and paved the way for the establishment of the Abbasside Caliphate.

The martyrdom of Husain at Karbala provided the moral victory of virtue over vice. It was a triumph of good over evil. It continues to serve as a beacon light for all strugglers for truth and righteousness. It leaves behind the message that it is glorious to die for a just and noble cause. It also establishes the moral victory of right over might. It revived the virtues of Islam, which were slowly being enveloped by evil. Maulana Muhammad Ali, the celebrated Muslim patriot, has rightly observed:

“Katl-e-Husain asl main marg-e-yazid hai Islam zinda hota hai her Karbala ke bad.”

“The martyrdom of Husain actually means the death of Yazid, as every such Karbala leads to the revival of Islam.”

How truthfully says a Persian poet:

“They initiated a noble example of tossing in dust and blood May God bless these well-intentioned lovers (of His).”

Abuzar Ghaffari – Short Biography

Islamic economy is, to a great extent, based on egalitarian principles which aim at maintaining the equality of man through equitable distribution of wealth, thus eliminating the disparity between the rich and the poor. Islam has struck at the root of the principle of making the rich richer and the poor poorer, which has been followed in the capitalist and imperialist states since times immemorial. It has prevented the exploitation of the poor at the hands of the rich.

Islam has evolved its economic principles on such lines as to minimise these disparities and eliminate distinctions in the distribution of human fortunes. The wealthy people are to be heavily taxed through Zakat in order to help the poor and this taxation forms one of the cardinal principles of Islam which no true Muslim can violate. Its denunciation of “interest” and emphasis on the annual payment of Zakat-a religious obligatory tax levied on capital income forming one of the fundamentals of Islam, is an effective step towards nonaccumulation of wealth. The Holy Quran, while enumerating the qualities of a Momin (true Muslim) states that he is one who distributes his wealth for Allah, among his needy brethren. The Prophet of Islam has observed that if the Muslims would faithfully pay their Zakat, a time would come when there would be no needy person left to receive the same.

Islam in its early days produced many zealous exponents of the egali. tarian principles of Islam. They sacrificed their all for the sake of God. Instances of unparalleled generosity and benevolence are two numerous to be adduced from the life of the Companions of the Prophet. But the most vocal and fearless exponent of non-accumulation and wider distribution of private wealth was Hazrat Abuzar Ghaffari, a highly respected and trusted Companion of the Prophet.

Born in a tribe of brigands, named Ghaffar, residing near the caravan route leading from Makkah to Syria, Jundab, later known as Abuzar, soon rose to be a great leader of marauders and a terror for the surrounding country.

But Jundab possessed a live conscience and a moving heart. The ravages caused by his terrible raids and the miseries of his victims provided a turning point in his career. Introspection led to remorse, which not only made him abandon the vicious life but also dissuade others from it. This created a furor in the tribe and an unwholesome atmosphere for him which obliged him to leave the place and take shelter elsewhere.

He had now developed an extreme revulsion for his past immoral life of lust and plunder. This turning point in the life of Abuzar is of great significance as it gave the world of Islam one of its most sincere and revolutionary figures.

He, along with his mother and brother Anees, migrated to Upper Najd, where one of his maternal uncles resided. This was the first migration of Abuzar in search of truth and righteousness. Here, too, he could not stay for long. His revolutionary ideas had antagonised his tribesmen who complained to his maternal uncle. In a world of lust and vice, he seemed to be a strange figure. He left his maternal uncle’s house and took refuge in a village near Makkah.

Abuzar now yearned for something else. He was in search of truth. Even before embracing Islam, he was against idol worship and considered God as one and supreme. Once he said :

“I used to say my prayers three years before I had the honour of beholding the Holy Prophet of Islam”

His brother, Anees who had gone to Makkah brought him the news of the dawn of a new horizon–Islam. It was the time when the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam had created a stir in Makkah and had sent a wave of resentment throughout Arabia. Abuzar was naturally drawn towards the Messenger of God and longed to see him. He arrived in Makkah, occasionally visited Kaaba and for more than a month closely studied the conduct and teachings of the Holy Prophet in the hostile environments of Makkah.

