يَا دُنْيَا يَا دُنْيَا إِلَيْكِ عَنِّى، أَ بِى تَعَرَّضْتِ أَمْ إِلَيَّ تَشَوَّقْتِ؟ لَا حَانَ حِينُكِ هَيْهَاتَ غُرِّى غَيْرِى لَا حَاجَةَ لِى فِيكِ قَدْ طَلَّقْتُكِ َثلَاثاً لَا رَجْعَةَ فِيهَا فَعَيْشُكِ قَصِيرٌ وَ خَطَرُكِ يَسِيرٌ وَ أَمَلُكِ حَقِيرٌ. آهِ مِنْ قِلَّةِ الزَّادِ وَ طُولِ الطَّرِيقِ وَ بُعْدِ السَّفَرِ وَ عَظِيمِ الْمَوْرِدِ۔
O world, O world! Get away from me. Why do you present yourself to me? Or are you eager for me? You may not get that opportunity to impress me. Deceive some other person. I have no concern with you. I have divorced you thrice whereafter there is no restitution. Your life is short, your importance is little and your aspirations are base. Alas! The provision is little, the way is long, the journey is far and the goal is hard to reach.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #77)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.
In this profound Hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) addresses the world, expressing his detachment and disinterest towards it. He begins by calling out to the world twice, emphasizing his desire for it to stay away from him. The repetition of
O world, O world!
highlights the urgency and intensity of his message.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then questions the world, asking if it is presenting itself to him or if it is eager for him. This rhetorical question serves to highlight the insignificance of the world in comparison to his elevated status and knowledge. The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is not swayed by the allure of worldly possessions or desires, as he recognizes their temporary nature and their inability to bring true fulfillment.
To support this understanding, we can turn to the Quranic verse in Surah Al-Hadid (57:20), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. It is like a rain whose vegetation pleases the tillers; then it withers and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. And in the Hereafter, there is severe torment, and forgiveness from Allah and His pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further emphasizes his detachment from the world by stating that it has no hold over him. He declares that he has divorced the world thrice, indicating a complete and irreversible separation. This divorce signifies his renunciation of the world and his commitment to prioritize the eternal life over the transient one.
In the Quran, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in Surah Al-Kahf (18:45),
And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then describes the insignificance of the world by highlighting its short-lived nature, little importance, and base aspirations. He compares the world to a fleeting moment, emphasizing its brevity and transience. Its importance is minimal, as it cannot provide true fulfillment or lasting happiness. The aspirations of the world are base, as they are centered around materialistic pursuits and temporary pleasures.
This understanding aligns with the Quranic verse in Surah Al-Qasas (28:60), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,
And whatever thing you [people] have been given - it is [only for] the enjoyment of worldly life and its adornment. And what is with Allah is better and more lasting; so will you not use reason?
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) concludes the Hadith with a lamentation, expressing his sorrow over the scarcity of provisions, the length of the journey, the distance of travel, and the greatness of the challenges faced. This lamentation serves as a reminder of the difficulties and trials that one may encounter on the path towards righteousness and the ultimate goal of attaining closeness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
In the Quran, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) assures us in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:286),
Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear...
This Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a powerful reminder for Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, to prioritize the eternal life over the transient world. It teaches us to detach ourselves from the materialistic pursuits and desires of this world, recognizing their temporary nature and their inability to bring true fulfillment. Instead, we should focus on seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and striving towards the eternal abode in the Hereafter.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to understand the true nature of this world and the strength to detach ourselves from its allurements. May we follow the example of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in prioritizing the eternal life and seeking closeness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Ameen.
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