Monday, January 21, 2008

Ali al-Murtadha Karrama Allahu Wajhahu

One of the most spectacular experiences of my recent journey to the Masjid al-Haraam [Dec 2007] was to behold the pillar opposite the door of the Ka’ba adjacent to the women’s entrance of the place where the water of the spring well of Zamazam is drawn. The inscription on the pole was so symbolically revealing that I thought of taking a picture of the same. It read “Ali al-Murtadha karrama Allahu wajhahu”. The entire inscription contained a world of meaning to me. Unlike the names of the other sahaba (companions of the Holy Prophet (s)) inscribed on other poles of the environs of the Sacred Haram, wherever the name ‘Ali came, I found it to be followed by al-Murtadha and karrama Allahu wajhahu. Ibn ‘Abbas is reported to have said that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) was known as al-Murtadha because he would follow what Allah and His Messenger is pleased with in all is matters. In other words, Allah’s pleasure would be his pleasure. And one who has attained such a lofty station, Allah is already pleased (raadhi) with him. Perhaps the most succinct expression so far used is that of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) when he says “Ridha Allah Ridhaana Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)” (the pleasure of Allah is our pleasure- the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)). In fact, ontologically speaking, it is Allah Himself who confers the succor of ridhaa (pleasure) to His servant. Therefore, in this case, when Allah is already pleased with His servant, there is no need to supplicate and say “radhiya Allahu ‘anhu” (may Allah be pleased with him) after his name. What is unique about that is whereas in the case of the other sahaba the prayer “radhiya Allahu ‘anhu” (may Allah be pleased with him) is always mentioned, al-Murtadha reveals that the prayer has already been accepted and that Imam ‘Ali is already one with whom Allah is pleased. And the phrase karrama Allahu wajhahu testifies that Imam ‘Ali (lit. exalted) never bowed down before any idol. It should be noted however, that unlike “radhiya Allahu ‘anhu”,“karrama Allahu wajhahu” is not a supplication but a declaration and narration. It means “Allah ennobled his complexion (from bowing down to any idol (‘an an yasjuda lisanam))” and not “May Allah ennoble his complexion”. However, if we are speaking of higher levels of karama (nobility) then there is no problem. This is because only Allah (swt) is al-Karim al-Mutlaq (the Absolute Noble One), and the path to His Nobility is endless. What is so symbolic about this picture is that it is adjacent to the Masqa (place where one’s thirst is quenched) of Zamzam: In the way we witness the water place of Zamzam adjacent to the pole that manifests ‘Ali (‘a), we shall Insha Allah witness Imam ‘Ali (‘a) beside the water place of kawthar on the Judgment Day. Rather for people of inner revelation and insight, the Day of Judgment is not a parallel plane of existence that would follow this world, but a higher plane of existence to appear for those who due to the veils of the hearts are devoid of the penetrating vision. O the offspring of Ka’ba, this is an ecstatic moment for this nondescript!


  1. Thank you for this information - I can't read that calligraphy very well and would not have realized the significant difference. Alhumdooleluh.

  2. Mashallah ! Amazing ! made my day -
    "In the way we witness the water place of Zamzam adjacent to the pole that manifests ‘Ali (‘a), we shall Insha Allah witness Imam ‘Ali (‘a) beside the water place of kawthar on the Judgment Day."

  3. dear shaikh,
    salamun alaikum.
    this article is indeed inspiring.
    after reading it, we find ourselves being attracted to this site more and more every time we visit it.
    IshAllah we shall be next to Imam Ali beside the water place of Kawthar on the day of Reckoning.
    Iltemaase Duaa
    Imranali Khaki
    Mohammed Hasnain Khatau
    Ahmed Rashid

  4. Wa 'alaikum Salam wa Rahmatullah

    O you Brilliant youth of the Esteemed Jaffery Academy of Mombasa, yes indeed we should pray for that because the world is a scary place full of obstacles. Our aspirations however must always soar high. It is interesting to note that the world 'Ali itself means "high". So to be with 'Ali on the Judgment day let us render our intentions, speech and actions to be "Ali" (high). Thank you for your comments and remember us in your duas.

    Muhammad Khalfan

  5. MashAllah, Very inspiring..
    JazakAllah khair!
    with Duas,