Islamic Thought


Selections from wise sayings and preachings of Ameerul Momineen including his replies to questions and short utterances uttered for diverse purposes.

Ameerul Momineen, peace be upon him, said:

  1. During civil disturbance be like an adolescent camel who has neither a back strong enough for riding nor udders for milking.

  2. He who adopts greed as a habit devalues himself; he who discloses his hardship agrees to humiliation; and he who allows his tongue to overpower his soul debases the soul.

  3. Miserliness is shame; cowardice is a defect; poverty disables an intelligent man from arguing his case; and a destitute person is a stranger in his home town. Incapability is a catastrophe; endurance is bravery; abstinence is riches; self-restraint is a shield (against sin).

  4. The best companion is submission (to Allah's will). Knowledge is a venerable estate; good manners are new dresses; and thinking is clear mirror.

  5. The bosom of the wise is the safe of his secrets; cheerfulness is the bond of friendship; effective forbearance is the grave of shortcomings and mutual reconciliation is the covering for shortcomings.

  6. He who admires himself attracts many opponents against him, charity is an effective cure, and the actions of people in their present life will be before their eyes in the next life.

  7. How wonderfulis man that he speaks with fat, talks with a piece of flesh, hears with a bone and breathes through a hole.

  8. When this world advances towards anyone (with its favours) it attributes to him other's good; and when it turns away from him it deprives him of his own good.

  9. Meet people in such a manner that if you die they should weep for you and if you live they should long for you.

  10. When you gain power over your adversary pardon him by way of thanks for being able to overpower him.

  11. The most helpless of all men is he who cannot find a few brothers during his life, but still more helpless. is he who finds such a brother but loses him.

  12. When you get (only) small favours do not push them away through lack of gratefulness.

  13. He who is abandoned by near ones is dear to remote ones.

  14. Every mischief monger cannot even be reproved.

  15. All matters are subject to destiny so much so that sometimes death results from effort.

  16. Imam was asked to explain the saying of Prophet that “banish your old age (by hair dye) and do not acquire resemblance to Jews.” Imam replied, “The Prophet (pbuh) said this at a time when the religion was confined to a few, but now that its expanse has widened and it is firmly settled everyone is free in his action.

  17. Ameerul Momineen (pbuh) said about those who avoided fighting on his side: They abandoned right but did not support wrong.

  18. He who gallops with loose rein collides with death.

  19. Forgive the shortcomings of considerate people because when they fall into error Allah raises them up.

  20. The consequence of fear is disappointment and of bashfulness is frustration. Opportunity passes away like the cloud. Therefore, make use of good opportunities.

  21. We have a right. If it is allowed to us well and good, otherwise, we will ride on the hind part of the camel (like lowly people) even though the night journey may be long.

  22. He whose deeds accord (him) a back position cannot be given a front position because of his lineage.

  23. To render relief to the grief-stricken and to provide comfort in hardship means the atonement of great sins.

  24. O son of Adam, when you see that your Lord, the Glorified, bestows His favours oil you while you are disobeying Him, you should fear Him.

  25. Whenever a person conceals a thing in his heart it manifests itself through unintentional words from his tongue and (in) the expressions of his face.

  26. Keep walking in your sickness as long as you can.

  27. The best abstemiousness is to conceal it.

  28. When you are running away from the world and death is approaching, there is no question of delay in the encounter.

  29. Fear! Fear! By Allah, He has hidden your sins so much so as though He has forgiven.

  30. Imam was asked about faith when he said:  Faith stands on four supports: on endurance, conviction, justice and jihad (fighting in the way of Allah).      

    Endurance again has four aspects: eagerness, fear, abstention (from the world) and anticipation (of death). So, whoever is eager for Paradise will ignore the passions; whoever fears the Fire (of Hell) will refrain from prohibited acts; whoever abstains from the world takes hardships lightly; and whoever anticipates death will hasten towards good deeds.

    Conviction also has four aspects: prudent perception, intelligenceand understanding, drawing lessons from instructive things and following the precedents of past people. So, whoever perceives with prudence, wise knowledge will be manifest to him, and to whomsoever wise knowledge becomes manifest he appreciates instructive objects, and whoever appreciates instructive objects he is just like past people.

    Justice also has four aspects: keen understanding, deep knowledge, a good power of decision and firm forbearance. Therefore,whoever understands comes to acquire depth of knowledge; whoever acquires depth of knowledge drinks from the spring of judgement; and whoever exercises forbearance never commits evil actions in his affairs and leads a praiseworthy life among the people.

    Jihad also has four aspects: ask others to do good, keep away others from doing evil, fight (in way of Allah) sincerely and firmly on all occasions, and detest the vicious. So, whoever asks others to do good provides strength to believers; whoever desists others from evil humiliates unbelievers; whoeverfights sincerely on all occasions discharges all obligations; and whoever detests the vicious and becomes angry for the sake of Allah, then Allah will be angry in favour of him and will keep him and will keep him pleased on the Day of Judgement.

  31. Unbelief stands on four supports: hankering after whims, mutual quarrelling, deviation from truth, and dissension. So, whoever hankers after whims does not incline towards right: whoever quarrels much on account of ignorance remains permanently blinded from right; whoever deviates from truth, for him good becomes evil and evil becomes good and he remains intoxicated with misguidance; and whoever makes a breach (with Allah and His Messenger), his path becomes difficult, his affairs become complicated and his way of escape becomes narrow.

    Doubt has also four aspects: unreasonableness, fear, wavering and undue submission to every thing. So, he who adopts unreasonablenessas his way, for him there is no dawn after the night; he who is afraid of what befalls him has to run on his heels; he who wavers in doubt Satan tramples him under their feet and he who submits to the destruction of this and tile next world succumbs to it.

    as-Sayyid ar-Radi says: We have left out the remaining portion of this saying for fear of length and for being outside the purpose of this chapter.

  32. The doer of good is better than the good itself, and the doer of evil is worse than the evil itself.

  33. Be generous but not extravagant; be thrifty but not miserly.

  34. The best of riches is the abandonment of desires.

  35. If someone is quick in saying about people what they dislike, they speak about him that about which they have no knowledge.

  36. Whoever prolongs his desire ruins his actions.

  37. Once Imam, was proceeding towards Syria when countrymen of a1-Anbar met him. Seeing him they began to walk on foot and ran in front of him. He enquired why they were doing so and they replied that this was the way they respected their chiefs. Then he said: By Allah, this does not benefit your chiefs. You are belabouring yourself in this world and earning misery for the next world by it. How harmful is the labour in whose wake there is punishment and how profitable is the case with which there is deliverance from the Fire (of Hell).

  38. Ameerul Momineen (pbuh), said to his son al- Hasan:O' my son, learn four things and (a further) four things from me. Nothing will harm you if you practise them. That the richest of riches is intelligence; the biggest destitution is foolishness; the wildest wildness is vanity and the best achievement is goodness of the moral character.

    O my son, you should avoid making friends with a fool because he may intend to benefit you but may harm you; you should avoid making friends with a miser because he will run away from you when you need him most; you should avoid making friends with a sinful person because he will sell you for nought; and you should avoid making friends with a liar because he is like a mirage, making you feel far things near and near things far.

  39. Supererogatory worship cannot bring about nearness to Allah if it hampers the obligatory.

  40. The tongue of the wise man is behind his heart, and the heart of the fool is behind his tongue.

  41. This very sense has been related from Imam in the following version: The heart of a fool is in his mouth while the tongue of the wise man is in his heart.

  42. Imam, peace be upon him, said to one of his companions during his sickness: May Allah make your illness a means for writing off your sins, because there is no reward for sickness but that it erases sins and makes them fall like (dried) leaves. Reward lies in saying by the tongue and doing something with the hands and feet. Certainly, Allah, the Glorified, admits into Paradise by virtue of truthfulness of intention and chastity of heart to whomsoeverHe wishes from among His creatures.

  43. Imam (a.s.), said about Khabbab ibn al-Aratt. May Allah have mercy on Khabbab ibn al-Aratt since he accepted Islam willingly, immigrated (from Mecca) obediently, remained content with what sufficed him, was pleased with Allah and lived the life of a mujahid (holy soldier).

  44. Blessed is the person who kept in mind the next life, acted so as to be able to render account, remained content with what sufficed him and remained pleased with Allah.

  45. Even if I strike the nose of a believer with this, my sword, for hating me he will not hate me, and even if I pile all the wealth of the world before a hypocrite (Muslim) for loving me he will not love me. This is because it is a verdict pronounced by the tongue of the revered Prophet, may Allah bless him and his descendants, as he said:

    O Ali, a believer will never hate you arid a hypocrite (Muslim) will never love you.

  46. The sin that displeases you is better in the view of Allah than the virtue which makes you proud.

  47. The worth of a man is according to his courage, his truthfulness is according to his balance of temper, his valour is according to his self-respect and his chasteness is according to his sense of shame.

  48. Victory is by determination; determination is by the turning over of thoughts. and thoughts are formed by guarding secrets.

  49. Fear the attack of a noble person when he is hungry, and that of an ignoble person when he is satiated.

  50. The hearts of the people are like wild beasts. Whoever tames them, they would pounce upon him

  51. So long as your position is good, your defects will remain covered.

  52. The most capable of pardoning is he who is most powerful to punish.

  53. Generosity is that which is by one's own initiative, because giving on being asked is either out of self-respect or to avoid rebuke.

  54. There is no wealth like wisdom, no destitution like ignorance, no inheritance like refinement and no support like consultation.

  55. Patience is of two kinds, patience over what pains you, and patience against what you covet.

  56. With wealth a strange land is a homeland, while with destitution even a homelandis a strange land.

  57. Contentment is wealth that does not diminish.

  58. Wealth is the fountain head of passions.

  59. Whoever warns you is like one who gives you good tidings.

  60. The tongue is a beast; if it is let loose, it devours.

  61. Woman is a scorpion whose grip is sweet.

  62. If you are met with a greeting, give better greetings in return. If a hand of help is extended to you, do a better favour in return, although the credit would remain with the one who was first.

  63. The interceder is the wing of the seeker.

  64. The people of the world are like travellers who are being carried while they are asleep.

  65. A lack of friends means strangeness.

  66. To miss what one needs is easier than to beg from an inappropriate person.

  67. Do not feel ashamed for giving little. because refusal is smaller than that.

  68. Charity is the adornment of destitution . while gratefulness ( to Allah ) is the adornment of riches.

  69. If what you aim at does not come about then do not worry as to what you were.

  70. You will not find an ignorant person but at one extreme or the other (i.e. a person who neglects or a person who exaggerates).

  71. As intelligenceincreases, speech decreases.

  72. Time wears our bodies, renews desires, brings death nearer and takes away aspirations. Whoever is successful with it encounters grief and whoever misses its favours also undergoes hardships.

  73. Whoever places himself as a leader of the people should commence with educating his own self before educating others; and his teaching should be by his own conduct before teaching by the tongue. The person who teaches and instructs his own self is more entitled to esteem then he who teaches and instructs others.

