وسئل عليه السلام أَيّما أَفضل: العدل، أَو الجود؟ فقال: الْعَدْلُ يَضَعُ الاْمُورَ مَوَاضِعَهَا، والْجُودُ يُخْرِجُهَا عَنْ جِهَتِهَا، وَالْعَدْلُ سَائِسٌ عَامٌّ، وَالْجُودُ عَارضٌ خَاصٌّ، فَالْعَدْلُ أَشْرَفُهُمَا وَأَفْضَلُهُمَا۔
He (a.s.) was asked: Which of the two is better; justice or generosity? Amir al-mu'minin, peace be upon him, replied: Justice puts things in their places while generosity takes them out from their directions; justice is the general caretaker while generosity is a particular benefit. Consequently, justice is superior and more distinguished of the two.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #437)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due 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.
In this profound hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is asked about the superiority between justice (al-'adl) and generosity (al-jood). The Imam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) responds by stating that justice is the one that establishes things in their rightful places, while generosity is the act of taking things out of their intended direction. He further explains that justice is a comprehensive and universal principle, whereas generosity is a specific and limited virtue. Therefore, justice holds a higher rank and is more virtuous than generosity.
To understand the depth and significance of this hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly emphasizes the importance of justice in various verses. In Surah An-Nisa, verse 135, Allah says,
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
This verse highlights the obligation of Muslims to uphold justice, even if it goes against their personal interests or the interests of their loved ones. It emphasizes the importance of being just and fair in all circumstances, regardless of one's social status or wealth. This aligns with Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement that justice is a universal principle that governs all aspects of life.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Hujurat, verse 9, Allah says,
And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
This verse emphasizes the importance of resolving conflicts and disputes among believers with justice. It instructs Muslims to intervene and mediate between conflicting parties, ensuring that justice is served and fairness is maintained. Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement about justice putting things in their rightful places aligns with this Quranic instruction, as justice restores balance and harmony in society.
The consequences of justice and generosity can also be observed in various aspects of life. Justice, as Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, is a comprehensive principle that encompasses all aspects of life. When justice is upheld, it leads to a just and equitable society, where everyone's rights are respected, and fairness prevails. This fosters social cohesion, trust, and harmony among individuals and communities.
On the other hand, generosity, while being a noble virtue, is more specific in nature. It involves acts of giving and selflessness, which undoubtedly have positive impacts on individuals and communities. However, generosity alone cannot establish a just society. Without justice, generosity can be misused or exploited, leading to imbalances and inequalities.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) profound understanding of justice and generosity stems from his unparalleled knowledge and wisdom. His deep insights into the teachings of Islam and his unwavering commitment to justice have made him a role model for Muslims throughout history. As the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) possessed a unique understanding of the Quranic principles and the Prophet's teachings, which he exemplified in his own life.
In conclusion, this hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the superiority of justice over generosity. While generosity is a praiseworthy virtue, justice is a universal principle that establishes order, fairness, and balance in society. Upholding justice leads to a just and equitable society, where everyone's rights are respected. Therefore, as Muslims, we should strive to embody justice in all aspects of our lives, following the example of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and the teachings of the Quran. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us to uphold justice and establish a just society.
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.