A Collection of Aphorisms of Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.)

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Source: Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim (Exalted Aphorisms and Pearls of Speech)

A collection of Aphorisms and short sayings of Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) were collected in the book in late fifth or early sixth century work by al-Amudi al-Tamimi.

Parents
Parents الآباء
1. Being good to parents is the greatest [and most important] duty.
1

ـ بِرُّ الوالِدَيْنِ أكْبَرُ فَريضَة.
2. Be good to your parents and your children will be good to you.
2
ـ بِرُّوا آباءَكُمْ يَبـََرَّكُمْ أبْناؤُكُمْ.
3. Whoever is good to his parents, his child will be good to him.
3
ـ مَنْ بَرَّ والِدَيْهِ بَرَّهُ وَلَدُهُ.
4. The death of a father breaks one’s back.
4
ـ مَوْتُ الوالِدِ قاصِمَةُ الظَّهْرِ.
5. One who scorns his parents has diverged from the right path.
5
ـ مَنِ اسْتَنْكَفَ مِنْ أبَوَيهِ فَقَدْ خالَفَ الرُّشْدَ.
6. The affection of parents is [the basis of] the relationship between siblings.
6
ـ مَوَدَّةُ الآباءِ نَسَبٌ بَيْنَ الأبناءِ.

Anxiety
Anxiety الجزع
1. Anxiety during hardship completes [and enhances] the calamity.
1

ـ اَلجَزَعُ عِنْدَ البَلاءِ مِنْ تَمامِ المِحْنَةِ.
2. Anxiety during adversity is severer than the adversity itself.
2
ـ اَلجَزَعُ عِنْدَ المُصيبَةِ أشَدُّ مِنَ المُصيبَةِ.
3. The adversity is one, but if you become anxious it becomes twofold.
3
ـ اَلمُصيبَةُ واحِدَةٌ، وإنْ جَزَعَتْ صارَتْ اِثْنَـتَيْنِ.
4. Adversity [endured] with patience is the better of the two adversities.
4
ـ اَلمُصيبَةُ بِالصَّبْرِ أعْظَمُ المُصيبَتَيْنِ.
5. Anxiety does not ward off destiny, rather it blocks recompense.
5
ـ اَلجَزَعُ لايَدْفَعُ القَدَرَ ولكِنْ يُحـْبِطُ الأجْرَ.
6. Anxiety during adversity increases it whereas patience ends it.
6
ـ اَلجَزَعُ عِنْدَ المُصيبَةِ يَزيدُها، والصَّبْرُ عَلَيْها يُبيدُها.
7. Overcome anxiety with patience, for anxiety voids recompense and magnifies the calamity.
7
ـ إغْلِبُوا الجَزَعَ بِالصَّبْرِ، فإنَّ الجَزَعَ يَحبِطُ الأجرَ، ويُعَظِّمُ الفَجيعَةَ.
8. Anxiety is [a cause of] destruction.
8
ـ اَلجَزَعُ هَلاكٌ.
9. Anxiety is one of the assistants of the [difficult] time.
9
ـ اَلجَزَعُ مِنْ أعوانِ الزَّمانِ.
10. Anxiety magnifies the calamity.
10
ـ اَلجَزَعُ يُعَظِّمُ المِحْنَةَ.
11. Anxiety is more exhausting than patience.
11
ـ اَلجَزَعُ أتْعَبُ مِنَ الصَّبْرِ.
12. If you are [one who gets] anxious about all that has escaped from your hands, then be anxious about what has not reached you.
12
ـ إنْ كُنْتَ جازِعاً على كُلِّ ما يَفْلِتُ مِنْ يَدَيْكَ فَاجْزَعْ على مالَمْ يَصِلْ إلَيكَ.
13. With excessive anxiety, the calamity is magnified.
13
ـ بِكَثْرَةِ الجَزَعِ تَعْظُمُ الفَجيعَةُ.
14. Counter anxiety with patience.
14
ـ ضادُّوا الجَزَعَ بِالصَّبْرِ.
15. There is no recompense with anxiety.
15
ـ لَيْسَ مَعَ الجَزَعِ مَثُوبَةٌ.
16. Whoever becomes anxious, his adversity increases.
16
ـ مَنْ جَزَعَ عَظُمَتْ مُصيبَتُهُ.
17. One who is overcome by anxiety is deprived of the merit of patience.
17
ـ مَنْ ملَكَهُ الجَزَعُ حُرِمَ فَضيلَةَ الصَّبرِ.
18. One who becomes anxious has tormented himself, neglected the command of Allah, the Glorified, and sold off his reward.
18
ـ مَنْ جَزَعَ فَنَفْسَهُ عَذَّبَ، وأمْرَ اللّهِ سُبْحانَهُ أضاعَ، وثَوابَهُ باعَ.
19. Do not get anxious in the [face of] little that you dislike for it will put you in a lot of what you dislike.
19
ـ لاتَجزَعُوا مِنْ قَليلِ ماأكْرَهَكُمْ (كَرِهْتُم)، فَيُوقِعَكُمْ ذلِكَ في كَثير مِمّا تَـكْرَهُونَ.
20. Patience and anxiety do not go together.

