In the name of Allah
The All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful
14th Rajab 1445 (26th January 2024)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Imam Ali (a.s.)’s advice in the Nahjal-Balagha – Part 11
Imam Ali (a.s.) has warned us about the perils of this world and has advised us, time and time and time again, on how to navigate through life. I quote below his Sermon 28 from the Nahjul Balagha wherein he has advised us to focus our attention on our life in the hereafter:
“Surely this world has turned its back and announced its departure while the next world has appeared forward and proclaimed its approach. Today is the day of preparation while tomorrow is the day of race. The place to proceed is Paradise while the place of doom is Hell. Is there no one to offer repentance over his faults before his death? Or is there no one to perform virtuous acts before the day of trial?
Beware; surely you are in the days of hope where behind you stands death. Whoever acts (righteously) during the days of hope before his death, his action would benefit him and his death would not harm him. But he who fails to act during the period of hope before death his action would be a loss and his death would be injurious to him. (To be continued)
- There are two phases of life; life in this world (al-Dunya) and the life that starts after death (al-Akhira). They represent two stages of human existence inseparable from each other – one transient and the other permanent, one representing the sphere of actions and the other the sphere of results.
- This world is essentially a place of fleeting pleasure and amusement. We are travelers here and when the journey is over, we will meet our Lord, who created us. Depending on our deeds on earth, we will either enjoy our eternal life in paradise or be tormented in hell. That is why the Holy Prophet (s.a.) has said: “The best of you is the one who does not leave his hereafter for his world and his world for his hereafter.”
- As we go through life facing its challenges as well as its attractions, we should not deviate from the divine path. Be it the diversions of temptations or problems and sufferings, we should always be wary not to fall prey to the guiles of Satan, but rather we should adhere to the straight path chalked out by Allah (referred to as Siratul-Mustaqeem) and seek forgiveness for our sins before death.
- The hereafter represents another dimension of existence which is real, vivid and eternal. What our state will be in our afterlife would be dependent on what we believed to be true in this life, what actions we performed and what our intentions had been. It is in this world we literally build our hereafter and hence we should secure our place in paradise by making necessary provisions for it. “Verily those who believe and do good deeds shall be entertained in the gardens of paradise.” (Ayah 107, Surah Al-Kahf).
Birth anniversary of Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)
I wish to congratulate Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.) and my brethren in faith on the auspicious birth anniversary of Imam Ali (a.s.) on the 13th of Rajab, which was celebrated throughout the Muslim world with great exuberance.
Imam Ali (a.s.) was born in 600 A.D within the holy precincts of Kaaba, 30 years after the Year of the Elephant (Aamul Feel). When his mother, Fatima binte Asad, experienced labor pains and walked towards the Holy Kaaba, its wall miraculously split and as she entered the sanctuary the gap sealed itself behind her. Onlookers panicked and rushed to enter it, but they could not unlock the door. She emerged three days later, after the baby was born. The Holy Prophet (s.a.) was the first person besides Ali (a.s.)’s mother to hold the newborn in his arms, and when the baby opened his eyes, it was the face of the Holy Prophet (s.a.) that he saw first.
It was the great personality of Ali (a.s.) who, prior to all others, pledged faith to the Holy Prophet (s.a.). He supported the cause of Islam at the earliest moment of his life. In fact, no sooner had he placed his feet on earth that he assisted the Holy Prophet (s.a) in the proclamation of the religion of truth. In addition to his pioneering role in Islam, he offered great sacrifices and fought for the victory of Islam since he was young and continued to fight deviationist trends inside Islam. From the beginning of his life he did not fear anyone, except Allah (s.w.t.). He was Ali (a.s.), the brave who never retreated from the battlefield as affirmed by the Holy Prophet (s.a.): “Tomorrow, I will give the banner of Islam to a man who loves Allah and His Prophet and whom Allah and His Prophet love. This man attacks but never flees. He does not come back from a battle until he achieves victory by Allah’s blessings.”
It cannot be denied that he was the most virtuous and the true successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.) and it is not possible for anyone to fully grasp his impeccable characteristics. To understand him one needs to scale the skies and to accompany the Holy Prophet (s.a.) in his ascension. Abdul Hamid known as Ibne Abi Al-Hadid, the Sunni commentator of Nahjul-Balagha had narrated the following from a Sunni scholar: “If Ali wishes to record his virtues and all the eloquent Arabs help him in his endeavor, they would not be able to note down even one-tenth of the Holy Prophet’s voluminous narrations about him.” He then said: “I do not mean the very famous narrations of the Holy Prophet about Ali, such the Hadiths of Ghadeer Khum or Manzilat and the like of them.”
Moreover, that Holy Prophet (s.a.) advised Ali (a.s.) as follows: “Allah has ornamented you with an ornament that He has never ornamented anyone like it. It is the ornament of believers and asceticism in this world. He has not created you to deceive the world nor has He created the world to deceive you. Moreover, He has made the poor your followers; you treat them with compassion and they accept you as their Imam.”