احْذَرْ أَنْ يَرَاكَ اللهُ عِنْدَ مَعْصِيَتِهِ، وَيَفْقِدَكَ عِنْدَ طَاعَتِهِ، فَتَكُونَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ، وَإِذَا قَوِيتَ فَاقْوَ عَلَى طَاعَةِ اللهِ، وَإِذَا ضَعُفْتَ فاضْعُفْ عَنْ مَعْصِيَةِ اللهِ۔
Fear lest Allah sees you while committing His sins or misses you when it is time to obey Him and as a result thereof you become a loser. Therefore, when you are strong be strong in obeying Allah and when you are weak be weak in committing sins of Allah.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #383)
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.
In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he advises us to be cautious and mindful of our actions in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). The Imam warns us against committing sins, as Allah is aware of our every action, even the ones we try to hide. He reminds us that if we engage in disobedience to Allah, we risk losing His favor and becoming among the losers on the Day of Judgment.
To understand the depth of this Hadith, let us analyze some key words. The word (ma'siyatihi) "مَعْصِيَتِهِ" refers to the sins or acts of disobedience committed against Allah. It encompasses any action that goes against His commandments and teachings. On the other hand, (ta'atihi) "طَاعَتِهِ" refers to obedience to Allah's commands and fulfilling His obligations.
To further comprehend the significance of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 216:
Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.
This verse emphasizes the importance of obeying Allah's commands, even if they may seem difficult or against our personal desires. It highlights the fact that Allah's wisdom surpasses our limited understanding, and what may appear unfavorable to us can actually be beneficial in the long run.
Another verse that supports the message of this Hadith is found in Surah Al-Imran, verse 139:
So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.
This verse encourages believers to remain steadfast in their obedience to Allah, even in times of difficulty or weakness. It reminds us that true strength lies in our commitment to righteousness and avoiding sins, rather than succumbing to our weaknesses and indulging in disobedience.
Imam Ali's advice in this Hadith is not limited to moments of strength or weakness alone. It encompasses all aspects of our lives. When we are strong, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we should utilize that strength to excel in obeying Allah's commands. This could mean performing extra acts of worship, engaging in acts of kindness and charity, or striving to improve ourselves in various aspects of life.
Conversely, when we find ourselves in a state of weakness, whether due to illness, hardships, or temptations, we should strive to minimize our engagement in sins. We should seek refuge in Allah, seek His forgiveness, and make sincere efforts to avoid falling into disobedience. By doing so, we demonstrate our commitment to Allah's pleasure and our desire to rectify our actions.
Imam Ali's enlightening words in this Hadith serve as a constant reminder for us as Muslims. They urge us to be mindful of our actions, to strive for obedience to Allah, and to avoid the path of disobedience. By following this advice, we can ensure that we remain on the path of righteousness and attain success in this life and the Hereafter.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the strength and wisdom to adhere to His commands and avoid His prohibitions. May He forgive our sins and guide us on the straight path. Ameen.
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