Struggling Against the Self (Jihad An-Nafs)
Struggling against the Self (Jihad an-Nafs) جهاد النفس
1. Indeed Jihād is the price of Paradise, so the one who struggles against his self will acquire it, and this is the greatest reward of Allah for the one who is cognizant of it.
1

ـ ألا وإنَّ الجِهادَ ثَمَنُ الجَنَّةِ، فَمَنْ جاهَدَ نَفْسَهُ مَلَكَها، وهِيَ أكْرَمُ ثَوابِ اللّهِ لِمَنْ عَرَفَها.
2. The best Jihād is the struggle of a man against his [carnal] soul.
2
ـ أفْضَلُ الجِهادِ مُجاهَدَةُ المَرْءِ نَفْسَهُ.
3. The best Jihād is the struggle of the self against lustful desires, and its weaning away from the pleasures of this world.
3
ـ أفْضَلُ الجِهادِ جِهادُ النَّفْسِ عَنِ الهَوى، وفِطامُها عَنْ لَذّاتِ الدُّنيا.
4. The first thing that you disavow from Jihād is struggling against your selves.
4
ـ أوَّلُ ما تُنْكِرُونَ مِنَ الجِهادِ، جِهادُ أنْفُسِكُمْ.
5. The last things that you [should] lose are: the struggling against your selves and obedience to those who have authority among you.
5
ـ آخِرُ ما تَفْقِدُونَ مُجاهَدَةُ أهْوائِكُمْ وطاعَةُ أُولِي الأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ.
6. Indeed the best Jihād is the struggle of a man against his [carnal] soul.
6
ـ إنَّ أفْضَلَ الجِهادِ مُجاهَدَةُ الرَّجُلِ نَفْسَهُ.
7. Verily struggling against the self restrains it from sins and protects it from destruction.
7
ـ إنَّ مُجاهَدَةَ النَّفْسِ لَتَزِمُّها عَنِ المَعاصِي، وتَعْصِمُها عَنِ الرَّدى.
8. Verily the one who struggles with his [lower] self, in obedience to Allah and against disobedience to Him, has the status of a virtuous martyr in the sight of Allah.
8
ـ إنَّ المُجاهِدَ نَفْسَهُ عَلى طاعَةِ اللّهِ وَعَنْ مَعاصِيهِ، عِنْدَاللّهِ سُبْحانَهُ بِمَنْزِلَةِ بَرّ شَهيد.
9. Indeed the one who struggles against his [lower] self, overcomes his anger and is careful in obeying [the commandments of] Allah, is raised by Allah, the Glorified, to the status of the one who fasts by day and stands in prayer by night, and is granted the rank of the patient soldier [who fights in His way].
9
ـ إنَّ المُجاهِدَ نَفْسَهُ، والمُغالِبَ غَضَبَهُ، والمُحافِظَ عَلى طاعَةِ رَبِّهِ، يَرْفَعُ اللّهُ سُبْحانَهُ لَهُ ثَوابَ الصَّائِمِ القائِمِ ويُنيلُهُ دَرَجَةَ المُرابِطِ الصّابِرِ
.
10. Verily if you struggle against your [lower] self you will obtain the pleasure of Allah.
10
ـ إنَّكَ إنْ جاهَدْتَ نَفْسَكَ حُزْتَ رِضَى اللّهِ.
11. The fruit of struggle [against the self] is overpowering the self.
11
ـ ثَمَرَةُ المُجاهَدَةِ قَهْرُ النَّفْسِ.
12. Struggling against the self is the dowry for Paradise.
12
ـ جِهادُ النَّفْسِ مَهْرُ الجَنَّةِ.
13. Struggling against vain desires is the price of Paradise.
13
ـ جِهادُ الهَوى ثَمَنُ الجَنَّةِ.
14. Struggling against the self is the best Jihad.
14
ـ جِهادُ النَّفْسِ أفْضَلُ جِهاد.
15. Struggle against your [lower] self and seek repentance, you will be successful in the obedience of your Lord.
15
ـ جاهِدْ نَفْسَكَ، وَقَدِّمْ تَوْبَتَكَ، تَفُزْ بِطاعَةِ رَبِّكَ.
