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In the Name of God بسم الله

Nahjul Balagha - Less Important Than Fiqh?

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Salaams To all

Bro Arsalan Rizvi has posed an interesting traditional perspective on this amazing book we call Nahjul Balagha (NB).

For starters, there is this small matter of compilation. I know the industry standard belief is that the NB was compiled by Syed Radhi. I wish to contest this point straight of the bat.

Here is my first challenge:

If Syed Radhi compiled this genius book, can he or any scholar tell me if Sermon 1 can be preceded by sermon 2 and 3?

If the answer is no, then why not?

If the answer is yes, then why yes?

Challenge # 2.

Is it as Bro Arsalan states and I quote

2 - Sayyid Radhi's purpose in doing so was not to present Imam Ali's as.gif sayings. Rather, he wanted to compile an authoritative book on Arabic balagha (eloquence) for use by students of oratory and speech.

Is it this the only purpose of NB i.e. Eloquence?

Personally, I will not contest this point as it unbelievably eloquent even translation form you can see the beauty of Imam Ali's diction power just ooze with confidence

Challenge # 3

3 - Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, he did not do too much research into the authenticity of many sermons.......It is for this reason that our scholars do not use Nahjul Balagha (or anything besides the Qur'an) as an "infallible source". Like any other collection of hadith, it too must go through scrutiny and verification.

I wish to contest this point strongly. My challenge is this:

Why did it have to be authenticated by Syed Radhi or traditional scholars when clearly this is a scientific product. It can only be authenticated by science. So is the point not moot?

Challenge# 4

4 - I think it is extremely unfair (and rude) to compare them to fuqaha and jurists who are associated with the School of Ahlul Bayt as.gif and the majority of whom spends on average 20-30 years studying, researching, and teaching before issuing edicts.

I wish to contest this point to. As far as I am concerned, the purpose of every Muslim, regardless of their sectarian bias, is commanded to adhere to a path categorically stipulated in Sura 30 ayat 30 (30.30). Thus we must establish that the jurists who have spent 20-30 years studying fiqh are fully observing the command in 30.30

Secondly the Quran which is claimed to be a complete product. Yet NB has information which is not in the Quran. I will furnish with 2 examples

Example 1 - The Quran does not say if Nabi Isa is married or not. The NB has this vital information.

Example 2 - The Quran states that Allah made man from clay. The NB gives the composition of that clay in sermon 1.

So why does NB have information that the Quran does not furnish us with? What possible purpose could it serve. Do the Ulema tell us why this is so? Does the alleged compiler?

CAVEAT: I am not suggesting for one moment that NB supersedes Quran. I am merely making an argument that NB serves a purpose beyond the rhetorical eloquence.

I look forward to your replies.

Salaams

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Why don't you just skip to the point your trying to make? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you think that Imam `Ali (as) was himself the compiler, right?

There's really no way that could be the case though. From what I understand, it'd be clear that Sayyid Radhi's (ra) contemporaries considered it his compilation (he himself was a respected scholar, and the brother of Sharif Murtadha (ra)). There is no records of such a book prior to his time, whereas had it been the Imam's, you'd expect some reference, quoting, etc., to it by pre-Radhi scholars, such as Shaykh Saduq (ra), Shaykh Mufid (ra), etc. There is mention in narrations of the Kitab `Ali, however, whenever I've seen these references (if I recall correctly), this was an extensive book of Shari`a, i.e. Fiqh, that was in the possession of the Imams (as). On top of that, the book itself says it was compiled by Sayyid Radhi and contains his occasional comments on the text, usually pointing out some expression of eloquence in the text itself.

I also recall reading an article(s) a ways back that detailed certain linguistic features which demonstrate not all of it can represent usage from the Imam's time, but show signs of later (I think Abbasid period) usage of terms. This doesn't mean the entire sermon or what have you would necessarily be inauthentic, but one possibility would be that some part of had may have been changed during transmission reflecting then current usage and meanings for whatever motivation.

The nature of your question though seems to pre-suppose an either/or scenario with regards to NB and the other works of hadith, but this is not at all true. One can appreciate the treasury of what NB is, as well as the treasuries of other compilations of hadiths, including hadiths from the other eleven Imams (as).

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Why don't you just skip to the point your trying to make? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you think that Imam `Ali (as) was himself the compiler, right?

Salaams Bro

I dont think Imam Ali compiled the NB, I KNOW Imam Ali compiled the NB. I will demonstrate this point thru the following tests:

1 - Compilation & Sequence - The first 3 sermons had to be the first 3 sermons in that specific order. Without the sermons and the order including placing the caliphate issue in sermon 3 and not sermon 1 and 3. The integrity of shi'ism collapses without these 3 sermons in their specific order. If you dont think the sequence of the compilation of the first 3 sermons has any merit towards the shi'ism argument, pls tell me why.

2 - Naturalism - The NB is a pro naturalism document i.e the statement are scientific. This is in perfect harmony with the most categorical edict in Sura 30 ayat 30. There is no ayat that contradicts or supersedes ayat 30.30. Thus naturalism supersedes Fiqh/Jurisprudence. Thats the entire purpose of the NB that is to gravitate our intellect towards naturalism. There is no secondary source Shi'i document that is naturalistic ally sound. The NB is unparalleled in this regard. You can catch my bluff if i am wrong.

3 - Memory - Human memory can only remember oral transmissions accurately provided the memorization of the transmission has 7 items, with each item within 20-25 syllables and the transmission is oft repeated. Thus no human being or collection of people could memorise the NB to perfection.

4 - Lack of Chain - Sunnis have always argued that NB is a document compiled without a recognised chain of transmitters and thus unreliable. They cite Kulayni (sp) as their validation point. But the argument has no basis in the first instance since the NB wasnt compiled by Radhi at all nor compiled by ordinary people. I have seen your statements on this matter and I will rebut accordingly.

At the same time,what is so impossible to believe that NB was compiled by Imam Ali. If Imams are masoom and infallible by that virtue,surely one can pick errors in NB to prove that its not compiled by Imam Ali. That would have been the easiest strategy.

5 - Cross Referencing - Imam Ali speaks of a mosquito in 3 different sermons without contradicting himself nor science. Human transmitters of this information would have screwed the sermons on the mosquito.

6 - Future Occurrence - Imam Ali can see the future and he has made challenges to that effect. The challenge to man to create a mosquito is one example leaps to mind. This sermon is to address the grave nature of GMO's. If the GM Mosquito does eradicate the threat of malaria, then the NB is false. Since this is a future occurrence, the NB stands up to a falsification test.

I could cite other issues as well but i think these 6 points are enough to illustrate that the compiler is Imam Ali and Imam Ali alone. If I am wrong on any of these points please do not hesitate to present a rebuttal that is demonstrable and not theoretical or you can cite any source of fiqh that matches these 6 points or even supersedes these 6 points.

Now I proceed to rebutting your argument:

From what I understand, it'd be clear that Sayyid Radhi's (ra) contemporaries considered it his compilation (he himself was a respected scholar, and the brother of Sharif Murtadha (ra)). There is no records of such a book prior to his time, whereas had it been the Imam's, you'd expect some reference, quoting, etc., to it by pre-Radhi scholars, such as Shaykh Saduq (ra), Shaykh Mufid (ra), etc.

There are sayings and ahadith that come close to the NB script and that is the closest acknowledgment of NB's existence.

There is mention in narrations of the Kitab `Ali, however, whenever I've seen these references (if I recall correctly), this was an extensive book of Shari`a, i.e. Fiqh, that was in the possession of the Imams (as).

Do you have more information on this alleged Kitaab and does it exist today?

On top of that, the book itself says it was compiled by Sayyid Radhi and contains his occasional comments on the text, usually pointing out some expression of eloquence in the text itself.

I reject this notion entirely. This is akin to the Christian argument that the compilers of the Gospels be they Canonical or otherwise, were indeed the Disciples of Jesus when in reality there is no truth to the matter.

If Syed Radhi was the compiler of the NB, he would have been aware of the subtleties within it as demonstrated in the aforementioned 6 points. To demonstrate that he wasnt aware, I will give only one example outside the 6 already presented.

SERMON 226

About a companion who passed away from this world before the occurrence of troubles.

May Alláh reward such and such man (1) who straightened the curve, cured the disease, abandoned mischief and established the sunnah.

Syed Radhi's footnote suggests this Sahabah was umar. But that is the furthest thing from the truth. Now here we have an example where Imam has deliberately used the word "falan" to describe this sahabah as a subtlety that i was referring to. This subtlety serves as our test.

For this sahabah to be umar, he would have had to qualify under the test of "straightened the curve". For Syed Radhi to have qualified umar in this regard, he would have to understand within which context has Imam Ali used the term "straightened the curve". If you know what that means you will also know that this sahabah is not umar.

I also recall reading an article(s) a ways back that detailed certain linguistic features which demonstrate not all of it can represent usage from the Imam's time, but show signs of later (I think Abbasid period) usage of terms. This doesn't mean the entire sermon or what have you would necessarily be inauthentic, but one possibility would be that some part of had may have been changed during transmission reflecting then current usage and meanings for whatever motivation.

Furnish me with a tangible example.

The nature of your question though seems to pre-suppose an either/or scenario with regards to NB and the other works of hadith, but this is not at all true. One can appreciate the treasury of what NB is, as well as the treasuries of other compilations of hadiths, including hadiths from the other eleven Imams (as).

I dont disagree with this point in its entirety. But what ever source of hadith or tarikh outside the NB must be subservient to the NB's call to naturalism. Therefore any fatwa issued must have a naturalistic focus as opposed to moralistic.

1 - The argument for this is that Allah created the Heavens and the Earth

2 - Therefore Allah also created Nature

3 - Therefore Allah would not nurture against the nature He has created.

4 - Thus Fiqh too has to nurture in rhyme with nature.

5 - Thats the crux of of 30.30

I look forward to your reply.

Salaams

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Assalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatahu

Insha'Allah this finds you in the best of health and Eimaan. I have the following to say:

1.

"If Syed Radhi compiled this genius book, can he or any scholar tell me if Sermon 1 can be preceded by sermon 2 and 3?"