  74. The breath of a man is a step towards his death.

  75. Every countable thing is to pass away and every expected thing must come about.

  76. If matters get mixed up then the last ones should be appreciated according to the previous One.

  77.  It is related when Dirar ibn Hamzah ad-Dibabi went to Muawiya. and Muawiya enquired from him about Imam, he said: I stand witness I have seen him on several occasions when night had spread and he was standing in the niche holding his heard, groaning like a man bitten by a snake and weeping as a grieved man, saying:

    O world, O world! Get away from me. Why do you present yourself to me? Or are you eager for me? You may not get that opportunity to impress me. Deceive some other person. I have no concern with you. I have divorced you thrice whereafter there is no restitution. Your life is short, your importance is little and your liking is humble. Alas! The provision is little, the way is long, the journey is far and the goal is hard to reach.

  78. A man enquired from Imam: Was our going to fight against the Syrians destined by Allah? Imam (a.s.) , gave a detailed reply, a selection from which is hereunder:

    Woe to you. You take it as a final and unavoidable destiny  (according to which we are bound to act). If it were so, there would have been no question of reward or chastisement and there would have been no sense in Allah's promises or warnings. (Allah, the Glorified, has ordered ills people to act by free will and has cautioned them and refrained them (from evil). He has placed easy obligations on them and has not put heavy obligations. He gives them much (reward) in return for little (action). He is disobeyed, not because He is overpowered. He is obeyed but not under force. He did not send prophets just for fun. He did not send down the Book for the people without purpose. He did not create the skies, the earth and all that is in between them in vain. That is the imagination of those who disbelieve; then woe to those who disbelieve - because of the fire. (Quran, 38:27)

  79. Take wise points from wherever they may be, because if a wise saying is in the bosom of a hypocrite it flutters in his bosom till it comes out and settles with others of its own category in the bosom of the believer.

  80. A wise saying is a lost article of the believer. Therefore, get wise sayings even though from people of hypocrisy.

  81. The worth of every man is in his, attainments.

  82. I impart to you five things which, if you ride your camels fast in search of them, you will find them worth it. No one of you should repose hope save in his Lord; no one of you should fear anything save his sin; no one should feel ashamed of saying "I do not know" when he is asked a matter which he does not know; no one should feel ashamed of learning a thing that he does not know; and you should practise endurance, because endurance is for belief what the head is for the body, so that just as there is no good in a body without the head there is no good in belief without endurance.

  83. I am below what you express and above what you feel in your heart.

  84. The survivors of the sword are large in number and have a large progeny.

  85. Whoever abandons saying, "I do not know" meets his destruction.

  86. I love the opinion of an old man more than the determination of a young man; (another version) more than the martyrdom of a young man.

  87. I wonder about the man who loses hope despite the possibility of seeking forgiveness.

  88. There were two sources of deliverance from Allah's punishment, one of which has been raised up, while the other is before you. You should therefore adhere to it. The source of deliverance, which has been raised up is the Messenger of Allah (S.A.) while source of deliverance that remains is seeking of forgiveness. Allah, the Glorified, said: And Allah is not to chastise them while you are among them, nor is Allah to chastise them while yet they seek forgiveness. (Quran, 8:33)

  89. If a man behaves properly in matters between himself and Allah, then Allah keeps proper the matters between him and other people; and if a man keeps proper tile affairs of his next life then Allah keeps proper for him the affairs of this world. Whoever is a preacher for himself is protected by Allah.

  90. The perfect jurist of Islam is he who does not let people lose hope from the mercy of Allah, does not make him despondent of Allah's kindnessand does not make him feel safe from Allah's punishment.

  91. The hearts get disgusted as bodies get disgusted; so look for beautiful wise saying for them.

  92. The most humble knowledge is that which remains on the tongue and the most honourable one is that which manifests itself through (the action of) the limbs and the organs of the body.

  93. None of you should say, "O Allah, I seek Your protection from trouble" because there is no one who is not involved in trouble, but whoeverseeks Allah's protection he should seek it from misguiding troubles, because Allah, the Glorified, says: And know you! That your wealth and your children are a temptation. (Quran, 8:28) and its meaning is that He tries people with wealth and progeny in order to distinguish one who is displeased with his livelihood from the one who is happy with what he has been given. Even though Allah, the Glorified, knows them more than they know themselves yet He does so to let them perform actions with which they earn reward or punishment because some of them like to have male and dislike to have female (children), and some like to amass wealth, and dislike adversity

  94. Imam Ali was asked the meaning of being well-off or well-provided for. Imam Ali replied, "Your welfare does not lie in your having enormous wealth and numerous children but it rests in your being highly educated and forbearing and in your being proud of your obedience to Allah. If you do a good deed then thank Allah for it and if you commit a sin then repent and atone for it. In this world there is a real welfare for two kinds of people, one is the person who, when commits a sin, atones for it and the other is anxious to do good as much as possible.

  95. Action accompanied by fear for Allah does not fail, and how can a thing fail that has been accepted.

  96. The persons most attached to the prophets are those who know most what the prophets have brought. Then Imam recited the verse: Verily, of men the nearest to Abraham are surely those who followed him and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe (Quran, 3:68). Then he said: The friend of Muhammad is he who obeys Allah, even though he may have no blood relationship, and the enemy of Muhammad is he who disobeys Allah even though he may have near kinship.

  97. Imam (S.A.) , heard about a Kharijite who said the mid-night prayers and recited the Quran, then he said: Sleeping in a state of firm belief is better than praying in a state of doubtfulness.

  98. When you hear a tradition test it according to the criterion of intelligence not that of mere hearing, because relaters of knowledge are numerous but those who guard it are few.

  99. Ameerul Momineen (pbuh) heard a man recite: Verily we are Allah's and verily to Him shall we return (Quran, 2:156). Then he said: Our saying inna li'llah" is an admission of His Majesty over us and our saying "wa inna ilayhi raji 'un" is an admission of our being mortal.

  100. Some people praised Imam to his face, he said: O my Allah! You know me better than myself, and I know myself more than they know. O my Allah, make us better than what they think and forgive us what they do not know.

  101. Fulfilment of (others') needs becomes a lasting virtue in three ways:-- regarding it small so that it attains bigness, concealing it so that it may manifest itself, and doing it quickly so that it becomes pleasant.

  102. Shortly a time will come for people when high positions will be given only to those who defame others, when vicious people will be regarded as witty and just will be regarded as weak. People will regard charity as a loss, consideration for kinship as an obligation, and worship grounds for claiming greatness among others. At this time, authority will be exercised through counsel of women, posting of young boys in high positions and running of the administration by eunuchs.

  103. Imam  was seen in worn-out clothes with patches and when it was pointed out to him he said: With it the heart fears, the mind feels humble and the believers emulate it. Certainly, this world and the next are two enemies against each other and two paths in different directions. Whoever likes this world and loves it hates the next arid is its enemy. These two are like East and West. If the walker between them gets near to one, he gets farther from the other. After all, they are like two fellow wives.

  104. It is related by Nawf al-Bikali that: I saw that one night Imam came out from his bed and looked at the stars, then he said to me: "O' Nawf, are you awake or sleeping?" I said: "I am awake, O, Ameerul Momineen." Then he said:

    O' Nawf! blessed be those who abstain from this world and are eager for the next world. They are the people who regard this earth as a floor; its dust as their bed-cloth; and its water as their perfume; they recite the Quran in low tones and supplicate in high tones and then they are cut off from the world like 'Isa (Jesus). O' Nawf! The prophet Dawud (David), peace be upon him, rose up at a similar hour one night and said, "This is the hour when whatever a person prays for is granted to him unless he is a tax-collector, an intelligence man, a police officer, a lute player or a drummer.

  105. Allah has placed on you some obligations which you should not ignore, has laid down for you limits which you should not transgress, has prohibited you from certain things which you should hot violate, and has kept quiet about certain things, but He has not left them out by mistake so that you should not find them.

  106. If people give up something relating to religion to set right their worldly affairs, Allah will inflict upon them something more harmful than that.

  107. Often the ignorance of a learned man ruins him while the knowledge he has does not avail him.

  108. In man there is a piece of flesh attached to him with a vein and it is the strangest thing in him. It is the heart. It has a store of wisdom and things contrary to wisdom. If it sees a ray of hope, eagerness humiliates it and when eagerness increases, greed ruins it. If disappointment overtakes it, grief kills it. If anger rises in it, a serious rage develops. If it is blessed with pleasure, it forgets to be cautious. If it becomes fearing, it becomes heedless. If peace extends all round, it becomes neglectful. If it earns wealth, freedom from care puts it in the wrong. if trouble befalls it, impatience makes it humble. If it faces starvation, distress overtakes it. If hunger attacks it, weakness makes it sit down. If its eating increases, heaviness of stomach pains it. Thus, every shortness is harmful to it and every excess is injurious to it.

  109. We (the members of the Prophet's family) are like the pillow in the middle. He who lags behind has to come forward to meet it while he who has exceeded the bounds has to return to it.

  110. No one can establish the rule of Allah, the Glorified, except he who shows no relenting (in the matter of right), who does not behave like wrong doers and who does-not run after objects of greed.

  111. Sahl ibn Hunayf al-Ansari died at Kufah after his return from the battle of Siffin and was very much loved by Imam. On this occasion Ameerul Momineen said: Even if a mountain had loved me, it would have crumbled down.

  112. Whoever loves us, members of the Household (of the Prophet), should be prepared to face destitution.

  113. No wealth is more profitable than wisdom, no loneliness is more estranging than vanity, no wisdom is as good as tact, no honour is like fear from Allah, no companion is like the goodness of moral character, no inheritance is like civility, no guide is like promptitude, no trade is like virtuous acts, no profit is like Divine reward, no self- control is like inaction in time of doubt, no abstention is like that from prohibitions, no knowledge is like thinking, no worship is like the discharge of obligation, no belief is like modesty and endurance, no attainment is like humility, no honour is like knowledge, no power is like forbearance, and no support is more reliable than consultation.

  114. At a time when virtue is in vogue in the world and among people, if a person entertains an evil suspicion about another from whom nothing evil has ever been seen, then he has been unjust. And at a time when vice is in vogue in the world and among people, if a man entertains a good idea about another person he has flung himself in peril.

  115. It was said to Imam: How are you, O' Imam? and he replied: How can he be whom life is driving towards death, whose state of healthiness can change into sickness any moment and who is to be caught (by death) from his place of safety.

  116. There are many people who are given time (by Allah) through good treatment towards them, and many who are deceived because their sinful activities are veiled (by Allah), and many who are enamoured by good talk about themselves. And Allah does not try anyone as seriously as He tries him whom He allows time (to remain sinful).

  117. Two categories of persons will face ruin on account of me: he who loves me with exaggeration, and he who hates me intensely.

  118. To miss an opportunity brings about grief.

  119. The exampleof the world is like a serpent. It is soft to the touch but its inside is full of venom. An ignorant person who has fallen into deceit is attracted towards it but a wise and intelligent man keeps on his guard against it.

  120. Imam was asked about Quraysh, when he replied: As for Banu Makhzum they are the blossoms of Quraysh. It is delightful to talk to their men and marry their women. As for Banu 'Abd Shams, they are farsightedand cautious about all that is hidden from them. As for ourselves (Banu Hashim) we spend whatever we get and are very generous in offering ourselves in death. Consequently, those people are more numerous, more contriving and more ugly while we are more eloquent, well-wishing and handsome.

