إنِ اسْتَنَمْتَ إلى وَدُودِكَ فَأحْرِزْ لَهُ مِنْ أمْرِكَ واستَبْقِ لهُ مِنْ سِِّركَ مالَعَلَّكَ أنْ تَنْدِمَ عَلَيْهِ وَقتاً ما۔

[Even] if you have gained confidence and trust in your close friend, safeguard some of your affairs and conceal some of your secrets [from him], for it is possible that you may regret [revealing them] at some time [in the future].



[Even] if you have gained confidence and trust in your close friend,...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Brother, The Friend, The Associate And The Companion)

Personal Reflection

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 (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he advises us regarding the importance of being cautious and selective in sharing our personal matters and secrets, even with those whom we consider to be close friends. The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) urges us to exercise prudence and wisdom in our relationships, reminding us that even if we trust someone completely, it is still wise to safeguard some of our affairs and conceal certain secrets from them. This is because there is always a possibility that we may regret revealing our secrets at some point in the future.

To understand the depth and significance of this advice, let us reflect upon some key words from the hadith:

1. (istannamt) "استنمت": This word is derived from the root word "tanam" which means to gain confidence or trust in someone. It implies a sense of reliance and dependence on someone's loyalty and sincerity.

2. (wadudik) "ودودك": This word refers to a close friend or a beloved companion, someone with whom we share a deep bond and affection.

3. (ahriz) "أحرز": This word means to safeguard or protect something. It implies the act of preserving and keeping something safe from harm or disclosure.

4. (sirruk) "سِّرك": This word refers to secrets or confidential matters. It signifies those private and personal aspects of our lives that we may not want to disclose to others.

Now, let us turn to the Quran to find support for the wisdom behind Imam Ali's advice. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Mu'minun (23:62),

And We have enjoined upon man care for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.

This verse highlights the importance of showing gratitude and care towards our parents, who have carried us and nurtured us with love and sacrifice. However, it does not mean that we should disclose every detail of our lives to them. There may be certain matters that are best kept hidden, especially if they may cause unnecessary worry or distress to our parents.

Similarly, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:284), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Whether you reveal what is within yourselves or conceal it, Allah will bring you to account for it. Then He will forgive whom He wills and punish whom He wills, and Allah is over all things competent.

This verse emphasizes that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) is fully aware of everything that is hidden within our hearts and minds. He knows our secrets and our intentions, and He will hold us accountable for our actions. It is a reminder that we should be mindful of what we reveal and what we conceal, as Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) is the ultimate judge and witness of our deeds.

Imam Ali's advice is rooted in the understanding that human relationships are complex and subject to change. Even the closest of friends may have their own motivations, weaknesses, and limitations. By safeguarding some of our affairs and concealing certain secrets, we protect ourselves from potential harm, betrayal, or regret in the future.

For example, imagine a person who confides in a close friend about their financial struggles. They trust their friend completely and believe that their secret will be kept safe. However, if that friend later faces their own financial difficulties or becomes envious of the person's success, they may unintentionally or intentionally use the shared information against them. This can lead to strained relationships, resentment, and regret for the person who initially confided in their friend.

In another scenario, a person may share their personal struggles and vulnerabilities with a close friend, seeking support and understanding. However, if that friend later reveals those secrets to others out of carelessness or malice, it can cause immense harm to the person's reputation and emotional well-being. This betrayal of trust can lead to deep regret and a breakdown in the friendship.

Imam Ali's advice serves as a reminder for us to exercise caution and discernment in our relationships. It does not mean that we should be suspicious or paranoid, but rather that we should be mindful of the potential consequences of sharing our personal matters and secrets. It encourages us to maintain a certain level of privacy and protect our own well-being.

In conclusion, Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) hadith highlights the importance of being selective and cautious in sharing our personal matters and secrets, even with those whom we consider to be close friends. It reminds us that human relationships are complex and subject to change, and that safeguarding some of our affairs can protect us from potential harm, betrayal, or regret in the future. By exercising prudence and wisdom in our relationships, we can maintain a healthy balance between trust and self-preservation, ensuring our own well-being and the preservation of our relationships. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to navigate our relationships with care and discernment.

. : . (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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