A Treasury of Virtues is a collection by the Fatimid Shafi'i judge al-Quda'i (d. 454 H/1062 AD) of sayings, sermons, and teachings attributed to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40 H/661 AD). 'Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Sunni Caliph. An ackwledged master of Arabic eloquence and a sage of Islamic wisdom, Ali was rewned for his words, which were collected, quoted, and studied over the centuries, and extensively anthologized, excerpted, and interpreted. Of the many compilations of 'Ali's words, A Treasury of Virtues arguably possesses the broadest compass of genres, and the largest variety of themes. Included are aphorisms, proverbs, sermons, speeches, homilies, prayers, letters, dialogues and verse, all of which provide instruction on how to be a morally upstanding human being. The shorter compilation included here, One Hundred Proverbs, is attributed to the eminent writer al-Jahiz (d. 255 H/869 AD). This volume presents a new critical edition of the Arabic based on several original manuscripts, the first English translation of both these important collections, and an extended introduction.
Al-Qadi al-Quda'i (d. 454 H/1062 AD) was a Sunni jurist, a scholar of hadith and history, and a senior government official of the Fatimid dynasty in Cairo. Tahera Qutbuddin is Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Al-Mu'ayyad al-Shirazi and Fatimid Da'wa Poetry: A Case of Commitment in Classical Arabic Literature.