إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللهِ هُمُ الَّذِينَ نَظَرُوا إِلَى بَاطِنِ الدُّنْيَا إِذَا نَظَرَ النَّاسُ إِلَى ظَاهِرِهَا، وَاشْتَغَلُوا بِآجِلِهَا إِذَا آشْتَغَلَ النَّاسُ بِعَاجِلِهَا، فَأَمَاتُوا مِنْهَا مَا خَشُوا أَنْ يُمِيتَهُمْ وَتَرَكُوا مِنْهَا مَا عَلِمُوا أَنَّهُ سَيَتْرُكُهُمْ، وَرَأَوُا اسْتِكْثَارَ غَيْرِهِمْ مِنْهَا اسْتِقْلالاً، وَدَرَكَهُمْ لَهَا فَوْتاً، أَعْدَاءُ مَا سَالَمَ النَّاسُ، وَسِلْمُ مَا عَادَى النَّاسُ! بِهِمْ عُلِمَ الْكِتَابُ وَبِهِ عُلِمُوا وَبِهِمْ قَامَ الْكِتَابُ وَبِهِ قَامُوا، لاَ يَرَوْنَ مَرْجُوّاً فَوْقَ مَا يَرْجُونَ، وَلاَ مَخُوفاً فَوْقَ مَا يَخَافُونَ۔
Lovers of Allah are those who look at the inward side of the world while others look at its outward side, they busy themselves with remoter benefits while others busy themselves in immediate benefits. They kill those things which they feared would have killed them, and leave here in this world what they think would leave them. They took amassing of wealth by others as a small matter and regarded it like losing.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #432)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his purified progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he describes the true lovers of Allah. He states that the true awliya (lovers and friends) of Allah are those who possess a unique perspective on the world. While others are preoccupied with the superficial and outward aspects of this worldly life, the awliya of Allah focus on the inner and deeper realities.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) explains that the awliya of Allah are not concerned with immediate and temporary benefits, but rather, they engage themselves in seeking long-term and eternal benefits. They prioritize the hereafter over the worldly life, understanding that the true success lies in the eternal life to come.
To support this profound insight, we find numerous verses in the Quran that emphasize the importance of focusing on the inner realities and the eternal life. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hadid (57:20):
Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.
This verse reminds us that the worldly life is merely a temporary amusement and a delusion. The true purpose of life lies in the hereafter, where there is both severe punishment for those who disregard the eternal realities and forgiveness and approval for those who prioritize the hereafter.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further explains that the awliya of Allah are those who are willing to sacrifice and let go of worldly possessions and desires. They kill those things that they fear would have killed them. This means that they detach themselves from the love of material possessions and worldly desires, recognizing that these attachments can lead to spiritual destruction.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in Surah Al-Imran (3:14):
Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.
This verse highlights the allure of worldly possessions and desires. However, the true believers are those who recognize that the true enjoyment and return lie with Allah in the hereafter, not in the temporary pleasures of this world.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) concludes by stating that the awliya of Allah view the accumulation of wealth by others as insignificant and losing it as inconsequential. They understand that true wealth lies in the knowledge of the Book of Allah, the Quran, and the wisdom and guidance it provides. They prioritize spiritual wealth over material wealth.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in Surah Al-Qasas (28:77):
But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.
This verse emphasizes the importance of seeking the hereafter while not neglecting our responsibilities in this world. The awliya of Allah strike a balance between the two, prioritizing the eternal while fulfilling their obligations in the temporal realm.
In conclusion, this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the true perspective and priorities of the awliya of Allah. They focus on the inner realities of the world, prioritize the hereafter over the worldly life, detach themselves from material possessions and desires, and prioritize spiritual wealth over material wealth. May we strive to embody these qualities and become true lovers and friends of Allah.
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