الْجُودُ حَارِسُ الْأَعْرَاضِ وَ الْحِلْمُ فِدَامُ السَّفِيهِ وَ الْعَفْوُ زَكَاةُ الظَّفَرِ وَ السُّلُوُّ عِوَضُكَ مِمَّنْ غَدَرَ وَ الِاسْتِشَارَةُ عَيْنُ الْهِدَايَةِ وَ قَدْ خَاطَرَ مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى بِرَأْيِهِ وَ الصَّبْرُ يُنَاضِلُ الْحِدْثَانَ وَ الْجَزَعُ مِنْ أَعْوَانِ الزَّمَانِ وَ أَشْرَفُ الْغِنَى تَرْكُ الْمُنَى وَ كَمْ مِنْ عَقْلٍ أَسِيرٍ تَحْتَ هَوَى أَمِيرٍ وَ مِنَ التَّوْفِيقِ حِفْظُ التَّجْرِبَةِ وَ الْمَوَدَّةُ قَرَابَةٌ مُسْتَفَادَةٌ وَ لَا تَأْمَنَنَّ مَلُولًا۔
Generosity is the protector of honour; forbearance is the bridle of the fool; forgiveness is the levy of success; disregard is the punishment of him who betrays; and consultation is the chief way of guidance. He who is content with his own opinion faces danger. Endurance braves calamities while impatience is a helper of the hardships of the world. The best contentment is to give up desires. Many a slavish mind is subservient to overpowering longings. Capability helps preservation of experience. Love means well-utilized relationship. Do not trust one who is grieved.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #211)
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 pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he imparts valuable wisdom and guidance on various aspects of life. Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith and explore its meanings in light of the Quran.
The first part of the Hadith states,
Generosity is the protector of honor.
Here, Imam Ali emphasizes the importance of generosity in safeguarding one's honor. Generosity, or "al-jood," is not merely about material wealth but encompasses a broader concept of giving and selflessness. The Quranic verse that supports this notion is found in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:261), where 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.
The second part of the Hadith states,
Forbearance is the bridle of the fool.
Here, Imam Ali highlights the importance of patience and forbearance in dealing with foolish behavior. "Al-hilm," or forbearance, refers to the ability to control one's anger and respond with calmness and wisdom. The Quranic verse that supports this concept is found in Surah Al-Furqan (25:63), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the qualities of the servants of the Most Merciful, saying,
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.
The third part of the Hadith states,
Forgiveness is the levy of success.
Imam Ali emphasizes the importance of forgiveness as a means of achieving success. "Al-'afw," or forgiveness, is a noble quality that allows one to let go of grudges and resentments. The Quranic verse that supports this concept is found in Surah Al-Imran (3:134), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good.
The fourth part of the Hadith states,
Disregard is the punishment of him who betrays.
Imam Ali highlights the consequence of betrayal, stating that those who betray others will face disregard and isolation. This serves as a reminder of the importance of trustworthiness and loyalty. The Quranic verse that supports this concept is found in Surah Al-Hujurat (49:11), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
The fifth part of the Hadith states,
Consultation is the chief way of guidance.
Imam Ali emphasizes the importance of seeking advice and guidance from others. "Al-istishara," or consultation, is a means of making informed decisions and seeking the collective wisdom of others. The Quranic verse that supports this concept is found in Surah Al-Imran (3:159), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].
The Hadith also touches upon other important aspects of life, such as endurance, impatience, contentment, capability, and love. These qualities are all emphasized in the Quran as well. For example, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:153), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.
And in Surah Al-Isra (17:80), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And say: My Lord! Cause me to come in with a firm incoming and to go out with a firm outgoing. And give me from Thy presence a sustaining Power.
In conclusion, this Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) provides profound guidance on various aspects of life. It emphasizes the importance of generosity, forbearance, forgiveness, trustworthiness, consultation, endurance, contentment, capability, and love. By reflecting on these teachings and incorporating them into our lives, we can strive to become better Muslims and lead a life that is pleasing to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody these qualities and seek His guidance in all aspects of our lives.
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