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Nahjul Balagah and its Lessons for the Mankind

part 2

nahj

Based upon this, Seyyid Radi states that certain words and expressions of the Nahj-ul-Balagha, are matchless in human expression, something which has never been opposed, in the course of one thousand years, by eloquent writers, Islamic thinkers and even the adversaries of Islam. These people have always accepted that some statements of the Nahj-ul-Balagha are superior to human expression and beyond the ordinary level of the human being's knowledge at that time. The conclusion is therefore drawn that, despite the absence of the chain of authorities and narrators in the Nahj-ul-Balagha, this book is undoubtedly that of the Commander of the Faithful and reliable as such.

Thirdly, as you know and as we mentioned previously, the Nahj-ul-Balagha consists of the Sermons (i.e. lectures, not the sermons delivered in the Friday ritual prayers, although the book may have included some of these sermons as well), Letters and short Sayings of Ali, peace be upon him, which he expressed and wrote as a teacher, ruler and an Islamologist. Thus, in addition to reflecting the general lines of Islamic thought, these Sermons and Letters also cover daily matters, i.e. the current problems and difficulties of Amir al Muminin's life.

In our own time, that is, after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, many similar aspects can be found between our social situation and that of Amir al-Muminin's time, although our situation is more similar in many respects (i.e. enemies, enmities and other problems) to the Medina social situation at the time of the Prophet's migration. The difference, however, between the social situation of Ali's rule and that of the Prophet lies in the fact that under the Prophet's rule, the enemy had a clear and well-known position, that is, not even one single group of the adversaries of Islam shared an aspect common to the Prophet. The atheists among the Quraish, the Jews of Medina, the western and eastern superpowers of the time and the Christians of Najran, each had slogans of their own. In fact, there was no organized group to cry the same slogan as that of the Prophet and, at the same time, to stand openly against him in fight. Accordingly, the Prophet suffered a great deal but never felt the heavy sorrows that All ibn Abi Talib tolerated during his reign.

There were hypocrites at the time of the Prophet as well but, first of all, they were not organized; secondly, they did not have a manifest position against the Prophet and they did not use the same slogans as those of the Prophet so that the people might doubt as to whether the Prophet was truthful or his rivals. Thirdly, the hypocrites were more or less known to all the people. For instance, everyone, including his own son, knew that Abdullah ibn Ubaid was the head of the hypocrites and even his son suggested to the Prophet to kill his father or prevent him from entering Medina if the Prophet permitted.

On the contrary, at the time of the rule of Amir al Muminin, those who fought him used exactly the same slogans as his. Moreover, they were among the distinguished personalities of the time, with long, past records. For example, the group of the Nakithin (the breakers of allegiance or the front in the 'Battle of the Camel' comprising Talha, Zubair and Ayesha) fought the Commander of the Faithful with his own slogans - slogans in favor of Islam and the truth.

The group of Qasitin, (the front of Mu'awiya, the Damascus front), too, pretended in such a way that the impartial observers fell in a state of doubt as to which group was telling the truth. When you study Mu'awiya's letters to Ali, you find exactly the same words as those of Ali to him. For example, Ali addresses, ”‍From the Commander of the Faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib to Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan", and Mu'awiya writes, ”‍From the Commander of the Faithful, Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan to All ibn Abi Talib".

Mu'awiya does not introduce himself as 'the commander of the faithless' or 'the commander of the polytheists' but, exactly like Ali, as the Commander of the Faithful. Then Ali advises Mu'awiya, for instance, to be pious to fear God and to refrain from wasting the blood of Muslims, and Mu'awiya uses the same advice for Ali. Therefore, the problem of Ali is that his enemy is not a manifest enemy in the eyes of the people, for whatever he offers is also offered by the enemy and, as a result, he cannot show the real character of the opposing front to the people. It is true, of course, that Ali had a great deal to say but not all the words spoken can necessarily be understood by those who hear and this was Ali's constant sorrow. Perhaps this was the reason why he used to sit beside a well and speak into it about his grievances. In fact, other than a group of people who were completely faithful to Ali for a special reason, and not because they observed his doings and prayers or they heard about Mu'awiya's evil deeds, others were always in doubt as to which side was telling the truth, for they witnessed, as an example, that in the Battle of Siffin, both sides performed the congregational ritual prayer with humility and modesty.

Thus, a hypocritical atmosphere was characteristic of society during the time of Ali. This does not imply, however, that all the people were hypocrites. Even the followers of Mu'awiya were a group of honest, tribal Arabs, from the area around Damascus, who had, from the very outset of their conversion to Islam, seen and known no governors except Mu'awiya and his family.1 They knew Islam through the words of these people. They had heard so many good things about them - that they were scribes of the divinely revealed Book, that since Mu'awiya's sister was the Prophet's wife and thus called 'Umm al-Mu'minin (mother of the believers), Mu'awiya was Khal al-Muminin (maternal uncle of the believers)2 - that they supported Mu'awiya and fought against All with the best of intentions. So they were not hypocrites. However, unlike the time of the Prophet, society enjoyed an air of hypocrisy, about which more explanation may, God-willing, be provided when discussing the words and sayings of the Commander of the Faithful.  

Source: imamalmahdi.com


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