الْفَقْرُ الْمَوْتُ الاْكْبَرُ۔
Destitution is the greatest death.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #163)
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 Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, "الْفَقْرُ الْمَوْتُ الاْكْبَرُ" which translates to
Destitution is the greatest death.
This impactful saying of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the severity and detrimental nature of poverty.
Let us delve into the meanings of the key words in this Hadith. "Al-Faqr" refers to destitution or poverty, while "Al-Mawt" means death. The word "Al-Akbar" denotes the superlative form, indicating the highest degree or greatest level. Therefore, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is emphasizing that poverty is the most severe form of death, surpassing physical death itself.
To understand the connotation of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 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 highlights the various trials and tribulations that humans may face, including hunger and loss of wealth. It reminds us that poverty is indeed a test from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), and it requires patience and perseverance to overcome.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Isra, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states, (Quran 17:31)
And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin
This verse admonishes against the act of killing one's children out of fear of poverty. It emphasizes that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) is the provider and sustainer, and He will provide for both parents and children. It highlights the gravity of such an act, equating it to a great sin.
From these Quranic verses, we can understand that poverty is indeed a severe trial that tests the faith and patience of individuals. It can lead to desperation, despair, and even immoral actions. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is reminding us of the dire consequences and immense suffering that poverty can bring upon an individual. It is not merely a lack of material wealth, but a state of helplessness and deprivation that can lead to the deterioration of one's physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement serves as a wake-up call for Muslims to address the issue of poverty and work towards its eradication. It urges us to strive for social justice, equality, and compassion towards those who are less fortunate. It reminds us to be grateful for the blessings we have been bestowed with and to use them to uplift and support those in need.
Moreover, this Hadith also serves as a reminder of the importance of seeking knowledge and acquiring skills that can help individuals overcome poverty. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) was renowned for his wisdom and knowledge, and he emphasized the significance of education in empowering individuals to improve their socioeconomic status. By equipping oneself with knowledge and skills, one can break free from the cycle of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ)
Destitution is the greatest death
highlights the severity and detrimental nature of poverty. It serves as a reminder of the tests and trials that poverty brings upon individuals, and the need for Muslims to address this issue with compassion, justice, and knowledge. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us in our efforts to alleviate poverty and grant us the strength to overcome the challenges it presents.
Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.
Your message has been successfully received, and we will respond to you soon.