A Treasury of Virtues is a collection of sayings, sermons, and teachings attributed to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40 H/661 AD), the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Sunni Caliph. An acknowledged master of Arabic eloquence and a sage of Islamic wisdom, 'Ali was renowned for his eloquence: his words 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, compiled by the Fatimid Shafi'i judge al-Quda'i (d. 454 H/1062 AD), 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 the first English translation of both of these important collections.