Sayings of Imam Ali (A.S.)
1. During civil disturbance adopt such an attitude that people do not attach any importance to you - they neither burden you with complicated affairs, nor try to derive any advantage out of you.
2. He who is greedy is disgraced; he who discloses his hardship will always be humiliated; he who has no control over his tongue will often have to face discomfort.
3. Avarice is disgrace; cowardice is a defect; poverty often disables an intelligent man from arguing his case; a poor man is a stranger in his own town; misfortune and helplessness are calamities; patience is a kind of bravery; to sever attachments with the wicked world is the greatest wealth; piety is the best weapon of defence.
4. Submission to Allah's Will is the best companion; wisdom is the noblest heritage; theoretical and practical knowledge are the best signs of distinction; deep thinking will present the clearest picture of every problem.
5. The mind of a wise man is the safest custody of secrets; cheerfulness is the key to friendship; patience and forbearance will conceal many defects.
6. A conceited and self-admiring person is disliked by others; charity and alms are the best remedy for ailments and calamities; one has to account in the next world for the deeds that he has done in this world.
7. Man is a wonderful creature; he sees through the layers of fat (eyes), hears through a bone (ears) and speaks through a lump of flesh (tongue).
8. When this world favors somebody, it lends him the attributes, and surpassing merits of others and when it turns its face away from him it snatches away even his own excellences and fame.
9. Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company.
10. If you overpower your enemy, then pardon him by way of thankfulness to Allah, for being able to subdue him.
11. Unfortunate is he who cannot gain a few sincere friends during his life and more unfortunate is the one who has gained them and then lost them (through his deeds).
12. When some blessings come to you, do not drive them away through thanklessness.
13. He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers.
14. Every person who is tempted to go astray, does not deserve punishment.
15. Our affairs are attached to the destiny decreed by Allah, even our best plans may lead us to destruction.
16. There is a tradition of the Holy Prophet "With the help of hair-dye turn old age into youth so that you do not resemble the Jews". When Imam Ali was asked to comment on this tradition, he said that in the early stage of Islam there were very few Muslims. The Holy Prophet advised them to look young and energetic and not to adopt the fashion of the Jews (priest) having long, white flowing beards. But the Muslims were not in minority then, theirs was a strong and powerful State, they could take up any style they liked.
17. For those who refused to side with any party, Imam Ali or his enemies, Imam Ali said: They have forsaken religion and are of no use to infidelity also.
18. One who rushes madly after inordinate desire, runs the risk of encountering destruction and death.
19. Overlook and forgive the weaknesses of the generous people because if they fall down, Allah will help them.
20. Failures are often the results of timidity and fears; disappointments are the results of bashfulness; hours of leisure pass away like summer-clouds, therefore, do not waste opportunity of doing good.
21. If the right usurped from us is given back to us we shall take it, otherwise we shall go on claiming it.
22. If someone's deeds lower his position, his pedigree cannot elevate it.
23. To render relief to the distressed and to help the oppressed make amends for great sins.
24. O son of Adam, when you see that your Lord, the Glorified, bestows His Favors on you while you disobey Him, you should fear Him (take warning that His Wrath may not turn those very blessings into misfortunes).
25. Often your utterances and expressions of your face leak out the secrets of your hidden thoughts.
26. When you get ill do not get nervous about it and try as much as possible to be hopeful.
27. The best form of devotion to the service of Allah is not to make a show of it.
28. When you have to depart from this world and have to meet death (eventually), then why wish delay (why feel nervous about death).
29. Take warning ! He has not exposed so many of your sinful activities that it appears as if He has forgiven you (it may be that He has given you time to repent).
30. When Imam Ali was asked about Faith in Religion, he replied that the structure of faith is supported by four pillars endurance, conviction, justice and jihad.
Endurance is composed of four attributes: eagerness, fear, piety and anticipation (of death). so whoever is eager for Paradise will ignore temptations; whoever fears the fire of Hell will abstain from sins; whoever practices piety will easily bear the difficulties of life and whoever anticipates death will hasten towards good deeds.
Conviction has also four aspects to guard oneself against infatuations of sin; to search for explanation of truth through knowledge; to gain lessons from instructive things and to follow the precedent of the past people, because whoever wants to guard himself against vices and sins will have to search for the true causes of infatuation and the true ways of combating them out and to find those true ways one has to search them with the help of knowledge, whoever gets fully acquainted with various branches of knowledge will take lessons from life and whoever tries to take lessons from life is actually engaged in the study of the causes of rise and fall of previous civilizations .
Justice also has four aspects depth of understanding, profoundness of knowledge, fairness of judgment and dearness of mind; because whoever tries his best to under- stand a problem will have to study it, whoever has the practice of studying the subject he is to deal with, will develop a clear mind and will always come to correct decisions, whoever tries to achieve all this will have to develop ample patience and forbearance and whoever does this has done justice to the cause of religion and has led a life of good repute and fame.
Jihad is divided into four branches: to persuade people to be obedient to Allah; to prohibit them from sin and vice; to struggle (in the cause of Allah) sincerely and firmly on all occasions and to detest the vicious. Whoever persuades people to obey the orders of Allah provides strength to the believers; whoever dissuades them from vices and sins humiliates the unbelievers; whoever struggles on all occasions discharges all his obligations and whoever detests the vicious only for the sake of Allah, then Allah will take revenge on his enemies and will be pleased with Him on the Day of Judgment.
31. There are four causes of infidelity and loss of belief in Allah: hankering after whims, a passion to dispute every argument, deviation from truth; and dissension, because whoever hankers after whims does not incline towards truth; whoever keeps on disputing every argument on account of his ignorance, will always remain blind to truth, whoever deviates from truth because of ignorance, will always take good for evil and evil for good and he will always remain intoxicated with misguidance. And whoever makes a breach (with Allah and His Messenger) his path becomes difficult, his affairs will become complicated and his way to salvation will be uncertain.
Similarly, doubt has also four aspects absurd reason- ing; fear; vacillation and hesitation; and unreasonable surrender to infidelity, because one who has accustomed himself to unreasonable and absurd discussions will never see the Light of Truth and will always live in the darkness of ignorance. One who is afraid to face facts (of life, death and the life after death) will always turn away from ultimate reality, one who allows doubts and uncertainties to vacillate him will always be under the control of Satan and one who surrenders himself to infidelity accepts damnation in both the worlds.
32. A virtuous person is better then virtue and a vicious person is worse than vice.
33. Be generous but not extravagant, be frugal but not miserly.
34. The best kind of wealth is to give up inordinate desires.
35. One who says unpleasant things about others, will himself quickly become a target of their scandal.
36. One who hopes inordinately, impairs his deeds.
37. When Imam Ali, marching at the head of his army towards Syria, reached Ambar, the landlords of the place came out to meet him in zeal of their love, faithfulness and respect, no sooner had they seen Imam Ali they got down from their horses and started running in front of him. Imam Ali asked the reason of their strange actions. They replied that it was their custom to show their love and respect in that way. Imam Ali replied: "By Allah, by your action you do no good whatsoever to your rulers but you tire yourself and put yourself in toils in this world and in trouble in the next. How unfortunate is that exertion, which brings harm here and in the Hereafter and how useful is that ease which keeps you in comfort in this world and away from the Hell in the next.
38. Imam Ali once said to his son Imam Hasan, My son, learn four things from me and through them you will learn four more. If you keep them in mind your actions will not bring any harm to you: The greatest wealth is Wisdom; the greatest poverty is stupidity; the worst unso- ciableness is that of vanity and self-glorification; and the best nobility of descent exhibits itself in politeness and in refinement of manner. The next four things, my son, are: "Do not make friendship with a fool because when he will try to do you good he will do you harm; do not make a miser your friend because he will run away from you at the time of your dire need; do not be friendly with a vicious and wicked person because he will sell you and your friendship at the cheapest price and do not make friend of a liar because like a mirage he will make you visualize very near the things which lie at a great distance and will make you see at the great distance the things which are near to you".
39. Recommended prayers cannot attain the pleasures of Allah for you when obligatory prayers are left unattended.
40. A wise man first thinks and then speaks and a fool speaks first and then thinks.
41. A fool's mind is at the mercy of his tongue and a wise man's tongue is under the control of his mind.
42. One of the companions of Imam fell ill. Imam Ali called upon him and thus advised him: "Be thankful to Allah. He has made this illness a thing to atone your sins because a disease in itself has nothing to bring reward to anyone, it merely expiates one's sins and so far as reward is concerned, one has to earn it with his good words and good deeds. The Almighty Lord grants Paradise to his creatures on account of their piety and noble thoughts".
43. May Allah Bless Kabbab bin Aratt. He embraced Islam of his own freewill and immigrated (from Makkah) cheerfully. He lived a contented life. He bowed happily before the Will of Allah and he led the life of a mujahid.
44. Blessed is the man who always kept the life after death in his view, who remembered the Day of Judgment through all his deeds, who led a contented life and who was happy with the lot that Allah had destined for him. 45. If I cut a faithful Muslim into pieces to make him hate me, he will not turn into my enemy and if I give all the wealth of this world to a hypocrite to make him my friend he will not befriend me. It is so because the Holy Prophet has said: " O Ali! No faithful Muslim will ever be your enemy and no hypocrite will ever be your friend. "
46. The sin which makes you sad and repentant is more liked by Allah than the good deed which turns you arrogant.
47. Value of a man depends upon his courage; his veracity depends upon his self-respect and his chastity depends upon his sense of honor.
48. Success is the result of foresight and resolution, foresight depends upon deep thinking and planning and the most important factor of planning is to keep your secrets to yourself.
49. Be afraid of a gentleman when he is hungry, and of a mean person when his stomach is full.
50. Hearts of people are like wild beasts. They attach themselves to those who love and train them.
51. So long as fortune is favouring you, your defects will remain covered.
52. Only he who has the power to punish can pardon.
53. Generosity is to help a deserving person without his request, and if you help him after his request, then it is either out of self-respect or to avoid rebuke.
54. There is no greater wealth than wisdom, no greater poverty than ignorance; no greater heritage than culture and no greater support than consultation.
55. Patience is of two kinds: patience over what pains you, and patience against what you covet.
56. Wealth converts a strange land into homeland and poverty turns a native place into a strange land.
57. Contentment is the capital which will never diminish.
58. Wealth is the fountain head of passions.
59. Whoever warns you against sins and vices is like the one who gives you good tidings.
60. Tongue is a beast, if it is let loose, it devours.
61. Woman is a scorpion whose grip is sweet.
62. If you are greeted then return the greetings more warmly. If you are favoured, then repay the obligation manifold; but he who takes the initiative will always excel in merit.
63. The source of success of a claimant is the mediator.
64. People in this world are like travelers whose journey is going on though they are asleep. ( Life's journey is going on though men may not feel it ).
65. Lack of friends means, stranger in one's own country.
66. Not to have a thing is less humiliating than to beg it.
67. Do not feel ashamed if the amount of charity is small because to refuse the needy is an act of greater shame.
68. To refrain from unlawful and impious source of pleasures is an ornament to the poor and to be thankful for the riches granted is the adornment of wealth.
69. If you cannot get things as much as you desire than be contented with what you have.
70. An ignorant person will always overdo a thing or neglect it totally.
71. The wiser a man is, the less talkative will he be.
72. Time wears out bodies, renews hopes, brings death nearer and takes away aspirations. Whoever gets anything from the world lives in anxiety for holding it and whoever loses anything passes his days grieving over the loss.
73. Whoever wants to be a leader should educate himself before educating others. Before preaching to others he should first practice himself. Whoever educates himself and improves his own morals is superior to the man who tries to teach and train others.
74. Every breath you take is a step towards death.
75. Anything which can be counted is finite and will come to an end.
76. If matters get mixed up then scrutinize the cause and you will know what the effects will be.
77. Zirar bin Zamra Zibabi, known as Zirar Suda'i, was a companion of Imam Ali. When, after the martyrdom of Imam Ali, he went to Damascus, Muawiya called him and asked him to say something about Imam Ali. Zirar, knowing that Muawiya hated Imam Ali intensely tried to avoid this topic, but Muawiya forced him to speak. Thereupon, Zirar said: "O Amir, I had often seen Imam Ali in the depth of nights, when people were either sleeping or engrossed in amusements, he would be standing in the niche of the Masjid, with tears in his eyes and he would beseech Allah to help him maintain a pious, a virtuous and a noble character and to forsake the world. He would then address the world, saying 'O vicious world! Be away from me, why do you come in front of me like this ? Do you want to allure me ? Allah forbid that I should be allured and tempted by you and your pleasures. It is not possible. Go and try your allurements on somebody else. I do not desire to own you and do not want to have you. I have forsaken you thrice. It is like divorcing a woman thrice after which act she cannot be taken back as a wife. The life of pleasures that you offer is of a very little duration. There is no real importance in what you offer, the desire of holding you is an insult and a humiliation to sober minds. Sad is the plight of those who want to acquire you. They do not provide for the Hereafter. They have to pass through a long journey over a very difficult road towards a sat destination'. Zirar says that when he stopped, there were tears in the eyes of Muawiya who said, 'May peace of Allah be upon Abul Hasan Ali bin Abi Talib, he was undoubtedly like that. Now tell me, Zirar! How do you feel his separa- tion?' Zirar replied, "My sorrow and grief is like that of woman whose only child has been murdered in her lap". With this remark Zirar walked out of the court of Muawiya and left the city.
