خُذْ مِنْ صالِحِ العَمَلِ، وخالِلْ خَيْرَ خَليل، فإنَّ لِلْمَرءِ ما اكْتَسَبَ، وَهُوَ في الآخِرَةِ مَعَ مَنْ أحَبَّ۔
Partake in the best of actions and befriend the best of friends; for verily every person will get that which he has earned and will be with the one whom he loves in the Hereafter.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Hereafter)
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) emphasizes the importance of engaging in righteous actions and forming strong bonds with virtuous companions. The Imam advises us to partake in the best of actions and befriend the best of friends. This guidance holds great significance in shaping our lives and determining our ultimate destiny in the Hereafter.
Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this Hadith by examining the key words and their implications. The word (salih) "صالِحِ" refers to righteous or virtuous actions. These are actions that are in accordance with the teachings of Islam and are pleasing to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). These actions include acts of worship, such as prayer, fasting, and charity, as well as acts of kindness, honesty, and justice towards others.
The word (khayr) "خَيْرَ" signifies the best or the most excellent. It highlights the importance of striving for excellence in our actions and seeking the highest level of righteousness. This implies that we should not settle for mediocrity or complacency in our deeds, but rather aim to excel and surpass our own expectations in serving Allah and His creation.
The word (khaleel) "خَليل" refers to a close and intimate friend. It signifies the significance of choosing companions who are virtuous, pious, and morally upright. Our choice of friends greatly influences our behavior, character, and spiritual growth. Associating with righteous individuals helps us in maintaining our faith, seeking knowledge, and adhering to the teachings of Islam.
To support the exegesis of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Kahf (18:28):
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.
This verse emphasizes the importance of surrounding ourselves with righteous companions who remember Allah and strive to please Him. By doing so, we protect ourselves from being influenced by those who are heedless of Allah's remembrance and are driven by their own desires.
Furthermore, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states in Surah Al-Imran (3:195):
So their Lord responded to them, 'Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed - I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has with Him the best reward.'
This verse affirms the concept mentioned in the Hadith that every person will receive that which they have earned. Allah promises to reward those who engage in righteous actions and face hardships in His cause. This serves as a motivation for us to strive for excellence in our deeds and endure any challenges that come our way.
Reflecting upon the Hadith, we understand that our actions and choice of companions have profound consequences. Engaging in righteous actions not only earns us rewards in this world but also determines our place in the Hereafter. Similarly, surrounding ourselves with virtuous friends helps us in maintaining our faith and seeking closeness to Allah.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for Muslims to partake in the best of actions and befriend the best of friends. By doing so, we can strive for excellence in our deeds, seek the pleasure of Allah, and secure a place in the company of those whom we love in the Hereafter. May Allah guide us all to follow this advice and grant us success in this world and the Hereafter.
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