Let me point out that the enemies accuse Sayyid Radhi (ra) of in fact fabricating Nahjul Balagha. The fact that they are willing to give him credit for such a masterpiece testifies to his own brilliance and goes to show his own intellectual and moral caliber. Furthermore, just because the sermons are arranged in that order doesn't mean Imam Ali (as) compiled the book. Sermon #1 is about Tawheed and 'Adl, Sermon #2 is about Nabuwwat, and #3 is about Imamat. So, it doesn't take a genius (let alone someone of Sayyid Radhi's stature) to figure out that they should be in that order (i.e. the order of Usul ad-Deen).

2.

"Is it this the only purpose of NB i.e. Eloquence?"

Of course not. But that was the main purpose of its compilation. Let me explain my point with a simple (perhaps somewhat insulting) example. Automobiles are often used for speed racing. Does that mean that they were invented for that purpose? No. They were invented for transportation, but they are ALSO used for speed racing. Even if 100 years down the road (no pun intended), automobiles are only used for speed racing, that will not still not negate their original purpose, which was transportation. Like mcisaac said, it is not an either/or situation. It can serve as a literary masterpiece, AS WELL AS a book of morals and ethics. I am sure Sayyid Radhi (ra) took the religious and ethical messages of the sermons into consideration when deciding which ones to include. Or, more likely, we are lucky to be blessed with such an Imam (as) whose every sermon is dripping with moral, religious, and scientific pearls.

3.

"Why did it have to be authenticated by Syed Radhi or traditional scholars when clearly this is a scientific product. It can only be authenticated by science. So is the point not moot?"

I agree with your argument that scientific predictions can sometime seem to authenticate narrations (or, in this case, sermons). However, we have to be very careful when applying the criterion of science (which is incomplete) to the teachings of the Qur'an and Ahlul Bayt (which are complete). As an example, until 600 years ago, human traits and characteristics were considered to be completely hereditary (i.e. geneticism). In the 17th century, with the emergence of Protestantism and the Enlightenment, most European scientists switched over to the idea that human qualities are entirely determined by their upbringing and their surroundings (i.e. Rousseau's "tabula rasa" or "nurturism"). In the 19th and 20th centuries, in the post-Darwinian era, most scientists switched back to extreme geneticism. Then, in the mid-20th century, they went towards extreme nurturism. And now, we seem to be edging towards extreme geneticism again.

My point is, scientific knowledge today is based on empirical reasoning and observability. So, it keeps changing (like it should). Unfortunately, many of our Muslim brothers and sisters keep trying to somehow or other distort and misinterpret Qur'anic verses and ahadith in order to bring them in line with the latest scientific opinion, which is completely ridiculous. Case in point: Harun Yahya.

Furthermore, even if a few (or multiple) sermons in Nahjul Balagha contain scientific proofs, that does not make the whole book irrefutably infallible. Sayyid Radhi obviously did not fabricate the sermons; he simply collected them from other hadith literature or narrators.

4.

"So why does NB have information that the Quran does not furnish us with? What possible purpose could it serve. Do the Ulema tell us why this is so? Does the alleged compiler?"

A kindergarten math textbook tells you that 3 x 4 = 12. Last time I checked, Nahjul Balagha contained no such information. Following your analogy, if Tareekh al-Khulafa, for example, tells me biographical information that is not present in the Qur'an AND Nahjul Balagha, does that mean it gives it some sort of quasi-infallible status? Certainly not!

I hate to quote such a miscreant, but as Dr. Zakir Naik once said, "The Qur'an is a book of signs, not a book of science." I am sure you are aware that the Qur'an does not contain detailed information about most pre-Islamic figures and events. (In fact, the story of Prophet Yusuf is the only one that the Qur'an mentions in detail.) This is because the historic detail is not important; it is the moral lesson that the Qur'an wants to emphasize. Furthermore, much more detailed information about these pre-Islamic figures is available from narrations of other Infallibles (as) and are contained in Allama Majlisi's Hayat al-Qulub, vol. 1. Does that mean the Infallibles compiled Hayat al-Qulub?!

5.

"I am not suggesting for one moment that NB supersedes Quran. I am merely making an argument that NB serves a purpose beyond the rhetorical eloquence."

I agree. But, like I previously mentioned, rhetorical eloquence WAS the driving force behind its compilation.

6.

"The integrity of shi'ism collapses without these 3 sermons in their specific order. If you dont think the sequence of the compilation of the first 3 sermons has any merit towards the shi'ism argument, pls tell me why."

The integrity of Shi'ism is not based on Nahjul Balagha. The integrity of Shi'ism is based on verses of the Qur'an (i.e. 5:55, 33:33, etc.), authentic narrations (i.e. Dhul 'Ashira, Manzilat, Mubahila, Ghadir, etc.), and logical proofs (need for a leader, etc.). The arrangement of the sermons in that order correlates to this integrity (and not by coincidence) but certainly is not a (main) validation factor. Furthermore, see point #1 above.

7.

"Thats the entire purpose of the NB that is to gravitate our intellect towards naturalism. There is no secondary source Shi'i document that is naturalistic ally sound. The NB is unparalleled in this regard. You can catch my bluff if i am wrong."

I am not sure what you mean by "naturalism". However, if you are referring to the scientific teachings of the Ahlul Bayt (as) that were ahead of their time, see Islamic Medical Wisdom (Tibb al-Aimma), The Great Muslim Scientist, Imam Ridha's Golden Medical Dissertation, and the debates of Imam Ridha (as) with Hindu doctors. Many of these books contain definitive scientific points that are more much more explicit than those in Nahjul Balagha and which science eventually accepted in the 20th century. However, that does not imply that these books were compiled by the Infallibles (as) or that they are 100% authentic. Once again, see #3 above.

8.

"Memory - Human memory can only remember oral transmissions accurately provided the memorization of the transmission has 7 items, with each item within 20-25 syllables and the transmission is oft repeated. Thus no human being or collection of people could memorise the NB to perfection."

First off, Nahjul Balagha is not based on one person's memory. It is based on the memories of several narrators. If you look in the book itself, you will see that the sermons are almost always cross-referenced with other books of narration and history.

Secondly, that is an untrue statement. Most of our supplications and narrations are often narrated by single individuals, and yet there are no memory-related problems. The first ones that come to mind are Du'a Kumayl (narrated by Kumayl ibn Ziyad), Hadith al-Kisa (narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari), and Du'a Tawassul (narrated by Ali ibn Babwiya al-Qummi), all three of which are far longer than many of the sermons in Nahjul Balagha.

9.

"4 - Lack of Chain - Sunnis have always argued that NB is a document compiled without a recognised chain of transmitters and thus unreliable. They cite Kulayni (sp) as their validation point. But the argument has no basis in the first instance since the NB wasnt compiled by Radhi at all nor compiled by ordinary people. I have seen your statements on this matter and I will rebut accordingly."

Are you trying to say that Nahjul Balagha was compiled by Imam Ali (as) because it lacks a chain of narrators?!? If so, I can make up a hadith right now and include some scientific points in it and tell you that it is from an Infallible (as), and the lack of a chain of narrators proves my point...!

10.

"At the same time,what is so impossible to believe that NB was compiled by Imam Ali. If Imams are masoom and infallible by that virtue,surely one can pick errors in NB to prove that its not compiled by Imam Ali. That would have been the easiest strategy."

I would be completely open to believing that Imam Ali (as) compiled Nahjul Balagha. But I don't. Do I believe that the abominable snowman exists? Certainly it is possible. Why do I not believe it then? Because THERE IS NO PROOF OF IT!

11.

"Future Occurrence - Imam Ali can see the future and he has made challenges to that effect. The challenge to man to create a mosquito is one example leaps to mind. This sermon is to address the grave nature of GMO's. If the GM Mosquito does eradicate the threat of malaria, then the NB is false. Since this is a future occurrence, the NB stands up to a falsification test."

See #4 and #7 above.

12.

"For Syed Radhi to have qualified umar in this regard, he would have to understand within which context has Imam Ali used the term "straightened the curve". If you know what that means you will also know that this sahabah is not umar."

No, I don't know what it means. I also don't see how it has anything to do with our discussion.

13.

"Therefore any fatwa issued must have a naturalistic focus as opposed to moralistic."

What exactly are you trying to get at? That our Maraja issue fatawa that are unnatural?!

14.

You have made the argument that Imam Ali (as) compiled Nahjul Balagha, and therefore it must be immune from error. However, in the preface to Nahjul Balagha, Sayyid Radhi himself states that he compiled this book, and that his main purpose in doing so was to produce a masterpiece of eloquence (hence the name "Peak of Eloquence"). Given what you say about Imam Ali (as) compiling Nahjul Balagha, this can only have one of three meanings:

i. Sayyid Radhi was a liar:

If you ascribe to this explanation, then that defeats the argument of the Nahjul Balagha's integrity, since in your opinion, it is infallible and unaltered. Clearly, Sayyid Radhi being able to, God-forbid, falsely attach his name to the book means that it certainly is NOT infallible. Secondly, this case is hard to believe, seeing that he was a blessed scholar whom Lady Fatima Zahra (sa) referred to as her son in a dream to Shaikh al-Mufid and who was recognized as a leading religious and spiritual authority of his time. Furthermore, if he was lying, and Nahjul Balagha existed all along, then someone would have caught his falsehood and exposed him. History shows that nothing of the sort happened.

ii. Sayyid Radhi was a fictitious character:

This too is rather unreasonable, seeing that historically his existence can be proven quite easily.

Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion is that Sayyid Radhi (ra) existed, that he was truthful, and that he compiled a collection of Imam Ali's (as) sermons that he entitled "Nahjul Balagha" with the primary intention of producing a work dealing with Arabic balagha albeit one with great moral, ethical, and historic lessons.

Wassalam,

Arsalan

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Excellent points by the brother Arsalan. Now for me to add my rebuttal,

Salaams Bro

I dont think Imam Ali compiled the NB, I KNOW Imam Ali compiled the NB. I will demonstrate this point thru the following tests:

1 - Compilation & Sequence - The first 3 sermons had to be the first 3 sermons in that specific order. Without the sermons and the order including placing the caliphate issue in sermon 3 and not sermon 1 and 3. The integrity of shi'ism collapses without these 3 sermons in their specific order. If you dont think the sequence of the compilation of the first 3 sermons has any merit towards the shi'ism argument, pls tell me why.

Salaams,

How does this prove that Imam `Ali (as) was the compiler? If you were able to figure it out (assuming there's some special meaning to the ordering) why couldn't have someone like Sayyid Radhi (ar) done so, a scholar much more learned than either of us?

2 - Naturalism - The NB is a pro naturalism document i.e the statement are scientific. This is in perfect harmony with the most categorical edict in Sura 30 ayat 30. There is no ayat that contradicts or supersedes ayat 30.30. Thus naturalism supersedes Fiqh/Jurisprudence. Thats the entire purpose of the NB that is to gravitate our intellect towards naturalism. There is no secondary source Shi'i document that is naturalistic ally sound. The NB is unparalleled in this regard. You can catch my bluff if i am wrong.

Like the Quran, there are parts in Nahj al-Balagha which tell us to reflect on certain phenomenon in nature. In doing so, we may understand that creation requires a Creator. I wouldn't say this is the majority of the text however, what I think might be going on is that those were the parts you were especially interested in due to your personal proclivities, hence you've concentrated on them and this distorts your assesment of much of the text deals on this. Really, take all the passages that deal with some specific natural phenomenon, count them, and then count how many sermons, letters and sayings that are left that do not go over something as specific as a type of animal, etc. What do you have more of (I don't know myself, go ahead and count it)

It reminds me of some modern Muslims looking through the Quran to find any mention of something to do with nature and creation, and then trying to "fit" it in with a more scientistic (spelling intentional) viewpoint. What ends up happening though is that they distort the meanings, twisting their interpretations to fit in with whatever is current and popular. This is obviously mistaken though, because you're then led to a similar dilemna faced by doomsday predictors in the past. That is, when you put all your stakes in doomsday happening in 1917, what happens when 1918 rolls around the corner? Push it up to 1975? Similarly, experimental science is continually changing, revising "conclusions", discarding theories as new data comes in. Religion though is not like that.

Many Muslims seem to be infected with this notion of scientism, but this belies a lack of pride and confidence. It's basically stating that unless western (i.e. white) "scientists" (and what exactly is a scientist nowadays when there is such a degree of minute specialization in single fields) confirm we're right, then we'll be in doubt. Sorry, but this sounds a lot to me like a "Yes, sahib sir, whatever you say" attitude.

3 - Memory - Human memory can only remember oral transmissions accurately provided the memorization of the transmission has 7 items, with each item within 20-25 syllables and the transmission is oft repeated. Thus no human being or collection of people could memorise the NB to perfection.

And how exactly do you know that what is with us today is in fact letter for letter exactly as what was said? And if it is, why do you think that the transmission had to be oral? Think about it, what are the contents of NB? First, sermons delivered when he was khalifa. Does it sound that impossible that when the ruler of the Muslim world was delivering a speech, that someone might have been recording it (i.e. a secretary)? Or, that even if it was orally transmitted, that more than one person heard the speech? Secondly, letters. Well that's not too hard to see how it could have been preserved, by nature it was already in writing. The last part is the short sayings, and it isn't difficult to see how if the Imam told you something of such a sort, you could remember it, and pass it down.

4 - Lack of Chain - Sunnis have always argued that NB is a document compiled without a recognised chain of transmitters and thus unreliable. They cite Kulayni (sp) as their validation point. But the argument has no basis in the first instance since the NB wasnt compiled by Radhi at all nor compiled by ordinary people. I have seen your statements on this matter and I will rebut accordingly.

At the same time,what is so impossible to believe that NB was compiled by Imam Ali. If Imams are masoom and infallible by that virtue,surely one can pick errors in NB to prove that its not compiled by Imam Ali. That would have been the easiest strategy.

Much of the contents of NB are to be found in other books that preceded the Sayyid. I have some of these books. Sayyid Radhi used these works, and others we might not have, and compiled it together. Again, this isn't hard to see happening, we have several compilation of hadiths where the authors did just that, ie. taking pre-existing works, extracting the parts they were looking for, make a new compilation. Often the isnads would be included, sometimes not though. Man La Yahdhuruhu al-Faqih for instance of Shaykh Saduq, one of the four books. In it he dropped or shortened to the first narrator the isnads of the hadiths to make it easier to read (and because he thought the contents were sahih, so the isnads (in his view) were not really necessary to include) Again, how does this "prove" that the Imam had to be the compiler?

5 - Cross Referencing - Imam Ali speaks of a mosquito in 3 different sermons without contradicting himself nor science. Human transmitters of this information would have screwed the sermons on the mosquito.

6 - Future Occurrence - Imam Ali can see the future and he has made challenges to that effect. The challenge to man to create a mosquito is one example leaps to mind. This sermon is to address the grave nature of GMO's. If the GM Mosquito does eradicate the threat of malaria, then the NB is false. Since this is a future occurrence, the NB stands up to a falsification test.

I don't see your leap here. First your interpretation might be up to question, but why is it necessary that the sermons be in error if this collection was done by Sayyid Radhi?

There are sayings and ahadith that come close to the NB script and that is the closest acknowledgment of NB's existence.

No, what that proves is that Sayyid Radhi didn't make it up. But we're not arguing that.

Do you have more information on this alleged Kitaab and does it exist today?

As an example (on certain types of fish/sea creatures not to eat):

ãÍãÏ Èä íÚÞæÈ ¡ Úä ÚÏÉ ãä ÃÕÍÇÈäÇ ¡ Úä Óåá Èä ÒíÇÏ ¡ æÚä ãÍãÏ Èä íÍíì ¡ Úä ÃÍãÏ Èä ãÍãÏ ÌãíÚÇ ¡ Úä ÇÈä ãÍÈæÈ æÃÍãÏ Èä ãÍãÏ Èä ÃÈí äÕÑ ÌãíÚÇ ¡ Úä ÇáÚáÇÁ ¡ Úä ãÍãÏ ÇÈä ãÓáã ¡ ÞÇá : ÃÞÑÃäí ÃÈæ ÌÚÝÑ ( Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã ) ÔíÆÇ ãä ßÊÇÈ Úáí ( Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã ) ¡ ÝÇÐÇ Ýíå : ÃäåÇßã Úä ÇáÌÑøì æÇáÒãíÑ æÇáãÇÑãÇåí æÇáØÇÝí æÇáØÍÇá Ü ÇáÍÏíË .

Sahih of Muhammad b. Muslim. He said: Abu Ja`far (as) recited to me from the book of `Ali (as), and in it was: I prohibit to you al-jarii, az-zamir, al-maramahi, at-tafi, and at-tihal (the spleen?) (and the hadith continues)

The book would be with the Imam (ajfs) today. What we have is hadiths that will sometimes apparently quote from it (i.e. an Imam reading from it to the follower).

I reject this notion entirely. This is akin to the Christian argument that the compilers of the Gospels be they Canonical or otherwise, were indeed the Disciples of Jesus when in reality there is no truth to the matter.

That doesn't have anything to do with this. Sayyid Radhi was not alive during the time of the Imam (as), and we're not claiming that.

If Syed Radhi was the compiler of the NB, he would have been aware of the subtleties within it as demonstrated in the aforementioned 6 points. To demonstrate that he wasnt aware, I will give only one example outside the 6 already presented.

SERMON 226

About a companion who passed away from this world before the occurrence of troubles.

May Alláh reward such and such man (1) who straightened the curve, cured the disease, abandoned mischief and established the sunnah.

Syed Radhi's footnote suggests this Sahabah was umar. But that is the furthest thing from the truth. Now here we have an example where Imam has deliberately used the word "falan" to describe this sahabah as a subtlety that i was referring to. This subtlety serves as our test.

For this sahabah to be umar, he would have had to qualify under the test of "straightened the curve". For Syed Radhi to have qualified umar in this regard, he would have to understand within which context has Imam Ali used the term "straightened the curve". If you know what that means you will also know that this sahabah is not umar.

Bro, that's a footnote by the English translator... not Sayyid Radhi.

Furnish me with a tangible example.

I would want to read the article(s) again prior to doing that (this was over ten years ago I read it...)

I dont disagree with this point in its entirety. But what ever source of hadith or tarikh outside the NB must be subservient to the NB's call to naturalism. Therefore any fatwa issued must have a naturalistic focus as opposed to moralistic.

1 - The argument for this is that Allah created the Heavens and the Earth

2 - Therefore Allah also created Nature

3 - Therefore Allah would not nurture against the nature He has created.

4 - Thus Fiqh too has to nurture in rhyme with nature.

5 - Thats the crux of of 30.30

Brother, the crux of your argument seems to be:

- I like modern day science

- I don't trust hadiths and scholars

- I can find some passages in NB that fit (according to me) with science

therefore

- NB cannot be like any of books of hadith.

But this a huge leap in judgment, and a very erroneous one I'd think. How can you compare it to the other books of hadith when you haven't read them?

As to "naturalism" I strongly disagree. The type of naturalism you seem to have become enamoured with is one whose proponents tend towards nihilism and subjective relativism in morality. Religion deals in absolutes, commands, truth. I don't say that the physical sciences are useless, but in religion authority is not from the lab, it's from God and in those whom He gives it. How is a physicist who specializes in quantum particles going to be able to tell me what to do if I have a doubt in a four rak`at prayer as to whether it is my third or fourth rak`at I am in? How is a marine biologist going to have some special insight (I mean minus any training in fiqh) about what is the kaffara of someone who intentionally becomes junub while fasting in the month of Ramadhan? How will an atheistic materialist tell me that the angel of revelation was Jibril (as)?

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Salaams Bros Arsalan and macisaac

I thank you for your exhaustive replies and more importantly a commitment to a rather important discussion. I had to mull lengthily over the total sum of the reply and i found it needless to address each and every point in one post as it would potentially devolve into something quite ugly. I find it most fit under the circumstances to address a single point at a time and address you collectively. I hope this will serve your purpose just as well as it would mine.

