الْمُؤْمِنُ بِشْرُهُ فِى وَجْهِهِ وَ حُزْنُهُ فِى قَلْبِهِ أَوْسَعُ شَيْءٍ صَدْراً وَ أَذَلُّ شَيْءٍ نَفْساً يَكْرَهُ الرِّفْعَةَ وَ يَشْنَأُ السُّمْعَةَ طَوِيلٌ غَمُّهُ بَعِيدٌ هَمُّهُ كَثِيرٌ صَمْتُهُ مَشْغُولٌ وَقْتُهُ شَكُورٌ صَبُورٌ مَغْمُورٌ بِفِكْرَتِهِ ضَنِينٌ بِخَلَّتِهِ سَهْلُ الْخَلِيقَةِ لَيِّنُ الْعَرِيكَةِ نَفْسُهُ أَصْلَبُ مِنَ الصَّلْدِ وَ هُوَ أَذَلُّ مِنَ الْعَبْدِ۔
A believer has a cheerful face, a sorrowful heart, a very broad chest (full of generosity), and a very humble heart. He hates high position and dislikes renown. His grief is long, his courage is far-reaching, his silence is much and, his time is occupied. He is grateful, enduring, buried in his thoughts, sparing in his friendship (with others), of bright demeanour and of soft temperament. He is stronger than stone but humbler than a slave.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #333)
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.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the qualities and characteristics of a true believer. Let us delve into the deeper meanings of the words used in this Hadith and explore their significance in light of the Quran.
The Hadith begins by stating that a believer has a (بِشْرُهُ فِى وَجْهِهِ) "cheerful face". This refers to the radiance and contentment that is visible on the face of a believer due to their unwavering faith and trust in Allah. The Quran supports this notion in Surah Yunus, verse 62, where it says,
Unquestionably, the friends of Allah will have no fear, nor will they grieve.
Next, the Hadith mentions that a believer has a (حُزْنُهُ فِى قَلْبِهِ) "sorrowful heart". This does not imply constant sadness, but rather a deep sense of concern and empathy for the suffering of others. The Quran emphasizes the importance of having a compassionate heart in Surah Al-Hashr, verse 9, where it says,
And [also for] those who were settled in the Home [i.e., Al-Madinah] and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation.
The Hadith further describes a believer as having a (أَوْسَعُ شَيْءٍ صَدْراً) "very broad chest". This signifies the generosity and open-heartedness of a believer, always ready to help and support others. The Quran beautifully illustrates this quality in Surah Al-Insan, verse 8, where it says,
And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive.
Additionally, the Hadith states that a believer possesses a (أَذَلُّ شَيْءٍ نَفْساً) "very humble heart". This highlights the believer's humility and lack of arrogance, recognizing their own weaknesses and shortcomings. The Quran emphasizes the importance of humility in Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 13, where it says,
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.
The Hadith goes on to mention that a believer dislikes high positions and renown, as they are content with their humble state. This aligns with the Quranic teachings that emphasize the importance of humility and detachment from worldly desires. In Surah Al-Qasas, verse 76, Allah says,
Indeed, Qarun was from the people of Moses, but he tyrannized them. And We gave him of treasures whose keys would burden a band of strong men; thereupon his people said to him, 'Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant.'
Furthermore, the Hadith describes a believer's grief as long and their courage as far-reaching. This indicates the believer's ability to endure hardships and face challenges with patience and determination. The Quran encourages believers to be patient in times of difficulty in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 155, where it says,
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.
The Hadith also highlights that a believer's silence is much and their time is occupied. This implies that a believer is cautious with their words, speaking only when necessary, and utilizing their time wisely in acts of worship and beneficial pursuits. The Quran advises believers to speak good or remain silent in Surah Al-A'raf, verse 199, where it says,
Take what is given freely, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant. And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing.
Moreover, the Hadith states that a believer is grateful and enduring, buried in their thoughts, sparing in their friendship, of bright demeanor, and of soft temperament. These qualities reflect the believer's gratitude towards Allah, their ability to reflect and contemplate, their selectiveness in choosing companions, their positive outlook, and their gentle and kind nature. The Quran encourages believers to be grateful in Surah Ibrahim, verse 7, where it says,
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'
Finally, the Hadith describes a believer as being stronger than stone but humbler than a slave. This signifies the believer's inner strength and resilience, coupled with their humility and submission to Allah. The Quran reminds believers to be humble in Surah Al-Isra, verse 37, where it says,
And do not walk upon the earth exultantly. Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart], and you will never reach the mountains in height.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides a profound insight into the qualities and characteristics of a true believer. It emphasizes the importance of humility, compassion, patience, gratitude, and self-reflection. By embodying these qualities, Muslims can strive to become true believers and follow in the footsteps of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), who was known for his immense knowledge and piety. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody these qualities and strengthen our faith.
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