Story No. 263 – Imam al-Muttaqeen (Leader of the Pious), Ali (as) and Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan
One day Mu’awiyah was sitting with his associates and Ahnaf bin Qays was also present. In the meantime a Syrian came and began delivering a speech. At the end of his speech he abused Imam al-Muttaqeen (Leader of the Pious), Ali (as). Thereupon Ahnaf bin Qays said to Mu’awiyah: “Sir! If this man comes to know that you are pleased if the prophets are cursed, he will curse them also. Fear Allah (SWT) and don’t bother about Imam Ali (as) any longer. He has since met his Lord. He is now alone in his grave and only his acts are with him. I swear by Allah (SWT) that his sword was very pure and his dress too was very clean and neat. His tragedy is great”. The following conversation then took place between him and Mu’awiyah:
Mu’awiyah: O Ahnaf! You have thrown dust in my eyes and have said whatever you liked. By Allah (SWT) you will have to mount the pulpit and curse Ali. If you do not curse him willingly you will be compelled to do so.
Ahnaf: It will be better for you to excuse me from doing this. However, even if you compel me I will not utter any such words.
Mu’awiyah: Get up and mount the pulpit.
Ahnaf: When I mount the pulpit I shall act justly.
Mu’awiyah: If you act justly what will you say?
Ahnaf: After mounting the pulpit I shall praise the Almighty Allah (SWT) and shall then say this: “O People! Mu’awiyah has ordered me to curse Imam Ali (as). No doubt Imam Ali (as) and Mu’awiyah fought with each other. Each one of them claimed that he and his party had been wronged. Hence, when I pray to Allah (SWT) all of you should say ‘Amen’. Then I shall say: O Allah (SWT)! Curse him who, out of these two is a rebel and let Your angels and prophets and all other creatures curse him. O Allah (SWT)! Shower Your curses on the rebellious group. O People! Say ‘Amen’. O Mu’awiyah I shall not say anything more or less than this even if I have to lose my life.
Mu’awiyah: In that case I excuse you (from mounting the pulpit and cursing).
Three bright attributes in the life of Imam al-Muttaqeen (Leader of the Pious), Ali (as)
Mu’awiyah once proceeded to Makkah to perform Hajj Pilgrimage. When he reached Madinah and met Saad bin Abi Waqas he asked him to accompany him. Saad bin Abi Waqas agreed. After performing the ceremonies of Hajj Pilgrimage both of them went to Dar al-Nadwa and conversed there for a long time. As Saad bin Abi Waqas had come to perform Hajj Pilgrimage on the suggestion of Mu’awiyah the latter thought that Saad bin Abi Waqas supported him. In order to find out as to how far Saad bin Abi Waqas supported his attitude towards Imam al-Muttaqeen (Leader of the Pious), Ali (as) he, Mu’awiyah began cursing and abusing Imam Ali (as) and asked Saad bin Abi Waqas flattering: “Why don’t you curse and abuse Ali?” Saad bin Abi Waqas got annoyed and said: “You have made me sit on your carpet and then you began abusing Imam Ali (as). I swear by Allah (SWT) that if I had possessed even one of the many attributes possessed by Imam Ali (as) it would have been dearer to me than anything else on earth. I swear by Allah (SWT) that I shall not come to see you so long as I live”. Then he left that place in a state of extreme anger”.
One day Mu’awiyah criticized Saad bin Abi Waqas for not cursing Imam Ali (as). He said in reply: “Whenever I am reminded of three virtues of Imam Ali (as), I earnestly desire that I might have possessed at least one of them: 1. On the day on which Prophet Muhammad (saw) appointed him as his representative in Madinah and himself departed for the Battle of Tabuk, he said to Imam Ali (as): You enjoy the same relationship with me which Harun enjoyed with Musa except that no prophet will come after me. 2. On the Day of Khayber Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: Tomorrow I will give the standard to a person who is loved by Allah and the Prophet. All the great officers and commanders of Islam were anxious to acquire this honour. On the following day, however, Prophet Muhammad (saw) called Imam Ali (as) and gave him the standard and Allah (SWT) granted us a great victory which was solely due to the self-sacrifice of Imam Ali (as). 3. When it was decided that Prophet Muhammad (saw) should engage in Mubahilah (cursing) with the leaders of Najran, he held the hands of Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn, and said: “O Allah! These are the members of my family (Ahlul Bayt).”