The Kaaba which, in those days, was packed with idols and was frequently visited by idol worshipers of Quraish was a popular meeting place. The Prophet of Islam, too came to offer his prayers there. Abuzar at last had a chance of meeting him. This provided him an opportunity of fulfilling his heart’s desire. There and then he embraced Islam and became one of its most zealous and dauntless champions.

Now started his period of trials and tribulations. He openly offered prayer and preached the new faith in Kaaba. One day, the Quraish idolators fell upon him and had he not been rescued by Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, who reminded the assailants that their victim was an important member of the Ghaffar clan, who happened to inhabit the area encompassing their trade route to Syria. As such, the members of the clan were in a position to put a stop to their commerce with that country. This argument cooled down their fury for the time being.

Thenceforward, Abuzar dedicated himself to the service of Islam and its founder. He soon earned an enviable and venerable place among the Companions of the Prophet and came to be recognised as one of his very close and trusted Companions.

He was deputed by the Prophet to preach Islam in his own tribe. He went to his own land and enthusiastically preached the new faith and met with tremendous success. Not only his mother and brother Anees, but almost the entire clan of marauders and brigands also embraced Islam. He was one of the foremost and rather the first missionary of Islam. Crowned with exceptional success in his difficult mission, he returned to Makkah to be all the more honoured by the Prophet and his Companions.

He was held in high esteem by the Prophet. When he later left Medina to participate in the “Battle of Rags”, Abuzar was appointed as the Imam and Administrator of Medina. On his death bed, the Prophet sent for Abuzar and embraced him, declaring:

“Abuzar would be the same all through his life. He would not change even after my death”.

The words of the Prophet proved true. Abuzar passed an utterly simple and pious life, abhorring pomp and show and denouncing the capitalists and their wealth throughout his life, specially in the time of the Third Caliph of Islam, when the members of Quraish were rolling in wealth.

Abuzar was a staunch champion of the egalitarian principles of Islam. His adherence to and interpretation of “Aya-i-Kanz” (verse on concentration of wealth) raised a great controversy during the time of Hazrat Usman, the Third Caliph. This “Aya” in “Sura-i-Tauba” of the Holy Quran runs as follow:

“Those who accumulate fondly gold and silver and do not spend in the path of Allah, tell them dire perdition will be their lot. On that day, their foreheads, sides and backs will be branded with the very gold and silver, made red-hot and it will be said:

“This is what you had accumulated for your benefit. Now taste what you had accumulated”.

Deadly opposed to the idea of accumulating wealth he considered it against the spirit of Islam. He could not reconcile himself with the growing capitalism among the Muslims in Syria governed by Muawiya. In his opinion, it was obligatory on all true Muslims to distribute their surplus wealth among their needy brethren. In substantiation he cited the following incident in the life of the Prophet:

“One day as the Holy Prophet was going for a walk along with Abuzar, the mountain of Ohad came in view, he said to Abuzar : “If I have gold equal to the weight of the yonder mountain, I would never care to look at it and have it with me on the third day except that which will be required to pay off my debts. The rest I would distribute among the slaves of Allah”.

He lived up to his convictions and practised what he preached. In his attitude towards capitalism he was so uncompromising that he did not care for the highest dignitaries. Hazrat Abu Hurairah, a very renowned Companion of the Prophet, was appointed the Governor of Bahrain. He came to see Abuzar who refused to see him at first. But, on enquiry, as to why he was so annoyed with him, Abuzar replied :

“You have been appointed Governor of Bahrain”.
“Yes”, was the reply.
“Then you must have built a palatial house and purchased a big estate there”, added Abuzar.
“Nothing of this sort”, replied Abu Hurairah.
“Then you are my brother”, retorted Abuzar and instantly embraced him.

His preachings were never challenged during the time of the first two Caliphs. He passed a peaceful life, and was respected by all. But the trouble arose during the time of the Third Caliph.

