ما أذَلَّ النَّفْسَ كَالحِرْصِ،وَ لاشانَ العِرْضَ كَالبُخْلِ۔

Nothing debases the self like greed and nothing disgraces [one’s] honour like stinginess.



Nothing debases the self like greed and nothing disgraces [one’s] honour...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: Greed)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he highlights two negative traits that can have detrimental effects on an individual's character and reputation. The first trait mentioned is (al-hirs) "الحِرْصِ", which can be translated as greed or covetousness. The second trait mentioned is (al-bukhl) "البُخْلِ", which can be translated as stinginess or miserliness.

Greed, as Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes, debases the self. It is a destructive characteristic that stems from an insatiable desire for more wealth, power, or possessions. When a person becomes consumed by greed, they lose sight of their moral values and become willing to compromise their integrity in pursuit of their desires. This insatiable greed can lead to unethical behavior such as dishonesty, exploitation, and even oppression. It can also lead to a constant state of dissatisfaction and discontentment, as one is never satisfied with what they have and always yearns for more.

The Quran provides us with numerous verses that condemn greed and its negative consequences. In Surah Al-Imran (3:180), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection.

This verse serves as a warning to those who hoard their wealth and refuse to spend it in the way of Allah. It reminds us that our possessions are a trust from Allah and should be used to benefit others and fulfill our obligations towards society.

Stinginess, on the other hand, is a trait that disgraces one's honor. It is the unwillingness to share one's wealth or resources with others, even when they are in need. A stingy person is characterized by their reluctance to give, whether it be in the form of financial assistance, material possessions, or even their time and effort. This trait not only tarnishes one's reputation but also hinders the development of a compassionate and generous society.

The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of generosity and charity. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:261), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

This verse highlights the immense reward and blessings that come with selfless giving. It encourages Muslims to be generous and open-handed, knowing that their acts of charity will be multiplied and rewarded by Allah.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the consequences of these negative traits. Greed and stinginess not only harm the individual who possesses them but also have wider implications for society. When greed becomes prevalent, it leads to an unequal distribution of wealth and resources, creating social and economic disparities. This can result in poverty, injustice, and social unrest. Similarly, when stinginess prevails, it hampers the spirit of cooperation and compassion, leading to a lack of support and assistance for those in need.

Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the importance of cultivating positive character traits such as contentment, generosity, and selflessness. By purifying our hearts from the vices of greed and stinginess, we can elevate our souls and contribute to the betterment of society. Let us strive to emulate the noble qualities of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), who was known for his profound knowledge, wisdom, and selflessness. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us on the path of righteousness and protect us from the destructive traits that Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns us against.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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