وَاللهِ لَدُنْيَاكُمْ هذِهِ أَهْوَنُ فِي عَيْنِي مِنْ عِرَاقِ خِنْزِيرٍ فِي يَدِ مَجْذُومٍ۔
By Allah, this world of yours is more lowly in my view than the (left over) bone of a pig in the hand of a leper.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #236)
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 beautiful saying, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) expresses his disdain for the worldly life and its allurements. Let us delve into the words of this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning and significance.
The Imam begins by saying, (وَاللهِ) "By Allah", emphasizing the truthfulness and sincerity of his statement. He then states, (لَدُنْيَاكُمْ هذِهِ)
this world of yours
referring to the materialistic and temporary nature of worldly possessions and desires. The word (دُنْيَا) "world" in Arabic is derived from the root word "dunya" which means "lower" or "closer." It signifies the transient and lesser reality compared to the eternal and higher reality of the Hereafter.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) further emphasizes the insignificance of the worldly life by comparing it to something repulsive and unclean. He says, (أَهْوَنُ فِي عَيْنِي مِنْ عِرَاقِ خِنْزِيرٍ)
more lowly in my view than the (left over) bone of a pig
The word (أَهْوَنُ) "ahwan" means "more insignificant" or "more contemptible." The imagery used here is powerful and evokes a sense of disgust and aversion. The pig, considered impure in Islam, and the leper, who is afflicted with a contagious disease, symbolize the repulsiveness and filthiness of worldly possessions and attachments.
To understand the deeper meaning of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) repeatedly reminds us of the fleeting nature of this world and the importance of focusing on the eternal life to come. In Surah Al-Hadid, Allah says, (57:20)
Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris
Similarly, in Surah Al-Kahf, Allah warns us, (18:46)
Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope
These verses highlight the temporary nature of worldly possessions and the need to prioritize our actions and intentions towards the eternal life.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement serves as a reminder for us to detach ourselves from the materialistic pursuits of this world and focus on the everlasting rewards of the Hereafter. It is a call to reflect on the true purpose of our existence and to prioritize our actions and intentions accordingly.
By likening the world to something repulsive, the Imam highlights the dangers of becoming attached to worldly possessions and desires. Just as a leper's touch contaminates the bone of a pig, the pursuit of worldly pleasures can contaminate our hearts and souls, leading us astray from the path of righteousness.
Moreover, this Hadith teaches us the importance of developing a mindset of contentment and gratitude. When we realize the true insignificance of worldly possessions, we can free ourselves from the constant desire for more and find contentment in what Allah has blessed us with. This mindset allows us to focus on the pursuit of spiritual growth and the development of our relationship with Allah.
In conclusion, Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement serves as a powerful reminder for Muslims to prioritize the eternal over the temporary, to detach themselves from the allurements of this world, and to develop a mindset of contentment and gratitude. By reflecting on the profound wisdom contained in this Hadith and aligning our actions with its teachings, we can strive towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life in the sight of Allah. May Allah guide us all on the path of righteousness and grant us the strength to overcome the temptations of this world.
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