16. Struggle against your vain desires, overcome your anger and resist your bad habits, [by this] your soul will become pure, your intellect will become perfect and the reward of your Lord will be complete.
16
ـ جاهِدْ شَهْوَتَكَ، وغالِبْ غَضَبَك،وَخالِفْ سُوءَ عادَتِكَ، تَزْكُ نَفْسُكَ، ويَكْمُلْ عَقْلُكَ، وتَسْتَكْمِلْ ثَوابَ رَبِّكَ.
17. Fight against your [lower] self in obedience to Allah the way an enemy would fight his enemy, and overpower it the way a rival would overpower his opponent, for indeed the strongest person is the one who subdues his self.
17
ـ جاهِدْ نَفْسَكَ عَلى طاعَةِ اللّهِ مُجاهَدَة العَدُوِّ عَدُوَّهُ، وغالِبْها مُغالَبَةَ الضِّدِّ ضِدَّهُ، فَإنَّ أقْوىَ النّاسِ مَنْ قَوِيَ على نَفْسِهِ
.
18. Struggle against your [lower] self and call it to account the way a partner would hold his partner accountable, and demand from it the right of Allah the way an adversary would demand from his foe, for verily the most felicitous of people is the one who undertakes to hold his self to account.
18
ـ جاهِدْ نَفْسَكَ وحاسِبْها مُحاسَبَةَ الشَّريكِ شَريكَهُ وطالِبْها بِحُقُوقِ اللّهِ مُطالَبَةَ الخَصْمِ خَصْمَهُ، فَإنَّ أسْعَدَ النّاسِ مَنِ انْتَدَبَ لِمحاسَبَةِ نَفْسِهِ
.
19. Struggling against the [lower] self is the price of Paradise, so the one who struggles against it will acquire it, and this is the greatest reward of Allah for the one who is cognizant of it.
19
ـ جِهادُ النَّفْسِ ثَمَنُ الجَنَّةِ، فَمَنْ جاهَدَها مَلَكَها وهِيَ أكْرَمُ ثَوابِ اللّهِ لِمَنْ عَرَفَها.
20. Struggling against the self with knowledge is a symbol of intelligence.
20
ـ جِهادُ النَّفْسِ بِالعِلْمِ عُنْوانُ العَقْلِ.
21. Fighting anger with forbearance is evidence of nobility.
21
ـ جِهادُ الغَضَبِ بِالحِلْمِ بُرْهانُ النُّبْلِ.
22. The most excellent Jihād is struggling against the self.
22
ـ خَيْرُ الجِهادِ جِهادُ النَّفْسِ.
23. The highest form of struggle is for a man to struggle against his self.
23
ـ غايَةُ المُجاهَدَةِ أنْ يُجاهِدَ المَرْءُ نَفْسَهُ.
24. It is sufficient for you, in your struggle against your [lower] self, that you always prevail over it and fight its vain desires.
24
ـ كَفاكَ في مُجاهَدَةِ نَفْسِكَ أنْ لاتَزالَ أبَداً لَها مُغالِباً، وعَلى أهْوِيَتِها مُحارِباً.
25. One who fights his [lower] self perfects his piety.
25
ـ مَنْ جاهَدَ نَفْسَهُ أَكْمَلَ التُّقى.
26. One who knows his self struggles against it.
26
ـ مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهُ جاهَدَها.
27. One who does not struggle against his self will not achieve victory.
27
ـ مَنْ لَمْ يُجاهِدْ نَفْسَهُ لَمْ يَنَلِ الفَوْزَ.
28. There is no struggle more worthy than struggling against the self.
28
ـ ما مِنْ جِهاد أفْضَلُ مِنْ جِهادِ النَّفْسِ.
29. Struggling against the self is a trait of the noble ones.
29
ـ مُجاهَدَةُ النَّفْسِ شيمَةُ النُّبَلاءِ.
30. Struggling against the self is a symbol of nobility.
30
ـ مُجاهَدَةُ النَّفْسِ عُنْوانُ النُّبْلِ.
31. Struggling against the self is the best Jihād.
31
ـ مُجاهَدَةُ النَّفْسِ أفْضَلُ جِهاد.
32. There is no Jihād like struggle against the self.

