Lit. ‘the way of eloquence’. A well-known collection of letters, sermons and sayings attributed to Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (d. 661 CE), compiled in its present form by al-Sharif al-Radi (d. 1016 CE), a renowned Imami Shi‘i writer and poet of the Abbasid period (750-1258 CE). Many commentators, such as Ibn Abi al-Hadid (d. 1258 CE), consider this work as an example of the most eloquent Arabic and have highlighted its importance for theological and philosophical discourse in the Muslim world. The first sermon of the Nahj al-Balagha has been regarded by Shi‘i and Sunni Muslims alike as being among the most important discourses of Imam ‘Ali concerning the essence of faith and the nature of God. His letter to Malik al-Ashtar, appointing him as governor of Egypt, is likewise deemed by innumerable Muslim authorities to be a profound description of just governance according to Muslim principles.