78. After the Battle of Siffin, somebody asked Imam Ali whether they had been destined to fight against the Syrians. Imam Ali replied if by destiny you mean a compulsion (physical or otherwise) through which we are forced (by nature) to do a thing then it is not so. Had it been an obligation of that kind there would have been no question of reward for doing it and punishment for not doing it (when you are physically forced to do a thing, like breathing, sleeping, eating, drinking etc. then there can be no reward for doing it and no retribution for not doing it. In such cases nature forces you to do a thing and you cannot but do it), then the promised blessings and punishments in life after death will have no meaning. The Merciful Lord has given his creatures (human beings) complete freedom to do as they like, and then prohibited them from certain actions and warned them of the consequences of such actions (His Wrath and His Punishments). These orders of Allah carry in them the least trouble and lead us towards the most convenient ways of life and the rewards which He has promised for good deeds are many times more than the actions actually deserve. He sees people disobeying Him and tolerates them not because He can be overruled or be compelled to accept human supremacy over Him. He did not send His prophets to amuse Himself or provide amuse- ment for them. He did not reveal His orders without any genuine reason nor has He created the galaxies and the earth without any purpose. The Universe without plan, purpose and program is the idea of infidels and the pagans, sorry will be their plight in the leaping fires of Hell. Hearing this the man asked Imam Ali, "Then what kind of destiny was it that we had?" Imam Ali replied: "It was an order of Allah to do it like the order He has given in His Holy Book: You are destined by Allah to worship none but Him, here 'destined' means 'ordered' it does not mean physical compulsion".
79. Acquire wisdom and truth from whomever you can because even an apostate can have them but unless they are passed over to a faithful Muslim and become part of wisdom and truth that he possesses, they have a confused existence in the minds of apostates.
80. Knowledge and wisdom are really the privilege of a faithful Muslim. If you have lost them, get them back even though you may have to get them from the apostates.
81. Value of each man depends upon the art and skill which he has attained.
82. I want to teach you five of those things which deserve your greatest anxiety to acquire them: Have hope only in Allah. Be afraid of nothing but sins. If you do not know a thing never feel ashamed to admit ignorance. If you do not know a thing never hesitate or feel ashamed to learn it. Acquire patience and endurance because their relation with true faith is that of a head to a body, a body is of no use without a head, similarly true faith can be of no use without attributes of resignation, endurance and patience.
83. A man hypocritically started praising Imam Ali, though he had no faith in him and Imam Ali hearing these praises from him said "I am less than what you tell about me but more than what you think about me".
84. Those who have come alive out of a blood-bath live longer and have more children.
85. One who imagines himself to be all-knowing will surely suffer on account of his ignorance.
86. I appreciate an old man's cautious opinion more than the valor of a young man.
87. I wonder at a man who loses hope of salvation when the door of repentance is open for him.
88. Imam Muhammad Baqir says that Imam Ali once said: "There were two things in this world which softened the Wrath of Allah and prevented its descent upon man: One has been taken away from you; hold the other stead- fastly. The one which has been taken away from men is the Holy Prophet and the one which is still left with them and which they must hold steadfastly is repentance and atonement for sins because Allah at one place in the Holy Book addressed the Holy Prophet and said Allah would not punish them while you were among them nor while they were asking for forgiveness. (Surah Anfal, 8 : 33)
89. Whoever keeps in order his affairs with Allah (follows His orders sincerely), Allah will also put his affairs with men in order. Whoever makes arrangement for his salvation, Allah will arrange his worldly affairs; whoever is a preacher for himself, Allah will also protect him.
90. He is the wisest and the most knowing man who advises people not to lose hope and faith in the Mercy of Allah and not to be too sure and over-confident of immunity from His Wrath and Punishment.
91. Like your body your mind also gets tired so refresh it by wise sayings.
92. That knowledge which remains only on your tongue is very superficial. The intrinsic value of knowledge is that you act upon it.
93. Take care and do not pray to the Lord, saying, "Lord! I pray to You to protect and guard me from temptations and trials", for there is none who is not tempted and tried. But beseech Him to guard you against such temptation as may lead you towards wickedness and sins because Allah says in His Holy Book, Know that your wealth and children are temptations. (Surah al-Anfal, 8: 28) it means Allah tried people through wealth and children so that it may be tested as to who is content with what he gets honestly and who is thankful to Allah for the position he is placed in with regard to his children. Though Allah knows them better than even they know themselves, yet those trials and tests are for the purpose of their realizing and knowing those deeds which merit reward or which deserve punishment. There are some people who love to have male children and hate daughters and there are some who simply crave for wealth and hate poverty.
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. Importance of the deeds that you have done with fear of Allah cannot be minimized and how can the deeds which are acceptable to Allah be considered unimportant.
96. "Nearest to the prophets are those persons who have to those prophets and obey them". Saying this, Imam Ali cited a passage from the Holy Qur'an 'Best liked by Abraham and nearest to him were the people who obeyed him'. He further said, "That the present times are the times of our Holy Prophet and his faithful followers. The best friend of our Holy Prophet is he who, though not related to him, obeys the orders of Allah and his greatest enemy is the man who though related to him, disobeys Allah '.
97. Imam Ali was told of a Kharijite that he got up in the night to pray and recite the Holy Book. Imam Ali said, "To sleep with having sincere faith in religion and Allah is better than to pray with wavering faith".
98. Whenever a tradition of the Holy Prophet is related to you, scrutinize it, do not be satisfied with mere verbatim repetition of the same because there are many people who repeat the words containing knowledge but only few ponder over them and try to fully grasp the meaning they convey.
99. Imam Ali heard somebody reciting the passage of the Holy Qur'an we belong to Allah and our return is towards Him, Imam Ali said, "How true it is ! Our declaring that we belong to Allah indicates that we accept Him as our Master, Owner and Lord. And when we say that our return is towards Allah indicates that we accept our mortality".
100. Some people praised Imam Ali on his face. He replied, "Allah knows me very well and I also know myself more than you. Please, Lord ! make me better than what they imagine me to be and please excuse those Weaknesses of mine which they are not aware of".
101. To secure for you fame, credit as well as blessings, the help that you give to men in need, should possess the following attributes: whatever its extent, it should be considered by you as trifling so that it may be granted a high status; it should be given secretly, Allah will manifest it; and it must be given immediately so that it becomes pleasant.
102. Your society will pass through a period when cunning and crafty intriguers will be favoured by status, when profligates will be considered as well-bred, well-behaved and elegant elites of the society, when just and honest persons will be considered as weaklings, when charity will be considered as a loss to wealth and property, when support and help to each other will be considered as favour and benevolence and when prayers and worship to Allah will be taken up for the sake of show to gain popularity and higher status, at such times regimes will be run under the advice of women and the youngsters will be the rulers and counselors of the State.
103. Imam Ali's garment was very old with patches on it. When somebody drew his attention towards it, he replied, " Such dresses, when worn by men of status make them submissive to Allah and kind-hearted towards others and the faithful Muslims can conveniently follow the example ". Vicious pleasures of this world and salvation are like two enemies or two roads running in opposite directions or towards opposite poles, one to the North and the other to the South. Whoever likes to gain the pleasures and pomps of this world will hate austerity in life which is necessary to gain salvation. Reverse will be the attitude of a man desirous of achieving Eternal Bliss. One has to adopt either of the two ways of life, and as they both cannot be brought together, a man has to choose one of them.
104. Nawf bin Fizala Bakali, the famous scholar of the early Islamic days says that one night he was with Imam Ali. In the middle of the night, Imam Ali got up from his bed, looked for sometime at the stars and inquired of Nawf whether he was awake. Nawf said: "I got from my bed replying, "Yes, Amirul Mo'minin (Commander of the Faithful) ! I am awake".
Imam Ali said Nawf ! Those are the fortunate people who adopt piety as the principle of their lives and are fully attentive to their welfare for the Hereafter. They accept bare earth as the most comfortable bed and water as the most pleasant drink. They adopt the Holy Qur'an and prayers as their guide and protector and like Prophet Jesus Christ (Isa) they forsake the world and its vicious pleasure.
Nawf ! Prophet David (Daud) once got up at such an hour in the night and said this was the hour when prayers of everyone who prayed were accepted except of those who forcibly collected revenues or who were scandal- mongers or were persons in the police force of a despotic regime or were musicians".
105, Those who give up religion to better their lot in life seldom succeed. The Wrath of Allah makes them go through more calamities and losses than the gains they gather for themselves.
106. There are many educated people who have ruined their future on account of their ignorance of religion. Their knowledge did not prove of any avail to them.
107. More wonderful than man himself is that part of his body which is connected with his trunk with muscles. It is his brain (mind). Look what good and bad tendencies arise from it. On the one hand it holds treasures of know- ledge and wisdom and on the other it is found to harbour very ugly desires. If a man sees even a tiny gleam of success, then greed forces him to humiliate himself. If he gives way to avarice, then inordinate desires ruin him, if he is disappointed, then despondency almost kills him. If he is excited, then he loses temper and gets angry. If he is pleased, then he gives up precaution. Sudden fear makes him dull and nervous, and he is unable to think and find a way out of the situation. During the times of peace and prosperity he becomes careless and unmindful of the future. If he acquires wealth, then he becomes haughty and arrogant. If he is plunged in distress, then his agitation, impatience and nervousness disgrace him. If he is overtaken by poverty, then he finds himself in a very sad plight, hunger makes him weak, and over-feeding harms him equally. In short every kind of loss and gain makes his mind unbalanced.
108. We, Ahlul Bayt (chosen descendants of the Holy Prophet), hold such central and balancing position in religion that those who are deficient in understanding and acting upon its principles, will have to come to us for reformation, and those who are overdoing it have got to learn moderation from us.
109. A Divine rule can be established only by a man, who, where justice and equity are required, neither feels deficient nor weak and who is not greedy and avaricious.
110. Sohayl bin Hunayf Ansari was a favourite companion of Imam Ali. At the time of Imam Ali's return from Siffin, he died at Kufa of the wounds sustained in the battle. His death left Imam Ali very sad and he said: "Even if a mountain loves me it will be crushed into bits". (it means people are tested with my love, and to prove it they have to pass through loss and calamities).
111. Anyone who loves us Ahlul Bayt must be ready to face a life of austerity.
112. No wealth is more useful than intelligence and wisdom; no solitude is more horrible than when people avoid you on account of your vanity and conceit or when you wrongly consider yourself above everybody to confide and consult; no eminence is more exalting than piety; no companion can prove more useful than politeness; no heritage is better than culture; no leader is superior to Divine Guidance; no deal is more profitable than good deeds; no profit is greater than Divine Reward; no abstinence is better than to restrain one's mind from doubts (about religion); no virtue is better than refraining from prohibited deeds; no knowledge is superior to deep thinking and prudence; no worship or prayers are more sacred than fulfillment of obligations and duties, no religious faith is loftier than feeling ashamed of doing wrong and bearing calamities patiently; no eminence is greater than to adopt humbleness; no exaltation is superior to knowledge; nothing is more respectable than forgiveness and forbear- ance; no support and defense are stronger than consultation.
113. When a community is composed of honest, sober and virtuous people, your forming a bad opinion about anyone of its members, when nothing wicked has been seen of him, is a great injustice to him. On the contrary in a corrupt society to form good opinion of anyone of them and to trust him is to harm yourself.
114. When somebody asked Imam Ali as to how he was getting on, he replied: "What do you want to know about a person whose life is leading him towards ultimate death, whose health is the first stage towards illness and whom society has forced out of his retreat".
115. There are many persons whom constant grants of His Bounties turn them wicked and fit for His punishment and there are many more who have become vain and self- deceptive because the Merciful Allah has not exposed their weaknesses and vices to the world and the people speak highly about them. All this is an opportunity. No trial of the Lord is more severe than the time He allows (in which either you may repent or get deeper into vices).
116. Two kinds of people will be damned on my account Those who form exaggerated opinion about me and those who under-estimate me because they hate me.
117. To lose or to waste an opportunity will result in grief and sorrow.
118. She world is like a serpent, so soft to touch, but so full of lethal poison. Unwise people are allured by it and drawn towards it, and wise men avoid it and keep away from its poisonous effects.
119. When asked about Quraysh, Imam Ali replied that amongst them Bani Mukhzum are like sweet scented flower of Quraysh; their men are good to talk to and their women prove very good wives; Bani Abdush Shams are very intelligent and very prudent but we (of Bani Hashim) are very generous and very brave to face death. Bani Abdush Shams are more in numbers, ugly and intriguers but Bani Hashim are beautiful, good speakers and orators and very faithful as friends.
120. What a difference is there between a deed whose pleasure passes away leaving behind it the pangs of pain and punishment and the deed whose oppressive harshness comes to an end leaving behind Divine rewards !
121. Imam Ali was following a funeral and as it was passing along a road, somebody laughed loudly ( a sign of discourtesy and lack of manner ). Hearing this laugh, Imam Ali remarked, " Some of us feel that death is meant for everybody except themselves or it is destined to others and not to themselves or those whom we see dying around us are only travelers going on a journey and will come back to us. It is a sad sight to see that in one moment we commit them to earth and in the next we take hold of the things left by them as if we are going to remain permanently in this world after them. The fact is that we forget sensible advice given to us and become victim of every calamity.
122. Blessings are for the man who humbles himself before Allah, whose sources of income are honest, whose inten- tions are always honorable, whose character is noble, whose habits are sober, who gives away in the cause and in the Name of Allah, the wealth which is lying surplus with him, who controls his tongue from vicious and useless talk, who abstains from oppression, who faithfully follows the traditions of the Holy Prophet and who keeps himself away from innovation in religion.
