Abdur Rahman Ibn Muljim was among those so-called nine ‘famous pure and pious persons’ who had gone to Mecca to take a well-known oath. They believed that only Ali, Mu’awiyah and Amr Ibn Aas were responsible for all the troubles in the world of Islam.1
Ibn Muljim was entrusted with the job of assassinating Ali (A) in Kufa. They fixed the 19th eve of Ramadan for this purpose. Ibn Abil Hadid says that the fools had chosen the 19th eve because according to their mistaken notion, if they committed this act of ‘worship’ in the Night of Power (Shab- e-Qadr) they shall get more reward.2
Ibn Muljim arrived in Kufa and wandered here and there waiting for the fixed night. During this time, he fell for the virgin, Quttam3 (Bint Akhzar) also of Khariji sect. He was so mad in her love that he even forgot his mission.
When he proposed to her, she said: “I am ready to marry you but I would demand a huge and tough dower from you.” Ibn Muljim wanted to marry her at any cost and he agreed to fulfill all her demands.
Quttam stated four demands for the marriage:
1. Three thousand dirhams in cash
2. A slave boy
3. A slave girl
4. Murder of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A)
Ibn Muljim accepted the first three conditions happily but was worried at the third and he said: “Ali’s murder would become a barrier in the way of our happy married life.” Quttam said: “If you want me you will have to kill Ali.
After that, if you survive you will get me and if not, it would be the end.” Ibn Muljim was stunned to hear these conditions of Quttam and a poet has composed the following verses on this:
How true is the statement of this poet!
Keeping the above fact in mind, let us review the will of Imam Ali (A). When Imam Ali (A) was on his death-bed he had both the mischievous groups in his mind that he had crushed before. One of them was that of the hypocrites, called Qasiteen in terminology.
Mu’awiyah was the leader of this group. Another was Mariqeen or Khawarij who were wearing the veil of purity. There were mutual differences in this group. Hence the Imam advises his companions about how to fight these two groups:
“Do not kill these people after me. It is true that they have killed me but you do not kill them after me. If you go about increasing bloodshed, you will be included among the helpers of Mu’awiyah. You would not be included among the people working in the way of truth.
The danger to Mu’awiyah is something else.” Imam Ali (A) said: “Do not fight the Kharijites after me, because one who seeks right but does not find it, is not like one who seeks wrong and finds it.”5 Sayyid ar-Radi says: Amir ul-Mu’minin means Mu’awiyah and his men.
Imam Ali (A) neither had any malice towards anyone nor did he harbor enmity for any. He always spoke the truth. Consider the example of Ibn Muljim. When he was arrested and brought to the Imam, he asked in a painful voice because of his injury: “Why did you do this? Was I a bad Imam for you?” (I don’t know whether Imam Ali (A) spoke these words once or twice but everybody has narrated the same statements).
This oppressor was moved by the Imam’s spirituality and he said:
أَفَأَنْتَ تُنْقِذُ مَنْ فِي النَّارِ
“Can you save an unfortunate man from the fire? (39:19).
I was wretched to have committed such an act.”6 It is also mentioned in books that when Imam All (A) was speaking to him, the killer addressed the Imam in the most vicious manner and asked:
“O Ali! When I bought this sword, I prayed to Allah that the worst person among the creatures of Allah should be killed with this sword.”
Imam Ali (a.s,) said: “Fortunately, your prayers are answered because soon you will be killed with this sword.”7
Imam Ali (A) was martyred in a city like Kufa where all people except the Khawarij of Nahrawan wanted to attend his funeral and mourn for him. People had no information of Imam Ali’s (A) martyrdom till the midnight of the twenty-first of Ramadan because he passed away after midnight.
Imam Ali’s sons, viz. Imams Hasan and Al-Husayn (A), Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah and Abul Fadhl Al-Abbas and some of his close companions who numbered six or seven performed his funeral bath, shrouded him and buried him secretly at the place as willed by Imam Ali (A).
