Lights From the Fatimite (sa) Speech

By Shaheed Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr
Translated by Abdullah al-Shahin

The following excerpts are taken from the book Fadak in History, by Shaheed Baqir as-Sadr.

The Greatness of the Leading Prophet

Then He caused him to pass away mercifully, willingly, desiringly and preferably. Muhammad became safe from the sufferings of this world. He was surrounded by the reverent angels and the contentment of the forgiving God, enjoying the neighborhood of the Almighty King”.

Look at this eloquent lady, how she did leave all the material ease and the sensible comfort when she wanted to praise her father’s eternal Paradise. She found in her father what sanctified him above all that. What would the value of the material pleasure whether worldly or paradisiacal be in Muhammad’s spiritual account, when no one raised the human soul to the highest level of values like he did and no one took it to its pinnacle except him? (No reformer, except him, had fed the soul with the complete divine belief, which was the aim of the minds in their mental flight and in their final round of roving for the sacred human truth, with which the conscience would rest and the soul would be comforted).[1]

He was, then, the greater educator of the soul and the unique leader, under whose banner the morals had achieved the immortal victory against the material effects in their struggle since mind had started its living with materials.

And as long as he was the hero of the battle between the morals and the materials, that hero, by whose mission the missions of the Heaven were ended, it was no wonder that he would be the center of that great world of morals. This was what Fatima wanted to say in her speech when describing the Muhammadan Paradise: “Muhammad became safe from the sufferings of this world…” Certainly he was the pivot in the worldly life and in the hereafter but he was, in the first, tired for he kept on struggling to build the fair human life in an immortal way, and in the second he became at ease for he was the pivot surrounded by the angels to offer in front of him the signs of praise and honor.

And as the Prophet was from the highest kind, so his Paradise must be like him. It was full of material ease or in fact it was full of the moral ease. Was there spiritual ease higher than to be beside the Almighty King and to gain the contentment of the Forgiving God?

Such Fatima described her father’s paradise in two sentences to clarify his fact that he was the axis connected to the origin of the light and the sun surrounded by the angels in a world of radiance.

 Greatness of Imam Ali and His Excellences 

You were on the brink of a pit of fire. You were as a drink for the drinkers, as an easy prey for the greedy, as a firebrand, from which someone took a piece hurriedly and so it would be put out in a short time. You were as foothold.[2] You used to drink from the rain water, in which animals urinated, and eat from the leaves of the trees. You were low and subservient. You were afraid of the nations around you. Then Allah saved you by Muhammad after the misfortunes and calamities he faced and after he was afflicted with the courageous men,[3] highwaymen and the insolent hypocrites of the Jews and the Christians. Whenever they kindled a fire for war, Allah put it out. Whenever the Satan’s followers revolted or a trouble came out of the polytheists the Prophet (s) sent his brother (Ali) into its flames. He would not be back until he treaded the war with his sole and put out its flames with his sword. He (Ali) tired himself out for the sake of Allah. He overworked to achieve the orders of Allah. He was the nearest to the Prophet.[4] He was the master of the guardians. He always was ready, sincere, diligent and striving while you were living in luxury, ease and safety”.[5]

How wonderful the comparison that Fatima made between the highest kind of the military quality in the world of Islam at that time and the manliness attached to the qualities of the hero and the qualified soldier was! A comparison between bravery, whose signs the Heaven and the earth announced, and it was written with the pen of eternality in the index of the human idealities and between a personality (Abu Bakr and others.) satisfied with jihad by standing in the last line of the battle and would it was satisfied with that rather than to commit the prohibited fleeing according to the law of Islam and the law of sacrifice to unite the divine government on the earth!

We have never known throughout the history of mankind a skilled military talent having so excellent effects on the life of this planet like Ali’s among all heroes’ history. Imam Ali’s situations[6] in the fields of jihad and struggle were indeed the stilt, on which the world of Islam was erected and gained its great history.

Ali was the first Muslim in the first moment of the history of prophethood when the divine voice was echoed by Muhammad’s lips.[7] Then he was the first in being zealous and the first defender, to whom the Heaven entrusted the dealing[8] with the unbelieving community.

