The talk about imam Ali (puh) is branched to many fields, for every field of virtues, he (puh) was the first to indulge himself into it, and what such few pages would do to talk about him and about his many virtues, and it is enough to be taken as a clue, the speech of Ibn Abbaas, the rabbi of this nation with his knowledge, and it is narrated that a man asked Ibn Abbaas and said: how many are the virtues of Ali ben Abi Taalib, and I think they are 3,000... Then said Ibn Abbaas: It is closer to 30,000 more than 3,000; and then he said: if trees were made into pens and the sea into an ink and humans and djinns were writers and calculators, they will never count the virtues of the prince of believers (puh).
But for the wisdom the says, what cannot be reached all, its partitions are not to be left, and who missed the abundance should take what is left over, we are here seeking to show some of the eloquence that the imam had, to be an introduction to read this book, which contains pearls and wonderful things from the adages of the imam, that stand as a clue for his long experience in this field.
And before speaking about the eloquence of the imam (puh), we must stop with eloquence and its definition, in language and in general.
Ibn Mandhoor defines eloquence as to be the purity of language, and adds in his speech about the eloquent man: the good speech is its purest, and reaches by the phrase of the tongue, the interior of what is in the heart.
Sheikh Al-Torayhi expands what Ibn Mandhoor said, and makes a condition for the eloquent speech on 3 terms: the correctness of the language, and a coincidence to the desired meaning, and truthfulness in the soul.
In general, it is obvious that the eloquent speech is the purity of the talk and its shortness, or what achieves the meaning in the closest way, and eloquence in the speech includes all the types of speeches, from speeches and prose and poetry and thoughts and sermons...etc.
And here we will encounter only the adages and the sermons, some of them which came in form of a poetry or as a prose, for both of them are one, for poetry in its shape and style, is not what charms the minds, but it is what it carries of eternal meanings.
The wise saying, is born from the experience and meditating and conclusion, and it is a phase that passed over the level of the childhood of the thought and its youth to the level of its old age; on the other hand, the sermons coincide with adages for they are the result of meditating and experimenting, but they are special because they are specialized for inviting people for the after-life and hating the finite life.
Eloquence of the imam; Adages as an Example
* The facts that affected his adages:
Maybe one of the most obvious things that affected the adages of the imam, is the religion of Islam, and mainly the book of Allah that was revealed, that is Quran. For Quran is the topmost in eloquence and purity in language, and it is enough as a clue for this, how the eloquent speakers of Arabs stood up surprised in front of the greatness of its own eloquence, while they are the great owners of literature and the giants of thought and eloquence.
Adding to that, the imam had a noble soul and did not accept to see the people under humiliation. These characters are encouraged by Islam, thus the imam (puh) went on starting from his own self and feeding his thought with the teachings of Islam, he went on to build a unique community depending on unique ideas that he (puh) explained in his adages and his speeches.
Types of adages and their subjects: the adages of imam Ali (puh) included the different fields of life, like religion, community, manners, sermons and politics.
And they are considered adages because they are general and applicable for every place and time, and the clue for this is, is how they persisted with time, as a live witness for how great is the imam.
Their characteristics and specialities: the adages of imam Ali (puh) are full with meanings of style and alive with the spirit of sincerity and belief, and alloyed in a block of stylized expression, so much that Abbaas Mahmood Al-Aqqaad [a modern writer and author] said in his book Abqariyatul-Imam (The Ingenuity of the Imam): They are (the adages) more eloquent in expression and has an abundance in beauty of the speech.
Testimonies About The Eloquence of the Imam:
- Abdul-Hameed Al-Kaatib said: I memorized seventy speeches from the speeches of the bald man, and they flooded me and flooded me again. [The bald man was a title used by the enemies of imam Ali (puh) as to mock at him].
- His eloquence even attracted his fierce enemy, Mo'awiyah, when he said, when Mahnaf ben Abi-Mahnaf said to him: I came to you from the sickest of people, and he answered him: Woe to you! how come he is the sickest of people! by Allah no one spread the eloquence for Quraish [the tribe of the prophet] except of him.
But after all the most truthful witness in all of that, is how these adages persisted all the time, despite the many enemies of the imam, no one dared to mention them with badness.
Ahmad Ali Dakheel