الرُّكُونُ إِلَى الدُّنْيَا مَعَ مَا تُعَايِنُ مِنْهَا جَهْلٌ، وَالتَّقْصِيرُ فِي حُسْنِ الْعَمَلِ إذَا وَثِقْتَ بِالثَّوَابِ عَلَيْهِ غَبْنٌ وَالطُّمَأْنِينَةُ إِلَى كُلِّ أَحَدٍ قَبْلَ الاْخْتِبَار عَجْزٌ۔
Leaning towards this world despite what you see of it, is folly, and lagging behind in good deeds when you are convinced of good reward for them is obvious loss, while trusting in every one before trying is weakness.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #384)
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 Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights three important aspects of human behavior and mindset. Let us delve into the exegesis of this profound Hadith, exploring its meanings and implications in light of the Quran.
The first part of the Hadith states,
Leaning towards this world despite what you see of it, is folly.
Here, the word (الرُّكُونُ) "rukun" refers to leaning or inclining towards something. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) cautions us against becoming attached to the material aspects of this world, despite being aware of its transient nature and the fleeting pleasures it offers. This attachment is described as (جَهْلٌ) "jahil", which means ignorance or unawareness. It signifies a lack of understanding of the true purpose of life and the consequences of excessive attachment to worldly possessions.
The Quran supports this notion in various verses. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hadid (57:20),
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.
This verse reminds us that the allure of this world is temporary and deceptive. It is a test from Allah, and true success lies in seeking His pleasure and preparing for the eternal life to come.
The second part of the Hadith states,
Lagging behind in good deeds when you are convinced of good reward for them is obvious loss.
Here, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of not procrastinating in performing good deeds, especially when we are aware of the immense rewards promised by Allah. Lagging behind in good deeds, despite having certainty in their positive outcomes, is described as (غَبْنٌ) "ghabn", which means obvious loss or deprivation.
The Quran provides numerous verses that encourage believers to hasten towards good deeds and not delay them. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:148),
So hasten to [all that is] good.
This verse urges Muslims to be proactive in performing righteous acts, for every moment wasted is an opportunity lost to earn reward and draw closer to Allah.
The third part of the Hadith states,
Trusting in every one before trying is weakness.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises against placing blind trust in others without assessing their true character and intentions. This blind trust is described as (عَجْزٌ) "ajz", which means weakness or incapacity. It signifies a lack of discernment and vulnerability to deception.
The Quran also emphasizes the importance of exercising caution and discernment in our interactions with others. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hujurat (49:6),
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.
This verse encourages Muslims to verify information and not blindly trust others, as it can lead to unintended harm and regret.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder for Muslims to be mindful of their attachment to this world, to seize opportunities for good deeds, and to exercise discernment in their interactions. By reflecting on the teachings of the Quran and the wisdom of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), we can strive to lead a balanced and purposeful life, seeking the pleasure of Allah and preparing for the eternal abode. May Allah guide us all on the straight path and grant us the wisdom to understand and implement these teachings.
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