IBNA: The milieu of any author has direct impact on his works. What were your influences when you decided to write ‘Imam Ali, the Voice of Human Justice’?
George Jordac and Mohammad Reza Assadzadeh
George Jordac: My social milieu had special features which I would like to divide it into a general milieu (my country, Lebanon) and a special milieu (my family). Lebanon has a pure Arabian environment and embraces all Arabian traditions including Islamic and Christian ones, it is our heritage.
On the other hand, my family is known for their penchant of its members for knowledge and science. We have a library there which contains the books belonging to my ancestors.
I was rather interested to my brother’s ideas than to those of my father, mother and teachers. He was a poet and composed odes as eulogy to Imam Ali (AS) which he recited them for the pilgrims of Imam Ali’s shrine. Encouraged by him I decided to read ‘Nahj al-Balagha’
(Way of Eloquence) and memorize it. As a matter of fact, I memorized almost 70 percent of the entire ‘Nahj al-Balagha’.
Studying this great book as well as things I've heard from my elder brother about Ali (AS) contributed to my intellectual development about the Imam as a legendary spiritual figure, as I concluded that one must write a different book about Imam Ali to introduce him differently throughout the world, illustrate his real virtues, and the result of my efforts led to the creation of ‘Imam Ali, the Voice of Human Justice’.In this book, you constantly ask questions from various human groups, what was the reason behind employing such interrogative literature? Does it come from your prose style or offers a kind of philosophical or humane viewpoint?
In order to understand Imam Ali, I read ‘Nahj al-Balagha’ 40 times which made me feel amazing. Perhaps I don't remember exactly but when I was writing ‘Imam Ali, the Voice of Human Justice’, I felt that I was being inspired in a way. For me, ‘Nahj al-Balagha’ has always been a delightful heavenly book. I think it comprises the most significant philosophical and literary Arabic texts.
The prose of Imam Ali in ‘Nahj al-Balagha’ has the most sublime rhetoric in an Arabian book only after Quran. The rhetoric and literature of Ali (AS) has always been at the service of humanity and civilization. Thus, in front of such a great work what could I do except asking questions from myself and the others. My constant interrogative sentences are addressed to human and humanity because Ali (AS) voices ideas and feelings of humanity.A unique feature of ‘Imam Ali, the Voice of Human Justice’ is that compared to the other books, your work does not focus on Imam Ali within the closed distinct frameworks. It is neither limited within a historical framework nor religious or political frameworks. What was the impetus and logic behind this approach? Was it influenced by your Christianity or your status as a man of letter?
It's a good question, after graduation from high school I began to write in the Arabic newspapers. Earlier I had realized that the literature of Imam Ali in ‘Nahj al-Balagha’ is a good source for me to delve into both the Arabian literature and Arabian philosophy. Later, I studied the writings on Imam Ali including those of contemporary writers such as Al-Aqqad
, Al-Tahsin and so forth. As I followed my observations, I realized that Imam Ali is partly ignored in the realm of literature and I felt the need to write about him from new different viewpoints.
I have believed that the status of Ali (AS) is above the historical or political frameworks. In my view, if the world’s intellectuals and authors just study ‘Nahj al-Balagha’ and understand its concepts, masterpieces will be created about him but the Arabic and Islamic world have confined studying on his character, a character which I believe was a great reformist leader.