النَّاسُ أَعْدَاءُ مَا جَهِلُوا۔

People are enemies of what they do not know.



People are enemies of what they do not know.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #438)

Personal Reflection

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

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

People are enemies of what they do not know.

This impactful saying highlights the human tendency to fear and oppose things that are unfamiliar or unknown to them. To fully understand the depth and wisdom of this Hadith, let us delve into the meanings of its key words.

The word "people" refers to individuals in general, encompassing all human beings. It includes both Muslims and non-Muslims, as this Hadith addresses a universal aspect of human nature. The term "enemies" signifies a state of opposition or hostility towards something or someone. It implies a lack of understanding and knowledge, leading to fear, prejudice, and animosity.

The phrase

what they do not know

emphasizes the root cause of this enmity - ignorance. When people lack knowledge or understanding about a particular subject, they tend to develop negative attitudes and perceptions towards it. This ignorance can manifest in various forms, such as ignorance about different cultures, religions, or even about the true teachings of Islam.

To shed light on the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of knowledge and understanding in the Quran. In Surah Al-Hujurat, Allah says, (49:6)

O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful

This verse urges Muslims to seek knowledge and verify information before passing judgment or taking action.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Anfal, Allah states, (8:46)

And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah. If he were to obey you in much of the matter, you would be in difficulty, but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance, and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided

This verse highlights the importance of having knowledge and faith, as it distinguishes believers from those who oppose the truth due to their ignorance.

Reflecting on the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in light of these Quranic verses, we realize that ignorance is a barrier to unity, harmony, and peace. When people lack knowledge, they are prone to misunderstandings, stereotypes, and prejudice, which can lead to conflicts and divisions within society.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon Muslims to seek knowledge and understanding, not only about their own religion but also about other faiths, cultures, and perspectives. By doing so, they can overcome their own ignorance and promote tolerance, empathy, and respect towards others. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), known for his immense knowledge and wisdom, encourages us to break the cycle of ignorance and enmity by seeking knowledge and fostering understanding.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ),

People are enemies of what they do not know,

serves as a reminder for Muslims to strive for knowledge and understanding. It urges us to overcome our own ignorance and prejudices, and to promote unity, compassion, and peace in our interactions with others. By seeking knowledge and embracing diversity, we can build bridges of understanding and work towards a more harmonious and inclusive society. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and guidance to follow the teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and strive for knowledge and understanding.

. : . (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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