وَ سُئِلَ عَنِ الْخَيْرِ مَا هُوَ فَقَالَ لَيْسَ الْخَيْرُ أَنْ يَكْثُرَ مَالُكَ وَ وَلَدُكَ وَ لَكِنَّ الْخَيْرَ أَنْ يَكْثُرَ عِلْمُكَ وَ أَنْ يَعْظُمَ حِلْمُكَ وَ أَنْ تُبَاهِيَ النَّاسَ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنْ أَحْسَنْتَ حَمِدْتَ اللَّهَ وَ إِنْ أَسَأْتَ اسْتَغْفَرْتَ اللَّهَ وَ لَا خَيْرَ فِى الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لِرَجُلَيْنِ رَجُلٍ أَذْنَبَ ذُنُوباً فَهُوَ يَتَدَارَكُهَا بِالتَّوْبَةِ وَ رَجُلٍ يُسَارِعُ فِى الْخَيْرَاتِ۔
Good is not that your wealth and progeny should be much, but good is that your knowledge should be much, your forbearance should be great, and that you should vie with other people in worship of Allah. If you do good deeds you thank Allah, but if you commit evil you seek forgiveness of Allah. In this world good is for two persons only; the man who commits sins but rectifies them by repentance; and the man who hastens towards good actions.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #94)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. 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) emphasizes the true essence of goodness and highlights the qualities that truly matter in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states that goodness is not measured by the abundance of wealth and children, but rather by the abundance of knowledge, forbearance, and the eagerness to worship Allah.
Let us delve deeper into the exegesis of this profound Hadith by examining the key words and concepts mentioned. Firstly, the word (khayr) "خَيْرِ" refers to goodness or righteousness. It encompasses all actions and qualities that are pleasing to Allah and beneficial for oneself and others. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) clarifies that true goodness lies in the increase of knowledge, the magnification of forbearance, and the competition in worshiping Allah.
The word (ilmuk) "عِلْمُكَ" refers to knowledge. Knowledge is a fundamental aspect of Islam and is highly regarded in the Quran. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Zumar (39:9),
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
This verse emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and the superiority of those who possess it. Therefore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the significance of increasing one's knowledge as a means of attaining goodness.
The word (hilmuk) "حِلْمُكَ" refers to forbearance or patience. It is the ability to remain calm and composed in the face of adversity, to control one's anger, and to forgive others. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the believers in Surah Al-Imran (3:134) as those who
restrain anger and pardon the people.
This verse emphasizes the importance of forbearance in Islam. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the need to cultivate and magnify this quality in order to attain true goodness.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further emphasizes the importance of competing with others in worshiping Allah. This competition is not driven by envy or rivalry, but rather by a sincere desire to excel in acts of worship. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) encourages competition in righteousness in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:48), stating,
And for each [religious following] is a direction toward which it faces. So race to [all that is] good.
This verse highlights the importance of striving to outdo one another in performing good deeds.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) concludes the Hadith by highlighting the importance of gratitude and seeking forgiveness. When one performs good deeds, they should express gratitude to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) for enabling them to do so. Conversely, if one commits evil, they should seek forgiveness from Allah. This highlights the importance of repentance and seeking forgiveness as a means of rectifying one's actions and attaining goodness.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further states that in this world, goodness is reserved for two types of individuals. The first is the one who commits sins but rectifies them through sincere repentance. This highlights the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, who accepts the repentance of His servants and allows them to rectify their actions. The second is the one who hastens towards performing good deeds. This individual is eager and proactive in seeking opportunities to do good, displaying a sense of urgency and dedication in their worship of Allah.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides us with a profound understanding of true goodness in the sight of Allah. It emphasizes the importance of increasing knowledge, magnifying forbearance, and competing in acts of worship. It also highlights the significance of gratitude and seeking forgiveness, as well as the importance of sincere repentance and hastening towards good deeds. May we all strive to embody these qualities and attain true goodness in this world and the hereafter.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.
Your message has been successfully received, and we will respond to you soon.