إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَلَكاً يُنَادِى فِى كُلِّ يَوْمٍ لِدُوا لِلْمَوْتِ وَ اجْمَعُوا لِلْفَنَاءِ وَ ابْنُوا لِلْخَرَابِ۔
There is an angel of Allah who calls out every day, "Beget children for death, collect wealth for destruction, and raise construction for ruin.".
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #132)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. 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 mentions the existence of an angel of Allah who calls out every day. The angel's message is threefold:
Beget children for death, collect wealth for destruction, and raise construction for ruin.
Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this Hadith in light of the Quran.
Firstly, let us analyze the important words in this Hadith. The word (دُوا) "beget" refers to the act of procreation, the bringing forth of new life. (الْمَوْتِ) "Death" signifies the inevitable end of life in this world. (اجْمَعُوا) "Collect" implies the accumulation of wealth and possessions. (لِلْفَنَاءِ) "Wealth" refers to material possessions that are transient and perishable. (ابْنُوا) "Raise construction" signifies the act of building and establishing structures. And finally, (لِلْخَرَابِ) "ruin" represents the eventual destruction and downfall of those structures.
To understand the deeper meaning of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hadid (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.
This verse highlights the transient nature of worldly possessions and the fleeting nature of life itself. It reminds us that the pursuit of wealth and the desire for children should not consume us, as they are temporary and will eventually perish. The angel's call to
beget children for death
serves as a reminder that our time in this world is limited, and our focus should be on preparing for the eternal life to come.
Furthermore, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns us in Surah Al-Isra (17:80),
And say: My Lord! Cause me to come in with a firm incoming and to go out with a firm outgoing. And give me from Thy presence a sustaining Power.
This verse emphasizes the importance of seeking Allah's guidance and protection in all our endeavors, including the accumulation of wealth and the construction of worldly structures. Without His blessings and support, our efforts will ultimately lead to ruin and destruction.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) profound Hadith serves as a reminder for Muslims to prioritize the pursuit of the hereafter over the temporary pleasures and possessions of this world. It encourages us to reflect on the purpose of our existence and to strive for actions that will bring us closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
For example, instead of solely focusing on accumulating wealth, we should prioritize acts of charity and generosity, as Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:261),
The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
Similarly, instead of solely investing in the construction of worldly structures, we should invest in building our character and strengthening our relationship with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). As Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:201),
And of them are some who say: 'Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!'
In conclusion, Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to prioritize the pursuit of the hereafter over the temporary pleasures and possessions of this world. It urges us to reflect on the transient nature of life and to focus on actions that will bring us closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). By seeking His guidance and blessings, and by engaging in acts of charity, generosity, and self-improvement, we can ensure a firm and successful journey in this world and the hereafter. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to heed this important message.
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