فَقْدُ الْاَحِبَّةِ غُرْبَةٌ
A lack of friends means strangeness.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #65)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure and noble Ahl al-Bayt, and his righteous companions.
The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, "فَقْدُ الْاَحِبَّةِ غُرْبَةٌ" which translates to
A lack of friends means strangeness.
This profound statement by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) carries deep insights into the nature of human relationships and the importance of companionship.
Let us first delve into the meaning of the key words in this Hadith. The word (faqdu) "فَقْدُ" means "lack" or "absence," indicating the absence or scarcity of something. (al-ahibbah) "الْاَحِبَّةِ" refers to "friends" or "beloved ones." And finally, (ghurbah) "غُرْبَةٌ" translates to "strangeness" or "alienation."
To understand the significance of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) emphasizes the importance of companionship and friendship in several verses. In Surah Al-Anfal, Allah says, (Quran 3:103)
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers
This verse highlights the unity and bond that is formed through friendship and companionship. It reminds us that when we are united with our friends and loved ones, we are stronger and more resilient. Our hearts are brought together by the blessings of Allah, and we become like brothers and sisters in faith.
Another verse that sheds light on the significance of friendship is found in Surah Al-Kahf, where Allah says, (Quran 18:28)
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect
This verse emphasizes the importance of surrounding ourselves with righteous companions who remind us of Allah and strive for His pleasure. Such companionship provides us with the strength and support to remain steadfast in our faith and avoid the distractions and temptations of the worldly life.
Now, let us reflect on the impactful message of Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith. When he speaks of the "lack of friends," he is highlighting the negative consequences of isolation and loneliness. Humans are social beings, and we thrive in the company of others. Without friends and companions, we may feel a sense of strangeness or alienation.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) understood the importance of companionship not only for our emotional well-being but also for our spiritual growth. When we surround ourselves with righteous friends, they can guide and support us on the path of righteousness. They can remind us of our duties towards Allah and inspire us to strive for excellence in our faith.
On the other hand, when we lack friends or companions who share our values and beliefs, we may feel disconnected and vulnerable. We may struggle to find support and encouragement in our journey towards Allah. This can lead to a sense of strangeness and isolation, both in this world and in the hereafter.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a reminder for Muslims to seek out and cherish the company of righteous friends. By doing so, we can strengthen our faith, find solace in times of difficulty, and experience the joy of true companionship. Let us strive to build meaningful relationships based on love, respect, and the pursuit of Allah's pleasure.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) bless us with righteous friends who bring us closer to Him and grant us the wisdom to be good friends to others. Ameen.
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