Shaitan’s advise to Ali ibn Muhammad Sufi regarding Devotion to Ali (a.s.)

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Ibne Shahr Ashob has mentioned a lengthy incident in his Manaqib an extract of which is as follows:

Ali Ibne Muhammad Sufi reports that once he chanced to meet the accursed Iblis.

He asked: Who are you?

I told him that I was a human being.

He said: There is no god, except Allah! Are you not from a community whose members imagine themselves to be ardent devotees of God; after which they also disobey Him. And they verbally hate Iblis but obey him only?

I (Sufi) asked: Who are you?

He replied: I am the owner of a great name and the huge drum. I am the killer of Habil and I was one present in the Ark of Nuh. I am the one, who hamstrung the she-camel of Prophet Salih and who enflamed the fire of Nimrod to burn Ibrahim. I am the, one who instigated the murder of Yahya. I am the one, who brought the sorcerers to the court of Firon in the beginning. And also the one, who got the golden calf fashioned at the hands of Samiri in order to misguide Bani Israel. I am the one, who dispatched Abraha and his army mounted on elephants to Mecca in order to destroy the Kaaba. I am the one, who mobilized people to fight against Muhammad in the Battles of Badr and Uhad and I created greed in the minds of people in Saqifah on the day of the passing away of the Prophet. I am the one, who brought the She-Camel in the Battle of Basra. I am the Imam of the hypocrites. I destroy one group and misguide the other. I am the senior member of the oath-breakers (Nakiseen), the pillar of the unjust (Qasiteen) and the instigator of the apostates (Mariqeen). I am Abu Marrah. I am a body of fire. I was not created from dust and I am the one on whom descended the fury of the Lord of the Worlds.

I (Sufi) said: I adjure you in the name of Allah, tell me what I can do to gain proximity to Allah and also an act that would enable me to face worldly calamities.

He said: If you want to avoid worldly calamities, you must adopt thrift and if the need is of the hereafter you must become devoted to Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a) and be hateful to his enemies. Remember, I obeyed God on the seven heavens and disobeyed Him on the seven layers of the earth. Whichever proximate angel or a messenger prophet I saw, he had gained divine proximity only through devotion to Ali.

Sufi says: After that he vanished from my view. Later I met Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) and informed him about this incident. After listening to the whole account, he said: That accursed one confessed faith from the tongue but denied from the heart.1

1 Manaqib, Ibne Shahr Ashob, Vol. 2, Pg. 251; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 39, Pg. 181, Tr. 23.