The Divine Invitation (22)
"O people! The sun of the month of Ramazan shines on fasting men and women with mercy; and its moon shines on them with mercy; and there is no day or night of this month except God the Exalted pours goodness on this Ummah in it. Thus, anyone who enjoys a little from the pouring of the divine bounty he will be revered on the day of meeting God; and no servant is revered by God except God makes paradise his abode."
As Imam Ali (AS) was describing Ramazan with these words, a man from the Hamdan tribe stood up and said, "O Commander of the Faithful! Tell us more of what the Prophet told you about the blessed month of Ramazan. Imam Ali referred to some of the words of the Prophet. The man said, "O Commander of the Faithful! Speak more of what the Master of the former and latter nations told you on this month.
The Imam said, "I heard that the greatest messenger saying, 'Indeed, the master of legatees will be killed in the master of months.' I asked, 'O Messenger of God! What is the master of months and who is the master of legates?' The Prophet said, 'As for the master of months, it is Ramazan and the master of legatees, it is you Ali.' I said, 'O Messenger of God! Will this happen?' The Prophet said, 'Yes, by my Lord! Indeed, the most wretched person of my Ummah will rise and strike a blow on your head whereby your beard will be dyed with its blood.'"
Then people began weeping and moaning. Imam Ali (AS) finished his sermon and descended the pulpit.
Ali (AS) was a unique personality. His lively youth is the role model for young people. He said, "Do not be servant of others as God has created you free." He firmly stood in the right way. With became the banner of justice. He was the embodiment of the divine rule and personification of the ayahs of Qur'an. He was so harsh with unbelievers and very kind-hearted with the faithful. He would bring the poor close and paid special attention to the downtrodden. The influential figures who obtained repute through money and power would be equal with others in view of Imam Ali (AS). When he took the rein of government, he was said by so-called good-willing people, "You are just in the beginning of your rule. It is not good for your rule to dismiss influential figures from their posts. This is not expedient to your rule." He answered them, "Do you expect Ali to gain victory via oppressing the people whose responsibility is his shoulder?! As long as this world exists and the scheme of the world is like this, Ali ibn Abi Taleb will not do this."
What mattered in the eyes and heart of Ali were faith, piety, sincerity and jihad in the way of God. He ruled with his justice-seeking less than 5 years.
His communion with God was exemplary. He used to say, "My God! I do not worship You out of fear of Your punishment or for the reward of paradise; rather I worship You because You deserve worship."
Imam Ali (AS) would say, "I recommend you to pray and seek forgiveness very much in the month of Ramazan for prayer makes calamities distant from you and your sins will perish by seeking forgiveness."
When the month of Ramazan reached its middle, the Imam would say to his companions, "The blessed month of Ramazan is in its middle. What remains from this month is like a treasure which ends gradually. Make haste to hide a handful of this treasure so that you will be needless of others at time of need."
Worship and obedience of God is the treasure that Imam Ali mentions. Imam Ali (AS) considered the world of worship very vivid, a world of radiance, sincerity and honesty. He describes the state of worshippers as follows, "The angels have encompassed them. Calm has descended for them. The gates of heavens have been opened for them. The place of the endless divine graces has been prepared for them. God Almighty has seen their position and degree which they have attained through servitude and has been satisfied with their deed and praised their status. When God calls them they sense the scent of divine forgiveness; and feel the drawing away of the dark curtains of sin."
The Commander of the Faithful would advise his followers, "Every night go to the door of God's house, knock at the door and glorify God with good names. It is mercy that comes to the door. Enter it and be guests."
Recitation of the Qur'an freshens up the soul of human being at all times. But the month of Ramazan and the night of Qadr (Ordainment) is the best time for this. Imam Ali (AS) highly recommended the faithful to pay due attention to the Qur'an and warned lest other nations would be pioneers in practicing the teachings of this book. He said, "The surface of the Qur'an is guidance and salvation from the hell. If you practice its apparent instructions, you will receive God's forgiveness and grace; and God will fulfill what He has promised. But the heart of the Qur'an pumps a blood that sounds the eternal life. If the limbs of a person get blood from this heart they he will be always exposed to health and liveliness."
Eradication of poverty and helping the deprived is in important issue in Islam. Ayah 19 of surah Zariyat reads in this regard, "And there is a share in their wealth for the beggar and the deprived."
When Imam Ali (AS) was in bed due to the fatal blow on his head, the orphans of the city were hungry. So, they realized that the man who used to bring them food was none other than Ali. It is narrated that Imam Ali always gave the people the food for Iftar which was made of meat. But he never used it himself. Then, when they finished their food, he would deliver a sermon and advise them, "If I wanted I could prepare food and clothes from pure honey, wheat and silk-woven fabric. But, it is far from me that my personal desire overcomes me and greed forces me to choose delicious foods; while there is someone in Hijaz or Yamama who cannot access a loaf of bread; or I sleep with filled stomach whereas there are stomachs around me that have stuck to the back out of hunger and also burnt livers."
Greetings and blessings of God upon this chosen servant of God, the brother and successor of the Prophet.