On the tragic 19th of Ramadhan, the Epitome of Justice, the Symbol of Valour, the Repository of Wisdom, the Leader of the Pious, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) was struck a fatal sword blow on his head by a Kharejite or outcast from Islam. Before we present you an exclusive article in this regard, here is ayah 43 of Surah Ra’d to reflect upon:
“The faithless say, ‘you have not been sent [by Allah].’ Say, ‘Allah suffices as a witness between me and you, and he who possesses the knowledge of the Book.’”
The Qur’an is the Eternal Miracle of the universal mission of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). It is the Revealed Word of God conveyed to mankind through the blessed tongue of the Last and Greatest Divine Messenger. Its timeless wisdom and unrivalled eloquence remain unmatched to this day, even after the passing away of a millennium and over four centuries, despite the efforts of Arab literati to produce even a few lines like it. In the above cited ayah of this final heavenly scripture to mankind, God speaks of the faithless amongst the Arabs who doubted the mission of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). In response to their prattle, the Prophet is commanded to tell the Arab infidels that the Almighty Creator suffices as “Witness” to his mission of Islam, and so does the person who possesses the knowledge of the secrets of the Sacred Book.
Although the physical eye cannot perceive Him, the Omnipresence of Allah the All-Glorious is fully manifest in the world of creation, including our own self – a fact that not even the most hardcore atheists can deny. This is an undeniable proof of the mission of the Prophet of Islam as “Mercy unto the creation” – as attested by ayah 21 of Surah Anbiya. But who is the other “Witness”, who is the possessor of the complete knowledge of the Book of God with all its timeless wisdom and unrivalled eloquence?
It cannot be Gabriel, because the Archangel’s mission of conveying God’s Words is restricted to the Prophets only, and he is not in contact with other human beings to act as witness in earthly matters. Likewise, no other angel or any other unearthly species can be a witness, since God by granting emotions and the intellect to control them, has created human beings superior to all other forms of creation. Some exegetes of the holy Qur’an, either through gross ignorance of facts, or unconscious aversion to Prophet and his Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt, have claimed that God has referred in this ayah is to some knowledgeable Jew or Christian.
What a great blunder! Nothing could be far removed from the realities of Islam. How can a Jew or a Christian, however knowledgeable, confirm the mission of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and that too on the basis of the much-tampered copies of the Torah and Evangel, which have been superseded by the Qur’an? Then who is the witness amongst human beings to whom God refers in this ayah?
It is here that the Prophet of Islam’s divinely-designated vicegerent comes to our rescue. These days while commemorating his tragic martyrdom anniversary, it is worth recalling that the Prophet had called Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) “al-Qur’an an-Nateq” or the Speaking Qur’an. The person who was on Mount Noor as a ten-year old boy when Archangel Gabriel entrusted to his 40-year old cousin the mission of Islam, and who at the gathering of the stupefied Quraish, expressed the immortal phrase “ash-hado anna Muhammadan-Rasoul-Allah” (which means I testify Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), says that God has referred to him and no one else as witness in ayah 43 of Surah Ra’d. In other words, the Commander of the Faithful and the Imam of the Pious is the earthly testifier of the mission of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
Those in doubt are advised to read and study the sermons, letters and aphorisms of the person who was born in God’s Symbolic House, the holy Ka’ba, and who was martyred in the Mosque of Kufa (also a house of God), especially the collection known as the Nahj al-Balagha or Highway of Eloquence. As unanimously acknowledged, these expressions of Imam Ali (AS) are timeless bezels of wisdom and peerless pearls of eloquence, which no human being or scholars of Arabic language, have ever been able to match. It means that his words were divinely inspired. To be more precise, if the holy Qur’an is the Eternal Miracle of the mission of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), the Nahj al-Balagha could be called the Eternal Miracle of the mission of Imam Ali (AS) as the worthy successor of his cousin, and possessor of Wilayat al-Mutlaqa (Absolute Authority) over not just the Muslim Ummah but the rest of mankind.
These are points to ponder when we supplicate to God on the Grand Nights of Qadr, while recalling the tragedy that befell the Prophet’s Household these days as the Grand Man, whose life was manifestation of Divine Will, departed the mortal world, leaving behind the Miracle of the Nahj al-Balagha, which unlike his miraculous feat of tearing apart of the gatewary of the fort of Khaybar or turning back the sun after it had set, remains the Lasting Miracle.
No wonder, the Prophet had once foretold in fasting Ramadhan:
“O Ali, I weep for that which will befall you in this month. (visualizing myself) to be in your place when you will be praying to your Lord, and the most wicked person of all times, like the one who chopped off the feet of the camel of (the tribe of) Thamoud (which was proof of Prophet Saleh's divine mission) will strike you on your head and your beard will be dyed in blood.”