نَفْسُ الْمَرْءِ خُطَاهُ إِلَى أَجَلِهِ۔

The breath of a man is a step towards his death.



The breath of a man is a step towards his death.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #74)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

The breath of a man is a step towards his death.

This impactful Hadith emphasizes the fleeting nature of human life and serves as a reminder of our mortality. Let us delve deeper into the meaning of this Hadith in light of the Quran.

The word (nafs) "نَفْسُ" in Arabic refers to the breath, soul, or self of a person. It encompasses the essence of an individual, their thoughts, desires, and actions. In this Hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) uses the term (khatāh) "خُطَاهُ", which means step or stride. It symbolizes the passage of time and the progression of one's life towards its inevitable end.

The Quran provides numerous verses that highlight the transient nature of human existence. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Ankabut (29:64),

And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter - that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew.

This verse reminds us that worldly life is temporary and fleeting, while the eternal life in the Hereafter is the true reality.

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Imran (3:185), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,

Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.

This verse emphasizes that death is an inevitable reality for every soul, and the true reward or punishment will be given in the Hereafter.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement serves as a reminder to Muslims that every breath we take brings us one step closer to our ultimate destination, which is death. It urges us to reflect upon the purpose of our existence and to prioritize our actions accordingly. Each moment of our lives should be spent in seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and preparing for the eternal life in the Hereafter.

This Hadith also serves as a motivation for Muslims to make the most of their time in this world. We should strive to engage in righteous deeds, seek knowledge, and fulfill our responsibilities towards ourselves, our families, and society. The brevity of life should inspire us to seize every opportunity to do good and seek forgiveness for our sins.

Moreover, this Hadith reminds us of the consequences of our actions. Every step we take, every breath we inhale and exhale, brings us closer to our appointed time of death. Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful of our choices and actions, as they will determine our fate in the Hereafter. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Isra (17:13),

And We have made every man's actions to cling to his neck, and We will bring forth to him on the Day of Resurrection a book which he will find wide open.

Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the impermanence of this worldly life and the importance of preparing for the eternal life in the Hereafter. It encourages us to make the most of our time, seek knowledge, engage in righteous deeds, and constantly strive to improve ourselves. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and guidance to live our lives in accordance with His commands, and may He bless us with a good end in this world and the Hereafter.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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