A letter to Harith Hamdani. | Nahj Al Balagha Letters
A letter to Harith Hamdani.
Never forsake the orders, instructions and advice given by the Holy Qur'an. So far as presumptions of actions and things, lawful, legitimate and allowable or unlawful, forbidden and prohibited are concerned, accept the rulings of the Holy Book. Confirm and testify the truth said before (religions of ancient prophets). Take lessons from history for your future because history often repeats itself, and future nations of the world will mostly follow the footsteps of those who have passed. But this whole world is going to end and every individual has to leave it some day or the other.
Keeping in mind the Might of Allah, be particularly careful not to swear by Him unless you are taking an oath for a true and lawful affair. Always remember death and the life after death but never wish for death. If you want to face death then do it for a great cause.
Try to avoid all those things which a man may like for himself and may grudge for others. Abstain from an action which you will have to do covertly and secretly and which you feel ashamed to do openly. Refrain from a deed which you will have to accept as evil or bad or for which you will have to tender an apology or excuse.
Do not acquire a bad reputation and do not allow your good reputation to be sullied. Do not mention hearsay things as authenticated facts, such a practice will be sufficient for you to be regarded by others as liar. Do not develop the habit of contradicting and falsifying others on every occasion, it is a disgusting habit.
Have a control on your temper. If you have power to retaliate, then forgive and forget. When in anger, be forbearing, patient and tolerant. When you are in possession of wealth, power and authority, then be forgiving, merciful and compassionate. These traits will help you to gain your salvation.
Be sincerely thankful for all the Blessings which the Merciful Allah has granted you, pray for their continuance, do not misuse them and do not waste them and you must show by your deeds the extent of your obligations to Him for His Blessings.
Remember that among the faithful Muslims the best is he who gives out alms and charities on his on behalf and on behalf of his family and his property. Whatever you spend in this way is something that you send in advance for your life after death. You will then receive the reward of such deeds. And whatever you leave here will be used by others and you will get no benefit out of it.
Avoid the company of men who are weak in their decisions and views, who are superstitious and wicked because people are judged by the company they keep. If possible try to live in large cities because they are the centres of Islamic Culture and Islamic traditions. Avoid places where time is wasted in pastimes and amusements, where there are concentrations of ignorant people and where you find scarcity of companions or lack of society and surroundings to carry on your religious functions.
Keep yourself busy with your work and do not frequent abodes meant for vicious pursuits because they are centres of the activities of Satan and the places which spread vice and wickedness.
Always look to the conditions of people not so well off as you are because observation of their lives and positions will make you more content with your lot in life and more thankful to Allah for it.
Never start on a travel on Fridays without attending Friday prayers unless you are going out for Jihad or there is no alternative for you but to set out.
In all of your affairs keep the thought of Allah in your mind and act according to His Commands and interdictions because obedience to His Orders has priority over every other thing. By various means and in various ways persuade yourself towards prayers but do not be hard with yourself, be gentle and persuasive. When you are free from other duties and you are having good health then spend your free hours in prayers. But the question of offering daily prayers (five times a day) is a different question. They have to be offered compulsorily and in time.
Take care that such a calamity may not overtake you that while you are trying to ignore religion and Allah and are running after a vicious world, death overtakes you.
Avoid the company of wicked people because bad company allures a person towards evil ways. Always keep the Might and Majesty of Allah in view and be a friend of His friends. Be afraid of your own anger because out of the armies of Satan, man's anger is its strongest force.
A letter written to Suhayl bin Hunayf, the Governor of Madina (and brother of Uthman bin Hunayf) about some Madinites who had left him and gone over to Mu'awiya. The two brothers, Uthman & Suhayl, were favourite companions of Imam Ali (a).
Whenever he felt that they had made even a minor error (like attending the dinner of a rich man by Uthman) Imam Ali (a) warned them of the viciousness of such an action.]
After glorifying Allah and praising the Holy Prophet (s) be it known to you that I am informed that some Madinites are leaving you covertly and surreptitiously to join the hordes of Mu'awiya. Do not feel sorry for those who have left you and have thus refused you their help and assistance.
Their turning of faces away from Allah and His Guidance and of stealthily walking over to sin and vice is enough proof of their apostasy and schism and enough reason for you to be thankful for good riddance of bad rubbish. These are worldly-minded people.
They are drawn towards the vicious world and are running fast after it.
They have heard (from the Holy Qur'an, the Holy Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a)) what equity and justice mean, they have seen a just and equitable rule; they have recognized the implications of these principles and they have fully realized how the use of these principles will bring them in level with the commonest and poorest person of the country and how they will be treated like every other human being.
Therefore, they are rushing towards a society where corruption is at premium, where favouritism holds sway and where justice and equity are abhorred.
I swear by Allah that these people are not running away from injustice, inequity, oppression or tyranny, nor are they attaching themselves to truth, justice, equity and fair-play. I pray to Allah to ease the difficulties and remove the obstacles this exodus has created and make our work easy for us.