الثَّنَاءُ بِأَكْثَرَ مِنَ الاْسْتِحْقَاقِ مَلَقٌ وَالتَّقْصِيرُ عَنِ الاْسْتِحْقَاقِ عِيٌّ أَوْ حَسَدٌ۔

To praise more than what is due is sycophancy; to do it less is either because of inability to speak or of envy.



To praise more than what is due is sycophancy; to do it less is either...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #347)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all 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,

To praise more than what is due is sycophancy; to do it less is either because of inability to speak or of envy.

This amazing Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of giving praise and recognition in a balanced and just manner.

Let us delve into the key words of this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding. The word (thanaa) "ثَنَاءُ" refers to praise or commendation. It is an act of expressing admiration and appreciation for someone's qualities, actions, or achievements. The word (istihqaq) "اْسْتِحْقَاقِ" means deserving or being worthy of something. It implies that praise should be given based on merit and rightful entitlement.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns against two extremes in praising others. The first extreme is (malq) "مَلَقٌ", which can be translated as sycophancy or flattery. This refers to excessive and insincere praise that goes beyond what is deserved. It is a form of false admiration aimed at gaining favor or personal benefits. Such praise lacks sincerity and integrity, and it is condemned in Islam.

The second extreme is (altaqseer 'ani al-istihqaq) "التَّقْصِيرُ عَنِ الاْسْتِحْقَاقِ", which means falling short in giving praise that is rightfully deserved. This can occur due to either the inability to express oneself or out of envy. Inability to speak refers to a lack of eloquence or articulation, which may hinder one's ability to express genuine praise. Envy, on the other hand, is a destructive emotion that can lead to withholding praise out of jealousy or resentment.

To understand the significance of balanced praise, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Isra (17:80),

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.

This verse emphasizes the importance of seeking Allah's guidance and support in all our actions, including the way we praise others. It reminds us to be firm and balanced in our expressions of admiration and recognition.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Hujurat (49:11), 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.

This verse teaches us to avoid belittling or mocking others, as it may lead to undermining their true worth and potential. It encourages us to recognize the inherent value and capabilities of every individual.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement serves as a reminder for Muslims to be just and balanced in their praise. It cautions against insincere flattery and encourages us to recognize and acknowledge the deserving qualities and achievements of others. By doing so, we promote a culture of fairness, humility, and genuine appreciation within our communities.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the importance of giving praise in a balanced and just manner. It warns against excessive flattery and falling short in recognizing the rightful merits of others. By following the teachings of the Quran and the guidance of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), we can strive to be fair, sincere, and humble in our expressions of admiration and recognition. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us in embodying these virtues and grant us the wisdom to appreciate others with justice and sincerity.

. : . (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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