مَنْ لَمْ يَصْلُحْ على أدَبِ اللّهِ لَمْ يَصْلُحْ على أدَبِ نَفْسِهِ۔

One who is not reformed by the discipline of Allah cannot become reformed through self-discipline.



One who is not reformed by the discipline of Allah cannot become reformed...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: Good Etiquette)

Personal Reflection

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

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

One who is not reformed by the discipline of Allah cannot become reformed through self-discipline.

This beautiful Hadith emphasizes the importance of seeking guidance and reform through the teachings and discipline prescribed by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith in light of the Quran.

The word (salaḥa) "صَلَحَ" in Arabic, which is translated as "reformed" in English, implies rectification, improvement, and setting things right. It encompasses both external and internal aspects of a person's character and behavior. In this Hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the significance of being reformed by the discipline of Allah before attempting to reform oneself through personal efforts.

To understand the depth of this statement, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Qasas (28:56),

Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.

This verse reminds us that true guidance and reform come from Allah alone. We must seek His guidance and adhere to His teachings in order to attain true reformation.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-An'am (6:125), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,

So whoever Allah wants to guide - He expands his breast to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide - He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing into the sky. Thus does Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.

This verse emphasizes that it is Allah who opens the hearts of individuals to accept guidance and reform. Without His intervention, self-discipline alone cannot bring about true reformation.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of recognizing our own limitations and seeking Allah's guidance in order to achieve true reform. When we rely solely on our own efforts, we may fall into the trap of arrogance and self-righteousness. However, when we humble ourselves before Allah and submit to His discipline, we open ourselves to His mercy and guidance.

For example, if a person is struggling with a bad habit or a character flaw, they may attempt to overcome it through self-discipline alone. While personal efforts are commendable, without seeking the discipline of Allah, true and lasting reform may be elusive. By turning to Allah, seeking His forgiveness, and following His commandments, one can find the strength and guidance to overcome their shortcomings.

Moreover, seeking reform through the discipline of Allah entails adhering to the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (). Allah says in Surah Al-Imran (3:31),

Say, [O Muhammad], 'If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.'

By following the example of the Prophet () and the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ), we align ourselves with the discipline of Allah and increase our chances of true reformation.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us that seeking reform through the discipline of Allah is essential for true and lasting transformation. By recognizing our dependence on Allah's guidance, we humble ourselves and open our hearts to His mercy and forgiveness. Through adherence to His commandments and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad () and the Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ), we can attain true reformation and draw closer to our Creator. May Allah guide us all on the path of righteousness and grant us the strength to seek His discipline in our lives.

. : . (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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