أخٌ تَسْتَفيدُهُ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أخ تَسْتَزيدُهُ۔
The brother whom you benefit from is better than the brother [for] whom you increase [benefit].
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Brother, The Friend, The Associate And The Companion)
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 Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,
أخٌ تَسْتَفيدُهُ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أخ تَسْتَزيدُهُ۔
This Hadith emphasizes the importance of having a brother or a companion who benefits you rather than one who simply increases your worldly possessions or material gains.
Let us delve into the meanings of the key words in this Hadith. The word (akhun) "أخٌ" refers to a brother or a companion. It signifies a close bond, unity, and mutual support. The term (tastafiduhu) "تَسْتَفيدُهُ" means to benefit from someone, to gain advantage or profit from their presence, knowledge, or actions. On the other hand, (tastaziduhu) "تَسْتَزيدُهُ" means to increase or multiply someone's benefits, to provide them with more than what they need or deserve.
To understand the profound wisdom behind this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hujurat (49:10),
The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers.
This verse highlights the importance of unity and resolving conflicts among the believers. It reminds us that true brotherhood is not based on material gains, but rather on mutual support, understanding, and reconciliation.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Asr (103:1-3), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,
By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
This verse emphasizes the significance of advising and benefiting one another in matters of faith and righteousness. It highlights the importance of having companions who guide us towards truth and encourage us to be patient in the face of challenges.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) draws our attention to the quality of our relationships and the importance of surrounding ourselves with companions who bring us spiritual, intellectual, and moral benefit. It reminds us that true brotherhood is not measured by material gains or worldly possessions, but by the positive impact we have on each other's lives.
For example, imagine having a brother who is knowledgeable in the teachings of Islam and guides you towards understanding and implementing them in your life. This brother not only imparts knowledge but also helps you develop a deeper connection with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and strengthens your faith. Through their wisdom and guidance, they benefit you in ways that go beyond material possessions.
On the other hand, imagine having a brother who only seeks to increase his own wealth or possessions without considering your well-being. This brother may provide you with material benefits, but their actions lack the sincerity and selflessness that true brotherhood requires. Their focus on worldly gains may lead to a neglect of spiritual growth and the development of a meaningful relationship with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
The consequences of having a brother who benefits you are far-reaching. Such a companion becomes a source of inspiration, motivation, and spiritual growth. They help you navigate the challenges of life, provide guidance in times of confusion, and support you in your pursuit of righteousness. Their presence in your life brings about positive changes, both in this world and the hereafter.
Conversely, having a brother who only seeks to increase their own benefits can have detrimental effects on your spiritual well-being. Their focus on material gains may distract you from the true purpose of life and lead you astray from the path of righteousness. Their influence may hinder your spiritual growth and prevent you from attaining the closeness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) that you seek.
Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the importance of choosing our companions wisely. We should seek brothers and companions who benefit us in our journey towards Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and the hereafter. We should prioritize the development of our spiritual, intellectual, and moral well-being over worldly gains. By doing so, we can ensure that our relationships are based on sincerity, selflessness, and the pursuit of righteousness.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to prioritize the quality of their relationships over material gains. It encourages us to seek companions who benefit us in our spiritual, intellectual, and moral growth, rather than those who simply increase our worldly possessions. By surrounding ourselves with such brothers and companions, we can strive towards a deeper connection with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and the attainment of true brotherhood in Islam. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us in choosing righteous companions and bless us with beneficial relationships.
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