Imam Ali Sayings:
Nahj al-balaghah comprises various issues that cover major problems of metaphysics, theology, fiqh, tafsir, hadith, prophetology, imamate, ethics,social philosophy, history, politics, administration, civics, science, rhetoric, poetry, literature, etc.
Wisdom and Sayings of Imam Ali (A.S):
100 Best golden words and sayings of Imam Ali (A.S) in English are given below:
1- During civil disturbance adopt such an attitude that people do not attach any importance to you – they neither burden you with complicated affairs, nor try to derive any advantage out of you.
2- He who is greedy is disgraced; he who discloses his hardship will always be humiliated; he who has no control over his tongue will often have to face discomfort.
3- Submission to Allah’s Will is the best companion; wisdom is the noblest heritage; theoretical and practical knowledge are the best signs of distinction; deep thinking will present the clearest picture of every problem.
4- A conceited and self-admiring person is disliked by others; charity and alms are the best remedy for ailments and calamities; one has to account in the next world for the deeds that he has done in this world.
5- When this world favors somebody, it lends him the attributes, and surpassing merits of others and when it turns its face away from him it snatches away even his own excellence and fame.
6- Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company.
7- When some blessings come to you, do not drive them away through thanklessness.
8- Every person who is tempted to go astray, does not deserve punishment.
9- Our affairs are attached to the destiny decreed by Allah, even our best plans may lead us to destruction.
10- For those who refused to side with any party, Imam Ali or his enemies, Imam Ali said: They have forsaken religion and are of no use to infidelity also.
11- Failures are often the results of timidity and fears; disappointments are the results of bashfulness; hours of leisure pass away like summer-clouds, therefore, do not waste opportunity of doing good.
12- If the right usurped from us is given back to us we shall take it, otherwise we shall go on claiming it.
13- O son of Adam, when you see that your Lord, the Glorified, bestows His Favors on you while you disobey Him, you should fear Him (take warning that His Wrath may not turn those very blessings into misfortunes).
14- O son of Adam, when you see that your Lord, the Glorified, bestows His Favors on you while you disobey Him, you should fear Him (take warning that His Wrath may not turn those very blessings into misfortunes).
15- Often your utterances and expressions of your face leak out the secrets of your hidden thoughts.
16- When you get ill do not get nervous about it and try as much as possible to be hopeful.
17- The best form of devotion to the service of Allah is not to make a show of it.
18- Whoever is eager for Paradise will ignore temptations.
19- Whoever practices piety will easily bear the difficulties of life.
20- A virtuous person is better then virtue and a vicious person is worse than vice.
21- Be generous but not extravagant, be frugal but not miserly.
22- One who says unpleasant things about others, will himself quickly become a target of their scandal.
23- The best nobility of descent exhibits itself in politeness and in refinement of manner.
24- Recommended prayers cannot attain the pleasures of Allah for you when obligatory prayers are left unattended.
25- Value of a man depends upon his courage; his veracity depends upon his self-respect and his chastity depends upon his sense of honor.
26- Success is the result of foresight and resolution, foresight depends upon deep thinking and planning and the most important factor of planning is to keep your secrets to yourself.
27- Be afraid of a gentleman when he is hungry, and of a mean person when his stomach is full.
28- Hearts of people are like wild beasts. They attach themselves to those who love and train them.
29- So long as fortune is favouring you, your defects will remain covered.
30- Contentment is the capital which will never diminish.
31- If you are greeted then return the greetings more warmly. If you are favoured, then repay the obligation manifold; but he who takes the initiative will always excel in merit.
32- The source of success of a claimant is the mediator.
33- People in this world are like travelers whose journey is going on though they are asleep. ( Life’s journey is going on though men may not feel it ).
34- Not to have a thing is less humiliating than to beg it.
35- An ignorant person will always overdo a thing or neglect it totally.
36- Time wears out bodies, renews hopes, brings death nearer and takes away aspirations. Whoever gets anything from the world lives in anxiety for holding it and whoever loses anything passes his days grieving over the loss.
37- Whoever wants to be a leader should educate himself before educating others. Before preaching to others he should first practice himself. Whoever educates himself and improves his own morals is superior to the man who tries to teach and train others.
38- Anything which can be counted is finite and will come to an end.
39- If matters get mixed up then scrutinize the cause and you will know what the effects will be.
40- Value of each man depends upon the art and skill which he has attained.
41- A man hypocritically started praising Imam Ali, though he had no faith in him and Imam Ali hearing these praises from him said “I am less than what you tell about me but more than what you think about me”.
42- Those who have come alive out of a blood-bath live longer and have more children.
43- One who imagines himself to be all-knowing will surely suffer on account of his ignorance.
44- I appreciate an old man’s cautious opinion more than the valor of a young man.
45- I wonder at a man who loses hope of salvation when the door of repentance is open for him.
46- Whoever keeps in order his affairs with Allah (follows His orders sincerely), Allah will also put his affairs with men in order. Whoever makes arrangement for his salvation, Allah will arrange his worldly affairs; whoever is a preacher for himself, Allah will also protect him.
47- Nearest to the prophets are those persons who have to those prophets and obey them.