Arsalan - Let me point out that the enemies accuse Sayyid Radhi ra.gif of in fact fabricating Nahjul Balagha. The fact that they are willing to give him credit for such a masterpiece testifies to his own brilliance and goes to show his own intellectual and moral caliber. Furthermore, just because the sermons are arranged in that order doesn't mean Imam Ali as.gif compiled the book. Sermon #1 is about Tawheed and 'Adl, Sermon #2 is about Nabuwwat, and #3 is about Imamat. So, it doesn't take a genius (let alone someone of Sayyid Radhi's stature) to figure out that they should be in that order (i.e. the order of Usul ad-Deen).

macisaac - How does this prove that Imam `Ali as.gif was the compiler? If you were able to figure it out (assuming there's some special meaning to the ordering) why couldn't have someone like Sayyid Radhi (ar) done so, a scholar much more learned than either of us?

Yes there is a special meaning to the arrangement and I intend to argue that the alleged compiler, Syed Radhi, was blissfully unaware. Now bro Arsalan has the basic gist of the arrangement which he classified as Tauheed/Adl, Nabuwatt and Imamat. He is spot on but he is far from a insightful assessment. For instance, Sermon 1 doesnt solely deal with Tauheed and Adl but the basis of the Tauheed is a Creation story. And why does Imam Ali pronounce Shahada in sermon 2 and not sermon 1. And could ImamAli have addressed the Caliphate dispute before he handled Creation in Sermon 1?

This forms the nuts and bolts of compilation. Only the compiler can know the detail in this regard, and as such, a fraudulent claim will be caught out. It also means that within the minutia are clues to accuracy of the sermons and compilation which supersedes the "eloquence" argument. If it was merely for eloquence, then the order of the compilation is immaterial. I wish to argue otherwise that the order in the compilation is key to recognising the identity of the compiler.

So I need to ask you both some questions as to the specific aspects of those 3 sermons.

1 - Why is Tauheed linked to Creation and why did the alleged compiler place as the first sermon?

2 - Why is there a sequence in the Creation Story in Sermon 1 when the Quran doesnt offer a sequence?

3 - Why does Imam Ali define the creation of man/Adam in the following manner:

Alláh collected from hard, soft, sweet and sour earth, clay

The Quran only states Clay or Mud, depending on the translation but Imam Ali breaks it down further to 4 distinct types of Clay and why are they in opposites?

4 - Why does ImamAli pronounce the Shahada in sermon 2 and not sermon 1

If Syed Radhi is the compiler, then he should the answer to my questions. The ball is in your court and I look forward to your replies Inshallah.

Salaams

Edited by knightstemplar
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Salaam.

A brother wrote this (from another thread):

"one day in the 60's Corbin asked 'Allama Tabataba'i the following question: "As a leading authority on Shi'ite philosophy and religious thought, what argument would you provide to prove that the Nahj al-balagha was by the first Imam, 'Ali as.gif? The venerable master of Islamic philosophy answered " For us the person wo wrote the Nahj al-balagha is 'Ali as.gif, even if he lived a century ago."

The book goes on to explain these words:

Even within an acedemic perspective, the role and impact of the Imam's as.gif sayings and teachings cannot be ignored. Rather they will be accorded a particular significance to the extent that the scholar takes an impartial, phenomenologicall point of view, that is, a point of view which takes seriously those elements of a given religious tradition, which have in actual fact, configured the matrices within which the quest for meaning and enlightenment take place. This is the point of view championed by Henry Corbin, to whose penetration and elucidation of the deeper dimentions of Islamic thought all scholars and seekers alike owe an incalculable debt of gratitude. Specifically adressing the issue of the provenance of the Nahj, he writes the following which clearly reveals the influence of the response given to him by 'Allama Tabataba'i: In order to understand what it contains, it is best to take it phenomenologically, that is to say according to its explicit intention; Whoever holds the pen, it is the Imam as.gif who speaks. It is to this that it owes its influence."

I further said:

When Allamah al-Tabataba'i (r.a.) says that Nahj al-Balagha is the writing of Imam Ali (a.s.), even if he had lived only a century ago, it can only be such that the Imam (a.s.) is that which is truth, and "phenomenologically-speaking", he is that truth which is manifested in that physical reality of existence in order to give us that means of nearness to the higher-level.

So therefore, Nahj al-Balagha is that physical reality.

Therefore, I am in agreement with brother Knightstemplar. Though, perhaps at a more philosophical than physical level...

Wa'salaam.

- Mansab

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Salaam.

A brother wrote this (from another thread):

I further said:

Therefore, I am in agreement with brother Knightstemplar. Though, perhaps at a more philosophical than physical level...

Wa'salaam.

- Mansab

Bro, the argument isn't over whether, God-forbid, the sermons are from Amirul Momineen (as) or not. The argument is about who compiled the various sermons into the book and whether EVERY single sermon can be taken to be HUNDRED PERCENT accurate.

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Forget about me and macisaac bro, take the answer from Ayatollah Shaikh Nasir Makarem Shirazi:

---

Nasir Makarim Shirazi, in one of his articles on the role of Nahj al-balagha in fiqh, has discussed the question of the worth of the traditions contained in the book. Can we use these traditions as a secure foundation for deriving the ahkam of fiqh? Do they fulfil the criteria of reliability laid down in Usul al-fiqh? Does a tradition relating to moral, social and political matters need not fulfil the conditions of hujbiyyah (proof) as required in the issues of fiqh? His answer is:

Whatever is contained in it regarding the issues of belief is supported by rational and philosophical arguments. And it ought to have been so; for, the principles of belief are established conclusively only through this method. They cannot be proved on the basis of a single tradition. This principle is applicable to most of the guidelines concerning politics and society. Therefore, dependence on tradition in such matters is not required (in the presence of rational arguments). In the sphere of moral problems, also, dependence on tradition is not of fundamental importance; because the fundamentals of morality are self evident and are in harmony with nature. The role of a moral guide is to ingrain these principles in the souls of his followers, and to stimulate them to move in their direction ;such a job does not depend on any authority. Especially in moral matters that do not fall under the categories of the obligatory (wajib) and the prohibited (haram), but come in the jurisdiction of the desirable (mustahabb), the application of this criterion is obvious; for they can be accepted on the well-known principle of al-tasumuh 'an adillat al-sunan, that is non-essentiality of citing textual evidence for mustahabbat, often practised by the authorities in usul.

But in legal matters (masa'il al-fiqh) in general, and in matter of worship wajib and haram in particular, one is bound to refer to an authentic tradition. In such matters howsoever strong an argument may be, it will not stand on its own in the absence of a tradition. Though the importanee of authority is not denied in other matters too, its vital role in the matters of fiqh is undeniable.

1. It is a matter of regret that al-Sayyid al-Radi, the compiler of Nahj al-balaghah, has not paid due attention to support most of the sermons, letters and stray sayings with asnad, the chain of narrators. As a result, Nahj al-balaghah comes down to us in the form of hadith mursal. However, we have access to many an early souree of these traditions to prove their authenticity through chain of reliable narrators, and most probably al-Radi didn't pay attention to furnish their asnad due to their well-known availability in other sourees. Or he had other stronger reasons for avoiding referenee to asnad. He might have considered their contents to be above any doubt.

2. Another means of proving the reliability of a tradition is its compatibility with the Quran ... We apply this criterion with regard to the traditions of the Infallible Imams (as). Employment of this method in the case of Nahj al-balaghah is of much value.

3. The third way to ascertain the authority of a tradition is its fame and general acceptability among the 'ulama'. If we accede to this criterion, Nahj al-balaghah is at the zenith of fame and is greatly respected by scholars of eminence, who support their ideas with quotations from this book and refer to its authority in various matters ...

4. Another means of arriving at the target, that is, establishing the authenticity of a tradition or a book, is the spiritual sublimity of its content. What is meant by sublimity of meaning is its higher level of spirituality and inspiration, which implicitly leads us to believe that it can't originate in a fallible mind. This criterion is acceptable to a number of great fuqaha' ... For instance al-Shaykh al-'A'zam al-'Allamah al-'Ansari, in the Rasa'il, accepts a well known tradition of al-'Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari in the matter of undesirable (madhmum) and desirable (matlub) imitation (taqlid) ... or Ayatullah Burujardi refers to the words of al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyyah in the context of Friday prayer. Though al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyyah has not reached us through a chain of authorities, sublimity of its content reveals that it could not have been issued from the tongue of an ordinary mortal.

On the basis of these various criteria, of which the first one can be applied only with reference to the early sources of the tradition that have occurred in Nahj al-balaghah, it is concluded that the book can be justifiably used as an authority in ijtihadat. The writer of the above mentioned article has furnished a long list of traditions which have been or can be used in fiqh. Nahj al-balaghah is also of great value in construing the Islamic approach to various issues of vital significance to the present world of Islam.

http://www.nahjulbalagha.org/contents.php

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Knight Templar believes the order and all the content of Nahjul Balagha testifies it could not be compiled by fallible people because there is too much significance in what is in it and hidden beauty in it's sequence.

Like we testify du'a Kumail (by the words, flow, etc) could not be fabricated even though chain is cut off, we can also see the Quran order, including the Surahs, are beyond compilation of man.

He is claiming that he sees significance in the order of compilation.

My argument to settle the issue, is that Angels (as) could have guided Syed Radi (ra) although he did not know. He simply compiled and had no clue, but the end result has a book that it's content and sequence speaks a language to those who notice and assure them of it's authenticity. This gives then faith to the whole book being by Ali (as) although not compiled by him.

Or it can be that Knight Templar is looking too much into things as well :P

wa salam

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My argument to settle the issue, is that Angels (as) could have guided Syed Radi (ra) although he did not know. He simply compiled and had no clue, but the end result has a book that it's content and sequence speaks a language to those who notice and assure them of it's authenticity. This gives then faith to the whole book being by Ali (as) although not compiled by him.

Or it can be that Knight Templar is looking too much into things as well :P

wa salam

Salaams Bro

No I am not looking too much into things. I havent yet addressed the aya in the Quran that validates Nahjul Balagha by conditions. Most are oblivious too such methodologies. But careful consideration is a virtue enjoined in the Quran with the precedent set in 4.82 if I am not mistaken.

