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.Al-Mahdi Institute of Islamic Studies

289 SAYINGS OF
IMAM 'ALI (AS)

Translated by HI Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain assisted by 
  Shaykh Mahmood Dhala and Sayed Sami' Razavi.

I. He said to his son al-Hasan (peace be with them both) 0 son, learn about four things and so long as you act in accordance with what you learn harm from these will not come to you. The richest wealth is intellect.  The greatest poverty is foolishness. The biggest damnation is due to vanity. The noblest descent is through the excellence of morals. 0 son, be wary of befriending a foolish man for although wanting to give you benefit he will cause you harm.  Refrain from befriending a miser for he will distance himself from you at the time of your need.  Do not befriend a libertine for he will sell you for a petty sum. Do not befriend a liar for he is like a mirage that causes that which is distant to appear close and that which is near distant.

II. The doer of good is better than it and the doer of evil is worse than it.

III. Be magnanimous but not a profligate; appraise but be not a miser.

IV. Proximity to Allah cannot be gained through voluntary devotion if they falter with obligations.

V. The words of a wise man are behind his heart while the heart of a fool is behind his words.

VI. The most illustrious wealth is the abandoning of [false] hope.

VII. He who is swift in doing to the people that which they dislike is talked about by them in accordance with their imagination.

VIII. An evil deed, which causes repentance, is better in the sight of Allah than a noble deed that brings about conceit.

IX. He who entertains lengthy hopes does so by sacrificing the performance of good.

X. The worth of a man is in accordance with his resolve, his veracity is in accordance with his sense of honour, his bravery is in accordance with his sense of pride and his chastity is in accordance with his self-respect.

XI. Be cautious of the tyranny of a generous man as he starves and of a depraved man as he satiates

XII. The one most worthy to pardon the transgressions of others is the one most capable of giving retribution

XIII. No wealth is greater than intellect, no poverty worse than ignorance, no inheritance better than good morals and no aide such as consultation

XIV. Perseverance is of two types, perseverance with that which is disliked and perseverance from that which is liked

XV. Wealth and needlessness in a land away from home makes it home while poverty in the homeland make it separation from home

XVI. Possession is the source of desires

XVII. He who cautions you is like the one who gives good tidings

XVIII. Lose of friends is separation from ones homeland

XIX. Do not shy away from giving little for deprivation is less than it

XX. Continence is the adornment of poverty

XXI. You will not find an ignorant man save he is wasteful and excessive

XXII. As intellect becomes more complete words become fewer

XXIII. One who places himself as a leader for people should begin with educating his own self before others and his training of others should be through his conduct before his tongue. A teacher and an instructor of his self is more worthy of exaltation than one who is a teacher and an instructor of others

XXIV. The breaths of a man are steps towards his death

XXV. Everything reckoned is something decreased and everything anticipated is sure to come

XXVI. Wisdom is the possession of a believer, take it even from the non-believer

XXVII. The worth of every man is in what beautifies him

XXVIII. Retain a report through thorough comprehension of it not mere retention of transmitting it, for transmitters of knowledge are many while those who understand it are few

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