مِنْ هَوَانِ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى اللهِ أَنَّهُ لاَ يُعْصَى إِلاَّ فِيهَا، وَلاَ يُنَالُ مَا عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِتَرْكِهَا۔
It is (the proof of the) baseness of the world before Allah that He is disobeyed only herein and His favours cannot be achieved except by abandoning it.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #385)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he highlights the insignificance and transitory nature of the worldly life in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). He states that one of the signs of the lowly nature of this world is that disobedience to Allah occurs only within it, and the blessings and favors of Allah can only be attained by abandoning it.
Let us delve deeper into the words of this hadith to understand its meaning and implications. The word (hawaan) "هَوَانِ" refers to the baseness, insignificance, and worthlessness of the worldly life. It signifies the fleeting nature of worldly desires and pursuits, which hold no real value in the sight of Allah. The word (dunya) "دُّنْيَا" refers to the temporal, materialistic world that we inhabit.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then states that Allah is disobeyed only in this worldly life. This implies that the temptations and distractions of the world often lead people astray, causing them to deviate from the path of righteousness and disobey the commands of Allah. The world, with its allurements and enticements, becomes a testing ground for human beings, where they are prone to committing sins and transgressions.
To support this understanding, we can turn to the Quran, where Allah warns us about the deceptive nature of the world and its ability to distract us from our ultimate purpose. In Surah Al-Hadeed, Allah says, (Quran 57:20)
Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further states that the favors and blessings of Allah can only be attained by abandoning the worldly life. This means that true success and prosperity lie in detaching ourselves from the materialistic pursuits of this world and focusing on the obedience and worship of Allah. By prioritizing our spiritual growth and seeking the pleasure of Allah, we can attain His blessings and favors in this life and the hereafter.
This concept is beautifully expressed in the Quran, where Allah says, (Quran 28:77)
And seek by means of what Allah has given you the home of the Hereafter, and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.
The motivation behind abandoning the worldly life is rooted in the understanding that it is temporary and fleeting. The pursuit of worldly desires and material possessions can lead to a false sense of security and attachment to this transient world. By recognizing the insignificance of the world in the sight of Allah, we are motivated to prioritize our eternal life and seek His pleasure above all else.
The consequences of clinging to the worldly life and disobeying Allah are severe. It can lead to spiritual stagnation, distance from Allah, and ultimately, punishment in the hereafter. Conversely, by abandoning the world and striving to please Allah, we can attain His mercy, forgiveness, and eternal rewards.
In conclusion, this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder to Muslims of the fleeting nature of the worldly life and the importance of prioritizing our obedience to Allah. It emphasizes the need to detach ourselves from the materialistic pursuits of this world and focus on seeking the pleasure of Allah. By doing so, we can attain His blessings, mercy, and eternal rewards. May Allah guide us all to the straight path and grant us success in this life and the hereafter.
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