The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.S) was once sitting when a shepherd came up trembling due to what he had observed. Looking at that shepherd from a distance the Prophet said to the companions: The story of this man is indeed very strange.
When he approached and came close, the Prophet told him: Tell us, why are you shaking so much? That man replied: It is because of a very wonderful and awful happening. I was in the midst of my goats, when suddenly a wolf arrived and took away one of my animals. I at once hit that animal with a stone from a sling and got the lamb released. Then that wolf came from another side and took off another lamb, which also I got from his clutches as before. This happened four times. Finally that wolf came up with its female and was about to attack my lambs. Again I intended to stone it but lo, it sat upright and spoke up: Are you not ashamed of depriving me of my food? Why do you not allow me to take what Almighty has created for my survival? Do I not need sustenance?
This strange happening made me speak up: How wonderful that a tongue-less wolf talks like a human being! Thereupon that wolf told me: May I tell you about an event which is more wonderful than my talking like men?
Once upon a time the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) was sitting between two rocks, giving information about the past and future to people. But the Jews, despite knowing through their religious books, that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) was absolutely truthful and more graceful and excellent, deny him and do not believe in his messengership. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) resides in Medina, giving remedy for every ailment, both physical and spiritual. So O Shepherd! Go there and put faith in him that is in Muhammad (S.A.W.S), so that you may be protected from divine chastisement. Go to Medina and become an obedient Muslim to save yourself from divine hardships and other calamities.
Hearing this, I said to that wolf: By God, I am extremely astonished by your words. I now feel ashamed for preventing you from devouring these goats. Here they are. Take and eat at your will. I do not come in your way now.
Then the wolf replied: O servant of Allah! Be thankful to Almighty Allah, Who included you in those who take lesson from events showing Signs of Allah and who obey His commands. But still more hard-hearted is one who disregards the rights of Ali (A.S), the brother of Muhammad (S.A.W.S) despite observing his greatness and in spite of the bounties, which he grants from Allah. He also sees the vastness of his knowledge which is unparalleled and his courage and bravery which are also same. Equally incomparable are his sacrifices in defense of Islam. He also knows that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) has ordered all to befriend his friends and to oppose his foes. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) has also stated unequivocally that Almighty Allah will not accept any good deed of his (Ali’s) opponent, however great that fellow may be. Despite all this, that unfortunate fellow opposes Ali (A.S) and oppresses him and befriends his foes. It is much more astonishing than your preventing me from eating the goats.
The shepherd then asked the wolf: Will it ever so happen against Ali (A.S)? The wolf replied: Yes. Rather worse than that. The evildoers will, shortly, kill him and his innocent offspring and arrest their womenfolk. Despite these evil-doings they will claim to be Muslims. This is stranger than all others and hence Almighty Allah has decided that we, the wolves, will in Hell, tear them into pieces and this torment and chastisement of these evildoers will give us real pleasure. Their wailings will make us joyful.
Then I said: Had there not been now in my possession, some goats which are the trusts of other people, I would have left them here and proceeded to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) to be fortunate enough to kiss his holy feet.
The wolf said: Then you may now at once go there and leave these goats in my protection. I’ll take care of them on your behalf. The near-most angels will protect me, because I am a friend of Allah’s friend (Wali).
In short, I entrusted my goats to that wolf and its female and came to you.
At that moment, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) glanced at his audience and found that some were pleased, but some were thinking that it was a made up story and they doubted its reliability. Their faces showed disbelief. Such hypocrites began to tell one another in a low voice that this Muhammad (S.A.W.S) had hobnobbed in advance with this man to entangle unaware people in his snare.
When the Prophet came to know about this through divine revelation he said smiling: If you have doubt about what this shepherd has said, let it be with you. But I am convinced that he is telling the truth and that person has also believed in the words of this shepherd that Ali was with me in the heavenly domain (Arsh) of the Almighty in the world of spirits and who will also take rounds with me in the canals of life in Paradise and who will also follow me in escorting good people to Paradise and whose light (Noor) was with mine in pure loins and holy wombs. That light (Noor) even now walks with me rising ranks of excellence. The costly dresses of knowledge (Ilm), tolerance (Hilm) and wisdom (Aql) given to me by Allah have been given to him too. He is my brother who got separated from me, when my heavenly light (Noor) was transplanted in the loins of Abdullah and his in those of Abu Talib (A.S). He is my companion in attaining ranks and he is fully just, that he is Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S), the Siddiq-e-Akbar and the Saaqi of Hauze Kauthar and his guardianship (Wilayat) and love (Mawaddat) is a treasure for the believers. He is the pillar of religion and its support. He knows most of what I know and he is a forerunner in wars for truth. He is brave and courageous, while facing my enemies like a lion. He became a believer first of all others and he is above all in being happy at what Allah desires. He is also unique in wiping out the disobedient and rebels. He is able to defeat false allegations. He testifies the words of this shepherd. Allah has said that his eyes and ears and hands are like my eyes, ears and hands. He has been made my supporter and helper. So when he is with me, I don’t care for those who give up my company and go wayward. I have no grief for such deviators.
