Pearl of Wisdom
'If you [must] praise then make it brief, and if you disparage make it short.'
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 3983-3984
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"Whatever benefit comes to you (O man!), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from your own self" (Qur’an, 4:79).
Al-Nafi` is the source of any benefit and goodness for the life in this world and for the creed. He alone grants good health, wealth, happiness, authority, guidance and piety. He enables all His creatures to receive the benefits He creates for them.
He has facilitated the path leading to Him for those who aspire to tread it, Who benefitted the souls through His prophets, Who nourished the bodies through food, Who warded off disease through medicine, Who kept affliction away through favors and goodness, and Who has benefitted everyone, be he an angel, a human, or a jinn.
Ibn `Abbas says, "I was sitting once behind the Messenger of Allah so he said to me, `Young man! I would like to teach you a few words [of wisdom]: If you safeguard your rights towards Allah, He will protect you. If you remain mindful of Allah's rights on you, you will find Him looking after you. If you have a plea, then plead to Him; if you seek help, seek it from Him, and bear in mind that if all people gather to benefit you in anything, they will not be able to do so except in what He has already allotted for you, and if they all gather together to harm you in any way, they will never be able to do so
except if He has already decreed it on you; the ink has dried, and the tablets have been removed.'"
Al-Darr al-Nafi` is the One from Whom everything good or bad ensues; all is attributed to Allah and is affected either through the angels, mankind, inanimate objects, or by other means; so, do not think that poison, for example, kills by itself, or that food by itself satisfies hunger. Angels, mankind, demons, or anything else in existence, such as planets, stars, or other things are all under His control; they do not do anything except what He has made them do. Their totality, in addition to the eternal Power, is like a pen in the hand of the writer as conceived by an illiterate. If a ruler signs the order to penalize or reward someone, the pen whereby he signs such an order cannot tell the difference between one order and another, or between what harm it is causing or what benefit, or even the difference between one of its users and the other. This is the case with all means and causes.
Both al-Darr and al-Nafi` are referred to in various places in the Holy Qur’an; among them are:
Say: I do not control any benefit nor any harm for my own soul except as Allah pleases; had I known the unknown, I would have had much of good and no harm would have touched me; I am only a Warner and giver of glad tidings to people who believe. (7:188) Say: I do not control for myself any harm, nor any benefit, except whatever Allah pleases; every nation has a term; when their term comes, they shall not remain behind for an hour, nor can they go before (their time). (10:49) Yet when He removes the evil from you, lo! A party from among you associates others with their Lord. (16:54) And when We make people taste of mercy, they rejoice in it, and if evil befalls them for what their hands have done, lo! They despair. (30:36)
The portion a servant of Allah may obtain of the inspiration of these Attributes is that he becomes "harmful" towards the enemies of Allah while benefitting the friends of Allah. In Surat al-Ma'ida, the Almighty describes the faithful as "... lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers" (Qur’an, 5:54).
Such a believer does not plead to anyone, nor does he fear anyone except his Lord; he relies wholly on Allah. One who fully realizes that his Lord, the Most Exalted One, is the One and only Who creates and makes things available, Who alone brings new things into existence, he will then submit to Him and rely on Him regarding all his affairs; he will then live enjoying a peaceful mind; he will be secure from people, and he will provide counsel for everyone. His heart will have no room for deception nor treachery.
It is good to combine both of these Attributes, al-Darr and al-Nafi`, together, for at them it is said that all Attributes end; He, Glory to Him, controls the means for people's harm and benefit, and none can harm anyone nor benefit anyone besides Him; "... and suffices your Lord for a Guide and a Helper" (Qur’an, 25:31). One who remembers both of these Attributes will submit totally to Allah and will always feel that everything is from Him and returns to Him.