Please provide a brief commentary on the following Hadith:
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: The intelligent person is the one who subjugates his soul/takes account of himself, and works for what is after death and the incapable is the one who follows his desires and thereafter entertains hopes in [the mercy of] Allah.
See the reference for this Hadith here
In the Hadith above, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has stated that a truly intelligent and successful person is he who subjugates himself to the worship, obedience, and decree of Allah Ta’ala.
A very effective way to do this is to constantly take account of one’s self for every action, both good and bad. One should ponder over every statement and movement, along with every scenario or situation and how he reacted and/or conducted himself therein. If he finds that he has engaged himself in good praiseworthy actions then he should express his gratitude to Allah Ta’ala and praise Him [for it is only through Allah’s kindness that He gives a person the ability to do good].
On the other hand, if he finds himself having done wrong [unpraiseworthy actions], then he should repent and rectify himself accordingly. The intelligent one is he who after taking stock of himself, rectifies himself in the worldly life and strives to earn good deeds drawing towards him the mercy of Allah Ta’ala for the Hereafter.
Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) has summarized it so beautifully saying: ‘Take account of yourself before your accountability is taken by Allah!’.
Many a times things are better understood in light of their opposites [for example, darkness is understood better after a person experiences light]. Therefore, after describing the truly successful and intelligent person, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) described the unintelligent unsuccessful person. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) described this person as being unable and incapable of correctly using the faculty of the mind and brain that he was blessed with. Instead of using this faculty to understand the reality of the Hereafter and prepare himself to the best of his ability, he uses it to chase after his whims and desires thinking that Allah Ta’ala will simply forgive him for everything despite the absence of any attempts to repent or rectify himself. Such a person has become a slave to his carnal desires and continues to feed it again and again. He has failed to understand the reality of the Hereafter and the system of Allah Ta’ala.
There are many verses in the Quran along with Hadiths to show that -as per the justice system of Allah Ta’ala- a person will not be forgiven unless he repents and attempts to rectify himself. Indeed, it is possible that Allah Ta’ala can still forgive such a person being the All Merciful, but from the above Hadith itself Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has explained that to continue sinning without any attempts at repenting and rectifying one’s self whilst still hoping for forgiveness is absurd. The commentators of Hadith have mentioned that the word تمنى, depicting [farfetched] hope, was specifically used in the narration to allude to the fact that such a person is hoping for something which is near impossible.
May Allah Ta’ala make us all amongst the intelligent ones thereby granting us the ability to take stock of our actions and rectify ourselves accordingly before it is too late.
(References for all of the above: Mirqat, Hadith: 5289; Also see Faydhul Qadir, Hadith: 6469)
And Allah Ta’ala knows best
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar