Analysis of historical events can be classified into two major types:
1. Analysis of events such that veracity (objectivity and correctness) of the analysis only affects our understanding of a particular minor issue. In this case correctness or incorrectness of the analysis does not benefit or harm our understanding of social issues overall and does not affect anything beyond that particular event itself.
Let us assume for example that we commit a mistake in identifying Napoleon’s neighbour from a historic perspective in the following sense: The colour of the cap of the Napoleon’s neighbour was brown and we identify it mistakenly to be blue. In this situation we know that this in no way will affect our understanding of the true personality of Napoleon, about whom study can be socially beneficial for us. Whether Napoleon had a neighbour or not and whether his neighbour wore a blue cap or a brown one, has no relation whatsoever to Napoleon’s personality. It is even possible that some other events in his life were also of this nature and had no role in the formation of his personality.
So, even if we commit a genuine mistake or commit a mistake intentionally, in identifying or analysing these events, or in other words, if we manipulate these events according to our personal inclinations, we have not compromised the final purpose itself because even after reaching such wrong conclusions we cannot use them in our understanding of the personality of Napoleon as a whole.
2. Analysis of notable events which are tied to the future of present-day societies. These events cannot be analysed blindly without careful investigation and it is even worse if we distort them for the sake of personal gains and vain desires or change them for the gratification of our lusts.
For example, it can be said that the most important and major events—which the future of most societies are tied to—are events related to the leaders of Monotheism (the Prophets). The effects of a mistake in explaining the lives of this group are not limited only to the bygone events of the personal lives of those leaders, and correctness or incorrectness of this analysis is not limited only to distorting a historical event; clearly, such mistakes and distortions can change the course (of the lives) of millions.
In other words, the issue of religion from the perspective of its importance for human societies occupies the foremost position whether we are aware of it or not. Therefore, a mistake or manipulation in these historical events or regarding the personalities of the leaders of different religions can bring about the highest level of harm and tragic consequences which are not bound by any specific limit.
For example, let us assume that a certain person for the sake of satisfaction of his base desires or pursuing his own personal interests says something like: From historical research I have to come to the conclusion that Prophet Musa (‘a) (or Prophet Isa (‘a)) preformed a certain immoral act. In this situation not only has this person fabricated a false event but has played with the emotions of the millions of followers of Judaism and Christianity from the beginning of time up to today and has committed the worst of crimes against the whole of humanity.
One such important question is the issue of the statesmanship (or politics) of Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a). Some Muslims in the past for the sake of affirming their own mentality and beliefs said that Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) was not politically wise and with this conclusion they wrote a false history from their own hands. With the passage of time these conclusions were handed over to the West. Westerners under circumstances particular to themselves, sometimes out of a lack of information and sometimes knowingly, then added baseless conclusions to this false history and these conclusions were returned back to the Muslims. The naive Muslims also viewed these with reverence and admiration and without even a passing thought they accepted them as being correct.
Sometimes some of these people became so bold that they resorted to distortion and philosophizing of history. Some have said that although Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) was a courageous, pious and wise man, unfortunately he lacked political wisdom and therefore they did not approve of the status that others have maintained for him and with this understanding they concluded their historical analysis.
This judgment originates from the fact that the history of Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) and the events of the early period of Islam have not been studied carefully enough and, as a result, the reality of politics and political wisdom has not become totally clear.
It is absolutely necessary to refute these doubts—whether deliberate or not. Therefore, we must write, albeit in a few short pages, about the policies of Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) with the hope that the respected readers will inform us without any hesitation of other historical misinformation in order to help us make clear the historical realities to which the destiny of the nations is tied.
The meaning of the word politics, like many other important terminologies, is not free from difference of opinion. We do not, however, see it necessary to state all the different opinions in this short discourse. That which can be considered useful in this regard is that there are three major and important definitions of politics which we present here in our discourse:
1. Politics means understanding the relationship of the individual with the state and of the society with the government. We have quoted this short definition from historians and scholars of philosophy of history.
