Ali bin Abu-Talib (Arabic: علي بن أبي طالب) (c. 600 – 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, and is revered as the first Shī‘ah Imām, the fourth Sunni Caliph, and for his general knowledge, wisdom, and eloquence as an orator and a poet. Most of the Sufi orders of Islam claim their descent from Ali.
- See also: Nahj al-Balagha.
- The best companion and helper is admirable morals.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 77, p. 149
- There are so many highly esteemed ones who became miserable and humiliated just because of their bad temper and morals; and humble people who have attained eminence and the highest honors because of good temper and morals.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 71, p. 396
- The weakest man is the one who is able to correct his moral defects, but doesn't take action.
- Husayn al-Nuri al-Tabarsi, Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, vol. 11, p. 324
- He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare, while he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.
- As quoted in "Considerations By the Way" in Conduct of Life by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Variant translation: Believe me, a thousand friends suffice thee not; In a single enemy thou hast more than enough
- Two things cause people to be destroyed: fear of poverty and seeking superiority through pride.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 72, p. 39
- Every breath you take is a step towards death.
- Everyone has an end, it may be pleasant or sorrowful.
- A man can be valued through his sayings.
- Conceit is an impediment and bar to progress and improvement.
- There is enough light for one who wants to see.
- 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.
The Way of Governance
- These are the orders issued by the creature of Allah, Ali, the son Abu Taalib (a) to Maalik, the son of Ashtar when he appointed Maalik as the Governor of Egypt to collect Zakat there, to combat the enemies of Islam and Egypt, to work for the welfare of its people and to look after its prosperity.
- Do not feel ashamed to forgive and forget.
- Do not get angry and lose your temper quickly over the mistakes and failures of those over whom you rule. On the contrary, be patient and sympathetic with them.
- Anger and desire of vengeance are not going to be of much help to you in your administration.
- Never say to yourself, "I am their Lord, their ruler and all in all over them and that I must be obeyed submissively and humbly" because such a thought will unbalance your mind, will make you vain and arrogant, will weaken your faith in religion and will make you seek support of any power other than that of Allah.
- If you ever feel any pride or vanity on account of your sway and rule over your subjects then think of the supreme sway and rule of the Lord over the Universe, the extent of His creations, the supremacy of His Might and Glory, His Power to do things which you cannot even dream of doing and His control over you which is more dominating than that which you can ever achieve over anything around you. Such thoughts will cure your mental weakness, will keep you away from vanity and rebellion (against Allah), will reduce your arrogance and haughtiness and will take you back to the sanity which you had foolishly deserted... Try carefully to realize that a ruler can create goodwill in the minds of his subjects and can make them faithful and sincere to him only when he is kind and considerate to them, when he reduces their troubles, when he does not oppress them and when he never asks for things which are beyond their power. These are the principles which you should keep in mind and act upon".
- Awaken your heart to kindness and mercy for the people and love and tenderness for them. Never, never act with them like a predatory beast which seeks to be satiated by devouring them, for the people fall into two categories: they are either your brethren in faith or your kindred in creation ... Do not ever say, 'I have been given authority' or 'My command should be obeyed.' Because it corrupts the heart, consumes one's faith, and invites calamities.
Regarding Knowledge & Wisdom
- There is no capital more useful than intellect and wisdom, and there is no indigence more injurious than ignorance and unawareness.
- Ibn Shu’ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-'Uqul, p. 198
- Variant translation: There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance
- There is no knowledge and science like pondering and thought; and there is no prosperity and advancement like knowledge and science.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 1, p. 179
- Associating with the wise and the knowledgeable people adds to the prestige of a person.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 78, p. 6
- An alert and learned man will take advice from any event.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 1, p. 160
- There are three signs of a knowledgeable person: knowledge, forbearance and silence.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 2, p. 59.
- When wisdom reaches the acme of perfection, it will suppress the vicious instincts and injurious desires.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 78, p. 6
- To whatever extent a person's knowledge increases, his attention will be turned more towards his soul.
- Husayn al-Nuri al-Tabarsi, Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, vol. 11, p. 323
- Allah, the Exalted, gave the angels intellect without desires, He gave the animals desires without intellect, and He gave both to the sons of Adam. So a man whose intellect prevails over his desires is better than the angels, whilst a man whose desire prevails over his intellect is worse than the animals.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 60, p. 299, no.5
Regarding the Qur'an
- Recitation of the Qur'an without contemplation and thought is futile.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 92, p. 211
- Reciter and listener of the Qur'an are alike in prize and reward.
- Husayn al-Nuri al-Tabarsi, Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, vol. 4, p. 261
- Understanding the knowledge and wisdom of the Qur'an is by far, higher than memorizing.
- Muhammad Kulayni, Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p. 418
- The one from among the Muslims who recites the Qur'an but in the end finds his way to hell, is considerd to be among those that have taken the word of Allah in jest.
- Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol. 92, p. 182.
Quotes about Ali
- Ali is acclaimed as the "Father of Sufism". Most of the Sufi orders claim their descent from Ali. According to Ali Hajjweri, the rank of Ali is very high in the line up of Sufism. According to Junayd of Baghdad, Ali is the Shaykh as regards the principles and practices of Sufism. … The roots of Sufism lie embedded in Islam itself. There are numerous passages in the Holy Quran which are of a mystical character. The Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be on him) himself displayed mystical inclinations and he very often retired to the cave of Hirah for the purpose of devotions, meditation and contemplation. The Holy Prophet was recipient of two types of revelations, one embodied in the Holy Quran, and the other that illuminated his heart. The former was meant for all, the latter for a selected few whose hearts could be illuminated with the Divine Light. The knowledge of the Holy Prophet was thus book knowledge (ilm-i-Safina), and heart knowledge (ilm-i-Sina). Ali got this heart knowledge from the Holy Prophet.
- Nahjolbalaqa : The most saying of imam Ali (pbuh)
- Imam Ali in the eyes of non-Muslims (PDF document)
- Nahjul Balagha, among the works of The Infallibles at The Light of Islam
- Commentaries on Nahj ul Balagha (The Peak of Eloquence) including translations of "The Sayings of Ali"
- The book Peak of Eloquence
- Imam Ali; Sayings of Ali 1-114, 115-206