Friday, September 11, 2009

Dirar bin Damrah describes Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

During Ali's caliphate, Ibn At-Tayyah once came to him and said, "O Leader of the Believers, the Muslim Treasury is filled with gold and silver."

"Allah is the greatest," was Ali's reply. He (ra) then ordered Ibn At-Tayyah to gather the people of Kufah. When everyone was present, Ali began distributing the wealth, all the while saying, "O yellow (gold) and white (silver), deceive someone other than me."

When all was said and done, Ali (ra) had finished distributing all of the wealth that was in the treasury. He then ordered for the inside of the treasury to be cleaned; and after this task was performed, Ali (ra)entered inside and performed two units of prayer.

After Ali (ra) died, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan (ra) said to Dirar bin Damrah," Describe Ali to me."

"Will you not excuse me from answering you," said Dirar.

"No, describe him," insisted Muawiyah (ra).

"Please, excuse me from doing so," said Dirar.

"I will not," said Muawiyah.

"I will do so, then," said Dirar with a sigh. "By Allah, he was (far-sighted) and very strong. He spoke with a truthful finality, so that, through him, truht became distinguished from falsehood. He ruled justly, and knowledge gushed forth from him, as did wisdom. He felt an aversion to the world and its (pleasures). By Allah, he would cry profusely (from the fear of Allah); long durations would he spend in contemplation, during which time he would converse with his soul. "

" He showed a liking ( for religious reasons, of course; to train his soul to be patient and abstemious) to coarse garments and lower quality food. By Allah, it was as if - in his humbleness - he was one of us: when we asked him a question, he would answer us; when we would go to him, he would initiate (the greetings of peace); and when we would invite him (to our homes), he would come to us. Yet, in spite of his closeness to us, we would not speak (freely) with him, because of the dignity and honour that he exuded if he smiled, he revealed the likes of straight and regular pearls (i.e. his teeth). He honoured religious people and loved the poor. The strong person could not hope to gain favours from him through falsehood. And the weak person never lost hope of his justness. I swear, by Allah, that on certain occasions, I saw him in his place of prayer when the night was dark and few stars could be seen; he would be holding his beard and crying the way a very sad person cries; and I would hear him saying, "O world, O world, are you offering yourself to me? Do you desire me? Never! Never! Decieve someone other than me. I have divorced you for the third time, so that you cannot return to me. O world, your life is short, the existence you offer is base, and your danger is great. Alas for the paucity of sustenance (i.e. good deeds), the great distance of the journey, and the loneliness of the road!"

Upon hearing this description, Muawiyah's eyes swelled with tears, and not being able to hold them from gushing forth, he was forced to wipe them with his cuffs; and the same can be said for those who were present. Muawaiyah (ra) then said, "May Allah have mercy on the father of Al Hasan, for he was, by Allah, just as you described him to be." He (ra) then said, "O Dirar, describe your sadness at having lost him."

"My sadness," began Dirar, "is like the sadness of a woman who cannot control her tears or allay her grief after her child, while in her lap, has just been slaughtered." Dirar then stood up and left.

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