However, as can be seen, this sentence alone cannot correctly explain the general meaning of the word politics because in this definition the existential relationship between the societies, the governments and the people is not taken into account. Nevertheless, without any doubt the study of the relationships mentioned in the definition forms an important part of politics. In any case, in this definition the most important factor that should be taken into account to explain the meaning of politics has been omitted and that existential factor is taking into account the force that is required for changing or forming the said relationship, the relationship that is implied by the meaning of the word politics according to this definition.
2. This is an interpretation of the word politics that was given by Aristotle1.
“It is necessary that the most important of all goodness should be the most important subject of discussion for societies and this discipline is the same which in practice is called government or politics.”2
The same definition has been repeated by him again at another place where he says, “The purpose of all the sciences and arts is (attainment of) goodness. The most important of this good should be the subject matter of the most important of the sciences and this science is politics.”3
This expression is a translation of the original Greek text. Even though there is the possibility of mistake in its translation from Greek to French or from French to Arabic the meaning intended by Aristotle by the word politics is clear to the extent that we require it. It can be said that the intent of Aristotle by this definition was to say that ‘Politics is the endorsing, forming or changing of the interrelationships in societies with the goal of attainment of felicity and goodness.’ The same meaning can also be obtained from Plato’s Republic. Here we deem it necessary to give a short explanation of this definition of politics.
The reality of goodness, justice and truth (not the just the words) is something that is welcomed by all people, societies and governments so much so that we cannot find in history any people or society or government which did not consider itself a supporter of goodness, justice and truth. Even if one asks the most vicious of individuals about the actions they have done and for what reason, without doubt they would say for goodness, justice and truth and, similarly, if you ask the most oppressive governments—like that of Genghis Khan4—as to what their aim in all the bloodshed and plundering was, we would hear the same answer.
From this perspective, people, societies and governments are always moving under the banner of search for good and establishment of justice. This reality cannot be denied keeping in mind prominent conclusive studies in psychology of people, societies and governments.
Now we can understand the true (lofty) meaning of the word politics as it was intended by Aristotle. Based on the explanation given, the meaning of the word politics as given by Aristotle can be summed up in few lines as follows:
From the perspective that (attainment of) good is the aim of all individuals, societies and governments, all the means necessary for reaching this aim must be secured. The science which is responsible for explaining the quantity and quality of these means is called politics.
If this definition of politics is what Aristotle himself understood, then this science (politics) is the best and the most important of all the sciences and a true politician is the most important and the most essential of all human personalities.
3. Another interpretation of politics has also been given. However, this definition of politics has become a source of widespread fear among the people who are not involved in politics and it has led the common people and the faithful of all the religions to hate politics completely. This interpretation says: Politics is defining or specifying a certain goal—which of course is done by the politician—and attaining that goal through all possible means.
As is clear, not only does this definition not talk about goodness or felicity but there is not even mention of humanness or humanity. According to this definition, even wild animals that, by the use of effort specific to themselves, make conditions favourable for victory can be called politicians! This is the same definition that Oswald Spengler5 has given about politics:
“The born statesman stands beyond true and false. He does not confuse the logic of events with the logic of systems. "Truths” or "errors"—which here amount to the same—only concern him as intellectual currents, and in respect of workings. He surveys their potency, durability, and direction, and duly books them in his calculations for the destiny of the power that he directs. He has convictions, certainly, that are dear to him, but he has them as a private person; no real politician ever felt himself tied to them when in action. "The doer is always conscienceless; no one has a conscience except the spectator”, said Goethe6, and it is equally true of Sulla7 and Robespierre8 as it is of Bismarck9 and Pitt10. The great Popes and the English party-leaders, so long as they had still to strive for the mastery of things, acted on the same principles as the conquerors and upstarts of all ages. Take the dealings of Innocent III, who very nearly succeeded in creating a world-dominion of the Church, and deduce therefrom the catechism of success; it will be found to be in the extremist contradiction with all religious moral.”11
The word politics has been used in this unacceptable meaning for centuries. This meaning best applies to those authorities of religion and rulers who think that human societies, rather the whole system of nature, are toys in their hands. So, even when at times we hear claims of justice, support for the oppressed people, development of society and establishment of unity from such people, these claims do not have any value other than for deluding people and preparing the grounds for achieving personal interests.
