Islamic Thought

Nahjul Balagha

Imam Ali (AS) in his own words

 Allama Mohammad Taqi Jafferi (1923-1998), is a renowned, world famous Shia scholar. A large part of his life consisted of writing a commentary on the Nahjul Balagha in 27 volumes. However, he did not successfully finish this, only completing 185 sermons. Allama Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Jafferi, in the first volume of this commentary, discussed the means in which we can recognise Imam Ali (AS). Following this, he collected various pieces of evidence from various sources; verses from the Holy Quran, sayings from the Holy Prophet, and various quotes from Muslim and Non-Muslim scholars alike.

He claims that in order to gain insight into the true character of Imam Ali (AS), we must identify his personality through his own words. In the first volume, he quotes 36 points from the Nahjul Balagha, in which Imam Ali (AS) describes himself. In volume 9, commentating on sermon 37, he mentions 124 further points both from and regarding Imam Ali (AS). We therefore present to you these 36 points, in which we gain insight into the life and times of Imam Ali (AS).

  1. He who claims (otherwise) is ruined and he who concocts falsehood is disappointed. He who opposes right with his face gets destruction. It is enough ignorance for a man not to know himself. (Sermon 16)

  2. By Allah, Who deputed the Prophet with Right and distinguished him over creation. I do not speak save the truth. (sermon 173)

  3. I swear by Him who is such that there is no god but He that I am on the path of truth. (Sermon 195)

  4. By Allah they have not put a correct blame on me. (Sermon 22)

  5. I am certainly on clear guidance from my Lord and on the path of my Prophet and I am on the right path. (Sermon 95)

  6. The curtain of religion had kept me hidden from you but the truth of my intentions disclosed you to me. I stood for you on the path of truth among misleading tracks where you met each other but there was no leader and you dug but got no water. Today I am making these dumb things speak to you which are full of descriptive power. The opinion of the person who abandons me may get astray. I have never doubted in the truth since it has been shown to me.

  7. Do I worship one whom I have not seen? (Sermon 177)

  8. I have neither deceived myself nor ever been deceived. (Sermon 10)

  9. By Allah, if I had encountered them alone and they had been so numerous as to fill the earth to the brim, I would not have worried or become perplexed. I am clear in myself and possess conviction from Allah about their misguidance and my guidance. I am hopeful and expectant that I will meet Allah and get His good reward.(Letter 62)

  10. By Allah, even if I am given all the domains of the seven (stars) with all that exists under the skies in order that I may disobey Allah to the extent of snatching one grain of barley from an ant I would not do it.(Sermon 221)

  11. Surely, there is a strong shield of Allah over me. When my day would come it would get away from me and hand me over to death. At that time neither an arrow would go amiss nor a wound would heal up. (Sermon 60)

  12. I turn this world over on its face, value it only according to its (low) value, and look at it with an eye suitable to it. (Sermon 126)

  13. Your allegiance to me was not without thinking, nor is my and your position the same. I seek you for Allah's sake but you seek me for your own benefits.(sermon 134

  14. By Allah, Muawiya is not more cunning than I am, but he deceives and commits evil deeds. Had I not been hateful of deceit I would have been the most cunning of all men. But (the fact is ) every deceit is a sin and every sin is disobedience (of Allah), and every deceitful person will have a banner by which he will be recognised on the Day of Judgement. By Allah, I cannot be made forgetful by strategy, nor can I be overpowered by hardships. (Sermon 198)

  15. Surely fulfilment of pledge is the twin of truth. I do not know a better shield (against the assaults of sin) than it. One who realises the reality of return (to the next world) never betrays. We are in a period when most of the people regard betrayal as wisdom. In these days the ignorant call it excellence of cunning. What is the matter with them? Allah may destroy them. One who has been through thick and thin of life finds the excuses to be preventing him from orders and prohibitions of Allah but he disregards them despite capability (to succumb to them and follows the commands of Allah), while one who has no restraints of religion seizes the opportunity (and accepts the excuses for not following the commands of Allah). (Sermon 41)

  16. O' people ! By Allah, I do not impel you to any obedience unless I practise it before you and do not restrain you from any disobedience unless I desist from it before you.(Sermon 173)

  17. Do not mention for me handsome praise for obligations I have discharged towards Allah and towards you, because of fear about those obligations which I have not discharged and for issuing injunctions which could not be avoided, and do not address me in the manner despots are addressed.

