Metaphysics in the Oratory Quotes of Nahj Al Balaghah: A Documentary Study

Feryal Abdollah Hodeb, Mohammad AlShraydah


This paper studies some of the oratory quotes in the book of Nahj Al Balaghah compiled by Al Sharif Al Radhi. These quotes center around one theme which proves that Ali Ben Abi Taleb possessed the virtue of knowing what is metaphysical.
These metaphysical quotes appeared in two tracks: The first track which was theoretical: had some declarations ascribed to Ali Ben Abi Taleb. These declarations emphasize his knowledge of what is metaphysical as well as the sources and the limits of the metaphysical world. The second was practical in which Ali made prophecies that predicted near and far future.
Because of the religious and theoretical significance of the discourse in these narrated quotes, the study attempts to analyze, scrutinize the exigencies of Nahj Al Balaghah to ascertain whether they conform with the historical and religious references that preceded them. The objective is to put these quotes in their right cultural perspective in accordance with the epoch they appeared in. The original documentary analysis came up with the following conclusions:
1. The trip of these quotes started in the fourth Hijri Century, which means that there is no mention of them in any historical reference preceding Nahj Al Balagha.
2. The quotes claimed that Ali received the virtue to predict what is metaphysical from Prophet Mohamad, God's blessing and peace be upon him. This study proves that the Prophet himself did not possess the power to know about what is metaphysical. Hence, how could he bestow something that he did not possess upon Ali or any other person?
3. These metaphysical quotes were not successful in drawing a positive image of Ali as a knower of what is metaphysical as they claimed. On the contrary, they presented him as someone who claims knowledge, but does not know how to deal with it with any responsibility or ability.
4. The prophecies ascribed to Ali were discriminatory for they take a stand against Bani Ummayah clan who were presented as criminals, killed the Shiite of Ali, and foreshadowed their tragic fall later by the Abbassids.
5. The prophecies were restricted to the epoch when Ali lived and did not go beyond the third Hijri Century. Moreover, they did not extend in their content to any period of time after the death of their compiler in 406 H.
The study finds that ascribing the virtue of prophecies to Ali was part of some late argumentation about the prophet's disciples (sahabah), and their virtues. However, these quotes have no connection to their virtual era.


Metaphysics, Nahj Al-Balaghah

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