He has been hard, shattering, roaring like thunder during woe nights. The fountain is a fountain, day and night are not considered in its run?

These are the words of the Christian George Jordac as he describes Ali. Jordac is the famous Christian writer and literary man, who has extracted and collected phrases from the sermons, letters, and short statements of Ali (PBUH) in one of his books. In a part of this book, Jordac talks about the hot emotion of Ali as follows:

The first page that Ali spreads of the pages of sympathy begins with reminding people that they are all brothers, so he describes them as ‘my brothers’ in a clear address while he is the prince of them. Then he adds by reminding the rulers that they are people’s brothers, all people, and that this fraternity entails compassion by necessity, saying to his masters over his armies: “It is obligatory on the ruler that the distinction he achieves, or the wealth with which he has been exclusively endowed, should not make him change his behavior towards those under his authority, and that the riches Allah has bestowed on him should increase him in nearness to His slaves and kindness to his brethren.” And what he mentions to himself and his officers – that they and people are brothers by affection and sympathy – he emphasizes and repeats in a comprehensive wisdom directing towards all human beings without difference or distinction: “You are brethren; nothing other than dirty natures and bad conscience have separated you.”

This hot emotion, which Imam has known in his life, accompanies him wherever he goes and tends to in Nahj al-Balaghah. It accompanies him when he bears upon anger and resentment as it does when it arouses sympathy and content. For example, when he saw his champion’s disappointment at supporting the right, while the others support the wrong and surround it with weapons and spirits, he anguishes, complains, blames and scolds, and was hard, shattering, roaring like thunder in the woe nights! Nevertheless, sufficient is to read the sermon of al-Jihad (1) to realize what a revolting, agonized emotion that which ties this sermon with the outburst and beating of life…

If the inability to obtain virtues is a defect, the logic of sympathy in Ali’s language renders the unable person to acquire people’s fraternity as the most defective: “The most helpless of all is the one who cannot gain brothers.”

At last, Ali utters a group of sayings that center around the orbit of calling people to be devoted to people in kindness and sympathy. They are truly considered one of the most great sublime ethical tradition mankind possesses, of them are these master-pieces: “Behave well with him who behaves ill with you; give to him who deprives you”. “Do good to all people as you like it to be done to you”. “Do good to him who offends you”. “Grant favor to him who deprives you…”

It may take a long time to mention examples of the pouring of living emotion which diffuses warmth in Imam’s deeds. It is in his doings, his sermons and sayings ? which is an essential criterion. You are not to do anything but to open this book so that you can know colors of Ibn Abi Talib’s emotion, with pouring strength and deep depth?

Despite all these examples, in response to the letter of a writer, the Christian George Jordac confesses that: “I am still guilty in regards to analyzing the character of Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH), because if any writer, no matter how great and hard working, wishes to describe the characteristics and attributes of an ordinary person, he/she will not be able to pay its due; so how would that be if that person is Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH) or one like him?…”

(Selection taken from:” Masterpieces of Rhetoric Method (Nahj Al-Balaghah)”, by George Jordac, translated by Al-Ghadeer Center for Islamic studies, with minor changes)



1- This sermon that George Jordac is referring to is the 29th sermon in the precious book of Nahj al-Balaghah.

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