Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Imam Ali , For All Times

When we speak about legendary figures who have lived in the past , the most important issue is the relevance that these figures have for current generations. If they are to serve as role models they must bring a message that transcends time and geography , that means necessarily with a strong spiritual and inspirational quality.

The celebrations and holidays we now have in Iran are related to the anniversary of the birthday of Imam Ali, the cousin of the Prophet of Islam , the Khalifa and first Imam and known by foes and friends as a sublime model for humanity . Much has been written and said about the Imam. I think what is most important today is how much is his personality and life is relevant to the challenges that we face in the world and how can he relate to contemporary generations who are searching for a direction in life . It is usually said that young people can easily connect if they find sincerity and meaning in the message.

Imam Ali's (AS) last will to his sons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) after the attempt on his life by a stab from Ibn Muljam:

"My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world, and do not be seduced by it. Do not resent anything you have missed in it. Proclaim the truth; work for the next world. Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed. Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. "

1 comment:

kathy said...

Imam Ali (AS) is a similar kind of a MORALITY teacher to Muslims that Jesus Christ is to Christians.
Of course Prophet Mohammad is revered as the last messenger of God, but Imam Ali's book of quotes (Nahj'ol Balagheh) serves as the most educational and inspirational guidelines to Muslims, on how to be a true believer, and how to strive for becoming a better human being.

My most favorite stories about him are the following:

1) His dedication to the poor, especially orphans: He would prepare bags of food and other essentials for the single-mother families all over town, and leave them behind their doors at night, so that they would not know to whom they owed such generosity, and so they wouldn't feel ashamed of themselves for needing help.

2) His grace under fire: Once in a battle, as he was blowing the final strike of his sword onto the enemy, the man spat on his face, Imam Ali stopped, stood up leaving his enemy on the ground looking at him with amazement, went for a walk around the field to calm himself down and get rid of the anger or any sense of "revenge" that may have been caused in him by that insulting act, and then once he was calm again, he came back and killed that criminal in the name of God. He did not want to ever harm anybody for selfish reasons.

and my MOST favorite:

3) His spirituality: He screamed into a well saying to God "Take me to hell if I've sinned, but let me LOVE you always, for I can bear the fires of hell but I cannot bear to stop loving you even for one second".

I don't remember the exact words of course, I studied these things when I was only 12-13 years old, but what I have written here is the English translation of the Persian translation of these stories in their original Arabic (in Nahj'ol Balagheh), so I just hope I was able to convey the overall gist of them accurately enough?

to Arabic-speaking readers:
Please correct me if I haven't done justice to these "Hadith" in translating them, thank you.

Love and Peace to Imam Ali (AS)!
Eid Mobarak!
Happy Father's Day to all Iranian fathers!