Friday Sermon: 25 June 2010

In: General


Whenever the name of Imam Ali (as) is mentioned, there are many things that come to mind about him. Some of those things are his vast Knowledge, Courage, Justice, Sacrifices, Compassion, Humility, Prayers and his Generosity. Today we shall briefly discuss about TAWAADHU’ in the life of this great personality. TAWAADHU’ is the opposite of TAKABBUR. TAKABBUR means ‘to be proud and arrogant’ whereas TAWAADHU’ is in reference to ‘humility’ and ‘humbleness’. Humility or humbleness is an attribute, which Allah (SWT) loves.  Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) has said, “When Prophet Nuh (as) had sailed in his Ark for some time, Allah (SWT) addressed the mountains that He (SWT) wished to land the boat on any one of them. Every mighty mountain thought that it would have the privilege of the landing of the Ark. Mount Judi was the smallest of all mountains and it was in the vicinity of Najaf al-Ashraf. This mountain thought that it was insignificant when compared to other mighty mountains and had no chance of being part of such an important event. Allah (SWT) liked the humility of Mount Judi and the Ark landed there”. (‘Ayn al-Hayaat)


Despite his greatness and all his achievements, Imam Ali (as) was extremely humble. His humility was witnessed from the kind of house he (as) lived in; the kind of clothes he (as) wore; the kind of food he (as) ate and from his overall behaviour and character particularly after assuming his Khilafah. It is narrated that:

One day Imam Ali (as) bought some fresh dates in Kufa. He (as) tied the fruit in the lapel of his shawl and proceeded to his home. On the way, some companions met him and they offered to carry his burden. The Imam (as) said, “The right of carrying the family’s burden rests with the head of the family!” He (as) then added, “If a person of distinction carries the weight of his family’s requirements, his distinction does not diminish in any manner whatsoever”. (‘Ayn al-Hayaat)

Another beautiful incident of our Imam (as)’s humility is:

One day, accompanied by his slave Qanbar, Imam (as) entered a shop and asked the vendor to show him some cloaks. The man asked, “O Ameer al-Mumineen! What quality of cloaks do you desire to buy?” Imam (as) had realized that the vendor had recognized him, so he (as) immediately moved out of the shop and came to the next one. The owner of the next shop was away and his young son was attending to the customers. This young man had not recognized the Imam (as). So the Imam (as) asked him to give two cloaks. He (as) bought one for 2 dirhams and the other for 3 dirhams. He (as) then gave Qanbar the expensive one and retained the inferior garment for himself. Qanbar said, “O Master! Please take the better garment for your use”. Imam (as) said, “Qanbar! It is always the youth who deserve to use better things. You must therefore use the better cloak of the two! The Prophet of Allah (saww) has verily said, ‘Provide to the slave the type of garments you yourselves wear and give them the food that you eat!’”. The sleeves of Imam (as)’s cloak were slightly longer than his arms. He (as) got them cut to size and said that the cloth would be useful for making caps for the needy persons. Later on, when the owner of the shop returned and realized that the Imam (as) had purchased the cloaks from there, he came to the presence of Imam (as) and said, “O Ameer al-Mumineen! My son didn’t recognize you and derived a profit of 2 dirhams from you in the bargain. I therefore kindly request you to take back these 2 dirhams”. Imam (as) said, “We agreed to the price he quoted! The deal was struck! Also bear in mind that we are the Ahlul-Bayt (as) – whatever we give, we never take back”. (‘Ayn al-Hayaat)

Such was the humility of our Imam (as).

Wallahu Waliyyut Tawfeeque

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