ما عَسى أنْ يَكُونَ بَقاءُ مَنْ لَهُ يَوْمٌ لايَعدُوهُ وطالِبٌ حَثيثٌ مِنْ أجَلِهِ يَحدُوهُ۔
How is it possible for one to live forever, when there will come a day which he will not pass and a seeker who will quickly bring him to his death, urging him forwards?.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Appointed Time Of Death)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) contains a profound reflection on the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death. Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith by examining its key words and their meanings.
The word (baqaa) "بَقَاءُ" in the Hadith refers to the concept of eternal life or immortality. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) questions the possibility of anyone living forever, emphasizing the transient nature of human existence. He highlights the fact that there will come a day when an individual will not be able to surpass, indicating the certainty of death.
The word (taalibun hathith) "طَالِبٌ حَثِيثٌ" in the Hadith refers to a seeker who is diligent and persistent in their pursuit. This seeker symbolizes death, which relentlessly pursues every individual, urging them towards their inevitable end.
To understand the impactful message of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in Surah Al-Anbiya, verse 35: (Quran 21:35)
Every soul shall taste death. We test you with evil and good as a trial, and to Us you will be returned.
This verse emphasizes the universal reality of death, which every soul will inevitably experience. It serves as a reminder that life in this world is temporary, and that we are being tested through the trials and tribulations we face. Ultimately, we will all return to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), our Creator.
Another verse that complements the message of the Hadith is found in Surah Al-Imran, verse 185: (Quran 3:185)
Every soul shall taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
This verse reiterates the certainty of death and emphasizes the importance of striving for the eternal reward in the Hereafter. It reminds us that the true purpose of life is not the fleeting pleasures of this world, but rather the attainment of Paradise and salvation from the Fire.
Reflecting on the exegesis of the Hadith, we can understand that Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is urging Muslims to recognize the transitory nature of life and to prioritize the pursuit of the eternal reward. He highlights the futility of clinging to worldly desires and possessions, as death will inevitably catch up to us all.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) profound knowledge and wisdom enable him to provide this thought-provoking reflection on the transient nature of life. His words serve as a reminder for Muslims to constantly strive for righteousness, to prepare for the inevitable meeting with death, and to focus on the eternal life in the Hereafter.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to reflect upon the transient nature of life and to prioritize our actions accordingly. May we strive to attain Paradise and seek refuge from the Fire. And may peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
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