Causes of Enmity with Imam Ali (A.S.)In the Light of Nahj al-Balaghah

Much has been said and written about the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.). Throughout history, scholars, researchers, poets and others have focused through different angles in their efforts to fathom the multi-sided personality of the cousin, son-in-law and vicegerent of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). The different aspects presented by different writers speaks of the dynamic characteristics of the man who continues to shine like the resplendent sun despite the elaborate efforts made by his enemies, both in his lifetime and after his martyrdom, to belittle his merits and even to slander him.

In this article an attempt has been made to probe the current of enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and the different causes and motives behind it, by referring to the words of the Imam himself in the book Nahj al-Balaghah. The article will try to answer the questions as to what were the causes and the motivation for the opposition to and enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.) especially during his caliphate.

The writer states that he has approached the subject without any religious or sectarian bias to the best of his ability as readers might judge, in order to have a clear and impartial picture of the reasons of enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.).

Although from the viewpoint of religious belief it could be summed up in one sentence that the reason for enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.) was because of the divine authority entrusted to him by the Prophet which some refused to acknowledge, this answer would discourage certain questions from being raised and might leave some people unsatisfied. Therefore, in order to probe the various causes behind the current of enmity, we intend to broadly focus on the following two points:

The motives for enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.): Here we will discuss what motivated certain people to become the enemies of Imam 'Ali (A.S.).

The various kinds of enmity with him: Here the types and degrees of enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and the methods used by the enemies will be scrutinized.

The Motives for Enmity with Imam 'Ali (A.S.)

Enmity towards Imam 'Ali (A.S.) started with the advent of Islam itself and lasted throughout his life. This sorrowful trend did not end with his martyrdom and continued even after that. By focusing on the events of the early period of Islam we will see what elements played the role in this enmity, especially during the brief caliphate of the Imam.

Tribal and Ethnic Motives

Although enmity based on tribal and ethnic motives might appear natural to some extent, it should be admitted that this trend neither camouflages the evilness of those who harbour rancour nor does it diminish in any way the greatness of Imam 'Ali (A.S.).

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