INTRODUCED BY HUSSEIN RASHID
Who is the Ali, the universal hero of Islam? The last of those who are known as the Rightly Guided Caliphs, the greatness of Imam Ali (a.s) is best represented by story of Khaybar. The story begins that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) laid siege to the fort of Khaybar, but the walls were so well-fortified that the army could not break through. The Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet Muhammad and told him to recite the naad-e ali:
Nade Ali, Nade Ali, Nade Ali
Nade Aliyyan mazhar al-ajaib
Tajidahu awnan lakafin-nawaib
Kullu hammin wa ghammin
sayanj-i Ali Bi wilayatika,
Ya Ali! Ya Ali! Ya Ali!
Call Ali call Ali call Ali,
the manifestation of marvels
He will be your helper in difficulty
Every anxiety and sorrow will end
Through your friendship.
O Ali, O Ali, O Ali
And Hazrat Ali came to the Prophet’s aid, in an act of heroism commemorated in the lines of a qawwali:
The walls shake; the doors quake. Now all of Khaybar trembles hearing the name of Ali?
Ali came and tore down the gate of the fort, and the army of the Prophet crossed over and successfully ended the siege. Ali, of course, was a valiant fighter within in the fort and when victory was achieved, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Prophet Muhammad again and said to him:
There is no hero but Ali; there is no sword but Dhu’lfiqar
In this one story, how much do we learn about the value of Hazrat Ali in the Muslim tradition? We learn that the Angel Gabriel taught the Prophet a prayer for help and support, and that help and support comes through Imam Ali. One of the most popular stories of the Prophet Muhammad’s battles has as its hero Imam Ali. A fort shakes at the mention of the Imam’s name, because even at this point in the early Islamic period, the power and chivalry of Ali ibn Abi Talib was legendary. And that exceptional position was affirmed by the Angel Gabriel once more when he said, “there is no hero but Ali; there is no sword but Dhu’lfiqar.”
Date posted in Simerg: September 21, 2017.
- The introduction of Naad-e-Ali has been adapted from Hussein Rashid’s piece Remembering the Heroism and Ethic of Hazrat Ali posted at Simergphotos; and
- The captions were prepared from the British Museum’s exhibition on Arabic script. Please visit http://www.britishmuseum.org.