In all of the military campaigns that the polytheists of Quraysh waged against the Holy Prophet (S), Imam Ali (‘a) stood in the side of the Holy Prophet (S) protecting and defending him. In turn, the Holy Prophet (S) entrusted the commandership of his army to Imam Ali (‘a) and appointed him as his standard-bearer.
In all of these campaigns that aimed at raising high the word of God, liberating the willpower and ideology of man from worshipping the idols that affected all human brains with ideological defects and led humanity down to the level of animals, Imam Ali (‘a) had brilliant roles.
Let us now refer to some wars that Imam Ali (S) entered in defense of Islam.
Unquestionably, Imam Ali (‘a) was the foremost champion of the Battle of Badr and his sword harvested the heads of the chiefs of polytheism.
About the Battle of Badr, the Holy Quran reads,
And Allah did certainly assist you at Badr when you were weak; be careful of your duty to Allah then, that you may give thanks. (3:123)
Almighty Allah gave victory to the Muslims in this battle at the hands of Imam Ali (‘a) whose sword harvested the heads of the chief polytheists and could sow horror in their hearts and humiliation in their souls.
Among the many wars that the disbelievers of Makkah waged against the Holy Prophet (S) was the conflict known as the Battle of Badr. This conflict was under the commandership of Abu-Jahl, the most vehement enemy of the Holy Prophet (S). This man led a big army to protect Abu-Sufyan on his commercial journey back from Syria along with the money and goods he had brought with him from there for the chiefs of Quraysh.
The Holy Prophet (S) had ordered his companions to confiscate these money and goods so that Muslims would be financially strong and a deathblow would be targeted at the polytheists of Quraysh. When Abu-Sufyan knew about this, he took another way that spared his life. The army of the polytheists came from Makkah towards a region called Badr where there was a famous spring.
This spring had been already controlled by the Holy Prophet (S) and his followers so as to waylay Abu-Sufyan’s commercial caravan. Abu-Jahl, along with the officers of his army, decided to attack the Holy Prophet’s army, because this army was little in comparison with Abu-Jahl’s huge army and armaments.
So, they attacked the Muslims. In this battle, Almighty Allah decided victory to be the Muslims’; therefore, Abu-Jahl and his troops were heavily defeated and they suffered gross casualties. The Muslims could kill Abu-Jahl and many other chiefs of Quraysh and could capture seventy warriors. The dead bodies of the polytheists were thrown in a well that was situated in that region. Muslims could also take as booty the majority of the enemies’ military equipments.
In this battle, Muslims suffered shortage in water; therefore, Imam Ali (‘a) undertook the mission of bringing them water from a spring in that area.1
According to numerous narrations, the Holy Prophet (S) asked his companions, at the night before the Battle of Badr, to go to Badr Spring and bring some water. All the companions kept silent and none of them had the courage to undertake this mission. Imam Ali (‘a) therefore took a skin of water and went towards that spring for getting some water. It was so murky, bitterly cold, and windy night.
When Imam Ali (‘a) reached that dark, deep spring, he could not find a bucket to use for taking water. He therefore had to step down that spring and fill in the skin with water. On his way back to the Holy Prophet’s camp, he faced such a strong storm that made him sit on the ground. When it calmed down, he continued marching.
Then, another storm that was as intense as the first blew so heavily that he had to sit on the ground for the second time. When it calmed down, Imam Ali (‘a) continued marching. Again, a third storm that was as intense as the previous ones blew so heavily that he had to sit on the ground. When it calmed down, he continued marching until he reached the Holy Prophet (S) who, then, asked why he had been late.
‘I faced three heavy storms that made me sit to the ground three times. I therefore had to wait until they would calm down,’ explained Imam Ali (‘a). ‘Did you know what these three storms were, Ali?’ asked the Holy Prophet (S). As Imam Ali (‘a) answered in the negative, the Holy Prophet (S) explained,
‘The first storm was Archangel Gabriel with one thousand angels who, altogether, came to greet you. The second storm was Archangel Michael with one thousand angels who, altogether, came to greet you. The third storm was Archangel Seraph with one thousand angels who, altogether, came to greet you. All these angels descended to the earth to back us.’
To this event has a scholar referred, saying, ‘Imam Ali Amir Al-Mu'minin (‘a) had three thousand merits at one night only. Similarly, Al-Sayyid Al-Himyari, the famous poet, composed a few laudatory poetic verses immorTalibzing this event:
I swear by Allah and His bounties
One should be responsible for what he says
Surely, Ali the son of Abu Talib
Has natural propensity for piety and devotion
When war is consumed by spears
And is feared by the heroes
He would walk to the opponent, carrying in the hand
A sword that is white, sharp, and glazed
Just like a lion walking between its cubs
And readying itself for hunting in the jungle
It is he (i.e. Ali) whom was greeted at one night
By Michael and Gabriel
Michael with one thousand (angels) and Gabriel
With one thousand followed by Seraph
That was at the Night of Badr when they were descended
Like birds in flocks. 2
In the morning of the seventeenth of Ramadan, the Battle of Badr broke out. First of all, three of the warriors of Quraysh advanced and challenged the Muslims by a man-to-man combat. They also specified that warriors from the descendants of Abd Al-Muttalib should face them. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (S) asked Hamzah, Imam Ali (‘a), and ‘Ubaydah ibn Al-Harith to fight. Hamzah and Imam Ali (‘a) could kill their opponents ‘Utbah and Al-Walid respectively.3
In the most intense times of the war, the Holy Prophet (S) was the best warrior and the closest to the enemies. Muslims used to seek his protection, as Imam Ali (‘a) informed.4
In this battle, Imam Ali (‘a) showed incomparable bravery and steadfastness. He was the striking power of the Holy Prophet (S). He sank in the midst of the polytheists, beheading them and sending them deadly blows. Even the angels of the heavens were astounded by Imam Ali’s heroism. Meanwhile, Archangel Gabriel cried out, ‘There is no sword but Dhu’l-Faqar 5 and there is no champion but Ali.’6
In the Battle of Badr, the polytheists were defeated. The majority of their human casualties were killed by the sword of Imam Ali (‘a), as has been confirmed by reference books of history.