Abuzar had migrated to Syria, where he found Governor Muawiya living in luxury and consolidating his authority with the support of a privileged class which had amassed enormous fortunes. Abuzar’s egalitarian preachings awakened the masses against this privileged class. He became a problem for the local Government. When Muawiya built his green palace, Al-Khizra, Abuzar questioned him:

“If you have built this palace out of the state funds, you are guilty of misappropriation; if out of your personal income, you are guilty of ‘israf’ (extravagance).” Muawiya was stunned and could give no reply.

Muawiya tried his best to dissuade Abuzar from his egalitarian preachings but Abuzar was adamant and uncompromising on his principles. The Ameer arranged discussions with him by learned scholars of Islam, whose arguments cut no ice with him. People were forbidden to associate with or listen to him. Nevertheless people thronged around him for advice. At last Muawiya cornplained to Caliph Usman that Abuzar was preaching class hatred in Syria which might lead to serious consequences.

Thereupon, Abuzar was summoned to Medina by the Caliph. Long before his arrival in the city, the residents of Medina had come out of their houses to welcome this revered Companion of the Prophet.

In Medina, too, he could not have a peaceful life. The wealthy section of the population felt uneasy over his activities advocating equitable distribution of wealth.

The Caliph at last arranged a discussion on the subject between him and Kaab Ahbar, a learned person. The latter questioned the desirability of keeping the law of inheritance in Muslim jurisprudence when Islam did not permit the accumulation of wealth. But this was off the point. The discussion bore no result and Hazrat Usman asked him eventually to leave Medina and settle at Rabza, a small village on the caravan route from Iraq to Medina. The enemies of Islam like Abdullah ibn Saba, tried to incite him to revolt against the Caliph but he rebuked them saying:

“If Usman hangs me on the highest mountain, I will not lift my finger against him”.

Like a true Muslim, Abuzar bowed before the orders of the Central Authority of Islam. He migrated to Rabza and died there on the 8th Zil-Hijja, 32 A.H. His dead body lay near the caravan route, watched by his widow. There was none to bury him. Suddenly, on the horizon appeared a caravan of Hajis heading towards Makkah. On being informed that the dead body was that of Abuzar, the revered Companion of the Prophet, they got down, offered funeral prayer, led by Abdulla ibn Masood, the celebrated scholar of Islam and buried him.

Thus ended the life of this trusted Companion of the Prophet who preached and practised true socialism more than a thousand years before Karl Marx. He lived and died for his principles denouncing the accumulation of wealth.

The Holy Prophet of Islam had certified him as the “most truthful”, and Hazrat Ali had declared about him:

“There is now none, except Abuzar, in the world, who is not afraid of the tirade of recriminations from the side of delinquents in matters of religion. Even I am no exception”.

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Ali – The Lion Hearted Short Biography

The Qazi’s court in Medina was packed to its capacity. The Qazi had summoned Hazrat Ali, the Caliph of Islam, to appear in a case filed against him by a Jew who had claimed the Caliph’s armour. The Caliph arrived at the court and stood by the side of the plaintiff without caring about his own exalted position. The claimant produced several witnesses in support of his claim. The learned Qazi, then asked Hazrat Ali if he had to say anything in his defence. Ali replied in the negative. Thereupon the Qazi decided the case in favour of the Jew and awarded the armour to the Jew, which, Ali had actually purchased from him. The Jew was taken aback by the impartial judgement of the Qazi and returned the armour to the Caliph saying that the illustrious Caliph had actually purchased the armour from him. He had filed the suit in order to test the impartiality of the Caliph and his courts which had magnifi. cently withstood the test.

