IMAM ALI (A.S) THE HERALD OF UNITY
Congratulations all of you the birthday. Rajab the month of God blessings, the months of brightness, greatness, the month of divine and undefeatable character and the month of Imamat.In Islamic thought, â€œUnityâ€ has a high Â status in continuation of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Imamaâ€™s (A) mission. Thus, a thorough research of the conduct and speech of Imam Ali (A.S) who way the herald of unity would show the state of unity and its various dimensions in the Islam. Imam Ali (A.S) reviewed unity as the fruit of mission of whose results is burying mutual rancor and developing brother hood and affection among muslins. Criticizing disunited nations, Imam Ali (A.S) mentions that division leads to destruction of dignity and honour while unity leads the descent of divine blessing.
To establish unity Imam Ali (A.S) urged people towards unity in every context and asked the governors to refrain form carrying out any alternation and presence good society in order to promote unity of Islamic society. He (A.S) knew unity and establishing justice developing each other and expected the government to fulfill them. He (A.S) reinforced the judicial system, selected special people to judge and exercised intensive supervision over his executive officers. In Imam Ali (A.S) view point, paying attention to people and legitimate demands and true emotions were among material and social causes of creating unity among people.
He (A.S) would cont Allah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) , the leader, the law and the Quran among the spiritual dements which facilitate unity, and in this regard would emphasize the role of the leader. He (A.S) also regarded disbelief deviation from truth , worldliness, lawbreaking and arrogance as some of the major elements which cause divisions. He (A.S) gave orders to present al these elements. Prior to studying Islamic unity, we must have a clear definition of â€œReligionâ€. In general, as well as in terms of true root of Islamic community, for the whole Islamic community has a single religious identity.
â€œReligionâ€ which in its general meaning embraces all human and divine beliefs is bound by a collection of ideological and moral teaching as well as a set of laws and rules.
According to scholarâ€™s point of view religion is to believer the all powerful, who possess all attributes of perfection, the one who has crated the whole universe based on wisdom and justices and has called human beings to move towards achieving perfection units they meet with Allah with the help of two proofs of revelation and reasoning capability this is a movement whose departure and destination are Allah, as mentioned in the verse of Istirja:
â€œVerily, to Allah we belong and to him we shall returnâ€ (2:156).
Islam is the religion that can secure the happiness in both material and spiritual lives of those people whoâ€™s accepted it. Islam is a religion which encompasses all individual, social, material, cultural, political, martial and economic aspects of life and it has not ignored even a single point which play a role in the material and spiritual progress of both individuals and society. Islam is a relation which brings happiness to believers in this world and the hereafter.
When they properly observe Islamic rules.
Islam is against oppression, plundering and enables a human being to get closer to perfection. However, one cannot observe the Islamic rules properly unless he knows Islamic teachings and clings steadfastly to the practical conduct of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his true successors.
Accorelingly, the life of the commander of the faithful, Ali Abi Talib(A.S) after the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is very special. The name of â€œAliâ€ is associated with attributes such as bravery and patience, devotion to God and justice, truthfulness and loyalty knowledge and piety and other human virtues. The life of Imam Ali (A.S) had different stages, among which the stage of his caliphate is of a special significance. This stage has various aspects such as rising of Imam Ali (A.S) to political power, complicated political conditions, civil wars, the approaches and strategies of Imam Ali (A.S) opposition and Imamâ€™s manner in dealing with them, cultural economic and political problems of the society and finally Imamâ€™s approach in dealing with thought provoking problems. On the other hand the short period of Imam Ali (A.S) caliphate is truly an excellent model of Islamic government provided for humanity.
A government which would quench humanâ€™s thirst for justice and equity. The unity of Islamic community has a special status and its importance for Imam Ali (A.S) is no secret to anyone based on his attempts in preserving Muslims unity. He (A.S)can certainly be called the great herald of unity in the holy Prophet (PBUH) Ummah in both his words and conduct. Imam didnâ€™t hold back any efforts to achieve and preserve unity .
In the presen article, Imamâ€™s words in Nahjul Balaghah are selected in order to prove the fact that He (A.S) has been the greatest herald if unity of Islamic community.
