اعْتَصِمُوابِالذِّمَمِ فِي أَوْتَادِهَا۔
Adhere to contracts and entrust their fulfilment to steadfast persons.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #155)
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 (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, "اعْتَصِمُوابِالذِّمَمِ فِي أَوْتَادِهَا۔" This can be translated as,
Adhere to contracts and entrust their fulfillment to steadfast persons.
Let us delve into the meaning of this Hadith by examining the key words and their significance. The word (i'tasimoo) "اعْتَصِمُوا" means to hold firmly or cling to something. In this context, it refers to holding firmly onto contracts. The term (adh-dhimam) "الذِّمَمِ" refers to agreements or covenants that are made between individuals or parties. These agreements can be in various forms, such as business contracts, marriage contracts, or treaties.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises Muslims to adhere to these contracts and entrust their fulfillment to steadfast individuals. This emphasizes the importance of honoring one's commitments and fulfilling the obligations that arise from these agreements. By doing so, we maintain trust, justice, and stability in our relationships and society.
This teaching of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) aligns with the principles emphasized in the Quran. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:1),
O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.
This verse clearly commands believers to fulfill their contractual obligations, highlighting the significance of honoring agreements.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Isra (17:34), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,
And fulfill every commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.
This verse emphasizes the accountability that individuals will face regarding their commitments. It serves as a reminder that fulfilling contracts is not only a moral obligation but also a matter of accountability in the sight of Allah.
By adhering to contracts and entrusting their fulfillment to steadfast individuals, we contribute to the establishment of a just and trustworthy society. This practice fosters mutual respect, fairness, and harmony in our interactions. It also safeguards the rights and interests of all parties involved.
For instance, in a business contract, honoring the agreed-upon terms ensures that both the buyer and the seller are treated fairly. It prevents exploitation and promotes a healthy economic environment. Similarly, in a marriage contract, fulfilling the rights and responsibilities outlined therein creates a strong foundation for a harmonious and loving relationship.
On the other hand, neglecting or breaching contracts can lead to various negative consequences. It erodes trust, damages relationships, and undermines social cohesion. It can also result in legal disputes, financial losses, and emotional distress for all parties involved.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) guidance in this Hadith encourages Muslims to be people of integrity and honor. It reminds us of the importance of upholding our commitments and fulfilling our obligations. By doing so, we not only fulfill the teachings of Islam but also contribute to the betterment of society.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) urges Muslims to adhere to contracts and entrust their fulfillment to steadfast individuals. This teaching aligns with the principles emphasized in the Quran, which emphasize the importance of fulfilling commitments. By honoring our agreements, we contribute to the establishment of a just and trustworthy society, fostering mutual respect and harmony. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to uphold our contracts and fulfill our obligations with sincerity and integrity.
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