Quran as Described by the Amir of Believers, Imam Ali (a.s.)

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SHAFAQNA – In different sections of the Nahj al-Balaghah, the eternal book of the words of Imam Ali (a.s.), there are hints at the incomparable importance and inimitable elegance of the Holy Quran.

 

We read in the first discourse recorded in Nahj al-Balaghah:

كِتَابَ رَبِّكُمْ فِيكُمْ مُبَيِّناً حَلَالَهُ وَ حَرَامَهُ وَ فَرَائِضَهُ وَ فَضَائِلَهُ وَ نَاسِخَهُ وَ مَنْسُوخَهُ وَ رُخَصَهُ وَ عَزَائِمَهُ وَ خَاصَّهُ وَ عَامَّهُ وَ عِبَرَهُ وَ أَمْثَالَهُ وَ مُرْسَلَهُ وَ مَحْدُودَهُ وَ مُحْكَمَهُ وَ مُتَشَابِهَهُ مُفَسِّراً [جُمَلَهُ] مُجْمَلَهُ وَ مُبَيِّناً غَوَامِضَهُ، بَيْنَ مَأْخُوذٍ مِيثَاقُ عِلْمِهِ وَ مُوَسَّعٍ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ فِي جَهْلِهِ وَ بَيْنَ مُثْبَتٍ فِي الْكِتَابِ فَرْضُهُ وَ مَعْلُومٍ فِي السُّنَّةِ نَسْخُهُ وَ وَاجِبٍ فِي السُّنَّةِ أَخْذُهُ وَ مُرَخَّصٍ فِي الْكِتَابِ تَرْكُهُ وَ بَيْنَ وَاجِبٍ [لِوَقْتِهِ] بِوَقْتِهِ وَ زَائِلٍ فِي مُسْتَقْبَلِهِ، وَ مُبَايَنٌ بَيْنَ مَحَارِمِهِ مِنْ كَبِيرٍ أَوْعَدَ عَلَيْهِ نِيرَانَهُ أَوْ صَغِيرٍ أَرْصَدَ لَهُ غُفْرَانَهُ وَ بَيْنَ مَقْبُولٍ فِي أَدْنَاهُ [وَ] مُوَسَّعٍ فِي أَقْصَاهُ

The Book of your Creator clarifying its permission and prohibitions, its obligations and discretion, its repealing injunctions and the repealed ones, its permissible matters and compulsory ones, its particulars and the general ones, its lessons and illustrations, its long and the short ones, its clear and obscure ones, detailing its abbreviations and clarifying its obscurities.

In it there are some verses whose knowledge is obligatory and others whose ignorance by the people is permissible. It also contains what appears to be obligatory according to the Book but its repeal is signified by the Prophet’s action (sunnah) or that which appears compulsory according to the Prophet’s action but the Book allows not following it.

Or there are those which are obligatory in a given time but not so after that time. Its prohibitions also differ. Some are major regarding which there exists the threat of fire (Hell), and others are minor for which there are prospects of forgiveness. There are also those of which a small portion is also acceptable (to Allah) but they are capable of being expanded.

 

He also emphasizes the great sufficiency of Quran in the discourse 18:

وَ اللَّهُ سُبْحَانَهُ يَقُولُ ما فَرَّطْنا فِي الْكِتابِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَ فِيهِ [تِبْيَانُ كُلِ] تِبْيَانٌ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَ ذَكَرَ أَنَّ الْكِتَابَ يُصَدِّقُ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضاً وَ أَنَّهُ لَا اخْتِلَافَ فِيهِ فَقَالَ سُبْحَانَهُ وَ لَوْ كانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلافاً كَثِيراً وَ إِنَّ الْقُرْآنَ ظَاهِرُهُ أَنِيقٌ وَ بَاطِنُهُ عَمِيقٌ لَا تَفْنَى عَجَائِبُهُ وَ لَا تَنْقَضِي غَرَائِبُهُ وَ لَا تُكْشَفُ الظُّلُمَاتُ إِلَّا بِهِ

The fact is that Allah the Glorified says:

We have not neglected anything in the Book (Qur’an) . . . (6:38),

and in it is a ‘clarification of everything’ And He says that one part of the Qur’an verifies another part and that there is no divergence in it as He says:

.And if it had been from any other than Allah, they would surely have found in it much discrepancy. (4:82)

Certainly the outside of the Qur’an is wonderful and its inside is deep (in meaning). Its wonders will never disappear, its amazements will never pass away and its intricacies cannot be cleared except through itself.