48- Some people praised Imam Ali on his face. He replied, “Allah knows me very well and I also know myself more than you. Please, Lord ! make me better than what they imagine me to be and please excuse those Weaknesses of mine which they are not aware of”.
49- A Divine rule can be established only by a man, who, where justice and equity are required, neither feels deficient nor weak and who is not greedy and avaricious.
50- When a community is composed of honest, sober and virtuous people, your forming a bad opinion about anyone of its members, when nothing wicked has been seen of him, is a great injustice to him. On the contrary in a corrupt society to form good opinion of anyone of them and to trust him is to harm yourself.
51- Two kinds of people will be damned on my account Those who form exaggerated opinion about me and those who under-estimate me because they hate me.
52- To lose or to waste an opportunity will result in grief and sorrow.
53- Blessings are for the man who humbles himself before Allah, whose sources of income are honest, whose inten- tions are always honorable, whose character is noble, whose habits are sober, who gives away in the cause and in the Name of Allah, the wealth which is lying surplus with him, who controls his tongue from vicious and useless talk, who abstains from oppression, who faithfully follows the traditions of the Holy Prophet and who keeps himself
away from innovation in religion.
54- Be very cautious of cold in the beginning of winter and welcome it at the close of the season because cold season effects your bodies exactly as it effects the trees; in the early season its severity makes them shrivel and shed their leaves and at the end it helps them to revive.
55- If you understand Allah’s Majesty, then you will not attach any importance to the creatures.
56- This world is not a permanent place, it is a passage, a road on which you are passing. There are two kinds of people here: One is the kind of those who have sold their souls for eternal damnation, the other is of those who have purchased their souls and freed them from damnation.
57- When someone is sure of the returns, then he shows generosity.
58- Aid (from Allah) is in proportion to the trouble.
59- One of the conveniences in life is to have less children.
60- Grief is half of old age.
61- Many persons get nothing out of their fasts but hunger and thirst, many more get nothing out of their night prayers but exertions and sleepless nights. Wise and sagacious persons are praiseworthy even if they do not fast and sleep during the nights.
62- who does not realize his own value is condemned to utter failure. (Every kind of complex, superiority or inferiority is harmful to man).
63- Do not be among those people who want to gain good returns without working hard for them, who have long hopes and keep on postponing repentance and penance, who talk like pious persons but run after vicious pleasures.
64- Do not be among those who are not satisfied if they get more in life.
65- Everyone has an end, it may be pleasant or sorrowful.
66- Everyone, who is born, has to die and once dead he is as good as having not come into existence.
67- You have been shown, if you only care to see; you have been advised if you care to take advantage of advice; you have been told if you care to listen to good counsels.
68- One, who enters the places of evil repute has no right to complain against a man who speaks ill of him.
69- One, who acquires power cannot avoid favoritism.
70- One, who is willful and conceited will suffer losses and calamities and one who seeks advice can secure advan- tages of many counsels.
71- One, who guards his secrets has complete control over his affairs.
72- One, who serves a person from whom he gets no reci- procal performance of duties, in fact, worships him.
73- One should not obey anyone against the commands of Allah.
74- Do not blame a man who delays in securing what are his just rights but blame lies on him who grasps the rights which do not belong to him.
75- Conceit is a barrier to progress and improvement.
76- There is enough light for one who wants to see.
77- People often hate those things which they do not know or cannot understand.
78- One, who seeks advice learns to realize his mistakes.
79- One who struggles for the cause of Allah secures victory over His enemies.
80- When you feel afraid or nervous to do a thing then do it because the real harm which you may thus receive is less poignant than its expectation and fear.
81- If you want to remove evil from the minds of others then first give up evil intentions yourself.
82- Obstinacy will prevent you from a correct decision.
83- Greed is permanent slavery.
84- Deficiency will result in shame and sorrow but caution and foresight will bring peace and security.
85- If two opposite theories are propagated one will be wrong.
86- I never lied and the things revealed to me were not false I never misled anybody nor was I misled.
87- One, who starts tyranny, will repent soon.
88- One who forsakes truth earns eternal damnation.
89- O son of Adam, if you have collected anything in excess of your actual need, you will act only as its trustee for someone else to use it.
90- Hearts have the tendency of likes and dislikes and are liable to be energetic and lethargic, therefore, make them work when they are energetic because if hearts are forced (to do a thing) they will be blinded.
91- If you find that somebody is not grateful for all that you have done for him, then do not get disappointed because often you will find that someone else feels under your obligation though you have done nothing for him and thus your good deeds will be compensated, and Allah will reward you for your goodness.
92- The first fruit of forbearance is that people will sympathize with you and they will go against the man who offended you arrogantly.
93- Bear sorrows and calamities patiently, otherwise you will never be happy.
94- One who comes into power often oppresses.
95- Adversities often bring good qualities to the front.
96- Oppression and tyranny are the worse companions for the Hereafter.
97- Silence will create respect and dignity; justice and fairplay will bring more friends.
98- A greedy man will always find himself in the shackles of humility.
99- Service of mankind will secure leadership and good words will overcome powerful enemies.
100- Benevolence and charity will enhance prestige and position; courtesy will draw benevolence.
Peak of Eloquence
Sermons and Letters of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)
Translated by Askari Jafri
Eleventh Revised Edition – Islamic Seminary Publications