الدَّهرُ يُخْلِقُ الاْبْدَانَ، وَيُجَدِّدُ الاْمَالَ، وَيُقَرِّبُ الْمَنِيَّةَ، ويُبَاعِدُ الاْمْنِيَّةَ، مَنْ ظَفِرَ بِهِ نَصِبَ، ومَنْ فَاتَهُ تَعِبَ۔
Time wears our bodies, renews desires, brings death nearer and takes away aspirations. Whoever is successful with it encounters grief and whoever misses its favours also undergoes hardships.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #72)
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.
In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he eloquently describes the nature of time and its impact on human beings. Let us delve into the meanings of the important words in this hadith and explore their significance in light of the Quran.
The first word to be examined is (ad-dahr) "الدَّهرُ", which refers to time or the passing of time. Time is a fundamental aspect of our existence and plays a significant role in shaping our lives. It is a continuous flow that affects everything in the universe, including our bodies, desires, and aspirations.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states that time (yukhliqul abdan) "يُخْلِقُ الاْبْدَانَ", meaning it wears out our bodies. This implies that as time passes, our physical strength and vitality diminish. This is a natural process that occurs as we age, and it serves as a reminder of our mortality. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) affirms this in the Quran in Surah Al-Rum, verse 54:
Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent.
Furthermore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states that time (yujaddidul amal) "يُجَدِّدُ الاْمَالَ", meaning it renews desires. As time progresses, our aspirations and goals may change or evolve. This highlights the importance of adaptability and growth in our journey through life. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 286:
Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further mentions that time (yuqarribul maniyyah) "يُقَرِّبُ الْمَنِيَّةَ", meaning it brings death nearer. This serves as a reminder that our time in this world is limited and that death is inevitable. It urges us to reflect on the purpose of our existence and to strive for righteousness. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states in the Quran in Surah Al-Ankabut, verse 57:
Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned.
Lastly, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) mentions that time (yuba'idul amniyyah) "يُبَاعِدُ الاْمْنِيَّةَ", meaning it takes away aspirations. As time passes, some of our dreams and aspirations may remain unfulfilled. This highlights the importance of seizing opportunities and making the most of the time we have been given. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in the Quran in Surah Al-Asr, verses 1-3:
By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
Reflecting on this hadith, we understand that time is a precious resource that should not be taken for granted. It is a reminder of our mortality and the transient nature of this world. We must strive to make the most of our time by pursuing righteous deeds, seeking knowledge, and benefiting others. We should not be complacent, but rather constantly renew our intentions and aspirations, aligning them with the teachings of Islam.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and guidance to utilize our time wisely and to make the most of this fleeting life. May He bless us with the ability to fulfill our aspirations and grant us success in both this world and the Hereafter. And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
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