  121. What a difference there is between two kinds of actions: an act whose pleasure passes away but its (ill) consequence remains, and. the act whose hardship passes away but its reward stays.

  122. Imam was accompanying funeral when he heard someone laugh. Then he said : Is it that death has been ordained only for others? Is it that right is obligatory only on others? Is it that those whom we see departing on their journey of death will come back to us? We lay them down in their graves and then enjoy their estate (as if we will live for good after them). We have ignored every preacher, man or woman, and have exposed ourselves to every catastrophe.

  123. Blessed be he who humbles himself, whose livelihood is pure, whose heart is chaste, whose habits are virtuous, who spends his savings (in the name of Allah), who prevents his tongue from speaking nonsense, who keeps people safe from evil, who is pleased with the (Prophet's) sunnah, and who is unconnected with innovation (in religion).

  124. The jealousy of a woman (with co-wives) is heresy, while the jealousy of a man is a part of belief.

  125. I am definingIslam as no one has defined before me: Islam is submission, submission is conviction, conviction is affirmation, affirmation is acknowledgement, acknowledgement is discharge (of obligations), and discharge of obligations is action.

  126. I wonder at the miser who speeds towards the very destitution from which he wants to run away and misses the very ease of life which he covets. Consequently, he passes his life in this world like the destitute, but will have to render an account in the next world like the rich. I wonder at the proud man who was just a drop of semen the other day and will turn into a corpse tomorrow. I wonder at the man who doubts Allah although he sees His creations. I wonder at him who has forgotten death although he sees people dying. I wonder at him who denies the second life although he has seen the first life. I wonder at him who inhabits this transient abode but ignores the everlasting abode.

  127. Whoever falls short of actions falls into grief, and Allah has nothing to do with him who spares nothing from his wealth in name of Allah.

  128. Guard against cold in its beginning and welcome it towards its end because it effects bodies in the same way as it effects plants. In the beginning, it destroys them but in the end it gives them fresh leaves.

  129. Greatness of the Creator appreciated by you would belittle the creatures in your view.

  130. When Imam returned from Siffin and noticed graves outside Kufa, he said: O residents of houses which give a sense of loneliness, of depopulated areas and gloomy graves. O people of the dust, O victims of strangeness, O people of loneliness and O people of desolateness! You have gone ahead and preceded us while we are following you and will meet you. The houses (you left) have been inhabited by others; the wives (you left) have been married by others; the properties have been distributed (among heirs). This is the news about those around us; what is the news about things around you?

    Then Imam, turned to his companions and said: Beware If they were allowed to speak they would inform you that: Verily, the best provision is fear of Allah. (Quran, 2:197)

  131. Imam heard a man abusing the world and said: O you who abuse the world, O you who have been deceived by its deceit and cheated by its wrongs. Do you covet the world and then abuse it? Do you accuse it or it should accuse you? When did it bewilder you or deceive you whether by the decay and fall of your forefathers, or by the sleeping places of your mothers under the ground? How much you looked after them in their illness and nursed them during sickness, desiring them to be cured and consulting physicians for them in the morning when your medicine did not avail them and your wailing for them did not benefit them. Your mourning over them did not prove useful to them and you could not achieve your aims. You could not ward off (death) from them with all your power. In fact, through the dying man the world presented an illustration for you and showed you by the example of his falling down how you would (also) fall.

    Certainly, this world is a house of truth for him who appreciates it; a place of safety for him who understands it ; a house of riches for him who collects provision from it (for the next world); and a house of instructions for him who draws instruction from it. It is the place of worship for the lovers of Allah; the place of praying for the angels of Allah; the place where the revelationof Allah descends; and the marketing place for those devotedto Allah. Herein they earned mercy and herein they acquired Paradise by way of profit.

    Therefore, who can abuse it when it has announced its departure and called out that it would leave! It had given news of its own destruction and the death of its people. By its hardship it set an example of their hardships. By its pleasures it created eagerness for the pleasures (of hereafter. It brings ease in evening and grief in morning by way of persuasion, dissuasion, alarm and warning. People abuse it on morning of their repentance but there are others who will praise it on Judgement Day. The world recalled to them the next life and they bore it in mind. It related to them (the things of hereafter) and they acknowledged them. It preached to them and they took lesson there from.

  132. There is an angel of Allah who calls out every day, "Beget children for death, collect wealth for destruction, and raise construction for ruin."

  133. This world is a place for transit, not a place for stay. The people herein are of two categories. One is the man who sold away his self (to his passions) and thus ruined it, and the other is the man who purchased his self (by control against his passions) and freed it.

  134. A friend is not a friend unless he affords protection to his comrade on three occasions: in his adversity, in his absence and at his death.

  135. He who is bestowed four things is not disallowed four things: he who is allowed to pray is not deprived of response to it; he who is allowed to offer repentance is not deprived of its acceptance; he who is allowed to seek forgiveness is not deprived of forgiveness; and he who is allowed to be grateful is not deprived of furtherance of favours.

  136. For the God-fearing prayers is a means of seeking nearness to Allah; and for the weak the hajj is as good as jihad. For every thing there is a levy; and the levy of the body is fasting. The jihad of a woman is to afford pleasant company to her husband.

  137. Seek livelihood by giving alms.

  138. He who is sure of a good return is generous in giving.

  139. Assistance is allowed according to need.

  140. He who is moderate does not become destitute.

  141. A small family is one of the ways of (securing) ease.

  142. Loving one another is half of wisdom

  143. Grief is half of old age.

  144. Endurance comes according to the affliction. He who beats his hand on the thigh in his affliction ruins all his good actions.

  145. There is many a person who fasts whose fast is nothing but just hunger and thirst, and many an offerer of prayers whose prayer is no better than wakefulness and hardship. The sleep as well as the eating and drinking of the intelligent (God-knowing) person is far better.

  146. Protect your belief by charity; guard your wealth by paying Allah’s share; and ward off the waves of calamity by praying.

  147. Kumayl ibn Ziyad has related: Imam caught hold of my hand and took me to the graveyard. When he had passed through the graveyard and left the city behind, he breathed a deep sigh and said:

    O' Kumayl these hearts are containers. The best of them is that which preserves (its contents). So, preserve what I say to you.

    People are of three types: One is the scholar and divine. Then, the seeker of knowledge who is also on the way to deliverance.Then (lastly) the common rot who run after every caller and bend in the direction of every wind. They seek no light from the effulgence of knowledge and do not take protection of any reliable support.

    O' Kumayl, knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you, while you have to guard the wealth. Wealth decreases by spending, while knowledge multiplies by spending, and the results of wealth die as wealth decays. O' Kumayl, knowledge is belief which is acted upon. With it man acquires obedience during his life and a good name after his death. Knowledge is the ruler while wealth is ruled upon.

    O' Kumayl, those who amass wealth are dead even though they may be living while those endowed with knowledge will remain as long as the world lives. Their bodies are not available but their figures exist in the hearts. Look, here is a heap of knowledge(and Ameerul Momineen r pointed to his bosom). I wish I could get someone to bear it. Yes, I did find (such a one); but either he was one who could not be relied upon. He would exploit the religion for worldly gains, and by virtue of Allah's favours on him he would domineer over the people and through Allah's pleas he would lord over His devotees. Or he was one who was obedient to the hearers of truth but there was no intelligence in his bosom. At the first appearance of doubt he would entertain misgivings in his heart.

    So, neither this nor that was good enough. Either the man is eager for pleasures, easily led away by passions, or is covetous for collecting and hoarding wealth. Neither of them has any regard for religion in any matter. The nearest example of these is the loose cattle. This is the way that knowledge dies away with the death of its bearers.

    O my Allah! Yes; but the earth is never devoid of those who maintain Allah's plea either openly and reputedly or, being afraid, as hidden in order that Allah's pleas and proofs should not be rebutted. How many are they and where are they? By Allah, they are few in number, but they are great in esteem before Allah. Through them Allah guards His pleas and proofs till they entrust them to others like themselves and sow the seeds thereof in the hearts of those who are similar to them.

    Knowledge has led them to real understanding and so they have associated themselves with the spirit of conviction. They take easy what the easygoing regard as hard. They endear what the ignorant take as strange. They live in this world with their bodies here but their spirits resting in the high above. They are the vicegerents of Allah on His earth and callers to His religion. Oh, oh, how I yearn to see them! Go away now, O' Kumayl! wherever you wish.

  148. Man is hidden under his tongue.

  149. He who does not know his own worth is ruined.

  150. Imam said to a man who had requested him to preach: Do not be like him who hopes for the next life without action, and delays repentance by lengthening desires, who utters words like ascetics in this world but acts like those who are eager for it; if he is allowed something from it he does not feel satisfied; if he is denied he is not content; he is not grateful for what he gets and covets for increase in whatever remainswith him; he refrains others but not himself; he commands others for what he himself does not do; he loves the virtuous but does not behave like them; he hates the vicious but himself is one of them; he dislikes death because of the excess of his sins but adheres to that for which he is afraid of death.

    If he falls ill he feels ashamed; if he is healthy he feels secure and indulges in amusements; when he recovers from illness he feels vain about himself; when he is afflicted he loses hope; if distress befalls him he prays like a bewildered man; when he finds ease of life he falls into deceit and turns his face away; his heart overpowers him by means of imaginary things while he cannot control his heart by conviction; for others he is afraid of small sins, but for himself he expects more reward than his performance; if he becomes wealthy he becomes self-conscious and falls into vice; if he becomes poor he despairs and becomes weak; he is brief when he is doing a good thing but goes too far when he is begging; when passion overtakes him he is quick in committingsin but delays repentance; if hardship befalls him he goes beyond the cannons of the (Islamic) community; he describes instructive events but does not take instruction himself; he preachesat length but does not accept any preaching for himself; he is tall in speaking but short in action; he aspires for things that will perish and ignores things that will last for good; he regards profit as loss and loss as profit; he fears death but does nothing in its anticipation.

    He regards the sins of others as big but considers the same things for himself as small; if he does something in obedience to Allah he considers it much but if others do the same he considers it small; he therefore rebukes others but flatters himself; entertainmentin the company of the wealthy is dearer to him than remembrance (of Allah) with the poor; he passes verdicts against others for his own interests and does not do so against himself for others' interests; he guides others but misguides himself; he is obeyed by others but he himself disobeys (Allah); he seeks fulfilment (of obligations) but does not fulfil his obligations; he fears the people (and acts) for other than his Lord and does not fear his Lord in his dealings with the people.

  151. Every human being has to meet the end, sweet or sour.

  152. Every comer has to return and after returning it is as though he never existed.

  153. The endurer does not miss success although it may take a long time.

  154. He who agrees with the action of a group of persons is as though he joins them in that action. And every one who joins in wrong commits two sins; one sin for committing the wrong and the other for agreeing with it.

  155. Adhere to contracts and entrust their fulfilment to steadfast persons.

  156. On you lies ( the obligation of) obedience to the person about whom you cannot plead the excuse of ignorance.

  157. Surely, you have been made to see if (only) you care to see; surely, you have been guided if (only) you care to take guidance; and surely you have been made to hear if (only) you care to lend your ears.