  18. Do not evade me as the people of passion are evaded, do not meet me with flattery and do not think I shall take it ill if a true thing is said to me, because a person who feels disgusted when truth is said to him or a just matter placed before him would find it more difficult to act upon them. Therefore, do not abstain from saying truth or pointing out a matter of justice because I do not regard myself above erring.  I do not escape erring in my actions but Allah helps me (avoid errors) in matters in which He is more powerful than I. Certainly, I and you are slaves owned by Allah, other than Whom there is no Lord except Him. He owns ourselves which we do not own. He took us from where we were towards what means prosperity to us. He altered our straying into guidance and gave us intelligence after blindness. (Sermon 214)
  19. Therefore, extend to me support which is free from deceit and pure from doubt because, by Allah, I am the most preferable of all for the people. (Sermon 116)

  20. Shall I be content with being called Ameerul Momineen, although I do not share with the people the hardships of the world? (Letter 45)

  21. O' people, I have a right over you and you have a right over me. As for your right over me, that is to counsel you, to pay you your dues fully, to teach you that you may not remain ignorant and instruct you in behaviourism that you may act upon. As for my right over you, it is fulfilment of (the obligation of) allegiance, well-wishing in presence or in absence, response when I call you and obedience when I order you. (Sermon 34)

  22. It cannot be that my passions lead me and greed take me to choosing good meals while in the Hijaz or in Yamamah there may be people who have no hope of getting bread or who do not have a full meal. (Letter 45)

  23. Behold, by Him who split the grain and created living beings, if people had not come to me and supporters had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed I would have cast the rope of Caliphate on its own shoulders, and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one. Then you would have seen that in my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat. (Sermon 3)

  24. 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). (Saying 37)

  25. I have neither deviated nor have I been made to deviate (others). (Saying 185)

  26. The low is in my view worthy of honour till I secure his right for him while the strong is in my view weak till I take other’s rights from him. (Sermon 37)

  27. You should know that if I respond to you I would lead you as I know and would not care about whatever one may say or abuse. (Sermon 90)

  28. I never showed weakness or lack of courage, nor did I betray or become languid. By Allah, I shall split the wrong till I extract right from its flanks. (Sermon 102)

  29. By Allah I do not care whether I proceed towards death or death advances towards me. (Sermon 55)

  30. By Allah the son of Abu Talib is more familiar with death than an infant with the breast of its mother. (Sermon 5)

  31. By Allah, this sudden death is not an event that I dislike, nor is it an accident that I hate. I am just like a night traveller who reaches the spring (in the morning) or like or seeker who secures (his aim) (Sermon 23)

  32. My Allah! You know what we did was not to seek power nor acquire anything from the world’s vanities. We rather wanted to restore signs of Your religion and to usher prosperity into Your cities so the oppressed among Your creatures might be safe and Your forsaken commands be established. (Sermon 129)

  33. I am among you like a lamp in the darkness. Whoever enters by it will be lit from it. (Sermon 185)

  34. You have certainly known that I am most rightful of all others for the Caliphate. By Allah, so long as the affairs of Muslims remain intact and there is no oppression in it save on myself I shall keep quiet. (Sermon 72)

  35. Which is the house besides this one to protect? And with which leader (Imam) would you go for fighting after me? (Sermon 29)

  36. We are the direct recipients of our Lord's favours while others receive favours from us after that. (Letter 28)

  37. With regard to me, two categories of people will be ruined, namely he who loves me too much and the love takes him away from rightfulness, and he who hates me too much and the hatred takes him away from rightfulness. The best man with regard to me is he who is on the middle course. (Sermon 125).

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