Imam Ali had many enemies from his first battle against the Kuffar (non-believers) during the early days of Islam down to the recurring conflicts against the
charlestons who declined to accept his Caliphate, including Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan, the rebellious governor of . The new faction of the Khwarij in his own caliphate were his new enemies, who wanted to have him killed. Abd ar-Rehman ibne Mulji@ a previously unknown Kharji hid in the mosque over night during the month of Ramadhan. He struck the Imam on the head with a poison-dipped sword while he was prostrate in Ms prayers. The Imam suffered from the poisonous deep cut wound for three days and died at home surrounded by his grief-stricken family. Syria
Before he died, he called his elder son Hasan to his bedside and appointed him to be the Imam after him. On his deathbed, Imam Ali gave his last advice to his children as well as Muslims, which is summarized here: -Keep piety your foremost goal in life.
-Be organized, and always be prepared to further the cause of Islam.
-Do not forget the orphans among you.
-Remember your neighbors at all times.
-Make al-Qur'an your guide.
-Maintain prayers as your foremost discipline in life because this is the strongest pillar of your faith.
-Give freely in the name of Allah, including your lives when needed to defend Islam.
-Remain united, and protect each other from sin, because if you fail to do so, others will become your overlords.
REFLECIRIONS FROM THE LIFE OF IMAM ALI
Upon the death of the third caliph, Imam Ali became the Caliph of a vast nation of new Muslims who had not been introduced to the Ahle Bait and who had poor knowledge of the feats of Imam All or the teachings of the Prophet. However, among the companions of the Prophet, the towering personality of hnam Ali dwarfed them all. This provoked feelings ofjealousy among those who saw the opportunity slip away from their hands for the high position. Consequently the Caliphate of Imam Ali suffered a series of betrayals by many friends, companions and even Ayesha binte Abu Bakr, a wife of the Prophet. He was frustrated when he had to draw his sword against the Muslims who had previously protected and defended against the infidels. Many were confused when they saw the close companions of the Prophet come out in open confrontation in bloody battle. It was among these unsure and skepfic people that the Khaji faction emerged. It was these people who failed him in his efforts to subdue Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan, the ambitious rebel governor of
. When this group of people rebelled against the Imam, it further compounded the problem of dissention, dissatisfaction and division among the Muslims already spearheaded by Muawiyah. Syria
There were others in the Imam's army who expected large gratuities from him for their services, as practiced in the preceding era. The Imam did not give in to favoritism or nepotism, and considered the public treasury to be a sacred trust that could not be violated by using it to win loyalty or services. Many of them became dissatisfied and left the Imam when he refused to meet their expectations. Even in the battlefields, he had forbidden his soldiers to loot or strip the fallen in the opposite camp.
Imam Ali had planned major reforms for the state since it had fallen into geperal abuse towards the end of the rule of the third caliph. These were delayed due to the civil disorder he had to deal with. There was only a brief period of relative peace in his province after the battle of Nahrawan in which he could institute his reforms. They illustrate his great foresight, wisdom and organization. It is not within the scope of this book to discuss or describe tlxm here. For this, the reader may rcfcr to Nalijul-Balaglia, a collection of the Imain's Sermons, letters and sayings.
The sermons and lectures of the lmwn are highly eloquent and full of knowledge and wisdom. The style in which he delivered them reminded people of the times of the Holy Prophet. The people attended the congregational prayers led by him and sat to savor the sermons he gave for their spiritual as well as worldly improvement.