The Causes of Downfall and Ruin
The causes of downfall and ruin-المهلكات والموبقات والمحرقات
1. Three things cause [one’s] ruin: obedience to women, yielding to rage and submitting to lustful desires.

ـ ثَلاثٌ مُهْلِكاتٌ: طاعَةُ النِّساءِ، وطاعَةُ الغَضَبِ، وطاعَةُ الشَّهْوَةِ.
2. Three things cause ruin: boldness in front of the ruler, trusting a disloyal person and tasting poison as an experiment [to see how effective it is!].
2
ـ ثَلاثَةٌ مُهْلِكَةٌ: اَلجُرْأَةُ عَلَى السُّلْطانِ، وائْتِمانُ الخَوّانِ، وشُرْبُ السَّمِ لِلتَّجْرِبَةِ.
3. Three things break one’s spirit and cause downfall: poverty after wealth, humiliation after dignity and loss of loved ones.
3
ـ ثَلاثٌ هُنَّ المُحْرِقاتُ المُوبِقاتُ: فَقْرٌ بَعْدَ غِنىً، وذُلٌّ بَعْدَ عِزّ، وفَـقْدُ الأحِبَّةِ.
4. Three things weaken one’s spirit: loss of loved ones, poverty in a strange land and unending hardship.
4
ـ ثَلاثٌ يَهْدُونَ القُوى: فَقْدُ الأحِبَّةِ، والفَقْرُ فِي الغُرْبَةِ، ودَوامُ الشِّدَّةِ.

Certitude-اليقين
1. Attain certitude (or proficiency) and you will be successful.
1

