Praise be to Allah Who established Islam and made it easy for those who approach it and gave strength to its columns against anyone who tries to overpower it. So Allah made it (a source of) peace for whoever clings to it, safety for whoever enters it, argument for whoever speaks about it, witness for whoever fights with its help, light for whoever seeks light from it, understanding for whoever provides it, sagacity for whoever exerts, a sign (of guidance) for whoever perceives, sight for whoever resolves, lesson for whoever seeks advice, salvation for whoever testifies, confidence for whoever trusts, pleasure for whoever entrusts and a shield for whoever endures.
It is the brightest of all paths and the clearest of all passages. It has dignified minarets, bright highways, burning lamps, and prestigious fields of activity and high objectives. It has a collection of race horses. It is approached eagerly. Its riders are honorable. A testimony (to Allah, Prophet (s.a.), etc.) is its way, good deeds are its minarets, death is in extremity, this world is its race-course. The Day of Judgement is its horses and Paradise is its point of approach.
Islam is the religion which Allah has chosen for Himself, developed it before His eyes, preferred it as the best among His creations, established its pillars on His love. He has disgraced other religions by giving honor to it. He has humiliated all communities before its sublimity; He has humbled its enemies with His kindness and made its opponents lonely by according it His support. He has smashed the pillars of misguidance with its columns. He has quenched the thirst of the thirsty with its cisterns and filled the cisterns through those who draw its water.
He made Islam such that its constituent parts cannot break, its joins cannot separate, its structure cannot fall, its columns cannot decay, its plant cannot be uprooted, its time does not end, its laws do not expire, its twigs cannot be cut, its parts do not become narrow, its ease does not change into difficulty, its clarity is not affected by gloom, its straightness does not acquire curvature, its wood has no crookedness, its vast paths have no narrowness, its lamp knows no putting off and its sweetness has no bitterness.
It consists of columns whose bases Allah has fixed in truthfulness and whose foundation He has strengthened, and of sources the streams of which are ever full of water, of lamps the flames of which are full of light and of beacons with the help of which travellers get guidance and of signs through which a way is found to its highways and of watering places which provide water to those who come to them. Allah has placed in Islam the height of His pleasure, the pinnacle of His pillars and the prominence of His obedience. Before Allah, therefore, its columns stand strong, its structure is lofty, its proofs are bright, its fires are aflame, its authority is strong, its beacons are high and its destruction is difficult. You should, therefore, honor it, follow it, fulfil its obligations and accord the status due to it.
Muhammad’s distinction cannot be paralleled nor can his loss be made good. Populated places were brightened through him when previously there was dark misguidance, overpowering ignorance and rude habits and people regarded unlawful as lawful, humiliated the man of wisdom, passed lives when there were no prophets and died as unbelievers.
Allah knows the cries of the beasts in the forest, the sins of the people in seclusion, the movements of the fishes in the deep seas and the rising of the water by tempestuous winds. I testify that Muhammad (s.a,) is the choice of Allah, the conveyor of His revelation and the Messenger of His mercy.
You should not become landmarks of mischief and signs of innovations but should adhere to that on which the rope of the community has been wound and on which the pillars of obedience have been founded. Proceed towards Allah as oppressed and do not proceed to
Him as oppressors. Avoid the paths of Satan and the places of rebellion.
Do not put in your bellies unlawful morsels because you are facing the One Who has made disobedience unlawful for you and made the path of obedience easy for you. Worship and acquit yourselves of the obligation of obeying Him.
About the Functions of the Imams
O people! secure light from the flame of lamps of the preacher who follows what he preaches and draw water from the spring which has been cleaned of dirt.
O servants of Allah, do not rely on your ignorance. Do not be obedient to your desires because he who stays at this place is like one who stays on the brink of a bank undermined by water carrying ruin on his back from one portion to the other and following his opinion which he changes (one after the other). He wants to adhere what cannot adhere and
to bring together what cannot keep together. So fear Allah and do not place your complaints before him who cannot redress your grievance, nor undo with his opinion what has been made obligatory for you.
Certainly, there is no obligation on the Imam except what has been devolved on him from Allah, namely to convey warnings, to exert in good advice, to revive the Sunnah, to enforce penalties on those liable to them and to issue shares to the deserving. So hasten toward knowledge before its vegetation dries up and before you turn yourselves away from seeking knowledge from those who have it. Desist others from the unlawful and abstain from it yourself because you have been commanded to abstain (yourself) before abstaining (others).
About the Holy Prophet (s.a.)
The Prophet (s.a.) lit flames for the seeker and put bright signs for the impeded. So he is Your trustworthy trustee, Your witness on the Day of Judgement, Your deputy as a blessing and Your messenger of truth as mercy. May Allah distribute to him a share from Your Justice and award him multiples of good by Your bounty. May Allah heighten his construction over the construction of others, honor him when he comes to You, dignify his status before You, give him honorable status and award him glory and distinction and bring us out (on Day of Judgement) among his party, neither ashamed, nor repentant, nor deviators, nor pledge breakers, nor strayers, nor misleading others, nor seduced.
Sayyid ar-Radi says the following: “This sermon had already appeared earlier but we have repeated it here because of the difference between the two versions.
Sermons: 104, 105, 150, 196 of Imam Ali from Nahjul Balagha