 

In the discourse 110, in which Imam Ali (a.s.) delineates the pillars of the religion of Islam, he (peace be upon him) recommends his followers to stick to the Holy Quran:

أَفِيضُوا فِي ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الذِّكْرِ وَ ارْغَبُوا فِيمَا وَعَدَ الْمُتَّقِينَ فَإِنَّ وَعْدَهُ أَصْدَقُ الْوَعْدِ وَ اقْتَدُوا بِهَدْيِ نَبِيِّكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ أَفْضَلُ الْهَدْيِ وَ اسْتَنُّوا بِسُنَّتِهِ فَإِنَّهَا أَهْدَى السُّنَنِ.  وَ تَعَلَّمُوا الْقُرْآنَ فَإِنَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْحَدِيثِ وَ تَفَقَّهُوا فِيهِ فَإِنَّهُ رَبِيعُ الْقُلُوبِ وَ اسْتَشْفُوا بِنُورِهِ فَإِنَّهُ شِفَاءُ الصُّدُورِ وَ أَحْسِنُوا تِلَاوَتَهُ فَإِنَّهُ أَنْفَعُ الْقَصَصِ؛ وَ إِنَّ الْعَالِمَ الْعَامِلَ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمِهِ كَالْجَاهِلِ الْحَائِرِ الَّذِي لَا يَسْتَفِيقُ مِنْ جَهْلِهِ بَلِ الْحُجَّةُ عَلَيْهِ أَعْظَمُ وَ الْحَسْرَةُ لَهُ أَلْزَمُ وَ هُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَلْوَمُ

Go ahead with the remembrance of Allah for it is the best remembrance, and long for that which He has promised to the pious, for His promise is the most true promise. Tread the course of the Prophet for it is the most distinguished course. Follow the sunnah of the Prophet for it is the most right of all behaviours. Learn the Qur’an for it is the fairest of discourses and understand it thoroughly for it is the best blossoming of hearts. Seek cure with its light for it is the cure for hearts. Recite it beautifully for it is the most beautiful narration. Certainly, a scholar who acts not according to his knowledge is like the off-headed ignorant who does not find relief from his ignorance, but on the learned the plea of Allah is greater and grief more incumbent, and he is more blameworthy before Allah.

 

 In another sermon (176), Imam Ali (a.s.) expounds the excellencies of the Quran and interdicts innovations in religion, saying:

وَ اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ هُوَ النَّاصِحُ الَّذِي لَا يَغُشُّ وَ الْهَادِي الَّذِي لَا يُضِلُّ وَ الْمُحَدِّثُ الَّذِي لَا يَكْذِبُ، وَ مَا جَالَسَ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا قَامَ عَنْهُ بِزِيَادَةٍ أَوْ نُقْصَانٍ، زِيَادَةٍ فِي هُدًى أَوْ نُقْصَانٍ مِنْ عَمًى؛ وَ اعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ عَلَى أَحَدٍ بَعْدَ الْقُرْآنِ مِنْ فَاقَةٍ وَ لَا لِأَحَدٍ قَبْلَ الْقُرْآنِ مِنْ غِنًى، فَاسْتَشْفُوهُ مِنْ أَدْوَائِكُمْ وَ اسْتَعِينُوا بِهِ عَلَى لَأْوَائِكُمْ فَإِنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءً مِنْ أَكْبَرِ الدَّاءِ وَ هُوَ الْكُفْرُ وَ النِّفَاقُ وَ الْغَيُّ وَ الضَّلَالُ. فَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ بِهِ وَ تَوَجَّهُوا إِلَيْهِ بِحُبِّهِ وَ لَا تَسْأَلُوا بِهِ خَلْقَهُ إِنَّهُ مَا تَوَجَّهَ الْعِبَادُ إِلَى اللَّهِ تَعَالَى بِمِثْلِهِ. وَ اعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ شَافِعٌ مُشَفَّعٌ وَ قَائِلٌ مُصَدَّقٌ وَ أَنَّهُ مَنْ شَفَعَ لَهُ الْقُرْآنُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ شُفِّعَ فِيهِ وَ مَنْ مَحَلَ بِهِ الْقُرْآنُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ صُدِّقَ عَلَيْهِ، فَإِنَّهُ يُنَادِي مُنَادٍ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ: أَلَا إِنَّ كُلَّ حَارِثٍ مُبْتَلًى فِي حَرْثِهِ وَ عَاقِبَةِ عَمَلِهِ غَيْرَ حَرَثَةِ الْقُرْآنِ، فَكُونُوا مِنْ حَرَثَتِهِ وَ أَتْبَاعِهِ وَ اسْتَدِلُّوهُ عَلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَ اسْتَنْصِحُوهُ عَلَى أَنْفُسِكُمْ وَ اتَّهِمُوا عَلَيْهِ آرَاءَكُمْ وَ اسْتَغِشُّوا فِيهِ أَهْوَاءَكُمْ

And know that this Qur’an is an adviser who never deceives, a leader who never misleads and a narrator who never speaks a lie. No one will sit beside this Qur’an but that when he rises he will achieve one addition or one diminution – addition in his guidance or elimination in his (spiritual) blindness. You should also know that no one will need anything after (guidance from) the Qur’an and no one will be free from want before (guidance from) the Qur’an.

