مَنْ كانَ فيهِ ثَلاثٌ سَلِمَتْ لَهُ الدُّنيا والآخِرَةُ: يَأمُرُ بِالمَعْرُوفِ وَيَأتَمِرُ بِهِ، وَيَنْهى عَنِ المُنْكَرِ ويَنْتَهي عَنْهُ، ويُحافِظُ على حُدُودِ اللّهِ جَلَّ وَعلا۔
One who has three [qualities] will have saved his life in this world and the Hereafter: he commands good and himself follows it, forbids evil and himself keeps away from it, and is careful in following the commandments of Allah, the Mighty and High.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Hereafter)
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 (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he outlines three qualities that, if possessed by an individual, will lead to success in both this world and the Hereafter. Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith, exploring the meanings behind the important words and their implications in light of the Quran.
The first quality mentioned is (يَأمُرُ بِالمَعْرُوفِ) "commanding good" and (وَيَأتَمِرُ بِهِ) "following it". The Arabic word "مَعْرُوفِ" refers to that which is recognized as good and virtuous in society. It encompasses acts of kindness, justice, and righteousness. The individual who possesses this quality not only recognizes what is good but also actively encourages and promotes it. They lead by example, inspiring others to follow the path of righteousness. This is in line with the teachings of the Quran, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Imran, verse 104:
Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.
The second quality mentioned is (وَيَنْهَى عَنِ ٱلْمُنْكَرِ) "forbidding evil" and (وَيَنْتَهِي عَنْهُ)
keeping away from it
The Arabic word "مُنْكَرِ" refers to that which is recognized as evil and sinful. It includes acts of injustice, immorality, and disobedience to Allah's commandments. The individual who possesses this quality not only recognizes what is evil but also actively discourages and prevents it. They stand against injustice and immorality, striving to eradicate evil from society. This is in accordance with the teachings of the Quran, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-A'raf, verse 157:
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong.
The third quality mentioned is (وَيُحَافِظُ عَلَى حُدُودِ ٱللَّهِ جَلَّ وَعَلا۔)
being careful in following the commandments of Allah
This refers to being cautious and diligent in observing the limits set by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). It entails adhering to the divine laws and avoiding any transgressions. The individual who possesses this quality is mindful of their actions, ensuring that they do not exceed the boundaries set by Allah. This is emphasized in the Quran, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 187:
And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights these three qualities as essential for success in both this world and the Hereafter. By commanding good and forbidding evil, individuals contribute to the betterment of society and create an environment conducive to righteousness. By being careful in following the commandments of Allah, individuals safeguard themselves from falling into sin and transgression. These qualities not only have positive consequences for individuals but also have far-reaching effects on the community as a whole.
Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the importance of actively promoting good and preventing evil in our lives. We should strive to be role models, inspiring others through our actions. Additionally, we must be vigilant in adhering to the commandments of Allah, ensuring that we do not transgress His limits. By embodying these qualities, we can attain success in both this world and the Hereafter, as promised by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ).
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody these qualities and lead lives that are pleasing to Him. May He guide us on the path of righteousness and grant us success in this world and the Hereafter.
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