This perfect gentleman testifies what this shepherd has said and states that Almighty Allah will decorate Paradise with him and his friends and fill up the Hell with his enemies. No one from my Ummah can try to equal him. When he is pleased, I care the least for what others dislike and when he has true affection for me, I do not fear the enmity of others. This is Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S). Even if all in the world and the sky become disbelievers, Allah will make him help His religion himself alone. If the entire creations become his enemy, he alone will rise up to oppose them all and sacrifice his life to help the religion of Allah and to nullify the path of Satan.
Thereafter he said: The eyewitness of this event is not far away. Let us go to the herd and see those two wolves. If they talk with us and if we observe them grazing the sheep, the fact will be testified. Otherwise we will stand on our earlier view. Finally the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) along with the Ansaar and Muhajireen, proceeded towards that herd. Observing it from some distance, the shepherd exclaimed: That is my herd. The hypocrites asked: Where is the pair of wolves? Getting nearer, they saw that the two wolves were taking rounds protecting the herd. Whenever any of the sheep separated from the herd, the wolves drove them back.
The Prophet said: If you desire, I may prove that my only aim was to make you hear the wolves talk. The companions replied: Yes, O Allah’s Messenger, Do so. Then the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) said: You may encircle me, hiding me from the eyes of the wolves. After compliance with this command, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) asked the shepherd: Just go to the wolves and say: Which one of you had talked with me about Muhammad?
Then the male wolf began to approach one person and returning from him to another one finally reached the middle of the herd and then came up with its female to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S). Then by the Might of Almighty Allah, both spoke up: Our Salaam to you, O Messenger of the Lord of the worlds and O the best among the creation! Then they rubbed their cheeks on ground and rolling and tossing about on ground said: We are inviting people towards your honor and we sent this shepherd to you.
Then addressing the hypocrites the Prophet said: Now no excuse is left for the disbeliever and hypocrites. Then he added: Now, this shepherd’s words about my messengership have come true. Now if you like, you may also get testified the other thing, that is, the truthfulness of Ali (A.S). The companions replied: Oh yes, Messenger of Allah!
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) then said: All of you now encircle Ali (A.S). The companions encircled Ali (A.S). So when they hid Ali behind them, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S), addressing the wolves said: Just as you pointed to me and gave my sign to the people, give the sign of Ali (A.S) also so that people may know that what you said in his praise is true.
Hearing this, the wolves came forward. They began to look closely at the faces and feet of all present there. They left all and finally when they reached Ali (A.S) they rubbed their cheeks on ground and rolling and tossing at his feet spoke up: Peace be on you, O Mine of magnanimity, peak of intelligence, Scholar of the earlier scrolls, legatee of Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W.S), one whose friends have been made fortunate by Almighty Allah and whose foes have been declared as doomed forever by Almighty Lord. Allah has made you the chief of the progeny of Muhammad (S.A.W.S) and of the holy family members. Peace be on you, O one whom all on earth if they befriend you like those who have befriended you in the heavens all of them would have become good and selected. Salam on you, one about whom it has been destined that if anybody donates everything between the earth and the sky in God’s path but with even an iota of grudge against you in his heart that fellow would earn nothing but hellfire and wrath of God.
The companions became extremely astonished at all this. They said: We never knew that even animals are so respectful and obedient to Ali (A.S).
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S) said: You are amazed by seeing only one animal’s obedience. Who knows how will be your astonishment if you observe how much high is the rank of Ali (A.S) in the eyes of all the animals on the land and sea and angels in high heavens. By Allah! I have seen the image in the sky near Sidratul Muntaha. Almighty had created that image to fulfill the longing of angels who were eager to see him. There I witnessed that the respect and humility shown by angels to the image of Ali (A.S) was much more than the humility shown by these two wolves. Why should all wise people and angels not become respectful for him about whom the Almighty has, swearing by His self said: I will raise the rank in Paradise equal to 1,00,000 years’ journey in favor of one who shows even an iota of humility towards Ali (A.S). So now you can understand that Ali’s rank is much more than what you are being shown here.[Source: Tafseer of Imam Hasan Askari(as), Sura Baqara, Verse 23-25]