Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) – Part Forty-One – Being Sent by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to Level the Graves, Destroy Idols and Erase Pictures

Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that on one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) attended a janaazah of a certain Sahaabi. He then addressed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who were present and said, “Who among you will go back to Madinah Munawwarah, and wherever he sees any idol or statue, he will break it, and wherever he sees any grave which is raised (high above the ground, or has a structure built on it), he will level it (to the normal height), and wherever he sees any picture (of animate objects), then he will immediately erase it?”

Hearing this, a certain Sahaabi volunteered saying, “I will do so, O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!” However, before entering the city, he was overcome by fear of his people, and hence he returned to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and expressed his inability to fulfil such a task. Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was present, and he said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “I will go, O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!”

Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then went to Madinah Munawwarah and completed the mission he was tasked with. On returning, he said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! I did not leave, in the city, any idol or statue, except that I broke it, nor any grave (i.e. excessively raised), except that I levelled it (to the normal height), nor any picture (of animate objects), except that I erased it.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thereafter said, “The one who goes back to making any of these things (i.e. raising the graves very high or building structures over them, or making pictures of animate objects), then he has shown complete disregard to that which has been revealed to Muhammed (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then said to Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “Never be one who creates fitnah among people, never be an arrogant person, and do not engage in any type of trade, unless it is trade that will earn goodness (i.e. ensure that you are honest and truthful in your transaction and you fulfil the rights of the servants), for these types of people (i.e. the fitnah-monger, the arrogant person and the businessman who is unjust in his dealings) are the ones who lag behind in deen.” (Musnad Ahmed #657)

From this incident, we see the outstanding bravery and unique courage of Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), together with his eagerness to always fulfil the blessed instruction of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

It is reported that many years later, during his Khilaafah, Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed Abul Hayyaaj Asadi (rahimahullah) to level the graves and erase the pictures of animate objects that he came across.  Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said to him, “Shall I not send you to fulfil the same task that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had sent me to fulfil, (the task was) that I should not leave any picture without erasing it, nor any raised grave without leveling it (to the normal height).” (Saheeh Muslim #969)


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