Allama Sayyid Sharif Radi (970-1015) who at his time outshone all the other scholars due to his extraordinary brilliance had successfully compiled 241 sermons, 79 letters, and 489 sayings of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (656-661) the first successor of Muhammed (pbuh) the prophet of Islam. To even attempt to describe the greatness of Imam Ali (as) is an enigma in itself and would require not days and pages, but volumes and decades of writing. Who was Ali (as) to have uttered such beautifully eloquent words that have to this day baffled, bewildered and mystified scholars and intellects alike?
This collection is the living proof that would testify till eternity the position of Ali (as) as a normal human being and as a divinely chosen Imam. A look at the subjects discussed in Nahjul Balagha will be helpful in ascertaining the wide scope of this invaluable treasure of wisdom. Ali (as) through Nahjul Balagha has touched many aspects of the Islamic doctrine and comprised many broad issues such as philosophy, theology, politics, science, morals and ethics down to more specific issues such as jurisprudence and still remains to be the most eloquent book within the Shia school of thought literature.
By blood, Ali (as) was the cousin of the prophet and his son in law. By faith, he was the first man to accept the religion of Islam and the last to have been with the prophet of Islam. There are many traditions and saying of the prophet (pbuh) that describe Ali’s (as) virtues such as the famous “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate” (Sahih al-Tirmidhi d. 279 AH, p. 141) also “Your position to me is like the position of Aaron to Moses, except that there shall be no Prophet after me” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Traditions 5. 6) and the list goes on. The above narrations show that there is no question that Ali (as) was the closest to the prophet and the most knowledgeable after him. Nahjul Balagha provides many insights on historical and political events that Ali’s (as) came to face.
Introduction Political Islam is increasingly important to European politicians and policymakers. Europe’s Muslims are growing in numbers, and some form and join political organisations that articulate Islamic values in the public sphere. Muslim countries that neighbour Europe across the Mediterranean and Black Seas are going through a period of rapid political change, as demonstrated by the anti- ...
The biggest and most important was after the death of the Prophet (pbuh).
It is narrated that before the demise of Muhammed (pbuh), in an incident referred to as “Ghadeer Khom”, Muhammed (pbuh) was ordered by God to assign Ali (as) as the successor after him. Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you don’t do it, you have not delivered His message (at all)” (Holy Quran, 5:67).
It is narrated that more than 100,000 Muslims have attended this speech wherein Ali (as) was appointed the successor and given allegiance to. Unfortunately, after the prophet passed away, many promises were broken and as Ali (as) was involved in the prophet’s funeral, some mislead companions conspired and voted from amongst them a new Khalifa replacing the rightly appointed Ali (as).
In one of the most famous sermons in Nahjul Balagha referred to as Khutbat Al-Shaqshaqqiya (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 3, p50).
Ali (as) criticizes those who conspired against him and reaffirms the fact that this position which “Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself” with to him is like an “axis in relation to the hand-mill”. Ali (as) further explains that he did not rise against this injustice and chose patience and endurance instead. Many of today’s Muslims question the authenticity of this book by denying that this particular sermon is Ali’s (as) words but rather attribute it to the compiler, Allama Radi.
To others, this claim is considered totally absurd since Ali (as) never kept his criticism of the first three wrongly-appointed Khalifs even after he was finally chosen as one. Apart from the history and politics that are abundant in this book, there are many wonderful and extraordinary set of rules and advice that Imam Ali (as) narrates to the readers of this book. Many of the sermons are based on moral teachings much like the ones found in the holy Quran, with regards to love, gratitude, patience, respect, forgiveness, humbleness, and other moral and ethical aspect.
"Fly like a butterfly, Sting like a bee." This is what the man did, and what he was good at. Mohammed Ali was the first man to ever win the heavyweight title three times, and had a very impressing boxing career. But Mohammed Ali was not only an impressive boxer, but he brought about social change in his own way as well. First, he has contributed extensively to the Muslim religion, for one by ...
Many of these teachings would help prepare humanity in the self-purification process required for every Muslim to achieve happiness in the afterlife. In one sermon Ali (as) warns the people against the evils of this world and advices them to abide by Allah’s laws to achieve happiness in the hereafter: “O’ creatures of Allah! Fear Allah and anticipate your death by good actions. Get ready for the journey, for you are being driven, and prepare yourselves for death, since it is hovering over you. (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 205, P534).
By reminding the readers of death and afterlife, Ali (as) has placed the reader in front of their actions, much like how God reminds humanity of it’s fate in the Quran: “Surely We have warned you of a chastisement near at hand: the day when man shall see what his two hands have sent before, and the unbeliever shall say: O! Would that I were dust! ” (Holy Quran 78:40) Nahjul Balagha also goes into details with regards to the creation of the universe, angels and humans.
Some of the previous Muslims scientists have looked into these sermons for scientific research while some of today’s scholars use this book to crystallize their understandings of the aspect of God, Prophethood and Imamah. As a collection of sermons, letters and sayings, this book achieved the highest status after the Quran within the Shia-Muslim school of thought. Nahjul Balagha not only reflects the spirit of early Islam and the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet (pbuh) in the proper perspective, but also serves as a guide to traverse the future in the light of these teachings at the same time gives the reader a strong grasp on history.