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Nahjul Balagha: Peak of Eloquence [Paperback]

Ali Ibn Abu Talib , S.A. Reza
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1985
The Prophet Muhammad referred to his eloquent son-in-law Ali as the “gate to the city of knowledge.” Peak of Eloquence, Nahjul Balagha, is both a compilation of Ali’s sermons, letters, and sayings and a glimpse into his personality. Compiled by Sayyid al-Sharif ar-Radi more than 1,000 years ago, it is considered a literary masterpiece and, by the Shia Muslims, the most valuable text after the Holy Qur’an.


Product details

  • Paperback: 1013 pages
  • Publisher: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an Inc.,U.S.; 4th Revised edition edition (Dec 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940368420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940368422
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 742,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life, Humanity and Science. 30 Aug 2003
By kevin
Format:Paperback
Nahjul Balagha - Peak of Eloquence ....Each time I read this wonderful book which contains the sermons, letters and sayings of a Master Thinker, I am left in wonder and enlightenment. This book should be a best seller but sadly remains an undiscovered gem despite western thinkers rating it highly. If you ever asked questions such as 'Why am I here', 'How did it all begin', 'Is there a God', 'Does science have a role in religion' this book should be read. Indeed it gives much more and is not only a read for the religious but also those who are humanitarian at heart for it overflows with love, peace and the rights of humanity. It is a literary masterpiece too, yet is so easy to read. To me it unmasks the real Islam as well as the vibrancy of life, hope, wisdom and knowledge. It contains philosophy and even prophecies yet at the same time also an understanding of science which is unmatched. Full of humanity and care it comes highly recommended by the likes of Bernard Shaw, Thomas Carlyle who wrote Heroes (And Hero-Worship. Page 77, 1968 edition):- "NAHJUL BALAGHA" As for this young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble-minded creature, as he shows himself, now and always afterwards; full of affection, of fiery daring. Something chivalrous in him: brave as lion; yet with a grace, a truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood.
The contents are fed to the reader with the love and simplicity with which an indulgent mother instructs her only child. Once opened this book will compel you to revisit it time and again! PRICELESS! The Tarike Tarsile published edition contains useful introduction, notes and commentry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent contribution to Islamic studies 30 Aug 2008
By Gogol VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I must say first that the lack of a corresponding Arabic text to this book is a great disadvantage. I happen to have an Arabic edition of this book and it is a pain to look to compare from 2 different books it so it must be extremely frustrating to not have access to the original text at all.

The translator does draw a line below which he makes comment on the text that he has translated so it is fairly easy to distinguish the text from commentary. The pages do however, overlap at times which can cause some confusion when reading.

There are numerous typos and some of the style of translation may be slightly heavy and at parts confusing to the Western reader I would imagine first because of the problems with translating Arabic to English and second English not being the translators 1st language.

This book has been translated from the Shia point of view so it is possible that Sunni Muslims may be offended by some of the comments of the text and commentary I would however point out to those who are offended that this is a historical and important text of Islamic history that many Sunni Muslims have written commentaries on (my copy has text by Muhammad Abduh)

I would recommend this book to the serious student of Islamic history, it would be an excellent study tool along side the 4 volume translation of ibn Kathir's life of the Prophet, Tabari's history book and the Tabaqat of ibn Sa'd (in spite of its questionable translation)

I look forward to the history book of ibn al-Athir being translated into English and ibn Khallikan's book being more easily available in the mean time, it would be well worth picking this book up and if possible, an Arabic copy as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indescribable! 27 July 2011
Format:Paperback
This book is excellent if you would like to learn more about Ali Ibn Abu Talib (a.s) and increase your Islamic knowledge on death and remembrance of Allah swt. It makes you see the world differently. Perfect. Some sermons are explained in greater detail with commentaries on the history behind it. However, I find it very difficult sometimes to understand the English used when translated from Arabic as much of the depth of meaning in the words are lost. Some sermons need to be read more than one time to understand it properly. It also contains Shia ideology and may offend some Sunni brothers/sisters. However, everything is backed up with sources and hadiths which does prove its points very clearly.

