The most complete gift of God is a life based on knowledge.
The innumerable fools have made the learned very scarce.
The learned man understands the ignorant for he was once ignorant for he was once ignorant himself.
The ignorant man does not understand the learned for he has never been learned himself.
Knowledge gives life to the soul.
To respect the learned is to respect God.
Knowledge creates fear of God.
Practice makes knowledge perfect.
To teach is to learn.
Honesty is Divine language.
To fulfill promises is the highest form of integrity.
Truth means conformity of speech with the Divine mode of working.
Friendship is impossible with a liar.
Misrepresentation spoils narration.
Lying spoils news.
Enemity is the occupation of fools.
One's obedience to God is proportionate to one's wisdom.
To fight against one's own desires is highest wisdom.
The wise aim at perfection.
The foolish aim at wealth.
To separate oneself from things of time and to connect oneself with things of eternity is highest wisdom.
He is really wise whose actions reflect his words.
Humility is the product of knowledge.
Self-conceit poisons the mind.
Self-conceit impedes progress.
Pride mars greatness.
Humility is one of the nets spread by real greatness.
Boasting issues from small minds.
The Sayings and Wisdom of Imam ‘Ali ( as )
The Muhammadi Trust, ISBN 0-946079-91-9
Contributed by Br. ‘Ali Abbas
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 practises 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, profoundeness of knowledge, fairness of judgement 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 has done 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 Judgement.
Contributed by Br. ‘Ali Abbas
Knowledge and Acting on it
The Sayings and Wisdom of Imam ‘Ali ( as )
The Muhammadi Trust, ISBN 0-946079-91-9
Contributed by Br. ‘Ali Abbas
The intellect is a king and characteristics are its subjects, so if it is weak in governing them, disorder takes place.
The intellect is better than desire, for the intellect makes you a king over your destiny, and desire makes you a slave of your destiny.
The intellect is a natural disposition which learns from experience.
The intellect is what arrives at what is correct through reasoning, and recognizes what has not yet happened through what has already taken place.
Use your intellect to understand something when you hear about it-the intellect that examines, that is, and not just the intellect that repeats what it hears, for surely there are many who repeat the knowledge that they hear, and there are few who examine it.
The one who has an intellect longs to be like the righteous people so that he can be of one of them, and he loves them so that he can be united with them in his love, even if he falls short in emulating their actions.
The one who has an intellect does not openly display it except in one of two situations: when he is furthest away from seeking something in the world, and when he is furthest away from abandoning it.
Surely hated adversity has final objectives in which it will inevitably end, so the one who has an intellect should try to sleep over it until this happens, for surely any attempt to stop it before it has come to an end will only intensify that hated diversity even more.
The first opinion of the person of intellect is the last opinion of an ignorant person.
The one who has an intellect finds harshness of life amongst persons of intellect more agreeable than a life of ease amongst the foolish.
Contributed by Br. ‘Ali Abbas
The Sayings & Wisdom of Imam ‘Ali (as)
The Muhammadi Trust
Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.), from Nahjul Balagha, the Peak of Eloquence.
If despair possesses it, self piety kills it: and if it is seized by anger, this is intensified by rage. If it is blessed with contentment, then it forgets to be careful; and if it is filled with fear, then it becomes pre-occupied with being cautious. If it feels secure , then it is overcome by vain hopes; and if it is given wealth, then its independence makes it extravagant.
If want strikes it, then it is smitten by anxiety. If it is weakened by hunger, then it gives way to exhaustion; and if it goes to far in satisfying its appetites, then its inner becomes clogged up. So all its shortcomings are harmful to it, and all its excesses corrupt it.
There are four things that make the heart die: wrong action followed by wrong action, playing around with foolish people, spending a lot of time with women, and sitting with the dead. Then they asked Imam ‘Ali: ' And who are the dead, O Commander of the believers? ' He replied: ' Every slave who follows his desires. '
Surely want is a trial, and having sickness of the body is more difficult to bear than indigence, and having a sickness of the heart is more difficult to bear than having a sickness of the body. Surely being very wealthy is a blessing, and having a healthy body is better than being very wealthy, and having awe of Allah in your heart is better than having a healthy body.