Keeping all this in mind it is implausible to expect that those who adopt this meaning of politics will ever abide by any of the principals of humanity.
Now that the introduction has clarified some important points, those who are seeking truth should know that if we take politics to mean that which was said in the third definition and the details and consequences which were explained in clear terms by Oswald Spengler then Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) knew very well about this kind of politics but never put it into practice.
In other words, it is impossible that Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) who had grasped the reality of humanity and human nobility would sacrifice this nobility for the sake of a superficial victory that would last for a short period.
This is Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a). The same Ali who became so displeased when an anklet was taken away oppressively from a woman (living within the Islamic boundaries) that he said if someone dies of regret after hearing this he is not to be blamed. It is the same Ali who gave precedence to the life of a tiny little ant over total domination over the whole world. The same Ali who did his best to ensure his sword would not spill the blood of a single innocent person in an oppressive manner.
It is a huge mistake to search for such a person in the ranks of bloodthirsty and licentious people. Ali belonged to the caravan of the leaders of monotheism. Certainly, Ibrahim, friend of God, Musa, son of Imran and Isa, son of Maryam (peace be upon them all) are completely different from Nero12, Genghis Khan and Napoleon even in the case that the former, the leaders of truth, do not have authority over even a single person and those Genghis Khans have the whole world under their control.
But if we take into account the true meaning of the word politics and say that politics means success in social affairs then Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) will be seen in the foremost ranks but only if we understand that success in this temporary life while having power over subordinates and the weak is different from an everlasting victory over intellects and the hearts of the children of Adam.
A superficial victory of a few temporal days that elicits the feeling of resentment from subordinates, is like a transient nightmare that disappears quickly after generating terror for a short time.
Today the glorious image of the leaders of monotheism is imprinted so deep on the hearts of the pure people that even the most deviated of the people cannot dare to say that Ibrahim or Musa or Isa were—for example—evil people. While, on the other hand, a sense of hatred and disgust is produced in the hearts of all upon hearing the names of the so-called politicians who are in pursuit of a superficial outward personal victory. This is the same thing that has been mentioned very clearly by Oswald Spengler:
“The first problem is to make oneself somebody; the second—less obvious, but harder and greater in its ultimate effects—to create a tradition, to bring on others so that one's work may be continued with one's own pulse and spirit, to release a current of like activity that does not need the original leader to maintain it in form. And here the statesman rises to something that in the Classical world would doubtless have been called divinity. He becomes the creator of a new life, the spirit-ancestor of a young race. He himself, as a unit, vanishes from the stream after a few years. But a minority called into being by him takes up his course and maintains it indefinitely. This cosmic something, this soul of a ruling stratum, an individual can generate and leave as a heritage, and throughout history it is this that has produced the durable effects. The great statesman is rare.13”
If these sentences, which are clear without any kind of elucidation, are studied correctly and seen with a mind free from any sort of blind imitation and prejudice and if a comparison is made between the important individuals of the two groups of politicians mentioned previously, it will become clear whether these truths introduce ordinary politicians or Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a).
We will describe some of the things mentioned above and in addition to this we seek the help of the respected reader in order to clear up casuistic reasoning from the minds of the uninformed. Spengler says that the first thing that is necessary for a politician is to make himself somebody— meaning to be identified or recognized by others. We can raise this question and ask: How can the act of ‘Amr bin ‘As be considered making himself somebody given that for the sake of saving himself in battle, he removed his clothes and humiliated himself in front of others? Or, how can the alliance of Mu’awiyah with a stranger for the purpose of killing the leader of the Muslims to make himself somebody be reconciled with attainment of goodness? Can the act of preventing an enemy from drinking water to the point that they are dying of thirst identify a person as someone that can lead others in the attainment of goodness?
Leaving this aside he also says: He becomes the creator of a new life, the spirit-ancestor of a young race. He himself, as a unit, vanishes from the stream after a few years. But a minority called into being by him takes up his course and maintains it indefinitely.