  158. Admonish your brother (comrade) by good behaviour towards him, and ward off his evil by favouring him.

  159. He who puts himself in conditions of ill-repute should not blame those who entertain bad ideas about him.

  160. Whoever obtains authority (usually) adopts partiality.

  161. He who acts solely according to his own opinion gets ruined, and he who consults other people shares in their understanding.

  162. He who guards his secrets retains control in his own hands.

  163. Destitution is the greatest death.

  164. He who fulfils the right of a man who does not fulfil his right, (is as though he) worships him.

  165. There should be no obeying anyone against Allah's commands.

  166. No person is to be blamed for delay in (securing) his own right but blame lies on him who takes what he is not entitled to.

  167. Vanity prevents progress.

  168. The Day of Judgement is near and our mutual company is short.

  169. For the man who has eyes the dawn has already appeared.

  170. Abstention from sin is easier than seeking help afterwards.

  171. Many a single eating prevents several eatings.

  172. People are enemies of what they do not know.

  173. He who has several opinions understands the pitfalls.

  174. He who sharpens the teeth of anger for the sake of Allah acquires the strength to kill the stalwarts of wrong .

  175. When you are afraid of something drive straight into it, because the intensity of abstaining from it is greater (worse) than what you are afraid of.

  176. The means to secure high authority is breadth of chest (generosity).

  177. Rebuke the evil-doer by rewarding the good-doer.

  178. Cut away evil from the chest of others by snatching (it) away from your own chest .

  179. Stubbornnessdestroys (good) advice.

  180. Greed is a lasting slavery.

  181. The result of neglect is shame, while the result of far-sightedness is safety.

  182. There is no advantage in keeping quiet about an issue of wisdom, just as there is no good in speaking out an unintelligent thing.

  183. If there are two different calls then one must be towards misguidance.

  184. I have never entertained doubt about right since I was shown it.

  185. I have neither spoken a lie nor have I been told a lie. I have neither deviated nor have I been made to deviate (others).

  186. He who takes the lead in oppression has to bite his hand (in repentance) tomorrow.

  187. The departure (from this world ) is imminent.

  188. Whoever turned away from right was ruined.

  189. If patience does not give relief to a man impatience kills him.

  190. How strange? Could the caliphate be through the (Prophet's) companionship but not through (his) companionship and (his) kinship?

  191. In this world man is the target towards which arrows of death fly, and is like that wealth whose destruction is quickened by hard ships. (In this world) with every drink there is suffocation and with every morsel there is chocking. Here no one gets anything unless he loses something else, and not a day of his age advances fill a day passes out from his life. Thus, we are helpers of death and our lives are the targets of morality. How then can we expect everlasting life since the night and day do not raise anything high without quickly arranging for the destruction of whatever they have built and for the splitting asunder of whatever they have joined together.

  192. O' son of Adam, whatever you earn beyond your basic needs you will only keep vigil over it for others.

  193. Hearts are imbued with passion and the power of advancing and retreating. Therefore, approach them for action at the time of their passionateness and when they are in a mood for advancing, because if hearts are forced (to do a thing) they will be blinded.

  194. If I am angry when shall I vent my anger - when I am unable to take revenge and it be said to me, "better you endure" or when I have power to take revenge and it be said to me, "better forgive"?

  195. Imam passed beside a dump of rubbish full of filth and remarked: This is what the misers used to be niggardly about.

  196. The wealth that teaches you lesson does not go waste.

  197. The hearts become tired as the bodies become tired. You should therefore search for beautiful sayings for them (to enjoy by way of refreshment).

  198. When Imam heard the slogan of the Kharijites: There is no verdict save of Allah-, he said: This sentence is true but it is interpreted wrongly.

  199. Imam said about the crowd of people: These are the people who, when they assemble together, are overwhelming but when they disperse they cannot be recognized.

    It is related that instead of this Imam said: These are the people who when they assemble together cause harm but when they disperse are beneficial. It was pointed out to him: We know their harm at the time of their assembling but what is their benefit at the time of their dispersal?Then he replied: The workers return to their work and people get benefit out of them, like the return of the mason to the buildingsite, that of the weaver to his loom, and that of the baker to his bakery.

  200. An offender was brought before Imam and there was a crowd of people with man, so Imam remarked: Woe to the faces who are seen only on foul occasions.

  1. With every individual there are two angels who protect him; when destiny approaches they let it have its own way with him. Certainly, the appointed time is a protective shield.
  2. When Talha and Zubair said to him: We are preparedto swear allegiance to you on condition that we have a share with you in this matter (of caliphate), Imam said: No, but you will have a share in strengthening (caliphate) and in affording assistance and you will both be helping me at the time of need and hardship.
  3. O, people, fear Allah Who is such that when you speak He hears and when you conceal (a secret) He knows it. Prepare yourself to meet death which will overtake you even if you run away, catch you even if you stay and remember you even if you forget it.
  4. If someone is not grateful to you, that should not prevent you from good actions, because (possibly) such a person will feel grateful about it who has not even drawn any benefit from it, and his gratefulnesswill be more than the ingratitude of the denier; And Allah loves those who do good. (Quran, 3:134,148; 5:93)
  5. Every containergets narrower according to what is placed in it except knowledgewhich expands instead.
  6. The first reward the exerciser of forbearance gets is that people become his helpers against the ignorant.
  7. If you cannot forbear, feign to do so because it is seldom that a man likens himself to a group and does not become as one of them.
  8. Whoever takes account of his self is benefited, and whoever remains neglectful of it suffers. Whoever fears remains safe; whoever takes instruction  gets light; and whoever gets light gets understanding, and whoever gets understanding secures knowledge.
  9. The world will bend towards us after having been refractory as the biting she-camel bends towards its young. Then Amir al-mu'minin recited the verse; And intend We to bestow (Our) favour upon those who were considered weak in the land, and to make them the Imams (guides in faith), and to make them the heirs. (Quran, 28:5)
  10. Fear Allah like the one who prepares himself after extracting himself (from worldly affairs) and after getting ready in this way makes effort; then he acts quickly during the period of this life, hastens in view of dangers (falling into error) and has his eye on proceeding towards the goal, on the end of his journey and on the place of his  return.
  11. Generosity is the protector of honour; forbearance is the bridle of the fool forgiveness is the levy of success; disregard is punishment of him who betrays; and consultation is chief way of guidance. He who is content with his own opinion faces danger. Endurance braves calamities while impatience is a helper of hardships of the world. The best contentment is to give up desires. Many a slavish mind is subservient to overpowering longings. Capability helps preservation of experience. Love means well-utilized relationship. Do not trust one who is grieved.
  12. A man's vanity for himself is one of the enemies of his intelligence.
  13. Ignore pain otherwise you will never be happy.
  14. The tree whose trunk is soft has thick branches.
  15. Opposition destroys good counsel.
  16. He who achieves position begins to make wrong use of it.
  17. Through change of circumstances the mettle of men is known.
  18. Jealousy by a friend means defect in his love.
  19. Most of the deficiency of intelligence occurs due to the flash of greed.
  20. There is no justice in passing a verdict by relying on probability.
  21. The worst provision for the Day of Judgement is high-handedness over people.
  22. The highest act of a noble person is to ignore what he knows.
  23. Whomever modesty clothes with its dress people cannot see his defects.
  24. Excess of silence produces awe; justice results in more close friends; generosity heightens position; with humility blessings abound in plenty; by facing hardships leadership is achieved; by just behaviour the adversary is overpowered; and with forbearance against a fool there is increase of one's supporters against him.
  25. It is strange that the jealous do not feel jealous about bodily health.
  26. The greedy is in the shackles of disgrace.
  27. Imam was asked about belief when he said: Belief means appreciation with the heart, acknowledgement with the tongue, and action with limbs.
  28. He who is sorrowful for this world is in fact displeased with the dispensation of Allah. He who complains of a calamity that befalls him complainsof his Lord (Allah). He who approaches a rich man and bends before him on account of his riches then two-third of his religion is gone. If a man reads the Quran and on dying goes to Hell then it means that he was among those who treated Divine verses with mockery. If a man's heart gets attached to the world, then it catches three things, namely worry that never leaves him, greed that does not abandon him and desire which he never fulfils.
  29. Contentment is as good as estate, and goodness of moral character is as good as a blessing. Imam was asked about Allah's saying: (Whosoever did good,. whether male or female, and he be a believer, then We will certainly make him live a life good and pure and certainly We will give them their return with the best of what they were doing). (Quran, 16:97) when he said: That means contentment.
  30. Be a sharer with him who has an abundant livelihood because he is more probable to get more riches and likely to secure an increase of the share therein.
  31. Imam said about Allah's saying: verily, Allah enjoins justice and benevolence . (Quran, 16:90). Here adl means justice and ihsan means favour.
  32. He who gives with his short hand is given by a long hand.
  33. Ameerul Momineen said to his son al-Hasan, peace be upon them both: Do not call out for fighting, but if you are called to it do respond, because the caller to fighting is a rebel and the rebel deserves destruction.
  34. The best traits of women are those which are worst traits of men, namely: vanity, cowardice and miserliness. Thus, since woman is vain, she will not allow anyone access to herself; since she is miserly, she will preserve her own property and the property of her husband; and since she is weak-hearted, she will be frightened with everything that befalls her.
  35. It was said to Ameerul Momineen (pbuh): Describe the wise to us; and he said: The wise is one who places things in their proper positions. Then, he was asked: Describe the ignorant to us; and he said: I have already done so.
  36. By Allah, this world of yours is more lowly in my view than the (left over) bone of a pig in the hand of a leper.
  37. A group of people worshipped Allah out of desire for reward surely, this is the worship of traders. Another group worshipped Allah out of fear, this is the worship of slaves. Still another group worshipped Allah out of gratefulness, this is the worship of free men.
  38. Woman is evil, all in all; and the worst of it is that one cannot do without her.
  39. He who is a sluggard loses his rights and he who believes in the backbiter loses his friend.
  40. One ill-gottenpiece of stone in a house is a guarantee for its ruin.
  41. The day of the oppressed over the oppressor will be severer than the day of the oppressor over the oppressed.
  42. Fear Allah to some degree (even) though it be little; and set a curtain between you and Allah (even) though it be thin
  43. When replies are numerous the correct point remains obscure.
  44. Surely in every blessing there is a right of Allah. If one discharges that right Allah increases the blessing, and if one falls short of doing so one stands in danger of losing the blessing.
  45. When capability increases, desire decreases.
  46. Keep on guard against the slipping away of blessings because not everything that runs away comes back.
  47. Generosity is more prompting to good than regard for kinship.
  48. If a person has a good idea about you make his idea be true.
  49. The best act is that which you have to force yourself to do.
  50. I came to know Allah, the Glorified, through the breaking of determinations, change of intentions and losing of courage.
  51. The sournessthis world is the sweetness of the next world while the sweetness of this world is the sourness of the next one.
  52. Allah has laid down iman for purification from polytheism; salat for purification from vanity; zakat as a means of livelihood; siyam (fasting) as a trial of the people; hajj as a support for religion; jihad for the honour of Islam; persuasion for good for the good of the common people; dissuasion from evil for the control of the mischievous; regard for kinship for increase of number; revenge for stoppage of bloodshed; the award of penalties for the realization of importance of the prohibitions; the abstinence from drinkingwine for protection of the wit; the avoidance of theft for inculcating chastity; abstinence from adultery for safeguarding descent; abstinence from sodomy for increase of progeny; tendering evidence for furnishing proof against contentions; abstinence from the lie for increasing esteem for truth; maintenance of peace (salam) for protection from danger; Imamate (Divine Leadership) for the orderliness of the community and obedience (to Imams) as a mark of respect to the Imamate.
  53. If you want an oppressor to take an oath ask him to swear like this that he is out of Allah's might and His power, because if he swears falsely in this way he will be quickly punished, while if he swears by Allah Who is such that there is no god but He, he will not be quickly punished since he is expressing the Unity of Allah, the Sublime.
  54. O' son of Adam, be your own representative in the matter of your property and do about it whatever you want to be done with it after your death.
  55. Anger is a kind of madness because the victim to it repents afterwards. If he does not repent his madness is confirmed.
  56. Health of body comes from paucity of envy.
  57. Imam (a.s.) said to Kumayl ibn Ziyad an-Nakha'i: O Kumayl, direct your people to go out in the day to achieve noble traits and go out in the night to meet the needs of those who might be sleeping, for I swear by Him Whose hearing extends to all voices if ever someone pleases another's heart, Allah will create a special thing out of this pleasing so that whenever any hardship befalls him it will come running like flowing water and drive away the hardship as wild camels are driven away.
  58. When you fall in destitution, trade with Allah through charity.
  59. Faithfulness with faithless people is faithlessness with Allah, while faithlessness with faithless people is faithfulness with Allah.
  60. There is many a man being gradually brought towards punishment by good treatment with him; many a man who remains in deceit because his evils are covered; and many a man who is in illusion because of good talk about him, while there is no greater ordeal by Allah, the Glorified, than the giving of time.

