إنَّما خُلِقْتُمْ لِلْبَقاءِ لا لِلفَناءِ، وإنّكُمْ في دارِ بُلْغَة ومَنْزِلِ قُلْعَة۔
Verily you have been created for perpetuity, not for extinction; and you are most certainly in a temporary abode of subsistence and a place which is not suitable for settling.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Hereafter)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the purpose of human creation and the transient nature of this worldly life. Let us delve into the exegesis of this wise utterance in light of the Quran.
The key words in this Hadith are (perpetuity) "بَقَاء" and (extinction) "فَنَاء". "بَقَاء" refers to everlasting existence, while "فَنَاء" refers to annihilation or ceasing to exist. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us that we have been created for eternal life, not for annihilation. This highlights the belief in the afterlife, where our souls will continue to exist in a different realm.
The Quran provides numerous verses that support the concept of eternal life and the purpose of human creation. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Mu'minun (23:115),
Did you then think that We had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us (for account)?
This verse emphasizes that human beings have been created with a purpose, and that purpose is not limited to this worldly life.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Anbiya (21:35), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,
Every soul shall taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.
This verse highlights the temporary nature of this worldly life and the inevitability of death. It serves as a reminder that our true abode is the hereafter, where we will be held accountable for our actions.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further describes this worldly life as a (temporary abode of subsistence) "دَارِ بُلْغَة" and a (place which is not suitable for settling) "مَنْزِلِ قُلْعَة". These descriptions emphasize the transient nature of this world and the fact that it is not a permanent dwelling place for human beings.
The Quran also emphasizes the impermanence of this worldly life. In Surah Al-Hadid (57:20), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris.
This verse highlights the fleeting nature of worldly pursuits and the temporary nature of material possessions. It serves as a reminder that our focus should not solely be on the temporary pleasures of this world, but rather on preparing for the eternal life in the hereafter.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement carries profound implications for our lives as Muslims. It reminds us to prioritize our actions and intentions in accordance with the purpose of our creation. We should strive to seek the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and work towards attaining eternal bliss in the hereafter.
This Hadith also serves as a motivation for us to reflect on the consequences of our actions. If we understand that this world is temporary and that our true abode is the hereafter, we will be more inclined to engage in righteous deeds and avoid sinful actions. This understanding can serve as a source of guidance and motivation in our daily lives.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the purpose of our creation and the temporary nature of this worldly life. It calls us to reflect on the consequences of our actions and to prioritize our efforts towards attaining eternal success in the hereafter. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and guidance to live our lives in accordance with this profound reminder.
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