Hazrat Ali, the Fourth Caliph of Islam, was a versatile genius. Few persons have ever been endowed with the unsurpassable traits of chivalry and learning, piety and clarity of thought and imagination that distinguished the illustrious son-in-law of the Prophet of Islam who had brought him up under his own fostering care and ideal guardianship. Hazrat Ali has universally been acclaimed as one of the best products of Islam. His bravery had won him the title of “Lion of God,” says a well-known orientalist; “his learning, that of the ‘gate of knowledge,’ chivalarous, humane and forbearing as a ruler, he came before his time. Most of the grand undertakings, initiated by Umar for the welfare of the people, were due to his counsel. Ever ready to succour the weak and redress the wrongs of the injured, the accounts of his valorous deeds are still recited with enthusiasm from the bazaars of Cairo to those of Delhi.”

Ali ibn Abu Talib, whose kunniyat was Abul Hasan, was born in the 13th year of the Year of Elephant. He was a cousin of the Prophet and his clan Banu Hashim having been entrusted with the high function of the custody of the sacred Kaaba, was held in high esteem, throughout Arabia. Abu Talib, who had a large family entrusted his son Ali to the care of the Prophet of Islam. Ali was brought up by the Prophet himself from his very childhood-a fact which greatly contributed to cultivating extraordinary virtues in him. According to reliable historical sources, Khadija was the first woman, Abu Bakr, the first man and Ali, the first child to embrace Islam. Hazrat Ali played a conspicuous role at the time of the Prophet’s migration from Makkah. While Hazrat Abu Bakr accompanied the Prophet, constantly harassed and hunted by the Quraish of Makkah, on his perilous journey to Medina, Hazrat Ali was kept behind to return to the owners the valuables they had entrusted to the custody of the Prophet. It speaks volumes for the integrity of the Prophet that even his sworn enemies reposed full trust in his honesty and deposited their valuables with him. Hazrat Ali slept soundly in the house of the Prophet besieged by his enemies. The next morning he cleared the accounts and departed for Medina.

The Prophet selected the young talented Ali, as the life partner for his favourite daughter Fatima az-Zahra, the beautiful. The nuptial ceremony was performed with utmost simplicity which will serve as an example for all times to come. The dowry given to the beloved daughter of the Prophet consisted of a sheet of cloth, a few earthen utensils and a grinding stone. Three sons, Hazrat Imam Hasan, Husain and Mohsin and two daughters Zainab and Umme Kulsum were born. The lineage of the Prophet continued through Imam Hasan and Hussain, hence their descendants are called Syed (Master).

Hazrat Ali lived a humble and simple life; he earned his living through manual labour. He could not add anything to the property of the house and his beloved wife performed all household duties with her own hands. Faced with extreme poverty, the humanitarianism and the spirit of charity and self-sacrifice and self-denial of this ideal couple of Islam have hardly any parallel in the annals of mankind. They invariably preferred to go without their humble rneals rather than refuse a beggar knocking at their door.
Hazrat Ali was chosen by the Prophet to carry the message of Islam to the people of Yemen, where earlier Muslim missionaries had failed. There he mnet with great success and the tribe of Hamdan embraced Islam the same day. His mellifluent eloquence, high intellectual and persuasive power were greatly i instrumental in popularising Islam in those hostile regions.

It was in the realm of chivalry that Hazrat Ali has left ineffaceable marks in the history of early Islam. He was gifted with extraordinary daring and courage which he devoted to the service of Islam, performing wonderful deeds of heroism. In fact, he proved to be the strongest bulwark in the defence of the votaries of the new faith against the repeated hostilities of alien powers. During the lifetime of the Prophet, he took a leading part in all defensive campaigns except Tabuk; when reluctantly he had to stay back in Medina under the orders of the Prophet who said, “You stand to me in the same relation in which Aaron stood to Moses, except that there is to be no Prophet after me.”

