مَنْهُومَانِ لاَ يَشْبَعَانِ: طَالِبُ عِلْمٍ، وَطَالِبُ دُنْيَا۔

Two greedy persons never get satiated, the seeker of knowledge and the seeker of this world.



Two greedy persons never get satiated, the seeker of knowledge and the...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #457)

Personal Reflection

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 (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

Two greedy persons never get satiated, the seeker of knowledge and the seeker of this world.

This beautiful Hadith highlights the insatiable nature of two types of individuals who are constantly in pursuit of their desires.

Let us delve into the important words of this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding. The first word is (tālib) "طَالِبُ", which means a seeker or one who is in pursuit of something. In this context, it refers to those who are actively seeking knowledge or worldly possessions. The second word is (ʿilm) "عِلْمٍ", which means knowledge. It encompasses all forms of knowledge, including religious, scientific, and intellectual knowledge. The third word is (dunyā) "دُنْيَا", which refers to the material world and its transient pleasures.

To further comprehend the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:256),

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

This verse emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding the true path, as it leads to the recognition of Allah's guidance and the rejection of falsehood.

Additionally, in Surah Al-Zumar (39:9), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,

Are those who know equal to those who do not know?

This verse highlights the superiority of those who possess knowledge over those who are ignorant. It emphasizes the value and significance of seeking knowledge in Islam.

Now, let us reflect on the wise message conveyed by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in this Hadith. The seeker of knowledge is described as one who is never satiated. This is because knowledge is an endless pursuit, and the more one acquires, the more they realize how much there is still to learn. The seeker of knowledge is driven by a thirst for understanding, seeking to unravel the mysteries of the universe and gain a deeper insight into the wisdom of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

On the other hand, the seeker of this world, referring to those who are solely focused on material possessions and worldly desires, is also described as never being satisfied. This is because the pursuit of worldly gains is an insatiable endeavor. No matter how much one accumulates, there is always a desire for more, leading to a perpetual state of discontentment.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the stark contrast between these two types of seekers. The seeker of knowledge is engaged in a noble pursuit that brings enlightenment, personal growth, and spiritual fulfillment. In contrast, the seeker of this world is trapped in a cycle of materialism, constantly chasing after temporary pleasures that can never truly satisfy the soul.

The consequences of these pursuits are evident in the lives of individuals. The seeker of knowledge, through their continuous quest for understanding, attains wisdom and guidance that enriches their life and benefits society as a whole. They become a beacon of knowledge, guiding others towards the path of truth and righteousness.

On the other hand, the seeker of this world becomes consumed by their desires, neglecting their spiritual growth and losing sight of their purpose in life. They are trapped in a never-ending pursuit of material possessions, which ultimately leads to dissatisfaction and a sense of emptiness.

As Muslims, we are encouraged to prioritize the acquisition of knowledge and seek understanding in all aspects of life. The pursuit of knowledge is not limited to religious studies but encompasses all fields of knowledge that contribute to the betterment of humanity. By seeking knowledge, we gain a deeper appreciation for the signs of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) in the world around us and fulfill our purpose as His vicegerents on earth.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for Muslims to prioritize the pursuit of knowledge over the pursuit of worldly desires. It highlights the insatiable nature of these pursuits and their consequences in shaping our lives. May we all strive to be seekers of knowledge, continuously seeking wisdom and understanding, and may Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) bless us with the ability to distinguish between the temporary pleasures of this world and the everlasting rewards of the Hereafter.

. : . (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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