صُحبَةُ الأشرارِ تُكْسِبُ الشَّرَّ كالرّيحِ إذا مَرَّتْ بالنَّتِنِ حَمَلَتْ نَتِناً۔
Association with the wicked leads one to become evil, just like the wind - when it passes by a foul smell, it carries the stench.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Brother, The Friend, The Associate And The Companion)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due 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 the profound wisdom and insight of the Commander of the Faithful. In this Hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) compares the consequences of associating with the wicked to the effect of wind passing by a foul smell. Let us delve deeper into the words of this Hadith and explore its meaning in light of the Quran.
The key words in this Hadith are (association with the wicked) "صُحبَةُ الأشرارِ", (leads one to become evil) "تُكْسِبُ الشَّرَّ", and (like the wind - when it passes by a foul smell, it carries the stench)
كالرّيحِ إذا مَرَّتْ بالنَّتِنِ حَمَلَتْ نَتِناً
The Quran emphasizes the importance of choosing righteous companionship and warns against the consequences of associating with the wicked. In Surah Al-Kahf (18:28), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance.
This verse highlights the significance of surrounding oneself with pious individuals who are devoted to the worship of Allah.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Anfal (8:22), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns,
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.
This verse serves as a reminder that those who do not possess reason and intellect can lead others astray. Therefore, it is crucial to be cautious of the company we keep and to avoid the influence of those who may lead us towards evil.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) analogy of the wind passing by a foul smell further emphasizes the contagious nature of evil. Just as the wind carries the stench of a foul smell, associating with the wicked can lead one to adopt their negative traits and engage in sinful behavior. This Hadith serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of choosing righteous companionship and the potential consequences of surrounding oneself with those who are morally corrupt.
The consequences of associating with the wicked are far-reaching. Not only can it lead one to adopt their evil ways, but it can also tarnish one's reputation and damage their character. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said in a Hadith, (Sunan Abu Dawood)
A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.
This Hadith emphasizes the influence that our companions have on our faith and actions. Therefore, it is crucial to choose friends who will inspire and encourage us to be better Muslims.
Moreover, associating with the wicked can also have detrimental effects on our spiritual well-being. The Quran reminds us in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:2),
And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.
This verse highlights the importance of surrounding ourselves with individuals who will support us in our pursuit of righteousness and discourage us from engaging in sinful behavior.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a profound reminder of the consequences of associating with the wicked. It warns us of the contagious nature of evil and the potential harm it can bring to our character, reputation, and spiritual well-being. As Muslims, we should strive to choose companions who will inspire us to be better individuals and help us in our journey towards attaining the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us in selecting righteous companions and protect us from the influence of the wicked.
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