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ca. 601–661. Muslim caliph and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Encyclopedia Britannica }

At a Glance

The Blue Castle (1)

Sentences of Ali

101. Despair is a freeman, Hope is a slave.

Simon Ockley, who compiled ʿAlī’s sayings in his book The History of the Saracens, offers the following explanation of this proverb in a footnote: “So long as a man is in expectation, his thoughts are in suspense, and he is in a slavish condition; but as soon as he gives over his pursuit, he is free and at liberty.”

The Blue Castle, chapter 8 (“Despair is a free man—hope is a slave”).


Simon Ockley, The History of the Saracens (6th edition; London: Henry G. Bohn, 1857), p. 343. Online at

Published on 13 October 2020; last updated on 3 June 2021. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.