أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، اتَّقُوا اللهَ، فَمَا خُلِقَ امْرءٌ عَبَثاً فَيَلْهُوَ وَلاَ تُرِكَ سُدىً فَيَلْغُوَ وَمَا دُنْيَاهُ الَّتي تَحَسَّنَتْ لَهُ بِخَلَفٍ مِنَ الاْخِرَةِ الَّتي قَبَّحَها سُوءُ النَّظَرِ عِنْدَهُ، وَمَا الْمَغْرُورُ الَّذِي ظَفِرَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا بأَعْلَى هِمَّتِهِ كَالاْخَرِ الَّذِي ظَفِرَ مِنَ الاْخِرَةِ بِأَدْنَى سُهْمَتِهِ۔
O people, fear Allah for man has not been created for naught so that he may waste himself, nor has he been left uncared for so that he may commit nonsensical acts. This world which appears beautiful to him cannot be the replacement of the next world which appears bad in his eyes, nor is the vain person who is successful in this world through his high courage like him who is successful in the next world even to a small extent.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #370)
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) advises the Muslims to fear Allah and not waste their lives in frivolous pursuits. He reminds us that human beings have not been created aimlessly, but with a purpose and a responsibility. The Imam emphasizes that we should not indulge in meaningless activities or neglect our duties, for we have not been left unattended by our Creator.
The Imam further highlights the stark contrast between the temporary allure of this worldly life and the eternal rewards of the hereafter. He states that although this world may appear beautiful and enticing to us, it can never be a substitute for the everlasting bliss of the next world. Similarly, the person who achieves success and recognition in this world through his worldly ambitions and desires cannot be compared to the one who attains success in the hereafter, even if it is to a lesser degree.
To understand the depth and significance of this hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly reminds us of the fleeting nature of this world and the importance of focusing on the hereafter. In Surah Al-Hadid, Allah says, (57:20)
Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. It is as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers), and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers). And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.
This verse serves as a reminder that the attractions and pleasures of this world are temporary and illusory. They may bring temporary joy and satisfaction, but they cannot compare to the everlasting rewards and blessings that await the believers in the hereafter. The Imam's words echo this sentiment, urging us to prioritize the eternal over the transient.
Furthermore, the Quran emphasizes the importance of using our time and resources wisely. In Surah Al-Asr, Allah says, (103:1-3)
By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
This verse reminds us that time is a precious resource that should not be wasted. It is a reminder that our lives are limited, and we will be held accountable for how we utilize the time given to us. Imam Ali's words in this hadith serve as a powerful reminder to Muslims to be mindful of how they spend their time and to prioritize actions that will bring them closer to Allah and benefit them in the hereafter.
In conclusion, this hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to fear Allah and not waste their lives in frivolous pursuits. It highlights the temporary nature of this world and the importance of focusing on the eternal rewards of the hereafter. By heeding the Imam's advice, we can strive to lead purposeful lives, utilizing our time and resources wisely, and ultimately attaining success in both this world and the next. May Allah guide us all on the straight path and grant us success in this life and the hereafter.
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