Section wherein we have included selections from wonderful saying of Ameerul  Momineen, peace be upon him, which require explanation

When the situation is like this, then the head of religion will rise and people will gather around him as pieces of rainless cloud collect during autumn.

He is a versatile speaker.

Quarrels bring about ruin.

When girls reach the stage of (realizing) realities, relations on the father's side are preferable.

Faith produces a "lumazah" in the heart. As faith develops, the "lumazah" also increases.

If a man has a "ad-daynu'z-zanun" (doubtful loan) it is his duty to pay zakat thereon for all the past years when he recovers it.

A tradition of Imam relates that he arranged a force for advancing for jihad and said: i'dhibu (turn away) from women so far as you can.

Like the successful shooter who looks forward to achieving success at his first shot.

When the crisis became red-hot we sought refuge with Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and none of us was closer to the enemy than he himself.

This section ends and we return to the original theme of the chapter

  1. When the news of the attack of Muawiyah's men on al-Anbar reached Imam he himself came out walking till he reached an-Nukhaylah, where people overtook him and said: "O' Ameerul Momineen we are enough for them," then he said: You cannot be enough for me against yourselves, so how can you be enough for me against others? Before me the people used to complain of the oppression of their rulers but now I have to complain of the wrongful actions of my people; as though I am led by them and they are the leaders or that I am the subject and they are the rulers.
  2. It is said that al-Harith ibn Hawt came to Imam and said: Do you believe I can ever imagine that the people of Jamal were in the wrong? Imam  peace be upon him, said: O' al-Harith! You have seen below yourself but not above yourself, and so you have been confused. Certainly, you have not known right, so that you can recognize the righteous. And you have not known wrong, so that you can recognize the people of wrong! Then al-Harith said: In that case, I shall withdrawalong with Sa'd ibn Malik and 'Abdullah: ibn 'Umar; whereuponAmeerul Momineen (pbuh) said: Verily, Sa'd and 'Umar have neither sided with Right nor forsaken Wrong
  3. The holder of authority is like the rider on a lion - he is envied for his position but he well knows his position.
  4. Do good with the bereaved ones of others so that good is done to your bereaved ones also.
  5. When the utterance of the wise is to the point it serves as a cure, but if it is wrong it proves like an illness.
  6. Someone asked Ameerul Momineen (pbuh), to define religion for him, so he said: Come to me tomorrow so that I enlighten you in the presence of all the people, so that if you forget what I say others might retain it, because an utterance is like a fluttering prey which may be grappled with by someone but missed by others.
  7. O son of Adam, do not inflict the worry of the day that has not yet come on the day which has already come, because if that day be in your life Allah will bestow its livelihood also.
  8. Have love for your friend up to a limit, for it is possible that he may turn into your enemy some day; and hate your enemy up to a limit for it is possible that he may turn into your friend some day.
  9. There are two kinds of workers in the world. One is a person who works in this world for this world and his work of this world keeps him unmindful of the next world. He is afraid of destitution for those he will leave behind but feels himself safe about it. So, he spends his life after the good of others. The other is one who works in this world for what is to come hereafter, and he secures his share of this world without effort. Thus, he gets both the benefits together and becomes the owner of both the houses together. In this way, he is prestigious before Allah. If he asks Allah anythingHe does not deny him.
  10. It is related during the days of (Caliph) 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the question of the excess of the ornaments of the Ka'bah was mentioned to him and some people suggested: If you prepare with it an army of Muslims that will be a matter of great reward; and what would the Ka'bah do with the ornaments? 'Umar thought of doing so but asked Imam when he said: When the Quran was descended on the Prophet, peace be upon him and his descendants, there were four kinds of property. One, the property of Muslim individuals which he distributed among the successors according to fixed shares. Second, the tax which he distributed to those for whom it was meant. Third, the One-fifth levy for: which Allah had fixed the ways of disposal. Fourth, amounts of charity whose disposal was also fixed by Allah. The ornaments of Ka'bah did exist in those days but Allah left them as they were, but did not leave them by omission, nor were they unknown to Him. Therefore, you retain them where Allah and His Prophet placed them. Thereupon, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said: If you had not been here we would have been humiliated; and he left the ornaments as they were. 
  11. It is related that two persons were brought to Imam They had committed theft of public property. One of them was a slave purchased from public money and the other had been purchased by someone among the people. Then Imam (a.s.) said: As for this one who is the property of public money, there is no punishment for him for it means one property of Allah having taken another property of Allah. As for the other, he should get the punishment. Consequently, his hand was cut.
  12. If my steps acquire firmness out of these slippery places, I will alter several things.
  13. Know with full conviction that Allah has not fixed for any person more livelihood than what has been ordained in the Book of Destiny, even though his means may be great, his craving for it intense and his efforts for it acute; nor does the weakness of a person or the paucity of his means stand in the way between what is ordained in the Book of Destiny and himself. He who realizes it and acts upon it is the best of them all in point of comfort and benefit; while he who disregards it arid doubts it exceeds all men in disadvantages. Very often a favoured person is being slowly driven (towards punishment) through those favours; and very often an afflicted person is being done good through his affliction. Therefore, O' listener, increase your gratefulness, lessen your haste and stay within the bounds of your livelihood.
  14. Do not turn your knowledge into ignorance or your conviction into doubt. When you gain knowledge act (upon it) and when you acquire conviction proceed (on its basis) .
  15. Greed takes a person to the watering place but gets him back without letting him drink. It undertakes responsibility but does not fulfil it. Often the drinker gets choked before the quenching of his thirst. The greater the worth of a thing yearned for the greater is the grief for its loss. Desires blind the eyes of understanding. The destined share will reach him who does not approach it.
  16. O' my Allah, I seek Your protection from this that I may appear to be good in the eyes of the people whilst my inward self may be sinful before You, and that I may guard myself (from sins) only for show before the people although You are aware of all about me. Thus, I appear before the people in good shape althoughmy evil deeds are placed before You. This means achieving nearness to Your creatures but remoteness from Your pleasure.
  17. I swear by Him Who let us pass the dark night after which there was a bright day that such and such did not happen.
  18. A small action which is continued with regularity is more beneficial than a long one performed with disgust.
  19. When optional issues stand in the way of opligations, abandon them.
  20. Whoever keeps in view the distance of the journey remains prepared.
  21. Perception by the eyes is not real observation because the eyes sometimes deceive people; but wisdom does not deceive whomsoever it counsels.
  22. Between you and the preaching there is a curtain of deception.
  23. The ignorant among you get too much while the learned are just put off.
  24. Knowledge dispels the excuse of those who advance excuses.
  25. He whom death overtakes early seeks time while he whose death is deferred puts forth excuses for postponement (of doing good actions).
  26. For every thing to which people say "how good!" there is an evil hidden in this world.
  27. Imam, peace be upon him, was asked about Destiny, when he said: It is a dark path -- do not tread upon it, it is a deep ocean - do not dive in it, and it is the secret of Allah -- do not take trouble about (knowing) it.
  28. When Allah intends to humiliate a person He denies him knowledge.
  29. In the past I had a brother-in-faith and he was prestigious in my view because the world was humble in his eyes, the needs of the stomach did not have sway over him, he did not long for what he did not get; if he got a thing he would not ask for more; most of his time he was silent, if he spoke he silenced the other speakers, he quenched the thirst of questioners, he was weak and feeble but at the time of fighting he was like the lion of the forest or the serpent of the valley, he would not put forth an argument unless it was decisive.


He would not abuse anyone in an excusable matter unless he had heard the excuse, he would not speak of any trouble except after its disappearance, he would say what he would do, and would not say what he would not do, even if he could be exceeded in speaking, he could not be excelled in silence, he was more eager for keeping quiet than speaking and if two things confronted him he would see which was more akin to the longing of the heart and he would oppose it. These qualities are incumbent upon you. So, you should acquire them and excel each other in them. Even if you cannot acquire them you should know that acquiring a part is better than giving up the whole.

