By Muhammad Amin (Garam Chashma)
“Praise belongs to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds, the most Gracious, the most Merciful, the Master of the Day of Judgement.You do we worship and Your aid do we seek. Show us the straightway, the way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not those with Your wrath, nor those who stray.”
Nahjul Balagha (The Peak of Eloquence) is the collections of the sermons, letters and sayings of Imam Ali ibni Abi Talib (A.S), collected and compiled by the 10th century renowned Shia Muslim scholar and a man of cultivated taste, Syed al Razi (RA). This is an authentic tradition from the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h):
“I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gate (of that city of knowledge).”
Thus whatever is said by Ali (a.s) has come from the last Messenger of Allah and Nahjul Balagha really guides us towards seeking Divine Knowledge, wisdom and progress in both the worlds.
The classical sermon delivered when allegiance was sworn to him at Madina:
The responsibility for what I say is guaranteed and I am answerable for it.He to whom experiences have clearly shown the past exemplary punishments (by Allah) is prevented by piety from falling into doubts. You should know that the same troubles have returned to you which existed when the Prophet (SWS) was first sent. By Allah who sent the Prophet with faith and truth you will be severely subverted, bitterly shaken as in sieving and fully mixed as by spooning in a cooking pot till your low persons become high and high ones become low, those who were behind would attain forward positions and those who were forward would become backward. By Allah I have not concealed a single word or spoken any lie and I had been informed of this and of this time. Beware that sins are like the unruly horses on whom their riders have been placed and their reins have been let loose so that they would jump with them in the Hell. Beware that piety is like trained horses on whom the riders have been placed with the reins in their hands, so that they would take the riders to the Heaven. There is right and wrong and there are followers for each.
He who has heaven and hell in his view has no other aim. He who attempts and acts quickly succeed ,while the seeker who is slow may also entertain hope and he who falls short of action faces destruction in hell. On right and left there are misleading paths. Only the middle way is the right path which is the Everlasting Book and the traditions of the Prophet. From it the Sunnah was spread out and towards it is the eventual return. He who claims (otherwise) is ruined and he who concocts falsehood is disappointed. He who opposes right his face gets destruction. It is enough ignorance for a man not to know himself. He who is strong rooted in piety does not get destruction, and the plantation of a people based on piety never remains without water. Hide yourselves in your houses and reform yourselves.Repentence is at your back and condemn only his own self.
Piety is the name of heart and mind being affected and impressed by the Divine Greatness and Glory, as an affect of which the spirit of man becomes full of fear of Allah, and its inevitable result is that engrossment in worship and prayer increases. It is impossible that heart may be full of fear of Allah and there be no manifestation of it in actions and deeds. And since worship and submissions reform the heart and nurture the spirit, purity of heart increases with the increase of worship. That is why in the Quran“` taqwa“ ((piety) has been applied sometimes to fear, sometimes to worshipping and devotion and sometimes to purity of heart and spirit.
In the tradition taqwa has been assigned three degrees. The first degree is that a man should follow the injunctions and keep aloof from prohibitions. The second degree is that recommended matters should also be followed and disliked things should also be avoided, the third degree is that for fear of falling into doubts one may abstain from the permissible as well. The first degree is for the common men, the second for the nobles and the third for high dignitaries.Allah, the glorified, has referred to the three degrees in the following Verse:
“On those who believe and do good, is no blame for what they ate,(before) when they did guard themselves and did believe, and did good, still (furthermore),they guard themselves and do good, and Allah loves the doers of goods (Quran.5:39).”
Amir al Mu’minin says that only action based on piety is lasting and only action will blossom and bear fruit which is watered by piety because worship is only that wherein the feeling of submission exists.
Sermon about heart`s desires and extended hopes:
“O`people what I fear most about your are two things-acting according to desires and extending of hopes. As regards acting according to desires, this prevents from truth, and as regards extending of hopes it makes one forgets the next world. You should know this world is moving rapidly and nothing has remained out of it except last particles like the dregs of a vessel which has been emptied by someone.”
Beware the next world is advancing and neither of them has sons i.e.followers.You should become sons of the next world and not become sons of this world, because onthe Day of Judgment every son will cling to his mother. Today is the Day of Action and there is no reckoning while tomorrow is the Day of reckoning but there would be no opportunity for action.