By Sadia Dehlvi
May 08, 2014
According to the Islamic lunar calendar, this is the seventh month, the blessed month of Rajab. It is followed by two more sacred months, Shabaan and Ramzan.
Traditions affirm what Prophet Muhammad said, “Rajab is the month of Allah, Shabaan is my month and Ramzan is the month of my community.” Rajab is believed to be the opening of God’s graces that continue through Ramzan.
Imam Hazrat Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet was born on the 13th of Rajab at Mecca. His mother was going around the Kaaba when she felt the pangs of childbirth and delivered the baby inside the Kaaba. He first set eyes upon the Prophet who named him Ali, the exalted one.
Prophet Muhammad entrusted his mystic heritage to Hazrat Ali famously saying, “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate”. Hazrat Ali is universally recognised as the leader of the Wali’s, Sufis, the Friends of Allah. The Prophet also said, “Man Kunto Maula va Ali un Maula”. These words are known as Qaul, and inscribed on the walls of numerous Sufi spaces. Hazrat Amir Khusrau set this prophetic saying to a classical Raag, and most Sama Mahfils, musical assemblies traditionally begin with a rendition of the Qaul.
For Hazrat Ali, Maulana Rumi says, “You are like the gate to that city of knowledge, You are a ray of that Sun of forbearance, O Gate, remain open for those who seek you, so that those husk like people reach the kernel through you, Be open forever, O gate of Mercy, Upon the court of that one who has no equal”.
Hazrat Ali said, “Whoever places himself as a leader of the people should commence with educating his own self before educating others; and his teaching should be by his own conduct before teaching by the tongue.”
Another saying of Hazrat Ali is, “I impart to you five things which, if you ride your camels fast in search of them, you will find them worth it. No one of you should repose hope save in his Lord; no one of you should fear anything save his sin; no one should feel ashamed of saying ‘I do not know’ when he is asked a matter which he does not know; no one should feel ashamed of learning a thing that he does not know; and you should practice endurance, because endurance is for belief what the head is for the body, so that just as there is no good in a body without the head there is no good in belief without endurance.”
Imam Hazrat Ali was martyred on the 21st of Ramzan by a poisoned sword while leading the morning prayers in the city of Kufa. Acclaimed for his eloquence, governance and as the fountainhead of Islamic spirituality, Imam Hazrat Ali became the principal authority on the Quran and Islamic jurisprudence.
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam.