The life of Imām 'Ali Bin Mūsā al-Ridā

ID Book

The life of Imām

'Ali Bin Mūsā al-Ridā

by: Bāqir Sharif al-Qarashi

Translated by

Jāsim al-Rasheed

PUBLISHER’S PREFACE

Some years ago, while I was paying a visitation to the Holy Shrine of the eighth Imām, my master, ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him, I asked myself: “Is it possible for me to find favor with my Imāms, the guides and rightly-guided ones who have said in their traditions: ‘May Allah have mercy on him who enlivens our affairs,’?” So it came to my mind that I had to find a book on the life of the eighth Imām in order to translate it into English. After I had asked the advice of some professors, I chose the book entitled the Life of Imām al-Ridā by Shaykh Bāqir Sharif al-Qarashi. Then I gave the book to Mr. Jāsim al-Rasheed in order to translate it into English, and he agreed to this suggestion; I thank him, and praise belongs to Allah.

After an arduous effort and diligent striving, this great book has been translated into English, that it may be an important reference before those who desire to study and to inquire into the lives of the Imāms of the ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. We ask Allah, the Great and Almighty, to help us enliven more works about the ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, and on Tashayyu‘; surely He is powerful over everything.

In the Name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate

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“Surely Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of ‘Umrān above the nations. Offspring, one of the other; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” Qur’ān (3: 33 -34) “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you thoroughly.” Qur’ān (33: 33)“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.” Qur’ān (53:23)

A Foreword

A Foreword by His Eminence,

Imām al-Sayyid ‘Abd al-A‘lā al-Sabzwāri, may his blessings last

In the Name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Blessing and peace be on the noblest of His creatures Mohammed and his Household, the good, the pure. The pure Imāms, peace be on them, are the mediations of the Holiest Grace, the means of Divine mercy, and the testamentary trustees of Allah, may His name be exalted, on earth. Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, has endowed them with knowledge and cognition through which they set the foundations of the religion and pillars of Shari‘a. The gallant, affectionate, infallible Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him, was unique in being able to affirm Divine knowledge through debating with the leading scientists of religions and followers of false beliefs. He established right and refuted wrong, and his holy words have become the axis of studies and foundation of perfection. A group of scholars-may Allah, the Exalted, reward them with the best reward-has undertaken the task of collecting, interpreting, and explaining these words. Among those whom Allah, the Most High, has singled out for this great dignity is, Shaykh of traditionalists, the Hujja, Shaykh Bāqir al-Qarashi, whom Allah, the Exalted, has endowed with His special favor and placed him among those who are guides to the righteous Imāms, peace be on them, and explain their words and their characters. May Allah, the Most High, appreciate his efforts and grant him success to exalt the word of the truth and to manifest the reality. Verily, He is All-hearing, and answers to prayers!

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Jamādi al Thāniya 26th, 1412 A. H.

‘Abd al-A‘lā al-Sabzwāri

DEDICATION

I submit this humble effort to the great position of the pioneer of the intellectual and cognitive renaissance in Islam, the Prophet’s descendant, Imām Ja‘far al-Sādiq, peace be on him. I have made this research about his grandson Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Rida, peace be on him, while hoping that he will kindly accept, so it would be a treasure for me on the Day of Resurrection.

The Author

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

This is an inquiry into the life of Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Rida, peace be on him, the eighth Imām from the Household of the Prophet. He is Allah’s light, His gift, and His treasure. He and his fathers, the leaders of Islamic Thought, are in no need of praisers’ praise and descripers’ description, for Allah, the Exalted praised them, took away uncleanness from them, and purified them from deviation. Regarding them He, the Exalted, has said: “Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness and to purify you people of the House with a thorough purification.[1]” He has also imposed love for them on all the children of Islam. Moreover He, the Exalted, has said: “Say: I demand not of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching) except the love of my relations.[2]”

Their grandfather the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, associated them to the Qur’ān when he said: “I am going to leave among you the thaqalayn. If you cleave to them, you will never go astray after me; one of them is greater than the other ¾that is the Book of Allah which is a cord stretching from the sky to the earth and my offspring from my family. They will never scatter (from each other) until they come to me at the Pool (hawd). Hence, think! How will you treat them after me?[3]” Also he, may Allah bless him and his family, regarded them as the life-ships of this community. He has said:

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“Verily my Household among you are like Noah’s Ark, which whoever embarked was safe, and whoever missed drowned. Verily my Household among you are like the gate of Hitta among the children of Isrā’il, through which whoever entered was forgiven.[4]”

Al-Ma’mūn asked ‘Abd Allah b. Matar, who was an eminent thinker and poet at his time: “What is your opinion of the Household (of the Prophet)?” “What shall I say about the clay which was plunged into the water of the Message and planted in the water of the Inspiration? Nothing will spread from it except the musk of guidance and ambergris of piety,” replied ‘Abd Allah with these brilliant words.

These golden words controlled al-Ma’mūn’s heart, hence he, and in the presence of Imām al-Rida, ordered the mouth of ‘Abd Allah to be stuffed with pearls.[5]”

All the exalted values and genuine principles of which man boasts were in the Imāms of the Household (of the prophet), peace be on them, for they were some of their elements and qualities. As for the inclinations and qualities of Imām al-Ridā, they were like those of his fathers, the great Imāms. He freed himself from the world, renounced its beauties, and turned away from its embellishment, dedicated himself to Allah, devoted himself to Him, and clung to obedience to Him. He had knowledge of the precepts of the religion, inclusively encompassed the law of the Lord of the messengers, helped the weak, relieved the deprived, accomplished the needs of the needy, and other qualities which placed him at the top of honor and glory in the world of Arabs and Muslims.

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Imām ‘Ali al-Rida, peace be on him, possessed these original values in all their forms and kinds, for he completely freed himself from the world and divorced it three times, just as his grandfather Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, did. Hence, he paid no attention to its vanities and embellishment. This clearly appeared when he undertook the succession, which was the greatest office in the Islamic State, hence he was the second character after al-Ma’mūn. Nevertheless, he rejected all the seductions of government and authority. He intensely hated the popular festivals and all kinds of honoring and magnifying which the people would hold for their kings and rulers. He announced this when he said: “Man’s waking behind a man is a trial for the followed and abasement for the follower.[6]” The narrators have said: “Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Rida would go to the bath-house, but the owner of the bath-house did not recognize him. It happened that there was a soldier in the bath-house and the soldier asked the Imām to rub and clean him. The Imām responded to his request. When the soldier came to know of the Imām, he became fearful and terrified. However, the Imām calmed his fear and made him know that he rendered him a human service.”

Among his high moral traits is that he would eat with his boys and retainers. He hated to distinguish himself from them. There are other high moral traits which he inherited from his grandfather, the greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.

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The Imāms of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, had their own brilliant policy and method in the world of government and policy. They thought that government should be a means for establishing pure justice and truth, spreading love and friendship among men. They though that government should be a means for refreshing peoples, achieving their welfare, security, and prosperity. They thought that government was worthless if it did not achieve these noble aims through which peoples become happy. Listen to what the master of the Household (of the Prophet), Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, when he said to his helper and adviser, ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbās to whom he held up his sandals made of fiber and asked him:

“Ibn ‘Abbās, how much do you value these sandals?”

“They have no value,” Ibn ‘Abbās retorted.

“By Allah, they are more lovable to me than these affairs of yours but for the fact that I must establish (what is) true and ward off (what is) false,” explained the Imām.

The dictionary of policy has no words greater or more exalted than these words said by Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful and greatest Muslim thinker, peace be on him. Authority has no value unless it establishes fairness and justice, wards off falsehood and tyranny.

This is the path which Allah has chosen for His servants, that they may be righteous, and that they may enjoy a government which stands on neither deception nor misleading nor playing with the fates of the community.

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Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, appeared on the arena of the political life in Islam, and he was the most brilliant politician in Islamic history. He was steadfast in his political attitudes, so he was not deceived by the bright ways and false hopes of al-Mu’mūn, the ‘Abbāsid king, when he abdicated the throne and entrusted it to him. This abdication of the throne was not real; nor was it true at all; rather al-Ma’mūn had decided that in order to achieve his political goals; probably the most important one of these goals is that he wanted to suppress those burning revolts which were about to burn the ‘Abbāsid government and to fold its flag. Among those revolts was that of Abū al-Sarāyā. It is worth mentioning that Abū al-Sarāyā was an inspired military commander like Abū Muslim al-Khurasāni, who had overthrown the Umayyad government. Moreover al-Ma’mūn wanted to conciliate the Iranians and all supporters of the Household (of the Prophet) whom the previous ‘Abbāsid governments had wronged, persecuted, and deprived of their natural rights.

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was fully aware of the political reasons which urged al-Ma’mūn to abdicate the office of the caliphate and to hand it over to him, peace be on him. He, peace be on him, vigorously refused to undertake it. When al-Ma’mūn was despair of him, he threatened him with death, so the Imām reluctantly responded to him according to the following conditions:

A. He (Imām al-Ridā) would not command; nor would he prohibit.

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B. He would not remove any person from his office.

C. He would not appoint any person in any of the state offices.

These conditions indicate that the Imām was the apparent successor of al-Ma’mūn, and that the government of al-Ma’mūn was illegal, for if it had been legal, he would not have mentioned these conditions.

Only few days ago and all the people came to know that the Imām had deep faith and that al-Ma’mūn had nothing except cunning. They understood that al-Ma’mūn wanted to achieve his political aims. When al-Ma’mūn had achieved his goals, he assassinated the Imām, for he was unable to remove him from the office of regency. We will explain this matter in the chapters that follow.

Among the aims of this book is to give proof of the Imām’s abundant knowledge of philosophy, theology, medicine, jurisprudence, and so on. This can be indicated objectively through his debates with the great philosophers and scholars from different countries and cities. It is worth mentioning that al-Ma’mūn had asked them to come to Khurasān in order to examine the Imām. He held a private and secret meeting with them and promised to give them a lot of money if they could silence the Imām with their arguments and render him incapable of answering them, that he might use this incapability as a means for slandering and defaming the Shi‘ites who believed that the Imāms of the Household (of the Prophet), peace be on them, were the most knowledgeable of the community, and that Allah endowed them knowledge and excellencies just as He had endowed His prophets and His testamentary trustees.

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The scholars responded to al-Ma’mūn’s summons and asked the Imām about the vaguest and most difficult matters. The historians have said: “The scholars asked Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Rida more than twenty thousand questions about various matters, and he skillfully answered them. Then they admired his abundant knowledge and most of them believed in his Imāmate.” As a result al-Ma’mūn was forced to prevent the scholars and others from meeting the Imām. Meanwhile he kept him under intense observation lest the people should admired him.

It is worth mentioning that these debates were recorded by some of the Imām’s students, but we have not found them yet. Perhaps they are part of the manuscripts which Arab and Islamic world has lost.

Any how, the Shi‘ite historians have reported a small group of these debates which are of great importance. For they , though few in number, show the Imām’s abundant and scientific wealth, and they indicate that he was a unique thinker and scholar in the world of Islam.

Some books of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, have been reported and mentioned in the books of some historians and biographers such as Ibn al-Nadim, al-Tūsi, and others. They are as follows:

A. Tibb (Dissertation) of Imām al-Ridā

It is a great, medical account which the Imām wrote according to al-Ma’mūn’s request and is called al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya (the Golden Dissertation). It contains the Imām’s health programs on foods which improves man’s body and protects it from maladies. It also contains his general prescriptions such as refraining from eating too much food which gives rise to high blood pressure, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and other dangerous diseases. It is certain that if one puts into practice the Imām’s prescriptions, he will need no medicine.

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As this dissertation is of great importance, some meritorious people have explained it according to modern medicine. Among them is Dr. al-Sayyid Sāhib Zayni.

B. Imām al-Rid ā’s Musnad

It contains some traditions which the Imām, peace be on him, has reported from his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. It was printed in Cairo. ‘Allāma ‘Abd al-Wāsi’ b. Yahyā al-Wāsimi printed and commented on it.

C. Jawām‘ al-Shri‘a

It contains outstanding, religious precepts and mother, juristic problems. Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, dictated it to al-Fadal b. Sahl, the prime minister of al-Ma’mūn. That was according to al-Ma’mūn’s request. This dissertation has been mentioned in Tuhaf al-‘Uqūl and other Shi‘ite books. We have reported it from them and mentioned it in the book. These books are part of the Imām’s scientific wealth.

As for the jurisprudence of Imām al-Ridā, we have indicated that it is not among his works; rather it belongs to other than him and is ascribed to him.

Any how, the narrators have reported from the Imām a large group of outstanding precepts and moral teachings. Islam wants its followers to adopt such precepts and teachings, that they may develop their life.

This book includes biographies of some great scholars and narrators who studied under the Imām, peace be on him, narrated his traditions and his wise sayings, and wrote books about them. It is certain that mentioning such biographies will enhance the research about the Imām’s life, for it shows that the scholars in that time took great care of taking knowledge and sciences from the Imām. The narrators and historians have unanimously agreed that the Imām was a unique Muslim thinker, and that he derived his own knowledge from that of his pure fore-fathers, peace be on them, who were the guardians of the knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and inheritors of his wise sayings.

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This book contains an inquiry into the time of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, for such a time was full of economic, scientific, social, political, and other events which had great effects on the life of the people.

Mentioning such events is necessary for every researcher. It is worth mentioning that psychology and sociology have established that events in every time have direct effects on man’s life and intellect.

The time of the Imām was full of important events of which is that Hārūn al-Rashid created a conflict between his two sons al-Amin and al-Ma’mūn. This conflict resulted in destroying Baghdad, the most beautiful capital in the Middle East, and murdering a large group of people. Another example of these events is the revolt of the inspired leader, Abū al-Sarāyā, and other great revolts which were about to destroy the ‘Abbāsid government and to fold its standard.

Yet another example of the events in that time was the matter of creating the Qur’ān. It was a hidden or neglected theological problem, but it was al-Ma’mūn who moved it and it led to shedding blood without any right, spreading disorders and discords among the Muslims.

However, through his political cleverness, al-Ma’mūn could overcame all those events he faced. Then he forced Imām al-Ridā the hope of the Muslim community, peace be on him ¾to accept the succession after him and made the people busy thinking of this great event. Accordingly, he was able to suppress all those revolts against him .

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We have deeply and inclusively probed into the characters of the ‘Abbāsid kings with whom Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, coincided.

As a result we have concluded that their characters are similar to those of the Umayyads, who spent the property of Allah on themselves and enslaved His servants. After this serious research on their characters, we have come to know that they did not perform any good deed; nor did they pay attention to the interests of the Muslims. Rather, they were absorbed in satisfying their pleasures and desires. They spent on their red nights in Baghdad millions of the funds of the Muslims. They enriched singers, abusers, and the dissolute; meanwhile they subjected the people to poverty and unhappiness.

Moreover, they ordered the innocent to be whipped, imprisoned, and killed by sword; at the head of those innocent were the ‘Alawide Sayyids who demanded nothing except establishing social justice. They ordered their tax collectors to show rudeness and brutality toward farmers, craftsmen, and manufacturers. As a result the tax collectors destroyed the people’s bodies by whip and went too far in wronging the people.

As for inquiring into Islamic history, it must be objective, honest, far from doctrinal and traditional trends, for this history has many subjects which have hidden the truth and concealed realities, so it is incumbent on (us) to spend more efforts in order to distinguish the right from the wrong and the true from the false. An example of these subjects is that noble attributes and great titles were given to the Umayyad and the ‘Abbāsid kings; they were given the titles as Allah’s vicegerents on earth, while this noble title represents fairness, justice, and law. I (the author) seek refuge in Allah from such titles which were given to persons like Yazid, Marwān, al-Walid, and other ‘Abbāsid kings who turned the life of the people into an unbearable inferno.

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Some historians and authors think that the measure of one’s highness and great position is his sitting on the throne of government and his seizing the reins of general authority over a country. This is incorrect; the measure of one’s exaltedness in Islamic viewpoint is the services which he renders to his community in the fields of economy, culture, security, and prosperity. If Muslim historians and authors deprive kings of these titles and give them to those who render great services to the community, then they will render great service to Islamic history, for the orientalists and others who harbor malice against Islam have criticized Islam because of such kings who acted in a manner different from Islamic justice and fairness. They think that these kings represent Islam in their conducts and works. If those who criticize Islam probe into Islamic precepts, they will find them noble, creative, comply with justice and nature, have nothing—praise belongs to Allah—which complies with injustice. Rather they will find that Islamic precepts oppose injustice, and that the irregular behavior of some Muslim kings does not represent Islam.

This is not the first book to be written about the life of Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him. Rather many books have been written on his life in Arabic and other than it, and the most important of them is al-Sayyid Ja‘far Murtadā’s the Life of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, for this book is rich in information.

It is worth mentioning that all the books written on the personality of this great Imām have not encompassed its realities yet. This a far-fetched hope, for the Imām , peace be on him, had boundless intellectual wealth like that of the leading Imāms, peace be on them, who were guardians of righteousness, and inheritors of the knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

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Before I end this introduction to the book, I would like to thank His Eminence, our great professor, the Hujjah of Islam and Muslims, Shaykh Husayn al-Khalifa for his care, favor, and help with printing some of my books; I would particularly like to thank His Eminence al-Hujjah, the great ‘Allāma, my brother, Hādi Sharif al-Qarashi for the creative efforts he rendered to me, his valuable notes on the book, his

checking some of the books I made use of, and his encouraging me to serve the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on. I ask Allah, the Exalted, to reward him just as He rewards the righteous from among His servants. Verily He is the Supporter of purpose and success.

Holy Najaf,

Shawwāl 14th, 1411 A. H.

Bāqir Sharif al-Qarashi.

Footnote

[1] Qur'ān, 33, 22.

[2] Ibid., 41, 23.

[3] Al-Tirmidhi, Sahih, vol. 2, p. 308. Asad al-Ghāba, vol. 2, p. 12.

[4] Majjma' al-Zawā'id, vol. 9, p. 68. Al-Hlya, vol. 4, p. 306. Tārikh Baghdad, vol. 2, p. 19.

[5] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 71.

[6] Al-Ya'qūbi, Tārikh.

CHAPTER I

Preface

Before we speak about the birth of the pure Imām Abū Mohammed, peace be on him, and the affairs accompanied it, we will mention his brilliant, exalted lineage, which is related to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, who is the source of flow, bestowal, good, and mercy to mankind. So which lineage is more exalted and greater than that of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, who is one of the fruit of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and one of his brilliant branches. The following is an outline about his noble origin.

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His Father

As for the father of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, he is Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim b. Imām Ja‘far al-Sādiq b. Imām Mohammed al-Bāqir b. Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin b. Imām al-Husayn b. Imām ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on them.

In the world of lineage, there is no lineage more exalted or purer than this lineage. It is certain that the pure Imāms are the successors of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and his testamentary trustees (of authority). In the chapters that follow, we will mention an outline about his father Imām Mūsā, peace be on him.

His Mother

His Mother

As for the mother of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, she was endowed with all qualities of honor and virtue, through which the Muslim woman becomes exalted, such as chastity, purity, and great soul. She is among the glorious women in Islam. His mother was a slave-wife, and this quality does not decrease her position, for Islam has made piety and good deeds as a measure to differentiate men from each other, and every thing other than this measure is not important.

The narrators have reported many narrations about how Imām al-Kāzim married this glorious lady. The following are some of them:

1. She was among the noble non-Arabs and was the retainer of Mrs. Hamida, the mother of Imām Mūsā, peace be on him. She was among the meritorious women in her intellect, her religion, and her honoring her mistress, Hamida. She did not sit before her in order to honor and magnify her. So Hamida said to her son Imām Mūsā: “My little son, surely Takktum is a slave-girl. I have never seen a slave-girl better than her. I have no doubt that Allah will manifest her children. I have granted her to you and advise you to treat her kindly.[1]”

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2. Hishām b. Ahmed has reported: “Abū al-Hasan the First (Mūsā al-Kāzim) said to me: ‘Did you know that one of the people from al-Maghrib has come?’ ‘No,’ I replied. ‘Indeed,’ he, peace be on him, said, ‘a man from the people of al-Maghrib has come to Medina.

So come with us.’ He rode off and I rode with him until we came to the man. There he was, a man of al-Maghrib. He had with him slave-girls. ‘Show us your wares,’ I told him. He showed us nine good slave-girls. However, all the time Abū al-Hasan was saying: ‘I have

no need of those.’ Then he told him: ‘Show us something else.’ ‘I have nothing except a sick slave-girl,’ he replied. ‘what is (wrong) with you (not) to offer her (for sale) he (Abū al-Hasan) said. The man refused and went away.

On the next day he (Abū al-Hasan Mūsā), peace be on him, sent for me and told me: ‘Ask him how much is the maximum he wants for her? Whatever he says, tell him that you will take her.’ I went to the man and he said to me: ‘I would not take less than such-and-such a sum. ‘I will take her,’ I said. ‘She is yours,’ he replied, ‘but tell me about the man who was with you, yesterday.’ ‘He was a man from the Banū Hāshim,’ I told him. ‘Which Banū Hāshim?’ he asked. ‘From among their chiefs,’ I answered, ‘I do not have more (information) than this. ‘I want more than (this sum of money),’ he demanded. ‘I have nothing more than this,’ I explained. Then he said: ‘I will tell you that when I bought her from a remote area of al-Maghrib, a woman from ahl al-kitāb (the people of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians) met me and asked me who this maidservant was whom I had with me. I told her that I had bought her for myself but she said it was not appropriate that she should be with the like of me. It is fitting that this slave-girl should be with the best person on earth, for she will soon give birth to a son such as has not been born in the east or the west.’ I took her to Abū al-Hasan (Mūsā). It was not long afterwards that she gave birth to ‘Ali (al-Ridā).[2]”

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3. It was reported that Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him, said to his companions: “By Allah, I have bought this slave-girl according to Allah’s command and inspiration.” He was asked about this statement and he replied: “While I was sleeping my grandfather and my father came to me, and there was with them a piece of silk cloth. They spread the piece, and suddenly there was a shirt in which was the picture of this slave-girl. Then they said: ‘Mūsā, from this slave-girl you will have the best of the people of the earth after you.’ Then my father ordered me: ‘If a baby-boy is born for you, name him ‘Ali.’ Then he said: ‘Allah, the Great and Almighty, will manifest justice and mercy through him. Blessed is he who believes in him, and woe unto him who shows enmity toward him and denies him!’[3]”

These are some of the narrations which have been reported about how Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, married this noble lady. He showed sincere love for her, and she enjoyed admiration and respect in his house.

Her Name

As for the name of this pure lady, the narrators have differed over it. They following are some of their opinions about it:

1. Takktum, many historians think that her name is Takktum.

Concerning this name the poet composed the following lines when he praised Imām (‘Ali al-Ridā), peace be on him:

‘Ali, the magnified, is the best of the men in soul, father, family, and grandfathers.

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Takktum has brought him to us for knowledge and clemency. He will be the eighth Imām who will deliver the proof of Allah.[4]

This is an Arabic name with which ladies from among the Arab women were called, and concerning it the poet says:

The two imaginations circled and increased in malady the imagination of Takknā and the imagination of Takktum . [5]

2. Al-Khayzarān.[6]

3. Arwā.[7]

4. Najjma.[8]

These are some of the views which have been mentioned about her name. Confirming the most correct one of these names is not useful for readers.

Her Reverential Fear

This pure lady was among the worshipful women. She devoted herself to the acts of obedience to Allah, for she followed the behavior of her husband, Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him, the Imām of the Allah-fearing and those who turn to Allah, the Most High, in repentance. Among the qualities of her worship is that when she gave birth to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, she said: “Help me with (finding) a wet nurse.” She was asked: “Has your milk decreased?” “I do not want to tell a lie,” she replied, “the milk has not decreased, but I want to perform a part of my prayers and glorification.”[9] Have you seen how this angelic lady adored Allah and devoted herself to Him. She asked (the people) to help her with finding a wet nurse for her baby lest it should divert her from performing her prayers and glorification.

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The Great Baby

When Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was born, the earth shined; waves of delight and happiness spread through the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household. As for Imām al-Kāzim, he received with more delight the news of the birth of his blessed baby, so he hurried to his wife and congratulated her on her baby, saying: “I congratulate you, Najjma. It is a mark of nobility for you from your Lord!”

Imām al-Kāzim took his blessed baby, folded it with a white piece of cloth, and performed the religious rites for it. He said the adhān in its right ear, said the iqāma in its left ear, called for sweet water and rubbed its lower jaw with it, and then he returned it to its mother and said to her: “Take it, for it is the rest (baqiyat) of Allah on His earth.[10]”

The first picture which the Prophet’s grandson (Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him) saw in the world of existence was that of his father, the Imām of the Allah-fearing and leader of the monotheists; and the first voice which he heard was:

“Allah is Great!”

“There is no god but Allah!”

These brilliant words are the secret of existence and song of the Allah-fearing.

Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him, named his blessed baby with the name of his grandfather Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, that he might get blessing seek good omen in this name, which stood for the greatest personality created in the world of Islam and had all good qualities of the world.

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His Nicknames

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was given a group of noble nicknames. Each nickname represented one of his noble qualities. The following are some of them:

1. Al-Ridā

The historians and narrators have differed over the person who gave this exalted nick-name to the Imām, peace be on him, to the extent that it has prevailed him and become a name through which he is recognized. The following are some of the statements:

A. Al-Ma’mūn

A group of the historians has maintained that it was al-Ma’mūn who gave him this nick-name to him[11], for he was satisfied with him and appointed him as his successor.[12] Imām al-Jawād, peace be on him, refuted this statement before a group of his companions, saying: “Verily Allah, the Blessed and Most High, named him al-Ridā, for he was the pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, the Great, in His heaven, of His Messenger, and of the Imāms, the blessings of Allah be upon them, after him.”

Al-Bizanti asked him: “Weren’t all your past forefathers, peace be on them, the pleasure of Allah (ridā al-Allah), the Exalted, the Great, of His Messenger, and of the Imāms after him?”

“Yes,” replied Imām al-Jawād.

“Why has only your father been named al-Ridā?” al-Bizanti asked.

“Because both his opposing enemies and obedient supporters were pleased with him, while this did not happen to any of his fathers, so only he was called al-Ridā.[13]” (65)

B. Imām Mūsā

Some narrators believe that it was Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, who gave this nick-name to his son. Sulaymān b. Hafs reported: “Imām Mūsā b. Ja‘far named his son ‘Ali al-Ridā. He would say: ‘Summon to me my son al-Ridā.’ I asked him: ‘To my son belongs pleasure (al-Ridā).’ He answered: ‘My son is al-Ridā.’ When he addressed him, he said: ‘O Abū` al-Hasan.’[14]” These are some statements about giving him this noble nick-name. Ahmed al-Bizanti gave the reason for giving this nick-name to him, saying: “He was given the nick-name of al-Ridā because he is the good pleasure of Allah, the Most Exalted, in His heaven, the pleasure of His Messenger, and of the Imāms after him on His earth.[15]”

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2. Al-Sābir [16]

He was given the nick-name of al-Sābir (the patient) because he was patient toward the troubles and misfortunes caused to him by his opponents and enemies.

3. Al-Zaki [17]

Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Rida, peace be on him, was pure, noble, and honorable.

4. Al-Wafi [18]

As for loyalty, it was one of the Imām’s qualities, for he was loyal to his community and homeland.

5. Sirājj Allah [19]

The Imām was the Sirājj of Allah (the Lamp of Allah). He guided the misled and the perplexed (to the right path).

(66)

6. Qurrat ‘Ayn al-Mu’minin [20]

Among his noble nick-names is Qurrat ‘Ayn al-Mu’minin (the delight of the eye of the believers), for he was their ornament, their pride, their cave, and their stronghold.

7. Makkyadat al-Mulhidin [21]

He was given the nick-name of Makkyadat al-Mulhidin (the stratagem of the unbelievers), for nullified their vague errors and refuted their imaginations. This was through his debates which were held in the ‘Abbāsid palace, and with which he established the originality of Islamic principles and values.

8. Al-Siddiq [22]

He was given the nick-name of Al-Siddiq (the very truthful one), for he was like Yūsuf (Joseph), who ruled Egypt. He led Islamic world and had an absolute leadership over it.

9. Al-Fādil [23]

He was given the nick-name of al-Fādil or the most meritorious one, for he was the most meritorious and perfect of all the people of his time. These are some of the noble nick-names which were given to him; they display his exalted character and great importance.

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His Kunya

The Imāms of the Household (of the Prophet), peace be on them, would give kunya to their children when young, and this is an example of Islamic education aiming at improving personality and making child feel that he or she has position with his family. Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was given the following kunyas:

. Abū al-Hasan

His father Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, gave him this kunya.[24] He, peace be on him, said to ‘Ali b. Yaqtin: “O ‘Ali, this son of mine­­­­­­­­—and he pointed to Imām al-Ridā—is the master of my children, and I have given him my kunya.[25]” Imām al-Ridā was given the kunya of Abū al-Hasan. As this kunya was common between them, Imām al-Kāzim was called: Abū al-Hasan the past, and Imām al-Ridā was called Abū al-Hasan the second, that the people might distinguish between the two kunyas.

2. Abū Bakr

This kunya was rare. He was not known for it, but rarely. Abū al-Salt al-Harawi narrated: “One day al-Ma’mūn asked me a question, and I answered: ‘Concerning the question, Abū Bakr (i.e. al-Ridā) said such-and-such. So al-Ma’mūn asked me: ‘Which Abū Bakr ¾our Abū Bakr or Abū Bakr of the populace (‘Āmma)? ‘Our Abū Bakr,’ I replied.”

‘Īsā said: “I asked Ibn al-Salt: ‘Who is your Abū Bakr? ‘‘Ali b. Mūsā,’ he answered, ‘he was given this kunya.’[26]”

The Year of his Birth

The historians have differed over the year in which Imām al-Rida, peace be on him, was born as well as they have differed over the month in which he was born. The following are some of their statements in this regard:

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1. He was born in the year 147 A. H.[27]

2. He was born in the year 148 A. H.[28] This year is famous with the narrators.

He was born in the year 150 A. H.[29]

4. He was born in the year 151 A. H.[30]

5. He was born in the year 153 A. H.[31] It was the year in which his grandfather al-Sādiq died.[32]

These are some statements about the year of his birth. The historians have also differed over the month in which he was born. The following are some of their statements:

1. He was born on Thursday or the night of Thursday, the eleventh of (the month of) Rabi‘ al-Awwal.[33]

2. He was born on Thursday[34], the 11th of (the month of) Dhi al-Qi‘da.[35]

3. He was born on the 7th of (the month of) Shawwāl. It was said (that he was born on) the 8th of it, and it was said on the 6th of it.[36]

These are some of the statements which the historians and the narrators have mentioned.

His Characteristics

Many historians said that Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was brown or deep brown.[37] It was said that he was white had a medium height,[38] and that he was like his grandfather Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.[39] As he was like his grandfather in his characteristics, he was similar to him in his noble moral traits, which distinguished him from the other prophets.

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His Solemnity

As for the solemnity of Imām Abū Mohammed (al-Ridā); faces were humbled in fear of it, for it was similar to that of the prophets and the testamentary trustees (of authority) whom Allah clothed in His light. All those who saw him respected him. An example of his solemnity was that when he sat with the people or rode off with them, none was able to raise his voice because of his great solemnity.[40] The reporters have said: “When he (i.e. Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him) came to al-Ma’mūn, the chamberlains and the servants hurried to raise the curtain for him. When they heard that al-Ma’mūn wanted to pledge allegiance to him, they said to each other that if he (the Imām) came, they would not honor or magnify him as they would do. The Imām came as usual, and his solemnity moved them, so they honored him as they would do. Then they blamed one another and swore (by Allah) that if he returned they would not honor him. When the Imām, peace be on him, came on the following day, they stood for him and greeted him, but they did not raise they curtain for him, so a wind came and raised it for him. When he wanted to leave, the wind also raised the curtain for him. As a result they said to each other: ‘Surely this man is of great importance, and Allah takes care of him, so return to your serving him.’[41]”

The Imāms of the Household (of the Prophet), peace be on them, had importance and standing with Allah, the Most High, for it was He who supported and directed them to correctness, as He did toward His prophets and His messengers. The Inscription of his Ring

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As for the inscription and words engraved in ring, they more likely represent one’s inclinations and desires. The following (words) were engraved in the ring of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him:

Wali Allah (the Friend of Allah).[42]

He had another ring in which it was engraved:

Al-‘Izzah Lillāh (Might belongs to Allah).[43]

These inscriptions represent the Imām’s great devotion to Allah, the Most Exalted, and his clinging to Him.

His Childhood

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, grew up in the greatest and most exalted house in Islam. It was the house of the Imāmate and center of revelation. The house which Allah permitted to be exalted and in which His name may be remembered. Imām al-Ridā grew up in this noble house dominated by high Islamic education. For wherein the young respected and honored the old, and the old felt compassion for the young; noble moral traits spread; nothing was heard except reciting the Book of Allah; and nothing was done except good deeds and what brought man near to his Lord.

Educationists have maintained that house is among the most important factors which form person and build his character. If love, friendship, exalted habits, good customs, and sweet words dominate house, child will grow up soundly, be far from complexity and double personality. If house is corrupt and is full of hatred and detest, child will be complex and corrupt.

As for the house where Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, grew up, it was the most exalted one in the world of Islam, for it was the center of virtue and noble moral traits; it brought up the best of mankind and the Imāms of truth and justice in Islam. In addition to house, environment plays an important role in bringing up person. As for the environment in which Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, grew up, it included the best men and scholars who studied under his father Imām Mūsā b. Ja‘far, peace be on him.

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All intellectual factors and means of exalted education were available for Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, so he grew up within this educational frame just as his great fathers (the treasures of Islam) did.

His Behavior

As for the behavior of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, it was a wonderful example of his fathers, who dined their souls and freed them from every inclination which had no relation with truth and reality.

The behavior of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, is distinguished by showing steadfastness toward the truth and rejecting falsehood. He ordered al-Ma’mūn, the ‘Abbāsid Caliph, to fear Allah and blamed him for his behavior which opposed the reality of religion. However, al-Ma’mūn became displeased with the Imām and committed the most horrible crime when he assassinated him, peace be on him. We will explain this matter in the chapters that follow.

The Imām’s behavior toward his household and his brothers is another example of his showing steadfastness toward the truth. The Imām turned away from those who deviated from Allah’s laws. He swore (by Allah) that he would not speak with his brother Zayd until he met Allah, the Most High. That was when Zayd committed something contrary to Allah’s law.

As for his behavior toward his children, it is distinguished by his showing marvelous, educational manners toward them, especially toward his son Imām al-Jawād, peace be on him. He did not call him with his name; rather he addressed him with his kunya. He said: “Abū Ja‘far (al-Jawād) wrote to me, and I wrote to Abū Ja‘far.[44]” He called him with his kunya because he wanted to honor and magnify him.

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Footnote

[1] 'Iyūn Akhb ār al-Ridā, vol. 1, pp. 14-15.

[2] Ibid., pp. 17-18. Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 487. Kashf al-Ghumma, vo l. 3, p. 102.

[3] Yousif b. Hātam al-Shāfi'i, al-Durr al-Nazim fi Manāqib al-A'imma.

[4] 'Iyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 15. In this book it has been mentioned that some people have ascribed this poetry to the uncle of Abū Ibrāhim b. al-'Abbās.

[5] A'yān al-Shi'a, 4/Q2/80.

[6] Tadhkirat al-Khawās, p. 361. Bhar al-Ansāb, p. 28. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 2.

[7] Al-Shaykhāni al-Qādiri, al-Sirāt al-Sawi, p. 169 (photographed). Nūr al-Abbsār, p. 138.

[8] Al-Mufid, al-Irshād, p. 342.

[9] 'Iyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1. A'yān al-Shi'a, 4/Q2/80.

[10] Kashf al-Ghumma , vol. 3, p. 88. 'Iyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 18.

[11] Abū al-Fidā', Tārikh, vol. 2, p. 24. Ibn al-Athir, Tārikh, vol. 5, p. 183.

[12] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 4.

[13] 'Ilal al-Sharāi'. A'lām al-Wara. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 2.

[14] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 3.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Jawharat al-Kalām fi Madh al-Sāda al-A'lām, p. 143.

[17] Al-Sirāt al-Sawi, p. 199.

[18] Tadhkirat al-Khawās, p. 361. Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.

[19] Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 4.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid., p. 3.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Maqātil al-Tālibiyyin, p. 561.

[27] Nūr al-Abbsār, p. 138.

[28] Ghāiyat al-Ikhtisār, p. 148. Bahr al-Ansāb, p. 28. Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 486. Al-Mufid, al-Irshād, p. 341. Al-Durr al-Maslūk (photographed), p. 139. Akhbār al-Diwal, p. 114. Jawharat al-Kalām, p. 143. Al-Kaf'ami, Musbāh. Roudat al-Wā'izin. Mir'āt al-Jinān, vol. 2, p. 11.

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[29] Al-Mujaddidūn fi al-Islām, p. 87.

[30] Sir al-Silsila al-'Alawiya, p. 38.

[31] Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 153. Kashf al-Ghumma. Dā'irat Ma'ārif al-Qarn al-'Ishrin, vol. 6, p. 665.

[32] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/77-78. (It has been mentioned) in al-Irshād that he was born five years after the death of his grandfather Imām al-Sādiq, peace be on him. An account similar to this has been mentioned in al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.

[33] Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 87.

[34] Al-Durr al-Maslūk, p. 139.

[35] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/77.

[36] Mir'āt al-Jinān, vol. 2, p. 12.

[37] Akhbār al-Diwal.

[38] Al-Shaykhāni al-Qādiri, al-Sirāt al-Sawi fi Manāqib Āl al-Nabi, p. 199.

[39] Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.

[40] Hayāt al-Imām al-Jawād.

[41] Akhbār al-Diwal, p. 114. Jawhart al-Kalām, p. 145. Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 58.

[42] Al-Durr al-Maslūk, p. 139. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 4.

[43] Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 210.

[44] Mu'jam Rijāl al-Hadith, vol. 14, p. 283.

CHAPTER II

HIS QUALITIES

HIS QUALITIES

As for the qualities of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, they represent all virtues. All noble qualities gathered in him. Allah endowed him with all outstanding qualities just as He endowed his great fathers. He endowed him with nobility and made him an eminent figure for the community of his grandfather (the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family). So the Imām guided the perplexed and the straying (to the truth), and he enlightened minds. They following are some of his noble qualities:

As for the noble traits of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, they were part of those of his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, by which he was distinguished from the rest of the prophets. Through his exalted manners, (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, was able to develop man and saved him from the ill traits of those who lived in the pre-Islamic period. As for Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, he had the high noble qualities of his grandfather. Concerning his noble traits, Ibrāhim b. al-‘Abbās has said: “I have never seen nor have I ever heard that there is a person more meritorious than Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him.

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He never turned away from anyone; nor did he interrupt anyone; nor did he refuse to do someone a favor he was able to do; nor did he ever stretch out his leg before an audience; nor did he ever lean upon something while his companion did not; nor did he ever call any of his servants or attendants a bad name ; nor did he ever spit or burst into laughter; rather, his laughter was just a smile. When he was ready to eat, he seated with him all his attendants, including the doorman and the groom. He slept little at night. He spent most of his nights from begging to end (in praying or reciting the Qur’ān). He did abundant charity, most of which was at dark nights.[1]”

These words display the Imām’s noble moral traits, which are as follows:

A. He did not turn away from any of the people, whether they were his friends or his enemies; rather, he received them warmly and smiled at them.

B. He did not interrupt anyone while he was speaking; rather, he let him talk until he finished his talking.

C. Among his exalted morals is that he did not stretch out his legs before those who sat with him; rather, he sat politely.

D. He did not lean upon something while his associate did not.

E. He did not call any of his retainers or attendants a bad name even if they mistreated him.

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F. He did not show haughtiness toward them; rather, he seated them with him when he was ready to eat.

G. He prayed abundantly and spent his nights in praying and reciting the Book of Allah.

H. He did a lot of good for the poor; he gave alms to them at dark nights lest none should recognize him.

These are some of the Imām’s noble moral traits which Ibrāhim b. al-‘Abbās had witnessed. Another example of his morals is that when he undertook regency, the most exalted office in Islamic state, he did not order any of his supporters and retainers to carry out his many affairs; rather, he himself carried them out. The narrators have said: “When he was in need of taking a bath, he hated to order anyone to prepare the bath for him. He went to the public bath-house in the city. The owner of the bath-house never thought that the deputy (of al-Ma’mūn) would come to a public bath-house and wash in it; rather, he thought that the kings would take a bath in their own houses.

When the Imām entered the bath-house, there was a soldier in it. The soldier removed the Imām from his place and ordered him to pour water on his head, and the Imām did. Then a man who recognized the Imām entered the bath-house, and he shouted at the soldier, saying: ‘You have ruined yourself! Why have you ordered the son of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, to give you a massage?’ So the soldier felt extremely embarrassed; he kissed the Imām’s foot and apologized to him, saying: ‘O Son of Allah’s Messenger, why did you obey me when I ordered you?’ However, the Imām smiled at him and said to him gently. ‘It is a reward. I did not want to disobey you in what I was rewarded.’[2]”

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Another example of his exalted morals is that when he was ready to eat, he seated with him his retainers even the doorman and the groom.[3] In this manner he taught them that there was no color discrimination among men, and that they were equal. Ibrāhim b. al-‘Abbās has said: “ I heard ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā saying: ‘I swear by emancipation ¾and when I swore by it, I would emancipate one of my slaves till I emancipated each and everyone of them ¾that I do not see myself as better than that (and he pointed to a black slave of his who remained in his service) on account of my kinship to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, except if I do a good deed which would render me better.[4]”

A man said to him: “By Allah, no person on the face of earth is nobler than you in father.”

He, peace be on him, said: “Reverential fear made them noble and obedience to Allah preserved them.”

Another person said to him: “By Allah, you are the most meritorious of the people.”

The Imām answered him, saying: “Do not exaggerate; he who fears Allah and obeys Him is better than me. By Allah this verse has not been abrogated: ‘O men! Surely we have created you of a male and female, and made you nations and tribes that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the most Allah-fearing of you; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.’[5]”

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It has been narrated that the Imām has composed poetry in this respect:

I have worn the garment of riches through chastity and begun walking high-headed.

I do not associate with al-nisnās[6] but I associate with men.

If I see the rich show pride, I show pride toward them through despair (of them). I do not show pride toward the poor; Nor do I show weakness toward bankruptcy.[7] This poetry is evidence for his noble moral traits, which all the world lauds and all the Muslims admire.

His Renunciation the World

An example of the qualities of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, is that he renounced the world and turned away from its pleasures and embellishments. Mohammed b. ‘Abbād tells us about the Imām’s ascetic conduct, saying: “Al-Ridā used to sit on a leaf mat during the summer and on a straw sack during the winter; he used to put on coarse clothes, but when he went out to meet the public, he put on his very best.[8]”

The narrators have said: “Imām (al-Ridā) used to wear a silk clothe. Sufyān al-Thawri met him and blamed him for wearing such a clothe, saying: “I think that you had better wear a clothe cheaper than this one.’ However, the Imām took his hand gently and put it into his sleeve; suddenly, there was a coarse clothe under that silk one; and he, peace be on him, said to him: ‘Sufyān, the silk is for men and coarse clothes are for the Truth (Allah)[9]’”

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Renouncing the world was the most prominent quality in Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. The narrators have unanimously agreed that when he became the heir apparent (of al-Ma’mūn), he paid no attention to any of the aspects of the authority and of magnification which men showed toward their kings.

His Munificence

There was nothing more lovable with the Imām than doing kindness to men, and especially the poor. The historians have mentioned numerous examples of his munificence. The following are some of them:

1. When the Imām was in Khurasān, he spent on the poor all what he had on the Day of ‘Arafa, so al-Fadl b. Sahl criticized him for this, saying: “Surely, this is a loss!” “Rather it is a profit,” the Imām answered, “you do no damage when you spend something for reward and generosity.[10]”

It is not an act of damage when something is spent on the poor and the weak for Allah’s good pleasure; rather, it is an act of loss when something is spent on unlawful deeds like those of kings and ministers who spend a lot of money on singers and the mischievous.

2. A man came to the Imām, greeted him, and said to him: “I am one of those who love you and your fathers. I have returned from the hajj. My money has finished. I have nothing with me to reach a stage, so I ask you to send me back to my homeland. When I arrive in it, I

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will give what you have given to me as alms to the poor on your behalf.” The Imām said to the man: “Sit down, may Allah have mercy on you.” Then he turned to the people and spoke to them until they scattered. None stayed with him except Sulaymān al-Ja‘fari and Herthama. The Imām asked them for permission and entered the

house. Then he came out, closed the door, and said: “Where is al-Khurasāni?” AL-Khurasāni stood for him. The Imām, peace be on

him, said to him: “Take this two hundred dinars, spend it on your need, and do not give it to the poor as alms on my behalf.” The man went away with happiness because the blessing of the Imām had included him. Then Sulaymān al-Ja‘fari turned to the Imām and asked him: “May I be your ransom, you gave to the man a lot of money and had mercy on him, but why did you cover your face from him?”

He, peace be on him, replied: “I did that less I should see the abasement of begging on his face because of my accomplishing his need. Have you not heard the tradition of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family: ‘He who secretly does a good deed is like him who performs the hajj seventy times; and he who openly performs an evil deed is abandoned.’ Have you not heard the statement of the poet: ‘When I someday come to him in order to seek my need, I return home without losing face.’[11]”

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3. Yet another example of his munificence is that he ordered the most delicious food to be put on a tray and to be given to the poor, and he recited this verse: “But he would not attempt the uphill road.” Then he said: “Allah knows that not everyone is able to emancipate a slave, so He has regarded munificence as a path leading to the Garden.”

4. Another example of his munificence and generosity is that a poor man said to him: “Give me according to the extent of your kindness.”

The Imām answered him: “I cannot afford that.”

The poor man paid attention to his own mistake, so he said again: “Give me according to mine.”

The Imām smiled at him and said: “Yes, I will do this.”

Then he ordered two hundred dinars to be given to the poor man.[12] The Imām’s acts of munificence cannot be counted. If the Imām had given to the poor man all his money, he would have felt that such a gift was not equal to his munificence and mercy, which was an extension to that of his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

5. Another example of his exalted acts of munificence is what has been narrated by Ahmed b. ‘Ubayd Allāh on the authority of al-Ghaffāri, who said: “A man from the family of Abū Rāfi‘, the retainer of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, called so and-so, had me in his debt. He demanded payment from me and insisted on my paying him. When I realized that, I prayed the morning prayer in the mosque of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, and I set out to see al-Ridā, peace be on him. On that day, he was in the valley of al-‘Arid. When I got near his door, he came out. He was wearing a shirt and a clock (ridā’). When I looked at him, I felt ashamed before him. When he reached me, he stood and looked at me. I greeted him ¾it was the month of Ramadān. I said: ‘May I be your ransom, your retainer so-and-so has me in his debt. By Allah, he has spread reports of me around.’

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“By Allah, I was thinking to myself, that he would tell him to leave me alone. By Allah, I had not told him how much I owed nor had I given specific details about anything. He told me to sit down until he came back. I was still there at the time when I prayed the sunset prayer. I had been fasting and I had become troubled and wanted to leave. Suddenly, he came. There was (a crowd of) people.

“Beggars were begging from him and he was giving them alms. Then he retired from them and went into his house. He came out and called me. I rose and went in with him. He sat down and I sat down with him. I began to talk to him about the governor of Medina. When I had finished, he said to me: ‘I do not think that you have eaten yet?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied.

“He called for food for me and it was put in front of me. He told the servant to eat with me. The servant and I had our fill of food. When we had finished, he said: ‘Raise the cushion and take what is under it.

“I raised it and there was (many) dinars. I took them and put them in my sleeve. He told some of his servants to accompany me to my house, and they did. I went to my house and called for a lamp. I examined the dinars and they were forty-eight dinars. I only owed the man twenty-eighty dinars. On a dinar of them it was engraved: ‘The debt to the man is twenty-eighty dinars and the rest is yours.’[13]”

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These are some acts of his generosity, and they show his noble soul which was created for kindness to people.

His Entertaining Guests

The Imām, peace be on him, entertained guests, bestowed liberally upon them, and he himself served them. One day a person stopped at him and he spoke to him at night. When the lamp changed, the guest hurried to set it right, but the Imām went ahead of him and he himself set it right and said to his guest: “We are the people who do not employ their guests.[14]”

His Releasing Slaves

The most lovable thing to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was releasing slaves and freeing them from slavery. The narrators have said: “He (Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him) released one thousand slaves.[15]”

His Kindness to Slaves

The Imām, peace be on him, did a lot of good and kindness for the slaves. ‘Abd Allah b. al-Salt reported on the authority of a man from the people of Balakh, who said: “I was with Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, during his journey to Khurasān. One day he called for food and gathered his black and non-black retainers around it. Hence I asked him: ‘May I be you ransom, could you please isolate food for these (retainers)? As a result, he blamed me for this and said: ‘The Lord, the Blessed and Exalted, is One, the mother is one, and reward will be according to deeds.’[16]”

Surely, the Imāms of the Household (of the Prophet), peace be on them, behaved in such a manner in order to abolish color discrimination among men and to show that they were in one mosque, and that nothing discriminated one person from another except reverential fear and good deeds. His Knowledge

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Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, thoroughly encompassed all sciences and knowledge. The historians and the narrators have unanimously agreed that he was the most knowledge of the people of his time, the most meritorious of them, and the most learned of them in the precepts of religion and other sciences such as philosophy and medicine. Talking about the Imām’s abundant knowledge, ‘Abd al-Salām al-Harawi has said: “I have never seen a person more knowledgeable than ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Rida. When a religious scholar sees him, he bears witness for him (as being the most knowledgeable) as I do. Al-Ma’mūn gathered for him in assemblies a number of the scholars of religions, the jurists of Islamic law, and theologians. However, he overcame them to the extent that they acknowledged his excellence (over them) and confessed their feebleness before him. I heard him say: ‘I used to take my place at the theological center (rouda) and the number of the learned scholars in Medina was quite large. Yet when a question over-taxed the mind of one of those scholars, he and the rest would point at me, and they would sent me their queries, and I would answer them all.[17]”

The Imām was the most learned of the people of his time and was the highest authority in Islamic world; religious scholars and jurists would send to him their questions about Islamic precepts.

Ibrāhim b. al-‘Abbās has said: “When al-Ridā was questioned about a certain thing, he answered it. I have never seen that there is a person more knowledgeable than him. Al-Ma’mūn examined him with questions about all things, and he answered them.[18]”

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Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was the most eminent Muslim thinker, so he was able to develop the cultural and scientific life of the Muslims.

Al-Ma’mūn has said: “I think that there is no person on the face of earth more learned than this man (i.e. Imām al-Ridā).[19]”

His (i.e. Imām al-Ridā’s) debates in Khurasān, Basrah, and Kūfa give evidence for his being the most knowledgeable on the face of earth. During those debates he was questioned about the most difficult problems and he answered them, so all the religious scholars of his time yielded to him and acknowledged his excellence over them.

His Knowledge of all Languages

Another example of his being the most knowledge person is that he could speak all languages. Abū Ismā‘il al-Sindi has reported: “When I was in India, I heard that Allah had an Arab proof, so I went out to seek him. I was guided to al-Ridā (peace be on him), and I went to him. I could not speak Arabic. I greeted him in Sindi, and he greeted me in my own language. I asked him in Sindi, and he answered me in it. I said to him: ‘I have heard that Allah has an Arab argument, and I have gone out to seek him. He, peace be on him, said to me: ‘It is I; ask (me) about whatever you desire.’ I asked him about my questions, and he (peace be on him) answered them in my own language.[20]”

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Abū al-Salt al-Hurawi has said: “Al-Ridā, peace be on him, spoke to people in their own languages. I asked him about this (quality), and he replied: ‘O Abū` al-Salt, I am Allah’s proof over His creatures. Allah does not appoint over a people a proof who does not speak their own language. Have you not heard the words of the Commander of the faithful: ‘We have been given sound judgment. Is this not his knowledge of languages?’[21]”

Yāsir al-Khādim (the retainer) has narrated: “Abū al-Hasan (al-Ridā), peace be on him, had in his house Byzantines and Slavs. He was close to them. He heard them speak in Slavic and Romanian, saying: ‘We are visited in our homeland every year, but we are not visited here.’ In the following morning he (al-Ridā) sent someone to visit them.[22]”

Shaykh Mohammed b. al-Hasan has composed a poem concerning this quality, saying:

And his knowledge of all languages is the clearest miracle and sign.[23]

His Prophecies

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, had foretold many events before they happened, and they happened just as he had predicted. These prophecies clearly confirm the original faith of the Shi‘a who say that Allah, the Exalted, endowed the Imāms of the Household (of the Prophet) with excellence and inner knowledge, just as He had endowed His messengers. The following are some of the Imām’s prophecies:

1. Al-Hasan b. Bashshār narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, who said: “‘Abd Allah (i.e. al-Ma’mūn) will kill Mohammed (i.e. al-Amin).” I (al-Hasan b. Bashshār) asked him: “Will ‘Abd Allah b. Hārūn kill Mohammed b. Hārūn?” “Yes,” he replied, “‘Abd Allah who is in Khurasān will kill Mohammed b. Zubayda who is in Baghdad.” Then he recited this poetry line

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Surely successive spites expose you and bring out the hidden malady.[24]

Some days ago and al-Ma’mūn killed his brother al-Amin. We will mention this event in the chapters that follow.

2. Another example of the Imām’s inner knowledge is that when Mohammed b. Imām al-Sādiq rose in Mecca and summoned the people to himself and broke the pledge of allegiance to al-Ma’mūn, Imām al-Ridā went to him and said to him: “O Uncle, do not accuse your father or your brother ( i.e. Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him) of lying, for this authority will not go well with you.” However, Mohammed b. Imām al-Sādiq paid no attention to the Imām’s advice, and he announced his revolt against al-Ma’mūn. Shortly after that, the troops of al-M’mūn headed by al-Jalūdi attacked Mohammed and his fighters and defeated them. Then Mohammed asked al-Jalūdi for security, and he gave it to him. Then he went up on the pulpit and abdicated authority, saying: “This authority belongs to al-M’mūn and I have no right in it.[25]”

3. Al-Husayn, the son of Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, has said: “We were youths from the Banū Hāshim. While we were sitting around al-Ridā, peace be on him, Ja‘far b. ‘Umar al-‘Alawi passed by us shabby. We looked at each other and laughed at him, so al-Ridā said: ‘In the near future he (Ja‘far b. ‘Umar al-‘Alawi) will have a lot of money and many followers.’ A month ago, Ja‘far became the governor of Medina and enjoyed good conditions.[26]”

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4. Muhawil al-Sijistāni has narrated: “When Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was commanded to go to Khurasān, I was in Medina. Al-Ridā entered the mosque in order to say farewell to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. He said farewell to him several times. Throughout this (time) he went and came back to the grave. He wept and wailed aloud, so I walked towards him and greeted him, and he greeted me. I congratulated him, and he said to me: ‘Leave me, for I am going to go out of the neighborhood of my grandfather; I will die in exile, and be buried beside Hārūn.’ I went out to follow him on the road until he arrived in Khurasān. He stayed in it for a time, and then he was buried by Hārūn.[27]”

The matter was just as the Imām had predicted. He went to Khurasān, and did not return from it. He was assassinated by al-M’mūn, the ‘Abbāsid Caliph, and was buried beside Hārūn al-Rashid.

5. Safwān b. Yahyā has reported: “ When Abū Ibrāhim (i.e. Imām al-Kāzim) passed away and Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, spoke (i.e. undertook the office of the Imāmate), we were afraid for him. He was told: ‘You have made public a great matter and on account of that, we fear for you from this tyrant (i.e. Hārūn al Rashid).’ ‘Let him try as hard as he can,’ he answered, ‘he will find no way to harm me.[28]”

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The matter happened as he had predicted. Hārūn al-Rashid did not mistreat him. The Imām underlined this meaning to his companions. Mohammed b. Sinān has reported: “I (i.e. Mohammed b. Sinān) said to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā during the days of Hārūn: ‘Surely, you have made yourself famous through this matter and your sitting in the assembly of your father, while the sword of Hārūn is dripping blood (i.e. the blood of the Household of the Prophet and their followers). He, peace be on him, said: ‘Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and his family) has encouraged me when he said: ‘If Abū Jahl takes a hair from my head, then bear witness that I am not a prophet.’ For this reason I say to you: ‘If Hārūn (al-Rashid) takes a hair from my head, then bear witness that I am not an Imām.’[29]”

Several times the Imām , peace be on him, announced that Hārūn would not mistreat him, and that he would be buried beside him. Hamza b. Ja‘far al-Lārijāni has narrated: “Hārūn went out of the gate of the Sacred Mosque, and ‘Ali went out of the gate and said: ‘How remote the abode is! And how near the meeting is! Surely, Tūs will gather me and him together![30]”

The Imām has stressed his burial beside Hārūn in many traditions. Mūsā b. Hārūn has narrated: “While Hārūn al-Rashid was delivering a speech in the Mosque of Medina, I saw ‘Ali (al-Ridā), and he said to me: ‘You will see that I and he (Hārūn al-Rashid) will be buried in one house.’[31]”

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6. Another example of the Imām’s inner knowledge is the calamity of the Barāmika. Regarding their calamity, Musāfir has reported: “I (i.e. Musāfir) was with Abū al-Hasan ‘Ali al-Ridā, Yahyā b. Khālid al-Barmaki passed by and covered his face with a handkerchief (to escape) from the dust. He (Abū al-Hasan ‘Ali al Rida) said: ‘Wretched ones who do not know what will happen to them during this year.’”

Then the Imām added: “The more surprising thing than this is that I and Hārūn will be like these (two fingers of mine).” Then he joined his forefinger and middle finger together.

Musāfir reported: “By Allah, I did not understand the meaning of al-Ridā’s words concerning Hārūn until his death and burial beside him.[32]”

7. Mohammed b. ‘Īsā has reported on the authority of Habib al-Nabāji, who said: “I saw Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, in a vision. He came to al-Nabāji[33] and stopped at the mosque where the pilgrims stopped every year. I went to him and greeted him. There was before him a tray made of palm leaves, and there was Sayhāni dates in the tray. He gave me a handful of these dates. I counted them and they were eighteen. I asked (a person) to explain the vision, and he told me that I would live for eighteen years. Twenty days ago, while I was on my farm, a person came and told me about the coming of al-Ridā from Medina and his stopping at that mosque. I saw the people going to him, so I went to him. I saw him sitting in the place where Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, sat in the vision. There was before him a tray made of palm leaves, and there was Sayhāni dates in it. I greeted him, and he, peace be on him, greeted me. He asked me to come nearer to him and gave me a handful of these dates. I counted them and they were equal to those which Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, had given to me. As a result I said: ‘Increase me, O Son of Allah’s Apostle!’ He said: ‘If Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, increased you, we would increase you.’[34]”

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8. Ja‘far b. Sālih has narrated: “I came to al-Ridā and said to him: ‘My wife is pregnant, so supplicate Allah to make her give birth to a male.’ As a result he said: ‘They are twin.’ I went away and said: ‘I will name one of them Mohammed and the other ‘Ali.’ Then I came to him, and he said to me: ‘Name one of them ‘Ali and the other Umm ‘Amrū.’ When I went to Kūfa, my wife had given birth to a male and a female, so I named the male ‘Ali and the female Umm ‘Amrū.[35]”

The narrators have mentioned many prophecies indicating that Allah endowed the Imām with knowledge just as He had endowed His righteous friends and servants.

His Acts of Worship and Reverential Fear

One of the most prominent qualities of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, is his devotion to Allah, the Exalted, and his clinging to Him. We can clearly see this quality in his acts of worship which represent great part of his spiritual life standing on light, Allah-fearingness, and piety. One of his companions has said: “When I saw him (al-Ridā), I mentioned these words of Him, the Exalted: They used to sleep but little in the night.” Concerning his acts of worship, al-Shibrāwi has said: “Throughout the night he (al-Ridā) performed ablutions, prayed, and slept. In this manner he (continued) until the morning came.[36]”

The Imām, peace be on him, was the most Allah-fearing of the people of his time and the most obedient of them to Allah, the Most High. Al-M’mūn sent Rajā’ b. Abū al-Dahhāk to Medina in order to bring the Imām to Khurasān. The latter went and accompanied him on the road from Medina to Maru. He has reported the following about his acts of worship: “By Allah, I have never seen a man more (earnest) than him in seeking protection in Allah (the Great and Almighty), mentioning Him in all his times, and fearing Him. When he rose in the morning, he performed the morning prayer. When he finished his prayer and said the taslim, he sat in his place of prayer and (began) glorifying Allah, praising Him, saying: ‘Allah is Greater! There is no god but Allah!

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O Allah bless the Prophet and his family, may Allah bless him and his family.’ He continued these phrases until the sun rose. Then he prostrated himself in prayer for a long time. Then he went to the people to speak to them and to preach to them until it was forenoon. Then he renewed his ablution and returned to his place of prayer. When the sun came near to descending (from its midday zenith), he stood and prayed six rak‘as. In the first rak‘a he recited the sura al-Hamd and the sura qul yā ayyuhā al-kāfirūn. In the second rak‘a he recited the sura al-Hamd and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad. In every rak‘a of the four-rak‘a prayers he recited the sura al-Hamd lillāh and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad, and then he recited the taslim. Then he recited his personal prayer in the second rak‘a before the kneeling and after the recitation. Then he said the adhān (the call to prayer). Then he prayed two rak‘as. Then he said the iqāma (the declaration of standing for prayer) and performed the noon prayer.

When he recited the taslim, he glorified Allah, praised Him, and said: ‘Allah is Greater! There is no god but Allah!’ He continued these phrases for a long time. Then he performed Salāt al-Shukr (the prayer for giving thanks). In it he said: ‘Thanks be to Allah,’ for one hundred times. When he raised his head, he stood and prayed six rak‘as. In each rak‘a he recited the sura al-Hamd lillāh and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad. After each two rak‘as he recited the taslim. Then he said his personal prayer in the second rak‘a before the kneeling and after the recitation. Then he said the adhān (the call to prayer). Then he prayed two rak‘as and said his personal prayer in the second rak‘a. When he recited the taslim, he stood and performed the afternoon prayer. When he recited the taslim, he sat in his place of prayer, glorified Allah, praised Him, and said: ‘Allah is Greater! There is no god but Allah!’ Then he prostrated himself in prayer and said one hundred times: ‘Thanks be to Allah.’

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“When the sun set, he performed the ritual ablution, said the adhān and iqāma, and performed the three rak‘as of the evening prayer. Then he said his personal prayer in the second rak‘a before the kneeling and after the recitation. When he recited the taslim, he sat in his place of prayer, glorified Allah, praised Him, and said: ‘Allah is Greater! There is no god but Allah.’ He recited these phrases for a long time. Then he performed Salāt al-Shukr (the prayer for givingthanks). Then he raised his head and did not say anything until he stood and prayed four rak‘as, finishing each two rak‘as with the taslim. Then he said his personal prayer in the second rak‘a before kneeling and after the recitation. In the first rak‘a of these four rak‘as, he recited the sura al-hamd and the sura qul yā ayyuhā al-kāfirūn. In the second rak‘a he recited the sura al-hamd and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad. Then he recited the taslim.

Then he sat and recited personal supplications until he entered into evening. Then he broke the fast. Then he stayed until about third of the night passed. The he stood and performed the night prayer in four rak‘as. Then he said his personal prayer in the second rak‘a before kneeling and after the recitation. When he recited the taslim, he sat in his place of prayer mentioning Allah, the Great and Almighty, glorifying and praising Him, saying: ‘Allah is Greater! There is no god but Allah!’ He said these phrases for a long time. After saying his personal supplications, he performed Salāt al-Shukr, and then he went to bed.

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“At the last third of night he got up glorifying and praising (Allah), saying: ‘Allah is greater! There is no god but Allah!’ And he asked Him for forgiveness. Then he cleaned his teeth with the miswāk (cleaning stick for teeth). Then he performed the ritual ablution. Then he stood and performed the late night payer. He said eight rak‘as. After each two rak‘as, he recited the taslim. In the first two rak‘as of them, he recited the sura al-hamd and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad thirty times.

“Then he performed the prayer of Ja‘far b. Abū Tālib, which is four rak‘as. After each two rak‘as, he recited the taslim. After the second rak‘a of each two rak‘as, he said his personal prayer before kneeling. He regarded it as (part) of the late night prayer. Then he performed the other two rak‘as. In the first rak‘a he recited the sura al-hamd and the sura al-mulk. In the second rak‘a he recited the sura al-hamd and the sura hal atā ‘alā al-insān. Then he stood and performed the two rak‘as of al-Shafa‘. In each rak‘a he recited the sura al-hamd one time and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad three times. He said his personal prayer after the second rak‘a. Then he stood and performed (the prayer of al-witr), which is one rak‘a. In it he recited the sura alhamd, the sura qul huwa Allah ahad three times, the sura qul a‘ūdhu bi Rab al-falaq one time, and the sura qul a‘ūdhu bi Rab al-nās one time. Then he said his personal prayer before the kneeling and after the recitation. He would say (the following) in his personal prayer:

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“‘O Allah, bless Mohammed and the Household of Mohammed. O Allah, guide us through him whom You guided, make us well through him whom You made well, attend to us through him to whom You attend, bless us in that which You have given, protect us from the evil of what You decreed, for You decree and none decrees against You. Verily he whom You befriend is not lowly, and he toward whom You show enmity is not exalted, blessed are You and high exalted!’