It is certain that the sword of Imam Ali (‘a) during the Battle of Badr did not leave any house of the polytheists of Quraysh not bereft. The names of these victims are listed in many reference books of history of Islam.7
Besides, the Muslim army could capture seventy persons in that battle.
The polytheists of Quraysh who could escape the deadly strikes of Imam Ali’s sword returned to Makkah broken and humiliated. They shed heavy tears for their dead. Their women received them with lamentation and expressions of grief for this severe loss. Hind, the mother of Mu’awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan, felt great sorrow, since her father, brother, and other family members were killed in this battle.
She thus forbade weeping for these losses so that grievance would not leave the hearts before they would revenge them on the Holy Prophet (S). Thus, the polytheists of Quraysh restarted mobilizing more troops and preparing more weapons and arms.
The Battle of Badr thus recorded a categorical victory for Muslims and a humiliating defeat for their enemies whose hearts were full of terror, while the Muslims’ hearts were full of faith and certitude of victory.
Thus could Imam Ali (‘a), along with the other Muslims, record a great victory, which was the first military triumph in Islam.
It is worth mentioning that the marriage of Lady Fatimah Al-Zahra' (‘a) to Imam Ali (‘a) took place after this battle.
Under the commandership of Abu-Sufyan, the polytheists advanced to fight against the Holy Prophet (S), although this divine man had come to liberate them, save them from the fables of the pre-Islamic era of ignorance, and grant them immortal integrity and glory.
The two armies reached Mount Uhud. Talhah ibn Abi-Talhah, one of the heroes of Quraysh, raised the standard of the polytheists’ army and challenged the Muslims for fighting him man-to-man. As usual, Imam Ali (‘a) came to the fore, raising his voice with this challenging statement,
‘By Allah, I will never leave you until I make my sword lead you immediately to Hellfire.’
Having taken the initiative, Imam Ali (‘a) stroke Talhah so violently that his leg was severed. The man fell to the ground stained with his blood. When Imam Ali (‘a) wanted to finish him off, he adjured the Imam by God and by the kinship to leave him; therefore, the Imam (‘a) left him wounded. Before long, the man perished. This situation rejoiced all Muslims.8
By killing this foe, the polytheists felt weak and showed signs of defeat. Their standard was then raised by a number of warriors all of whom were killed by Imam Ali (‘a).
The army of the Muslims settled in the versant of Mount Uhud and the Holy Prophet (S) ordered the shooters to settle on the top of the mountain so as to hold back the sneaking enemies from attacking the Muslims from the backside. With the first strikes of the battle, the Muslims commanded by Imam Ali (‘a) could defeat the polytheists.
However, when the shooters saw how the enemies were defeated and forced to retreat, they left their positions and hurried to collect the spoils of the war. Seizing this opportunity, Khalid ibn Al-Walid who had led a troop of the polytheistic enemies occupied the positions left by the Muslim shooters. He then attacked the Muslim army from the rear while the absconding troops attacked the Muslims from the front.
Hence, the Muslim troops were surrounded from the both sides. In this battle, great Muslim personalities, on the top of whom was the champion Hamzah ibn Abd Al-Muttalib, were martyred. The enemies surrounded the Holy Prophet (S) and could cause him many wounds. Sparing no single effort, Imam Ali (‘a) hurried to protect the Holy Prophet (S). Had it not been for Ali (‘a), the Holy Prophet (S) could have been killed there.
Abu-Sufyan, seizing this opportunity, spread the rumor that the Holy Prophet (S) was killed. As a result, the Muslims ran away leaving the Holy Prophet (S) behind them. Heavily wounded, the Holy Prophet (S) fell in a pit that was made and hidden by the polytheists.
None remained steadfast with the Holy Prophet (S) except for a few Muslims on the top of whom was Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a). The Holy Prophet (S) turned his face towards Imam Ali (‘a) and asked, ‘O Ali, what have the others done?’ Bitterly and sadly, Imam Ali (‘a) answered, ‘They breached their pledge and turned on their backs!’
