مِسْكينٌ اِبْنُ آدَمَ، مَكْتُومُ الأجَلِ، مَكْنُونُ العِلَلِ، مَحفُوظُ العَمَلِ، تُؤْلِمُهُ البَقَّةُ، وتُنْتِنُهُ العَرَقَةُ، وتَقْتُلُهُ الشَّرْقَةُ۔
How wretched the son of Adam is! His death is hidden, his ailments concealed, his every action recorded, harmed by the bite of a mosquito, made malodorous by perspiration and caused to die by [something as simple as] choking.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Son Of Adam (The Human Being))
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, the Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the vulnerability and fragility of human beings, emphasizing the transient nature of our existence. Let us delve into the profound meanings of this Hadith and explore its implications in light of the Quran.
The Hadith begins by describing the son of Adam as (مِسْكِينٌ) "wretched". This term conveys a sense of helplessness and vulnerability, highlighting the inherent weakness of human beings. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us in the Quran of our humble origin and our dependence on Him: (Quran 35:15)
O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further describes the son of Adam as (مَكْتُومُ ٱلْأَجَلِ) "hidden in death". This signifies the uncertainty and unpredictability of death, which is concealed from us. The Quran reminds us of the inevitability of death: (Quran 3:185)
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection
This realization should serve as a constant reminder for us to prepare for the hereafter and strive to lead a righteous life.
The Hadith also mentions that the ailments of the son of Adam are (مَكْنُونُ ٱلْعِلَلِ) "concealed". This highlights the fact that many of our physical and emotional struggles are hidden from others. We may appear healthy and strong on the outside, but internally we may be battling various ailments. This reminds us of the importance of empathy and compassion towards others, as we never truly know the extent of their suffering.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further states that every action of the son of Adam is (مَحْفُوظُ ٱلْعَمَلِ) "recorded". This aligns with the Quranic concept of the (Quran 17:13) "Book of Deeds", where every action, whether big or small, is meticulously recorded by the angels. This serves as a reminder for us to be mindful of our actions, as they will be presented before Allah on the Day of Judgment.
The Hadith continues by highlighting the vulnerability of the son of Adam to seemingly insignificant things. The bite of a mosquito can cause harm (تُؤْلِمُهُ البَقَّةُ), perspiration can make one malodorous (تُنْتِنُهُ العَرَقَةُ), and something as simple as choking can lead to death (تَقْتُلُهُ الشَّرْقَةُ). These examples serve to remind us of our fragility and the importance of appreciating the blessings of good health and well-being.
In the Quran, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) reminds us of our vulnerability and the need for gratitude: (Quran 16:78)
And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful
Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the transient nature of our existence and the importance of utilizing our time in this world wisely. It serves as a call to introspection, urging us to reflect on our actions and strive for self-improvement. We should be mindful of our words and deeds, as they have a lasting impact not only in this world but also in the hereafter.
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom to understand the profound teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) and the ability to implement them in our lives. May He guide us on the path of righteousness and grant us success in this world and the hereafter.
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