مَنْ تَرَكَ قَوْلَ لَا أَدْرِي أُصِيبَتْ مَقَاتِلُهُ۔
Whoever abandons saying, "I do not know" meets his destruction.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #85)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due 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 provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,
Whoever abandons saying, 'I do not know' meets his destruction.
This Hadith emphasizes the importance of acknowledging one's limitations and seeking knowledge when faced with uncertainty. Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this Hadith in light of the Quran.
The key phrase in this Hadith is (I do not know) "لا أدري". This phrase signifies humility and the recognition of one's limited knowledge. It is a reminder that as human beings, we are not all-knowing and that seeking knowledge is a lifelong journey. By admitting our lack of knowledge, we open ourselves up to learning and growth.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge in the Quran. In Surah Al-Zumar (39:9), Allah says,
Say, 'Are those who know equal to those who do not know?' Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding.
This verse highlights the distinction between those who possess knowledge and those who do not. It encourages Muslims to strive for knowledge and to recognize its value.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:269), Allah describes the qualities of those who possess knowledge, saying,
He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.
This verse emphasizes that knowledge is a gift from Allah, and those who possess it are blessed with great goodness. It also suggests that true understanding can only be attained by those who actively seek knowledge.
Now, let us reflect on the consequences of abandoning the acknowledgment of not knowing. When a person refuses to admit their lack of knowledge, they may fall into the trap of arrogance and ignorance. This can lead to misguided actions, false assumptions, and even harm to oneself and others. By contrast, when one humbly admits their lack of knowledge, they open themselves up to learning, growth, and the possibility of finding the truth.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), known for his profound knowledge and wisdom, understood the importance of seeking knowledge and acknowledging one's limitations. He recognized that true knowledge comes from a place of humility and a willingness to learn. By abandoning the phrase
I do not know,
one risks falling into the trap of arrogance and ignorance, which can ultimately lead to destruction.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for Muslims to embrace humility and seek knowledge. By admitting our lack of knowledge and being open to learning, we can avoid the pitfalls of arrogance and ignorance. Let us strive to follow the example of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and continuously seek knowledge, for it is through knowledge that we can attain true understanding and guidance. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) bless us with the wisdom to recognize our limitations and the humility to seek knowledge.
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