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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Ali The Poet

Ali as a poet

Ali was a distinguished poet. In his book Ali, the Superman, Dr. Ata Mohyuddin has assessed the poetry of Ali in the following terms: "Ali, in his poems is shown as a moralist, freely expressing the righteousness of his cause. In them, as in his sermons, he exhorts the pious to be sincere and steadfast, to refrain from doing wrong, and to stick to the faith. The poetry is neither romantic nor lyrical, but reformative. It contains no sensuous feelings or imagery and has nothing about it of the themes on which the old school of Arab poets delighted to dwell. There is no praise of women, wine, music, amusement and even of the sword. Ali's eloquence is reserved for the praise of patriotism, humility, modesty, chastity, piety, and resignation to God's will. Some of his verses are addressed to his followers, and are complaints about their infidelity. Others extol the virtue of loyalty to the community. Indeed he may be said to have laid the foundation of a national poetry. The style of the verses, which like Ali's prose is racy, lively and unstilted, manes the ethical truths expounded in them much more palatable than they might otherwise have been. The literary form adopted by Ali in his verses exerted a great influence on the trend of Arabic poetry in general. These verses still retain an importance second to none in Arabic literature".

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