The peak of eloquence. Collection of political discourse, sermons, letters, and wise sayings ascribed to Ali ibn Abi Talib, fourth caliph and cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. Compiled in the eleventh century with detailed commentaries by Sunni and Shii scholars. Has served as ideological groundwork for establishment of an Islamic government. Contains a lengthy discussion of the balance between rights and duties, emphasizing that greater responsibilities result in greater rights. Proclaims the deficiencies of women and is often used to justify patriarchal social structures and the primacy of man over woman. At the heart of current Iranian clerical debates over the appropriate role and status of women in modern society.