The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) belongs to all of humanity. He does not only belong to Shia Muslims and Muslims in general. All of humanity is humble and respectful before the greatness and beautiful aspects of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), except for those people who do not know him. Therefore, you can see that the panegyrists of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) are not only Muslims. A Christian also praises the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). It is not only Shia Muslims who praise him. As well as Shia Muslims, the community of Sunni Muslims in all parts of the world of Islam speaks more enthusiastically about the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) than about other great personalities of the early Islamic era. Why? What is the reason? The reason is the greatness of this Imam, the kind of greatness which some people tried to deny throughout the life of that great personality and during several centuries after his demise. But they failed. The brightness of the sun cannot be denied because it is the sun and it naturally shines and gives warmth and light. Can this be denied?
What are the characteristics that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is known for? What is this greatness that Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) showed? Where is this greatness? What are the dimensions of this greatness? This is one of the issues which no human being except for an infallible person can claim to understand because it has deep and unknown dimensions and it is like an ocean. In an ocean, we can see storms, waves, water and astonishing creatures, but only the person who has managed to reach the depth of the ocean can understand it. No one has managed to understand the depth of the ocean-like character of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), except for those who had access to sources of divine knowledge and who benefited from divine blessings. What we see is only the surface of things.
We can only see some signs. Besides, not all of us can see these signs. Not all of us can see the deep points in Nahjul Balaghah and in the sayings of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Only great scholars and wise people with deep knowledge can understand these points. What we see in the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) are these things: his courage, his praying, his liberated outlook, his commitment to counseling the people to do good and advising them against evil, his jihad, his sacrifices and self-less efforts, his awareness of the developments of the time, his capability to know human beings, his mercy and kindness towards the weak, his fearlessness in the face of arrogant, oppressive and autocratic people, his persistence in administering justice among the people and his enmity towards oppression. These things are only the surface of this deep ocean. Nevertheless, you can see how complicated, astonishing and beautiful this surface is. Whom can we find to enjoy all these outstanding characteristics? The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is like this. And it is not only Shia Muslims who say this.