Secondly, the matter of sequencing of the compilation goes to the heart of the succession of our Prophet. It affects the following areas:

1 - What is the definition of Rightly Guided as per the Quran

2 - Who is therefore more Rightly Guided, Imam Ali or the preceding caliphs

3 - How do the sequencing affects the NB vis-a-vis sunni sources e.g. Bukhari et al.

There is no doubt in my mind, that Syed Radhi was fallible and our Imam wasnt. Thus if the compilation wasnt by Imam Ali, not only would the sequence be screwed up but there would be errors in the memories of the chain of transmitters. The angels inspiring Syed Radhi is benign I have to admit but awfully subjective.

salaams

Salaam.

Therefore, I am in agreement with brother Knightstemplar. Though, perhaps at a more philosophical than physical level...

Wa'salaam.

- Mansab

Salaams Bro

Mmmm it started well jazakallah......but then you revoked the endorsement. The physical value of NB can also be discussed should you so choose.

salaams

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On the issue of NB first three sermons having a certain logical order, that was already addressed here:

Furthermore, just because the sermons are arranged in that order doesn't mean Imam Ali (as) compiled the book. Sermon #1 is about Tawheed and 'Adl, Sermon #2 is about Nabuwwat, and #3 is about Imamat. So, it doesn't take a genius (let alone someone of Sayyid Radhi's stature) to figure out that they should be in that order (i.e. the order of Usul ad-Deen).

Again, I really don't see how this somehow requires Imam `Ali (as) himself to be the compiler. What about the remaining two hundred and thirty some sermons, is there something especially significant in their ordering which you think impossible to replicate?

I don't know if you realize how extraordinary a claim you are making here (I don't mean that in a complimentary fashion...) To use your analogy of the NT gospels' authorship questions, what you're saying would be akin to a claim of "I don't believe that the four gospels were writing by their traditional authors, AND I don't believe they were written by later anonymous authors. Rather, I believe Jesus wrote them himself!" That's a huge claim which is going to require some huge evidence to back it up.

First, you'd need to establish the existence of such a work prior to the time of Sayyid Radhi. Sayyid Radhi is not a very late scholar, but he's also not a very early one either. That is, many if not most of our primary books of hadith date to before his time (e.g. the works of Shaykh Kulayni, Shaykh Saduq, etc.). In addition, we have several books and treatise written by other scholars from before him such as Shaykh Mufid. Now, had such a book existed and been in the hands of the Shi`a, you would certainly expect there to be some reference to it. But there isn't. The only thing I've seen is some reference to the book of `Ali (as) in some hadiths, but I have only seen this in reference to it being about the Shari`a (i.e. fiqh topics). I have quoted you one such hadith. Also, this book was/is in the possesion of the Imams (as), it is not something that the Shi`as had their own copies of. Supposing NB was really authored by the Imam hundreds of years prior to the Sayyid, that's plenty of time for it to be referenced and quoted from. I am not aware of any such reference.

You would also have to answer how and why Sayyid Radhi would then go to attribute its compilation to himself. Have you ever heard of a forger claim he was the author of whatever religious work he was trying to pass off? Or rather, won't they just about always attribute it to some great religious authority, or at least someone anonymous, to try to get the book to have credit? What possible motivation would the Sayyid have for doing such a thing? Also, it completely contradicts everything we know of his character, that of a pious and learned man. Even more importantly, you would have to explain how people would all of sudden forget that this book had been around for hundreds of years, compiled by the Imam himself, and now believe it was compiled by a later scholar? And how contemporary giants of scholarship would also forget this and believe his claim? It sounds sort of like say I took a copy of Hamlet, scratched out Shakespeare's name, wrote mine in and said I wrote it, and then everyone were to believe me, including the scholars of Oxford. How plausible is that? You also didn't answer how a book you regard to be infallible and incorrupted should at the same time be corrupted by saying it was compiled by someone other than who it says did it. Haven't you contradicted yourself there?

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Salaams Bro Arsalan

I saw the 4 point approach and the only one I did agree with wholeheartedly was the corroboration of the authenticity with the Guidance of the Quran i.e. te NB must parallel the Quran. But thats where the agreements end.

Allow me to illustrate a couple of disagreement:

1 - Though al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyyah has not reached us through a chain of authorities, sublimity of its content reveals that it could not have been issued from the tongue of an ordinary mortal.

Even if this source is indeed as sublime as we shia may see it, how can we guarantee that is was delivered to us thru a chain of transmitters without blemish? How can we possibly guarantee the chain's infallible memory? In the Quran Sura 15 verse 87 if I am not mistaken speaks of the 7 oft repeated verses. This unbeknownst to most exegetes deals with the capacity of an infallible human memory.

Any ordinary human being has the capacity to remember an oral transmission perfectly provided it 7 items long, within 20-25 syllables long per item, memorable and oft repeated. So for any oral transmission of any information if exceeds the defined parameters of sound memory will most likely be fallible. It may capture the general gist of the information but will mess up the key detail.

Thus a memorable saying like "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gate" is a tradition less likely to be screwed up. It fits the parameters. Thus for the Nahjul Balagha to be transmitted perfectly thru ordinary hands, for generations upon generations before its alleged compilation 4 centuries after the original source is physically impossible.

2 - The third way to ascertain the authority of a tradition is its fame and general acceptability among the 'ulama'.

I strongly disagree with this point. The reason being is that Nahjul Balagha is a highly pro naturalism document. Its deals with many universal aspects of our collective existence and its relation to a Divine driven Creative process. Why Ulama dont play any factor in this aspect is that the Ulama are driven towards fiqh and not science.

When Charles Darwin compared two separate fossils, one of a man and the other one of a monkey and came to his own infamous conclusions, he wittingly or otherwise changed the entire complexion of the meaning of religion and our imaan thereof. He raised the bar that was necessary for us to re-examine our texts and challenge our own understating of religion. Ulama dont understand the seriousness of the Darwin challenge since they are more focused on fiqh.

So when Imam Ali speaks of the different animal species and Allah's creative hand in the process, his primary target audience is certainly not Ulama but on the contrary, he is targeting the creationists versus evolutionists audience. This shows how far ahead of his time Imam Ali truly was and it also proves that he knows how the future unravels. With Quran working in tandem with Nahjul Balagha, Shi'ism is the only religious path that will survive the onslaught of the evolutionists.

This is how you know that this book was not compiled by ordinary hands. It was compiled by the truly rightly guided. Allow me to quote the ayat off the many) that justifies Nahjul Balagha and the proof that naturalism supersedes fiqh.

30:30 So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) God's handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by God: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.

Salaams

Bro macisaac

I am too pooped to respond to your reply today. Inshallah tomorrow i intend to address it. Nothing personal bro,

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Salaams Bro

Mmmm it started well jazakallah......but then you revoked the endorsement. The physical value of NB can also be discussed should you so choose.

salaams

Salaam.

Haha, bro, you crack me up! :blush:

Well, I agree with you pretty much all the way on this one. I cited what I cited because it is a profound philosophical proof for the source of Nahjul Balagha (i.e. our Imam (a.s.)).

What Brother Link said is what Allamah Tabataba'i (r.a.) said, in a different way. I agree with that 100% percent.

- Mansab

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Bro macisaac what is your view of Misbahal Shariah.

is quoted in early books?

Let me quote to you what al-Majlisi says in the first volume of Bihar regarding Misbah ash-Shari`a:

æßÊÇÈ ãÕÈÇÍ ÇáÔÑíÚÉ Ýíå ÈÚÖ ãÇ íÑíÈ ÇááÈíÈ ÇáãÇåÑ ¡ æÃÓáæÈå áÇ íÔÈå ÓÇÆÑ ßáãÇÊ ÇáÇÆãÉ æÂËÇÑåã ¡ æÑæì ÇáÔíÎ Ýí ãÌÇáÓå ÈÚÖ ÃÎÈÇÑå åßÐÇ : ÃÎÈÑäÇ ÌãÇÚÉÁ Úä ÃÈí ÇáãÝÖá ÇáÔíÈÇäí ÈÅÓäÇÏå Úä ÔÞíÞ ÇáÈáÎí ¡ Úãä ÃÎÈÑå ãä Ãåá ÇáÚáã . åÐÇ íÏá Úáì Ãäå ßÇä ÚäÏ ÇáÔíÎ ÑÍãå Çááå æÝí ÚÕÑå æßÇä íÃÎÐ ãäå æ áßäå áÇ íËÞ Èå ßá ÇáæËæÞ æáã íËÈÊ ÚäÏå ßæäå ãÑæíÇ Úä ÇáÕÇÏÞ Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã æÇä ÓäÏå íäÊåí Åáì ÇáÕæÝíÉ æáÐÇ ÇÔÊãá Úáì ßËíÑ ãä ÅÕØáÇÍÇÊåã æÚáì ÇáÑæÇíÉ Úä ãÔÇÆÎåã æãä íÚÊãÏæä Úáíå Ýí ÑæÇíÇÊåã . æÇááå íÚáã .

And the book Misbah ash-Shari`a has in it some of what disquiets the experienced reasonable (person). Its manner does not resemble the other words of the Imams and their works. Ash-Shaykh narrates in his Majalis some report of it like this: A group informed us from Abu al-Mufadhdhal ash-Shaybani by his isnad from Shaqiq al-Balkhi, from the one who informed him from the people of knowledge. This indicates that it was with the Shaykh, Allah have mercy on him, in his time and that he took from it, however that he does not place full confidence in it, and that its being narrated from as-Sadiq (as) is not established with him. And, that its sanad terminates with the Sufis and thus it includes much of their terminology and upon the narration from many of their shaykhs and he who relies upon their narrations. Wallahu A`lam.

In the margin of Wasa'il ash-Sh`ia, Shaykh Hurr al-`Amuli apparently wrote:

åÐå ßÊÈ ÛíÑ ãÚÊãÏÉ ¡ áÚÏã ÇáÚáã ÈËÞÉ ¡ ãÄáÝíåÇ ¡ æËÈæÊ ÖÚÝ ÈÚÖåã ¡ æáÐáß áã ÃäÞá ãäåÇ ÔíÆÇ :

blank.gif (1) ßÊÇÈ ãÕÈÇÍ ÇáÔÑíÚÉ .