123. Jealousy in woman is unpardonable but in man it is a sign of his faith in religion (because Islam has permitted polygamy and prohibited polyandry).
124. I define Islam for you in a way that nobody dared do it before me. Islam means obedience to Allah, obedience to Allah means having sincere faith in Him, such a faith means to believe in His Power, belief in His Power means recognizing and accepting His Majesty, acceptance of His Majesty means fulfilling the obligations laid down by Him and fulfillment of obligations means actions (Therefore, Islam does not mean mere faith, but faith plus deeds).
125. I wonder at the mentality of a miser, fearing poverty he takes to stinginess and thus hastily pushes himself head- long into a state of want and destitution, he madly desires plenty and ease, but throws it away without understand- ing. In this world he, of his own free will, leads the life of a a beggar and in the next world he will have to submit an account like the rich.
I wonder at the arrogance of a haughty and vain person. Yesterday he was only a drop of semen and tomorrow he will turn into a corpse. I wonder at the man who observes the Universe created by Allah and doubts His Being and Existence. I wonder at the man who sees people dying around him and yet he has forgotten his end. I wonder at the man who understands the marvel of genesis of creation and refuses to accept that he will be brought back to life again. I wonder at the man who takes great pains to decorate and to make comfortable this mortal habitat and totally forgets his permanent abode.
126. Whoever is not diligent in his work, will suffer; who- ever has no share of Allah in his wealth and in his life then there is no place for him in His Realm.
127. Be very cautious of cold in the beginning of winter and welcome it at the close of the season because cold season effects your bodies exactly as it effects the trees; in the early season its severity makes them shrivel and shed their leaves and at the end it helps them to revive.
128. If you understand Allah's Majesty, then you will not attach any importance to the creatures.
129. While returning from Siffin, Imam Ali passed along the cemetery of Kufa. Addressing the graves he said: "O you, who are lying in horrible and deserted houses. O you, who are shut up in the dark graves, who are alone in their abodes, strangers to the places assigned to them; you have gone ahead and preceded us, while we are also following your steps and shall shortly join you. Do you know what has happened aver you? Your houses and property was taken up by others, your widows have remarried, this is what we can tell you of this world. Can you give us some news about things around you?" Saying this, Imam Ali turned to his companions and said, "If they are permitted to speak they will inform you that the best provision for the next world is piety and virtue".
130. Imam Ali heard someone abusing and blaming the world and said to him, "O you, who are blaming the world, who have been allured and enticed by it, and have been tempted by its false pretenses. You allowed yourself to be enamored of, to be captivated by it and then you accuse and blame it. Have you any reason or right to accuse it and to call it a sinner and seducer? Or is the world not justified in calling you a wicked knave and a sinning hypocrite? When did it make you lose your intelli- gence and reasoning? And how did it cheat you or snake false pretenses to you? Did it conceal from you the fact of the ultimate end of everything that it holds, the fact of the sway of death, decay and destruction in its domain? Did it keep you in the dark about the fate of your fore- fathers and their final abode under the earth? Did it keep the resting-place of your mothers a secret from you? Do you not know that they have returned to dust? Many a time you must have attended the sick persons and many of them you must have seen beyond the scope of medicine. Neither the science of healing nor could your nursing and attendance nor your prayers and weeping prolonged the span of their lives, and they died. You were anxious for them, you procured the best medical aid, you gathered famous physicians and provided best - medicines for them. Death could not be held back and life could not be pro- longed. In this drama and in this tragedy did the world not present you with a lesson and a moral?
Certainly, this world is a house of truth for those who look into it carefully, an abode of peace and rest for those who understand its ways and moods and it is the best working ground for those who want to procure rewards for life in the Hereafter. It is a place of acquiring knowledge and wisdom for those who want to acquire them, a place of worship for the friends of Allah and for Angels. It is the place where prophets received revelations of Allah. It is the place for virtuous people and saints to do good deeds and to be assigned with rewards for the same. Only in this world they could trade with Allah's Favors and Blessings and only while living here they could barter their good deeds with His Blessings and Rewards. Where else could all this be done? Who are you to abuse the world when it has openly declared its mortality and mortality of everything connected with it, when it has given everyone of its inha- bitants to understand that all of them are to face death, when through its ways it has given them all an idea of calamities they have to face here, and through the sight of its temporary and fading pleasures it has given them glimpses of eternal pleasures of Paradise and suggested them to wish and work for the same. If you study it properly you will find that simply to warn and frighten you of the consequences of evil deeds and to persuade you towards good actions, every night it raises new hopes of peace and prosperity in you and every morning it places new anxieties and new worries before you. Those who passed such lives are ashamed of and repent the time so passed abuse this world. But there are people who will praise this world on the Day of Judgment that it reminded them of the Hereafter and they took advantage of these reminders. It informed them of the effects of good deeds and they made correct use of the information it advised them and they were benefited by its advice".
131. An Angel announces daily: "Birth of more human beings means so many more will die, collection of more wealth means of much more will be destroyed, erection of more buildings means so many more ruins will come".
132. This world is not a permanent place, it is a passage, a road on which you are passing. There are two kinds of people here: One is the kind of those who have sold their souls for eternal damnation, the other is of those who have purchased their souls and freed them from damnation.
133. A friend cannot be considered a friend unless he is tested on three occasions: in time of need, behind your back and after your death.
134. Anyone who has been granted four attributes will not be deprived of their (four) effects; one who prays to Allah and implores to Him will not be deprived of granting of his prayers; one who repents for his thoughts and deeds will not be refused acceptance of the repentance; one who has atoned for his sins will not be debarred from salvation and one who thanks Allah for the Blessings and Bounties will not be denied the increase in them.
The truth of these facts is attested by the Holy Qur'an As far as prayers are concerned He says Pray to Me and I shall accept your prayers. About repentance He says: Whoever has done a bad deed or has indulged in sin and then repents and asks for His forgiveness will find Allah most Forgiving and Merciful. About being thankful He says if you are thankful for what you are given, I shall increase My Bounties and Blessings. About atonement of sin He says Allah accepts the repentance of those who have ignorantly committed vice and then soon repent for it, Allah accepts such repentance's, He is Wise and Omniscient. 135. Daily prayers are the best medium through which one can Seek the nearness to Allah. Hajj is Jihad (Holy War) for every weak person. For everything that you own there is Zakat, and Zakat of your body is fasting. The Jihad of a woman is to afford pleasant company to her husband.
136. If you want to pray to Allah for better means of subsistence, then first give something in charity
137. When someone is sure of the returns, then he shows generosity.
138. Aid (from Allah) is in proportion to the trouble.
139. He who practices moderation and frugality will never be threatened with poverty.
140. One of the conveniences in life is to have less children.
141. Loving one another is half of wisdom.
142. Grief is half of old age.
143. Grant of patience (from Allah) is in proportion to the extent of calamity you are passing through. If you exhibit fretfulness, irritation, and despair in calamities, then your patience and your exertions are wasted.
144. Many persons get nothing out of their fasts but hunger and thirst, many more get nothing out of their night prayers but exertions and sleepless nights. Wise and sagacious persons are praiseworthy even if they do not fast and sleep during the nights.
145. Defend your faith (in Allah) with the help of charity. Protect your wealth with the aid of Zakat. Let the prayers guard you from calamities and disasters.
146. Kumayl bin Ziyad Nakha'i says that once Imam Ali put his hand in his hand and took me to the grave-yard. When he passed through it and left the city behind, he heaved a sigh and said "Kumayl, these hearts are containers of the secrets of knowledge and wisdom and the best container is the one which can hold the most and what it holds, it can preserve and protect in the best way. Therefore, remember carefully what I am telling you. Remember that there are three kinds of people: one kind is of those learned people who are highly versed in the ethics of truth and philosophy of religion, second is the kind of those who are acquiring the above knowledge and the third is that class of people who are uneducated. They follow every pretender and accept every slogan, they have neither acquired any knowledge nor have they secured any support of firm and rational convictions. Remember, Kumayl, knowledge is better than wealth because it protects you while you have to guard wealth. It decreases if you keep on spending it but the more you make use of knowledge the more it increases. What you get through wealth dis- appears as soon as wealth disappears but what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you.
O Kumayl ! Knowledge is power and it can command obedience. A man of knowledge during his lifetime can make people obey and follow him and he is praised and venerated after his death. Remember that knowledge is a ruler and wealth is its subject.
O Kumayl ! Those who amass wealth, though alive, are dead to realities of life, and those who achieve know- ledge, will remain alive through their knowledge and wisdom even after their death, though their faces may disappear from the community of living beings, yet their ideas, the knowledge which they had left behind and their memory, will remain in the minds of people".
Kumayl says that after this brief dissertation, Imam Ali pointed towards his chest and said, "Look Kumayl! Here I hold stores and treasures of knowledge. I wish I could find somebody to share it with me. Yes, I found a few, but one of them, though quite intelligent, was untrustworthy, he would sell his salvation to get hold of the world and its pleasures, he would make religion a pretence to grasp worldly power and wealth, he would make this Blessing of Allah (knowledge) serve him to get supremacy and control over friends of Allah and he would through knowledge exploit and suppress other human beings. The other person was such that he apparently obeyed truth and knowledge, yet his mind had not achieved the true light of religion, at the slightest ambiguity or doubt he would get suspicious of truth, mistrust religion and would rush towards skepticism. So neither of them was capable of acquiring the superior knowledge that I can impart. Besides these two I find some other person One of them is a slave of self and greedy for inordinate desires, which can easily drag him away from the path of religion, the other is an avaricious, grasping and acquisitive miser who will risk his life to grasp and hold wealth, none of these two will be of any use to religion or man, both of them resemble beasts having appetite for food. If sensible trustees of knowledge and wisdom totally disappear from human society then both knowledge and wisdom will suffer severely, may bring harm to humanity and may even die out. But this earth will never be without those persons who will prove the universality of truth as disclosed by Allah, they may be well-known persons, openly and fearlessly declaring the things revealed to them or they may, under fear of harm, injury or deaths hide themselves from the public gaze and may carry on their mission privately so that the reasons proving the reality of truth as preached by religion and as demonstrated by His Prophet may not totally disappear. How many are they and where could they be found? I swear by Allah that they are very few in number but their worth and their ranks before Allah are very high. Through them Allah preserves His Guidance so that they, while departing, may hand over these truths to persons like themselves. The knowledge which they have acquired has made them see the realities and visualize the truth and has instilled into them the spirit of faith and trust. The duties which were decreed as hard and unbearable by them. They feel happy in the company and association of things which frighten the ignorant and uneducated. They live in this world like everybody else but their souls soar to the heights of Divine Eminence. They are media of Allah on this earth and they invite people towards Him. How I love to meet them O Kumayl ! I have told you all that I have to say, you can go back to your place whenever you like".
147. A man can be valued through his sayings.
148. One who does not realize his own value is condemned to utter failure. (Every kind of complex, superiority or inferiority is harmful to man).
149. Somebody requested Imam Ali to advise him how to lead a useful and sober life. Imam Ali thereupon advised him thus: "Do not be among those people who want to gain good returns without working hard for them, who have long hopes and keep on postponing repentance and penance, who talk like pious persons but run after vicious pleasures. Do not be among those who are not satisfied if they get more in life and are not content if their lot in life's pleasures is less (they are never satisfied), who never thank Allah for what they get and keep on constantly demanding increase in what is left with them; who advise others to such good deeds that they themselves refrain from; who appreciate good people but do not follow their ways of life; who hate bad and vicious people but follow their ways of life; who, on account of their excessive sins hate death but do not give up the sinful ways of life; who, if fallen ill, repent their ways of life and on regaining their health fearlessly readopt the same frivolous ways; who get despondent and lose all hopes, but on gaining health, become arrogant and careless; who, if faced with misfor- tunes, dangers or afflictions, turn to Allah and keep on beseeching Him for relief and when relieved or favoured with comfort and ease they are deceived by the comfortable conditions they found themselves in and forget Allah and forsake prayers; whose minds are allured by day dreams and forlorn hopes and who abhor to face realities of life; who fear for others the enormous repercussions of vices and sins but for their own deeds expect very high rewards or very light disciplinary actions. Riches make such people arrogant, rebellious and wicked, and poverty makes them despondent and lethargic. If they have to work, they work lazily and if they put up a demand they do it stubbornly.
Under the influence of inordinate cravings, they commit sins in quick succession and keep on postponing repentance. Calamities and adversities make them give up the distinguished characteristics of Muslims (patience, hope in future and work for improvement of circumstances). They advise people with narration's of events and facts but do not take any lesson from them. They are good at preachings but bad at practice, therefore they always talk of lofty deeds but their actions belie their words. They are keen to acquire temporal pleasures but are careless and slow to achieve permanent (Divine) benefits. They think good for themselves the things which are actually injurious to them and regard harmful the things which really benefit them. They are afraid of death but waste their time and do not resort to good deeds before death overtakes them. The vices which they regard as enormous sins for others, they consider as minor shortcomings for themselves. Similarly, they attach great importance to their obedience to the orders of Allah and belittle similar actions in others. Therefore, they often criticize others and speak very highly of their own deeds. They are happy to spend their time in society of rich persons, wasting it in luxuries and vices but are averse to employing for useful purposes in company of the poor and pious people: They are quick and free to pass verdicts against others but they never pass a verdict against their own vicious deeds. They force others to obey them but they never obey Allah. They collect their dues carefully but never pay the dues they owe. They are not afraid of Allah but fear powerful men".
