الْأَقَاوِيلُ مَحْفُوظَةٌ وَ السَّرَائِرُ مَبْلُوَّةٌ وَ (كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِما كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ) وَ النَّاسُ مَنْقُوصُونَ مَدْخُولُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ عَصَمَ اللَّهُ: سَائِلُهُمْ مُتَعَنِّتٌ وَ مُجِيبُهُمْ مُتَكَلِّفٌ يَكَادُ أَفْضَلُهُمْ رَأْياً يَرُدُّهُ عَنْ فَضْلِ رَأْيِهِ الرِّضَى وَ السُّخْطُ ، وَ يَكَادُ أَصْلَبُهُمْ عُوداً تَنْكَؤُهُ اللَّحْظَةُ وَ تَسْتَحِيلُهُ الْكَلِمَةُ الْوَاحِدَةُ۔
Utterances are preserved and actions are to be tried. Every soul, for what it earned, is held in pledge! (Qur'an, 74:38). People are to be made deficient (as regards their bodies) and meddled with (as regards their minds) except those whom Allah protects. The questioner among them aims at confusing and the answerer creates hardship. It is possible that the man who has the best views among them will be deviated from the soundness of his thinking by pleasure or displeasure, and it is possible that a single glance may affect even the man with the 'best wisdom among them or a single expression may transform him.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #343)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights several important concepts that require a deeper understanding. Let us begin by examining the key words and phrases in this Hadith.
The first phrase is (Utterances are preserved) "الْأَقَاوِيلُ مَحْفُوظَةٌ". Here, the term "أَقَاوِيلُ" refers to words or statements. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is emphasizing that our words are recorded and preserved. This reminds us of the verse in the Quran where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 50:18)
Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him, ready to record it
Our words have consequences, and we will be held accountable for them.
The next phrase is (Actions are to be tried) "وَ السَّرَائِرُ مَبْلُوَّةٌ". The term "سَّرَائِرُ" refers to hidden or secret actions. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is reminding us that our actions, both apparent and hidden, will be tested and evaluated. This aligns with the Quranic verse, (Quran 2:155)
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient
Our actions will be examined and judged by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), and we will be rewarded or punished accordingly.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then quotes the Quranic verse, (Every soul, for what it earned, is held in pledge)
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ
(Quran 74:38). This verse emphasizes the individual responsibility and accountability of each soul. We are responsible for our own actions and will be held accountable for them. This verse serves as a reminder that we cannot escape the consequences of our deeds.
The next phrase is (People are to be made deficient and meddled with)
وَ النَّاسُ مَنْقُوصُونَ مَدْخُولُونَ
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is highlighting the inherent weaknesses and vulnerabilities of human beings. We are prone to making mistakes and being influenced by external factors. This aligns with the Quranic verse, (Quran 4:28)
Man was created weak
Our weaknesses and vulnerabilities make us susceptible to being led astray or influenced by negative forces.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further describes the nature of people's interactions. He states, (The questioner aims at confusing and the answerer creates hardship)
سَائِلُهُمْ مُتَعَنِّتٌ وَ مُجِيبُهُمْ مُتَكَلِّفٌ
This highlights the tendency of some individuals to ask misleading or confusing questions, while others may respond in a way that creates difficulties or complications. This reminds us of the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding in a sincere and genuine manner.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) then states, (It is possible that the man who has the best views among them will be deviated from the soundness of his thinking by pleasure or displeasure)
يَكَادُ أَفْضَلُهُمْ رَأْيًا يَرُدُّهُ عَنْ فَضْلِ رَأْيِهِ الرِّضَى وَ السُّخْطُ
This highlights the vulnerability of even the most knowledgeable individuals to be swayed by their emotions or personal biases. It serves as a reminder that we should strive for objectivity and seek the truth, regardless of our personal inclinations.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) concludes by stating, (And it is possible that a single glance may affect even the man with the best wisdom among them or a single expression may transform him)
وَ يَكَادُ أَصْلَبُهُمْ عُودًا تَنْكَؤُهُ اللَّحْظَةُ وَ تَسْتَحِيلُهُ الْكَلِمَةُ الْوَاحِدَةُ
This highlights the power of a single moment or a single word to have a profound impact on an individual. It serves as a reminder to be cautious and mindful of our actions and words, as they can have far-reaching consequences.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the importance of our words and actions, and the accountability we have for them. It emphasizes the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of human beings, and the need for sincere and genuine seeking of knowledge. It also serves as a reminder to be cautious of the influence of our emotions and biases, and the power of a single moment or word to transform us. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and guidance to navigate through life with sincerity and righteousness.
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.