He was taken to the place where he is buried today in the darkness of the night and no one was informed about this. According to traditions, it is the place where some of the great prophets are buried. The place of Imam’s grave was kept confidential and no one was informed about it.8
Next day, the people came to know that Ali (A) was buried the previous night. When they asked about the place of his burial, they were told that it was not necessary for them to know it. It is also mentioned in some books that Imam al-Hasan (A) prepared a bier and sent it to Medina so that the people may believe that Ali’s (A) bier has been sent to Medina for burial.9
Why was it done in this way? It was because of these Khawarij only. If they had known where Imam Ali (A) was buried they would have taken out his holy body from the grave and defiled it.
As long as Khawarij lived in this world and were in power, no one except the descendants of Imam Ali (A) and holy Imams knew the place of his burial. After a hundred years, Khawarij lost power and they were eliminated and there was no possibility of insult to Imam Ali’s (A) grave. Then Imam Ja‘far Al-Sadiq (A) informed the people about the location of Imam Ali’s (A) grave for the first time.
The supplication recited by us in Ziarat Ashura has a famous companion of the Imam, Safwan Jamal as one of the narrators. Safwan narrates: I was with Imam Ja‘far Al-Sadiq (A) in Kufa and the Imam took us to the holy grave of Imam Ali (A). Imam (A) pointed out the holy grave of Imam Ali (A) and probably he arranged for a shelter for the holy grave.
After that the secret of Imam Ali’s (A) grave became known.10 The atrocities on Imam Ali (A) were not limited till his martyrdom. The place of his burial was kept secret for more than a hundred years after his martyrdom.
Peace be on you, O Abul Hasan! Peace be on you, O Commander of the Faithful!
How oppressed he and his children were! I don’t know whether my master, the Commander of the Faithful was more oppressed or his dear son, Imam Al-Husayn (A). Just as the holy body of Imam Ali (A) was not safe from the mischief of the enemies, the holy body of his son and the son of Lady Az-Zahra (s.a.) was also unsafe from the mischief of his ene- mies.
Probably, that was the reason he said: “None of the days are like the unfortunate days of my oppressed Al-Husayn.” Why did Imam al-Hasan (A) hide the body of his holy father? Because he didn’t want anyone to harm it; but alas, the situation was entirely different in Karbala.
Imam Al-Sajjad (A) was so helpless that he could not hide the body of Imam Al-Husayn (A) after his martyrdom. What was the result? I don’t want to mention it. A person has said:11 What is the use of an old dress when one is trampled by the hooves? Nobody remained to cover it with clothes.
- 1. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadid, Vol. 6, Pg. 112, 113.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Quttam was very clever. She demanded Ali’s blood in her Dower because many of her relatives were killed in the battle of Nahrawan. (Rizwani)
- 4. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 266; Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 18 also has following verse before the above verses:
“I have never seen a dowry, given by a generous man, like the dowry of Quttam (whether the man was) rich or needy.”
- 5. Nahjul Balagha, Faiz ul-Islam, Sermon 60, Pg. 141; Nahjul Balagha, Subhi Salih, Sermon 61 has laa tuqaatiloo substituted in place of laa taqtuloo.
- 6. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 340; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 287.
- 7. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 239-244.
- 8. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 239.
- 9. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 353.
Holy Prophet had said about Fatimah Zahra (s.a.): “Fatimah is a piece of my heart” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 5, Tr. 209). Also the Holy Prophet had said about Ali Murtadha, “O Ali! Are you not pleased with the fact that you are to me as Haroon was to Musa, except that there is no prophet after me?” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Tr. 408). Doesn’t the Ummah wonder why their burial took place in the darkness of night instead of doing it in presence of the entire community? (Rizwani)
- 10. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 12; Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 2, Pg. 271 and Safiat ul-Bihar, Vol. 2, Pg. 37.
Safwan was a camel-driver and he used to rent his camels. He had taken Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (A) from Medina to Kufa once in the past. He got a chance of performing the Ziarat of the holy grave of Imam Ali along with Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (A). He had complete knowledge of Imam Ali’s grave and it is mentioned at Pg. 37 of Kamiluz Ziaraat that Safwan used to regularly go for the Ziarat of the holy grave of Imam Ali for sixty years. He used to offer Prayer near the Imam’s grave.
- 11. Seeri dar Seerat al-Aimma al-Athaar, Pg. 49-54.