Surely hearts have desires, and they turn towards, and they turn away ... so approach them by means of what they desire and what they turn towards, for surely if the heart is forced to do some thing against its will, it goes blind.
The Sayings & Wisdom of Imam ‘Ali (as)
The Muhammadi Trust
Contributed by Br. ‘Ali Abbas,
Following is a sermon by the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (A.S.) all Arabic letters of which do not contain any dots at all:
Praise to Allah Who is the praiseworthy, the affectionate owner of everything, the One who forms everyone born, the ultimate end of everyone who is expelled, the One Who spreads out the earth, Who firms the mountains, Who sends out rain, who facilitates the attainment of goals, Who knows the secrets and realizes them, Who destroys the possessions and annihilates them, who folds out times and repeats them, who causes matters and is their source.
His forgiveness covers all, His creation of the clouds is perfected: Rain showers succeed it. He prolongs pursuits and hopes, broadens sands and places them. I praise Him an extended praise, and I recognize His unity just as those who love Him the most recognize: He is Allah, there is no god for the nations besides Him, nor is there anyone to cause a defect to what he straightens and does. He sent Muhammad as a banner for Islam and an Imam for those who rule, a helper to the commoners and one who puts an end to the judgments of Wadd and Siwa' (idols).
He knows and He informs, He rules and He perfects: He is the origin of origins. He [Muhammad] paves the path [to the Almighty] and emphasizes the Promised Day, warning about it. Allah has made honors to reach him, depositing in his soul Islam, blessing his honorable family and offspring so long as there is anything that shines like lightning, anyone who hurries his pace towards his pursuit, whenever a crescent appears and the announcement about it is made.
Do, may Allah look after you, righteous deeds, tread the paths of what is permissible, put what is prohibitive aside and abandon it, listen to the command of Allah and realize it, keep in touch with your kinsfolk and look after them, disobey your inclinations and curb them, give your daughters by way of marriage to the people of righteousness and piety, and stay away from the folks who sport and who covet, so your marriage ties will produce the most pure of freemen, the most eminent descent, those who will let you achieve your dreams.
This should be before your eyes, your domain will thus be rightful, your brides honored, and let her [bride] dower be just as the Messenger of Allah (Õ) had paid to Umm Salamah, while he is the most honored of all in-laws, the most kind of all sons, and he had whatever he wanted, though having it was not easy, nor did it worry him, nor did his epics ever diminish, nor was he ever stigmatized.
I plead to Allah to grant you the most praiseworthy of connection with Him, the perpetuation of pleasing Him; may He inspire each of you about that which reforms your condition and prepares you for what you shall receive [in the Hereafter]. Eternal praise belongs to Him; lauding belongs to His Messenger Ahmad (Õ).
One day, a heated discussion went on among the Arabs and Muslims during which it was said that there is no alphabet that recurs in speech more often than the "aleef" ("A"). All attendants agreed. It was then that the magnificent lantern of language, its deep ocean and precise philosopher, namely Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (A.S.), stood up and delivered a lengthy sermon which included praise of Allah Almighty, prayers and salutations unto His Prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib (peace and blessings of Allah be with him and his progeny).
The statements of the entire sermon, from beginning to end, did not contain a single word having the "aleef" (mamdooda, elongated alpha) the humble translation (by Yasin T. al-Jibouri) of it is as follows:
I praise the One Whose boon is great, whose blessing overwhelms, whose mercy is faster than His anger, the One whose word is perfect, whose will is affected, whose argument (issue) is wise, whose case is just. I praise Him like one recognizing His Godhead, submissive while adoring Him, dissociating himself from his sin, recognizing His Unity, seeking refuge with Him against His warning, hopeful for the mercy (forgiveness) of his Lord that saves him [from the Fire] on a Day when everyone will be distracted even from his offspring and tribe. We seek His help, guidance and directions. We believe in Him and depend on Him. I have testified to Him as a sincere and convinced servant/slave; I recognize His Uniqueness as a pious believer, and I have recognized His Unity like a submissive servant/slave.
