Nahj al-Balagha Hadith n. 479

Selections from The Sayings and Preaching of Amir al-Muminin Ali ibn Abi Talib (Peace Be Upon Him) Including His Replies to Questions and Maxims Expressed for Various Purposes.
Translated by Sayyid Ali Reza

وَقَالَ (عليه ‏السلام):

Amir al-mu'minin, peace be upon him, said:

شَرُّ الاْخْوَانِ مَنْ تُكُلِّفَ لَهُ.

The worst comrade is he for whom formality has to be observed. 101

قال الرضي: لاَن التكليف مستلزمٌ للمشقة، وهو شرٌ لازمٌ عن الاَخ المتَكلّفِ له، فهو شرُّ الاِخوان.

As-Sayyid ar-Radi says: This is because formality is inseparable from hardship and it is an evil that is caused by a comrade for whom formality is observed. Consequently, he is the worst of all comrades.


101. The friendship that is based on love and sincerity makes a man free from ceremonial formalities, but the friendship for which formalism is necessary is unstable and such a friend is not a true friend, because true friendship requires that a friend should not be a cause of trouble for the friend. If he is a cause of trouble he will prove tedious and harmful and this harmfulness is a sign of his being the worst friend.