As a criminal gang of the polytheists attacked the Holy Prophet (S), he said to the Imam, ‘O Ali, spare me fighting these.’ Immediately, Imam Ali (‘a) attacked them and forced them to leave the Holy Prophet (S). Another gang of fifty horsemen attacked the Holy Prophet (S) from another side. He thus said to the Imam, ‘O Ali, spare me fighting these.’ Imam Ali (‘a), walking, attacked them and could kill ten persons; four sons of Sufyan ibn ‘Uwayf and six others.
A third batTalibon attacked the Holy Prophet (S), but Imam Ali (‘a) could kill the commander of that batTalibon, Hisham ibn Umayyah, and the others escaped.
A fourth batTalibon commanded by Bishr ibn Malik attacked the Holy Prophet (S), but Imam Ali (‘a) could confront them and kill their commander. So, the others ran away.
Highly astonished by the sacrifices, struggle, and steadfastness of Imam Ali (‘a), Archangel Gabriel said to the Holy Prophet (S), ‘This situation of Imam Ali amazed even the angels!’ Answering him, the Holy Prophet (S), ‘What prevents Ali from showing such courage while he is part of me and I am part of him?’ Gabriel expressed, ‘And I am part of you both.’9
Throughout that horrible battle, Imam Ali (‘a) persevered in such steadfastness and defense of the Holy Prophet (S), sacrificing his soul for him, until sixteen heavy strikes befell him so violently that he each time fell to the ground, and none could help him stand up except Archangel Gabriel.10
When the war was over, Hind hurried to the dead body of the martyr Hamzah and mutilated the body so maliciously. She took out the liver and chewed it. She then cut off some of his body parts and used them as necklace! Likewise, Abu-Sufyan stopped at the dead body of Hamzah, kicked it, and showed rejoicing and gloating.
The troops of the polytheists returned to Makkah singing the songs of victory and vengeance on the Holy Prophet (S).
Also called the Battle of the Allies because all the tribes, supported by the Jews, joined in alliance to fight against the Holy Prophet (S), the Battle of the Ditch (khandaq) caused great horror in the hearts of the Muslims. The enemies were ten thousands while the Muslims were only three thousands. In this battle, Almighty Allah granted victory to Islam at the hands of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a). The details are as follows:
Having been informed about this alliance against him, the Holy Prophet (S) held a meeting to convey the news to his followers. Salman Al-Muhammadi, one of the loftiest companions of the Holy Prophet (S) and Imam Ali (‘a), suggested that the Muslims should dig a ditch around Al-Madinah so that the enemies would not attack them inside it.
The Holy Prophet (S) approved of Salman’s plan and, along with his followers, started digging a ditch.
When the polytheists arrived, they were astonished by this procedure, because they could not pass that ditch. Therefore, both the armies settled for exchanging darts.
The heroes of Quraysh drove their horses cross the ditch and a group of them could cross it. One of these heroes was ‘Amr ibn Abd-Wudd Al-’Amiri, the most courageous horseman of the tribes of Quraysh and Kinanah. On the back of his horse, he was seen as a fortress. Having seen this, the Muslims sank in deep silence and fear crept abruptly to their hearts.
‘Amr paraded, drew all attentions to him, and displayed his strength. He then despised them by saying, ‘O men of Muhammad! Is there any combatant among you to fight me?’
These words rooted up the hearts of the Muslims as if they were stricken by a thunderbolt!
The man shouted again, ‘Is there any combatant among you to fight me?’
Responding to the call of that man, Imam Ali (‘a) the hero of Muslims and the protector of Islam stood up and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I will fight the man.’
Yet, the Holy Prophet (S) said to Imam Ali (‘a), ‘He is ‘Amr!’
Obeying the Holy Prophet’s instruction, Imam Ali (‘a) sat down.
Having not stopped his mocking statements, ‘Amr shouted once more, ‘O followers of Muhammad! Where is your paradise that you claim that you will join it once you are killed? Is there not any man of you who wants to win it?’
Once again, none of the Muslims opened his mouth with a single word except Imam Ali (‘a) who kept on insisting on the Holy Prophet (S) to permit him to face that man.
Eventually, the Holy Prophet (S), having seen Ali’s insistence and perseverance, permitted him to confront ‘Amr.
Before Imam Ali (‘a) advanced to face the man, the Holy Prophet (S) adorned him with the greatest of all of his medals when he (S) said,
The entire belief has come out to face the entire disbelief.11
At that time, the Holy Prophet (S) raised his hands towards the sky and prayed to Almighty Allah earnestly, saying,
O Allah, You have taken from me Hamzah on the day of the Battle of Uhud and ‘Ubaydah on the day of the Battle of Badr. Please, on this day, save Ali. O Lord! Leave me not alone; and You are the best of inheritors.12
Free from even the least amount of fear, Imam Ali (‘a) came to face ‘Amr ibn Abd-Wudd, who was astonished by the bravery and intrepidity of this young man. He thus asked, ‘Who are you?’
Sarcastically, Imam Ali (‘a) replied, ‘I am Ali the son of Abu Talib.’ ‘Amr felt pity for him; so, he said, ‘Your father was a friend of mine.’ Unconcerned with ‘Amr’s friendship with his father, Imam Ali (‘a) said, ‘O ‘Amr! You have taken upon yourself in the presence of your people that whenever a man from Quraysh invites you to respond to one of three things, you will do.’
‘Amr answered, ‘This is true. This is my pledge.’