  1. Even if Allah had not warned of chastisement on those disobedient to Him, it would be obligatory by way of gratefulness for His favours that He should not be disobeyed.
  2. Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him)  said in condoling Ash'ath ibn Qays about (the death of) his son: O' Ash' ath, if you grieve over your son, certainly it is the consequence of the blood relationship; but if you endure, then Allah provides recompense for every affliction. O' Ash'ath, if you endure even then matters will move on as ordained by Allah but in that case you will deserve reward; while if you lose patience, matters will again move as ordained by Allah, but in this case you will be bearing the burden (of sins). 0' Ash'ath, your son (when he lived) gave you happiness while, at the same time, he was a trial and hardship and (when he died) he grieved you while, at the same time, he has proved a source of reward and mercy for you.
  3. Imam (A.S.) said on the grave of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his descendants, at the time of burial: Certainly, endurance is good except about you; fretting is bad except over you; and the affliction about you is great while every other affliction before or after it is small.
  4. Do not associate with a fool because he will beautify his actions before you and long that you too be like him.
  5. Ameerul Momineen (pbuh) was asked about the distance between East and West when he replied: One day's travelling for the sun.
  6. Your friends are three and your enemies are (also) three. Your friends are: your friend, your friend's friend and your enemy 's enemy. And your enemies are: your enemy, your friend's enemy and your enemy's friend.
  7. Ameerul Momineen (pbuh) saw a man busy against his enemy with what was harmful to himself too, so he said: You are like one who pierces a spear through himself in order to kill the person sitting behind him.
  8. How many are the objects of lessons, but how few the taking of lessons.
  9. He who goes too far in quarrelling is a sinner, but if one falls short in it, one is oppressed and it is difficult for a quarreller to fear Allah.
  10. I am not worried by a fault after which I get time to offer prayer in two units (rak 'ah) and beg safety from Allah.
  11. Imam peace be upon him, was asked: How Allah would conduct the accounting of all persons despite their large number. He replied: just as He provides them livelihood despite their large number. Then it was said to him: How will He conduct their accounting without their seeing Him. He replied: just as He provides them livelihood although they do not see Him.
  12. Your messenger is the interpreter of your intelligence while your letter is more eloquent in expressing your true self.
  13. The person who is afflicted with hardship is not in greater need of praying than one who has been spared affliction but is not immune from it.
  14. People are the progeny of the world and no one can be blamed for loving the mother.
  15. The destitute is the Messenger of Allah. Whoever denies him denies Allah and whoever gives him gives Allah.
  16. A self- respecting man never commits adultery.
  17. The fixed limit of life is enough to remain watchful.
  18. A man can sleep on the death of his child, but cannot sleep at loss of property.
  19. Mutual affection between fathers creates a relationship between the sons. Relationship is more in need of affection than affection is of relationship.
  20. Be afraid of the ideas of believers, because Allah, the Sublime, has put truth on their tongues.
  21.  The belief of a person cannot be regarded as true unless his trust in what is with Allah is more than his trust in what he himself has.
  22. When Imam came to Basrah he sent Anas ibn Malik to Talha and Zubair to make them recall what he (Anas) himself had heard the Messenger of Allah, (pbuh), say concerning them both, but he avoided doing so and when he -came back to Imam, he said that he had forgotten that matter. Thereupon, Ameerul Momineen (pbuh) , said: If you are speaking a lie Allah may afflict you with white spots (leucoderma) which even the turban may not cover.
  23. Sometimes hearts move forward and sometimes they move backward. When they move forward get them to perform optionals (as well), but when they move backward keep them confined to obligatories only.
  24. The Quran contains news about the past, foretellings about the future and commandments for the present.
  25. Throw a stone in return from where one comes to you because evil can be met only with evil.
  26. Imam said to his secretary 'Ubaydullah ibn Abi Rafi': Put cotton flake in the inkpot,the nib of your pen long, leave space between lines and close up the letters because this is good for the beauty of the writing.
  27. I am the ya'sub (leader) of the believers, while wealth is the leader of the wicked.
  28. Some Jews said to Imam; You had not buried your Prophet when you picked up differences about him, when Imam replied: We did not differ about him but we differed after him (about his succession); whereas you had not dried up your feet after coming out of the river (Nile) when you began asking your Prophet: Make you for us a god as they have gods of their own. Said he; 'Verily you are a people behaving ignorantly. ' (Quran, 7:138)
  29. Imam was asked: With what did you overpower your adversaries? He answered: WheneverI confronted a person he helped me against himself.
  30. Imam (A.S.) aid to his son Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah: O' my son, I fear lest destitution overtakes you. So, you should seek Allah's protection from it, because destitution is deficiency of religious belief, perplexity of intelligence, and it is conducive to hatred of obstinate people.
  31. Imam (A.S.) replied to a man who had asked him a difficult question: Ask me for understanding but do not ask me for confusion, because the ignorant person who tries to learn is like the learned man, but the learned man who tries to create confusion is like the ignorant.
  32. Abdullah bin Abbas once advised Imam (A.S.) against his views, so he said: You have only to advise me but then I have to see (what to do); and if I act against your advice you have to follow me.
  33. When Imam (A.S.) returned to Kufa from Siffin he passed by the residences of Shibamites (who belonged to tribe of Shibam) and heard women weeping over those killed in Siffin. At that time a Shibamite, Harb ibn Shurahbil ash-Shibami, who was one of the nobles of those people, came to him, and Imam (A.S.)  said to him: Do your women have control over you as regards the weeping that I hear? Do you not refrain them from this crying? Harb began to walk with him while Imam (A.S.) was on horseback, so Imam (A.S.) : Get back because the walking of a man like you with one like me is mischief for the ruler and disgrace for the believer.
  34. Imam (A.S.) passed by the dead bodies of the Kharijites on the day of the battle of Nahrawan and said : Woe unto you! You have been harmed by him who deceived you. He was asked: O' Ameerul Momineen , who deceived them? Then, he replied: Satan, the deceiver, and the inner spirit that leads one to evil deceived them through passions, made it easy for them to get into sins, promised them victory and eventually threw them into the Fire.
  35. Beware of disobeying Allah in solitude, because the witness (of that situation) is also the judge.
  36. When the news of killing of Muhammad bin Abi Bakr reached Imam (A.S.)  he said: Our grief over him is as great as their (i.e. the enemy's) joy for it, except that they have lost an enemy and we have lost a friend.
  37. The age up to which Allah accepts any excuse for a human being is sixty years.
  38. He whom sin overpowers is not victorious, and he who secures victory by evil is (in fact) vanquished.
  39. Allah, the Glorified, has fixed the livelihood of the destitute in the wealth of the rich. Consequently, whenever a destitute remains hungry it is because some rich person has denied (him his share). Allah, the Sublime, will question them about it.
  40. Not to be in need of putting forth an excuse is better than putting forth a true excuse.
  41. The least right of Allah on you is that you should not make use of His favours in committing His sins.
  42. When the disabled fall short in performing acts of obedience to Allah, the Glorified, it is a good opportunity given by Allah for the intelligent to perform such acts.
  43. The sovereign is the watchman of Allah on earth.
  44. Imam (A.S.) said describing a believer: A believer has a cheerful face, a sorrowful heart, a very broad chest (full of generosity), and a very humble heart. He hates high position and dislikes renown. His grief is long, his courage is far-reaching, his silence is much and, his time is occupied. He is grateful, enduring, buried in his thoughts, sparing in his friendship (with others), of bright demeanour and of soft temperament. He is stronger than stone but humbler than a slave.
  45. If a man happens to see the end of (his) life and his final fate, he will begin hating desires and their deception.
  46. There are two sharers in the property of every person - successors and accidents.
  47. The person who is approached with a request is free until he promises.
  48. He who prays but does not exert effort is like the one who shoots without a bow-string.
  49. Knowledge is of two kinds - that which is absorbed and that which is just heard. The one that is heard does not give benefit unless it is absorbed.
  50. Correctness of decision goes together with power. The one emerges with the other's emergence and disappears when the other disappears.
  51. The beauty of destitution is chastity and the beauty of riches is gratefulness.
  52. The day of justice will be severer on the oppressor than the day of oppression on the oppressed.
  53. The biggest wealth is that one should not have an eye on what others possess.
  54. Utterances are preserved and actions are to be tried. Every soul, for what it earned, is held in pledge! (Quran, 74:38). People are to be made deficient (as regards their bodies) and meddled with (as regards their minds) except those whom Allah protects. The questioner among them aims at confusing and the answerer creates hardship. It is possible that the man who has the best views among them will be deviated from the soundness of his thinking by pleasure or displeasure, and it is possible that a single glance may affect even the man with the 'best wisdom among them or a single expression may transform him.
  55. O groups of people, fear Allah, for there is many a man who aspires for what he does not get, many a builder of a house who does not live in it, and many a collector of that which he shall just leave behind. Possibly he may have collected it wrongfully or by denying a right. He acquired it unlawfully and had to bear the weight of sins on account of it. Consequently, he returned (from this world) with that weight and came before Allah with sorrow and grief. Loses he both this world and (also) the hereafter; that is a loss (which is) manifest. (Quran, 22:11)
  56. Lack of access to sins is also a kind of chastity.
  57. The dignity of your face is solid but begging dissolves it away: therefore, look carefully before whom you dissolve it.
  58. To praise more than what is due is sycophancy; to do it less is either because of inability to speak or of envy.
  59. The most serious sin is that which the doer considers light.
  60. He who sees his own shortcomings abstains from looking into other's shortcomings. He who feels happy with livelihood with which Allah provides him does not grieve over what he misses. He who draws out the sword of revolt gets killed with it. He who strives without means perishes. He who enters depths gets drowned. He who visits places of ill-repute receives blame. He who speaks more commits more errors. He who commits more errors becomes shameless. He who is shameless will have less fear of Allah. He whose fear of Allah is less, his heart dies. He whose heart dies enters the Fire. He who observes the shortcomingsof others and disapproves of them and then accepts them for himself is definitely a fool. Contentment is a capital that does not dwindle. He who remembers death much is satisfied with small favours in this world. He who knows that his speech is also a part of his action speaks less except where he has some purpose.
  61. The oppressor among people has three signs: he oppresses his superior by disobeying him, and his junior by imposing his authority and he supports other oppresso.


  1. At the extremity of hardship comes relief, and at the tightening of the chains of tribulation comes ease.

  2. Do not devote much of your activity to your wife and your children, because if your wife and children are lovers of Allah then He will not leave His lovers uncared for, and if enemies of Allah then why should you worry and keep yourself busy about the enemies of Allah.

  3. The greatest defect is to regard that defect (in others) which is present in yourself.

  4. Someone congratulated another person in the presence of Imam (A.S.) on the birth of a son saying: Congratulations for getting a rider of horses. Then Imam (A.S.) : Do not say so; but say: You have occasion to be grateful to Allah, the Giver, and be blessed with what you have been given. May he attain full life and may you be blessed with his devotion.

  5. One of the officers of Imam (A.S.) built a stately house, about which Imam (A.S.) : This is silver coins showing forth their faces. Certainly, this house speaks of your riches.

  6. It was said to Imam (A.S.) : If a man is left in his house and the door is closed, from where will his livelihood reach him. And he replied: From whatever way his death reaches him.

  7. Condoling with people among whom one had died, Imam (A.S.) : This thing has not started with you nor does it end with you. This fellow of yours was used to journeying and therefore it is better to think him stillto be journeying. Either he will rejoin you or else you will rejoin him.

  8. O' people, let Allah see you fearing at the time of happiness just as you fear Him at the time of distress. Certainly, he who is given ease (of life) and does not consider it as a means of slow approach towards tribulation (wrongly), considers himself safe against what is to be feared while he who is afflicted with straitened circumstances but does not perceive them to be a trial loses the coveted reward.

  9. O' slaves of desires, cut them short because he who leans on the world gets nothing out of it except the pain of hardships. O' people, take upon yourselves your own training and turn away from the dictates of your natural inclinations.

  10. Do not regard an expression uttered by any person as evil if you can find it capable of bearing some good.

  11. If you have a need from Allah, the Glorified, then begin by seeking Allah's blessing on His Messenger, (pbuh), then ask your need, because Allah is too generous to accept one (seeking His blessing on His Messenger) of the two requests made to Him and deny the other.

