The book nwned Nahjul-Balagha was compiled and named as such by Abul Hasan Syed Muhammad Razi, generally known as Syed Sharif al-Razi (359-406AH).
He was a brilliant student of the great jurist AbuAbd Allah Sheikh Mufid. Before his death, he had produced forty other works of reference on al-Qur'an and Hadith. However his masterpiece remains the compilation of the book Nahjul-Balagha.
Syed al-Razi had come across the sayings, sermons and letters of Imam Ali scattered in various books of theology, history, biography, literature and the commentaries of al-Qur'an and Hadith. He found references made to a considerable collection of materials by the first century scholars that had been lost due to the turmoils of the time. He went back into the written materials available to him and with painstaking meticulousness, selected the spoken word of Imam Ali. He searched and obtained the authentic collections for his book. He could only classify these materials into sermons, letters and sayings of Imam Ali. Since the reference material came to his attention at different times, the extracted materials had no chronological sequence. He died five years after the completion of his book. It is probable that if he had lived longer, he would have re@ted his collection into chronological order or according to content or topic. It is clear that he considered the work sacred and devoted many years of his life to complete it. No sooner had it gotten published, than it became the center for interpretations and commentaries by many authorities of his time. Commentaries on the book have continued to be published right through the ages, and most of these works are currently available in many languages, including English.
The book Nahjul-Balagha, as compiled by Syed al-Razi contains a collection of 245 sermons, 75 letters and 210 sayings of Imam Ali. Apparently there were many more of these sermons and letters that were not available to Syed al-Razi at the time. It was Sheikh Muhammad Abdoh (d. 1323 AH), a mufti Ourist) in
Egypt, who got the Nahjul-Balagha published and thus acquainted the centers of learning in Egypt and with the wealth of knowledge contained in this book. The reader is urged to obtain a copy of the book for himself and benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of Imam Ali. Beirut
THE DEWAN (COLLECTED POETRY) OF IMAM ALI
The eloquence of Imam Ali was exemplary among his peers and has remained unmatched to this day. His normal sermons used have a poetical rhyme in them. In fact the origin of the art and science of grammar in Arabic is ascribed to him. The poetical word of Imam Ali has been quoted in many classic works, and a Dewan is ascribed to him. Only two of his poetical works are quoted below:
I."Where hearts contain despair
And the spacious breast is stifled by what is within it,
And cares make their abode and repose,
And sorrows anchor in their habitations,
And no way is seen for dispelling of distress,
And the stratagem of the cunning availeth not;
There shall come to thee in thy despair a helper,
When the answerer of prayer who is nigh, shall bring
For all sorrows when they have reached their term,
There is linked to them an approaching joy."
2."Men lust for the world and plot for it,
Yet its clearness is mingled for them with impurities.
They do not give thou of it thy portion
According to thy wisdom when it is distributed!
But men have their allotted shares according to their destinies,
How many there are of the wise and sagacious unprospered! While a fool has gained his wealth by errors,
If it could be acquired by force and rapine,
Falcons would sweep off with the subsistence of sparrows!