“Then he said seventy times: ‘I ask Allah’s forgiveness and seek repentance from Him.’ When he recited the taslim, he sat and recited supplications for a long time. When the dawn approached, he stood and prayed the two rak‘as of the dawn. In the first rak‘a he recited the sura al-hamad and the sura qul yā ayyuhā al-kāfirūn. In the second rak‘a he recited the sura al-hamad and the sura qul huwa Allah ahad. When the dawn broke, he said the adhān and the iqāma and performed the prayer of the early morning in two rak‘as. When he recited the taslim, he sat and recited supplications until the sun rose. The he performed Salāt al-Shukr (the prayer for giving thanks).[37]”

This tradition in detail displays: the obligatory prayer of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him; his supererogatory prayers; the suras of the Holy Qur’ān which he recited in them; and the supplications which he recited after his prayers. This means that he was always busy worshipping Allah, the Exalted.

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The love for Allah dominated the Imām‘s heart, sentiments and feelings, to the extent that it was one of his qualities. This supplications gives an account of the vengeance of the Imām, peace be on him, on the oppressive and tyrannical rulers of his time who drowned Islamic world in hardships and tragedies and forced the Muslims to performed what they hated. This is one of the political supplications which narrate the conditions of that time.

His Supplication during the Prayer for giving Thanks (salāt al-Shukr)

Sulaymān b. Ja‘far has narrated: “We visited Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, while he was performing the prayer for giving thanks (salāt al-Shukr). He lengthened his prostration in prayer. Then he raised his head and we asked him about his long prostration. He told us that he prayed with the following supplication. He urged us to (supplicate) with it. Then he ordered us to write it, and we wrote it.” The supplication is as follows:

“O Allah, curse those who altered Your religion, changed Your favor, accused Your Messenger (may Allah bless him and his Household), opposed Your religion, turned away from Your way, were ungrateful for Your boons, returned Your words to You, disdained Your Messenger, killed the (grand) son of Your Prophet, distorted Your Book, denied Your signs, sat in the assembly which was not appropriate for them, and which the people carried on the shoulders of the Household of Mohammed!

“O Allah, curse them with curses following each other, gather them and their followers blue-eyed in the Hell-fire!

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“O Allah, we seek nearness to You through cursing them and renouncing them in this world and the next!

“O Allah, curse those who killed the Commander of the faithful and al-Husayn b. ‘Ali and Fātima, daughter of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household.

“O Allah, increase them in chastisement to chastisement, humiliation to humiliation, abasement to abasement, and disgrace to disgrace!

“O Allah, drive them away to the Fire with violence and return them to Your painful chastisement with a return!

“O Allah, gather them and their followers in the Hell-fire in group! O Allah, divide their gathering; scatter their affair; make their words disagree with each other; disperse their unity; curse their Imāms; kill their leaders, their masters, and their eldest ones; curse their heads; break their banars; spread terror among them; and leave not any dweller of them!

“O Allah, curse Abū Jahl and al-Walid with curses following one another! O Allah curse them with a curse through which curse every angel brought nigh, every prophet sent out, and every believer whose heart You examine for faith! O Allah curse them with a curse from which the inhabitants of the Fire seek refuge, and which does not come into anyone’s mind! O Allah, curse them in Your hidden secret and Your manifest openness, chastise them with a chastisement in the ordination, and let their partners be their followers and their lovers! Verily You hear supplication!”[38]

This supplication shows that the Imām was indignant with some Caliphs who controlled without any right the general authority of the country, and hence they brought about woe and destruction to Islamic world through preventing the pure Household of the Prophet from undertaking authority while they were the most learned of others in the affairs and precepts of Islām. This great supplication is one of the political supplications.

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The Imām uses Supplication as Weapon

Yet another quality of the Imām’s spiritual life is that he practiced supplication as a weapon through praying to Allah and referring to Him in all his affairs, for he found in it (supplication) a spiritual enjoyment which none of the enjoyments of life equaled it. We will mention his statements concerning the importance of supplication before we present some of his supplications. Supplication is the Weapon of the Prophets

The Imām urged his companions to supplicate Allah and said to them: “Adhere to the weapon of the prophets!”

“What is the weapon of the prophets?” he was asked.

“Supplication,” he replied.[39]

Concealing Supplication

The Imām advised his companions to conceal supplication, and that man should supplicate his Lord secretly, that none may know of him. He, peace be on him, has said:

“A servant’s secret supplication equals seventy open supplications.[40]”

Slowness in Answering Supplication

The Imām spoke about the reasons for the slowness in responding to supplication. Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr has narrated: [ I (i.e. Ahmed) said to Abū al-Hasan (i.e. Imām al-Ridā): May I be your ransom, I have asked a need from Allah since so-and-so year, and something have entered my heart because of slowness (in answering it). He, peace be on him, declared:] “O Ahmed, beware of that Satan makes a way against you in order to make you despair (of Allah’s mercy). Abū Ja‘far (i.e. Imām al-Bāqir), the blessings of Allah be upon him, said: ‘The believer asks his need from Allah, the Great and Almighty, but He delays responding to him out of love for his voice and listening to his wailing.’”

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Then he said: “By Allah, what Allah, the Great and Almighty, sets behind the believers in this world is better than what He sets before them therein. What a thing is the world? Abū Ja‘far would say: ‘The believer’s supplication during ease should be similar to that of his during hardship. He should not flag (in supplicating) when he is given. Therefore, be not tired of supplication, for it is of great position with Allah, the Great and Almighty. Adhere to patience, seeking the lawful, and tightening your bonds of kin. Beware of showing open enmity toward men, for we, the members of the House, tighten ties with him who cut us and treat kindly him who mistreats us, hence we, by Allah, see through that the good final result. If the possessor of a favor (strives for gathering) sample funds, then he is not satisfied with anything. When favors become abundant, the Muslim is in danger because of the duties incumbent upon him and the trial through them.’”

“Tell me, if I say some words to you, will you trust them?” asked Imām al-Ridā.

“May I be your ransom, if I do not trust you, then whom shall I trust?” retorted Ahmed, “You are the proof of Allah over His creatures.”

“Therefore, have more confidence in Allah, for you will meet him, replied the Imām, “don’t Allah, the Great and Almighty, say: And when My servants ask you concerning me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on me[41]; don’t He say: do not despair of the mercy of Allah[42]; and don’t He say: and Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.[43] Therefore, have confidence in Allah more than you have in other than Him. Place nothing in your soul except good, and you will be forgiven.[44]”

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The Imām has mentioned the causes which hold back supplication and delay response and, in addition, he has urged (Muslims) to follow the morals of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.

His Amulet (hirz)

The Imām, peace be on him, would use this holy supplication as weapon: “In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O He to whom there is neither likeness nor similitude! You are Allah! There is no god but you; nor is there a creator except You! You perish the creatures and You remain! You are clement toward him who disobeys You! And Your good pleasure is in forgiveness![45]”

He also clung to this great supplication: “I have submitted, O my Protector, to you; I have submitted my own soul to You; I have entrusted the whole affairs of mine to You! I am Your servant, son of Your servant. So hide me in Your cover from the evil from among Your creatures, protect me from every harm and evil through Your kindness, and spare me the evil of every possessor of evil through Your power!

“O Allah, I seek protection in You from him who schemes against me or desires ill for me! Close the eyes of the oppressive from me, for You are my helper! There is no god but You, O Most Merciful of the merciful and Lord of the worlds! I ask you to be sufficient against harm, (to give me) well-being, recovery, help against the enemies, and success for what You love and accept, O Our Lord! O Lord of the worlds! O All-compeller of the heavens and earth! O Lord of Mohammed and his good, pure Household! Your blessings be upon all of them![46]”

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The Imām, peace be on him, submitted himself and all his affairs to the One, the Subducer who has power over all things. He clung to the above-mentioned supplication, that Allah might turn away from him the trickery of aggressors and oppression of wrongdoers.

Some of his Supplications

Some holy supplications have been reported from Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. They are as follows:

1. The following is his supplication in seeking security and faith: “O He who gives me evidence for Himself and humiliates my heart through certainty in Him, I ask from You security and faith in this world and the next!”[47]

This supplication, though short, contains a proof of the Oneness of Allah; the proof is that Allah makes His creatures profess His existence through the wonders of this universe.

2. He, peace be on him, would supplicate with this great supplication: “O Allah, give me guidance; make me steadfast toward it; muster me according to it; make me safe with the safety of him upon whom there is neither fear nor sorrow nor impatience; You are worthy of reverential fear and worthy to forgive![48]”

3. He taught the following holy supplication to his companion and student, Mūsā b. Bukayr. He said to him: “Memorize what I write to you. Supplicate with it during every hardship of which you are afraid.” The supplication is as follows: “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. O Allah, my many sins have made me lose face before You, prevented me from being worthy of Your mercy, and kept me away from deserving Your forgiveness! I have adhered to Your boons and clung to supplicating You, for You have promised those who are like me in acting extravagantly (against their own souls), making errors, and despairing of Your mercy through Your words: Say: O My servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surly Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.[49] You have warned those who despair of Your mercy and said: And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord but the erring ones.[50] Then You have summoned us through Your mercy to supplicate You, thus You have said: Call upon me, I will answer you; surely those who are too proud for My mercy shall soon enter hell abased.[51]

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“O my Lord, hopelessness has covered me, and despair of Your mercy has wrapped me! O my Lord, You have promised to reward him who has good opinion in You and to punish him who has bad opinion in You! O Allah, my eye has been seized by good opinion of You in releasing my neck from the Fire, covering my slips, releasing (me) from my stumble! O Allah, Your words, which have neither alteration nor change, are true: (Remember) the day when We will call every people with their Imām.[52] That is the Day of Resurrection when the trumpet shall be blown and what is in the graves shall be raised. I believe, witness, confess, do not deny, do not renege, conceal, announce, manifest, and hide that You are Allah, there is no god but You, One with no partner with You, that Mohammed is Your servant and messenger, may Allah bless him and his Family, and that ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, master of the testamentary trustees, inheritor of knowledge of the prophets, emblem of religion, destroyer of the hypocrites, the fighter against the Renegades (Māriqin), my Imām, my proof, my handle, my path, my guide, and my argument.

I do not trust my deeds though pure; nor do I see that they will save me though righteous but through (showing) friendship to him, following his example, acknowledging his great virtues, accepting from those who delivered them, and submitting to those who narrated them. I confess that his testamentary trustees from among his grandsons are Imāms, arguments, guides, lamps, guideposts, lighthouses, masters, and pious. I believe in their secret, their openness, their outward, their inward, their present, their absent, their living, and their dead. In that there is neither doubt nor suspicion nor change when You turn away (from that).

p: 56

“O Allah, summon me on the day of my mustering and my resurrecting through their Imāmate, and save me, O My Protector, from the heat of the Fires through them, and supply me with the repose of the Gardens! Surely, if You release me from the Fire, I will be one of the achievers. O Allah, I rose in the morning of this day of mine (while) I have neither confidence nor hope nor asylum nor place of flight nor shelter except those through whom I seek access to You, seeking nearness to Your Messenger Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his Family, then ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, al-Zahrā’, the mistress of the women of the worlds, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and the one after them who will pave the way for the hidden proof from among his children, hoped for the community after him.

“O Allah, make them in this day and after it my fortress against detested things and my stronghold against fears; save me through them from every enemy, tyrant, oppressor, sinner, the evil of what I know, what I deny, what has hidden from me, what I see, and the evil of every crawling creature that You have taken by the forelock! Surely You are on a straight path.

“O Allah, through my seeking access through them to You, seeking nearness to You through showing love for them, fortifying myself with their Imāmate, open for me the doors to Your provision; spread upon me Your mercy; make Your creatures love me; turn me aside from their detest and their enmity! Verily You are powerful over everything.

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“O Allah, there is reward for everyone (who) seek access (through them to You); there is right for all the possessors of intercession, hence by him whom You have appointed as Your friend and placed ahead my request, I ask You to make me recognize the blessing of this day of mine, this month of mine, and this year of mine!

“O Allah, they are my place of flight and my help during my hardship, my ease, my well-being, my tribulation, my sleep, my wakefulness, my departure, my residence, my difficulty, my facility, my openness, my secret, my morning, my evening, my movement, my habitation, my secret, and my publicity! O Allah, through them, disappoint me not of Your favor; cut not my hope from Your mercy; disappoint me not of Your repose; tempt me not with the closure of the doors to provisions and of the ways to them; open for me an easy opening from You; appoint for me a way out from every hardship and a road for every plenty! Surely, You are the Most Merciful of the merciful. May Allah bless Mohammed and his pure Household! Amen, Lord of the world![53]”

This supplication gives an account of the firm clinging of the Imām to Allah, the Exalted, and his absolute obedience to Him. Also it gives an account of the outstanding merits of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on him, who are the emblems of religion and gatekeepers of the wisdom of the Master of messengers.

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4. The Imām, peace be on him, would recite this supplication for seeking provision and plentiful livelihood. He would recite it after each obligatory prayer. It is as follows: “O He Who possesses the needs of the askers and knows the minds of those who are silent! There is a present hearing and ready response to every request from You. There is encompassing, inner knowledge of all those silent before you. I ask You by Your truthful promises, Your generous benefits, Your boundless mercy, Your conquering authority, Your everlasting kingdom, Your perfect words, O He whom the obedience of the obedient does not profit nor does the disobedience of the disobedient harm, bless Mohammed and his Household; provide me with some of Your bounty; and give me that through which You provide me with well-being, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful![54]”

5. This is another example of his holy supplications: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. O Allah! O Possessor of comprehensive power, boundless mercy, uninterrupted kindnesses, successive boons, beautiful benefits, and great gifts! O He who created (men) and provided (them) with the means of subsistence, inspired (them) and made (them) utter, originated (them) and made laws (for them), is exalted and high, ordained and did well, formed and did excellently, advanced an argument and delivered (it), bestowed lavishly upon (men), gave (them) generously, granted (them) and did a favor for (them)!

O He who is exalted in mightiness, so swift sight escapes Him, and is close in gentleness, so misgiving thoughts pass Him! O He who is unique in kingdom, so there is no

p: 59

equal for Him in the kingdom of His authority and is One in magnificence, so there is no rival in the invincibility of His station. O He by whose magnificence the subtlest of imaginations are bewildered, and the swiftest of the eyes of mankind fall short of knowing His might! O He who knows the thoughts of the hearts of men and sees the glances of beholder’s eyes! Faces are humble in awe of Him; necks are submissive to His mightiness and majesty; hearts are afraid out of fear of Him; and limbs tremble in terror of Him! O All-apparent! O All-hearing! O All-high! O Exalted! Bless him who makes prayer honorable through calling down blessings upon him; take vengeance on him who has wronged me, made light of me, dismissed the Shi‘ites from my door; let him taste the bitterness of abasement as he has made me taste it; make him outcast among those who commit abominable acts and those who are impure! Praise belongs to Allah! May Allah bless Mohammed and his good, pure Household![55]”

This supplication is abound with praising and lauding Allah with the most beautiful kind of laudation. Also it is filled, especially at the end of it, with oppression, harm, and persecutions which were brought about to the Imām by al-Ma’mūn, the ‘Abbāsid Caliph, who dismissed the Shi‘ites of the Imām, and made light of him. That was when Islamic world admired the position of the Imām and his great personality, and when it came to know that al-Ma’mūn had an insignificant character void of morals which were necessary for the office of the caliphate over the Muslims. This supplication demonstrates that the Imām was so displeased with al-Ma’mūn that he invoked Allah against him.

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6. Yet another example of his holy supplications is following:

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious,the Most Merciful. O Allah, to You belongs praise for repelling afflictions which come down, the misfortunes of adversity, calamities, and the continuous rush of the lavishness of favors! To You belongs praise for Your wholesome bestowal and Your praiseworthy trial! To You belongs praise for Your great beneficence, Your dear good, Your easy imposing, and Your repelling difficulties! To You belongs praise for Your making fruitful little gratitude, Your giving abundant reward, Your lessening the weight of heavy sins, Your accepting narrow excuse, Your lifting up burdensome time, Your making easy difficult places, and Your preventing Your decisive command! To You belongs praise for driving away tribulations, abundant favor, repelling fearful things, and abasing the tyrannical!

To You belongs praise for little obligation, plentiful reduction, strengthening the weak, and aiding the troubled! To You belongs praise for your abundant disregard, Your lasting bounty, Your taking away the barrenness of land, Your praiseworthy acts, and Your uninterrupted gifts! To You belongs praise for delaying immediate punishment, leaving sudden chastisement, making easy the paths of return (to You), and sending down the rain of clouds! Verily, You are All-gracious, All-Bestower![56]” This supplication contains a group of phrases which laud and praise Allah, the Exalted, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life.

These are some of the Imām’s supplications which reveal part of his spiritual life, namely he devoted himself to Allah, communicated with Him, and held fast to His cord. With this supplication we will end our speech about some qualities of the Imām’s holy character.

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Footnote

[1] Hayāt al-Imām al-Jawād, p.37.

[2] Nūr al-Abbsār, p. 138.

[3] 'Uyyūn al-Tawārikh (photographed), vol. 3, p. 227.

[4] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p.28.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Al-Nasnās is an imaginary man-like animal.

[7] Al-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 361.

[8] 'Uyyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 178. Al-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 361.

[9] Hayāt al-Imām al-Jawād, p. 39.

[10] Ibid., p. 40.

[11]Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār , vol. 12, p. 28.

[12] Al-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 361.

[13] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 28.

[14] Ibid., p. 18.

[15] Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 58.

[16] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 18.

[17] Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 107.

[18] 'Uyyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 180. Imām al-Jawād, p. 42. Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf.

[19] A'yān al-Shi'a, 4/Q2.

[20] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 15.

[21] Al-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 333.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Nazhat al-Jalis, vol. 2, p. 107.

[24] Al-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 335. Jawhart al-Kalām, p. 146.

[25] Al-Bihār, vol. 12, p. 13.

[26] Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma, p. 229. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 13.

[27] Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 59. Akhbār al-Diwal, p. 114.

[28] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/97.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 59.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] The house of the pilgrims of Basrah

[34] Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 103. Jāmi' Karāmāt al-Awliyā', vol. 2, p. 156. Nūr al-Abbsār.

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[35]Jawharat al-Kalām, p. 146.

[36] Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 59.

[37] Al-Bihār, vol. 12, pp. 26-27. The tradition also includes the explanation of some of his supplications, his acts of worship, and his reciting some suras during his supererogatory prayers.

[38] Muhajj al-Da'awāt, p.320.

[39] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 368.

[40] Ibid., p. 476.

[41] Qur'ān, 2, 186.

[42] Ibid., 39, 53.

[43] Ibid., 2, 268.

[44] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 489.

[45] Muhajj al-Da'awāt, p. 44.

[46] Al-Musbāh, p. 217.

[47] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 579.

[48] A'yān al-Shi'a, 4/Q2/197.

[49] Qur'ān, 39, 53.

[50] Ibid., 15, 56.

[51] Ibid., 40, 60.

[52] Ibid., 17, 71.

[53] Muhajj al-Da'awāt, pp. 315-317.

[54] Al-Musbāh, p. 168.

[55] Ibid., p. 292. Al-Bihār, vol. 12, p. 24.

[56] Ibid., 415.

CHAPTER III

IMPRESSIONS OF HIS CHARACTER

Imām Abū Mohammed al-Ridā, peace be on him, is famous for his outstanding merits and talents. He has dominated the minds of religious scholars throughout generations and times, and they have expressed their own beautiful laudation and glorification regarding his own character. The following are some of them:

1. Imām al-Kāzim

Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him, praised his son Imām al-Ridā and preferred him to the great Sayyids from among his sons. He ordered them to serve him and to refer to him in the affairs of their religion. Concerning him, he said to them: “This is your brother ‘Ali b. Mūsā, who is the scholar of the Household of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his Household. Question him about your beliefs and memorize what he says to you, for I heard my father Ja‘far say: ‘The scholar of the Household of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his Household, is in your loins. Would that I met him, for he is the namesake of (Imām ‘Ali), the Commander of the faithful.’[1]”

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Imām al-Kāzim announced that his great son would be the scholar of the Household of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his Household. This was the greatest medal which he gave to him, for the family of Mohammed were the origin of knowledge and wisdom in Islam; and the Imām (al-Ridā) was their master in this noble quality. We will mention some other words reported from Imām al-Kāzim regarding the qualities of his son.

2. Al-Ma’mūn

Al-Ma’mūn, the ‘Abbasid King, announced the excellence and exalted position of Imām al-Ridā, on several occasions of which are following:

A. He said to al-Fadal b. Sahl and his brother: “I do not know anyone more meritorious (afdal) than this man (i.e. ‘Ali b. Mūsā) on the face of earth.[2]” According to this statement of al-Ma’mūn, the Imām was the most learned and meritorious of the scholars in the world in all sciences and knowledge.

B. He praised Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, in the letter which he sent to the ‘Abbāsids who were displeased with him when he intended to entrust the office of the caliphate to the Imām. The letter says: “Al-Ma’mūn did not pledge allegiance to him (i.e. Imām al-Ridā) but discerning of his affair, knowing that none on the face of earth is clearer than him in merit, more manifest than him in chastity, more pious than him in piety, more ascetic than him in renouncing the world, freer than him in soul, more pleasing than him to the special associates and the general populace, and firmer than him in Divine essence. The pledge of allegiance to him confirms with the good pleasure of the Lord.[3]”

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These words specify some of the exalted qualities which were in the Imām, peace be on him, and which distinguished him from the rest of the people. They are as follows:

A. The Imām was the clearest of the people in merit and knowledge.

B. He was the most chaste of the people on the face of earth.

C. He was the most ascetic of the people in renouncing the pleasures and embellishment of life.

D. He was the most generous of the people toward the deprived.

E. The special associates and the general populace acknowledged that he was the most meritorious person, and that none had qualities similar to those of him.

F. He was the firmest of the people in Divine essence, for he did not fear the blame of a blamer regarding Allah.

G. The pledge of allegiance of al-Ma’mūn to him confirmed with the good pleasure of Allah, the Blessed and Exalted.

H. In the document in which he pledged allegiance to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, al-Ma’mūn has said: “His (al-Ma’mūn’s) choosing ‘Ali b. Mūsā b. Ja‘far b. Mohammed b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib was after asking Allah for the best and exerting himself in accomplishing His right toward His servants and His earth concerning the two houses in general (i.e., the ‘Abbāsid House and the ‘Alawide Family, may Allah increase it in honor). That is because he (al-Ma’mūn) has seen his (the Imām’s) brilliant excellence, his plain knowledge, his manifest piety, his pure asceticism, his renouncing the world, and his being safe from the people. It has become clear for him that reports, tongues, and words have unanimously agreed upon him. Besides, he is still know his excellence when young and adult, so he has appointed him as his successor after him.[4]”

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These words praise the noble qualities which distinguished Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, from the rest of the ‘Alawide and the ‘Abbāsid family. These qualities are as follows:

I. Brilliant excellence and plain knowledge.

II. Refraining from what Allah, the Exalted, prohibited.

III. He never wronged anyone, for he was the source of good and mercy for mankind.

IV. Renouncing the world.

V. The Muslims agreed unanimously on him.

Al-Ma’mūn realized these exalted qualities of the Imām, and it was they which urged him to appoint the Imām as his successor, just as he has said in the above mentioned statement.

3. Ibrāhim Bin al-‘Abbās al-Sawli

(Ibrāhim b. al-‘Abbās al-Sawli), a creative writer and famous poet, has said: “I have never seen nor have I heard that anyone is more meritorious than Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā. Do not believe him who claims that he has seen the like of him in his excellence.[5]”

The Imām was the model of outstanding merits and talents. There was none like him in his time, for he was among the pillars of thought and virtue in the world of Islam.

4. Abū al-Salt al-Harawi

Abū al-Salt, ‘Abd al-Salām al-Harawi, who was among the great figures of his time, has said: “I have never seen anyone more learned than ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā. When a (religious) scholar sees him, he bear witness for him just as I do. Al-Ma’mūn gathered for him a number of the scholars of religions, the jurists of Islamic law, and the theologians. However, he (al-Ridā) overcame them, to the extent that they acknowledged his excellence over them.[6]”

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These words give an account of the great scientific abilities of the Imām, peace be on him, for he was the most knowledgeable and meritorious of the people of his time. This can clearly be seen in the debates which al-Ma’mūn held in his palace in order to test the Imām. Al-Ma’mūn had gathered the scholars of the countries and cities, and they tested the Imām with the most difficult questions; yet he answered them skillfully. So the scholars admired him, confessed their feebleness before him, and acknowledged his excellence over them.

5. Al-Rajā’ Bin Abū al-Dhhāk

Al-Rajā’ Bin Abū al-Dhhāk, a military commander, has said: “By Allah, I have never seen anyone more devout to Allah than him, praised Allah throughout his times more than he did, and feared Allah, the Great and Almighty, more than he did.[7]”

These words show the spiritual side in the Imām’s character, for he was the most religious of all the people; he praised Allah and feared Him more than they did.

6. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid

The leader of the Shi‘a, Mohammed b. Mohammed al-Nu‘mān al-‘Ukkburi al-Baghdādi, better known as al-Shaykh al-Mufid, has said: “The Imām who undertook (the office) (qā’im) after Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far, peace be on them, was his son Abū al-Hasan ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on them, because of his merit over all his brothers and the members of his House (ahl baytihi), because of the knowledge, forbearance and pity which he showed, and which the Shi‘a (khāsa) and the non-Shi‘a (‘āmma) agreed on with regard to him and recognized him for.[8]”

p: 67

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid has mentioned some qualities which distinguished Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, from the rest of his brothers and the members of his House. These noble qualities and peculiarities are as follows:

a. Knowledge.

b. Forbearance.

c. Piety

7. Al-Wāqidi

Al-Wāqidi has said: “‘Ali (al-Ridā) heard the hadith from his father, his uncles, and others. He was trustworthy and gave religious precepts in the Mosque of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, at the age of more than twenty. He belonged to the eighth class of the next generation from among the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt).[9]”

Al-Wāqidi has mentioned two of the Imām’s qualities which are as follows:

a. Trustworthiness.

b. His giving religious decisions at the age of over twenty.

8. Jamāl al-Din

Jamāl al-Din Ahmed b. ‘Ali, a genealogist, better known as b. ‘Anba, has said: “Imām al-Ridā was given the kunya of Abū al-Hasan. None of the Tālibiyyin of his time was like him. Al-Ma’mūn pledged allegiance to him, minted dirhams and dinars in his name, and ordered his name to be mentioned on the pulpits.[10]”

Al-Sayyid Jamāl al-Din has mentioned that none was like the Imām in his time; he was unique in his time due to his talents and geniuses.

9. Yousif b. Taghri Bardi

Jamāl al-Din Abū al-Mahāsin Yousif b. Taghri has said: “Imām Abū al-Hasan al-Hāshimi, al-‘Alawi, al-Husayni was a learned Imām. He was the chief of the Hāshimites of his time and was the greatest of them. Al-Ma’mūn magnified him, honored him, yielded to him and extremely mentioned him, to the extent that he made him his successor.[11]”

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These words shed light on some qualities of the personality of the Imām , peace be on him, which are: He was learned. He was the chief of the Hāshimites and was the greatest of them. As he had a great character, al-Ma’mūn appointed him as his successor.

10. Ibn Māja

Ibn Māja has said: “He (Imām al-Ridā) was the chief of the Hāshimites. Al-Ma’mūn magnified and honored him. He designated him as his successor and took the Pledge of allegiance to him (from the people).[12]”

Ibn Māja took care of one of the Imām’s qualities, which is that he was the chief of the Hāshimites. Of course, the Imām was the master of the people of his time, for the Hāshimites were the master of the people because of their good manners, their exalted ethics, and their excellent behavior.

11. Ibn Hajar

Ibn Hajar has said: “Al-Ridā was among the men of knowledge and merits; he had noble lineage.[13]”

12. Al-Yāfi‘i

Al-Yāfi‘i has said: “The great, magnified Imām, the descendant of the noble Sayyids, ‘Ali b. Mūsa al-Ridā, was one of the twelve Imāms, the possessors of the laudable deeds; the Imāmi Shi‘a have followed them and adopted their doctrine.[14]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was the most brilliant star in the world of Islam. He was among the Imāms of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, who enlightened intellectual life and strengthened the pillars of truth and justice on earth. The Shi‘ites proudly follow them, and adopt their traditions on religious precepts. They follow them not because of bigotry or blind imitation; rather, it is incumbent on them to follow them because of the definite arguments and decisive proofs. For example, the Holy Qur’ān has made it obligatory on men to show love for them; (Allah) has purified them from uncleanness and deviation from the right path; the Prophet has regarded them as ships of deliverance and security for mankind and associated them with the Firm Revelation (the Qur’ān). If religious proofs permitted the Shi‘ites to follow other than their doctrine, they would do.

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13. ‘Āmir al-Tā’i

‘Āmir al-Tā’i has commented on the book entitled Sahifat Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, which is one of Imām al-Ridā’s works, saying: “‘Ali b. Mūsa al-Ridā, the Imām of the Allah-fearing and model of the grandsons of the Master of messengers related to us...[15]”

Imām al-Ridā was the chief of the Allah-fearing and Imām of worshippers. In the previous chapters we mentioned examples of his acts of worship and his reverential fear, which are evidence for what al-Tā’i has mentioned.

14. One of the Imāms

One of the Imāms has said: “‘Ali b. Mūsā` al-Ridā’s deeds are laudable. His excellence and outstanding merits are like successive phalanxes. Showing friendship toward him is praiseworthy from beginning to end. His qualities are wonderful. His mastership and nobility became high out of honor.

“As for the glory of his fathers, it is more famous than luminous lamp and more shining than the round side of the sun. As for his ethics, his characteristics, his qualities, his signs, and his marks, they are excellent in pride and sufficient in high degree! He walked on the path which he inherited from his forefathers, and the children inherited (this path) from him. They are equal, like the teeth of a comb, in good, noble origin. So I magnify this family, who is high in rank and exalted in position. He was as high as heaven in nobility and was higher than the bright stars in position and place. He had perfect qualities, so he is not excluded from them.[16]”

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These words are arranged. They contain rhymed prose. They display that the writer showed love to the Imāms, peace be on them. May Allah accept their intercession with Him for the writer.

SOME OTHER IMPRESSIONS OF HIS CHARACTER

15. Hāshim Ma‘rūf

‘Allām, late al-Sayyid Hāshim Ma‘rūf al-Husayni has said: “Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was distinguished by wonderful noble moral traits which helped him attract both Shi‘a (khāsa) and non-Shi‘a‘ (‘āmma). He took these ethics from the essence of the Message with which he was entrusted, and which he safeguarded and inherited.[17]”

This statement reports one of the qualities of the Imām, peace be on him, which is his exalted morals. It is worth mentioning that his morals were similar to those of his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who was the master of all prophets.

16. AL-Dhahabi

AL-Dhahabi has said: “He (al-Ridā) is Imām Abū al-Hasan b. Mūsā al-Kāzim b. Ja’far al-Sādiq b. Mohammed al-Bāqir b. ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Ābidin b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib al-Hāshimi al-‘Alawi. He was the master of the Hāshimites of his time; he was the most clement and noblest of them. Al-Ma’mūn honored him, yielded to him, and magnified him to the extent that he appointed him as his successor.[18]”

Al-Dhahabi, known for showing enmity toward the ahl al-Bayt (peace be on them), has acknowledged the outstanding merits of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him.

17. Mahmūd Bin Wihayb

Mahmūd Bin Wihayb al-Baghdādi has said: “He (al-Ridā), may Allah be pleased with him, had numerous miracles, so he was the unique of his time.[19]”

p: 71

Imām al-Ridā was the unique of his time because of his abundant knowledge, his reverential fear, his piety, his clemency, and his munificence. None was like him in excellence and talents.

18. ‘Ārif Thāmir

‘Ārif Thāmir has said: He (Imām al-Ridā) is regarded as one of the Imāms who played a great role on the arena of the Islamic events in his time.[20]”

During the short period of his undertaking the office of regency, Imām al-Ridā could manifest the origin values of Islamic policy, for he ordered al-Ma’mūn to establish justice and fairness among the people, prevented him from wasting the properties of the state and from other matters which we will mention in the chapters of this book, and which support al-Sayyid ‘Ārif Thāmir’s statement concerning the Imām and his fathers, who played a great role on the arena of the Islamic events of his time.

19. Mohammed Bin Shākir al-Kutubi

Mohammed Bin Shākir al-Kutubi has said: “He (Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him) is one of the twelve Imāms. He was the master of the Hāshimites of his time.”

20. ‘Abd al-‘Āl

‘Abd al-‘Āl al-Sa‘idi has said: “He (Imām al-Ridā), peace be on him, had abundant knowledge and piety. Abū Nu’ās was asked: ‘Why have you left praising ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā while he has all (good) qualities?’ He replied: ‘I cannot praise the Imām whose father Gabriel served. By Allah, I have left praising him in order to magnify him. The like of me can say nothing concerning the like of him.[21]”

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The Imām had outstanding qualities which none can count. For example, he had abundant knowledge and piety which distinguished him from the rest of the people.

21. Yousif al-Nabahāni

Yousif al-Nabahāni has said: “‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Kāzim b. Ja‘far al-Sādiq, peace be on them, was one of the great Imāms, the lamps of the community from among the Household of the Prophet, the origin of knowledge, gonsticism, and generosity. He had a great position and famous reputation. He had many miracles of which is that he foretold that he would die of eating (poisoned) grapes and pomegranates. The matter happened just as he had predicted.[22]”

The Imām, peace be on him, was a brilliant branch of the Prophetic family through whom Allah exalted the Arabs and the Muslims, in addition to his clear lineage, so he was among the pillars of excellence and honor. He had famous miracles, just as al-Nabahāni has said in the above-mentioned statement.

22. ‘Abd al-Qādir Ahmed

‘Abd al-Qādir Ahmed al-Yousif has said: “The history of the Imām is full of great qualities (such as) abundant knowledge, inherited infallibility, and unique holiness like that of the infallible Imāms who descended from his loins. He was the great figure of guidance during his time; he was the model of reverential fear, piety, clemency, and ethics. What could I possibly say concerning the life of one of Allah’s testamentary trustees? What could my pen possibly write concerning introducing him?

“Is mentioning his name not full introduction? His name is part of Allah’s light, which guides him who seeks sanctuary from it toward the rightist way leading to public righteousness.

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“The Imām devoted his own life to exalting the position of the Muslims. All his deeds issued from the thought of faith leading to the righteousness of the people and the good pleasure of the Lord of the worlds.[23]”

The history of the Imām is full of outstanding merits such as knowledge, reverential fear, piety, clemency, and high moral standards. The Imām is the model of all man’s values; none has qualities like those of him except the Sayyids from among his fathers and children. Therefore, man has the right to boast of such qualities of the Imām.

23. Yousif Bin Oghlā

Yousif Bin Oghlā, Sibt b. al-Jawzi, has said: “‘Ali b. Mūsā, better known as al-Ridā (consent), was munificent, just, worshipful, and ascetic. Were it had not been for his fear of al-Ma’mūn, he would not have responded to regency.[24]”

All noble traits such as, munificence, justice, worship, and asceticism gathered in the personality of Imām Abū Mohammed al-Ridā, peace be on him. Accordingly, he has occupied the top of honor and glory in the world of Islam.

24. Al-Zargali

Khayr al-Din al-Zargali has said: “‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Kāzim b. Ja‘far al-Sādiq, whose nickname is al-Ridā, is the eighth Imām of the Imāmi (Shi‘a) and was among the great and meritorious Sayyids from among the members of the House, ahl al-Bayt.[25]”

25. Mohammed Jawād Fadl Allah

‘Allāma Mohammed Jawād Fadl Allah has said: “Imām al-Ridā is one of the bases of Islamic thought and among its starting points full of knowledge. The secrets of the Message and the keys of its treasures reached him after (the death) of his father Imām Mūsā b. Ja‘far. So his knowledge was part of the Message and his giving was part of its grace.

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“He is one of the twelve Imāms from among the members of the House, ahl al-Bayt, who enriched Islamic thought with various kinds of knowledge such as dictating to their students or answering him who questioned them or debating with the great scholars of other religions.[26]”

Imām al-Ridā is one of the treasures of Islam; among the brilliant fruits of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household; and one of his blessings which embraced all languages on earth. Through him Allah has enriched Islamic thought, and made clear the purpose. He has made him an eminent figure on His earth in ordered to guide the perplexed and those who go astray.

26. Ahmed al-Khazraji

Ahmed al-Khazraji has said: “‘Ali b. Mūsā b. Ja’far b. Mohammed b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, al-Hāshimi, Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, narrated on the authority of his father. ‘Abd al-Salām b. Sālih and a group (of narrators) reported several copies (of books) on his authority. He was the master of the Hāshimites. Al-Ma’mūn magnified and respected him, entrusted the caliphate to him, and took the pledge of allegiance (from the people) to him. He (al-Ridā) died of poison at Tūs.[27]”

Al-Khazraji indicates that some students of Imām al-Rida, peace be on him, reported many books on his authority. It is certain that the books concern the rules of Islamic law, manners and norms of Islam. Al-Khazraji also shows that the Imām died of poison; I (i.e. the author) also believe that al-Ma’mūn gave him poison to drink in order to get rid of him, for he saw that all the Muslims magnified and honored him. We will mention this matter in the chapters that follow.

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27. One of those who show love for him

One of those who showed love for the Imām and admired him has said: “The importance of ‘Ali al-Ridā b. Mūsā al-Kāzim b. Ja‘far al-Sādiq, peace be on them, surpassed the ahl al-Bayt; his position raised him among them; and his proof manifested, so the Caliph al-Ma’mūn loved him, made him a partner in his caliphate, entrusted the affairs of his kingdom to him, and married his daughter to him before the witnesses. His (al-Ridā’s) excellences were high; his qualities were outstanding; his honorable soul was Hāshimite; and his noble origin was prophetic. His miracles are more than to be counted and more famous than to be mentioned.[28]”

28. Al-Shabrāwi

Al-Shabrāwi has said: “He (Imām al-Ridā), may Allah be pleased with him, was generous, great, dignified, and respected. His father Mūsā al-Kāzim showed abundant love toward him. He gave to him the country estate which he bought for thirty thousand dinars.[29]”

Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, was very loyal to his son Imām (al-Ridā). He preferred him to the rest of his children, entrusted with him the office of the Imāmate, and gave to him this country estate. Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim showed love for his son not because of his feelings and desires; rather, he loved his son because he felt that he was one of the bases of Islam and of the testamentary trustees of the greatest Prophet, as it has been mentioned in the authentic traditions.

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29. Abū Nu’ās

Abū Nu’ās, a famous poet, praised and lauded Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. He composed poetry concerning him two times, which are as follows:

a. The poets who coincided with the Imām composed poetry concerning him and lauded him except Abū Nu’ās. The people criticized Abū Nu’ās for this attitude[30], and he composed these wonderful poetry lines:

It is said to me: You are the most unique of all the people in the techniques of famous statement.

You have a style of essential words, which produces pearl in the hands of him who has it.

So why have you left praising the qualities of Ibn Mūsa?`

I have said: I cannot find the right way to praise the Imām whose father Gabriel served!

The people have memorized these poetry lines and regarded them as part of the wonderful Arab poetry, for these lines suit their feelings, their admiration, and their magnification toward the Imāms of the ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. It is worth mentioning that al-Dhahabi, known for harboring malice against the ahl al-Bayt, has commented on the last line, saying: “I (i.e. al-Dhahabi) say: ‘It is not permissible to say that Gabriel was the retainer of his (al-Ridā’s) father. There is something missing in the text, and the Rāfidites (the Shi‘a) have forged a lie against ‘Ali al-Ridā.[31]”

The members of the House, ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, have great position with Allah, for they had stood the good test for His sake to the extent that their limbs were cut off, and they were liable to indescribable persecutions. They had adopted such a brave attitude in order to raise high the world of Allah’s religion and to spread justice among men, but al-Dhahabi and his errant companions had not understood this attitude of the Imāms.

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b. Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, went out mounting an active mule. Abū Nu’ās came nearer to him, greeted him, and said to him: “O Son of Allah’ Messenger, I have composed some poetry lines concerning you. I want you to hear them from me.”

“Recite them,” the Imām demanded.

Abū Nu’ās recited them, saying:

They (the ahl al-Bayt) are purified, and their garments are pure. Blessings are called down upon them whenever they are mentioned. He who is not an ‘Alawide when we ascribe him, then he had no object of pride in the bygone times.

These people are the ahl al-Bayt who have the knowledge of the Book and what the suras have mentioned.[32]

These poetry lines are part of the most splendid poetry. Abū Nu’ās has quoted the first hemistich from the Holy Qur’ān, for Allah the Exalted,has said:“Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness and to purify you, people of the House, with a thorough purification.” Allah purified them from deviation, kept off from them every kind of uncleanness, and made them a model of His servants, that the perplexed may follow them.

Imām al-Ridā admired these poetry lines and said to Abū Nu’ās: “You have brought us some (poetry) lines which none had composed before you.”

Then the Imām turned to his retainer and asked him: “How much money do you have?”

“Three hundred dinars,” replied the retainer.

“Give them to Abū Nu’ās,” the Imām commanded. When Abū Nu’ās had gone home, the Imām said to his retainer: “Perhaps, Abū Nu’ās regards this money as little, so send him the mule.[33]”

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30. Di‘bil al-Khazā‘i

Di‘bil al-Khazā‘i abundantly lauded and elegized Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. The following are some of his poetry lines concerning him:

Ibn Mūsā (al-Ridā) along with exalted qualities have departed; Noble knowledge has followed him;

Both guidance and religion have followed him just as intimate friend does.[34]

The meaning of these poetry lines is that Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, had all kinds of honor and excellent traits, so knowledge and religion followed him. He was distinguished by these noble qualities, which were part of his nature.

31. Al-Sāhib Bin ‘Abbād

Al-Sāhib Bin A‘bbād adored Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, so he has greeted him in these poetry lines:

O you who intend to go and visit Tūs, land of purity and sanctification, recite my greetings to al-Ridā and stop by the most honorable grave of the best buried one.

By Allah! By Allah! This is an oath which has issued from a sincere one who is clinging to friendship!

Verily, if I possessed my own need, I would resided at Tūs, the inhabited.

Verily, it is the place of the martyr wrapped in righteousness, famous for exaltedness and praise.

Then al-Sāhib b. ‘Abbād has said:

O son of the Prophet through whom Allah broke the backs of the arrogant tyrants!

O son of the testamentary trustee who was the most meritorious of powerful men, attained perfect pride and naturally accompanied glory![35]

In another short poem, he has said:

p: 79

O visitor who early got up, ran, and walked like lightning when it flashes, recite my greetings to my master al-Ridā, who is at Tūs, the grandson of the chosen Prophet, son of al- Murtadā, the testamentary trustee, who attained firm exaltedness and built white glory!

Say to him: (These greetings) are from a loyal one who regards friendship as obligatory![36]

32. Ibn al-Hajjāj Ibn al-Hajjāj composed abundant poetry concerning praising Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. These two lines are part of it:

O son of him from whom noble deeds are reported, and exalted morals are taken!

O he who has given the name of al-Ridā, ‘Ali b. Mūsā, may Allah be pleased with his father and him![37]

33. ‘Abd Allah Bin al-Mubārak

Praising the Imam`, ‘Abd Allah Bin al-Mubārak composed this poetry line:

This is ‘Ali (al-Ridā); he leads guidance and is the best of the youths of Quraysh in origin.[38]

34. AL-Sawli

Concerning lauding the Imām, al-Sawli has said:

‘Ali (al-Ridā), the magnified, is the best of the people in soul, father, family, and grandfathers.

Takktum has brought him to us for knowledge, and clemency. He is the eighth Imām who will deliver the proof of Allah.[39]

35. Ibn Hammād

Lauding Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, the poet Ibn Hammād has said:

My yearning has driven it (my soul) to Tūs and to him whom Tūs has embraced.

At that place is al-Ridā, who is a precious scholar and learned man; the Ocean of knowledge and wisdom when compared (with men); and light of Allah which none can extinguish.[40]

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36. AL-Arbali

Praising the Imām in a poem and yearning for visiting his grave, ‘Ali b. ‘Īsā al-Arbali has said:

O diligent rider, stop the camels when arrive in the land of Tūs!

Do not be afraid of their being tired, and leave hitting them during stopping and taking a rest. Kiss the ground when you see the earth of the Shrine of the best of mankind, ‘Ali b. Mūsā.

Recite to him my greetings, which are like the perfume of musk, (and say to him that these greetings are) from Ali b.‘Īsā.

Say: That precious place receives the peace of Allah every time. The one who remembers Allah is still reciting glorification and hallowing in the house.

(It is) the house of honor. The one who goes straight to it will continue sending his hopes and the camels to it.

(It is) the house of glory. Praise and laudation is still devoted to it.

What could I possibly say in praising the people whose glory Allah has established with an establishment?

What could I possibly say in praising the people whose name Allah has sanctified with a sanctification?

They are the guides of mankind. They are the most generous of all people.

Their origins and souls are noble. When a drought occurred, they gave generously like rain.

When a vague error became dark, they appear like suns. They gave honor to horses, pulpits, and camels when they ascended them.

They are the people whose love removes worries, and whose qualities make clear the pages.

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They are noble in birth, good in origin, pure in ancestry, and meritorious in root. No friend became unhappy through them when he made friends with them.

I supported them with my praising them when I did not join the army.

They have filled my heart with friendship and hope, and I have filled the pages with my praising them. So you realize that I am obedient to them and showing love toward them, and that to other than them I am disobedient and obstinate.

O ‘Ali al-Ridā, I send you affection leaving the heart hot out of love. (You are) my faith; my faith is in you; and in my heart, for you, there is love leaving passion and steadfastness.

I do not think that the malady (of my own heart) recovers through other than you; nor is the wound (of my own heart) cured with other than you. I wish I could visit your lofty shrine and kissed your sociable land.

If it is difficult for me to visit you in wakefulness, then you visit me in sleep and quench my thirst (for visiting you).

Footnote

[1] Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 107. A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/100. Al-Bihār.

[2] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/133.

[3] Al-Bihār, vol. 12, p. 133.

[4] Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 125. Al-Bihār, vol. 12, p. 44.

[5] Kashf al-Ghumma.

[6] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/99-100.

[7] Bihār al-Anwār.

[8] Al-Mufid, al-Irshād, p. 34.

[9] Tadhkirat al-Khawās, p. 361.

[10] 'Umdat al-Tālib fi Ansāb Āl Abū Tālib, p. 198.

p: 82

[11] Al-Nujūm al-Zāhira, vol. 2, p. 74.

[12] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/85. Khulāsat Tahdhib al-Kamāl, p. 278.

[13] Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 389.

[14] Mir'āt al-Jinān, vol. 2, p. 11.

[15] A'yān al-Shi'a 4/Q2/188.

[16] Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma, p. 245.

[17] Sirat al-A'imma al-Ithnā 'Ashar, vol. 2, p. 359.

[18] Tārikh al-Islām, vol. 8, p. 34.

[19] Jawāhir al-Kalām, p. 143.

[20] 'Uyyūn al-Tawārikh, vol. 3, p. 226.

[21] Al-Mujaddidūn fi al-Islām, p. 87.

[22] Jāmi' Karāmāt al-Awliyā', vol. 2, p. 156.

[23] Al-Imām 'Ali al-Ridā Wali 'Ahd al-Ma'mūn, p. 1.

[24] Mir'āt al-Zamān, vol. 6, p. 41.

[25] Al-A'lām, vol. 5, p. 178.

[26] Hayāt al-Imām al-Ridā.

[27] Khulāsat Tahdhib al-Kamāl, p. 678.

[28] Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 88.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibn Tolo`n has mentioned in his book al-A'imma al-Ithnā 'Ashar,

pp. 98-99: "Abū Nu'ās was blamed for leaving lauding the Imām (al-Rida),

hence one of his companions said to him: 'I have never seen anyone more impudent than you.

You have said something concerning wine, mountain, and singing,

but you have said nothing concerning 'Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, who is in your time.'

He said: 'By Allah, I have left this to honor and magnify him.

The like of me can say nothing concerning the like of him.' Then, after an hour, he composed these lines."

[31] Tārikh al-Islām, vol. 8, p. 35.

[32] Khulāsat al-Dhahab al-Masbūk, p. 200.

[33] Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 60. Nazhat al-Jalis, vol. 2, p. 105. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 107.

p: 83

[34] Di'bil, Divān, p. 108.

[35] 'Uyyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 4.

[36] Ibid., p. 6.

[37] AL-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 343.

[38] Ibid.

[39] 'Uyyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 15.

[40] AL-Manāqib, vol. 4, p. 350.

CHAPTER IV

UNDER THE CARE OF HIS FATHER

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, lived under the wing of his father, Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, for twenty five years and some months. He witnessed various kinds of ordeal and misfortune which befell his father, who worried and frightened the ‘Abbāsid government, for he was the focus of the attention of the Muslims and the place of their hope for saving them from the ruling ‘Abbāsid band, who went too far in wronging the people and forcing them (to do) what they disliked.

In addition to this is that great part of the Muslims adopted the Imāmate of Imām al-Kāzim, for they regarded him as the lawful successor after the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household, and worthier of his office and position than Hārūn (al-Rashid) and the rest of the ‘Abbāsid kings, with whom the Imām coincided. The high rank of Imām al-Kāzim made the ‘Abbāsid kings sleepless, so they harbored malice against him, took all measures to persecute and torture him.

Any how, I (the author) will mention a brief outline about the personality of Imām al-Kāzim and its good effects on that of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him.

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Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him, is famous in the world for his outstanding qualities, through the fact that there were gathered in his noble character all the elements of virtue, fundamentals of wisdom and morals, of which are the following:

A. His Scientific Talents

Without doubt Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, was the most learned of the people of his time and most knowledgeable of them in all sciences. He was the highest authority in the science of Islamic jurisprudence and tradition. So the religious scholars and the narrators surrounded him in order to record his religious edicts, his wonderful wise sayings and morals. Imām al-Sādiq, the most eminent figure of this community and pioneer of its renaissance, bore witness to the abundant knowledge of his son when he said to ‘Īsā: “If you ask this son of mine (Imām Mūsā) about what is between the two sides of the Qur’ān, he will answer you about it with knowledge.[1]”

He has also said concerning his son’s outstanding merit: “He (Imām al-Kāzim) has knowledge of wisdom, understanding, munificence, and knowledge of what the people need regarding their religious affairs over which they differ.”

The religious scholars have reported from Imām al-Kāzim all kinds of science and written many books about them, so they have named him ‘the Scholar’. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid has said: “The people have reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan (Mūsā), and they have become very numerous; he was the most knowledgeable in the law during his time.[2]”

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Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, improved and developed scientific life; he was the most brilliant of the Muslims in spreading Islamic culture.

B. His Acts of Worship and his reverential Fear

The narrators have unanimously agreed that Imām al-Kāzim was the greatest of the people in obeying Allah and was the most worshipful of them, that he had calluses like those of the camel because of his abundant prostration for Allah, just as his grandfather Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, had. So he was given the nick-name of Dhi al-Thafanāt (the Possessor of the calluses). An example of his acts of worship is that he would weep when he stood for prayer before the Almighty Creator, whispered to Him or supplicated Him.[3]

The narrators have said: “He (Imām al-Kāzim) used to pray supererogatory prayers throughout the night so that he would make them extend until the morning prayer, then continue them until the sun rose. He would remaining prostrating himself before Allah without raising his head from prayer and praising Allah until the sun came near to descending (from its midday zenith).[4]”

Another example of his acts of worship is that at the beginning of the night, he entered the mosque of his grandfather, Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household, prostrated himself before Allah, and said with fear of Him: “How great sin is with me! Therefore let forgiveness seem good to You, O Worthy of reverential fear, O Worthy to forgive!”

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He continued this supplication with turning to Allah in repentance, sincerity, and weeping until the morning.[5]

When the unjust ‘Abbāsid tyrant, Hārūn al-Rashid, put him in a dark prison, he devoted himself to worshipping Allah and thanking him for this trial, saying: “O Allah, You know that I used to ask You to give me free time to worship You. O Allah, You have done that. To You be praise.[6]”

The tyrant, Hārūn, towered over the prison from the top of his palace and saw a garment thrown in a certain place and did not change its place. The garment amazed him, and he asked al-Rabi‘: “What is that garment which I see in that place every day?”

Al-Rabi‘ answered him, saying: “That is not a garment. That is Mūsā b. Ja‘far. He prostrates himself (before Allah) every day from the sunrise until the sun came near to descending (from its midday zenith).”

Al-Rabi‘ answer amazed Hārūn, the tyrant, and he said: “He is indeed among the monks of the Hāshimites.”

Al-Rabi‘ asked Hārūn to release the Imām and not to oppress him in prison, saying: “O Commander of the faithful, why have you imprisoned him?”

“How far! That is necessary,[7]” retorted Hārūn.

In my book entitled the Life of Imām Mūsā Bin Ja‘far, I (the author) have in detail mentioned Imām al-Kāzim’s acts of worship and his obedience to Allah. Generally speaking Imām al-Kāzim’s acts of worship indicate that he was the Imām of the Allah-fearing, master of the worshippers and monotheists of his time.

p: 87

His Asceticism

Imām al-Kāzim renounced the world, turned away from its pleasures and embellishment. He preferred obeying Allah to all things, and his house was void of all the pleasures of life. Ibrāhim b. ‘Abd al-Hamid spoke about him, saying: “I visited him in his house where he used to pray. Suddenly, there was nothing in it except a coarse clothe, a sword fixed (to the wall), and a copy of the Qur’ān.[8]” Imām al-Kāzim always mentioned to his companions the life of the great, revolutionary companion, Abū Dharr al-Ghifāri, who divorced the world and paid no attention to any of its pleasures. He has said: “May Allah have mercy on Abū Dharr, for he would say: ‘May Allah dispraise the world on my behalf, for I always have two loaves of barely bread: I eat one in lunch and the other in supper; and I have two woolen cloaks: I use one as a loincloth and the other as a garment.’[9]”

Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, took care of the lives of the immortal, great figures from among the companions of his grandfather, the master of the messengers. He praised their behavior and mentioned their laudable deeds before his companions and his students, that they might follow their example.

His Clemency

As for clemency, it was among the most prominent qualities of our master al-Kāzim, peace be on him. Proverbs were coined about his clemency and his restraining anger. The narrators have said: “He pardoned him who mistreated him and forgave him who aggressed against him.” The narrators have mentioned numerous examples of his clemency of which are the following:

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1. A man from the family of ‘Umar b. al-Khattāb was in Medina trying to harm Abū al-Hasan Mūsā, peace be on him. Whenever he saw (Abū al-Hasan) he would curse him and curse ‘Ali, peace be on him. One day some of those who used to attend his gatherings said to him: “Let us kill this sinner.”

He forbade them from (doing) that most firmly and rebuked them severely.

He asked about the descendant of ‘Umar and was told that he had a farm on the outskirts of Medina. He rode out to him and found him at his farm. As he entered the farm with his donkey, the descendant of ‘Umar cried out: “Do not tread on my sown land.”

Yet Abū al-Hasan, peace be on him, continued to tread on it with his donkey until he reached him. He dismounted and sat with him. He greeted him with a smile and laughed at him.

“How much have you paid to saw your land?” he asked.

“One hundred dinars,” (the other man) answered.

“How much do you hope to acquire from it?” Imām al-Kāzim asked.

“I do not know the unknown,” was the reply.

“I only asked you about what you hope it would bring you,” reported (Abū al-Hasan).

“I hope that it will bring me two hundreds dinars,” he answered.

Abū al-Hasan took out a purse in which was three hundred dinars and said: “This is (the price) of what you have sown in its present condition (i.e. what you have spent to sow it and what you hope to gain from it). May Allah provide you with what you hope for from it.”

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The descendant of ‘Umar kissed his hand and asked him to forgive him his (former) hasty words about him. Abū al-Hasan, peace be on him, smiled at him and went away.

In the evening Abū al-Hasan went to the mosque and found that descendant of ‘Umar sitting there. When the latter saw him, he called out: “Allah knows best where to put His (prophetic) mission.”

His companions jumped (in surprise) towards him and said to him: “What is the story (behind what you say), for you used to speak quite differently from this.”

“You have heard what I have said now,” he replied and began to speak on behalf of Abū al-Hasan, peace be on him. They opposed him and he opposed them.

When Abū al-Hasan returned to his house, he said to those who attained his gatherings and who had asked about killing the descendant of ‘Umar: “Which was better-what you wanted or what I wanted? I put right his attitude to the extent which you have now become acquainted with. I was sufficient to the evil that was in him.[10]”

The Imām Abū al-Hasan (Mūsā al-Kāzim) treated with kindness those who hated him and show enmity toward him, so he was able to uproot evil inclinations from their souls, washed their brains which was full of ignorance and defect, and put before them the worlds of Him, the Exalted: “Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.”

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Another sign of his clemency is that he passed by a group of his enemies among whom was Ibn Hayyājj, who ordered one of his followers to cling to the bridle of the Imām’s mule, and he did. The Imām understood his purpose, so he dismounted the mule and gave it to him.[11] In this manner the Imām gave the people an ideal example of clemency and tolerance. He, peace be on him, advised his son to cling to this noble quality. He said to him: “O My little son, I advise you to follow this commandment, which whoever memorizes takes advantage of it: When a comer comes to you and makes you hear a detested thing in the right ear and then moves to the left ear and apologizes to you and says, ‘I have said nothing,’ then accept his apology.[12]” Through this commandment, we can clearly understand Imām al-Kāzim’s abundant forbearance and tolerance. This is one of the information means leading to unity.

His Munificence

Imām Mūsā` al-Kāzim, peace be on him, was the most generous of all the people and the most abundant of them in giving to the miserable and the deprived. It is worth mentioning that he asked them to conceal his gifts and not announce them, for he sought reward from Allah, the Exalted. The narrators have said: “He went out in the darkness of night carrying gifts to the miserable and the weak, and they did not know the person who gave these gifts to them. His gifts to them were ranging from two hundred dinars to four hundred dinars.[13] His family would say: ‘We are amazed by those who complain of paucity and poverty while the gifts of Mūsā reach them!’[14]”

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The history books are full of examples of his kindness to the poor. He lavishly spent on them, so he freed them from need to begging. The biographers have unanimously agreed on that he thought that the best way for spending money was to meet the hunger of the hungry and to clothe the naked. I (the author) have mentioned numerous example of his generosity in my book the Life of Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him.

His Helping the Distressed

One of the most prominent qualities of Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, peace be on him, was that he helped the distressed and saved them from the ordeals and misfortunes which befell them. This was one of

the most beloved things to him. He gave a religious decision to his Shi‘ites in order that they might join the government of Hārun al-Rashid, provided that they should be kind to people. He is well-known for this religious edict, which says: “The expiation of the work with the ruler is (showing) kindness to people.”

The narrators have said: “A person from among the people of al-Ray was in enormous debts to the government of al-Ray. He was unable to repay them and was afraid that the government would confiscate his properties and punish him severely, so he asked the people about the governor, and they told him that he was one of the Shi‘ites of Imām al-Kāzim, peace be on him. He traveled to Medina (Yathrib). When he arrived in it, he met the Imām and complained to him of his state. Soon the Imām responded to him and wrote a letter to the governor of al-Ray, saying: ‘In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Know that Allah has shade under His Throne. None resides in it except him who shows kindness to his brother, relieves his sorrow, and delights him. This is your brother. Greetings.’”

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The man took the letter and went to Mecca in order to perform the hajj. After he had finished performing the hajj, he headed for his homeland. When he reached it, he went to the governor. He knocked at the door of his house. The governor’s retainer came out and asked him: “Who are you?”

“The messenger of the patient one, Mūsā b. Ja‘far,” was the answer.

The retainer hurried to his master and told him about that. The governor came out bare-footed. He received the man, embraced him, kissed him on the forehead, and eagerly asked him about the Imām. The man answered him and then handed him the Imām’s letter. The governor took it with admiration and kissed it. When he read it, he ordered all his money and clothes to be brought. Then he gave most of them to the man and asked him: “Brother, have I delighted you?”

“Yes, by Allah, you have increased me in pleasure,” retorted the man.

Then the governor ordered the record to be brought, his debts to be canceled, and him to be discharged from them. The man went out while waves of happiness and delight covered him. He decided to show kindness to the governor through going to the Sacred House of Allah, praying for him, and telling the Imām about his kindness toward him. When the time of the hajj came, he traveled to the Sacred House of Allah. When he arrived at it, he sincerely supplicated for the governor of al-Ray, and told the Imām about his kindness toward him. The Imām was very pleased with this attitude of the governor. Then the man turned to the Imām and asked him: “My master, has this (deed) delighted you?”

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“Yes,” replied the Imām, “it has also delighted Allah, the Exalted, my grandfather Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Family, the Commander of the faithful, and me.[1]”

This initiative represents the Imām’s care of helping the distressed, and with it we will end our speech about some of his qualities.

The Imām with Hārūn

Imām al-Kāzim suffered from different kinds of painful ordeals and misfortunes in the time of the tyrant, Hārūn, who spared no effort to wrong and punish him. He spent his bloom of youth in the shadows of Hārūn’s prisons and was prevented from seeing his family and Shi‘ites. We will mention a brief outline about the Imām’s sufferings in the time of Hārūn

The Imām is arrested

The Imām had a personality greater than that of Hārūn in Islamic world, for the Muslims loved and respected him. Hārūn was indignant with the Imām, for he had not enjoyed such love and respect.

The narrators have said: “One of the reasons which moved Hārūn to imprison the Imām is that he (Hārūn) ¾surrounded by the nobles, eminent figures, ministers, and high-ranking officials of his

state ¾went to pay a visitation to the tomb of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying: ‘Peace be on you, Apostle of Allah! Peace be on you, cousin.’”

He was seeking to show his proud position over the others by his blood relation with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, for he undertook the office of the caliphate through this means. As for Imām Mūsā al-Kāzim, he was standing beside him. He greeted the great Prophet, saying: “‘Peace be on you, Apostle of Allah! Peace be on you, father!” Hārūn al-Rashid lost his mind. The expression on his face changed and the anger in it became transparently obvious. That is because the Imām was closer than him to the Prophet and more adjacent to him than others. So the tyrant, Hārūn, became angry and asked the Imām: “Why did you say that you were closer to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, than me?”

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The Imām gave to him a definite, undeniable proof, saying: “If Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household, was resurrected and asked you for your daughter’s hand, would you respond to him?”

“Glory belongs to Allah,” retorted Hārūn, “I seek to show my proud position over the Arabs and non-Arabs through this (deed).”

The Imām, peace be on him, continued to establish proofs against him regarding his being closer to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, than him, saying: “However, Allah’s Messenger does not ask me for my daughter’s hand; nor do I marry (her) to him, for he is our father, not your father; therefore, I am nearer to him than you.”

Then the Imām established another proof against Hārūn’s words, saying: “Is it permitted for Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, to visit your womenfolk while they are unveiled?”

“No,” Hārūn replied.

The Imām explained: “However, he has the right to visit my womenfolk, and it is permitted for him to do that; therefore, I am nearer to him than you.[16]”

Hārūn al-Rashid became angry and found no way to refute the Imām’s argument. Accordingly, he harbored malice against the Imām, went to the tomb of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said to him: “May my father and mother be your ransom, O Apostle of Allah, I apologize to you for something I want to do. I want to imprison Mūsā b. Ja‘far because he is intending to bring division into your community and to cause the shedding of its bleed.”

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Hārūn thought that his apologizing to the Prophet for committing a crime would profit him and release him from this responsibility on the day when the wrongdoers would be losers.

On the following day he ordered the police to arrest the Imām, and they arrested him while he was standing and praying by the head of his grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. They interrupted his prayer and did not give him any respite to complete it. They shackled him and took him out of that holy place while he was weeping bitter tears, complaining to his grandfather, and saying: “I complain to you, O Allah’s Messenger!”

The Imām was shackled and brought before the tyrant, Hārūn al-Rashid, and he turned away from him rudely and spoke to him.[17]

His Imprisonment in Basrah

The Imām was shackled and taken to Basrah. Hasan al-Sari was entrusted with guarding and safeguarding him. On his way to Basrah, the Imām met ‘Abd Allah, son of the late al-Azdi. He gave him a letter and ordered him to hand it over to his successor Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and told him that he (Imām al-Ridā) was the Imām after him.[18]

The caravan walked. It covered the desert until it arrived in Basrah. That was on the seventh day of Dhu al-Hijja. Hasan handed the Imām over to ‘Īsā b. Ja’far, who imprisoned him in one of the houses of the prison, locked the doors of the prison, an did not open them except twice a day: one time when the Imām wanted to perform the ritual ablution, and the other when the food was brought to him.

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The Imām devoted his time to the acts of worship and obedience to Allah. He fasted by day and prayed by night. He spent most his time in praying, prostrating, supplicating, and reciting the Qur’ān. He regarded his being free for the acts of worship as one of Allah’s favors toward him. He would say: “O Allah, You know that I used to ask You to give me free time to worship You. O Allah, You have done that. To You be praise.[19]”

Hārūn orders the Imām to be killed

Hārūn ordered ‘Īsā, governor of Basrah, to kill the Imām, peace be on him. However, this matter troubled ‘Īsa, and he sought the advice of his close associates. They prevented him and made him fear the consequence of the affair. He responded to them and wrote a letter to Hārūn saying: “The affair of Mūsā b. Ja’far and his stay under my detention has been going on for along time. I have become well-acquainted with his situation. I have set spies on him throughout this period and I have not found him (do anything except) open his mouth in worship. I set someone to listen to what he said in his prayer. He has never prayed against you or against me. He has never mentioned us with malice. He does not pray for himself except for forgiveness and mercy. Either you send someone whom I can hand him over to or I will let him free. I am troubled at detaining him.[20]”

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This letter displays that ‘Īsa was afraid of killing the Imām, and he (the Imām) stayed under his detention for one year.[21]

His Imprisonment in Baghdad

(Hārūn) al-Rashid responded to the request of his governor, ‘Īsa. He ordered the Imām to be taken to Baghdad. The Imām was taken to it and was accompanied by the police and the guards. When he reached it, al-Rashid ordered him to be detained under al-Fadl b. al-Rabi‘. Al-Fadl took him and imprisoned him in his house. He did not detain him in the public prisons because he feared that a discord would occur and the public opinion would run in disorder because of the Imām’s exalted position and his great personality.