It is known that Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) during the early years of his life and after the demise of the great leader of Islam (Prophet Muhammad (S)) was always in the minority because of lack of congruity between him and others. In spite of this, with the passage of time he managed to conquer the hearts of people with his spirituality, wisdom and justice.
History has completely failed to reveal the true governance and political wisdom of Ali (‘a). If we carefully examine the pages of history and put aside beliefs that we have inherited from our forefathers we will see that we cannot find any other leader whose followers were subjected to so much persecution—they did not even dare speak the name of their leader. The enemies of Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) endeavoured so much to suppress and destroy his reputation that worse than what was said about him cannot be imagined. In spite of all this, without even the least of false efforts or without any support from so- called successful personalities, he possessed the most sublime human personality and his name is written in the foremost ranks in the book of humanity.
Today when we are in the best and most progressive days in terms of our understanding of human values (though not from the practical point of view) we hear the highest praise and respect for Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) from all the nations even from those societies that do not adhere to any religion. If at times we see some nations bear a grudge against him or because of ignorance try to belittle his personality, a wave of detestation and disgust from all other nations is set out against them. From this it is clear that a true politician is the same cherished of Ibrahim whose personality manifests itself better and better with the passage of time as opposed to the current of ordinary politicians and in effect makes the whole of humanity from the young to the old his followers.
Some people with shallow thinking say that a politician is someone who can establish his absolute control over his society, but Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) after the demise of Prophet (S) was not able to establish his control over Muslims. It is as if these people intend to say that establishing control means controlling the society like helpless goats with the help of a sword and if needed taking them to war fields for the sake of personal aims and dominating them such that their eyes and hearts remained terrified and overwhelmed, like Hajjaj ibn Yusuf and likes of him used to do. These people do not comprehend the value of a human being and the worth of his relationship with God. Not only this, such people have not only not understood or do not want to understand the value of a human being but they even think religion is nothing more than a series of outward rituals and ceremonies and say that in order to gain power and control over the whole world we should not spare any efforts even if inhuman, like Pope Innocent the Third.
The mistakes of these people do not end here but the most damaging mistake that some of these historians have committed is that they have studied the history of the great leaders of Islam from a few superficial historic events and have satisfied themselves with those few and then they say only that Islam had many conquests and conquered many nations over a short period.
However, they have not carefully reflected as to how many of these Muslims were like Abu Dharr al-Ghifari. The Prophet of Islam was not able—in the limited time he had—to instill the sublime teachings and laws of Islam the way he wanted to into the hearts of more than a few from among all Muslims.
At that time, some would say they believed in the Prophet while God himself denied these outward claims and warned His messenger, lest he should accept their outward claims, that faith was not firmly rooted in their hearts and they were only outwardly attributed to Islam.
قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُلْ لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِنْ قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ
The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your heart (Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:14).
Can this lack of firm faith in the hearts of Muslims be considered evidence that the Prophet of Islam lacked wisdom?! In other words, can we say that the Prophet was not politically wise because he could not establish total influence over the Muslims of that time? And if for instance we accept this then can we similarly say that the Prophet Ibrahim, the chief of all the religions, lacked political wisdom because during his time not even his family members obeyed him. Certainly, such ideas are nothing but illusion.
Even though—at the time of the Prophet of Islam—Islam was young and zeal was at its peak amongst Muslims, we are well aware of what misfortunes befell Islam in the few years after the demise of the Holy Prophet and what storms of calamity were heaped up over the fresh garden of Islam. A terrible misfortune befell Islam because of the interference of a certain group in the matters of Islam which turned the harvest of this pure religion into the ashes of power struggle and worship of desires. After these gloomy events, was it anything other than political wisdom that Ali (‘a) presented through his character and his stand, the effects of which—over a period of a few centuries—increased the number of his lovers from a handful of people to millions. That which is worthy of attention here are the following words of Spengler:
“The gardener can obtain a plant from the seed, or he can improve its stock. He can bring to bloom, or let languish, the dispositions hidden in it, its growths and colour, its flower and fruit. On his eye for possibilities—and, therefore, necessities—depends its fulfilment, its strength, its whole Destiny. But the basic form and direction of its being, the stages and tempo and direction thereof, are not in his power. It must accomplish them or it decays, and the same is true of the immense plant that we call a "Culture” and the being-streams of human families that are bound up in its form-world. The great statesman is the gardener of a people.”14
When fame-seeking power-hungry people do not want to learn the true principles of humanity and move forward with the help of these principles, why should a true politician be considered to be lacking in wisdom and foresight?! And, just because materialistic people consider only money, status and position to be human values, why should a true politician be blamed when he maintains a precise and strict account of the public treasury and does not show preferences to one person over another but to the extent of the effectiveness of that person in the society.
