اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ أَنْ تُحَسِّنَ فِى لَامِعَةِ الْعُيُونِ عَلَانِيَتِى وَ تُقَبِّحَ فِيمَا أُبْطِنُ لَكَ سَرِيرَتِى مُحَافِظاً عَلَى رِثَاءِ النَّاسِ مِنْ نَفْسِى بِجَمِيعِ مَا أَنْتَ مُطَّلِعٌ عَلَيْهِ مِنِّى فَأُبْدِيَ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنَ ظَاهِرِى وَ أُفْضِيَ إِلَيْكَ بِسُوءِ عَمَلِى تَقَرُّباً إِلَى عِبَادِكَ وَ تَبَاعُداً مِنْ مَرْضَاتِكَ۔
O My God, I seek Your protection from this that I may appear to be good in the eyes of the people whilst my inward self may be sinful before You, and that I may guard myself (from sins) only for show before the people although You are aware of all about me. Thus, I appear before the people in good shape although my evil deeds are placed before You. This means achieving nearness to Your creatures but remoteness from Your pleasure.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #276)
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 provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is a profound supplication seeking Allah's protection from the hypocrisy of appearing righteous in the eyes of people while harboring sins within oneself. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) seeks refuge in Allah from the temptation to present a facade of piety to others, while neglecting the true essence of righteousness that lies within the heart.
Let us delve into the important words of this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding. The word (lāmiʿatil-ʿuyūn) "لَامِعَةِ الْعُيُونِ" refers to the brightness or radiance of the eyes, which symbolizes the perception and judgment of people. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) seeks protection from being overly concerned with how he appears to others, as this can lead to hypocrisy and insincerity in his actions.
The phrase (tuqabbih fīmā ubtinu laka sariiratī)
تُقَبِّحَ فِيمَا أُبْطِنُ لَكَ سَرِيرَتِي
refers to the fear of having a hidden inner self that is sinful and displeasing to Allah. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) seeks refuge in Allah from the possibility of having a secret life of transgressions and sins that contradicts his outward appearance of righteousness.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) expresses his desire to protect himself from the temptation of seeking the praise and admiration of people, while neglecting his relationship with Allah. He acknowledges that Allah is fully aware of his innermost thoughts, intentions, and actions. This recognition serves as a reminder for Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) to prioritize his devotion to Allah over the opinions and judgments of others.
To support the exegesis of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:264), Allah says,
O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day.
This verse highlights the importance of sincerity in our actions and warns against seeking recognition from people rather than seeking the pleasure of Allah.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Ma'un (107:4-7), Allah describes the hypocrites who perform acts of worship for show, saying,
So woe to those who pray [but] who are heedless of their prayer - those who make show [of their deeds] and withhold [simple] assistance.
This serves as a reminder to Muslims to be cautious of falling into the trap of hypocrisy and insincerity in their worship.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for all Muslims to prioritize their relationship with Allah over the opinions and judgments of others. It teaches us the importance of sincerity in our actions, intentions, and devotion to Allah. We should strive to align our outward appearance with our inward state, ensuring that our actions are driven by a genuine desire to please Allah and seek His pleasure.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) sets an example of humility and self-awareness by acknowledging his weaknesses and seeking refuge in Allah from the temptation of hypocrisy. This Hadith encourages Muslims to reflect on their own intentions and actions, reminding us to constantly strive for self-improvement and to seek Allah's pleasure in all that we do.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a powerful reminder for Muslims to prioritize sincerity and devotion to Allah over seeking the praise and admiration of others. It teaches us to be self-aware and to constantly strive for self-improvement, seeking refuge in Allah from the temptation of hypocrisy. May Allah guide us all to sincerity in our actions and grant us His pleasure.
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