150. Everyone has an end, it may be pleasant or sorrowful.
151. Everyone, who is born, has to die and once dead he is as good as having not come into existence.
152. One, who adopts patience, will never be deprived of success though it may take a long time to reach him.
153. One who assents or subsribes to the actions of a group or a party is as good as having committed the deed himself. A man who joins a sinful deed makes himself responsible for two-fold punishments, one for doing the deed and the other for assenting and subscribing to it. 154. Accept promises of only those persons who can stead- fastly-adhere to their pledges.
155. You are ordained to recognize the Imams (the right successors of the Holy Prophet) and to obey them.
156. You have been shown, if you only care to see; you have been advised if you care to take advantage of advice; you have been told if you care to listen to good counsels.
157. Admonish your brother (comrade) by good deeds and kind regards, and ward off his evil by favouring him.
158. One, who enters the places of evil repute has no right to complain against a man who speaks ill of him.
159. One, who acquires power cannot avoid favouritism.
160. One, who is willful and conceited will suffer losses and calamities and one who seeks advice can secure advan- tages of many counsels.
161. One, who guards his secrets has complete control over his affairs.
162. Poverty is the worst form of death.
163. One, who serves a person from whom he gets no reci- procal performance of duties, in fact, worships him.
164. One should not obey anyone against the commands of Allah.
165. Do not blame a man who delays in securing what are his just rights but blame lies on him who grasps the rights which do not belong to him.
166. Conceit is a barrier to progress and improvement.
167. Death is near and our mutual company is short.
168. There is enough light for one who wants to see.
169. It is wiser to abstain then to repent.
170. Often inordinate desire to secure a single gain acts as a hindrance for the quest of many profitable pursuits.
171. People often hate those things which they do not know or cannot understand. 172. One, who seeks advice learns to realize his mistakes.
173. One who struggles for the cause of Allah secures victory over His enemies.
174. When you feel afraid or nervous to do a thing then do it because the real harm which you may thus receive is less poignant than its expectation and fear. 175. Your supremacy over others is in proportion to the extent of your knowledge and wisdom.
176. The best way to punish an evil-doer is to reward handsomely a good person for his good deeds.
177. If you want to remove evil from the minds of others then first give up evil intentions yourself.
178. Obstinacy will prevent you from a correct decision.
179. Greed is permanent slavery.
180. Deficiency will result in shame and sorrow but caution and foresight will bring peace and security.
181. To keep silent when you can say something wise and useful is as bad as keeping on propagating foolish and unwise thoughts.
182. If two opposite theories are propagated one will be wrong.
183. When truth was revealed to me I never doubted it.
184.I never lied and the things revealed to me were not false I never misled anybody nor was I misled.
185. One, who starts tyranny, will repent soon.
186. Death is never very far.
187. One who forsakes truth earns eternal damnation.
188. One who cannot benefit by patience will die in grief.
189. In this world, man is a target of death, an easy prey to calamities, here every morsel and every draught is liable to choke one, here one never receives a favour until he loses another instead, here every additional day in one's life is a day reduced from the total span of his existence, when death is the natural outcome of life, how can we expect immortality?
190. O son of Adam, if you have collected anything in excess of your actual need, you will act only as its trustee for someone else to use it.
191. Hearts have the tendency of likes and dislikes and are liable to be energetic and lethargic, therefore, make them work when they are energetic because if hearts are forced (to do a thing) they will be blinded.
192. When I feel angry with a person how and when should I satisfy my anger, whether at a time when I am not in a position to retaliate and people may advise me to bear patiently or when I have power to punish and I forgive. 193. Minds get tired like bodies. When you feel that your; mind is tired, then invigorate it with sober advice.
194. If you find that somebody is not grateful for all that you have done for him, then do not get disappointed because often you will find that someone else feels under your obligation though you have done nothing for him and thus your good deeds will be compensated, and Allah will reward you for your goodness.
195. The first fruit of forbearance is that people will sympathize with you and they will go against the man who offended you arrogantly.
196. One who takes account of his shortcomings will always gain by it; one who is unmindful of them will always suffer. One who is afraid of the Day of Judgment, is safe from the Wrath of Allah. One who takes lessons from the events of life, gets vision, one who acquires vision becomes wise and one who attains wisdom achieves knowledge.
197. Bear sorrows and calamities patiently, otherwise you will never be happy.
198. One who comes into power often oppresses.
199. Adversities often bring good qualities to the front.
200. If a friend envies you, then he is not a true friend.
201. Avarice dulls the faculties of judgment and wisdom.
202. Oppression and tyranny are the worse companions for the Hereafter.
203. The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget.
204. Silence will create respect and dignity; justice and fairplay will bring more friends; benevolence and charity will enhance prestige and position; courtesy will draw benevolence; service of mankind will secure leadership and good words will overcome powerful enemies.
205. A greedy man will always find himself in the shackles of humility.
206. There are people who worship Allah to gain His Favors, this is the worship of traders; while there are some who worship Him to keep themselves free from His Wrath, this is the worship of slaves; a few who obey Him out' of their sense of gratitude and obligations, this is the worship of free and noble men.
Peak of Eloquence
Sermons and Letters of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)
Translated by Askari Jafri
Eleventh Revised Edition - Islamic Seminary Publications
Contributed by Br. Ali Abbas
NAME : Ali
TITLE : Ameer-al-momineen, Mola-e-Kaayenaat, Abul Hasan
FATHER : Hazrat Abu Talib
MOTHER : Hazrat Fatima Binte Asad
BIRTH DATE : 13th Rajab, born inside KABAH (10 yrs bfr the raising of Prophet)
AGE : 63 Years
DIED ON : Morning of 21st Ramadhan 40th Hijrah
DEATH PLACE: Masjid-e-Kufa
HOLY SHRINE: Najaf-e-Ashraf (IRAQ)
TITLE : Ameer-al-momineen, Mola-e-Kaayenaat, Abul Hasan
FATHER : Hazrat Abu Talib
MOTHER : Hazrat Fatima Binte Asad
BIRTH DATE : 13th Rajab, born inside KABAH (10 yrs bfr the raising of Prophet)
AGE : 63 Years
DIED ON : Morning of 21st Ramadhan 40th Hijrah
DEATH PLACE: Masjid-e-Kufa
HOLY SHRINE: Najaf-e-Ashraf (IRAQ)
Hadrat Ali R.A was the son of Abu Talib, a prominent Quraish chief and custodian of the Holy Ka'bah. Abu Talib was so-called because he was the father of "Talib," the eldest brother of Hadrat Ali. The real name of Abu Talib was 'Abd Manaf.' However, he was more popularly known by his surname than by his real name. Abu Talib was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdul Muttalib was also a surname, his real name being Shaybah. Abdul Muttalib was the son of Hashim. Hashim was a great man of his line, and his descendants came to be known as Hashimites.
The mother of Hadrat Ali was Fatima. She was the daughter of Asad who was a son of Hashim. Fatima was a cousin of Abu Talib. Thus, both the father and mother of Hadrat Ali were Hashimites, and that was a great honour.
Ancestry of Hadrat Ali and the Holy Prophet
The holy Prophet was the son of Abdullah who was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdullah and Abu Talib were real brothers. Abu Talib was thus the real paternal uncle of the holy Prophet of Islam. Hadrat Ali was the first cousin of the holy Prophet. The holy Prophet and Hadrat Ali had a common grandfather who was Abdul Muttalib.
Abdul Muttalib was the son of Hashim, who was the son of Abd Manaf, who was the son of Qusay, who was the son of Murrah, who was the son a Kaab, who was the son of Luayy, who was the son of Ghalib, who was the son of Fihr, who was the son of Malik, who was the son of Nadr, who was the son of Kannah. Beyond Kannah, the ancestry extended to Hadrat Ismail, and Hadrat Ibrahim, who flourished some 2,500 years earlier.
Date of Birth
The exact date of birth of Hadrat Ali is not known with any degree of certainty. According to Traditions, Hadrat Ali was born on the 13th of Rajab in the 28th year of the Elephant era. The Elephant era, according to the annals of Arabia commenced when Abraha, the Christian Viceroy of Yemen, invaded Mecca with the intention of destroying the Ka'bah, and shifting the centre of pilgrimage to Yemen. The invasion failed, the Christian army had to beat a retreat without achieving its object. That marked the retreat of Christianity from the heartland of Arabia and paved the way for the rise of Islam.
The holy Prophet of Islam was born in the 'Year of the Elephant'. According to scholars, 'The Year of the Elephant' corresponds to the year 571 of the Christian Era [CE]. On this basis, the year of the birth of Hadrat Ali would have to be placed around 599 or 600 CE. In any case, Hadrat Ali was at the junction of two centuries, the sixth and the seventh.
Birth of Hadrat Ali R.A
Hadrat Ali was born in unusual circumstances. On the 13th day of the holy month of Rajab, Fatima, the mother of Hadrat Ali, visited the Ka'bah to perform the pilgrimage. During the course of the pilgrimage and while circumambulating the Ka'bah, Fatima felt the pangs of childbirth. She retired to a secluded place in the precincts of the holy Ka'bah, and there Hadrat Ali was born. Hadrat Ali has thus had the unique honour to be born in the House of God. This unparalleled honour had endowed Hadrat Ali with a halo of sanctity that has become the subject of many legends. A hundred years later, Zain-ul-Abidin, a grandson of Ali (son of Hadrat Hussein), met an Arab woman at Najaf who told him that her grandmother had helped Fatima on the occasion of Hadrat Ali's birth. She narrated that according to the account of her grandmother, the child was beautiful; a smile played on his lips; he did not cry like other children; and his birth did not cause any pain to his mother.
Fatima wanted to name her child "Asad" after her father and Abu Talib wanted to name him Zaid. When both mother and the child returned home, the holy Prophet, and Hadrat Khadijah came to see her newborn child. Since his birth, he had not opened his eyes, and that worried both Fatima and Abu Talib. However, when the holy Prophet took the child in his lap, then he opened his eyes. So the first person that Hadrat Ali saw after his birth was the holy Prophet. When the holy Prophet was asked whether he approved of the child being named either Asad or Zaid, he said that since the child was born in the House of God, he should be named Ali (the word Ali being a derivative of Allah). Hadrat Ali had thus had the distinction of being named after Allah. No one before him had ever been so named. Furthermore, the name acquired more sanctity because it was suggested by the holy Prophet.
The Biographer and his Hero
A biographer can be considered the alter-ego of the hero, whose biography is written. There is a common bond between the biographer and the hero which transcends the considerations of time and space. In writing this biography of Hadrat Ali, I have had some communion with the soul of Hadrat Ali, and in some mysterious way, I had the necessary guidance in appreciating such events in the life of Hadrat Ali which were otherwise obscure. Just as a lover locks the image of his beloved in his heart, thus the biographer locks the image of his hero in his heart, and he can enter into a dialogue with such image.
Biography and History
There are differences in the approach between a biographer and a historian. A biography is usually an exercise in hero worship and the biographer is prone to paint the picture of his hero in bright colours. On the other hand, the approach of a historian is for the most part objective and constructively critical. Every hero of a biographer may not necessarily be a great men from the viewpoint history. Where the hero is a great man in history, his biography has to be projected in the context of history. Hadrat Ali is indeed a great man in the history of mankind in general and the history of Islam in particular. In undertaking this study in the life of Hadrat Ali, I have had to act not only as a biographer, but as a historian as well. This means that besides narrating the main events in the Hadrat Ali's life, I must examine the impact of such events on history. As such, I must critically examine the main events in Hadrat Ali's life in order to ascertain their causes and effects. Of course such criticism has to be constructive.
Greatness of Hadrat Ali
Greatness is a phenomenon in which specially gifted persons who are endowed with extraordinary qualities appear on the world stage from time to time. History is the science which studies this phenomenon of greatness. Usually every person who scales the heights of greatness and acquires a place in history is a success from the worldly point of view. Here there is a peculiarity in the greatness of Hadrat Ali. He was great, indeed very great, but he was not a success from the worldly point of view in the conventional sense that the word 'success' is understood. We have thus to undertake a study to probe into the causes that militated against the success of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view in spite of his greatness. We will also have to consider how he is great when he did not succeed in the worldly sense.
Periods in the life of Hadrat Ali
The life of Hadrat Ali can be divided into three distinct periods. The first period comprises the first 32 years of his life and extends from 600 to 632 CE. I call this period the period of the education and action. It was during this period that he received his education under the loving care of the holy Prophet; imbibed with values of Islam; and acquired all the attributes that contribute to greatness. In the post-Hijri years, he emerged as the greatest warrior of the age. He distinguished himself as a great warrior in the battles of Badr, Uhud and the Ditch. His crowning success was his conquest of the Khyber. In battle he killed more men [through hand-to-hand combat] than any other single man in history. All those who fought in the duels against him were invariably killed. He came to be known as the "Lion of God."
He acted as a Justice, and acquired fame for his wise and well-reasoned judgments. He acted as the Governor of Yemen, and acquired a good deal of experience as administrator. He had the honour of announcing the verses of the Holy Qur'an about the "Declaration of Immunity" to the people on behalf of the Holy Prophet on the location of the Hajj. When the holy Prophet died, Hadrat Ali was in the prime of his youth and he was enlightened, experienced, wise, valiant -- the embodiment of virtue. He had expected that because of his outstanding qualities and his relationship to the holy Prophet, he would be chosen as the Caliph. He was however, passed over, and this state of affairs continued for 24 years when the office of the caliphate was held by Hadrat Abu Bakr, Hadrat Umar and Hadrat Othman.
