Hazrat Ali (AS) had the opportunity of partaking in almost all the defensive battles in which he fared exceptionally well. He displayed heroism and valour unprecedented in the annals of Islam. He implanted fear and awe in the hearts of the infidels. The first battle in which he had the good fortune to display his courage was the battle of Badr. He was the standard bearer of the valiant army numbering 313 soldiers who had resolved to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Islam and glorify the name of Allah. It was a custom in ancient times to commence the battle with single combat. On the field of Badr, three gallant warriors of the opponents challenged the soldiers of Allah. In response to that, Hazrat Ali (AS), Hazrat Hamza (RA) (his uncle) and Hazrat Ubaida (RA) stepped forward to meet their antagonists. They had the advice from the Messenger not to start first but invite them to Islam through a brief speech. When they did not pay any heed to the speech and took the sword, Hazrat Ali (AS) slashed his opponents Walid and Shaiba in the twinkling of an eye. Soon it assumed the form of a general battle when they say that single combat would not be suitable. Hazrat Ali (AS) wrought many heroic deeds. His naked sword flashed like lightening. It hovered over the heads of the infidels and slaughtered many of them. The arrogant infidels were astonished at his marvelous courage. They lost their hearts and took to their heels. The soldiers of Allah carried the day. It was the first golden victory of Islam. Hazrat Ali (AS) was awarded a camel, armour and a sword as a reward for his bravery.
During the battle of Uhud, Mus’ab bin Umair, the standard bearer of Islam was killed by a sword of the infidels. Hazrat Ali (AS) took hold of the standard without any loss of time and rushed at the standard bearer of the enemies of Islam. He killed him on the spot. In another duel, Hazrat Ali (AS) had to face Amr ibn Abd Wudd, a seasoned warrior of Arabia that the enemies of Islam hired for cash reward. He was so strong and courageous that he was considered a match for a thousand soldiers. Hazrat Ali (AS) killed him without any difficulty. When the general battle ensued, the Muslim soldiers performed brave deeds. In the beginning, the infidels suffered a humiliating defeat but soon after the tables were turned against the Muslims due to their own fault. The infidels surrounded the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) and made a stormy attack. Hazrat Ali (AS) was the only soldier of Allah who guarded the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) tenaciously and fought dauntlessly against the enemy. The remaining Muslims soldiers rushed to the mountains to save themselves. The injuries received by the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) were washed and dressed by Hazrat Ali (AS) and Hazrat Syeda Fatima (SA). Hazrat Ali (AS) received seventeen wounds in this battle.
The Jews of Khaibar were very strong and mischievous. They used to lose no chance to create a disturbance and damage the image of Islam. This compelled the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) to take necessary action against them, while Hazrat Ali (AS) was left behind in Madina to keep hold of the Islamic government. First of all, the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) gave command of a Muslim force to Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) to go and conquer Khaibar but he returned unsuccessful because the army of Khaibar used to fire from the holes of the walls. Then Hazrat Umar (RA) was sent with Muslim force but he could not subdue the Jews. Anyhow, the attempt to conquer Khaibar continued for 39 days and the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) tested 39 Sahaba Kiraam but none of them got victory. Then the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) declared: “Tomorrow, the standard will be in the hand of an intrepid fellow to whom flight is unknown. He will be a person who loves Allah and His Messenger and whom Allah and His Messenger love a lot. He will carry the day and capture the fort of Khaibar”. In the prayer of the next morning, the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) summoned Hazrat Ali (AS). The Holy Prophet (SAWAW) asked all companions to keep watch all around and whoever gives him the news of the arrival of Hazrat Ali (AS) will be rewarded generously. Listening to this announcement, one of the companions Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) mounted a little high mountain and started watching above in the sky. The companions condemned him as to why he is watching above in the sky and stated that Hazrat Ali (AS) would come through the earth roots. He replied, “It is not my belief that the great personality of Hazrat Ali (AS) would come through the earth roots, he would surely come through the sky roots. The companions said, “Let this mad do whatever he wants” and they all started watching the earth roots. Hazrat Ali (AS)’s horse landed exactly on the mountain where Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) was waiting for him. Hazrat Ali (AS) loved him by virtue of his nice belief about him, and asked what kind of reward the Messenger of Allah announced for giving him the news of my arrival. Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) humbly stated, “O my Master! I don’t know nor do I need anything else except your blessings”. Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) asked for permission to hasten to give the Messenger of Allah news about your arrival lest any other companion may not give the news and get the reward. In reply, Hazrat Ali (AS) said, “None other than you have seen me coming from the sky and you deserve for the reward. In short, Haarat Salman Farsi (RA) accompanied by Hazrat Ali (AS) reported the Messenger of Allah and asked for the next orders, while the other companions were still watching around the earth roots. The Messenger of Allah asked Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) to announce loudly that Hazrat Ali (AS) has reached and they should come back. The Messenger of Allah was very much pleased on the arrival of Hazrat Ali (AS) and asked Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) to demand the reward. He replied humbly, O my Master! I need nothing but your kindness and blessings”. However, the Messenger of Allah rewarded Hazrat Salman Farsi (RA) with some portion of knowledge of Allah’s hidden mysteries. When other companions saw that Hazrat Ali (AS) has really reached, they thought from which earth root he reached but could not understand.
The Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) entrusted the standard to Hazrat Ali (AS) and armed him with his own sword celebrated under the title of “Zulfiqar”. Hazrat Ali (AS) went towards the fortress with the soldiers of Islam and stormed the fort. The door of the fort was very weighty and bulky in size that 70 employees of the fort used to open and close it collectively. Hazrat Ali (AS) reached the door and broke it with one hand in such a way that his companions were wondering on his power. Al-Harith, the General of the enemy tried to repulse the attack but Hazrat Ali (AS) struck him down. His brother Marhab became purple with rage. He was a man of gigantic stature. He rushed at Hazrat Ali (AS) who made a counter attack upon his adversary. The giant fell in a huddled heap with a thundering noise. The Jewish soldiers fled and resistence was swept away. The warriors of Islam captured the fortress. They offered prayers in its courtyard.
At the time of the conquest of Mecca when the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) entered the city victoriously, he took the standard from Sa’d and handed it over to Hazrat Ali (AS). The first step that the Messenger of Allah took, was to shatter three hundred and sixty idols placed in the Kabah. He pierced the eyes of Hubal and said: “Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Verily, falsehood is a fleeting thing”.
Hazrat Ali (AS) smashed this statue into a thousand pieces. One of the statues was so lofty that it was not easily accessible to smash. The Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) asked Hazrat Ali (AS) to climb on his back to destroy that idol. Hazrat Ali (AS) stood upon the shoulders of his Master and had a novel experience regarding which he said, “while I was standing on the blessed shoulders of the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam), I felt myself lifted to the heavens”. However, he struck the effigy. It fell to the ground and crumbled away in the dust.
During the battle of Hunain, the Muslim army was unable to withstand the volley of arrows of the foe. Some of them shattered but Hazrat Ali (AS) faced the situation boldly. He put numerous opponents to death with his sword which worked miracles.
He remained passive during the expedition of Tabuk because the Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) directed him to do so by saying: “You stand to me in the same relation in which Haroon stood to Musa (AS) except that there is to be no Prophet after me”.
In the Treaty of Hudaibiya, Hazrat Ali (AS) acted as the Scribe for writing the Treaty. He wrote Muhammad (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) as Messenger of Allah. The infidels objected to it. They wanted him to write Muhammad (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) son of Abdullah (RA). The Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam) consented to do so for the sake of peace but Hazrat Ali (AS) did not like to delete the words with his own hands. The reason was that as Holy Quran states: “Allah is sufficient as the witness of His Holy Prophet’s prophecy and he who has the knowledge of the Book” i.e. Hazrat Ali (AS). The Holy Prophet (Suallu Alaihe Wa Aalehi Wasallam), however, deleted the words with his own hand.