Therefore, seek cure from it for your ailments and seek its assistance in your distresses. It contains a cure for the biggest diseases, namely unbelief, hypocrisy, revolt and misguidance. Pray to Allah through it and turn to Allah with its love. Do not ask the people through it. There is nothing like it through which the people should turn to Allah, the Sublime.

Know that it is an interceder and its intercession will be accepted. It is a speaker who is testified. For whoever the Qur’an intercedes on the Day of Judgement, its intercession for him would be accepted. He about whom the Qur’an speaks ill on the Day of Judgement shall testify to it. On the Day of Judgement an announcer will announce, “Beware. every sower of a crop is in distress except the sowers of the Qur’an.”

Therefore, you should be among the sowers of the Qur’an and its followers. Make it your guide towards Allah. Seek its advice for yourselves, do not trust your views against it. and regard your desires in the matter of the Qur’an as deceitful.

 

وَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سُبْحَانَهُ لَمْ يَعِظْ أَحَداً بِمِثْلِ هَذَا الْقُرْآنِ، فَإِنَّهُ حَبْلُ اللَّهِ الْمَتِينُ وَ سَبَبُهُ الْأَمِينُ وَ فِيهِ رَبِيعُ الْقَلْبِ وَ يَنَابِيعُ الْعِلْمِ وَ مَا لِلْقَلْبِ جِلَاءٌ غَيْرُهُ، مَعَ أَنَّهُ قَدْ ذَهَبَ الْمُتَذَكِّرُونَ وَ بَقِيَ النَّاسُونَ أَوِ الْمُتَنَاسُونَ

Allah the Glorified, has not counseled anyone on the lines of this Qur’an, for it is the strong rope of Allah and His trustworthy means. It contains the blossoming of the heart and springs of knowledge. For the heart there is no other gloss than the Qur’an although those who remembered it have passed away while those who forgot or pretended to have forgotten it have remained.

 

We read in the sermon 183, which is dedicated to praising Allah’s might, and describing the excellencies of the Holy Quran, and guiding towards piety, that:

فَالْقُرْآنُ آمِرٌ زَاجِرٌ وَ صَامِتٌ نَاطِقٌ، حُجَّةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ، أَخَذَ عَلَيْهِ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَ ارْتَهَنَ عَلَيْهِمْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ؛ أَتَمَّ نُورَهُ وَ أَكْمَلَ بِهِ دِينَهُ وَ قَبَضَ نَبِيَّهُ (صلی الله علیه وآله) وَ قَدْ فَرَغَ إِلَى الْخَلْقِ مِنْ أَحْكَامِ الْهُدَى بِهِ؛ فَعَظِّمُوا مِنْهُ سُبْحَانَهُ مَا عَظَّمَ مِنْ نَفْسِهِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يُخْفِ عَنْكُمْ شَيْئاً مِنْ دِينِهِ وَ لَمْ يَتْرُكْ شَيْئاً رَضِيَهُ أَوْ كَرِهَهُ إِلَّا وَ جَعَلَ لَهُ عَلَماً بَادِياً وَ آيَةً مُحْكَمَةً تَزْجُرُ عَنْهُ أَوْ تَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ؛ فَرِضَاهُ فِيمَا بَقِيَ وَاحِدٌ وَ سَخَطُهُ فِيمَا بَقِيَ وَاحِدٌ، وَ اعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ لَنْ يَرْضَى عَنْكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ سَخِطَهُ عَلَى مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ وَ لَنْ يَسْخَطَ عَلَيْكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ رَضِيَهُ مِمَّنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ

The Qur’an orders as well as refrains, remains silent and also speaks. It is the proof of Allah before His creation. He has taken from them a pledge (to act) upon it. He has perfected its effulgence, and completed through it His religion. He let the Prophet leave this world when he had conveyed to the people all His commands of guidance through the Qur’an.

You should therefore regard Allah great as he has held Himself great, because He has not concealed anything of His religion from you, nor has He left out anything which He likes or which He dislikes, but He made for it a clear emblem (of guidance) and a definite sign which either refrains from it or calls towards it. His pleasure is the same for all time to come.

You should know that He will not be pleased with you for anything for which He was displeased with those before you, and He will not be displeased with you for anything for which He was pleased with those before you.

