Spiritual Teachings of Nahj al-Balaghah

Inimitable Moral Teaching:

Moral and spiritual teachings constitute the greater part of the Nahj al-balaghah making up almost half of the book. More than anything else the fame of the Nahj al-balaghah is due to the sermons, exhortations, and aphorisms on ethical and moral subjects.

Aside from the moral teachings of the Quran and a number of the sermons and sayings of the Holy Prophet ('s), which are to be considered the source and antecedent of the Nahj al-balaghah, the teachings of the Nahj al-balaghah are without a match in the Arabic and Persian languages. For more than a thousand years these sermons have played an influential role serving as a matchless source of inspiration, and yet retained their original power to quicken the heart, to sublimate emotions, and to bring tears to the eyes. It seems that as long as there remains any trace of humanity in the world, these sermons shall continue to exercise their original power and influence.

A Comparison:

The literature of Arabic and Persian is replete with works containing spiritual and moral teachings of highest sublimity and elegance though mainly in the form of poetry. There is, for example, the famous qasidah by Abu al-Fath al-Busti (360-400/971-1010), which begins with the verse:

Worldly profit and achievement is loss,

And the gain unmarked by the seal of pure goodness.

There is also the elegiacal qasidah of Abu al-Hasan al-Tihami, which he wrote on the early death of his youthful son. It begins with these lines:

The law of fate governs the destiny of creation,

And this world is not a place to settle in.

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