Story No. 212 – Upbringing of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as): Amirul Momineen (Commander of the faithful)
Upbringing of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)Amirul Momineen (Commander of the faithful), Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was born three years before the marriage of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) with Hazrat Khadija (sa). Although Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) lived in the custody of his father and brothers for six tender years, then he (as) moved to Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) house because of the financial crisis which befell his father, Hazrat Abu Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib.
Since that early age, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) lived with the Messenger of Allah (saw). It was there that he spent his teens and adolescence during which he was a close observer of all the developments that happened in the life of the Messenger of Allah (saw).
So, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib’s (as) education was not an ordinary one, nor one which a normal child receives from his father, or elder brothers. The training and instruction he received was very special and it suffices to know that he followed Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) like his shadow, even during periods of exclusive privacy inside the grotto of the Hira Mountain where the mental and spiritual developments were witnessed through which Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was passing.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) referred to the vast dimensions of the education he received at the hands of his guide, the Messenger of Allah (saw) in one of his speeches known by the title “Al-Qasi’ah” (censure):
“…you know what my relations with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) were. From the very beginning of my life, he loved me and I loved him. He took me in his lap when I was a baby and thence I was always with him. He often kept me embraced to his heart. He used to lay me next to him. We used to be so close to each other that I felt the warmth of his body and smelled the fragrance of his odor. When I was a baby, he fed me with his hands, often chewing hard bits for me. He never found me lying nor weak and wavering. From the time of his [Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)] infancy, Allah (SWT) had appointed the greatest of His angels to always be with him, and His Arch Angel was leading him towards exemplary qualities and high moral values, and I followed him (saw) step by step as a baby camel follows its mother. Daily he used to place before me a fresh standard of efficiency and used to order me to follow it. Every year he used to stay in a grotto of the Hira Mountain for some time, and nobody used to be with him but me. None could then see or hear him but me. During those days Islam was the religion of only the Prophet and his wife, Khadija. I was the third of the trio. Nobody else in this world had accepted Islam. Even then I used to see the divine light of revelation and prophethood and smell the heavenly fragrance of prophethood.”
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) was so pure in spirit and straightforward in morality, according to the education he received from the Messenger of Allah (saw), that many shadows of the hidden future were lighted before him. He (as) says: “…When Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) received the first revelation, Satan lamented so loudly that I asked Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw): Who is lamenting and why? He (saw) replied, ‘It is Satan who has given up hopes of acquiring complete sway over human minds. In his disappointment, he is lamenting over the chance lost. Verily Ali, you also hear whatever I hear, and you see whatever I see; only you are not a prophet. But you are my wazir (minister), successor and helper, and you will always hold the truth and justice.”
In his own words, this text reveals how Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), during his childhood, was treated by Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) with care, tenderness and self-denial. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) went to the extent of chewing morsels of food and putting them in Imam Ali’s mouth, holding him in his arms and treating him as though he were his own beloved son.