Do people need a more evident historic proof than the directives that Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) gave to Malik Ashtar about the governance of Egypt, as proof that he was a politician in its true sense?
It is very clear what those who have said that Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) lacked political wisdom mean and it does not really require a long drawn out explanation. These people say that Ali ibn Abi Talib was a good man, he was the advisor to the Holy Prophet, and he did not accede to the likes of ‘Amr ibn Ab’dawat and Marhab from whose swords death would rain. However, they also say: Ali ibn Abi Talib was very imprudent from a political point of view because for the sake of protecting the Prophet and saving the life of the saviour of humanity he slept in his bed when they knew the enemies had planned a surprise attack and if the sword had cut his body into pieces, he would have lost his life in this incident.
Some also say that it was far from being politically wise when he did not rise against the usurpers to take back his right even though he had the power with strong and brave followers to support him. They believed that it was lack of political foresight that he kept silent and did not rise up for the sake of saving Islam due to the apprehension that newly converted Muslims would turn their backs on Islam—people in general were not important and it did not matter if they would have forsaken Islam.
They say it is not very wise that someone soon after coming in power clashes with a strong (political) enemy and weakens oneself. It is was necessary for Ali to keep Mu’awiyah in his position (as a governor) because accepting tyranny, oppression and undue diplomatic relations and changing the moral system of Islam into a tool for satisfying greed for a few years does not harm anything.
They say Ali was imprudent when he allowed his sworn enemies access to water in battle and did not do anything to obstruct them. If Ali were a true politician, he would have even been able to kill thousands of people—even the believers—of thirst so that the conditions would become favourable for reaching (political) power.
They say because Ali detested false praise and flattery he lacked political wisdom. Ali used to say, “Do not mention for me handsome praise for the obligations I have discharged towards Allah and towards you, because of (my) fear about those obligations which I have not discharged and for issuing injunctions which could not be avoided, and do not address me in the manner despots are addressed. Do not evade me as the people of passion are (to be) evaded, do not meet me with flattery.”15
Indeed! In the judgment of some taking away the rights of the poor and giving them to flatterers is political wisdom.
We do not wish to spend time on the statements of these gentlemen. We just want to mention a detail that they have made a mistake about—they have taken Genghis Khan in the place of Prophet Ibrahim and Bakhtun Nasr16 in the place of Isa son of Marium (Jesus).
Yes, Mu’awiyah was a politician. If you want to know more about his politics carefully read his political directions to Sufyan ibn Awf Gamadi. Ibn Abi Al-Hadid quotes them in his commentary on Nahj Al-Balagha.
“Sufyan ibn Awf Gamadi says: Mu’awiyah summoned me and said: I am sending you with an army. Take a route from the banks of the Euphrates until you reach Hait; occupy that place and if you see any resistance from the people there attack them and destroy them. After crossing Hait and when you reach Anbar occupy it. If you do not see any army then leave there and camp at Madain and do not go close to Kufa and know that if you terrify the people of Anbar and Madain it is as if you have inflicted these destructions on Kufa. O Sufyan! This destruction
and plunder will cast fear into the hearts of Iraqis and will make our zealous hearts happy and will incline those who fear towards us. So destroy anyone whose opinion differs from our opinion and whichever place you enter destroy it and plunder people’s belongings because the plundering of belongings is similar to killing and its unpleasant effect on the hearts is more.”17
These were the directions of a major political figure of the Islamic society. This man did not consider human life to be of any worth not even equal to the worth of a tiny ant. In other words, we can say, ‘Well done Genghis Khan! But unfortunately, you were not present in the time of Mu’awiyah so that you could benefit from his school of politics and learn the principles of politics from him.’