A Comparison Between Imam Ali’s Situations and the Others’

If you study the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and the history of his jihad, you will find that Ali astonished the earth and the heaven with his support to the Prophet [9]and you will find that Abu Bakr resorted to the high leadership position surrounded by many heroes of the Ansar to guard him[10] in order to be safe from the calamities of the war.

It was he (Abu Bakr) himself, who fled from the battle of Uhud[11] as did Omar[12] and left the Prophet to die at that terrible hour where the helpers became rare and the banner of the Muslims declined. Only eight persons promised the Prophet to die for him; three from the Muhajireen and five from the Ansar, whom Abu Bakr was not one of as it was mentioned by the historians.[13] In fact no one of the historians mentioned that he ever fought in that situation any kind of fighting.[14]

Why was he with the returning people if he had not fled? Was not fighting the duty at that moment where the number of the defenders was not enough to stand against the enemy, who struck the Prophet with many strikes that made him offer the prayers while sitting?

We all might know that if someone was in the middle of the battlefield, he would not be safe from death by his enemy, unless he fled or he actually defended himself in the battle. Since Abu Bakr did not do any of these two things and yet he was safe, so it would mean that an opponent stopping in front of his enemy without defending and his enemy did not kill him. Did the polytheists pitied Abu Bakr and did not pity Muhammad, Ali, az-Zubayr, Abu Dijana and Sahl bin Hunayf?

I have no reasonable interpretation for this situation except to say that he might stand beside the Prophet and got a safe place because it was the farthest point from the danger as the Prophet was then surrounded by his sincere companions. This was not unlikely because we knew Abu Bakr’s tact. He always liked to be beside the Prophet (pbuh) in the war because the place of the Prophet (pbuh) was the safest where the sincerest Muslims safeguarded and defended him devotedly.

If you studied the life of Imam Ali and the life of Abu Bakr, would you find in the life of the first any kind of extinction in his sincerity or a weakness in his rush for the sacrifice or leaning on ease and comfort at the hour of the sacred war? Let you ponder again, would you find any languor? (Then turn back the eye again and again; your look shall come back to you confused while it is fatigued. 67:4), because he would find splendor and death defiance in the way of Allah that you would never find the like and you would find a man that falsehood would never come to, neither from before him nor from behind him. He had the readiness for eternality like his great teacher Muhammad because they were but one![15]

Then if you study the life of Abu Bakr during the Prophet’s lifetime, will you find but weakness and ineffectuality in the ideological life and in the military life? It was clear when he fled from the battle of Uhud and the battle of Hunayn[16] and it was clear from his lagging to do his duty when the Prophet ordered him to go with the army under the leadership of Ussama[17] and from his defeat at Khaybar when the Prophet (s) sent him as the leader of an army to occupy the fort of the Jews and he fled back. Then the Prophet (s) sent Omar, who did the same as his friend.[18]In that terrible situation the enthusiasm of Omar and his wonderful heroism during the peacetime, with which Islam became so strong as they claimed, evaporated. Omar went back with his fellows, one cowarding the other.[19] Then the Prophet (s) said: “Tomorrow I will give the banner to a man, whom Allah and His Messenger love and he loves Allah and His Messenger. He will not come back until he wins”.[20] The Prophet, in his speech, gave a hint to crush the feelings of the two unsuccessful leaders and a frank pride on great Ali, who loved Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger loved him.[21]

O you the two caliphs of the Muslims-or of some of the Muslims-, did your Prophet, whom you replaced, behave so? Did not you learn from him some of his lessons in jihad and suffering for the sake of Allah? Was not in your companionship with him for two decades any deterrent preventing you from doing what you did? Did not you hear the Quran, which you were entrusted with to guard and to spread its high idealities, saying: (And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day, unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company, then he, indeed, becomes deserving of Allah’s wrath, and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be) 8:16.

You might agree with me that the important position of Abu Bakr and Omar in Islam made them above committing the prohibited fleeing, so they might have interpreted and found an excuse for their fleeing. We know that the space of interpretation was wide for the caliph Abu Bakr like when he justified the sin of Khalid bin al-Waleed when he killed a Muslim intendedly by saying: “He (Khalid) issued a fatwa but he misjudged”.[22]


[1] It was quoted from The Divine Belief in Islam by the author himself.

