بِكَثْرَةِ الصَّمْتِ تَكُونُ الْهَيْبَةُ وَ بِالنَّصَفَةِ يَكْثُرُ الْمُوَاصِلُونَ وَ بِالْإِفْضَالِ تَعْظُمُ الْأَقْدَارُ وَ بِالتَّوَاضُعِ تَتِمُّ النِّعْمَةُ وَ بِاحْتِمَالِ الْمُؤَنِ يَجِبُ السُّؤْدُدُ وَ بِالسِّيرَةِ الْعَادِلَةِ يُقْهَرُ الْمُنَاوِئُ وَ بِالْحِلْمِ عَنِ السَّفِيهِ تَكْثُرُ الْأَنْصَارُ عَلَيْهِ۔
Excess of silence produces awe; justice results in more close friends; generosity heightens position; with humility blessings abound in plenty; by facing hardships leadership is achieved; by just behaviour the adversary is overpowered; and with forbearance against a fool there is increase of one's supporters against him.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #224)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he imparts wisdom and guidance on various aspects of human behavior and character. Let us delve into the exegesis of this hadith, exploring the significance of each statement in light of the Quran.
Excess of silence produces awe
: The Imam highlights the power of silence in creating a sense of awe and reverence. Silence has the ability to captivate and command attention, instilling a sense of respect and admiration in others. This concept finds support in the Quran, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Surah Luqman, 31:19)
And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys
The verse emphasizes the importance of speaking with moderation and humility, as excessive speech can diminish one's dignity and influence.
Justice results in more close friends
: Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the positive consequences of practicing justice in our interactions with others. Just behavior fosters trust, respect, and harmony, leading to the formation of strong and lasting friendships. The Quran reinforces this principle, stating, (Surah An-Nahl, 16:90)
Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded
This verse emphasizes the importance of justice as a fundamental principle in Islam, promoting social cohesion and strengthening relationships.
3. "Generosity heightens position": The Imam emphasizes the virtue of generosity and its impact on one's status and honor. By being generous and selfless, individuals elevate their position in the eyes of others and earn the respect and admiration of society. The Quran affirms this concept, stating, (Surah Al-Insan, 76:8-9)
And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [saying], 'We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude'
This verse highlights the significance of giving without expecting anything in return, as it enhances one's character and elevates their rank in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
With humility, blessings abound in plenty
: Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of humility in attracting divine blessings. When individuals humble themselves before Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and others, they create an environment conducive to the abundance of blessings. The Quran states, (Surah Hud, 11:23)
Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and humble themselves before their Lord - those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide eternally therein
This verse highlights the correlation between humility and righteousness, indicating that those who humble themselves will be rewarded with eternal bliss.
By facing hardships, leadership is achieved
: Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of perseverance and resilience in attaining leadership. True leaders are those who face challenges head-on, demonstrating strength and determination in the face of adversity. The Quran provides numerous examples of prophets and righteous individuals who faced trials and emerged as leaders, such as Prophet Ibrahim (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and Prophet Yusuf (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ).
By just behavior, the adversary is overpowered
: Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the power of just behavior in overcoming adversaries. When individuals uphold justice and fairness, they gain the upper hand over their opponents, as righteousness and truth ultimately prevail. The Quran states, (Surah Al-Anbiya, 21:105)
And We have already written in the book [of Psalms] after the [previous] mention that the land [of Paradise] is inherited by My righteous servants
This verse underscores the divine promise that the righteous will ultimately triumph over their adversaries.
With forbearance against a fool, there is an increase of one's supporters against him
: Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of patience and forbearance when dealing with foolish individuals. By exercising restraint and responding with wisdom, one can gain the support and loyalty of others who recognize the virtue of patience. The Quran advises, (Surah Fussilat, 41:34)
And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend
This verse encourages believers to respond to negativity with kindness and goodness, ultimately transforming adversaries into allies.
In conclusion, this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides valuable insights into various aspects of human behavior and character. By reflecting on these teachings and aligning our actions with the guidance of the Quran, we can strive to embody the virtues highlighted by the Imam. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to implement these teachings in our lives and may we be among those who are guided to the path of righteousness.
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