Ali ibne Abi Talib's Sayings on Education

Ali ibne Abi Talib on the Importance of Education and Seeking Knowledge 

Knowledge as Criterion of Personal Distinction: A person is worth what he excels at; your superiority over others is in proportion to the extent of your knowledge and wisdom.[i]

Education and Leadership: Whoever wants to be a leader should educate himself before educating others.[ii]

Theory and Practice: Theoretical as well as practical knowledge are the best signs of distinction; deep thinking will present the clearest picture of every problem.[iii]

On the Need for Studying History: Learn lessons from past events in order to understand and prepare for future events, because they are similar to one another; and study how nations are similar in their states and traits.[iv] Studying the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations is a critical means to acquire knowledge.[v]

Legacy of Scholars: Scholars live forever. They disappear only in physical image, but in the hearts and minds of people, their memories and messages last forever.[vi]

Linkage Between Knowledge and Practice: Knowledge and its practice must go hand in hand. Whoever is knowledgeable must act. Knowledge calls upon action; if answered, it will remain, but otherwise, it will disappear.[vii]

Education Process: Education involves the observation of events, learning lessons from history, and acquiring wisdom through thinking and analysis.[viii]

Specialized Training: Administrative officials of the government cannot serve efficiently without proper education and training.[ix]

Benefits of Education: He who acts without knowledge is like the one who is without direction. Consequently, his objectives remain unachieved. But the one who is well educated and well informed treads a clear path. Lack of education hinders one’s capacity to comprehend. Knowledge arms an individual to face the dangers of life.[x]

Chapter 5
[i] Nahjul Balagha Saying no. 81 & 175.
[ii] Ibid., Saying no. 73.
[iii] Ibid., Saying no. 4.
[iv] Ibid., Sermon no. 69 & 192.
[v] Ibid., Saying no. 30.
[vi] Ibid., Saying no. 146.
[vii] UNDP and Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Arab Human Development Report 2002, p. 82.
[viii] Nahjul Balagha, Saying no. 146.
[ix] Ibid., Letter no. 53.
[x] Ibid., Sermon no. 153 & Letter no. 31.


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