Merits of Imam Ali (as) & His Humility

Merits of Imam Ali (as) & His Humility

“The day We shall summon every group of people with their Imam, and then whoever is given his book in his right hand – they will read their book (joyfully) and they shall not be dealt with unjustly”. (17:71)

In explanation of this verse, the Holy Prophet (saww) has said,“(On that Day) Every people will be summoned with the Imam of their time; Book of their Lord; and the Sunnah (traditions) of their Prophet”.


[On the Day of Judgement, people will be divided into three groups:

The first group will be of those people who were most excellent and most nearest to Allah (SWT). In the Holy Quran, these are the ones who have been referred to as: AS-SAABIQOONAS-SAABIQOON “The foremost will be foremost”. The second group will be of AS-HAABUL-MAYMANAH: “People of the Right Hand”. These are the followers of the first group, who were most excellent and most nearest to Allah (SWT). Thus they too, shall be happy and joyful. The third group will be of AS-HAABUL-MASH-AMAH: “People of the Left Hand”. These were the opponents of the first and second groups; thus they shall be entirely miserable on that Day.

In all these three groups, the first, which is of the most excellent and most nearest to Allah (SWT); and have been referred to as AS-SAABIQOONAS-SAABIQOON – these are none other than the Holy Prophet (saww) & the Holy Imams (as) from his progeny. It is for this reason that our 6th Imam, Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) has said, “Why don’t you praise and extol Allah (SWT). On the Day of Judgement, every people will be summoned with the person whose WILAYAH (Mastership/Guardianship) they will have accepted. We (i.e. the Imams) will be summoned with the Holy Prophet (saww) and you with us! Do you wonder where shall you be taken thereafter?” The Imam (as) then said thrice: “To the Paradise – by the Lord of Ka’bah”. ] (Tafseer of S V Mir Ahmad Ali)


Our 1st Imam (as) was born on the 13th of Rajab, in the year 600 AD – which is 30 years after ‘AAMUL-FEEL ‘the year of the elephant’. His father was Hazrat Abu Talib bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib (as), who was also the paternal uncle of the Holy Prophet (saww) and his mother was Fatimah binti Asad – in whose personal love and care the Messenger of Allah (saww) had grew up after losing his own mother at a very young age of 6 years.

Historians are unanimous that: Imam Ali (as) was born inside the Holy Ka’bah. No one was ever born in the Holy Ka’bah before Ali (as); and no one after him will ever have such an honour. Thus we regard the birth of Ali (as) in the Holy Ka’bah as a great honour, which Allah (SWT) bestowed upon him.

It is narrated that Imam Ali (as) remained in the Holy Ka’bah for three days after his birth with his mother and then he (as) was brought out in the presence of a wonder-struck crowd that had gathered outside to witness what was happening.

Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.):

[Three days after his birth, when ‘Ali, as an infant, was brought out by his beloved mother Fatimah bint Asad from the Holy Ka’bah where he was born, he (a.s.) first saluted his father saying: “Peace be on you O’ father! And may the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you”. Thereafter, he recited: “In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Certainly the faithful have attained salvation”. (23:1)

The Holy Prophet (saww) thereupon said, holding the infant in his arms, “Indeed people will attain salvation through you. By Allah! You are their Ameer (leader)…they will learn through your knowledge…. By Allah! You are their Guide…And by Allah! Through you only the people shall be guided”.] (Manaqib Aali Abi Talib)


Imam Ali (as) is the greatest personality of Islam. There are numerous verses of the Holy Quran that were revealed in his favour; and there are numerous traditions in which the Holy Prophet (saww) has explicitly and exclusively praised him. For example:

Ibn Asakir has reported from Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari, who said that:

[(One day) we were sitting with the Holy Prophet (saww) when Ali bin Abi Talib (as) made his appearance. Upon seeing him, the Messenger of Allah (saww) said,

