Friday, September 11, 2009

Imam Ali (AS), A Victim of Terrorism

It is 9/11 and Islam is again under, at least indirect, attacks by several media accusing it of promoting terrorism. Just close to remembering 9/11 attacks throughout the world, the first photographs of the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind at Guantanamo Bay have cropped up on the Internet. Interestingly enough, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whose images is told to be used by terrorist groups to inspire attacks against the United States, carries the name of the revered Prophet of Islam. However, it is just unfortunate that not much is told about Imam Ali (AS), the great Muslim figure and a victim of a savage terror attack, whose martyrdom anniversary coincides with the 9/11 attacks this year. Let's see how he, as a symbol of Islam, treated his assassin in order to be able to judge whether Islam can promote terrorism.

Imam Ali (AS), a cousin and the closest companion to the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and highly revered by all Muslims, encountered so much defiance by those who couldn't bear his justice that led him to three major wars. Among his enemies, Kharijites (Khawarij in Arabic, literally meaning people seeking to overthrow) made so many problems due to their false interpretations of Islam. This led them to make violent actions and have unfair judgments about Imam Ali (AS), whom they came to regard as the source of all Muslims' problems and finally decided to assassinate.

While praying in the Masjid of Kufa, Imam Ali (AS), nicknamed Amir al-Mu'minin (the commander of the faithful), was hit in the head by Abd al-Rahman ibn Muljam's sword on Ramadan the 19th, of which he was martyred two days later. Following the attack, there was a great anger by all Muslims toward Ibn Muljam. One expects that Imam Ali (AS) must have been the most willing to take revenge on him. However, the following states parts of his last will, including how he ordered his children to treat his assassin:

• I advise you to fear Allah, do not go after this vicious world though it may try to entice you, do not seek it though it may seek you and do not grieve over and pine for things which this world refuses you. Let the eternal Reward and Blessings of Allah be the prompting factors for all that you say and do. Be an enemy of tyrants and oppressors and be a friend and helper of those who are oppressed and tyrannized.

• To you (Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hussein (AS), his two oldest sons and following Imams), to my other children, to my relatives and to all who acquire this will of mine, I advise to fear Allah and to be pious, to have fair and honest dealings with one another and improve mutual relations because I have heard your grandfather, the Holy Prophet (SAWA) saying, "To remove mutual enmity, ill-feeling and hatred is better than recommended prayers and fasting".

• Fear Allah when the question of helpless orphans arises. You should never let them starve. So long as you are there to guard and protect them they should not be ruined or lost.

• Do not forget Allah, struggle in His cause with your tongue, your wealth and your lives.

• Develop mutual liking, friendship and love and help one another. Take care that you do not spurn and treat one another badly and unsympathetically.

• Exhort people to do good and abstain them from evil, otherwise the vicious and the wicked will be your overlord and if you willingly allow such persons to be your rulers then your prayers will not be heard by Allah.

And most to the point is his saying:

• Let there be no retaliation for the act of my murder, do not roam about with a drawn sword and with the slogan: "Amir al-Mu'minin is killed” and do not start the massacre of my opponents and enemies.

• Beware that only one man, that is my assassin, is killed, as the punishment of the crime of murder is death and nobody else is molested. The punishment to the man who attempted the murder shall take place only when I die of the wound delivered by him and this punishment shall be only one stroke of sword to end his life. He should not be tortured before his death, his hands and feet should not be amputated because I have heard the Holy Prophet (s) saying: "Do not amputate hands and feet of anybody, be it a biting dog". (See Nahj al-Balaghah; Letter No. 47)

• If I survive this fatal wound I shall be at liberty to decide how to treat the man who attempted to kill me. If I die then my worldly life comes to an end. If I forgive my assassin then it will be to gain the Blessings of Allah for forgiving a person who has harmed you, and it will be a good deed if you also forgive him. Do you not desire to be forgiven by the Lord? (See See Nahj al-Balaghah; Letter No. 23)

As a true version of Islam, Imam Ali's message has echoed through the ages. Can this faith promote terrorism?

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