These are books that are not reliable, due to the lack of knowledge of the trustworthiness of their authors, and the establishment of weakness of some of them. And for that, I do not transmit anything from them:

1 - The book Misbah ash-Shari`a

... (it lists a number of other works after this one)

Edited by macisaac
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When Charles Darwin compared two separate fossils, one of a man and the other one of a monkey and came to his own infamous conclusions, he wittingly or otherwise changed the entire complexion of the meaning of religion and our imaan thereof. He raised the bar that was necessary for us to re-examine our texts and challenge our own understating of religion. Ulama dont understand the seriousness of the Darwin challenge since they are more focused on fiqh.

...

30:30 So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) God's handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by God: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.

When knighttemplar says, "he wittingly or otherwise changed the entire complexion of the meaning of religion and our imaan thereof", he's never been more right. The immediate-most shock is served to the anthropomorphic Handicrafter God and the literalist dogma accompanying him. It doesn't stop here if your is a different God. Darwin's ideas attack more subtely in this case.

Now the social, philosophical, historical and scientific implications of Darwin's ideas merit detailed discussions in separate threads.

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Yes there is a special meaning to the arrangement and I intend to argue that the alleged compiler, Syed Radhi, was blissfully unaware.

Bro, I don't think you are understanding. There is nothing miraculous about it's order, and this can be proved: If someone like you can work out the "order" of it, then why can't Syed Rahdi [QS] ?

And what the order is, or how amazing it is, is irrelevant in my argument; all that matters is that Syed Rahdi > knightstemplar, so anything you work out, Syed Rahdi could have worked a version a million times better.

My argument to settle the issue, is that Angels could have guided Syed Radi although he did not know.

Uh, there is no need to resort to "angels". If Syed Rahdi was guided by the angels to work out this miraculous order, does that mean knightstemplar was also ? Or is knightstemplar naturally just greater than him, such that he doesn't need the angels in this regard ?

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Bro, I don't think you are understanding. There is nothing miraculous about it's order, and this can be proved: If someone like you can work out the "order" of it, then why can't Syed Rahdi [QS] ?

And what the order is, or how amazing it is, is irrelevant in my argument; all that matters is that Syed Rahdi > knightstemplar, so anything you work out, Syed Rahdi could have worked a version a million times better.

I am not arguing a "miraculous" order. I am arguing a constructive order. I have also set out certain benchmarks to justify position for those 3 sermons. Not a single benchmark has been addressed. As o why the sequence of the first 3 sermons is crucial to my argument, I will handle with bro macisaac.

As for Syed Radhi's self evident frailties in discerning this product, his footnotes are nothing short of gold. He does not live in a time when naturalism was the norm when clearly Nahjul Balagha is a highly pro naturalism document. Therefore it was impossible for Syed Radhi to have spotted the working models to counter evolutionists. So today, let alone I, even a 12 year old with basic knowledge of science could put Syed Radhi to shame.

As for the non scientific material i.e. historical, I have argued that sermon 226 in regards to the eulogy of a falan companion, its impossible for that companion to be umar simply owing to the phrase "straightened the curve" which the original compiler has used on several occasions within his sermons to illustrate context. If the phrase had been applied within context, Syed Radhi would not have come to his foolish conclusion. Its but obvious the word falan in sermon 226 was compiled by the original compiler, namely Imam Ali since he was not only privy to the funeral proceedings of this sahabah but he deliberately used the word falan to expose Syed Radhi bias and or deceit.

salaams

Now the social, philosophical, historical and scientific implications of Darwin's ideas merit detailed discussions in separate threads.

I thinks its a fabulous idea. Why dont you get a thread going on the Thinkers Forum? You will have fewer participants but probably more fruitful for a competitive debate.

Salaam.

Haha, bro, you crack me up! :blush:

Well, I agree with you pretty much all the way on this one. I cited what I cited because it is a profound philosophical proof for the source of Nahjul Balagha (i.e. our Imam (a.s.)).

What Brother Link said is what Allamah Tabataba'i (r.a.) said, in a different way. I agree with that 100% percent.

- Mansab

Salaams Bro

Thank you. I was wondering if you can add a few points of your own? I was sad to see Bro Link delete his rather valid posts.

Edited by knightstemplar
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Again, I really don't see how this somehow requires Imam `Ali (as) himself to be the compiler. What about the remaining two hundred and thirty some sermons, is there something especially significant in their ordering which you think impossible to replicate?

The first 3 semons are pretty unique within themselves. The remaining sermons are aligned to the first 3 sermons in expounded form hence the importance of the order. It would have been a conduct unbecoming of the Imam Ali to address the Caliphate dispute before he handled Tauheed and Creation. Simply cos, if there is no Creation, there is no Tauheed and if there is no Tauheed there is no Islam. If there is no Islam, the Caiphate dispute is inconsequential as is the Shahada in Sermon 2.

Now in comparison, check out Bukhari and see how he classifies Tauheed and Creation. Are they part and parcel of the same book/chapter as Imam Ali has handled or are they distinct. Secondly, what about the nature of the content between the 2? Have you ever compared this? And then we can go back to the Quran is see what Allah classifies as the pre-requite nature of the Ulil Amr.

It would be safe to assume that the Bukhari compilation precedes the existence of Syed Radhi by atleast a century, so in essence Syed Radhi had ample opportunity to compare the two products. Does he give you any indication?

I don't know if you realize how extraordinary a claim you are making here (I don't mean that in a complimentary fashion...) To use your analogy of the NT gospels' authorship questions, what you're saying would be akin to a claim of "I don't believe that the four gospels were writing by their traditional authors, AND I don't believe they were written by later anonymous authors. Rather, I believe Jesus wrote them himself!" That's a huge claim which is going to require some huge evidence to back it up.

Come on Bro, which Prophet has ever written the Kitaab he has been sent with? Its the disciples i.e. the successors who may have a strong say in this matter as the true authors of what is known as the Gospel of Q just as our Prophet's successor Imam Ali will have a strong say in the compilation of Nahjul Balagha.

First, you'd need to establish the existence of such a work prior to the time of Sayyid Radhi. Sayyid Radhi is not a very late scholar, but he's also not a very early one either. That is, many if not most of our primary books of hadith date to before his time (e.g. the works of Shaykh Kulayni, Shaykh Saduq, etc.). In addition, we have several books and treatise written by other scholars from before him such as Shaykh Mufid. Now, had such a book existed and been in the hands of the Shi`a, you would certainly expect there to be some reference to it. But there isn't. The only thing I've seen is some reference to the book of `Ali (as) in some hadiths, but I have only seen this in reference to it being about the Shari`a (i.e. fiqh topics). I have quoted you one such hadith. Also, this book was/is in the possesion of the Imams (as), it is not something that the Shi`as had their own copies of. Supposing NB was really authored by the Imam hundreds of years prior to the Sayyid, that's plenty of time for it to be referenced and quoted from. I am not aware of any such reference.

I dont need to establish the existence of NB prior to Syed Radhi to prove that compiler can only be Imam Ali. I need to prove what kind of knowledge did Allah bless the Rightly Guided to illustrate the compiler is indeed Imam Ali. I also need to prove that the statements are infallible and thus the source can only be an infallible source.

The second thing to consider is if Syed Radhi compiled this book as per the popular assertion, based on what sources did he achieve this task assuming we factor your point that there were several centuries of opportunities for the treatise to be quoted and referenced? How did he compile this book when there are no references and quotes?

Bro Arsalan seems to think otherwise. He states:

If you look in the book itself, you will see that the sermons are almost always cross-referenced with other books of narration and history.

So i guess the two of you have to sort it out between yourselves before we can progress further. I ofcourse have my own issues with Bro Arsalan's point.

You would also have to answer how and why Sayyid Radhi would then go to attribute its compilation to himself. Have you ever heard of a forger claim he was the author of whatever religious work he was trying to pass off? Or rather, won't they just about always attribute it to some great religious authority, or at least someone anonymous, to try to get the book to have credit? What possible motivation would the Sayyid have for doing such a thing? Also, it completely contradicts everything we know of his character, that of a pious and learned man. Even more importantly, you would have to explain how people would all of sudden forget that this book had been around for hundreds of years, compiled by the Imam himself, and now believe it was compiled by a later scholar? And how contemporary giants of scholarship would also forget this and believe his claim? It sounds sort of like say I took a copy of Hamlet, scratched out Shakespeare's name, wrote mine in and said I wrote it, and then everyone were to believe me, including the scholars of Oxford. How plausible is that? You also didn't answer how a book you regard to be infallible and incorrupted should at the same time be corrupted by saying it was compiled by someone other than who it says did it. Haven't you contradicted yourself there?

We cannot classify Syed Radhi as a forger cos the content is not his. A forger is one who makes up information. This book is not indicative of that deceit cos the information is pure and further backed by the fact that he is constant awe of the diction employed by Imam Ali.

At the same time, I cant be certain that he claimed the status of compiler cos I cant rule out the possibility that the title may have been accorded to him posthumously. Can we rule this option first before we can address the motivation of Syed Radhi if any?

salaams

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As for Syed Radhi's self evident frailties in discerning this product, his footnotes are nothing short of gold. He does not live in a time when naturalism was the norm when clearly Nahjul Balagha is a highly pro naturalism document. Therefore it was impossible for Syed Radhi to have spotted the working models to counter evolutionists. So today, let alone I, even a 12 year old with basic knowledge of science could put Syed Radhi to shame.

As for the non scientific material i.e. historical, I have argued that sermon 226 in regards to the eulogy of a falan companion, its impossible for that companion to be umar simply owing to the phrase "straightened the curve" which the original compiler has used on several occasions within his sermons to illustrate context. If the phrase had been applied within context, Syed Radhi would not have come to his foolish conclusion. Its but obvious the word falan in sermon 226 was compiled by the original compiler, namely Imam Ali since he was not only privy to the funeral proceedings of this sahabah but he deliberately used the word falan to expose Syed Radhi bias and or deceit.

