The Prophet Muhammad (S) referred to his eloquent son-in-law Ali (A) as the “gate to the city of knowledge.” Peak of Eloquence, Nahjul Balagha, is both a compilation of Ali’s (A) sermons, letters, and sayings and a glimpse into his personality. Compiled by Sayyid al-Sharif ar-Radi more than 1,000 years ago, it is considered a literary masterpiece and, by the Shia Muslims, the most valuable text after the Holy Qur’an.
An excerpt from: Sermon 1: In this sermon he recalls the creation of Earth and Sky and the birth of Adam.
Praise is due to God whose worth cannot be described by speakers, whose bounties cannot be counted by calculators and whose claim (to obedience) cannot be satisfied by those who attempt to do so, whom the height of intellectual courage cannot appreciate, and the divings of understanding cannot reach; He for whose description no limit has been laid down, no eulogy exists, no time is ordained and no duration is fixed. He brought forth creation through His Omnipotence, dispersed winds through His Compassion, and made firm the shaking earth with rocks. The foremost in religion is the acknowledgement of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him Pure, and the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute. Thus whoever attaches attributes to God recognises His like, and who recognises His like regards Him as two; and who regards Him as two recognises only parts of Him; and who recognises only parts of Him mistook Him; and who mistook Him points to Him; and who points to Him admitted limitations for Him; and who admitted limitations for Him accounts for Him. Whoever said in what is He, held that He is contained; and whoever said on what is He held He is not on something else. He is a Being but not through phenomenon of coming into being. He exists but not from non-existence. He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation. He acts but without connotation of movements and instruments. He sees even when there is none to be looked at from among His creation. He is only One, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or whom He may miss in his absence. The Creation of the Universe He initiated creation most initially and commenced it originally, without undergoing reflection, without making use of any experiment, without innovating any movement, and without experiencing any aspiration of mind. He allotted all things their times, put together their variations gave them their properties, and determined their features knowing them before creating them, realising fully their limits and confines and appreciating their propensities and intricacies. When the Almighty created the openings of atmosphere, expanse of firmament and strata of winds, He flowed into it water whose waves were stormy and whose surges leapt one over the other. He loaded it on dashing wind and breaking typhoons, ordered them to shed it back (as rain), gave the wind control over the vigour of the rain, and acquainted it with its limitations. The wind blew under it while water flowed furiously over it.