The Importance of Intentions

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

At the Battle of Khandaq, ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) dueled with ‘Amr ibn Wudd after he led a charge of soldiers across the trench.  They included Dirar ibn al-Khaththab and ‘Ikramah ibn Abu Jahl (r.a.).  These were the best warriors of the Ahzab and they had breached the trench.  Should ‘Amr have proven that it was possible to cross the trench, the Muslims would have been in an untenable position.  Their morale would have broken, the hypocrites would have openly come against them from behind and the rest of the Ahzab would have been emboldened.

Into this, stepped ‘Ali (k.w.).  ‘Ali (k.w.) has the distinction of being the greatest warrior amongst the swahabah, having single-handedly slain many of the greatest Arab champions who went against the Muslims.  He led a small contingent of warriors to arrest the threat.  They cut off the rest of the charge and trapped those already across.  But no one dared face ‘Amr.  ‘Amr had by reputation been able to fight off ‘a thousand warriors’.  He was amongst the greatest warriors of his time in Arabia.

Mounted on his horse, ‘Amr went around the area of Sal’a, facing the Muslims and challenging them, “Is there any dueler?”  He repeated this call but there was no response from the swahabah.  ‘Ali (k.w.) left his place in defense of the moat to face ‘Amr.  He approached ‘Amr and asked him to face him in a duel.  At this moment the Prophet (s.a.w.) uttered, “The entirety of faith is facing the entirety of infidelity.”

‘Amr arrogantly replied, “Why, son of my brother?  By Allah, I would not like to kill you.”  ‘Amr was a friend of Abu Thalib.  This also implied that since ‘Ali (k.w.) was so young, he was an unworthy opponent.

‘Ali (k.w.) replied, “But, by Allah; I would love to kill you.”

A short but extremely violent duel between the two protagonists took place.  ‘Ali (k.w.) knocked ‘Amr from his horse and was about to apply the killing blow when ‘Amr spat in his face.  ‘Ali (k.w.) put his sword down and walked away.  ‘Amr got up in humiliation and charged at ‘Ali (k.w.) from behind.  ‘Ali (k.w.) spun around and cut off his head.

When he was asked about his strange actions, ‘Ali (k.w.) replied that he fought for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.).  However, the moment ‘Amr spat at him, his anger rose up.  If he had killed ‘Amr at that moment, he feared that it would be because of his nafs, his anger.  How often are we sure we are doing the right thing only to be sidetracked and have our intentions subverted.  There is a subtle difference in being right and righteous.  So protect the intentions and make them purified.


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