Sermon 183: Praise be to Allah Who is recognised without being seen…

Praise of Allah for His bounties (His Might, the excellences of the Qur’an and counseling piety)

ومن خطبة له (عليه السلام)

في قدرة الله وفي فضل القرآن وفي الوصية بالتقوى

Praise be to Allah Who is recognised without being seen and Who creates without trouble. He created the creation with His Might, and receives the devotion of rulers by virtue of His dignity. He exercises superiority over great men through His generosity. It is He who made His creation to populate the world and sent towards the jinn and human beings His messengers to unveil it for them, to warn them of its harm, to present to them its examples, to show them its defects and to place before them a whole collection of matters containing lessons about the changings of health and sickness in this world, its lawful things and unlawful things and all that Allah has ordained for the obedient and the disobedient, namely, Paradise and Hell and honour and disgrace. I extend my praise to His Being as He desires His creation to praise Him. He has fixed “..for everything a measure” (65:3), for every measure a time limit, and “..for every time limit a document” (13:38).

الْحَمْدُ لله الْمَعْرُوفِ مِنْ غَيْرِ رُؤْيَة، وَالْخَالِقِ مِنْ غَيْرِ مَنْصَبَة، خَلَقَ الْخَلاَئِقَ بِقُدْرَتِهِ، وَاسْتَعْبَدَ الاْرْبَابَ بِعِزَّتِهِ، وَسَادَ الْعُظَمَاءَ بِجُودِهِ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَسْكَنَ الدُّنْيَا خَلْقَهُ، وَبَعَثَ إِلَى الْجِنِّ وَالاْنْسِ رُسُلَهُ، لِيَكْشِفُوا لَهُمْ عَنْ غِطَائِهَا، وَلِيُحَذِّرُوهُمْ مِنْ ضَرَّائِهَا، وَلِيَضْرِبُوا لَهُمْ أَمْثَالَهَا، وَلِيُبَصِّرُوهُم عُيُوبَهَا، وَلِيَهْجُمُوا عَلَيْهِمْ بِمُعْتَبَر مِنْ تَصَرُّفِ مَصَاحِّهَا وَأَسْقَامِهَا، وَحَلاَلِهَا وحَرَامِهَا، وَمَا أَعَدَّ سُبْحَانَهُ لِلْمُطِيعِينَ مِنْهُمْ وَالْعُصَاةِ مِنْ جَنَّة وَنَار، وَكَرَامَة وَهَوَان.

أَحْمَدُهُ إِلَى نَفْسِهِ كَمَا اسْتَحْمَدَ إِلَى خَلْقِهِ، وَجَعَلَ لِكُلِّ شَيْء قَدْراً، وَلِكُلِّ قَدْر أجَلاً، وَلِكُلِّ أَجَل كِتَاباً.

A part of the same Sermon about the greatness and importance of the Holy Qur'an

منها: في ذكر القرآن

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.

فَالْقُرآنُ آمِرٌ زَاجِرٌ، وَصَامِتٌ نَاطِقٌ، حُجَّةُ اللهِ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ، أَخَذَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِيثاقَهُ، وَارْتَهَنَ عَلَيْهِ أَنْفُسَهُمْ، أَتَمَّ نُورَهُ، وَأكْرَمَ بِهِ دِينَهُ، وَقَبَضَ نَبِيَّهُ (صلى الله عليه وآله) وَقَدْ فَرَغَ إِلَى الْخَلْقِ مِنْ أَحكَامِ الْهُدَى بِهِ. فَعَظِّمُوا مِنهُ سُبْحَانَهُ مَا عَظَّمَ مِنْ نَفْسِهِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يُخْفِ عَنْكُمْ شَيئاً مِنْ دِينِهِ، وَلَمْ يَتْرُكْ شَيئاً رَضِيَهُ أَوْ كَرِهَهُ إِلاَّ وَجَعَلَ لَهُ عَلَماً بَادِياً، وَآيَةً مُحْكَمَةً، تَزْجُرُ عَنْهُ، أَوْ تَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ، فَرِضَاهُ فِيَما بَقِيَ وَاحِدٌ، وَسَخَطُهُ فِيَما بَقِيَ وَاحِدٌ.

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. You are treading on a clear path, and are speaking the same as the people before you had spoken. Allah is enough for your needs in this world. He has persuaded you to remain thankful, and has made it obligatory on you to mention Him with your tongues.

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ لَنْ يَرْضَى عَنْكُمْ بِشَيء سَخِطَهُ عَلَى مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُم، وَلَنْ يَسْخَطَ عَلَيْكُمْ بِشَىْء رَضِيَهُ مِمَّنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ، وَإِنَّمَا تَسِيرُونَ فِي أَثَر بَيِّن، وَتَتَكَلَّمُونَ بِرَجْعِ قَول قَدْ قَالَهُ الرِّجَالُ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ، قَدْ كَفَاكُمْ مَؤُونَةَ دُنْيَاكُمْ، وَحَثَّكُمْ عَلَى الشُّكْرِ، وَافْتَرَضَ مِنْ أَلْسِنَتِكُمُ الذِّكْرَ.