Imam Ali (‘a) said, ‘So, I invite you to accept Islam.’
‘Amr laughed and said to the Imam (‘a) sarcastically, ‘Do you want me to abandon the faith of my ancestors? Forget it.’
Giving ‘Amr another suggestion, Imam Ali (‘a) said, ‘If I spare your life and refrain from killing you, will you then go back home?’
Anger covered ‘Amr, as he was flabbergasted by the boldness of this young man. He thus said, ‘If I do so, then the Arabs will gossip about my flight!’
The third offer that Imam Ali (‘a) presented was that he said to ‘Amr, ‘So, I challenge you in combat.’13
Admired by the young man’s boldness and bravery, ‘Amr rode off his horse, unsheathed his sword, and struck him on the head so heavily that his strike cut lengthwise the Imam’s leather head-shield and the sword could hit the Imam’s head and cleave it. The Muslims believed that Imam Ali (‘a) died out of that strike.
Yet, Almighty Allah defended the Imam (‘a) who, in turn, struck ‘Amr so heavily that the man fell to the ground stained with his blood. Imam Ali (‘a) raised his voice with Allahu-Akbar (Allah is the Most Great) and the Muslims came back with similar shouts. Thus, the back of disbelief has been broken and its powers have been notched. Islam has achieved the biggest victory at the hands of Imam Ali (‘a).
The Holy Prophet (S), on this occasion, awarded Imam Ali (‘a) another medal that extended to cover all ages, when he said to him,
The fight of Ali ibn Abi Talib against ‘Amr ibn Abd-Wudd on the day of the Battle of the Ditch is the best deed of all the deeds of my community up to the Resurrection Day.14
Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman, the distinguished companion of the Holy Prophet (S), said about this situation,
If the virtue of Ali’s killing ‘Amr on the day of the Ditch were to be distributed among all Muslims, it would cover them all.15
About the exegesis of this holy Quranic verse:
‘And Allah sufficed the believers in fighting (33:25),’
Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘This verse means that Almighty Allah sufficed them by Ali ibn Abi Talib.’
Even ‘Amr ibn Abd-Wudd’s sister took pride in Imam Ali’s has been the killer of her brother. She said, ‘’Amr’s killer is definitely a noble person with high moral values!’
When people said that the killer was Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a), she composed the following couplets:
If ‘Amr’s killer was anyone other than Ali,
I would have cried for him forever
But his killer is he who has no faults
And his father is known as chief of Makkah.16
On the same occasion, Imam Ali (‘a) could kill another hero of Quraysh; namely, Nawfal ibn Abdullah.
Thus, the troops of the polytheists retreated with humiliation after they had won nothing at all in this battle, while the Muslim troops lost nothing at all.
After the successive defeats of the polytheists of Quraysh, the Holy Prophet (S), due to his perception and perspicacity, noticed that Muslims would not be able to establish their state and Islam would not prevail as long as the Jews formed a confronting power against him. He therefore led his army to occupy the fortresses of Khaybar, the center of the power of the Jews.
He first entrusted the commandership of his army to Abu-Bakr. Yet, he came back defeated and failing after he could not surpass the fortresses of Khaybar. The next day, the Holy Prophet (S) gave the commandership of the army to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab who, just like his friend, returned defeated and failing.
After these failures, the Holy Prophet (S) declared that he would nominate the commander who should be given victory by Almighty Allah. He thus said,
Tomorrow, I shall give the Standard to a person who loves Allah and His Prophet and who is loved by Allah and His Prophet. He will not come back before Allah will grant him victory!17
After this announcement by the Prophet (S), the matter was on everyone’s tongue. There was an element of expectancy in the atmosphere. Every Companion wished that he would be the lucky person tomorrow to hold the standard in his hand. None thought that Ali’s name would come up, because Ali (‘a) was suffering inflammation of the eyes.
With the first sparks of morning, the Holy Prophet (S) asked about Ali (‘a). When he was told that Ali (‘a) was complaining about eye inflammation, he (S) asked someone to fetch him. When Ali (‘a) presented himself before the Holy Prophet (S) while his eyes were tied, the Holy Prophet (S) removed that tie and applied his saliva on the inflamed eyes. They were healed at once. He then said to Ali (‘a), ‘Take this standard so that Allah will grant victory at your hands.’
Complying with the Holy Prophet’s order, Imam Ali (‘a) asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Shall I fight them until I make them follow our faith?’
Answering him, the Holy Prophet (S) said, ‘Advance in this way until you descend into the open space before them. Then, you should invite them to embrace Islam and tell them about their duties towards Allah if they accept. By Allah, if Allah guides to Islam one person only, this will be better for you than having the best kinds of camels.’18
Rapidly and proudly, Imam Ali (‘a) mended his paces towards the fortress of Khaybar, waving the standard of victory in his hand. He uprooted the great gate of the city19 and used it as armor that protected him against the strikes and shots of the Jews.
Marhab, one of the heroes and most courageous fighters of the Jews, came towards Imam Ali (‘a), singing with these martial verses:
‘The people of Khaybar know I am Marhab.
I am armed and an experienced warrior!’
