Imam Ali (A) had chosen a special program in the last Ramadan of his life. He used to go to the house of one of his sons or daughters for Iftar (concluding the fast). He did not eat more than three morsels in Iftar.1 On the insistence of his children to eat more, he used to say: “I don’t want to meet Allah with a full stomach.”2
He frequently said: “According to the portents the Holy Prophet (S) has indicated to me, soon my beard will be smeared with the blood of my head.”3
He visited the house of his younger daughter, Umm Kulthum, on the eve of the nineteenth. The signs of awaiting were more apparent in him as compared to the previous nights. When everybody retired for the night, the Imam went to his prayer-mat and began to pray.4
Imam al-Hasan (A) came to him just before dawn. Imam Ali (A) told his beloved son: “I haven’t slept the whole night and have woken up the people of house because today is Friday eve and this night is equal to Shab-e-Badr (or Shab-e- Qadr).5
I was sitting when I dozed for some moments. I saw your grandfather in my dream. The Holy Prophet (S) told me, ‘Curse this Ummah’ I said. ‘O Lord! Take me away from these people soon and gather me among those who are better than them. Give power on them to one who is worse than me as they are deserving of it.’6
The Mu’adhdhin arrived and informed that it was the time for Prayer. Imam Ali (A) set out for the mosque.7 There were a few pet ducks for children in the Imam’s house. The ducks began to quack as if they were crying. When a family member tried to silence them, the Imam said: “Do not stop them because they are mourning.”8
Abdur Rahman Ibn Muljim and his evil companions were awaiting the arrival of Imam Ali (A) impatiently. Their plan was not known to anyone except Quttam and Ashath Ibn Qais, who had a wicked mentality and was conniving with Mu’awiyah as he disliked the equitable behavior of Imam Ali (A).
It was likely that a small incident would have spilled the beans of this conspiracy of assassination but a coincidence prevented it. Ashath came running to lbne Muljim and said: “Very little time is left before daylight. If it is light you will be disgraced. So finish this job as early as possible.”9
Hujr Ibn Adi, who was a close companion of Imam Ali (A) overheard the conversation and sensed that they had a dangerous plan. Hujr had returned a little while ago after completing an official chore and his horse was outside the mosque. It seems that he wanted to report this to the Commander of the Faithful.
When Hujr heard the words of Ashath, he rushed to Imam Ali (A) to caution him of the danger. However, he reached the house of Imam Ali (A) only to find that the latter has gone to the mosque from another route.10
Even though the sons and companions of Imam Ali (A) insisted that he should be accompanied by a guard, Imam Ali (A) always turned down their offer. Imam (A) used to stay unguarded. They put forward the same offer to the Imam on that night also but he did not accept it.11
Upon entering the mosque, Imam Ali (A) called out:
“O people! The Prayer! The Prayer!”
He had walked a few steps towards the prayer-mat after reciting the Azaan when two swords flashed in the darkness and the people were shocked to hear the shouts of: Al-Hukmu Lillaah Ya Aliyyu laa lak.12
The first blow was given by Shabeeb, the accursed one, but the sword hit the wall and it was unsuccessful. The second blow was given by Ibn Muljim, which hit the holy head of Imam Ali (A). Hujr returned as soon as he could only to find the people wailing and mourning in the Kufa mosque. People were crying: “The Commander of the Faithful is killed! The Commander of the Faithful is killed.”13
The first words of Imam Ali (A) after being attacked were:
“I have succeeded, by the Lord of the Ka’ba.”14
In the words of the poet, Ali was saying: “Thanks to Allah, my old wish is finally fulfilled” Then he shouted, “Don’t let this man escape.”15
Abdur Rahman, Shabeeb and Wardan16 tried to run away. Wardan had not come forward in this attack and was not recognized.17 As soon as Shabeeb tried to run away, a companion of His Eminence, Ali (A) caught him and snatched the sword from his hands.
He threw Shabeeb on the ground and mounted his chest with the intention of killing him. However, when he saw people coming towards them, he feared that they might mistake him to be the real killer.
Hence he climbed down from his chest. Shabeeb ran away, and hid himself in a house. When Shabeeb’s cousin came to know that he was involved in the martyrdom of Imam Ali (A), he went to his house and killed him with his sword.18
Abdur Rahman Ibn Muljim was caught by the people and brought to the mosque with his hands tied behind him. The people were so enraged that they would have lynched him.19
Imam Ali (A) ordered the people to bring Abdur Rahman to him. When he was brought to the Imam, he asked: “Have I not done good to you?” He said, “Yes, why not?” Imam asked: “Then why did you do this?”20
He said: “Whatever was bound to happen has happened. I had immersed this sword in poison for forty days and had prayed to Allah to kill the worst person with it.” Imam said: “Your prayers are answered. Very soon you will be killed with this sword.”21
Then Imam Ali (A) told his relatives who were gathered there: “O sons of Abdul Muttalib! Beware! Do not make my martyrdom an excuse for accusing someone of a conspiracy and do not start bloodshed.”
Then he told Imam al-Hasan (A): “O son! If I survive, I will take revenge from this person. If I die, you can take the revenge by hitting him not more than once because he hit me only once. Avoid doing any damage to his corpse22 because the Holy Prophet (S) has ordered us not to mutilate the corpse even if it is of a mad dog.23 Take care of this prisoner and feed him well.”24
Upon Imam al-Hasan’s (A) orders the famous and experienced physician, Athir Ibn Amr was called. After examining the wound of the Commander of the Faithful he said: “The sword was smeared with poison and its effects have reached the brain. No treatment would be effective.”25
Imam remained alive for 48 hours after being hit by the sword. However he did not waste this time also. There was no moment in which the Imam did not dispense an advice. He willed as follows:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful(1:1)
These are things regarding which Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A) is making a will to you.
