إِنَّ لِلْقُلُوبِ شَهْوَةً وَإِقْبَالاً وَإِدْبَاراً، فَأْتُوهَا مِنْ قِبَلِ شَهْوَتِهَا وَإِقْبَالِهَا، فَإِنَّ الْقَلْبَ إِذَا أُكْرِهَ عَمِيَ۔
Hearts are imbued with passion and the power of advancing and retreating. Therefore, approach them for action at the time of their passionateness and when they are in a mood for advancing, because if hearts are forced (to do a thing) they will be blinded.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #193)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his purified progeny, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the nature of human hearts, describing them as being imbued with passion and the ability to advance and retreat. It emphasizes the importance of approaching the hearts at the right time, when they are inclined towards action and passionate about a cause. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises against forcing hearts to act against their will, as doing so will blind them and hinder their ability to perceive the truth.
To understand the profound wisdom behind this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hajj, verse 46:
Have they not traveled through the land and observed how was the end of those before them? They were greater than them in power, and they plowed the earth and built it up more than they have built it up, and their messengers came to them with clear evidences. And Allah would not ever have wronged them, but they were wronging themselves.
This verse reminds us of the importance of observing the consequences of past actions. Just as previous nations were given power and resources, they ultimately faced destruction due to their own wrongdoing. Similarly, when it comes to the hearts of individuals, forcing them to act against their natural inclinations can lead to negative consequences. It is essential to approach the hearts when they are receptive and inclined towards a particular action, as this will yield better results and prevent potential harm.
Another verse that sheds light on the wisdom of Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice is found in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 256:
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
This verse emphasizes the importance of freedom of choice and the absence of compulsion in matters of religion. Just as hearts should not be forced to accept a particular faith, they should also not be coerced into actions that go against their natural inclinations. Forcing the hearts to act against their will can lead to a loss of clarity and understanding, blinding them to the truth.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice in this Hadith reflects his deep understanding of human nature and the importance of approaching hearts with wisdom and sensitivity. By recognizing the passion and inclination within hearts, we can effectively engage with others and inspire them towards positive action. This approach not only respects the autonomy and free will of individuals but also ensures that their actions are driven by genuine conviction and understanding.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the importance of approaching hearts at the right time, when they are inclined towards action and passionate about a cause. Forcing hearts to act against their will can lead to negative consequences and hinder their ability to perceive the truth. By understanding and respecting the nature of human hearts, we can engage with others in a way that inspires and motivates them towards positive action. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to approach hearts with kindness and understanding.
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