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Imam Ali: Honesty will guide you

Imam Ali: Honesty will guide you
Honesty will guide you to goodness, and goodness will invite you to heaven.  
(Imam Ali)
Painting: The Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones), by Jami (d.1492) , is considered one of the masterpieces of Persian literature. Divided into seven poems (thrones), the language is rich in metaphorical imagery and mystical symbols that lend themselves to a variety of interpretations. This folio, from the celebrated copy of Jami's poem in the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrates an anecdote relating to the true meaning of love. Set in a carefully tended and bustling garden, a father and son are seated under the shade of a large plane tree, discussing the difference between physical and spiritual love. Just to their left, another elegantly dressed young man and his older companion are deeply immersed in a game of chess, a long-established literary and artistic metaphor for the vagaries of human life, in particular the relationship of the lover and the beloved. The detailed rendering of the red chessboard and its prominent placement in the composition underscore both the significance of the interchange between father and son and the distinction between physical and spiritual qualities.
Recommended Reading:

'Living and Dying with Grace: Counsels of Hadrat Ali'
By Thomas Cleary (Translator)

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Living and Dying with Grace is a book of aphoristic Sufi teachings on how to make one'e way in the world - especially on how to bring spiritual insights to the affairs of daily life. Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, contains a vast body of knowledge concerning the inner development of the complete human being. This book contains four hundred of Hadrat 'Ali's teachings, showing how people can use the everyday realities of their lives to cultivate wisdom and well-being, both temporal and eternal, offering a path to living and dying with grace.

''Ali, a great warrior and statesman of emergent Islam, was well known and well respected for his knowledge of the esoteric. His compassion, loyalty, and devotion marked his tenure as both a political and religious leader. The sayings here collected reveal penetrating and timeless insights into the world of life and death. For example, 'Ali's reflection that "the ignorant among you are promoted, while the knowledgeable are put off," could be a description of contemporary American politics. Cleary's able translation retains the liveliness of the original. Recommended for large public libraries or for libraries interested in Islamic spirituality.'

(Reed Business)


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