The Imām, peace be on him, devoted himself to the acts of worship and obedience to Allah. So al-Fadl admired his acts of worship. ‘Abd Allah al-Qazwini has narrated: “I (i.e. ‘Abd Allah al-Qazwini) visited al-Fadl b. al-Rabi‘. While he was sitting on the top of his house, he said to me: ‘Come nearer to me.’ I went nearer to him to the extent that I (stood) beside him. Then he said to me: ‘Overlook the house.’”

‘Abd Allah towered over the house, and al-Fadl asked him:

-What can you see in the house?

-I can see a garment thrown (on the ground)

-Look well!

‘Abd Allah considered, looked carefully, and said:

-A man prostrating himself in prayer.

-Can you recognize him?

-No, I can’t.

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-That is your master.

-Which master?

-Are you pretending not to know of ‘Ali?

-I’m not pretending, but I don’t know that I have a master.

-That is Abū al-Hasan, Mūsā b. Ja’far.

‘Abd Allah was one of those who adopted Imām al-Kāzim’s Imāmate. Then al-Fadl told him about his acts of worship, saying:

“I (i.e. al-Fadl) visit him day and night. I did not find him at any time but in the state about which I am telling you. He prays the dawn prayer, then he says his personal prayers at the end of his prayer for an hour until the sun rose. He remains prostrating himself until the sun comes near to descending (from its midday zenith). He has ordered a retainer to tell him about the sun’s coming near to descending. I do not know when the retainer says: ‘The sun has come near to descending.’

“Suddenly, he stands and begins praying without renewing his ritual ablution, so I come to know that he does not sleep during his prostration; nor does he slumber. He continues praying until he

performs the afternoon prayer. When he has performed the afternoon prayer, he performs one prostration. Then he continues praying and his personal prayer until he performs the evening and night prayers. When he has performed the evening and night prayers, he breaks the fast by eating roasted meat which is brought to him. Then he renews the ritual ablution and prostrates himself in prayer. Then he raises his head and slumbers. Then he stands and renews the ritual ablution and continues praying until day dawns. I do not know when the retainer says: ‘Day has dawned!’ Suddenly, he jumps and performs the dawn prayer. This is his behavior since he has been handed over to me.”

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These are the acts of worship of Imām al-Kāzim, the master of the Allah-fearing and Imām of those who turn to Allah in repentance. He showed love for Allah, served and obeyed Him.

When ‘Abd Allah came to know that al-Fadl admired the Imām’s acts of worship, he warned him against carrying out Hārūn’s order regarding killing the Imām, saying: “Fear Allah! Do not bring about an event removing blessing. You know that when someone does evil for someone, his blessing perishes.”

Al-Fadl confirmed ‘Abd Allah’s statement, saying: “They sent for me more than one time and ordered me to kill him, but I did not respond to them.[22]”

Al-Fadl did not kill the Imām; nor did he expose him to a detested thing because he was afraid of Allah’s wrath and punishment in this world and the next.

His Textual Nomination for the Imāmate of al-Ridā

Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, appointed his son Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, as an Imām and high authority after him, that he might lead his Shi‘ites and the community. Many ordinances (alwāh) were brought out of the prison. In them it was written: “My testament (‘ahd) is to my eldest son.[23]”

Imām Mūsa took great care of appointing his son as an Imām after him. He entrusted this affair to a large group of his eminent Shi‘ites, of whom are the following:

1. Mohammed Bin Islmā‘il

Mohammed Bin Islmā‘il al-Hāshmi has narrated: “I (i.e., Mohammed b. Islmā‘il) visited Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far. He complained of a severe (pain), so I asked him: ‘I ask Allah not to let us see it (i.e. missing you). To whom shall (we refer)?’”

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He, peace be on him, replied: “To my son ‘Ali. His writing is my writing. He is my testamentary trustee and my successor after me.[24]”

2. ‘Ali Bin Yaqtin

‘Ali Bin Yaqtin has reported: “I (i.e. ‘Ali Bin Yaqtin) was with Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far, peace be on him, and was with him his son ‘Ali. He said: ‘O ‘Ali, this son of mine is the master of my children and I have given him my kunya (i.e. both were called Abū al-Hasan).’ Hishām b. Sālim was in the assembly. He struck his face with the palm of his hand and said: ‘We belong to Allah, by Allah, he has announced his death for you.’[25]”

3. Na‘im Bin Qābūs

Na‘im Bin Qābūs has reported, saying: [Abū al-Hasan (Mūsā), peace be on him, said:] “My son ‘Ali is the eldest of my children, the most attentive of them to my words, and the most obedient of them to my order. He examined the leather case (jafr) and the scroll (al-jāmi‘a). Only a prophet or the testamentary trustee of a prophet may examine them.[26]”

4. Dāwud Bin Kuthayr

Dāwud b. Kuthayr al-Raqqi has narrated, saying: [I (i.e. Dāwud b. Kuthayr) said to Mūsā al-Kāzim:] “May I be your ransom, I have grown old. So take my hand and save me from hell-fire. Who is our leader (sāhib) after you?”

“This is your leader after me,” he said and pointed to his son Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā.[27]

5. Sulaymān Bin Hafs

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Sulaymān b. Hafs al-Marwazi has reported: [I (i.e. Sulaymān b. Hafs) visited Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far. I wanted to ask him about the proof over the people after him. When he looked at me, he began saying:] “O Sulaymān, my son ‘Ali is my testamentary trustee. He is the proof over the people after me. He is the most meritorious of my children. If it happen that you remain alive after me, bear witness to him for this matter before my Shi‘ites and the people of my authority, who ask you about my successor after me.[28]”

6. ‘Abd Allah al-Hāshimi

‘Abd Allah al-Hāshimi has said: [We were beside the grave (i.e. the grave of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family). Suddenly, Abū Ibrāhim Mūsā b. Ja‘far came toward us hand in hand with his son ‘Ali. Then he said:] “Do you know who I am?” “You are our master and our eldest one,” we said. “Name and ascribe me,” he demanded. “You are Mūsā b. Ja‘far,” we said. “Who is this?” he asked and pointed to his son. “He is ‘Ali b. Mūsā b. Ja‘far,” we replied. “Witness that he is my agent in this world during my lifetime and my testamentary trustee after my death.[29]”

7. ‘Abd Allah Bin Marhūm

‘Abd Allah b. Marhūm has reported: [I went out of Basrah and wanted to go to Medina. When I covered part of the road, I met Abū Ibrāhim (i.e. Mūsā b. Ja‘far), who wanted to go to Basrah. He sent for me and I went to him. He gave me a letter and ordered me to carry it to Medina. I asked him: ‘May I be your ransom, to whom shall I hand it over?’ He replied:] “(Hand it) over to my son ‘Ali, for he is my testamentary trustee, the one who will undertake my affair, and the most meritorious of my children.[30]”

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8. ‘Abd Allah Bin al-Harth

‘Abd Allah b. al-Harth has narrated: [Abū Ibrāhim summoned us and we gathered. Then he said:] “Do you know why I have summoned you?”

“No,” we answered.

“Witness that this son of mine is my testamentary trustee (wasi) and the one who will superintend my affair, my successor after me. Who has a debt (to be collected) from me, let him collect it from this son of mine. Whoever I have made a promise to, let him get its fulfillment from him. Whoever has to meet me, will only do so through his correspondence.[31]”

9. Haydar Bin Ayyūb

Haydar b. Ayyūb has reported: [We were at a place called al-Qabā in Medina. Mohammed b. Zayd b. ‘Ali was at the place. He came after the time in which he used to come to us. We asked him: ‘May Allah make us your ransom what delayed you from coming?’ He answered:] “Abū Ibrāhim summoned us today. We were seventeen men from among the children of ‘Ali and Fātima, peace be on them. He made us witness that his son ‘Ali was his testamentary trustee and his deputy during his lifetime and after his death, and that his order valid against him and for him.” Then Mohammed said: “O Hayder, by Allah, he entrusted the Imāmate to him today, and the Shi‘ites will profess him after his death.” I (i.e. Hayder) said: “However, may Allah protect him, what is this?” He (i.e. Mohammed b. Zayd b. ‘Ali) answered: “O Hayder, he made him as (his) testamentary trustee. This means that he entrusted the Imāmate to him.[32]”

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10. Al-Husayn Bin Bashir

Al-Husayn b. Bashir has said: [Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far appointed for us his son ‘Ali just as Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed ‘Ali on the Day of Ghadir Khum. He said:] “O People of Medina or he said O People of the Mosque, this is my testamentary trustee after me.[33]”

11. Ja‘far Bin Khalaf

Ja‘far b. Khalaf has narrated: [I (i.e. Ja‘far b. Khalaf) heard Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far say:] “Happy is the person who does not die until he sees a successor belongs to him. Allah has made me see my successor, who is this son of mine. He pointed to him (i.e. al-Ridā).[34]”

12. Nasr Bin Qābūs

Nasr Bin Qābūs said: [I (i.e. Nasr b. Qābūs) said to Abū Ibrāhim Mūsā b. Ja‘far: ‘I have asked your father who would be after you and he told me that you would be. Therefore when Abū ‘Abd Allah (Ja’far al-Sādiq), peace be on him, died, the people went to right and left while I and my companions declared (our support) for you. Therefore tell me which of your children will be (the Imām) after you.’ He said:] “My son ‘Ali.[35]”

13. Mohammed Bin Sinān

Mohammed b. Sinān has narrated: [I (i.e. Mohammed b. Sinān) visited Abū al-Hasan (Mūsā) the year before he went to Iraq. ‘Ali, his son, was sitting in front of him. He looked at me and said:] “Mohammed, this year there will be some disturbance but do not be worried by that.”

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“My Allah make me your ransom, what will that be?” I asked, for he had filled me with anxiety.

“I will go to this despot,” he answered, “but he will not receive any evil from me nor from the son who will be after me.”

“May Allah make me your ransom, what will happen?” I asked.

“Allah leads astray the oppressors,” he told me, “and Allah does what He wishes.”

“Whoever wrongs the right of this son of mine and denies his Imāmate after me is like those who wronged ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, and denied his right after the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family,” he replied.

“If Allah supports me in my life, may I submit to his right and declare (your belief in) his Imāmate,” I said.

“True, Mohammed,” he said, “Allah will support you during your life and you will submit to his right and declare (your belief) in his Imāmate, and the Imāmate of the one who will be (Imām) after him.”

“Who will that be?” I asked.

“His son Mohammed,” he answered.

I said: “(I give) consent (ridā) and submission to him.[36]”

These are some texts narrated on the authority of Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, concerning the Imāmate of his son Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. Imām Mūsā took great care of the Imāmate of his son, for he wanted to refute those who believed in his Imāmate only, to abolish their vague errors, and to warn the Muslims against them.

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The Imām’s Commandments

Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, appointed his son al-Ridā as a testamentary trustee after him. He entrusted him with two commandments which included his authority over his endowments, his deputyship on his behalf over his private and general affairs, his binding his children to yield to his commands. He also entrusted Imām al-Ridā with marrying the ladies from among his daughters, for he was the most knowledgeable of others in (choosing) qualified (husbands for them). He ordered him not to marry them to anyone except a believing, pious person who would respect their place and position.

As for the second commandment, we have mentioned it in our book the Life of Imām Mūsā, peace be on him, so there is no need to mention it, for I (i.e. the author) do not want to mention anything which I have already written.

The Prison of al-Sindi

(Hārūn) al-Rashid ordered the Imām to be detained in the prison of al-Sindi b. Shāhik. It is worth mentioning that al-Sindi b. Shāhik merciless and wicked. He turned away from all moral values. He did not believe in the hereafter; nor did he respect Allah. He treated the Imām rudely, turned away from him, troubled him during his eating and drinking, and shackled him. The narrators have said: “He (i.e. al-Sindi b. Shāhik) fettered him (Imām Mūsā) with thirty pounds of iron.”

As usual, the Imām devoted himself to performing the acts of worship. He performed prayers, recited the Qur’ān, glorified and praised Allah for giving him free time to worship Him.

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Imām Mūsā sends a Letter to Hārūn

The Imām sent Hārūn (al-Rashid) a letter in which he expressed his displeasure with him, saying: “No day of tribulation passes me until a day of ease passes you, so that we will all perish and (be resurrected) on the endless day when those who say false things shall be losers.[37]”

This letter gives an account of the Imām’s pain and sorrow in prison and, in addition, it shows that the Imām will judge the tyrant (i.e. Hārūn) on the day when those who say false things shall be losers.

Footnote

[1] Hayāt al-Imām Mūsā Bin Ja'far, vol. 1, p. 138.

[2] Al-Mufid, al-Irshād, p. 272.

[3] Hayāt al-Imām Mūsā Bin Ja'far, vol. 1, p. 139.

[4] Kashf al-Ghumma.

[5] Wafayāt al-A'yān, vol. 4, p. 293. Kanz al-Lugha, p. 766.

[6] Wafayāt al-A'yān, vol. 4, p. 293.

[7] Hayāt al-Imām Mūsā Bin Ja'far, vol. 1, p.142.

[8] Al-Bihār, vol. 11, p. 265.

[9] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 134.

[10] Tārikh Baghdād, vol. 13, p. 28-29.

[11] Al-Bihār, vol. 11, p. 28-29.

[12] Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma, p. 22.

[13] Tārikh Baghdād, vol. 13, p. 28.

[14] 'Umdat al-Tālib, p. 185.

[15] Hayāt al-Imām Mūsā Bin Ja'far, vol. 1, pp. 161-162.

[16] Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 456-457.

[17] Ibid., p. 465.

[18] Tanqih al-Maqāl.

[19] Hayāt al-Imām Mūsā Bin Ja'far, vol. 2, p. 466.

[20] Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma.

[21] Hayāt al-Imām Mūsā Bin Ja'far, vol. 2, p. 468.

[22] Ibid., pp. 469-471.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 88.

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[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma, p. 225.

[28] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 26.

[29] Ibid., pp. 26-27.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid., p. 30.

[35] Ibid., p. 31.

[36] Ibid., pp. 32-33.

[37] Al-Bidāya wa al-Nihāya, vol. 10, p. 183.

CHAPTER V

HIS DEBATES AND HIS ARGUMENTS

HIS DEBATES AND HIS ARGUMENTS

The time of the Imām, peace be on him, is famous for the debates and arguments which spread among the great figures of religions, of Islamic schools, and of others. Violent discussions took place among them on numerous theological researches, especially as it concerns the fundamentals of religion. Theology books and others are full of different kinds of such an ideological conflict accompanied by evidence which the theologians have produced in support of their own beliefs.

One of the matters which led to violent arguments and discussions between the Shi‘ites and the Sunnis was that of the Imāmate. The Shi‘ites maintained that the Imāmate was similar to the Prophecy, which was not subject to the choice and election of the community; rather it was decided by Allah, the Exalted, Who chose for it whomever He willed from among His righteous servants whose hearts He examined for faith. Also they made a condition that the Imām should be infallible of errors, the most learned of the community, and the most knowledgeable of it in the affairs of Islamic law and all sciences of life. However, the Sunnis denied that in general. It is worth mentioning that the debates during the time of the Imām took place among the great figures of Islamic schools in the palaces of the kings and of their ministers. For example, the Barāmika held meetings in their own palaces and summoned to them theologians from among the Sunni (religious) scholars. The theologians debated with the great scholar, Hishām b. al-Hakam, and discussed with him the matter of the Imāmate, and he disproved their vague errors with firm argument and inclusive proof. Without doubt the Barāmika held such sessions and discussed such a matter not because of some scientific reasons; rather they wanted to understand the definite evidence which the Shi‘ites produced in support of their beliefs in the Imāmate.

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Al-Ma’mūn appointed Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, as his heir apparent. However, he was not sincere in this purpose; nor did he believe that the Imām was more appropriate than him for the caliphate. He (al-Ma’mūn) ordered all his governors in Islamic world to summon the great (religious) scholars, who were experienced in different kinds of science, to go to Khurasān in order to question the Imām about the most difficult scientific matters. When they came to him (al-Ma’mūn), he mentioned the matter before them and promised to enrich those who would question the Imām and render him incapable of answering them. Generally speaking, he appointed him as his heir apparent for the following political reasons:

1. Al-Ma’mūn intended to destroy the beliefs of the Shi‘ites and to efface their traces. (He wanted the religious scholars) to render Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, incapable of answering them, that he might use his incapability as means to cancel the beliefs of the Shi‘ites, who maintained that the Imām should be the most learned of the people of his time and most knowledgeable of them in all kinds of science. Of course, if the Imām had been incapable of disproving the scholars’ beliefs, he would have shaken the entity of the Shi‘ites and abrogated their beliefs in the Imāms of the members of the House, ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them.

2. If the Imām had been unable to answer the religious scholars’ questions, al-Ma’mūn would have been able to remove him from regency. In other words al-Ma’mūn would have been able to achieve his political aims through the Imām, for he had told the people that he nominated him for that important office because he was the most learned of the community, and when he had concluded that he was not the most learned of it, he removed him from the office. Meanwhile, his mass media would have announced that the Imām had fallen short of answering the scholars’ questions, that it might respond to the ‘Abbāsid family’s feelings. It is worth mentioning that the members of this family were displeased with al-Ma’mūn when he nominated the Imām for regency, so they removed him from the caliphate and pledged allegiance to Ibrāhim, the singer, as we will see in the chapters that follow.

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Any how, the leading scholars had prepared the most difficult scientific questions and asked the Imām about them, and he skillfully answered them with. The narrators have mentioned: “He (Imām al-Ridā) was asked about more than twenty thousand questions in different times to the extent that al-Ma’mūn’s palace became a scientific center, that the leading scholars admired the Imām’s talents and abilities, that they announced to the people the Imām’s great abilities in knowledge and excellence, and that most of them believed in his Imāmate. So Al-Ma’mūn prevented the scholars from debating with the Imām lest they should admire him.” The narrators have mentioned some questions. We will mention them along with the Imām’s answers to them as follows:

‘Umrān al-Sābi’i’s Questions

‘Umrān al-Sābi’i was a great philosopher and was the spiritual leader of the tribe of the Sābi’a during the time of the Imām, peace be on him. He was summoned by al-Ma’mūn in order to examine the Imām, and he had prepared for him the most difficult and vaguest philosophical questions. The researcher, Shaykh Mohammed Taqi al-Ja‘fari, has explained ‘Umrān’s questions and commented on them, saying: “This debate contains the most important and vaguest theological questions about transcendental wisdom, which tires researchers’ intellects when they reflect on it. Experts have not given enough answers to these questions, for other questions may arise from the questions, and the arising questions may be vaguer than the previous ones themselves. ‘Umrān, in this narration, raised these vague questions and they were answered by Imām ‘Ali b. Mūsā` al-Ridā, peace be on him, the eighth of Allah’s proofs over His servants and of His testamentary trustees on His earth. What the Imām explained during this debate is a clear way which cannot be effaced by the dust of the material veils which are raised by limited reasons in the fortress of dark, sensible things. In this manner the realities which incomplete reason cannot recognize manifest themselves to those who cling to the beliefs of the members of the House of Prophethood, the source of Message, the place of the angles who came one by one, and descending place of Revelation.”

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We will mention al-Sābi’i’s questions along with the Imām’s answers to them just as al-Shaykh al-Sadūq has mentioned in (his book) ‘Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā. We will also mention some extracts of al-Shaykh al-Ja‘fari’s commentaries on them. The delegation who accompanied ‘Umrān (al-Sābi’i) presented a group of questions. After the Imām, peace be on him, had answered the questions of the delegation including eminent Christian and Jewish (religious) scholars, he said to them: “People, if any of you is familiar with Islam and wants to question (me), then let him question (me) without any shame.”

‘Umrān al-Sābi’i, an expert in theology, addressed the Imām with politeness and admiration, saying: “O Scholar of the people, were it not for that you invited (me) to question you, I would not question you. I entered Kūfa, Basrah, Syria (Shām) and al-Jazira. There I met some theologians but none of them was able to establish for me that the One, namely Allah is One who has no second, not other than Him standing through his oneness. May I question you?”

(‘Umrān) al-Sābi’i put forth his deep question, and (said) that the (religious) scholars of Kūfa, Basrah, Syria (Shām) and al-Jazira were not able to answer it. He asked the Imām to answer it. The Imām smiled at him, saying: “If there is (a person called) ‘Umrān al-Sābi’i among the group (of the people), then you are he.”

“I am he,” replied ‘Umrān.

“‘Umrān, question (me). You must be just. Beware of nonsense and injustice,” declared the Imām.

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(‘Umrān) al-Sābi’i bowed his head, and then he said to the Imām with politeness and magnification: “By Allah, my master, I want nothing except that you establish for me a thing to which I will cling and (which I) do not pass.”

(‘Umrān) al-Sābi’i expressed his good intention, for he wanted to understand the reality and nothing else.

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “Question (me) whatever you desire.”

The session was full of (religious) scholars and leaders; among them was al-Ma’mūn. They kept silent, that they might listen to ‘Umrān al-Sābi’i’s questions and to the Imām’s answers to them. Then (‘Umrān) al-Sābi’i put forth his questions as follows:

Q1 (i.e. question 1): “Can you tell me about the first being and about what he created?” As for the thing about which (‘Umrān al-Sābi’i) questioned, it is the first thing and the first material from which Allah created all things. The thing about which he questioned was not the existence of Allah, the Almighty Originator. That is because Allah’s existence can easily be recognized by those who have awareness and will, and have no doubt, for all things in the universe display the existence of their Creator, and for it is impossible for effect to exist without any cause. Now, let us listen to the answer of the Imām, peace be on him, to this question:

Ans. 1(i.e. answer 1): “As for the One, He has always been One Being; He has neither limits nor accidental qualities; and He will always remain so. Then He created unprecedented, different creatures with accidental qualities and different limits, (i.e. He created them) not through a thing which He established nor through a thing which He limited nor according to a thing which He imitated or adopted as a previous exemplar for them. Then, after that, He made the creatures, choice and non-choice, different and harmonious (in) types and tastes. He (created them not) for a need of them nor for an excellent rank which He did not attain but through them nor did He see for Himself an increase or a decrease in what He created.”

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This paragraph gives an account of the answer of the Imām, peace be on him, as follows:

Firstly, Allah, the Exalted, is One; there is nothing with Him; He has neither limits nor accidental qualities like those possible being; He is One Being; He has always been and will always remain so. His Oneness is neither numeral nor qualitative nor generic; rather it means that He is not associated with material and immaterial things. He occupies the most perfect rank; none of possible beings is like Him, for they are ascribed to Him as made things ascribed to maker, so Blessed is Allah!

Secondly, the view of the Bedouins was that every image should depend and occupy a certain matter. This view is right regarding things other than the Necessary Being, the Most High. As for Him, He does not create things from previous things nor from a things which He had created. Rather He says to thing ‘be’ and it is. He originated the creation of things not according to thing which He imitated or adopted as a model. He has the greatest power which originates the creation of things of which He has no need, for He is the Only Source of favor toward creatures.

The Imām, peace be on him, turned to ‘Umrān (al-Sābi’i) and asked him: “‘Umrān, did you understand this (matter)?”

“Yes,” he replied, “by Allah, master.”

“The Imām added:” “Know, ‘Umrān, that if He had created what He created for a need, He would have not created anything except those whom He asked for the help in His needs, and that He should have created a hundred fold of what He created. That is because the more the helpers are, the more powerful their leader (sahib) is. As for need, ‘Umrān, it is impossible, for whatever He creates, other needs arise, but you can say that the creatures need each other. As a result I can say that He did not create the creatures for a need, and He preferred some of them to others while He had no need of those whom he had preferred; nor had He a vengeance on those whom He had abased.”

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This statement completes that which is before it (and shows) that Allah, the Exalted, created the creatures while He had no need of them; rather they have need of His favor, His mercy, and His

bestowal. He is absolutely munificent, so he spreads mercy and

beneficence over all beings and creatures. An example of His bounty

is that He prefers some of His creatures to others while He is in no need of those whom He prefers; nor has He a vengeance on those whom He abases.

Q2: “Master, was the Being known to Himself by His Own Self?”

This question is very deep. Al-Shaykh al-Ja‘far has explained it as follows: “You may get a thing and establish it as reality through a scientific discovery. That thing divides into its own identity and dismisses other than it, and thus it is bounded. Stone cannot be obtained scientifically unless the nonexistence of all its opposites is added its identity. (In other words), the scholar cannot recognize and attain being unless he dismisses all things except it. This was the reason for ‘Umrān’s question about whether He, the Exalted, recognized Himself by Himself. At that time, if the Imām’s answer had been ‘yes’, ‘Umrān would have asked another question: “Did recognizing Himself by Himself require dismissing reasonable beings other than Him?”

Ans. 2: He, peace be on him, said: “Knowledge is acquired by something which negates its opposites, so that the thing itself would be existing through what it is negated, without the existence of anything which contradicts its existence, a need arises to negate that thing about itself by defining what is known about it.” Then the Imām turned to ‘Umrān and asked Him: “‘Umrān, did you understand?”

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“Yes, by Allah, master,” replied ‘Umrān. The result of the answer of the Imām, peace be on him, was that what al-Sābi’i had mentioned would be correct if the known being was compared with many things opposing it, so it required dismissing those things in order to get the known (being). However, as for Allah, the Exalted, Creator of the universe and Giver of life, He had nothing to compare Himself with it, so He was in no need of dismissing it in order that He might decide His will through that dismissal.

Q3: “Tell me, then, by what means did He come to know what He knew ¾with mind or without mind?"

By this question al-Sābi’i intended to force the Imām to confess that Allah, the Exalted, was compound, for He had mind.

Ans. 3: “If it had been by mind, would He then find anyway not to appoint for that mind a bound where knowledge ended?”

The Imām wanted (to say) that it was necessary for mind to recognize His reality and essence. Then he asked him the following question: “Then what is that mind?”

Al-Sābi’i kept silent and was unable to say anything, for the Imām did not leave any room for him to establish his belief. Then the Imām turned to him and said: “Is it all right if I ask you about the mind and you define it by another mind? If you answer in the affirmative, then you would make both your claim and statement void.”

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The Imām established perfect argument and definite proof of the voidness of the belief of al-Sābi’i, who thought that Allah, the Exalted, could be recognized by mind. Accordingly, there should be another mind to recognize the selfness of Him, the Exalted. This mind depends on another mind, and so on. This matter leads to an endless chain. If the second mind depends on the first mind, it will result in vicious circle. The philosophers and theologians have unanimously greed that both matters (i.e., endless chain and vicious circle) are not corrupt because they result in corrupt matters. Then the Imām completed his argument and his proof, saying: “‘Umrān, is it not incumbent on you to know that the One cannot be described by mind, and it is not said that He has more than one deed, work, and make. None imagines that He has views and members like those of the creatures. Therefore, understand that and correct (your beliefs) with it as long as you have come to know of (it).”

The Imām, peace be on him, wanted (to say) that Allah’s different deeds and works were not similar to those of possible beings who were in need of means and mediations such as intellect and all manifest members to carry them out; it is impossible for Allah, the Exalted, to have such means and mediations.

Q4: “Do you not tell me how the bounds of His creatures are?”

‘Umrān questioned (the Imām) about the bounds which distinguish the creatures from each other. The Imām answered him:

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Ans. 4: “You have asked, then know that the bounds of His creatures are of six kinds: touched, weighed, seen, that which has no taste (soul), seen but has no weight nor touch nor sense nor color nor taste, ordination, accidental qualities, shapes, length, width. Among them are act and movements which make things, do them, change them from state to state, increase them, and decrease them. As for works and deeds, they set out, for they have no time more than that which is ordained for their need. When it (deed) finished by thing, it sets out with movement, and effect remains. It takes the same course of speech which goes and its effect remains.”

The Imām’s answer is full of mentioning characteristics and qualities by which things are distinguished, whether they are living beings or not.

Q5: “Master, will you not tell me about the Creator? If He is One, there is nothing other than Him and nothing is with Him, has He not changed (His Essence) through His creating the creatures?”

This question means that the natural realities founded by Allah, the Exalted, require changing the Almighty Creator due to their change. This means that they are united with Him in His selfness; this is impossible.

Ans. 5: “He (Allah) is Eternal. He, the Great and Almighty, does not change through His creating the creatures, but the creatures change through His changing them.”

The result of the answer of the Imām, peace be on him, is that the Almighty Creator is the Maker and Founder of all things and is Eternal, so He requires no change out of the change of possible beings and creatures.

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Q6: “Master, with what have we recognized Him?”

Ans. 6: “With other than Him.”

All the seen and the unseen things in the universe are evidence for the existence of the Almighty Creator. We have recognized Him through His creatures, and believed in Him through His marvelous make. He has become manifest and clear during this time in which man has invaded outer space. The great make of Him, the Exalted, has manifested itself for mankind through what He has deposited in this space, such as the stars which are neither counted nor numbered, and which move according to regulation and accuracy. If they oppose their course, they will collide and disappear, and no trace of them will remain. So glory belongs to Allah, the Wise Originator!

Q7: “Which thing is other than Him?”

Ans. 7: “His desire, His name, His attribute, and the like. All these are originated, created, managed.”

We have recognized Allah, the Exalted, through His will, His name, and His attributes, which are evidence for Him, may He be glorified. In the Supplication for the Morning, (it has been mentioned): “Oh He who demonstrates His Essence by His Essence.” All the beings in the universe depend on Him as the made depend on the maker.

Q8: “Master, which thing is He?”

Ans. 8: “He is light, namely He guides His creatures from among the people of the heaven and the earth. You have no right against me than my professing His oneness.”

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Through his question, ‘Umrān intended to know the reality of Allah, the Exalted. He imagined that He, the Exalted, was like the rest of possible beings. This is impossible. Man does not know his own body and the small systems therein, so how can he know the essence of the Almighty Creator, the Shaper and Originator of the worlds? The Imām answered that he came to know of Allah through His manifest attributes, such as His guiding His creatures and other clear proofs which demonstrate the existence of their Almighty Creator.

Q9: “Master, was He not silent before (creating) the creatures and then He spoke?”

Ans. 9: “Silence is not except out of utterance before it. An example of that it is not said that the lamp is silent and does not utter; nor is it said that the lamp shines, so what does it want to do toward us, for light is from the lamp, not out of an act or make from it; it is not a thing other than it. When it shines for us, we say: ‘It has shone for us, so that we may seek light through it.’ In this manner you can understand your affair.”

The meaning of the answer of the Imām, peace be on him, is that silence and utterance follow one another in a matter which accepts them like the succession of talent and non-talent. As for the utterance of Allah, it is not like the utterance of those speakers from among possible beings. In other words utterance and silence do not hold good for Him as they hold good for possible beings. The Shi‘ites believe that utterance is one of the attributes of action, and that it does not persist in the essence of Him, the Exalted, as the persisting of the essential attributes. That is because it is He, the Exalted, who creates utterance and speech when He wills (to create them). Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, gave an example of that through the lamp, for it is not said that the lamp is silent, does not utter and, also ascribing the addition to the lamp, it is not optional for it (to utter). This is one of the possibilities regarding the explanation of the speech of the Imām, peace be on him.

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Q10: “Master, the knowledge I have says that the Being is changed in His essence by His action of creating.”

Ans. 10: “‘Umrān, does your statement mean that the being does not in any way change its essence except when it affects its own essence in a way which changes it? Can you say that the fire changes its own nature, or that the heat burns itself, or have you seen anyone seeing his own vision?”

‘Umrān had already mentioned this question; nevertheless the Imām, peace be on him, answered it, and he, peace be on him, increased it in explanation. He said to him: “The being does not in any way change its essence. For example, the actions which issue from soul do not bring about increase therein nor decrease. Yet, there is another example which is the eye. Though vision issues from it, it does not bring about increase therein nor decrease.”

Q11: “Will you not tell me, master? Is He in the creatures or are the creatures in Him?”

Ans. 11: “He is above all that, ‘Umrān. He is not in the creatures; nor are the creatures in Him; He is exalted above that. I will teach you what you do not know, and there is no strength save in Allah. Tell me about the mirror: are you in it or is it in you? If neither one of you is in the other, then how did you come to see your own reflection in it, ‘Umrān?”

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The Imām, peace be on him, made it impossible for Allah, the Exalted, to exist in His creatures or they exist in Him. He gave an example of that through the reflection in the mirror; it is not in the mirror; nor is the mirror in it; rather it is light which brings about seeing the reflection in the mirror and it is not in any way in it. Ibn al-Fārid says:

Through His Unity all many (things) has lasted for it, so

it has become correct and every cause has come to it.

The essence of union has become single for Himself, even

if its units fall under it.

I looked but did not see (anything) except pure unity

already covered by many (things) without any partner. Regarding this matter there are deep philosophical researches, but we have not mentioned them lest the book should be too long.

Q12: “Through the light between myself and it?”

This question is related to that which is before it, and we have explained it.

Ans. 12: “Can you see of that light more than what you can see with your own eyes?”

“Yes,” replied ‘Umrān.

“Then show it to us,” demanded the Imām.

‘Umrān kept silent, not knowing what to say. For the Imām did not leave any room for him to defend his own beliefs. Then the Imām continued his talk, saying: “I do not see the light except leading you and the mirror to come to know each other without being in either one of you. There are many such examples which the ignorant simply cannot observe, and the greatest example belongs to Allah.”

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The Debate is being postponed

The time of the prayer came. It was necessary for the Imām to postpone the debate, so he turned to al-Ma’mūn and said to him: “(The time of) the prayer has just come.” ‘Umrān feared that the debate between him and the Imām would not be resumed, so he said to him: “Master, do not interrupt my questions, for my heart has sympathized (with you).”

The Imām, peace be on him, promised him to resume the debate, then he rose and performed the obligatory prayer.

The Debate is being resumed

The session returned. It was attended by al-M’mūn, the eminent religious scholars, and high ranking commanders. Then the Imām turned to ‘Umrān and said to him: “‘Umrān, question me.”

Q13: “Master, will you tell me about Allah, the Great and Almighty? Does He exist in His reality or in description?”

Ans. 13: “Verily, Allah is the Originator, the One, the First Being. He has always been One. There is nothing with Him. He is single without a second with Him. He is neither known (i.e. in His reality) nor unknown nor clear nor ambiguous nor remembered nor forgotten nor a thing to which the title of a thing is applied nor from a time He was nor to a time He will be nor on a thing He stood nor on a thing He stands nor on a thing He depends nor in a thing He is hidden. All that was before the creation.[1] As for the whole you have applied to Him, it was attributes which appeared later, and translation through which understands he who understands.

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“Know that the meaning of origination (ibdād‘), will, and intention is one, but their titles are three. The first was His origination (ibadā’), His will, and His intention which He made the origin of all things, evidence for all perceived things, separator for all vague things. All things were separated by these words, such as the name of right and wrong, action, done, meaning other than meaning. All affairs gathered on them. When He originated the words, He did not make meaning for them other than themselves. They came to an end and had no existence, for they were originated with an origination.

“The light in this place, which is the light of the heavens and the earth, is the first action of Allah. As for the letters, they are the done (thing) which the speech concerns. All the acts of worship were from Allah, the Great and Almighty. He taught them to His creatures. They are thirty-three letters. Twenty-eight letters of them indicates the letters of Arabic. Twenty-two of the twenty-eight letters shows the letters of Assyrian and Hebrew. Five letters of them were changed (and are) in the rest of the languages of non-Arabs in the regions. These five letters were derived from the twenty-five letters, so the letters became thirty-three. As for the five different (letters), it is not permissible to mention them more than what we have mentioned. Then He made the letters after He had counted them and numbered them firmly. So His sign was like these words of Him, the Exalted: ‘Be and it is.’ Make, be from it, and the made be from it. So the first creature of Allah, the Great and Almighty, was the origination which had neither weight nor movement nor hearing nor color nor sense; the second creature was the letters which had neither weight nor color. They were heard and described; (none) looked at them. As for the third creature, it was all the kinds which were sensed, touched, with taste, and seen. As for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, was before the letters which indicate nothing other than themselves.” Al-Ma’mūn admired (this answer) and did not understand most meanings of these deep words which we will leave without any explanation, for it takes us a long time to explain them. Then he asked the Imām: “How they (i.e. the letters) indicate nothing other than themselves?”

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The Imām answered him and explained the matter for him, saying: “Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Most High, never gathered a thing from them for another meaning. When He created from them four or five or six words or more than that or less than that, He created them for a certain meaning, and they were not for anything except for an originated meaning, which was nothing before that (time).

Q14: “How can we come to know of that?”

Ans. 14: “As for the way and explaining knowledge, it is (as follows): You mention the letters when you want nothing other than themselves. You mention them one by one when you say: Alif, bā’, tā’ thā’, jeem, hā’, khā’, until you finish them. You will find no meaning other than themselves. When you gather them and make from them letters and make from them the name and adjective for a certain meaning, you will not seek the meaning of what you have meant. They are proof of their meanings and the cause of the thing described by them. Did you understand them?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

The Imām continued his speech about explaining the meanings of the letters when they were put together, saying: “Know that it (the letter) is not an adjective of that which is not described nor a bound of that which is not bounded. As for the attributes and the names, they indicate perfection and existence, not an example of encompassment, as the bounds, which are ¾squaring, making triangle, and making hexagon. That is because Allah, the Great and Almighty, is known by the attributes and the names, not by limits, such as length, width, littleness, muchness, color, weight, and the like. Nothing of these limits is applied to Allah, that His creatures may know Him through knowing themselves, according to the necessity which we have mentioned.

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“However, Allah, the Great and Almighty, is indicated by His attributes, known by His names, and His creatures are proofs of Him, that the willing seeker concerning that may be in no need of the vision of an eye nor hearing of an ear nor touching of the palm of hand nor encompassment of a heart. If His attributes, great be His laudation, do not indicate Him; His names do not summon to Him; the knowledge of the creatures does not perceive His core; the creatures will worship His names and His attributes, not His core. If this is such, then the one god will be other than Allah, for his attributes and his names are other than him. Did you understand, ‘Umrān?”

“Yes, master, increase me,” replied ‘Umrān.

The Imām continued his interesting speech after he had gained mastery over those who attended the session. He said: “Beware of the statement of the ignorant from among the of blindness and error who claim that Allah, the Great and All-holy, exists in the hereafter for reckoning concerning reward and punishment, and He is not in the world for the acts of obedience and hope. If Allah, the Great and Almighty, has defects in this world, he will never be in the next. However, the people have gone astray, become blind, and deaf toward the truth while they do not know. That is according to the words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And whoever is blind in (the world), he shall also be blind in the hereafter and more erring from the way.[2] I mean that he is blind toward the existing realities. Those who have intellects know that the proof of what is there (in the next world) is not but through what is here (in the world). He who takes the knowledge of that (world) according to his own view, seeks its existence and perceiving it through his own soul, and not through other than it, increases himself nothing of the knowledge of that (world) but fairness, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, has placed the knowledge of that (world) with special group of people who think, know, and understand.”

p: 125

Q15: “Master, tell me about origination: Is it creation or other than creation?”

Shaykh al-Ja‘fari commented on this question, saying: “This is also one of the questions which have tired the minds and reasons of mankind, for it is (the question) which has brought about the disunity of the different ways and sects. Some of them say: Origination such as materials, images, reasons, souls, and the like is absolutely impossible whether it is from the Necessary Being or from the possible being. Others have absolutely regarded it as possible. Others have confined the possibility of origination to Allah, the Exalted, in general, namely that He, the Exalted, is powerful to originate any being He wills without any material before it, and change befalls it. They have also said: ‘It (origination) requires His absolute power and the ability of the object. Yet others follow other ways.[3]”

Ans. 15: “Rather it (origination) is still creation and is not perceived through stillness. It becomes creation for it is something originated. It is Allah who originates it and it becomes His creature. Allah, the Great and Almighty, creates it, and there is no third (thing) between them, and no third (thing) is other than them. So what Allah, the Great and Almighty, creates is His creature. Perhaps, the creatures is still, moving, different, harmonious, known, and ambiguous. All the bounded things are the creatures of Allah, the Great and Almighty.

Know that all the things which the senses find for you are meanings perceived by the senses, and every sense demonstrates what Allah, the Great and Almighty, has placed in its perception, and the heart understands all of that. Know that the One who is standing without any ordination or bounds created creatures ordained by bounds and ordination, and what He creates is two creatures: the ordination and the ordained. In each of them there is neither color nor weight nor taste. He makes one of them perceive the other and makes them perceive in their nature. He does not create a single thing standing in its nature without other than it which He wills to be proof of His selfness and His existence, so Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is Single and One; there is no second with Him in order to make Him stand, to support Him and to hide Him. The creatures hold each other through the permission and will of Allah, the Exalted. Men have differed over this subject to the extent that they have gone astray, become perplexed, and sought salvation from darkness with darkness through their describing Allah, the Exalted, with their own qualities, so they have become very far away from the truth. If they describe Allah, the Great and Almighty, with His own attributes, and describe the creatures with their own qualities, they will profess understanding and certainty, and will not defer over (Him). When they seek that toward which they are perplexed, they become confused. Allah guides whomever He wills to the straight path.”

p: 126

Q16: “I witness that He is just as you have described. However, I have another question.”

“Question whatever you desire.”

“I want to question you about the All-wise (Allah): In which thing is He? Does anything encompass Him? Does He change from state to state? Is He in need of a thing?”

Ans. 16: “I will tell you, ‘Umrān, so understand Whom you have questioned about. He is the most ambiguous matter which the creatures face. As for those whose reasons are different and whose clemency is distant, they do not recognize (Him). As for those who are just and have reasons, they are able to recognize (Him). As for the first (thing) of that: If the creation of what He creates is out of His need of it, it is permissible for one to say: He changes according to what He creates because of His need of that. However, He, the Great and Almighty, does not create anything out of need, and He is still firm, not in a thing nor on a thing, but it is the creatures which hold each other, enter in one another, and come forth from each other. As for Allah, the Great and All-holy, He holds the whole of that through His power. He does not enter a thing and comes out of it. The preservation of it does not tire Him, nor is He incapable of holding it. None of the creatures knows how that is except Allah, the Great and Almighty, His messengers whom He informed of it, the people of His secrets, those who keep His command, and His guardians who undertake His Law. Rather His command is like the twinkling of an eye. If He wills a thing, He only says to it: Be, so there it is, in accordance with His desire and will. Nothing is nearer to Him than a thing; nothing is farther from Him than a thing. Did you understand, ‘Umrān?”

p: 127

“Yes, master,” replied ‘Umrān.

Whatever knowledge is given to man, he is incapable of understanding his own soul and his wonderful small systems, so how can he recognize or encompass the Almighty Creator, the Originator of the worlds and Giver of life. Ibn Abū al-Haddid says:

Intellect has become perplexed concerning You, O Wonder of the universe!

Whenever my mind comes a span of the hand nearer to You, it becomes a mile far.

You have perplexed the possessors of reason and confused brain.

Surely, the human brain is limited, so how can it recognize the reality of Allah, the Exalted. Yes, we have recognized Him and believed in Him through His creatures, for every atom in this universe displays the existence of the Almighty Creator, Who knows all things in the heaven and the earth.

Al-Sābi’i becomes Muslim

‘Umrān al-Sābi’i acknowledged the many scientific abilities of the Imām, peace be on him, such as his definite answers to the most difficult philosophical questions, which none was able to answer except the testamentary trustees of the prophets whom Allah endowed with knowledge and sound judgment. Accordingly, he embraced Islam and began saying: “I witness that Allah, the Most High, is as you have described, and witness that Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, is His Servants sent with guidance and the religion of the truth.”

Then he prostrated himself in prayer before Allah and submitted to Him. The religious scholars and the theologians admired the Imām’s knowledge and talents, hence they told the people about his excellence and abundant knowledge. As for al-Ma’mūn, he drowned in pain, harbored malice against the Imām, envied him, and then left the session.

p: 128

Mohammed Fears for the Imām

Mohammed b. Ja‘far, the Imām’s uncle, feared al-Ma’mūn for the safety of the Imām. He attended the session and saw the Imām’s domination over ‘Umrān al-Sābi’i, who was an excellent philosopher of the time, so he summoned al-Hasan b. Mohammed al-Nawfali, the Imām’s companion, and said to him: “Have you not seen what your companion (the Imām) brought?” “No, by Allah,” said al-Nawfali, “I think that ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā has never gone into anything, and we do not know him through it. He always speak about theology in Medina and the theologians gather before him.”

Then al-Nawfali informed him of the Imām’s knowledge and excellence, saying: “The pilgrims come to him and ask him about the lawful and the unlawful, and he answers them. Perhaps he goes into theology when someone comes to him and debates with him.”

However, Mohammed expressed his fear of al-M’mūn for his nephew, saying: “I fear that this man (i.e. al-Ma’mūn) will envy him, give him poison (to drink), and creates an affliction against him. So advise him to refrain from these things.”

As for al-Nawfali, he had good opinion of al-Ma’mūn, did not fear him for the Imām, so he said to Mohammed: “The Imām (i.e. al-Ma’mūn) wants nothing except to examine him, that he may know whether he (the Imām) has something of the knowledge of his fathers.”

Mohammed was not satisfied with al-Nawfali’s statement, for he thought that al-Ma’mūn was wicked, so he said to al-Nawfali: “Say to him (al-Ridā): Your uncle dislikes this chapter (of theology) and asks you to refrain from these things for several reasons....”

p: 129

The Imām’s uncle was right in his intuition, for he knew that the ‘Abbāsid family harbored malice against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and showed enmity toward them. Moreover, (‘Umrān) al-Sābi’i’s questions and his adopting Islam at the hand of the Imām moved the spites of al-Ma’mūn and he assassinated him, as we will see in the chapters that follow.

Al-Nawfali related to the Imām, peace be on him, Mohammed’s words, and he thanked him for them and prayed for him.

The Imām honors ‘Umrān

Through his debates, the Imām made ‘Umrān adopt Islam. (This was a great achievement), for the latter was the most prominent scholar of his time. The Imām sent for him. When he came, the Imām , welcomed and received him with honor. Then he gave him garments and ten thousand dirhams. ‘Umrān was pleased with that, so he prayed for the Imām and thanked him for that, saying: “May I be your ransom, you have followed the deeds of your grandfather, the Commander of the faithful.”

‘Umrān came frequently to the Imām and made used of his abundant knowledge. After that, as the historians say, he became a summoner to Islam. The theologians from among the possessors of statements and innovations came to him and asked him about the most important questions. He answered their questions to the extent that he made them avoid him. Al-Ma’mūn gave him ten thousand dirhams and, in addition, al-Fadl gave him some money. Then the appointed him as a governor over the charities of Balkh, and he did right things.[4]

p: 130

The Questions of Sulaymān al-Marūzi

As for Sulaymān al-Marūzi, he was skilled in philosophy and experienced in theological researches. He was the most prominent religious scholars in Khurasān. Al-Ma’mūn invited him, met him with friendly reception and honor, and said to him: “My cousin, ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him, has come to me from al-Hijāz. He likes theology and theologians. Will you come to us on the 8th day of Dhu al-Hijja (youm al-Tarwiya) in order to debate with him.”

Sulaymān was afraid of that. He thought that the Imām would be unable to answer his questions, and that the ‘Alawides would harbor malice against him. Accordingly, he apologized to al-Ma’mūn, saying: “I dislike to question him in your session and among a group of the Hāshimites. The people will regard him as defective when he debate with me on theology. Defects are not permissible for him.”

Al-Ma’mūn made covenant with him and promised that no harm or detested things would befall him. He said (to him): “I have invited you because I know that you are learned (in theology). I have no intention except that you silence him (Imām al-Ridā) in one argument.”

This statement demonstrates that al-Ma’mūn had evil intention toward the Imām, harbored malice against him, and showed enmity toward him. Sulaymān felt safety from any aggression against him, and then he said to al-Ma’mūn: “(I will be) sufficient, Commander of the faithful, bring us together and do not dispraise me.” Meanwhile al-Ma’mūn sent his messenger to the Imām and asked him to come in order to debate with Sulaymān. The Imām responded to that and attended along with a delegation from among his eminent companions including ‘Umrān al-Sābi’i, who became a Muslim at the hand of the Imām. Then a debate took place between Sulaymān and ‘Umrān al-Sābi’i on al-bidā’. Sulaymān denied al-bidā’ while ‘Umrān confirmed it. Then Sulaymān sought the Imām’s view about it and he confessed it. He established it through some verses from the Holy Qur’ān. Then al-Ma’mūn turned to Sulaymān and said to him: “Question Abū al-Hasan about whatever you desire. You must listen well and be fair.”

p: 131

Sulaymān asked the Imām the following questions:

Q1: “What is your view about Him whom has made will as name and attribute such as All-living, All-hearing, All-seeing, and All-powerful?”

Ans. 1: “You want to say that things were originated and became different because He desired and willed, and you do not want to say that things were originated and became different because He is All-hearing and All-seeing. This is proof of that they (i.e. will and desire) are not similar to All-hearing, All-seeing, and All-powerful.”

Sulaymān interrupted the Imām, saying: “He has always been willing.”

The Imām answered him: “Sulaymān, His will is (something) other than Him.”

Sulaymān numbered (some attributes) to show that Allah, the Exalted, was united with His intention. So, the Imām disproved Sulaymān’s vague error, saying:

“You have proved along with Him something other than Him which has always been.”

“I have not proved (that),” replied Sulaymān

“Is it (the will ) originated?” asked Sulaymān.

“No, it is not originated,” answered the Imām.

The Imām confused Sulaymān and he began saying contradictory statements. He (Sulaymān) sometimes said that will was eternal and sometimes said that it was originated. Therefore, al-Ma’mūn shouted at him and asked him not to show obstinacy and to show fairness in his speech, saying: “You must be fair. Do you not see that the people of consideration are around you?”

Then al-Ma’mūn turned to the Imām and said to him: “Abū al-Hasan, debate with him on theology, for he is the theologian of Khurasān.”

p: 132

The Imām asked him: “Is it (the will) originated?”

Sulaymān denied the origination of the will, so the Imām answered him:

“Sulaymān, it is originated. If thing is not eternal, it is originated; if it is not originated, it is eternal.”

Sulaymān interrupted (the Imām) saying: “His (Allah’s) will is (part) of Him just as His hearing, His sight, and His knowledge are (parts) of Him.”

The Imām disproved his statement, asking: “Did He will Himself?”

“No,” was the answer.

The Imām began confuting his statement, saying: “Therefore, the willing is not like the All-hearing and the All-seeing.”

Sulaymān (answered) at random, for the Imām left no room for him to defend his own vague errors. He (Sulaymān) said: ‘Surely, He willed Himself just as He heard Himself, saw Himself, and recognized Himself.”

The Imām confuted his statement, asking: “What is the meaning of that He willed Himself? Did He will to be a thing? Did He will to be All-living, All-hearing, All-seeing, and All-powerful?”

Sulaymān did not know what to say, so he answered: “Yes.”

“Did that occur through His will?” asked the Imām.

“Yes,” was the answer.

The Imām began refuting Sulaymān’s statement and showing the contradiction therein, saying: “Your statement: ‘He willed to be All-living, All-hearing, and All-seeing,’ has no sense. Was that through His will?”

As the matter was deep, Sulaymān said: “Yes, that was through His will.”

The people in the session burst into laughter. Al-Ma’mūn laughed at the contradictory speech of Sulaymān. However, the Imām turned to the people and asked them to show gentleness toward Sulaymān. Then he asked him: “Sulaymān, do you think that He (i.e. Allah, the Exalted) has altered from state to state and changed due to it? This is something through which Allah is not described.”

p: 133

Sulaymān became feeble and kept silent, so the Imām turned to him in order to establish proof against him, saying: “Sulaymān, I want to ask you a question.”

“Question (me), may I be your ransom,” replied Sulaymān.

“Tell me about you and your companions: Do you debate with the people on theology according to what you understand and know or according to what you do not understand and know?”

“Rather, according to what we understand and know,” answered Sulaymān.

The Imām began establishing proof against Sulaymān’s vague errors, saying: “The thing which the people know is that the willing is other than will, that the willing is before will, that the doer is before the thing done. This (statement) disproves your statement: ‘Will and the willing is one thing.’”

Sulaymān said: “May I be your ransom, isn’t that of Him as the people know and understand?”

The Imām continued refuting Sulaymān’s vague errors, saying: “I think that you have claimed the knowledge of that without knowledge and said: ‘Will is like hearing and seeing.’ If you have such a view, then it is something which is neither known nor is understood.”

Sulaymān became perplexed and was unable to answer because of the many scientific abilities of the Imām, peace be on him. The Imām resumed his debate in order to complete proof against him, saying:

“Sulaymān, does Allah know all those who are in the Garden and the Fire?”

“Yes,” Sulaymān retorted.

The Imām opposed him, saying: “Is what Allah, the Exalted, knows (part) of that?”

p: 134

“Yes,” was the answer.

“If it is to the extent that nothing of it remains but is, will He increase them or cut them off from it (the fruit of the Garden)?”

“Rather, He increases them,” replied Sulaymān.

The Imām disproved his statement, saying: “From your statement I see that He increases them what is not in His knowledge that it will be.”

Sulaymān said: “May I be your ransom, the willing has no limit.”

The Imām continued disproving Sulaymān’s vague errors, saying: “In your view, is that His knowledge does not encompass what therein (in the Garden) if He does not know the limit of that (which is in the Garden). If His knowledge does not encompass what therein, He does not know what is therein before it is. Allah, the Great and Almighty, is High above that!”

Sulaymān began apologizing and putting right his view, saying: “Verily, I said that He did not know that, for it has no limit, and for Allah, the Great and Almighty, described them (the people of the Garden) with everlastingness, and we hated to make cessation for them.”

The Imām went on refuting his vague errors and his descriptions, saying: “His knowledge of that does not bring about His cutting them from it, for He may know that; then He increase them; then He does not cut them off from it. This is what Allah, the Great and Almighty, has said in His Book: So oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement.[8] And He said to the people of the Garden: A gift which shall never be cut off.[2] And He, the Great and Almighty, said: And abundant fruit, neither intercepted nor forbidden.[3] Therefore, He, the Great and Almighty, knows that, so He does not cut them off from increase. Have you seen that He renews what the people of the Garden eat and drink?”

p: 135

“Yes,” was the answer.

“Does He cut them (the people of the Garden) off from it (fruit), while He puts (another) in the place of it?” asked the Imām.

“No,” was the answer.

The Imām, peace be on him, continued establishing his beliefs, saying: “If He puts (another) in the place of it, then it (the fruit) is everlasting; therefore they are not cut off from it.”

Sulaymān went on clinging to vague errors and imaginations which the Imām had already disproved through undeniable proofs, saying:

“Yes, He cuts them off from it and does not increase them.”

The Imām opposed that and confuted it with these words of him: “Therefore, He destroys (them) therein. This (statement), Sulaymān, cancels everlastingness and opposes the Book, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: They have therein whatever they wish and with Us is more yet.[1] And He, the Great and Almighty, says: A gift which shall never be cut off.[9] And He, the Great and Almighty, says: Nor shall they be ever ejected from it (the Garden).[10] And He, the Great and Almighty, says: Abiding therein forever.[11] And He, the Great and Almighty, says: And abundant fruit, neither intercepted nor forbidden.”

Sulaymān kept silent, not knowing what to answer after the Imām had closed before him all avenues of argument. Then the Imām asked him: “Sulaymān, tell me about will: Is it an action or not?”

“Rather, it is an action,” replied Sulaymān.

“Therefore, it is originated, for all actions are originated,” declared the Imām.

p: 136

All possible beings are effects, made, and originated. As for the Necessary Being, the Most High, it is impossible for Him to have the qualities of the possible being. Sulaymān was unable to say anything and began contradicting himself, saying:

“It (i.e. will) is not an action.”

As for Sulaymān, he had already admitted that it was an action. As a result, the Imām turned to him and asked him: “Is there anyone besides Him who, too, is eternal?”

Sulaymān dodged and did not answer the Imām’s question, saying: “Will is the brining forth.”

The Imām answered: “This is the thing because of which you criticized Dirār[12] and his companions, saying that everything Allah, the Great and Almighty, has created in heaven or earth, ocean or land ¾such as dog or pig, monkey, human or an animal ¾is Allah’s will, and that Allah’s will lives, dies, goes away, eats, drinks, marries, feels pleasure, wrongs, commits immoral acts, disbelieves, becomes a polytheist, so He renounces it and repeats Himself through it, and this is its bound.”

The Imām, peace be on him, demonstrated Dirār’s corrupt viewpoints which Sulaymān and his companions had criticized. He refuted all these corrupt viewpoints before Sulaymān, but the latter did not understand the Imām’s statement and said: “It (i.e. will) is like hearing, seeing, and knowledge.”

Sulaymān repeated what he had already said that will was like hearing and seeing. The Imām had already confuted this corrupt statement, yet he, peace be on him, asked him: “Tell me: Are hearing, seeing, and knowledge made?”

p: 137

“No,” was the answer.

The Imām criticized Sulaymān for his contradictory statement, saying: “How did you negate Him? You sometimes said that He did not will and sometimes you said that He willed, and that it (i.e. will) was not one of His actions.”

Sulaymān said at random: “Surely, that is like our statement: He sometimes knows and sometimes does not know!”

The Imām answered with inclusive proof, saying: “That is not the same, for negating the known is not like negating knowledge; negating what is willed is (not like) negating will, for if the thing is not willed, there will be no will. Knowledge may be established even if the known is not like seeing. Man may be knowing even though he is not the one who enlightens (others). Knowledge may be established even if it is not the known.”

Sulaymān answered: “It (i.e. will) is made.”

The Imām invalidated Sulaymān’s statement, saying: “Therefore, it (will) is originated and is not like hearing and seeing, for hearing and seeing are not made, and this is made.”

Sulaymān said: “It (will) is one of His eternal attributes.”

The Imām answered him, saying: “Therefore man must be eternal, for his quality is eternal.”

Sulaymān began dodging in his speech and said: “No, because He did not do it (will).

As a result, the Imām criticized him for that and said: “Khurasāni, what numerous your errors are! Are things not according to His will?”

Sulaymān insisted on his error, saying: “No.”

p: 138

The Imām answered him: “If things are not according to His will nor His desire nor His command nor His practice, then how are they? High is Allah above that!”

Sulaymān became perplexed. He was unable to say anything. Then the Imām continued confuting Sulaymān’s vague errors and imaginations, asking him: “Will you not tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein?[13] Does He not mean by that that He creates His own will?”

“Yes,” Sulaymān retorted.

The Imām answered him: “If He creates His own will, then your statement is that will is He or a futile thing of Him, for it is not (possible) for Him to create Himself and does not change His state. Exalted is Allah above that.”

Sulaymān opposed (the Imām), saying: “By that He does not mean that He creates His own will?”

“So what does He mean?” asked the Imām.

“He means doing a thing,” was the answer.

The Imām rebuked him, saying: “Woe unto you! How many times have you repeated this matter? I told you that will is created, for the action of a thing is originated.”

“Therefore will has no sense,” declared Sulaymān.

“Do you think that He describes Himself with will which has no sense? If will has no old or new meaning, then your statement, ‘Allah, the Great and Almighty, has always been willing’ is groundless.”

p: 139

Sulaymān began clinging to vague errors, saying: “I mean that will is one of Allah’s eternal actions.”

The Imām answered him, saying: “Do you not know that thing is not done and eternal and new at the same time?”

Sulaymān became perplexed after the Imām had disproved all his vague errors and made clear for him that every possible thing was created and not eternal, and that the will of Allah was not like the qualities of the possible being.

The Imām continued establishing his proofs against Sulaymān, saying: “There is no harm on you. Complete your questions.”

“Will is one of His attributes,” declared Sulaymān.

The Imām criticized him for repeating this statement, saying: “How many times have you said that it is one of His attributes? Is His will originated, or has it always been so?”

“Originated,” was the answer.

The Imām said: “Allāhu Akbar! You are telling me that His attribute is originated. Had it been one of His attributes, an eternal one, then He willed nothing, for the thing which has always been so is not done.”

Sulaymān began contradicting himself, saying: “Things are not a will, and He did not will anything.”

The Imām answered him, saying: “You have hissed, O Sulaymān! He did and created as long as His will and His creation are eternal! This is the attribute of someone who does not know what he is doing. Exalted is Allah above all of that.”

Again Sulaymān contradicted himself and said: “Master, I have already informed you that will is like hearing, seeing, and knowing.”

p: 140

As a result, al-Ma’mūn shouted at Sulaymān, saying: “Woe unto you, Sulaymān! How you have erred and how often you have repeated yourself? Stop it and take another (matter), for you seem to be unable to provide any answer better than that.”

The Imām turned to al-Ma’mūn and said to him: “Leave him, Commander of the faithful. Don’t interrupt his questions, for he will regard it as an argument (against me).”

Then the Imām looked at Sulaymān and said to him: “Speak, Sulaymān.”

Sulaymān continued saying: “I have already informed you that will is like hearing, seeing, and knowing.”

The Imām replied to him: “There is no harm, tell me about the meaning of this. Is it one meaning or different meanings?”

“One meaning,” came the answer.

“Is the meaning of will one?” asked the Imām.

“Yes,” was the answer.

The Imām answered him with an irrefutable answer, saying: “If its meaning is one, then it will be the will of standing, sitting, life, and death. If His will is one, parts of which do not go ahead parts, and parts of which do not oppose parts.”

Sulaymān replied, saying: “Surely, its meaning is different.”

The Imām understood that Sulaymān was uncertain, so he asked him: “Tell me about the willing: Is He the will or other than it?”

“Rather, He is the will,” replied Sulaymān.

The Imām answered him: “In your view, is the willing different when He is the will.”

p: 141

“Master, the will is not the willing,” explained Sulaymān.

Yet the Imām understood that Sulaymān was not sure, so he said to him: “Will is originated; otherwise there is (something) other than Him along with Him.”

“Will is one of His names,” said Sulaymān.

“Did He name Himself with that?” asked the Imām.

“No,” replied Sulaymān, “He did not name Himself with that.”

“Therefore, you have no right to name Him with what He did not name Himself,” said the Imām.

Sulaymān dodged and said: “He described Himself that He was willing.”

The Imām said: “His attribute is not His selfness. That He is willing is telling of that He is will and is not telling of that will is one of His names.”

“That is because His will is His knowledge,” declared Sulaymān.

The Imām asked: “If He knows thing, does He lose (His) will.”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“If He does not will thing, does He not know it?” asked the Imām.

“Yes,” replied Sulaymān.

The Imām began explaining Sulaymān’s corrupt views, saying: “From where did you say that? What is the evidence for that His will is His knowledge? He may know what He does not will by no means, and that is these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And if We will, We should certainly take way that which We have revealed to you.[14] Therefore, He knows how He takes it away, but He never takes it away.”

p: 142

Sulaymān said: “That is because He finished the affair, so He did not increase anything therein.”

The Imām replied, saying: “This is the statement of the Jews. So why did He, the Exalted, say: Call upon Me, I will answer you.[15]”

As for Sulaymān, he denied that and said: “By that He meant that He had power over it.”

The Imām asked him: “Does He promise what He does not fulfill? Why did He say: He increases in creation what He wills?[16] And He, the Great and Almighty, said: Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He wills [17], while He finished this matter.”

Sulaymān became perplexed after the Imām had closed before all avenues of argument. Wherever he went, the Imām faced him with an irrefutable argument and inclusive proof in order to invalidate his viewpoints. Then the Imām, peace be on him, continued confuting Sulaymān’s vague errors, saying: “Sulaymān, did He know that a human being would be and He did not will to create a human being by no means? That a human being will die today and He will not make him die today?”

“Yes,” retorted Sulaymān.

The Imām hastened to refute these contradictory words of Sulaymān, asking: “Does He know that what He wills exists or does He know what He will not exists?”

Sulaymān opposed the Imām, saying: “He knows that both of them exist.”

The Imām answered him according to his contradictory statement, saying: “Therefore, He knows that man is living and dead, standing and sitting, blind and seeing at the same time. This is impossible.”

p: 143

Sulaymān began saying more contradictory statements regarding the questions of the Imām, saying: “May I be your ransom, He knows that one of them exists.”

The Imām said: “There is no harm (on you), which of them exists ¾the one which He wills to be or the one which He wills not to be?”

Sulaymān began saying at random, not knowing what to say, and not knowing his contradictory statements: “He wills what He wills to be!”

The people including al-Ma’mūn burst into laughter. As for Imām al-Ridā, he smiled at Sulaymān and said to him: “You have erred and left your statement: He knows that a person will die today and He does not will to make him die today, that He wills to create creatures and He will not to create them. If your knowledge is not enough (to understand) what He wills not to be, then He knows only what He wills to be.”

Sulaymān tried to correct his statement, saying: “My statement is that will is neither He nor a thing other than Him!”

The Imām indicated Sulaymān’s contradiction, saying: “If you say that will is not He, then you have regarded it as (something) other than him. If you say that will is not (a thing) other than Him, then you have regarded it as Him.”

Sulaymān asked: “Does Allah know how He creates thing?”

“Yes,” replied the Imām.

“Surely, this establishes thing.”

The Imām answered him with a wise answer, saying: “You have said something impossible. That is because man may build a wall even if he does not build, sew even though he does not sew, make thing well despite he does not make it. Sulaymān, do you know that He is One without anything with Him?”

p: 144

“Yes,” was the answer.

“Does this establish thing?”

As for Sulaymān, he denied what he said previously, saying: “He does not know that He is One without anything with Him.”

“Do you know that?” asked the Imām.

“Yes,” came the answer.

