عَجِبْتُ لِمَنْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ كَيْفَ لايَسْعى لِدارِ البَقاءِ؟!
I am amazed at the one who knows his Lord, how can he not strive for the everlasting abode?!
— 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 worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this impactful Hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) expresses his astonishment at those who claim to have knowledge of their Lord, yet fail to exert effort in seeking the eternal abode. The Imam's words highlight the importance of actively striving for the hereafter, as it is the ultimate goal for every believer.
Let us delve deeper into the words of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and explore their meanings in light of the Quran. The key words in this hadith are (knows) "عَرَفَ" and (strive) "يَسْعَى".
The word (knows) "عَرَفَ" implies a deep understanding and recognition of one's Lord. It goes beyond mere knowledge and encompasses a profound spiritual connection with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). This knowledge is acquired through contemplation, reflection, and submission to the teachings of Islam. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) emphasizes the importance of knowing Him in the Quran:
And know that Allah is the best of planners.
Indeed, those who fear Allah - when an impulse touches them from Satan, they remember [Him] and at once they have insight.
The second word, (strive) "يَسْعَى", denotes a continuous and dedicated effort towards seeking the hereafter. It implies actively working towards righteousness, performing good deeds, and avoiding sins. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) encourages believers to strive in His cause:
And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.
Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds - for them is a reward uninterrupted.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) amazement stems from the fact that someone who truly knows their Lord would naturally be motivated to strive for the everlasting abode. This knowledge should ignite a burning desire to please Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and earn His pleasure. It should serve as a driving force to perform acts of worship, seek knowledge, and engage in charitable endeavors.
The consequences of neglecting this striving for the hereafter are grave. It leads to a life focused solely on worldly pursuits, with little regard for the eternal consequences. Such a person becomes engrossed in materialism, chasing temporary pleasures and neglecting their spiritual growth. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns against this heedlessness in the Quran:
O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that - then those are the losers.
And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah, so will you not reason?
Reflecting on Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) words should serve as a wake-up call for every Muslim. We must strive to deepen our knowledge of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and actively work towards the hereafter. This entails performing acts of worship with sincerity, seeking knowledge to strengthen our faith, and engaging in acts of kindness and charity.
Let us not be among those who claim to know their Lord but fail to strive for the everlasting abode. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the understanding, motivation, and strength to continuously strive for His pleasure and the eternal abode.
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