Hazrat Ali displayed his unique valour for the first time in the battle of Badr, when he overpowered Waleed and Sheba, the renowned warriors of Arabia in single combats. In the battle of Ohad, when the standard bearer of Islam fell fighting, he took hold of the standard and killed the enemy standard bearer. This exceptional heroism made people declare, ‘La Fata Nla Ali’ (There is no youth like Ali). Two years after, he met Amr ibn Abad Wudd, the greatest known warrior of Arabia in a duel and killed him. Of all his martial exploits, the most outstanding was the capture of the citadel of Khaibar which was regarded impregnable. It was strongly fortified by the Jews and withstood repeated attacks by Muslims under the command of Hazrat Abu Bakr and Umar. Thereupon the Prophet said, “Tomorrow the standard of Islam will be entrusted to a person who would capture it and who loves God and His Messenger and whom God and His Messenger also love.” The next morning Ali was summoned in the presence of the Prophet. Incidentally, he was suffering from a bad eyesore. The Prophet applied his saliva to his eyes, and placed the standard in his hands. Ali made a dash and captured the fort by tearing asunder the huge gate which could not be moved by dozens of men.

Mercy on the defeated and overpowered foe is a part of chivalry. Hazrat Ali who had drunk enough of the milk of human kindness, pitied and pardoned the vanquished on several occasions. Once during a campaign, when his opponent fell on the ground and became naked, he left him aside. According to Ibn Saad, when his assailant Ibn Muljem was brought before him, he asked his men to treat him gently and make him comfortable.

During the reign of the first two Caliphs, Hazrat Ali as the principal adviser of the State. He solved all knotty problems and no important decision was taken by the Caliphs without his advice. His advice was sought on all matters, especially legal and religious on which he was considered an authority. His sound judgements were highly respected by friends and foes alike. After the death of the Prophet, he mostly devoted his energies to the development of the moral and intellectual life of the adherents of the new faith and seldom took part in warfare. Most of the great administrative works during the reign of Hazrat Umar were undertaken at his instance.

Hazrat Ali was elected Caliph after the martyrdom of Hazrat Usman, at a time when the world of Islam was in great turmoil and Medina, the Metropolis, was besieged by insurgents. The inhabitants of Medina and neighbouring provinces vied with one another in taking the oath of allegiance to him, as he was the most deserving person for the high post among the faithful. But Muayiya, who had gathered great power around himself, clamoured for avenging the blood of Hazrat Usman. Muawiya, being a clever person, realized that he had hardly any chance for the exalted position in the presence of Hazrat Ali, hence he devised this means of winning popular support. The insurgents were two powerful to be dealt with and a hasty step would have culminated in the disintegration of the Empire. This restrained Ali’s hands. He wanted to deal firmly with the disruptionists at an opportune moment. To Talha and Zubair who insisted on the assassins of Usman being punished immediately, Hazrat Ali replied, “I am myself no less anxious about it, but I simply cannot help it. It is a critical time. If there is any disturbance of peace, the Beduins and foreigners will rise in revolt and Arabia will once more relapse into the days of ignorance. These men are yet beyond our control. Wait and see till Allah shows me some way out of the difficulty.” The situation had become so critical and the political atmosphere was so much explosive, that any drastic action taken against the insurgents would have endangered the security of the new state. Ali’s opponents had, however, resolved to exploit the situation to their advantage. Almost all great Muslim historians have expressed doubts about the motive behind the opposition of Muawiya. They maintain that sincerity of purpose behind the opposition of Hazrat Aisha, Talha and Zubair was lacking in the case of Muawiya.

His demand for avenging Usman’s blood was not inspired by high motive. Ali explored all possibilities of amicable settlement before declaring war against Muawiya in the interest of national solidarity. Hazrat Aisha, too, was deeply stirred by the martyrdom of Usman. Accompanied by Talha and Zubair, she marched upon Basra which surrendered in October 656 A.C. Hazrat Ali when apprised of the situation hurriedly reached there. On 12th Rajab 36 A.H. Kufa accorded a royal welcome to the Caliph and made elaborate arrangements for his entertainment in the local palace. But being a saintly person, Ali shunned all pageantries and preferred to camp in an open field. The two forces lay facing each other, as Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Aisha wanted to avoid a clash and negotiate for a settlement. Obviously it would have gone against the interests of the Sabaites who formed a component part of Hazrat Ali’s forces and who were all out to fan the fire of enmity between the contending parties with the ulterior purpose of undermining Islam. Hence, one night, when settlement was almost in sight, they secretly fell upon the opposing forces and started fighting. Both the parties suspected that the fighting was started by the other side. Hazrat Ali tried his best to pacify the feelings of the fighters and reminded Zubair of a prophecy of the Prophet. This induced Zubair to withdraw at once from the battle-field, while he was praying on his way back to Makkah, a Sabaite slew him. When the ruffians brought the head of Zubair to Ali for a reward, he said wrathfully, “Give the assassin of Zubair the tidings of hell”. At last the forces led by Hazrat Aisha were defeated and the Caliph himself called on the reverend lady for enquiring about her health. She was respectfully sent back to Medina escorted by noble ladies and the Caliph in person saw her off for a considerable distance.

