مَا لاِبْنِ آدَمَ وَالْفَخْرِ: أَوَّلُهُ نُطْفَةٌ، وَآخِرُهُ جِيفَةٌ، و َلاَ يَرْزُقُ نَفْسَهُ، وَلاَ يَدفَعُ حَتْفَهُ۔

What has a man to do with vanity. His origin is semen and his end is a carcass while he cannot feed himself nor ward off death.



What has a man to do with vanity. His origin is semen and his end is a...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #454)

Personal Reflection

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 (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the insignificance of human vanity and the reality of our existence. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) begins by stating,

What has a man to do with vanity.

Here, the word "vanity" refers to the false pride and arrogance that humans often possess. It is a reminder that we should not be consumed by our own self-importance and should instead focus on the true purpose of our existence.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then describes the origin and end of human beings. He says,

His origin is semen and his end is a carcass.

This statement emphasizes the humble beginnings of human life, as we all originate from a small drop of semen. It reminds us that regardless of our status or achievements in this world, we all come from the same humble origin.

Furthermore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) mentions that humans are unable to sustain themselves or protect themselves from death. This highlights our inherent weakness and dependence on Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). We are entirely reliant on Him for our sustenance and protection. This realization should humble us and make us recognize our need for Allah's mercy and guidance.

The exegesis of this Hadith can be further understood through various Quranic verses that shed light on the same themes. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hajj (22:5),

O mankind, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing.

This verse echoes the words of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) by highlighting the stages of human creation and the ultimate reality of death. It emphasizes the temporary nature of our existence in this world and the importance of recognizing our humble origins.

Another relevant verse is found in Surah Al-Mulk (67:2), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

It is He who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.

This verse reminds us that our purpose in this life is to strive to be the best in our actions and deeds. It reinforces the idea that our true worth lies in our righteousness and piety, rather than in worldly achievements or vanity.

Reflecting on the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and the supporting Quranic verses, we are reminded of the fleeting nature of this worldly life. Our true value lies not in our material possessions or accomplishments, but in our humility, piety, and devotion to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). We should strive to detach ourselves from the false pride and arrogance that often accompanies worldly success and instead focus on seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and preparing for the eternal life to come.

May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all to the path of humility and righteousness and grant us the ability to recognize the true purpose of our existence. Ameen.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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