If we see Imam Ali (A.S) theoretical view on unity. Then we see that during the history of Islam, disunity of Islamic sects and nations has caused irreparable material and spiritual damage to the body of Islamic community. This wound on the beautiful face of Islamic community has not been hidden from the reformers of Ummah, and it has worried them. Thus some of them planned to create unity among Muslims and to some how heal the excruciating pain of the heard of Islamic community. Imam (A.S) is among the distinguished reformers to the sought unity after the Holy Prophet (PBUH). After the Prophet himself (PBUH). He (A.S) is truly the greatest herald of unity of the Islamic co9mmunity. He (A.S) knew the consequenced Â of Â disunity and knew hat political , conomic social cultivated and martial disunity within an Islamic community would bring about many negative effects the removal of which if not possible would be very difficult.
Unity had a wide scope in Imam Ali (A.S) point of view and it embraced all human beings in the world as well as Muslims and underprivileged one in Islamic community. Imam Ali (A.S) goal in seeking unity was to pursue. Islamic causes and to establish social justice. The call for unity can be heard from the most of his sermons maxims and letters.
In a letter advising Muslims Imam Ali A(A.S) stated that :
â€œSteer clear through the waves of mischief by boats of deliverance, turn away from the path of dissension and putt off the crowns of pride. If I speak out they would call me greedy towards power but if keep quiet they would say I was afraid of death By Allah, the son of Abu Talib is more familiar with death than an infant with the breast of its mother. I have hidden knowledge k if I disclose it you will start trembling like ropes in deep wellsâ€.
The sayings of Imam Ali (A.S) about the root, nature and fruits of unity are mentioned under six headings.
I) Unity is the fruit of the mission of the Prophet (PBUH).
Imam Ali (A.S) knew unity as the fruit of mission of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) , the blessing bestowed by God to humanity. Imam (A.S)described peoples condition before Islamic and the great influences and blessings of Islam and the mission of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in a sermon in which he stated:
â€œThe people of the earth at this time were divided in different parties, their aims were separate and ways are divers. They either likened Allah with his creation or twisted his names or turned to else than him. Through Muhammad (PBUH) Allah guided them out of wrong and with his efforts took them out of ignoranceâ€. (Ibid sermon no.1).
Imam Ali(A.S) knew burying mutual rancrur and developing brotherhood affection among Muslims as the fruits of the mission of Holy Prophet (PBUH) as he (A.S) started in a sermon â€œ Through him Allah buried mutual rancour and put off the flames of revolt. Through him He gave them affection like brothers and separated those who were together. (Through believe) (Ibid sermon no. 98).
In another sermon regarding the same issue, He (A.S) started, â€œAllah repaired through him the cracks, joined through him the cracks joined through him the slits and created affection among kin although they bore intense enmity in their chest and deep seated ran cour in their hearts.
Regarding the high statue and importance of unity, He (A.S) said â€œCertainly, it is a great blessing of Allah, the Glorified that He has engendered among them unity through the corel of affection in whose shade they wake and take shelter. This is a blessing whose value non one in the whole world realizes, because it is more valuable than any price and higher than any wealth.
(Ibid sermon. No. 191)
It can be understand from Imam Ali (A.S) words that the Islamic community gained a strong rope of unity through the Holy Prophet mission. Today, the same strong rope can create unity among the followers of Islamic community.
ii) Unity Results in Descent of Divine Grace.
Imam Ali (A.S) viewed the unity of Islamic community as a cause for descending the blessings of God. So the warned the people of disunity.
Certainly , Allah the Glorified has not given any person, whether among the called or among those who survive a any good from separation. (Ibid. sermon no. 175). In another sermon Imam (A.S) blames dispersed people of his time and states.
â€œHow strong How strong! By Allah, my heart sinks to see the unity of those people on their wrong and your dispersion from you rightâ€.
(Ibid . sermon no. 27).
Reproaching disunited people of Kufah, Imam (A.S) preferred to exchange them with the people of Syria (Al sham) like Dinars (Golden Coins) with Dirhams (Silver coins) and stated that:
â€œOâ€ those bodies are present but wits are absents and whose wishes are scattered. Their rulers are on trial your leader obeys Allah but you disobeyed him while the leader of the people of Syria (Al-Sham) disobeys Allay but they obey him. By Allah , I wish Muawiyah exchanges with me like Dinars with Dirhams , so that he takes from me ten of you and give me one from them . (Ibid sermon 97)
Imam (A.S) considers large no, of people as insignificant when they are disunited and states. â€œ There is no benefit in the majority of your numbers because of the lack of unity of your heartâ€.
