مَنْ حَاسَبَ نَفْسَهُ رَبِحَ، وَمَنْ غَفَلَ عَنْهَا خَسِرَ، وَمَنْ خَافَ أَمِنَ، وَمَنِ اعْتَبَرَ أَبْصَرَ،مَنْ أَبْصَرَ فَهِمَ، وَمَنْ فَهِمَ عَلِمَ۔
Whoever takes account of his self is benefited, and whoever remains neglectful of it suffers. Whoever fears remains safe; whoever takes instruction (from things around) perceives; and whoever perceives gains understanding, and whoever gains understanding secures knowledge.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #208)
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 (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
In this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), he imparts valuable wisdom regarding self-reflection and its consequences. Let us delve into the meanings of the important words in this hadith and explore their significance in light of the Quran.
The first word to examine is (hasaba) "حَاسَبَ", which means to take account or reckon. It refers to the act of introspection and self-evaluation. By engaging in self-accountability, one can assess their actions, intentions, and spiritual state. This self-reflection is not only beneficial for personal growth but also for attaining closeness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) encourages believers to engage in self-reflection in numerous verses of the Quran. For example, in Surah Al-Hashr (59:18), Allah says,
O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow.
This verse emphasizes the importance of examining one's actions and intentions, as they have consequences in this life and the hereafter.
The second word to analyze is (ghafala) "غَفَلَ", which means to be neglectful or heedless. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) warns that those who neglect self-reflection will suffer the consequences. This neglect can lead to spiritual stagnation, a lack of growth, and a distancing from Allah's guidance.
The Quran repeatedly cautions against heedlessness and encourages mindfulness. In Surah Al-A'raf (7:179), Allah says,
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless.
The third word to explore is (khaafa) "خَافَ", which means to fear or be cautious. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights that those who fear Allah and His accountability will remain safe. This fear is not a paralyzing fear but a fear rooted in reverence and consciousness of Allah's presence and His commandments.
The Quran emphasizes the importance of God-consciousness and the fear of Allah. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:197), Allah says,
And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is Taqwa (fear of Allah). So fear Me, O you of understanding.
This fear of Allah is a source of protection and guidance for the believers.
The fourth word to examine is (i'tabara) "اعْتَبَرَ", which means to take instruction or contemplate. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance of observing and reflecting upon the signs of Allah's creation. By contemplating the world around us, we can gain insights and lessons that lead to spiritual growth and understanding.
The Quran encourages believers to ponder upon the signs of Allah's creation. In Surah Al-Imran (3:191), Allah says,
Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], 'Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.'
The fifth word to explore is (absara) "أَبْصَرَ", which means to perceive or see. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches that those who take instruction from their surroundings will gain perception and insight. This perception allows individuals to see beyond the surface and understand the deeper meanings and lessons within the world.
The Quran emphasizes the importance of perception and insight. In Surah Al-An'am (6:103), Allah says,
Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.
This verse highlights that true perception comes from Allah, and those who seek His guidance will gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.
The final word to analyze is (fahima) "فَهِمَ", which means to understand or comprehend. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches that those who gain perception will ultimately attain understanding. This understanding is not limited to worldly knowledge but encompasses spiritual insights and wisdom.
The Quran emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding. In Surah Al-Zumar (39:9), Allah says,
Are those who know equal to those who do not know? Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding.
This verse highlights the superiority of those who possess knowledge and understanding over those who remain ignorant.
In conclusion, this profound hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, fear of Allah, contemplation, perception, and understanding. By engaging in self-accountability and seeking guidance from Allah's signs, believers can attain spiritual growth, wisdom, and knowledge. Let us strive to implement these teachings in our lives and continuously seek to improve ourselves in the sight of Allah. May Allah grant us the ability to reflect upon our actions and gain understanding.
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