صَاحِبُ السُّلْطَانِ كَرَاكِبِ الاْسَدِ: يُغْبَطُ بِمَوْقِعِهِ، وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَوْضِعِهِ۔

The holder of authority is like the rider on a lion - he is envied for his position but he well knows his position.



The holder of authority is like the rider on a lion - he is envied for his...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #263)

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 Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

The holder of authority is like the rider on a lion - he is envied for his position but he well knows his position.

This amazing Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the unique position and responsibilities of those in authority. To fully understand the depth of this Hadith, let us delve into the meanings of some important words.

The term (holder of authority) "صَاحِبُ السُّلْطَانِ" refers to a person who possesses power, control, and leadership over a group of people. This can include political leaders, rulers, or anyone who holds a position of authority. The word (rider) "كَرَاكِبِ" signifies someone who is in control and has mastery over a powerful and majestic creature. In this context, it represents the authority figure who is in control of their position.

The comparison of the holder of authority to a rider on a lion is a metaphorical expression that conveys several profound meanings. Just as a rider on a lion is envied for their position, the holder of authority is often the subject of envy and scrutiny. People may desire the power and privileges that come with authority, leading to jealousy and resentment. However, the rider on the lion is also well aware of the dangers and responsibilities that come with their position. Similarly, the holder of authority understands the weight of their responsibilities and the challenges they face.

To further understand the wisdom behind this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:30) of the responsibility bestowed upon Adam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) when He appointed him as His vicegerent on earth. Adam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) was given authority over creation, but he also had to bear the consequences of his actions. This highlights the importance of recognizing the weight of authority and the need for wisdom and righteousness in its exercise.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Anbiya (21:73), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) mentions the story of Prophet Ibrahim (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and how he was chosen as a leader and guide for his people. Despite facing opposition and challenges, Prophet Ibrahim (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) remained steadfast in his mission and fulfilled his responsibilities with unwavering faith. This serves as a reminder that those in authority must possess knowledge, wisdom, and a deep understanding of their position.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and humility for those in positions of authority. They must recognize the challenges and responsibilities that come with their position and strive to fulfill them with integrity and justice. By acknowledging their limitations and seeking guidance from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), they can effectively navigate the complexities of leadership and make decisions that benefit the community as a whole.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, about the responsibilities and challenges that come with authority. It urges those in positions of power to be self-aware, humble, and conscious of their duties. By seeking guidance from the Quran and emulating the examples set by the Prophet Muhammad () and his Ahl al-Bayt, Muslims can strive to be just and righteous leaders who fulfill their responsibilities with wisdom and integrity. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to understand and implement the teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in our lives.

. : . (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.)

Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.