Nahj al-Balagha Hadith n. 470

Selections from The Sayings and Preaching of Amir al-Muminin Ali ibn Abi Talib (Peace Be Upon Him) Including His Replies to Questions and Maxims Expressed for Various Purposes.
Translated by Sayyid Ali Reza

وسئل عليه السلام عن التوحيد والعدل فقال:

Amir al-mu'minin, peace be upon him, was asked on the Unity of Allah and His justice, when he replied:

التَّوْحِيدُ أنْ لا تَتَوَهَّمَهُ

Unity means that you do not subject Him to the limitations of your imagination

وَالْعَدْلُ أَلاَّ تَتَّهِمَهُ.

and justice means that you do not lay any blame on Him. 100


100. The belief in the Unity of Allah is not complete unless it is supported by belief in freedom of Allah from all imperfection; that is, one should regard Him above the limitations of body, shape, place or time and should not subject Him to one’s own imagination and whims, because the being who is contained within imagination and whims cannot be Allah, but a creation of the human mind, while the field of mental activity remains confined to things which are seen and observed. Consequently, the greater man would try to appreciate Him through illustrations connected by the human mind or his imaginative efforts and the remoter he would get from reality. In this connection, al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir says : Whenever you contain Him in your imagination and whim he will not be Allah but a creation like yourself and revertable towards you. Justice means that whatever the form of injustice and inequity it should be denied about Allah and He should not be given such attributes which are evil and useless and which the mind can in no way agree to attribute to Him. In this connection, Allah says : And perfect is the word of your Lord in truth and justice; There is none who can change His words, and He is the All-hearing and the All-knowing. (Qur’an, 6:115)