لَا يَسْتَقِيمُ قَضَاءُ الْحَوَائِجِ إِلَّا بِثَلَاثٍ بِاسْتِصْغَارِهَا لِتَعْظُمَ وَ بِاسْتِكْتَامِهَا لِتَظْهَرَ وَ بِتَعْجِيلِهَا لِتَهْنُؤَ۔
Fulfilment of (others') needs becomes a lasting virtue in three ways: regarding it small so that it attains bigness, concealing it so that it may manifest itself, and doing it quickly so that it becomes pleasant.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #101)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, and blessings be upon Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his pure progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt, as well as his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of fulfilling the needs of others in three distinct ways. Let us delve into the exegesis of this profound saying in light of the Quran.
Firstly, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states that the fulfillment of needs should be regarded as small in order for it to attain bigness. This implies that one should not belittle or underestimate the significance of helping others, regardless of the scale or nature of their needs. The Quran supports this notion in Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:2), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.
This verse emphasizes the importance of assisting others in acts of righteousness, regardless of the magnitude of their needs.
Secondly, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises concealing the act of fulfilling needs so that it may manifest itself. This means that one should not seek recognition or praise for their charitable deeds, but rather perform them sincerely and discreetly. The Quran echoes this sentiment in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:271), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you.
This verse emphasizes the virtue of concealing acts of charity, as it purifies one's intentions and ensures that the focus remains on helping others rather than seeking personal gain or recognition.
Lastly, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of fulfilling needs quickly in order for it to become pleasant. This implies that one should not delay or procrastinate in assisting others, as timely help brings about a sense of relief and joy. The Quran supports this concept in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:148), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
So hasten to good deeds as much as you can.
This verse encourages believers to hasten in performing good deeds, including helping others, as it brings about a sense of satisfaction and contentment.
The profound wisdom contained in this Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for Muslims to prioritize the needs of others and approach acts of charity with humility, sincerity, and promptness. By regarding the fulfillment of needs as significant, concealing our charitable acts, and acting swiftly, we can cultivate a lasting virtue that not only benefits those in need but also purifies our own souls.
This Hadith also highlights the selflessness and knowledge of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). His profound understanding of human nature and the importance of fulfilling the needs of others exemplifies his wisdom and compassion. As Muslims, we should strive to emulate his noble qualities and follow his guidance in our interactions with others.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the importance of fulfilling the needs of others in three ways: regarding it small to attain bigness, concealing it to manifest itself, and doing it quickly to bring about pleasure. By embodying these principles, we can establish a lasting virtue and contribute to the betterment of society. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody these teachings and fulfill the needs of others with sincerity and compassion.
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