أَشْرَفُ الْغِنَى تَرْكُ الْمُنى۔
The best of riches is the abandonement of desires.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #34)
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 Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,
أَشْرَفُ الْغِنَى تَرْكُ الْمُنى۔
This can be translated as,
The best of riches is the abandonment of desires.
Let us delve into the meaning of this Hadith in light of the Quran.
Firstly, let us understand the key words in this Hadith. (ashrafu) "أَشْرَفُ" means the most noble or the best. (al-ghina) "الْغِنَى" refers to wealth or riches. (taraku) "تَرْكُ" means to abandon or leave behind. And (al-munaa) "الْمُنى" signifies desires or worldly pleasures.
To support the exegesis of this Hadith, we find numerous Quranic verses that emphasize the importance of abandoning worldly desires and focusing on the true wealth that lies in the Hereafter. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:200),
And among them are those who say, 'Our Lord, give us in this world,' and they will have no share in the Hereafter.
This verse highlights the futility of seeking worldly desires without prioritizing the eternal rewards of the Hereafter.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Qasas (28:77), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us,
But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world.
This verse emphasizes the need to strike a balance between our worldly responsibilities and our ultimate goal of attaining the blessings of the Hereafter.
Now, let us reflect on the connotation of Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith. The abandonment of desires refers to detaching oneself from the materialistic pursuits that often consume our lives. It is a call to prioritize spiritual growth and focus on the eternal treasures that await us in the Hereafter.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us that true richness lies not in accumulating worldly possessions, but rather in freeing ourselves from the constant pursuit of material desires. By abandoning these desires, we attain a sense of contentment and inner peace that cannot be achieved through material wealth alone.
When we detach ourselves from worldly desires, we become more focused on fulfilling our obligations towards Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and serving humanity. Our actions become motivated by seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than the temporary gratification of our desires. This shift in mindset allows us to lead a more purposeful and meaningful life.
Moreover, the abandonment of desires leads to a greater sense of self-control and discipline. It enables us to resist the temptations that may lead us astray from the path of righteousness. By conquering our desires, we develop a stronger willpower and become more steadfast in our faith.
In conclusion, Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to prioritize the abandonment of worldly desires in order to attain true richness. By focusing on the Hereafter and seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), we can find contentment, inner peace, and a sense of purpose in our lives. May Allah guide us all to follow the teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and grant us the strength to abandon our desires for the sake of attaining true richness.
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