النَّاسُ أَعْدَاءُ مَا جَهِلُوا۔

People are enemies of what they do not know.



People are enemies of what they do not know.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #172)

Personal Reflection

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 (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

النَّاسُ أَعْدَاءُ مَا جَهِلُوا۔

This translates to

People are enemies of what they do not know.

This thought-provoking Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the detrimental consequences of ignorance and lack of knowledge.

Let us delve into the meaning of the key words in this Hadith. The term "نَّاسُ" refers to people or individuals. "أَعْدَاءُ" means enemies or adversaries. And "مَا" signifies what or that which. Finally, "جَهِلُوا۔" means they do not know or are ignorant of.

To understand the depth of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of knowledge and warns against ignorance. In Surah Al-Hujurat (49:6), Allah 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 highlights the danger of acting upon incomplete or false information, which stems from ignorance. It urges Muslims to verify the authenticity of any news or information before passing judgment or taking action. By doing so, we can avoid causing harm to others and prevent ourselves from regretting our actions later.

Another verse that aligns with the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is found in Surah Al-Anfal (8:22). Allah says,

Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.

This verse highlights the importance of using reason and intellect to acquire knowledge and understanding. Those who remain ignorant and fail to seek knowledge are considered among the worst of creatures in the sight of Allah.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a reminder to Muslims that ignorance breeds enmity and hostility. When people lack knowledge about a particular subject, they often form misconceptions and prejudices, leading to animosity towards it. This enmity can manifest in various forms, such as discrimination, hatred, or even violence.

For instance, Islamophobia is a prevalent issue in today's world. Many individuals harbor negative sentiments towards Islam and Muslims due to their lack of knowledge and understanding about the religion. This ignorance leads to the perpetuation of stereotypes and biases, ultimately resulting in hostility towards Muslims.

Similarly, within the Muslim community itself, ignorance can give rise to divisions and conflicts. When individuals are unaware of the teachings and principles of Islam, they may engage in practices that are contradictory to its essence. This can lead to disputes and animosity among Muslims, weakening the unity and strength of the Ummah.

To combat this enmity born out of ignorance, it is incumbent upon Muslims to seek knowledge and understanding. The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and encourages Muslims to reflect upon its verses. 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.

By acquiring knowledge, Muslims can dispel ignorance and foster unity, compassion, and empathy among themselves and with others. Knowledge enables individuals to challenge misconceptions, bridge gaps, and build harmonious relationships based on understanding and respect.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder of the detrimental consequences of ignorance. When people lack knowledge about a particular subject, they often become enemies of it. This enmity can lead to discrimination, hatred, and even violence. To combat this, Muslims are encouraged to seek knowledge, reflect upon the Quran, and strive for understanding and unity. By doing so, we can overcome ignorance and foster a society based on compassion, respect, and harmony. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all on the path of knowledge and righteousness.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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