Story No. 276 – Service to Islam by Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) at Dawat Zul Ashira
Service to Islam by Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)The first occasion on which Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) offered his services to the cause of Islam was when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was first ordered by Allah (SWT) to preach Islam openly and this occasion is known as Dawat al-Asheera (Dawat Zul Ashira) – Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) first public invitation.
For three years Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was preaching Islam under absolute secrecy, at the end of the third year of his mission, that is the fourth year after Besat (the day when Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) proclaimed his prophethood), Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) received orders (Noble Qur’an, 26:214) to preach his near relations and to admonish them.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) directed Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) to prepare a meal and to invite the sons and grandsons of Abdul Muttalib. This was done and about forty (40) of them accepted the invitation and came, but Abu Lahab, made the company break up before Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) had an opportunity to speak. Next day, a second invitation was issued and when they came, the frugal meal was served.
Then Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) rose and declared his sacred mission and said, O sons of Abdul Muttalib. Almighty Allah (SWT) has assigned me to warn you of the painful torments of the wrongdoers and give you the good news of His reward to the pious believers. Become Muslims and follow me to achieve salvation. I swear by Almighty Allah (SWT) that among all Arabs I do not know anyone who has brought his people anything better than what I have brought you. I have brought you prosperity and salvation both in this world and in the hereafter. The Gracious God has commanded me to call you all to worship Him. Now which one of you is willing to help me with the task? Concluded by demanding, anybody who announces his readiness to help me to bear this burden will be my brother, my successor, and the executor of my will, as Aaron was unto Moses?
The assembly remained mute with astonishment, not one venturing to accept the offered perilous office, until Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) who was the youngest about twelve (12) years of age, stood up and declared his allegiance and full support for Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) mission: O Prophet! I will, though I am indeed the youngest of those present, the most rheum of them as to the eyes, and the slenderest of them as to the legs. O Messenger of Allah (SWT)! I am your assistant. I am your supporter.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked him to sit down. He (saw) repeated the same saying three times but no one except Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) replied to him. On this, locking his arms around the generous and courageous youth, and pressing him to his bosom, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) declared: “Behold my brother and my Vazir (Successor) and the executor of my will among you. Listen to him and obey him.”
Many historians are of the opinion that it was a momentous declaration at a momentous occasion. The first and the greatest service done to the cause of Islam. If the appeal of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was then left unanswered, the propagation of Islam would have been nipped in the bud.
Thomas Carlyle, the author of Heroes and Hero Worship, is of the opinion that: Though all the people gathered there, were not enemies of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), yet most of them were dead against this religion, and some were quite uninterested. To them, the whole thin, (an adult person preaching a new religion and a young courageous youth offering his services vehemently) looked like a big farce. They laughed at both of them, and dispersed advising Imam Ali’s father (Hazrat Abu Talib) to obey his youngest son from that day onward. But these two people (Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali) proved to the world that there was nothing laughable in their declaration and they had wisdom and courage enough to make their mission a success. Carlyle further says that young Ali had really such a personality as could be liked, loved and venerated by everybody. He was the man of excellent character, loving and lovable, so intensely brave that if anything stood against his bravery it was consumed as if by fire, yet he was so gentle and kind that he represented the model of a Christian Knight.
As was said this was really the first and the greatest service to Islam. History bears witness that from this day to the last day of his life, Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) sincerely, bravely and nobly acted as the defender of the faith to fulfill his pledge.