“Therefore, You, Sulaymān, more knowledgeable than Him!”

“The matter is impossible,” declared Sulaymān.

The Imām asked him: “Is it impossible in your view that He is One without anything with Him, that He is All-hearing, All-seeing, All-wise, All-powerful...?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

The Imām answered with a wise answer, saying: “How did He, the Great and Almighty, say that He was One, All-living, All-hearing, All-seeing, All-wise, All-powerful, All-knowing, All-aware, while He did not know that and His being accused of lying? Exalted is Allah above that.”

The Imām added, saying: “How does He will to create that which He does not know how to create and what it is? If creator does not know how to create thing before he creates it, then he is perplexed. Exalted is Allah above that, a great exaltation!”

Sulaymān said at random: “Will is power.”

The Imām replied: “He, the Great and Almighty, always has power over what He will. There is no escape from that, for He, the Blessed and Exalted, said: And if We will, We should certainly take away that which We have revealed to you. If will is power, He wills take it away because of His power.”

p: 145

Feebleness appeared on Sulaymān’s face, and he stood perplexed before this Ocean of knowledge and merit. As a result, he kept silent. Al-Ma’mūn turned to him and praised the Imām’s talents saying: “Sulaymān, this is the most learned of the Hāshimites!”

This debate contains very important theological researches which show that the Imām has great scientific abilities which demonstrates the beliefs of the Imāmi Shi‘ites, who maintain that the Imām should be the most learned of the people of his time. This debate aborted the attempt of al-Ma’mūn, who intended to render the Imām incapable of answering even one question, that he might use his incapability as means to defame the beliefs of the Shi‘ites concerning the Imām. Shaykh al-Sadūq, may Allah make shine his grave, has commented on this debate, saying: “Al-Ma’mūn brought to Imām al-Ridā the theologians of the sects and misleading inclinations in order to disable him through one of them. That is because of his envy toward him and his scientific position. All those who debated with him (al-Ridā) on theology acknowledged his merit and his arguments against them. That is because Allah, may His name be blessed, refuses (everything) except raising His word, completing His light, and making shine His proof. In this manner He, the Blessed and Exalted, promised in His Book, saying: Most surely We help our apostles and those who believe in this world’s life.[18] By who believe He means the leading Imāms and their followers who know them and learn from them through helping them with argument against those who oppose them as long as they live in the world. In this manner He will behave toward them in the next world. Surely, Allah, the Great and Almighty, does not break promise.[19]”

p: 146

The Imām debates with Abū Qurra

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, disproved the vague errors which were raised about Islam. Abū Qurra headed for Khurasān in order to examine the Imām, peace be on him. He asked Safwān b.

Footnote

[1] In a copy: "Before His creating the creatures."

[2] Qur'ān, 17, 72.

[3] Tuhaf al-'Uqūl, p. 527.

[4] 'Uyyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, pp. 168-178. Reports similar to his have been mentioned by al-Tabrasi in (his book) al-Ihtijājj, al-Majjlisi in al-Bihār, and al-Hasan b. Shu'bā in Tuhaf al-'Uqūl.

[5] Qur'ān, 4, 56.

[6] Ibid., 11, 108.

[7] Ibid., 56, 33.

[8] Ibid., 50, 35.

[9] Ibid., 11, 108.

[10] Ibid., 15, 48.

[11] Ibid., 98, 8.

[12] Dirār is one of the Shaykhs of the Mu'tazilites in theology and belongs to the Abādiya.

[13] Qur'ān, 17, 16.

[14] Ibid., 17, 86.

[15] Ibid., 40, 60.

[16] Ibid., 35, 1.

[17] Ibid., 13, 39.

[18] Ibid., 40, p. 51.

[19] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, pp. 182-191.

Other Debates And Questions

Al-Mu’mūn questions Imām al-Ridā

Al-Ma’mūn asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, some questions. More likely, he wanted to test him. The Imām answered these questions which are as follows:

Q1: “Son of Allah’s Apostle, do you not say that the prophets are infallible?”

“Yes,” replied the Imām.

“What is the meaning of these words of Him, the Exalted: And Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him)?” asked al-Ma’mūn.

p: 147

Ans. 1: “Surely Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said to Adam: O

Adam, dwell you and your wife in the Garden and eat from it a

plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree.

And He pointed to the tree of wheat for then you will be of the unjust.

He did not say to them: ‘Do not eat from this tree or from its kind.’

They did not approach the tree; nor did they eat from it; they ate from

other than it. When Satan whispered (evil) to them and said: ‘Your Lord has not forbidden you from this tree; rather He has forbidden you

from approaching other than it. He has not forbidden you from eating

from it except that you may not both become two angels or that you

may (not) become of the immortal.’ And he swore to them both: ‘Most

surely I am a sincere adviser to you.’ Adam and Hawuā’ (Eve) did not

see before that anyone who swore by Allah in a false manner. Then he

caused them to fall by his deceit and they ate from the tree because

they trusted his swearing by Allah, and that was before Adam was

considered as a Prophet, and that was not a big sin through which he

deserved entering the Fire; rather it was one of the sins which could be

forgiven and could be committed by Prophets before the revelation

(wahy) came down to them. When Allah chose him and made him a

prophet, he became infallible, and was not permitted to commit a sin, minor or major. Allah,the Great and Almighty, said: Thus did Adam disobey his Lord and allow himself to be seduced.But his Lord chose (for His grace); He turned to him, and gave him guidance.[1] And He, the Great and Almighty, said: Allah did indeed choose Adam and Nūh, the family of Ibrāhim, and the family of ‘Umrān above the people.[2]”

p: 148

Q2: “What is the meaning of these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: But when He gives them a good one, they set up with Him associates in what He has given them? [3]”

Ans. 2: “Hawuā’ born Adam five hundred males and females, so Adam and Hawuā’ promised Allah, the Great and Almighty, prayed to Him, and said: If You give us a good one, we shall certainly be of the grateful ones.

“When He gave them a good one of progeny, sound creature free from illness and defect ¾He gave them two types: a type of males and of females ¾the two types attributed partners to Allah, may His name be Exalted, in what He had given to them, and they did not thank Him as their parents thanked Him, the Great and Almighty. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said: But high is Allah above what they associate (with Him).[4]”

Q3: “I witness that you are the son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, tell me about the words of Him, the Great and Almighty, concerning Ibrāhim: When the night covered him, he saw a star. He said: This is my Lord.[5]”

Ans. 3: “Surely Ibrāhim lived in a society where three types of worship dominated: the worship of Venus, the worship of the moon, and the worship of the sun. That was when he came out of the cave where he was concealed. When the night covered him, he saw Venus and said: This is my Lord. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it). When it (the star) set, he said: I do not love those that set. That this because setting is an attribute of the created not of the Eternal (Being). When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: This is my Lord. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it). But when it (the moon) set, he said: Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among those who go astray. He said: ‘Unless my Lord had guided me, I would have been among those who went astray.’ When he entered upon morning and saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: This is my Lord; this is the greatest of Venus and the moon. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it), not to tell them about it and not to admit it (as a lord). When it (the sun) set, he said to the three types of men who worshipped Venus, the moon, and the sun: O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of ascribing partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I attribute partners (to Allah). By the virtue of what he said, Ibrāhim simply wanted to indicate to them the invalidity of their religion and to establish to them that worship did not belong to those things like Vinus, the moon, and the sun; rather it belonged to their Creator and the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The argument which he used against his people was among what Allah had inspired him and gave to him, just as Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: And this was Our argument which We gave to Ibrāhim against his people.”

p: 149

Q4: “How good you are, son of Allah’s Apostle! Tell me about these words of Ibrāhim: And when Ibrāhim said: My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead, He said: What! and do you not believe. He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease.[6]”

Ans. 4: “Surely Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, had revealed to Ibrāhim that He would take one of His creatures for a bosom friend. If he asked Him to give life to the dead, He would respond to him. Ibrāhim thought that he would be the bosom friend, and hence he said: My Lord,show me how You give life to the dead,He said:What! and do you not believe.He said: Yes,but that my heart may be at ease.He (Allah) said: Then take four of the birds, then train them to follow you, then place on every mountain a part of them, then call them, they will come to you flying; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. As a result Ibrāhim took an eagle, a peacock, a duck and a rooster. He cut the birds into pieces and mixed them. They were ten pieces. Then he placed each piece of them on the mountains around him, and put the beaks between his fingers. He put seeds and water beside him. Then he called them by their names, so those pieces flew to each other until they became sound bodies. Then each body came and joined its neck and head. Then Ibrāhim, peace be on him, released their beaks. The birds flew and then they alighted. They drank from that water, ate from those seeds, and said: ‘Allah’s Prophet, you have given life to us, may Allah give life to you!’ Ibrāhim said: ‘Rather it is Allah who gives life to (creatures) and make (them) die, and He is powerful over all things!’”

p: 150

Q5: “Allah bless you, Abū al-Hasan! Tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: So Mūsā struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing.[7]”

Ans. 4: “Mūsā entered one of Fir‘awn’s (Pharaoh’s) cities when its inhabitants were heedless of him. That was between the sunset and the evening. So he found therein two men fighting, one being of his party and the other of his foes, and he who was of his party cried out to him for help against him who was of his enemies. Therefore Mūsā killed the enemy. Allah, the Exalted, mentioned: So Mūsā struck him with his fist and he died. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing. This means that the fighting which took place between the two men (was on account of Satan’s doing), not the killing which Mūsā had committed. (The world) ‘he’ means Satan (who) is an enemy, openly leading astray.”

Q6: “What is the meaning of these words of Mūsā: My Lord, surely I have done harm to myself, so do You protect me.”

Ans. 6: “This means that he put himself in other than its place when he entered this city. So do You protect me, meaning conceal me from Your enemies lest they should find me and kill me, so He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Mūsā said: My Lord, because You have bestowed a favor on me, through the strength so that I killed a man with striking him with my fist; I shall never be a backer of the guilty; rather I shall fight on Your path with this strength until You are content (with me). As a result Mūsā was in the city fearing, awaiting, when lo! he who had asked his assistance the day before was crying out to him for aid against another person, so Mūsā said to him: You are most surely one erring manifestly. You killed a man the day before and this day you want to kill (another man), hence I shall hurt you. He wanted to strike him. So when he desired to seize him who was an enemy to them both, he said: O Mūsā, do you want to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? You desire nothing but that you should be a tyrant in the land, and you do not desire to be of those who act aright.”

p: 151

Q7: “Abū al-Hasan, May Allah reward you well on behalf of His prophets! What this the meaning of these words of Mūsā to Fir‘awn (Pharaoh): I did it then while I was of those unable to see the right course?[8]”

Ans. 7: “Fir’awn said to Mūsā when he came to him: And you did (that) deed of yours which you did, and you are one of the ungrateful for me. Mūsā said: I did it then while I was of those unable to see the right course through my entering one of your cities. So I fled from you when I feared you, then my Lord granted me wisdom and made me one of the apostles.

“Allah, the Great and Almighty, said to His Prophet Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family: Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter? [9] He (Allah) says: ‘Did He not find you lonely and He made the people seek shelter in you?’ And find you unable to see and show the way to your people? So He guided, namely He guided them to knowing you. And find you in want and make you be free from want? He (Allah) says: ‘He has made you free from want when He has made your supplication accepted.”

Q8: “Allah bless you, son of Allah’s Apostle! What is the meaning of these words of Allah, the Great and Almighty: And when Mūsā came to our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord, show me (Yourself), so that I may look upon You. He said: You cannot (bear to) see me. How is it permissible that Mūsā b. ‘Umrān, the Interlocutor of Allah, peace be on him, did not know that Allah, may His name be Blessed and Exalted, could not be perceived? Why did he make such a request?”

p: 152

Ans. 8: “Mūsā b. ‘Umrān, the Interlocutor of Allah, knew that Allah, the Exalted, far above to be perceived by eyes, but when Allah, the Great and Almighty, spoke to him and made him draw nigh holding communion (with Him), he returned to his people and told them that Allah, the Great and Almighty, spoke to him, made him draw nigh, and whispered to him, but they said: ‘We will not believe in you until we hear His words as you heard them.’ They were seven hundred thousand men, so he chose seventy men from them to the appointed time of their Lord. He took them and went to Mount Sinā’. He made them stay at the foot of the mountain. As for Mūsā, he climbed the mountain, asked Him to speak to him and make them hear His words. As a result Allah, may His name be Exalted, spoke to him, and they heard His words from top, bottom, left, right, behind, and before (them). That is because Allah, the Great and Almighty, created His words in the Tree and made them come out of it to the extent that they heard them from all directions; yet they said: ‘We do not believe that what we have heard is (His) words until we see Allah manifestly.’ When they said this dangerous statement, became arrogant and tyrant, Allah sent down upon them thunderbolt, and it overtook them because of their transgression. They died, so Mūsā said: ‘My Lord, what shall I say to the children of Israel when I return to them and they say: ‘You took them and killed them, for you were not truthful when you claimed that Allah, the Great and Almighty, would speak to you?’ According, Allah gave life to them and sent them with him. They said: ‘If you ask Allah to make you look upon him, He will respond to you; you will tell us how He is, then we will be fully aware of Him.’ Mūsā said: ‘People, the eyes cannot perceive Him, and He has no howness; rather He is recognized through His signs and is known through arguments.’ Yet they said to him: ‘We will not believe in you until you ask Him.’ Mūsā said: ‘My Lord, You have indeed heard the statement of the children of Israel and You know better how to put them right.’ So Allah, the Great and Almighty, revealed to Mūsā: ‘Request from Me what they requested from you, for I will not punish you because of their ignorance.’ Then Mūsā said: My Lord, show me (Yourself) so that I may look upon You. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me, but look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place -while falling down- then will you see me; but when his Lord manifested (His glory) to the mountain, He made it crumble and Mūsā fell down in a swoon; then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to You, I turn to You. He said: ‘I have returned to my knowledge of You and (left) the ignorance of my people of You. I am the first of the believers in that none can see You.’”

p: 153

Al-Ma’mūn admired the Imām’s talents and abundant knowledge, saying: “How good you are, Abū al-Hasan!”

Q9: “Tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And certainly she made for him, and he would have made for her, were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord.[10]”

Ans. 9: “She made for him, were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord, he would have made for her just as she made for him, but he was infallible, and the infallible did not think of sin; nor did he commit it. Indeed my father related to me on the authority of his father al-Sādiq, who said: ‘She intended to do, and he intended not to do.’”

Q10: “How good you are, Abū al-Hasan! Tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And Dhā al-Nūn when he departed in wrath; he imagined that We had no power over him.[11]”

Ans. 10: “That was Yūnus b. Matti. He departed in wrath to his people. He imagined, meaning that he was sure that We would not straiten him, namely We will not going to sustain him, and of it is these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: But when He tries him (differently), then straitens to him his means of subsistence.[12] Or straitened and ordained. So he called out among the shadows, namely the shadows of the sea and of the stomach of the whale. There is no god but You! Glory belongs to You; I was indeed wrong through my leaving this worship to which You have given me free time in the stomach of the whale, so Allah answered him, and He, the Great and Almighty, said: But had it not that he was of those who glorify (Us), he would certainly have tarried in its stomach to the day when they are raised.[13]”

p: 154

Q11: “How good you are, Abū al-Hasan! Tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: Till the apostles gave up hope and thought that they were surely accused of lying, Our help then came to them.[14]”

Ans. 11: “Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: Till the apostles gave up hope (of their people) and (their people came to) think that they proved them to be liars, Our help then came to them.”

Q12: “How good you are, Abū al-Hasan! Tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: That Allah may forgive your community their past faults and those to follow.[15]”

Ans. 12: “The Meccan polytheists thought that there was none greater in sin than Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. That is because they worshipped three hundred and sixty idols other than Allah. When he (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, came to them and summoned them to the Oneness of Allah, they regarded that as big and great, and then they said: What! makes he the gods a single God? A strange thing is this, to be sure! And the chief persons of them break forth, saying: Go and steadily adhere to your gods; this is most surely a thing sought after. We never heard of this in the former faith; this is nothing but a forgery.[16]

“When Allah, the Great and Almighty, enabled His Prophet to conquer Mecca, He said to him: Mohammed, surely We have given to you a clear victory, that Allah may forgive your community their past faults and those to follow, (the faults) of the Meccan polytheists­ through your summoning (them) to the Oneness of Allah, their past faults and those to follow. That is because some Meccan polytheists became Muslims; some of them went out of Mecca; as for those of them who remained were not able to deny the Oneness of Allah against him (the Prophet) when he summoned the people to it, so their faults were forgiven because of his mastery over them.”

p: 155

Q13: “How good you are, Abū al-Hasan! Tell me about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: Allah pardon you! Why did you give them leave ? [17]”

Ans. 13: “This is part of that which was revealed by the virtue of: I mean you and listen, O neighbor! Allah, the Great and Almighty, addressed His Prophet with that, but He meant by that his community. Similar to this (verse) is these words of Him, the Exalted: Surely if you associate (with Allah), your work would certainly come to naught and you would certainly be of the losers [18], and these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And had it not been that We had already established you, you would certainly have been near to incline to them a little.[19]”

Q14: “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, went to the house of Zayd b. Hāritha b. Sharāhil al-Kalbi for a thing he wanted. He saw his wife washing and said to her: Glory belongs to Him who has created you!”

Ans. 14: “By that he meant to free the Creator, the Great and Almighty, from the statement of those who said: ‘The angels are the daughters of Allah.’ So Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: What! has then your Lord preferred to give you sons, and (for Himself) taken daughters from among the angels? Most surely you utter a grievous saying.[20] When Zayd returned to his house, his wife told him about the coming of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and his saying to her: ‘Glory belongs to Allah!’ Zayd did not understand what the Prophet meant by that. He thought that the Prophet said that because he admired her beauty. So he came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said to him: ‘My wife is in her creation, and I want to divorce her.’ ‘Keep your wife to yourself,’ said the Prophet to him, ‘fear Allah.’ Allah had made the Prophet know the number of his wives. As for this woman, she was one of them, but he concealed that in his own soul and did not show it to Zayd. He feared that the people would say that Mohammed said to his retainer: ‘Your wife will be my wife,’ and that they would criticized him for that. As a result Allah, the Great and Almighty, revealed: And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; and you concealed in yourself (what) Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him.

p: 156

“Then Zayd b. Hāritha divorced her, and she had completed her waiting period, so Allah, the Great and Almighty, married her to His Prophet Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, and with this regard He revealed (a verse in) the Qur’ān, and He, the Great and Almighty, said: But when Zayd had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah’s command shall be performed.

“Then Allah, the Great and Almighty, knew that the hypocrites would criticize the Prophet for being married to her, so He, the Exalted revealed: There is no harm in the Prophet doing that which Allah has ordained for him.[21]”

With this (answer) the Imām concluded this debate, which is evidence for his great scientific abilities and his comprehensive knowledge of the Great Book of Allah. The Imām freed the magnified prophets of Allah from committing transgression and established their infallibility through this explanation backed by undeniable proof and evidence.

Al-Ma’mūn lauds the Imām’s Talents

Al-Ma’mūn lauded Imām al-Ridā’s talents and said: “You have quenched my thirst, son of Allah’s Apostle, and explained what was hidden from me, may Allah reward you well on behalf of His prophets and of Islam.”

Then al-Ma’mūn left the session. He took Mohammed b. Ja‘far, the Imām’s uncle, by the hand and asked him: “How did you see your nephew?”

p: 157

Showing his admiration toward the Imām, Mohammed said: “He (Imām al-Ridā) is a scholar; we have never seen him frequent any of the men of knowledge.”

Al-Ma’mūn agreed with him on this reality and said: “Surely, your nephew is from among the Household concerning whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Verily, the pious of my family and the good ones of my offspring are the most forbearing of the people when they are young and the most knowledgeable of the people when they are old; therefore, do not teach them, for they are most learned than you. They do not bring you out of guidance; nor do they make you enter a door to error.”

Then ‘Ali b. al-Jahm related to the Imām al-Ma’mūn’s laudation and praise and what Mohammed b. Ja‘far said concerning him. So the Imām smiled and said: “Do not be deceived by what you heard from him (al-Ma’mūn), for he will assassinate me; and Allah, the Exalted, will take vengeance on him out of his (evil) deed toward me.[22]”

The matter was just as the Imām, peace be on him, had predicted. That is because al-Ma’mūn’s harbored malice against him and was jealous of excellence and abundant knowledge given by Allah to him. Accordingly, al-Ma’mūn committed the most horrible crime in the history of Islam when he put poison into food and gave it to the Imām to eat. In this manner he was able to assassinate the Imām, who was the Prophet’s grandson, source of knowledge and wisdom on earth.

p: 158

Ibn al-Sikit’s Questions

Abū Yūsuf Ya‘qūb b. Ishāq al-Dawraqi, better known as Ibn al-Sikit, was a great scholar in the time of the Imām. He came to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and asked him the following questions:

“Why did Allah send Mūsā with a white hand, ‘Īsā with miraculous medicine, and Mohammed with miraculous speech and oratory?”

The Imām answered him about the reason for these things, saying: “Allah sent Mūsā (with the white hand) because sorcery dominated the (minds) of the people of his time, so he brought them from Allah something which they never had, nor could they bring about anything like it, thus rendering their sorcery void and proving his argument against them.

“Allah sent‘Īsā with medicine during a period of time when chronic diseases became widespread, and the people were in dire need of cure, so he (‘Īsā) brought them from Allah something which they never had, bring the dead back to life, healing the blind and the leprous with Allah’s permission, proving his argument against them.

“Allah sent Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, with speech and oratory during the time when speech and oratory dominated (the minds of) the people.[23] So he (Mohammed) brought them from Allah warnings and precepts through which he could disprove their statements and proved his argument against them.”

Ibn al-Sikit admired the Imām’s knowledge and said: “By Allah, I have never seen anyone like you! What is the argument against people these days, then?”

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The Imām answered him: “Reason. Through it can you come to know who tells the truth about Allah, so you believe in him, and who tells lies about Allah, so you disbelieve in him.”

“This, by Allah, is the (right) answer,” declared Ibn al-Sikit.[24]

Allah created reason and made it argument over man. Reason brings about mercy to man when he obeys it, and it brings about unhappiness to him when he disobeys it. Through reason we can distinguish the truthful from the untruthful, the true from the untrue.

The Imām debates a Man

A man, whose name the historians have not mentioned, came in to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. When the man sat down, he turned to the Imām and asked him: “Son of Allah’s Apostle, what is the evidence for the creation of the world?”

The Imām answered him with definite evidence: “You were not, then you have been. You know that you had not created yourself; nor had the like of you created you.[25]”

The Imām’s Debate Concerning the Prophet’s Family

Yet this is another debate in which the Imām has provided evidence of that Allah chose the pure family (of the Prophet). The debate took place in the presence of al-Ma’mūn and a group of scholars from Iraq and Khurasān. Al-Ma’mūn asked the scholars about the meaning of this verse: “Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants.[26]”

“Surely those whom Allah chose were all Muslims,” retorted the scholars.

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Al-Ma’mūn turned to the Imām and asked him: “What do you say, Abū al-Hasan?”

“I do not say as they said,” replied the Imām, “but I say that Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, meant the pure family (of the Prophet), peace be on them.”

The Imām’s words moved al-Ma’mūn, and he asked: “How did Allah mean the Prophet’s family apart from the community?”

“If Allah meant the community,” replied the Imām, “then all of it would enter the Garden, while He, the Exalted, says: But of them is he who makes his soul to suffer a loss, and of them is he who takes a middle course, and of them is he who is foremost in deeds of goodness by Allah’s permission; this is the great excellence.[27]”

The Imām added, saying: “As a result the inheritance belongs to the Prophet’s pure family, not to other than them. It is they whom Allah has described in His Book and said: Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness. And to purify you, people of the House, with a thorough purification. It is they concerning whom Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘I leave behind me among you two things, if you cleave to them, you will never go astray ¾that is the book of Allah and my offspring from my family (ahl al-Bayt). They will never scatter (from you) until they lead you to me at the (scared) waters (of Heaven). Take care how you will follow me with regard to them. People, do not try to teach them, for they are more knowledgeable than you.’[28]”

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The scholars hurried to say at one time: “Abū al-Hasan, tell us about the offspring (‘itra): are they the family (āl) or other than the family?”

“They are the family (āl),” answered the Imām.

They opposed the Imām, saying: “It has been narrated on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, who said: ‘My community is my family(āl).’ And these are his companions who say with a diffused tradition which cannot be denied: ‘The family(āl) of Mohammed is his community.’”

The Imām indicated that the tradition was fabricated and incorrect, saying: “Tell me, is it forbidden for Mohammed’s family to take alms or not?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“Is it forbidden for the community to take alms or not?” asked the Imām.

“No,” came the answer.

Having proved argument against them, the Imām retorted: “This is the difference between the family (āl) and the community (umma). Woe unto you! Which creed do you follow? What! shall We then turn away the reminder from you altogether because you are an extravagant people? Did you not know that the tradition apparently concerned those who were chosen and rightly guided apart from the rest of the people?”

“From where did you say, Abū al-Hasan?” asked the scholars.

The Imām began reciting to them the excellence of the pure offspring, saying: “From these words of Allah: And certainly We sent Nūh and Ibrāhim and We gave to their offspring the (gift of) prophecy and the Book; so there are among them those who go aright, and most of them are transgressors.[29] So the legacy of prophecy and the Book was confined to those who went aright apart from the transgressors. Did you not know that Nūh ask his Lord, saying: My Lord, surely my son is of my family, and Your promise is surely true?[30] That is because Allah had promised him to save him and his family, so Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said: Surely he is not of your family; surely he is (the doer of) other than good deeds; therefore, ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge; surely I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant.[31]”

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Al-Ma’mūn burst with anger and rage, saying: “Did Allah prefer the offspring to the rest of the people?”

The Imām retorted: “Allah, the Great and Almighty, preferred the offspring to the reset of the people in the firm text of His Book.”

“Where is that in the Book of Allah?” asked al-Ma’mūn.

The Imām recited to him a group of the verses which lauded the excellence of the Household, peace be on them, saying: “Surely Allah chose Adam and Nūh and the descendants of Ibrāhim and the descendants of ‘Umrān above the nations, offspring, one of the other; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.[32] And Allah said in another place: Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Ibrāhim’s family the Book and the wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom.[33] Then after this Allah addressed the rest of the Muslims, saying: O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you.[34] He meant those whom He made inherit the Book and wisdom, and they were envied for them, according to these words of Him: Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Ibrāhim’s family the Book and the wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom. He meant obedience to those chosen and pure, and ‘kingdom’ here means obedience to them.”

“Did Allah, the Most High, interpret ‘choice’ in the Book?” asked the scholars.

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The Imām answered them: “He interpreted ‘choice’ in outward apart from the inward in twelve places:

“The first of that is the words of Allah: And warn your nearest relations [35], ¾and your loyal family ¾in this manner it is in the recitation of Ubay b. Ka‘b, and it has been established in the copy of the Qur’ān of ‘Abd Allah b. Mas‘ūd. However, when ‘Uthmān ordered Zayd b. Thābit to collect the Qur’ān, he omitted this verse. And this is an exalted position, great excellence, and lofty honor when Allah, the Great and Almighty, meant the family (āl) by that. This is one (verse).

“As for the second verse concerning choice, it is these words of Allah: Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanness and to purify you, people of the House, with a thorough purification. None can deny this excellence except him who is obstinate, for this excellence is clear.

“The third verse: When Allah distinguished the pure from among His creatures, He ordered His Prophet in the Verse of Contest of Prayer (Ibtihāl) and said: Say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our souls and your souls, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.[36] So the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, brought out ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and Fātima, peace be on them, thus he associated their souls with his own soul.”

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Then the Imām turned to the scholars and asked them: “Did you know the meaning of His words: and our souls and your souls?”

“By that he (the Prophet) meant his own soul,” they answered.

“You are mistaken,” replied the Imām, “by that he meant ‘Ali.[37] The proof of that is the statement of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, when he said to ‘Ali: ‘Let the Banū of Wulay‘a[38] refrain from (polytheism); otherwise, I will send to them a man who is like my own soul, namely ‘Ali, peace be on him.[39] This is a quality which none had before him, a merit over which no man differ, and honor to which no creature preceded him, for he (the Prophet) regarded ‘Ali’s soul as his own soul. This is the third (verse).

“As for the fourth (proof), it is that he (the Prophet) brought the people out of his mosque except the offspring. When the people spoke about that, al-‘Abbās spoke and said: ‘Allah’s Apostle, you have left ‘Ali and brought us (out of the mosque).’ ‘It was not I who left him and brought you out,’ replied Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, ‘but it was Allah who left him and brought you out.’ This explains his statement to ‘Ali, peace be on him: ‘Your position to me is as Hārūn had with Mūsā.’”

“Where is this in the Qur’ān?” asked the scholars.

“That is in the Qur’ān,” replied the Imām.

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“Recite it to us,” they demanded.

So the Imām recited to them these words of Allah, the Exalted: “And We revealed to Mūsā and his brother, saying: Take for your people houses to abide in Egypt and make your houses places of worship.[40] This verse demonstrates the position of Hārūn with Mūsā as well as it demonstrates the position of ‘Ali, peace be on him, with Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Besides there is a clear indication in this statement of Allah’s Apostle: ‘It is not lawful for those who are in a state of major ritual impurity and the menstruating to enter this mosque except Mohammed and the family of Mohammed.’”

The scholars denied the knowledge of that and said to the Imām: “This explanation and this interpretation does not exist. Do you, members of the House of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, have (such an explanation and interpretation)?”

The Imām answered them: “Who denies that while Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, says: ‘I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate. Then, one who wishes (to enter) the city of knowledge, then he should enter from its gate.’ We clarified and explained (‘Ali’s) merit, honor, precedence (in Islam), choice, and purity. Accordingly, none denies (these outstanding qualities) except him who is obstinate. To Allah, the Great and Almighty, belongs praise for that! This is the fourth (proof).

“As for the fifth (proof), it is these words of Allah, the Great and Almighty: And give to the near of kin his due.[41] (This is) a quality for which Allah, the Great and Almighty, singled them out, and preferred them over the community. When this verse was revealed to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, he said: ‘Summon Fātima to me.’ They summoned her to him, and he said: ‘Fātima!’ ‘Here I am, Allah’s Apostle!’ she answered. ‘None passes (through) Fadak with horses or stirrups; it especially belongs to me apart from the Muslims; and I have granted it to you according to Allah’s command, so take it for you and your sons. This is the fifth (proof).

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“As for the sixth (proof), it is these words of Allah, the Great and Almighty: Say: I demand not, of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching) except the love of my relations.[42] This is a special characteristic of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, apart from the prophets, and a special characteristic of the Family apart from other than them. That is because Allah gave an account of the prophets when He mentioned Nūh, peace be on him: And, O my people! I ask you not for wealth in return for it; my reward is only with Allah and I am not going to drive away those who believe; surely they shall meet their Lord, but I consider you a people who are ignorant.[43] He gave an account of Hūd, saying: O my people! I ask you not for wealth in return for it; my reward is only with Him Who created me; do you then understand? [44]

And He said to His Prophet: Say: I demand not, of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching) except the love of my relations. Allah has imposed showing love for them on people because He had known that they would never turn away from their own creed and never return to error. Another (proof): A man may love a man, but he may hate some of his own household, so he is his enemy and his heart is not sound. Allah loved that there would be nothing in the heart of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, toward the believers, for He imposed on them the love of his relations. Accordingly, he who loves Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and his Household, peace be on them, then Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, cannot hate him. He who hates Allah’s Apostle and his household, then it is incumbent on Allah’s Apostle to hate him, for he has abandoned one of the obligations imposed by Allah. Which excellence or honor is better than this (love toward Allah’s Apostle and his household)?

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“When Allah sent down to His Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, (this verse): Say: I demand not, of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching) except the love of my relations, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, rose among his companions. He praised Allah and lauded Him, and then he said: ‘People, Allah has imposed an obligation on you, then will you perform it?’ None answered him. On the following day he rose among them and said the like of that, but none answered him. One the following day he rose among them and said: ‘People, Allah has imposed an obligation on you, then will you perform it?’ Yet none answered him. So he said: ‘People, the obligation is neither gold nor silver nor food nor drink.’ ‘Say it,’ they demanded. He recited this verse to them. ‘As for this (love), we accept it,’ they answered. However, most of them did not perform it.”

The Imām added, saying: [My father related to me on the authority of my grandfather on the authority of his grandfathers on the authority of al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, peace be on them, who said:] “The Muhājirūn and the Ansār gathered around Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and said to him: ‘Allah’s Messenger, you have the right to spend on yourself and the delegations who come to you, then these are our properties along with our blood, so make decisions concerning them, may Allah be kind to you and reward you. Give whatever you desire and withhold whatever you desire without any objection.’ So Allah sent down the Trusted Sprit (Gabriel) to him, and he said: ‘Mohammed, Say: I demand not, of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching) except the love of my relations. Do not hurt my relations after me.

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They went out and a group of them said: Allah’s Apostle left what we presented before him because he wanted to urge us to show love toward his relations after him; and this is something which he fabricated at his session, so Allah revealed this verse: Nay! they say: He has forged it. Say: If I have forged it, you do not control anything for me from Allah; He knows best what you utter concerning it; He is enough as a witness between me and you, and He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.[45] As a result, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, sent for them and asked: ‘Has anything happened?’ ‘Yes, by Allah, Allah’s Apostle,’ they replied, ‘some of us say dreadful words and we hated them.’ Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, recited this verse to them. They wept and their weeping became intense, hence Allah, the Most High, revealed this verse: And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds and He knows what you do.[46]

“As for the seventh (proof), it is that Allah says: Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe! call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.[47] When this verse was revealed, the obstinate from among them asked: ‘Allah’s Messenger, we have come to know how to salute you, then how shall we bless you?’ He (the Prophet) said: ‘You say: O Allah, bless Mohammed and the family of Mohammed just as You had blessed Ibrāhim and the family of Ibrāhim, surely You are Praiseworthy, Glorious.’”

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The Imām turned to the scholars and asked them: “Is there any opposition to these (proofs)?”

All of them said in one voice: “No!”

However, al-Ma’mūn said: “There is no opposition to them, and there is an unanimous agreement on them. Have you anything clearer than them about the family in the Qur’ān?”

The Imām began giving more definite indications concerning the excellence of the Household (of the Prophet), peace be on them,saying: “Tell me about these words of Allah: Yāsin, and I swear by the Qur’ān full of wisdom; most surely you are of the apostles, on a right way.[48] Whom did Allah mean by His words ‘Yāsin’?”

The scholars said: “By that He meant Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, there is no doubt about that.”

The Imām turned to those who were present and said to them: “Allah gave Mohammed and the family of Mohammed excellence whose essence and quality none has reached. That is because Allah never saluted anyone except the prophets, the blessings of Allah be upon them. He, the Blessed and Exalted, said: Peace and salutations to Nūh among the nations.[49] And He said: Peace be on Ibrāhim.[50] And He said: Peace be on Mūsā and Hārūn.[51] He did not say: Peace be on the family of Nūh; nor did He say: Peace be on the family of Ibrāhim; nor did He say: Peace be on the family of Mūsā and Hārūn. And He, the Great and Almighty, said: Peace be on Āl Yāsin (the family of Yāsin)[52]; He meant the family of Mohammed.”

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Al-Ma’mūn turned to Imām al-Ridā and said to him: “I have come to know that this explanation and clarification is concerning the source of the Prophethood.”

(Then the Imām continued giving proofs, saying:) “As for the eighth (proof), it is these words of Allah, the Great and Almighty: And know that whatever thing you acquire in war, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin.[53] Allah associated His own portion with that of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and of those near of kin. This is a difference between the family and the community, for Allah put them in one place and put all people in another place, accepted for them what He accepted for Himself, and singled them out for it. He started with Himself, then His Apostle, then the near of kin in every place of booty, and others which He, the Great and Almighty, accepted for Himself and accepted for them. He said, and His words are the truth: And know that whatever thing you acquire in war, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin. As a result this is a certain verification and permanent matter for them to the Day of Resurrection in Allah’s

Book, which speaks (of the truth), before and behind which falsehood does not come, which is a revelation from the Wise, the Praiseworthy.

As for these words of Him: and the orphans and the needy, surly the orphans are not included in booty when their orphanhood terminates; they have no share in booty, and it is not lawful for them to take it. As for the share of the near of kin, it subsists to the Day of Resurrection; it is for the rich and the poor, for there is none richer than Allah and

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His Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He appointed a share of the booty for Himself and a share for His Apostle, so He accepted for them what He accepted for Himself and His Apostle, similar to this (booty) is the war booty gained without fighting (fayya’). He accepted for the near of kin what He accepted for Himself and His Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He also made it

permissible for them (to take a share) of booty. He started with

Himself, then His Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and then them. He associated their own share with His own share and the share of His Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He also (associated) obedience (to them with obedience to Him and His

Apostle), so He, the Great and Almighty, said: O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you.[54] He started with Himself, then with His Apostle, then with his Household, similar to this(verse is the verse regarding) authority (wilāya): Only Allah is you authority(Vali) and His Apostle and those who believe.[55] Accordingly, He made their authority associated with obedience to Him and the Apostle and,in addition,He made their share(of booty) associated with that of Him and of His Apostle.

When the story of alms came, He, may His name be Exalted, deemed Himself far above it as well as He deemed His Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family and his household, far above it. Thus He said: Alms are only for the poor and the needy, and the officials (appointed) over them, and those whose hearts are made to incline (to truth) and the (ransoming of) captives and those in debts and in the way of Allah and the wayfarer; an ordaince from Allah.[56] Do you find that He has appointed a share in any of these (verses) for Himself or for His Apostle or the near of kin. That is because when He deemed Himself far above alms, He deemed His Apostle and his Household far above it; rather He made it unlawful (to take alms), for it is unlawful for Mohammed and his Household (to take) alms which are the dirt of men. It is unlawful (for them) to take alms, for they were pure from every uncleanness and dirt. When Allah purified them and chose them, He accepted for them what He accepted for Himself, and He hated for them what He hated for Himself.

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“As for the ninth (proof), it is that we are the followers of the Reminder, for Allah has said in the firm text of His Book: So ask the followers of the Reminder.[57]”

The scholars objected this statement, saying: “By that Allah meant the Jews and the Christians.”

The Imām disproved their viewpoints, saying: “Is it permissible for them to summon us (to follow) their own religion and to say that their religion is better than Islam?”

Al-Ma’mūn turned to Imām al-Ridā and asked him for more explanation of what he said, saying: “Have you any explanation of that which opposes their statement?”

“Yes,” replied the Imām, “the Reminder is Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and we are the men of it, and that is clear in the Verse of Divorce: Therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah, O men of understanding who believe! Allah has indeed revealed to you a reminder, an Apostle who recites to you clear

communications.[58] As a result, the Reminder is Allah’s Apostle and we, his Household. This is the ninth (proof).

“As for the tenth (proof), it is that Allah has said in the Verse of Prohibition: Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters.[59]”

The Imām addressed the scholars, saying: “Tell me: If Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, was alive, was it permissible for him to marry my daughter or the daughter of my son or the offspring of my loins?”

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“No,” the scholars answered.

The Imām asked them again: “Tell me: Was it permissible for him to marry one of your daughters?”

“Yes,” they replied.

“Accordingly, I am one of his family, while you do not belong to his family,” said the Imām, “if you belonged to his family, then it would be forbidden for him to marry one of your daughters just as it is forbidden for him to marry one of my daughters. That is because we belong to his family while you belong to his community. This is another difference between the family (āl) and the community, for the family belongs to him whereas the community ¾if it is not the family ¾does not belong to him. This is the tenth (proof).

“As for the eleventh (proof), it is that His words in Sūrat al-Mu’min giving an account of the words of a man: And a believing man of Fir‘oun’s people who hid his faith said: What! will you slay a man because who says: My Lord is Allah, and indeed he has brought to you clear arguments from your Lord?[60] The man was the son of Fir‘oun’s uncle. He (Allah) ascribed the man to Fir‘oun because of his lineage and He did not add him to him because of his faith. He (Allah) has also singled us out because we belong to the family of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and our lineage belongs to him, while He generalized His religion, so this is another deference between the family (āl) and the community. This is the eleventh (proof).

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“As for the twelfth (proof), it is these words of Him: And enjoin prayer on your family, and steadily adhere to it.[61] So He (Allah) has singled us out for this special characteristic, for He ordered us through His ordering him (the Prophet), then He has singled us out apart from the community. Accordingly, after the revelation of this verse, Allah’s Messenger would come to the door of ‘Ali and Fātima, peace be on them, five times a day at the timing of the prayers and said: ‘(Perform) the prayer, may Allah have mercy upon you!’ Allah did not honor any of the progeny of the prophets with this noble quality with which He has honored us and singled us out along with all the members of his Household, so this is another difference between the family (āl) and the community. Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and Allah bless His Prophet Mohammed.[62]”

With this proof we will end our talk about some of Imām al-Ridā’s debates, which represent a side of his scientific life and his struggle for defending Islam.

Footnote

[1] Qur'ān, 20, 121-122.

[2] Ibid., 3, 34.

[3] Ibid., 7, 190.

[4] Ibid., 7, 190.

[5] Ibid., 6, 76.

[6] Ibid., 2, 26.

[7] Ibid., 28, 15.

[8] Ibid., 26, 20.

[9] Ibid., 93, 6.

[10] Ibid., 12, 24.

[11] Ibid., 21, 87.

[12] Ibid., 89, 16.

[13] Ibid., 37, 143-144.

[14] Ibid., 12, 110.

[15] Ibid., 48, 2.

[16] Ibid., 38, 5-7.

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[17] Ibid., 9, 43.

[18] Ibid., 39, 65.

[19] Ibid., 17, 74.

[20] Ibid., 17, 40.

[21] Ibid., 33, 38.

[22] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, pp. 195-204.

[23] The narrator of this account said: "I think that poetry prevailed them."

[24] Al-Ihtijājj, vol. 2, pp. 224-225.

[25] Ibid., 170-171.

[26] Qur'ān, 35, 32.

[27] Ibid., 35, 32.

[28] Hadith al-Thaqalayn, definite, repeatedly stated tradition narrated in al-Sihāh and al-Sunan.

[29] Ibid., 57, 26.

[30] Ibid., 11, 40.

[31] Ibid., 11, 46.

[32] Ibid., 3, 32.

[33] Ibid., 4, 54.

[34] Ibid., 4, 59.

[35] Ibid., 26, 214.

[36] Ibid., 3, 72.

[37] In addition to the proof which the Imām mentioned, it is senseless that man calls his own soul, so there is no escape that he meant by that 'Ali, peace be on him.

[38] The Banū of Wulay'a, a district of Kinda.

[39] In al-'Uyūn, by our souls he meant 'Ali, by our sons he meant al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and by our women he meant Fātima, peace be on them. All the interpreters of the Qur'ān have agreed on that.

[40] Qur'ān, 10, 87.

[41] Ibid., 17, 26.

[42] Ibid., 42, 22.

[43] Ibid., 11, 29.

[44] Ibid., 11, 51.

[45] Ibid., 46, 8.

[46] Ibid., 42, 24.

[47] Ibid., 33, 56.

[48] Ibid., 36, 1.

[49] Ibid., 37, 79.

[50] Ibid., 37, 109.

[51] Ibid., 37, 120.

[52] Ibid., 37, 130.

[53] Ibid., 8, 42.

[54] Ibid., 4, 59.

[55] Ibid., 5, 55.

[56] Ibid., 9, 60.

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[57] Ibid., 16, 43.

[58] Ibid., 65, 10-11.

[59] Ibid., 4, 23.

[60] Ibid., 40, 28.

[61] Ibid., 20, 132.

[62] Tuhaf al-'Uqūl, pp. 425-436. 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā. Al-Majālis.

CHAPTER VI

HIS WORKS

The historians and the narrators have reported that Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, compiled a group of books some of which were (compiled) according to al-Ma’mūn’s request, in some of which he (the Imām) discussed and explained the precepts of Islamic law as well as he recorded in some of which the traditions transmitted from his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and this work was called the Musnad of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. Yet another example of his scientific books is what is known as al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya fi al-Tibb (the golden medical dissertation), in which the Imām mentioned what put right man’s body and soul, and which is among the main, briefed books on medicine. In the following topics we will present some of his works:

His Dissertation on Islamic Law

His Dissertation on Islamic Law

Al-Ma’mūn ordered his minister al-Fadl b. Sahl to have the honor of meeting Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and to say to him: “I (i.e. al-Ma’mūn) would like you to gather for me the lawful, the unlawful, the religious duties, and the sunna (the Prophet’s practices), for you are the proof of Allah over His creatures and source of knowledge.” The Imām responded to al-Ma’mūn’s request. He ordered an inkwell and a sheet of paper to be brought to him, and then he ordered al-Fadl to write. He dictated to him:

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“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. It is sufficient for us to witness that there is no god but Allah, Who is Unique, Everlasting Refuge, has not taken a consort nor a son, Self-subsistent, All-hearing, All-seeing, Strong, All-steadfast, Eternal, Light, Knower never be ignorant, Powerful never be incapable, Rich never be needy, and Just never be unjust. He created all things. There is nothing like Him. There is no like with Him nor an opposite nor a rival nor an equal. Surely Mohammed is His servant and apostle, entrusted by Him, chosen by Him from among His creatures, the master of the apostles, the last of the prophets, and the best of creatures. There will be no prophet after him. His ideals will be neither altered nor changed. And surely all what Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, brought was the clear truth. We have believed in him and all Allah’s apostles,His prophets,and His proofs.And we have believed in His truthful Book falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it; a revelation from the Wise, the Praised one, that it is His Book which has dominated all the Books,and that it is true from beginning to end. We have believed in its clearly defined and its ambiguous,its specific and its general,its promise and its threat, its abrogating (verses) and its abrogated, and its giving

information. No creature is able to bring the like of it.

After it the proof and argument is the Commander of the faithful, who undertakes the affairs of the Muslims, speaks on behalf of the Qur’ān, and knows its precepts, who is his (the Prophet’s) brother, his successor, his testamentary trustee, whose position to him was as Hārūn had with Mūsā, ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, the Commander of the faithful, the Imām of the Allah-fearing, the leader of the luminous famous ones, the master of the faithful, the best of the testamentary trustees after the prophets; after him were al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, one by one up to this day of ours, who are the family of the Messenger; the most learned of them (men) in the Book and the Sunna (the Prophet’s practices), the most just of them in the case, the most appropriate of them for the Imāmate in every age and time; they are the firmest handle, the Imāms of guidance, the proof over the inhabitants of the world until Allah inherits the earth and that which on it, and He is the best of the inheritors; all those who have opposed them are straying and misleading and leaving the truth and guidance; it is they who express the Qur’ān and speaks on behalf of the Messenger with eloquence. He who dies and does not know their names and their fathers’ names dies as those who died before Islam. Surely of their religion are piety, chastity, truthfulness, righteousness, diligence, returning the things deposited (with them to) to the pious and the sinners, prostrating themselves in prayers for a long time, refraining from the unlawful, waiting for relief by the virtue of steadfastness, good friendship, good neighborhood, offering the good, praying by night, turning away from harm, cheerfulness, advice, and having mercy on the believers.”

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This letter gives an account of praising and glorifying Allah, the Exalted, and mentioning some of His attributes as well as it is full of praising the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who was the first to inspire man with good and virtue, whom Allah, the Most High, chose for His message and saving His servants from ignorance, whom Allah endowed with the immortal miracle, which is the Holy Qur’ān falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it, which is the constitution for putting man right and solving all his matters and problems.

Moreover, Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, presented the pioneer of the truth and justice in Islam, the testamentary trustee of the Apostle, and his successor after him, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, the Imām of the Allah-fearing, the best of the testamentary trustees, and he, peace be on him, praised the pure Imāms, who guided this community to the ways to the Garden, spoke on behalf of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, expressed the Qur’ān, delivered the message of Allah, and explained its precepts.

Wudu (Ablution)

After this presentation, Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, began explaining the rules of comprehensive, Islamic law, saying: “As for wudū’ (the minor ablution), as Allah has ordered in His Book, it is washing the face and hands, rubbing the head and feet. One is a religious duty and two are recommended. He who increases (wudū’) is sinful and is not rewarded. Nothing invalidates wudū’ except flatus, urine, feces, sleep, and janāba (sexual intercourse or just discharge of semen).

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“He who rubs over the shoes opposes Allah, His Apostle, and His Book, and his wudū’ is invalid. That is because ‘Ali, peace be on him, opposed rubbing over shoes and ‘Umar said to him: ‘I saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, rub (over shoes).’ ‘Before or after the revelation of Sūrat al-Mā’ida?’ asked ‘Ali. ‘I do not know,’ replied ‘Umar. ‘But I know,’ explained ‘Ali, ‘that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, had not rubbed (over shoes) since the revelation of Sūrat al-Mā’ida.’”

The first act of Islamic law which Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, presented was wudū’, which is light and purity for man, and which is the most brilliant of the prerequisites of prayer through which man is exalted and have the honor of communicating with his Almighty Creator. In his presentation of wudū’, the Imām dealt with the following:

1. The acts of wudū’

As for the acts of wudū’, they are as follows:

A. Washing the face from the point where the hair of the head normally grows down to the chin in length. Breadthwise, the span is that the area which is covered by the thumb and the middle finger when they are spread out.

B. Washing the hands from the elbow down to the finger tips.

C. Rubbing the head (with a wet hand) from the front of the top of the head; rubbing should be over the skin (of the head) or the hair grows on the front (of the head) on the condition that it should not exceed its limit by the virtue of extension.

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D. Rubbing the upper part of the feet from the tip of the toes to the ankle; rubbing should be over the skin; it is not permitted to rub over an obstacle such as shoes and socks, and he who rubs over them oppose the Book of Allah and the Sunna (practices) of His Messenger, and his wudū’ is invalid, as it has been mentioned by the Imām, peace be on him, and the successive texts (traditions) transmitted from the Imāms of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.

2. Things that Invalidate wudū’

The Imām has mentioned the things that invalidate wudū’ as follows:

A. discharge of flatus through the anus,

B. urine,

C. feces,

D. sleep which overcomes reason,

E. janāba (sexual intercourse or just the discharge of semen).

These things invalidate wudū’.

Ghusl (great Ablution)

He, peace be on him, said: “Ghusl (the major ablution) is (performed) because of janāba (sexual intercourse or just the discharge of semen), wet dreams, hayd (regular menstrual bleeding), and touching the corpse of the dead. (These ghusls are) obligatory.

“Ghusl (is also performed) on Friday, the two ‘Īds, entering Mecca and Medina, visiting (the holy shrines), entering into state of ritual consecration (ihrām), the day of ‘Arafa, the first night of the month of Ramadān, the 19th night of it, the 21st of it, and 23rd of it. (These ghusls are) recommended.”

Among marvelous, Islamic legislation, rules, and practices is ghusl which protects bodies from diseases, and in the meantime it brings about the cleanness of body and removing dirt from it, and it is of two types: obligatory, and recommended. The Imām , peace be on him, has presented both types as follows:

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1. The Obligatory Ghusls

Ghusl is obligatory in the following states:

A. Ghusl of janāba

There are two reasons for janāba, the first is the discharge of semen accompanied by libido, ejaculation, and flagging, so he who has a wet dream and this material (semen) discharges from him is in a state of major ritual impurity (junub), and ghusl is obligatory on him; the second is sexual intercourse (jumā‘) even if there is no discharge of (semen), and it is real by the virtue of entering the glans into the vagina or the anus without any difference between man and woman.

B. Ghusl of hayd

Hayd is blood which women experience and which Allah creates in the womb for certain interests. It is mostly black or red with slight straining and burning. If it happens to her and she finishes it, then ghusl is obligatory on her, and it is forbidden for her during (the period) of hayd to touch the name of Allah, the Exalted, the names of the prophets, of the pure Imāms, the writing of the Qur’ān, to stay in mosques and to enter them apart from passing them, and others.

D. Ghusl for touching a corpse

Ghusl is obligatory when one touches a corpse after it has become cold and before washing it. As for the animals other than man, ghusl is not obligatory on him when he touches them after their death.

These are some obligatory ghusls which the Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned. The rest of them are ghusl of istihāda (obligatory for women after certain kinds of irregular bleeding), and ghusl al-maiyit (obligatory ceremonial washing of the corpse of a Muslim). The jurists have mentioned them in details.

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The Recommended Ghusls

As for the recommended ghusls, they of three types: time, local, and actual. As for the time (ghusls), they are as follows:

A. Ghusl for Friday:

It is the most important of them, and its timing is from the rise of the second dawn of Friday to the declination (of the sun).

B. Ghusl for the two ‘Īds:

‘Īd al-Addhā, and ‘Īd al-Fitr. Ghusl is also recommended on the Day of al-Ghadir, which is the eighteenth day of Dhi al-Hijja, which is the immortal day when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed as successor after him the master of his family, the gate of the city of his knowledge, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.

C. Ghusl for the Day of ‘Arafa

D. Ghusl for the first night of the blessed month of Ramadān

E. Ghusl for the nineteenth night of Ramadān, the twenty-first night of it, and the twenty-third night of it, which is the blessed night when it is thought that the Night of the Divine Decree occurred.

As for the local ghusls, they are:

A. Ghusl for entering Holy Mecca.

B. Ghusl for entering Medina.

C. Ghusl for visiting the Holy Shrines.

As for the actual Ghusls, they are: ghusl for ihrām (the ceremonies of ‘umra and hajj) or tawāf (the procession round the Ka‘ba), and others, as the jurists have mentioned.

Prayers

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, has said: “The obligatory (daily) prayers are: (salāt) al-zuhr or the noon prayer is four rak‘as; (salāt) al-‘asr or the afternoon prayer is four rak‘as; (salāt) al-maghrib or the evening prayer is three rak‘as; (salāt) al-‘ashā’ or the night prayer is four rak‘as; (salāt) al-fajr or the dawn prayer is two rak‘as. So that is seventeen rak‘as.

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“And the recommended (prayers) are thirty-four rak‘as: eight rak‘as before noon (prayer), eight rak‘as after it, four rak‘as after the evening (prayer), two rak‘as in sitting position after the night (prayer), which numbered as one (prayer), eight rak‘as in the early morning (sahr); the odd prayer (al-witr) [1] is three rak‘as, and two rak‘as after the odd prayer[2].”

This paragraph gives an account of some obligatory prayers of which are the daily prayers which are five religious duties: the morning prayer is two rak‘as; the noon prayer is four rak‘as; the afternoon prayer is four rak‘as; the evening prayer is three rak‘as; the night prayer is four rak‘as, so they are seventeen rak‘as. It also gives an account of the daily recommended supererogatory prayers, which are: eight rak‘as is the noon supererogatory prayers before the noon prayer and eight rak‘as after it before the afternoon prayer (for the afternoon); four rak‘as is the night supererogatory prayer (for the night); eight rak‘as is the late-night supererogatory prayers (salāt al-layl); two rak‘as is the even prayer after it; one rak‘a is the odd prayer after it; two rak‘as is the dawn prayer before the morning prayer, so they are thirty-four rak‘as.

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, has said: “And prayer should be (performed) at the beginning of the timings. The excellence of the congregational prayer over the individual prayer is one thousand rak‘as for one rak‘a. Do not pray behind the sinner, and do not imitate anyone except men of authority (wilāya).”

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These words contain the following:

Firstly, the Imām ordered prayer to be performed at the beginning of its time, and concerning that repeatedly stated traditions have been transmitted from the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them.

Secondly, the Imām , peace be on him, presented the excellence of the congregational prayer, and indicated that one rak‘a of it equaled one thousand rak‘as of the individual prayer.

Thirdly, the Imām, peace be on him, prevented (Muslims) from praying behind the prayer-leader (Imām) who was sinner or among unjust rulers.

He (the Imām), peace be on him, has said: “And do not pray (while wearing) the skins of the dead (animals) or those of the beasts of prey.”

The Imām, peace be on him, presented some conditions of the garment of prayer of which were that they should not be of the skins of the dead animals; nor should they be of their parts in which life occupied, whether they were of an animal whose meat was lawful or unlawful, that they should not be of the skins of the beasts of prey, that they should permissible, for it was not permissible to pray in usurped garments, that they should be pure, for it was not permissible to pray in impure garments, that they should not be of pure silk (this concern men), and other conditions which jurists have mentioned.

He, peace be on him, has said: “ (Prayer) is shortened after (covering) four firsikhs[3] back and forth, twelve miles; and when you shorten (your prayers), then you should break the fast.”

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In these words the Imām, peace be on him, has discussed the traveler’s prayer in which the four-rak‘a prayer is shortened, that is through omitting the last two rak‘as of them; the person must begin the journey with the intention of covering the distance; the intended journey must consist of a single trip of at least 44 kilometers/28 miles or a round trip with a maximum extent of at least 22 kilometers/14 miles. The intention of covering the distance is not the only condition; rather the jurists have mentioned other conditions of which are: the journey should be lawful, for example, if he/she travels for killing a respected soul or for stealing or other unlawful things, then he/she should perform prayer completely; of them is that intention should continue, if he/she changes his intention before covering the 22 kilometers/14 miles, he/she should perform his/her prayer completely; of them is that he/she should not take journey as his/her work such as him who hires animals (al-imkāri), the trader who circles for his trade, the pilot, and the like.

Yet the Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned a further condition of shortening prayer, and it is that man should break his fasting, for it has been mentioned in the tradition: “It is not an act of piety to fast during journey.”

He (Imām al-Ridā), peace be on him, has said: “And qunūt is in five prayers: the dawn prayer, the noon prayer, the evening prayer, the night prayer, and the Friday prayer. Every qunūt is before rukū‘ and after the recitation.”

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As for qunūt, it is among the recommended acts of prayer, especially as it concerns prayers which should be performed loudly in the first two rak‘as such as the dawn prayer, the evening prayer, Friday prayer, noon prayer, and afternoon prayer. It is performed one time in each prayer after the recitation and before rukū‘ in the second rak‘a except Friday prayer, which consists of two qunūts: one before rukū‘ in the first rak‘a and the other is after rukū‘ in the second rak‘a. As for ‘Īd prayer, it consists of five qunūts in the first rak‘a and four qunūts in the second rak‘a.

He, peace be on him, has said: “As for the prayer for the dead, it consists of five takbirs (i.e. five times Allah Akbar), but it has no taslim, for it has neither rukū‘ nor sujūd.”

The prayer for the deceased Muslims, male or female, is a general obligation (wājib kifā’i). It is performed as follows: At the first place, the worshipper should say the first takbir (Allāhu akbar), then recite the Shahādatayn, then say the second takbir (Allāhu akbar) and call down blessing upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, then say the third takbir (Allāhu akbar) and pray for the faithful, then say the fourth takbir (Allāhu akbar) and supplicate for the deceased, then say the fifth takbir (Allāhu akbar) and depart. In this prayer it is not necessary for the persons who perform it to have done purity from ritual impurity (al-hadath) or filth (al-khabath), to have worn lawful clothes and covered the pudendum, as it is necessary for them to do that in the rest of the prayers. Some jurists think that such a prayer is a mere supplication, not a real prayer.

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He, peace be on him, has said: “Bismllahar rahmānr rahim is the Fātihat al-Kitāb (i. e. the Opening Chapter of the Book or Surat al-Fātiha) should be recited in a loud voice.”

Among the recommended acts to which the worshipper should conform is reciting the basmala in a loud voice, and that is certain in noon and afternoon prayers in the Surat al-Hamad and the Sura (which is recited after it).[4]

Zakat and Khoms

He, peace be on him, has said: “As for the obligatory zakāt, it is five dirhams per two hundred dirhams, and it is not obligatory on that which is less than that. As for increase, it is a dirham per forty dirhams, and it is not obligatory on that which is less than forty (dirhams) and it is not obligatory until one year has passed. It is not given (to anyone) except to men of authority (wilāya) and knowledge. Half a dinar per twenty dinars.”

Zakāt is among the creative regulations in economic, Islamic regime, for Islam has appointed it in order to put an end to poverty and to spread welfare among people and in addition to that it gathers men in the field of love and unify their ranks, for men are disposed by nature for love those who do good for them. Zakāt is the clearest aspect of charity. This part of the speech of the Imām, peace be on him, shows the following:

Firstly, the Imām, peace be on him, explains the precepts regarding Zakāt due on the two coins (i. e. gold and silver): Nisāb (the minimum amount of property liable to payment of Zakāt) is necessary. As for the nisāb of silver, it is two hundred dirhams and five dirhams is obligatory on them, and then there is one dirham payable on them when they increase forty by forty whatever they reach. There is no zakāt on the dirhams less than two hundreds nor on those less than forty dirhams.

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As for the nisāb of gold, it is twenty dinars, and there is half a dinar due on them. When four dinars is an addition to them, then two Qirats, which equals one-tenth dinar, is obligatory on them. It (zakāt) is due on the addition to the four (dinars), and it is not obligatory on the dinars less than four. One full year is necessary for paying the zakāt of the two coins (i.e. gold and silver). If one year has not passed, then there is no zakāt obligatory on them.

Secondly, zakāt may be spent on eight types of men of whom is the poor and the needy, provided that they should not oppose the True Religion, for it is not permissible to give zakāt to them.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And the one-fifth tax (khums) is one time (taken) from the whole wealth.”

As for khums, it is one of the financial taxes which Islam has imposed and which the Shi‘ites of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, have adopted; none of the Islamic sects has adopted it except them. Allah, the Exalted, has imposed khums for the greatest Prophet and his progeny, may Allah increase them in honor, in place of zakāt; and it is obligatory on seven items of which are: the profits of earnings, the one year’s surplus of the responsible (mukallaf) and his own family from among the interest of handicrafts, agriculture, trades, wages, and the rest of the various kinds of earnings on which khums is obligatory.

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Man spends some of his money on his hajj and visitations, his alms, tightening the bonds of kin, his gifts, his vows, his religious expiation, marrying his children, and other than these of which he is

indeed and which he spends on lawful items. Accordingly, khums is divided into two equal shares: The first share is to be paid to the Imām , the blessings of Allah be on him, in the time of his appearance, but in the time of his occultation it (khums) is given to his deputy, the qualified just jurist, in order that he may spend it on spreading Islam, the precepts of religion, helping the men of knowledge, and other affairs through which he gains the pleasure of the Imām, peace be on him.

As for the second share of khums, it is given to the orphans of the Hāshimites, their needy, and their tramps. In their scientific treatises, the Muslim jurists have mentioned many researches on khums.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And al-‘ushr (one-tenth tax) is obligatory on wheat, barely, dates, raisins, and all the seeds which come forth from earth, if they are five wasaqs (camel-loads). Al-‘ushr is due on them when they are irrigated by flowing water. The half of al-‘ushr is obligatory on them when they are irrigated by Persian wheels; this concerns the impoverished and the wealthy. A handful or two handfuls are taken out of the seeds. That is because Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its capacity; nor does He impose upon servant anything more than his ability. Wasaq (a camel load) is sixty Sā‘s (a measure of capacity); Sā‘ is six Ratls (a weight); Ratl is four Mudds (measure); Mudd is two and a quarter Iraqi Ratl. Imām al-Sādiq, peace be on him, said: ‘Mudd is nine Iraqi Ratls or six Medinan Ratls.”

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In this paragraph the Imām, peace be on him, has presented the zakāt imposed on these four corps, which are wheat, barely, dates, and raisins. Zakāt is obligatory on these corps. As for the zakāt on the rest of the corps, it is recommended, so this statement of him, peace be on him: ‘and all the seeds which come forth from earth’ is joined to the four corps and apparently (zakāt) is obligatory on them, but there is a group of authentic traditions which indicate that zakāt is not obligatory (on the seeds except the four corps); there for, (the Imām’s statement) is regarded as recommended, and this is one of the sources of bringing traditions together, as the jurists say.

Zakāt is due on the four corps when they reach the minimum amount (nisāb) which is five wasaqs, which is in this time estimated at eight hundred and forty-eight kilograms.[5] The amount which should be taken out of the zakāt of the corps is al-‘ushr or one-tenth. That is when the corps are irrigated by flowing water and rain. Half of al-‘ushr is obligatory on them when they are irrigated by Persian wheels, water pumps, water wheels, and the like. Zakāt is obligatory on him who has such an amount of crop whether he is a farmer, a land owner, rich, or poor.

He, peace be on him, has said: “As for zakāt al-fitr, it is a religious duty (farida) on the young and the old, free or slave. It is half a sā‘ of wheat; a sā‘ of dates and raisins. It should not be given to anyone except men of authority (ahl al-wilāya), for it is a religious duty.”

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As for zakāt al-fitra, it is the first financial obligation in Islam, and it is called the alms of bodies (zakāt al-Abdān). It is obligatory on him who has gathered the conditions such as bulūgh (ritual puberty, 15 years in the case of boys and 9 years in the case of girls), sanity, non-fainting, and non-poverty. When these conditions are available in the evening of the night of ‘Īd al-Fitr, then zakāt is obligatory on every Muslims and their breadwinners, whether they are young or old.

A sā‘ on behalf of each person should be taken out, and the amount of sā‘ is about three kilograms. The Imāmi jurists think that zakāt al-fitra should be one of foodstuffs famous in that country such as wheat, barely, dates, raisins, rice, durra, cheese. Sā‘ is due on all these items. They also stipulate that this zakāt should be given to the believing follower of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and it is not permissible to give it to other than him.

Prayer of women

He, peace be on him, has said: “The period of hayd (regular menstrual bleeding) may not be less than three days or more than ten days. A woman who has istihāda (irregular bleeding) should perform the ghusl and pray. A menstruating woman should leave prayer and not perform these prayers later on as qadā’; she should leave fasting and compensate for it (by fasting later on).”

This paragraph gives an account as follows:

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1. The period of hayd (regular menstrual bleeding) may not be less than three days or more than ten days. As for bleeding which the woman sees more than ten days or less than three days, it is not regular menstrual bleeding or hayd; rather it is irregular bleeding or istihāda.

