The Elite Guard
Shurṭat al-Khamīs (Arabic: شرطة الخمیس) (means the Elite Guard) was a group of devoted fighters at the time of Imam 'Ali (a) who had dedicated their lives to support that Imam (a).
Shurtat literally means group, army, condition, and treaty. In usage, it is the first unit of army that take part in the battle and are ready to sacrifice themselves. Army is meant by Khamis [in Arabic literally means five], because the army used to be divided into five groups of forerunners, front, right wing, left wing, and the heart.
Regarding the status of Shurtat al-Khamis, Imam Ali (a) once said, "Before you, this treaty (Shurtat al-Khamis) was made among a group of Jews, no one of them was martyred unless he was either the prophet of his own tribe, or the prophet of his town, or a prophet by himself; And you are similar to them except that you are not prophets."
Shurtat al-Khamis' members possessed some attributes including being constantly ready and equipped and having constant companionship with Imam Ali (a). In the battles, they used to fight in the front line. They were always ready to serve Imam 'Ali (a) and never delayed obeying the Imam's (a) orders. They had promised to be loyal to Imam (a) to the death. They had detached themselves from this world and were knowledgeable and pious men. They belonged to various tribes. Even when there were no battles, they were ready and accompanied Imam (a) and executed important missions such as administrating legal punishments.
Some members of Shurtat al-Khamis are as follows:
- Salman al-Farsi
- Abu Dhar al-Ghifari
- 'Ammar b. Yasir
- Abu Sasan al-Ansari
- Abu 'Amr al-Ansari
- Sahl b. Hunayf
- 'Uthman b. Hunayf
- 'Amr b. Hamiq al-Khuza'i
- Maytham al-Tammar
- Rushayd al-Hajari
- Habib b. Muzahir al-Asadi
- Muhammad b. Abi Bakr
- Malik al-Ashtar
- Suwayd b. Ghafla al-Ju'fi
- Harith b. 'Abd Allah al-Hamdani
- Uways al-Qarani
- Kumayl b. Ziyad al-Nakha'i
- Asbagh b. Nubata
- Wahb b. 'Abd Allah Maslama
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