He has no partner in His domain; He relies on none in doing whatever He does. He is exalted above having an adviser or a vizier. He is above using a model or an assistant or a helper or a peer. He knows, so He covers; He is acquainted with the innermost, so He is most familiar [with our intentions]. He cast a look, so He assisted; He owns everything, so He subdues. He is disobeyed, yet He forgives; He is adored, so He thanks. He rules, so He affects justice, and He is generous and grants favors.
He shall never come to an end, and He has always been as He is; there is nothing like Him. He, first and foremost, is a unique Lord in His exaltation, able through His might, holy through His sublimity, proud of His Majesty; no (mental) vision can realize Him, nor can anyone ever see Him. He is strong, invincible, seeing, hearing, clement, wise, affectionate and kind. One who attempts to describe Him can never do so; one who attempts to describe His attributes can never do so [either]. His blessing reaches those who get to know Him: He is near, so He is far [above mental or physical vision]; He is far yet He is near [closer to us than anything else].
He responds to the call of those who call on Him; He sustains His servant and surrounds him with His love; His niceties are hidden [from our comprehension]; His power is mighty; His mercy is wide; His penalty is painful; His mercy is a broad and a Garden of grandeur (Paradise); His punishment is Hell filled with horrors and chains.
I have testified that He sent Muhammed (?) as His servant and messenger, prophet, chosen one, loved one, friend, a link [with the Almighty] that grants him [Muhammed] fortune, bringing him closer to Him, elevating him, granting him nearness and closeness [to the Almighty]. He sent him during a good (opportune) period of time, when there was disbelief, as mercy for His servants and a boon for more.
Through him He sealed His prophetic messages, strengthened (explained) His argument. So he admonished, advised, conveyed the message and worked hard [for people. He was, affectionate towards every believer, merciful, easy to please, the friend of anyone who is generous and pure: mercy, salutation, blessing and honor be with him from a forgiving, affectionate, kind, near, responsive and wise Lord.
I have admonished you, O folks who are present here with me, to be pious (as your Lord has admonished) towards your Lord, and I have reminded you of the Sunna of your Prophet; so, take to awe that calms your hearts, fear that draws your tears, piety that saves you on a Day which will puzzle your minds and put you to the test, a day in which one shall win if the weight of his good deeds is heavy while that of his sins is light. Let your plea be in humility and surrender, appreciation and submission, repentance and dissociation [from sin], regret and return [to righteousness].
Let everyone of you seize the opportunity when he is healthy before the time when he is sick, when he is young before he is aged, old and sick, [the opportunity] of his ease before he is poor, of having free time before he is busy, of being wealthy before being impoverished, of being present at home before he is away traveling, of being alive before his death. He shall grow old, become weak, aged, sick, ailing, so much so that even his doctor is fed-up with him, even those who love him turn away from him. His lifespan will have come to an end. His color of complexion is changed. His mental power is decreased, so it is said that he is ailing and his body is failing. He is having a hard time as he finds himself suffering from the throes of death: He is attended by those who are close and who are distant.
He gazes his looks, yearns as he turns his eyes, his forehead sweating, his [physical] senses being snatched away from him [one by one]. His sighs are now silent, his soul has departed, so he is mourned by his wife. His grave is dug, his children are now orphans, those who were around him (his friends or foes) are now dispersed from around him. What he had accumulated (legacy) has now been divided [among heirs]. Gone now are his faculty of seeing and hearing; so he receives Talqeen; he is stretched [on the ground] and directed [towards the Qibla]. He is stripped of his clothes, bathed, in the nude, dried then directed [towards the Qibla].
Something has been spread on the floor for him as his shrouds are being prepared. His chin has been tied, his soul has already departed from his body and he has been bidden farewell by all. He is now shrouded, his head wrapped, so is his body, and he has been handed over [for burial]. He is carried in a wooden box (coffin); his funeral prayers have been performed with Takbir but without prostration or the rubbing of the forehead. He is taken away from a decorated abode [this life], from well built mansions and chambers topping each other, so he is now in an enclosure of a grave which is very narrow and separated from others; it is built with baked clay on top of each other and is sealed with a rock.
