Meaning of: “Every person who is tempted to go astray, does not deserve punishment”


Can you please explain the exact meaning of this saying which comes from Nahjul Balagha: 14. “Every person who is tempted to go astray, does not deserve punishment.”


مَا كُلُّ مَفْتُون يُعَاتَبُ

The English translation you have quoted relates to the above original Arabic text. Unfortunately, the translation is not sound. A better translation would be:

“Not everyone who is afflicted deserves to be censured”.

The above Hadith is from Imam Ali (a.s) [Nahjul-Balagha, Maxim, No.14]. The context of the Hadith is about mischiefs made and civil wars imposed on Imam Ali (a.s) during his government. Usually during a mischief there are naive people who will be fooled by the mischief makers but they really don’t have any evil intention against the truth. In this Hadith the Imam (a.s) is separating such people from the deliberate people and masterminds of the mischiefs by saying that not all who are involved in a mischief deserve punishment, many are being fooled and thus just need to be enlightened.

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei