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In the Name of God بسم الله

Nahjul Balagha - what you must know

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It's sermons are filled with eloquence, insight, piercing wisdom and truth. It's sayings bring alive the heart that is buried under the impurities that the Dunya can cover one with. However, we need to be armed and aware in order to respond to accusations against us by others to villify shia Islam as a heretical sect, devoid of a systematic evidenced based method for ascertaining truth, instead, relying on heresy centuries after the event:

On Nahjul Balagha

The issue many bring up with Nahjul Balagha is that no chains are included in it. Now, a chain, or sanad, is an important [but not exclusive] way of trying to ascertain whether a hadith can be relied on or not. In our main book of ahadith [Kitab Al Kafi] almost all [if not all] the ahadith contain chains [though not all absolutely connected without interruptions]. Al Kafi, work like this: Thiqat al islam, shayk al kulayni [compiler of the ahadith in al Kafi]  heard from someone, who heard from someone, who heard from someone, who heard from someone who heard from the Imam a.s. 

Now, when someone attacks Nahjul Balagha,claiming, how on earth can you , the shia, know that those are even the words of Ali ibn Abi Talib a.s, if there are no chains by which you can look at each person narrating in the chain, and see if those individuals are truthful, trustworthy, and the other criteria of judging whether someone can be relied on or not? What you'll often hear is 'between Imam Ali a.s and the compilation of nahjul balagha is 300 years! "How can you rely on what anyone claims to be his words if you can't even source a chain back to him!" and you may also hear them say "How can you base your religion and your main hadith book on chainless narrations without any way to verify them!"

It is important to respond to this, and correct them in what i suggest are the following ways:

1.Educate them that Nahjul Balagha is 'not our main book', but we have four main cannocial works, the one regarded most reliable is Al Kafi.

2. Inform them that, while there are indeed, no chains in Nahjul Balagha, much of the actual content within Nahjul Balagha can be found in other more primary sources. A number of the sermons, sayings, narrations can be found in Al Kafi itself, with the chain. Furthermore, a number of things in Nahjul Balagha are even taken from what would be regarded as traditional sunni works [books of history for example]. 

3. The Sanad is not the only criteria of determining reliability, but so is the Matn i.e actual content. Much of it can be corroborated and is sound.

4. No-one calls is 'Saheeh Nahjul Balagha'. Not everything in it has, 100% come from the mouth of Ali ibn Abi Talib a.s. We can not say everything in it has come from Ali a.s.  There may be a number of parts that may not have actually originated from the Imam a.s

5. Arguments have been also put forward of the sheer eloquence of the speech in it.


Now, some people have tried to put words into my mouth, and accuse me of 'bringing doubt and question' to nahjul balagha. Some have used certian works which address 'doubts raised about nahjul balagha. The reality is, if you read into the actual history of it, the people raising doubts were not making the claims [facts actually] i have made. Rather, they were accusing Shayk radi of fabricating the majority or significantly large portions himself. If you take time to actually read the people who defend the authenticity of nahjul balagha, they are not defending the idea it is 'saheeh nahjul balagha'. They are rather, proving how it is not logically tenable, given the evidence, for it to have been a fabrication of the compiler.



Edited by uponthesunnah
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I implore you brothers and sisters, to please look beneath the surface of debates and discussions on shiachat. Look deeply into what people are saying. Do not be swayed by emotional outbursts, incorrect assumptions, buzzwords, someone refuting the other in a very passionate way [while distorting their words]. 

Be just. Verify. Do not allow your hatred of an individual to prevent you from being just. Be just, even if it is against your own self, against your own 'cliques' here on SC, and in your daily life.

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