أقْرَبُ شَيْ ء الأجَلُ۔
The nearest thing is death.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Appointed Time Of Death)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, "أقْرَبُ شَيْءِ الأجَلُ" which translates to
The nearest thing is death.
This concise statement by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) carries profound wisdom and serves as a reminder of the transient nature of this worldly life.
To understand the significance of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. In Surah Al-Ankabut, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states, (Quran 29:2)
Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.
This verse emphasizes the inevitability of death for every human being. It is a reality that none can escape, regardless of their status, wealth, or power.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Imran, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us, (Quran 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 highlights the temporary nature of worldly life and emphasizes the importance of preparing for the eternal life in the Hereafter.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement serves as a powerful reminder to Muslims that death is not something distant or far off, but rather it is the closest event to us. It is a reality that can occur at any moment, regardless of our age or health. This Hadith urges us to reflect upon the brevity of life and to prioritize our actions accordingly.
When we internalize the nearness of death, it motivates us to live a life of purpose and righteousness. It compels us to seek forgiveness for our sins, to mend broken relationships, and to strive for excellence in our worship and character. It serves as a wake-up call, reminding us not to procrastinate in our pursuit of goodness and to make the most of the time we have been granted.
Moreover, contemplating the proximity of death helps us gain perspective on the temporary nature of worldly possessions and desires. It reminds us that our true home is in the Hereafter, and that our focus should be on building a strong foundation for our eternal life. This realization encourages us to detach ourselves from materialistic pursuits and to prioritize acts of charity, kindness, and devotion to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ)
The nearest thing is death
serves as a profound reminder of the transient nature of this worldly life. It prompts us to reflect upon the inevitability of death and to live a life of purpose and righteousness. By internalizing the nearness of death, we are motivated to seek forgiveness, mend relationships, and prioritize our actions in accordance with the teachings of Islam. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to live a life that is pleasing to Him, and may He bless us with a peaceful and successful journey to the Hereafter.
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