Justice and remembrance: introducing the spirituality of by Reza Shah-Kazemi

By Reza Shah-Kazemi

Ali b. Abi Talib--son-in-law and cousin of the prophet Muhammad, first Shi'i imam and fourth caliph--is a enormous determine in the Islamic culture. This ebook is the 1st severe engagement in English with the highbrow ideas underpinning his teachings. The booklet focuses fairly at the religious and moral content material of his teachings and evaluates Ali's "sacred perception of justice," whereas exploring the intimate connections among Ali's teachings and later Sufi doctrines.

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Justice and remembrance: introducing the spirituality of Imam Ali

Ali b. Abi Talib--son-in-law and cousin of the prophet Muhammad, first Shi'i imam and fourth caliph--is a enormous determine in the Islamic culture. This booklet is the 1st severe engagement in English with the highbrow ideas underpinning his teachings. The ebook focuses fairly at the religious and moral content material of his teachings and evaluates Ali's "sacred perception of justice," whereas exploring the intimate connections among Ali's teachings and later Sufi doctrines.

Extra resources for Justice and remembrance: introducing the spirituality of Imam Ali

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The Imam mysteriously takes one of his disciples Kumayl outside Kūfa to a graveyard, to impart the following private counsel. O Kumayl ibn Ziyād, truly these hearts are vessels and the best of them are those which hold the most. So retain from me that which I say to you. People are divided into three types: a lordly knower (ʿālim rabbānī); one who seeks knowledge (mutaʿallim) for the sake of deliverance; and the common folk (hamaj raʿāʿ) following just anyone, swaying with every current, not desiring to be illumined by the light of knowledge, nor seeking refuge from any strong support.

By drawing attention to the intellectual aspect of the ʿāqil’s motivation for being rid of vices, the Imam brings out more clearly the way in which immorality is rooted in ignorance. The uprooting of this ignorance, for the true 40 justice and remembrance intellectual, is thus tantamount to dissolving the very substance of the vices. ’94 In another saying, the Imam clarifies what the Prophet meant by defining the greatest jihād as that of the soul (al-nafs). It is not so much a question of fighting against the soul, but the battle for the soul itself.

Through them, knowledge penetrates the reality of insight. They rejoice in their intimacy with the spirit of certainty; they make easy what the extravagant find harsh; they befriend that by which the ignorant are estranged. With their bodies they keep company with the world, while their spirits are tied to the transcendent realm. They are the vicegerents of God on His earth, summoners to His religion. Ah! how I long to see them! 89 For our purposes here, it suffices to reflect upon the four sentences of the penultimate paragraph, where we are given the description of those who have the title of ‘lordly knower’ (ʿālim rabbānī), those who are fewest in number but greatest in the sight of God and through whom ‘His religion’ is sustained:—His religion, that is, the divine reality of religion, the pure essence of the faith, which is perfect and immutable, in contrast to ‘religion’ in the ordinary sense, the formal institutions of which are subject to human vicissitudes.

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