Letter of Imam 'Ali (a) to Imam al-Hasan (a)

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The letter of Imam 'Ali (a) to Imam al-Hasan (a) is a long letter with the ethical and monotheistic content, which he wrote in the last years of his life. Some of important subjects in the letter are: God wariness, supplication, reading history and learning from it, and knowing the time. Also the letter has wise and short sentences. The letter has independent commentaries.

Time and Place of the Writing

The letter is written in the returning of Imam 'Ali (a) from Battle of Siffin.[1] In Nahj al-balagha the place of writing is mentioned as "Hadirin", but it's not clear where the name belongs, or it is not name of a place but is the plural of "hadir" means "people who were present".[2]

Supplication in the view of Imam 'Ali (a)

Know that He Who owns the treasuries of the heavens and of the earth has permitted you to pray to Him and has promised you acceptance of the prayer. He has commanded you to beg from Him in order that He may give you and to seek His mercy in order that He may have mercy on you. He has not placed any thing between you and Him that may veil Him from you. He has not required you to get a mediator for you to Him, and if you err, He has not prevented you from repentance. He does not hasten with punishment. He does not taunt you for repenting, nor does He humiliate you when humiliation is more appropriate for you. He has not been harsh in accepting repentance. He does not severely question you about your sins.

He does not disappoint you of His mercy. Rather He regards abstention from sin as a virtue. He counts your one sin as one while He counts your one virtue as ten. He has opened for you the door of repentance. Therefore, whenever you call Him He hears your call, and whenever you whisper to Him He knows the whisper. You place before Him your needs, unveil yourself before Him, complain to Him of your worries, beseech Him to remove your troubles, seek His help in your affairs and ask from the treasuries of His mercy that which no one else has power to give, namely length of life, health of body and increase in sustenance. Then He has placed the keys of His treasuries in your hands in the sense that He has shown you the way to ask Him.


The main subject of the letter is ethics. In the beginning of the letter, Imam 'Ali (a) describes himself and his son as two ordinary human and then mentions the importance of the letter. Then he says that he wrote the letter in order to be a support for his son.[3]

Then, Imam 'Ali (a) orders his son to be wary of God and obeying him and constructing the heart with remembrance of him.

Other points mentioned advised in the letter are:

Number of the letter in different versions of Nahj al-balagha
Version's name Number of the letter
Al-Mu'jam al-Mufahras, Subhi Salih, Fayd al-Islam, Khu'i,
Mulla Salih, Ibn Abi l-Hadid, Ibn Maytham, 'Abduh
Mulla Fath Allah Kashani 34
Fi dilal Nahj al-Balagha 30


  1. Shahīdī, Tarjuma-yi nahj al-balāgha, p. 295.
  2. Shahīdī, Tarjuma-yi nahj al-balāgha, p. 521.
  3. Shahīdī, Tarjuma-yi nahj al-balāgha, p. 295-296.


  • Muḥammadī, Sayyid Kazim; Dashtī Muḥammad. Al-Muʿjam al-mufahris li alfāz nahj al-balāgha. Qom: Nashr-i Imām ʿAlī, 1369 Sh.
  • National Library of Iran
  • Shahīdī, Sayyid Jaʿfar. Tarjuma-yi nahj al-balāgha. Tehran: Intishārāt-i ʿIlmī wa Farhangī, 1377 Sh.
  • Ustādī, Riḍā. Kitābnāma-yi nahj al-balāgha. Tehran: Bunyād-i Nahj al-balāgha, 1359 Sh.