Caliph Ali now diverted his attention to Muawiya, the rebel Governor of Syria, who was threatening the solidarity of the young state. Being humane by nature, Hazrat Ali tried his level best to bring about a peaceful settlement and avoid shedding of Muslim blood. But Muawiya advanced impossible conditions. Ali offered to end the quarrel by personal combat, but the Umayyad declined the challenge. At last the fateful hour arrived and the two forces fought a bloody battle. “The rebels were defeated in three successive battles,” says a well-known historian, “and Muawiya was ready to fly from the field, when a trick of his accomplice Amr, son of Aas, saved them from destruction. He made his mercenaries tie copies of the Quran to their lances and flags, and shout for quarter. The soldiers of the Caliph at once desisted from pursuit, and called on him to refer the dispute to arbitration.”

The arbitration ended in a chaos in which Hazrat Abu Musa Ashari, the representative of Ali was duped by the clever Amr bin al-Aas, the representative of Amir Muawiya.

These internal dissensions within the house of Islam gave birth to a new fanatical horde called Kharijis, which proved to be a great menace for the administration of Hazrat Ali. They spread disorders throughout the domains of the Caliph, killing innocent people and converting them to their fanatical creed by force. The Caliph, who faced the turmoils and turbulence around him with extraordinary courage and patience dealt with the Khariji fanatics with a strong hand and exterminated them after a bloody battle.

The people of Kerman and Persia revolted against the authority of the Caliph. Ziad bin Abiha was despatched who soon suppressed the disorder and restored peace in that region. Instead of punishing the rebels, Hazrat Ali treated them with such kindness that the Persians recalled the rule of Nausherwan, the Just.

The Khariji insurrection to which he ultimately fell a victim, too, was handled by him firmly. Three Kharijis (fanatics) had planned to kill the three persons namely, Hazrat Ali, Muawiya and Amr bin al-Aas at an appointed time. Ibn M’aljem, who was assigned the task of killing the Caliph, struck the deadly blow at him when he was going to offer his prayer. The just and kind-hearted Caliph instructed his men to treat the assassin with all kindness. Thus died at the age of 63, one of the greatest sons of Islam. His rule lasted 4 years and 9 months and he was destined to steer the ship of Islam through the most stormy seas of internecine dissensions. He took pride in simplicity, piety, humility and kindheartedness. Being humane by nature, he loved to help the needy and forgave even his deadliest enemies. His kindness, at times, verged on the side of weakness. Worldly power and splendour had no fascination for him. “Thus died”, says a celebrated writer “in the prime of his life, the best hearted Moslem, to use Colonel Osborn’s words, ‘that ever lived’. Mild, beneficent and humane, ready to help the weak and the distressed, his life had been devoted to the cause of Islam. Had he possessed the sternness of Umar’s character he would have been more successful in governing an unruly race like the Arabs”?

Hazrat Ali was elected as a Caliph in the most stormy period of Islamic history. Endowed with extraordinary daring and sound judgement, he battled against the surging waves of disruption which wanted to knock the new State off its foundation. In chivalry, he had hardly any match in the annals of early Islam. Known as the ‘Lion of God’, his bravery has become proverbial, and stories connected with it are still related throughout the world of Islam.