2. Istihāda is of three kinds: light bleeding, medium bleeding, and heavy bleeding. As for the precept of light bleeding, it is that wudū’ is due for each obligatory prayer. As for the precept of medium bleeding, it is that wudū’ is due for each prayer and the ghusl before the dawn prayer. As for the precept of heavy bleeding, it is that wudū’ is due for each prayer and the ghusl for the dawn prayer. In these three kinds of istihāda, the woman has to change the cotton which prevents blood from flowing.

3. As for the precepts regarding the acts of worship of a menstruating woman, it is obligatory on her to leave prayer and it is not obligatory on her to compensate for that prayer. As for fasting, it is not permissible for her to fast, and she should compensate for that fasting.

Fasting

He, peace be on him, has said: “Fasting is observed in the month of Ramadān when (the moon) is sighted and is broken when it is sighted.”

The first and end of the blessed month of Ramadān are established if the moon is sighted. That is according to these words of him, peace be on him: “Observe fasting when you sight the moon and break (it) when you sight it.”

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The first of the month of Ramadān is not established through the words of astrologers and the like; rather it is established when thirty days of the month of Sha‘bān has passed. Likewise, the month of Shawwāl is established when thirty days of the month of Ramadān has passed.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And it is not permissible to perform the tarāwih (the long prayers in the nights of Ramadān) in congregation.”

As for the tarāwih, they were not legislated in the time of the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. It was ‘Umar (b. al-Khattāb) who originated them. They are twenty rak‘as apart from the odd prayer (al-witr). Their time is after the night prayer. It is recommended to him who performs the tarāwih to sit without praying for rest, for this reason they have been called the tarāwih. In them, congregation is recommended according to the viewpoints of the four Islamic schools.[6] The Imām did not permit congregation in them.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And it is recommended to fast three days in each month; (a day) in each ten days: Thursday in the first ten (days), Wednesday in the middle ten (days), and Thursday in the last ten (days).

“Fasting (in the month of) Sha‘bān is good and recommended. Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Sha‘bān is my month, and the month of Ramadān is the month of Allah.’ And if you compensate for the past month of Ramadān in a separated (manner), it will be sufficient for you.”

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The Imām, peace be on him, presented some recommended fasts of which is fasting for three days in each month. The best method in performing these fasts as the Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned is the first Thursday of every month, the first Wednesday of the ten middle days, and the last Thursday of the last ten days.

It is recommended to fast the whole month of Sha‘bān. The Imām mentioned that if someone missed fasting the month of Ramadān, he/she had to choose between continuing the compensatory days and separating them, for each of these two ways is sufficient for him/her.

Haj( Pilgrimage of the house)

He, peace be on him, has said: “And pilgrimage to the House (is incumbent on) him who is able to undertake the journey to it. And the way (sabil) is journey provisions and a she-camel. It is not permissible for him/her to make the pilgrimage except the greater pilgrimage (mtamati‘an). (Hajj) al-ifrād (which consists of only the major pilgrimage without the ‘umra (lesser) pilgrimage) and (hajj al-Qurān) which the non-Shi‘ites (‘āmma) make are not permissible. And (hajj) al-ihrām apart from miqāt (point and time) is not permissible. Allah said: And accomplish the pilgrimage and the ‘umra for Allah.[1]The castrated sacrifice is not permitted, for it is defective. As for al-moujū’ (the sacrifice whose testicles have been bruised), it is permissible.”

The hajj is one of the five pillars on which Islam has been built. It is a political and spiritual act of worship which results in economic, health, and spiritual profits and interests. It is a political conference which brings the Muslims together in the Holiest Place, that they may know each other, discuss the economic and political problems of their countries and nations, and the like. The holy verse refers to that. He, the Exalted, said: And proclaim among men the pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path, that they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during stated days.[2]

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The Muslims have unanimously agreed on that it is obligatory on each Muslim to make the pilgrimage at least one time in his span of life. In this paragraph the Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned a group of precepts regarding the hajj. They are as follows:

Firstly, it is incumbent on a Muslim to make the pilgrimage when he is able to secure its prerequisites such as journey provisions and a she-camel. These are the clearest two conditions of ability. Among its condition that he/she is able to walk with healthy body, and free in respect of action.

Secondly, the kinds of the hajj are three, and they are as follows:

A. Hajj al-tamattu‘:

It is the religious duty of those who live within forty-eight miles of Mecca in all directions. The characteristics of this hajj are: Ihrām (the ceremonies of ‘umra and hajj) starts from inside Mecca, sacrifice is obligatory on it, ‘umra therein precedes hajj, ‘umra connects with it to the extent that they are as one act.

B. Hajj al-Qirān[9]

As for Hajj al-Qirān, it is the religious duty of those who live in Mecca and around it on the condition that it should not exceed the limit which has been mentioned for hajj al-tamatt‘. Al-Qārin enters the state of pilgrimage from the house of his family. Driving a sacrifice in this hajj is a must and the hump of the sacrifice should be split in the right side and stained with its blood if it is a camel (budna); and a sandal, in which he had performed prayers, should be hung around the neck of the sacrifice if it is other than a camel (budna).

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C. Hajj al-ifrād, it this the religious duty of those who live near Mecca just as Hajj al-Qarān. The pilgrim enters the state of pilgrimage from the house of his family if it is nearer to Mecca than al-Miqāt (point and time);otherwise he/she should enters the states of pilgrimage from al-Miqāt. Among the characteristics of Hajj al-Qarān and Hajj al-ifrād is that al-‘umra therein is after the hajj, and he/she must have the intention of performing them separately.

Thirdly, entering into the state of ritual consecration (ihrām) should start from al-Miqāt. It is not correct for him/her to start it before al-Miqāt, and it is not permissible for the responsible (al-mukallaf) to exceed al-Miqāt without ihrām apart from the frequent and those who do not intend to enter Mecca during their passing by al-Miqāt.

Fourth, as for the sacrifice (al-hadi), it should be perfect in creation, so the one-eyed, the one with an ear of which something is cut, the castrated whose testicles have been pulled out are not permissible. As for the bruise of the testicles which is called al-moujū’, it is not a defect and is permissible.

Jihad

He, peace be on him, has said: “And as for jihad (going to fight in the cause of Islam) is (performed) along with a just Imām, and he who fights and is killed for his property and his luggage is a martyr.”

As for jihad, it is one of the doors to the Garden; Allah has open it for His special friends, as Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, says. It is of various kinds, which are as follows:

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A. Jihad against the polytheists in order to summon them to Islam.

B. Jihad against the unbelievers who attack the Muslims.

C. Jihad against him who intends to kill a respected soul or taking money or capturing (his) wives. Perhaps this kind is called defense not jihad.

Jihad is obligatory in the presence of the Imām or his deputy who is appointed by him for performing jihad. He who is killed in the field of jihad is a martyr; the precepts regarding martyr is applied to him, hence he/she buried in his/her own clothes.

As for him who fights for his property, his baggage, his soul and is killed, then he has the reward of a martyr; he is washed and shrouded.

He, peace be on him, has said: “It is not lawful to kill any of the infidels in the city of precautionary dissimulation (dār al-taqiya) except him who is a killer or a rebel. That is when you are not cautious of yourself or of taking the properties of men from among the opponents and the like.”

As for the infidels who enter the protection (dhimma) of Islam, their blood is unlawful, and their conditions are safeguarded just as Muslims. The infidel loses this protection when he kills a respected soul or rebels against the religious authority in the country.

Likewise, it is forbidden to take the properties of the opponents and the like, for Islam has safeguarded the properties of men just as it has safeguarded their blood and honor.

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taqiya

He, peace be on him, has said: “And precautionary dissimulation (taqiya) in the city of the precautionary dissimulation (dār al-taqiya) is obligatory. There is no sin upon him who takes an oath as precautionary dissimulation through which he repels wrongdoing from his own soul.”

As for precautionary dissimulation (taqiya), it was legislated in the time when the ruling authorities employed all their organs against the Imāms of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and their Shi‘ites. For example, in the time of the wicked pagan, Mu‘āwiya b. Abū Sufyān, person preferred being called infidel to being called a follower of Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. Most Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid kings followed this infidel plan which was drawn by the son of Hind (Mu‘āwiya). Had it not been for the wisdom of the pure Imāms and their forcing their Shi‘ites to cling to precautionary dissimulation (taqiya), their would have been no name of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. As for Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, he gave a religious opinion that precautionary dissimulation (taqiya) was obligatory, and that there was no sin upon him who took an oath as precautionary dissimulation (taqiya).

divorce

He, peace be on him, has said: “And divorce in the Sunna (the Prophet’s sayings and practices) is according to what Allah, the Great and Almighty, has mentioned, and the Sunna of His Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. There is no divorce without Sunna; every divorce which opposes the Book is not divorce; every marriage which opposes the Sunna is not marriage.

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“Do not marry more than four women. If you divorce woman three times according to the Sunna, it is not lawful for you to marry her unless she marries a husband other than you. The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, said: ‘Beware of the women who are divorced three times, for they shall marry husbands.”

Divorce means breaking the relationship of marriage and it is among the things which Allah, the Exalted, detests. That is because it leads to the collapse of social cells, spread hatred and enmity among men. This paragraph contains some precepts regarding divorce and marriage, of which are the following:

Firstly, divorce is regarded as correct when the following conditions are available:

A. The husband must be sane and adult, and should not be forced by anyone to divorce his wife, for the divorce of the boy, the insane, and the drunken who has no intention is invalid.

B. The marriage should be permanent, for the there is no divorce in the fixed-term marriage (mutt‘a).

C. The wife should be free from hayd (regular menstrual bleeding) and nifās (childbirth bleeding) if the husband had already married her.

D. The formula of divorce, it is that the husband should say: You are divorced or she is divorced.

E. Two just witnesses should hear the formula of divorce.

These are some conditions which should be available in correct divorce. As for divorce other than this such as the divorce of the joker, the inattentive, and the heedless is invalid according to the viewpoints of the Imāmi Shi‘ites, whilst some Muslim schools regard it as correct.[10] Divorce is also invalid unless it occurs by the virtue of these words: You are divorced or she is divorced. Some Muslim schools regard divorce as permissible when it occurs by the virtue of these words such as al-firāq (separation) al-Sarāh (dismissal), and the like.

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Secondly, the marriage which opposes the Sunna is invalid such as the marriage of the woman who is forced or she who is during the ‘idda (period of waiting after the dissolution of a marriage) or she was among the unlawful because of kinship or relationship by marriage; marrying such women is invalid.

Thirdly, the man has no right to marry more than four women by the virtue of permanent contract.

Fourth, when the wife is divorced three times, it is not lawful for her husband to remarry her until she marries a husband other than him.

Diffrent Subjects

He (Imām al-Ridā), peace be on him, has said: “And calling down blessing upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, is in all situations such as the winds, sneezing, and the like.

“Showing love for the friends of Allah and for their friends, hating His enemies, renouncing them and their leaders (Imāms) (are part of piety).”

It is recommended to call blessing down upon the greatest Messenger, the Savor of mankind and its guide to happiness and good in this world and the next. How great his achievements toward mankind are! So it is his own right against mankind to call down blessing upon him in all situations.

One of Islamic manners is to show love toward the friends of Allah and their friends, to hate the enemies of Allah and to renounce them and their leaders (Imāms), for that is one of the elements of reverential fear and Islamic message.

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He, peace be on him, has said: “And honoring the parents. If they are polytheists, then do not obey them[11] and keep company with them in this world kindly, for Allah says: Be grateful to Me and to both your parents; to Me is the eventual coming. And if they contend with you that you should associate with me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them.[12] The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, said: ‘They (parents) do not fast for them (children); nor do they pray (for them), but they order them to disobey Allah, so they obey them.’”

Then he has said: “I (i.e. Imām al-Ridā) heard Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, say: ‘He who obeys creature in other than obeying Allah disbelieves and adopts a god other than Allah.’”

Among marvelous Islamic legislation is honoring the parents and showing kindness toward them, making them occupy the second rank after the Almighty Creator in showing obedience and submission to their orders. That is as reward for their arduous efforts during bringing up their children, especially as it concerns mother. Were it not for her care, her affection, her mercy, her child would not live. It is she who feeds him and takes care of bringing him up. Therefore, how great her right is!

Showing obedience to the parents in other than disobeying Allah is obligatory. As for disobeying (Him) by the virtue of showing obedience to them is not obligatory.

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He, peace be on him, has said: “And the conditional slaughter of the embryo is similar to that of its mother.”

The Imām, peace be on him, has presented a precept regarding the embryo from among the animals whose flesh can be eaten. When its mother is slaughtered and it dies in its uterus, its flesh is lawful. When it comes out alive and is slaughtered, its flesh is lawful; otherwise, it is unlawful.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And the sins of the prophets are small and are forgiven for them by the virtue of Prophethood.”

More likely, this sentence is forged and has been put in the speech of the Imām, peace be on him, for the prophets were infallible and no disobedience had issued from them. Moreover, the Imām himself has established many proofs of that in some of his debates.

Inheritance

He, peace be on him, has said: “And the religious duties are according to Allah’s command; there is no reduction in them; and none inherits along with the parents and the child except the husband and the wife; the possessor of the share is more entitled than him who has no share; and al-‘asaba (males who belong to the deceased) do not belong to the religion of Allah.”

In this paragraph the Imām, peace be on him, has presented some precepts regarding inheritances, and they are as follows:

Firstly, there is no reduction in the religious duties and inheritances which Allah has imposed (on men). This can be explained as follows: If the inheritors are numerous and their shares are more than the religious share for example, if the deceased lefts behind him a wife, two parents, and two daughters then the shares in this religious duty is one-fourth, two one-sixths, and two one-thirds. Accordingly, the Sunnis believe in al-‘awl (reduction); which means that reduction must include each of the possessors of the shares according to the ratio of his share. As for the Shi‘ites, they say that reduction includes some inheritors, not all of them, and they have given proofs of that in the researches on inheritance.

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Secondly, the first degree in inheritances is of two types: one of them is the parents apart from the grandfathers and grandmothers; the other is the children, evenif they descend, males and females. The wife inherits along with these two types, for she inherits one-fourth when there is no child, and the one-eighth when there is a child. As for the husband, he inherits the one-fourth when there is a child, and the half when there is no child.

Thirdly, there is no ‘asaba in inheritances according to the viewpoints of the Shi‘ites; other than them from among the followers of the Islamic sects also adopt this view, and example of that, when the deceased leaves behind him one daughter, then she will have the half of what he has left behind him according to the religious duty, and she will inherit the second half by the virtue of distribution. The view of those other than the Shi‘ites is that the second half of property is given to al-‘asaba or the males who belong to thedeceased without means or the means of the male, and perhaps the uncles of the female, according to their details.[13]

Newly borned

He, peace be on him, has said: “And al-‘aqiqa on behalf of the child, male and female, is on the seventh day; its (the baby’s) hair is shaved on the seventh day; it is given a name on the seventh day; gold or silver equals to the weight of its hair is given as alms on the seventh day.”

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The Imām, peace be on him, has presented some religious recommended acts which must be performed on behalf of the new-born baby, and they are as follows:

A. Al-‘qiqa (sacrifice):

It is recommended that a ram should be sacrificed on the seventh day if the child is a male, and that a ewe should be sacrificed if the child is female. This was legislated by the greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, when his grandson, his sweet basil, the master of the youths of the Garden, Imām al-Hasan, peace be on him, was born. Likewise, this was done by him when his second grandson the master of the youth of the Garden, Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, was born.

B. Shaving the hair of the child:

It is recommended that the hair of the child to be shaved on the seventh day of its birth, and that gold or silver equals to its weight to be given as alms to the needy. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, performed that on behalf of his two grandsons and his two sweet basil, peace be on them.

C. Giving a name to the child:

It is strongly recommended that a name should be given to the child on the seventh day, and that the name should be blessed like those of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and of his testamentary trustees, the great Imāms.

Diffrent Subjects

He, peace be on him, has said: “And the acts of the creatures were created as the creation of an ordainment, not the creation of structure.”

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The Imām, peace be on him, has referred to the acts of the creatures, for Allah, the Exalted, had knowledge of them, and He did not create them as the creation of structure; otherwise they will be ascribed to Him.

He, peace be on him, has said: “Do not believe in compulsion and authorization.” These words give an account of the beliefs of the Shi‘ites who have disproved compulsion and authorization and clung to the intermediate position. They have refuted compulsion and authorization. Their Islamic books are full of proofs of that. Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, has said: “Allah, the Great and Almighty, does not punish the innocent because of the crime of the criminal, and He does not torment the children because of the sins of the parents, for He said: And no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another.[14]And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for.[15] And Allah forgives and does not wrong.”

Divine Justice requires that every person is responsible for his own sins, and none other than him is responsible for them, hence Allah does not punish the innocent out of the sins of the sinner. However, the enemies of Allah decided the opposite of that, for example, Ziyād b. Abih, the sinful criminal, has said: “I punish the innocent due to the guilty, and I punish because of doubt and accusation.” Islam renounces this reckless policy because it belongs to its enemies and opponents.

Another example of Allah’s justice is that He does not torture the children because of their parents’ sins, for He says: “And no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another. And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for.” This is the utmost justice.

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He (Imām al-Ridā), peace be on him, has said: “Allah does not impose upon the creatures the obedience to him whom He knows that he will wrong (the creatures) and lead them astray; nor does He chooses (such a person) for (delivering) His message; nor does He choose from among His creatures him whom He knows that he will disbelieve (in Him) and serve Satan apart from Him.”

Surely Allah, the Most High, seeks pure justice for His creatures and summons them to rebel against wrongdoers and dictatorial rulers. Besides He, the Exalted, chooses for delivering His message and putting right His creatures those who have perfection and excellence of which is that they do not disbelieve in Allah; nor do they worship the stoned Satan.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And Islam is (something) other than faith; every believer is a Muslim, but not every Muslim is a believer. The believer does not steal; nor does he drink wine; nor does he kill the soul which Allah has forbidden without any right. As for ashāb al-Hudūd[16], they are neither believers nor unbelievers.[17] Allah will not make a believer enter the Fire, for He had promised him the Garden and immortality therein. He for whom the Fire is obligatory because of hypocrisy, transgression, or a big sin will not resurrected with the believers; nor will he be one of them, and the Hell-Fire will encompass none except the unbelievers. He who enters the Fire because of clinging to sin, associating something with (Allah), disbelieving in Him, showing hypocrisy, and committing a big sin is a sinner. And intercession is permissible for those who seek it.”

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Islam is wider in circle and more comprehensive in subject than belief. He who professes the two testimonies (i.e. I witness that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is His Messenger) is a Muslim, his blood is spared, his property and his honor are safeguarded; whether he is a believer or a sinner. As for belief, it is a talent which prevents man from committing sins and crimes, and prevents him from opposing Allah, the Most High. Allah, the Exalted, has prepared for believers provisions and honorable position in the Abode of Immortality. He will make them dwell wherever He desires of the Garden. As for the position of him who commits great sins, it will be in the Hellfire, which is an evil fate.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And al-amr bi al-ma‘rūf (directing others towards good) and nay ‘an al-munkar (directing others away from evil) is obligatory by the virtue of the tongue.”

Amr be Maruf and Nahy az Monkar

The Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned al-amr bi al-ma‘rūf and al-nay ‘an al-munkar which are two pillars of Islam, and lead to establishing noble society dominated by human customs. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to carry out his duty toward his religion and his country, so he/she should order others to do good and forbid them from doing evil. In their treatises the jurists have mentioned the pre-conditions of this religious duty.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And belief is performing the religious duties and refraining from the unlawful; and belief is knowledge with the heart, profession by the means of the tongue, and action through the limbs.”

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The Imām, peace be on him, has defined belief as performing the religious duties imposed by Allah and refraining from the things made unlawful by Him. He has also said that belief penetrates the depths of the heart and inner selves.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And al-takkbir (i.e. exclaiming ‘Allah is Great!’) in (‘Īd) al-Addhā is after ten prayers starting from the noon prayer on the Day of Immolation (al-Nahr), and in (‘Īd) al-Fitr there are five prayers after the evening prayers on the night of (‘Īd) al-Fitr.”

It is strongly recommended that one should exclaim ‘Allahuakbar’ in (‘Īd) al-Addhā after ten prayers, also it is recommended that one should exclaim ‘Allahuakbar’ on the night of (‘Īd) al-Fitr after the evening prayer and after four prayers. It is also recommended that one should recite the supplications transmitted from the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And the woman in childbed (nifsā’) sits (i.e. refrain from praying) for twenty days, not more than it. If she becomes pure before that, she performs the prayers; otherwise, to twenty days, and then she performs ghusl, say the prayers, and performs the acts of the woman in the state of istihāda.”

More likely, this paragraph is forged; it is not part of the speech of the Imām, peace be on him, for the Imāmi jurists, who give religious opinions according to the traditions transmitted from the Imāms of the ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, have unanimously agreed that there is no limit to nifās light bleeding and the limit to nifās heavy bleeding is ten days from the time of childbirth. And if she sees blood after the ten days, she should not regard it as nifās bleeding, rather as istihāda bleeding. The precepts for the woman in the state of nifās is like those for woman in the state of hayd; it is forbidden for her what is forbidden for the menstruating woman. In this connection there are important researches mentioned by the jurists.

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He, peace be on him, has said: “He/she should believe in the chastisement in grave, Munkar, Nakir, Resurrection after death, reckoning, the Balance, and the Straight Path.”

It is incumbent on the Muslim to believe in the chastisement in grave if he has committed sins and crimes. It is also obligatory on him/her to believe that Munkar and Nakir will question him, that he will be resurrected after death, that he will be reckoned because of his deeds, and that his deeds will be placed in the Balance. So he whose good deeds are heavier than his evil deeds enters the Garden; other wise he enters the Fire and punished according to his deeds, and your Lord wrongs none. Moreover he/she should believe that they will pass through the Straight Path. If their deeds are good, they will simply pass through it; otherwise, they will fall into the Fire.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And (he/she should) renounce the Imāms of error and their followers; they should support Allah’s friends.”

Surely renouncing the Imāms of error and their followers, and supporting Allah’s friends are of the important elements in Islamic religion, which condemns oppression, resists tyranny, and spreads justice among men.

He, peace be on him, has said: “Little and plentiful wine is forbidden. Every intoxicant is wine. Every thing whose muchness brings about intoxication, its littleness is unlawful. The compelled should not drink wine, for it kills him.”

Wine is one of the blights which destroy health, for it leads to dangerous diseases as well as it corrupts ethics and demolishes noble ideals of which man boasts. Forbidding wine is among the most important Islamic legislation aiming at raising the level of man. As for the Imām, peace be on him, he has warned mankind against drinking wine whether little or plentiful, and that is because of the dangerous harms which result from it.

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He, peace be on him, has said: “Beasts and birds with claws are forbidden; the spleen is forbidden, for it is blood; sheatfish, floating (dead) fish, eel, pipefish, scaleless fish, and gizzardless birds are forbidden.”

Islam has forbidden meat of some animals, and that is because such meat has some corrupt things which bring about harms to general health. The Imām has mentioned some of these animals as follows:

1. Beasts of prey: It is forbidden to eat the flesh of beasts of prey, whether they are wild such as lions, wolves, and tigers or birds such as falcons, Egyptian vultures, and the like.

2. The spleen: It is forbidden to eat the spleen, for it is blood, as the Imām, peace be on him, says. Likewise, it is forbidden to eat the bladder of sacrifice, the placenta, the spinal cord, the glands, the vertebra of brain, and the like which the jurists have mentioned, for they bring about heavy harms.

3. Sheatfish: It is forbidden to eat sheatfish, which are water animals and which dogs do not eat. Likewise, it is forbidden to eat fish floating (dead) on water, eel, pipefish, and all scaleless fish.

4. Gizzardless birds: It is forbidden to eat the birds which have neither gizzard nor craw nor spurs on their feet. It is lawful to eat the birds whose flapping is more than their gliding. He, peace be on him, has said: “It permissible to eat the eggs whose tips are different; it is forbidden to eat the eggs whose tips are the same.”

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As for eggs, they are forbidden and lawful according to the birds which lay them. The Imām, peace be on him, has given a general rule for recognizing lawful and unlawful eggs: If the two tips of the egg are equal, then it is forbidden to eat it; if they are different, then it is permissible to eat it.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And (he/she should) refrain from great sins which are: killing the soul which Allah has forbidden, drinking wine, disobedience to parents, escaping from marching for war, swallowing the property of the orphans unjustly, eating what dies of itself and blood and flesh of swine and that over which any other (name) than (that of) Allah has been invoked without any necessity for it, swallowing down usury, ill-gotten property after evidence, game of hazard, diminishing measure and weight, despairing of Allah’s mercy, feeling secure from Allah’s plan, losing hope of Allah’s mercy, helping the oppressive and relying on them, binding oath, withholding the rights without any pinch of poverty, vainglory, unbelief, extravagance, wastefulness, treason, concealing testimony, amusing things which turn (men) away from remembering Allah such as singing and playing on the strings, and persistence on minor sins. These are the fundamental doctrines of religion. Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds; may Allah bless His Prophet and his family and greet them with a greeting.[18]”

With this (paragraph) we will end this excellent letter, which contains some theological researches and basic, juristic matters.

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Footnote

[1] His statement 'the odd prayer (al-witr) is three rak'as' means that the first two rak'as are by the virtue of the intention of the even prayer (al-shaf') and the other by the virtue of the intention of the odd prayer.

[2] His statement 'and two rak'as after the odd prayer' means the morning supererogatory prayer.

[3] A farsakh (league) is about three miles.

[4] Al-'Urwat al-Withqā.

[5] Minhājj al-Sālihin, vol. 1, p. 266.

[6] Al-Fiqh 'alā al-Madhāhib al-Arba'a, vol. 1, 340-343.

[7] Qur'ān, 2, 196.

[8] Ibid., 22, 27-28.

[9] Hajj al-Qirān is pilgrimage in common, to perform two affairs at the same time.

[10] Fiqh al-Sunna.

[11] In al-'Uyūn it has been mentioned: "And honoring the parents is obligatory. If they are polytheists, then their is no obedience to them nor to other than them in disobeying the Creator, for there is no obedience to creature in disobeying Allah."

[12] Qur'ān, 31, 14-15.

[13] Minhājj al-Sālihin, vol. 2, p. 279.

[14] Qur'ān, 6, 165.

[15] Ibid., 53, 40.

[16] Ashāb al-Hudūd are those who are punished for committing a certain crime.

[17] This means that they are Muslims, but they are neither believers nor unbelievers, in this manner it has been mentioned the book al-'Uyūn.

[18] Tuhaf al-'Uqūl, pp. 415-423.

His Golden Medical Dissertation

His Golden Medical Dissertation

The sciences of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, were not confined to the precepts of Islamic law; rather they included all kinds of science of which was medicine. The Imām was unique in medicine, and the clear proof of that is this dissertation which al-Ma’mūn called al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya fi al-Tibb (the golden medical dissertation). As al-Ma’mūn admired the dissertation, he gave the Medal of Doctor to the Imām, peace be on him. The dissertation contains general programs necessary for putting right man’s body and protecting it from diseases, so it is regarded as the main base of preventive medicine in these times and as a great means of improving health.

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Any how, it is necessary for us to give a brief outline of this dissertation before presenting it. That is as follows:

A. The Cause of Writing it

Al-Ma’mūn’s palace was distinguished by that it was most times one of the seminars of knowledge and literature, especially as it concerns the time of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, the great figure of this community and pioneer of its intellectual, and scientific renaissance, for the ‘Abbāsid palace was changed into a theater for philosophical and scientific researches, as we mentioned in the previous chapters.

One of the scientific researches which were presented in that seminar was on man’s body, which contains marvelous cells, organs and systems which show the wisdom and wonderful power of the Almighty Creator. The people discussed those things which put right and corrupted man’s body. The seminar included the greatest scholars and leaders of whom are the following:

1. Imām al-Ridā.

2. Al-Ma’mūn.

3. Yohnnā b. Māsawayh.

4. Gabriel b. Bakhtishū‘

5. Sālih b. Bahla al-Hindi.

These people discussed medicine, but Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, remained silent, so al-Ma’mūn asked him with admiration: “Abū al-Hasan, what do you say about this matter which we are discussing today, and which is necessary for recognizing these things, useful and harmful foodstuffs, and directing the body?”

Al-Ma’mūn asked the Imām to open for him horizons to the science of systems of man’s body, to guide him to useful and harmful foodstuffs, and those things which put right and harmed man’s body.

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The Imām answered him, saying: “I have of it knowledge of what I have personally tested and came to know about its accuracy by experience and by the passage of time in addition to what I was told by my ancestors of what no body afford to be ignorant of, nor excused for leaving it. I shall compile it with an equal portion of what everyone should know.”

Surely the Imām, peace be on him, was among the keepers of wisdom and inheritors of the prophets, for he had the knowledge of what the people needed from among the affairs of their religion and their world. As a result the Imām responded to al-Ma’mūn’s request and supplied him with al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya fi al-Tibb.

B.The Explanation and Translation of the Dissertation

As this dissertation was of great importance, it was explained and translated by some scholars who have been mentioned in the introduction to it by His Eminence al-Muhaqqiq al-Hujjah al-Sayyid Mahdi al-Khurasāni. That is as follows:

1. Tarjamat al-‘Alawi lil Tibb al-Radawi by Sayyid Diyā’ al-Din Abū al-Ridā Fadl Allah b. ‘Ali al-Rāwandi (died 548 A. H.).

2. Tarjamat al-Dhahabiya bi al-Fārisiya by Fayd Allah ‘Usāra al-Tassturi, a contemporary of Fath ‘Ali Khān.

3. Tarjamat al-Dhahabiya bi al-Fārisiya by Mohammed Bāqir al-Majjlisi (died 1111 A. H.)

4. Ibn Mohammed Hāshim al-Tabib explained it in Persian.

5. Mohammed Sharif b. Mohammed Sādiq al-Khawātūn explained it and mentioned the explanation in his book Hāfiz al-Abbdān.

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6. It was explained by Sayyid ‘Abd Allah Shubbar (died 242 A. H.).

7. Mirza Mohammed Hādi b. Mirza Mohammed Sālih al-Shirāzi explained it and named it ‘Āfiyat al-Bariya fi Sharh al-Dhahabiya. He was a contemporary of Sultān Husayn al-Safawi.

8. Al-Mawlā Mohammed b. al-Hājj Mohammed Hasan al-Mashhadi al-Mudarris.

9. Al-Sayyid Shams al-Din Mohammed Badi‘ al-Radawi al-Mashhadi explained al-Dhahabiya and ended it in 1125 A. H.

10. Mohammed b. Yahyā` explained al-Dhahabiya in Persian.

11. Nawrūz ‘Ali al-Bastāmi explained al-Dhahabiya and mentioned the explanation in his book Firdous al-Tawārikh.

12. Al-Hajj Mirza Kāzim al-Mūsawi al-Zanjāni (died 1292) explained it and entitled the explanation as al-Mahmūdiya.

13. Al-Sayyid Nasr Allah al-Mūsawi al-Arūmi explained it in Persian and named the explanation as al-Tibb al-Radawi.

14. Maqbūl Ahmed explained it in Urdū and named the explanation as al-Dhahabiya fi Assrār al-‘Ulūm al-Tabi‘iya, printed in Hayder Ābād.

15. Al-Sayyid Mahmūd wrote Mafātih al-Sihha in which he gathered the medicine of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the medicine of the Imāms, and al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya along with little explanation in Persian, printed in al-Najaf al-Asraf in 379 A. H.

16. Al-Sayyid Mirza ‘Ali explained al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya in Persian.

17. Al-Sayyid Husayn b. Nasr Allah al-Arūmi al-Mūsawi wrote Tarjamat al-Mūsawi fi al-Tibb al-Radawi.

18. Abū al-Qāsim Sahāb explained it in Persian and named the explanation as Bihdāsht Radawi, and it was printed at the end of volume one of his book Razandagani Hazrat Imām Ridā, peace be on him, pp. 301-350.

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19. Dr. al-Sayyid Sāhib Zayni explained al-Risālah (the dissertation) in the light of modern medicine, and the explanation was printed in the Multaqā al-‘Asrayn periodical series, in Baghdad.

20. ‘Abd al-Wāsi‘ translated al-Risāla into Persian.[1]

As this dissertation is of great importance, it has been written in ancient calligraphy. An ancient copy, handwritten by ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. ‘Abd Allah al-Karkhi in 715 A. H., is available at the Imām al-Hakim Library, serial 237.

C. Al-Ma’mūn praises the Golden Medical Dissertation

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, sent his al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya (golden medical dissertation) to al-Ma’mūn, and he admired it and ordered it to be written in gold, to be copied many times, to be given to his sons, the members of his family, and the machinery of his government. He also ordered copies of it to be deposited at his depository of wisdom (Buyūt al-Hikma). Without doubt al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya was shown to the great physicians of his time, and they read it. Accordingly, al-Ma’mūn praised it through the following letter: “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise belongs to Allah, Qualified for praise and its Guardian, the end and beginning of it belongs to him, the Possessor of blessings, favors, and kindness. I praise Him for His uninterrupted blessings and favors, and I praise Him for His gifts and grants with a praise which gives rise to His increase and brings (me) near to Him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah with the witness of one who is loyal to Him through belief, not of the one who denies His Lordship and Oneness; rather the witness which confirms His ascription to Himself; and that He is just as He, the Great and Almighty, says: Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him. Such is our Lord, the Great and Almighty; and may Allah bless the master of the first and the last, Mohammed b. ‘Abd Allah, the last of the prophets.

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“Now then, I have reviewed the dissertation of my ‘Aladwide learned cousin, loved and virtuous one, the logical physician, which deals with the betterment of the body, the conduct of bathing, the balance of nutrition, and I found it very well organized and one of the best blessings. I carefully studied it, reviewed and contemplated upon it, till its wisdom manifested itself to me, its benefits became obvious, and it found its place my heart, so I learned it by heart and I understood it by mind, I found it to be a most precious item to post, a great treasure, and a most useful thing, so I ordered it to be written in gold due to its being precious, good, abundantly blessed, and I called it al-Mudahhaba (the golden one) and deposited it at the depository of wisdom after I had it copied down by the descendants of Hāshim, the youths of the nation. Bodies become healthy by balanced diets, and life becomes possible by overcoming disease and through life wisdom is achieved, through wisdom the Garden is won. It is worthy of being safeguarded and treasured; it a place of qualification and consideration, a reliable arbitrator an authority adviser and a source of knowledge, to which commander and forbidder yield. It is so because it came out of the houses of those who derive their knowledge from the knowledge of the chosen Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, the missive of the prophets, the proofs of the testamentary trustees, the manners of scholars, the cure to the hearts and the sick from among men of ignorance and blindness, Allah’s pleasure and blessings be upon them, the first of them and the last, the young and the old.

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“I showed it to the elite from among my closest train who are known for their wisdom and knowledge of medicine, and who are authors of books, those who are counted among men of knowledge and described with wisdom. Each one of them lauded it and thought highly of it, elevated it with esteem and evaluated it in order to be fair to its author, submitting to him, and believing in the wisdom he included therein, so if those after us from among our children, the children of our state, our subjects, the rest of the people from various classes come across this Risāla (medical dissertation), they should recognize its importance, his talent, and his perfect favor; they should take it with gratitude, for it is more precious than agates, more important than pearls and corals; they should learn it by heart and think of it day and night, for it brings them benefit and safety from all diseases, Allah willing, Allah bless His Messenger Mohammed and all his good, pure children. Allah is sufficient for us and is the Best Agent. Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

Al-Ma’mūn has praised the Imām for his medical dissertation, and his praise gives an account of the following:

A. Its Medical Contents

As for the contents of the Imām’s medical dissertation, they are as follows:

Firstly, the betterment of the body, protecting it from diseases, and making it enjoy perfect health, for the medical dissertation includes general programs for it.

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Secondly, the conduct of bathing which is one of the basic elements of health as well as it takes care of the cleanness of the body; like wise, it takes care of creating activity therein.

Lastly, the balance of nutrition on which man’s health and protection from diseases depend on.

B. His Studying it

Al-Ma’mūn carefully studied the Imām’s medical dissertation. He viewed reading it, and it manifested its wonders and great wisdom to him. He found it as one of the treasured books and among the mines of wealth, for it contained the fundamentals of general health and rules of medicine in the time when medicine was in the first stage. This medical dissertation is regarded as a development in this science, for it has opened brilliant ways to it.

C. His Showing it to the Physicians

Al-Ma’mūn showed the Imām’s medical dissertation to the great physicians of his time, so each one of them lauded it, adopted it, thought highly of it, elevated it with esteem, and evaluated it. All those great physicians who read it admitted the excellence and experience of the Imām, peace be on him, in this science. These are some of the contents in this praise.

The Text of the Golden Medical Dissertation

As for the text of this medical excellent dissertation, we have quoted it from the book entitled Tibb al-Imām al-Ridā, which is one of the publications of the al-Haydariya Press. It was printed in the year 1385 A. H., and it reads as follows: “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Know, Commander of the faithful, when Allah tries a servant with a disease, he appoints for him a medicine in order to cure himself with it, and for every kind of disease there is a kind of medicine, conduct, and prescription.”

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This paragraph gives an account of Allah’s firm wisdom in creating man, who contains wonderful systems which are subject to various kinds of diseases. Allah, the Exalted, creates a disease and creates a medicine for destroying and putting an end to such a disease. Nowadays, medicine has reached zenith: antibiotics such as penicillin and oromycin have been discovered, the science of surgery has been developed, so a group of diseases such as tuberculosis, enteritis, and typhoid has been folded and thrown into the sea. Accordingly, modern medicine has confirmed the wise words of the grandson of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who says that Allah appoints a medicine for each disease. As a result, those diseases which have no cure will be omitted from the file of medicine.

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, has said: “Man’s body is just like a kingdom: The heart is the king of the body; the (blood) vessels, the limbs, and the brain are workers. The house of the king is his heart; his land is the body; the helpers are his hands, his legs, his eyes, his lips, his tongues, and his ears; his storekeepers are his stomach and his abdomen; and his chamberlain is his chest. Therefore, the hands are two helpers which bring (things) near, take (them) away, and work as the king reveals to them. The legs carry the kings wherever he likes. The eyes lead him to that which disappears from him, for the king is behind a curtain and does not reach it except through them. They are also his two lamps; they are fort and well-fortified place of the body. The ears introduce nothing to the king except that which agrees with him, for they are unable to bring in anything unless the king inspires to them. When the king inspires to them, he keeps silent and listen to them. Then he answers whatever he likes; and the tongue explains on his behalf with many tools of which are the wind of the heart, the steam of the stomach, and the help of the two lips; and the two lips have no strength except by the means of man, and they are in need of each other.”

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The wise Imām has shown man’s body; this wonderful body through which Allah’s mighty power, His marvelous creation, and His firm regulation have manifested themselves. In this connection Allah, the Exalted, says: O man, what has beguiled you from your Lord, the Gracious One, Who created you, then made you complete, then made you symmetrical, into whatever form He pleased He constituted you. Concerning this body containing systems and cells which none can describe, the pioneer of wisdom and eloquence in Islam, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, says: “Do you think that you are a small body, while the greatest world has folded itself in you.”

Yes, man is not a limited skeleton; nor is he a small body; rather he contains the whole world, so he is a group of universes and worlds.

The Prophet’s grandson, source of knowledge and wisdom (i.e. Imām al-Ridā) has likened man’s body to the government whose machinery consists of a president, soldiers, helpers, and a land over which it rules. The Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned the following main organs and systems of the body:

main organs and systems of the body

A. The Heart

As for the heart, it is one of Allah’s marvelous signs in man’s body, for it pumps the blood to all parts of the body, and the blood conveys food and oxygen in order to distribute them among all places of the body, and then it conveys the waste products in order to rid the body of them.[2]

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The heart pumps the blood to the lungs in order that they may take adequate supply of oxygen from the air which man breathes. In the lungs, the blood gets rid of some waste products which it gathers from the parts of the blood and which take form of a gas called carbon dioxide. The heart also pumps the blood to the kidneys.[3] As for the regulation of the beats of the heart, it is one of the secrets of creation and origination; the average of the beats of the heart is seventy times

per minute. So their average amounts to one hundred thousand times a day, forty million times a year, and over two thousand millions in middle age. Therefore, we must think of this great glorification which never ceases nor flags by night and day. We must think of this marvelous sign in the body, which is the organization of heat. There is something like thermometer in the body. When sensory news comes from the skin and tells about the external surroundings and degree of their heat, this area which is in the brain stem and what is on it hurries to the circulatory system and urges it to protect the external boundaries and orders it to play the role of the sincere worker during this crisis, and the flexible circulatory system responds to it, and quickly the contraction of the blood vessels occur, and the heart pumps adequate supply of blood to the skin. If the skin is cold, the flow of blood which conveys heat increases in order to remove the coldness and vice versa.[4]

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Surely, the heart is the source of man’s and animal’s life; therefore, it is the king of the body, and all man’s organs are its soldiers and helpers.

B. The Nerves

As for the nerves, they are the sinew of life; and it is they which control the body; and they play an important role during anger, fear, the rest of the emotions, match, sexual work, and the like. Some nerves are called voluntary, and they control a group of muscles in the body which are called the striated muscles. In this connection some important physiological researches have been mentioned; therefore, the nerves are proof of the Wise Creator’s mightiness.

C. The Brain

As for the brain, it is the greatest of all Allah’s creatures; it dominates the whole body, controls all movements of it; and drives it to wherever it desires; and by it man is distinguished from the rest of animals. Allah has singled out the brain for man, and through it He has ennobled man over all His creatures.

Surely, the brain is a world of wonders. No creature can match it in greatness, for it contains stores which never are full and it preserves whatever knowledge is deposited in it. If we want to mention the wonders of the brain, then we have to write a full book about them. Glory belongs to Him who has originated and created the brain!

D. The Hands and the Legs

Among the amazing organs in man’s body is the hand, which helps man accomplish his own needs such as preparing food and drink, and which help him perform wonderful works such as writing, goldsmithing, building, and others. The hand carries out all these works according to signals and guidance it receives from the brain, for it is as a worker in the factory of the brain; likewise, the leg helps man walk and accomplish his own needs. Were it not for the hand and the leg, man would do nothing. So glory belongs to Allah, the Wise!

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E. The Ear

One of the marvelous organs in man’s body is the ear, which contains the following:

a. The Outer Ear: It is the lobe of the outer ear along with the cannel which leads to the eardrum.

b. The Middle Ear: It has three bones just as the tools of a blacksmith: the hammer and the anvil, the stirrup, and the two muscles of the hammer and the stirrup; there is a lobe which connects the middle ear to the pharynx.

c. The Inner Ear: It contains something like snail and three semicircular canals, and these parts are connected with each other and interlocked. Membranous canals like bags are in the semicircular canals, and Korti organ is in the cochlea, which circles two times and a half.

It is the inner ear which receives sounds. As for the middle and the outer ears, they convey sounds.

Sound results from the vibration of the molecules of a matter, so it does not travel unless there is a material means such as liquid air, gases, solid bodies, and the like. Medical books have mentioned important researches regarding sound, which reveals the Wise Creator’s mightiness and marvelous creation.[5]

F. The Eye

As for the eye, it is among Allah’s greatest signs, for through it man receives light, knows external surroundings, realizes forms and colors. It is the most marvelous room of art photography; for it is a dark room and closed by three walls which are from outward to inward: the sclera which gives the white color to the eye; the choroid which irrigates the eye through its veins; the retina which conveys the sensitive elements; cones and rods which receive light. In the front there is a thin crystal called the cornea which let the light coming to the eye enter. Then the light, after the cornea, passes through the transparent liquid which refracts light; it is the aqueous humor which lies between the cornea and the iris; and it is the iris which gives the familiar color to the eyes, in the middle of it there is a special opening receiving light and is like the lens of a photographer; it is called the pupil. When light enters the pupil, it faces a crystal of a new kind; it is the crystal body (the lens); it is the most marvelous crystal in existence, for it expands and contracts to the extent that the forms of its convexity are very different; therefore, the eye harmonizes with the views before it. If the visible distance is near, it expands and changes in order to fit the condition, and vice-versa; therefore, it is the sane, motive crystal. After the crystal body, light enters a new, transparent humor refracting light; it is the vitreous humor. When light ends passing through it, it reaches the retina where the rods and the cones receive and move it as a nervous stream to the occipital lobe.[6]

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The eye is marvelous in creation and protection, for Allah, the

Most High, has placed it in a low, facial area surrounded by three high

hills, which are: the eye-brow, nasal pyramid, and the bony

prominence of the forehead as well as it is covered by lids which opens and shuts very quickly. Besides Allah has surrounded it by tears in order to purify and moisten it. So glory belongs to the Creator, the Originator, the Almighty!

some organs of man’s body

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, has mentioned some organs of man’s body. He has shown their characteristics and their functions (anatomy). Now, let us move to another part of this dissertation. He, peace be on him, has said: “And speech is not good unless it is repeated through the nose, for the nose adorn speech as blowing adorns the flute; likewise, the nostrils are the two openings of the nose and they bring good air to the king. If they bring bad, displeasing air to the king, he reveals to the hands to be as a curtain between him and that bad air. There will be a reward and punishment for the king because of this, so his punishment is severer than that of the outward, powerful kings in the world, and his reward is better than theirs. As for his punishment, it is sadness; and as for his reward, it is happiness. The origin of sadness is in the spleen, and the origin of happiness is in the kidneys and the ribs[7], and from them they reach the face, so from there happiness and sadness arise, so their signs are seen on the face, and all these blood vessels are ways of workers to the king, and from the king to the workers, and the proof of that is that when you take a medicine, the blood vessels convey it to the place of illness, with their help.”

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The Prophet’s grandson (i.e. Imām al-Ridā) has displayed the operation of utterance and mode of expression, which is a wonder in itself, for speech comes out harmoniously and equally balanced, and it aims at a certain (thing); and it is among the unique, wonderful phenomena which are proofof the Almighty Creator’s mightiness. He, the Most High, says: The Beneficent (Allah) taught the Qur’ān; He created man; He taught him the mode of expression. So what man wants to perform before uttering it arises in the brain, which inspires the tongue to perform it, and that occurs through a wonderful operation which the concerned in this research have mentioned.

The Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned that the reward and punishment which the heart and the brain bring about to man’s body. Both reward and punishment appear on the expressions of the face; happiness covers the face when there is a reward; and sadness covers it when there is a punishment. The Imām has shown that the origin of sadness is the spleen, and the origin of happiness is the kidneys and the ribs. These phenomena result from these organs in man’s body.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And know, Commander of the faithful, that the body is like a good land which is maintained by plowing and watering; water should not be increased lest it should drown it; nor it should be decreased lest it should make it thirsty, so that its reformation lasts; its revenue increases; and its plants grow. If the land is neglected, it becomes spoiled and no plant grows therein; therefore, the body is like such a land; it becomes good and well-being flourishes through organizing foods and drinks.

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“O Commander of the faithful, reflect on the food which fits you and your stomach, strengthens your own body and gives it to enjoy it, so estimate and carefully consider your own food.

“And know, O Commander of the faithful, that each one of these natures likes that which suits it; therefore, eat that which suits your own body; he who takes an increase of food does not make use of it; and he who takes an amount of food without an increase or a decrease makes use of it; and raise your hand from food while you still incline to it; for it puts right your own body and stomach, pure your reason, and lightens your body.”

The wise Imām has specified the general program of general health, which depends on balance and immoderation in eating and drinking. The Qur’ān has mentioned this rule regarding keeping man’s body and protecting it from diseases; saying: Eat and drink but do not be extravagant.

Surely the digestive system is the most important one of man’s systems; it is the most vital and sensitive of them, for it is affected by the extravagance of food which results in fatness, which is one of the blights which destroy man’s body.

Certainly taking care of nutrition, especially in the prim of life, has a great effect on the health condition in the years that follow as well as it lengthens the period of youth; and it is one of the most modern means in preventive medicine; therefore, the different diseases which affect man are a direct result of extravagance in food and drink, unbalanced sexual life, and other life affairs.

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The wise Imām has likened man’s body to a fertile land; and this is a very wonderful comparison, for if man takes care of his land and reforms it, then it will produce and give the most agreeable crops; and if he turns away from it and neglects it, it will be damaged, die, and not give any crop; likewise, if man takes care of his body, puts it right, and does not spoil it through extravagance in food and drink, it becomes good and he enjoys health, which is the most expensive thing in man’s life.

necessity of avoiding extravagance in food

The Imām, peace be on him, has emphasized the necessity of avoiding extravagance in food, and that man should raise his hand from food while he is still desirous of it, for that is the most useful way for keeping his health and protecting him from diseases. Definitely, eating too much food leads to fatness, which gives rise to the following:

A. Heart failure

B. High blood pressure

Now, let us move to another part of this dissertation. He, peace be on him, has said: “O Commander of the faithful, eat cold (foods) in summer, hot (foods) in winter, and moderate (foods) in the two seasons according to your strength and appetite; and start with the lightest food on which your body feed according to your material, your ability, your activity, and your time in which you must have food every eight hours or three meals every two days; you must have food early at the beginning of day, and then you have supper; when eight hours of the following day passes, you must eat one lunch; and you are in no need of supper; likewise, my grandfather, Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, ordered ‘Ali, peace be on him, to have one meal on every day and two meals on the following day; that should be according to an amount which should be neither increase nor decrease; raise your hand from food while you feel appetite for it; and let your drink be immediately after your food.”

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This part of the dissertation gives an account of organizing the food on which general health stands as follows:

A. One must have light foods during the days of summer, for having heavy foods causes heavy damages to his own body. As for winter, it is on the contrary, namely, one must have heavy food which containing fat and sugar, for his body is in need of them.

B. One must have food according to his own ability; he must not overexert himself in having food.

C. One must have the lightest and the easiest food for the digestive system; in the mean time, he must take into consideration his own age, for when man grows old, he must have light food with little salt and fat, for they bring about arteriosclerosis, especially when he is over fifty years of age.

D. One must decrease the meals of food; he must confine himself to three meals of food, according to what the Imām, peace be on him, has detailed; without doubt this way makes body sound and safe from diseases.

E. The Imām has underlined that it is necessary for one not to eat any food except when he feels appetite for it and must not fill his own stomach with it. These are some valuable health pieces of advice.

Now, let us read another part of this dissertation. He, peace be on him, has said: “Now we must mention what must be mentioned regarding the direction of the seasons of the year and its Roman months which occur therein; each season (must be mentioned) separately; the foods and drinks which must be used (therein); what must be avoided; and how one must maintain (his) health, according to the view points of the old.”

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what man must have and avoid during the seasons of the year

This part of the dissertation is a preparatory preface concerning what man must have and avoid during the seasons of the year. He, peace be on him, has said: “As for the season of spring, it is of the rest of time, and its beginning is March (Ādhār); and the number of its days is thirty days; and therein day and night are good; the earth becomes soft; and the power of phlegm terminates; the blood becomes exited; and one must use light food and meat; and he must refrain from eating onions and garlic and sour (things); and he must use laxative therein; and he must use therein bloodletting and cupping.”

The Imām has mentioned the season of spring, which is the most beautiful one of the seasons of the year, and the most useful of them to living beings. How wonderful these words of the Imām: “It is of the soul of the time.” That is because, therein, night and day become good; the earth becomes soft; the blood becomes exited. The Imām has warned men against eating onions and garlic and sour things, for they bring about diseases which modern medicine will discover, as well as he has regarded it as recommended to have laxative and to take some blood through bloodletting and cupping.

He, peace be on him, has said: “April (Nisān) is thirty days; day lengthens therein; the temper of the season becomes strong; the blood moves; the east wind blows; roasted foods are used therein, what is prepared with vinegar; the meat of (birds and animals which are) hunted; and you must treat yourself with having a sexual intercourse, and then massaging yourself with an ointment in the bathroom; drink water before breakfast; smell flowers and scent.”

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The Imām has mentioned the month of April (Nisān) and mentioned its characteristics, which are as follows:

1. Day lengthens while night shortens.

2. Temper becomes strong.

3. The blood moves.

4. The east wind blows.

The Imām has regarded it as recommended to have roasted foods and what is cooked in vinegar along with the meat of the birds and animals which are hunted, for such a food benefits man’s body. He has also made it recommended to enter the bathroom, to massage the body with an ointment, and to drink some water before breakfast, for it has a great effect on cleaning the urinary tracts and removing cystic calcali from them.

He, peace be on him, has said: “May (Ayyār) is thirty-one days; the winds become clear there in; it is at the end of the season of spring; one must refrain from salty foods, thick meat such as heads and beef, and yogurt; entering the bathroom at the beginning of day is useful therein; and sport before lunch is reprehensible therein.”

As for May (Ayyār), it is at the beginning of summer, so the digestive system cannot bear heavy foods, especially when one reaches old age, for having thick meat leads to dreadful damages such as high blood pressure, and the like.

He, peace be on him, has said: “June (Huzayrān) is thirty days; the power of phlegm terminates therein; the time of the yellow bile comes; one must refrain from tiredness and eating abundant meat; one must smell musk and ambergris; it is useful to eat cold vegetables such as endive and purslane, to eat greens such as cucumber, purgative manna, ripe fruit, to use soured things; of the meat is goat and young goat; of the birds is chickens, dull-yellow partridge (tahiyujj), francolins; yogurt and fresh fish.”

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As for June (Huzayrān), it is the first of the months of summer; bodies become weak therein, for they face intense and bitter heat. The Imām, peace be on him, has emphasized that one must:

1. avoid tiredness.

2. avoid having abundant meat.

3. eat vegetables and fruit, for they are light, and not heavy.

He, peace be on him, has said: “July (Tammūz) is thirty-one days; heat becomes intense therein; water goes down; one must drink cold water before breakfast, eat cold, fresh things, and digestible foods (like those mentioned in June); one must smell cold, wet flowers with agreeable scent.”

As for July (Tammūz), it is the heaviest of all the months of the year and the most harmful of them toward man. That is because of the intense heat which occurs when water goes down. The Imām has stressed that one must use cold things and eat light foods lest the digestive system should be affected by them. He has also focused on that one must smell cold flowers with pleasant scent, for they have a good effect on the digestive system.

He, peace be on him, has said: “August (Āb) is thirty-one years; the simoom (hot wind) becomes intense therein; cold becomes exited at night; the north wind blows; temper becomes good through patting and moistening; it is useful to drink yogurt; one must refrain from having sexual intercourse and laxative, decrease sport, and smell cold flowers.”

Like July (Tammūz), August (Āb) is hot; cold becomes intense out of the weakness of bodies because of the intense heat, hence the Imām has made it recommended to use cold thins which decrease the intensity of heat.

p: 233

He, peace be on him, has said: “September (Aylūl) is thirty days; the air becomes good therein; the power of the black bile becomes strong; having laxative is good; it is useful to eat sweets and moderate various kinds of meat such as that of young goats and mutton; one must refrain from beef, eat abundant roasted meat, enter the bathroom, use therein perfume with moderate temper, and refrain from eating melon and cucumber.”

The intensity of heat decreases in September (Aylūl), especially at the end of it, for the air is agreeable therein, so it is useful for one to have all kinds of sweets provided that he should not be afflicted by diabetes or fatness, or having candy harms him very much; likewise, it is useful for him to have all kinds of meat except beef, for it harms him. The Imām has warned men against eating melon and cucumber, for they are harmful in this month.

He, peace be on him, has said: “October (Tishrin al-Awwal) is thirty-one days; various winds blow in it; one must breathe the east wind, avoid bloodletting and taking medicine; sexual intercourse is praiseworthy therein; it is useful to have meat in spices; one must decrease drinking water; and sport is praiseworthy in it.”

As for October (Tishrin al-Awwal), it is one of the excellent months of the year, for heat terminates in it; the east wind blows therein. The Imām has warned men against bloodletting, for it causes damages to the body. Similarly, he has ordered them to decrease drinking water as well as he has ordered them to practice sport, for it is useful for the vitality and activity of the body.

p: 234

He, peace be on him, has said: “November ((Tishrin al-Thāni) is thirty days; seasonal rain comes down in it; one must not drink water at night, decrease entering the bathroom and having sexual intercourse, take a mouthful of warm water in the early morning every day, avoid eating vegetables such as celery, mint, and watercress.”

As for November ((Tishrin al-Thāni), it is one of the most agreeable months of the year, for men receive winter through it; seasonal rain, which is the source of good and mercy to men, falls in it; hence land becomes green and gives crops. Everyone must drink a mouthful of warm water in the early morning in order to get rid of cold. The Imām has warned men against eating celery and other vegetables, for they strongly harm them.

He, peace be on him, has said: “December (Kānūn al-Awwal) is thirty-one days; storms become strong and cold becomes intense in it; it is useful to have all that which has been mentioned in November (Tishrin al-Thāni); one must be cautious of having cold foods and guard against cupping and bloodletting; and he must use therein foods which are actually and potentially hot.”

As for December (Kānūn al-Awwal), it is the first month in winter; men face severe cold therein; storms become strong in it. The Imām has warned people against having cold foods, for they have bad effects on their health and cause some diseases to them. Similarly, he has summoned them to have hot foods, for they have some health advantages.

p: 235

He, peace be on him, has said: “January (Kānūn al-Thāni) is thirty-one days; the power of phlegm is strong in it; one must have a mouthful of warm water before breakfast; sexual intercourse is praiseworthy therein; one must have in it hot vegetables such as celery, watercress, and leek; entering the bathroom and massaging (the body) with al-Khayri ointment is useful in it; one must be careful of sweet things, eating fresh fish, and having yogurt.”

Men face the severity and intensity of cold in January (Kānūn al-Thāni), so the Imām has made it recommended for them to have warm water in the early morning in order to get rid of the consequences of cold. Similarly, he has summoned them to have hot vegetables in order to warm their bodies and protect them from cold. He has made it recommended to enter the bathroom, for the blood-circle becomes active through it; and he has warned them against having fresh fish, yogurt, and candy, for they harm their bodies.

He, peace be on him, has said: “February (Shibāt) is twenty-eight days; the winds become different in it; rain increases; grass appears; water flows in the hollow; it is useful to eat garlic, the meat of bird and animals which are hunted and fruit; one must decreases eating sweet; abundant sport and movement is praiseworthy therein.”

When February (Shibāt) enters, the severity and intensity of cold terminate, rain increases, and grass appears. The Imām has made it recommended to eat garlic, which is very useful to man’s body, for it protects it from many diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and others. With this month the Imām ends his speech about the seasons of the year, what man must use and avoid in them.

p: 236

He, peace be on him, has said: “Know, O Commander of the faithful, that the strength of the soul follows the tempers of bodies, and that the tempers depend on the air and change according to it in places.”

Certainly the strength and soundness of reason depend on the health of body. If one is ill or afflicted by diseases, then his reason is weak just as they say: “Sound reason is in sound body.” It is certain that good, fresh, and unpolluted air is one of the basic elements which play an important role in general health.

Describing the way of preparing a lawful drink

Describing the way of preparing a lawful drink, he, peace be on him, has said: “(As for) the description of a lawful drink and its usage after food, as we mentioned its benefit when we started talking about the seasons of the year and what one had to have therein to preserve his health, is that one must take ten rotls[8] of clean raisins; he must wash them and soak them in abundant, clear water to an increase of four fingers over it and leaves it in its container; that is for three (days) in winter, a day and a night in summer; and then he must put them into a clean container; the water must be that of the heaven (i.e. rain) if he is able (to get) it; otherwise, it must be of fresh water whose fountain is in the east direction; shining water as well as it is light, which becomes hot and cold quickly; and this is a proof of clear water.

p: 237

He must cook the raisins until they become swollen and ripe; and then he must squeeze them, clarify their water, and leaves it to be cold. Then he must return it to the container again, measure it with a stick, and leave it to boil on a calm fire until two-thirds of it has steamed. Then he must take one rotl of purified bee honey and pour it into it, and it replaces the amount of the water which was in the cooking-pot; and then he must leave it to boil until the amount of honey has evaporated, and it comes down to its limit. Then he must take a thin piece of cloth and put on it a dirham[9] of ginger, half a dirham of carnation, half a dirham of cinnamon, a dirham of saffron, half a dirham of spikenard, half a dirham of endive, and half a dirham of mastic. He must grind each one of them separately and put them on the piece of cloth and tie it well with a thread. Then he must put it into (the liquid). The piece of cloth must be macerated in the drink to the extent that the strength of the drugs wherein comes down (into the drink). He must go on stirring the drink gently on a calm fire until the amount of honey has steamed.

Then he must lift the cooking-pot, leave it to be cold, and leave it for three months, that its tastes may overlap with each other; and then he can use it. He can drink of it one or two okes of pure water. So if you, O Commander of the faithful, eat the amount of food which I have described to you, then drink of this drink an amount of three glasses after your food. If you do that, you will be safe throughout your day and night from cold, chronic aches such as gout, wind, and others from among the aches of nerves, brain, stomach, and some aches of liver, spleen, intestines, and bowels. If you, after that, feel appetite for water, then you must drink of it the half of what you had drunk, for it puts right, regulates, and keeps the body of the Commander of the faithful.

p: 238

“Surely the betterment and straightness of body and its corruption come through foods and drinks. So if you put them right, then your body is good; and if you corrupt them, then your body is corrupt.”

The Imām, peace be on him, has regarded this drink as a lawful one which brings about the most important health advantages to the body and protects it from many diseases. He has mentioned its ingredients and how it is prepared. This drink contains important elements necessary for strengthening man’s body; among them is raisins which include a large amount of vitamins; yet another example of them is honey which is rich in vitamins as well as the other elements which must be added to this drink.

It is worth mentioning that the Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned that the water must be of that of the heaven (i.e. of rain) or of fresh water, lest it should be polluted, and hence it gives rise to some diseases and invalidates this drink.

Dr. Sāhib Zayni has said: “This lawful drink has a large food value, for it contains useful elements which are regarded as the most important sources and producers of calories which the body always needs, especially in the cold seasons. As for the easiness of digesting it and assimilating its elements, it is well-known, for grape sugar (glucose) is the easiest of all materials in digestion, and of the materials which if one takes, is in no need of most other food stuffs, for it is simply changes into glycogen which is stored in the liver as food reserve and which the body can use at any time.

p: 239

“Raisins contain a large amount of iron; they are useful for generating blood red cells and treating the disease of anemia; and they are the best of all drugs in treating many disease states such as indigestion, gastritis, gasses in stomach and intestines, some of liver diseases, dullness of intestines, and constipation.[10]”

The following is of what the Imām, peace be on him, has said: “And know, O Commander of the faithful, that sleep is the power of brain, the straightness and strength of the body. If you want to sleep, then first lie on your right side, and then turn over your left side; likewise get out of your bed and sleep on your right side just as you had done at the beginning of your sleep. Habituate yourself to get up at night; enter the toilet for relieving nature and stay wherein as long as you relieve you nature; do not stay wherein for a long time; for that gives rise to elephantiasis.”

Sleep is one of the elements necessary for man’s life and the health of his body. Indeed Allah has created in man’s body some organs which give rise to sleep; in the meantime they supply the body with vitality and activity, remove from it the tiredness and overexertion of the day. The Imām, peace be on him, has shown the health performance of sleep, which is as follows: One must sleep on his right side, for this gives rest to the heart and soundness to the body. Similarly, he, peace be on him, has displayed the way of entering the toilet; it is an act of wisdom that man should not stay for a long time wherein lest he should be afflicted by elephantiasis.

p: 240

He, peace be on him, has said: “And know, O Commander of the faithful, that the best thing which is used to clean the teeth is the branch of Zingiber officinale, for it removes dirt, makes pleasant the flavor, strengthens the gum; and it is useful for (treating) tooth decay when it is used moderately, but when it is immoderately used, it thins out, shakes the teeth and weakens their roots.

“So he who likes to keep his teeth, then let him take a burnt horn of an ibex, tamarisk, sedge, roses, spikenard (one part), Andarāni salt (a quarter of a part), and then let him powder them and clean his teeth with it, for it strengthens the teeth, protect their roots from accidental maladies. He who likes his teeth to be white, then let him take part of Andarāni salt and sea foam equal to it, and then let him powder them and clean his teeth with it.”

The Imām has presented the treatment of teeth and mentioned two prescriptions to put them right. The first is that one must clean his teeth with the stick of a Zingiber officinale, and this is one of the best prescriptions in putting teeth right, for this stick had been analyzed and found as one of the most wonderful drugs in purifying teeth and protecting them from diseases, and that it was the best of modern tooth-pastes.[11]

The second prescription concerns tooth-paste; the Imām has mentioned its ingredients which treat tooth-decay.

He has said: “And know, O Commander of the faithful, that man’s sates on which Allah, the Exalted, has built him and made him move about in them are four: The first state is fifteen years; his youth, his beauty, his radiance, and the power of the blood in his body are during it. Then the second state is from fifteen years to thirty-five years; the power of the yellow bile and the strength of its victory over a person are during it; he is still so until he terminates the mentioned period, which is thirty-five years; and then he enters the third stage until the period of his life span, which is sixty years, has terminated; hence he is in the power of the black bile, which is the age of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, regulated affairs, correct results, true opinions, and steadfastness in behavior. Then he enters the fourth stage which is the power of phlegm, and it is the stage in which he, if remains alive, moves to old age, trouble, withering, the decrease of strength, the collapse of his structure, condemning all things which he had come to know of his own soul, to the extent that he sleeps while standing, passes sleep awake, remembers the past things, forgets what occurs in the times, his body withers, his habitual condition changes, the water of his beauty and radiance dries, the growth of his hair and finger-nails decrease, his body continues retreating and turning away throughout the rest of his life; that is because he is in the power of phlegm; he is dull and inactive; dullness and inactivity bring about the extinction of every body over which the phlegm power dominates after all.”

p: 241

the stages of man’s life span

This part of the dissertation gives an account of the stages of man’s life span. They are four stages: The first stage begins from his birthday and ends when he reaches fifteen years of age; it is the stage and beginning of youth, which is the most marvelous and best of all stages in activity.

