Abraham was tested in many ways, including his readiness to sacrifice his son for God, when a call from God said (the Qur'an, Chapter "The Rangers" (Safat), Verse 104:
"And we called out to him saying: 0 Abraham! You have indeed shown the truth of the vision." When Abraham successfully passed through various trials, the Qur'an said about him: Chapter "The Bee", (Nahl) Verse 120:
"Surely Abraham was an exemplar, obedient to Allah, upright, and he was not of the polytheists."
He stood alone fighting against all unbelievers, and it was then that God called him an Imam, a leader and a model for others to follow. Imam Ali is a perfect man since all the human values have had their maximum growth in him and in a harmonious manner.
You have watched the low and high tide in the sea, which is caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon. The spirit of man, too, as well as that of society shows a similar tide, Human beings undergo such ebb and flow, and this attraction is sometimes to one direction to such an extent that all other values are forgotten. In this way, they are like defective beings that show growth in one respect, and lack of it in other respects. Society, too, may lack harmony in its development; this is true that it is not wholly deviated but it is very often corrupted in one way or another.
One of the human values confirmed by Islam is devotion, which is communion with God. Of course, in Islam every act performed for God is devotion. Having a job and a trade to support oneself and one's family and to serve society is in itself a form of devotion. But devotion, in its special sense, is private communion with God in prayer, hymns, remaining awake for vital acts at nights etc., all of which are part of religion and can not be omitted. Sometimes, you see individuals or society being drawn only to one aspect of devotion, and performing the recommended acts of prayer, ablution etc, all of which, done in excess, will ruin society.
Sometimes this way of devotion becomes fashionable in an Islamic society, and once one gets used to it, it is difficult to observe moderation. Such a person cannot say to himself that God has created him a human being, not an angel, and as a human being he should develop every aspect of himself harmoniously.
It was once reported to the Prophet that a number of his companions had sunk in devotion. The Prophet felt uneasy, came to the mosque and shouted it out loud: "O People, what has happened to some groups who have appeared among my people. Even I as your Prophet do not show devotion in this way to keep awake all night. I rest part of the night and attend to my family. I do not observe fast every day. Those who are following their new way have deviated from my tradition:" Thus, when the Prophet notices that an Islamic value is about to eliminate other Islamic values, he combats this trend severely,
Amr ibn Aas had two sons called Abdullah and Muhammad. The former was noble and advised his father to follow the way of Ali, while the latter, who like his father loved the world and position, urged him to follow Muawiah. Abdullah was mostly inclined to devotion. One day, the Prophet met him on the way and said: "I hear that you spend the whole night in prayer and the whole day fasting." He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said: "But I am not so, and I do not agree with your way."
Sometimes a society is drawn towards asceticism. Asceticism is a fact which is undeniable, and is a value which must exist in a prosperous society. But when everything in a society is based on asceticism and nothing else, there is something wrong with it. Another value is to serve people, and it is fully supported by Islam, the Prophet and the Qur'an in Chapter "The Cow" (Baghara), Verse 177: