أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِالْعَفْوِ أَقْدَرُهُمْ عَلَى الْعُقُوبَةِ۔

The most capable of pardoning is he who is the most powerful to punish.



The most capable of pardoning is he who is the most powerful to punish.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #52)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Blessings and peace be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.

The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states:

أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِالْعَفْوِ أَقْدَرُهُمْ عَلَى الْعُقُوبَةِ۔

This Hadith can be translated into English as:

The most capable of pardoning is he who is the most powerful to punish.

Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this Hadith by examining the key words and their implications. The word (awla) "أَوْلَى" refers to someone who is more deserving or closer in terms of a particular quality. In this context, it signifies the one who is more deserving of pardoning. The word (annas) "النَّاسِ" means people or individuals. It encompasses all of humanity, regardless of their faith or background.

The word (bil-'afw) "بِالْعَفْوِ" refers to forgiveness or pardon. It is an act of mercy and compassion, where one chooses to let go of resentment and anger towards someone who has wronged them. This act of forgiveness is a noble quality that is highly regarded in Islam.

On the other hand, the word (aqdaru-hum) "أَقْدَرُهُمْ" means the most capable or powerful. It signifies the ability to carry out punishment or retribution. This power can be physical, emotional, or even social. It is important to note that this power should be used responsibly and within the boundaries set by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

To understand the profound wisdom behind this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and mercy. In Surah Al-Imran, verse 134, Allah says,

Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good.

This verse highlights the significance of forgiveness and the reward that comes with it.

Furthermore, in Surah An-Nur, verse 22, Allah states,

And let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

This verse reminds us of the reciprocal nature of forgiveness. When we forgive others, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) is more inclined to forgive us.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement in this Hadith highlights the profound wisdom that lies in forgiveness. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a manifestation of strength and power. The one who possesses the ability to punish but chooses to forgive demonstrates their superiority over their own ego and desires. They rise above the desire for revenge and instead opt for a path of compassion and mercy.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) himself was a paragon of knowledge and wisdom. His deep understanding of the Quran and his exemplary character allowed him to embody the teachings of forgiveness and mercy. He forgave those who wronged him, even in the face of immense adversity. This Hadith serves as a reminder for Muslims to follow in the footsteps of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and strive to be the most capable of pardoning.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us that true strength lies in forgiveness. It is a quality that is highly regarded in Islam and is exemplified by the actions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad () and his noble companions. By pardoning others, we not only emulate the teachings of Islam but also pave the way for Allah's forgiveness and mercy upon ourselves. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to forgive and be forgiven.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.