بِئْسَ الزَّادُ إِلَى الْمَعَادِ الْعُدْوَانُ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ۔
The worst provision for the Day of Judgement is high-handedness over people.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #221)
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, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the detrimental nature of high-handedness or oppression towards fellow human beings as the worst provision for the Day of Judgement. To fully understand the depth and significance of this statement, let us delve into the meanings of the key words used in this Hadith.
The Arabic word (zād) "زاد" refers to provision or sustenance, which is essential for a journey. In the context of this Hadith, it symbolizes the spiritual provision that one accumulates throughout their life, which will determine their fate on the Day of Judgement. (ma'ād) "مَعَاد" refers to the Day of Judgement, the ultimate destination and culmination of our journey in this world. (‘udwān) "عُدْوَان" signifies high-handedness, oppression, or transgression against others. It encompasses any form of injustice, mistreatment, or abuse inflicted upon fellow human beings.
To further comprehend the gravity of high-handedness, we turn to the Quran, which provides numerous verses emphasizing the importance of justice, kindness, and compassion towards others. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:8),
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
This verse highlights the significance of justice and impartiality, even in the face of personal animosity. It reminds us that high-handedness or oppression towards others is not only morally wrong but also a hindrance to attaining righteousness. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) further emphasizes the importance of justice in Surah An-Nisa (4:135),
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
These verses from the Quran highlight the fundamental principle of justice in Islam and the dire consequences of high-handedness. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), being the epitome of knowledge and wisdom, draws our attention to the severity of this transgression. He reminds us that on the Day of Judgement, our provision will be evaluated, and the worst provision one can have is the oppression or mistreatment of fellow human beings.
The consequences of high-handedness are not limited to the hereafter; they also have profound implications in this world. Oppression breeds resentment, division, and societal unrest. It destroys the fabric of communities and undermines the principles of justice and harmony. Conversely, kindness, compassion, and justice foster unity, peace, and a just society.
Reflecting upon this Hadith, we are reminded of the importance of treating others with respect, fairness, and compassion. We should strive to rectify any past wrongs and seek forgiveness from those we may have oppressed. By doing so, we can purify our provision for the Day of Judgement and ensure a better standing in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of justice and compassion in Islam. It urges us to be mindful of our interactions with others and to avoid high-handedness or oppression in any form. By embodying the principles of justice and kindness, we can strive towards a society that is built upon the values of Islam and ultimately secure a better provision for the Day of Judgement. May Allah guide us all to follow the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt and grant us success in this world and the hereafter.
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