Sigh.... didn't you read my response to this? I'm getting the impression here (correct me if I'm wrong) that you've made a massive mistake in your understanding of NB and the footnotes. The footnote you're referring to is _not_ by Sayyid Radhi. That was by an English translator. In fact, the bulk of those long footnotes you find in the translations are from an English translator. The Sayyid's comments are brief and there's not many of them, and most of if not all them to do with language points. If you want to read something more extensive from the Sayyid himself, you would need to refer to his other works (which I don't think have been translated into English).

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very interesting debate going on now, but bro knightstemplar a few questions have risen in my mind about NB, specifically about proving that it was compiled by none other than imam ali (as). personally i dont know whether imam ali himself personally compiled the NB, but dont see how this in any way lessens the work. i am convinced that if i wasnt shia and i read this book even once, i would have become a shia just by the eloquence of imam ali.

(1) one belief i know that you share with me is of the clues hidden in mathematics in the quran, eg if you add up the digits of certain ayats they add up to 12 or 14, and they actually talk about the ahlebeyt themselves and so on and so forth.

as we all know imam ali (as) was, amongst so many other things, a mathematical genius and completely infallible - could he have hidden MATHEMATICAL clues within his sermons, if he compiled them, that we know only he could have done? for example, i know this is not mathematical but take a look at the sermon without dots, theres no WAY a non masoom could have come up with that, is there anything mathematical that you can use to prove he was the compiler, similar to the ayats in the quran?

(2) if we look into the compiler of NBs life - im relying heavily on sheikh arastu from ascent tv here here lol :blush: - we can see he was a man of impeccable charachter and trustworthiness - going off the previous post, does this make him a liar if he claims to be the compiler, or mistaken, or what?

(3) i would love for you to be proven right on this thread, seriously. even with footnotes i find the NB to be tough reading sometimes. what does imam ali mean when hes referring to "straightening the curve", and about who?

(4) last question, where did you find out this stuff about NB, and how do you deduce the subtleties within it? can you give some more examples, apart from the curve?

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The first 3 semons are pretty unique within themselves. The remaining sermons are aligned to the first 3 sermons in expounded form hence the importance of the order. It would have been a conduct unbecoming of the Imam Ali to address the Caliphate dispute before he handled Tauheed and Creation. Simply cos, if there is no Creation, there is no Tauheed and if there is no Tauheed there is no Islam. If there is no Islam, the Caiphate dispute is inconsequential as is the Shahada in Sermon 2.

If you read our other books of hadiths, one can also find very logical orderings of topics in a number of them. Take al-Kafi for instance. First book is on `aql and jahl (intellect and ignorance). This makes sense as `aql will be as the gateway to beliefs and understanding. Jahl is its opposite, so the contrasting makes sense. Next book is on `ilm, knowledge, and the role of scholars. Again, very logical place to put it, as `ilm goes with `aql. Then, you have the book on Tawhid, makes good sense for it be there, la ilaha illallah. After the book of Tawhid, you come to the book on the Hujja, the Proof of Allah, here referring to the Imams, the fundamental distinguishing belief of Shi`ism. Again, highly sensible that it follow after Tawhid. First, hadiths about Allah, then, hadiths about those whose being is the Proof of Allah on Earth. Then follows the books on Iman and Kufr (again, notice the contrast of opposites there), then on Du`a, then on the Virtue of the Quran, then on social relations, dealing with how people are to deal with one another. All of this comprise the "Usool" part of al-Kafi, the roots. Next, come the "Furu`" section, and that is the hadiths on Shari`a (fiqh), starting with Tahara (makes sense as tahara is a prerequisite of much to follow), then Salat, and so on with the other acts of Worship. Then you have the books in Furu` on transactions and social laws (such as business laws, food laws, marriage laws, inheritance laws, penal codes, etc.). Finally, the last section of al-Kafi is the Rawdat, that is, the Garden of al-Kafi, which are a miscellanious collection of hadiths, a number of them long (though this last part is the shortest of the three sections). So: Roots -> Branches -> Garden.

A beautiful order. Does this mean though that al-Kulayni (ar) couldn't have done it himself?

Come on Bro, which Prophet has ever written the Kitaab he has been sent with? Its the disciples i.e. the successors who may have a strong say in this matter as the true authors of what is known as the Gospel of Q just as our Prophet's successor Imam Ali will have a strong say in the compilation of Nahjul Balagha.

So then how would it sound to say that someone believed it was Simon Peter (as) who wrote the gospels of the NT?

The second thing to consider is if Syed Radhi compiled this book as per the popular assertion, based on what sources did he achieve this task assuming we factor your point that there were several centuries of opportunities for the treatise to be quoted and referenced? How did he compile this book when there are no references and quotes?

We can find some of this by looking at books that came before Sayyid Radhi, and which contain the same khutba or what have you as found in NB, such as Kitab al-Irshad of Shaykh Mufid. Sayyid Radhi would have access to these works in his time (some of them are no longer with us), and from them he extracted the various sermons, letters and sayings he chose to include in NB. Now, for your theory, you'd need to ask where did all those other books get their contents from? If NB already existed, wouldn't it make sense for at least one of them to say something like "I took this sermon from `Ali's (as) book, Nahjul-Balagha" or what have you?

Yes I know its accredited to Ibn Abil Hadid. I refuse to accept that he made a unilateral decision on this matter. One cant rule out Syed Radhi's hand in it as definitively as one would like. As for my understanding of the NB, there is still pending stuff on your plate.

No, the comments you're reading in the ENGLISH translation that I'm talking about are not by Ibn Abi 'l-Hadid al-Mu`tazili (whose Sharh I have by the way). They are by an English translator.

Edited by macisaac
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very interesting debate going on now, but bro knightstemplar a few questions have risen in my mind about NB, specifically about proving that it was compiled by none other than imam ali (as). personally i dont know whether imam ali himself personally compiled the NB, but dont see how this in any way lessens the work. i am convinced that if i wasnt shia and i read this book even once, i would have become a shia just by the eloquence of imam ali.

(1) one belief i know that you share with me is of the clues hidden in mathematics in the quran, eg if you add up the digits of certain ayats they add up to 12 or 14, and they actually talk about the ahlebeyt themselves and so on and so forth.

as we all know imam ali (as) was, amongst so many other things, a mathematical genius and completely infallible - could he have hidden MATHEMATICAL clues within his sermons, if he compiled them, that we know only he could have done? for example, i know this is not mathematical but take a look at the sermon without dots, theres no WAY a non masoom could have come up with that, is there anything mathematical that you can use to prove he was the compiler, similar to the ayats in the quran?

(2) if we look into the compiler of NBs life - im relying heavily on sheikh arastu from ascent tv here here lol :blush: - we can see he was a man of impeccable charachter and trustworthiness - going off the previous post, does this make him a liar if he claims to be the compiler, or mistaken, or what?

(3) i would love for you to be proven right on this thread, seriously. even with footnotes i find the NB to be tough reading sometimes. what does imam ali mean when hes referring to "straightening the curve", and about who?

(4) last question, where did you find out this stuff about NB, and how do you deduce the subtleties within it? can you give some more examples, apart from the curve?

Salaams Bro

Thanking you for joining the debate and the more the merrier I say. The sermon without the dots is utter genius. How did i not think of that one. Well done bro.

1 - You are the first on SC to acknowledge the mathematical value of the ayat number and for that I say a big thank you.

2 - Its entirely possible that Syed Radhi was a righteous man but if he claimed that he compiled the NB, I would be hesitant in according him reverance to that level. Though having said that, there is no concrete evidence he made such a claim. It could have been made on him behalf so I guess the jury is still out.

3 - Straightening the Curve - It means one who has definite iman in the proof of Allah's existence. One who also understand the laws of Islam and acts accordingly. I know this cos he has applied that phrase in sermon 151 which starts with Imam Ali's rendition on the proof of Allah's existence.Now if you examine the statement regarding the proof, it has value in high level physics of cause and effect. And that is the context of straightening the curve.

If we apply the context to umar in relation to the proof of Allah's existence vis-a-vis science, umar has no evidence of knowledge to this regard. Sahih Bukhari is evidence to that effect. So with one sweeping move, you rule out the footnote that claims it was umar. It was definitely another sahabah and the genius that Imam Ali was and still is, deliberately used the word falan to test our understanding of this book.

4 - When i understood from the Quran (sura 6 verses 75 to 90) that Allah blesses the rightly guided with the mechanical knowledge of the universe, I looked for the evidence in both shia and sunni sources cos if teh first 3 caliphs were rightly guided, then they too would have possessed this knowledge.

And when I opened NB, and the very first sermon talks about his knowledge of the Creation of the Universe and its mechanical value, is when I understood who was the correct successor of our Prophet. I didnt need the hadith or tarikh to know that Ali was indeed appointed successor. Thats when I knew that with very first sermon, Imam Ali thru the knowledge of creation is providing the evidence of his rightful succession and that when I knew that the first 3 sermons had to be arranged in that manner. No ordinary compiler could have known this importance of commencing with creation first.

Now as for the subtleties, let me give just a couple. He describes the creation of Adam in these words

Alláh collected from hard, soft, sweet and sour earth, clay

Imam here is describing the double helix (DNA). You know its the double helix cos it comes with the double strands which are of opposite value and the reference to sweet is the sugar and sour is the alkali.

The second example was from DaVinci Code which alleges Nabi Isa was married. The Quran is silent on this matter but the NB speaks on this issue categorically. That me realise that Allah wanted to prove the succession of our Prophet thru Ali by giving him some information that was unique to him and residually it becomes a symbol of his superiority and authority over every other sahabah.

I hope these examples suffice and should you need more, do not hesitate to ask for them

I have had pretty good luck in spotting some subtleties by the grace of Allah....Alhamdullilah.

Salaams

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(salam)

Allamah Tabatabai's view about Nahjul Balagha:

http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=661&page=2

" Western scholars refused for a long time to accept the authenticity of the authorship of this work and attributed it to Sayyid Sharif al-Radi, although the style of al-Radi's own works is very different from that of the Nahj al-balaghah. In any case as far as the traditional Shi'ite perspective is concerned, the position of the Nahj al-balaghah and its authorship can best be explained by repeating a conversation which took place some eighteen or nineteen years ago between 'Allamah Tabatabai, the celebrated contemporary Shi'ite scholar who is responsible for the selection of the present anthology, and Henry Corbin, the foremost Western student of Shi'ism.

