This sermon is called the al-Gharra' and it
is one of the most wonderful sermons of Amir al-mu'minin.
Praise be to Allah who is High above all else, and is Near (the creation)
through His bounty. He is the Giver of all reward and distinction, and
Dispeller of all calamities and hardships. I praise Him for His continuous
mercy and His copious bounties.
believe in Him as He is the First of all and He is Manifest. I seek
guidance from Him as He is Near and is the Guide. I seek His succour as He
is Mighty and Subduer.
depend upon Him as He is Sufficer and Supporter. And I stand witness that
Muhammad (blessing of Allah be on him and his progeny) is His slave and
sent him for enforcement of His commands, for exhausting His pleas and for
presenting warnings (against eternal punishment).
Enjoining people to Piety
creatures of Allah I advise you to have fear of Allah Who has furnished
illustrations and Who has timed for you your lives. He has given you
covering of dress(1)
and He has scattered for you livelihood. He has surrounded you with His
knowledge. He has ordained rewards. He has bestowed upon you vast bounties
and extensive gifts. He has warned you through far reaching arguments, and
He has counted you by numbers. He has fixed for you ages (to live) in this
place of test and house of instruction.
are on test in this world and have to render account about it.
Caution against this world
Certainly this world is a dirty watering place and a muddy source of
appearance is attractive and its inside is destructive. It is a deception,
a vanishing reflection and a bent pillar. When its despiser begins to like
it and he who is not acquainted with it feels satisfied with it, then it
raises and puts down its feet (in joy), entraps him in its trap, makes him
the target of its arrows and puts round his neck the rope of death taking
him to the narrow grave and fearful abode in order to show him his place
of stay and the recompense of his acts. This goes on from generation to
generation. Neither death stops from cutting them asunder nor do the
survivors keep aloof from committing of sins.
Death and Resurrection
are emulating each other and proceeding in groups towards the final
objective and the rendezvous of death, till when matters come to a close,
the world dies and resurrection draws near. Allah(2)
would take them out from the corners of the graves, the nests of birds.
the dens of beasts and the centres of death. They hasten towards Him
command and run towards the place fixed for their final return group by
group, quiet, standing and arrayed in rows. They will be within Allah's
sight and will hear every one who would call them.
would be having the dress of helplessness and covering of submission and
indignity. (At this time) contrivances would disappear, desires would be
cut, hearts would sink quietly, voices would be curbed down, sweat would
choke the throat, fear would increase and ears would resound with the
thundering voice of the announcer calling towards the final judgement,
award of recompense, striking of punishment and paying of reward.
The limitations of life
People have been created as a proof of (His) power, have been brought up
with authority, they are made to die through pangs, and placed in graves
where they turn into crumbs. Then they would be resurrected one by one,
awarded their recompense and would have to account for their actions, each
one separately. They had been allowed time to seek deliverance, had been
shown the right path and had been allowed to live and seek favours, the
darkness of doubts had been removed, and they had been let free in this
period of life as a training place in order to make preparation for the
race on the Day of Judgement, to search for the objective with
thoughtfulness, to get time necessary to secure benefits and provide for
the next place of stay.
No happiness without Piety
appropriate are these illustrations and effective admonitions provided
they are received by pure hearts, open ears, firm views and sharp wits.
Fear Allah like him who listened (good advice) and bowed before it, when
he committed sin he admitted it, when he felt fear he acted virtuously,
when he apprehended he hastened (towards good acts), when he believed he
performed virtuous acts, when he was asked to take lesson (from the
happenings of this world) he did take the lesson, when he was asked to
desist he abstained (from evil), when he responded to the call (of Allah)
he leaned (towards him), when he turned back (to evil) he repented, when
he followed he almost imitated and when he was shown (the right path) he
a man was busy in search of truth and got rid (of the worldly evils) by
running away. He collected provision (of good acts) for himself, purified
his inner self, built for the next world, and took with himself provision
for the day of his departure, keeping in view his journey, his requirement
and the position of his need. He sent ahead of him for the abode of his
stay (in the next world). O' creatures of Allah, fear Allah keeping in
view the reason why He created you and be afraid of Him to the extent He
has advised you to do. Make yourself deserve what He has promised you, by
having confidence in the truth of His promise and entertaining fear for
the Day of Judgement.
