لا تَكُنْ مِمَّن يَرْجوُا الآخِرَةَ بِغَيْرِ عَمَل، ويُسَوِّفُ التَّوبَةَ بِطُولِ الأمَلِ، يَقُولُ في الدُّنيا بِقَوْلِ الزَّاهِدينَ، ويَعمَلُ فيها بِعَمَلِ الرَّاغِبينَ۔
Do not be one of those who hopes for the Hereafter without working [for it], and postpones repentance with long hopes; one who speaks in this world with the words of those who are indifferent [to its pleasures] but acts in it with the actions of the desirous.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Hereafter)
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 of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he advises the Muslims to not be among those who merely hope for the rewards of the Hereafter without putting in any effort or work towards attaining it. He warns against delaying repentance by relying on long hopes and aspirations. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further highlights the contradiction of speaking in this world with the words of those who are indifferent to its pleasures, while simultaneously engaging in actions that reflect a deep desire for worldly gains.
To fully comprehend the depth and significance of this Hadith, let us delve into the key words and concepts it presents. The first important word is (yarju) "يَرْجُو", which means to hope or expect. In the context of the Hadith, it refers to hoping for the rewards of the Hereafter. The second key word is (amal) "عَمَل", which means action or work. It signifies the effort and deeds required to attain the rewards of the Hereafter. The third word is (tawbah) "تَوْبَة", which means repentance. It emphasizes the importance of seeking forgiveness and turning back to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) for any wrongdoings.
To support the exegesis of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 25:
And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, 'This is what we were provided with before.' And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.
This ayah emphasizes the importance of belief and righteous deeds in attaining the rewards of the Hereafter. It highlights the need for action alongside faith. Similarly, in Surah Al-Kahf, Ayah 46, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says:
Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope.
This ayah reminds us that worldly possessions and desires are temporary and fleeting, while the enduring good deeds are what truly matter in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). It emphasizes the need to prioritize actions that will bring us closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and secure our place in the Hereafter.
Reflecting on the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), we can understand that it is not enough to simply hope for the rewards of the Hereafter without actively working towards them. Merely having good intentions and aspirations is not sufficient. We must back our hopes with sincere actions that align with the teachings of Islam.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns against delaying repentance by relying on long hopes and aspirations. This serves as a reminder that we should not postpone seeking forgiveness for our sins, as we do not know when our time in this world will come to an end. We should not be deceived by the illusion of a long life and delay our repentance, for it is a sign of arrogance and heedlessness.
Furthermore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the contradiction of speaking in this world with the words of those who are indifferent to its pleasures, while engaging in actions driven by worldly desires. This serves as a reminder to Muslims to align their words and actions, to be consistent in their beliefs and deeds. It is hypocritical to claim detachment from worldly pleasures while actively pursuing them.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to not be complacent in their pursuit of the Hereafter. It urges us to combine our hopes with sincere actions, to prioritize repentance and seek forgiveness without delay. It also emphasizes the importance of aligning our words and actions, to avoid hypocrisy and inconsistency. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to embody the teachings of this Hadith and strive for success in both this world and the Hereafter.
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