This is about Imam Ali bin Abithalib ‘alaihis salaam (as = peace be upon him), the fourth caliph of Islam, and Khalil Gibran, a famous Lebanese-American philosophical essayist, novelist, and mystical poet, who admired Imam Ali.
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Gibran’s early works were written in Arabic, and from 1918 he published mostly in English. Among his best-known works is ‘The Prophet,’ a book of 26 poetic essays, which has been translated into over 20 languages.
Here is Gibran’s views on Ali bin Abithalib (as): “In my view, Alī was the first Arab to have contact with and converse with the universal soul. He died a martyr of his greatness; he died while prayer was between his two lips. The Arabs did not realise his value until appeared among their Persian neighbors some who knew the difference between gems and gravels.”
The Prophet Muhammad saw (Peace be upon him) referred to his eloquent son-in-law Ali (as) the “gate to the city of knowledge“.
Ali’s sermons, letters and sayings and a glimpse into his personality were recorded in a book called “The Peak of Eloquence” (Nahj ul Balagha). Compiled by Sayyid al-Sharif ar-Radi more than 1,000 years ago, it is considered a literary masterpiece and, by certain Muslims, as the most valuable text after the Holy Qur’an and Prophet (Muhammad)’s hadits.
The Imam’s sermons are full of wise thoughts. O’ world, what would have happen if you mobilized your forces to produce in every era a man as great as Imam Ali (AS) in terms of wisdom, moral, expression, eloquence, valor, simplicity, generosity, patience, piety, and magnitude, for the human societies?
Check them out, Friends: Who can argue that there is greater wealth than wisdom? Where is nobility of descent best portrayed other than the politeness and refinement of manner? And on “friendship”, as you can read them below, the Imam is very lucid. Befriending a fool, a miser, wicked and liars are I think the worst friends anyone can have in life.
Anyway, to cut the long story short, should you be interested in reading “The Peak of Eloquence”, you may want to consider taking a peek here.
You will be stumbled upon one of the advices of Imam Ali (as) to his son Imam Hassan (as) on four (4) things to learn. I am sure, regardless what religious affiliations and principles you stand on, as long as you are an open minded person, you will agree that the wisdom taught below are worth to ponder upon with every aspect of your life.
Imam Ali once said to his son Al-Hasan (as): My son, learn four things from me and through them you will learn four more. If you keep them in mind your actions will not bring any harm to you:
- The greatest wealth is Wisdom;
- The greatest poverty is stupidity;
- The worst unsociableness is that of vanity and self-glorification; and
- The best nobility of descent exhibits itself in politeness and in refinement of manner.
The next four things, my son, are:
- Do not make friendship with a fool because when he will try to do you good he will do you harm;
- Do not make a miser your friend because he will run away from you at the time of your dire need;
- Do not be friendly with a vicious and wicked person because he will sell you and your friendship at the cheapest price, and
- Do not make friend of a liar because like a mirage he will make you visualize very near the things which lie at a great distance and will make you see at the great distance the things which are near to you.