by: Ayatullah Shaheed Murtadha Mutahhari
Muljam is one of the nine ascetic puritans who went to Mecca and made the
famous vow saying all the riots in the Muslim World were caused by three people: ‘Ali, Mu‘awiyah and ‘Amr
ibn al-‘As.” Ibn Muljam was chosen to kill ‘Ali. What date was set for this?
The date set was the night before the 19th of Ramadan. Why did they choose this
night? Ibn Abi al-Hadid says, “Do you see the ignorance! They arranged for the
night before the 19th of Ramadan because they were convinced that this is an
act of great worship so they agreed to commit it on the night of Qadr so that
they would get more rewards for it.”
am who was also a
Kharijites and a fellow believer. He may have, up to an extent, tried to fight
thoughts of her. When he approached and discussed this matter with her, she
responded thus, “I am willing, but my dowry [mihr] is very heavy.” He was so
captivated by her that he agreed without preconditions. She required three
thousand dirhams from him. He told her that it was not a problem. She asked for
a slave boy. He agreed. “And a slave girl,” “Not a problem”, he replied. She
ended her requests with, “And fourth, the killing of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.” He
was shocked because his thoughts of killing ‘Ali had headed in a different
direction at that point. He replied, “We want to get married and live happily,
killing ‘Ali will not leave a chance for our marriage and life together.” She
replied, “This is it. If you seek union with me, you must kill ‘Ali. If you
live, you will gain what you seek, and if you die, then nothing.” He struggled
with his thoughts for a while. He has a poem, two verses of which are as
follows, She required these things from me as her dowry.59*t*Ibn Muljam came to Kufah
and waited for the promised day. During this time he met and fell in love with
a girl called Qut
The world has never seen a dowry so high.
Later he goes on to say,
Any dowry in the world, no matter how high, is not on the same level as ‘Ali.
My wife’s dowry is the blood of ‘Ali.
There has not been an assassination and there will never be another one until
the Day of Judgment unless it’s smaller than the one committed by Ibn Muljam.60
in]). The other is the issue of the puritans. These two are in contradiction to
one another. How will ‘Ali’s companions handle these issues after him? ‘Ali
says, “After me, do not kill them anymore.” Even though they killed me, do not
kill them after me as this will be a favour to Mu‘awiyah and not to truth and
justice. The danger of ‘Mu‘awiyah’ is different. He said, “After me, do not
kill the Kharijites anymore, because whoever seeks truth and commits a mistake
is not the same as the one who seeks falsehood from the beginning and has
reached it.”*And he was right. Let’s
take a look at what ‘Ali’s (‘a) will. On his deathbed, ‘Ali (‘a) is witnessing
and leaving behind two occurences in the ummah. One is the presence of
Mu‘awiyah and his followers (the hypocrites, the deviators, [qasit
‘Ali does not hold grudges against anyone. He always speaks logically. As soon
as they captured Ibn Muljam, they brought him to ‘Ali. In a frail voice (as a
result of the sword strike) the Imam spoke to him and asked him, “Why did you
do such a thing? Was I a bad Imam for you?” (I am not sure how many times this
was asked but whatever I have said has been taken from writings). Apparently,
at one time he was influenced by ‘Ali’s spirituality and said, “Can you then
rescue him who is in the Fire?”61
“Can you then rescue an
atrocious person who has been damned to hell? I was abject for committing such
an act!” They have also written that when ‘Ali spoke to him, he replied in an
angry voice and said, “‘Ali! When I bought that sword I made a vow to Allah to
kill the worst of his creatures with this sword and I have always prayed and
asked to kill the worst of his creatures with this sword.” ‘Ali (‘a) responded,
“It just so happens that this prayer of yours has been granted because you are
going to be killed with this very sword.”
‘Ali passed away. He was in the big city of Kufah. Apart from the Nahrawan
Kharijites, the rest of the people wished they could participate in his
funeral, to cry and weep for him. It was the night of the 21st of Ramadan.
People were still not aware of what was happening to ‘Ali. ‘Ali left the world
at midnight. As soon as he passed away, his children, Imam al-Hassan and Imam
al-Husayn, Muhammadibn Hanifah, Abu al-Fadl al-‘Abbas, and an exclusive group
of the Shi‘ahs (who did not exceed six or seven) washed ‘Ali’s body in private,
put the grave shroud on him and buried him in the darkness of the night, in a
spot that had apparently been previously decided by ‘Ali himself (nobody knew
where his holy burial took place and according to various traditions, some of
the dignified prophets are buried in the same land).
His followers kept the
location of his burial a secret. The next day, people found out that ‘Ali had
been buried on the previous night. Where was ‘Ali’s burial place? There was no
need for anybody to know. It has even been reported that that Imam al-Hassan
(‘a) sent a semblance of the Imam’s body to Madinah, so people would think that
‘Ali had been taken to Madinah to be buried. Why? Because of the Kharijites; if
they knew Imam ‘Ali’s burial place, they would have disrespected it. They would
have disinterred the grave and exhumed ‘Ali’s body out of his grave. Indeed,
‘Ali’s place of burial remained a secret to everyone other than ‘Ali’s children
and the children of their children (the Infallible Imams), for as long as the
Kharijites were in power.
One hundred years later,
when the Kharijites no longer existed and the Umayyad dynasty were overthrown
by the ‘Abbasids (who were not a great threat to this issue), Imam al-Sadiq,
for the first time, revealed ‘Ali’s burial place. The famous Safwan who has
been named in Ziyarat-e ‘Ashura, says, “I was visiting Imam al-Sadiq in Kufah,
he took us to ‘Ali’s grave and said, ‘This is the grave of ‘Ali’, and ordered
us (apparently for the first time) to set up a shade for the grave. Since then
‘Ali’s grave was made public’.”
Therefore, ‘Ali’s big
problem was not exclusive to his time. His grave was kept a secret for one
hundred years after his death, only out of fear of this group. “Allah’s
blessings be upon you, O father of al-Hassan! May Allah’s blessings be up you,
O the Commander of the Faithful!” How oppressed were you and your children! I
cannot say whether Amir al-Mu’minin (‘a) was more oppressed or his noble son
Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Husayn.
In the same manner that ‘Ali’s (‘a) body was not in peace from his evil
enemies, the body of his beloved child was also not in peace from his enemies.
Maybe this is the reason why he said, “There is no day like the day of my son,
Imam al-Hassan (‘a) hid Imam ‘Ali’s body. Why? So that ‘Ali’s body would not be
disrespected. But the situation in Karbala was different. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin
could not gather the strength to immediately hide Imam al-Husayn’sbody. The
outcome was that which I do not want to recall.
That person said, What need is there for ragged clothing after attacks, Which
left not even a flesh on his battered body?
59. ثَلاثَةُ آلافٍ وَعَبدٌ
وَقَينَةٌ وَقَتلُ عَلِيٍّ بالحُسَامِ المُسَمَّمِ
See M. Baqir Khwansari, Rawdat al-Jannat (Beirut), vol. 3, p. 179.
60. وَلا مَهرَ أعلَى مِن
عَلِيٍّ وَإن عَلا وَلَا فَتكَ إلّا دُونَ فَتكِ ابنِ مُلجَمِ
61. Surat al-Zumar 39:19.
62. Sayyid ibn Tusi, among others, has narrated that on the day of ‘Ashura,
Imam al-Husayn orders his aids to bring him clothes that were worthless and no
man wanted, so that he could wear them under his own clothes. Therefore, when
he was killed, the Imam continued, no one would want to take them off of his
dead body. It has been reported that after his martyrdom even those worthless
pieces of clothing were taken off of the Imam’s precious body.