 

And in the sermon 198 of Nahj al-Balaghah, the Amir of the Believers (a.s.) delineates the unique characteristics of the Holy Quran for the Muslim society:

ثُمَّ أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابَ نُوراً لَا تُطْفَأُ مَصَابِيحُهُ وَ سِرَاجاً لَا يَخْبُو تَوَقُّدُهُ وَ بَحْراً لَا يُدْرَكُ قَعْرُهُ وَ مِنْهَاجاً لَا يُضِلُّ نَهْجُهُ وَ شُعَاعاً لَا يُظْلِمُ ضَوْءُهُ وَ فُرْقَاناً لَا يُخْمَدُ بُرْهَانُهُ وَ تِبْيَاناً لَا تُهْدَمُ أَرْكَانُهُ وَ شِفَاءً لَا تُخْشَى أَسْقَامُهُ وَ عِزّاً لَا تُهْزَمُ أَنْصَارُهُ وَ حَقّاً لَا تُخْذَلُ أَعْوَانُهُ. فَهُوَ مَعْدِنُ الْإِيمَانِ وَ بُحْبُوحَتُهُ وَ يَنَابِيعُ الْعِلْمِ وَ بُحُورُهُ وَ رِيَاضُ الْعَدْلِ وَ غُدْرَانُهُ وَ أَثَافِيُّ الْإِسْلَامِ وَ بُنْيَانُهُ وَ أَوْدِيَةُ الْحَقِّ وَ غِيطَانُهُ. وَ بَحْرٌ لَا يَنْزِفُهُ الْمُسْتَنْزِفُونَ وَ عُيُونٌ لَا يُنْضِبُهَا الْمَاتِحُونَ وَ مَنَاهِلُ‏ لَا يَغِيضُهَا الْوَارِدُونَ وَ مَنَازِلُ لَا يَضِلُّ نَهْجَهَا الْمُسَافِرُونَ وَ أَعْلَامٌ لَا يَعْمَى عَنْهَا السَّائِرُونَ وَ [إِكَامٌ‏] آكَامٌ لَا يَجُوزُ عَنْهَا الْقَاصِدُونَ. جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ رِيّاً لِعَطَشِ الْعُلَمَاءِ وَ رَبِيعاً لِقُلُوبِ الْفُقَهَاءِ وَ مَحَاجَّ لِطُرُقِ الصُّلَحَاءِ، وَ دَوَاءً لَيْسَ بَعْدَهُ دَاءٌ وَ نُوراً لَيْسَ مَعَهُ ظُلْمَةٌ، وَ حَبْلًا وَثِيقاً عُرْوَتُهُ وَ مَعْقِلًا مَنِيعاً ذِرْوَتُهُ، وَ عِزّاً لِمَنْ تَوَلَّاهُ وَ سِلْماً لِمَنْ دَخَلَهُ وَ هُدًى لِمَنِ ائْتَمَّ بِهِ وَ عُذْراً لِمَنِ انْتَحَلَهُ وَ بُرْهَاناً لِمَنْ تَكَلَّمَ بِهِ وَ شَاهِداً لِمَنْ خَاصَمَ بِهِ وَ فَلْجاً لِمَنْ حَاجَّ بِهِ وَ حَامِلًا لِمَنْ حَمَلَهُ وَ مَطِيَّةً لِمَنْ أَعْمَلَهُ وَ آيَةً لِمَنْ تَوَسَّمَ وَ جُنَّةً لِمَنِ اسْتَلْأَمَ وَ عِلْماً لِمَنْ وَعَى وَ حَدِيثاً لِمَنْ رَوَى وَ حُكْماً لِمَنْ قَضَى‏

Then, Allah sent to him the Book as a light whose flames cannot be extinguished, a lamp whose gleam does not die, a sea whose depth cannot be sounded, a way whose direction does not mislead, a ray whose light does not darken, a separator (of good from evil) whose arguments do not weaken, a clarifier whose foundations cannot be dismantled, a cure which leaves no apprehension for disease, an honour whose supporters are not defeated, and a truth whose helpers are not abandoned.

Therefore, it is the mine of belief and its center, the source of knowledge and its oceans, the plantation of justice and its pools, the foundation stone of Islam and its construction, the valleys of truth and its plains, an ocean which those who draw water cannot empty, springs which those who draw water cannot dry up, a watering place which those who come to take water cannot exhaust, a staging place in moving towards which travelers do not get lost, signs which no wayfarer fails to see and a highland which those who approach it cannot surpass it.

Allah has made it a quencher of the thirst of the learned, a bloom for the hearts of religious jurists, a highway for the ways of the righteous, a cure after which there is no ailment, an effulgence with which there is no darkness, a rope whose grip is strong, a stronghold whose top is invulnerable, an honour for him who loves it, a peace for him who enters it, a guidance for him who follows it, an excuse for him who adopts it, an argument for him who argues with it, a witness for him who quarrels with it, a success for him who argues with it, a carrier of burden for him who seeks the way, a shield for him who arms himself (against misguidance), a knowledge for him who listens carefully, worthy story for him who relates it and a final verdict of him who passes judgements.

 

 

 

 

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