Dust has been healed on him, so he now is sure about that of which he was warned; his chest is now heavy; he is now a thing of the past. His friends, chosen ones, companions, in-laws and close friends have all left him behind. His company and loved ones are now changed, for he is now nothing but the filling of a grave and the pawn of a waste: Worms crawl all over his body, his pus drips from his nostrils on his neck and chest. Soil crushes his flesh as his blood dries and bone decays. He remains in his grave till the Day when he is herded with others and is given a new life; so, he is taken out of his grave. His trumpet is blown, he is called on to gather with others and stand trial. Graves are scattered around, the innermost in the hearts are recorded and calculated.
Every prophet, Siddiq, martyr, anyone who speaks is brought and made to stand for the final judgment of an Able God Who is fully knowledgeable of His servants, seeing [all what they do]. Countless exhalations engulf him, sighs fade him (distance him), in a horrific position and an awesome scene before a Great King Who knows about everything small and big. He is reined by his sweat, his worry crushing him, yet his tear has none to feel sorry for, his scream (defense) is not accepted. His record of deeds is brought, his innermost becomes visible, and every part of his body now speaks of his wrongdoings:
His eyes testify about what he had seen, his hands about whom he beat, his legs about where he had gone, his skin about what he had contacted, his private parts about with whom he had had intercourse. He is threatened by Munkir and Nakir; and it is unveiled for him where he is heading; so his neck now is tied with chains and his hands are cuffed. He is taken alone, dragged and brought to Hell as he is in a great distress and hardship. He remains in the torment of hell given to drink of very hot pus that grills his face and separates his skin from his body. He is beaten by the torture angels of hell with iron clubs. His skin returns again and again anew after having been baked. He cries for help, yet even the angels in Hell turn away from him. He pleads for mercy, so he stays for a while regretful, yet he finds none to care about his regret. His regret will then be in vain.
We seek refuge with an Able Lord from the evil of any final end such as this, and we plead for forgiveness similar to that of one with whom He is pleased and for an overlooking similar to that of one whose good deeds He has accepted; for He is my Master, ultimate pursuit and the one Who grants success to what I seek. Surely one who is pushed away from the torment of his Lord shall reside in Paradise near to Him and remain forever in well built mansions, having huris with large lovely eyes and servants. He is given to drink of fresh cool water mixed with ginger and sealed with musk and fragrance that perpetuates happiness and provides the sense of pleasure.
He drinks of wines in an orchard filled with all types of pleasures, wine that does not cause any headache to one who drinks it, and it never runs out; such is the ultimate end of one who fears his Lord, who is on guard about his sin, about the insinuations of his nafs (self), and that was the penalty of one who opposes the [sinless] way [in which] he was created, the one whose evil self decorates for him to do what is against his nature. Such is the final judgment and the ruling of One Who is just: He narrated parables, admonished through texts, revealed revelations from a Praiseworthy Wise One, revelations which He descended with a clear (able) Holy Spirit [arch-angel Gabriel] from a Glorious Lord unto a Prophet who is rightly guided and who guides others, one who shows others the right way, a mercy to the believers, clearly from a Great Lord, a master frequented by messengers (angels) who are honored and obedient [of their Lord].
I have sought refuge with a Lord Who is knowing, wise, able, merciful, from the evil of an enemy who is cursed and stoned; so, let everyone who pleads plead, and let everyone who seeks [favors of his Lord] seek and ask forgiveness of the Lord of lords for myself and for you all.
Having finished his miraculous sermon, the Imam (?) recited this following verse of the Holy Qur'an:
"We shall grant that (eternal) abode of the hereafter to those who intend neither high-handedness nor mischief on earth, and such end is (the best reward) for the righteous" (Qur'an, 28:83).
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 reasoning; 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 unsociableness 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 separation?' 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 amusement 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 steadfastly. 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 forgiveness1. ()
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".