  12. He who is jealous of his esteem should keep from quarrelling.

  13. To make haste before the proper time or to delay after a proper opportunity, in either case is folly.

  14. Do not ask about things which may not happen because you have enough to worry about with what happens.

  15.  Imagination is a clear mirror, and the taking of lessons (from things around) provides warning and counsel. It is enough for improving yourself that you should avoid what you consider bad in others.

  16. Knowledge is associated with action. Therefore, he who knows should act, because knowledge calls for action; if there is a response well and good, otherwise it (knowledge) departs from him.

  17. O people, wealth of this world is like straw that brings an epidemic; therefore keep off this grazing land, leaving it is a greater favour than peacefully staying in it, and its part enough for subsistence is more blissful than its riches. Destitution has been ordained for those who are rich here, while comfort has been destined for those who keep away from it. If a person is attracted by its dazzle, it blinds both his eyes; and if a person acquires eagerness towards it, it fills his heart with grief which keep alternating in the black part of his heart, some grief worrying him and another giving him pain. This goes on till the suffocation of death overtakes him. He is flung in the open while both the shrines of his heart are severed. It is easy for Allah to cause him to die and for his comrades to put him in the grave. The believer sees the world with eyes that derive instruction, and takes from it food enough for his barest needs. He hears in it with ears of hatred and enmity. If it is said (about someone) that he has become rich, it is also said that he has turned destitute; and if pleasure is felt on one's living, grief is felt over his death. This is the position, although the day has not yet approached when they will be disheartened.

  18. Allah, the Glorified, has laid down reward for obedience to Him and punishment for committing sins against Him in order to save men from His chastisement and to drive them towards Paradise.

  19. A time will come when nothing will remain of the Quran except its writing, and nothing of Islam except its name. The mosques in those days will be busy with regards to construction but desolate with regard to guidance. Those staying in them and those visiting them will be the worst of all on earth. From them mischief will spring up and towards them all wrong will turn. If anyone isolates himself from it (mischief) they will fling him back to it and if anyone steps back from it they will push him towards it. Says Allah, the Glorified, (in hadith qudsi i.e., the tradition in which Allah- Himself speaks): I swear by Myself that I shall send upon them an evil wherein the endurer would be bewildered, and He would do so. We seek Allah's pardon from stumbling through neglect.

  20. It is related that it was seldom that Imam (A.S.) ascended the pulpit and did not utter the following before his sermon: O' people, fear Ahab for man has not been created for naught so that he may waste himself, nor has he been left uncared for so that he may commit nonsensical acts. This world which appears beautiful to him cannot be the replacement of the next world which appears bad in his eyes, nor is the vain person who is successful in this world through his high courage like him who is successful in the next world eyen to a small extent.

  21. There is no distinction higher than Islam; no honour more honourable than fear of Allah; no asylum better than self restraint; no intercessor more effective than repentance; no treasure more precious than contentment; and no wealth is a bigger remover of destitution than being satisfied with mere sustenance. He who confines himself to what is just enough for maintenance achieves comfort and prepares abode in ease. Desire is the key of grief and the conveyance of distress. Greed, vanity and jealousy are incentives to falling into sins and mischief-mongering is the collection of all bad habits.

  22. Imam (A.S.)  said to Jabir ibn 'Abdullah al-Ansari': O' Jabir, the mainstay of religion and the world are four persons: The scholar who acts on his knowledge; the ignorant who does not feel ashamed of learning; the generous who is not niggardly in his favours; and the destitute who does not sell his next life for his worldly benefits. Consequently, when the scholar wastes his knowledge, the ignorant feels shame in learning; and when the generous is niggardly with his favours, the destitute sells his next life for the worldly benefits. O' Jabir, if favours of Allah abound on a person the people's needs towards him also abound. Therefore, he who fulfils for Allah all that is obligatory on him in this regard will preserve them (Allah's favours) in continuance and perpetuity, while he who does not fulfil those obligations will expose them to decay and destruction.

  23. Ibn Jarir at-Tabari has, in his history  related from 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Layla, al-faqih who was one of those who had risen with ('Abd' ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad) Ibn al-Ash'ath to fight al-Hajjaj that he (Ibn Abi Layla) was exhorting people to jihad by recalling: On the occasion of encounter with the people of Syria I heard Ameerul Momineen, may Allah exalt his degree of rank among the righteous and may He reward him the reward of martyrs and men of truth, saying: O' believers, whoever observes excesses being committed and people being called towards evil and disapproves it with his heart is safe and free from responsibility for it, and whoever disapproves of it with his tongue would be rewarded and he is in a higher position than the former 'but whoever disapproves it with his sword in order that the word of Allah may remain superior and the word of the oppressors may remain inferior, catches hold of the path of guidance and stands on the right way, while his heart is lighted with conviction.

  24. Another similar saying: So, among them (the Muslim community) there is he who disapproves evil with his hand, tongue and heart. This man has perfectly attained the virtuous habits. And among them there is he who disapproves evil with his tongue and heart but not with his hand. This man has attained only two virtuous habits but lacks one. And among them there is the third one who disapproves evil with his heart but not with his tongue and hand. This is the one who lacks the two better qualities out of three and holds only one. Then, among them there is also he who does not disapprove evil either with his tongue, heart or hand. He is just a dead man among the living. All the virtuous deeds including war in the way of Allah as compared to the persuasion for good and dissuasion from evil are just like spitting in the deep ocean. The persuasion for good and dissuasion from evil do not bring death nearer nor do they lessen the livelihood. And better than all this is to utter a just expression before the tyrannical ruler.

  25. It is related from Abu Juhayfah who said: I heard Amir Imam (A.S.)  saying: The first fighting with which you will be overpowered is the fighting with hands, thereafter with your tongues and then with your hearts. Consequently, he who does not recognize virtue with his heart or does not disapprove evil will be turned upside down. Thus, his upside will be turned downwards and his lowside will be turned upwards.

  26. Certainly, right is weighty and wholesome while wrong is light and epidemical.

  27. Do not feel safe from the punishment of Allah even about the best man in the whole community because Allah, the Sublime, says: But no one feels secure against the plan of Allah save the people (who are ) losers. (Quran, 7:99). Again, do not lose hope even for the worst man of the community because Allah-, the Sublime says: Verily, despairs not of Allah's mercy but the disbelieving people. (Quran, 12:87).

  28.  Miserliness contains all other evil vices and is the rein with which one can be led to every evil.

  29.  0'son of Adam, livelihood is of two kinds: livelihood which you seek and livelihood which seeks you; if you do not reach it, it will come to you Therefore, do not turn your one day's worry into a year's worry. Whatever you get every day should be enough for you for the day. If you have a whole year of your life even then Allah, the Sublime, will give you every next day what He has destined as your share. If you do not have a year in your life then why should you worry for what is not for you. No seeker will reach your livelihood before you nor will anyone overpower you in the matter of livelihood. Similarly, whatever has been destined as your share will not be delayed for you.

  30. Many a man faces a day after which he finds no day and many a man is in an enviable position in the earlier part of the night but is wept over by bewailing women in its later part.

  31. Words are in your control until you have not uttered them; but when you have spoken them out you are under their control. Therefore, guard your tongue as you guard your gold and silver, for often one expression snatches away a blessing and invites punishment.

  32. Do not say what you do not know; rather do not say all that you know, because Allah has laid down some obligations for all your limbs by means of which He will put forth arguments against you on the Day of Judgment.

  33. Fear lest Allah sees you while committing His sins or misses you when it is time to obey Him and as a result thereof you become a loser. Therefore, when you are strong be strong in obeying Allah and when you are weak be weak in committing sins of Allah.

  34. Leaning towards this world despite what you see of it, is folly, and lagging behind in good deeds when you are convinced of good reward for them is obvious loss, while trusting in every one before trying is weakness.

  35. It is (the proof of the) humbleness of the world before Allah- that He is disobeyed only herein and His favours cannot be achieved except by abandoning it.

  36. One who is in search of something will obtain it, at least a part of it.

  37. That good is no good after which there is the Fire, and that hardship is no hardship after which there is Paradise. Every bliss other than Paradise is inferior and every calamity other than the Fire is comfort.

  38. Beware that destitution is a calamity, but worse than destitution is ailment of the body, while worse than bodily ailment is the disease of the heart. Beware that plenty of wealth is a blessing, but better than plenty of wealth is the health of the body, while still better than the health of the body is the chastity of heart.

  39. Whomeveraction detains behind, his lineage cannot put him forward. In another version it is thus: Whoever misses personal attainment cannot be benefited by his forefathers' attainments.

  40. The believer'stime has three periods: The period when he is in communion with Allah; the period when he manages for his livelihood; and the period when he is free to enjoy what is lawful and pleasant.It does not behove a wise person to be away (from his house) save for three matters, namely for purposes of earning, or going for something for the next life or for enjoying what is not prohibited.

  41. Abstain from the world so that Allah may show you its real evils and do not be neglectful because (in any case) you will not be neglected.

  42. Speak so that you may be known, since man is hidden under his tongue.

  43. Take off the favours of the world whatever comes to you and keep away from what keeps away from you. If you cannot do so be moderate in your seeking.

  44. Many an expression is more effective than an attack.

  45. Every small thing that is contented upon, suffices.

  46. Let it be death but not humiliation. Let it be little but not through others. He who does not get while sitting will not get by standing either. The world has two days one for you and the other against you. When the day is for you, do not feel proud but when it is against you endure it.

  47. The best scent is musk; its weight is light while its smell is scentful.

  48. Put off boasting, give up self-conceit and remember your grave.

  49. The child has a right on the father while the father too has a right on the child. The right of a father on a child is that the latter should obey the former in every matter save in committing sins of Allah, the Glorified, while the right of the child on the father is that he should give him a beautiful name, give him good training and teach him the Quran.

  50. Evil effect of sight is right; charm is right; sorcery is right, and fa'l (auguring good) is right, while tiyarah (auguring evil) is not right, and spreading of a disease from one to the other is not right. Scent gives pleasure, honey gives pleasure, riding gives pleasure and looking at greenery gives pleasure.

  51. Nearness with people in their manners brings about safety from their evil.

  52. Someone uttered an expression above his position, then Amir Imam (A.S.) , said to him: You have started flying soon after growing feathers (shakir) and commenced grumbling before attaining youth (saqb).

  53. Whoever hankers after contraries gets no means of success.

  54. On being asked the meaning of the expression: "la hawla wala quwwata illa bi'llah " (there is no strength nor power but by means of Allah) . Imam (A.S.) said : We are not master of anything along with Allah, and we are not master of anything save what He makes us master of. So, when lie makes us master of anything of which lie is a superior Master over us He also assigns some duties to us; and when lie takes it away He will take away those duties as well.

  55. Imam (A.S.) heard Ammar ibn Yasir (may Allah have mercy on him) conversing with al- Mughirah ibn Shu'bah and said: Let him alone O' Ammar, for he has entered religion only to the extent of his deriving advantage of the world, and he has wilfully involved himself in misgivings in order to adopt them as cover for his shortcomings.

  56. It is good for the rich to show humility before the poor to seek reward from Allah, but better than that is the haughtiness of the poor towards the rich with trust in Allah.

