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['Aalim Network QR] Silence of Imam Ali (AS)


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salamun alaykum

	The following questions about the silence of Imam Ali (AS) in the early 
period of the Khilafah were kindly answered by Mohammed Soleiman-Peneh.

Wasalaam,

Mustafa Rawji
Acting Moderator, ABDG-A

QUESTIONS:

Comment: Some Sunni and Shii people say how could Ali(s) stay silent to a
 dhulm like the one done to him by Usurping the Prophet's (sa) wishes of
 him becoming the leader.  Also, if Ali (s) was against Omar he would not
 have let his daughter marry Omar's Son or call one of his children by the
 name of Omar.

 (1) Is the above paragraph made by the Sunni/Shii brothers TRUE?

 ANSWER: 

	The above statement can be analyzed in two way: (1)  with  
respect to the "actual" historical events, (2) with respect two the 
interpretations of those events and conclusions derived. As far as the 
first aspect is concerned it is not an "accurate" (or if you will) a fair 
account of the events in the early history of Islam. There is ample 
historical evidence from Sunni sources that indicate that not only was Imam 
Ali (AS) not silent after holy prophet's death but on the contrary 
actively became engaged in a political struggle for the office of 
Khillafa. Almost all early historians (among whom are Ibn Qutayba, 
Bukhari, Massudi, Ibn Abi Alhadid) mention that no one from Bani Hashim 
pledged Baya' with Abu Bakr until  Hz. Fatemeh (SA) was alive. Some like 
Ibn Abi Alhadid says that they did not dare to force Ali (AS) into Baya 
while Fatemeh (SA) was alive. Even Muawiayah in a letter to Imam (AS) 
during his Khillafa and the Saffayn War wrote to Imam (AS) that "it was 
yesterday that you put your wife on the back of donkey and went to the 
house of every companion to ask for support against Abu Bakr. Your 
intention was to create division and Fitnah among Muslims... (my free 
translation)."  There is no doubt whatsoever that Imam (AS) with Hz. 
Fatemeh (SA) led a resistance movement against the deviation taking place 
after the holy Prophet. But Imam (AS), who according to our belief has 
the supreme wisdom and is under the guidance of Allah (SWT), decided to 
prevent the disintegration of  the new faith. There is a conversation 
attributed to Imam (AS) and Hz. Fatemeh (SA) which is interesting in this 
respect, regardless of whether it has actually taken place or not its 
spirit can well be true. Hz. Fatemeh (SA) is said to have told Imam (AS) 
: " You have become isolated like an unborn in the womb of the mother and 
have retreated to the corner of the house like an accused person. Having 
broken the wings of the eagles, now you have become like a weak bird and 
unable to stand up to them. Son of Abi Ghuhafa (Abu Bakr) takes away the 
inheritance of my father and the livelihood of my children ...and 
expresses hostility towards me in the public and engages in derogatory 
conversation with me..." Imam (AS) reportedly briefly responded: " I did 
not stop short  in the issue of Din (religion). Do you prefer this Din 
survive and the name of your father be praised in mosques?...if so we 
must be patient in the face of these oppression (my free translation)." 
The spirit of this attitude is readily present and observable in many 
sermons of Nahj-ul-Balagha'. Thus I do not believe any fair person 
would deny the fact that Imam Ali and many of his supporters actively 
resisted the political plot against him and his family and above all the 
deviation of Islam from the Prophet's (SA) path. 

	As to the issue of marriage I believe it is also wrong. But if 
anyone wants to use this kind of events against more basic idea he must 
know that first of all it was Omar himself who married Ali  and Fatemeh' 
(AS) daughter, Ume Kulsum. Secondly When Omar asked Imam's (AS) 
permission to marry her, Imam (AS) refused and said she is too young for 
marrying him. Omar swore " wa Allah-e I do not seek her for what you may 
think, I seek her because I heard the holy prophet (SA) saying 'get 
closer to me by being close to my family. I want to be closer to him by 
marrying his granddaughter." Whatever his true intentions were - perhaps 
a political gesture for the chilly political climate of the time when 
everybody knew that Ali (AS) did not let them to be present in the Salah 
to Fatemeh's (SA) body and her burial, or making confusion among the 
public and generation to come, or perhaps a call of conscience of guilt 
for what he has done to Fatemeh (SA)- Imam (AS) must have had good 
reasons for agreeing  to the marriage.

