مِسْكِينٌ ابْنُ آدَمَ: مَكْتُومُ الاْجَلِ، مَكْنُونُ الْعِلَلِ، مَحْفُوظُ الْعَمَلِ، تَؤْلِمُهُ الْبَقَّةُ، وَتَقْتُلُهُ الشَّرْقَةُ وَتُنْتِنُهُ الْعَرْقَةُ۔
How wretched the son of Adam is! His death is hidden, his ailments are concealed, his actions are preserved, the bite of a mosquito pains him, choking causes his death and sweat gives him a bad smell.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #419)
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 Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the vulnerability and fragility of human beings. It begins by describing the son of Adam as "wretched," emphasizing the inherent weakness and limitations of human existence. The Imam then proceeds to mention several aspects of human life that exemplify this vulnerability.
Firstly, the Imam states that the son of Adam's death is hidden (maktoom al-ajal). This refers to the uncertainty surrounding the time and manner of one's death. No one knows when or how they will meet their end, and this uncertainty can create anxiety and fear within individuals. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in the Quran, (Quran 62:8)
Say, 'Indeed, the death from which you flee - indeed, it will meet you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you about what you used to do.'
Secondly, the Imam mentions that the son of Adam's ailments are concealed (maknoon al-ill). This refers to the fact that many illnesses and diseases may be hidden within the human body, undetectable until they manifest themselves. This highlights the fragile nature of our physical health and the need for us to take care of our bodies. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in the Quran, (Quran 2:155)
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.
Thirdly, the Imam states that the son of Adam's actions are preserved (mahfuz al-amal). This means that every action, whether good or bad, is recorded and preserved by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). This serves as a reminder that we will be held accountable for our deeds in the Hereafter. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in the Quran, (Quran 17:13)
And [for] every person We have imposed his fate upon his neck, and We will produce for him on the Day of Resurrection a record which he will encounter spread open.
Furthermore, the Imam mentions that the son of Adam is affected by the bite of a mosquito, choked by something as simple as swallowing the wrong way, and even sweat can give him a bad smell. These examples highlight the sensitivity and vulnerability of the human body. They serve as a reminder that even the smallest and seemingly insignificant things can cause discomfort and harm to us. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in the Quran, (Quran 90:4)
And We have certainly created man in hardship.
This Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reflection on the human condition. It reminds us of our mortality, the importance of taking care of our physical and spiritual well-being, and the need to be mindful of our actions. It teaches us humility and gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), and it encourages us to strive for righteousness and seek His forgiveness.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to reflect upon the teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and the guidance to live our lives in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). And may He shower His blessings upon the entire Muslim ummah.
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