خُذِ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنَّى كَانَتْ فَإِنَّ الْحِكْمَةَ تَكُونُ فِي صَدْرِ الْمُنَافِقِ فَتَلَجْلَجُ فِي صَدْرِهِ حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ فَتَسْكُنَ إِلَى صَوَاحِبِهَا فِي صَدْرِ الْمُؤْمِن۔
Take wise points from wherever they may be, because if a wise saying is in the bosom of a hypocrite it flutters in his bosom till it comes out and settles with others of its own category in the bosom of the believer.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #79)
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.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of seeking wisdom and knowledge from wherever it may be found. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises Muslims to take wise points and teachings, regardless of the source, because wisdom is not confined to a specific group or individual.
Let us now delve into the words of this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding. The word (hikmah) "حِكْمَةَ" refers to wisdom, which encompasses knowledge, understanding, and the ability to apply knowledge in a beneficial manner. It is a comprehensive term that encompasses both religious and worldly wisdom. The word (sadr) "صَدْرِ" means bosom or chest, symbolizing the innermost being of an individual, where thoughts, beliefs, and emotions reside. The term (munafiq) "مُنَافِقِ" refers to a hypocrite, someone who outwardly professes faith but inwardly harbors disbelief or hypocrisy.
To support the exegesis of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran. In Surah Al-Hujurat (49:6), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
This verse encourages Muslims to critically evaluate information and seek knowledge before passing judgment. It emphasizes the importance of seeking wisdom from various sources, even if the source may not be considered reliable or trustworthy.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Zumar (39:18), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,
Those who listen to the speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding.
This verse highlights the significance of listening to different perspectives and discerning the best among them. It encourages Muslims to seek wisdom and knowledge from diverse sources, as long as it aligns with the teachings of Islam.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith reminds us that wisdom can be found in unexpected places, even within the hearts of hypocrites. The hypocrite may possess fragments of wisdom, but due to their internal contradictions and insincerity, these wise sayings flutter within them until they are exposed. However, these wise sayings ultimately find their way to the hearts of believers, where they settle and resonate.
This Hadith teaches us several important lessons. Firstly, it emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and wisdom from various sources, regardless of the background or beliefs of the individual sharing it. As Muslims, we should be open-minded and receptive to wisdom, regardless of its origin. Secondly, it reminds us that wisdom is not limited to the righteous or the pious alone. Even those who may not embody the values of Islam can possess fragments of wisdom. However, it is crucial to discern and evaluate the wisdom shared, ensuring that it aligns with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah.
Moreover, this Hadith serves as a reminder to believers that they should strive to embody wisdom and knowledge in their own lives. By seeking wisdom and applying it in our actions, we become vessels for the dissemination of knowledge and wisdom to others. It is our responsibility to ensure that the wisdom we acquire is shared with sincerity and integrity, benefiting ourselves and the community at large.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) urges Muslims to seek wisdom and knowledge from various sources, even if it is found within the hearts of hypocrites. It reminds us to be discerning and critical thinkers, evaluating the wisdom shared and aligning it with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah. By doing so, we can enrich our own understanding and contribute to the betterment of our community. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to seek knowledge and the ability to apply it in our lives.
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