صاحبِ العُقلاءَ وجالِسِ العُلَماءَ، وأغْلِبِ الهوى، تُرافِقِ المَلأ الأعلى۔
Accompany the intelligent, associate with the learned and overcome your vain desires, [by this] you will join the company of the Exalted Assembly.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Brother, The Friend, The Associate And The Companion)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he advises the Muslims to seek the company of the intelligent and learned individuals, while overcoming their own vain desires. By doing so, they will be able to join the company of the Exalted Assembly.
Let us delve deeper into the words of this hadith to understand its significance. The first important word is (sahib) "صاحبِ", which means to accompany or associate with. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) encourages Muslims to seek the companionship of the (al-'uqala) "العُقلاءَ", which refers to the intelligent and wise individuals. These are the people who possess deep understanding and insight, and their company can greatly benefit us in our journey towards knowledge and righteousness.
Furthermore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to (jalis) "جالِسِ" the (al-'ulama') "العُلَماءَ", which refers to the learned scholars. These are the individuals who have dedicated their lives to the study and understanding of Islamic knowledge. By associating with them, we can gain valuable insights, learn from their wisdom, and deepen our understanding of our faith.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further emphasizes the need to (aghlib al-hawa) "أغْلِبِ الهوى", which means to overcome our vain desires. This refers to our base desires and inclinations that may lead us astray from the path of righteousness. By conquering these desires, we can attain self-control and discipline, enabling us to make decisions based on wisdom and knowledge rather than mere whims and desires.
To support the exegesis of this hadith, let us turn to the Quran. In Surah Al-Kahf, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 18:28)
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect
This ayah emphasizes the importance of surrounding ourselves with righteous individuals who are devoted to the remembrance of Allah. By doing so, we can strengthen our faith and protect ourselves from the distractions and temptations of this worldly life. It also warns against following those who are heedless of Allah's remembrance and who are driven solely by their desires.
Another relevant ayah is found in Surah Al-Mujadila, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 58:1)
Allah has certainly heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing
This ayah highlights the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding from the learned individuals. The woman mentioned in this ayah approached the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) with a complaint, seeking guidance and justice. By seeking knowledge and understanding from the Prophet (ﷺ), she was able to find a resolution to her issue. This exemplifies the importance of seeking the company of the learned, as they possess the knowledge and wisdom to guide us in our affairs.
In conclusion, this hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a valuable reminder for Muslims to seek the company of the intelligent and learned individuals, while striving to overcome their own vain desires. By doing so, they can benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of others, strengthen their faith, and make decisions based on wisdom and righteousness. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all to follow the teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and grant us the ability to seek knowledge and wisdom from the righteous individuals.
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