Corbin, who himself was as far removed from "historicism" as possible, once said to 'Allamah Tabataba'i during the regular discussions they had together in Tehran (in which the present writer usually acted as translator), "Western scholars claim that 'Ali is not the author of the Nahj al-balaghah. What is your view and whom do you consider to be the author of this work ?"

'Allamah Tabataba'i raised his head and answered in his usual gentle and calm manner, "For us whoever wrote the Nahj al-balaghah is 'Ali, even if he lived a century ago."

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?sh...p;#entry1686935 Imed14 had posed a query, which I'm pasting here:

I am reading a book currently and there is a concept here I am not truly understanding and I pray Allah that someone will be able to assist by explaining this.

The book goes on to explain these words:

Even within an academic perspective, the role and impact of the Imam's sayings and teachings cannot be ignored. Rather they will be accorded a particular significance to the extent that the scholar takes an impartial, phenomenological point of view, that is, a point of view which takes seriously those elements of a given religious tradition, which have in actual fact, configured the matrices within which the quest for meaning and enlightenment take place.

This is the point of view championed by Henry Corbin, to whose penetration and elucidation of the deeper dimensions of Islamic thought all scholars and seekers alike owe an incalculable debt of gratitude. Specifically addressing the issue of the provenance of the Nahj, he writes the following which clearly reveals the influence of the response given to him by 'Allama Tabataba'i: In order to understand what it contains, it is best to take it phenomenologically, that is to say according to its explicit intention; Whoever holds the pen, it is the Imam (as) who speaks. It is to this that it owes its influence."

And bro mansab had replied:

Apparently, the quote from the book you have asked about is talking about how all the realities of religion and the absolute realities are related to the Imam (a.s.).

I may not be correct in my interpretation of this, BUT... this is what I got from it... Imam Ali (a.s.) is that which is the physical reality and is a means of attaining nearness to the absolute truh and absolute reality. Their teachings and ways of life, etc., are physical and conscious experiences for us.

When Allamah al-Tabataba'i (r.a.) says that Nahj al-Balagha is the writing of Imam Ali (a.s.), even if he had lived only a century ago, it can only be such that the Imam (a.s.) is that which is truth, and "phenomenologically-speaking", he is that truth which is manifested in that physical reality of existence in order to give us that means of nearness to the higher-level.

So therefore, Nahj al-Balagha is that physical reality.

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just a small point - referring to "the curve"

there was a saying from einstein, how does it go

Mass-energy tells space-time how to curve; curved space-time tells mass-energy how to move

i asked what this meant, because as soon as you mentioned "straightening the curve" alarm bells started ringing about this quote from einstein....could imam ali be referring to a sahaba he taught the knowledge to, who could change the physical universe, therefore "straightening the curve"...and at the same time be referring to something only thought of last century?

if this is indeed the case then the case for imam ali (as) being the compiler grows considerably stronger

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http://smsshm.blogsky.com/?PostID=113

The Nahjul Balagha is a collection of sermons, precepts, prayers, epistles and aphorisms of 'Ali ('a) compiled by al-Sayyid al-Sharif al-Radi about one thousand years ago. However, neither the recorded words of Mawla 'Ali are confined to those collected by al-Sayyid al-Radi, nor was he the only man to compile the sayings of Amir al-Muminin. Al-Masudi, who lived a hundred years before al-Sayyid al-Radi, in the second volume of his work Muruj al-dhahab , writes: "At present there are over 480 sermons of 'Ali in the hands of the people," whereas the total number of sermons included by al-Sayyid al-Radi in his collection is 239 only

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahj_al-Balagha

Authenticity

Folio from an old Nahj al-Balagha

Folio from an old Nahj al-Balagha

This book is basically a literary book not a religious one, because Al-Sharif al-Radi didn't gather all part of but chose some part of sermons and letters, but he chose some parts of them which have more literary value. Also it doesn't contain sources of the contents. But this book contains many religious, historic, sociological, political and folklore aspects of Islam and Arab World in the 7th century. However, in recent years some scholars have tried to find the sources of the texts. "Masadir Nahj al-Balagha wa asaniduh" written by "al-Sayyid `Abd al-Zahra' al-Husayni al-Khatib" introduces some of these sources.[2] and "Nahj al-sa'adah fi mustadrak Nahj al-balaghah" by "Muhammad Baqir al-Mahmudi" represents all of 'Ali's extant speeches, sermons, decrees, epistles, prayers, and sayings have been collected. It includes the Nahj al-balaghah and other discourses which were not incorporated by Al-Sharif al-Radi or were not available to him. Apparently, except for some of the aphorisms, the original sources of all the contents of the Nahj al-balaghah have been determined.[3] Also there are some books written before or about the same time as Nahj al-balaghah (400/1009) which contains Ali's sermons, quotations and letters.[4]

According to one Shi'a source,[5] the first person to raise doubts about its attribution to Ali was Ibn Khallikan (d. 681/1282). In the 19th century, Muhammad Abduh said that he had no knowledge of "Peak of Eloquence" until he undertook its study far from home in a distant land. It is said that he was struck with wonder and felt as if he had discovered a precious treasure trove. Thereupon, he immediately decided to publish it and introduce it to the Egyptians.

Shia

The collection is regarded by Shi'as as authentic, although it is not included in their Hadith books, which normally include the sayings and actions of the Shia Imams along with those of Muhammad. However, Shi'a believe that no book is completely authentic except for the Qur'an. Each sermon must be examined individually.

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(salam)

Allamah Tabatabai's view about Nahjul Balagha:

http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=661&page=2

'Allamah Tabataba'i raised his head and answered in his usual gentle and calm manner, "For us whoever wrote the Nahj al-balaghah is 'Ali, even if he lived a century ago."

Well bro, speaking for myself, what reasons did Allamah Tabatabai offer his decision?

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if this is indeed the case then the case for imam ali (as) being the compiler grows considerably stronger

No he referred this statement regarding the curve in a characteristic sense.

Sermon 151 - The riser has risen, the sparkler has sparkled, the appearer has appeared and the curved has been straightened.

Its in regarding to a statement in the same sermon which states:

Sermon 151 - Praise be to Alláh who is proof of His existence through His creation, of His being external through the newness of His creation, and through their mutual similarities of the fact that nothing is similar to Him. Senses cannot touch Him and curtains cannot veil Him, because of the difference between the Maker and the made, the Limiter and the limited and the Sustainer and the sustained.

If you understand the physics of this statement and its ultimate accuracy, you will know that this is definitely Imam Ali speaking, the sparkler and the straightener of curves. The curve relates to an ummah that is hunchbacked owing misguidance which was the direct of product of a wrongful succession. Thus it rules out umar as the straightener of curves.

It is little wonder the same sermon also states:

Sermon 151 - Certainly the Imáms are the vicegerents of Alláh over His creatures and they make the creatures know Alláh. No one will enter Paradise except he who knows them and knows Him, and no one will enter Hell except he who denies them and denies Him.

salaams

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A beautiful order. Does this mean though that al-Kulayni (ar) couldn't have done it himself?

Ok now we are getting somewhere. Before I address the matter of Al Kafi and its arrangement, Bukhari divides Tauheed and Creation. Imam Ali puts them together in the same sermon. In Bukhari, Creation comes in book 54 and Tauheed in Book 99. Furthermore there is no conceptual and factual similarity between the two versions. If you also notice in Book 54 and Book 99 in Bukhari, there is not a single hadith from Imam Ali and yet they consider him rightly guided.

So here thru order in compilation we are availed a beautiful insight into the psyche of Imam Ali.

Now as for the Al Kafi compilation, I am speaking purely from memory here but is there a hadith in the first chapter about the Creation of Adam and the 3 different characteristics Allah gave him to choose namely Knowledge, Religion and Modesty? If so, then I would like to pursue this further.

So then how would it sound to say that someone believed it was Simon Peter (as) who wrote the gospels of the NT?

Not just Simon Peter, but the entire posse of 12 Disciples and assuming that Simon Peter is the legitimate name of a Disciple. But then we would swaying off topic.

We can find some of this by looking at books that came before Sayyid Radhi, and which contain the same khutba or what have you as found in NB, such as Kitab al-Irshad of Shaykh Mufid. Sayyid Radhi would have access to these works in his time (some of them are no longer with us), and from them he extracted the various sermons, letters and sayings he chose to include in NB. Now, for your theory, you'd need to ask where did all those other books get their contents from? If NB already existed, wouldn't it make sense for at least one of them to say something like "I took this sermon from `Ali's (as) book, Nahjul-Balagha" or what have you?

That would be assuming that the NB was a published book for public consumption. Why would i wanna do that? I am working under the premise that it never was and that sermons were sole domain of the 12 Imams. If Syed Radhi had truly sourced the material from various other sources, how did he know what to take and what not to take? Especially in the areas of creation and naturalism. How would he have known whether the sermons were accurate or not?

Here is the Litmus test. Lets take Imam Ali's view on the mosquito which appear in 3 different sermons, namely sermons 90, 181 and 185. Considering that the Mosquito wasnt subject to any kind of scientific scrutiny until the 18/19th century when it was dismissed as a deadly to humanity and the threat was only realised in the 20th century with the DDT experiments. The experiment failed and the threat still exists today so much so that they are recreating a GM mosquito to eliminate the threat of the malaria.

Sermon 185 - all jointly try to create (even) a mosquito they are not able to bring it into being and do not understand what is the way to its creation. Their wits are bewildered and wandering. Their powers fall short and fail, and return disappointed and tired, knowing that they are defeated and admitting their inability to produce it, also realising that they are too weak (even) to destroy it.

So what would have been Syed Radhi's motivation/inspiration to incorporate the mosquito sermons when clearly fiqh reigned supreme in those days and that is assuming that the sermons on the mosquito did have an external source for Syed Radhi to use. Does Syed Radhi himself day?

No, the comments you're reading in the ENGLISH translation that I'm talking about are not by Ibn Abi 'l-Hadid al-Mu`tazili (whose Sharh I have by the way). They are by an English translator.

lol - no problems. Lets leave it pending.

salaams

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