Hazrat Ali was a versatile genius. Being brought up by the Prophet himself and having had the chance of spending about 30 years in his company, Ali occupies the unique position of being the greatest intellectual among the Companions of the Prophet. Like Aristotle he is known as the father of Islamic learning. Writing in ‘Izalat-ul-Khifa’, Shah Waliullah attributes the high intellectualism of Hazrat Ali to the ideal training of the Prophet. He reports on the authority of Imam Hanbal that Hazrat Ali possessed the highest intellectual attributes among the Companions. This is further corroborated by the declaration of the Prophet: “I am the store-house of knowledge while Ali is its gate.” He was a ‘Hafiz’ of the Quran and a commentator of high standing. Along with Hazrat Ibn Abbas he is considered as the greatest authority on the Quran of which he arranged the chapters in order of their revelation during the first six months of the Caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr.

Ibn Nadim in his celebrated work ‘Al Fihrist’, has given this order of arrangement. Hazrat Ali exercised utmost circumspection in sifting reports about the traditions, so much so that the traditions reported and collected by him are universally taken to be authentic. He was the greatest Mujtahid and jurist of his time and one of the greatest of all times. He solved all vexing and complicated problems which defied solution. As already stated he was the principal adviser on religious and legal matters during the reign of the first three Caliphs. All knotty problems were referred to him and his verdict was considered final. Even such high personalities as Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Aisha referred their difficulties to him. All schools of religious thought regard him as the father of Islamic mysticism. The celebrated mystic, Junaid Baghdadi acknowledges Ali as the highest authority on the subject and according to Shah Waliullah, who says in ‘Izalat-ul-Khifa’ that Ali devoted much time to mysticism before his being elected as Caliph. He was one of the two greatest orators of early Islam-the other being Hazrat Abu Bakr. According to Ibn Nadim, Hazrat Ali is known as the founder of Arabian grammar.

Hazrat Ali was undoubtedly the greatest jurist of early Islam. Once two women who were quarrelling over an infant child-each claiming it, were produced before him. On hearing the statements of both the claimants, Hazrat Ali ordered the child to be cut to pieces. The real mother was overwhelmed with grief and weepingly pleaded to the Caliph to spare the child. Hazrat Ali awarded the child to its real mother and punished the other woman. Hazrat Umar used to say about him: “God forbid, we may be confronted with any controversial issue, which Ali might not be able to solve”. According to Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood, Ali possessed the best power of judgement in Medina. The Prophet himself relied on the judgements of Ali and had appointed him the Qazi of Yemen. He had instructed him not to deliver his judgement without hearing both the contending parties. Even his opponents like Amir Muawiya referred their knotty problems to him and accepted his judgement. The early Islamic history is full of learned judgements delivered by him.

Hazrat Ali led a very simple and poverty-stricken life. His whole life was characterised by abstemiousness. He was the very incarnation of simplicity, piety and tender-heartedness. Wordly splendour had no attraction for him. The treasures of the conquered Roman and Persian Empires lay at his feet, but he never cared to cast an eye at them. Once he distributed the entire wealth kept in Baitul Mal among the poor. When he was accorded a royal welcome in Kufa, he preferred to stay in the open field instead of the local palace in which arrangements for his boarding had been made. He could not add to the prosperity of his house during the lifetime of Hazrat Fatima. He had only one blanket, which was barely enough to cover his head and feet when he slept. Even, during the days of his Caliphate, he did not give up his simplicity and wore tattered clothes and ate coarse food. He loathed to engage a servant for performing household chores, which were handled by his beloved wife Fatima who was the favourite daughter of the Prophet. She was accustomed to grinding the corn with her own hands.

Writing in Izalat-ul-Khifa, Shah Waliullah says that Hazrat Ali once received baskets of oranges from some country. Hazrat Imam Hasan and Husain picked up one orange each which Hazrat Ali snatched from the hands of his sons and distributed all the oranges among the common people. As Islam forbids accumulation of wealth, Hazrat Ali, always lived up to his convictions; neither he ever amassed wealth, nor he believed in hoarding wealth in the Public Treasury.