This period constitutes the second period of the life of Hadrat Ali. During this time, although Hadrat Ali acted as the Counsellor to Caliphs, he generally kept aloof from active politics. I call this period as the period of inaction and contemplation. It was a period of inaction from the political point of view, because he kept aloof from politics. It was the period of contemplation from the spiritual point of view, for this period was spent by Hadrat Ali mostly in prayer, religious exercises and dialogue with God. The further he went from the world, the nearer he got to God.
The third period began when Hadrat Ali was elected as Caliph. This period only lasted for five years. I call this period the period of frustration. Hadrat Ali found the caliphate to be a bed of thorns. During those five years, he fought three battles: (i) the Battle of the Camel, (ii) the Battle of Siffin, and (iii) the Battle of Nahrawan. All three battles were fought against the Muslims and led to considerable bloodshed. It was a matter of the great shock for him, that instead of fighting against non-Muslims, he had to fight against Muslims. During this period, Hadrat Ali had to suffer from frustration because of repeated and continuous betrayals, even by men close to him. At the outset of his caliphate, he was betrayed by Banu Umayya when Muawiyah defied him and accused him of involvement in the murder of Hadrat Othman. He was betrayed by the people of Medina who did not respond to his call to undertake 'jihad' against Muawiyah. He was betrayed by Talha and Zubair, who took the oath of allegiance [from] him and later defected. He was betrayed by Hadrat A'isha his mother-in-law, who took top arms against him. He was betrayed by the people of Basra who had taken the oath of allegiance [from] him but later defected. At Siffin he was betrayed by his own army who would not fight when the victory was in sight. In the matter of arbitration, he was betrayed by his umpire Abu Musa Ashari, who instead of defending his cause, deposed him. He had to face the succession of the Kharijites who had originally fought on his side at the battle of Siffin. He was betrayed by Khurrity b. Raashid who had been his ally, but later revolted against him, and created trouble in Basra. He was betrayed by his own brother Aquil who was not satisfied with the allowance that Hadrat Ali gave him, and joined Muawiyah who rewarded him handsomely. He was betrayed by his cousin Abdullah b. Abbas when he had appointed as the Governor of Basra, and who left his post after misappropriated heavy fines from the Bait-ul-Mal. The final active betrayal came when Hadrat Ali was married, by a fanatic Kharijite.
Causes for the failure of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view
The usual phenomenon of greatness is that men succeed in life, and because of such success may acquire greatness. The usual law is that greatness is the consequence of success. Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. This means that if you succeed, you become great, but if you fail, you are pushed aside and are forgotten. In Hadrat Ali's case we come across an extraordinary exception to this law of success and greatness. Hadrat Ali's greatness was of a different species. His greatness did not flow from success in life. Such greatness was inherent in him. It preceded his encounter with the world and it outlived his death, although he did not succeed in his worldly life as the word 'success' is usually understood. Instead Hadrat Ali became more famous after death than when he was alive.
We will now consider the causes which militated against Hadrat Ali's success in spite of his greatness. His greatness was of such a dimension that he towered extremely high above the people around him. It was a case of Gulliver in the land of dwarfs. He was so high that he could not bend to meet the people, and that people were so low that they could not rise to meet him. As such, a proper equation could not be established between Hadrat Ali and the people around him, and this was the main cause as to why he was frequently betrayed, and why he did not succeed in the worldly affairs like ordinary people. Hadrat Ali [was] very much ahead of his time and the people in that era simply could not keep up with him.
By the time Hadrat Ali came to office, a generation had passed since the death of the holy Prophet. During this period, the Muslims had made large conquests. Th[is] had brought great wealth, and wealth had changed people's lives. A capitalist class sprang up among the Muslims. Hadrat Ali, a great Muslim of the old type, wanted to enforce the austere discipline of the original Islam. He himself lead a very simple life, and aimed to follow in the steps of Hadrat Umar. Hadrat Ali, however, lacked the harshness of Hadrat Umar, and could not enforce the reforms he had in mind. There was a gulf between Hadrat Ali and the capitalist class who wielded considerable influence. Hadrat Ali was very parsimonious in the spending of public funds; while Muawiyah, who himself had lead a luxurious life, was quite liberal in the spending of public funds. The capitalist class among the Muslims preferred Muawiyah to Hadrat Ali as they were given to the worldly way of life. While Hadrat Ali was more concerned with the Hereafter than this world, people around him were more concerned with the world than the Hereafter. This difference in outlook could not be bridged, and that is why there were many betrayals in the camp of Hadrat Ali. These betrayals weakened his position of considerably for he was a man of strong principles and would not compromise with those principles. The people who were opposed to him were masters in propaganda and they didn't hesitate to adopt any means, whether fair or foul, to gain their ends. Hadrat Ali lost the game because he would not abandon his principles at any cost.
Opposition of the Quraish
The Quraish had played the leading role in the extension of the Muslim dominion. Although Hadrat Ali was a Quraish, he could not win their support. In his book Ali, the Superman, Dr. Mohyuddin observed the following about the Quraish's opposition to Hadrat Ali:
"Hadrat Ali hoped to establish a world-Islamic Empire, a kingdom of God on earth, where peace was to reign supreme and mankind could move steadily towards perfection. That he failed so completely, is one of the and enigmas of Islamic history. The student is perplexed, and indeed despondent, when he discovers that the entire tribe of the Quraish gave wholehearted support to the first two Caliphs, Abu Bakr (who belonged to the tribe of Banu Adi, but not to their two successors, who also belonged to the Quraish tribe). It is baffling indeed that they obeyed Abu Bakr and Umar blindly, but deserted Othman and Ali, whom they bitterly opposed and finally murdered. From the moment that Ali came to power, he was resisted and obstructed by the Quraish in spite of the fact that the aristocratic Quraish knew that Ali had noble blood in his veins, blood which had flowed in the veins of the holy Prophet, and that in addition he had those personal traits of character, which made him unique amongst all the people of his age. Ali's knowledge, piety, bravery, generalship, services for the propagation of Islam, and his achievements on the battlefield for the defence of Islam, made him superior to the first two Caliphs. He was superbly equipped to fill the office of the Caliph, yet the entire race seems to have taken up arms against him. In spite of his qualities of mind and spirit, he seems to have been sacrificed to the prevailing tribal spirit of his countrymen. Perhaps it was his superiority more than anything else which led to his downfall. He knew himself to be superior to his contemporaries and he hated the petty tribal chiefs of the Quraish who were interested only in their self aggrandizement. What is more, he let them know his contempt for them, and frequently acted independently of them in defiance of established custom."
Hadrat Ali, The Man
Hadrat Ali was of medium-high height. He had a superb head with a face as noble as the man himself. His nose was straight, and his mouth was beautifully formed. His eyes were most commanding, being full of light and luster. There was an note of music in his voice. There was an aura of spirituality and a strong personal magnetism about him. In his youth he was handsome and full of fiery vigour. When he was older he became corpulent and bulky. His gray hair gave way to baldness. His beard, however, remained thick and luxuriant, and he often dyed it red. He was stout, genial, charitable, meditative, reserved, and he was a man who towered high above the people around him because of his intellectual and spiritual attainments.
Hadrat Ali R . A, the man
Hadrat Ali was endowed with all the qualities that make a man great. He was not only great, he was regarded as a superman, an ideal man. He was the paragon of virtue. He enjoyed fame for his piety and religious devotions. He was the embodiment of Islamic values. In his love of God and His Messenger, he was second to none. When praying to God, his absorption was so intense that he often lost consciousness. His mind was so sure that he could hold communion with God. He had learned the Holy Qur'an by heart, and he could quote appropriate verses to suit every occasion. He was most truthful and honest. He was most humble. He was simple in his habits. He avoided display and luxury. He lived the life of an ascetic. Even when he was Caliph he lived in an ordinary house. The door of his house remained open to everyone at all times. He was most generous. He was most liberal in giving charity. He always came to the help of those who were distressed and involved in any difficulty. He looked after widows and orphans as if they were members of his own household. He was a warrior, a general, and a man conspicuous for his bravery and valour. Indeed he was braver than any other man in history. He fought hundreds of duels in his lifetime, and in all such encounters his rivals were worsted. In the various battles, he killed a record number of enemies. He was skilful swordsman and his sword never missed its mark. In the various battles that he fought, he never turned his back. In the battle of Uhud, he received so many wounds that the nurses were unable to dress them. He bore the pain with great patience. The people around him misunderstood him, yet he did not lose patience. He was most chivalrous, and forgiving. He would forgive even his worst enemies. He was a great scholar. His book Nahj ul-Balagha is a living proof of his scholarship and erudition. There was a sense of humour about him, and sometimes he said things in a lighter vein to bring home the point he had in mind. He was a master of the simile and metaphor, and when bringing home a point he always illustrated it with appropriate metaphors and similes. He was a great philosopher, and there was great depth in his thoughts which were expressed in his writing. He was known for his wisdom. He was indeed wiser than Solomon. Most of his wise sayings have attained the dimensions of proverbs. He was a great orator. His sermons were most impressive. He was a master of rhetoric. He is regarded as the father of Islamic learning. He has left a deep mark on Islamic theology. He was the founder of Arabic grammar. He was a great poet. He was the father of Sufism. He was the father of Islamic jurisprudence. He was in impartial judge and his famous judgments are the most valuable assets of Islamic jurisprudence. He was a skilful administrator. He introduced numerous reforms. He was an eminent political thinker for his political thought had an air of modernity about it. The greatness of Hadrat Ali as a man is multi-dimensional in character, and after the holy Prophet, he was the greatest Muslim whose memory is honoured by Muslims all over the world.
Wives and children of Hadrat Ali
The principal wife of Hadrat Ali was Hadrat Fatima, the favourite daughter of the holy Prophet. During the lifetime of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali at one stage proposed to marry a daughter of Abu Jahl. When the holy Prophet came to know of this proposal, he became annoyed and declared that if Hadrat Ali wanted to marry another wife, he should divorce Hadrat Fatima first. Thereupon Hadrat Ali abandoned the idea of marrying another wife. Hadrat Fatima was the mother of three sons and two daughters. The sons were Hasan, Hussain, and Mohsin. Mohsin died during childhood. The daughters were Zainab and Umm Kulthum.
After the death of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali married a number of wives. They were:
(1) Umm-ul-Bunian who was the daughter of Hazam b. Khalid. Hadrat Ali had five sons from her, namely: Abdullah, Jafar, Abbas, Othman, and Umar. All of them except Abbas were martyred in the battle of Karbala along with Hadrat Hussain.
(2) Khaula was the daughter of Jafar Hanfiyah. She was the mother of the son known as Muhammad b. Hanfiyah.
(3) Umm Habib who was the daughter of Rabiah. She gave birth to a son Umar, in the daughter Ruqiya.
(4) Asma who was the daughter of Umais. She was in the first instance married to Hadrat Jafar, an elder brother of Hadrat Ali. On the death of Hadrat Jafar, Hadrat Abu Bakr married her. After the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr she married Hadrat Ali. She had to sons from Hadrat Ali, namely: Yahya and Muhammad Asghar.
(5) Laila who was the daughter of Masud. She was the mother of two sons, namely Ubaidullah and Abu Bakr.
(6) Umama who was a daughter of Abi Al Aa's and Hadrat Zainab and elder sister of Hadrat Fatima. Her son from Hadrat Ali bore the name of Muhammad Awsat.
(7) Umm Saeed who was a daughter of Urwa. She bore Hadrat Ali two daughters, namely: Umm-ul-Hasan and Rumia.
(8) Muhyat was a daughter of the famous Arab poet Imra-ul-Qais. She gave birth to a daughter who expired in infancy.
Hadrat Ali married nine wives in all including Hadrat Fatima. The number of wives at a time however did not exceed four. He had a few slave girls of whom Humia and Umm Shuaib bore him 12 daughters, Nafisa, Zainab, Ruqiya, Umm-ul-Karaam, Humaira, Umm Salma, Sughra, Khadija, Umm Hani, Umm Kulthum Jamana and Maimuna. Hadrat Ali was, in all, the father of 15 sons and 18 daughters. [total = 33 children]
Man of many Distinctions
Hadrat Ali was a man of many distinctions. He owed his distinctions to his relationship with the holy Prophet, his valour, his knowledge and his spiritual attainments.
* He had the distinction of being a Hashimite both on the side of his father as well as his mother.
* He had the distinction of having a name which was derivative of the name of Allah. No other person before him bore the name of Ali.
His relationship with the Holy Prophet P.B.U.H
* On opening his eyes after his birth, the first person who he saw was the holy Prophet.
* The holy Prophet gave him his name.
* As an infant he had the honour of sucking the tongue of the holy Prophet.
* He was the first cousin of the holy Prophet. He became a ward of the holy Prophet, and was brought up as a family member of the household of the holy Prophet.
* He received his training under the loving care and guidance of the holy Prophet.
* When the holy Prophet declared his mission, he was the first teenager to be converted to Islam.
* Hadrat Khadijah and Hadrat Ali were the first two persons to pray behind the holy Prophet.
* When the holy Prophet invited the Hashimites to a dinner, and aked them to aid him in his mission, Hadrat Ali was the only person to respond to the call of the holy Prophet.
* He risked his life for the sake of the holy Prophet and slept on his bed when the holy Prophet left for Medina and the Quraish youth besieged the house with a view to killing the holy Prophet.
