The Comprehensiveness and Depth of Nahjul Balaaghah
Tags: Ahle Bait (a.s.), Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.)
One of the most fascinating aspects of Nahjul Balaaghah is its amazing comprehensiveness and rarity of concepts. Any reader of Nahjul Balaaghah can never stop marveling at the fact that how can a speaker express such superlative rhetoric, unbelievably meaningful and astoundingly paradoxical statements in such a simple and lucid manner.
Obviously, this feat is impossible for any ordinary mortal. But, Amirul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) was no ordinary mortal. For, he is the only one
whose heart is the trove of divine secrets
whose soul is an ocean of magnificent wisdom and knowledge
who said: “The Messenger of Allah opened a 1000 doors of knowledge for me; from each door another 1000 doors of knowledge were unlocked.”
(Kanzul Ummal, vol. 6, pgs 322, 405)
We shall cast a cursory glance at the candid admissions made by a few of the eminent scholars:
1) Sayed Razi, while compiling the sermons and short statements of Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.), has mentioned brief and beneficial footnotes about the particular sermons and traditions that are extremely interesting.
For instance in sermon no 61, Imam Ali (as) says:
“Qiyaamah is staring in your face, while death is constantly chasing you. So that your burden is reduced you may join the rest of the group. And know ye that you are actually waiting for the others until they join you.”
Sayed Razi says that apart from the word of Allah if we compare this statement of Imam Ali (as) with any speech, we will find that the expressions of Ali bin Abi Talib (as) will be by far superior and comprehensive to any statement in this regard.
(Sermon 61, page 42, published at Darus saqalain, Qum)
2) Ibn Abil Hadeed Mutazali in Sharh-o-Nahjil Balaaghah, vol. 11, p. 157 writes:
“I am amazed at this man’s versatile and myriad talents. When he delivers a speech in the battlefield, it scintillates with the sparks of dauntless daredevilry and matchless courage brimming with inspirations of courage. If he chooses to admonish and preach then he seemed to be an ascetic who has donned the mantle of a solitary worshipper, occupied in his desolate cavern, like those who are totally non-violent and have never consumed animal meat.”
At times he is like Bastaam bin Qais or Atiba bin Haaris or Aamir bin Tufail, the mighty stalwart warriors during the pre Islamic era. Or at other times he appears to be like Socrates, Yohanna or Jesus Christ.
I swear by the one who is sworn upon by the whole ummah! I read this sermon (Al Haako mutakkasur) over 50 years ago and since then I have studied it for over 1000 times. And as many times I have read it I have felt a novel consciousness and trembled with fear. My mind and heart were deeply influenced and found my whole existence shaken to the core. Whenever I pondered over the meaning, nuances and concept of the speech, I was lost in the thoughts of the souls of my friends and relatives. I felt as if in the course of speech, Imam Ali (a.s.) is also drawing attention towards my own plight. So many learned men and ornate orators have given speeches on the subject and I have attended their gatherings and discourses on several occasions. But the way Imam’s speech had revolutionized my mindset none could reach anywhere near it. In fact, I have never even seen the like of such a powerful speech.”
At another place, he writes:
“Glory to Allah Who gave him (Ali) so many distinct excellences, unmatched characteristics and perfect traits!!! How come he who spent his life in the atmosphere of Makkah, never had any formal learning but when it comes to Divine knowledge and understanding, his thoughts and ideas were far more profound and versatile than Aristotle and Plato? The one who never witnessed the life of any teacher of spiritualism or interacted with expert analysts turned out to be far superior to Socrates. He grew up with the traders of Mecca, but was a man of courage who was seen walking on the streets with excessive humility.
(Sharh-o-Nahjil Balaaghah vol. 16, pg 146)
After these candid confessions and observations of an eminent Sunni scholar, who remained mystified at the unparalleled attributes of Imam Ali (a.s.) and kept pondering who gave him all these qualities. We would like to add that Allah who had bestowed uniqueness on his chosen Holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) made Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) his successor. It was assigned to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to introduce his deputy to the world in the best possible manner as his successor, vicegerent and heir.
For further information following books can be referred:
1) Kitaab (Kashkool) compiled by Shaikh Bahaai, vol. 3, pg 397
2) Kitabe Abqariyatush Sharif Razi, Dr Zaki Mubarak (vol 1, pg 396)
3) Kitabul Abqariyaat by Abbas Mehmood Al Aaqid Misri (vol 2, pg 138, 144-145)
4) Kitab Masaadir-e-Nahjul Balaaghah by Mohammad Amin Nawari (vol 1, pg 90)
5) Kitab Usule Kaafi by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Yaqub al-Kulaini (vol 1, pg 136)
6) Tafseer al-Bayaan by Sayed Abul Qasim al-Khui (r.a.)
(Extracted from Kitaab Aashnaai-e-Nahjul Balaaghah by Sayed Jaafar Hussaini)