مِنْ أَشْرَفِ أَفْعَالِ الْكَرِيمِ غَفْلَتُهُ عَمَّا يَعْلَمُ۔

The highest act of a noble person is to ignore what he knows.



The highest act of a noble person is to ignore what he knows.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #222)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. Blessings and peace be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he states,

مِنْ أَشْرَفِ أَفْعَالِ الْكَرِيمِ غَفْلَتُهُ عَمَّا يَعْلَمُ۔

This can be translated as,

The highest act of a noble person is to ignore what he knows.

Let us delve into the meaning and implications of this statement in light of the Quran.

The key word in this hadith is (ghaflah) "غَفْلَةُ", which means to be heedless, unaware, or negligent. It refers to a state of being oblivious or unmindful of something. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights that the noblest action a person can undertake is to intentionally overlook or disregard their own knowledge.

To understand the significance of this statement, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. In Surah Al-A'raf (7:175), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the attitude of the disbelievers towards the signs of Allah:

And recite to them the news of him to whom We gave [knowledge of] Our signs, but he detached himself from them; so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators.

This verse highlights the danger of being knowledgeable but failing to act upon that knowledge. The person mentioned in the verse had knowledge of Allah's signs, but he detached himself from them, leading to his deviation. This serves as a warning to Muslims that knowledge alone is not enough; it must be accompanied by action.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Mu'minun (23:71), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

And if the truth had followed their inclinations, the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them would have been ruined. Rather, We have brought them their message, but they, from their message, are turning away.

This verse emphasizes the importance of adhering to the truth and not being swayed by personal desires or inclinations. It implies that even if one possesses knowledge of the truth, ignoring it can lead to ruin and destruction. Therefore, Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement urges Muslims to act upon their knowledge and not be negligent in their responsibilities.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is known for his immense knowledge and wisdom. His statement in this hadith reflects his deep understanding of the human psyche and the importance of self-control. By advising us to ignore what we know, he is reminding us to exercise restraint and humility, even in the face of our own knowledge.

This hadith encourages Muslims to prioritize humility over arrogance, selflessness over selfishness, and self-control over impulsiveness. It teaches us that true nobility lies in the ability to suppress our ego and desires, even if we possess knowledge or expertise in a particular matter. By doing so, we can avoid falling into the trap of arrogance and heedlessness.

In practical terms, this hadith reminds us to be cautious of our actions and intentions. For example, if we have knowledge of a particular sin or wrongdoing, we should not allow ourselves to be complacent or indifferent towards it. Instead, we should actively strive to avoid it and rectify our behavior.

Similarly, if we possess knowledge or expertise in a certain field, we should not let it lead to arrogance or a sense of superiority. Instead, we should use our knowledge to benefit others, remain humble, and constantly seek improvement.

In conclusion, Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) hadith emphasizes the importance of humility, self-control, and action in the face of knowledge. It serves as a reminder for Muslims to be mindful of their responsibilities and to avoid falling into the trap of arrogance and heedlessness. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to act upon our knowledge and to always strive for humility and righteousness.

. : . (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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