مَنْ أَطَاعَ التَّوَانِيَ ضَيَّعَ الْحُقُوقَ، وَمَنْ أَطَاعَ الْوَاشِيَ ضَيَّعَ الصَّدِيقَ۔
He who is a sluggard loses his rights and he who believes in the backbiter loses his friend.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #239)
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 provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights two important concepts: the consequences of laziness and the harm caused by believing in backbiting. Let us delve deeper into the meanings of the key words in this Hadith and explore their significance in light of the Quran.
The word (tawaniya) "تَوَانِيَ" refers to a sluggard or a lazy person. This individual lacks motivation and diligence in fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations. The term (washeya) "وَاشِيَ" refers to a backbiter, someone who spreads malicious gossip or speaks ill of others behind their backs.
To understand the wise message of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of fulfilling our duties and avoiding laziness. In Surah Al-Isra, verse 80, Allah says,
And say: My Lord! Cause me to come in with a firm incoming and to go out with a firm outgoing. And give me from Thy presence a sustaining Power.
This verse highlights the importance of being steadfast and diligent in our actions, seeking strength and support from Allah.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Hadid, verse 20, Allah 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 reminds us that the worldly distractions and pursuits can divert us from fulfilling our responsibilities, leading to the loss of our rights.
The consequences of laziness mentioned in the Hadith are not limited to material rights but extend to spiritual rights as well. In Surah Al-Ma'idah, verse 105, Allah says,
O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is your return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do.
This verse emphasizes the individual responsibility we have for our own actions. If we neglect our duties and become lazy, we risk losing our spiritual rights and the rewards that come with them.
Turning to the second part of the Hadith, believing in backbiting is condemned due to its harmful consequences. The Quran explicitly prohibits backbiting and warns against its destructive nature. In Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 12, Allah says,
O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.
This verse highlights the severity of backbiting, comparing it to the repulsive act of consuming the flesh of a deceased person.
Believing in backbiting not only harms the person being spoken about but also damages the bond of friendship. The Quran emphasizes the importance of maintaining strong and sincere relationships based on trust and respect. In Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 10, Allah says,
Indeed, the believers are brothers. So make peace between your brothers and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.
Believing in backbiting undermines this brotherhood and leads to the loss of true friends.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder of the consequences of laziness and the harm caused by believing in backbiting. It urges us to be diligent in fulfilling our responsibilities and to avoid engaging in gossip or spreading rumors. By reflecting on the teachings of the Quran, we can strive to be proactive in our actions and maintain strong and sincere relationships, thereby preserving our rights and fostering a harmonious society. May Allah guide us all to follow the path of righteousness and protect us from the pitfalls of laziness and backbiting.
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