ـ أيْقِنْ (أتْقِنْ) تُفْلِحْ.
2. The best faith is certitude.
2
ـ أفْضَلُ الدّينِ اليَقينُ.
3. The root of patience is [having] definite certainty about Allah.
3
ـ أصْلُ الصَّبْرِ حُسْنُ اليَقينِ بِاللّهِ.
4. The root of indifference towards worldly pleasures is certitude, and its fruit is felicity.
4
ـ أصْلُ الزُّهْدِ اَلْيَقينُ، وثَمَرَتُهُ السَّعادَةُ.
5. Certitude is worship.
5
ـ اَلْيَقينُ عِبادَةٌ.
6. Certitude is light.
6
ـ اَلْيَقينُ نُورٌ.
7. Certitude is the symbol of faith.
7
ـ اَلْيَقينُ عُنْوانُ الإيمانِ.
8. Certitude is the best [means of] indifference towards [the pleasures of] this world.
8
ـ اَلْيَقينُ أفْضَلُ الزَّهادَةِ.
9. Certitude is the pillar of faith.
9
ـ اَلْيَقينُ عِمادُ الإيمانِ.
10. Certitude is the gown of the sagacious.
10
ـ اَلْيَقينُ جِلْبابُ الأكْياسِ.
11. Certitude eliminates doubt.
11
ـ اَلْيَقينُ يَرْفَعُ الشَّكَّ.
12. Certitude bears the fruit of indifference towards worldly pleasures.
12
ـ اَلْيَقينُ يُثْمِرُ الزُّهْدَ.
13. Certitude is the cornerstone of religion.
13
ـ اَلْيَقينُ رَأْسُ الدّينِ.
14. Certitude is the best worship.
14
ـ اَلْيَقينُ أفْضَلُ عِبادَة.
15. Verily I am upon complete certitude from my Lord and do not have any doubt about my religion.
15
ـ إنّي لَعَلى يَقين مِنْ رَبّي، وغَيْرِ شُبْهَة في ديني.
16. Through certitude worship becomes complete.
16
ـ بِاليَقينِ تَتِمُّ العِبادَةُ.
17. The fruit of certitude is asceticism [and indifference towards worldly pleasures].
17
ـ ثَمَرَةُ اليَقينِ الزَّهادَةُ.
18. The cornerstone of religion is true certitude.
18
ـ رَأْسُ الدّينِ صِدْقُ اليَقينِ.
19. The cause of sincerity is certitude.
19
ـ سَبَبُ الإخْلاصِ اَلْيَقينُ.
20. Cling to certitude and eschew doubt, for there is nothing more destructive for a person with regards to his religion than the prevailing of doubt over his certitude.
20
ـ عَلَيْكَ بِلُزُومِ اليَقينِ، وَتَجَنُّبِ الشَّكِّ، فَلَيْسَ لِلْمَرْءِ شَيْءٌ أهْلَكَ لِدينِهِ مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الشَّكِّ عَلى يَقينِهِ.
21. Cling to certitude and God-wariness, for indeed these two will deliver you to the Garden of [everlasting] Refuge.
21
ـ عَلَيْكُمْ بِلُزُومِ اليَقينِ والتَّقْوى، فَإنَّهُما يُبَلِّغانِكُمْ جَنَّةَ المَأْوى.
22. The strength of one’s certitude is [proportionate] to the extent of one’s faith.
22
ـ عَلى قَدْرِ الدّينِ تَكُونُ قُوَّةُ اليَقينِ.
23. The highest form of certitude is sincerity.
23
ـ غايَةُ اليَقينِ الإخْلاصُ.
24. Certitude is sufficient as worship.
24
ـ كَفى بِاليَقينِ عِبادَةً.
25. The certitude of one who is extravagant in his wants and exerts himself in acquisition [of wealth] it is not true.
25
ـ لَمْ يَصْدُقْ يَقينُ مَنْ أسْرَفَ فِي الطَّلَبِ، وأجْهَدَ نَفْسَهُ فيِ المُكْتَسَبِ.
26. If your certitude was sound, you would not have exchanged the everlasting for the evanescent, nor would you have traded the lofty for the lowly.
26
ـ لَوْ صَحَّ يَقينُكَ لَمَا اسْتَبْدَلْتَ الفانِيَ بِالباقِى، ولابِعْتَ السَّنِيَّ بِالدَّنيِّ.
27. One who has certitude is successful.
27
ـ مَنْ أيْقَنَ أفْلَحَ.
28. One who has certitude is saved.
28
ـ مَنْ أيْقَنَ يَنْجُ.
29. One whose certitude is firm, has hope.
29
