تَحَبَّبْ إلى خَليلِكَ يُحْبِبْكَ، وأكرِمْهُ يُكْرِمْكَ وآثِرْهُ على نَفْسِكَ يُؤثِرْكَ على نَفسِهِ وأهْلِهِ۔
Be warm-hearted to your friend and he will be warm-hearted towards you, honour him and he will honour you, give him preference over yourself and he will give you preference over himself and his family.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Brother, The Friend, The Associate And The Companion)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his purified progeny, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of being kind, generous, and selfless towards our friends. Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this Hadith and explore its significance in light of the Quran.
The first part of the Hadith states,
Be warm-hearted to your friend and he will be warm-hearted towards you.
Here, the word (tahabbab) "تَحَبَّبْ" means to show love and affection. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) encourages us to cultivate warmth and kindness in our relationships, as this will naturally lead to reciprocation from our friends. This concept is beautifully echoed in the Quran in Surah Al-Rum, verse 21:
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) has created spouses as a source of love, affection, and tranquility. Similarly, when we show warmth and affection towards our friends, we create a bond of love and compassion that brings peace and tranquility to our relationships.
The second part of the Hadith states,
Honour him and he will honour you.
Here, the word (ikrimhu) "أكرِمْهُ" means to show respect and honor. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to treat our friends with respect and dignity, for when we do so, they will reciprocate the same. This concept is beautifully emphasized in the Quran in Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 11:
O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) commands us to avoid mocking, insulting, or belittling others. Instead, we should honor and respect one another, recognizing that every individual has their own unique qualities and strengths. By treating our friends with honor and respect, we create an environment of mutual admiration and appreciation.
The third part of the Hadith states,
Give him preference over yourself and he will give you preference over himself and his family.
Here, the word (athirhu) "آثِرْهُ" means to prioritize or give preference. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to prioritize the needs and well-being of our friends over our own. When we selflessly put our friends' interests before our own, they will reciprocate the same level of care and consideration. This concept is beautifully illustrated in the Quran in Surah Al-Hashr, verse 9:
And [also for] those who were settled in al-Madinah and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul - it is those who will be the successful.
The Ansar of Madinah, who welcomed and supported the Muhajireen, exemplified the virtue of giving preference to others over themselves. They selflessly shared their resources and even preferred the needs of the Muhajireen over their own, despite facing their own difficulties. This selflessness and generosity resulted in a strong bond of brotherhood and unity among the early Muslims.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the importance of cultivating warm-heartedness, honor, and selflessness in our friendships. By showing love, respect, and prioritizing the needs of our friends, we create an environment of mutual love, respect, and support. These qualities are not only encouraged by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), but they are also beautifully exemplified in the Quran through various verses and stories. May we strive to embody these virtues in our relationships and may Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) bless us with sincere and loving friendships.
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