* When the holy Prophet left for Medina, he entrusted to Hadrat Ali the task of returning the belongings of the people. They had placed their belongings in the custody of the holy Prophet for safekeeping.
* When the holy Prophet joined the Muhajirs and the Ansars in fraternity in Medina, he allied himself in fraternity with Hadrat Ali.
* The holy Prophet married his beloved daughter Fatima Zahra to Hadrat Ali.
* He was commissioned by the holy Prophet to write the agreement which came to be known as the Hudaybia Pact.
* After the conquest of Mecca, he had the unique distinction of standing on the shoulders of the holy Prophet and destroying the idols in the Ka'bah.
* He was entrusted by the holy Prophet with the special mission of announcing the Quraish Sura "Al Bara'at" (Immunity) to the people on the occasion of the pilgrimage.
* He was the only person to whom the holy Prophet referred to as the "Maula" [Master] of the Ummah
* When the holy Prophet proposed "Mubahala" [a special kind of debate] with the Christians and the Najran, he chose Hadrat Ali as his "second man."
* The progeny of the holy Prophet descends through Hadrat Ali.
* He was the only person to whom the holy Prophet imparted "inward knowledge."
* The holy Prophet conferred many appellations on Hadrat Ali such as Hidar-iKarrar, Abu Turab, Asad-ullah, Syedul Arab, etc.
* The holy Prophet declared his relationship to Hadrat Ali as that of Moses and Aaron.
* When the holy Prophet died, Hadrat Ali washed him and prepared his dead body for burial.
* He participated in all the wars of early Islam which were fought under the command of the holy Prophet.
* In all the battles, Hadrat Ali was the flag-bearer for the forces of the Muslims.
* He was the greatest man among the Muslims. For his unusual bravery, he won such titles as "Asad Allah," (the Lion of God) or "Haidar-e-Karrar" (the warrior who nobody could match.)
* During his lifetime, he killed over 1000 enemies. In the Battle of Badr alone killed two dozen people.
* He fought over a hundred duels and in all the duels, his adversaries, however strong, were killed.
* He was the conqueror of the Khyber.
* He was the most learned man of his age. He was a living encyclopaedia of knowledge and learning.
* After the holy Prophet, he was the most eloquent person of the age.
* Because of his knowledge and wisdom he is known as the "Second Solomon."
* His wise sayings and aphorisms have attained the status of classical proverbs.
* He was the first person to write a grammar of the Arabic language.
* Among the early Muslims, he was the only person whose collections of writings have come down to us and this collection [is] preserved under the title of Nahj-ul-Balagha.
* He was a distinguished poet.
* He enjoys fame as the "father of rhetoric."
* He was an authority on Mathematics.
* He was a master of the science of Physics.
* He had a deep medical knowledge.
* After the holy Prophet, he is regarded as the greatest philosopher of Islam.
* He was a calligrapher and wrote in a beautiful hand.
His Spiritual Attainments
* He was the first person to learn the Qur'an by heart.
* According to the commentators, there are at least 300 verses in the holy Qur'an which have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali
* After the holy Prophet, he was the Chief Judge among the early Muslims. He is regarded as the "father of fiqh." [jurisprudence]
* He is the first revivalist among the Muslims. He interpreted the doctrines of Islam and systematized them.
* He is regarded as the "father of Sufism." All schools of Tasawwuf [authentic Sufism] trace their origin to him.
Because of his multidimensional greatness and outstanding qualities, Hadrat Ali is known by many appellations, and each appellation illuminates one particular aspect of his excellence.
Some of these appellations are as follows:
(1) Murtada - he with whom God is pleased
(2) Maula - the master
(3) Haidar-i-Karrar- the brave warrior against whom no one could stand
(4) Asad Allah - the lion of God
(5) Al-Ghalib - the victorious
(6) Sher-i-Yazdan - the bravest man of the age
(7) Mushkil Kusha - wine whom resolves the difficulties of the people
(8) Shah-i-Awlia - the king of saints
(9) Shah-i-Mominin - the king of the pious
(10) Abu Turab - father of the earth
(11) Amir-ul-Momineen - leader of the faithful
(12) Amin-ul-Momineen - the trustee of the faithful
(13) Imam-ul-Muttaqeen - the leader of the God-fearing
(14) Sayyid-ul-Arab - the chief of the Arabs
(15) Al Wasi - the beneficiary under the Prophet's 'testamentary statement'
(16) Al Hadi - the guide
(17) Al Zahid - the chaste
(18) Al Abi - the pious
(19) Al Salah - the reformer
Hadrat Ali in the Holy Qur'an
References to Hadrat Ali in the Qur'an
According to the commentators of the Holy Qur'an, there are numerous verses in the Holy Qur'an which have implied references to Hadrat Ali. According to the Shi'ah commentators there are as many as 300 verses in the Holy Qur'an which have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali. According to the Sunni commentators this number is much smaller. According to the consensus of commentators, some of the verses which refer to Hadrat Ali are as follows:
Verse 33, Sura 33
"Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing."
Hadrat Ali is obviously included in the expression "Folk of the Household."
Verse 61, Sura 3
"And whoso disputeth with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, then we will pray humbly (to our Lord) and (solemnly) invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie."
This verse alludes the deputation of the Christians of Najran who came to Medina to hold a discussion with the holy Prophet about the truth of Islam. In this verse, the reference to "our sons, and our women" includes references to Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Fatima, Hasan and Hussain.
Verse 3, Sura 9
"And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve."
In pursuance of this verse, the holy Prophet commissioned Hadrat Ali to go to the 'Greater Pilgrimage' to announce the verses of the Sura "Immunity" wherein God absolved the Muslims from all obligations under treaties previously concluded with the idolators.
Verse 23, Sura 42
"Say O Muhammad to mankind: 'No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.' "
According to Traditions, when the holy Prophet was asked as to who were the relatives alluded to in the verse, the holy Prophet said, "Verily, the reference is to Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussain."
Verse 21, Sura 45
"Do those who commit evil deeds suppose that We shall treat them like those who believe and do good deeds - that their lives and their deaths shall be equal.No, bad is their judgment."
According to Ibn Abbas, "the doers of good" cited to in this verse, refer to to to Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Hamza and Hadrat Ubaydah b. Harith.
Verse 17, Sura 11
"Is he to be counted equal with those who rely on a clear proof from his Lord and the witness from Him recites it, and before it was the Book of Moses, and example and a mercy? Such believe therein. Whoso disbelieves therein, the Fire is his appointed place. So be not you in doubt concerning it. Lo, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of mankind believe it not."
One day, in one of his sermons, Hadrat Ali said that there was hardly a man from among to the Quraish who had not been referred to in the Holy Qur'an. Hadrat Ali was asked to recite some verse which alluded to him. Thereupon he recited the above verse.
Verse 4, Sura 66
"Now if both of you turn to Allah repentant, it will be better for you as your hearts are already so inclined. But if you backup each other against him, surely Allah is his helper, and Gabriel and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, all other angels too are his helpers."
According to Ibn Abbas, the holy Prophet said that the "righteous men" alluded to as "helper" in this verse, refers to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 18, Sura 32
"Is he who is a believer like him who is an evil doer? Verily they are not equal."
According to Ibn Abbas, "believer" in this verse refers to Hadrat Ali, and "evil doer" refers to Walid b. Utba.
Verse 54, Sura 25
"And He it is Who created man from water, and has appointed for him kindred by blood, and kindred by marriage, and your Lord is all powerful."
According to the Traditions, "kindred by blood and kindred by marriage" refers to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 36, Sura 24
"The lamp of light is lit in houses which Allah has allowed to be exalted so that His name be remembered in them. Therein He is glorified in the mornings and evenings."
According to the Traditions, the holy Prophet said that be "houses" referred to in this verse include the house of Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Fatima.
Verse 55, Sura 5
"Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger, and the believers who observed prayer and pay the poor rate."
According to the Traditions, "the believers" referred to in this verse includes a reference to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 12, Sura 58
"O ye who believe! When you consult the Messenger in private, give alms before your consultation. That is better and purer for you. But when you do not find the wherewithal, Lo! Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
According to the Traditions, when this verse was revealed the holy Prophet wanted to fix an amount which every person who consulted the holy Prophet should pay. Hadrat Ali contended that since the people were generally poor no amount should be fixed and the option should rest with the person concerned, to pay whatever alms he could.
Verse 181, Sura 7
"And of those We have created, there are people that guide men in the truth, and do justice therewith."
According to the Traditions, the reference to "people that guide men with truth" includes a reference to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 57, Sura 43
"And when the son of Mary is cited as an example, lo, the people jeer thereat."
According to the Traditions, the holy Prophet is said to have told Hadrat Ali that one day his example would be like that of Jesus Christ. A section of the people would love him so much that they would willingly die for him, whereas there would also be other people who would fight against him.
Verse 29, Sura 48
"Muhammad is the Apostle off God. And those with Him are firm against the disbelievers, and Merciful amongst themselves. Thus see them bowing down, and prostrating themselves in prayer, seeking grace from Allah and His pleasure. Their mark is upon their faces, being the traces of prostrations. Such is their description in the Torah. And their description in the gospel is like a seed that sends forth its sprout, then makes its strong; it then becomes thick, and stands on its stem, delighting the sowers, and causing the disbelievers to burn with rage at the sight of them. Allah has promised to those of them who believe and do good works, forgiveness and a great We reward."
According to the commentary of Imam Abu Musa, this verse was revealed in favour of Hadrat Ali
Verse 43, Sura 13
"And those who disbelieve say 'you are not a Messenger' say to them, 'sufficient is Allah as the witness between me and you, and so is he who possesses knowledge of the Book."
According to commentators, the phrase "whosoever has the knowledge of the Book" alludes to Hadrat Ali.
Verse 64, Sura 8
"O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and for such of the followers as follow you."
According to commentators, the phrase "such of the followers as follow you" alludes to Hadrat Ali.
Assessment of Hadrat Ali by Eminent Muslims
Abdullah b. Masud used to say that throughout Arabia there was not a more impartial judge than Ali. He also said that Hadrat Ali was the founder of Arabic grammar.
Abu Saeed Khudiri held that he could easily detect a hypocrite by his enmity towards Ali.
Imam Hanbal said: "Ali had numerous enemies, and all of them tried to find fault with him, but they searched in vain, and could not find any flaw in him. At long last the joined hands with Muawiyah, and declared war on Ali. When they failed to defeat him by fair means, they took to treacherous and defeat folk courses to defeat him."
Ibn Athir, the great biographer held: "Ali was the first Caliph and both of his parents were pure Hashimites. He was so judicially minded that he could not put up with the dishonesty of his relations or friends, and was so much engrossed in piety that at the time of his marriage with Fatima, he did not possess anything save a camel skin on which he fed his camels in the day, and which he converted into a bed sheet at night. The Prophet in his table talk has not extolled anyone of his Companions as much as he had Ali. Surely, Ali never spoke a lie in his lifetime."
Dareema was a sharp tongued Arab lady who was very loud in the praise of Hadrat Ali and the denunciation of Muawiyah. After the death of Hadrat Ali, Muawiyah summoned her to his court and inquired of her why she had supported Ali. She said that she had done so because Hadrat Ali was a lover of justice, who honoured the pious and sympathized with the poor.
Umar b. Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad Caliph was asked who he considered to be the most pious man in the world. He said: "Ali excelled mankind in piety. Not only did he practice its virtues, but he tried zealously to reform his friends, associates, acquaintances, and all those who came into contact with him."
Masudi, the great historian wrote, "If the glorious name of being among the first Muslims, a comrade of the Prophet in exile, his faithful Companion in the struggle for the faith, his intimate friend in life and his kinsman, is he truth knowledge of his teachings and of the Book, if self abnegation and practice of justice, if honesty, purity and love of truth, if the knowledge of law and science constitutes a claim to pre-eminence, then all must regard Ali as one of the foremost Muslims."
Shah Wali Ullah observed: "Chivalry and strength of character, humanity and sincerity which are the attributes of great men were represented in abundance by Hadrat Ali. He is the father of Islamic learning, and his intellectual attainments were due to the ideal training of the holy Prophet. He was a Hafiz and a great authority on the Qur'an."
Syed Amir Ali assessed the achievements of Hadrat Ali in the following terms: "His bravery won him the title of the "Lion of God," and his learning that of the "Gate of Knowledge." Chivalrous, humane, forbearing to the verge of weakness as a ruler, he was a man before his time. Most of the grand undertakings initiated by Umar for the welfare of the people were due to his counsel. Always ready to succour the weak and to redress the wrongs of the injured, the accounts of his valorous deeds are recited with enthusiasm from the bazaars of Cairo to those of Delhi. With his dying breath he inculcated lessons of charity, love, humility and self abnegation to his sons. He expressly ordered them that no harshness should be shown towards his murderer, who should be executed with one blow."
Ata Mohyuddin: In his book, Ali, the Superman, Dr. Ata Mohyuddin assessed Hadrat Ali in the following terms: "Ali meant many different things to many generations, each of whom has found something to inspire it out of the diverse wealth of his mind. During his lifetime, he was thought of primarily as a warrior fighting at first in the battles of God, and later for a decade against schismatics. He was also respected for his knowledge and learning, and in later years many thought of him as a saint. But it was not until after his death that the effect which he had exercised over the ethical life of his time began to be appreciated. He was the founder of the movement which aimed to rejuvenate the ethical life of the Muslims. The Arabs had begun to forsake the unity of Islam in favour of the tribal laws of the "Days of Ignorance." Ali had to fight against the disintegrating social forces that were everywhere around him and attempted almost singlehandedly to restore the religious policy of Islam. That he succeeded as well as he did was due to moral earnestness of his own character, and to the colossal store of spiritual knowledge from which he drew his strength. In subsequent ages, his ethical pronouncements which fell largely on deaf ears during his lifetime, were to have an invigorating effect on the Islam that he served so well. The influence of Ali, was to continue to make itself felt long after his death, and to recreate earnestness among the believers. It still makes itself felt today.
