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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Ali's concept of God

Protection of God

Once a Jew came to Ali with a view to ridiculing Islam. The Jew was very rich, and he disparaged the Islamic way of austerity. He tried to enter into an argument with Ali, and declared that if his questions were answered to his satisfaction he would accept Islam. Ali said that he would be glad to answer any question that was put to him. The Jew said, "Suppose you are standing on the roof of a high building at a dizzying height, who will protect you?" Ali said, "Of course, God will protect me". The Jew thereupon said, "Do you feel confident that God would really protect you". Ali said, "Certainly, it is our faith that as long as we are ordained to live, God will protect us." The Jew observed, "If you are sure of the protection of God, would you be prepared to climb to a high building, and then jump therefrom in order to test how God protects you". Ali said that he was not a fool to jump from a high building for nothing. The Jew said that he was not asking him to undertake the exercise for nothing, for if God actually protected of him, he would thereby get a Jew converted to Islam. Ali said that such stipulation was erroneous and fallacious. "How was that?" inquired the Jew. Ali said that God is the Master, and man is His servant. It is open to the Master to put the servant to test, but it does not behoove the servant to put the master to test. Ali added: "If we put God to any test, that means our lack of faith, and when faith is lost, everything is lost."

The Jew said, "This means that you are afraid that if you take a jump, you will die and God will not protect you," Ali said, "I am not afraid of death, but as a servant I cannot defy the Master. Everything in the universe is subject to the Will of God. That Will is the law, and man has been endowed with reason and intelligence to discern such law. If knowing the law I choose to defy it, I will have to suffer for breaking the law. When I deliberately break down the law laid down by the Master, I lose the right of His protection. Moreover, God protects us as long as we are ordained to live. If I take a jump and die, it would merely mean that I am ordained to do like that, it would not mean that God has withdrawn his protection."

The argument of Ali impressed the Jew He said, "Ali, you are right. We must observe the law, and then seek the protection of the Master. We certainly lose the right of His protection when we break the law." Thereupon the Jew was converted to Islam, and for the rest of his life he remained a true Muslim.

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