إسْتَفْرِغْ جَهْدَكَ لِمَعادِكَ تُصْلِحْ مَثْواكَ، ولاتَبِعْ آخِرَتَكَ بِدُنياكَ۔
Exert all your effort for your afterlife and your [final] station will be improved, and do not sell your Hereafter for your worldly life.
— 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. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.
The hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to prioritize our efforts and focus on the hereafter rather than being consumed by worldly pursuits. Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this wise utterance in light of the Quran.
The first important word in this hadith is (istafriq) "استفرغ", which means to exert or dedicate all of one's effort and energy towards a specific goal. It implies wholehearted commitment and complete focus. The second word is (ma'ad) "معاد", which refers to the afterlife or the ultimate destination of the soul.
To understand the significance of this hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 2:45)
And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]
This verse emphasizes the importance of dedicating our efforts to seeking Allah's pleasure and relying on Him through patience and prayer.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Kahf, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns against being distracted by the worldly life, saying, (Quran 18:45)
And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice urges us to prioritize our efforts for the hereafter, as it is the ultimate purpose of our existence. By dedicating our time, energy, and resources to seeking Allah's pleasure and preparing for the afterlife, we ensure the improvement of our final station.
When we prioritize the hereafter, we make choices that align with our spiritual growth and moral development. We refrain from engaging in activities that distract us from our ultimate goal. This does not mean that we neglect our worldly responsibilities, but rather that we approach them with the intention of fulfilling our duties to Allah and seeking His pleasure.
By focusing on the hereafter, we develop a sense of purpose and direction in our lives. We become more conscious of our actions and their consequences. This awareness motivates us to make choices that are pleasing to Allah and beneficial for our souls. We strive to live a life of righteousness, kindness, and justice, knowing that our actions in this world will have eternal consequences.
Conversely, if we prioritize the worldly life and sell our hereafter for temporary gains and pleasures, we risk losing the opportunity for eternal bliss. The Quran warns us about the consequences of such a choice in Surah Al-Baqarah, stating, (Quran 2:86)
But those who exchange the life of this world for the Hereafter - the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided
In conclusion, the hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for us to exert our utmost effort and dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of the hereafter. By prioritizing our actions and choices in light of the eternal consequences, we ensure the improvement of our final station. May Allah guide us to follow this advice and grant us success in both this world and the hereafter.
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