The second stage begins from fifteen years and terminates in the fifty-three years of age; it is one of the most wonderful stages of lifetime, for therein man’s strength, activity, and radiance are perfect.

The third stage begins from thirty-five and ends in sixty years; and in this stage man’s knowledge is perfect; his affairs are regulated; that is through his experiences in affairs and his knowledge in events, for in this age his intellectual activity is perfect, but his bodily forces become weak.

The fourth stage begins from sixty years until he dies; in this stage all his organs, his cells, and his forces are weak; and he is dependent on others, especially when he becomes eighty years of age, for his complaints and moans are many. In this connection the poet says:

Surely the eighty (years) which I have reached

has made my ears in need of an interpreter!

And just as they say: “Old age is a cloud which showers diseases!” Definitely, the body in this stage is just as the Imām says: “His body withers and the water of his beauty dries, and it is the stage of his extinction!”

p: 242

He, peace be on him, has said: “I have mentioned to the Commander of the faithful all that which he needs in the indulgence of the temper, the conditions of his body and its treatment; and I have mentioned the foods and drugs and what he must do in his times.

“So if you like cupping, then let that be between twelve and fifteen nights of the crescent, for it is better for your body. When the month decreases, do not use cupping except when you are forced to do that. That is because the blood decreases according to the decrease of the crescent, and it increases according to its increase; and cupping must be equal to the years which pass: one who is twenty years of age must apply cupping every twenty days; one who is thirty years old, must use cupping every thirty days; one who is forty years of age must use cupping every forty days, and so on.

“And know, O Commander of the faithful, that the blood of cupping is taken from the small veins spreading in the flesh; and the proof of that is what I have mentioned that it does not weaken strength as bloodletting does; and the cupping of al-nuqura[12] is useful for the heaviness of the head; and the cupping of al-akhda‘ayn[13] gives rest to the head, the face, and the eyes, and it is useful to tooth-ache; and perhaps bloodletting replaces all of that; and one may use cupping under the chin in order to treat al-qalda‘[14] in the mouth, the corruption of the gum, and other mouth aches. Similarly, the cupping between the two shoulders is useful to the beating which results from fullness and heat, and that which placed on the two legs may decrease the fullness with a clear decrease, and it is useful to chronic aches in the kidneys, bladders, and wombs, and it makes menstruation flow abundantly, but it exhausts the body, and a severe haze may stems from it, but it is necessary for those who have blisters and abscesses.

p: 243

“Gentle sucking decreases the pain of cupping when one places the cupping glasses; and then he graduates the sucking a little more; the sucking in the second (cupping) must be more than the first, and so must be the third, and so on. He must stop slashing until the place has become red through repeating the cupping glasses across it. He must softens the lancets across soft skins; and he must massage the place with some ointment before he slashes it; so must he do during bloodletting, for such an act decreases pain. He must also soften the lancet during cupping; and when he has finished it, he must soften the place with some ointment and drips onto the veins some of it lest they should disappear and harm the phlebotomized. The phelbotomist should bleed the veins in the places where flesh is little, for the little flesh on the veins decreases pain; and the most painful vein when bled is habl al-dhirā‘ [15] and al-qifāl [16], for they are connected with the upper arm and this skin is solid. As for al-bāsaliq [17] (basilic vein)and al-akkhal, they are less painful when bled if there is no flesh on them. It is obligatory to apply hot water to the place of bloodletting, that the blood may appear, especially in winter, for it softens the skin and decreases pain and makes easy bloodletting. During all what we have mentioned regarding bringing forth blood, it is obligatory to refrain from women twelve hours before that.

p: 244

“One must use cupping on a clear day on which there is neither clouds nor strong winds; and he must bring forth blood equals to its change which he sees. Do not enter the bathroom immediately, for it gives rise to illness; and pour warm water on your head and body, but do not do that soon.

“Be weary of taking a bath when you apply cupping, for chronic fever stems from it. If you wash yourself off (the blood) of cupping, take a downy piece of cloth or a soft, silk garment or the like and put it on the places of your cupping; and take an amount equal to a chick-pea of al-tiryāq al-akbar [18] and drink it when winter; and if it is summer, then drink honey oxymel and mix it with the gladdening, moderate drink, and have it, or with fruit juice. If that is difficult, then drink citron (juice). If you do not find anything, then have it (citron) after you have chewed under the teeth and drink after it a mouthful of lukewarm water; and if that is in the time of winter and cold, then drink after it some honey oxymel, for if you do that, you will be safe from facial paralysis, vitiligo, and leprosy with the permission of Allah, the Exalted; and suck pomegranate, for it strengthens soul and renews the blood; and do not eat salty food after that for three hours, for that may bring about mange; and if you like, then eat (the meat) of dull-yellow partridges (al-tahāiyijj), that is when you have used cupping; and drink after it some of the purified drink which I have mentioned at outset; and massage (your body) with al-Khayri ointment or with some of musk and rose water; and pour on your head some of it as soon as you have finished cupping.

p: 245

“As for summer, when you apply cupping, then eat al-sakkbajj [19], al-halām [20] al-masūs [21], and the sour; and pour on your head violet oil

mixed with rose water and some camphor; and drink after your food some of that drinks which I have prescribed to you; and be careful of abundant movement, anger, and having an intercourse with women on the same day.”

In this part of the dissertation, the Imām, peace be on him, has presented cupping which causes great advantages to the body, returns activity to it, and drives away from it illnesses and diseases; it is the greatest of all prescriptions and most successful of them in treating those who have high blood pressure, for the blood during it comes out of the small veins spreading in flesh, as the Imām says, and this does not cause weakness to the body. The Imām has mentioned some diseases which are treated with cupping. They are as follows:

A. Tooth and gum congestion.

B. The chronic diseases of the kidney, the bladder, and the

womb.

C. The paucity of menstruation.

D. Blisters and abscesses.

The Imām has described the operation of cupping and fully understood it, what one should use after it, the foods and drinks from which he should refrain.

Similarly the Imām has presented bloodletting and mentioned the veins which should be bled such as habl al-dhirā‘ and al-qifāl [22]; he has also mentioned some refreshing drinks which should be drunk after it and warned against some foods which bring about dangers.

p: 246

He, peace be on him, has said: “And be cautious, O Commander of the faithful, of bringing together eggs and fish in the stomach at the same time, for if they come together in man’s stomach, they give rise to gout, colic, piles, and tooth-ache.

“When yogurt and wine (which some people drink) gather, they cause gout and leprosy; eating onions[23] constantly results in freckles; eating salty meat and fish after cupping and bloodletting gives rise to vitiligo and mange; eating sheep’s kidneys and bowels disorders the bladder.

“Entering the bathroom during fullness gives rise to colic; washing with cold water after eating fish brings about hemiplegia; eating citron at night results in cross-eye; and having a sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman causes leprosy to the baby.

“Having a sexual intercourse without discharging semen after it gives rise to stone; a sexual intercourse after a sexual intercourse without an interval between them causes madness to the baby; eating eggs[24] very much and constantly brings about spleen (disease) and winds in the head of the stomach; fullness of boiled eggs gives rise to asthma and dyspnea; eating raw meat brings about worms in the stomach; and eating figs decreases (the weight of) the body when one addicts himself to it.

“Drinking cool water after a warm thing and candy destroys teeth; eating abundant meat of wild animals and beef results in changing reason, perplexing understanding, making dull the mind, and plentiful forgetfulness.”

he warned against bringing together various kinds of foods

p: 247

In this part of the dissertation, the Imām, peace be on him, has he warned against bringing together various kinds of foods during eating, for it gives rise to many diseases; among the foods against which he has warned is eating fish and eggs at the same time, for it leads to the following diseases:

1. Gout.

2. Colic.

3. Piles.

4. Tooth-ache.

He has also warned against having salty foods, for it brings about arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Among the things against which the Imām has warned is drinking cold water after warm things or after eating candy, for it destroys teeth, as it has been emphasized by dentists, who has mentioned that this is one of the acts which destroy teeth.

This part of the dissertation contains health advantages of great importance; if men put them into practice, medicine will be preventive, and they will be in no need of the clinic of physicians.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And if you like to enter the bathroom and you feel no ache in your head, then start, during entering the bathroom, with five handfuls of warm water and pour them on your head, for you will be, Allah willing, safe from headache and migraine.

“And know, O Commander of the faithful, that bathroom has a construction just as that of the body; it has four places just as the natures of the body: the first place is for taking off clothes; it is cool and dry. The second (places) is cool and wet; the third is warm and wet; and the fourth is warm and dry. Taking a bath is very useful, for it leads to moderation, removing dirt, softening nerves and veins, strengthening the big organs, melting (the bodily) excrement, and driving away bad smell.

p: 248

“So if you do not want any pimple or the like to appear in your body, so start, when entering the bathroom, with massaging your own body with violet ointment; and if you want to use depilatory (paste) without any wound nor any cut nor any evil, then wash (your body) with cool water; and if one wants to enter the bathroom for using depilatory (paste), then he must avoid taking a sexual intercourse for twelve hours before that, and it is a full day, and he must mix with the depilatory (paste) some aloe, some acacia, some rock at the foot of a mountain, or he gathers that and takes little of it if it is together or separate, and he must put nothing into the depilatory (paste) until it is mixed with hot water in which chamomile, marjoram or dry violet rose has been boiled or all of that little parts together or separate in an amount whose smell the water takes; and (the amount of) arsenic must be equal to the one-sixth of the depilatory (paste); after he has used it and in order to remove its smell, he must rub his own body with something like the leafs of plum, the marc of safflower, henna, roses, and spikenard together or separate.

“And he who wants to be safe from the burn of depilatory (paste), then he must decrease turning it; and when he uses it, he must hasten to wash it and rub his body with some rose oil; if it burns his body, Allah forbids, he must take peeled lentils, crush it,mix it with rose water and vinegar, and rub with it the area which has been burnt by the depilatory (paste), for he recovers with the permission of Allah, the Exalted; and if he wants to avoid the (bad) effects of the depilatory (paste) on his body, he must rub his body very well with al-Thaqif grape vinegar and rose oil.”

p: 249

It is necessary for man to take a bath in order to clean his own boy from dirt which gives rise to skin diseases. The Prophet’s grandson, source of knowledge and wisdom (i.e. Imām al-Ridā) has talked about all sides of bathing, of which are the moderation of the body, cleanness from dirt, and removing bad smell.

Surely the Imām, peace be on him, has talked in detail about bating, for it is one of health means and among the sources of purity and cleanness which removes outward bodily dirt and secretions. He, peace be on him, has also talked inclusively about depilatory (paste) which cleans and refreshes the body when it removes thick hair from it.

He, peace be on him, has said: “He who does not want to complain of his bladder must not withhold his urine even if he is on the back of his own mount.

“And he who does not want his stomach to hurt him must not drink water until he has finished having his food; and he who does that, his body becomes wet, his stomach becomes weak, and his veins do not make use of food, for if water is suddenly poured on the food, a pass will occur in the stomach.

“And he who does not want to find stone and the retention of urine must not withhold semen when libido comes down and must not stay for a long time with women.

“And he who wants to be safe from the ache of the lowest part and of piles must eat seven Barni dates mixed with cows’ fat and rub (the area) between his buttocks with pure lily oil.”

p: 250

“And he who wants to increase his memory must eat seven weights of raisins before breakfast; and he who wants to decrease his forgetfulness and to be a memorizer must eat every day three pieces of ginger mixed with honey jam, and must nourish (his own body) with mustard along with his food every day; and he who wants to increase his reason must have every three pieces of hilija along with Ibloj sugar[25]; and he who does not want his finger-nail to split a part or to become yellow or black must not clip it except on Thursday; and he who does not want his ear to ache must put a piece of cotton wherein when sleeping.

“And he who wants to get rid of cold throughout the days of winter must eat every day three mouthfuls of honey.”

In this part of the dissertation, the Imām, peace be on him, has mentioned some health recommendations of great importance, for he has given health prescriptions necessary for safety and protection from diseases; the following are some of them:

1. The soundness of the urinary system.

2. The soundness of the stomach.

3. Protection from stone.

4. Protection from piles.

He has also mentioned other health recommendations which are necessary for protecting the body from diseases.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And know, O Commander of the faithful, that there are signs through which useful and harmful honey is known: some of it makes one sneeze when he smells it; some of it makes one drunk; some of it makes one feel severe burning when he tastes it. So these kinds of honey are deadly.

p: 251

“One should not delay smelling narcissus, for it prevents cold throughout the days of winter and such is the black cumin; and if one fears cold in the days of summer must eat every day a cucumber and be careful of sitting in the sun.

“And he who fears migraine and colic must not delay eating fresh fish in summer or winter; and he who wants to be good with light body and flesh must decrease his supper by night; and he who does not want to complain of his navel must anoint it when he anoints his hair; and he who does not want his lips to split apart nor do pimples appear in them must anoint them when he anoints his hair;

and he who does not want his tonsils and epiglottis to inflame must not eat candy unless he gargles with vinegar after it; and he who does not want to be infected by yellows must not enter a house at once in summer and must not goes out of it at once in the early morning in winter; and he who does not want his body to be infected by winds must eat garlic once every seven days; and he who does not want his teeth to be decayed must not eat sweets except after a small piece of bread;

and he who wants to enjoy his food must lean on his right side after he has finished eating, and then he must turn on his left side until he sleeps; and he who wants phlegm to leave his own body or to decrease it must eat in the early morning every day some of hot ground (spices), take a bath and have a sexual intercourse with women several times, sit in the sun, and avoid all cold foods, for these things drive away phlegm and burn it; and he who wants to extinguish the flame of the yellow bile must eat every day something cold and wet, refresh his own body, decrease movement, and look for a long time at him whom he loves; and he who wants to burn the black bile must vomit several times, bleed the veins, and use depilatory (paste) constantly; and he who wants to take away cold winds must cling to liquid enemas and ointments softening the body, treating with hot water in basin; and he who wants to remove phlegm from his own body must have a weight of the small ittrifil every day.”

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health of man’s organs

In this part of the dissertation, the Imām, peace be on him, has presented the health of man’s organs; he has specified health prescriptions to their safety and protection from diseases; he has mentioned necessary rules for protection from cold, which is the beginning of diseases; he has given winter and summer prescriptions to get rid of cold.

The Imām, peace be on him, has displayed his health recommendations necessary for the soundness of the systems of man’s body, and specified to them the successful prescriptions which put an end to illness.

He, peace be on him, has said: “And know, O Commander of the faithful, it is obligatory on the traveler to be careful of heat. When he travels, he must be neither full nor hungry; rather he must be on a moderate level. He must have cold foods such as fresh meat, jelly, vinegar, oil, sour grapes juice, and others.

“And know, O Commander of the faithful, that hard walking in intense heat harms exhausted bodies when they are empty of food, but it is useful to strong bodies; as for water good to the traveler and removing harm from him is that he must not drink from every station at which he arrives except after he has mixed it with the water of the station before it or with one drink which is not different; he must mix it with different kinds of water; it is obligatory on the traveler to supply himself with some mud of his homeland on which he has lived; whenever he reaches at a station, he must throw into his own container, out of which he drinks, some of the mud with which he has supplied himself from his homeland; and he must mix the water with the mud in the container through stirring it; and he must leave it until it becomes very clear; the best kind of water in drinking for those travelers or residents is that whose spring is in the east direction, of quick and white; and the best kind of water is that whose vent is in the summer rising of the sun; and the best of them is that which is in this description from which it gushes out and whose bed is in the mud mountains (i.e. hills), for it is cool in winter and relaxes the bowels in summer, and it is useful to those who have fevers.

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“As for salty water and heavy water, they constipate the bowels; and as for the water of snow and ice, it is bad to all bodies and is of great harm.

“As for the water of clouds, it is clear, fresh, light and useful to bodies if it is not stored in the ground for a long time. As for the water of the well, it is fresh and useful if its flow lasts and it is not stored in the ground for a long time. As for (the water) of level lands and marshes, it is warm and thick in summer, for it is stagnant and the sun always rises over it, and drinking it constantly may give rise to the yellow bile; and their bellies become big through it.”

The Imām, peace be on him, has established vital programs for the safety of the traveler and protecting him from diseases; he has advised him not travel when he is full or hungry or very hot, for he is liable to dangers.

Similarly, the Imām, peace be on him, has presented the kinds of water which the traveler must drink and must not drink, for the latter harms his general health. He has accurately described water to the extent that none before or after him has described it in this manner.

He, peace be on him, has said: “In the previous part of this dissertation of mine, I have described to you, O Commander of the faithful, something sufficient for him who puts it into practice. Now, I will mention the matter of sexual intercourse: Do not have a sexual intercourse with your own wife at the beginning of night in summer or winter, for your own stomach and veins are full; and it is not praiseworthy; and it gives rise to colic, hemiplegia, facial paralysis, gout, stone, diuresis, hernia, and weakness of sight; if you want that, then let it be at the last part of the night, for it is more appropriate for your own body, more hoped for a boy-baby, and purer for the baby which Allah has decreed between them (husband and wife).

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“Do not have a sexual intercourse with your wife unless you play with her very much and touch her breasts, for if do that, you will overcome her lust, her water comes together, for her water comes out of her breasts; and the lust appears on her face and eyes; and she desires you just as you desire her; and do not have a sexual intercourse with her unless she is pure; so if you want to do that, then do not do it in standing or sitting position; rather lie on your right side; and then get up soon to urinate when you have finished, for you will be safe from stone with the permission of Allah, the Most High. Then wash your own body and drink at once something of (bees) wax (al-mummyā’i) mixed with honey drink or honey without foam, for it generates water (semen) equals to that which has come out of you.

“And know, O Commander of the faithful, that it is better for you to have a sexual intercourse with them (your wives) when the moon is in Ram or Aquarius; and it is better than that when it is in Taurus which is the high rank of the moon.[26]

“And he who puts into effect what I have described in this dissertation of mine and directs his own body through it is safe, with Allah’s permission, from all diseases; and his own body is good with Allah’s help and power, for He gives well-being to whomever He wishes and grants it to him; and praise belongs to Allah, the First and Last, the Outward and Inward.”

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In this part of the dissertation, the Imām, peace be on him, has discussed sexual life and mentioned many of its important sides of which men are ignorant. He has warned husband against having a sexual intercourse with his own wife at the beginning of night, for it gives rise to many diseases, of which are the following:

A. Colic.

B. Hemiplegia

C. Facial paralysis.

D. Gout.

E. Stone

F. Hernia

G. Weakness of sight.

Moreover he has summoned husband to have a sexual intercourse with his own wife at the last part of night. With this matter we will end our talk about al-Risāla al-Dhahabiya fi al-Tibb (the golden medical dissertation), which is regarded as one of the stored medical books.

The Sahifa of al-Ridā

Among the works of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, is this excellent dissertation called Sahifat al-Ridā; a group of narrators has called it Musnad al-Imām al-Rida, and this name is closer to the composition of the dissertation, for it contains the traditions which Imām al-Ridā has narrated on the authority of his grandfather, may Allah bless him and his family, and on the authority of his pure fathers, peace be on them. A group of researchers has stated that this dissertation is one of the works of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him.[27]

Any how, this dissertation is among the treasures of Prophet and of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and of the Imāms; it has reached the top of honor and glory in the chain of authorities, as Dr. Husayn ‘Ali Mahfūz said.[28]

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As for us, we have quoted this dissertation from a version printed in Cairo by al-Ma‘āhid Press, near al-Azhar, in the year 1340 A. H., and then it was printed by al-‘Allāma ‘Abd al-Wāsi‘, who classified it into ten chapters, which are as follows:

Al-Najāshi, p. 159. Al-Amāli, al-Tawhid, al-'Uyūn, and others.

Footnote

[1] The translation in the script of the author is available at the Imām Amir al-Mu'minin Library, serial 237.

[2] Robert Foblbith, Your Body the Marvelous, the Odd, p. 13.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Al-Tibb Mihrāb al-Imān, pp. 141-142.

[5] Ibid., pp. 191-202.

[6] Ibid., pp. 204-206.

[7] In some versions, the origin of happiness is in the kidneys.

[8] A rotl is about 340 grams.

[9] A dirham is 5.5 grams.

[10] Tibb al-Ridā, pp. 58-59.

[11] This was announced by BBC.

[12] Al-nuqra is a hole in the back four fingers above the neck vertebras.

[13] Al-akhda'ayn are two veins in the back of the neck to the right and left of it.

[14] Al-qalda' is an ulcer in the skin of the mouth and tongue.

[15] Habl al-dhirā' is the vein which extends from the forearm upwards.

[16] Al-qifāl is the vein which appears at the elbow.

[17] Al-bāsaliq is the outward vein from the elbow to the forearm.

[18] Al-tiryāq al-akbar is one of the ancient drugs.

[19]Al-sakkbajj is soup along with vinegar.

[20] Al-halām is al-sakkbajj which is purified from fat or it is the meat of cows and calves

and goats which is boiled in salty water; and then the boiled meat is taken out and mixed with

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the boiled vegetables along with vinegar.

[21] Al-masūs is meat which is cooked and placed into vinegar or it is the meat of birds.

[22] See the previous footnotes.

[23] In a version eating eggs.

[24] In a version eating onions.

[25] Ibloj sugar is a kind of plant.

[26] Al-Majjlisi said: "Perhaps he (Imām al-Ridā) has mentioned these matters, if they belong to him,

for some interests in agreement with that al-Ma'mūn and his companions were famous for adopting

the viewpoints of the wise men."

[27] Kashf al-Zinūn, vol. 2, p. 1076. Hidāyat al-'Ārifin, vol. 1, p. 668. Mu'jam al-Mu'allifin,

vol. 7, p. 250. Al-Dhari'a, vol. 15, pp. 17-18. Kashf al-Hujub wa al-Astār,

pp. 366-367. Al-Bihār, vol. 1, p. 11. Mustaddrak al-Wasā'il, vol. 3, p. 344.

[28] Sahifat al-Ridā, p. 2.

CHAPTER ONE

ON INVOCATION OF ALLAH

Having mentioned a preface concerning the necessity of mentioning the chain of the authorities, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wāsi‘ said: “I have narrated this Sahifa through the authentic chain of authorities connected with Imām al-Qāsim b. Mohammed, peace be on him, on the authority of his Shaykh al-Sayyid Amir al-Din b. ‘Abd Allah, on the authority of al-Sayyid Ahmed b. ‘Abd Allah al-Wazir, on the authority of Imām al-Mutahhar b. Mohammed b. Sulaymān, on the authority of Imām al-Mahdi Ahmed b. Yahyā, on the authority of Sulaymān b. Ibrāhim b. ‘Umar al-‘Alawi, on the authority of his father Ibrāhim, on the authority of Ridā’ al-Din Ibrāhim b. Mohammed al-Tabari, on the authority of Imām Najm al-Din al-Tabrizi, on the authority of al-Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir, on the authority of Zāhir al-Sinjāni, on the authority of al-Hāfiz al-Bayhaqi:

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1. On the authority of Abū al-Qāsim al-Mufassir, on the authority of Ibrāhim b. Ju‘da, on the authority of Abū al-Qāsim ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmed b. ‘Āmir al-Tā’i (in Basrah), who said: [‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him, related to me in the year 194 A. H. He said: My father Mūsā b. Ja‘far related to me. He said: My father Ja‘far b. Mohammed related to me. He said: My father Mohammed b. ‘Ali related to me. He said: My father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn related to me. He said: My father al-Husayn b. ‘Ali related to me. He said: My father ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, the peace of Allah be on them all, amen to the Day of Resurrection, related to me. He said: Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: Allah, the Most High, said:] “There is no god but Allah is My fort, so he who enters My fort is safe from My chastisement.[1]”

Surely these brilliant words are the secret of existence, lamp of the Allah-fearing, and guide of the knowledgeable. He who says them out of knowledge and belief enters the fort of Allah, which whoever enters wins the good pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, and is safe from His chastisement.

2. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He upon whom Allah bestows a favor should praise Allah for it; he who finds slow daily bread should ask Allah’s forgiveness; and he whom a certain matter saddens should say: There is neither might nor strength save in Allah, the Exalted, the Almighty.”

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Surely the invocation of Allah and devotion to Him deserve more of His blessings and favors; he who says these words during these situations, Allah’s mercy includes him, and he attains general good.

3. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Belief is profession with the tongue, knowledge through the heart, and action by the limbs.”

Belief is a flame of light which lightens the heart, flows as life does in the souls of the Allah-fearing and the knowledgeable, dominates their sentiments and feelings.

4. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: Allah says:] “If a creature takes refuge in a creature other than Me, I will cut him off from the means of the heavens and the earth, so if he asks Me, I will not give him; and if he supplicates Me, I will not answer him; and if a creature seeks refuge in Me other than My creatures, I will guarantee the heaven and the earth in respect of his daily bread; so if he asks Me, I will give him; and if he supplicates Me, I will respond to him; and if he asks Me for forgiveness, I will forgive him.”

Failing and unsuccessful is he who hopes for those other than Allah, the Exalted, at whose hand is the course of events. A poet said:

May the hand which asks those other than You become

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poor; may the land which sees promising signs in other than the clouds of Your munificence become barren!

So glory is forbidden except from You; money is

forbidden except from You!

If the servant devotes himself to Allah and seeks refuge in Him, he will win good and gain bless in this world and the next.

5. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, related to me that a Jew asked ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, saying:] “Tell me about that which does not belong to Allah, that which is not with Allah, and that which Allah does not know?”

‘Ali, peace be on him, replied: “As for that which Allah does not know, it is your, people of Jews, statement that ‘Uzayr is the son of Allah, and Allah does not know that He has a son; as for that which is not with Allah, it is that Allah has no oppression toward the servants; as for that which does not belong to Allah, it is that Allah has no partner.”

The Jew said: “I witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah.”

Surely, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, is the gate of the city of knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He is the leading figure of this community, the pioneer of its intellectual and scientific renaissance. It is certain that if the cushion had been folded for him and he had undertaken the leadership of the reign after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the Jews, the Christians, and the Magians would have adopted Islam.

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6. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The best deeds with Allah are: belief without doubt, invasion without stealing from war booty before it is distributed (ghulūl), and proper hajj. The first to enter the Garden will be a martyr; a slave who worships his Lord well and is sincere to his master; and a chaste man who abstains from what is forbidden, has a family, and strives to secure the daily bread of his own family. The first to enter the Fire will be a domineering Imām (leader) who does not treat (his subjects) with justice; a possessor of wealth of property who does not pay the right against it; and a boastful, poor (person).”

This tradition includes the best actions in reward and repayment with Allah, the Most High; the actions are: belief in Allah without any doubt, invasion without stealing from war booty before it is distributed (ghulūl); for it is spent on spreading Allah’s words on earth; and making a pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah.

This tradition also gives an account of the best men in the view of Allah, the Exalted, and the most honorable before Him, and they are: the martyrs in the path of Allah, not in the path of booty or worldly pleasures; the slave who believes in his Lord and is sincere to his master; and the chaste man who strives to secure the daily bread of his family.

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Moreover the tradition gives an account of the most hateful person in the view of Allah and who deserves the Hellfire. The first to enter it are: the disobedient criminal ruler who wrongs the servants of Allah and does not treat them with fairness and justice; the possessor of a plentiful wealth who is miserly toward the rights of Allah (against him) and does not help the poor; the boastful, poor (person) who boasts of his own person and his family, shows arrogance and vainglory toward the creatures of Allah.

7. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who makes my community learn by heart forty traditions and it makes use of them, Allah will raise him from the dead a jurist and scholar on the Day of the Resurrection.”

Surely, the Prophetic traditions are a flame of light which guides the perplexed and the errant and brighten the road (to them), for they are some springs of wisdom. So he who circulates them among the Muslims surely takes part in building Islamic thought; and Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, had promised him that Allah would raise him from the dead a jurist and scholar on the Day of Resurrection.

8. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who gives a religious opinion to men without knowledge, the heavens and the earth curse him.”

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The ugliest and most sinful crime is giving a religious opinion to men without knowledge, for such a religious opinion misleads men, spreads lying among them, and ascribes falsehood to Allah.

9. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Reliance (on Allah) and monotheism are the half of religion; make livelihood come down from Allah through alms.”

Surely, reliance on Allah and professing His Oneness are part of core of religion and are basic elements of its entity. The Imām has urged (the Muslims) to give alms, for it aids the poor and the deprived. Allah has promised that He will bestow upon those who give alms.

10. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily Mūsā b. ‘Umrān asked his Lord, saying: ‘O Lord, are You far, so I will call out to You? Or are You near, so I will whisper to You?’ So Allah revealed to him: O Mūsā, I am the friend of him who invoke Me!”

11. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The supplication of the children of my community is accepted unless they commit sins.”

Certainly, the supplication of the children of the faithful is accepted, for Allah does not refuse a supplication of theirs on the condition that they should not commit crimes and sins.

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12. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who passes by cemeteries and recites (the sura) Qul Huwa Allah Ahad eleven times and then he gives his reward to the dead, a reward equal to the number of the dead will be given to him.”

Surely, Allah doubles the reward of him who recites Surat al-Tawhid for the dead Muslims, and He abundantly rewards him.

13. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Supplication is the weapon of a believer, pillar of religion, and light of the heavens and the earth. So cling to supplication and be sincere in intention.”

This tradition gives an account of the importance of supplication, for it is the weapon of a believer, pillar of religion, and light of the heavens and earth. So supplication has occupied the highest position with Allah, the Exalted.

14. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If one of you wants a need, then let him seek it early in the morning on Thursday, and let him recites ¾when he goes out of his house ¾the last (verse) of Āl ‘Umrān, Āyat al-Kursi, Innā Anzalnāhū fi Laylat al-Qadr, and Umm al-Kitāb (Surat al-Fātiha), for in them is the accomplishment of the needs of this world and the next.”

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This tradition contains the program of accomplishing needs, for he (the Prophet) has appointed the time when the Suras of Allah’s dear Book should be recited.

15. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Six (things) are of manhood: Three of them (is performed) in cities and towns and three of them (is performed) on journey. As for those (performed) in cities and towns are: reciting the Qur’ān, building mosques, and making friends in Allah; and as for those (performed) on journey are: giving food generously, good manners, and joking (in things) other than acts of disobedience to Allah.”

These six qualities give an account of man’s honor, manhood, and good inner self.

16. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said three times:] “O Allah, have mercy on my successors!”

He was asked: “Who are your successors, Allah’s Apostle?”

He replied: “Those who will come after me, narrate my traditions and my Sunna (sayings and practices), and teach them to men after me.”

Surely, the successors of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the closest of men to him are those who narrate his traditions, circulate them among men, teach men the principle features of religion and the precepts of Islam.

17. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, this knowledge is the treasures of Allah and its keys are question, so question, may Allah have mercy on you, for four (persons) are rewarded because of it: the questioner, the teacher, the listener, and the answerer.”

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The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, urges the ignorant to question about the affairs of their religious and worldly affairs which they do not know, for, in this manner, knowledge is spread and circulated.

18. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who recites Idhā Zulzult al-Ardū four times is like him who has recited the whole Qur’ān.”

Surely, reciting this Holy Verse four times leads to this great result, which is reciting the whole Qur’ān.

19. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [My father Mohammed b. ‘Ali, peace be on them, related to me. He said: He, peace be on him, said:] “If you enter five (things), you will not able to (perform) the like of them: The servant should fear (nothing) except his sins, hope for (none) except his Lord. The ignorant, when asked about something he does not know, should not be ashamed of saying that Allah and His Messenger know. He who does not know should not be ashamed of learning. Steadfastness is of the same rank with faith as (that of) the head with the body. He who has no patience has no faith.”

Wisdom has been embodied in these matters through which man, if he follows them, is exalted and a model of excellence and politeness.

20. Through his chain of authorities, he said:[ Al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, peace be on them, related to me. He said:] “A tablet was found under a wall of one of the cities (al-Madā’in), and therein was written: ‘I am Allah; there is no god save Me and Mohammed is My Prophet. I wonder at him who is sure of death, how is he happy? I wonder at him who is certain of (Allah’s) determination, how is he sad? I wonder at him who has tried the world, how does he feel secure wherein? And I wonder at him who is sure of reckoning, how does he commit sins?’”

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This tablet contains a great warning. If man carefully considers the warning, he will turn away from every sin and do all that which bring him near to Allah.

21. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “An angel came to me and said: ‘O Mohammed, verily your Lord recite (His) greetings to you and says to you: ‘If you want, I will make the valley of Mecca gold.’” He said: “So he (the Prophet) looked toward the sky and said: ‘O Lord, make me satisfied on one day, so I will praise you; make me hungry on another, so I will ask you!’”

Indeed, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, renounced the world, turned away from its pleasures, and devoted himself to Allah, the most High. This is one of his special qualities which distinguished him from the rest of the prophets.

Footnote

[1] In the narration of al-Tabrisi: "In its condition and its conditions, and I am among its conditions." We will talk about this holy tradition within this book.

CHAPTER TWO

ON THE ADHĀN

22. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, said:] “When Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, began learning the adhān (call to prayer), Gabriel brought him the Burāq, but it was difficult for him (to ride it). Then he brought him a riding animal called Burāqa and it was difficult for him (to ride it), so Gabriel said to it: ‘Be calm, for none more honorable than him in Allah’s view has ever ridden you!’ It became calm, and Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘I rode it until I reached the veil which was before the Merciful (Allah), and then an angel came out from behind the veil and said: ‘Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar! (Allah is greater.)’ He (Allah’s Messenger) said: ‘So I asked: O Gabriel, who is that angel?’ He replied: ‘By Allah who has honored you with the Prophethood, I have never seen that angel before this hour of mine.’ He said: ‘Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar! (Allah is greater.)’ So he was called out from behind the veil: ‘My servant is truthful; I am greater; I am greater!’ Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘The angel said: ‘Ashhadu anna Lā ilāha illa’ llāh, Ashhadu anna Lā ilāha illa’ llāh (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.)’ So he was called out from behind the veil: ‘My servant is truthful. I am Allah; there is no god but I.’

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Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said (that), so the angel said: ‘Ashhadu anna Mohammedar rasūl ‘allah, Ashhadu anna Mohammedar rasūl ‘allah (I bear witness that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah.)’ So he was called out from behind the veil: ‘My servant is truthful; I have sent Mohammed as a Messenger.’ Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘The angel said: ‘Hayya ‘alla’s-salāh, Hayya ‘alla’s-salāh (Make haste to the prayer.)’ So he was called out from behind the veil: ‘My servant is truthful and summons (men) to worship Me.’ Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘The angel said: ‘Hayya ‘alla’l falāh, hayya ‘alla’l falāh (Make haste to salvation).’ So he was called out from behind the veil: ‘My servant is truthful and summons (men) to worship Me. And surely successful is he who perseveres in it.[1]’ Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Allah has completed for me the honor over the first and the last.’”

The Shi‘ites have unanimously agreed that it was the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who legislated the adhān in this manner which have been mentioned in this tradition or something similar to it; whilst the Sunnis have mentioned that when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, came to Medina, it was difficult for the people to know the timings of his prayers. So they discussed specifying a certain signal in order to know the timing of the payer of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, lest they should miss the congregational prayers. Hence some suggested a bell, but the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “The bell belongs to the Christians.” Others suggested a trumpet, but he said: “It belongs to the Jews.” Others suggested a tambourine, but he said: “It belongs to the Romans.” Others suggested burning fire, but he said: “It belongs to the Magus.” Others suggested setting up a banner, but that did not appeal to him, may Allah bless him and his family. So, he may Allah bless him and his family, stood up concerned; hence ‘Abd Allah b. Zayd spent the night concerned because of the concern of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and he saw in his sleep an angel who taught him the adhān and the iqāma (the declaration of standing for prayer), so he told the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, about that. The dream coincided with the revelation. So the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, ordered it (adhān) to be performed.[2]

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This is very impossible, for the adhān and the iqāma are of the pre-conditions of prayer; they are like the rest of the pre-conditions such as tahāra (purity), istiqbāl al-qibla (facing the qibla), and ibāhat al-makān (the place should be permissible). The Revelation came down (to the Prophet) carrying all these pre-conditions and explanations of prayer. Then why did ‘Abd Allah b. Zayd see the angle and the rest of Companions (of the Prophet), who were greater than him in importance, did not see him?

Footnote

[1] The tradition has been mentioned in the book Tārikh al-Khamis in this formula along with and addition Hayya 'ala khayri'l-'amal (Make haste to the best of actions). The Shi'ite references of hadith and jurisprudence have also mentioned it.

[2] Al-Fiqh 'alā al-Madhāhib al-Arba'a, vol. 1, p. 311.

CHAPTER THREE

ON URGING TO PERFORMING THE FIVE PRAYERS AND THE QUALITY OF THE PRAYER FOR THE DEAD

23. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Satan is still afraid of Adam’s son as long as he keeps his prayers. However, if he neglects them, he (Satan) dares against him and throws him into great sins.”

Allah, the Most High, honored and dignified man through praying and standing before Him during the five prayers. However, the stoned Satan plays with man and does his best to deprive him of this excellence and honorable rank.

24. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who performs a religious duty (farida), Allah responds to his supplication .”

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Surely, he who performs a religious duty, whether prayer or fasting or hajj or others, Allah rewards him and accepts his supplication.

25. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “My community is still in good as long as they love each other, return things deposited (with them), refrain from the unlawful, entertain the guest, perform the prayer, and pay zakāt (alms). However, if they do not do that, they will be afflicted by drought.”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has summoned his community to keep these noble qualities, and he promised that they would be in good as long as they performed them, but if they neglected them, Allah would afflict them with a dreadful tribulation.

26. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If man is not able to perform prayer in standing position, he can pray in sitting position. If he cannot pray in sitting position, he can pray laying down on his back and his feet facing the qibla, and he makes a sign.”

The prayer is the most important of religious duties, and the responsible is not exempted from it in all circumstances. If he is able, he prays in standing position; if he is unable, he prays in sitting position; and so on.

27. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Keep the five prayers, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, will summon the servant on the Day of Resurrection; prayer will be the first thing about which He will ask him. If he brings it perfect; otherwise, he will be pushed into the Fire.”

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Prayer will be the first thing about which the responsible will be asked during his mustering and his raising from the dead. If he performs prayer perfectly, he will be safe from the chastisement of Allah; if he performs it imperfectly or neglects one of its pre-conditions, he will be thrown into the Fire.

28. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Do not lose your prayers, for he who loses his prayer will be mustered along with Qārūn and Fir‘oun and Hāmān; and it is incumbent upon Allah to make him enter the Fire along with the hypocrites; and woe unto him who does not keep his prayers and does not perform the Sunna of his Prophet.”

Islam takes great care of prayer and distinguishes it from the rest of acts of worship. So he who performs it is a Muslim; and he who denies it dies the death of those pagans before Islam and will be mustered along with the oppressive and the unbelievers.

29. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [‘Ali, the blessings of Allah be on him, said:] “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, led us in the traveler’s shortened prayer and recited in the first (rak‘a) al-hamd and qul yā ayuhā al-kafirūn, and in the other (rak‘a) he recited al-hamd and qul huwa Allahu ahad. Then he said: ‘I recited to you the one-third and one-fourth of the Qur’ān.’”

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A four-rak‘a prayer is shortened during travel, and surely the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, recited qul yā ayuhā al-kafirūn in the first rak‘a after al-fātiha, and in the second rak‘a he recited surat al-Tawhid after al-fātiha; and he, may Allah bless him and his family, made clear the reward of that when he said that he recited the one-third of the Qur’ān in the first rak’a and the one-fourth of the Qur’ān in the second rak’a.

30. Through his chain of authorities, he said: “Mohammed b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, was asked about the prayer, and he claimed that his father would shorten the prayer during travel.”

As for shortening prayer during travel, it is among the necessities of the creed of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them; the Book and the Sunna are two proofs of that.

31. Through his chain of authorities, he said: “I saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, exclaim ‘Allah is Great!’ over his uncle Hamza, peace be on him, five times, and after him he exclaimed ‘Allah is Great!’ over the martyrs, so seventy times of exclaiming ‘Allah is Great!’ was the share of Hamza.”

As for the prayer for the dead, it is one of the general obligations. In other words, it is not obligatory on all Muslims to perform it; rather it obligatory on some of them. As for its performance, it is as follows: Five takbirs should be made; al-Shahādatayn (the two testimonies: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is Allah’s Messenger) should be recited after the first takbir, calling down blessing upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, should be after the second takbir; a supplication for the believers, male and female, should be recited after the third takbir; a supplication for the deceased should be recited after the fourth takbir; the fifth takbir should be recited, and then departure.[1] In this connection many traditions have been reported from the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.[2] As for the Sunnis, they believe that the takbirs are four, and the worshipper departs after the fourth (takbir).[3]

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32. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, when you pray over a deceased person, say: O Allah, verily this is Your slave and son of Your bondmaid has passed away according to Your decree, and he is not a mentioned thing. He has visited You and You are the best One whom is visited. O Allah, dictate to him Your argument, join him to Your Prophet, brighten his grave for him, be generous toward him during his entering, make him firm through the firm statement, for he is in need of You and You are in no need of him. He bore witness that there was no god but You, so forgive him. O Allah, do not deprive us of the reward through him and do not try us after him.

“O ‘Ali, when you pray over a woman, say: O Allah, You created her, and You gave life to her, and You made her die, and You are more knowledgeable of her secret and openness. We have come to You as intercessors for her, so forgive her. O Allah, do not deprive us of the reward through her.

“O ‘Ali, when you pray over a child, say: O Allah, make him an ancestor and provisions for his parents, make him an intercessor (for them), make him for them as light and guidance, and make his parents follow (him to) the Garden. Verily, You are powerful over all things!”

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As for the performance of the prayer for the dead, we have already mentioned it. As for this supplication, it should be recited after the fourth takbir. As for the prayer over the child, it is as follows: If he/she dies at the age of six years, then the prayer for the dead should be performed over him. If he/she has not reached this age, then prayer over them is recommended.

Footnote

[1] Al-'Urwat al-Withqā, vol. 1, p. 170.

[2] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, Chapter on the Prayer for the Dead.

[3] Al-Fiqh 'alā al-Madhāhib al-Arba'a, vol. 1, p. 519.

CHAPTER FOUR

ON THE EXCELLENCE OF AHL AL-BAYT ,AND IT IS IN THREE PARTS

PART ONE

IS ON THE EXCELENCE OF ‘ALI BIN ABU TALIB (a.s):

33. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, I am the master of the messengers, and you are the commander of the faithful, Imām of the Allah-fearing, and leader of the excellent, famous ones.”

As for Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, he is the pioneer of thought and wisdom in Islam. He is the soul of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gate of the city of his knowledge, and his testamentary trustee after him. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, lauded his exalted rank and great position. No tradition has been transmitted from him, may Allah bless him and his family, concerning his praising any of his companions like his praising Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. His purpose of that is to provide evidence of his succession after him.

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34. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When I was ascended to the heaven, Gabriel took me by the hand and sat me on a darnūk[1] of the Garden. Then he gave me a quince from it (the Garden), and it (the quince) and what was therein was prepared for Imām ‘Ali, peace be on him.”

Certainly, Allah has prepared for ‘Ali, peace be on him, all favors of the hereafter and made him dwell Paradise and live wherever he likes.

35. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, I asked my Lord to give me five qualities regarding you, and He gave (them) to me. As for the first of them, it is that I asked my Lord to split open the ground and to dust my head and you were with me, so He (Allah) gave it to me. As for the second, it is that I asked my Lord to let me stop by the Scale of the Balance and you were with me, so He gave it to me. As for the third, it is that I asked him to make you the carrier of the standard, which was the Standard of Allahu akbar under which were those who gained the Garden, and He gave it to me. As for the fourth, it is that I asked my Lord (to let) you water my community from my pond (hawd), and He gave it to me. As for the fifth, it is that I asked my Lord to make you the leader of my community to the Garden, so my Lord gave it to me. Praise belongs to Allah who has bestowed that upon me!”

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Surely, Allah singled Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, with all noble qualities and endowed him with all virtues. He accepted the supplication of His Prophet when he asked Him to give these qualities and virtues to ‘Ali.

36. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, I will take hold of the hijjza of Allah; you will hold my hijjza; your sons will grasp your hijjza; and the Shi‘ites of your sons will take hold of their hijjza.[2]”

Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, has a noble rank with Allah, the Exalted. Through this rank he has gained exaltedness over the righteous and the Allah-fearing, and through it he, his sons, and his Shi‘ites will be distinguished from the rest of the people on the Day of Judgment.

37. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, you will be the Divider of the Garden and of the Fire; you will knock at the gate of the Garden and enter it with out any reckoning.”

This tradition has been narrated by a group of religious scholars from among the Shi‘ites and the Sunnis. It gives an account of the outstanding merit of Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and his great importance with Allah, which none of the people has ever reached except the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

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38. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, you and your sons will be on the (backs of) piebald horses and crowned with pearls and corundum. Allah will ordered you (to be taken) to the Garden and the people look (at you).”

How great the rank of the Imām and his pure sons with Allah is! For He has singled them out with all noble qualities and distinguished them from the rest of his creatures.

39. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, I will be called out from inside the Throne: The best father is your father Ibrāhim; the best brother is your brother ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib!”

Allah singled His great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, with all kinds of excellence of which is that he was among the progeny of Ibrāhim, Allah’s bosom friend, and that his brother was Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, who defended the word of monotheism, the values and principles of Islam.

40. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, Allah ordered me to love four (persons): ‘Ali, Salmān, Abū Dharr, and al-Muqdād b. al-Aswad.”

Surely, these four (leading figures) took part in building Islam and carried the torch of monotheism; accordingly, Allah ordered his Prophet to love them, for they were among the elements of piety and righteousness.

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41. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, surely, Allah has already forgiven you, your progeny, your Shi‘ites, those who love your Shi‘ites, those who love the lover of your Shi‘ites; therefore be cheerful, for you are free from polytheism and full of knowledge.”

Imām ‘Ali, peace be on him, had great communication with Allah, the Exalted, so Allah endowed him with this excellence of forgiving him, his children, his Shi‘ites, and their followers.

42. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Whomsoever I am his Master, then ‘Ali is his master. O Allah, be friend of one who is his friend and be the enemy of one who is his enemy; and desert one who deserts him and help one who helps him.”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, declared these brilliant words, which were the most expensive medals he gave to the Imām, on the Day of Ghadir Khum, which is the most important ‘Īd in Islamic world, for he appointed the Imām as a successor after him and ordered the Muslims to pledge allegiance to him. They pledged allegiance to him, so did the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. On that immortal day, the greatest favor toward the Muslims was completed, and on it this holy verse was revealed: This day I have completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.

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43. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, had it not been for you, the believers would not have been recognized after me.”

Surely, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, is the measure through whom the believer is distinguished from the sinner; so, he who loves him is a believer and he who shows enmity toward him is a sinner. ‘Āisha says:

When gold is touched by a touchstone, its cheat appears

without doubt.

Cheat is in us, and ‘Ali, the purified gold, is like a

touchstone among us.[3]

44. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me. He said:] “I have inherited two books from Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family: the Book of Allah, the Exalted, and a book concerning the sheath of my sword.”

He was asked: “O Commander of the faithful, what is the book concerning the sheath of your sword?”

“He who kills other than his killer and hits other than his hitter, then the curse of Allah be upon him.”

Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, inherited all qualities of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, of which are what he, peace be on him, has mentioned above.

45. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said:[Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “O ‘Ali, you have been given three (things) the like of which I have not been given.”

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I (i.e. ‘Ali) asked: “May my father and mother be your ransom, what have I been given?”

He, may Allah bless him and his family, replied: “You have been given a father-in-law like me; you have been give a wife like Fātima, peace be on her; and you have been given the like of your two sons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn.”

Allah, the Most High, singled Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, with these three traits with which He had never endowed anyone.

46. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “On the Day of Resurrection there will be no rider other than us, and we will be four.”

A man from the Ansār stood up and asked him: “O Allah’s Apostle, who are they?”

He (the Apostle) replied: “I will be on (the back of) al-Barāq riding animal; and my brother (Prophet) Sālih on Allah’s she-camel which was slaughtered; my uncle Hamza on my she-camel al-‘Adbā’; and my brother ‘Ali b. Abū, peace be on him, on one of the she-camels of the Garden and the Standard of Praise will be in his hand; and he will say: There is no god but Allah; Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, is the Messenger of Allah! So the human beings will say: That is an angel brought nigh or a prophet sent out or the bearer of the Throne. So an angel from the inside of the Throne will answer them: O group of human beings, that is not angel brought nigh nor a prophet sent out nor a bearer of the Throne; that is ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib!”

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Certainly, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah, the Most High, will manifest the position of His friend Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and his exalted rank with Him, to the extent that He will make the prophets brought nigh, the messengers sent out, His friends, and the rest of the creatures know the importance of the Imām with Him.

47. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [‘Ali, peace be on him, said:] “He who loves me finds me at his death in such a manner which he loves; and he who hates me finds me at his death in such a manner which he hates.”

Many traditions indicate that Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, attends at the death of everyone, believer and unbeliever. He asks the Angel of Death to treat the person gently if he/she is a believer; and he asks him to treat the person roughly if he/she is unbeliever.

PART TWO

ON THE EXCELLENCE OF FĀTIMA (A.S)

48. He said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “She has been named Fātima because Allah, the Exalted, has separated her and those who love her from the Fire.”

This part contains the traditions which have been transmitted from the Prophet, peace be on him, concerning the piece of him, the mistress of the women of the world, Fātima, the chaste, the peace of Allah be upon her. This is one of the traditions in which he has declared that Allah has separated the Mistress of the women of the world from the Fire; likewise, He has separated from the Fire her Shi‘ites and those who love her.

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49. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, Allah becomes angry because of her anger, and He becomes pleased on account of her pleasure.”

There is an unanimous agreement on this tradition, which is a proof of the exalted rank of the Messenger’s piece and sweet basil (i. e. Fātima) with Allah, the Most High. It is worth mentioning that none of believing women has ever reached this distinguished position with Him.

50. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “On the Day of Resurrection, my daughter Fātima will be mustered along with clothes stained with al-Husayn’s blood. She will cling to a leg of the Throne and say: ‘O Lord, judge between me and the murderer of my son!’”

Allah’s Messenger said: “By the Lord of the Ka‘ba, He will judge for my daughter!”

Surely the whole world shook for the tragedy of (Imām al-Husayn) the master of the youths of heaven and sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Fātima, the mistress of the world’s women and the Messenger’s piece is so bereaved of his tragedy that she will raise his shirt stained with his pure blood before Allah, the Exalted, and complain to Him of the tragedies her son faced.

The poet says:

Definitely, Fātima will come on the Day of Resurrection,

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and her shirt will be stained with al-Husayn’s blood!

Abū al-‘Alā says:

Surely, she will come to the Mustering wearing his shirt,

seeking the help of the Merciful!

51. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “My daughter Fātima will be mustered and there will be on her the garment of dignity which was already kneaded in the water of life; the creatures will look at her in amazement. Then she will also be clothed in two of the garments of the Garden; on each garment it will be written in green script: Let Mohammed’s daughter enter the Garden; it will be written in the best manner, dignity, and view. So she will be carried to the Garden in procession as the bride is carried; and seventy thousand slave-girls will be entrusted with her.”

Without doubt, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah, the Exalted, will manifest the excellence of the mistress of women, who struggled bravely in the path of Islam, and who established the creed of the Shi‘ites through her immortal orations and her heroic attitudes.

52. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, a caller from in side the Throne will call out: ‘O group of creatures, lower your eyes, that Fātima, the daughter of Mohammed, may pass!’”

This is one of the places of honoring and magnifying the mistress of women, the peace of Allah be upon her, on the day when men will be mustered before the Lord of the worlds.

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53. Through his chain of authorities, ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, said: “We were with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. While we were digging the trench Fātima, peace be on her, came and there was along with her a small piece of bread. She gave it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and he, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘What is this small piece?’ She replied: ‘I baked one loaf of barely bread for al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and I have brought you this small piece of it.’ So he, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘O Fātima, this is the first food to enter your father’s mouth for three days.’”

This traditions shows that the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, helped each other, preferred others to themselves, and renounced worldly pleasures.

54. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “An angel came to me and said: ‘O Mohammed, surely Allah, the Great and Almighty, recites to you (His) greetings and says: ‘I have married Fātima to ‘Ali, so marry her to him. I have ordered the Tree of Tubā to bear pearls, corals, and corundum. The inhabitants of the heaven have rejoiced at that. She will bear him two sons, the two masters of the Garden, and by the virtue of them the Garden will be adorned. Be happy, O Mohammed! For you are the best of the first and the last.’”

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Many traditions indicate that the Mistress of women and the piece of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, (i.e. Fātima) was married to ‘Ali according to the command of Allah, who gave through that a model of marriage in Islam and indicated that it was based on dignity and virtue, and that in all circumstances it had no relationship with perishing material considerations. The Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, married the Mistress of women to Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in the time when he was the poorest of all the people, and he had nothing of the enjoyments of life except his breastplate and his sword. So he sold his breastplate and appointed the money as a dower for the Mistress of the women; and he bought for it the cheapest trousseau in that time, but it was the most precious and expensive trousseau in Islam, for is was based on virtue, honor, and exalted character. So, peace be on the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), who represented the essence of Islam in all their affairs and conditions.

55. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn related to me. He said: Asmā’, daughter of ‘Umays, related to me. She said:] “I was with your grandmother Fātima, peace be on her, when Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, entered; and there was a lace of gold around her neck, which ‘Ali had bought for her from his war booty. So the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said to her: ‘Do not be deceived by that the people say that you are the daughter of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, and that the clothes of the tyrants are on you.’ Hence she cut the necklace and sold it. Then she bought a slave and released him, so the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was pleased with that.”

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The Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, wanted the Mistress of women to be a model of virtue and self-negation; and he wanted her to share the Muslim miserable women their poverty, so there would be no distinction between her and them.

PART THREE

On the Excellence of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, their Birth, and ahl al-Bayt (a.s) in General

56. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Al-Hasan and al-Husayn are the two masters of the youths of Heaven; and their father is better than them.”

Surely, the two grandsons of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, are the two masters of the youths of the Garden and are two lamps for them, so the peace of Allah be upon them and upon their father, the Lord of the pure family.

57. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “A boy is a sweet basil, and my two sweet basil are al-Hasan and al-Husayn.”

The two pure Imāms were the two sweet basil of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and his trust with his community; hence the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was very loyal to them.

58. He, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me:] “Al-Hasan and al-Husayn were playing by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, until most of the night passed, then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Go to your mother.’ It flashed, and the flash shone for them until they went in to Fātima. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, looked at the flash and said: ‘Praise belongs to Allah who has honored us, ahl al-Bayt.’”

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Allah, the Most High, singled the two grandsons of the Prophet, peace be on them, with every noble quality, endowed them with his favors, and chose them from among the rest of his creatures.

59. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The stars are security for the inhabitants of the heaven; my household and my children are security for my community.”

Certainly, the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, are security for the inhabitants of the earth; tribulation is driven away through them; mercy comes down and good spreads through them.

60. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The Garden is forbidden for him who wrongs my Household, him who kills them, him who helps against them, and him who curses them. Surely they shall have no portion in the hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them; nor will He look upon them on the Day of Resurrection; nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful chastisement.”

Woe unto him who denies the authority (wilāya) of the Imāms from ahl al-Bayt, peace be on him! Woe unto him who wrongs and oppose them! For such a person brings the wrath of Allah and of His Messenger against himself; therefore, he will be deprived of the Garden.

61. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “I will intercede for four (persons) on the Day of Resurrection: He who honors my progeny; he who accomplishes their needs; the one who strives for them concerning their affairs when they are forced to them; and the one who loves (them) through his heart and his tongue.”

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He who loves the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, honors and magnifies them will gain general good and obtains the intercession of their grandfather, master of the prophets.

62. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “It is not lawful for us, ahl al-Bayt, to take alms; and we have been ordered to perform the ritual ablution properly, and not to ride on the shoulder of an ass.”

It is forbidden for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, to take obligatory alms such as zakāt; so is it forbidden for the ‘Alawides, may Allah increase their honor, who belong to them.

63. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: “He who curses a prophet is killed; and he who curses the companion of a prophet is flogged.”

64. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The likeness of my house among you is like Noah’s Ark. He who embarked it was safe; and he who missed it was pushed into the Fire.”

Definitely, the ahl al-Bayt , peace be on him, are lifeboats and security for mankind. He who follows them is safe; and he disobeys them perishes. In this tradition on whose correctness there is an unanimous agreement, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has likened them to the Ark of Noah, peace be on him, which saved his companions from drowning when the waves surrounded those who deviated from the truth, and they drowned therein. The believers who were on Noah’s Ark were safe; likewise, those who follow the authority of the Household of the Prophet, the peace of Allah be upon them, will gain the Garden; he who denies and wrongs them will fall into the bottom of the Fire.

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65. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Woe unto those who wrong my household! They will be chastised along with the hypocrite in the bottom of the Fire!”

Woe unto him who wrongs the Household of the Prophet and shows enmity toward them, for they are the source of awareness and thought, not only for this community but also for men in general. Surely, the fate of those who wrong them will be the permanent chastisement in the next world.

66. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “I have been summoned and it is nearly the moment for me to answer. I am going to leave among you the thaqalayn. If you cleave to them, you will never go astray after me; one of them is greater than the other ¾that is the Book of Allah which is a cord stretching from the sky to the earth and my offspring from my family. They will never scatter (from each other) until they come to me at the Pool (hawd). Hence, think! How will you treat them after me?”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has associated his pure family with the Book of Allah. If it had not been for that his Household were infallible, the comparison between the Holy Qur’ān, falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it and the pure Family would be incorrect. Clinging to the Book is the means of salvation, and so is clinging to the ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them.

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67. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The anger of Allah and of His Apostle is intense with him who sheds the blood of my progeny or hurts me (through hurting) my family.”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, predicted that his family would face persecutions at the hands of the opponents and enemies of Islam who shed their blood and poured upon them oppression and tyranny which none has ever witnessed throughout the stages of history.

68. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Ja‘far b. Mohammed, peace be on them, said:] “Saturday is for us; Sunday is for our Shi‘ites; Monday is for the Umayyads; Tuesday is for their followers; Wednesday for the ‘Abbāsids; Thursday is for their followers; and Friday is for Allah. There is no travel on it (Friday), for Allah, the Exalted, says: And when the prayer is finished, so spread in the land and seeks from Allah’s favor.

The Imām, peace be on him, divided the days of the week into these parts, and he singled Friday with more excellence and appointed it for Allah, the Most High. Among the special characteristics of Friday is that it is hateful for someone to travel on it before the declination of the sun, that the responsible may perform the Friday prayer.

69. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father Mūsā b. Ja‘far (i.e. Imām al-Sādiq), peace be on him, related to me. He said:] “It was (engraved) in the ring of Mohammed b. ‘Ali: “My opinion is good in Allah, the trusted Prophet, the testamentary trustee, possessor of favors, and the two good ones: al-Hasan and al-Husayn.”

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The aspects of worship and obedience to Allah, the Most High, appear in every aspect of the lives of the pure Imāms, the peace of Allah be upon them. Among them is that they engraved the words of monotheism in their own rings.

70. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, said:] “The munificent are the masters of men in this world; and the Allah-fearing are the masters of men in the next.”

71. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, said:] “Well-being is a hidden property.”

Well-being is one of Allah’s greatest favors toward man. It is the greatest favor toward man. All the favors which man enjoys are worthless without well-being

72. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, said: Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who does a favor for one of the children of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and he (the child of ‘Abd al-Muttalib) does not reward him for it, I (i.e. Allah’s Apostle) will reward him for it tomorrow when I meet him on the Day of Resurrection.”

73. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn said:] “Surely, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, performed the adhān (call to prayer) in the ear of al-Hasan and of al-Husayn on the day when they were born.”

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The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, performed the religious rites for his two grandsons, of which that he performed the adhān in their right ears and the iqāma in their left ears, and hence this has become a religious rite performed for every Muslim baby.

74. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, related to me. He said: Asmā’, daughter of ‘Umays related to me. She said:] “I assisted your grandmother Fātima in giving birth to al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace

be on them. When al-Hasan was born, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, came and said: ‘O Asmā’, bring me my son.’ I brought him wrapped in a yellow piece of cloth. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, threw the piece away and said: ‘O Asmā’, did I not order you not to wrap the baby in a yellow piece of cloth?’ So I wrapped him in a white piece of cloth and gave him to him. He performed the adhān in his right ear and the iqāma in his left ear.

Then he asked: ‘Which name have you given to this son of mine, ‘Ali?’ He (i.e. ‘Ali), peace be on him, replied: ‘I do not want to precede you in giving name to him, Allah’s Messenger. I want to call him Harb.’ ‘I do not want to precede my Lord in giving name to him,’ answered the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Then Gabriel, peace be on him, came down and said: ‘The Exalted, the Most High (Allah) recites to you (His) greetings and says to you: ‘‘Ali has the same rank with you as Hārūn had with Mūsā except that there will be no prophet after you, so call this son of yours with the name of Hārūn’s son.’ So he (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, asked: ‘Gabriel, what was the name of Hārūn’s son?’ ‘Shubbar,’ replied Gabriel. ‘My mother tongue is Arabic,’ explained the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. ‘Name him al-Hasan,’ answered Gabriel.”

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Asmā’ added: “He (the Prophet) named him al-Hasan. On the seventh day, he, may Allah bless him and his family, sacrificed two gray rams on his behalf. He gave a leg of the ram to the midwife; he shaved his hair and gave gold as alms equal to the weight of his hair and perfumed his hair with al-khulūq[1]. Then he said: ‘Asmā’, the blood is the action of those who lived before Islam.[2]’”

Asmā’ said: “A year after the birth of al-Hasan, peace be on him, al-Husayn, peace be on him, was born, so the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, came and said: ‘Asmā’, give me my son. I wrapped him in a white piece of cloth and gave him to him. He said the adhān in his right ear and the iqāma in his left ear. He put him on his lap and wept.”

Asmā’ asked: “My father and mother be you ransom, what has made you weep?”

“I weep for this son of mine,” he, may Allah bless him and his family, said.

I (i.e. Asmā’) said: “He was born at this hour.”

“The oppressive group will kill him,’ he, may Allah bless him and his family, commented, “may Allah not let them obtain my intercession.”

Then he said: “Do not tell Fātima (about these words of mine), for she has just given birth to him.”

Then he, may Allah bless him and his family, asked ‘Ali, peace be on him: “Which name have you given to this son of mine?”

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“I do not want to precede you in giving name to him, Allah’s Apostle. I would like to call him Harb,” answered ‘Ali, peace be on him.

“I do not want to precede my Lord in giving name to him,” answered the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

Then Gabriel, peace be on him, came down and said: “The Almighty (Allah) recites to you (His) greetings and says to you: Call him with the name of Hārūn’s son.”

“What was the name of Hārūn’s son?” he (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, asked.

“Shabir,” replied Gabriel.

“My mother tongue is Arabic,” explained the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

“Call him al-Husayn,” answered Gabriel.

He (the Prophet) named him al-Husayn. On the seventh day, he, may Allah bless him and his family, sacrificed two gray rams on his behalf. He shaved his hair and gave gold as alms equal to the weight of his hair and perfumed his hair with al-khulūq.

He said: “Asmā’, the blood is the action of those who lived before Islam” Then he gave a leg of the ram to the midwife.

I (i.e. the author) think that a sentence of this tradition has been fabricated, which is the wish of Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in naming his two sons Harb. This name is not beautiful and it is the name of the grandfather of the Umayyad family, who fought against Islam and spared no effort to extinguish the light of Allah. Moreover Islam is the religion of peace and is the greetings of the Muslims among themselves. The books of the Imāmi jurisprudence have mentioned that it is hateful for Muslims to call their babies Harb.

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75. Through his chain of authorities, he said: “My father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, related to me that he was called al-Hasan on the seventh day, and al-Husayn was derived from the name al-Hasan, and he mentioned that there was (no period) between them except the pregnancy.”

Most rites of religious birth are performed on behalf of the newborn baby on the seventh day, of which is giving name to the baby.

76. Through his chain of authorities, he said: “My father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, related to me that Fātima, peace be on him, sacrificed (rams) on behalf of al-Hasan and al-Husayn; she gave a leg of the ram and a dinar to the midwife.”

77. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib said:] “It was as if that I saw palaces were built around the grave of al-Husayn, and that I saw markets surround his grave. The days and nights will not pass until (people) from the regions walk to him. That will happen when the children of Marwān perish.”

The matter happened just as Imām ‘Ali, peace be on him, had predicted, for palaces and markets were built in Karbalā’, the city of honor and refusal; the grave of the great, martyred Imām has became a holy shrine and destination for all Muslims and people who believe in humanity, for it is the holiest shrine in all regions of the world.

78. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Ja‘far b. Mohammed was asked about the visitation to the grave of al-Husayn, peace be on him, and he said: My father told me. He said:] “He who visits the grave of al-Husayn and is aware of his right, Allah will write him among those who are in the highest places in Paradise.” Then he said: “Surely, there are seventy thousand shaggy, dusty angels who weep over him until the Day of Resurrection.”

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Many traditions have been narrated on the authority of the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them, concerning the visitation of the grave of the master of martyrs and maker of human dignity Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, for in visiting him there is a link with the greatest Prophet and honor for this Imām, who raised high the torch of monotheism. Had it not been for his sacrifice, the Umayyads would have destroyed Islam and effaced all its teachings.

79. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Surely, the murderer of al-Husayn is in a coffin of fire; half chastisement of thepeople of the Fire (will be practiced) against him; his hands and legs will be tied with chains of fire; he will be turned over until he falls into the bottom of the Hellfire. He will have a bad smell because of which the inhabitants of the Fire will seek protection in their Lord. He will be in the Hellfire forever and taste the painful chastisement. Whenever his skin is ripen, Allah will change it, that he may taste the painful chastisement which will not be flagged from him for an hour, and he will be watered from the boiling water of the Hellfire. So woe unto him because of the chastisement of Allah, the Great and Almighty!”

Woe unto every sinful criminal who fought against the master of the youths of Heaven who revolted for the rights of the oppressive and the deprived and for saving them from the Umayyad terrorist regime, which disdained the souls and dignity of men. Definitely, Allah has prepared a painful chastisement and severe punishment, with which He shall not punish the criminals, for those who took part in fighting against the sweet basil of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and master of the youths of the Garden (i.e. Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him).

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80. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Abū al-Qāsim al-Tā’i related to me. He said: ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him, related to me. He said: My father Mūsā b. Ja‘far related to me. He said: My father Ja‘far b. Mohammed related to me. He said: My father

Mohammed b. ‘Ali related to me. He said: My father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn related to me. He said: My father al-Husayn b. ‘Ali related to me. He said: My father ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me. He said: Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, Mūsā b. ‘Umrān raised his hands and said: ‘O my Lord, surely my brother Hārūn has died, so forgive him.’ Hence Allah, the Exalted, revealed to him: ‘O Mūsā, if you ask me (to forgive) the first and the last, I will respond to you except those who killed al-Husayn, for I will not forgive them; rather I will take vengeance upon them.’”

Footnote

[1] Darnūk is one of the carpets of the Garden.

[2] Abū al-Qāsim al-Tā'i said: "I asked Abū al-'Abbās al-Tā'i about hijjza, and he replied: 'It is means.' Then I asked Ibn Naftawayh, the grammarian, about it, and he answered: 'It is means.'"

[3] Al-Shiblanji, Nūr al-Abbsār.

[4] A kind of perfume.

[5] One of the customs of those who lived before Islam was that they painted the hair of their babies with blood. As for Islam, it forbade this custom and replaced it by perfume.

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CHAPTER FIVE

ON THE EXCELLENCE OF THE BELIEVER, GOOD MANNERS, AND THE EXCELLENCE OF HIM WHOSE NAME IS MOHAMMED OR AHMED

81. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The likeness of the believer with Allah is like an angel brought nigh; and the believer with Allah is better than an angel brought nigh; and there is nothing more lovable to Allah than a repentant believing man or a repentant believing woman.”

82. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, the believer is recognized in the heaven as a man is recognized by his own family and children; and he is nobler with Him (Allah) than an angel brought nigh.”

83. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Gabriel came to me from his Lord and said: ‘My Lord, the Great and Almighty, recites to you (His) greetings and says: ‘O Mohammed, give good news to the believers who do good deeds, believe in you, and love your household of the Garden, for they have with Me good reward, and they will enter the Garden.’”

The believers who have such qualities will have the noblest rank in the Garden and live therein wherever they like.

84. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who treats men and does not wrong them; tells them (about something) and does not tell them lies; promises them and does not break (his promise toward) them is a believer whose manhood is perfect, whose justice is manifest, love for him is obligatory (on men), and it is forbidden (on them) to backbite him.”

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If man has such qualities, he is perfect in faith, manhood, justice; and it is obligatory on people to be loyal to him and to refrain from backbiting him.

85. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who slanders a believing man or a believing woman or says about them what they do not have, Allah will make him stand on a hill of fire until he abandons what he has said concerning them.”

Definitely, the believer has sacredness with Allah, for He, the Exalted, has made it incumbent on men to respect him, so none has the right to disparage him or to defame his character.

86. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “An example of the believer’s dignity with Allah is that Allah does not appoint a term for his span of life. However, if he concerns about an offense, Allah makes him die due to (His) mercy (toward him).”

The meaning of this tradition is that Allah prolongs the believer’s life, but if he commits a sin, Allah decreases his life. Imām al-Ridā said: “Refrain from offenses and Allah will prolong your span of life.”

87. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Cling to good manners, for the well-mannered are certainly in the Garden.”

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One of the most important Islamic principles is good manners, and it is one of the most beautiful and perfect qualities of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, by which he was distinguished from the rest of the prophets. Islam has emphasized on the necessity of having such a noble quality. During their Bedouin life, nations were distinguished from each other by their bodily strength. When they progressed, they were distinguished from each other by their knowledge. And when they advanced, they were distinguished from one another by good manners.

88. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If the servant knows what he will have due to good manners, then he will come to know that he is in no need (of anything) except good manners.”

In this tradition there is a summons to clinging to good manners and Allah, the Most High, has prepared abundant reward for him who has this noble quality.

89. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, Allah will manifest Himself to His servant and shows him his sins one by one, and then He will forgive him. Allah will not inform about the servant’s sins neither an angel brought nigh nor a messenger sent out. He will cover them from everyone, and then he will say to them: ‘Be good deeds!’”

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This traditions gives an account of Allah’s plentiful mercy and his inclusive pardon toward His sinful servants. We ask Him, the Most High, to include us in His mercy.

90. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who abases and degrades a believing man or a believing woman because of their poverty, Allah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection.”

Among the sins for which Allah punishes men is abasing and insulting the believer, for Allah has raised his importance and exalted his rank; therefore he who disdains the believer disdains Allah, the Exalted.

91. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, through good manners the servant gains the rank of one who performs prayer and fasting.”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has underlined the necessity of having this noble quality, through which the Muslim is exalted and by which he is distinguished from the rest of men.

92. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Nothing heavier in the Balance than good manners.”

93. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Bad manners spoil action just as vinegar spoils honey.”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, warned men against bad manners which throw man into dreadful evil as well as they spoil the good deeds which he does.

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94. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me:] “Among the treasures of good is concealing deed and steadfastness toward misfortune.”

This noble quality is one of the most distinguished qualities of man. It is among the treasures of good and is proof of high character.

95. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me. He said:] “Good manners are the best friend; the most perfect of you in belief is the best of you in manners.”

Surely, good manners are the best friend and guard, for they protect man from many problems and difficulties. In the meantime they are proof of the perfect faith of a person.

96. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The title of the Muslim’s page is good manners.”

Good manners are the most prominent quality in the Muslim’s character, as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said to his community.

97. Through his chain of authorities on the authority of Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, who said: [Allah’s Apostle was asked:] “Who enter the Garden more?” “(Those who have) reverential fear and good manners,” he replied. Then he was asked: “Who enter the Fire more?” “(Those who follow) the two hollow (organs): the stomach and the genital parts,” he answered.

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Fear of Allah, refraining from disobeying Him, and having good manners are the firmest ways through which man gains Allah’s good pleasure and enters the Garden. Likewise, paying no attention to the forbidden things and having an unlawful sexual intercourse bring about entering the Fire.

98. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The nearest of you to me in sitting on the Day of Resurrection are those who are the best of you in good manners, and the best of you is he who is the best of you (in good manners) toward his family.”

He who beautifies himself with good manners is the closest of all people to the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, on the Day of Resurrection. Likewise, the closest of people to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, is he who shows good, mercy, and kindness toward his family and undertakes their affairs.

99. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The best of the people in faith are the best of them in good manners and the gentlest of them toward their families, and I am the gentlest of you toward my family.”

This tradition emphasizes good manners and kindness to family, and this is among the qualities of the holy Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

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100. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When you name the boy Mohammed, then honor him, make room for him when sitting, and do not show an ugly face toward him.”

Islam has made it recommended for Muslims to name their boy babies with the name of the Prophet Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family. He who is given this name is worthy of honoring, magnifying, making room during sitting, and receiving with cheerfulness.

101. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If some people have a consultation and someone whose name is Mohammed or Ahmed is present with them and they let him take part in the consultation, they will (face nothing) except good for them.”

This tradition summons Muslims to name their boys with the name of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and it urges them to honor and magnify those boys who have given this blessed name.

102. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If food is placed and someone whose name is Mohammed or Ahmed sits at it, Allah will sanctify that house twice a day.”

Footnote

CHAPTER SIX

ON MENTIONING FOODS, FRUIT, AND OINTMENTS

103. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Meat is the master of the food of this world and the next. Water is the master of the drink of this world and the next. And I am the master of the children of Ādam. I am not proud (of anything), but poverty is my pride.”

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Meat is the master of foods, for it has some vitamins which are necessary for maintaining the body; likewise pure water is the master of drinks.

In this tradition the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, has shown that he is the master of the children of Ādam, that poverty is his pride, for he, may Allah bless him and his family, died and left behind him nothing of worldly provisions.

104. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Meat and rice are the master of the food of this world and the next.”

This tradition gives an account of the excellence of meat and rice, and that they are the best masters of foods, for they have advantages which make the body grow.

105. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When you cook food, increase gourd, for it strengthens the heart of the sad.”

106. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me:] “Cling to (eating) gourd, for it strengthens the brain.”

This tradition and that before it urge men to eat gourd, for it contains food advantages such as vitamin (A), iron, calcium, and in addition eating its seeds drives armed tapeworm away from the stomach.

107. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When you eat porridge, eat from its sides, for blessing is in the top.”

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This tradition summon Muslims to conform to the manners of eating, for example, one who eats porridge should eat from the sides of the container not from its top.

108. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me: He said: Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who wants to subsist, and there is no subsistence, should eat food early, wear the shoe well, wear light clothes, and decrease sleeping with women.”

This tradition gives an account of some health pieces of advice:

A. Having food early.

B. Wearing shoe regularly.

C. Wearing light clothes.

D. Reducing sexual intercourse.

109. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [When Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, had food, he would say:] “O Allah, make it blessed for us, and bestow upon us something better than it.” When he drank yogurt, he would say: “O Allah, make it blessed for us, and bestow upon us something better than it.”

This tradition shows the supplication of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, when he had food and yogurt. Thus a supplication is among the religious manners which always connect man to his Almighty Creator.

110. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [When Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, had milk, he would rinse out his mouth and say:] “It has cream.”

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The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, hated anything to stay in his holy mouth even the remainder of milk, for it harms health.

111. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, said: A food was brought for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and he entered his finger into the food which was hot, so he, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Leave it until it becomes cold, for it is greater in blessing, and for Allah does not feed us the hot.”

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, hated to have hot food, for it severely harms health, especially the mouth and the teeth, and other parts of the digestive system.

112. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Cling to (eating) meat, for it makes flesh grow. He who leaves meat for forty days, his (physical) constitution is bad.”

As for meat, it is the most useful food to the body, for it contains albuminous materials, mineral salts, calcium, protein, and other materials which are necessary for building and soundness of the body, especially when it is used along with vegetables, for it achieves perfect nutrition for man.

113. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Cling to lentils, for they are blessed and sacred; they soften the heart and increase tear; they were regarded as blessed by seventy prophets, the last of them was ‘Īsā b. Maryam, peace be on him.”

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As for lentils, they are among rich foods; they contain food materials such as calcium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin (B), and protein; so they are blessed.[1] Lentils are equal to meat and their protein ratio surpasses that of the rest of vegetables. One of their advantages is that they soften the heart and increase tear.

114. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: “He who starts (his food) with salt, Allah takes away from him seventy diseases, the first of which is leprosy.”

The need for salt differs from man to another according to the regions of their living, for example, the inhabitants of the tropics are in need of a lot of salt because they ooze abundant sweat which contains food salt. Perhaps the tradition concerns such a kind of people. As for the inhabitants of the frigid zones like Sepirya, they are in no need of salt; rather they spit it out.

115. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “There is nothing more hateful to Allah than a full stomach.”

Fullness or eating much food brings about heavy harms to the body, of which are high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, and others. For this reason the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, prevented men from eating much food.

116. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me. He said: Abū Juhayfa said:] “I went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and I was belching, so he said to me: ‘O Abū Juhayfa, stop your belching! Verily, the fullest of the people in this world will be the most hungry of them on the Day of Resurrection.’” He said: “So Abū Juhayfa did not fill his stomach with food until he met Allah, the Exalted.”

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In this tradition there is a warning against fullness, which is a destructive blight.

117. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Do not ask a foolish or blear-eyed woman to nurse (your babies), for milk conveys disease.”

Certainly, milk has bad or good effects on the natures of a baby. So the baby which feeds on the milk of a foolish or blear-eyed woman is infected by foolishness or bleariness in his future life, and this has been emphasized by modern medical studies. I (i.e. the author) have mentioned this matter in detail in my book Nizām al-Usra fi al-Islām (the Organization of the Family in Islam).

118. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The baby has no milk better than that of its mother.”

Certainly, the baby which feeds on its mother’s milk is safe from diseases and enjoys good health, for its mother’s milk is supplied with all necessary food materials. As for the milk other than that of its mother, it is liable to various kinds of diseases because it is either not pasteurized or is not suitable for its body.

119. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who spends (his own money) well will have a good deed.”

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In this tradition there is a creative summons to an Islamic economy, of which is that there must be a balance between spending and miserliness, and which protects man from choking economic crises.

120. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Vinegar is the best food; the house which has vinegar does not become poor.”

Vinegar has many advantages, of which is that it helps the stomach in digesting food. It is the best of drinks, and in the past times it was the famous drink among the people.

121. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Eat dates before breakfast, for they kill the worms in the stomach.”

Dates are rich in vitamins, for example, they have a high ratio of vitamin (A). It is worth mentioning that this vitamin helps children grow, that it keeps the moisture and brilliance of the eye, the protrusion of the eyeball, and that it plays an important role in forming the retinal purple, so doctors call it ‘Factor of Growth’.

Moreover dates strengthen the auditory nerves, and they have other benefits mentioned by doctors. Islam has emphasized eating dates, for they have great advantages.

122. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, said:] “Gabriel, peace be on him, came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said: ‘Cling to al-Barni dates, for it is the best kind of your dates; it brings (men) nigh to Allah and send (them) away from the Fire.’”

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Perhaps the reason for urging (men) to eat dates is that it makes mind grow and purifies the soul. It is normal that when the soul is free from imaginations, it heads for its Almighty Creator and does all that which brings it nigh to Him. Hence the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, urged (men) to eat al-Barni dates, which is the best kind of all dates.

123. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, peace be on them, said:] “(Imām ‘Ali) the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, ordered us to rinse out mouth three times after we had eaten (food).”

This traditions gives an account of the summons to cleaning teeth after having food, for it has an important effect on health.

124. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib said:] “Eat pomegranate along with its flesh, for it is tanning for the stomach.”

As for pomegranate, it is among the fruit rich in vitamins, for example, it contains lemon, sugar, vitamin (C). Among the characteristics of its flesh is that it puts right the digestive system.

125. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Eat grapes one by one, for it is more wholesome and easier.”

As for grapes, they are among the richest fruit, for they contain vitamins A, B, C, and play an important role in building the body and strengthening its tissues. They are a delicious food and they are quickly digested. They are necessary for the states of indigestion, renal and urinary calculus, poisoning, anemia, and reduction of calcium. Dr. Carlia said: “It is necessary to give grapes to those who suffer from anemia and on whom surgical operations are performed.” Medical books have mentioned other benefits of grapes.

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126. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Cling to raisins, for they remove bitterness, take away phlegm, strengthen nerves, improve nature, make soul good, and remove worries.”

As for raisins, dried grapes, they have most characteristics of fresh grapes, of which are vitamins. We previously talked about the benefits and characteristics of grapes, of which are those mentioned in this tradition.

127. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If there is a cure in something, then it is in the slash made by a cupper or in a drink of honey.”

In the previous researches, we mentioned the great benefits of cupping and honey.

128. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Do not reject him who brings you a drink of honey.”

129. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Perfume is ease; honey is ease; looking at greens is ease; and riding is ease.”

These things create cheerfulness and happiness.

130. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Rub with violet, for it is cold in summer and hot in winter.”

Violet is one of the beautiful, sweet-smelling plants. The tradition contains some characteristics of its ointment, which is cold in summer and hot in winter.

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Footnote

[1] Al-Ghidhā' lā al-Dawā', p. 561.

CHAPTER SEVEN

ON OBEYING THE PARENTS AND TIGHTENING THE BONDS OF KIN

131. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said:

[Abū Ja‘far, peace be on him, related to me. He said:] “The minimum disobedience (to parents) is the (word) uf (ugh). And if Allah knew that there was something easier than uf, He would forbid it.”

He, the Exalted, said: And do not say to them uf! If there was a word less than the word uf, Allah would forbid it, just as the Imām said.

132. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Abū Ja‘far, peace be on him, related to me. He said: Abū ‘Abd Allah, peace be on him, said:] “Tightening the bonds of kin and good manners increase faith.”

Definitely, good manners and tightening the bonds of kin are two proofs of man’s faith in Allah and his relationship with Him.

133. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who guarantees one (thing) to me, I will guarantee four (things) to him: He should tighten the bonds of kin, so his family loves him; he is given generously; his fixed term is increased; and Allah will make him enter the Garden which He has promised.”

Surely, tightening the bonds of kin is the best deed in Islam, for it brings about correlation, unity, and solidarity of society.

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134. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Mohammed b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, related to me. He said:] “Tightening the bonds of kin and good neighborhood increase properties.”

Among the good deeds which Islam has adopted is kindness to blood relations and neighbors. For such a deed unifies the Muslims, spreads love and affection among them.

135. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib said: I heard Allah’s Messenger say:] “Verily, I fear for you that you will disdain the religion, sell your government, cut the bonds of kin, use the Qur’ān as pipes, and that you give precedence to one of you, while he is not the most meritorious of you in religion.”

These matters against which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, warned the Muslims bring about the destruction of society and make it deviate from the ideals which Islam has adopted.

CHAPTER EIGHT

ON WARNING AGAINST CHEATING, BACKBITING, AND TATTLING

136. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who cheats a Muslim or harms him or tries to deceive him does not belong to us.”

Cheating a Muslim or harming him or trying to deceive him is never an Islamic act, for such an action spreads hatred and mistrust among the Muslims.

137. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Beware of oppression, for it destroys your hearts.”

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Islam has fought against oppression. Authentic traditions have been transmitted from the Imāms of guidance, peace be on him, concerning warning against oppression, and that Allah, the Most High, is in the watch-tower against the oppressive; He will destroy their houses and severely punish them.

138. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, related to me. He said: the Commander of the faithful, the blessings of Allah be on him, addressed us. He said:] “A severe time will come upon the people; therein the rich will seize their possessions with their own teeth (by way of miserliness) although they have not been commanded to do so. Allah, the Most High, says: Do not forget generosity among yourselves. During this time the wicked will rise up while the virtuous will remain low; purchases will be made from the helpless although Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, has prohibited purchasing from the helpless.”

139. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, said:] “He who refrains from (defaming) the honor of men, Allah will release him from his stumble on the Day of Resurrection.”

One of the precepts of Islam is that one should refrain from (defaming) the honor of men and not to mention it with evil, that he may keep the unity of the Muslims.

140. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, said:] “Beware of backbiting, for it is the food of the inhabitants of the Fire.”

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‘Ali b. al-Husayn, the master of the Allah-fearing, peace be on him, has presented the prohibition of backbiting, which is the most atrocious of all forbidden things, for it leads to spreading offenses and obscene words among the Muslims.

141. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Surely, Allah detests him who does not receive the person who comes in to him.”

Among the Islamic good manners is that you should honor those who visit you in your house, not turn away from them, and accomplish their needs, especially the needs of those who are poor and needy.

CHAPTER NINE

THE EXCELLENCE OF INVASION AND JIHĀD

142. Through his chain of authority, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. al-Husayn, the blessings of Allah be on him, said: While the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, was addressing the people, a young man stood up before him and said:] “O Commander of the faithful, tell me about the excellence of the invasion in the path of Allah.” He, peace be on him, answered: “I was riding behind Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, on his she-camel al-‘Adbā’ when we came beck from the Campaign of Dhāt al-Salāsil. I asked him about what you have asked me about, and he answered: “Surely, if the invaders intend to make an invasion, Allah writes for them freedom from the Fire, and if they prepare themselves, Allah vies (in glory) with the angels through them, etc.’”

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The tradition is long; the greatest Messengers, may Allah bless him and his family, has presented therein the excellence of invasion and jihād in the path of Allah, which is one of the gates to the Garden, and which Allah has opened for his special friends, as it was said by the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.

CHAPTER TEN

MISCELLANEOUS TRADITIONS

143. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] Allah, the Most High, says: “O son of Ādam, do you not treat Me with justice? I show love toward you through favors and you show hatred toward Me through the acts of disobedience. My good descends to you, and your evil ascends to Me. A noble angel always brings Me an ugly deed from you on every day and night.

“O son of Ādam, if you hear your description from other than you, and you do not know who the describer is, you will quickly detest him.”

This Holy Tradition summons men to do good deeds and warns them against evil deeds.

144. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: Allah, the Great and Almighty, says:] “O son of Ādam, do not let the sins of men divert you from your own sin, nor (let) the favors of men divert you from those of Allah toward you. Do not drive men to despair of Allah’s favor, while you hope them for your own soul.”

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This tradition orders man not to let the sins of men turn him away from his own sins, for every person is responsible for his own sins before Allah, the Exalted. In addition, it orders him not to let the favors which Allah bestow upon his servants divert him from His favors toward him.

145. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “I fear for my community from three (things): error after knowledge, misleading discords, the lust of stomach and genital parts.”

Certainly these three temptations turns man away from Allah, the Exalted, and throws him into dreadful evil.

146. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said concerning the interpretation of these words of Him, the Most High: (Remember) the day when We will call every people with their Imām:] “He (Allah) will call every people with the Imām of their time, the Book of their Lord, and the Sunna (practices and sayings) of their Prophet.”

This tradition gives an account of mustering men on the Day of Resurrection. It indicates that every people will be mustered along with their Imām (leader), the Book of their Lord, and the Sunna of their Lord. If they obeyed them and put them into practice, they would be successful and be safe from the severe punishment of Allah, and if they opposed them, they would be unsuccessful.

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147. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Allah will reckon every creature except him who associates a partner with Him, for He will not reckon him and order him (to be taken) to the Fire.”

148. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Circumcise your boys on the seventh day, for it is the purest and quickest (act) in making flesh grow.”

An example of wonderful Islamic legislation is that it summons the Muslims to circumcise male babies on the seventh day of their birth, for the circumcision in this age recovers quickly and the male baby does not suffer severe pain. If the baby exceeds this age, especially when its age exceeds three or four years, it faces difficulty and severe pain in circumcising.

149. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The wronged are neither praiseworthy nor rewarded.”

As for the wronged, if they are ignorant, they do not deserve praise and reward, for they neglect their dealings; and if they are knowledgeable and adopt riches, then they are worthy of blame and dispraise.

150. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Do favor for those who are worthy of it and those who are not worthy of it. If you find those who are worthy of it, then they deserve it; and if you do not find those who are worthy of it, then you are among those who are entitled to it.”

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In this tradition there is a creative summons to doing favor and kindness to all men. This is one of good Islamic teachings standing on favor and kindness.

151. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “The head of reason after religion is showing love toward men and doing favor for both the righteous and the sinful.”

Surely, showing love for men and making favor for them is a proof of ripe mind, sound reason, and insight.

152. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Verily, your mouths are ways to your Lord, so clean them.”

This tradition summons the Muslims to clean their mouths through refraining from obscene and abominable words, saying the truth, polite words, and others.

153. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “He who fasts on Friday with endurance and fore-thought is given the reward of ten honorable, brilliant days which the days of the world do not resemble.”

This tradition awakens one’s desire for fasting on Friday, which is the most honorable of the days of the week, for there is abundant repayment and great reward in fasting on it.

154. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “Prefer the Garden to the Fire and do not invalidate your deeds, so you will be thrown into the Fire, bowing (your heads) and immortal therein.”

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The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, summons (people) to gain Paradise through sincere deeds and not to invalidate their deeds through hypocrisy, and others. In addition, he, may Allah bless him and his family, warns them against the Fire, may Allah protect us from it.

155. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “There is no retiring into mosque for devotion (i‘tikāf) except along with fasting.”

As for prayer in seclusion (i‘tikāf), it stands on fasting, and it should be in one of the mosques of Allah. As for fasting for i‘tikāf, it should be for three days; and the one who performs i‘tikāf has no right to leave the mosque except after the three days.

156. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “If the servant sees the moment of his death and its speed, he will hate hope and seeking the world.”

If man reflects on his fate and carefully considers his condition in the grave and his quick departure from this world, then he will detest hope and hate the world.

157. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib related to me, saying:] “He who subjects himself to accusation and entering what brings about losing his dignity, certainly empowers mistrust over himself, and it is he who brings about that against himself.”

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158. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [‘Ali b. Abū Tālib said:] “He who obeys a creature and disobeys the Creator has no religion.”

Surely, he who obeys a creature through disobeying the Creator has no religion and no relationship with Allah, the Most High.

159. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, related to me, saying:] “Verily, the deeds of this community are brought before Allah, the Great and Almighty, every morning.”

Definitely, the deeds of the Muslims are brought before Allah, the Exalted, every day, whether they are good or evil. So blessed is he who does good deeds and fears his Lord!

160. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib related to me concerning these words of Him, the Exalted: And certainly she made for him, and he would have made for her, were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord, saying:] “The wife of al-‘Aziz (the Chief of Egypt) went to an idol and covered the idol, and then she said: ‘It can see us!’ So Yousif asked her: ‘What is this?’ ‘I feel shame of the idol when it sees us!’ she replied. So he asked her: ‘Do you feel shame of the idol which cannot hear; nor can it see; nor can it benefit; nor can it harm? Why do you not feel shame of Him who has created things and has knowledge of them?’ So that is His words, the Exalted: the manifest evidence of his Lord.”

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161. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [When ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, saw a sick person who got well, he said:] “Purity from sins congratulates you!”

Many traditions have been reported from the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them; the traditions indicate that illness purifies sick person from the sins which he had committed, and that it increases his good deeds.

162. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [My father ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib, peace be on him, related to me, saying:] “We have taken three (things) from three (persons): Steadfastness from Ayyūb (Job), gratitude from Nūh (Noah), and envy from the children of Ya‘qūb (Jacob).”

163. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Mohammed b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, was asked:] “Why was the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, orphaned?” He, peace be on him, replied: “Lest no creature should have a right against him.”

Many traditions have justified the orphanage of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. Yet there is another justification as follows: This Orphan (i.e. the Prophet) could change the course of the world’s history, save man from the fables and customs of those pagans who loved before Islam, established on earth a state which raised the torch of monotheism, brightened the regions of the world through the truth and justice.

With this matter we will end our talk about the Musnad and Sahifa of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. It is worth mentioning that I (i.e. the author) have dropped some traditions mentioned in these two books of the Imām, for I think that they are fabricated and do not belong to the traditions of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Perhaps, for this reason some religious scholars have not ascribed this book (Sahifa) to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and not regarded it as evidence for some religious precepts.

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Al-Fiqh al-Radawi

The book al-Fiqh al-Radawi (al-Ridā’s Jurisprudence) has also been attributed to Imām al-Ridā`, peace be on him, and it was not known by the early Imāmi scholars; rather it appeared afterwards, and especially in the time of al-Majjlisi, the virtuous, who said: “I was told about the book Fiqh al-Ridā, peace be on him, by al-Sayyid, the virtuous traditionalist, the ruler-judge Husayn, may Allah be Gracious to his soil, after returning to Asfahān. He said to me: ‘It happened that during the time when I was neighboring the Sacred House of Allah, a group of the residents of Qum visited me while performing their hajj and they had with them an old book the date of its writing agreed with the date during which al-Ridā, the blessings of Allah be upon him, was alive.’” Al-Majjlisi continues to say: “I heard my father, may Allah have mercy on him, saying that it was written in the handwriting of al-Ridā, the blessings of Allah be upon him, and a large group of the dignitaries testified to the same.’ Al-Sayyid (Husayn) said: ‘From these contexts, I have come to know that the book was written by the Imām, peace be on him; so I took the book, wrote it and corrected it.’ Hence my father, may Allah hallow his soul, took this book from al-Sayyid, copied it and corrected it. Most its sentences agree with what al-Sadūq, may Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned in his book Man lā Yahdarahu al-Faqih with out any chain of authorities, and what his father has mentioned in his letter to him. Our companions have mentioned many precepts in the book without mentioning their chain of authorities.”

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A group of the eminent figures of the Imāmi jurisprudence like al-Fādil al-Kāshāni, the Author of al-Riyād, al-Muhaddith al-Bahrāni, and others testified the book and depended on it.

Yet another group of the great religious scholars has discussed the book and denied it. He who carefully considers the book concludes the following criticisms:

Firstly, if this book belonged to Imām al-Ridā, it would not be unknown for numerous centuries; the early Imāmi scholars and traditionalists would come to know of it, for they took great care of all traditions transmitted from the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them; yet, none of them said even a word concerning it.

Secondly, Shaykh al-Sadūq, who has recorded all traditions reported from Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, has not mentioned the book in his book ‘Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā; nor has he mentioned it in his other books.

Lastly, the book contains some traditions which contradict the Shi‘ite beliefs such as extremism which the pure Imāms disproved and regarded as infidels those who believe in it. For example, it has been mentioned in the book, Chapter on Istiqbāl al-Qibla fi al-Salāt: “And place one of the Imāms before your eyes.” This is grievous extremism, for it is incumbent upon every worshipper to direct his sentiments and feelings towards Allah, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life.

These are some criticisms of the book, and they indicate that it does not belong to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. It is worth mentioning that the book was published by the World Conference on Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, in the Holy City of Meshhad, that it was checked by the Āl al-Bayt Foundation for Renewing Legacy in Qum, may Allah increase it in honor, and that its introduction was written by the great researcher Shaykh Jawād al-Sharistāni, who mentioned the proofs of those who testified the book and of those who denied it.

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CHAPTER VII

DOCTRINAL RESEARCHES

DOCTRINAL RESEARCHES

In his researches and lectures, Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, discussed many ideological matters and disproved the vague errors and imaginations which the spiteful and the ignorant raised against Islam and its precepts. We have mentioned large part of his debates with the scholars of the sects and religions. We have indicated that the debates amazed them and made them believe in his many scientific abilities, and that they dominated the political and scientific clubs. Now, we will mention another part of these researches, which are not in the frame of the debates, as follows:

The Unity of Allah

Many questions were raised about the Unity of Allah, and Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, answered them and refuted the doubts and imaginations in respect of them. The following are some of them:

A. Full Knowledge of Allah’s Essence is Impossible

It is impossible to describe Allah, the Exalted, with an attribute which encompasses His Holy Essence. Among those who asked the Imām about this matter was Abū Hishām al-Ja‘fari, who was one of the greatest figures of his time in virtue, knowledge, and Allah-fearingness. He asked the Imām the following question:

“Can Allah be described (i.e., specified in words)?”

Through this question, Abū Hāshim al-Ja‘fari wanted to find and to encompass the knowledge of Allah, the Most High, so Imām al-Rida, peace be on him, asked him:

“Do you not read the Qur’ān?”

“Yes,” he replied.

The Imām answered through the Book of Allah, the Most High, saying:

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“Do you not read these words of Him, the Exalted: The eyes attain him not, but He attains the eyes?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“Do you know (the meaning of) the eyes?” asked the Imām.

“Yes,” came the answer.

“What is it?” asked the Imām.

“It is the seeing with the eyes,” replied Abū Hāshim.

The Imām, peace be on him, disproved this answer, saying: “Verily, the conceptualization of the heart is far greater (embracing in knowledge) than the vision of the eye. Still the conceptualization of the heart cannot attain Him, whereas all conceptualization is in His grasp.[1]”

Certainly, the conceptualization of reason is far greater and more inclusive than the vision of the eye. Reason is also limited in conceptualization and imaginations, hence it cannot encompass the Essence of Allah, the Most High.

B. Seeing Allah is Impossible

It is impossible for men to see Allah, the Most High; it was spread among the people of that time that Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, had seen his Lord, hence Ibrāhim b. Mohammed al-Khazzāz and Mohammed b. al-Husayn hurried to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, to ask him about that: “Did Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, see his Lord in the form of a perfect youth with His hair hanging down on the lobs of His ears and of a man in the age of thirty?”

They ascribed this statement to a group of the Shi‘ite great figures, and that they said: “The body of Allah right up to the navel was quite empty and the rest of Him was full.” Without doubt this statement was fabricated and attributed to such a group of Shi‘ite eminent men, for they had no relationship with such forbidden things. As for the Imām, he disordered when he heard this false statement. He prostrated himself in prayer and began addressing Allah, the Exalted, humbly: “Glory belongs to You! They do not know you; nor do they know You as a Unity. For this reason they have described You (with fabricated attributes). Glory belongs to You! Had they known You, they would had ascribed to You only the attributes You have ascribed to Your Own Self. Glory belongs to You! How did they allow themselves to listen to anything about You other than Your Self.

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“O Allah, I do not describe You but through what You have described Your Own Self; nor do I liken You to Your creatures. You are the Possessor of all good. So do not place me among the unjust people.”

Then he, peace be on him, turned to them and said to them: “After whatever you imagine, imagine that Allah is other than that.”

Namely, whatever man imagines concerning the Essence of Allah, the Most High, he should imagine that Allah is other than what he has imagined.

Then the Imām turned to Mohammed b. al-Husayn and said to him: “We, the family of Mohammed, represent the moderate path. Our path is lost to those who exceed the limit, and those who lag behind cannot come unto our (path). O Mohammed (b. al-Husayn), verily, when Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, looked at the Majesty of his Lord, he was in the form of a youth in full bloom and of a man in the age of thirty with his hair hanging down on the lobes of his ears. O Mohammed, Allah is far above having the attributes of His creatures.”

“Who was he whose feet were on the green yard?” asked Mohammed b. al-Husayn.

“He was Mohammed,” replied the Imām, “When he looked at his Lord through his heart, He established him in His Light which was like the Light of the (Divine) veil, until what was behind the (Divine) veil was made manifest to him. Verily, the effulgence of Allah’s Light

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is green, red, white, and the like. O Mohammed, we (the Imāms) only say what the Book (of Allah) and the Sunna bear witness to.[2]”

Negation of the Like from Allah

The Imām, peace be on him, disproved all kinds of likes and images from Allah, the Most High, and that was through a talk took place between him and al-Fath b. Yazid al-Jurjāni on his way to Khurasān. The Imām, peace be on him, said to him:

“O Fath, he who pleases the Creator pays no attention to the creature; and he who displeases the Creator, surely He empowers the displeasure of the creatures over him; and the Creator is not described except by that with which He has described Himself; and how should one describe that Creator whom senses cannot perceive, imaginations cannot attain, thoughts (khatarāt) cannot delimit and sight cannot encompass? Greater is He than what the depicters describe! He is distant in His nearness and near in His distance. He fashions (kayyafa) ‘howness’ (kayfiyyah), so it is not said of Him, ‘How?’ (kayf); He determines (ayyana) the ‘where?’ (ayn). He sunders ‘howness’ (kayfūfiyyah) and whereness (aynūniyyah).

“O Fath, every body is fed with a food except the Creator, the Provider (Allah), for He embodies bodies. He is without body and form. He can neither be analyzed nor limited. He grows not, nor decays. He is far above the parts of things. He is the Subtle, All-aware, All-hearing, All-seeing, the One, the Unique, the Un-needing. He begets not, nor is He begotten and there is none equal to Him. He is the Originator of all things. He embodies all bodies and forms all forms. If He was such as those who admit similitude (al-mushabbihah), then the Creator cannot be distinguished from the created, nor the Provider from the provided, nor the Originator from the originated. However, He is the Originator and there must be a distinction between Him and the things to which He gave body and shape and which He originated, since nothing resembles Him nor does He resemble anything.”

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“Allah is One and man is one. Do they not; therefore, resemble each other?” asked al-Fath.

The Imām disproved this vague error, saying: “Impossible! May Allah keep you steadfast; the resemblance is in the meanings. As for the names, every object is one, and the names signify the objects that (severally) bear those names.[3] Likewise, when we call man one, we are predicating that man is one body, not two. Man, in himself, is not one, since he is composed of different limbs and colors. And what is composed of different colors (components) can never be regarded as one. He consists of separate parts, that are diverse and divisible. His blood is different from his flesh and his flesh is different from his blood. His nerves are different from his veins and his hair is different from his skin. His black is different from his white. And the same is the case with all other creatures. Thus, man is one in name, not in essence.

“Allah, Exalted be His Majesty, is One. There is none other than Him; nor is there any incongruity and diversity in Him; nor is there any excess and deficiency. However, man is a creation made and composed of different parts, diverse essences, and primary elements; in this state of composition he is regarded as one.”

Surely, calling Allah, the Exalted, One is different from calling man one, for man is composed of different organs such as the heart, the lungs, the eyes, the kidneys, the cells, and others; and by the virtue of their gathering he is called one. As for the Almighty Creator, He is called One not because of the composition of numerous limbs and organs.

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“Explain to me (the meaning of ) the Subtle, for I know that His Subtlety is different from that of other than Him, for there is a difference (between the Creator and creation,” demanded al-Fath.

The Imām, peace be on him, answered: “O Fath, our statement that Allah is Subtle means that He has created subtle things and has full awareness of subtle things. May Allah give you wisdom and keep you steadfast. Do you not see the signs of His creation in the grass, which is subtle (green and soft) and not subtle (dry and rough), and also in the most subtle (delicate and tender) creation and in the tiny birds, insects, and misquotes and in the tiny flies, and also the things still tinier to the extent that you cannot distinguish the male from the female and the young from the old. We see the infinite smallness of these in their subtlety, and how they are guided in coming near to the female of the species and escaping from what is deadly, and in the gathering of what is suited to their survival. We see (creatures) dwelling in the depth of the seas, under the bark of the trees, and in the valleys and the barren deserts. We see them communicating messages to one another and with their offspring, and also their bringing food for them. We also see their matching of colors, the red with the yellow and the white with the red. Further, we see, that on account of their smallness they are not visible to the eye. Our eyes do not see them; our hands do not touch them. Having seen all this, we have come to know that the Creator of such subtle creatures, must have used a very subtle art in the creation of what we have mentioned. Moreover, we have also come to know that all those who make things, do so out of other things. However, it is Allah the Creator, the Subtle, the Great Who created and made things out of nothing.”

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This paragraph gives an account of the marvelous signs of Allah’s wonderful creatures, and that is in His creating the bodies of the tiny animals such as insects and misquotes, and even tinier than them, of which the male cannot be distinguished from the female. Allah has given them understanding and they are guided to come near to the female of the species to continue their offspring on earth. Likewise Allah has given them understanding in order to escape from dangers, so glory belongs to the Subtle Creator. Moreover they have attractive colors, and they live in the bark of trees and deserts, and other favors of Allah toward them. So glory belongs to the Almighty Creator. How great his favors toward all living beings!

“Is there a creator other than the Great Creator?” asked al-Fath.

The Imām, peace be on him, answered: “Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says: Blessed is Allah the best of the creators.[4] He told that there were creators among his creatures, of whom was ‘Īsā b. Maryam, who determined out of dust like the form of a bird with Allah’s permission, and it became bird with Allah’s permission. And al-Sāmiri created for them a calf, a mere body, which had a mooning sound.”

Al-Fath opposed the Imām, saying: “Surely, Īsā created a bird out of dust as a proof of his Prophethood, and al-Sāmiri created a calf, a mere body, to abolish the Prophethood of Mūsā, and Allah willed that to be so. Certainly, this is the wonder!”

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The Imām answered him with strong argument, saying: “Verily, Allah’s intention is two-fold; His will is (also) two-fold: the intention which is irrevocable, and the intention which is only a resolution. (Sometimes) Allah forbids what He wills and (sometimes) He orders what He does not will. Do you not see that Allah forbade Ādam and his wife from eating of the tree, yet willed that they should eat of it? If He had not willed so, their will would not have prevailed over the will of Allah; He ordered Ibrāhim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismā‘il, but did not will that Ismā‘il should be slain. If He had willed so, the will of Ibrāhim would not have prevailed over the will of Allah, the Great and Almighty.”

The Imām, peace be on him, disproved al-Fath’s vague errors through dividing the will of Allah, the Exalted, into two parts as follows: the first part is the intention which is only a resolution or the legislative will, as the theologians say, or Allah’s orders and prohibitions to His servants in order to balance their behavior and put right their life in this world. The disobedience of the willed to the will is not impossible according this kind of will. In other words the servant may obey and may disobey.

And the second part is the intention which is irrevocable or genetic will as the theologians say. It is impossible for the willed to disobey this kind of will, for Allah, according to this will, says to a thing: “Be,” and the thing is. As for the stories of Ādam and Ibrāhim, they belong to the first part of will.

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Al-Fath was amazed at the Imām’s statement and said: “You have comforted me; may Allah comfort you! However, you have said: ‘The All-hearing, the All-seeing: Does He hear with the ear and see with the eye?”

The Imām answered him: “He (Allah) hears through what He sees and sees through what He hears. He sees but not through an eye like the eye of the creatures; and He hears but not through an ear like the ear of the creatures, but for not hidden from Him is the trace of a black speck on a dark night on a black stone under the soil and the seas; we say that He sees not through the like of the eye of the creatures; we say that He hears not through the like of the hearing of the hearers, for the various kinds of words are not confused by Him and no hearing diverts Him from hearing.”

The Imām, peace be on him, removed the vague errors from al-Fath and explained to him that the seeing and hearing of Allah, the Most High, were not like those of man.

“Yet, I have another question,” declared al-Fath.

“Give it to me,” demanded the Imām.

“You said that the Eternal (Allah) known the things before He had created them.”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “Do you not hear that Allah says: If there had been in them (the heavens and the earth) any gods except Allah, they would both have certainly been in a state of disorder[5], that He says: And some of them would certainly have overpowered others[6], that He says, relating the statement of the inhabitants of the Fire: O our Lord, take us out, we will do good deeds other than those which we used to do[7], and that He says: And if they were sent back, they would certainly go back to that from which they were forbidden[8]?”

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Al-Fath admired the knowledge of the Imām, peace be on him, and his understanding difficult, theological matters. He tried to kiss the Imām’s hand and foot, but the Imām did not allow him to do that. So he kissed the Imām’s holy head and went out with happiness, for the Imām removed all doubts and imaginations which sounded in his mind.[9]

During his debate with al-Fath, the Imām, peace be on him, discussed and explained many ambiguous matters on the Unity of Allah.

The Essence of Allah’s Oneness

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, stated traditions about the core of Allah’s Oneness. The following are some of them:

1. Mohammed b. Yazid asked the Imām about Allah’s Unity, and he dictated to him the following: “Praise belongs to Allah, Who originally creates all things and designs them with a design through His Power and Wisdom. He does not create them from things so that His power of creation could be negated; nor does He design them for any ulterior reason or through any means so that His designing could be questioned. He creates whatever He likes and whosoever He likes all by Himself, that He may manifest His wisdom and the truth of His Providence. Reason cannot grasp Him; imagination cannot reach Him; and eyes cannot attain Him. He is beyond any calculation. The power of expression is helpless to (interpret Him). All the powers of sight are blurred (from seeing Him); and the power of describing and defining goes astray in describing and defining Him. He is veiled without any veil and is concealed without any covering. He is known without being seen, described without any form, and depicted without any body. There is no god but Allah, the Great, the Most High.[10]”

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This tradition gives an account of the power of the Almighty Creator, Who creates all things from nothing nor from a previous example. So glory belongs to Him! How great He is! The eyes cannot attain Him; imaginations cannot encompass Him; and words cannot embrace the core of His mightiness!

2. Mohammed b. ‘Īsā b. ‘Ubayd had the honor of meeting the Imām, peace be on him, and he asked him the following:

“What do you say when someone asks you to tell him about Allah, the Great and Almighty, whether He is a thing or not?”

Mohammed skillfully answered, saying: “Certainly, Allah, the Great and Almighty, has established Himself as a thing when He said: Say: What thing is weightiest in testimony? Say: Allah is witness between you and me.[11] So I say that He is a thing not like other things. For if we negate His Being as a thing, we will abolish and negate Him.”

The Imām approved this answer of Mohammed and said to him: “You said the truth and were right.” He added: “The people have three creeds concerning Allah’s Oneness: negation, comparison, and establishment without any comparison. The creed of negation is not permissible; the creed of comparison is not permissible, for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is not likened to anything; and the way is the third creed: establishment without any comparison.[12]”

The Power of Allah

Mohammed b. ‘Arafa asked the Imām, peace be on him, the following questions: “Did Allah create things with the power or without the power?[13]”

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The Imām answered him: “It is not permissible (to say that) He created things with the power, for if you said: ‘He created things with the power,’ it would be as if that you regarded the power as a thing other than Him, and you regarded it as His tool through which He created things, and this is polytheism; and if you said that He created things with the power, you would only describe that He created them through His might and power over them, but He is neither weak nor feeble nor is He in need of other than Him.”

The meaning of the speech of the Imām, peace be on him, is that Allah, the Most High, is powerful, that this attribute is the same as Himself, and that He does not create things through a power outside Himself, for all His Noble Attributes are the same as Himself, as it has been established in theology.

Moreover, the Imām himself emphasized that in his speech when he said: “Glory belongs to Him who created the creatures through His power, mastered what He created through His wisdom, and placed everything in its place through His knowledge. Glory belongs to Him who knows the stealthy looks and that which the breasts conceal; there is nothing like Him; and He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing.”

The Great Creator and His Attributes are Eternal

Among the important researches which the Imām, peace be on him, stated was that the Great Creator and His attributes were eternal. He, peace be on him, said to a companion of his:

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“May Allah give you the knowledge of the good. Know that Allah, the Hallowed, the Exalted, is eternal and this attribute of His being eternal indicates to the wise that neither was there anything before Him, nor is there anything associated with Him. After the general admission (by the men of wisdom) regarding this unique and exclusive attribute of Allah’s being eternal, it is quite evident to us that there existed nothing before Him, and that there is nothing associated with Him in His being everlasting. Hence the claim of those who think that there was anything before Allah, or there is anything associated with Him is totally repudiated. The reason is that if there was anything sharing with Him in His eternity, it would not be proper to regard Allah as the Creator of that thing, for it had been with Allah all the time. How could Allah be the Creator of what had been with Him all along? If there was anything before Allah, then that thing would be the first, (not Allah), and that first (thing conjectured to exist before Allah) has got the preferential right to be regarded as the Creator of this first (Allah, the Eternal).

“Then Allah, the Hallowed, the Exalted, invested Himself with names, and when He created (His creatures) and enjoined upon them His worship, and put on them trial and tribulation, He summoned them to call Him by those names. So, He named Himself the All-hearing, the All-seeing, the All-powerful, the Self-subsistent, the Articulated, the Revealed (or the Manifest), the Concealed, the Gracious, the Omniscient, the All-strong, the All-mighty, the All-wise, the All-knowing and other names like these. When the evil-minded repudiators saw this and heard us stating that nothing is like Allah, and nothing in creations is in His modality, they raised an objection: ‘Tell us when you assert that nothing is like Allah, nor resembles Him, then how have you associated yourself with Him in His most beautiful names, for you have given all these names to yourself?

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“‘Verily, in this there is a clear proof that you are like Allah in all aspects or at least in some aspects and modalities; since you have gathered for yourself all these good names.’ Let them be told, ‘Verily, Allah, the All-mighty, the Exalted, has applied some of His names to some of His servants (creatures) but with a different meaning. One and the same name bears different meanings. The justification for it is the practice of the people themselves, valid according to them and widely prevalent among them. Allah addresses His creatures in the same practice of speech (prevalent among people). He speaks to them in a way which they understand so that they themselves will stand responsible for any loss they suffer (due to not caring to understand). Just as people generally call a man a dog, a donkey, a cow, sweet, bitter, or a lion, and this is antagonistic to man’s nature and condition, these names are not applied in the (literal) sense that has been given to them, since they have quite a different context here for the man is neither a lion, nor a dog. So understand this point, may Allah have mercy on you!

“Allah has named (Himself) with (the attribute of) Knowledge, but (eternal) not contingent knowledge through which conception of things may be possible or knowledge which may assist Him in guarding what He is going to ordain in future or in planning what He is going to create in His creation (in the present) or in disposing of what He has annihilated from His creation (in the past) or knowledge which, if it is not available to Him and has become hidden from Him, then he will be rendered ignorant and helpless. As we see the learned among the creatures, we call them men of knowledge, because of the contingent which appears in them and of which they were ignorant. And it also often happens that the knowledge of things departs from them and then they relapse into ignorance. However, Allah is called All-knowing in the sense that He is not ignorant of anything at any time (past, present, or future). Thus, the name ‘one who knows’ is common to both the Creator and the created, but the connotation is quite different (in both the cases), as you saw.

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“Our Lord has been given the name ‘All-hearing’ not that He has the channel of the ear through which He hears sounds but with which He cannot see, as we have the orifice of the ear through which we hear but with which we cannot see. However, Allah Himself tells us that nothing in the world of sound is hidden from Him. Nor is there any limitation in the range of sound as in the case of our hearing. Thus, the name of ‘Hearing’ is common (between Allah and the mankind) but their connotation is quite different.

“Likewise, His seeing not through the channel of the eyes. On the other hand in our case, we see with the instrument of our eyes and they are of no use to us for any other purpose. Allah is seeing in the sense that He is in no doubt about anything that can be seen. Nothing visible is out of His sight. Here too, the name is common but the connotation is quite different.

“Allah is the Self-subsistent (Qā’im), not in the sense that He supports Himself by standing erect and holding His knees together as others do. However, ‘Self-subsistent’ connotes that He is the Protector, the Watcher, just as people say: ‘the supporter of our affairs is so-and-so.’ Allah is He Who stands (Qā’im) over every soul for what it has earned.[14] Generally, Qā’im or Self-subsistent also means the Ever-lasting. It has also the connotation of supporting and satisfying just as you may say to a person: ‘Stand (qum) forth to support and satisfy such and such family,’ meaning support them fully, whereas, for us ‘Qā’im’ (subsistent) means standing on our feet. Thus, the name ‘Qā’im’ or ‘subsistent’ is common to us (Allah and men) but the sense or the meaning is different.

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“(In the same way), Allah is named al-Latif (the Subtle, the Delicate) not in sense of being diminutive or slim and slender or small. However, Allah is Subtle and Delicate in the sense that He is effectual through and through and in the inmost of all things (however minute) and also in the sense that it is impossible to perceive and comprehend Him, just as you may say to a person: ‘This matter is too subtle (latif) for me or such and such is refined (latif) in his conduct and speech.’ You, in other words, tell him that intelligence has failed to grasp the matter, and effort has lost the trace of it and it has become so deep and delicate that imagination cannot reach it. Such is the subtlety of Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, since He is too subtle to be apprehended by any definition or be limited within any description, whereas subtlety (latāfah), in our context, connotes smallness or diminutiveness. Here again the name is common but the meaning is different.

“As for Allah’s being the Omniscient and All-aware (al-Khabir), this means that nothing is hidden from Him and nothing escapes Him. His knowledge is not (the result of) experiment, nor (the fruit of) the authority of tradition. Experimentation and authority of tradition are the two (sources of) knowledge. If there is neither making experiment nor following tradition there would be no knowledge, and the man is ignorant. Allah is eternally conversant with what is to be created, while amongst mankind the man of knowledge or the conversant man is one who has become conversant or knowledgeable (passing through the stage) of the ignorance of the learner. Thus, here too the name is common but the connotation is quite different.

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“Allah is al-Zāhir (the Manifest, one who prevails), not in the sense that He appeared above everything and rode them and settled on them and out-topped them. (So, nothing can hide Him from the right.) However, He is al-Zāhir or Manifest and prevails over everything in

the sense that He holds all authority, dominion and power over each and everything, just as a person would say: ‘I have prevailed over my enemy and Allah has given me power over him.’ It signifies victory and domination. Such is al-Zāhir­ of Allah over everything. There is another sense of al-Zāhir the Manifest. He is Manifest to everyone who intends to seek him. He is not hidden to His seekers and nothing is hidden from Him. He is the Disposer of each and everything He has created. So, which appearance is more manifest and evident than Allah, the Blessed and Exalted? Since in whichever direction you turn, His wonderful (creation) cannot remain hidden from you. Even within your own self there are sufficient signs to satisfy you, (but) in our case, the manifest means something which comes into view by itself or is known by its limits and location. Thus here too, the name is common, but the connotation is quite different.

“Allah is al-Bātin (hidden), hidden not in the sense that He is inside things, or that He has descended deep in them, but in the sense that His knowledge, providence and plan permeate the inside of everything, just as a person says: ‘I have gone deep into the matter in the sense I have experienced it and have fully known all its hidden secrets.’ However, for us ‘hidden’ means the disappearance of a thing inside some other things. Here again we have the name in common, but the connotation is quite different.

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“Allah is al-Qāhir (the Omnipotent) not in the sense of deliberation, and painful endeavor, and exertion, and planning, and diplomacy and intrigue, which His creatures exert themselves in to gain power over each other, and for the vanquished to become victorious, and for the victorious to become vanquished. However, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is Omnipotent (al-Qāhir) in the sense that everything He has created is clothed with lowliness and self-abasement before Him, the Creator, and can offer no obstruction to what He wills regarding it. It is not even the twinkling of an eye for Him to utter ‘Be’ and forthwith ‘It is’. And victory among us is as we have already discussed and described (above). Thus, here too, the name is common but the meaning is quite different. Similar is the case in respect of all the names of Allah. Although we have not brought together all His names here; yet whatever we have expounded to them is sufficient for correct inference and understanding. Allah alone is your help and mine too, for our guidance and success.[15]”

This speech of the Imām, peace be on him, contains many proofs of the eternity of the Great Creator, the Originator and Maker of allvarious things. It includes the attributes of Allah, the Exalted, and shows that they, though given to man, are quite different. Giving these attributes to Allah is other than giving them to man, who is in need of Allah in all affairs and states. It is worth mentioning that al-Kulayni regarded this speech of the Imām as a loose tradition (hadith mursal), not a supported tradition (hadith musnad).

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The Creator Far Above Space

The Almighty Creator is far above space and time which are some necessities of all beings which depend on Allah in their existence. A man from Mā Warā’ Nahr Balkh (Transoxania) came to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and said to him: “I want to ask you a question. If your answer is the same as I have already known, I will believe in your Imāmate.”

“Ask whatever you like,” replied the Imām.

The man asked the Imām, saying: “Tell me about your Lord: Since when and how (in what state) has your Lord been in existence and what does He subsist on?”

“Verily, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, determined the ‘where’ without ‘whereness’; and He fashioned the ‘how’ without ‘howness’; and He subsists on His own power,” replied the Imām.

Surely, it is Allah, the Most High, who created space and time; they are of His creatures; therefore, how is He described by them?

The man admired the Imām’s answer, and then he hurried to kiss his head and said: “I witness that there is no god but Allah, that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah, that ‘Ali is the testamentary trustee of Allah’s Messenger and the custodian after him for what Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and his family) had undertaken, that your are the true Imāms, and that you are the successor after them.[16]”

The Imām was among the sources of guidance and light on earth, hence he spread in his time faith in Allah and established argument against the creatures.

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Seeing Allah is Impossible

Mohammed b. ‘Ubayd Allah wrote to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him; he asked him about the ocular vision of Allah, the Exalted, and what was traditionally narrated by the common people (al-‘āmmah) and the elite (al-khāsa); and he asked him to explain the matter fully to him.

The Imām wrote him the following letter: “All are agreed and there is no dissension among the people that acknowledge of any thing through visual perception is necessary and certain. Now if it is true that seeing Allah with the eye is necessary for knowledge of Allah to occur, then this knowledge must fall into one of two cases. It is either the belief (in Allah which is required by Him) or not that belief. If this knowledge of Allah by way of visual perception is that belief, then the knowledge of Allah through intellectual perception, which is alone available in this world, is not that belief because intellectual perception is contrary to visual perception. Then there will not be a single believer in the world because they have not seen Allah, may His remembrance be Exalted. And if the knowledge of Allah by way of visual perception is not the belief (required by Him) then the knowledge of Allah which has been attained (through intellectual perception which is the required belief) must disappear in the hereafter. This is the argument in support of the truth that Allah, the Great and Almighty, cannot be seen through the eye, for if it is held that He can be seen by eyes, the matter will revert to what we have explained.[17]”

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Through this conclusive argument the Imām, peace be on him, disproved seeing the Great Creator through the eye, not through thinking and reason, for if the belief in Allah, the Exalted, is related to seeing through the eye, then the belief which results from the conscientious proofs of Allah’s existence is not belief, and it is invalid; and if the knowledge of Allah, the Most High, which stems from visibility is not belief, then the knowledge which results from the proofs is not the reason for belief, and this is also invalid.

Surely belief in Allah is one of the necessities which none denies except him who has gone astray, for Allah, the Exalted, is the most prominent reality which His creatures indicate in this existence.

Authorization and Compulsion are Invalid

As for authorization, it opposes Islamic religion; likewise, compulsion has no relationship with Islam. Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washshā’ asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, about these two matters: “Has Allah entrusted to (His) servants all their affairs?”

“Allah is far above this,” retorted the Imām.

“Has Allah compelled them to commit sins?” asked al-Hasan.

“Allah is too just and too wise to do this,” answered the Imām.

Then the Imām added: “Allah says: O son of Ādam, I deserve your good deeds more than you yourself and you deserves your vices than I Myself. You have committed sins through the power and authority I have granted to you.[18]”

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Definitely, Allah, the Exalted, has given perfect will to His servants, so it is they who, according to their own pure will, obey or disobey Him; and they are not compelled to do any act of disobedience.

Another example of what has been transmitted from Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, concerning refuting compulsion and authorization is that which has been narrated by Sulaymān b. Ja‘far al-Ja‘fari, who said: “Compulsion and authorization were mentioned in the presence of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he said: ‘Will I give you an origin about this, over which you will not differ, and you will defeat anyone who debates with you on it?”

“Yes,” his companions replied.

He, peace be on him, said: “Verily, Allah, the Exalted, has not been obeyed through compulsion; nor has he been disobeyed through overcoming; nor has he neglected the servants in His kingdom. It is He who possesses what He has made them possess, and He who has power over that which He has given power to them. If the servants follow the obedience to Him, He will not repel or prevent them from it; and if they follow the disobedience to Him, and He wills to come between them and that, then He will do (that). And if He does not come (between them and the disobedience) and they do (it), then it is not He who makes them commit it.”

After this decisive proof, he, peace be on him, said to his companions: “He who does well the limits of this speech defeats him who opposes him.[19]”

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The Imām emphasized this matter during his talk with ‘Ali b. Asbāt, who asked him about the capacity (of human beings), and he answered him: “Man can be invested with full ability after his acquisition of four characteristics: he should be free in respect of action, soundness of body, proper functioning of the limbs and the means for the performance provided by Allah to him.”

“May I be your ransom, kindly explain this (speech) to me,” requested ‘Ali.

The Imām, peace be on him, explained this matter to him,

saying: “A certain man is free in respect of his action, has soundness

of body and the proper functioning of the limbs, and intends to

commit adultery, but finds no woman and then (seeks and) finds her,

then (in spite of this position of the means of action) he restrains

himself (from the act of adultery) as was done by Yūsuf (Joseph). If,

(on the contrary, he removes the self-restriction) between him and his temptation and indulges (himself) in adultery, then (and only then)

will he be called an adulterer. Such a person (is he who possesses ability, and in this case he either acts according to his ability or not, but he) has not obeyed Allah by way of compulsion; nor has he overpowered Allah through his act of disobedience.[20]”

Indeed, Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and the rest of the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them, disproved authorization and compulsion, and they decisively proved the intermediate position.

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Confuting the Views of the Qadariya

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, confuted the views of the fatalists (Qadariya) and disproved their vague errors during a conversation with Yūnus b. ‘Abd al-Rahmān. He, peace be on him, said: “O Yūnus, do not utter the worlds of the fatalists(Qadariya), since they do not say what the dwellers of the Garden say; nor do they say the words of the people of the Fire; nor do they say the words of Satan. The dwellers of the Garden say: Praise belongs to Allah who guided us to this; had Allah not guided us, we had surely never been guided. The people of the Fire say: Our Lord, our adversity overcame us; we were erring people. And Iblis (Satan) says: My Lord, for Your preventing me (I shall deck all affair to them in the earth).”

Yūnus denied that he would utter their words, saying: “By Allah, I do not say their words, but I say: ‘Nothing happens (in this universe) except through which Allah desires, wills, ordains, and decrees.’”

The Imām answered him, saying: “O Yūnus, it is not like that. Nothing happens except according to Allah’s desire, will, ordination, and decree. O Yūnus, do you know what Divine will (mashi’a) is?”

“No,” Yūnus replied.

The Imām explained to him the reality of Divine desire, saying: “It is the first knowledge (i.e., the prior knowledge of Allah with respect to His action). Do you know what Divine will (irāda) is?”

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“No,” Yūnus answered.

The Imām explained to him the essence of Divine will, saying “It is Allah’s determination of what He wills. Do you know what fate is?”

“No,” Yunus replied.

So the Imām declared: “It is the measuring and estimating of things and the fixing of their limitations regarding their beginning and end. As for (Allah’s) decree, it means finalizing things and bringing them into (existence in) sentient world.”

Yūnus bowed in admiration and magnification for the Imām, then he kissed his head and said to him: “You have disclosed to me what I was in ignorance of.[21]”

The Imāmate

The Imāmate

Among the ideological researches which Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, discussed was the Imāmate. He mentioned it on many occasions of which are following:

1. The Importance of the Imāmate

The Imāmate is the most important office in Islam, for it safeguards and protects the community from any aggression, secures it dignity and freedom, and achieves all its objectives.

The Imām, peace be on him, stated an inclusive talk before ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Muslim. During the talk he objectively presented the importance of the Imāmate, and indicated that it was the most important objective and principle which Islam adopted. Before his death, the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed the leader and authority of the community, who was Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, the pioneer of wisdom in Islam. Now, listen to Imām’s al-Ridā speech about the Imāmate. He, peace be on him, has said:

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“O ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, the people did not know, and have been deceived in their opinions. Verily, Allah to Whom belongs Might and Majesty, did not take away (the life of) His Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, until He had perfected the religion for him, and had sent down on him the Qur’ān in which there is the clarification of all things. He completely clarified in it what is lawful and what is unlawful, the punishments (hudūd) and the commands, and all that people need. He, the Great and Almighty, said: We have neglected nothing in the book.[22] And He sent down in the Farewell Pilgrimage, which was at the end of his life, may Allah bless him and his family: Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed my blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam for your religion.[23] And the matter of the Imāmate is one of things by which the religion is completed. He (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, did not pass away until he had clarified the guiding principles of their religion to his community and made plain their path for them, and he left them pointing in the direction of the path of the truth. And he appointed ‘Ali as an Imām (leader) for them. He (Allah) has not left for them anything which the community needs without clarifying it. Hence, whoever imagines that Allah, the Great and Almighty, has not perfected His religion has surely rejected the Book of Allah, and whoever has rejected the Book of Allah is an unbeliever in it.”

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This paragraph gives an account of the great importance of the Imāmate with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, for it was the most important element of his immortal message, and for through it the religion was perfected and the blessing was completed. He (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, chose for this important office his brother, the gate of the city of his knowledge, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. He appointed him as an Imām (leader) after him and ordered the Muslims to Pledge allegiance to him at Ghadir Khum, and through this appointing he (the Prophet), may Allah bless him and his family, made clear the path for the community. In other words he did not leave the affairs of the community in chaos after him. Now, let us listen to another part of the Imām’s speech concerning the importance of the Imāmate:

“Do they know the value of the Imāmate and its position in the community that their selection could be allowable in this matter? Verily, the Imāmate is too sublime among values, too great among ranks, too high among stations, too impenetrable on all sides, too profound among the depths, for people to reach it with their intellects, or to grasp it with their opinions, or to appoint an Imām by their choice. Verily, the Imāmate is that by which Allah, the Great and Almighty, has distinguished Ibrāhim, the bosom Friend (of Allah), after the Prophethood and the Intimacy, as a third degree, and an eminence with which He honored him and by which he raised his renown, and He (Allah) said: Behold! I make you an Imām (leader) for the people.[24]

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Then the bosom Friend (Ibrāhim) out of delight in it (the Imāmate) said: And of my progeny? Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: My covenant shall not reach the evil-doers. Thus, this verse has abolished the Imāmate (leadership) of all evil-doers till the Day of Resurrection, and it has been confined to the chosen ones. Then Allah, the Great and Almighty, honored him through confining the Imāmate to his children, who were chosen and purified (by Allah). So He, the Great and Almighty, said: And we gave him Ishāq and Ya‘qūb in superabundance, and everyone made We righteous and appointed them to be Imāms guiding by Our commands, and We revealed to them the doing of good deeds, and to perform the prayer, and to pay the zakāt, and us they served.[25] So it (the Imāmate) did not leave his children, who inherited it one by one, and generation after generation till Allah, the Great and Almighty, made the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, inherit it.

Hence He, the Great and Almighty, said: Surely the people standing closest to him (Ibrāhim) are those who followed him, and this Prophet, and those who believe; and Allah is the Master of the believers.[26] So it (the Imāmate) belonged to him (the Prophet) particularly, and hence he, may Allah bless him and his family, invested ‘Ali with it by the command of Allah, the Great and Almighty, in the way which Allah had made obligatory. So it became to be in his (‘Ali’s) chosen children, to whom Allah gave knowledge and faith, as in the words of Him, the Great and Almighty: But those who have been given knowledge and faith shall say: You have remained in Allah’s Book until the Day of Resurrection.[27] Thus it will be within the sons of ‘Ali, especially, till the Day of Resurrection, since there is no prophet after Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family. So from where have these ignorant people got (the right) to select?”

