Hz. Ali Embraces Islam

Hazrat Khadija’s conversion to Islam in an unhesitant fashion made our Holy Prophet (PBUH) extremely happy and increased his enthusiasm. There was someone in this world that had accepted and had attested to his cause.

The second person whom our Holy Prophet (PBUH) invited to Islam was again one of the closest to him; and that person was Hazrat Ali. He was under our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) discipline since he was four or five years old. As a result, he had incomparable manners and a higher sense of wisdom and morality than his peers.

One day, he saw our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Khadija praying. He looked at them in awe and after they finished praying, he asked, “What is this?” Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) answered, “Oh Ali, this is the religion that God loves and that He has chosen. I invite you to believe in God, who is One and to refrain from worshiping Lat and Uzza, who can neither benefit nor harm humanity.”

Hazrat Ali paused for a moment and looked towards the ground with his sweet, childlike glance. He then replied, “This is something that I have not seen or heard until now. I cannot say anything without first consulting with my father, Abu Talib.”

However, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had not received permission to openly declare his cause. For this reason, he warned Hazrat Ali, “Oh Ali! If you choose to follow what I have said then do so, but if you choose not to, then keep what you have heard and seen a secret. Do not say anything to anyone.” (1)

Hazrat Ali promised to keep this a secret upon hearing our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) warning. He spent the night thinking. Together with the sunrise, a sense of enlightenment arose in his heart. He went before our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) presence, “When God created me, He did not ask Abu Talib for permission; therefore, I will seek God’s advice so that I can worship Him” and he became Muslim. Hazrat Ali, who attained the honor of being “the first child to become a Muslim”, was ten years old at the time. (2)

Taking precautions is always favorable. However, it is especially favorable when a new cause is beginning to spread. By telling Hazrat Ali not to recount what he had seen and heard to anyone for the time being, God’s Messenger (PBUH) was taking precautions, acting wisely, taking gradual measures, and setting an example for us. God’s Messenger (PBUH) was always careful to apply precautions and took timing and conditions into consideration very seriously; such conduct was vitally importance during his prophethood.

Zaid bin Haritha, who our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had adopted, followed Hazrat Khadija and Hazrat Ali by converting to Islam.

After their conversion, the ties that Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Zaid had towards our Holy Prophet (PBUH) were strengthened and renewed. From then on, they would not separate from our Master’s (PBUH) side and they performed their prayers and worshipped with him.

From time to time, Hazrat Ali would go to the Kaaba with our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and perform his prayers there.

Before Afif Kindi became a Muslim, he had gone to Mecca with the intention of shopping and saw our Holy Prophet (PBUH), Hazrat Khadija, and Hazrat Ali praying. After he became a Muslim, he related the account with envy:

“I really wish I had become a Muslim at that time and that I had been the fourth person among them!” (3)

Despite our Holy Prophet (PBUH) not having openly declared his cause to the public at that time, the unbelievers were not pleased that they were praying at the Kaaba and did not want the two to worship differently from them. For that reason, at a later time, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Ali deemed it more suitable to pray in the fields and valleys.

Hazrat Ali’s parents were after him

This condition of Hazrat Ali, in which he did not separate from our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) side and followed him like a shadow, caused his parents to panic and worry. Lady Fatima, in particular, was overly worried. She said to her husband, “your son is wandering with Muhammad too much. Be careful that nothing happens to him.”

Abu Talib was an understanding person. He wanted to learn the situation directly from our Holy Prophet (PBUH). One day, he followed our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Ali. He found them praying in one of the valleys in Mecca. He asked the Master of the Universe (PBUH), “Oh, my brother’s son, what religion is this?”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Oh, Uncle, you are among those whom I invite to the truth. You are supposed to be among the first to accept this invitation since you are the most deserving out of everyone! Abandon the practice of idol worshipping and believe in the One True God.”

Abu Talib was absorbed in thought for some time and at last he said, “I cannot separate from my old religion. However, continue to practice this religion that you follow! By God, I swear that while I am alive, no one can hinder you from completing your mission and do to you anything that you do not like.” Afterwards, he turned to his son and asked, “Oh, my dear son, what is this religion that you follow?”

Hazrat Ali replied, “My dear father, I too have testified to God and His Messenger and have attested to every message that he has brought from God. I followed him and prayed together with him.”

Upon this, Abu Talib said, “Oh son! It is befitting that you enter the religion of your uncle’s son willingly.” He will only invite you to beneficence. Submit to him!” (4) By saying these words, he made our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Ali happy. He then walked away from there.

When he returned home, Lady Fatima hastily said to him in a harsh tone, “Where is your son? My servant saw him praying with Muhammad on the site of Jiyad. Do you approve of your son changing his religion?”

Abu Talib replied, “Be quiet! By God, it mostly falls upon the uncle and the father to support and help.” By saying these words, he expressed that there was no need to worry and concern. Afterwards he said, “If my ego complied with my wish to leave Abdulmuttalib’s religion, then I would subject myself to Muhammad since he is gentle, trustworthy, and pure.” (5)

[1] Ibn Kathir, Sirah, V. 1, p. 428.

[2] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 262.

[3] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 8, p. 18.

[4] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 264.

[5] Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 264; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 8, p. 18; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 214.

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