Putting on a red garment, Imam Ali (‘a) faced him and answered back with these martial verses:
‘I am that whose mother named him Haydarah
I am a male lion and valiant like tiger
Whose knuckles are strong and the neck wide
Like tiger in the jungle, ferocious to look at
I shall attack in a way to shatter your joints
And leave the adversary to be fodder for the wild beasts
Like a honorable and strong youth
I shall use my sword on the columns of the infidels
And slay you with my sword on a large scale.’
Taking the initiative, Imam Ali (‘a) hit Marhab on the head, cutting lengthwise his helmet, hood, and head. Immediately, he fell to the ground knocked down and stained with his blood. The Imam (‘a) finished him off and left him soulless body.
Thus, Almighty Allah granted Muslims victory, opened before them the invincible fortress of Khaybar, and humiliated the Jews.
This incident, which concurred with the return of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib from Abyssinia, gladdened the Holy Prophet (S) very much. He therefore expressed, ‘I really do not know which incident is more contented to me; the return of Ja’far or the conquest of Khaybar.’20
One of the tribes of the Jews who caused danger to the Muslims, the Banu- Quraysah plotted many conspiracies openly and secretly against the Holy Prophet (S). When he received a divine command to wage war against them, the Holy Prophet (S) asked Imam Ali (‘a) to advance before him and bear the standard. When Imam Ali (‘a) faced them, he could hear them speak ill of the Holy Prophet (S).
He therefore returned to the Holy Prophet (S) and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger, it will not harm you if you avoid coming closer to these filthy ones.’ The Holy Prophet (S) asked, ‘Why is that? I believe you have heard something evil from them.’ ‘Yes, I have,’ answered Imam Ali (‘a). The Holy Prophet (S) said, ‘Had they seen me, they would not have said such words.’
The Holy Prophet (S) then applied a twenty-five day siege on them; therefore, they were extremely exhausted. Nevertheless, they refused the three suggestions that Ka’b ibn Sa’d, one of their chiefs, had offered to them.
Eventually, they had to submit to the Holy Prophet’s judgment about them. The Holy Prophet (S) entrusted the issuance of such judgment to Sa’d ibn Mu’adh who judged that their men should be killed, the possessions distributed among the Muslims, and their women and children taken as captives.
After obtaining the Holy Prophet’s ratification of this judgment, Imam Ali (‘a) executed the death penalty and killed these evil people with his sword.
The Banu’l-Nadir is another Jewish tribe who incurred the animosity of the Holy Prophet (S); therefore, he led a group of his followers, on the top of whom was Imam Ali (‘a), to take blood money (a fine paid to the next of kin for the slaughter of a relative) according to a previous agreement. When the Holy Prophet (S) sat under a wall in their quarter, some of them agreed to throw a rock on his head from the roof.
The Divine Revelation informed the Holy Prophet (S) about this conspiracy whose implementation was entrusted to ‘Amr ibn Jahhash. As a result, the Holy Prophet (S) left that place and returned to Al-Madinah.
Imam Ali (‘a) hurried to kill that Jewish who had attempted to assassinate the Holy Prophet (S). Having seen this, the members of the gang ran away. When Imam Ali (‘a) asked the Holy Prophet (S) to permit him to chase them, he was given permission. Along with a group of the Muslim army, Imam Ali (‘a) could catch these criminals before they could enter their fortresses. Thus, Imam Ali (‘a) could kill them all and take control of their fortresses.
After he had conquered Khaybar, the Holy Prophet (S) came to a town called Wadi Al-Qira that was inhabited by Jews. When he invited them to the religion of Islam, they refused and readied themselves for fighting him. Eleven men from the Jews were killed in that encounter, some of whom were killed by Imam Ali (‘a).
Thus, the Holy Prophet (S) conquered their lands and Muslims could win spoils of war. However, the Holy Prophet (S) endued them with the favor of having in possession their lands and ranches of date-palm trees. He thus treated them as same as he did with the people of Khaybar.
Along with a batTalibon, the Holy Prophet (S) sent Imam Ali to Yemen to invite its people to Islam or to encounter a war. Before he headed for Yemen, Imam Ali (‘a) said this supplicatory prayer:
O Allah! I am turning my face to You, for I have put my trust in none save You, I have had no hope save in You, I have no power on which I should rely, and I have no other means to which I should resort save my plea for Your favors, my petition for Your mercy, and my reliance upon your most pleasant kind acts to me.
You know best what will happen to me in this going of mine, whether I like or dislike it. Whatever Your omnipotence brings forth to me, You are always praised for Your trial and I am always subject to Your determination. You erase whatever You wish and establish what You wish, and with You is the basis of the Book.
O Allah! Please, keep away from me all the predetermined ordeals and the entrances to every hardship. Expand over me a part of Your mercy, an opening out of Your favor, and a gentle amount of Your pardon, so that I will not long for hastening that which You have delayed or delaying that which You would hasten.
Include this with Your response to what I have besought You to take my place among my family and dependents and to fend off all vicissitudes that may sadden me with the best way You have ever given to a faithful believer who is away from his homeland. I thus beseech You to immunize me against all defects, cover up all my sins, forgive all my acts of disobedience to You, and save me from all tribulations that I dislike.