  57. Allah does not grant wisdom to a person except that some day He will save him from ruin with its help.

  58. Whoever clashes with Truth would be knocked down by it.

  59. The heart is the book of the eye.

  60.  Fear of Allah is the chief trait of human character.

  61. Do not try the sharpness of your tongue against Him Who gave you the power to speak, nor the eloquence of your speaking against Him Who set you on the right path.

  62. It is enough for your own discipline that you abstain from what you dislike from others.

  63. One should endure like free people, otherwise one should keep quiet like the ignorant.

  64. In another tradition it is related that Imam (A.S.)  said to al-Ash'ath ibn Qays by way of condolence on the death of his son: Either endure like great people or else you will forget like animals.

  65. Imam (A.S.) said about the world: It deceives, it harms and it passes away. Allah, the Sublime, did not approve it as a reward for His lovers nor as a punishment for His enemies. In fact, the people of this world are like those riders that as soon as they alighted the driver called out to them and they marched off.

  66. Imam (A.S.)  said to his son al-Hasan (peace be upon him): O' my son, do not leave anything of this world behind you, because you will be leaving it for either of two sorts of persons: Either a person who uses it in obeying Allah, in this case he will acquire virtue through what was evil for you, or it will be a person who uses it in disobeying Allah and in that case he will be earning evil with what you collected for him, and so you will be assisting him in his sinfulness; and neither of these two deserves to be preferred by you over yourself

  67. Someone said Imam (A.S.) : "astaghfiru 'llah" I ask Allah's forgiveness), then Imam (A.S.)said: Your mother may lose you! Do you know what "istighfar" (asking Allah's forgiveness) is? "istighfar" is meant for people of a high position. It is a word that stands on six supports. The first is to repent over the past; the second is to make a firm determination never to revert to it; the third is to discharge all the rights of people so that you may meet Allah- quite clean with nothing to account for; the fourth is to fulfil every obligation which you ignored (in the past) so that you may now do justice with it; the fifth is to aim at the flesh grown as a result of unlawful earning, so that you may melt it by grief (of repentance) till the skin touches the bone and a new flesh grows between them; and the sixth is to make the body taste the pain of obedience as you (previously) made it taste the

  68. Clemency is (like) a kinsfolk.
  69. How wretched the son of Adam is! His death is hidden, his ailments are concealed, his actions are preserved, the bite of a mosquito pains him, choking causes his death and sweat gives him a bad smell.
  70. It is related that Imam (A.S.)  was sitting with his companions when a beautiful woman passed by them and they began to look at her whereupn Imam (A.S.)  said: The eyes of these men are covetous and this glancing is the cause of their becoming covetous. Whenever anyone of you sees a woman who attracts him, he should meet his wife because she is a woman like his wife.
  71. It is enough if your wisdom distinguishes for you the ways of going astray from those of guidance.
  72. Do good and do not regard any part of it small because its small is big and its little is much. No one of you should say that another person is more deserving than I in doing good. Otherwise, by Allah, it would really be so. There are people of good and evil. When you would leave either of the two, others will perform them.
  73. Whoever set right his inward self, Allah sets right his outward self Whoever performs acts for his religion, Allah accomplishes his acts of this world. Whoever's dealings between himself and Allah are good, Allah turns the dealings between him and other people good.
  74. Forbearance is a curtain for covering, and wisdom is a sharp sword. Therefore, conceal the weaknesses in your conduct with forbearance and kill your desires with your wisdom.
  75. There are some creatures of Allah whom Allah particularizes with favours for the benefit of the people, therefore He stays them in their hands so long as they give them to others; but when they deny them to others He takes away the favours from them and sends them to others.
  76. It does not behove a man to have trust in two positions, health and riches, because there is many a man whom you see healthy but he soon falls sick and many a man whom you see rich but soon turns destitute.
  77. Whoever complains about a need to a believer, it is as though he has complained about it to Allah; but whoever complains about it to an unbeliever it is as though he complained about Allah.
  78. Imam (A.S.) said on the occasion of an 'id (Muslim feast day): It is an 'Id for him whose fasting Allah accepts and for whose prayers He is grateful; and (in fact) every day wherein no sin of Allah is committed is an 'id.
  79. On Judgement Day the greatest regret will be felt by man who earned wealth through sinful ways, although inherited by a person who spends it in obeying Allah, the Glorified, and will be awarded Paradise on that account while first one will go into Fire on account of it.
  80. The worst in bargaining and the most unsuccessful in striving is the man who exerts himself in seeking riches although fate does not help him in his aims and consequently he goes from this world in a sorrowful state while in the next world too he will face its ill consequences.
  81. Livelihood is of two kinds: the seeker and the sought. Therefore, he who hankers after this world death traces him till it turns him out of it; but he who hankers after the next world, worldly ease itself seeks him till he receives his livelihood from it.
  82. Lovers of Allah are those who look at the inward side of the world while others look at its outward side, they busy themselves with remoter benefits while others busy themselves in immediate benefits. They kill those things which they feared would have killed them, and leave here in this world what they think would leave them. They took amassing of wealth by others as a small matter and regarded it like losing. They are enemies of things others love while love things which others hate. Through them, Quran has been learnt and they have been given knowledge through Quran. With them Quran is staying while they stand by Quran. They do not see any object of hope above what they hope and no object of fear above what they fear.
  83. Remember pleasures will pass away while the consequences will stay.
  84. Try (a man) and you will hate him.
  85. It is not that Allah-, to Whom belongs Might and Majesty, may keep the door of gratitude open for a person and close the door of plenty upon him, or to open the door of prayer to a person and close the door of acceptance upon him, or to open the door of repentanceon a person and close the door of forgiveness upon him.
  86. The most appropriate person for an honourable position is he who descends from the people of honour.
  87. Imam (A.S.) was asked: Which of the two is better; justice or generosity? Imam (A.S.)  replied: Justice puts things in their places while generosity takes them out from their directions; justice is the general caretaker while generosity is a particular benefit. Consequently, justice is superior and more distinguished of the two.
  88. People are enemies of what they do not know.
  89. The whole of asceticism is confined between two expressions of the Quran. Allah, the Glorified says: Lest distress you yourselves for what escapes you, and be overjoyous for what He has granted you (Quran, 57:23). Whoever does not grieve over what he misses and does not revel over what comes to him acquires asceticism from both its sides.
  90. What a breaker is sleep for resolutions of the day!
  91. Governingpower is the proving ground for people.
  92. No town has greater right on you than the other. The best town for you is that which bears you.
  93. When the news of the death of (Malik) al-Ashtar (may Allah have mercy on him), reached Imam (A.S.) he said: Malik, what a man Malik was! By Allah, if he had been a mountain he would have been a big one (find), and if he had been a stone he would have been hard; no horseman could have reached it and no bird could have flown over it.
  94. A little that lasts is better than much that brings grief.
  95. If a man possesses a revealing quality wait and see his other qualities.
  96. Imam said to Ghalib ibn Sasaah, father of Farazdaq (famous Arabic poet) during a conversation between them: What about the large number of your camels? The man replied: They have been swept away by obligations, O' Imam. Whereupon Imam  said: That is the most praiseworthy way of (losing) them.
  97. Whoever trades without knowing the rules of religious law will be involved in usury.
  98. Whoever regards small distresses as big, Allah involves him in big ones.
  99. Whoever maintains his own respect in view, his desires appear light to him.
  100. Whenever a man cuts a joke he separates away a bit from his wit.
  101. Your turning away from him who inclines towards you is a loss of your share of advantage while your inclining towards him who turns away from you is humiliation for yourself.
  102. Riches and destitution will follow presentation before Allah.
  103. Zubair remained a man from our house till his wretched son Abdullah came forth.
  104. What has a man to do with vanity. His origin is semen and his end is a carcass while he cannot feed himself nor ward off death.
  105. Imam (A.S.) was asked about the greatest poet and he said: The whole group of them did not proceed on the same lines in such a way that we can know the height of their glory; but if it has to be done then it is the "al-Malik ad-dillil" (the mislead king).
  106. Is there no free man who can leave this chewed morsel (of the world) to those who like it? Certainly, the only price for yourselves is Paradise. Therefore, do not sell yourself except for Paradise.
  107. Two greedy persons never get satiated, the seeker of knowledge and the seeker of this world.
  108. Belief means you should prefer truth when it harms you rather than falsehood when it benefits you; your words should not be more than your action and you should fear Allah when speaking about others.
  109. Destiny holds sway over (our) predetermination till effort itself brings about ruin.
  110. Forbearance and endurance are twins and they are the product of high courage.
  111. Backbiting is the tool of the helpless.
  112. Many a man gets into mischief because of being spoken well about.
  113. This world has been created for other than itself and has not been created for itself.
  114. The Banu Umayyah have a fixed period wherein they are having their way. But when differences arise among them then even if the hyena attacks them it will overpower them.
  115. Imam (A.S.) said eulogizing ansar : By Allah, they nurtured Islam with their generous hands and eloquent tongues as a year old calf is nurtured.
  116. The eye is the strap of the rear.
  117. Imam said in one of his speeches: A ruler came into position over them. He remained upright and made them upright till the entire religion put its bosom on the ground.
  118. A severe time will come upon people wherein the rich will seize possessions with their teeth although not commanded to do so. Allah the Glorified, says: Forget not generosity among yourselves (Quran, 2:237). During this time wicked will rise up while virtuous will remain low and purchases will be made from helpless although the Prophet (pbuh) has prohibited purchasing from the helpless.
  119. Two types of persons will fall into ruin over me: The one who loves exaggerates and the other who lays false and baseless blames.
  120. Imam (A.S.) was asked on the Unity of Allah and His justice, when he replied: Unity means that you do not subject Him to the limitations of your imagination and justice means that you do not lay any blame on Him.
  121. There is no good in silence over matters involving wisdom just as there is no good in speaking with ignorance.
  122. Imam said in his prayer for seeking rain: O' my Allah, send us rain by submissive clouds not by unruly ones.
  123. It was said to Imam (A.S.) : We wish you had changed your grey hair, O' Imam. Then he said: Dye is a way of adornment while we are in a state of grief.
  124. The fighter in the way of Allah who gets martyred would not get a greater reward than he who remains chaste despite means. It is possible that a chaste person may become one of the angels.
  125. Contentment is a wealth that does not exhaust.
  126. When Imam (A.S.) put Ziyad ibn Abih in place of Abdullah ibn Abbas over Fars (in Persia) and its revenues, he had a long conversation with him in which he prohibited him from advance recovery of revenue. Therein he said: Act on justice and keep aloof from violence and injustice because violence will lead them to forsake their abodes while injustice will prompt them to take up arms.
  127. The worst sin is that which the committer takes lightly.
  128. Allah has not made it obligatory on the, ignorant to learn till He has made it obligatory on the learned to teach.
  129. The worst comrade is he for whom formality has to be observed.
  130. If a believer enrages his brother, it means that he leaves him.



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Imam heard a man abusing the world and said: O you who abuse the world, O you who have been deceived by its deceit and cheated by its wrongs. Do ...

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Section wherein we have included selections from wonderful saying of Ameerul Momineen, peace be upon him, which require explanation When the situation is like this, then the head of religion ...

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