During his Caliphate, he had to offer even his favourite sword for sale in order to purchase a piece of cloth. In spite of being extremely poor, he never turned away in disappointment anyone who knocked at his door. One night he watered a garden of Medina and received grain as his wage. The next morning when he returned home he got a portion of grain boiled. But he gave the whole of it to a beggar who knocked at his door. This was repeated on three successive days with the result that he himself had to go without food for three days.

Unlike Muawiya who recklessly distributed the wealth of Baitul Mal among his own men, with ulterior motives, Hazrat Ali scrupulously followed the principles laid down by the Second Caliph and equally distributed the public money among the people. This impartial justice of the Caliph antagonised his supporters, who began to side with Muawiya. Despite surmounting difficulties Hazrat Ali faced them with courage and conviction and kept up the high traditions of the Prophet.

His Administration steered clear of partisanship, favouritism or nepotism. He was particularly severe on his Governors and kept a regular watch on their actions, Once his own cousin Ibn Abbas, the Governor of Basra, drew some money from the Baitul Mal for his personal expenses. Hazrat Ali questioned his action and Hazrat Ibn Abbas was so much frightened that he left Basra for Makkah. It becomes abundantly clear from this that Ali did not spare even his dear once who strayed from the path chalked out by the Prophet.
“Ali’s Administration”, says Ameer Ali, “was too disturbed by civil war to remedy the evils of the previous Administration; but he removed most of the corrupt Governors and restored the policy of Umar where he had the power; established a state archive for the safe custody and preservation of the records of the Caliphate; created the office of Hajib or Chamberlain, and of the Sahibush-Shurta or Captain of the Guard; and reorganised the Police and regulated their duties.”

Notwithstanding the internecine warfare, the Muslims extended their frontiers during Ali’s regime. After the suppression of revolts in Kabul and Sistan, the Arabs made a naval attack on Konkan (Bombay Coast). Being highly experienced in warfare, the Caliph established army establishments on the Syrian frontiers. He strengthened his frontiers and raised impregnable fortifications on the northern frontiers of Persia.

Contemporary and later historians have paid high tributes to Hazrat Ali’s qualities of head and heart. The celebrated historian Masudi says : “If the glorious name of being the first Muslim, a comrade of the Prophet in exile, his faithful companion in the struggle for the faith, his intimate in life, and his kinsman; if a true knowledge of the spirit of his teachings and of the Book; if self-abnegation and practice of justice; if honesty, purity and love of truth; if a knowledge of law and science, constitute a claim to pre-eminence, then all must regard Ali as one of the foremost Muslims.” The celebrated traditionist Shah Waliullah has discussed at length the high qualities of Hazrat Ali in his wellknown work, ‘Izalat-ul-Khifa’. He concludes that, chivalry and strength of character, humanity and sincerity which are attributes of great men, were possessed in abundance by Hazrat Ali.

With the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali, ended the glorious regime of the pious Caliphs. “Thus vanished”, says a philosophical writer, “the popular regime, which’ had for its basis a patriarchal simplicity, never again to appear among any Mussalman nation; only the jurisprudence and rules which depended on Koran survived the fall of the elective Government.”

Another historian says: “The example of simplicity presented by the Prophet and his four successors stands unrivaled in the annals of kingship. Monarchies of vast empires, they led the lives of hermits and never cast a glance at the worldly riches which were laid in heap at their feet. Kingly palaces and robes came in their way, but the four kings, temporal as well as spiritual, ever took pride in their cottages they lived in and in the rough clothes they wore while they labored for their daily bread. Their lives were simpler than those of the common people and like them they would go to the mosque for the five daily prayers unaccompanied by a bodyguard. For their person they had no police or guard. But for the welfare of the State they were so watchful that the smallest incident on a most distant frontier would forthwith engage their attention. Their hearts were devoted to the love of God and their bodies to the service of man.”

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