ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib

The Behavior of The Seeker of Knowledge

It is reported that ʿAlī – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

When you learn knowledge, preserve it, and do not mix it with laughter and falsehood, such that the hearts refuse (dislike) it.

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Jāmiʿ li-Akhlāq Al-Rāwī wa Ādāb Al-Sāmiʿ 1:232

It is reported that Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is upon whoever seeks knowledge to have a solemn, dignified demeanour, fearful [of Allāh]; and to follow in the footsteps of those who went before him.

ibid.

ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān b. Mahdī reports:

A man laughed in [the circle of] Hishām Al-Dustawāʾī, so Hishām said to him, “Young man! You seek knowledge laughing?” He replied, “Is it not Allāh who makes [us] laugh and cry (as stated in the Qurʾān)?” So Hishām replied, “Then go and cry.”

Op. cit. 233

Ismāʿīl b. Yaḥyā reports:

Sufyān once saw me joking with a man from Banī Shaybah at the House (Kaʿbah). I laughed, so he said to me, “You laugh here? A man used to hear a single ḥadīth and its demeanour and guidance would be seen on him for three days.”

Op. cit. 234

Never Give Up Re­pent­ing

It is reported that a man came to ʿAlī – Allāh be pleased with him – and asked, What do you think about a man who committed a sin? He replied, He must seek Allāh’s forgiveness and repent to Him. [The man] said, He did that, but then sinned again? [ʿAlī] said, He must seek Allāh’s forgiveness and repent to Him. The man again said, He did that, but returned to sin. [ʿAlī] said, He must seek Allāh’s forgiveness and repent to Him. The man said for the fourth time, He did, but then sinned again. ʿAlī then said, Until when? Then he said, He must seek Allāh’s forgiveness and repent to Him; and not give up until it is Shayṭān who is defeated [overcome].

Hunād b. Al-Sarī, Kitāb Al-Zuhd article 910

Filthy Silk

It is reported that a shaykh (older man) once came and greeted ‘Alī – Allāh be pleased with him, wearing a cloak decorated with silk at the front. He said to the man, What is this filth under your beard? The man looked around and said, I do not see anything. Another man said, He means the silk embroidery. The shaykh said, In that case, we will throw it away and never wear [such a thing] again.

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf article 25187

Refusing Good Treatment

A cushion was once passed to ‘Alī – Allāh be pleased with him, upon which he sat, and said, None but a donkey refuses good treatment (honour/respect).

Sa’īd b. Manṣūr, Al-Sunan. See Al-Albānī, Al-Ḍa’īfah 12:465, where he graded the chain of narration ṣaḥīḥ.

Beyond Words

It is reported that ‘Alī b. Abī Tālib – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Mention what you will of the greatness of Allāh, but Allāh is greater than anything you say. And mention what you will of the Fire, but it is more severe than anything you say. And mention what you will of Paradise, but it is better than anything you say.

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir Al-‘Ilm article 853.