أَنَا دُونَ مَا تَقُولُ وَ فَوْقَ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ۔

I am below what you express and above what you feel in your heart.



I am below what you express and above what you feel in your heart.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #83)

Personal Reflection

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

The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is a impactful Hadith that highlights the depth of his knowledge and understanding. Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith by exploring the meanings of the important words used.

The first important word in this Hadith is (below) "دُونَ", which signifies a position of humility and subordination. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is expressing his humility and acknowledging that he is beneath or inferior to what others may say or express.

The second important word is (above) "فَوْقَ", which denotes a position of superiority or transcendence. Here, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is asserting that he is above or superior to what lies within the depths of one's heart or innermost feelings.

To understand the essence of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 255:

Allah! There is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.

This verse emphasizes the absolute knowledge and power of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), who is above and beyond all comprehension. No one can intercede with Him except by His permission, and His knowledge encompasses everything. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), being the gate of knowledge, recognizes his position as a servant of Allah and acknowledges his inferiority to what others may express or understand.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-An'am, verse 103, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says:

Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.

This verse highlights the incomprehensibility of Allah's essence and His ability to perceive everything, while remaining beyond the perception of human vision. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) acknowledges that his knowledge is limited compared to the vast knowledge of Allah, and he humbly accepts his position below what others may express or understand.

The profound exegesis of this Hadith lies in the recognition of the vastness of Allah's knowledge and the humility of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in comparison. It serves as a reminder for Muslims to always remain humble in the face of knowledge and to recognize the infinite wisdom and knowledge of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement also highlights the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding, as it is through this pursuit that one can come closer to Allah and His infinite wisdom. Muslims should strive to acquire knowledge and deepen their understanding of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad () and his Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ).

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the vastness of Allah's knowledge and the humility that should accompany our pursuit of knowledge. It serves as a humbling reminder to always seek knowledge with sincerity and humility, recognizing that our understanding is limited in comparison to the infinite wisdom of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). May Allah guide us all on the path of knowledge and grant us the humility to recognize our limitations.

. : . (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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