احْذَرُوا صَوْلَةَ الْكَرِيمِ إذَا جَاعَ، واللَّئِيمِ إِذَا شَبِعَ۔
Fear the attack of a noble person when he is hungry, and that of an ignoble person when he is satiated.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #49)
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 (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns us about two different situations: the attack of a noble person when he is hungry, and the attack of an ignoble person when he is satiated. To fully understand the profound wisdom behind this statement, let us delve into the meanings of the key words used in this Hadith.
The word (sawla) "صَوْلَةَ" refers to the attack or assault of a person. It implies a sudden and unexpected act of aggression or harm. The word (al-karim) "الْكَرِيمِ" refers to a noble person, someone who possesses honorable qualities and noble character. On the other hand, the word (al-la'eem) "اللَّئِيمِ" refers to an ignoble person, someone who lacks integrity and moral values.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to be cautious of the attack of a noble person when he is hungry. This implies that even a noble person, when hungry and deprived of sustenance, may act in a way that is uncharacteristic of their noble nature. Hunger can cloud one's judgment and lead to impulsive actions. Therefore, it is important to be aware of this vulnerability and approach such individuals with caution and understanding.
To support this understanding, we can turn to the Quran, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us of the importance of self-control and patience in times of hunger. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah says, (Quran 2:183)
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous
Fasting teaches us self-discipline and self-restraint, allowing us to control our desires and emotions even when we are hungry.
The second part of the Hadith warns us about the attack of an ignoble person when he is satiated. This highlights the danger of someone who lacks moral values and integrity, especially when they have fulfilled their desires and are content. Such individuals may take advantage of their position of power or satisfaction to harm others or engage in unethical behavior.
To understand the significance of this warning, we can refer to the Quranic teachings on the importance of humility and gratitude. In Surah Al-Isra, Allah says, (Quran 20:131)
And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring
This verse reminds us that the blessings and provisions of this world are temporary, and we should not become arrogant or misuse them.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to be cautious and discerning in their interactions with others. It teaches us to be aware of the vulnerabilities and potential pitfalls that can arise in different circumstances. We should not blindly trust someone solely based on their noble status, nor should we underestimate the harm that can be caused by someone who lacks moral values.
This Hadith also emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and self-control. It reminds us to be mindful of our own actions and intentions, especially in times of hunger or satisfaction. We should strive to maintain our noble qualities and moral values regardless of our circumstances.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a timeless reminder for Muslims to be cautious and discerning in their interactions with others. It highlights the potential vulnerabilities and pitfalls that can arise in different circumstances, urging us to maintain our noble qualities and moral values regardless of our hunger or satisfaction. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and understanding to apply these teachings in our lives.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.
Your message has been successfully received, and we will respond to you soon.