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Sayings, sermons and teachings of Imam Ali

24th Nov 2017
Sayings, sermons and teachings of Imam Ali

A Treasury of Virtues. Sayings, Sermons, and Teachings of Ali, with the One Hundred Proverbs, attributed to al-Jahiz. By al-Qadi al-Quda’i. Edited and Translated by Tahera Qutbuddin. New York University Press. New York. 2013. Pp 306 Paperback. $24

A Treasury of Virtues is a collection by the Fatimid Shafiʿi judge al-Qudaʿi (d. 454 H/1062 CE) of sayings, sermons, and teachings attributed to ʿAli ibn Abi Talib (d. 40 H/661 CE).

‘Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, the first Shi’a Imam and the fourth Sunni Caliph. An acknowledged master of Arabic eloquence and a sage of Islamic wisdom, Ali was renowned for his words, which were collected, quoted, and studied over the centuries, and extensively anthologized, excerpted, and interpreted.

Of the many compilations of ʿAli’s words, A Treasury of Virtues arguably possesses the broadest compass of genres and the largest variety of themes. Included are aphorisms, proverbs, sermons, speeches, homilies, prayers, letters, dialogues and verse, all of which provide instruction on how to be a morally upstanding human being.

Over the centuries, ‘Ali’s sermons, sayings, and teachings were avidly and assiduously collected, quoted, and studied, and extensively anthologized, excepted, and interpreted. There are in fact tens of collections, in thousands of pages, of ‘Ali’s compiled words.  (p xiii).

The shorter compilation included here, One Hundred Proverbs is attributed to the eminent writer al-Jahiz (d. 255 H/869 CE).

This volume presents a new critical edition of the Arabic based on several original manuscripts, the first English translation of both these important collections, and an extended introduction.

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