Then, please grant me opportunity to thank You for all that, to remember You, to worship You duly, and to be pleased with all of Your predeterminations. O patron of the believers! Please, make me, as well as all that which You have given me the right to use, my sons, and all that which You have granted me, including the faithful men and women, to be under Your protection that is never vulnerable, Your shield that is never accessible, Your neighborhood that is never reachable, Your immunity that is never revocable, and Your covering that is never exposed.
Indeed, whoever is put under Your protection, shield, neighborhood, immunity, and covering, will always be safe and sheltered. There is neither might nor power except with Allah the All-exalted and All-great.21
Once Imam Ali (‘a) arrived in Yemen, he met the chiefs of this country and offered them to accept the Holy Prophet’s invitation to the religion of Islam. Highly impressed by the morals and virtue of Imam Ali (‘a), the people of Yemen responded to him. Hence, all of the members of the Hamdan tribe converted to Islam and abided by its principles. Thus, Imam Ali (‘a) succeeded in conquering Yemen without fight.22
After the government of the Holy Prophet (S) had extended to include the majority of the regions of the Arabian Peninsula, he decided to conquer Makkah, the center of polytheism. He therefore advanced towards the city followed by a huge, well-armed army of about ten thousand soldiers. This advancement was kept secret; lest the polytheists of Makkah would prepare themselves to face the Holy Prophet’s army militarily.
However, katib ibn Balta’ah wrote a letter to the chiefs of Makkah informing them about the Holy Prophet’s military advancement towards them. When the Divine Revelation informed the Holy Prophet (S) about this, he ordered Imam Ali (‘a) and Al-Zubayr ibn Al-’Awwam to follow the woman who carried that letter and bring it back.
They followed the woman and could catch her. When she denied carrying such a letter with her, Imam Ali (‘a) threateningly said to her, ‘By Allah, neither the Holy Prophet nor are we accusing you falsely. Give us the letter or I will have to unveil you.’ She thus took out the letter that she had hidden in the hair of her head and gave it to the Imam (‘a).
When the Muslim army was on the outskirts of Makkah, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered all of his soldiers to kindle fire in the darkness of night. When fires flamed, their light covered all the quarters of Makkah. Panicked by this scene, Abu-Sufyan said, ‘I have never seen such fire at any other night.’
Badil ibn Warqa', who was next to Abu-Sufyan, trying to furnish a justifying explanation, said, ‘By God, these fires must have been kindled by the tribe of Khuza’ah to declare a war.’ Disproving his explanation, Abu-Sufyan said, ‘The troops of the tribe of Khuza’ah are too little and too humble to cause such fires.’
Al-’Abbas ibn Abd Al-Muttalib, having recognized Abu-Sufyan’s voice, called at him with his epithet: ‘Abu-Hansalah!’ Abu-Sufyan answered back, ‘Abu’l-Fasl!’ Al-’Abbas said, ‘Woe to you, Abu-Sufyan! This is the Messenger of Allah leading the people. What a disgracing mourning the people of Quraysh will see if he (i.e. the Prophet) conquers Makkah by force!’ Trembling all over, Abu-Sufyan asked with a disrupting accent, ‘What should we do? May my father and mother be sacrificed for you?’
Then, Al-’Abbas asked Abu-Sufyan to ride behind him on his riding animal and led him to the Holy Prophet (S). Before the Holy Prophet (S), Al-’Abbas said, ‘I have granted this man immunity!’ Hence, the Holy Prophet (S) said, ‘Now, escort him to your place. In the morning, bring him to me.’
The next morning, Abu-Sufyan, trembling and fearing the Holy Prophet (S), was brought before him. The Holy Prophet (S) asked him, ‘Abu-Sufyan, woe to you! Have you not yet known that there is no god save Allah?’ With a low tone, Abu-Sufyan said, ‘May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! You are so lenient, so noble, and so observant of relation ties!
By God, I believe that if there had been any other god beside Allah, he must have saved me!’ Answering him, the Holy Prophet (S) said, ‘Abu-Sufyan, woe to you! Have you not yet known that I am the messenger of Allah?’ Rudely, Abu-Sufyan answered, ‘May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! You are so lenient and so observant of relation ties! By God, I have some reservation about this!’
Here, Al-’Abbas reproached Abu-Sufyan and ordered him to declare that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; lest he would be beheaded.
Having had no other way, Abu-Sufyan had to say the two professions of faith of Islam. However, his heart was still full of disbelief.
Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah, the standard-bearer, entered Makkah waving the standard in the air and shouting, ‘Today is the day of the fierce battle. Today, the inviolability will be violated.’
Unpleased with this slogan, the Holy Prophet (S) took the standard from Sa’d and gave it to Imam Ali (‘a) who entered the city raising his voice with this slogan: ‘Today is the day of utter mercy. Today, the inviolability will be protected.’
Immediately after entering Makkah, the Holy Prophet (S) hurried towards the Holy House of God. However, ‘Uthman ibn Talhah closed the gate of the Ka’bah in the face of the Holy Prophet (S) and went up to the roof, refusing to give him the key. Imam Ali (‘a) hurried towards ‘Uthman, twisted his hand, took the key from him, and opened the Holy Ka’bah’s gate before the Holy Prophet (S), who went in and offered a two-unit prayer.23
Having accomplished his prayer, the Holy Prophet (S) handed the key over to ‘Uthman and said, ‘Today is a day of kindness and faithfulness.’24
The first act the Holy Prophet (S) did after he entered the Holy House of God was that he demolished and removed the idols that the people of Makkah used to worship. Hanged on the walls of the Holy Ka’bah, there were three hundred and sixty idols. The greatest idol of Quraysh; namely, Hubal, was hanged on the side of the gate of the Holy Ka’bah.