Warning against punishment on the Day of Judgement

الوصية بالتقوى

He has advised you to exercise fear and has made it the highest point of His pleasure and all that He requires from His creatures. You should therefore fear Allah, who is such that you are as though just in front of Him, and your forelocks are in His grip, and your change of position is in His control. If you conceal a matter, He will know of it. If you disclose a matter, He will record it. For this He has appointed honoured guards (angels) who do not omit any rightful matter nor include anything incorrect.

You should know that “..whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out” (65:3) of troubles and (grant him) a light (to help him) out of darkness. He will ever keep him in whatever condition he wishes, and will make him stay in a position of honour near Himself, in the house which He has made for Himself. The shade of this house is His throne, its light is His effulgence, its visitors are His angels and its companions are His prophets.

وَأَوْصَاكُمْ بِالتَّقْوَى، وَجَعَلَهَا مُنْتَهَى رِضَاهُ، وَحَاجَتَهُ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ. فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ الَّذِي أَنْتُمْ بِعَيْنِهِ، وَنَوَاصِيكُمْ بِيَدِهِ، وَتَقَلُّبُكُمْ فِي قَبْضَتِهِ، إِن أَسْرَرْتُمْ عَلِمَهُ، وَإِن أَعْلَنْتُمْ كَتَبَهُ، قَدْ وَكَّلَ بِذلِكَ حَفَظَةً كِرَاماً، لاَ يُسْقِطُونَ حَقّاً، وَلاَ يُثْبِتُونَ بَاطِلاً. وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ (مَنْ يَتَّقِ اللهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجاً) مِنَ الْفِتَنِ، وَنُوراً مِنَ الظُّلَمِ، وَيُخَلِّدْهُ فِيَما اشْتَهَتْ نَفْسُهُ، وَيُنْزِلْهُ مَنْزِلَ الْكَرَامَةِ عِنْدَهُ، فِي دَار اصْطَنَعَهَا لِنَفْسِهِ، ظِلُّهَا عَرْشُهُ، وَنُورُهَا بَهْجَتَهُ، وَزُوَّارُهَا مَلاَئِكَتُهُ، وَرُفَقَاؤُهَا رُسُلُهُ.

Therefore, hasten towards the place of return and go ahead of (your) deaths (by collecting provision for the next world). Shortly, the expectations of the people will be cut short and death will overtake them while the door of repentance will be closed for them. You are still in a place to which those who were before you have been wishing to return. In this world, which is not your house, you are just a traveller in motion.

You have been given the call to leave from here, and you have been ordered to collect provision while you are here. You should know that this thin skin cannot tolerate the Fire (of Hell). So, have pity on yourselves because you have already tried it in the tribulations of the world.

فَبَادِرُوا الْمَعَادَ، وَسَابِقُوا الاْجَالَ، فَإِنَّ النَّاسَ يُوشِكُ أَنْ يَنْقَطِعَ بِهِمُ الاْمَلُ، وَيَرْهَقَهُمُ الاْجَلُ، وَيُسَدَّ عَنْهُمْ بَابُ التَّوْبَةِ، فَقَدْ أَصْبَحْتُمْ فِي مِثْلِ مَا سَأَلَ إِلَيْهِ الرَّجْعَةَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ، وَأَنْتُمْ بَنُو سَبِيل، عَلَى سَفَر مِنْ دَار لَيْسَتْ بِدَراِكُمْ، وَقَد أُوذِنْتُمْ مِنهَا بِالارْتِحَالِ، وَأُمِرْتُمْ فِيهَا بِالزَّادِ. وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ لِهذَا الْجِلْدِ الرَّقِيقِ صَبْرٌ عَلَى النَّارِ، فَارْحَمُوا نُفُوسَكُمْ، فَإِنّكُمْ قَدْ جَرَّبْتُمُوهَا فِي مَصَائِبِ الدُّنْيَا.

Have you ever seen the crying of a person who has been pricked with a thorn or who bleeds due to stumbling or whom hot sand has burnt? How would he feel when he is between two frying pans of Hell with stones all round with Satan as his companion? Do you know that when Malik (the guard-in-charge of Hell) is angry with the fire, its parts begin to clash with each other (in rage), and, when he scolds it, it leaps between the doors of Hell crying on account of his scolding.

أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ جَزَعَ أَحَدِكُمْ مِنَ الشَّوْكَةِ تُصِيبُهُ، وَالْعَثْرَةِ تُدْمِيهِ، وَالرَّمْضَاءِ تُحْرِقُهُ؟ فَكَيْفَ إِذَا كَانَ بَيْنَ طَابَقَيْنِ مِنْ نَار، ضَجِيعَ حَجَر، وَقَرِينَ شَيْطَان؟! أَعَلِمْتُمْ أَنَّ مَالِكاً إِذَا غَضِبَ عَلَى النَّارِ حَطَمَ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضَاً لِغَضَبِهِ، وَإِذَا زَجَرَهَا تَوَثَّبَتْ بَيْنَ أَبوَابِهَا جَزَعاً مِنْ زَجْرَتِهِ؟!