ـ مَنْ حَسُنَ يَقينُهُ يَرْجُ.
30. One who has certitude works diligently.
30
ـ مَنْ يَسْتَيْقِنْ يَعْمَلْ جاهِداً.
31. One who is certain about [divine] reward does good [deeds].
31
ـ مَنْ أيْقَنَ بِالجَزاءِ أحْسَنَ.
32. One whose certitude is strong does not [have any] doubt.
32
ـ مَنْ قَوِيَ يَقينُهُ لَمْ يَرْتَبْ.
33. One who is certain about the Hereafter does not covet this world.
33
ـ مَنْ أيْقَنَ بِالآخِرَةِ لَمْ يَحْرِصْ عَلَى الدُّنْيا.
34. One whose conviction is firm, his worship becomes good.
34
ـ مَنْ حَسُنَ يَقينُهُ حَسُنَتْ عِبادَتُهُ.
35. One whose certitude is true does not [have any] doubt.
35
ـ مَنْ صَدَقَ يَقينُهُ لَمْ يَرْتَبْ.
36. One whose certitude is sound abstains from dispute.
36
ـ مَنْ صَحَّ يَقينُهُ زَهِدَ فِي المِراءِ.
37. One whose heart does not have certitude, his actions do not submit to it.
37
ـ مَنْ لَمْ يُوقِنْ قَلْبُهُ لَمْ يُطِعْهُ عََمَلُهُ.
38. One who has certitude is hopeful.
38
ـ مَنْ أيْقَنَ رَجا.
39. How great is the felicity of one whose heart is filled with the coolness of certitude.
39
ـ ما أعْظَمَ سَعادَةَ مَنْ بُوشِرَ قَلْبُهُ بِبَرْدِ اليَقينِ.
40. Certitude is an excellent dispeller of doubt.
40
ـ نِعْمَ الطّارِدُ لِلشَّكِّ اَلْيَقينُ.
41. Sleeping with certitude is better than praying while in doubt.
41
ـ نَوْمٌ عَلى يَقين خَيْرٌ مِنْ صَلاة في شَكّ.
42. One who sells certitude for doubt, truth for falsehood, and the Hereafter for this world is destroyed.
42
ـ هَلَكَ مَنْ باعَ اليَقينَ بِالشَّكِّ، والحَقَّ بالباطِلِ، والآجِلَ بِالعاجِلِ.
43. Do not turn your certitude into doubt and your knowledge into ignorance.
43
ـ لاتَجْعَلُوا يَقينَـكُمْ شَكّاً، ولا عِلْمَكُمْ جَهْلاً.
44. He who has no certitude has no faith.
44
ـ لاإيمانَ لِمَنْ لايَقينَ لَهُ.
45. Certitude is evinced by the shortening of hopes, sincerity in action and indifference towards the pleasures of this world.
45
ـ يُسْتَدَلُّ عَلَى اليَقيـنِ:بِقَصْرِ الأمَلِ، وإخْلاصِ العَمَلِ،وَ الزُّهْدِ فِي الدُّنْيا.
46. Certitude is corrupted by doubt and the onslaught of vain desire.
46
ـ يُفْسِدُ اليَقينَ الشَّكُّ، وَغَلَبَةُ الهَوى.
47. The weapon of the possessor of certitude is patience in [times of] hardship and thankfulness in well-being.
47
ـ سِلاحُ المُوقِنِ:اَلصَّبْرُ عَلَى البَلاءِ، والشُّكْرُ فِي الرَّخاءِ.
48. Have certitude and you will become strong.
48
ـ كُنْ مُوْقِناً تَكُنْ قَويّاً.
49. Whoever possesses certitude does good [deeds].
49
ـ مَنْ أيْقَنَ أحْسَنَ.
50. Those who possess certitude, the dedicated [and sincere] ones and the altruistic ones are from the people of the Elevations.1
50
ـ اَلْمُوقِنُونَ، والْمُخْلِصُونَ، والمُؤْثِرُونَ مِنْ رِجالِ الأعْرافِ.
51. The possessor of certitude is the most sorrowful of all people about [the condition of] his soul.
51
ـ اَلمُوقِنُ أشَدُّ النّاسِ حُزْناً عَلى نَفْسِهِ.
52. Where are the possessors of certitude who have cast off the attires of vain desire and cut themselves off from the ties of this world?
52
ـ أيْنَ المُوقِنُونَ، الَّذيْنَ خَلَعُوا سَرابيلَ الهَوى، وقَطَعُوا عَنْهُمْ عَلائِقَ الدُّنْيا.
1. The People of the Elevations are those referred to in Q7:46.

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