إِنَّ الطَّمَعَ مُورِدٌ غَيْرُ مُصْدِرٍ وَ ضَامِنٌ غَيْرُ وَفِيٍّ وَ رُبَّمَا شَرِقَ شَارِبُ الْمَاءِ قَبْلَ رِيِّهِ وَ كُلَّمَا عَظُمَ قَدْرُ الشَّيْءِ الْمُتَنَافَسِ فِيهِ عَظُمَتِ الرَّزِيَّةُ لِفَقْدِهِ وَ الْأَمَانِيُّ تُعْمِى أَعْيُنَ الْبَصَائِرِ وَ الْحَظُّ يَأْتِى مَنْ لَا يَأْتِيهِ۔
Greed takes a person to the watering place but gets him back without letting him drink. It undertakes responsibility but does not fulfil it. Often the drinker gets choked before the quenching of his thirst. The greater the worth of a thing yearned for the greater is the grief for its loss. Desires blind the eyes of understanding. The destined share will reach him who does not approach it.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #275)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns us about the destructive nature of greed and its consequences. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) describes greed as a force that leads a person to a watering place, symbolizing a source of fulfillment or satisfaction. However, despite the initial attraction, greed ultimately leaves the person empty-handed, without allowing them to quench their thirst.
The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further explains that greed makes promises and commitments, but fails to fulfill them. It lures individuals with false hopes and expectations, only to disappoint them in the end. Just as a person may be on the verge of drinking water, greed chokes them, preventing them from attaining what they desire.
To support this profound insight, we can turn to the Quran, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns against the destructive nature of greed. In Surah Al-Hashr (59:9), Allah says,
And those who came after them say, 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.'
This verse highlights the importance of seeking forgiveness and avoiding resentment towards others, as greed can lead to envy and ill feelings towards those who possess what we desire.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Qasas (28:79), Allah says,
So he went forth before his people in his adornment. Those who desired the worldly life said, 'Oh, would that we had like what was given to Qarun. Indeed, he is one of great fortune.'
This verse illustrates the blinding effect of desires and worldly possessions. The people who desired worldly wealth were envious of Qarun, who possessed great fortune. Their desires blinded them from recognizing the true blessings and contentment that lie in the remembrance of Allah and the pursuit of righteousness.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith also emphasizes that the greater the worth of something we yearn for, the greater the grief we experience when it is lost. This is a profound reminder that attachment to material possessions and worldly desires can lead to immense sorrow and disappointment. The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) encourages us to detach ourselves from the transient nature of worldly possessions and instead focus on the eternal rewards and blessings promised by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
In Surah Al-Imran (3:185), Allah says,
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
This verse reminds us that the true fulfillment of our desires and aspirations lies in the Hereafter, where we will be rewarded for our righteous deeds and granted eternal bliss.
Lastly, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns that desires blind the eyes of understanding. When we become consumed by our desires, our judgment becomes clouded, and we lose sight of what truly matters. This is evident in Surah Al-Hadid (57:20), where Allah says,
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.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to be cautious of the destructive nature of greed and desires. It highlights the transient nature of worldly possessions and urges us to focus on the eternal rewards promised by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). By detaching ourselves from the allure of materialism and redirecting our aspirations towards the Hereafter, we can attain true fulfillment and contentment. May Allah guide us to overcome our desires and grant us the wisdom to prioritize our eternal success over temporary gains.
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