إِذَا كَثُرَتِ الْمَقْدِرَةُ قَلَّتِ الشَّهْوَةُ۔

When capability increases, desire decreases.



When capability increases, desire decreases.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #245)

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 Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

إِذَا كَثُرَتِ الْمَقْدِرَةُ قَلَّتِ الشَّهْوَةُ۔

This Hadith can be translated as,

When capability increases, desire decreases.

Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this wise utterance in light of the Quran. The key words in this Hadith are (maqdirah) "مَقْدِرَةُ" and (shahwah) "شَّهْوَةُ".

The word (maqdirah) "مَقْدِرَةُ" refers to capability, ability, or power. It signifies the strength and potential that an individual possesses to accomplish tasks or achieve goals. It encompasses both physical and intellectual capabilities. In the context of this Hadith, it refers to the increase in one's capacity to accomplish tasks or fulfill responsibilities.

On the other hand, the word (shahwah) "شَّهْوَةُ" translates to desire or lust. It refers to the intense longing or craving for something, whether it be material possessions, worldly pleasures, or even unhealthy desires. It is the inclination towards fulfilling one's personal whims and desires.

To understand the deeper meaning of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Isra (17:37),

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.

This verse reminds us of our limited capabilities as human beings. No matter how much power or ability we possess, we are still bound by our physical and intellectual limitations.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Qasas (28:77), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world.

This verse emphasizes the importance of utilizing our capabilities and resources in seeking the eternal abode, the Hereafter, rather than being consumed by worldly desires.

Now, let us reflect on the profound wisdom behind Imam Ali's statement. When an individual's capability or maqdirah increases, their desire or shahwah naturally decreases. This is because as one's capacity to accomplish tasks or fulfill responsibilities grows, they become more focused on utilizing their abilities for the greater good rather than being consumed by personal desires.

For example, imagine a person who has been blessed with wealth and power. If they use their capabilities solely to fulfill their own desires and indulge in worldly pleasures, their desires will continue to increase. However, if they recognize the responsibility that comes with their capabilities and utilize them for the betterment of society, their desires will naturally decrease. Their focus shifts from personal gratification to serving others and seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

This Hadith serves as a reminder for Muslims to prioritize their capabilities and resources towards fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities in this world, as well as preparing for the Hereafter. It encourages us to channel our abilities towards acts of worship, seeking knowledge, helping others, and striving for justice and righteousness.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us that as our capability increases, our desire decreases. It reminds us to utilize our abilities and resources for the greater good, rather than being consumed by personal desires. By aligning our actions with the teachings of the Quran, we can strive towards a balanced and fulfilling life, seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and preparing for the eternal abode of the Hereafter. May Allah guide us all on the path of righteousness.

. : . (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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