Sermon 225: This is a house surrounded by calamities….

Transience of the world and the helplessness of those in graves

ومن خطبة له (عليه السلام)

في التنفير من الدنيا

This is a house surrounded by calamities and well-known for deceitfulness. Its conditions do not last and those who inhabit it do not remain safe. Its conditions are variable and its ways changing. Life in it is blameworthy and safety in it is non-existent. Yet its people are targets; it strikes them with its arrows and destroys them through death.

دَارٌ بِالْبَلاَءِ مَحْفُوفَةٌ، وَبِالْغَدْرِ مَعْرُوفَةٌ، لاَ تَدُومُ أَحْوَالُهَا، وَلاَ يَسْلَمُ نُزَّالُهَا. أَحْوَالٌ مُخْتَلِفَةٌ، وَتَارَاتٌ مُتَصَرِّفَةٌ، الْعَيْشُ فِيهَا مَذْمُومٌ، وَالاْمَانُ مِنْهَا مَعْدُومٌ، وَإِنَّمَا أَهْلُهَا فِيهَا أَغْرَاضٌ مُسْتهْدَفَةٌ، تَرْمِيهِمْ بِسِهَامِهَا، وَتُفْنِيهِمْ بِحِمَامِهَا.

Know, O creatures of Allah, that, certainly, you and all the things of this world that you have are (treading) on the lines of those (who were) before you. They were of longer ages, had more populated houses and were of more lasting traces. Their voices have become silent, their movements have become stationary, their bodies have become rotten, their houses have become empty and their traces have been obliterated.

Their magnificent places and spread-out carpets were changed to stones, laid-in-blocks and cave-like dug out graves whose very foundation is based on ruins and whose construction has been made with soil. Their positions are contiguous, but those settled in them are like far flung strangers. They are among the people of their area but feel lonely, and they are free from work but still engaged (in activity).

They feel no attachment with homelands nor do they keep contact among themselves like neighbours despite nearness of neighbourhood and priority of abodes. And how can they meet each other when decay has ground them with its chest, and stones and earth have eaten them.

وَاعْلَمُوا عِبَادَ اللهِ أَنَّكُم وَمَا أَنْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ هذِهِ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى سَبِيلِ مَنْ قَدْ مَضَى قَبْلَكُمْ، مِمَّنْ كَانَ أَطْوَلَ مِنْكُمْ أَعْمَاراً، وَأَعْمَرَ دِيَاراً، وَأَبْعَدَ آثَاراً، أَصْبَحَتْ أَصْوَاتُهُمْ هَامِدَةً، وَرِيَاحُهُمْ رَاكِدَةً، وَأَجْسَادُهُمْ بِالِيَةً، وَدِيَارُهُمْ خَالِيَةً، وَآثَارُهُمْ عَافِيَةً، فَاسْتَبْدَلُوا بِالْقُصُورِ الْمُشَيَّدَةِ، وَالـنَّمارِقِ الْمُمَهَّدَةِ، الصُّخُورَ وَالاْحْجَارَ الْمُسَنَّدَةَ، وَالْقُبُورَ اللاَّطِئَةَ الْمُلْحَدَةَ، الَّتي قَدْ بُنِيَ عَلَى الْخَرَابِ فِنَاؤُهَا، وَشُيِّدَ بِالتُّرَابِ بِنَاؤُهَا، فَمَحَلُّهَا مُقْتَرِبٌ، وَسَاكِنُهَا مُغْتَرِبٌ، بَيْنَ أَهْلِ مَحَلَّة مُوحِشِينَ، وَأهْلِ فَرَاغ مُتَشَاغِلِينَ، لاَيَسْتَأْنِسُونَ بِالاْوْطَانِ، وَلاَ يَتَوَاصَلُونَ تَوَاصُلَ الْجِيْرَانِ، عَلَى مَا بَيْنَهُمْ مِنْ قُرْبِ الْجِوَارِ، وَدُنُوِّ الدَّارِ، وَكَيْفَ يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَزَاوُرٌ، وَقَدْ طَحَنَهُمْ بِكَلْكَلِهِ الْبِلَى، وَأَكَلَتْهُمُ الْجَنَادِلُ وَالثَّرَى ؟

It is as though you too have gone where they have gone, the same sleeping place has caught you and the same place has detained you. What will then be your position when your affairs reach their end and graves are turned upside down (to throw out the dead)?

There shall every soul realise what it hath sent before, and they shall be brought back to Allah, their true Lord, and what they did fabricate (the false deities) will vanish (away) from them. (Qur'an, 10:30)

وَكَأَنْ قَدْ صِرْتُمْ إِلَى مَا صَاروا إِلَيْهِ، وَارْتَهَنَكُمْ ذلِكَ الْمَضْجَعُ، وَضَمَّكُمْ ذلِكَ الْمُسْتَوْدَعُ، فَكَيْفَ بِكُمْ لَوْ تَنَاهَتْ بِكُمُ الاْمُورُ، وبُعْثِرَتِ الْقُبُورُ؟ (هُنَالِكَ تَبْلُو كُلُّ نَفْس مَا أَسْلَفَتْ وَرُدُّوا إِلَى اللهِ مَوْلاَهُمُ الْحَقِّ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُمْ ما كَانُوا يفْتَرُون)

Alternative Sources for Sermon 225

(1) Sibt, Tadhkirah, 122;

(2) al-Khwarazmi, al-Manaqib, 267;

(3) al-Muttaqi, Kanz al-’ummal, III, 511.