Repeating this holy verse: ‘The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely, falsehood is a vanishing thing,’(17:81) the Holy Prophet (S) stabbed the eye of the idol with his bow and ordered this idol as well as the other idols to be demolished. He then climbed on Imam Ali’s shoulder to destroy the other idols.
The Imam (‘a) could not lift the Holy Prophet (S) who said to him, ‘You cannot carry the load of Prophethood. Rather, you may climb on my shoulder.’ Thus, Imam Ali (‘a) climbed on the Holy Prophet’s shoulder and started destroying these idols. About this situation, Imam Ali (‘a) said, ‘If I wanted, I could reach even the horizon of the sky.’
The Imam (‘a) then uprooted the idols and threw them to the ground. None remained except the idol of the Khuza’ah, which was fastened to the base with iron stakes. The Holy Prophet (S) ordered Imam Ali (‘a) to deal with that idol; therefore, Imam Ali (‘a) began to move it to all sides while repeating this holy verse: ‘The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely, falsehood is a vanishing thing.’(17:81) Finally, Imam Ali (‘a) could uproot and throw it to the ground so heavily that it broke into pieces.25
The people of Makkah surrounded the Holy Prophet (S) to see what he should do to them. However, he issued a general amnesty for all of the people of Quraysh who had stood against him, fought him, and spent whatever they had in possession to eliminate him.
The news of the Holy Prophet’s conquest of Makkah and the submission of the clans of Quraysh to him frightened the tribes of Hawazin. Malik ibn ‘Awf, the chief of Hawazin, gathered the men of his tribe and asked the help of other tribes, such as the Thaqif, and led them to fight against the Holy Prophet (S).
When the Holy Prophet (S) was informed about this, he mobilized a twelve thousand soldier army and left Makkah to face the army of the Hawazin. However, this time some hypocrites and seekers for spoils of war joined his army. When he distributed the standards, he gave the standard of the Muhajirun to Imam Ali (‘a).
In a valley called Hunayn, the enemies had waylaid the Muslims’ army. Hence, when they arrived there, the enemies surprised them. They were defeated so heavily. However, the Holy Prophet (S) took the right side and ordered the Muslims to join him and show some steadfastness and bravery.
In this conflict, Imam Ali (‘a) showed indescribable bravery; he wandered about the battlefield and killed the heroes of the enemy. All historicists have described Imam Ali (‘a) as the bravest soldier in the Muslim army during that battle.26
Along with other one hundred soldiers, Imam Ali (‘a) fought against the enemies so fiercely.
The hypocrites who had joined the Muslim army, such as Abu-Sufyan and Safwan ibn Umayyah, gloated over the Muslims’ defeat and went on issuing statements that exposed their real views about the Holy Prophet (S).27
Almighty Allah then decided victory to be for the Muslims who could kill seventy persons of the enemies, causing the others to flee. Another group was taken as prisoners.28
To sum it up, the most eminent hero of the Battle of Hunayn was Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib(‘a).
The Holy Prophet (S) appointed Abu-Bakr as his representative to the people of Makkah in the task of reciting some articles of Surah Bara'ah (Al-Tawbah, No. 9) regarding some new laws of circumambulating the Holy House of God.29
As soon as Abu-Bakr left to carry out this task, the Divine Revelation descended to the Holy Prophet (S) to order him to entrust this mission to Imam Ali (‘a) and to dismiss Abu-Bakr.
Hurriedly, Imam Ali (‘a) followed Abu-Bakr and could catch him in the middle of the way and take the letter from him.30
Having returned to the Holy Prophet (S), Abu-Bakr, with teary eyes and painful sadness, said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Has anything happened about me?’ Alleviating him, the Holy Prophet (S) answered, ‘Nothing but good! I have been ordered that none should convey that message except me or a man who is part of me.’31
Imam Ali (‘a) accompanied the Holy Prophet (S) in all of his military expeditions except for the Battle of Tabuk, when he ordered him to stay in Al- Madinah as his representative. The hypocrites and agitators spread a rumor that the Holy Prophet (S) asked Ali (‘a) to stay in Yathrib because he hated him.
When the Imam (‘a) heard such rumors, he conveyed them to the Holy Prophet (S). Refuting these false rumors, the Holy Prophet (S) adorned Imam Ali (‘a) with an unprecedented medal when he said to him,
They are liars! I have only kept you here to take my place. So, go back and represent me among my and your folks. O Ali, does it not please you that you are to me is as exactly as Prophet Aaron was to Moses, except that there shall not be a prophet after me?32
About his military participations with the Holy Prophet (S), Imam Ali (‘a) says,
In the company of the Prophet of Allah (S), we used to fight our parents, sons, brothers and uncles, and this continued us in our faith, in submission, in our following the right path, in endurance over the pangs of pain and in our fight against the enemy. A man from our side and one from the enemy would pounce upon each other like energetic men contesting as to who would kill the other; sometime our man got over his adversary and some-time the enemy’s man got over ours.
