Invoke Ali, You shall surely find him helping in your troubles
Naad-e Ali calligram at the Aga Khan museum
We greet each other with a hearty “Ya Ali Madad” everyday and you see faces light up immediately but have you wondered at the history and significance of this greeting?
Even though I do not have access to scholarly texts or reference material at my disposal, I’ll make a humble attempt of my own understanding of this piece of history, from oral traditions, general knowledge, web sources and, of course, my personal experience in invoking thispowerful prayer. If anyone has a more detailed account or analysis, I’d really appreciate your contribution.
As we all know, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was the first male Muslim convert (Hazrat Khatija being the first female believer) and he took up the responsibility to propagate the Holy Message delivered to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) at a tender age. He was only twelve when Prophet Muhammad asked who would come to his help with this work at a family gathering at Abd-al Muttalib’s (their grandfather) house. Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was the only one who stood up and declared his allegiance and offered full support for Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.s.) mission. The Prophet blessed Imam Ali (a.s.) and said, “From now on you are my helper, my Wazir and the Khalif after me on earth.”
There were many other historical incidences where Hazrat Ali was always at the Prophet’s side working to forward the cause of Allah. This meant not only educating the new Muslims about the fresh revelations but also defending the believers from the opposition to this new faith. Prophet Muhammad came to rely on Hazrat Ali’s help as his chief commander of his army and with the help of his two-horned sword named Zulfiqar (which means 2-pronged), Hazrat Ali defeated many an army.
Angel Gabriel shows the prowess of Hazrat Ali
to Prophet Muhammad – Painted in Shiraz, Iran 1480
“Hazrat Ali was never defeated in a war or a combat throughout his life. His physical strength was beyond human comprehension. He removed from the hinges the strong doors of the Khyber fort with a single jolt of his hand. Later, seven strong men with Abu Ra’fe’, the famous strongman, could not lift even an inch from the ground one of the corners of the door. When asked about his wonderful display of strength, in removing the doors, Hazrat Ali replied that it was his divine power.” (Sayyidul Ausiya, p. 65)
“Ali, Son of Abu Talib, Son-in-Law and first cousin of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him), father of Imam Hasan and the greatest Martyr Imam Husain, the Lion of God, Gateway of Knowledge, the mightiest of mighty; does not need an introduction, He was at the same time master of the Pen and Sword — a rare combination. Even today in the battle fields the Cry of “Ya Ali !” resounds, invoking his help. Sportsmen, Wrestlers and Athletes, taking part in manly games, chant the Slogan of “Ya Ali !” for their victory. On the other hand, the pious devoted entirely to the service of God, almost all of them trace the spiritual lineage from Ali and believe him to be the Fountain Head of all Knowledge.” – S.M.A. Rizvi
“Ali is absent today from our midst only physically. His soul even to this day is the greatest spiritual resort to everyone who seeks the help of God through his medium. Thousands and thousands of people call out to him in their difficulties, and the word “Ya Ali Madad”, automatically comes to them. A famous prayer known as “NADEY ALI” (Call Ali) is recited wherever abound the lovers of Ali.” – Majlisi
“Here the garrison came out in great force, and on that day every attack made by the Muslims was repulsed. “Tomorrow,” said the Prophet, “will I give the standard unto a man whom God and His messenger love. God will give us the victory by his hands; he is not one who turneth back in flight.”
“In his previous campaigns the Prophet had used relatively small flags as standards, but to Khaybar he had brought a great black standard made from a cloak of A’isha’s. They called it ‘the Eagle’, and this he now gave to Ali.” – Martin Lings in his book: “Muhammad – his life based on the earliest sources”
“Ali was one of the most courageous and able men in the Muslim army. He was appointed the standard-bearer at the battles of both Badr and Khaybar. At Khaybar (A.H. 7) the following tradition is related by several Sunni and Shi’i histories. This is the version found in a Sunni collection of Traditions, the Sahih of Muslim:
‘The Apostle of God said on the day of Khaybar: “I shall certainly give this banner to a man who loves God and His Apostle and through whom God will give victory.” Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “I never wished for a leadership except on that day.” And he also said: “And so I leapt up towards it hoping to claim it as a right.” And the Apostle of God summoned Ali, the son of Abu Talib, and gave it to him and said “Go! And do not turn aside until God gives you victory.”
“When the Prophet left to go on his longest expedition, to Tabuk, Ali was left in charge at Medina. According to some accounts, Ali felt insulted to be left with the women and children while, according to others, rumours spread that Ali had been left behind because it was feared he would bring misfortune to the expedition. In any case, Ali went to the Prophet voicing his discontent at being left behind. It was at this time, according to numerous Sunni and Shi’i Traditionists, that the famous Hadith of Manzilat Harun (position of Aaron) was revealed. According to this Tradition, Muhammad said to Ali: ” Are you not content to be with respect to me as Aaron was to Moses, except that after me there shall be no other Prophet.” The implication was that Ali was to be Muhammad’s chief assistant in his lifetime and his successor after him.” – Moojan Momen’s “An introduction to Shi’i Islam” published by Yale University Press