Imam Ali (a.s) wrote this letter for Imam al-Hasan ibn `Ali (his son – peace be upon them), when Amir al-Mu’minin encamped at al-Hadirin on his way back from Siffin.
- I advise you to fear Allah, O my child, abide by His commands, fill your heart with remembrance of Him and cling to hope from Him
- Enliven your heart with preaching, kill it by denial, energise it with firm belief, enlighten it with wisdom, humiliate it by recalling death, make it believe in mortality, make it see the misfortunate of this world
- Give up discussing what you do not know and speaking about what does not concern you.
- Acquire insight into religious laws
- Confine yourself to what Allah has made obligatory on you, and follow the actions of your forefathers and the virtuous people of your household
- You should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself
- Do not talk about what you do not know even though what you know be very little
- Respect your kinsmen because they are your wings with which you fly, the origin towards which you return and your hands with which you attack
- If a person is willing to borrow from you in the days of your affluence to pay it back to you at the time of your need then make use of this opportunity
- Consult the friend before adopting a course and the neighbour before taking a house
- The disregard of kinship of the ignorant is equal to the regard for kinship of the wise
- Whoever takes the world to be safe, it will betray him. Whoever regards the world as great, it will humiliate him
- Do not be like those whom preaching does not benefit unless you inflict pain on them, because the wise take instruction from teaching while beasts learn only from beating
- If anyone has a good idea about you prove it to be true
- Swallow your anger because I did not find a sweeter thing than it in the end, and nothing more pleasant in consequence
- Often cure is illness and illness is cure
- Often the ill-wisher gives correct advice while the well-wisher cheats
- A little received directly from Allah the Glorified, is more dignified than that which is more but is received through (the obligation of) His creatures, although (really) all is from Allah
- Whatever is in a pot can be retained by closing the lid
- It is easier to rectify what you miss by silence than to secure what you lose by speaking
- A man is the best guard of his own secrets
- Associate with people of virtue; you will become one of them. Keep aloof from people of vice; you will remain safe from them
- O my child, remember death very much and the place where you have to go suddenly and reach after death, so that when it comes you are already on your guard against it and have prepared yourself for it and it does not come to you all of a sudden and surprise you
- O my child, know that you have been created for the next world, not for this world, for destruction (in this world) not for lasting, and for dying not for living
- Do not depend upon hopes because hopes are the mainstay of fools
Ibn Maytham al-Bahrani (vol.5, p.2) has quoted Abu Ja`far ibn Babawayh al-Qummi to have stated that Amir al-mu’minin wrote this piece of advice in the name of his son Muhammad ibn al-Hanaffiyyah, while al-`Allamah as-Sayyid ar-Radi has written that its addressee is Imam al-Hasan (p.b.u.h.). But the fact is that Amir al-mu’ minin wrote another piece of advice to Ibn al-Hanafiyyab in brief which included a part of the same which he wrote to al-Imam al-Hasan. (Kashf al-mahajjah, Ibn Tawus, pp.157- 159; al-Bihar, vol.77, pp.196-198)
In any case, whether the addressee is al-Imam al-Hasan (a.s) or Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, this manifesto of the Imam (a.s) is a lesson of guidance to action in which the ways of success and achievement can be opened and the straying caravans of mankind can tread the path of guidance. It contains principles of correcting the matters of this world and the next, creating the sense of morality and improving economic and social matters whose like cannot be produced by the epitomes of scholars and philosophers. Its truthful preachings are a strong incentive for recalling to humanity the lessons it has forgotten, reviving the deadlines of social dealings and raising the standards of morality.
May Allah grant us taufiq to follow the true teachings of Ahlebayt (asws) and count us among his servants and followers. May Allah hasten the reappearance of His last Hujjat, Hazrat Baqiyatollah (atfs).