	As I will mention further down Imam(AS) made all the sacrifices
from correcting the path of Muslim Umma has soon as possible. Perhaps
having taking Omar's words as with regard to the intention of marriage
being respectful to the holy Prophet's (SA) family, Imam (AS) sought
Omar's support through kinship, the same way Prophet Muhammad (SA)
intended with respect to some of his marriages. 


(2)   Why did Ali(s) not defend his Hagh and Fight for the True path so
 Hussain would not have to be martyred & maybe the world would have been in
 a much better position today?

 ANSWER:

	First allow me to make a personal observation. In my opinion, with 
a degree of inaccuracy, we may say Khillafa was Ali's hagh. A more accurate 
understanding is to see that it was Islam and the whole Muslim Umma's 
hagh to an Imam and a ruler like Ali (AS), which was denied in Saggifa. 
Having said this let me go to the question.

	Part of  the answer to this question is given above. Ali (AS) did 
in fact defended his hagh, but he was not ready to go the extent that a 
war break out among Muslims. As for the second part of this question, in 
any case even if he was ready to go to war there bound to be some lost of 
lives. In fact later on during his Khillafa when he did go into war under 
different circumstances there were many people killed. Furthermore, for 
people like Imam Ali (AS) and his son Imam Husain (AS), martyrdom in God's 
way when necessary was a duty proud of performing.  As Imam Husain's (AS) 
practice shows us he avoided confrontation to the last moment but when he 
was forced to choose between supporting a corrupt and anti-Islamic 
government and martyrdom he proudly chose the latter. Finally as I will 
discuss in the third part we should not make analogy between people like 
Imam Ali and Imam Husain on the one hand and normal people on the other 
hand. They were inspired by other motives and cared more about their 
action be just according to God's criterion than immediate practical 
results..


 (3)  Was HISTORY planned this way, ie. Imam Ali(AS) was not supposed to
 fight so as to show the PEOPLE what a good HUKUMAT is as opposed to a bad
 or evil one (eg Muawiayah)? Thus it seems as the good ones are supposed 
 to be hurt.

 ANSWER:

	The answer to this part is very complicated for at the base of any
position in this regard lies a position with regard to philosophy of
history and the idea of free will and predestination. I am not going to
discuss this base here but suffice it to say that I believe history has no
predetermined plan. We are supposed to make our best efforts to shape it
according to Allah's (SWT) rules. We are in a constant state of political
practice through which history is shaped. Had early Muslims -and for that
matter had we- decided to live by God's law we would have seen the sweet
fruits of faith and justice. There is no need for people to come to
justice and truth through hard suffering and historical determinism if
they use God given faculty of reason, their Fitra, and God's revelation.
Imam Ali's (AS) actions are to be understood in the context of his desire
to make the best possible impact in the conditions he lived. After Omar
death when he appointed a council of the six to decide about his
successor, Abbas, Imam's uncle, came to him and said "Ali, do not take
part in this council. I know the biases of the Arab, they rule according
to their kinship, everyone in the council except Zubair is a relative of
Uthman, they will vote for him." Imam (AS) said "  I know them better but
if I do not go, they will have an excuse and will say 'Ali himself was not
interested in the Khillafa and did not care about it'."  As we see Imam
(AS) wants to have positive effects on the life of the Umma. He teaches us
to take our responsibility seriously and participate in the making of the
history even in the most unfavorable circumstances. 


	I do realize that this answer is very brief and in need of further
clarification but I trust the readers will build upon this through further
research and contemplation of their own. 





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