“I swear by Him in whose control is my soul – this (i.e. Ali) and his followers shall be successful on the Day of Judgement”. As soon as he (saww) said this, the following verse of the Holy Quran was revealed, “Verily those who believe and do good deeds, they are KHAYRUL-BARIYYAH (the best of created beings)”. (98:7) Jabir says that after this incident, whenever we saw Ali (as), we said, “KHAYRUL-BARIYYAH (the best of created beings) has come”.] (S V Mir Ahmad Ali)

Ammar ibn Yasir has reported that the Holy Prophet (saww) once told his daughter Fatimah (as): “I have married you to a man who is the greatest servant of Allah (SWT); the most faithful and the most pacific man- Ali (as)”. (Arjahul-Mataalib)

It is also reported that the Holy Prophet (saww) told Ali (as): “O Ali! You are:

Sayyidul-Muslimeen (The chief of the Muslims); Waliyyul-Muttaqeen (The guardian of the Godwary) & Qaidul-Ghurril-Muhajjaleen (The leader of people with shinning faces on the Day of Judgement). (Arjahul-Mataalib)


Humility or humbleness is an attribute, which Allah (SWT) loves. Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) has said, “When Prophet Nuh (as) had sailed in his Ark for sometime, Allah (SWT) addressed the mountains that He (SWT) wished to land the boat on any one of them. Every mighty mountain thought that it would have the privilege of the landing of the Ark. Mount Judi was the smallest of all mountains and it was in the vicinity of Najaf al-Ashraf. This mountain thought that it was insignificant when compared to other mighty mountains and had no chance of being part of such an important event. Allah (SWT) liked the humility of Mount Judi and the Ark landed there.] (‘Ayn al-Hayaat)

Despite his greatness and all his achievements, Imam Ali (as) was extremely humble. His humility was apparent and evident from the kind of house he (as) lived in; the kind of clothes he (as) wore; the kind of food he (as) ate; and from his overall behaviour and character.


[One day Imam Ali (as) bought some fresh dates in Kufa. He (as) tied the fruit in the lapel of his shawl and proceeded to his home. On the way, some companions met him and they offered to carry his burden. The Imam (as) said, “The right of carrying the family’s burden rests with the head of the family!”. He (as) then added, “If a person of distinction carries the weight of his family’s requirements, his distinction does not diminish in any manner whatsoever”.] (‘Ayn al-Hayaat)

Another beautiful incident of our Imam (as)’s humility is:

[One day, accompanied by his slave Qanbar, Imam (as) entered a shop and asked the vendor to show him some cloaks. The man asked, “O Ameer al-Mumineen! What quality of cloaks do you desire to buy?” Imam (as) had realized that the vendor had recognized him, so he (as) immediately moved out of the shop and came to the next one. The owner of the next shop was away and his young son was attending to the customers. This young man had not recognized the Imam (as). So the Imam (as) asked him to give two cloaks. He (as) bought one for 2 dirhams and the other for 3 dirhams. He (as) then gave Qanbar the expensive one and retained the inferior garment for himself. Qanbar said, “O Master! Please take the better garment for your use”. Imam (as) said, “Qanbar! It is always the youth who deserve to use better things. You must therefore use the better cloak of the two! The Prophet of Allah (saww) has verily said, ‘Provide to the slave the type of garments you yourselves wear and give them the food that you eat!’”.

The sleeves of Imam (as)’s cloak were slightly longer than his arms. He (as) got them cut to size and said that the cloth would be useful for making caps for the needy persons. Later on, when the owner of the shop returned and realized that the Imam (as) had purchased the cloaks from there, he came to the presence of Imam (as) and said, “O Ameer al-Mumineen! My son didn’t recognize you and derived a profit of 2 dirhams from you in the bargain. I therefore kindly request you to take back these 2 dirhams”. Imam (as) said, “We agreed to the price he quoted! The deal was struck! Also bear in mind that we are the Ahlul-Bayt (as) – whatever we give, we never take back”.] (‘Ayn al-Hayaat)

Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff



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