Imam Ali (as), whose Imam is he? 2

2. Imamul-Mosallin (The Leader of those who pray):

As mentioned in the previous paragraph Imam Ali was the first who prayed with the Messenger of God. Similarly, the history of Islam has not presented anyone after the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w) worshipping the Almighty God more or better than Imam Ali (a.s).

Ibn Abil-Hadid asserted: “Imam Ali (a.s) was the most worshipping of all Muslims. He prayed to God and fasted for His sake more than anyone else. In fact, people learned the Night Prayer from him.”(1)

His Salat: Prophetic Salat

Al-Bokhari narrated: Motraf ibn Abdullah said: “Omran ibn Hosayn and I prayed behind Ali ibn Abi Talib. When he was going for prostration he was reciting ‘Allahu-Akbar’ and when he was sitting up from prostration he was also reciting ‘Allahu-Akbar’. When we finished the prayer, Omran grabbed my hand and either said to me: ‘His prayer reminded me of the Prophet`s prayer’, or he may have said: ‘He offered a Prophetic prayer.”(2)

His Punctuality to the Times of Salat

The Muslim daily prayers have set and fixed times. Muslims are bound to observe the time of each prayer and offer them in their first possible times. The Almighty God says in the Quran:

“The prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” (3)

Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “Every time Imam Ali used to stand up for Salat, the colour of his face would change so much that it would be obvious. Imam Ali (a.s) was asked about the reason behind it. He answered: “The time of ‘the Trust that God offered to the heavens and the earth and the mountains and they declined to bear it and were afraid of it, but man bore it’ has arrived and I am not sure if I would appropriately deliver the Trust or not?”(4)

In the middle of the hardship of the battle of Seffin as Imam Ali (a.s) was fighting he was glancing at the sun in the sky too. Ibn Abbas; one of the commanders of his army, noticed and asked what the Imam was looking at in the sky? Imam Ali (a.s) replied: “I am watching the entering time of al-Salat.” Ibn Abbas with a big surprise replied: “Now! In the middle of the war?!” Imam Ali (a.s) calmly said: “What other than Salat are we fighting them for?!”(5)

Having read the above examples can you begin to contemplate that a group of people hold a celebration for the birthday of Imam Ali (a.s), yet there is no Salat included in their program?! Or some of them are too busy in preparation of food that they miss the congregational prayer?! Can they truly regard Imam Ali (a.s) their Imam?!

His Presence of Heart in Salat

The presence of heart means that the heart and attention of the one who offers his prayer is with God during the pray. The presence of heart is more profound than mere attending the meaning of the words of Salat although this may be a good start to reach the presence of heart.

Two she-camels were gifted to the Messenger of God. One was fatter than the other but the other was bigger.

The Messenger of God announced to his companions that whoever can offer two Rak’at prayers during which he does not think of any worldly affairs, he would gift one of the she-camels to him. No one nominated himself even after the Prophet repeated his offer three times.

Imam Ali (a.s) stood up and said: “I will do that, O Messenger of God. From the time I recite Allahu-Akbar until when I say my last Tasleem I think of nothing other than God.”

The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w) asked him to get ready and offer a two Rak`at prayer under the supervision of the Prophet.

The challenge began and as soon as Imam Ali (a.s) finished his Salat, the Archangel Gabriel descended to the Prophet and said: “O Muhammad! Allah greets you and says: give one of the two camels to Ali!”

The Prophet said: the condition was that he does not think of other than God, but in his Tashahhud, he thought of which one of the camels he should ask for?!

Gabriel said: O Muhammad! Indeed, God greets you and says: Ali was thinking which one would be better for charity. Thus, his thought was for the sake of God not for a worldly pleasure.

The Messenger of God gifted both she-camels to Ali whilst he had tears in his eyes. Upon that an Ayah was revealed to him:

“Verily, therein is indeed a reminder for him who has a heart or gives ear while he is heedful.(6)”,(7)

The degree of Imam Ali’s presence of heart was so high and strong that in one of the battles a piece of an arrow had remained in his foot. Having no anesthetic drugs, to remove the piece would have been too painful and to leave the piece in his body would cause the wound to become infected and would also affect his mobility.

Fatima al-Zahra (s.a); his wife suggested that the piece of stick be removed from his foot whilst he was praying, as the Imam would not be conscious of his body. The operation was a success whilst he was in prostration!(8)

His Extra Attention to the Night Prayer

The Night Prayer is a virtue but not an obligation unless for the Prophet of Islam himself. However, Imam Ali (a.s) said: “Since I heard the Prophet saying: ‘Night Prayer is light, I never left the Night Prayer`. Ibnil-kawwa’ said: Even on the Night of al-Harir? The Imam said: Yes, even on the Night of al-Harir.”(9)

His Abundance in Salat

Imam Baqir (a.s) said: “No one would tolerate the amount of worshipping that Imam Ali (a.s) was offering even Imam Zainul Abideen.”(10) (Who is known as the Imam of those who Prostrate themselves for Allah)

It is also narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Ali (a.s) towards the end of his life used to offer one thousand Rak’at in every 24 hours.”(11)

Continue in the next article: ( Imam Ali (as), whose Imam is he? 3 )

NOTES:

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1. Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, vol. 1 p. 27

2. Sahih al-Bokhari, vol. 1 p. 272

3. The Holy Quran 4:103

4. Ibn Shahr Ashoob; al-Manaqib, vol. 2 p. 124 and Imam`s statement refers to the Ayah 72 of Chapter 33 of the Quran.

5. Beharul-Anwaar vol. 83 p. 23

6. The Holy Quran 50:37

7. Ibid, vol. 36 p .161

8. Kashani, al-Mahajatul-Baydaa’, vol. 1 p. 397

9. Ibn Shahr Ashoob; al-Manaqib vol. 2 p .123. the Night of al-Harir is the night during the battle of Seffin in which it is said that more than 70,000 people were killed.

10. Al Kaafi vol. 8, p .130

11. ibid. vol. 4 p. 154