عَاتِبْ أَخَاكَ بِالاْحْسَانِ إِلَيْهِ، وَارْدُدْ شَرَّهُ بِالاْنْعَامِ عَلَيْهِ۔
Admonish your brother (comrade) by good behaviour towards him, and ward off his evil by favouring him.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #158)
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 pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of treating our fellow Muslims with kindness and compassion. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us to admonish our brothers and sisters in faith through good behavior and to repel their evil actions by showing them favor and kindness.
Let us delve into the key words of this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding. The word (aatib) "عَاتِبْ" means to admonish or advise someone. It implies correcting their behavior or guiding them towards a better path. (akhaka) "أَخَاكَ" refers to your brother or comrade, indicating that this advice is directed towards our fellow Muslims. (bil-ihsan ilayhi) "بِالاْحْسَانِ إِلَيْهِ" means to treat them with excellence and kindness. It encompasses acts of goodness, compassion, and benevolence towards others. On the other hand, (wardud sharrahu) "وَارْدُدْ شَرَّهُ" means to repel or ward off their evil actions. Finally, (bil-an'am 'alayhi) "بِالاْنْعَامِ عَلَيْهِ" refers to showing favor and kindness to them, even when they have wronged us.
To further understand the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Fussilat (41:34):
The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.
This verse beautifully echoes the advice of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). It teaches us that responding to evil with goodness has the power to transform enmity into friendship. When we respond to the wrongdoings of our fellow Muslims with kindness and compassion, we create an environment of love and understanding. This approach not only helps in rectifying their behavior but also strengthens the bonds of brotherhood within the Muslim community.
Another verse that supports the teachings of this Hadith is found in Surah Al-Mumtahanah (60:8):
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
This verse emphasizes the importance of treating others, even non-Muslims, with righteousness and justice. If we are commanded to treat those who do not fight against us with kindness and justice, then how much more should we strive to treat our fellow Muslims in the same manner?
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) understood the power of good behavior and kindness in rectifying the actions of others. By responding to their wrongdoings with favor and compassion, we not only help them in correcting their behavior but also inspire them to change for the better. This approach fosters an environment of love, understanding, and unity within the Muslim community.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the importance of treating our fellow Muslims with kindness and compassion. By admonishing them through good behavior and repelling their evil actions with favor and kindness, we can help them rectify their behavior and strengthen the bonds of brotherhood within the Muslim community. This approach aligns with the teachings of the Quran, which emphasize responding to evil with goodness and treating others with righteousness and justice. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all to follow the noble example of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and strive for excellence in our interactions with our fellow Muslims.
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