الصَّلَاةُ قُرْبَانُ كُلِّ تَقِيٍّ وَ الْحَجُّ جِهَادُ كُلِّ ضَعِيفٍ وَ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ زَكَاةٌ وَ زَكَاةُ الْبَدَنِ الصِّيَامُ وَ جِهَادُ الْمَرْأَةِ حُسْنُ التَّبَعُّلِ۔
For the God-fearing prayers is a means of seeking nearness to Allah; and for the weak the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) is as good as jihad (fighting in the way of Allah). For every thing there is a levy; and the levy of the body is fasting. The jihad of a woman is to afford pleasant company to her husband.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #136)
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.
In this profound hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides us with valuable insights into the various acts of worship and their significance in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Let us delve into the exegesis of this hadith, exploring the meanings of the key words and their implications in light of the Quran.
The first part of the hadith states,
For the God-fearing, prayers is a means of seeking nearness to Allah.
Here, the word "salah" refers to the obligatory prayers that Muslims perform five times a day. It is important to note that the term "qurbān" means seeking nearness to Allah, indicating that prayers are a means of establishing a close and intimate connection with our Creator. This concept is beautifully emphasized in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 45:
And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].
The second part of the hadith states,
And for the weak, the hajj is as good as jihad.
Here, the word "hajj" refers to the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. The word "jihad" refers to striving and struggling in the way of Allah. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the significance of the hajj for those who are physically weak and unable to engage in physical combat. This aligns with the Quranic verse in Surah Al-Hajj, verse 78:
And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty.
The next part of the hadith states,
For every thing there is a levy; and the levy of the body is fasting.
The term "zakat" is used here, which generally refers to the obligatory charity that Muslims give. However, in this context, it signifies a levy or a due that is required for every aspect of our being. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) specifically mentions fasting as the levy of the body. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is not only a physical act of abstaining from food and drink but also a spiritual act of self-discipline and purification. The Quran beautifully describes the significance of fasting in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 183:
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.
Lastly, the hadith states,
The jihad of a woman is to afford pleasant company to her husband.
Here, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of a woman's role in maintaining a harmonious and loving relationship with her husband. This does not imply that women are confined to this role alone, but rather emphasizes the significance of nurturing a healthy and supportive marital bond. The Quran emphasizes the importance of kindness and companionship in marriage in Surah Al-Rum, verse 21:
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.
In conclusion, this hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides profound insights into the various acts of worship and their significance in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). It reminds us that prayers, hajj, fasting, and maintaining a loving relationship with our spouse are all acts of worship that bring us closer to Allah and contribute to our spiritual growth. May we strive to fulfill these acts of worship with sincerity and devotion, seeking nearness to Allah and embodying the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his noble family.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.
Your message has been successfully received, and we will respond to you soon.