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Shawwal 23 Wednesday Hijrah 1443
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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

 

Part 1 – The Power of Attraction in ‘Ali

 

Chapter 1: Powerful Attractions

In the introduction to the first volume of The Seal of the Prophets (Khatim-a Payambaran), it is written concerning the topic of calls to mankind:

“The `calls’ that have occurred among humanity have not all been the same, and the rays of their effects have not been of (only) one kind.

“Some calls and systems of thought are one-dimensional, and proceed in one direction; when they appear, they embrace a broad spectrum of people, millions of people become adherents, but then after their time comes to an end they close shop and are entrusted to oblivion.

“Some are two-dimensional, their rays spread out in two directions. While they embrace a broad spectrum of people, and also progress for some time, their range is not confined to the spatial dimension and also extends into the temporal dimension.

“And some others progress in a multitude of dimensions. Not only do we see them attract a broad range of people from human societies and influence them and notice the effect of their influence on every continent, but we also see that they embrace the temporal dimension, that is to say, they are not confined to one time or era. They rule in all their might century after century. Also, they take root in the depths of the human spirit, and the very core of people’s hearts is under their authoritative control; they rule in the profundity of the soul and take the reins of the emotions into their hands. This kind of three-dimensional call is the exclusivity of the chain of the prophets.

“What intellectual or philosophical schools of thought can be found which, like the world’s great religions, exert their authority over hundreds of millions of people for thirty centuries, or twenty centuries, or, at the minimum, fourteen centuries, and sink deep into their innermost core.”

Forces of attraction are also like this: sometimes one, sometimes two, and sometimes three-dimensional.

‘Ali’s power of attraction was of the last kind. Not only did it attract a broad range of human society, but it was also not limited to one or two centuries; rather, it has continued and extended throughout time. It is a fact that it lights up the pages of the centuries and ages, it has reached the depth and profundity of hearts and souls, in such a way that, after hundreds of years, when he is remembered and his moral virtues are heard of, tears of longing are shed, and the memory of his misfortunes is awakened to the extent that even his enemies are affected and their tears flow. This is the most powerful of attractive forces.

From here it can be understood that the link between man and religion is not a material one, but rather of another kind, the like of which link connects no other thing to the spirit of mankind.

If `Ali had had no divine coloring and had not been a man of God; he would have been forgotten. The history of man bears traces of many champions, champions of speech, champions of knowledge or philosophy, champions of power and authority and champions in the battle-field, but all are forgotten by people, or else completely unknown.

But not only did ‘Ali not die with his being killed, he became more alive. He spoke well when he said:

“Those who amass wealth are dead even when they are alive, but those with knowledge will remain as long as the world remains. Their bodies may have disappeared, but their images continue to exist in the hearts.” (Nahju’ l-balaghah: Saying no. 47)

He said about his own character:

“Tomorrow, you will see these days of mine and unknown characteristics of mine will be revealed to you, and after my place has been vacated and someone else has occupied it you will know me.” (Nahju ‘l-balaghah, Sermon no. 149)

Iqbal wrote

My own age does not understand my deep meanings,

My Joseph is not for this market. I despair of my old champions,

My Sinai burns for the sake of the Moses who is coming.

Their sea is silent, like dew,

But my dew is storm-ridden, like the ocean.

My song is of another world than theirs:

This bell calls other travelers to take the road.

Many a poet was born after his death,

He opened our eyes when his own were closed,

And journeyed forth again from nothingness

Like roses blossoming over the earth of his grave.

No river will contain my Oman

My, flood requires whole seas to hold it.

Lightening slumber within my soul,

I sweep over mountain and plain.

The Fountain of Life hath been given Me to drink,

I have been made an adapt of the mystery of Life.

No one hath told the secret which I will tell

Or threaded a pearl of thought like mine

Heaven taught me this lore,

I cannot hide it from my comrades.1

In fact, ‘Ali is like the laws of nature which remain unchanged by time. He is a well-spring of munificence which is never dry, but which rather increases day by day. In the words of Kahlil Gibran (Jubran Khalil Jubran [1300/ 1883 – 1349/1931]), he was one of those personalities who was born before his time.

Notes:

1. Muhammad Iqbal: The Secrets of the Self, translation of R. A. Nicholson, 2nd revised ed., Lahore 1940.

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