Allama Iqbal In his poem "Asrar-i-Khudi," Allama Iqbal paid tribute to Hadrat Ali in the following terms:
"Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet was a man of many qualities.
He gave fresh vigour to Faith.
And brought honours to the community of the faithful.
He developed self-disciplines and killed avarice.
A person who knows and controls himself rules the world."
Assessment of Hadrat Ali by Western Scholars
Philip Hitti In his book History of the Arabs, Professor Hitti assessed the character of Hadrat Ali as follows: "Valiant in battle, wise in council, eloquent in speech, true to his friends, magnanimous to his foes, Ali became both the paragon of Muslim nobility and chivalry, and the Solomon of Arabic tradition around whose name, poems, proverbs, sermonettes and anecdotes innumerable have clustered. He had swarthy complexion, large black eyes, bald head, a thick and long white beard, and was opulent and of medium stature. His sabre Dhul Fiqar, which was wielded by the Prophet on the battlefield of Badr, has been immortalized in the words of this verse found engraved in many medieval Arab records, "no sword can match Dhul Fiqar, and no young warrior can compare with Hadrat Ali." A later Fidayan movement which developed ceremonies and insignia savouring of medieval European chivalry and the modern scouts movement, took Ali for its father and model. Regarded as wise and brave by all the Islamic world, as the idealistic and exemplary by many Fidayan and dervish fraternities, as sinless and infallible by his partisans, and even held to be the incarnation of the deity by the Ghulah (extremists) among them, he whose worldly posthumous influence was second only to that of the holy Prophet himself. The throngs of pilgrims that still stream to his Mashhad at Najaf and to that of his son Husain, the Shi'iah arch-saint and martyr at nearby Karbala, and the passion-play enacted annually on the tenth of Muharram through the Shi'iah world, testify to the possibility that death may avail a Messiah more than life."
Sir William Muir In his book, The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall, Sir William Muir paid his tribute to Hadrat Ali in the following words: "In the character of Ali, there are many things to commend him for. Mild and beneficent, he treated Basra when prostrate at his feet with a generous forbearance. Towards theocratic fanatics, who wearied his patience by incessant intrigues and senseless rebellion, he showed no vindictiveness. Excepting Muawiyah, the man of all others whom he ought not to have estranged, he carried the policy of conciliating his enemies to a dangerous extreme. In compromise indeed and in procrastination lay the future of his caliphate. With greater vigour, spirit, and determination, he might have averted the schism which for a time threatened the existence of Islam, and which has never ceased to weaken it. Ali was wise in counsel and many an adage and astute proverb have been attributed to him. But like Solomon, his weakness was for others more than himself.
Charles Mills In his book A History of Muhammadanism, Charles Mills assessed Hadrat Ali as follows: "As the chief of the family of Hashim, and as the cousin and son-in-law of him whom the Arabians respected almost to idolatry it is apparently incredible that Ali was not raised to the caliphate immediately after the death of Muhammad p.b.u.h. In the advantage of his birth and marriage was added the friendship of the Prophet. The son of Abu Talib was one of the first converts to Islam, and was Muhammad's favourite appellation of him, the Aaron of a second Moses. His talents as an orator, and his intrepidity as the warrior commanded to a nation in whose judgment courage was virtue and eloquence was wisdom. But the pride and loftiness of his spirit endured not to caution inseparable from the schemes of policy, and continually precipitated him into rashness. His opposition to Abu Bakr would not have ceased if Fatima had lived. But upon her death, six months after that of her father, the Companions of Muhammad relaxed in their friendship to his family. In the reign of Abu Bakr, Umar and Othman, a dignified independence was preserved by Ali. On the invitation of the Caliphs, he assisted in the councils of Medina, but he was principally occupied in the tranquil pursuits of domestic life and the various duties of his religion. On the murder of Othman the Egyptians who were at Medina offered him the caliphate. Indignant that the power of nomination should be usurped by the strangers, Ali declared that the suffrages of the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina alone could be available. The public voice soon echoed the opinion of the murderers, and the scruples of Ali were soon removed. In apprehension of the enmity of A'isha, his relentless fall, and of the whole family out of Muawiyah, he declined to receive in private the proffered allegiance of the chiefs. With his accustomed simplicity, he proceeded to the mosque clad in a cotton gown, a coarse turban on his head, his slippers were in one hand, and a bow instead of a staff, occupied the other."
Professor Nicholson In his book A Literary History of the Arabs, Nicholson remarked: "Ali was a gallant warrior, a wise counsellor, a true friend and generous foe. He excelled in poetry and in eloquence. His verses and sayings are famous throughout the Muhammadan East, though few of them can be considered authentic. He can be compared with Montrose and Bayard in the fineness of spirit. He had no talent for the stern realities of statecraft and was overmatched by unscrupulous rivals who knew that war is the game of deceit. Thus his career was in one sense a failure - his authority as Caliph was never admitted while he lived, by the whole community. On the other hand he has exerted down to the present-day a posthumous influence only second to that of Muhammad himself. Within a century of his death, he came to be regarded as the Prophet's successor jure divine; as a blessed martyr, sinless and infallible, and even by some as an incarnation of God. The Ali of the Shi'ite legend is not a historical figure glorified, rather he symbolizes in a purely ethical fashion, the religious aspirations and political aims of a large section of the Muslim world."
John J. Pool In his book Studies in Muhammadanism, John J. Pool observed: "The fact is that Ali was too mild a man for the stirring times in which he lived. He was too slow to resolve and too undecided in action. At any time he preferred compromise and delay to energy and promptness, and with fatal results. The death of Ali was an epoch-making event. We come now to the parting of ways. Henceforward the Commanders of the Faithful ceased to be elected by the votes of the people of Medina and Mecca. Arabia was no longer to be the seat of temporal power. For the future, in Islam, might was to take the place of right."
Edward Gibbon In his book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon observed the following about the assassination of Hadrat Othman and the succession of Hadrat Ali: "A tumultuous anarchy of five days after the martyrdom of Othman was appeased by the inauguration of Ali. His refusal would have provoked a general massacre. In this painful situation, he supported the becoming pride of the chief of the Hashimites; declared that he would rather serve than reign; rebuked the presumption of the strangers and required the formal, if not the voluntary, assent of the chiefs of the nation. He has never been accused of promoting the assassination of Othman, though Persia indirectly and secretly celebrates the festivals of that holy martyr. The quarrel between Othman and his subjects was assuaged by the early mediation of Ali, and Hasan, the eldest of his sons, was insulted and wounded in the defence of the Caliph."
While commenting on the failure of Hadrat Ali and matters pertaining to statecraft, Gibbon observes as follows: "A life of prayer and contemplation had not chilled the martial activity of Ali, but in a mature age, after a long experience of mankind, he still betrayed in his conduct the rashness and indiscretion of youth."
Thomas Carlyle In his book On Heroes and Hero Worship, Thomas Carlyle observed: "As for this young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble minded creature, as he shows himself, now and always afterwards, full of affection, of fiery daring something chivalrous in him, brave as a lion, yet with a grace, truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood. He died by assassination in the mosque at Kufa, death occasioned by his own generous fairness, confidence in the fairness of others. He said: if the wound proved not unto death, they must pardon the assassin, but if it did, they must slay him straightaway, so that the two of them in the same our might appear before God, and see which side of that quarrel was the just one."
Dr. Henry Stubbe In his book An Account of the Rise and Progress of Muhammadanism, Dr. Henry Stubbe observed: "Ali was of a brown complexion, a little man with a somewhat large belly, he had a contempt of the world, its glory and pomp. He feared God much, gave many alms, was just in all his actions, humble and affable, of an exceedingly quick wit, and of an ingenuity that was not common. He was exceedingly learned, not only in those sciences that terminate in speculation, but those which extend to practice."
Major Price In his book Memoirs of the Principal Events of Muhammadan History, Major Price observed: "His virtues and extraordinary qualities have been the subject of voluminous panegyrics, and his war-like exploits from his youth upwards have been particularly celebrated in the "Khawer Nama," a poem well-known in the East and which may perhaps contend in extravagance with the wildest effusions of European romance. With his acknowledged talents and magnanimity, it is however, difficult to account for the train of civil mischief and perpetual discontent which continued to disturb him for the whole of his reign. His gallant spirit was probably incapable of bonding to the ordinary shifts of political craft, and it is perhaps true that the Arabian chiefs were not yet sufficiently disciplined to see the sovereign authority quietly monopolized by any particular family."
J.J. Saunders In his book A History of Medieval Islam, J.J. Saunders observed:"His moral qualities were respectively recognized. He was a brave fighter and an eloquent orator and a loyal friend. Many things of his are quoted to prove his mastery of proverbial wisdom, a gift highly honoured among the Semites. He displayed towards his foes a patience and magnanimity expressive of a humane and generous disposition. His religion was founded on genuine piety. He was shocked by the growing luxury and corruption of the age, and to his many doubts whether Othman was an upholder or a violator of the law may be attributed to the hesitating and ambiguous attitude he adopted towards the regicides, which proved so fatal to his rule and reputation. As his temper was indolent, he drifted rather than led. He was easily outmatched by the astute and the forceful, and he lacked the commanding personality to impose his will on a turbulent society. His authority was challenged by the political shrewdness of Muawiyah, and the furious zealotry of the Kharajites, his inability to overcome either delivered Islam to schism and grave believers were driven to see in a reunion of the Empire under the Umayyads the only escape from tribal and sectarian anarchy. Yet he has been raised by a powerful sect little below that of Muhammad himself, the Shi'ah or party of Ali laid down as an article of faith that he was designated by God and the Prophet to be the lawful Caliph and Imam of the Islam, his three predecessors being treated as usurpers, and that Divine Revelation continued to be interpreted by his descendants, and his supposed grave at Najaf, a sandhill on the edge of the desert six miles west of Kufa, is annually visited by thousands of devout pilgrims who curse his supplanters and revere him as the friend of God and the first of Imams."
The Sayings of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali was the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. Some of the Sayings of Hadrat Ali, which breathe wisdom and have attained the dimension of aphorisms are on record. Some of these are:
* Fear God and you will have no cause to fear anyone.
* Resignation to the Will of God is the cure for the disease of the heart.
* The Word of God is the medicine of the heart.
* Lead such a life that when you die people will mourn you, and while you are alive they long for your company.
* The days of your life pass away like clouds, so do good while you are alive.
* Of all follies, the greatest is to love the world.
* Opportunity is swift of flight, but slow to return.
* The most happy is he to whom God has given a good wife.
* He who knows himself knows God.
* Do not sell your conscience for anything but heaven.
* The disease of the heart is worse than the disease of the body.
* To fight against one's desires is the greatest of all fights.
* The strongest among you is he who subdues himself.
* Wealth and greed are the roots of all evil.
* Riches without faith are the greatest poverty.
* A man's worth depends upon the nobility of his aspirations.
* Knowledge enlivens the soul.
* The learned lives although he dies.
* The sum total of excellence is knowledge.
* To respect the learned is to respect God.
* Generosity hides shortcomings.
* The wealth of a miser is as useless as a pebble.
* Desire is one's most inveterate enemy.
* Those who walk on the surface of the earth shall one day be interred in it.
* Every breath of man brings him nearer to death.
* People are asleep as long as they live. They are awakened when they die.
* Patience is the fruit of faith.
* Virtue never dies.
* A man's glory from his virtue is greater than the glory of his pedigree.
* No shelter is safer than piety.
* A man's behaviour is the index of his mind.
* Courtesy costs nothing but buys everything.
* Clemency graces power.
* Jealousy devours virtue as fire devours fuel.
* He that lends a listening ear to reproach is one of those [who] deserves reproach.
* Forgiveness is the crown of greatness.
* Carnal appetites are nets spread by the devil.
* Every arrow does not hit [its] mark, nor is every prayer granted.
* Ostentatiousness spoils prayer.
* Fear none but your sins.
* He who praises you murders you.
* A man who praises himself displays his deficiency of intellect.
* Honour your parents and your sons will honour you.
* A man is hidden under his tongue.
* The tongue of a wise man lies behind his heart.
* The tongue pierces deeper than [a] spear.
* He who purifies his heart from doubt is a believer.
* The opinion of a wise man is [like] an oracle.
* To seek council is to go to the fountain of guidance.
* Association with a fool is tyranny to the soul.
* God hastens the fall of tyrants.
* Tyranny leads to moral cowardice.
* A tyrant's success is his moral defeat.
* It is better to die than to beg.
* When a man begs, he loses his faith.
* Hajj is the jihad of every believer in faith.
* A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend.
* Silence is the best reply to a fool.
* The best speech is one that is short and reasonable.
* Speech is like a medicine, a small dose will cure but an excess will kill.
* He that has no courage has no religion.
* His grief is long whose hope is short.
* The right of freedom of speech consists in speaking the truth.
* Repentance washes away sin.
* Folly is an incurable disease.
* To assist the wrong is to oppress the right.
* Sinning is a disease, repentance is its medicine, and abstinence from it is a sure cure.