A part of the same sermon
Reminding people of Allah's bounties
has made for you ears to preserve what is important, eyes to have sight in
place of blindness and limbs which consist of many (smaller) parts, whose
curves are in proportion with the moulding of their shapes and lengths of
their ages, and also bodies that are sustaining themselves and hearts that
are busy in search of their food, besides other big bounties, obliging
bestowings and fortresses of safety. He has fixed for you ages that are
not known to you. He has retained for you remains of the past people for
your instruction. Those people enjoyed themselves fully and were
overtook them before (satisfaction of) their desires, from which the hands
of death separated them. They did not provide for themselves during health
of their bodies, and did not take lesson during their youth.
these people who are in youth waiting for the backbending old age, and
those enjoying fresh health waiting for ailments, and these living persons
looking for the hour of death? When the hour of departure would be close
and the journey at hand, with pangs of grief and trouble, suffering of
sorrows and suffocation of saliva, and the time would arrive for calling
relations and friends for help and changing sides on the bed.
then the near ones stop death, or the mourning women do any good? He would
rather be left alone in the graveyard confined to the narrow corner of his
skin has been pierced all over by reptiles, and his freshness has been
destroyed by these tribulations. Storms have removed his traces and
calamities have obliterated even his signs. Fresh bodies have turned thin
and withered and bones have become rotten. The spirits are burdened with
the weight of sins and have become conscious of the unknown things. But
now neither the good acts can be added to nor evil acts can be atoned for
you not sons, fathers, brothers and relations of these dead and are not to
follow their footsteps and pass by their paths? But hearts are still
unmoved, heedless of guidance and moving on wrong lines, as though the
addressee is someone else, and as though the correct way is to amass
Preparation for the Day of Judgement
know that you have to pass over the pathway (of sirat) where steps waver,
feet slip away and there are fearful dangers at every step. O' creatures
of Allah, fear Allah, like the fearing of wise man whom the thought (of
next world) has turned away from other matters, fear (of Allah) has
afflicted his body with trouble and pain, his engagement in the night
prayer has turned even his short sleep into awakening, hope (of eternal
recompense) keeps him thirsty in the day, abstention has curbed his
desires, and remembrance of Allah is ever moving his tongue.
entertains fear before dangers. He avoids uneven ways in favour of clear
ones. He follows the shortest route to secure his purpose, wishfulness
does not twist his thinking and ambiguities do not blind his eyes. He
enjoys deep sleep and passes his day happily because of the happiness of
good tidings and pleasure of (eternal bounties).
passes the pathway of this world in praiseworthy manner. He reaches the
next world with virtues. He hastens (towards virtue) out of fear (for
vice). He moves briskly during the short time (of life in this world). He
devotes himself in seeking (eternal good), he runs away from evil. During
today he is mindful of tomorrow, and keeps the future in his view.
Certainly Paradise is the best reward and achievement, which hell is
appropriate punishment and suffering. Allah is the best Avenger and Helper
and the Qur'an is the best argument and confronter.
Warning against Satan
enjoin upon you fear of Allah Who has left no excuse against what He has
warned, has exhausted argument (of guidance) about the (right) path He has
shown. He has warned you of the enemy that steals into hearts and
stealthily speaks into ears, and thereby misguides and brings about
destruction, makes (false) promises and keeps under wrong impression, he
represents evil sins in attractive shape, and shows as light even serious
crimes. When he has deceived his comrades and exhausted the pledge he
begins to find fault with what he presented as good, and considers serious
what he had shown as light, and threatens from what he had shown as safe.
Part of the same sermon dealing with creation of man
look at man whom Allah has created in the dark wombs and layers of
curtains from what was overflowing semen, then shapeless clot, then
embryo, then suckling infant, then child and then fully grown up young
man. Then He gave him heart with memory, tongue to talk and eye to see
with, in order that he may take lesson (from whatever is around him) and
understand it and follow the admonition and abstain from evil.
he attained the normal growth and his structure gained its average
development he fell in self-conceit and got perplexed. He drew bucketfuls
of his desires, got immersed in fulfilling his wishes for pleasures of the
world and his (sordid) aims. He did not fear any evil nor got frightened
of any apprehension. He died infatuated with his vices. He spent his short
life in rubbish pursuits.
earned no reward nor did he fulfil any obligation. Fatal illness overtook
him while he was still in his enjoyments and perplexed him. He passed the
night in wakefulness in the hardships of grief and pricking of pains and
ailments in the presence of real brother, loving father, wailing mother,
crying sister, while he himself was under maddening uneasiness, serious
senselessness, fearful cries, suffocating pains, anguish of suffocating
sufferings and the pangs of death.
