SHAFAQNA- What follows is a part of the book Nahj al-Balagha, the most famous collection of sermons, letters, tafsirs and stories attributed to Imam Ali (A.S). It was collected by Al-Sharif al-Radi, the Shiite scholar of the tenth century. Known for its eloquent content, it is considered as a masterpiece of literature in Shiite Islam, ranked third behind the Qur’an and prophetic narratives. This is the 23th Sermon of this book, selected by SHAFAQNA.
Now then, verily Divine orders descend from heaven to earth like drops of rain, bringing to everyone what is destined for him whether plenty or paucity. So if any one of you observes for his brother plenty of progeny or of wealth or of self, it should not be a worry for him. So long as a Muslim does not commit such an act that if it is disclosed he has to bend his eyes (in shame) and by which low people are emboldened, he is like the gambler who expects that the first draw of his arrow would secure him gain and also cover up the previous loss.
Similarly, the Muslim who is free from dishonesty expects one of the two good things: either call from Allah and in that case whatever is with Allah is the best for him, or the livelihood of Allah. He has already children and property while his faith and respect are with him. Certainly, wealth and children are the plantations of this world while virtuous deed is the plantation of the next world. Sometimes Allah joins all these in some groups.
Beware of Allah against what He has cautioned you and keep afraid of Him to the extent that no excuse be needed for it. Act without show or intention of being heard, for if a man acts for other than Allah, then Allah entrusts him to that one. We ask Allah (to grant us) the positions of the martyrs, company of the virtuous and friendship of the prophets.
O people! Surely no one (even though he may be rich) can do without his kinsmen, and their support by hands or tongues. They alone are his support from rear and can ward off from him his troubles, and they are the most kind to him when tribulations befall him. The good memory of a man that Allah retains among people is better than the property which others inherit from him.
In the same Sermon
Behold! If any one of you finds your near ones in want or starvation, he should not desist from helping them with that which will not increase if this help is not extended, nor decrease by thus spending it. Whoever holds up his hand from (helping) his kinsmen, he holds only one hand, but at the time of his need many hands remain held up from helping him. One who is sweet tempered can retain the love of his people for good.
As-Sayyid ar-Radi says: In this sermon “al-ghafirah” means plenty or abundance, and this is derived from the Arab saying, “al-jamm al-ghafir” or “al-jamma’ al-ghafir” meaning thick crowd. In some versions for “al-ghafirah” “‘afwatan” appears. “‘afwah” means the good and selected part of anything.
It is said “akaltu ‘afwata ‘t-ta’am“, to mean “I ate select meal.” About “wa man yaqbid yadahu ‘an ‘ashiratihi” appearing towards the end he points out how beautiful the meaning of this sentence is, Amir al-mu’minin implies that he who does not help his own kinsmen withholds only his hand but when he is in need of their assistance and would be looking for their sympathy and support then he would remain deprived of the sympathies and succour of so many of their extending hands and marching feet.