لاَ قُرْبَةَ بِالنَّوَافِلِ إِذَا أَضَرَّتْ بِالْفَرَائِضِ۔

Supererogatory worship cannot bring about nearness to Allah if it hampers the obligatory.



Supererogatory worship cannot bring about nearness to Allah if it hampers...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #39)

Personal Reflection

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 (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

Supererogatory worship cannot bring about nearness to Allah if it hampers the obligatory.

This enlightening Hadith highlights the importance of fulfilling our obligatory duties before engaging in voluntary acts of worship.

To understand the depth of this Hadith, let us examine the key words and their meanings. The word (qurbah) "قُرْبَةَ" refers to nearness or closeness to Allah. It signifies the spiritual connection and proximity that a believer seeks with their Creator. The term (nawafil) "نَوَافِلِ" refers to supererogatory acts of worship, which are voluntary acts that go beyond the obligatory duties. And finally, the word (faraidh) "فَرَائِضِ" refers to the obligatory acts of worship that are prescribed by Allah.

This Hadith emphasizes that engaging in supererogatory acts of worship alone cannot bring us closer to Allah if they hinder or neglect the fulfillment of our obligatory duties. It reminds us that our primary focus should be on fulfilling the obligations that Allah has commanded us to perform.

This concept is beautifully echoed in the Quran, where Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:177),

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.

This verse highlights that true righteousness is not merely limited to performing outward acts of worship, but it encompasses fulfilling our obligations towards Allah and His creation. It emphasizes the importance of establishing prayer, giving zakah, and fulfilling our promises, among other obligations.

Similarly, in Surah Al-Ma'un (107:1-7), Allah condemns those who neglect their obligatory duties while engaging in superficial acts of worship. He says,

Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? For that is the one who drives away the orphan and does not encourage the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who pray but are heedless of their prayer - those who make show [of their deeds] and withhold [simple] assistance.

These verses highlight the significance of fulfilling our obligations towards others, such as caring for orphans and feeding the poor. They caution against being negligent in our obligatory acts of worship while indulging in superficial displays of piety.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) Hadith serves as a reminder that our voluntary acts of worship should never take precedence over our obligatory duties. While engaging in supererogatory acts is commendable and can enhance our spiritual journey, they should never hinder or neglect the fulfillment of our obligations towards Allah and His creation.

For example, if someone spends excessive time in voluntary prayers but neglects their daily obligatory prayers, their supererogatory worship loses its value. Similarly, if someone donates generously to charity but fails to fulfill their financial obligations, their voluntary acts of charity become meaningless.

This Hadith teaches us the importance of balance and prioritization in our worship. It encourages us to focus on fulfilling our obligations first and then engage in voluntary acts of worship to enhance our spiritual connection with Allah. By doing so, we ensure that our worship is sincere, meaningful, and in alignment with the teachings of the Quran and the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad () and his purified progeny.

May Allah guide us to prioritize our obligations and grant us the wisdom to engage in voluntary acts of worship that truly bring us closer to Him. Ameen.

. : . (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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