Ali testifies that god is One and testifies that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of God. God has sent him to make His religion dominate over other religions. Indeed, my Prayer, my worship, my life and my death is for this God. Who has no partner. I have been commanded this only and I submit to God.
To you, O my son Hasan, to my other children, to my relatives and to all who come to know about this will of mine, regarding the following matters:
1. Under no circumstances must you ignore the fear of Allah and try to remain on the religion of God till the moment of your death.
2. All of you hold the rope of Allah together. All of you remain united on the foundations of faith and recognition of God and avoid disunity and disintegration. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, “To remove mutual enmity, ill-feeling and hatred is better than recommended prayers and fasting. And that which destroys faith is disunity and disintegration.”
3. Take care of your blood and close relatives. Maintain good relations with them because the accounting of one who does good to relatives becomes easy in the presence of God.
4. For the sake of Allah, take care of the orphans. Do not leave them hungry and uncared.
5. For the sake of Allah, keep a tab on the well-being of the neighbors. The Messenger of Allah (S) stressed so much regarding the neighbors, that we though he would include them among ones heirs.
6. Fear Allah in respect of the Holy Qur’an, lest others should excel and surpass you in following its tenets and in acting according to its orders.
7. Fear Allah so far as prayers are concerned, because prayers are pillars of your faith.
8. Fear Allah in the matter of His Holy House (Ka’ba). Let it not be deserted because if it is deserted, you (the Muslims) will be lost.
9. Do not forget Allah, struggle in His, cause with your tongue, with your wealth and with your lives.
10. For the sake of Allah pay Zakat regularly. Payment of Zakat cools divine anger.
11. For the sake of Allah, refrain from oppressing the descendants of the Prophet.
12. For the sake op Allah, accord respect to the companions of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah (S) has recommended them.
13. For the sake of Allah, take care of the poor and the deprived and allow them to share your life.
14. For the sake of Allah, have a good behavior with the slaves because the last recommendation of the Messenger of Allah (S) was regarding them only.
15. Do that which pleases God and do not care for people’s criticism in this regard.
16. Deal with love and goodness with the people as the Holy Qur’an has commanded.
17. Exhort people to do good and restrain them from evil, otherwise the vicious and the wicked will dominate you and if you willingly allow such persons to be your rulers, your prayers will not be heard by Allah.
18. Develop mutual liking, friendship and love and help one another. Take care that you do not spurn and treat one another badly and unsympathetically.
19. Cooperate with each other on good works and perform them in a communal way. And do not help each other in sinful acts and acts that cause hatred and enmity.
20. Fear the chastisement of God, because the hold of God is very strong. May Allah keep you all in His refuge and may He give good sense to the Ummah of the Messenger that they continue to hold you and the Messenger of Allah (S) in respect. I entrust you all to Allah. Peace be on you all, as is wont.
There is no power and might except by Allah the High and the Mighty
- 1. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 329.
- 2. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 224.
- 3. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 227.
- 4. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 226.
- 5. The Battle of Badr was fought on 17th or 19th Ramadan 2 A.H. ref. History of the Messenger of Islam, Pg. 253
- 6. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 226.
- 7. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 335
- 8. Kashf ul-Ghumma, Vol. 2, Pg. 62; Manaqib Ibn Shahr Aashob, Vol. 3, Pg. 310.
- 9. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 17.
- 10. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 17; Tatmah al-Muntaha, Pg. 39.
- 11. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 336.
- 12. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 239.
- 13. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 230.
- 14. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 239.
- 15. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 230.
- 16. His full name was Wardan Ibn Mujalid; Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 16.
- 17. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 17; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 231.
- 18. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 230.
- 19. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 231, 284.
- 20. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 287.
- 21. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 239.
- 22. The hatred of Bani Umayyah with the Holy Prophet (S) was so grave that Yazid’s grandmother Hinda was not content even getting His Eminence, Hamza martyred and she chewed his heart as revenge and wore his nose and ears after cutting them off from his body. The followers of Yazid were not content even after slaying Imam Husayn (A) and they rode their horses on his body. Yazid’s heart was not content until he shook the soul of the Holy Prophet by hitting the lips and teeth of Imam Husayn (A) with a cane. (Rizwani)
- 23. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 288.
- 24. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 206, 248.
- 25. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 234.
- 26. This will of the Imam shows how important unity is according to Islam. Holy Prophet (S) said: ‘Allah’s protects the congregation.’ Islam wants to see unity in people in addition to the presence of faith everywhere because process and success results from unity only. Breaking unity and separating oneself is against Islam. Certainly, Islam possesses such a wealth that it can play a role of awakening the people of the entire world and gathering them at one place because this is the religion of the Lord of human beings. Professor of Arabic literature in the University of Cairo, Dr. Hamid Hanafi Dawood says,
“The secrets of Islam are hidden in the fundamentals of Islam and the secret of fundamentals is hidden in Islam.” A society is successful only if it is united. Being united means that people work for common benefit and different classes of society have strong basis of communication among them and the entire society benefits from them. Thus, a person who gathers Muslims at one place is worth praising and a person who destroys their unity is worth condemnation. (Rizwani)
- 27. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 15-18; Kamil Ibn Athir, Vol. 3, Pg. 387-392, Muruj al- Zahab, Vol. 2, Pg. 423-426; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 42, Pg. 248; Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadid, Vol. 6, Pg. 120; Nahjul Balagha, Faiz ul-Islam, Sermon 47, Pg. 967; Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 332-341; Dastan Raastan, Vol. 2, Pg. 268-274.