[2] She wanted to say that they were so low and subservient and that they were as a ready bite for the Romans, the Persians and some of the Arab tribes.

[3] The strong courageous men stood against him in the beginning of the mission.

[4] Ali was the Prophet’s cousin, son-in-law and guardian. He was to be the caliph after him. He was the most aware of the Prophet’s knowledge. They both knew each other so closely.

[5] Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.16 p.250-251.

[6] At-Tabari’s Tareekh, vol.2 p.25, 65-66.

[7] Referring to Ali’s being a Muslim, his assisting the Prophet and his infinite readiness to sacrifice for the sake of Islam. As-Sawa’iqul Muhriqa, p.185, at-Tabari’s Tareekh, vol.3 p.218-219.

[8] At-Tarmithi’s Sahih, vol.8 p.596.

[9] At-Tabari mentioned in his Tareekh, vol.2 p.65-66 that when Imam Ali had killed (the keepers of the banners), the Prophet noticed some of the polytheists of Quraysh and said to Ali: “Attack them”. Ali attacked them. He scattered them and killed Amr bin Abdullah aj-Jumahi. Then the Prophet noticed another group of the polytheists of Quraysh. He said to Ali: “Attack them”. Ali attacked them. He scattered them and killed Shayba bin Malik. Gabriel said: “O messenger of Allah, this is the real support”. The Prophet said: “He is from me and I am from him”. Gabriel said: “And I am from you both”. Then a voice was heard saying: “No sword but Thulfaghar, and no youth but Ali”.

Let us think of the Prophet’s answer to notice how he raised Ali above the concept of support that required multiplicity; Muhammad and Ali, to the unity and mixture when he said: “He is from me and I am from him”. He did not want to separate Imam Ali from himself because they were a unity that did never separate. Allah had made this unity as example for the human beings to imitate and for the heroes and reformers to be guided according to its light to get to the top of highness. I do not know how the companions or some of them tried to disassemble this unity and to put between these two heroes three persons (the three caliphs, Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman) that they had better not to separate between Muhammad and Ali.

[10] Oyoonul Athar by ibn Sayyid an-Nass, vol.1 p.336.

[11] As it was mentioned in the books of the Shia.

[12] Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.3 p.389-390.

[13] Shar Nahjul Balagha, vol.3 p.388 and al-Imta’ by al-Maqreezi p.132.

[14] Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.3 p.389.

[15] According to the verse: (Then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars). 3:61.

[16] Refer to as-Seera al-Halabiya, vol.2p.126 and refer to al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.3 p.67. Al- Bukhari mentioned that someone of those, who fought in the battle of Hunayn, had said: “The Muslims fled and I fled with them. I saw Omar among them. I said to him: What is wrong with the people? He said: it is the will of Allah. This showed that Omar was among the fleers.

[17] As-Seera al-Halabiya, vol.3 and ibn Sa’d’s Tabaqat, vol.2 p.248-250.

[18] Ahmad’s Musnad, vol.5 p.253, al-hakim’s Mustadrak, vol.3 p.27, Kanzul Ommal, vol.6 p.394 and at-Tabari’s Tareekh, vol.2 p.136.

[19] This was Ali’s description of the failed leader and the languid soldiers, who knew the weakness of each other; therefore they began to terrify the situation in order to find an excuse for their flight. Refer to at-Tabari’s Tareekh, vol.2 p.136.

[20] Al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.5 p.18, Ahmad’s Musnad, vol.5 p.353, at-Tarmithi’s Sahih, vol.5 p.596 and Muslim’s Sahih, vol.4 p.1873.

[21] It was very probable that the army, which Ali led to conquer the Jewish colony, was the same army, which fled a day ago. We understand from this the great effect of the leader on his army and the connection between their feelings and his. Ali could make those soldiers, who cowarded Omar in the previous attack, victorious heroes by pouring in their souls some of his great soul effusing with enthusiasm and sincerity.

[22] At-Tabari’s Tareekh, vol.2 p.273. Omar said to Abu Bakr: “In Khalid’s sword there is injustice. If it is not right, he deserves to be punished”. He insisted on that…Abu Bakr said: “O Omar, excuse him! He interpreted and misjudged”. Refer to Tareekh of ibn Shuhna printed on the margins of al-Kamil, vol.11 p.114.

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