What is the reason for the friendship and love for ‘Ali in people’s hearts? Nobody has yet discovered the secret of this love; that is, no one has been able to formulate it, and say that if it were like this then that would follow, or if it were like that then this would happen. However, it does of course have a secret. There is something in the love which dazzles the one who loves and draws him towards it. This attraction and love are the highest degrees of love. 'Ali is the one whom people’s hearts adore, whom humanity loves. Why? In what does 'Ali’s extra-ordinariness lie that it incites love and draws hearts towards itself, that it plays the tune of eternal life and lives for ever? What do all hearts find out about themselves through him, and do not feel him to be dead but find him living?
Certainly the basis for love for him is not his physical body, because his body is not now among us and we have not perceived it with our senses. Love for 'Ali is also not hero-worship, which exists in every nation. It is a mistake, too, to say the love for `Ali is by way of love for moral and human excellence, and that love for 'Ali is a humanistic love. It is true that 'Ali was the manifestation of the perfect man, and it is true that human beings love great figures of humanity; but if 'Ali had had all that human excellence that he had - that wisdom and knowledge, that self-sacrifice and altruism, that humility and modesty, that courtesy, that kindness and mercy, that protection of the weak, that justness, that liberality and love of freedom, that respect for humanity, that generosity, that bravery, that magnanimity and mercy towards his enemies, and, in the words of Rumi: “In bravery you are the Lion of the Lord, In generosity who indeed knows who you are?”, that munificence, benevolence and beneficence - if 'Ali had had all these, which he did have, but had not had the divine touch in him, it is quite certain that there would not have been the feeling of sympathy and awakening of love that there is today.
`Ali is loved in the sense that he had the divine link. Our hearts are unconsciously and completely involved with and connected to the Truth, right in their depths, and since they find `Ali to be a great sign of the Truth and a manifestation of the attributes of the Truth, they are in love with him. In reality, the basis for the love for `Ali is the connection of our souls with the Truth, which has been laid in our primordial natures, and since our primordial natures are eternal, love for `Ali is also eternal.
Allamah Murtada Mutahhari ®, Polarization Around the Character of Ali ibn Abi Talib
`Ali is loved in the sense that he had the divine link. Our hearts are unconsciously, completely involved with and connected to the Truth, right in their depths, and since they find `Ali to be a great sign of the Truth and a manifestation of the attributes of the Truth, they are in love with him. In reality, the basis of the love for `Ali is the connection of our souls with the Truth, which has been laid in our primordial natures, and since our primordial natures are eternal, love for `Ali is also eternal.
A story is told about some companions of the Prophet in the Battle of Mutah which is truly amazing. A number of the wounded were lying on the ground and were groaning with thirst. A man carried a pot of water to them. When he offered it to one of them, the latter pointed to another and said that he was in greater need of water, and the second man pointed to a third one for water to be taken to him. When the water-carrier approached the third man, he found him dead. So he returned to the second man, but he, too, was dead, and when he came to the first man he, too, had died. This is self-sacrifice, and giving priority to others before oneself is one of the greatest of human values.