شَتَّانَ بَيْنَ عَمَلَيْنِ: عَمَلٍ تَذْهَبُ لَذَّتُهُ وَتَبْقَى تَبِعَتُهُ، وَعَمَلٍ تَذْهَبُ مَؤُونَتُهُ وَيَبْقَى أَجْرُهُ۔
What a difference there is between two kinds of actions: an act whose pleasure passes away but its (ill) consequence remains, and. the act whose hardship passes away but its reward stays.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #121)
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 highlights the stark contrast between two types of actions. The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) begins by stating,
What a difference there is between two kinds of actions.
This signifies the importance of understanding the consequences of our actions and the need for discernment in choosing the right course of action.
The first type of action mentioned by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is one that provides immediate pleasure or gratification. However, despite the temporary enjoyment, its ill consequences persist. This implies that indulging in sinful or harmful actions may bring temporary satisfaction, but the negative effects and repercussions will endure. This aligns with the teachings of the Quran, which repeatedly warns against the fleeting nature of worldly pleasures and emphasizes the importance of seeking eternal rewards.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Imran (3:185):
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
This verse reminds us that the true reward for our actions will be granted in the Hereafter. The temporary pleasures of this world are merely illusory and deceptive. Therefore, it is crucial for Muslims to prioritize actions that lead to everlasting rewards rather than being swayed by immediate gratification.
On the other hand, the second type of action mentioned by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is one that involves hardship or difficulty. However, despite the temporary challenges, its reward remains. This highlights the concept of enduring patience and perseverance in the face of adversity. The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of patience and steadfastness in the path of righteousness.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:155):
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.
This verse reminds us that trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of life. However, those who remain patient and steadfast in their faith will be rewarded abundantly. The difficulties we face in performing righteous actions should not discourage us, as the reward for our patience and perseverance will be everlasting.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) impactful words serve as a reminder for Muslims to carefully consider the consequences of their actions. It is crucial to prioritize actions that may involve temporary hardships but lead to eternal rewards, rather than indulging in fleeting pleasures that result in lasting negative consequences.
This Hadith also highlights the wisdom and knowledge of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). His deep understanding of the Quranic teachings allowed him to provide insightful guidance to the Muslim community. As Muslims, we should strive to emulate the wisdom and knowledge of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and seek guidance from the Quran in all aspects of our lives.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to choose actions that lead to eternal rewards and protect us from the allure of temporary pleasures. May we strive to follow the teachings of the Quran and the guidance of the Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in all aspects of our lives.
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