Sayings Of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA)

Sayings Of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA)

‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) possessed all the means of quick intuition, fluency of tongue, superiority of intelligence, purification of soul, refinement of heart, deep faith, good command of religious knowledge, closeness to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, learning Revelation from him, in the development of his ability of eloquence and excellence of elucidation. Thus, his words became similar to pearls and his sentences were delightful, full of wisdom and good sense. His words are a subject of research to the scholars of rhetoric and a treasure to the people of guidance, for in them are the best of voluntary deeds and beautiful practices.

Hence, his wonderful maxims became fine and worthy ingredients in the realm of calling the people, teaching them, refinement of their souls, illuminating their intellects, reviving their hearts due to what it contains of excellence of expression, elucidation of meaning, deepness of thought and above all that, it germinates in the heart of the pious and they become immaculate.[1]

From these maxims, for instance, are the following:

  • The night prayer is radiance during the day.

Allah says:

“And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer].” (Qur’an 25:64)

He also said concerning the night prayer:

  • “The light of the believer is in the night prayer.”[2]
  • The rectification of religion is in piety and its corruption is in avarice.
  • Tidings to the one who acts by his knowledge.
  • Opportunity passes by like clouds.
  • Hard heartedness stems from satiation.
  • Honour is attained by grace and good manners and not by descent and lineage.
  • Charm of character is more beautiful than physical charm.
  • In the strength of characters lie treasures of provision.
  • A good deed is from the best of treasures.

A group of people gathered in the presence of’ Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) and they were talking about good deeds so the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) used the opportunity to utter these words to goad them on it. He said:

  • “A good deed is from the best of treasures and a plant from the purest of plants.”
  • There is no honour with bad character.
  • There is no relief for the envious.
  • The envious is embittered even with one who has no sin.
  • Woe be to the aggressors from the Most Just of the judges.
  • Whoever unsheathes the sword of aggression will be killed by it.
  • An impudent oppressor will bite his hand tomorrow.
  • Hiding misfortunes is from chivalry.
  • Do good to one who harms you and you will restrain him.
  • Goodness (to others) hinders their tongue.
  • Whoever trains his tongue, his brothers will be many.
  • If a person’s charity is few, his friends will equally be few.
  • Whoever seeks what does not concern him, what concerns him will slip him by.
  • The possessor of good (deeds) will be safe from evils.
  • Good company is booty.
  • Keeping the company of a fool is a shortcoming in this world and a loss in the Hereafter.
  • It suffices for you as training whatever you detest for someone else.
  • Do not look at the one who says (something), rather, look at what he has said.
  • The best of people is he who benefits others.
  • A person is concealed under (the shade of) his tongue.
  • Your brother is he who consoles you in difficulty.
  • The worth of a man is in his excellence.
  • Beware of the domination of the good-hearted when he is hungry and that of the mean when he is satiated.
  • When the soul is affected by desire, it becomes a receptacle of leisure, accumulator of amusement, inciter to evils, a colony to immorality, a seeker of comfort, disinclined to work, if you compel it you would wear it out, if you neglect it, you would destroy it.
  • Incompetence is a disease, patience is chivalry, asceticism is a fortune and piety is a shield.
  • Do not be a slave to someone else while Allah has made you free.
  • Beware of reliance on wishes for it is the merchandise of the imbecile.
  • People are asleep, when they die they wake up.
  • People are enemies to what they are ignorant of.
  • A man who knows his worth will not be destroyed.
  • How many a word that has plundered blessing!
  • Manners are a renewed garment and contemplation is a clear mirror.
  • When the world approaches a person, it shows him the beauty of others and when it recedes, it fleeces him of his own beauty.
  • Cheerfulness of face is the second gift.
  • Pardoning when there is ability (to revenge) is a gratitude for that ability.
  • Repeated apology is a reminder of the sin.
  • The height of admonition is looking at the dead.
  • Remembrance of death is the polish of the heart.

These are some of the maxims of the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra), which have become widespread among the people and which is a recapitulation of what he experienced in life in succinct expressions with profound meanings, objectives and goals. They had an effect on the society in which he lived and on successive societies after him until our present time.

The maxims, speeches, poetry and sermons were the means which the Commander of the Faithful employed in directing and teaching the Islamic society.

[The Biography Of Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA) by Dr. Ali Muhammad As-Sallabi, p. 536-539]


[1] Manhaj Ali Bin Abi Taalib fi Da’wah ila Allah, p. 275.

[2] Quoted from Manhaj

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