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Islam / Shi'i /
Nahj al-Balagha
Arabic: nahj 'al-balāgha
Other spellings: Nahj ul-Balagha; Nahjul Balagha

In Shi'i Islam, a collection of sermons and letters by Ali, the 1st imam of Shi'i Islam. It represents by far the most important extra-Koranical text in Shi'i Islam, but it is not necessarily considered part of the hadith main body.
'Nahj' is Arabic for 'road or method'; balagha means 'eloquent'. It is usually translated as 'Heighth of Eloquence'. It was collected by Sharif ar-Radi (970-1015).
It consists of about 240 sermons, between 77 and 79 letters and about 480 sayings, all by Ali. The method of collecting the Nahj al-Balagha differs from that of the hadith collections, especially those of Sunni Islam. Sharif ar-Radi edited the available material, omitting portions with lesser literary value. He has not included isnads for the different text pieces. Modern Shi'i scholars have, however, claimed to have reconstructed the isnads.
Muhammad Abduh, Egypt's mufti 1899-1905, and a Sunni, came to think highly of the Nahj al-Balagha, seeing to it that it was published for Egypt's Sunni population. Yet, many Sunni scholars have questioned the authenticity of the Nahj al-Balagha.
Below is sample of the text from the Nahj al-Balagha.
Sermon 20: Death and taking lessons from it
If you could see what has been seen by those of you who have died, you would be puzzled and troubled. Then you would have listened and obeyed; but what they have seen is yet curtained off from you. Shortly, the curtain will be thrown off. You have been shown, provided you see, and you have been made to listen, provided you listen, and you have been guided, if you accept guidance. I spoke unto you with truth. You have been called aloud by (instructive) examples and warned through items full of warnings. After the heavenly messengers (angels), only man can convey a message from Allah. (So what I am conveying is from Allah).

By Tore Kjeilen