Selections From Nahjul Balagha
Najul Balagha is the greatest literary and theological composition in Islam after the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah. This sublime book has no parallel. After the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah (the sayings and traditions of the Prophet MuhammadS.A.W.)], there is no other book that compares with it in the respect it commands or in its comprehensive coverage of the different aspects of life (in all its diversity). The Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.) bore testimony to Imam Ali's extraordinary accomplishement in some of his traditons:
"I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gateway."
"Ali is to me just as Aaron was to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me."
The words of Imam Ali (A.S.) are considered to be the peak of Arabic eloquence. The following are some of his sayings:
1. "When this world favors anybody, it lends him the merits of others,
and when it turns away from him, it takes with it his own merits."
2. "The most helpless of all men is he who cannot find a few brothers
during his life, but still more helpless is he who loses the brethren
he already gained."
3. "He whose deeds let him lag behind, his pedigree cannot push him to the front."
4. "No one may conceal a thing in his heart without it manifesting
itself through slips of the tongue and in the expressions of his face."
5. "To miss what one needs is easier than to beg it from an unsuitable
6. "One's value is in what one can do well."
7. Describing the mob, he said: "They are those who conquer when
they get together and are unknown when they disperse."
8. "I am surprised at those who refrain from food lest they should
fall sick, but they would not refrain from sins lest they should fall
in the Fire."
9. "I impart to you five things which, if you ride your camels fast
in search of them, you will find them worth it:
"No one of you should place hope save in his Lord.
"No one of you should fear anything save his sin.
"No one should feel ashamed of saying: `I do not know', if asked
about what he does not know.
"No one should feel ashamed of learning a thing that he does not
"You should practice endurance, because endurance is for belief what
the head is for the body, so that just as there is no good in a body
without the head, there is no good in belief without endurance."
10. "Beware of disobeying Allah in solitude, because the witness
is also the judge."
11. "To praise more than is due is flattery, but falling short of
the due is either faltering or envy."
12. "At the extremity of hardship comes relief, and at the tightening
of the chains of tribulation comes ease."
13. "Whoever kept his affairs in order with Allah, Allah would put
his affairs with the people in order; whoever kept his affairs of his
next life in order, Allah would put his affairs in this world in order; and whoever preached to his own self, Allah would protect him."
14. "The best jurisprudent is the one who would not discourage people
from the mercy of Allah, nor from His kindness, and he would not let
them feel safe from His punishment."
15. "Often a learned man is ruined by his ignorance, while the
knowledge he has avails him not."
16. "(Discerning) Allah's greatness beslights (His) creatures in
17. "A friend is no friend unless he protects his friend on three
occasions: in time of need; in his absence, and at his death."
18. "People are of three types: The divine scholars; the seekers of knowledge so as to be delivered; and the common mob who run after every caller and bend in the direction of every wind, as they neither
benefitted of enlightening knowledge, nor did they take refuge in
a safe nook."
19. "People are hostile to what is unknown to them."
20. "He who acts opinionated gets ruined, and he who consults other
people shares in their understanding."
21- "Contentment is a wealth that is not exhausted."
22- "The worst sin is that which the committer takes lightly."
23- "What has a man to do with vanity? His origin is semen and his end is a carcass, while he cannot feed himself nor ward off death."
24- "No town has greater right on you than the other. The best town for you is that which bears you."
25- People are enimies of what they do not know."
26- "It is good for the rich to show humility before the poor to seek reward from Allah, but better than that is the haughtiness of the poor towards the rich with trust in Allah."
27- How wretched thee son of Adam (man) is! His death is hidden, his ailments are concealed, his actions are preserved, the bite of a mosquito pains him, choking causes his death and sweat gives him a bad smell."
28- "The child has a right on the father, while the father too has right on the child. The right of the father on the child is that the latter should obey the former in every matter save in committing sins of Allah, the Glorified, while the rights of the child on the father is that he should give him a beautiful name, give him good training and teach him the Qur'an ."
29- "Speak so that you may be known, since man is hidden under his tongue."
30. "The greatest defect is to regard that defect (in others) which is present in yourself."