Ali ibn abi Talib, son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet, first Shi'i Imam and fourth caliph of the naxcent Islamic community, was described by the Prophet as the "gate" to ghe city of knowledge. Indeed, Ali is arguably the single most important spiritual and intellectual authority in Islam after the Prophet himself: To speak of Ali is to speak of the quintessential spirituality of Islam.
Despite his immense importance in the elaboration of the intellectual, ethical, spiritual, legal and political traditions of Islam, there is a lamentable dearth of literature in Western languages on his life and thought. This work, the first in Englihs to seriously engage with his worldview, introduces some of the most salient intellectual and moral principles proper to the spirituality for which Ali is chiefly renowned in Islam.
The present work consists of three parts. The first introduces the person of Ali and his spirituality in a general manner, with a particular focus on the spiritual and ethical concomitants of the intellect in his teachings. the second evaluates Ali' sacred conception of justice, using his famous latter to Malik al-Ashtar as the point of departure. The third addresses the theme of spiritual realization through the remembrance of God, dhikr'ullah, the central mystical practice of the Sufis. In this chapter, the intimate connection between Ali's teachings and later Sufi doctrines is explored.
The present exposition is not only and important introduction to the thought of one of the seminal figures of the Islamic faith, it is also a valuable and most timely elucidation of the spirituality underlying ethical discourse and practice in Islam.
This book is published by I. B. Tauris Publishers in London in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies.
Author: Reza Shah-Kazemi
253 pages, hard bound
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