Imam Ali (a.s)
Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) was the cousin of the prophet of Allah (s.w) and was also raised by him. He followed every step Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w) took and developed a very deep relationship with him. Imam Ali (a.s) was the very first male to believe in Islam. He was the bravest fighter and a companion of the prophet, and he displayed his courage and valour in many occasions such as khaybar, when he was picked by the prophet to face the Jew’s most feared warrior. He defeated him with a single strike of his sword and lifted the mammoth doors of Khaybar on his own.
The birth of Imam Ali (a.s)
Ooh Allah (s.w), ease my pain! the mother of Imam Ali (a.s) was outside the holy Kaaba in Mecca when she started getting pain in her abdomen and she knew that she was going to give birth to her child. She was away from home and all alone, so she asked Allah for help. Just then, the wall of the Kaaba opened up and she, as if by some unseen force went inside the Kaaba and the wall closed. Ali (as) the youngest son of Abu Talib was born inside the Holy Kaaba. He was the first and last person to be born there.
She stayed inside for three days. On the 3rd day she came out through the door and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was waiting outside. She told Muhammad (S) that the boy had not taken any milk. Muhammad (s.a.w) gave him the first feed from his mouth and afterwards asked his uncle Abu Talib that he would like to adopt the baby.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) loved the little Ali, and they were always together, Imam Ali (a.s) has said “ I used to go with the Holy Prophet like the baby camel goes with his mother”, and that is how Imam Ali learnt only the best manners and ways of worshipping Allah (s.w).
Ali, the strong and trusted
Imam Ali (a.s) grew up to be a strong, tall and brave man, with a bright shining face. He was the first one to accept Prophet Mohammad when he said he is the messenger of Allah. The people of Mecca did not want to accept Islam, and they tried to hurt the Prophet and throw stones at him, however, they would run away when they saw Imam Ali (a.s) with him.
Imam Ali (a.s) risked his life to save the Prophet. When the people of Mecca made a plan to kill the Prophet in his sleep, Imam Ali (a.s) slept in the bed instead, and surprised the enemies when they came to the bed with knives and swords ready to kill the prophet! Meanwhile the Prophet travelled to Medina, to find people who will listen to the word of Allah. Imam Ali (a.s) was also trusted with helping the Muslim women reach Medina safely, including the daughter of the prophet, Fatimah Al Zahra and protected them from the people of Mecca.
Medina became the new home of the Muslims. Imam Ali was such an honest and excellent Muslim that the Prophet allowed him to marry his beloved daughter lady Fatima Al Zahra.
The lion of Allah
Imam Ali (a.s) was always the bravest and fiercest fighter, he helped win many battles, and he was always compared with the way a lion fights. Imam Ali (a.s) helped the Muslims win many battles, including badr, Ohud, Khandaq and Khaybar.
Ali (a.s) - The First Imam- Eid al Ghadeer
In the last year of his life while he was returning from Hajj with thoulsands of people, Allah (s.w) sent Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w) a very important verse, which is a part of the Quran- the verse says:
"O’ Prophet; proclaim the whole of that which has been sent down to you from your lord, for if you do not do it, it will be as if though you have not at all performed the duty of His Prophethood. And God will protect thee from evil men, verily God guideth not the unbelievers.”
What this means is that the Prophet (s.w) had one last message to give to his Muslims, and if he does not give this last message, it is as though he did not follow any of Allah’s commands!
So the Prophet stopped in a place called Ghadeer, and asked all those thoulsands of people to also stop and listen to what he says, which was that all Muslims should not let go of the Holy Quran, or his Ahlul Bayt (his family) and that they should follow and listen to Imam Ali if they believe that he is their Prophet. Then he asked everyone to go up to Imam Ali and shake his hand.
Allah (s.w) asked the Prophet to stop all those thousands of people so that they know that after the Prophet dies, they will still have a leader who will teach and look after them, and that the leader will be Imam Ali.
Imam Ali (a.s) as the fourth Chaliph
Allah (s.w) chose Ali (a.s) to be the first Imam after the death of the prophet. Those who were not happy with this decision made many problems for him and stole the official leadership role from him. However he still managed to guide Muslims through his humble actions and wisdom.
Eventually, after many years of having bad leaders, the people demanded that Imam Ali (a.s) should become the Khalifa of the Muslisms. As khalifa, Imam Ali (a.s) was very just and did not let the rich and greedy people steal money from the Muslim State Treasury (which was the place where all the money for the Muslims was kept).
A perfect example of this is the story of Imam Ali (a.s) and the candle. One day, Imam Ali (a.s) was working hard to record how much money was being used and saved by the treasury.
Just then two men called Talha and Zubair appeared. They wanted Imam Ali (a.s) to give them an important and special role and in return they would be on Imam Ali's side, and Imam Ali knew what their selfish goals were.
Just as they sat down, Imam Ali (a.s) blew out a candle and lit another one. Talha and Zubair looked at each other in surprise and then one of them said: "O Ali, we have come on some important business. But why did you blow out the first candle?"
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s) replied: "That was a candle bought of State Treasury money. As long as I worked for the treasury, I used it. Now you have come for some personal work, so I use the candle bought of my personal fund." After hearing, Talha and Zubair knew that they could never bully such an honest man into agreeing with their plan. They left him without saying another word.
Death of Imam Ali (as)
Unfortunately Imam Ali's (a.s) justice made him many enemies. One of them was Muawya ibn Abi Sufyan who wanted to kill him. Imam Ali (a.s) was the best fighter and his enemies knew they could never defeat him in battle so they plotted to kill him while he was kneeling down in prayer.
One day during Ramadan, Imam Ali (a.s) was praying in the mosque of kufa when he was struck on the head with a poisoned sword. He died a couple of days later.
Imam Ali (a.s) was so kind and noble that he did not let people kill the man who attacked him and he gave him water instead.