He (A.S) reproached the people of Kufah and stated:
By Allah, I have begun thinking about those people that they would shortly snatch away the whole country through their unity on their wrong and your disunity and separation.
(Ibid sermon no. 25)
Imam (A.S) also believed that the destruction of right thought and coursed was an adverse consequence of division and disunity, and of course, without right though and coursed , making any progress and reform in the society is impossible regarding this issue, Imam Ali Â (A.S) states.
â€œOpposition destroys good counselâ€. (Ibid Maximum no. 215).
iii) Unity Under all Circumstances.
In all stages of his life, whether in the period of Prophet (PBUH) mission, the period when he (A.S) had to be silent , or in the period of his caliphate, Imam Ali (A.S) invited the Islamic community to unity. Even in the bed of martyrdom He (A.S) advised his children who are guides and Imams after him to preserve unity and avoid separation.
In his will , Imam Ali (A.S) told Imam Hassan (A.S) and Imam Hussain (A.S). â€œStick to unity and avoid division and turning away & with holding the hand from one another assistance. (Ibid sermon.no 192).
In order to preserve unity , Imam (A.S) criticized some scholors for their opposite verdict and reminded them that their God, Â their Prophet (PBUH) and their book are the same :
â€œWhen a problem is put before any one of them he passes imagination. When exactly the same problem is placed before another of them he passes an opposite verdict. Then these judges go to the chief who had appointed them and he confirms all the verdicts although their lord is the one their Prophet (PBUH) is the same, their book ( the Quran) is the same. Is Aith Ullah ordered them to differ and they obeyed Him? Or He pro habited them from it but they disobeyed him. (Ibid sermon no. 18)
Imam (A.S) says â€œBeware of dispersal. When you halt do so together and when you move you should move day other. (Ibid letter no.11).
IV) The Ideal Community.
For Imam Ali (A.S) the ideal world, which he wished human beings to reach by clinging to the real Islam, is the celestial and angelic world. He (A.S) has described the people of that world as follows:
â€œThey did not differ and their sustainers as a result of satans control over them. The vice of separation from one another did not disperse them. Rancour and mutual malice did not overpower them. Ways of wavering did no divide them. Difference of degrave of courage did not render them into divisions. (Ibid sermon no. 91)
Infact all human bengs will be like angles even superior to them if they pay attention to the main goal of creation which is proximity to Allah and achieving happiness in all aspects of life, and they know that they would attain his goal only throuth obeying Allah commands cleaning their vices an decorating their hearts with virtues and acting upon them.
The borderline between tradition and innovation God traditions are among the elements which maintain unity within communities and also the consolidation of society. The governor of an Islamic society must keep such traditions alive and defend them. He does not try to preserve them to create divisions within the society by weaker the pillars of the Government. Imam Ali (A.S) Â wrote to his executive Officers as fellows. â€œDonâ€™t discontinue the good lives in which the earlier people of this community had been acting, by virtue of which there was general unity Â and through which the subjects prosperd. Do not innvate any line of action which injuries these earlier ways. (Ibid Ietlem no. 53). Imam (A.S) believe that the correct way of distinguishing between truth and falsehood when being drawn in to a dispute about something was to refer to Allah words (Quran) and the Propehet (PBUH) sunnah (tradition) and he stated:
Addressing the people whom Allah the sublime, wishes to guide. He said â€œOâ€ you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Prophet (PBUH) an those vested with authority from among you; and then if you quarred about any thing refer to Allah and the Prophet( PBUH) if you believes in Allah and in the last Day of judgment (Quran 4:59) .
Vii -Valueless unities from Imam Ali (A.S) Â point of view.
Imam would consider some types of unity as valueless, such as the unity between gangsters and those who tend towards falsehood.
Theses are the Prophet (PBUH) who, when they assemble together are over whelming but when they disperse they cannot be recognized. (Nahjul balaghah, maximno). It is narrated another way as. These are the people who when they assemble together cause harm but when they disperse are beneficial.
someone told him (A.S) that : we know their harm at the time of their assembling, but what is their benefit at the time of their dispersal? Then he (A.S) replied. The workers returns to their work and people get benefit out of them, like the return of the mason to the building sites that of the wearer of this loom and that of the baker to his bakery.
Imam Ali (A.S) implored Allah to o, my Allah ! if they reject truth disperse their group, divide their words and destroy them on account of their sing. (Ibid resermon no. 124)