Never! Politics is far from this meaning. At the time when the enemy was arraying its troops and was making arrangements for war and had tried to defeat Ali’s army by cutting off the water supply, Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) raised his hands towards his Lord and said:
“O my Allah! Hearts are getting drawn to You, necks are stretching (towards You), eyes are fixed (on You), steps are in motion and bodies have turned lean. O my Allah! Hidden animosity has become manifest and the pots of malice are boiling. O my Allah! We complain to You of the absence of our Prophet, the numerousness of our enemy and the diffusion of our passions. Our Lord! Decide between us and between our people with truth, and you are the Best of Deciders.”18
And before the start of battle he issued the following command to his army:
“Do not fight them unless they initiate the fighting, because, by the grace of Allah, you are in the right and to leave them till they begin fighting will be another point from your side against them. If, by the will of Allah, the enemy is defeated then do not kill the retreaters, do not strike a helpless person, do not finish off the wounded, and do not inflict harm on women even though they may attack your honor with filthy words and abuse your officers.”19
It is said that ordinary politicians—according to the third definition—at the time of action make a distinction between themselves and the society; in other words, they make it appear as if they are doing service to the society but suddenly at the time of action the whole society becomes their servant and a tool in their hands. Only a group close to them and the flatterers benefit from them.
We must see what Ali says in this regard? He says: “I seek you for Allah’s sake but you seek me for your own benefits.”20 From this small sentence we can to a very great extent understand Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) and estimate the value of his words.
It can be seen in history that these savage politicians shirked any responsibility and they acted as if all the social resources were their own personal property. From this perspective their destructive policies have always made progress and with a peculiar tranquillity particular to them they carried on busy in their politics.
However, Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) says, “Know that I shall fight two persons—a person that claims that which is not his and one who ignores what is obligatory upon him.”21
Ali (‘a) would fight these two whether such a person were someone like Talhah and Zubayr, who were from the chiefs of the nation, or a Bedouin Arab who had no social position whatsoever. Although in this situation people like Talhah and Zubayr created the revolt of Jamal because in their thinking Imam Ali’s rational social principle was against politics.
We would also like to mention some other words of Ali. He has said, “O people! Certainly, I am a Muslim from amongst you. Whatever is beneficial for you is beneficial for me and whatever harms you, harms me.”22
But this concept (of rule of people over people) is very far-fetched in the logic of these people because history has shown to us that even the ordinary ones from amongst these politicians considered everything in this world obliged to follow them, be it beneficial to them or cause them harm.
We end this discourse by quoting the words one of the true politicians and champions of monotheism:
“We are in a period when most of the people regard betrayal as wisdom. In these days the ignorant call it excellence of cunning. What is the matter with them? Allah may destroy them. One who has been through the thick and thin of life finds excuses to be preventing him from the orders and prohibitions of Allah but he disregards them despite capability (to succumb to them and follow the commands of Allah), while one who has no restraints of religion seizes the opportunity (and accepts the excuses for not following the commands of Allah)”23
He also says at another place, “Had I not been hateful of deceit I would have been the most cunning of all men24”25 This same meaning is indicated at many places in the life of Imam Ali brief study of which does not leave any room for doubt. However, we mention some instances just for illustration.
1. Most historians have written that the most accurate of the predictions during the confusion of the selection of the Caliph were made by Ali (‘a):
For example when the second of them (the Caliphs) insisted that Ali pay oath of allegiance to the first one [at the time the first was installed], he said, “Milk a little for him, an amount of it will return to you as well.”26 Not even one historian doubts the fact that the Caliphate of the second was through endorsement of the first and not thorough any consultation or election.
2. Similarly in the event of raising of the Qur’an on spears in the battle of Siffin which has been for centuries termed as ‘the rebellion of Siffin’, immediately upon seeing it and listening to their slogans Imam Ali (‘a) said, “The sentence is right but what (they think) it means, is wrong.”27 And we cannot find a single historian who says that Ali consulted commanders of his army in this political prediction. On the contrary they have written: As soon as he saw this hypocrisy and deceit he expressed himself in the above mentioned words.
