قَلِيلٌ تَدُومُ عَلَيْهِ أَرْجَى مِنْ كَثِيرٍ مَمْلُولٍ۔
A small action which is continued with regularity is more beneficial than a long one performed with disgust.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #278)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of consistency and sincerity in our actions. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states that a small action, if performed consistently and with sincerity, is more beneficial than a long action that is done reluctantly or with a lack of enthusiasm.
Let us delve deeper into the words of this Hadith to gain a better understanding. The word (qaleelun) "قَلِيلٌ" refers to something small or insignificant in quantity. It implies that the action being referred to may not be grand or extensive in nature. The word (tadum) "تَدُومُ" means to continue or persist. It highlights the importance of regularity and consistency in performing the action. The word (arja) "أَرْجَى" can be translated as more hopeful or more desirable. It signifies that the small action, when done consistently, brings about greater benefits and rewards. On the other hand, the word (katheer) "كَثِيرٍ" means abundant or plentiful, and (mamlul) "مَمْلُولٍ" refers to something done with disgust or aversion.
To further understand the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:2):
And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.
This verse emphasizes the importance of consistent and righteous actions. It encourages Muslims to engage in acts of goodness and piety, while avoiding sinful and aggressive behavior. The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) aligns with this Quranic principle by highlighting the significance of small actions performed consistently.
Another verse that supports the exegesis of this Hadith is found 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 Muslims that the materialistic pursuits of this world are temporary and fleeting. It encourages us to focus on the hereafter and the eternal rewards that await us. The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) echoes this sentiment by emphasizing the importance of consistent and sincere actions, as they hold greater value and benefit in the long run.
Now, let us reflect on the wise message conveyed by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in this Hadith. It teaches us that the size or grandeur of an action is not what matters most in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Rather, what truly matters is the sincerity and regularity with which we perform our deeds. A small action, such as offering a daily prayer, giving charity regularly, or reciting a few verses of the Quran daily, when done consistently and with a pure intention, holds immense value in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) encourages us to focus on the quality of our actions rather than their quantity. It is better to perform a small action consistently and sincerely than to engage in a long, arduous task with a lack of enthusiasm. This Hadith reminds us that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) values our efforts and intentions more than the outward appearance of our deeds.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the importance of consistency and sincerity in our actions. It emphasizes that a small action performed consistently and with a pure intention holds greater value and benefit than a long action done reluctantly or without enthusiasm. Let us strive to incorporate this wisdom into our lives by focusing on the quality and sincerity of our deeds, rather than their quantity. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us to be consistent and sincere in our actions and grant us the ability to continuously seek His pleasure.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.