When Allah had observed our truth He sent ignominy to our foe and sent His succor to us until Islam was established (like the camel) with neck on the ground and resting in its place. By my life, if we had also behaved like you, no pillar of (our) religion could have been raised, nor could the tree of faith have borne leaves. By Allah, certainly you will now milk our blood (instead of milk) and eventually you will face shame.33
- 1. During carrying out this mission, a divine incident happened to Imam Ali (‘a):
- 2. Translator. Quoted from: Shaykh ‘Abbas Al-Qummi, Mafatih Al- Jinan, the complete English version translated by Badr Shahin 1:835-6
- 3. Sunan Al-Bayhaqi 3:279.
- 4. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 2:64, H. 654.
- 5. It is well known that Imam Ali (‘a) had a special sword called Dhu’l-Faqar, either because his sword had segments (faqrah) similar to the vertebras, or because his sword was so deadly (faqar: death) that it would never spare the life of any one who was struck by that sword.
- 6. Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Kanz Al-’Ummal 3:154; Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah 3:53. Ahmad ibn Abdullah At-Tabari, in Dhakha’ir Al-’Uqba fi Manaqib Dhawi’l-Qurba, pp. 74, has written down these words: ‘On the day of the Battle of Badr, an angel called out from the heavens: There is no sword but Dhu’l-Faqar and there is no hero but Ali.’
- 7. Muhsin Al-Amin Al-’Amili, in his book of A’yan Al-Shi’ah 3:98-9, has listed by name thirty-four of those whom were killed by Imam Ali (‘a) in the Battle of Badr.
- 8. Al-Shabalnaji, Nur Al-Absar, pp. 78.
- 9. Muhsin Al-Amin Al-’Amili, A’yan Al-Shi’ah 3:111.
- 10. Ibn Al-Athir, Usd Al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat Al-Sahabah 4:20.
- 11. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 13:261 & 285, 19:61; Al-Qanaduzi, Yanabi’ Al- Mawaddah 1:281
- 12. Al-Amini, Al-Ghadir 7:212.
- 13. Al-Hakim Al-Nayshaburi, Al-Mustadrak ‘Ala Al-Sahihayn 3:32.
- 14. Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad 13:19; Al-Hakim Al-Nayshaburi, Al-Mustadrak ‘Ala Al-Sahihayn 3:32.
The Holy Prophet (S) is also reported to have said, ‘A single blow of Ali with his sword upon ‘Amr ibn Abd-Wudd on the day of the Battle of the Ditch is equal to the rewards of the devotional acts of the two worlds; men and jinn.’ Ref. Ibn Al-Mutahhar Al-killi, Ma•abih Al-Anwar 1:254. [Translator]
- 15. Al-Jahis, Al-Rasa'il, pp. 60.
- 16. Sharif Al-Murtadha, Al-Amali 2:7-8.
- 17. Abu-Na’im, Hilyat Al-Awliya' 1:62; Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sifat Al-Safwah 1:163; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 1:185, H. 778.
- 18. Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sifat Al-Safwah 1:164; Sahih Al-Bukhari 7:121.
According to Al-Hurr Al-’Amili in Wasa'il Al-Shi’ah 6:30, the Holy Prophet (S) said to Imam Ali (‘a), ‘Do not fight anyone before you offer him to embrace Islam.’
- 19. Imam Ali’s uprooting the gate of Khaybar is one of his miraculous deeds. Historicists agree that this gate was so big that less that forty men would never uproot it. See for instance the following reference books: Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad 11:324; Al- Dhahabi, Mizan Al-I’tidal 2:218; Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Kanz Al-’Ummal 6:368.
At-Tabari, in Al-Riyad Al-Nasirah (2:188) adds, ‘Seventy men helped each other to return that gate to its place, after a great effort.’
- 20. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj Al-Balaghah 4:128.
- 21. Ibn tawus, Muhaj Al-Da’awat, pp. 94.
- 22. Sharif Al-Murtadha, Al-Amali 1:292.
- 23. Al-Qalqashandi, Subh Al-A’sha 4:269.
- 24. Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah 2:412.
- 25. Ali ibn Ibrahim Al-kalabi, Insan Al-’Ayn 3:99-100.
- 26. Al-Haythami, Majma’ Al-Zawa'id 6:180.
- 27. Ibn Al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:178.
- 28. Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah 4:66.
- 29. Al-Mas’udi, Al-Tanbih wa’l-Ashraf, pp. 186.
- 30. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 1:3; Al-Nassa'i, Kha•a'is Amir Al-Mu'minin, pp. 20; Al-
Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Kanz Al-’Ummal 4:246; Tafsir At-Tabari 10:46; Al-Hakim Al-Nayshaburi,
Al-Mustadrak ‘Ala Al-Sahihayn 3:51; Sahih Al-Tirmidhi 2:183; Sibt Ibn Al-Jawzi, Tadhkirat
Al-Khawass, pp. 37.
- 31. Sharif Al-Murtadha, Al-Amali 1:292.
- 32. Ibn Al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:190.
- 33. Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 56.