This book not only provides you with some history but the normes and values of older generations which could be of good benefit. Islamically, we could see the difference between lifestyle, attitudes, behaviour and language used now and then. The sermons are very interesting and I always feel enlightened. Amazingly, it is very useful after 1400 years. I would recommend this to any muslim, whether Sunni or Shiite, as the sermons are not biased but extraordinarily breathtaking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonder of Eloquence 15 Jan 2013
By Shawkat
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An wonderful book, not explored by many but amazed many people who read it.
Really great, the more I read- I find the Eloquence is really great.
I really suggest readers to read and explore a new world of Knowledge.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars second to none but the Quran 8 Oct 2002
By "seyed_abdullah" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
mohammed PBH called himself the city of knowledge, and ali AS its GATES. "whosoever wishes to enter the city, should enter through its gates".
this book is a window to the mind that was the "gate" of the city of knowledge. a must read not only for muslims, but those who search the meaning of life and wisdom.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 6 Oct 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Whether you are a Sunni or a Shia, or whether you believe every word here to have been spoken by Hadrat Ali or not, it is undeniable that this collection of speeches and letters is saturated with widsom- which, according to a proverb found in this book, is the same no matter its source. The major themes running throughout these sermons are the deadly mirages and shortness of the present life compared to the infinite worth of the hereafter, the major need to work for it, and discourses about God, particularly His astonishing power as manifested through astonishing creations such as the peacock, locusts, bats... Other notable material included two touching prayers for rain, and a portrayal of the luminous qualities of a sober, self-fulfilled believer. The style throughout is highly eloquent and often philosophic, yet also extremely clear. There was also included a instructions to a governor for an ideal government which in their fairness, tolerance, and mercy could well be a guide for any Muslim nation today. I would recommend this book, particularly to non-Muslims who find it hard to believe that a volume of this size could be entirely about Islam, and yet with barely any reference to rules or regulations.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove of knowledge! 7 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is one of the greatest literary masterpieces ever. From the details of the creation of the Universe to the day to day advice given by Imam Ali(A.S.), this book is a must read.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent source, rather deficient presentation 9 Sep 2007
By xul - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a moot matter to criticise Shi'a translators for their one-sidedness when, as far as one can see from the internet, no translation of Nahjul Balagha in any European language exists from Sunni scholars, although both Sunni and Shi'a recognise the legitimacy of Ali ibn Abi Talib, may G'd be pleased with him, and the excellence of his discourse.

If Sunni muslim scholars differ with the views expressed in the comments, may they publish a better translation with better commentary, striving with their Shi'a brethren in good work!

Concerning the underlying source, one would have to attribute an indefinite number of stars. The 3 star qualification results from the deficient qualities of the book as such. Except from the text quoted from Hadrat Ali, the typeface is simply too small or even much too small for anyone other than those with excellent vision. For those readers over 45 or so, not even reading glasses suffice, a magnifying glass is required to read the smallest type.

Nearly every page contains spelling and / or syntax errors in English. Scanning the text and running it through syntax and spell checking programmes is a must.

Some doubts may be entertained concerning the inner qualifications of the translators. For example, Hadrat Ali is translated as having said that G'd does not come from "non-existence". What Arabic word is "non-existence" supposed to translate? Ex-istence comes from Latin ex-stare, meaning outside or out of being. The opposite would be "in-istence". In this and similar cases, the translators would be well advised to put the transliterated Arabic word in brackets after the English, as one often sees in scholarly works. This lowers the risk of misunderstanding.

Lastly, the translators inadequately convey the eloquence of Hadrat Ali's Arabic into their translation, although this is admittedly difficult. To compensate, they might add an introductory chapter explaining and illustrating why Hadrat Ali's use of Arabic is considered, after the Noble Qur"an, to be the epitome of eloquence.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord of the Sufis 17 Mar 2001
By Z - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
No wonder why he is called "Lord of the Sufis". Hazrat Ali, Amir al-moemenin,(Commander and Lord of those who have faith) peace be upon him, can not be described in words. It is said that the light of God in his heart was so expansive, that he once looked to the Sun and said, "For forty years you have not surpassed me." He is the first example of a true student, who demonstrated the truth of following in the footsteps of the Prophets (meaning all of the Prophets without the exclusion of the last and the wisest,) upon them be peace. And along side with him walked another true student, Salman-e Farsi who had spent his life first as a devout Zoroastrian, who then became a christian and spent all his time studying scriptures and the words of Jesus, peace be upon him, untill he began to look for the one of whose coming Jesus spoke of, prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him. One wonders, why are true examples so rarely understood, and so often misunderstood? Are we really in search of the same truth that they endeavored to find? Read and find out; these are amongst the Topics addressed in this book.
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