Nahjul BalaghaSermons

Sermon 154

Warning the people of Basrah about what was to occur

Whoever can at this time keep himself clinging to Allah should do so. If you follow me I shall certainly carry you, if Allah so wills, on the path of Paradise, even though it may be full of severe hardship and of bitter taste. As regards a certain woman she is in the grip of womanly views, and malice is boiling in her bosom like the furnace of the blacksmith. If she were called upon to deal with others as she is dealing with me she would not have done it. (As for me), even hereafter she will be allowed her original respect, while the reckoning (of her misdeeds) is an obligation on Allah.

A part of the same sermon: This path is the lightest course and the brightest lamp. Guidance towards virtuous actions is sought through faith while guidance towards faith is achieved through virtuous actions. Knowledge is made to prosper through faith, and death is feared because of knowledge. This world come to an end with death, while the next world is secured (by virtuous actions) in this world. For people there is no escape from resurrection. They are heading for this last end in its appointed course.

A part of the same sermon: They have got up from the resting places in their graves and have set off for the final objectives. Every house has its own people. They are not changed nor shifted from there. Commanding for good and refraining from evil are two characteristics of Allah, the Glorified. They can neither bring death near nor lessen sustenance.

You should adhere to the Book of Allah because it is the strong rope, a clear light, a benefiting cure, a quenching for thirst, protection for the adherent and deliverance for the attached. It does not curve so as to need straightening and does not deflect so as to be corrected. Frequency of its repetition and its falling on ears does not make it old. Whoever speaks according to it, speaks truth and whoever acts by it is forward (in action).

A man stood up and said: O Ameerul Momineen, tell us about this disturbance and whether you enquired about it from the Holy Prophet. Thereupon Ameerul Momineen said: When Allah, the Glorified sent down the verse:

Alif lam mim. What! Do people imagine that they will be let off on (their) saying: "We believe!" and they will not be tried? (Quran, 29:1-2)

I came to know that the disturbance would not befall us so long as the Prophet (pbuh) is among us. So I said, "O' Prophet of Allah, what is this disturbance of which Allah, the Sublime, has informed you?" and he replied, "O' Ali, my people will create trouble after me." I said, "O' Prophet of Allah, on the day of Uhud, when people had fallen martyrs and I was not among them, and this had been very annoying to me, did you not say to me, 'cheer up, as martyrdom is for you hereafter?' "The Prophet replied, "Yes it is so, but what about your enduring at present?" I said, "O' Prophet of Allah, this is not an occasion for endurance, but rather an occasion for cheering up and gratefulness." Then he said:

"O' `Ali, people will fall into mischief through their wealth, will show obligation to Allah on account of their faith, will expect His mercy, will feel safe from His anger and regard His unlawful matters as lawful by raising false doubts and by their misguiding desires. They will then hold lawful (the use of) wine by calling it barley water, a bribe by calling it a gift, and taking of usurious interest by calling it sale." I said, "O' Prophet of Allah, how should I deal with them at the time, whether to hold them to have gone back in heresy or just in revolt." He said, "in revolt."

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