The aforementioned Hadith from the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) came to the cognizance of millions, when a milestone of magnificence was reached in Hartford, the capital of the state of Connecticut, which is nestled at the doorsteps of the New England region of North Eastern United States. The surrounding of this historical event was the campus of Hartford Seminary, which has been operating a School of Divinity, for the past century and a quarter, in a vicinity where the Ivy league giants such as Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown and a few others dominate the academic landscape of North America. The inauguration of the Imam Ali Chair for Shi’i Studies and Dialogue Among the Islamic Schools was the center peace of the event that took place during the evening hours of this past Friday. Homages and Homilies were showered by one scholar after another on the life and time of Amir-ul-Momineen, a towing title that can not be claimed by anyone else, till the Day of Judgement.
The dream of converting this paramount and promising idea into a practical reality was masterminded by none other than Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, a frail-looking and humble, but one of the most powerful intellectual on Islam. He is also an outstanding author of numerous books that pertain to the history of Islam. He was successful in engineering the process of establishing Imam Ali Chair with the zeal and zest, not matched by any of his contemporaries. Dr. Ayoub was masterful in manipulating the matters of probability in his favor, so as to secure measurable outcomes. Dr. Heidi Hadsell, the president of Hartford Seminary and her immense contribution in bringing this project to fruition, despite insurmountable odds, and opposition from the Salafi Muslim community of the Seminary, can never be discounted. Although tireless and troublesome to their opponents, both Drs. Ayoub and Hadsell along with Shia Muslim communities of Europe, East Africa and North America deserve all the words of commendations, that exist within the lexicon of lovers of Ahl Ul Bayt.
This most sacred undertaking, in the name of a chair, that is endowed for a personality whose words and wisdom from the collection of his sermons as well as his letters are compiled In the famous book known as Nahj-Ul- Balagha (The Peak of Eloquence). Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations did not hesitate a bit, in disseminating Ali Ibn Abu Talib’s letter to his appointed governor Malike Ashtar, on the subject of governance, and challenging his subordinates and others to emulate the contents of the letter in its entirety and adopt the ways and means outlined so solidly and sincerely by Mowla-e-Muttaqeeyan. The responsibility, henceforth, falls on the faithful and forthright shoulders of the keepers of this complete and colossal Chair. The message of Ali Ibn Abu Talib, the most loyal confidant, com padre and the commander of the prophet of Islam will, indeed resonate amongst people of all faiths, without any opposition and obstruction