Nahj al-Balagha

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Peak of Eloquence

The Nahj al-Balagha (Arabic: نهج البلاغةNahj-ul Balāgha(h), Arabic pronunciation: ['nahdʒul bəˈlæːɣə]; "The Peak of Eloquence") is a collection of sermons, letters, tafsirs and narrations attributed to Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. It was collected by Sharif Razi, a Shi'i scholar in the tenth century[1]


Nahj al Balagha is a collection of 241 sermons, 79 letters, and 489 utterances. As per each new publishing versus past volumes, the number of sermons, letters and utterances has varied from 238 to 241, 77 to 79, and 463 to 489, respectively[citation needed].

The book narrates from Ali on a wide variety of topics including metaphysics, theology, fiqh, tafsir, hadith, prophetology, imamate, ethics, social philosophy, history, politics, administration, civics, science, rhetoric, poetry, the creation of the World, the creation of Adam, end of the Universe and the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi.


Nahj al-Balagha was compiled by tenth century scholar Sharif Razi, over 300 years after Ali. Until then the sermons had been transmitted orally between the generations and the wording was therefore open to change and misinterpretation. There is no chain of narration. The last few pages were left empty, Sharif Razi says in case he came across new Sermons; highlighting that Sharif Razi wrote down anything he came across. Sharif Razi did not follow the same level of scrutiny as followed by Hadith collectors therefore Nahj al-Balagha was not regarded as Sahih (authentic or correct) to the level of the Hadith collections. Eventhough Shi‘a consider it to be authentic.[2]

Several scholars have sought to trace back the sources of different utterances and letters collected in Nahj al-balaghah to the works compiled centuries before the birth of Sharif Razi. According to one Shi‘i source,[3] the first person to raise doubts about its attribution to Ali was Ibn Khallikan. However the most in depth research to date has been carried out by an Indian Sunni scholar Imtiyaz Ali Arshi,[4] who died in 1981. He succeeded in tracing back the early sources of 106 sermons, 37 letters and 79 dispersed sayings of Ali ibn Abi Talib in his book Istinad-e Nahj al-balaghah, originally written in Urdu, subsequently translated into Arabic in 1957, then into English and Persian.[5]

Besides this work, some other scholarly works such as Abd al-Zahra al-Husayni al-Khatib's Masadir Nahj al-balaghah,[6] Hibat al-Din al-Hussaini al-Shahristani's Ma huwa Nahj al-balaghah, Sayyid Ali al-Naqawi al-Nasirabadi's introduction to the Urdu translation of Nahj al-balaghah by Mufti Jafar Husayn, and al-Mujam al-mufahras li alfaz Nahj al-balaghah, a joint work of al-Sayyid Kazim al-Muhammadi and al-Shaykh Muhammad Dashti question the authenticity of the book. Sayyid Mohammad Askari Jafery and Sayyid Ali Reza also dealt with the issue of basic sources of Nahj al-balaghah in their prefaces to their separate translations of the book into English.[2]

Translations of Nahj al-Balagha[edit]


  • English Translation of Nahj al-Balaghah
  • Nahj al-Balaghah / Peak of Eloquence. 3rd ed. Trans. Sayed ‘Ali Reza. Elmhurst: Tahrike Tarsile, 1984.
  • Nahj al-Balaghah. Ed. Muhyi al-Din ‘Abd al-Hamid with commentary from al-Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh. 3 vols. al-Qahirah: Matba‘at al-Istiqamah, n.d.


  • La voie de l’éloquence. Ed. Sayyid ‘Attia Abul Naga. Trans. Samih ‘Atef El Zein et al. 2nd ed. Qum: Ansariyan, n.d


  • Pfad der Eloquenz (in zwei Bänden). Trans. Fatima Özoguz. Bremen: Eslamica, 2007.


  • Nahdż al-Balagha. Trans. Sheikh Arkadiusz Miernik. Al-Mahdi Institute, 2012.


  • Nahj al-balagha / Calea vorbirii alese. Trans. George Grigore. Cluj-Napoca: Kriterion, 2008.


  • Путь красноречия (Put' krasnorechiya). Trans. Abdulkarim Taras Cherniyenko. Moscow: Восточная литература (Vostochnaya literatura), 2008.


  • La cumbre de la elocuencia. Trans. Mohammed ‘Alí Anzaldúa-Morales. Elmhurst: Tahrike Tarsile, 1988.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nahj Al Balagha". Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "Sources of Nahjul Balagha". Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  3. ^ "The Glimpses of Nahj al Balaghah Part I - Introduction". 1975-01-15. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  4. ^ fa:امتیاز علیخان عرشی
  5. ^ `Arshi, Imtiyaz `Ali Khan. "Istinad-e Nahj al-balaghah". Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  6. ^ al-Husayni al-Khatib, `Abd al-Zahra'. "Masadir Nahj al-Balagha wa asaniduh". Retrieved 1 March 2013. 

External links[edit]