O you who are advanced in years, whom old age has made hoary, how will you feel when rings of fire will touch the bones of your neck, and handcuffs hold so hard that they eat away the flesh of the forearms? (Fear) Allah! Allah! O crowd of men, while you are in good health before sickness (grips you) and you are in ease before straitness (overtakes you).

You should try for the release of your necks before their mortgage is foreclosed, keep your eyes awake at night, make your bellies lean, use your feet, spend your money, take your bodies and spend them over yourselves, and do not be niggardly about them, because Allah the Glorified, has said:

... if you help (in the way) of Allah, He will (also) help you, and will set firm your feet. (Qur'an, 47:7)

and He, the Sublime. has said:

Who is he who would loan unto Allah a goodly loan so that He may double it for him, and for him shall be a noble recompense. (Qur'an, 57:11)

أَيُّهَا الْيَفَنُ الْكَبِيرُ، الَّذِي قَدْ لَهَزَهُ الْقَتَيرُ، كَيْفَ أَنْتَ إِذَا الْتَحَمَتْ أَطْوَاقُ النَّارِ بِعِظَامِ الاْعْنَاقِ، وَنَشِبَتِ الجَوَامِعُ حَتَّى أَكَلَتْ لُحُومَ السَّوَاعِدِ؟ فَاللهَ اللهَ مَعْشَرَ الْعِبَادِ! وَأَنْتُمْ سَالِمُونَ فِي الصِّحَّةِ قَبْلَ السُّقْمِ، وَفِي الْفُسْحَةِ قَبْلَ الضِّيقِ، فَاسْعَوْا فِي فَكَاكِ رِقَابِكُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تُغْلَقَ رَهَائِنُهَا، أَسْهِرُوا عُيُونَكُمْ، وَأَضْمِرُوا بُطُونَكُمْ، وَاسْتَعْمِلُوا أَقْدَامَكُمْ، وَأَنْفِقُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ، وَخُذُوا مِنْ أَجْسَادِكُمْ تَجُودُوا بِهَا عَلَى أَنْفُسَكُمْ، وَلاَ تَبْخَلُوا بِهَا عَنْهَا، فَقَدْ قَالَ اللهُ سُبْحَانَهُ: (إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ)، وَقَالَ تَعَالَى: (مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللهَ قَرْضاً حَسَناً فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ وَلَهُ أَجْرٌ كَرِيمٌ)،

He does not seek your support because of any weakness, nor does He demand a loan from you because of shortage. He seeks your help, although He possesses all ..the armies of the skies and the earth (48:7) and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise (14:4). He seeks a loan from you, although He owns ..the treasuries of the skies and the earth (63:7) and ..He is the All-sufficient, the All-laudable (22:64). (Rather) He intends to try you as to which of you is best in conduct (11:7).

You should therefore be quick in performance of (good) acts so that you may be with His neighbours in His abode; He made His Prophet's companions of these neighbours and made the angels to visit them. He has honoured their ears so that the sound of Hell fire may never reach them, and He has afforded protection to their bodies from weariness and fatigue.

. . . that is the grace of Allah, He bestoweth it upon whomsoever He willeth; and Allah is the Lord of Mighty Grace. (Qur'an, 57:21)

فَلَمْ يَسْتَنْصِرْكُمْ مِنْ ذُلٍّ، وَلَمْ يَسْتَقْرِضْكُمْ مِنْ قُلٍّ، اسْتَنْصَرَكُمْ وَلَهُ (جُنُودُ السَّماوَاتِ وَالاْرْضِ) وَ(هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحُكِيمُ)، وَاسْتَقْرَضَكُمْ وَلَهُ (خَزَائِنُ السَّماوَاتِ وَالاْرْضِ) وَ(هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ)، وَإِنَّمَا أَرَادَ أَنْ (يَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلاً). فَبَادِرُوا بِأَعْمَالِكُمْ تَكُونُوا مَعَ جِيرَانِ اللهِ فِي دَارِهِ، رَافَقَ بِهِمْ رُسُلَهُ، وَأَزَارَهُمْ مَلاَئِكَتَهُ، وَأَكرَمَ أَسْمَاعَهُم أَنْ تَسْمَعَ حَسِيسَ نَار أَبَداً، وَصَانَ أَجْسَادَهَمْ أَنْ تَلْقَى لُغُوباً وَنَصَباً، (ذلِكَ فُضْلُ اللهِ يُؤتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللهُ ذُوالْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ)

I say what you are hearing. I seek Allah's help for myself and yourselves. He is enough for us and He is excellent trustee (3:173).

أَقُولُ مَا تَسْمَعُونَ، وَاللهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلى نَفْسِي وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ، وَهُوَ حَسْبُنَا (وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ)!

Alternative Sources for Sermon 183

(1) Al-Zamakhshari, Rabi’, I, 53;

(2) Ibn al-'Athir, al-Nihayah, V, 299;

(3) al-Bahrani, Tafsir al-burhan, I, 9, from a source other than Nahj.