3. If we look carefully into the matter of Talhah and Zubayr when they came (to Ali (‘a)) and said we desire to go to Mecca to take part in the rites of Umrah28 (optional pilgrimage). He said to them, “Your intention is not Umrah but your aim is deceit.”29
Other than these few instances, there are a thousand other places where he made predictions and they turned out to be exactly as he had predicted.
The summary of our explanation in this discourse is: Ali ibn Talib (‘a) was fully aware of politics in its true meaning—in the hope of realization of which every single person has lived from the time of the sons of Adam—and he made this political system practical in his lifetime.
He was also aware of politics in its undesired meaning which consists of identification a goal and acquisition of the necessary means for reaching that goal in any possible way. However, knew it to be detrimental for all humans and never brought it into practice.
- 1. Aristotle (384-322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theatre, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology.
- 2. Politics, Aristotle, Arabic translation, vol. 1, page 92.
- 3. Politics, Aristotle, Arabic translation, vol. 1, page 212. See also Politics, Aristotle, Translated by Benjamin Jowett, Batoche Books, Kitchener, 1999, page 68. “In all sciences and arts the end is a good, and the greatest good and in the highest degree a good in the most authoritative of all—this is the political science of which the good is justice, in other words, the common interest.”
- 4. Genghis Khan (1162-1227 AD) was the founder, Khan (ruler) and emperor of the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire in history.
- 5. Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (1880-1936 AD) was a German historian and philosopher.
- 6. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832 AD) was a German writer and polymath. Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, humanism, and science.
- 7. Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138-78 BC) was a Roman military and political leader.
- 8. Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794 AD) is one of the best- known and most figures of the French Revolution.
- 9. Otto Bismarck (1815-1898 AD) was a Prussian German politician and aristocrat of the 19th century.
- 10. William Pitt (1708-1778 AD) was a British Whig statesman.
- 11. The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler, Arabic translation, vol. 2, page 669-679; See also, The Decline of the West: Perspectives of World History, Oswald Spengler, Authorized (English) translation with notes by Charles Francis Atkinson, vol. 2, London, page 442.
- 12. Nero (37 AD – 68 AD) was the fifth and last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
- 13. The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler, Arabic translation, vol. 2, page 672,673; See also, The Decline of the West: Perspectives of World History, Oswald Spengler, Authorized (English) translation with notes by Charles Francis Atkinson, vol. 2, London, page 444.
- 14. The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler, Arabic translation, vol. 2, page 674; See also, The Decline of the West: Perspectives of World History, Oswald Spengler, Authorized (English) translation with notes by Charles Francis Atkinson, vol. 2, London, page 445.
- 15. Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 205, page 335 (Ansariyan Publication)
- 16. Bakhtun Nasr was a Babylonian Emperor.
- 17. Sharh Nahj Al-Balagha, Ibn Abi Al-Hadid, vol. 1, page: 169
- 18. Nahj Al-Balagha, Letter 15: vol. 2, page 288.
- 19. Nahj Al-Balagha, Letter 14: vol. 2, page 282.
- 20. Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 216: vol. 2, page 182.
- 21. Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 173: vol. 1, page 642.
- 22. Aara ul-Muathireen Hawla Aathar il-Imamia, page 107
- 23. Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 41: vol. 1, page 206.
- 24. ‘All the Arabs’ instead of ‘all the people’, according to some transcripts. See Ghayatul Maram, vol. 7, page 72 and in the narration of Ibn Abi Al-Hadid, “Was is not for piety and religion…”, Sharh Nahj Al-Balagha, vol. 1, page 28.
- 25. Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 200, vol. 2, page 128.
- 26. Tabarasi, Al-Ihtijaj, vol. 1, page 96.
- 27. Nahj Al-Balagha, Sermon 40: vol. 1, page 204.
- 28. Sheikh Mufid, Kitab al Jamal, page 89.
- 29. Kitab al Jamal, Page 89.