The Wisdom of Hazrat Ali: Selections from Nahj al-Balaghah for Young People (I)

INTRODUCTION: Nahj al-Balaghah  is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Arabic prose. The hundreds of sayings, sermons, letters and speeches which appear in the book are attributed to Hazrat Ali. The work is difficult to translate, yet by carefully reading through the book one comes across passages that will apppeal to everyone, including children and young adults. Here, in this first of three parts, we cover Hazrat Ali’s teachings on the Holy Prophet, Creation and how Allah’s munificence sustains it and all its life forms. Nahj al-Balaghah’s sermon number is provided in each quote for further reading of the passages.

* * * *

The Holy Prophet

Follow your Prophet, the best of the

good and purest of pure, may

God bless him and his Household.

He is the example for one to follow,

and comfort for one

who seeks happiness.

The most beloved of servants to God

is one who follows His Prophet

and walks in his footsteps.

He, may God bless him and his


would sit on the ground

when eating food,

and he would sit like a slave.

He would mend his shoes with his own


and patched his clothes himself….160


Allah’s Creations and His Total Independence

Allah made the creation

without any example and without the

advice of a counsel

or the assistance of a helper….155


Allah brought out the creation

by His power

and made the winds blow

With His compassion…..1


Allah decorated the heavens

with the stars and the light of the

meteors and set the shining sun and the

bright moon in an orbit that rolls around….1


Allah created the earth and

suspended it,

retained it without support,

made it stand without legs,

and raised it without pillars….185


Look at

the sun and the moon,

the plants and the trees,

the water and the stones,

at the alteration of day and night,

the gush of the oceans,

the great number of the mountains

and the height of their peaks,

at the difference of languages

and the variety of tongues….185


Allah’s Wisdom and His Knowledge of Everything

Look at the ant

with its small body

and delicate form.

See how it crawls on the earth

and leaps at its livelihood.

It carries the grain to its hole

and stores it in its storage.

It collects during the summer for the winter,

and during strength for the period of its weakness…..185


If you wish,

I will tell you about the locust.

Allah gave it two red eyes,

with pupils like two moons,

made its small ears,

opened for it a suitable mouth,

and gave it a keen sense.

He gave it two front teeth to cut with

and two sickle – like feet

to grip with…..185


The birds are subject to Allah’s commands.

He knows the number of their feathers

and the count of their breaths.

He has made their feet stand on water

and on land.

He knows all their species.

There is the crow,

and the eagle,

the pigeon,

and the ostrich….185


The most amazing among them

is the peacock in its creation,

which Allah has created

in the finest harmony

and arranged its hues

in the best composition,

with wings well tacked together

and a long trailing tail….165


An example of Allah’s delicate product,

a marvel of His creation,

and a sample of His profound wisdom,

is what we see in the bat,

which shrinks from the daylight,

although daylight moves everything else

to action,

and is active in the night,

although the night stops the activity

of every other living being…..155


God is aware of the cries

of the beasts in the forests,

of the sins of the people in private,

of the movements of the fishes

in deep oceans,

and the uproar of the waters

by strong winds…..198

To be continued

Date article posted on Simerg: May 17, 2011


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8 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Hazrat Ali: Selections from Nahj al-Balaghah for Young People (I)

  1. It is nice to read Hazrat Ali’s message in simple terms. These wonderful sayings show us the Glory of Nature and the Power of Allah.

  2. Timeless leadership…sometimes a tear to my eye, sometimes a smile to my face. Sometimes a green shoot of hope, then sometimes an acceptance of my insignificance. But always a remembrance of love.
    Asadullah, Mast Qalandar, A Man for All Seasons, A Light for the West and for the East.

  3. Thank you for sharing these quotes. I had started reading Nagh al Balaghah in 1981 and have not finished reading it. The quotes inspire me to start reading it again and make me understand that although physically I may be a tiny portion of a chord in this universe there is a timeless caring bond between my Creator and me.

    we are born in this world, just one purpose,
    to shape our few senses gifted by Almighty
    to live with joy and happines………..
    with humility, sincerity, honesty, kindnes,
    to reach our origin to


  5. Good Initiative. Many of us woud appreciate to know and understand Mowla Ali’s wisdom related in simple terms in small doses. With each of His wise sayings one would appreciate a commentary and some examples.

  6. These are not just phrases. They tell us about Allah’s power, His presence all around and make us think about His vast creation. From a tiny insect to the giant animal to our own being, these must make us realize to thank Allah for all the benefits and luxuries that He has given and all the support that He gives – directly or indirectly.

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