Welcome to F.I.E.L.D.- the First Ismaili Electronic Library and Database.

1. In Praise of Ali (1)

The heartspring of Ali s lover reflects and is full

with the image of him - so is my heart his spring

and his knowledge my shield. O lovers, pluck his blossoms

but save the thorns for his enemies.

No one of the Community is worthy of greatness

but his lover, for the Shiite rests immune

from the wiles of Satan in his citadel.

He is the Prophet s kinsman, but no one

belongs to Ali s tribe but the lover of Truth.

A thousand years of praise will not exhaust

a thousandth of his qualities; I take pride

in his Four Virtues, his manliness, knowledge

piety and munificence, and my back is bent

with gratitude, the burden of Ali.

I imitate his way of dress, robed in faith and gnosis.

Nasibi, be silent - you have not learned

of his warp and weft, or you would

think more of him. Act not the snake with me

lest you think you can bear the sting

of the serpent of Ali. Why do you rank

every lowly weed with him?

He was a lion, the battlefield his veldt,

the unbelievers his prey, his sword,

his Zulfiqar like a dragon

in is claws, slayer of three armies,

his right hand, armour-piercer that

cast to the ground the severed heads

of great commanders. Gabriel called his spear

at the battle of Hunayn, and his heart

was steady as a mountain in the sin

of war. Lions shrink away like foxes

at the sight of his blade.

If you fear the devil will plunder you

hide yourself in his cavern

where no one enters but by the command

of his deputy, and which is made not of stone

but of knowledge (for how could the pride

of Ali descend to stone?), and where are stored

his house, his estate, his chattels.

On the trees and meadows of Ali the rain

falls as hermeneautic exegesis, for he

chose no silver and gold, but knowledge and faith.

How but by his sword-wielding hand

could the Divine Law find protection?

How should the unbelievers of Mecca

not feel him as an inward affliction?

Free from taint, his tongue, hands and loins -

where was the best woman of the world

but by his side? Hasan and Husayn, those

mirrors of the Prophet, were his mirrors.

Satan s hands and feet were amputated

in the uproar he caused, and no one

will be safe from fire but in his refuge.

His sword ruined the good name

of countless warriors in the battles

of Badr, Uhud and Khaybar, which were his work.

Send him my challenge, the boastful knight,

for I am the chevalier of Ali.

Even his enemies I shall convert

if they lend me their ears, and in spite

of all they do, I shall bind them fast

with the bridle of Ali; but if they

turn their heads away from this knowledge

sweet and boundless, they will come

on Resurrection Day, disgraced,

heads dragged in the dust before


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