إتَّقُوا الحِرْصَ، فَإنَّ صاحِبَهُ رَهينُ ذُلّ وعَناء۔
Be cautious of greed, for its possessor is subject to humiliation and suffering.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: Greed)
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 Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns us about the dangers of greed and its consequences. The word (greed) "حِرْصَ" refers to an intense desire for wealth, possessions, or power. It is a negative quality that can lead a person to engage in unethical and immoral behavior, disregarding the rights of others in pursuit of their own selfish interests.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) cautions us to be cautious of greed because its possessor is (subject to humiliation and suffering) "رَهينُ ذُلّ وعَناء". This means that those who are consumed by greed will ultimately find themselves in a state of disgrace and hardship. Greed blinds individuals to the consequences of their actions and can lead to their downfall in both this world and the hereafter.
The Quran provides us with several verses that emphasize the importance of avoiding greed and its detrimental effects. In Surah Al-Isra, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns against following one's desires excessively:
And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.
This verse highlights the temporary nature of worldly possessions and the importance of seeking the provision from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), which is everlasting. Greed blinds individuals to the reality that material possessions are fleeting and can distract them from seeking the eternal rewards of the hereafter.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Humazah, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) condemns those who accumulate wealth and hoard it for themselves:
Woe to every scorner and mocker, who collects wealth and [continuously] counts it. He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal. No! He will surely be thrown into the Crusher.
This verse serves as a stark reminder that wealth and possessions do not grant immortality or protection from the consequences of one's actions. The pursuit of wealth at the expense of others is futile and will ultimately lead to punishment and destruction.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warning against greed is a call to self-reflection and self-restraint. Greed can manifest in various forms, such as hoarding wealth, exploiting others, or seeking power at any cost. It is a destructive force that not only harms individuals but also undermines the fabric of society.
By cautioning against greed, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the importance of moderation and contentment. Islam encourages us to seek lawful provisions and enjoy the blessings bestowed upon us by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), but not at the expense of others or through unethical means.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) thoughtful words serve as a timeless reminder for Muslims to be mindful of their desires and to prioritize spiritual and moral growth over materialistic pursuits. By cultivating a sense of contentment and gratitude, we can protect ourselves from the destructive consequences of greed and strive for a balanced and righteous life. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all on the path of righteousness and protect us from the pitfalls of greed.
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