Thereafter he was clad in the shroud while he remained quiet and
thoroughly submissive to others. Then he was placed on planks in such a
state that he had been down-trodden by hardships and thinned by ailments.
The crowd of young men and helping brothers carried him to his house of
loneliness where all connections of visitors are severed. Thereafter those
who accompanied him went away and those who were wailing for him returned
and then he was made to sit in his grave for terrifying questioning and
great calamity of that place is the hot water and entry into Hell, flames
of eternal Fire and intensity of blazes. There is no resting period, no
gap for ease, no power to intervene, no death to bring about solace and no
sleep to make him forget pain. He rather lies under several kinds of
deaths and moment-to-moment punishment. We seek refuge with Allah.
The lesson to be learnt from those who have passed away
creatures of Allah! where are those who were allowed (long) ages to live
and they enjoyed bounty. They were taught and they learnt; they were given
time and they passed it in vain; they were kept healthy and they forgot
(their duty). They were allowed long period (of life), were handsomely
provided, were warned of grievous punishment and were promised big
rewards. You should avoid sins that lead to destruction and vices that
attract wrath (of Allah).
people who possess eyes and ears and health and wealth! Is there any place
of protection, any shelter of safety, or asylum or haven, or occasion to
run away or to come back (to this world)? If not, "how are you then turned
away" (Qur'an, 6:95; 10:34; 35:3; 40:62) and wither are you averting? By
what things have you been deceived? Certainly, the share of every one of
you from this earth is just a piece of land equal to his own stature and
size where he would lie on his cheeks covered with dust. The present is an
opportune moment for acting.
creatures of Allah, since the neck is free from the loop, and spirit is
also unfettered, now you have time for seeking guidance: you are in ease
of body; you can assemble in crowds, the rest of life is before you; you
have opportunity of acting by will; there is opportunity for repentance,
and peaceful circumstances. (But you should act) before you are overtaken
by narrow circumstances and distress, or fear and weakness, before the
approach of the awaited death and before seizure by the Almighty, the
as-Sayyid ar-Radi says: It is related that when Amir al-mu'minin delivered
this sermon people began to tremble, tears flowed from their eyes and
their hearts were frightened. Some people call this sermon the Brilliant
(1). Allah has furnished every creature with natural
dress, which is the means of protecting it from cold and heat. Thus, some
animals are covered in feathers and some carry apparels of wool on their
bodies. But the high degree of intelligence of man and the quality of
shame and modesty in him demands distinction from other creatures.
Consequently, to maintain this distinction he has been taught the ways of
covering his body. It was this natural impulse that when Adam was made to
give up his dress he began to cover his body with leaves. The Qur'an says:
when they tested (of) the tree their shameful things got displayed unto
them and they began covering themselves with leaves of the garden ...
was the punishment awarded for his committing what was better for him to
omit. When removal of dress is punishment its putting on would be a
favour, and since this is peculiar to man it has been particularly
(2). The intention is that Allah
would resurrect all the dead, even though they had been eaten by beasts
and been merged in their bodies. Its aim is to refute the view of the
philosophers who hold that the resurrection of the non-existent is
impossible and who do not therefore believe in the physical resurrection.
Their argument briefly is that a thing which has lost existence by death
cannot return to life.
Consequently, after the destruction of this world the return of any of its
beings to life is out of question. But this belief is not correct because
dispersal of the parts does not mean its non-existence, so as to say that
putting these parts together again would involve resurrection of the
the other hand separated and dispersed parts continue to exist in some
form or the other. Of course, in this connection this objection has some
force that when every person is to be resurrected in his own form, then in
case one person has eaten the other, then in such a case it would be
impossible to resurrect either of them with his own constituent parts,
since this would involve creating deficiency of parts in that who had
eaten the other.
this metaphysicians have replied that in everybody there are some
constituents which are essential and others which are non-essential. The
essential constituents remain constant from the beginning till end of life
and suffer no change or alteration, and resurrection with regard to such
constituents would not create any deficiency in the man who ate the other.