يَا نَوْفُ طُوبَى لِلزَّاهِدِينَ فِى الدُّنْيَا الرَّاغِبِينَ فِى الْآخِرَةِ أُولَئِكَ قَوْمٌ اتَّخَذُوا الْأَرْضَ بِسَاطاً وَ تُرَابَهَا فِرَاشاً وَ مَاءَهَا طِيباً وَ الْقُرْآنَ شِعَاراً وَ الدُّعَاءَ دِثَاراً ثُمَّ قَرَضُوا الدُّنْيَا قَرْضاً عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ الْمَسِيحِ۔ يَا نَوْفُ إِنَّ دَاوُدَ ع قَامَ فِى مِثْلِ هَذِهِ السَّاعَةِ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَقَالَ إِنَّهَا لَسَاعَةٌ لَا يَدْعُو فِيهَا عَبْدٌ إِلَّا اسْتُجِيبَ لَهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ عَشَّاراً أَوْ عَرِيفاً أَوْ شُرْطِيّاً أَوْ صَاحِبَ عَرْطَبَةٍ (وَ هِيَ الطُّنْبُورُ) أَوْ صَاحِبَ كَوْبَةٍ (وَ هِيَ الطَّبْلُ)۔
O Nawf! Blessed be those who abstain from this world and are eager for the next world. They are the people who regard this earth as a floor; its dust as their bed-cloth; and its water as their perfume; they recite the Qur'an in low tones and supplicate in high tones and then they are cut off from the world like 'Isa (Jesus). O Nawf! The prophet Dawud (David), peace be upon him, rose up at a similar hour one night and said, "This is the hour when whatever a person prays for is granted to him unless he is a tax-collector, an intelligence man, a police officer, a lute player or a drummer.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #104)
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 addresses a person named Nawf and conveys a message about the blessedness of those who abstain from the attractions of this worldly life and are eager for the rewards of the hereafter. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) describes them as a people who consider the earth as a mere floor, its dust as their bed-cloth, and its water as their perfume. They recite the Qur'an in a humble and low tone, and their supplications are made with a loud and sincere voice.
To understand the depth and significance of this Hadith, let us delve into the meanings of some important words. The word "zahidin" refers to those who abstain from worldly desires and pleasures. They detach themselves from material possessions and focus on the spiritual aspects of life. The word "raghibin" refers to those who are eager and yearn for the rewards and blessings of the hereafter.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) compares these individuals to a group of people who have taken the earth as a mere floor, indicating their detachment from worldly attachments. They consider the dust of the earth as their bed-cloth, signifying their contentment with minimal material possessions. The water of the earth is seen as their perfume, highlighting their ability to find beauty and satisfaction in the simplest of things.
The Qur'an is described as their "shi'ar," which means their banner or flag. This signifies that the Qur'an is their guiding principle and source of inspiration in all aspects of life. They recite the Qur'an in a humble and low tone, reflecting their reverence and respect for the words of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). This also indicates their deep understanding and contemplation of the divine message.
Furthermore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) mentions that these individuals supplicate in a loud and sincere voice. This demonstrates their strong connection with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and their unwavering trust in His mercy and response to their prayers.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then draws a parallel between these individuals and the Prophet Dawud (David) (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). He narrates that Prophet Dawud (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) once rose up at a similar hour of the night and declared that it is a special hour when the prayers of individuals are answered, except for certain categories of people.
The exceptions mentioned by Prophet Dawud (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) include tax-collectors, intelligence agents, police officers, lute players, and drummers. These exceptions represent individuals who are involved in activities that are either unjust, deceitful, or distracting. Their occupations and actions are contrary to the principles of righteousness and integrity.
The exegesis of this Hadith can be further illuminated by referring to the Quranic verses that support its teachings. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:201),
And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents.
This verse highlights the importance of sincerity in worship and supplication. It warns against those who may appear pious and righteous in their speech but harbor ill intentions and engage in harmful actions. The individuals described in the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) are contrasted with such individuals, as they recite the Qur'an in low tones and supplicate with sincerity and humility.
Another verse that resonates with the teachings of this Hadith is found in Surah Al-Mu'minun (23:1-3), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the qualities of the successful believers. It states,
Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive, and they who turn away from ill speech.
This verse emphasizes the importance of humility and sincerity in prayer, which aligns with the actions of those described in the Hadith. The believers who abstain from worldly desires and focus on the hereafter are the ones who attain true success in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides profound guidance for Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, on the virtues of detachment from worldly desires and the importance of sincere worship and supplication. It highlights the significance of the Qur'an as a guiding principle and emphasizes the need for humility and sincerity in our prayers. By following the teachings of this Hadith, we can strive to attain true success in this world and the hereafter. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody the qualities described in this Hadith and bless us with His mercy and guidance.
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