* Sorrow makes a man old before his time.
* Pride impedes progress and mars greatness.
* To forgive is the crown of greatness.
* He who understands humanity seeks solitude.
* Right is the best argument.
* Misrepresentation spoils narration.
* As a man's wisdom increases so his desire to speak decreases.
* He who seeks to do justice with men, let him desire for them what he desires for himself.
* The greatest sin is the sin which the sinner considers to be ordinary.
* Contentment is an asset which is never exhausted.
* Governments are a trial for man.
* He who fights against the truth, the truth will defeat him.
* Finding fault with others is one's greatest fault.
* Haste is a [kind] of madness.
* Greed is perpetual enslavement.
* He who does not know his own worth, is doomed to destruction.
* The best investment is one with which duties are performed.
* Anger is a fire kindled, he who restrains anger extinguishes the fire; he who gives vent to it is the first to be consumed by it.
* Jihad is the highway of prosperity.
* None is more solitary than a miser.
* Knowledge is the ornament of the rich and the riches of the poor.
* Knowledge is the sum total of excellence; he who teaches you a letter binds you with a fetter of gratitude.
* As long as we do not hope we do not fret.
* He who indulges in jokes and loose talk loses a part of his wisdom.
* Truth [may be] bitter, but it's a result is sweet; falsehood appears to be sweet but it is poisonous in its effect.
* Miserliness is the root of many evils.
* Knowledge and practice are twins, and both go together for there is no knowledge without practice, and no practice without knowledge.
* He who dissembles, plays with his honour.
* When God wants to humiliate a person, He deprives him of knowledge.
* When your power increases, decrease your desires accordingly.
* He who listens to a backbiter loses a friend.
* It is not justice to decide a case on mere conjecture.
* He who does not know his own worth is shameful.
* He who practices thrift will never be in want.
* He who does not know should not be ashamed to learn.
* Patience is to faith what the head is to the body. When patience goes, faith goes [and] when the head goes, the body goes.
* The grace of God is the best guide.
* A good disposition is the best companion.
* Wisdom is the best friend.
* Good breeding is the best inheritance.
* There is nothing more hateful than pride.
* Be among men like a bee among birds.
* Mix with the people with your tongue, but be separate from them in your deeds.
* Be generous, but do not be a spendthrift.
* Do not run after the world, let the world to run after you.
* A wise man is he who does not despair of the bounty and mercy of God.
* He who is aware of his own faults is oblivious to the faults of others.
* What the eye sees the heart preserves.
* The vision of the eye is limited; the vision of the heart transcends all barriers of time and space.
* Do not be misled by appearances for these are apt to be deceptive.
* Do not have too many irons in the fire; concentrate on one thing at a time.
* What you do not like for yourself, do not like it for others either.
* Contentment is the treasure which is never exhausted.
* The advice of old men is dearer than the bravery of young men.
* That knowledge is superficial which is merely on the tongue; that knowledge is real which demonstrates itself in your practice.
* To waste time is one's greatest loss.
* He who knows to keep his secret, knows the way to success.
* Foresight is the way to safety.
* No relationship is stronger than the relationship that exists between man and God.
* Enlighten the heart with prayers.
* Strengthen your heart with faith.
* Suppress all lust with piety.
* Do not sell the Hereafter for the world.
* Do not speak in a state of ignorance.
* Refrain from unnecessary talk.
* Do not tread the path from which you can apprehend the danger of running astray.
* In the affairs of God, do not be afraid of the accusations of evil mongers.
* In all that you do, seek the protection of God.
* Do not covet what is undesirable.
* If you seek the truth, neither stray from the right path nor be assailed by doubts.
* Do not become a slave to your desire.
* That wealth is no wealth which brings dishonour.
* Whatever harm accrues of silence can be remedied. But whatever harm is done because of speech cannot be remedied.
* It is better to restrain your desires than to stretch your hand before others.
* A little that is burned because of honest labour is better than a larger amount gained through dishonest means.
* Guard well your secret.
* He who seeks more than what is necessary indulges in error.
* To oppress the weak is the worst tyranny.
* Do not bank on false hope, for that is the capital of the dead.
* A wise man takes a lesson even from a minor lapse.
* Overpower desire and suspicion by patience and faith.
* He who does not take the middle course strays.
* A stranger is he who has no friends.
* When hopes are frustrated despair becomes the way of life.
* He who trusts the world the world betrays him.
Similes of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali had the peculiar skill to explain things by giving appropriate similes. In his various addresses and sermons, we come across many instances of his brilliance of expression that brings home the truth through these interesting examples.
The world: The world is like a serpent which is outwardly very soft skinned but poisonous within.
Falsehood: Like the feathers of a peacock, falsehood might look very attractive, but is as ugly as [as are the] feet of a peacock. Falsehood has no legs to stand upon.
The unbelievers: Unbelievers are like bats who can see in the dark, but who are blinded by daylight and [so] cannot see.
The people who did not respond to his call: When Hadrat Ali exhorted the people of Iraq to respond to his call for war against Muawiyah, they did not respond to his call. He said, "You are like a pregnant woman who undergoes the ordeal of childbirth, but gives birth to a dead child."
The tree and the fruit: When after the death of the holy Prophet, the Quraish based their claim to the caliphate on the ground that they belonged to the same tree as the holy Prophet. Hadrat Ali said, "It is strange that they look to the tree, but neglect its fruit."
The people of Basra: When the people of Basra, who had originally taken the oath of allegiance to him, [yet] later chose to fight against him, Hadrat Ali said that these people were near the water but far from the sky.
People of the age of ignorance: Referring to the people of the age of ignorance in the pre-Islamic era, Hadrat Ali said that they were like an egg which has broken in the nest.
The people of Kufa: Addressing the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali said: "When I invite you to fight, your eyes begin to move in their sockets as if you [were] in the agony of death. You are like camels whose herdsmen have disappeared, and when these animals are collected on one side, they scatter on the other side."
Mughira b. Shu'aba: Mughira was regarded by the Quraish as a wise man. When Mughira favoured Muawiyah, Hadrat Ali said, "Mughira has profited from Islam only to the extent of seeking worldly gain. He is oblivious to the Hereafter."
The people who run after the world: About the people who run after the world, Hadrat Ali said, "Those people who chase after the world are like beasts who lunge at one another, with the strong oppressing the weak."
The people who are not deceived by the world: About the people who are not deceived by the world, Hadrat Ali said, "Those who have understood the deceptive character of the world, do not feel distressed on death. They are like the people who migrate from a famine-struck land to a land of plenty."
Hadrat Ali's complaint against the Umayyads: During the caliphate of Hadrat Uthman, Hadrat Ali had a complaint that the Umayyadds were was holding from him what was due to him. He said, "The Umayyads are withholding what is due to me, just like the camelman who milks the she camel withholds milk from the young one of the camel.
Falsehood of Muawiyah: Referring to the falsehood of Muawiyah, Hadrat Ali said that falsehood had appeared in his case like the horns on the head of a young goat.
Shedding of sins through prayer: In a sermon, Hadrat Ali said that through prayer the sins of men were shed just [like] a tree sheds its leaves.
Cleanliness and prayers: In another sermon, Hadrat Ali said, "Prayer is like a hot spring of water which flows at your door and provides you with the wherewithal for cleanliness."
Crumbs after meals: In a sermon, Hadrat Ali said that the world had run its course, and nothing had been left of it except the crumbs after the meals.
The people who did not respond to his call: Hadrat Ali compared the people who did not respond to his call to a camel who ran away from the herd shrieking with pains in its belly.
Hearts of the people: Hadrat Ali prayed for the hearts of the people to melt at the mention of the God's words, just like salt [is] dissolved in water.
Ignorant persons: Hadrat Ali said that ignorant persons were like persons riding on beasts of burden who could not see. He deplored that such ignorant people dealt with the injunctions of Islam as wind scattered straw.
Ashas b. Qais: Hadrat Ali said that among his companions, Ashas b. Qais was what Abdullah b. Abi Sahi was in the time of the holy Prophet.
Patience and faith: Patience and faith bear the same relation in a human being. Like a head is attached to the body (and a body cannot be without a head) so there can be no faith without patience.
Disease and sins: Disease sheds sin just [like a] tree sheds its dead leaves.
Death of the virtuous: Hadrat Ali compared the death of the virtuous to the migration journey of the people from a famine-struck land to a land of plenty.
Days of life: The days of life pass like clouds in the sky.
Devotion to the world: Those who are devoted to the world are like barking dogs and ferocious animals who lunge at one another and where the strong devour the weak.
Seekers of the world: Those who seek the world are like a loose camel roaming about causing mischief.
Virtue of silence: Hadrat Ali advocated the virtue of silence by advancing the simile that water can be preserved in a waterskin only when its mouth is tied.
Thirsty camels on a water pond: When the people flocked to him and urged him to accept their allegiance, Hadrat Ali compared them to thirsty camels who flocked to a water pond when their harnesses were untied.
The caliphate of Hadrat Umar: When Hadrat Abu Bakr died, Hadrat Umar became the Caliph. Hadrat Ali held that the second Caliph was like a person riding a camel, whose reins, if tightened would injure the camel, and if loosened would endanger the rider.
Umayyad use of the Bait-ul-Mai: Referring to the appropriation of the funds of the Bait-ul-Mai by the Umayyads for personal ends during the caliphate of Hadrat Uthman, Hadrat Ali held that they ate away the public funds, just as the camel eats away the grass.
Withholding the milk of the she camel from its young: Hadrat Ali had the complaint that during the caliphate of the Hadrat Uthman, the Umayyads withheld from him what was his right, just like the camelman who, while milking the she camel, withholds its milk from its young one.
Handle of the grinding stone: When Hadrat Abu Bakr became the Caliph, Hadrat Ali held that Hadrat Abu Bakr had assumed the mantle of the caliphate forcibly while he knew that he (Hadrat Ali) was as essential for the caliphate as a handle was necessary for turning the grinding stone.
The simile of a sinner: A sinner is like a person riding on an animal [of] which he had no control, and which is running fast to hurl him into a precipice.
Drops of rain: The injunctions of God descend like drops of rain.
Summer clouds: When the people of Kufa did not respond to the call of Hadrat Ali to meet the challenge off Muawiyah, Hadrat Ali said that he longed for warriors who in their action and speed would be like summer clouds.
The goat and the lion: Addressing the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali said, "I want you to tread the path of the truth, but you run from it like a goat runs away when hearing the roar of the lion."
Taking the thorn out of the foot with a thorn: On another occasion Hadrat Ali said that the people of Kufa were like a person who picked out [a] thorn from his foot with a thorn.
Solution of salt in water: With reference to the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali prayed "O God, melt their hearts like salt dissolves in water."
Bull with crooked horns:When Talha defected after taking the oath of the allegiance to him, Hadrat Ali compared him to a bull with crooked horns.
Shaking plants: Referring to the piety of the Companions of the holy Prophet, Hadrat Ali said that they shuddered at the mention of the Hereafter [like] plants shake when a strong wind blows.
Pregnant woman separating from the child: Addressing the people of Kufa, Hadrat Ali said that they were not dependable and that they were likely to leave him like a pregnant woman is separated from [her] child at childbirth.
Households of the holy Prophet: Hadrat Ali described the household of the holy Prophet to be like stars, in that if one star sets another star rises.
Foaming waves of the sea: While addressing Hadrat Uthman, Hadrat Ali said that treason was likely to rage like the foaming waves of the sea.
25 Quranic Duas 3 states of Matter 40 Hadith e Qudsi 966th Urs of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh Ali Hajveri R.A Abul Hasan Ahl-e-Bait Allama Iqbal Ameer-al-Momineen Amir Khusro Asal Sikandar e Aazam Auliya e Hind AURA Bari Imam Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Bilal bin Reyah R.A Bilal e Habshi R.A Biography Of Hazrat Ali R.A Brief History of Bari Imam Brief History of Hazrat Sheikh Sharf-Uddin Bu-Ali Shah Qalandar R.A Brief History of Khawaja Moeen ud Din Chishti R.A Brief History of Rabia al Basri R.A Bu Ali Shah Qalandar Chishtia Dama Dam Mastt Qalandar Dhamal Dhol DIVINE WISDOM First Muazzin of Islam Forty Hadith Qudsi Hadith Haque Ali Ali Maula Ali Ali Hazrat Ali R A Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah Sarkar R.A Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hijveri RA Hazrat Ghaus Ali Shah Panipat Hazrat Inayat Khan Hazrat Lal Shehbaz Qalandar Hazrat Salman Farsi R.A Hazrat Salman Farsi R.A Roza Hazrat Shams Tabrizi History and Biographies Human Aura Illusion Imam Musa Al Kadhim A.S Inside the Kabba-Rare Video Iqbal Poetry Ishq Jalaluddin Rumi Jhooley Lal Konya Leader of the Muazzins Man Kunto Maula Meaning of Life Misconceptions Mola-e-Kaayenaat mysticism Nahjul Balagha Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Obedience Pappu Sain Prophet Companions Psychology Qalandar Qalandar e Kibriya Qawali Quotes Religion of Heart Rumi Rumi Quotes Sayings of Hazrat Ali R.A Shams-e-Tabriz Shrine of Jalaluddin Rumi Spiritual Spiritualism Spirituality Sufi Message Sufi Poetry Sufi Quotes Sufism Tasawwuf Ten Sufi Thoughts The Infallibles Sayings of Imam Ali A . S the Last Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H Videos Weird Wisdom Articles Words of Wisdom