أُوصِيكُمْ بِخَمْسٍ لَوْ ضَرَبْتُمْ إِلَيْهَا آبَاطَ الْإِبِلِ لَكَانَتْ لِذَلِكَ أَهْلًا لَا يَرْجُوَنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ إِلَّا رَبَّهُ وَ لَا يَخَافَنَّ إِلَّا ذَنْبَهُ وَ لَا يَسْتَحِيَنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ إِذَا سُئِلَ عَمَّا لَا يَعْلَمُ أَنْ يَقُولَ لَا أَعْلَمُ وَ لَا يَسْتَحِيَنَّ أَحَدٌ إِذَا لَمْ يَعْلَمِ الشَّيْءَ أَنْ يَتَعَلَّمَهُ وَ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالصَّبْرِ فَإِنَّ الصَّبْرَ مِنَ الْإِيمَانِ كَالرَّأْسِ مِنَ الْجَسَدِ وَ لَا خَيْرَ فِي جَسَدٍ لَا رَأْسَ مَعَهُ وَ لَا فِي إِيمَانٍ لَا صَبْرَ مَعَهُ۔
I impart to you five things which, if you ride your camels fast in search of them, you will find them worth it. No one of you should repose hope save in his Lord (Allah); no one of you should fear anything save his sin; no one should feel ashamed of saying "I do not know" when he is asked a matter which he does not know; no one should feel ashamed of learning a thing that he does not know; and you should practise endurance, because endurance is for belief what the head is for the body, so that just as there is no good in a body without the head there is no good in belief without endurance.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #82)
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, and his noble companions.
In this profound Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he imparts five important pieces of advice to the Muslims. Let us delve into the exegesis of this Hadith and explore its deeper meanings in light of the Quran.
The first advice given by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is to repose hope only in Allah, our Lord. This means that our ultimate reliance and trust should be placed in Allah alone. This concept is beautifully emphasized in the Quran in Surah Yusuf, verse 87, where Prophet Yusuf (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) says,
O my sons, go and find out about Joseph and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.
The second advice is to fear nothing except our own sins. This highlights the importance of self-accountability and the recognition of our own faults and shortcomings. In Surah Al-Hashr, verse 18, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow - and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
The third advice is to not feel ashamed of saying
I do not know
when asked about something we are unaware of. This encourages humility and honesty in seeking knowledge. In Surah Al-Kahf, verse 22, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
So they found one of Our servants on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge.
This verse highlights the importance of acknowledging our limitations and seeking knowledge from those who are more knowledgeable.
The fourth advice is to not feel ashamed of learning something new. This emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and personal growth. In Surah Al-Zumar, verse 9, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
Are those who know equal to those who do not know? Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding.
The fifth and final advice is to practice endurance, as it is an integral part of belief. Just as the head is essential for the body, endurance is essential for belief. This concept is beautifully illustrated in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 45, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice in this Hadith serves as a comprehensive guide for Muslims. By placing our hope in Allah, fearing only our own sins, seeking knowledge without hesitation, embracing continuous learning, and practicing endurance, we can strengthen our faith and lead a righteous life. These teachings are not only applicable to the time of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), but they hold timeless wisdom that is relevant for all Muslims throughout history.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to implement these teachings in our lives and may He bless us with steadfastness and knowledge. Ameen.
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