وَمَنِ اسْتَبَدَّ بِرَأْيِهِ هَلَكَ، وَمَنْ شَاوَرَ الرِّجَالَ شَارَكَهَا فِي عُقُولِهَا۔
He who acts solely according to his own opinion gets ruined, and he who consults other people shares in their understanding.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #161)
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, the Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of seeking consultation and not relying solely on one's own opinion. Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this profound statement in light of the Quran.
The key words in this Hadith are (istabada) "استبد" and (shawara) "شاور". "استبد" refers to someone who acts solely according to their own opinion, disregarding the advice or input of others. This can lead to ruin and failure. On the other hand, "شاور" refers to someone who seeks consultation and shares in the understanding of others. This approach is encouraged and leads to better decision-making.
The Quran provides us with numerous verses that highlight the importance of seeking consultation and the wisdom behind it. In Surah Al-Imran, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 3:159)
And consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]
This verse emphasizes the need to consult others before making decisions and to place trust in Allah after reaching a conclusion.
Another verse in Surah Ash-Shura states, (Quran 42:38)
And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend
This verse highlights the characteristics of the believers who consult with one another and make decisions collectively.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement aligns perfectly with these Quranic teachings. By seeking consultation, we open ourselves up to different perspectives and insights. This not only broadens our understanding but also helps us make more informed decisions. It allows us to benefit from the collective wisdom and experiences of others.
When we act solely according to our own opinion, we may overlook important factors or be blinded by our biases. This can lead to disastrous consequences. However, when we consult others, we invite diverse viewpoints and increase the chances of making the right choices. It fosters unity, cooperation, and mutual understanding among individuals and communities.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) was known for his immense knowledge and wisdom. His emphasis on consultation reflects his deep understanding of human nature and the importance of collective decision-making. He recognized that no individual possesses all knowledge and that seeking the counsel of others is essential for personal and societal growth.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a reminder for Muslims to seek consultation and not rely solely on their own opinions. By doing so, we can avoid ruin and benefit from the collective wisdom of others. This principle is firmly rooted in the Quranic teachings, which emphasize the importance of consultation in decision-making. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us to make wise choices and grant us the ability to seek counsel from those around us.
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