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In this part of his speech the Imām, peace be on him, presented that it was impossible for the community to elect someone for the office of Imāmate. In other words the office of the Imāmate is not subject to the will of the masses, who have no knowledge in the reality of the affairs and things; rather the affair of the Imāmate is in the hand of Allah, the Most High; it is He who elects, for the leadership of His servants, those who have excellent qualities such as reverential fear, clinging to religion, and knowledge which the community needs in all fields, that He may secure it noble life free from oppression, tyranny, persecutions, and poverty.

The affair of the Imāmate is in the hand of Allah, the Exalted, just as the Prophethood is, hence He granted it to the most meritorious of His servants, namely Ibrāhim the bosom Friend (of Allah), peace be on him, and then it (the Imāmate) was inherited by the best of his children such as Ishāq and Ya‘qūb, and then it was inherited by the master of the prophets, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who entrusted it to the gate of the city of his knowledge, the most meritorious of his community, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and then it was inherited by the pure Imāms from his (‘Ali’s) children whom Allah, the Most High, chose from among His creatures.

Now, let us move to another part of the speech of the Imām, peace be on him: “Verily, the Imāmate is the position of the prophets and heritage of the successors. Indeed, the Imāmate is the vicegerency (khilāfa) of Allah, the Great and Almighty and of the Messenger, station of the Commander of the faithful, and inheritance of al-Hasan and al-Husayn. Truly, the Imāmate is the reins of the religion, state of the orders of the Muslims, rectitude of the world and might of the believers.

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“Verily, the Imāmate is the growing root and lofty branch of Islam. Through the Imām the prayer, zakāt, fasting, hajj, and jihad are perfected; the general wealth (of the Muslims fayya’) and charity (sadaqāt) are increased; the prescribed punishments and the commands are put into practice; the frontier-posts and borders are protected.

“The Imām allows what Allah allows, prohibits what Allah prohibits, administers the prescribed punishments, defends the religion of Allah, and summons (men) to the way of his Lord with wisdom, good admonition, and strong proof.

“The Imām is like the rising sun which covers the world with its light and which is in the place where no hand or eye can reach. The Imām is the radiant moon, the shining lamp, the brilliant light, and the star that guides (men) in the pitch-black night, in the deserted regions and the high seas. The Imām is sweet water for the thirst, the pointer towards true guidance, and the deliverer from destruction. He who separates himself from him perishes.

“The Imām is the rain-bearing cloud, the rainfall that covers everywhere, the shining sun, the covering that shades, the prairie, the overflowing spring, the pool and the meadow. The Imām is the gentle, close friend, the sympathetic father, the blood-brother, the mother who is tender to her small child, a place of refuge for mankind from perilous disaster.

“The Imām is Allah’s custodian over His creation, His proof for His servants, His vicegerent in His lands, a summoner to Allah and the defender of Allah’s precincts.

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“The Imām is the one who is purified from sins, free from all shortcomings, characterized by knowledge, distinguished by forbearance, the state of the order of the religion, the might of the Muslims, the one who enrages the hypocrites, and the doom of unbelievers.

“The Imām is unique of his time, none can approach his rank, no man of knowledge is comparable to him; there is no one who can take his place; nor is there anyone similar to him or the same as him. He is characterized by every (kind of) eminence, without seeking it or acquiring it; rather, it is a characteristic form the Bestower of eminence, the All-giving. So who can arrive at the knowledge of the Imām, or have the ability to select him? How far! How far! Intellects have lost (themselves), imaginations have gone astray, minds have become perplexed, eyes have turned away, the great have been made small, the wise have confounded themselves, those who reflect forever fall short, orators falter, the intelligent have become ignorant, the poets have become expressionless, the prosodists have become incapable, and the eloquent stammer in describing one of his (the Imām’s) aspects, or one of his eminencies.

All of them have confessed their incapacity and inadequacy. How can his totality be described, and how his inner essence be characterized? How can anything concerning him be understood? Who can be found to take his place and to give what he can give? No! How and where? Since he is in the position of the star for the hands of those who grasp, and to the description of those who describe. What is the place of choice in this affair? What is the place of the intellects in this affair? Where can someone like this be found? Do you imagine that this can be found anywhere else but in the progeny of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. By Allah, they have lied to themselves; they have promised to themselves the impossible; they have climbed up to a difficult and dangerous height, (and) their feet will slip and fall to the bottom.”

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These parts of the Imām’s speech indicate that the Imām is very important, that he is the shadow of Allah on earth, that he carries out the interests and objectives of the community, that he administers the prescribed punishments, defends the fortified borderline cities, allows what is lawful, forbids what is unlawful, and applies the law of Allah, the Exalted, on the general life of the Muslims. It is certain that these original objectives and ideals cannot by carried out by anyone on the arena of life except the Imāms of guidance, peace be on them, whom the oppressive, tyrannical community removed from the places which Allah had given to them. Accordingly, the community has suffered various kinds of oppression and tyranny.

The Imām continued his speech concerning lauding the Imāms from ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, opposing the unjust rulers, and criticizing those who appointed them. He, peace be on him, said: “They want to appoint an Imām with (their) confused, unproductive and defective minds, and (their) misleading opinions. Nothing accrued to them but remoteness from him. May Allah fight them; how they are turned away! Surely, they are looking for a difficulty. They have uttered an untruth and have gone astray into far error; they have put themselves into confusion, for they have knowingly abandoned the Imām. And Satan made their works fairseeming to them, so he kept them back from the path, though they were endowed with intelligence and skill.

They have turned their back on the choice of Allah, the choice of the Messenger of Allah and his house hold, (and turned) to their own choice, whilst the Qur’ān has called them out: And Your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases; to choose is not theirs; glory belongs to Allah, and exalted be He above what they associate (with Him).[28] And Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: And behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter.[29] And He, the Great and Almighty, said: What has happened to you? How do you judge? Or have you a book wherein you read, that you have surely therein what you choose? Or have you received from Us an agreement confirmed by an oath extending to the day of resurrection that you shall surely have what you demand? Ask them which of them will vouch for that. Or have they associates? Then let them bring their associates if they are truthful.[30]

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“And He, the Great and Almighty, said: Do they not reflect the Qur’ān? Or is it that there are locks upon their hearts[31], or has Allah set a seal upon their hearts, so they understand not, or they said: We hear, and they do not obey. Surely the evilest of animals, in Allah’s sight, are the deaf, the dumb, who do not understand[32], or they said: We have heard and disobeyed.[33] But that is the bounty of Allah; He gives it to whom He wills, and Allah is of bounty abounding.[34]

“How can they have (the right) to choose an Imām? Since the Imām is a man of knowledge; he is not ignorant (of anything), a shepherd who does not shirk (his duty), a mine of sanctity and purity, of piety and renunciation, of knowledge and worship. He is the one specifically mentioned in the supplication of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and he is of the progeny of (Fātima), the purified, the chaste. Aspersion cannot be cast on him in relation to his parentage, none can approach him in ancestry (or nobility: hasab). He is in the noble house of Quraysh, at the summit of (Banū) Hāshim, of the family of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and the one accepted by Allah, the Great and Almighty. He is the noblest of the noble and the true branch of ‘Abd Manāf (the father of Hāshim and Umayya); the one whose knowledge forever grows and whose patience is perfect, who is completely acquainted with the Imāmate, entirely knowledgeable in statesmanship. Obedience to him is obligatory, the one who establishes the affair of Allah, the Great and Almighty. He is the sincere adviser to the servants of Allah, and the protector of the religion of Allah.

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“Truly, Allah accommodates the prophets and the Imāms, the blessings of Allah be upon them, (to the right path). He gives them of His stored knowledge and wisdom, which He does not give to anyone else. Thus their knowledge is far above the knowledge of the people of their time, as He, the Exalted, says: Is He then Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge? I, and as He, the Great and Almighty, says: And whoever is given the wisdom, he indeed is given a great good.[35] Also what He says about Tālūt (Saul): Verily, Allah has chosen him over you, and has increased him broadly in knowledge and body. Allah gives the kingship to whom He wills, and Allah is All-embracing, All-knowing.[36] And He, the Great and Almighty, said to His Prophet: And Allah’s bounty to you was great.[37] And He, the Great and Almighty, said concerning the Imām from among his Household, his family, and his progeny: Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given to them of His bounty? Yet We gave the progeny of Ibrāhim the Book and the Wisdom, and We gave them a mighty kingdom. So some of them (i.e. , the envious) is he who believes in him, and of them who turns away from him, and hell is sufficient to turn.[38]

“Verily, when Allah, the Great and Almighty, selects a servant for the affairs of His servants, He expands his breast for them; He entrusts to his heart the fountains of wisdom, and profoundly inspires him with knowledge. So, after this, he does not stammer in answers, and he does not deviate from the truth in them. Thus, he is infallible and supported by Allah; he is accommodated (to the right path, and his steps being) firmly guided; he will be safe from errors, slips and stumbling. Allah distinguishes him by this, because he is His proof over His servants, and His witness over His creatures that is the bounty of Allah, He gives it to whom He wills, and Allah is of bounty abounding. So do they have the power to do the like of this, so that they can choose him? Or can the one whom they choose have this attribution so that they may prefer him? By the House of Allah, they have transgressed against the truth; they have rejected the Book of Allah behind their backs as though they did not know; and in the Book of Allah there is guidance and cure. So they have rejected it, and they have followed their own desires. Therefore, Allah has found fault with them, detested them and cats them down, as He, the Great and Almighty, says: And who is further astray than he who follows his own caprice without guidance from Allah. Surely, Allah does not guide the unjust people.[39] And He, the Great and Almighty, said: Ill chance shall befall them; He will send their works astray.[40] And He, the Great and Almighty, says: Verily, hateful is that in the sight of Allah and the believers; so Allah sets a seal on every heart proud, arrogant.[41]”[42]

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This holy tradition is the firmest and most inclusive proof of the necessity of the Imāmate. It shows that the Imāmate is the most important office in Islam, and that it is not subject to the choice and election of the community; rather, its affair is in the hand of the Great Creator, for it is He who appoints and elects the best of His creatures for this important office, that such a creature may establish among men pure justice and truth, and that he may rule them through the policy of the greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.

2. The Marks of the Imām

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, stated a tradition about the marks and qualities of the Imām. He has been mentioned in the tradition: “The Imām has marks: he is the most knowledgeable of the people, the wisest of them, the most pious of them, the most clement of them, the bravest of them, the most munificent of them, and the most worshipful of them.[43]”

The Imām should have these marks and qualities so that he is appropriate for leading the community and raising its economic and social levels.

3. The Imāms are the Vicegerents of Allah

Abū Mas‘ūd al-Ja‘fari narrated, saying: [I heard Imām Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, say:] “The Imāms are the vicegerents of Allah, the Great and Almighty, on His earth.[44]”

Without doubt, the Imāms of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on him, are the vicegerents of Allah on His earth, His proofs over His servants, and entrusted by Him with His land, hence it is they who lead this community and guide it to the good pleasure of Allah, the Most High, and obedience to Him.

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Footnote

[1] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 99.

[2] Ibid., pp. 101-102.

[3] The similitude which is negated from Allah, the Exalted, is in the essence not in the names and utterances, for they are applied to Him, the Most High, and to other than Him; it is correct to apply the 'one' to Allah, the Exalted, and man.

[4] Qur'ān, 23, 14.

[5] Ibid., 21, 22.

[6] Ibid., 23, 91.

[7] Ibid., 35, 37.

[8] Ibid., 6, 28.

[9] Al-Tawhid, pp. 60-65.

[10] Ibid., p. 98. Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 105.

[11] Qur'ān, 6, 19.

[12] Al-Tawhid, p. 107.

[13] Ibid., 130.

[14] Qur'ān, 13, 33.

[15] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, pp. 120-123.

[16] Ibid., p. 88.

[17] Ibid., p. 96-97.

[18] Ibid., 157.

[19] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 144.

[20] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, pp. 160-161.

[21] Ibid., p. 157.

[22] Qur'ān, 6, 38.

[23] Ibid., 5, 3. This Verse was revealed on the day of 'Īd al-Ghadir (Feast on 18th Dhu al-Hijja), the immortal day when the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed Imām 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, as a leader for his community after him. And al-Ghadir 'Īd is part of the Islamic message.

[24] Ibid., 2, 121.

[25] Ibid., 21, 72-73.

[26] Ibid., 3, 68.

[27] Ibid., 30, 56.

[28] Ibid., 28, 68.

[29] Ibid., 33, 36.

[30] Ibid., 68, 36-41.

[31] Ibid., 47, 24.

[32] Ibid., 8, 21-23.

[33] Ibid., 2, 93.

[34] Ibid., 57, 21.

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[35] Ibid., 2, 269.

[36] Ibid., 2, 247.

[37] Ibid., 4, 113.

[38] Ibid., 4, 54-55.

[39] Ibid., 28, 50.

[40] Ibid., 47, 8.

[41] Ibid., 40, 35.

[42] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, pp. 216-222. Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 199.

[43] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 213.

[44] Usūl al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 193.

CHAPTER VIII

ON THE HOLY QUR’ ĀN

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was the companion of the Qur’ān; he always recited it, carefully considered its verses, and found in reciting it a unique pleasure in the world. The narrators said: “All his speech was directly affected by the Qur’ān, so his answers and examples were derivations from it.[1]” He was so fond of the Qur’ān that he completed it (a time) every three days, and he said: “If I wanted to complete it (a time) in less than three days, I would do, but, when I pass by a verse, I reflect on its meaning, concerning which thing and in which time it was revealed. For this reason I complete the Qur’ān (a time) every three days.[2]” This means that he most times was busy reciting the Holy Qur’ān, absorbed in interpreting it and the causes of the revelation of its verses.

The historians have said: “He (Imām al-Ridā) recited many (suras of) the Qur’ān on his bed at night. When he passed by a verse in which the Garden and the Fire had been mentioned, he wept, asked Allah for the Garden, and sought refuge in Him from the Fire.[3]”

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Before we present some examples of his interpretations on some verses, we would like to mention some points relating to the subject:

His Mentioning some Words

When the Imām, peace be on him, recited some verses of the Holy Qur’ān, he mentioned some words at the end of them. The following are some of these suras:

1. Surat al-Tawhid: When he had finished reciting Surat al-Tawhid, he mentioned at the end of it these words of him: “Kadhālika Allahu rabbanā.” (Such is Allah, our Lord!) He mentioned these words three times.

2. Surat al-Jahd: After he had finished reciting Surat al-Jahd, he said three times: “Rabbiya Allah wa diniya al-Islam.” (My Lord is Allah and my religion is Islam!)

3. Surat al-Tin: When he had finished reciting it, he said: “Balā wa anā ‘alā dhālika mina al-shāhidin.” (Yes, and I am one of those who bear witness to that!)

4. Surat al-Qiyāma: After he had recited Surat al-Qiyāma, he said: “Subhānaka Allāhuma.” (I glorify You, O Allah, with a glorification after a glorification!)

5. Surat al-Fātiha: Having finished reciting Surat al-Fātiha, he said: “Al-hamudu lil lāhi rAbūl ‘ālamin.” (Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

6. Surat Sabbih Isma Rabūka: After he had finished reciting this Sura, he said: “Subhāna Rabbi al-a‘lā.” (Glory belongs to my Lord, the Most High.)[4]

Al-Bassmala

In a group of his traditions, the Imām, peace be on him, dealt with some affairs of al-bassmala (i.e., in the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful). The following are some of them:

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A. The importance of al-bassmala

Al-bassmala has a special importance with the Imāms of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. It was narrated on the authority of Imām Abū Ja‘far, peace be on him, who said: “The first (part) of every Book which was sent down from the heaven is Bismil lāhir rahmānir rahim

(in the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful).” It was also narrated on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “It (al-bassmala) is nearer to the Greatest Name of Allah than the iris to the eye.[5]”

B. Al-bassmala is part of the Sura

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “Al-bassmala is part of the suras of the Holy Qur’ān.” It was narrated that it was said to Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him: “Tell us about Bismil lāhir rahmānir rahim: Is it part of the Opening Sura of the Book (Fatihat al-Kitāb)?” “Yes,” he replied, “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, recited it and regarded it as a verse of it, and he said: ‘Fatihat al-Kitāb is the seven oft-repeated verses (al-Sab‘ al-Mathāni).’[6]”

C. Reciting al-bassmala in a loud voice in prayer

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, recited al-bassmala in a loud voice in all his prayers by day and night[7], and he criticized those who recited it a low voice, saying: “What is the matter with them? May Allah fight them! They resorted to the greatest verse in the Book of Allah, and they claimed that it was a heresy when they recited it in a loud voice.[8]”

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Examples of his Interpreting the Qur’ān

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, took great care of in interpreting the Holy Qur’ān.

interpreters of the Qur’ān

He devoted his attention to it in his lectures and researches which he gave to the jurists, the religious scholars, and the rest of his students, and which were transmitted by the narrators and the interpreters of the Qur’ān. The following are some of them:

1. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and there is a covering over their eyes, and there is a great punishment for them.[9]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “Al-khatm means setting a seal upon the hearts of the unbelievers as a punishment for their unbelief.[10]”

2. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Their parable is like the parable of one who kindled a fire, but when it had illumined all around him, Allah took away their light, and left them in utter darkness they do not see.[11]”

In his explanation of these words of Him, the Most High: And left them in utter darkness they do not see, the Imām, peace be on him, said: “Verily, Allah cannot be described by ‘leaving’ as He has described His creatures, but when He comes to know that they do not withdraw from unbelief and error, He deprives them of (His) help and favor, and He leaves them along with their choice.[12]”

3. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.[13]”

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‘Abd al-Salām b. Sālih al-Harawi asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, tell me about the tree of which Ādam and Hauwā’ (Eve) ate: What was it? For the people have differed over it. Some of them narrate that it was wheat; others narrate that it was a grapevine; others narrate that it was the tree of envy.”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “All these narrations are true.”

“What are the meanings of these different views?” asked ‘Abd al-Salām.

“O Ibn al-Salt (i.e. ‘Abd al-Salām),” replied the Imām, “surely, the tree of the Garden bears kinds (of fruit). It was the wheat tree and there were grapes on it; it was not like the trees of the world.[14]”

Imām al-Sabzwāri commented on this narration, saying: “Without doubt the (tree) was in the Garden. If it was in the world, then it would have a characteristic different from the characteristics (of the trees) in all the gardens of the world. The concourse (tazāhum) and contradiction (tanāfi) were little in that Garden or they were nonexistent, so it is right that one of the trees of the Garden bore kinds (of fruit).[15]”

4. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And when you said: O Mūsā, we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you while you look on.[16]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “They (i.e. those who said these words to Mūsā) were the seventy (persons) whom Mūsā chose, and they went with him to the mountain and said to him: ‘You have seen Allah, so let us see Him as you have seen Him.’ Hence he said to them: ‘I have not seen him, so they said to him: we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly.’[17]”

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5. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And when Mūsā said to his people: Surely Allah commands you that you should sacrifice a cow; they said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek the protection of Allah from being one of the ignorant. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. Mūsā said: He says: Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this); therefore, do what you are commanded. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Mūsā said: He says: Surely she is a yellow cow; her color is intensely yellow; giving delight to the beholders. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah wills we shall surely be guided aright. He said: He says: surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plow the land; nor does she irrigate the tilth, sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth; so they sacrificed her, though they had not the mind to do (it).[18]”

The Imām, peace be on him, gave an explanation of them, and Ahmed b. Abū Nasr al-Bizanti has narrated his explanation of them, saying: [I heard Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā say:] “Surely, a man from among the children of Isrā’il killed a relative of him, and then he threw him on the path of the best tribe of the children of Isrā’il, and then he came and demanded his blood. So they said to Mūsā, peace be on him: ‘The tribe of the family of so-and-so killed so-and-so, so tell us: Who killed him?’ He (Mūsā) said: ‘Bring me a cow.’ They said:

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Do you ridicule us?He said:I seek the protection of Allah from being one of the ignorant. If they had sacrificed a cow, the cow would have been sufficient for them (i.e. for solving their matter), but they were strict,hence Allah was strict with them.Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is.

Mūsā said: He says: Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this), namely she was neither old nor too young, of middle age between that (and this). If they had resorted to any cow, it would have been sufficient for them, but they were stern, so Allah was stern with them. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Mūsā said: He says: Surely she is a yellowcow; her color is intensely yellow; giving delight to the beholders. If they had resorted to any cow (and sacrifice it), it would have been sufficient for them, but they were severe, so Allah was severe with them.

They said:Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright.He said: He says:surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plow the land, nor does she irrigate the tilth, sound,without a blemish in her. They said:Now you have brought the truth;so they sacrificed her,though they had not the mind to do (it). They looked for her and found her with a young man from the children of Isrā’il, who said: ‘I will not sell her except for gold equal to its weight.’ They came to Mūsā, peace be on him, and told him about that, and he said: ‘Buy her.’

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They bought her and brought her (to him), and he ordered her to be sacrificed, and then he ordered the dead one to be hit with her tail. When they had done that, the killed one was brought to life, and he said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, my cousin had killed me, and not the one who has been accused of murdering me!’ Through that they came to know the murderer. Then a companion of Mūsā, the Messenger of Allah, said: ‘This cow has a story.’ ‘What is the story?’ asked Mūsā. The companion replied: ‘They said: A young man from among the children of Isrā’il was obedient to his father. He bought a thing and came to his father. He found the keys under his head, so he hated to waken him, hence he left that thing. His father woke, and he told him about that. So his father said to him: Well done! (Take) this cow as a compensation for that which had escaped you.’ The companion said: So Mūsā, Allah’s Messenger, said to me: ‘Reflect on the degree which the men of obedience have reached!’[19]”

6. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harūt and Marūt, yet these two taught no man until they had said: ‘Surely we are only a trial; therefore, do not be a unbeliever.[20]’”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “As for Harūt and Marūt, they were two angels. They taught men magic, that they might protect themselves from the magic of the magicians and disprove their deception. They did not teach anyone anything of that except they said to him: Surely we are only a trial; therefore, do not be a unbeliever; yet a group of people disbelieved through their using that from which they were ordered to protect themselves, and through it they began separating between husband and his wife. Hence, Allah, the Most High, said: ‘And they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah’s permission.[21]’”

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7. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “But if you are prevented, (send) whatever offering is easy to obtain[22],” the Imām, peace be on him, said: “It means a sheep, and this has been appointed according to the least of the people in ability, that the poor and the rich can (offer it).[23]”

8. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And when he turns back, he runs along in the land that he may cause mischief in it and destroy the tilth and the stock.[24]”

They were revealed concerning al-Akhnas b. Shurayk, the ally of the children of Zahra, who went to Medina, met the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, there and said to him: “I have come to believe in Islam, and Allah knows that I am truthful.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, admired him. However, when al-Akhnas left the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, he passed by plants and donkeys of a Muslim group. As a result he burnt the plants and slaughtered the donkeys.[25]” As for Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, said: “Al-nasl means offspring and al-harth means plants.[26]” (Please, see the Arabic text in the Holy Qur’ān.)

9. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “They do not wait aught but that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds along with the angels, and the matter has (already) been decided; and (all) matters are returned to Allah.[27]”

Ibn Faddāl asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he answered: “They do not wait aught but that Allah along with the angels should come to them in the shadows of the clouds, in this manner the verse was revealed.” As regarding these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: “And your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks[28]”, he , peace be on him, said: ‘Surely Allah cannot be described by coming and going, Allah is far above movement. Rather, by that He means that the command of your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks.[29]” Al-Sayyid al-Sabzwāri commented on this explanation of the Imām, saying: “What has been mentioned in the tradition about the holy verse is very good, just as he, peace be on him, explained the ambiguous verses. As for these words of him, peace be on him: In this manner it was revealed means the clarifying and interpretative revelation in the heart of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.[30]”

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10. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And when Ibrāhim said: My Lord, show me how You give live to the dead. He said: What! and do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease.[31]”

Safwān b. Yahyā asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him: “Was there any doubt in Ibrāhim’s heart?” “No,” replied the Imām, “he was certain, but he wanted Allah to increase his certitude.[32]”

11. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of ‘Umrān above the nations. Offspring, one of the other.[33]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, mentioned this sacred verse when al-Ma’mūn asked him: “Did Allah prefer (the Prophet’s) family to the rest of the community?” He, peace be on him, replied: “Surely, Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made clear the excellence of (the Prophet’s) family over the rest of men in the firm text of His Book.” “Where is that in the Book of Allah?” asked al-Ma’mūn. The Imām, peace be on him, answered: “In these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: Surely Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of ‘Umrān above the nations. Offspring, one of the other.” Certainly, the Prophet’s family belongs to Ibrāhim’s family, for Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, is one of Ibrāhim’s children, and his family belongs to him.[34] The speech of the Imām, peace be on him, is not part of interpretation; rather it is part of the conclusion through the surface structure of the verse about what he has mentioned.

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12. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And when Allah said: O ‘Īsā, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto me.[35]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “No matter of the Allah’s prophets and His proofs over men was vague except that of ‘Īsā, for Allah caused him to ascend unto Him alive from the earth. He made him die between the earth and the heaven, and then He caused him ascend unto Him, and then He returned his soul to him. That is according to these words of Him, and when Allah said: O ‘Īsā, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto me and purify you of those who disbelieve. Allah has given an account of ‘Īsā, who will say on the Day of Resurrection: And I was a witness of them as long as I was among them, but when You did cause me to die, You are the watcher over them, and You are witness of all things.[36]”

Al-Sayyid al-Sabzwāri commented on this tradition, saying: “The tradition indicates that ‘Īsā, peace be on him, had died before Allah caused him ascend unto Him to the heaven, and through this we can bring together all the statements to impose the authenticity of the tradition, which demonstrates that Allah made him die between the heaven and the earth, and then He returned his soul to him, and cause him ascend unto him.[37]”

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13. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “They are (varying) grades with Allah, and Allah sees what they do.”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, interpreted the grades and the difference among the Allah-fearing on the Day of Resurrection, saying: “The grade which is between the heaven and the earth.[38]” Definitely, the grades between the good and the righteous are very different; therefore, the grade of the prophets is other than that of the Allah-fearing; the grade of the Allah-fearing is other that of the good, and so on.

14. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “You shall certainly be tried respecting your wealth and your souls.[39]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “You shall certainly be tried respecting your wealth trough paying zakāt (alms), and your souls through adjusting (them) to endurance.[40]”

15. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “O you who believe, be patient and excel in patience [41],” the Imām, peace be on him, said: “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, a caller will call out: ‘Where are the patient?’ A group of people will stand up.” So a companion of his asked him: “Who are the patient?” He, peace be on him, replied: “(It is they who are patient) toward performing the religious duties, and who excel in patience toward refraining from the forbidden things.[42]”

16. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four.[43]”

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This sacred verse is a proof of that it is permissible for man to marry four women, apart from allowing the woman to do that. The Imām, peace be on him, talked about the wisdom and interests in this legislation. He, peace be on him, said: “The cause of that (it is lawful) for man to marry four women, and that it is unlawful for woman to marry more than one (man is as follows): If man marries four women, the child will belong to him. If woman has two or more husbands, none will know to whom the child belongs, for they all take part in having intercourse with her, and this corrupts lineage, inheritances, and acquaintances.[44]”

17. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Allah desires to explain to you and to guide you into the ways of those before you.[45]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was asked about the will of the servants and the will of Allah, the Exalted, and he replied: “The will of the servants is the pronoun and the action which appears after that. As for the will of Allah, it creates the verb; He only says (to the thing): ‘Be, and it is without any tiredness and howness.’[46]”

18. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Men are maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property.[47]”

The Imām, peace be on him, quoted this verse in his answering Mohammed b. Sinān when he asked him about the cause of giving woman the half of the inheritance which is given to man. He, peace be on him, replied: “The cause of giving woman the half of the inheritance which is given to man is that when woman marries, she takes and man gives, for this reason He saves men (something).

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“Yet there is another cause of giving male the half of that which is given to female. The cause is that the female is among the family of the male when she needs (something), and it is obligatory on him to maintain her, whilst it is not obligatory on her to maintain him nor to spend on him when he needs (something), for this reason He spares men (something), and that is these words of Him, the Most High: Men are maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded.[48]”

19. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners.[49]”

Barid al-‘Ijjli asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he, peace be on him, answered: “They are the Imāms from the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, (who) should make over the trust to those after them, should not singled out other than

them with it, and should not withhold it from them.[50]”

This narration is evidence for that the matter of the Imāmate is in the hand of Allah, the Most High, and that Imāmate is a trust with the Imām. When he dies, he should entrust it to the Imām appointed by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and should not entrust it to any person.

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20. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And Allah took Ibrāhim as a friend.[51]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, said: “I heard my father narrate on the authority of his father, peace be on him, that he said: ‘Allah took Ibrāhim as a friend because he (Ibrāhim) did not refuse (the request of) anyone and never asked anyone except Allah, the Great and Almighty.[52]”

21. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And indeed He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s communications disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse.[53]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “When you hear a person denies the truth, accuses it of lying, and attacks its people, then leave him and do not sit with him.[54]”

22. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And Allah by no means gives the unbelievers a way against the believers.[55]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “Allah by no means gives the unbelievers an argument against the believers. Allah, the Most High, gave an account of some unbelievers who killed their prophet without any right, and though they killed him, Allah by no means gave them a way against His prophets.[56]”

23. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and He shall requite their deceit to them.[57]”

He, peace be on him, said: “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, does not deceive (them), but He punishes them for their deception.[58]”

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24. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be banished.[59]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was asked: “When does a person deserve one of these four punishments?”

He, peace be on him, replied: “When he wages war against Allah and His apostle and strives to make mischief in the land and kills (someone), he should be murdered. If he kills (someone) and takes (his) property, then he should be murdered and crucified. If he takes the property and does not kill (someone), his hand and his feet should be cut off on opposite sides. If he draws the sword, wages war against Allah and His apostle, strives to make mischief in the land, but he does not kill (someone) nor does he take the property, he should be banished.”

I (the asker) asked: “How is the person banished, and what is the period of his banishment?”

He, peace be on him, answered: “He is banished from the city in which he does what he does, and it is written to the people of that city that the person is banished, so do not sit with him nor deals with him nor marry him nor eat with him nor drink with him. This is done toward him for a year, but if he comes out that city to other than it, then it is written to them in the same manner until the year terminates.”

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I (the asker) asked: “If he heads for the land of polytheism in order to enter it?”

“If he heads for the land of polytheism in order to enter it, then a war should be waged against its people,” answered the Imām.[60]

25. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “O you who believe, do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you.[61]”

The Imām, peace be on him, quoted this verse in his answer to the questions of Ahmed b. Mohammed. He, peace be on him, said: “Have you not been prohibited from many questions, but you have refused this prohibition? Beware of that, for those before you perished because of their several questions. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said: O you who believe, do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you.[62]”

26. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Say: He is only one Allah, and surely I am clear of that which you set up (with him).[63]”

He, peace be on him, said: “The people has three creeds concerning Allah’s Oneness: negation, comparison, and establishment without any comparison. The creed of negation is not permissible; the creed of comparison is not permissible, for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is not likened to anything; and the way is the third creed: establishment without any comparison.”

Al-Sayyid al-Tabataba’i made clear these three creeds, saying: “The creed of negation means negating the meanings of the attributes from Him, the Exalted, as the Mu‘tazilites say, and in its meaning returning the negative attributes to negating what opposes them, just as we say that the meaning of the powerful is not feeble, the meaning of the knowledgeable is not ignorant; yet one should resort to what he (the Imām), peace be on him, has mentioned about the third creed.

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“The creed of comparison means that He, the Most High, is likened to other than Him, and there is nothing like him, namely it must be established for Him the limited meaning of the attribute which is in us and which is different from other attributes, namely His power is like that of us, His knowledge is like that of us, and so on. If His attributes are like those of us, then He is in need (of things) just as we are in need (of them); therefore, He is not Necessary (Being), far is He above that!

“The creed of establishment without any comparison means that it must be established for Him the original meaning of the attribute and negated from Him the characteristic which makes Him be compared to the possible creatures, namely the attribute is established and the limit is negated.[64]”

27. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “We have not neglected anything in the Book.[65]”

The Imām, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following speech of him. He, peace be on him, said: “Surely Allah, the Great and Almighty, did not make our Prophet die until He perfected the religion for him and sent down to him the Qur’ān, in which there is the explanation of all things: the lawful, the unlawful, the prescribed punishments, the precepts, and all what the people need in perfection. Hence Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: We have not neglected anything in the Book.[66]”

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28. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “When the night covered him, he saw a star. He said: This is my Lord.[67]”

Al-Ma’mūn asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the infallibility of the prophets, and he answered him that they were infallible, but al-Ma’mūn opposed him through this verse, saying: “How did he (Ibrāhim) say to the star, this is my Lord? This contradicts infallibility.” So the Imām, peace be on him, answered him through the following:

“Surely Ibrāhim lived in a society where three types of worship dominated: the worship of Venus, the worship of the moon, and the worship of the sun. That was when he came out of the cave where he was concealed. When the night covered him, he saw Venus and said: This is my Lord. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it). When it (the star) set, he said: I do not love those that set. That this because setting is an attribute of the created not of the Eternal (Being). When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: This is my Lord.

He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it). But when it (the moon) set, he said: Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among those who go astray. He said: ‘Unless my Lord had guided me, I would have been among those who went astray.’ When he entered upon morning and saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: This is my Lord; this is the greatest of Venus and the moon. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it), not to tell them about it and not to admit it (as a lord). When it (the sun) set, he said to the three types of men who worshipped Venus, the moon, and the sun: O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of ascribing partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I attribute partners (to Allah).

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“By the virtue of what he said, Ibrāhim simply wanted to indicate to them the invalidity of their religion and to establish to them that worship did not belong to those things like Vinus, the moon, and the sun; rather it belonged to their Creator and the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The argument which he used against his people was among what Allah had inspired in him and given to him, just as Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: And this was Our argument which We gave to Ibrāhim against his people.”

Al-Ma’mūn admired this decisive answer of the Imām, hence he said to him: “How good you are, O son of Allah’s Messenger![68]”

29. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright, He expands his breast for Islam.[69]”

Sulaymān al-Nishābūri asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he answered him: “Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright to faith in Him in the world and to His Garden and the Abode of His Dignity in the hereafter, He expands his breast for submission to Him, confidence in Him, and trust in the reward which He has promised, that he may rely on Him. And (for) whomsoever He intends that He should cause him to err from His Garden and the Abode of His Dignity because of his unbelief in Him and his disobedience to Him in the world, He makes his breast strait and narrow as though he were ascending upwards; thus does Allah lay uncleanness on those who do not believe.[70]”

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Other interpreters of the Qur’ān

30. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions.[71]”

The Imām, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following talk of him: Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr narrated; he said: [Imām al-Ridā said to me:] “What do you say about coarse clothes?”

I (i.e. Ahmed b. Mohammed) replied: “I was told that al-Hasan wore (coarse garments), and that Ja’far b. Mohammed took the new garment and ordered it to be dipped into the water.”

So he, peace be on him, said: “Wear and beautify (your self), for ‘Ali b. al-Husayn wore silk-like jubbah (long garment) (which he bought) for five hundred dirhams, and silk-like cloak (which he bought) for fifty dinars, and he spent winter (wearing) it. When winter terminated, he sold it and gave the money as alms. Then he recited this verse: Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions.[72]”

31. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And recite to them the narrative of him to whom We gave our communications, but he withdraws himself from them, so the Shaitan overtakes him, so he is of those who go astray.[73]”

He, peace be on him, said: “The Greatest Name was given to Bal‘am b. Bā‘ūr. He supplicated with it and (his supplication) was accepted. Then he inclined to Fir‘oun (Pharaoh). When Fir‘oun ordered Mūsā and his followers to be arrested, he said to Bal‘am: ‘Invoke Allah against Mūsā and his followers, that He may withhold him from us.’ So Bal‘am rode his she-ass and began lashing her. Allah, the Great and Almighty, made the she-ass speak, and she said to Bal‘am: ‘Woe unto you! Why are lashing me? Do you want me to go with you, that you may invoke against Allah’s Prophet and the believing people?’ He went on lashing her until he killed her, so he (the Greatest Name) withdrew himself from his tongue, and that is these words of Him: But he withdraws himself from them, so the Shaitan overtakes him, so he is of those who go astray, and If We had pleased, We would certainly have exalted him thereby; but he clung to the earth and followed his low desire, so his parable is as the parable of the dog; if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue; and if you leave him alone, he lolls out his tongue. And this is a parable which Allah has set forth.[74]”

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32. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “O you who belive, when you meet those who disbelieve marching for war, then turn not your backs to them.[75]”

He, peace be on him, said: “Allah has prohibited escaping from

fighting in His path, for it leads to undermining the religion; disdaining the just prophets and Imāms; leaving helping them against the enemies who should be punished for their leaving professing the Lord to whom they are summoned, (and who are summoned to)

establishing justice, leaving oppression, and deadening corruption.

Moreover it encourages the enemies to (attack) the Muslims, and (this attack) results in murdering (them), taking them as prisoners, and abolishing the religion of Allah, the Great and Almighty, and (this attack leads to) other corrupt things.[76]”

33. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And wherefore was there not a town which should believe so that their belief should have profited them but the people of Yunus? When they believed, We removed from them the chastisement of disgrace in this world’s life and We gave them provision till a time.[77]”

The Imām, peace be on him, mentioned the story of the people of Yūnus when Allah raised the punishment from them. He, peace be on him, said: “Allah ordered Yunus to inform his people of His punishment, and he informed them. So they separated themselves from their children, the livestock and their young, and then they supplicated to Allah and sacrificed, hence Allah held back the punishment from them.[78]”

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34. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And if I intend to give you good advice, my advice will not profit you if Allah intended that He should leave you to go astray.[79]”

Nūh, peace be on him, told his people about the meaning of this sacred verse, and Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, commented on that, saying: “The affair belongs to Allah, who guides (men) and leaves (them) to go astray.[80]”

35. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “He said: O Nuh, surely he is not of your family; surely he is (the doer of) other than good deeds.[81]”

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washshā’ narrated on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: [I heard him say:] “My father said: Abū ‘Abd Allah, peace be on him, said: Surely, Allah, the Great and Almighty, said to Nūh: He is not of your family. For he (Nūh’s son) was disobedient, and He (Allah) regarded those who followed him (Nūh) as part of his family.”

He (i.e. al-Hasan al-Washshā’) said : “He (Imām al-Ridā) asked me: ‘How do they read this verse concerning Nūh’s son?’”

I (i.e. al-Hasan al-Washshā’) said : “The people read it in two ways: innahu ‘amal­, they have regarded it as infinitive; and innahu ‘amila­, they have regarded it as a past verb.”

So the Imām said: “They have told a lie. He is Nuh’s son, but Allah negated him when he opposed his (Nuh’s) religion.”

Al-Sayyid al-Tabātabā’i said:“The meant thing by reciting the verse is its interpretation; and the narrator, through mentioning both recitations, refers to the interpretation of him who interpreted the verse that Nūh’s wife gave birth to the son from other than him, so He added him to his bed (him).[82]”

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36. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High, “And (with passionate lust) did she desire him, and would have desired her.[83]”

‘Ali b. al-Jahm asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, in the presence of an assembly: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, do you believe in the infallibility of the prophets?”

“Yes,” replied the Imām.

“What do you say about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And (with passionate lust) did she desire him, and would have desired her?” asked ‘Ali b. al-Jahm.

The Imām, peace be on him, answered: “She (i.e. Zulaykha) wanted to commit a sin while he desired to kill her if she forced him; therefore, Allah saved him from the deed of killing her and its terrible consequences, and this is His words, the Great and Almighty: Thus (it was) that We might turn away from him evil and indecency, meaning killing and fornication.[84]”

37. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “He said: You shall sow for seven years continuously, then what you reap leave it in its ear except a little of which you eat.[85]”

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali b. al-Yās narrated: [I heard Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, say:] “Yusuf began collecting and storing seeds in the treasures during the seven fertile years. When those years terminated and the arid ones came, Yusuf began selling the seeds. In the first year he sold (the seeds) to them for the dirham and the dinar, to the extent that he possessed all the dirhams and the dinars in Egypt and the neighboring regions.

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“In the second year he sold (seeds) to them for the ornaments and jewels, to the extent that he possessed all the ornaments and jewels in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the third year he sold (seeds) to them for livestock, to the extent that he possessed all the livestock in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the fourth year he sold (seeds) to them for the male and female slaves, to the extent that he possessed all the male and female slaves in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the fifth year he sold (seeds) to them for the houses and courtyards, to the extent that he possessed all the house and courtyards in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the sixth year he sold (seeds) to them for the farms and the rivers, to the extent that he possessed all the farms and the rivers in Egypt and the neighboring regions. And in the seventh year he sold (seeds) to them for themselves, to the extent that he possessed all the slaves and the free in Egypt and the neighboring regions.

“He possessed their free (men) and their slaves and their properties, so the people said: ‘We have never heard that Allah gave wisdom, knowledge, and direction to a king as He has given to this king.’ Then Yusuf asked the King: ‘What is your view concerning the property of Egypt and the neighboring regions which Allah has entrusted to me?’”

“‘Advise us through your view,’ demanded Yusuf, ‘for I have not put them right, that I may corrupt them; nor have I saved them from the tribulation, that it may be a tribulation against them.

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However, it was Allah who has saved them at my hand.’ The King said: ‘My view agrees with your view.’ Yusuf said: ‘Surely I call Allah to witness and call you, O King, to witness that I have released all the people of Egypt, returned to them their properties and their slaves, returned to you your kingdom, your ring, your throne, and your crown, provided that you should follow nothing except my example and decide nothing except through my decision.’

“The king said: ‘Surely that is my repentance and pride, that I will follow nothing except your example and decide nothing except your decision. Had it not been for you, I would have not undertaken them; nor would I have found the right way to Him. I witness that there is no god except Allah, the One with whom there is no associate, and that you are His Apostle; therefore, undertake that over which I have appointed, surely you are in our presence today an honorable, a faithful one.’[86]”

38. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “He said: Place me (in authority) over the treasures of the land, surely I am a good keeper, knowing well.[87]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse during his talk with a man who asked him: “May Allah set you right, how have you become the heir apparent of al-Ma’mūn?”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, denied his accepting the regency after al-Ma’mūn. Then he asked the man: “Who is better ¾the Prophet or the testamentary trustee?”

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“No, the Prophet,” replied the man.

“Who is better ?the Muslim or the polytheist?”

“No, rather the Muslim,” answered the man.

Then the Imām, peace be on him, stated a decisive argument, saying: “The Chief of Egypt was a polytheist, and Yusuf was a prophet. Al-Ma’mūn is a Muslim, and I am a testamentary trustee. Yusuf asked the Chief to entrust him with an office, to the extent that he said to him: Place me (in authority) over the treasures of the land, surely I am a good keeper, knowing well. As for al-Ma’mūn, he has forced me to be his heir apparent.”

Then the Imām explained the words of Him, the Most High: “Surely I am a good keeper, knowing well,” saying: “He (Yusuf) kept that which was in his hand, and he was knowing well at every language.[88]”

39. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “They said: If he steals, a brother of his did indeed steal before; but Yusuf kept it secret in his heart and did not disclose it to them.[89]”

He, peace be on him, said: “Ishāq (Isaac), the prophet, had a belt which the prophets and the great figures inherited, and the belt was with Yusuf’s aunt; and Yusuf was with her, and she loved him. So his father sent for her: ‘Send him (Yusuf) to me, and I will return him to you.’ She sent for him: ‘Leave him with me this night, that I may kiss him and send him to you in the early morning. When she entered upon morning, she took the belt and tied it round his loin, clothed him in a shirt, send him to him, and said: ‘He (Yusuf) has stolen the belt, and I have found it with him.’ In that time, when someone stole (something), he was given to the owner of the stolen thing. So she took him, and he was with her.[90]”

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40. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him).[91]”

He, peace be on him, said: “It is the polytheism through which they do not reach unbelief.[92]” The meaning is that this king of polytheism is in their obeying Satan, and it is not in their acts of worship, so that they are not regarded as unbelievers.

41. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Till the apostles gave up hope and thought that they were surely accused of lying, Our help then came to them.[93]”

Al-Ma’mūn asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he, peace be on him, answered: [Allah says:] “Till the apostles gave up hope (of their people) and (their people came to) think that they proved them to be liars, Our help then came to them.[94]”

42. Regarding the fear and hope in these words of Him, the Most High: “He it is Who shows you the lightning causing fear and hope and (Who) brings up the heavy clouds.[95]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “The fear for the traveler, and hope for the resident.[96]”

43. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.[97]”

He, peace be on him, said: “Surely the affair belongs to Allah, the Most High.[98]”

44. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “So turn away with kindly forgiveness.[99]”

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He, peace be on him, said: “Kindly forgiveness means forgiveness without any admonition.[100]”

45. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Mūsā said to him: Shall I follow you on condition that you should teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught?[101]”

Mohammed b. ‘Ali b. Bilāl narrated on the authority of Yunus in a letter they sent to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, asking him about the scholar to whom Mūsā came, who of them was more knowledgeable? Was it permissible for the scholar to be a proof over Mūsā in his time? In response to their letter, the Imām, peace be on him, wrote: “Mūsā came to the scholar and found him either sitting or resting (on his elbow) in one of the islands of the sea. Mūsā, peace be on him, greeted him, but he denied the greetings, for there were no greetings in the land.”

“Who are you?” asked the scholar.

“I am Mūsā b. ‘Umrān,” replied Mūsā.

“Are Mūsā b. ‘Umrān, to whom Allah spoke?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“What is your need?”

“I have come, that you may teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught,” came the answer.

“I have been entrusted with a matter which you do not endure, and you have been entrusted with a matter which I do not endure,” explained the scholar. “Then the scholar drove both matters to Mūsā.[102]”

46. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And whoever is in the heavens and the earth is His; and those who are with Him are not proud to serve Him; nor do they grow weary.[103]”

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Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse concerning the infallibility of the angels. He, peace be on him, said: “Surely the angels are infallible and are protected from ugly things through the favors of Allah, the Most High. Regarding them Allah says: They do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded. And He, the Great and Almighty, says: And whoever is in the heavens and the earth is His; and those who are with Him (i.e. the angles) are not proud to serve Him; nor do they grow weary. They glorify (Him) by night and day; they never flag.[104]”

47. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And We gave him Ishāq and Ya‘qūb, a son’s son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imāms who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve.[105]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, quoted the two sacred verses to prove the purity of the prophets and of their being the choice of Allah’s creatures. He, peace be on him, said: “Then Allah, the Great and Almighty, honored him (i.e. Ibrāhim) when He placed it (i.e. the Imāmate) in his progeny and men of choice and purity. So Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: And We gave him Ishāq and Ya‘qūb, a son’s son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imāms who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve. And it (the Imāmate) was still in his children; they inherited it one by one, a century after a century, until the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, inherited in. So Allah, the Great and Almighty, said:

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Surely the people standing closest to him (Ibrāhim) are those who followed him, and this Prophet, and those who believe; and Allah is the Master of the believers. So it was special, then he (the Prophet) entrusted it (the Imāmate) to ‘Ali through Allah’s command, according to the description which Allah made obligatory. Hence it was placed in his (‘Ali’s) children, the chosen ones whom Allah gave knowledge and belief by the virtue of these words of Him, the Exalted: And those who are given knowledge and faith will say: Certainly you tarried according to the ordaince of Allah till the day of resurrection. Therefore, it is (i.e. the Imāmate) was especially placed in the children of ‘Ali b. Abū Tālib till the Day of Resurrection, for there will be no prophet after Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family.[106]”

48. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “That they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during stated days.[107]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, said: “The reason for the hajj is to seek to be the guest of Allah, to request more blessings, to part with past sins, to feel repentant about the past, and to look forward to the future. It is du to spending on the trip seeking nearness to Allah, tiring the body, abstaining from pleasures and desires, seeking nearness to allah by worshipping Him, yielding and submitting to Him, looking up towards Him in cases of hot weather and chilling cold, during security and fear, incessantly doing so, and due to all the benefits in it of desiring the rewards and fearing the wrath of Allah, the Exalted.

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“Of which are leaving hardheartedness, the meanness of the soul, forgetting the invocation of Allah, the cessation of hope and expectation, renewing the rights, preventing the soul from corruption, the interest of those who are in east and west of the earth, and those who travel over land and sea, from among those who make the pilgrimage and those who do not make the pilgrimage, from among the merchants, the importers, the buyers, the sellers, the gainers, and the poor, and accomplishing the needs of the people of the outskirts and the situations, for whom it is possible to hold a meeting wherein; likewise that they may witness advantages for them.[108]”

49. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Then let them accomplish their needful acts.[109]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “Their needful acts mean trimming finger nails, throwing dirt, and casting off him (i.e. the pilgrim) (the garments) of ihrām after he has made the pilgrimage.[110]”

50. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth.[111]”

He, peace be on him, said: “Allah guides the inhabitants of the heavens and of the earth.[112]”

51. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “So Mūsā struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing.[113]”

Al-Ma’mūn asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, the following question: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, it is not of your statement that the prophets are infallible?”

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“Yes,” answered the Imām.

“Tell me about these words of Allah: So Mūsā struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing.”

The Imām told him about the interpretation of this verse, saying: “Mūsā entered one of Fir‘awn’s (Pharaoh’s) cities when its inhabitants were heedless of him. That was between the sunset and the evening. So he found therein two men fighting, one being of his party and the other of his foes, and he who was of his party cried out to him for help against him who was of his enemies. Therefore Mūsā killed the enemy. Allah, the Exalted, mentioned: So Mūsā struck him with his fist and he died. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing. This means that the fighting which took place between the two men (was on account of Satan’s doing), not the killing which Mūsā had committed. (The world) ‘he’ means Satan (who) is an enemy, openly leading astray.”

“What is the meaning of these words of Mūsā: My Lord, surely I have done harm to myself, so do You protect me?” asked al-Ma’mūn.

The Imām told him about the meaning of this sacred verse, saying: “This (verse) means that he put himself in other than its place when he entered this city. So do You protect me, meaning conceal me from Your enemies lest they should find me and kill me, so He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Mūsā said: My Lord, because You have bestowed a favor on me, through the strength so that I killed a man with striking him with my fist; I shall never be a backer of the guilty; rather I shall fight in Your path with this strength until You are content (with me).

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“As a result Mūsā was in the city fearing, awaiting, when lo! he who had asked his assistance the day before was crying out to him for aid against another person, so Mūsā said to him: You are most surely one erring manifestly. You killed a man the day before and this day you want to kill (another man), hence I shall hurt you. He wanted to strike him. So when he desired to seize him who was an enemy to them both, he said: O Mūsā, do you want to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? You desire nothing but that you should be a tyrant in the land, and you do not desire to be of those who act aright.”

So al-Ma’mūn said: “May Allah reward you well on behalf of His prophets, O Abū al-Hasan.[114]”

52. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.[115]”

He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When (these words of Him) surely you shall die and they (too) shall die were revealed, I said: ‘O my Lord, shall all creatures die and the prophets remain?’ So (He) revealed: Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.[116]”

53. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “He created the heavens without pillars as you see them.[117]”

The Imām, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following tradition which was narrated by al-Husayn b. Khālid, who said: “I said to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: Tell me about these words of Allah: I swear by the heaven with weaving. He said: ‘It is woven to the earth, and then he knitted his fingers.’ So I asked: ‘How is it woven to the earth, while Allah says: Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you see?’ So he, peace be on him, replied: ‘Glory belongs to Allah, do not Allah say: without any pillars as you see?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘There are pillars, but you cannot see them,’ he explained.[118]”

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54. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants; but of them is he who makes his soul to suffer a loss, and of them is he who takes a middle course, and of them is he who foremost in deeds of goodness.[119]”

Ahmed b. ‘Umar narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about these words of Him: Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants, and he, peace be on him, said: ‘They are the children of Fātima. And of them is he who foremost in deeds of goodness is the Imām.’[120]”

55. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.[121]”

Al-Ash‘ath b. Qays narrated, saying: “I was in Khurasān when al-Ridā held a meeting with al-Fadl b. Sahl and al-Ma’mūn at al-Iwā’, in Marū. When the food was put (before us), al-Ridā, peace be on him, said: ‘A man from the children of Isrā’il asked me in Medina, saying: ‘Was the day created before the night? What do you have?’ He (al-Ridā) said: ‘They discussed the matter, but they had nothing about that.’

“So al-Fadl said to al-Ridā: ‘May Allah set you right, tell us about it.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘From (the viewpoint of) the Qur’ān or arithmetic?’ ‘From the viewpoint of arithmetic,’ requested al-Fadl. So he (al-Ridā) said: ‘O Fadl, you know that the ascendant of the world is Cancer, and the stars are in the situations of their high rank; so Saturn is in Balance, Jupiter is in Cancer, Mars is in Capricorn, the Sun is in Ram, Venus is in Fishes, Mercury is in Virgo, and the moon is in Taurus, so the sun in the tenth (day) is in the middle of the heaven; therefore, the day was (created) before the night.

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“‘As for (the viewpoint of) the Qur’ān, it is these words of Him, the Exalted: nor can the night outstrip the day.’”

In his book Rūh al-Ma‘āni, al-Ālūsi has mentioned this tradition and commented on it, saying: “There is a manifest research in deducting through the verse, and through arithmetic it has an approximate viewpoint, and the view of the astrologers is that the beginning of the circle is the circle of the half of the day, agrees with what he has mentioned. It is more likely that the tradition is not correct from the beginning, for al-Ridā is more exalted than concluding his claim, which you have heard, through the verse.”

Al-Sayyid al-Tābatabā’i commented on the statement of al-Ālūsi, saying: “It was vague for him (al-Ālūsi) to attain the reality of the night and the day. This matter can be explained (as follows): Surely the night and the day are opposite (to each other) as the oppositeness of non-existence and faculty like blindness and sight; just as blindness is not absolute non-sight so that the wall, for example, may be blind; rather it is non-sight for that which is distinguished by sight such as man; likewise the night is not absolute non-light; rather it is the time of non-illumination one of the parts of the earth through the light of the sun. It is known that the accomplishment of non-faculty depends on the accomplishment of the opposite faculty before it, that it may be specified through adding (it) to it, so had it not been for sight, blindness would not have become real; and had it not been for the day, the night would not have become real.

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“So the absolute meaning of the night in which he (al-Ālūsi) believed is that there is night preceded in existence by day, and (this is proved by) these words of him: nor can the night outstrip the day; and even if he reflected on the supposed order between the day and the night, and there is day and night, day and night, and none of these nights can precede the day which is beside it.

“However He, the Most High, took the absolute night in these words of Him: nor can the night outstrip the day, and negated its coming before the absolute day; and He did not say: ‘Surely one of the nights which are in this order does not precede the day which is in the order before it.’

“Therefore, the decision in the verse is based on that which the nature of the night and the day requires according to the oppositeness which Allah has placed between them; and a decision has been concluded from it through the decrease of the order in the alternation of the night and the day, for every night means losing the day which follows it, so it does not come before it; and he (Imām al-Ridā), peace be on him, refers to this (sense) after he has mentioned the verse through these words of him: namely, the day comes before the night, namely, He (Allah) created the day before the night because the day precedes the night; and it is not as (some people) imagine that there are days and nights, and then the place of each of them is specified.

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“And the words of the objector (al-Ālūsi): ‘And through arithmetic it has an approximate viewpoint,’ he does not know the meaning of his statement which should be exactly not nearly based on the principles of astrology.

“Likewise, his statement: ‘And the view of the astrologers is that the beginning of the circle is the circle of the half of the day, agrees with what he (al-Ridā) has mentioned,’ is incorrect, for it has the circle of midday, which is the circle that passes thorough the two poles, and there is between them a third point which is not limited in number, for which no certain point apart from other point can be specified in the heaven, hence it is a day for the earth because the sun is in one of them apart from the other.[122]”

56. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And has there come to you the story of the litigants, when they made an entry into the private chamber by ascending over the walls. When they entered in upon Dāwud and he was frightened at them, they said: Fear not; two litigants, of whom one has acted wrongfully towards the other, therefore decide between us with justice.[123]”

The Imām, peace be on him, quoted these two verses and those after them in order to disprove the viewpoints of ‘Ali b. al-Jahm and his people concerning Dāwud, Allah’s prophet, peace be on him.

The Imām, peace be on him, asked ‘Ali b. al-Jahm: “What did those before you say about Dāwud?”

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‘Ali b. al-Jahm replied: [They said:] “While Dāwud, peace be on him, was praying in his mihrab, Iblis appeared in front of him in the form of the most beautiful bird. He cut his prayer and rose in order to take the bird to the house. Then he went out following its tracks. The bird flew to the top (of the house), so Dāwud ascended looking for it. The bird alighted in the house of Uryah b. Hanān.

“Dāwud followed the tracks of the bird, and suddenly he saw Uryah’s wife washing. When he looked at her, he fell in love with her. As for Uryah, he had been on a raid. Dāwud wrote to his companion in order to place Uryah in front of the coffin. Uryah was placed in front

(of the coffin), and he defeated the polytheists. So Dāwud find that difficult and again wrote to his companion in order to place Uryah in front of the coffin. Uryah was placed in front of it and he was killed, so Dāwud married his wife.”

When the Imām heard these false stories which were ascribed to one of Allah’s prophets, he hit his forehead and said: “We belong to Allah and to Him is our return! You have ascribed one of Allah’s prophets to neglecting his prayers and (accused him of) going out and looking for the tracks of the bird, fornication and killing!”

‘Ali b. al-Jahm asked the Imām to explain the matter to him, saying: “Son of Allah’s Apostle, what was Dāwud’s sin?”

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The Imām told him about the true story of Dāwud, saying: “Dāwud thought that he was more learned than the rest of Allah’s creatures, hence Allah, the Great and Almighty, sent him to angels and they climbed the mihrab and said to him: Fear not; two litigants, of whom one has acted wrongfully towards the other; therefore, decide between us with justice, and do not act unjustly, and guide us to the right way: Surely this is my brother; he has ninety-nine ewes and I have a single one; but he said, make it over to me, and he has prevailed against me in discourse. Dāwud hurried to decide the case for the plaintiff when he said: Surely he has been unjust to you in demanding your ewe (to add) to his own ewes. He did not asked the plaintiff for the evidence for that; nor did he turn to the defendant and asked him: ‘What do you say?’ It was an error only within the framework of the case and was not as you thought. Have you not heard that Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: Dāwud, surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice and do not follow desire.”

Ibn al-Jahm asked the Imām to tell him about the story of Dāwud with Uryah, saying: “Then, son of Allah’s Apostle, what is Dāwud’s story with Uryah.”

The Imām, peace be on him, started explaining to him Dāwud’s story, saying: “During the days of Dāwud, a widow never get married after the death of her husband. Dāwud, peace be on him, was the first man whom Allah permitted to marry the widow whose husband had been killed. Accordingly, he married Uryah’s wife after he had been killed, and her waiting period had been over. This made the people accused Dāwud of killing Uryah.[124]”

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57. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “to what I have created with My hand,” which are part of His saying: “He said: O Iblis, what prohibited you from prostrating to what I have created with My hand.[125]”

Mohammed b. ‘Ubayda asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he replied: “It means with my might and power .[126]”

58. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Surely those who pledge allegiance to you do but pledge allegiance to Allah.[127]”

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following tradition: ‘Abd al-Salām b. Sālih al-Harawi narrated, saying: [I asked ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him: O son of Allah’s Apostle, what do you say about the tradition which has been narrated by the traditionalists: ‘The believers visit their Lord from their abodes in the Garden?’ He, peace be on him, answered:] “O Abū al-Salt, surely Allah, the Exalted, preferred His Prophet Mohammed to the prophets and the angels from among His creatures. He regarded obedience to him as obedience to Him, pledging allegiance to him as pledging allegiance to Him, visiting him in this world and the next as visiting Him, hence He, the Great and Almighty, said: He who obeys the Messenger certainly obeys Allah. And He said: Surely those who pledge allegiance to you do but pledge allegiance to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands. And the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘He who visits me during my lifetime or after my death certainly visits Allah.’ His grade in the Garden is the highest of all grades, and he who visits him in his grade of position in the Garden certainly visits Allah, the Blessed and Exalted.[128]”

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59. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And in the night, give Him glory too, and at the setting of the stars[129],” he, peace be on him, said: “At the end of the prostration is four rak‘as after sunset, and at the setting of the stars is two rak‘as before the morning prayer.[130]”

60. Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was asked about the reminder in these words of Him, the Most High: “Allah has indeed revealed to you a reminder, and Apostle who recites to you the clear signs of Allah [131],” and he, peace be on him, replied: “The reminder is Allah’s Messenger and we are his family.[132]”

61. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “The Knower of the unseen, so He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle [133],” the Imām met Ibn Haddāb and asked him: “Do you believe me when I tell you that you will be tried during these days by murdering one of your blood relatives?”

“No,” was the answer, “for none knows the unseen except Allah, the Most High.”

The Imām answered: “Doesn’t Allah, the Most High say: The Knower of the unseen, so He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle? Allah is pleased with His Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and we are the inheritors of the Messenger whom Allah informed of whatever He willed of His secrets, and he (the Messenger) informed us of what was and what will be until the Day of Resurrection.[134]”

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62. Regarding the words of Him, the Most high: “(Some) faces on that day shall be bright, looking to their Lord [135],” he, peace be on him, said: “They mean that they (the faces) will be bright and wait for the reward of their Lord.[136]”

63. Regarding the ‘glorification’ in the words of Him, the Exalted: “And give glory to Him (a) long (part of the) night[137],” Ahmed b. Mohammed asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he answered: “It is the night prayer.[138]”

64. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks[139],” ‘Ali b. Faddāl asked Imām al-Ridā, and he, peace be on him, replied: ‘Surely Allah cannot be described by coming and going, Allah is far above movement. Rather, by that He means that the command of your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks.[140]”

65. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “But He would not attempt the uphill road[141],” Imām al-Ridā quoted them in the following tradition: Ja‘far b. Khallād narrated, saying: “When Abū al-Hasan ate, he ordered a big bowl to be put beside his food. He put into the bowl the most delicious food and ordered it to be given to the poor, and then he recited this verse: But He would not attempt the uphill road, and then he said: ‘Allah, the Great and Almighty, knows that not everyone is able to release a slave, so He has showed them the way to the Garden (through giving food to the poor).’[142]”

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66. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter? And find you unable to see and show the way? And find you in want and make you to be free from want? [143]”

Al-Ma’mūn asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and he

answered: “Allah, the Most High,said to His Prophet:Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter? He says:Did He not find you alone and make the people seek shelter in you?And find you unable to see and show the way? He means with your people, and show the way

means that He show them the way to recognize you. And find you in want and make you to be free from want? He says: He has made you to be free from want because He has made your supplication accepted.”

So al-Ma’mūn said: “May Allah bless you, O son of Allah’s Apostle![144]”

67. Regarding the word ‘One’ in these words of Him, the Most High: “Say: He, Allah, is One.[145]”

The Imām, peace be on him, said: “He is One not through interpreting number.[146]”

With this sacred verse we will end our talk about some verses which Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, explained and interpreted or quoted in his traditions, which indicate that he was the companion of the Qur’ān, and that he took great care of it during his lectures and researches.

Footnote

[1] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 180.

p: 406

[2] Ibid., p. 180. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 12, p. 23.

[3] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 180.

[4] Ibid., p. 183.

[5] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 1, p. 21.

[6] Ibid., p. 20.

[7] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 180.

[8] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 1, p. 20.

[9] Qur'ān, 2, 7.

[10] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 1, p. 85.

[11] Qur'ān, 2, 20.

[12] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 1, p. 106.

[13] Qur'ān, 2, 35.

[14] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Rida.

[15] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 1, p. 188.

[16] Qur'ān, 2, 55.

[17] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 1, p. 255.

[18] Qur'ān, 2, 67-71. [19] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[20] Qur'ān, 2, 102.

[21] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 2, p. 355.

[22] Qur'ān, 2, 196.

[23] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān.

[24] Qur'ān, 2, 205.

[25] Al-Durr al-Manthūr.

[26] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[27] Qur'ān, 2, 210.

[28] Ibid., 89, 22.

[29] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 3, p. 270.

[30] Ibid., 4, 270.

[31] Qur'ān, 2, 260.

[32] Al-Qummi, Tafsir.

[33] Qur'ān, 3, 33-34.

[34] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 5, p. 328.

[35] Qur'ān, 3, 54.

[36] 'Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā.

[37] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān.

[38] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[39] Qur'ān, 3, 185.

[40] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 6, p. 162.

[41] Qur'ān, 3, 199.

[42] Al-Qummi, Tafsir.

[43] Qur'ān, 4, 3.

[44] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 7, p. 279.

[45] Qur'ān, 4, 26.

[46] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 8, p. 140.

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[47] Qur'ān, 4, 34.

[48] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 8, p. 195.

[49] Qur'ān, 4, 58.

[50] Mawāhib al-Rahmān fi Tafsir al-Qur'ān, vol. 8, p. 367.

[51] Qur'ān, 4, 125.

[52] Al-Mizān, vol. 5, 96.

[53] Qur'ān, 4, 140.

[54] Al-Mizān, vol. 5, 120.

[55] Qur'ān, 4, 141.

[56] Al-Mizān, vol. 5, 120.

[57] Qur'ān, 4, 142.

[58]Al-Mizān.

[59] Qur'ān, 5, 33.

[60] Al-Mizān, vol. 5, 331.

[61] Qur'ān, 5, 101.

[62] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[63] Qur'ān, 6, 19.

[64] Al-Mizān, vol. 7, 41.

[65] Qur'ān, 6, 38.

[66] Al-Mizān, vol. 7, 106.

[67] Qur'ān, 6, 77.

[68] Al-Mizān, vol. 7, 205.

[69] Qur'ān, 6, 126.

[70] Al-Mizān, vol. 7, 348.

[71] Qur'ān, 7, 32.

[72] Qurb al-Isnād.

[73] Qur'ān, 7, 175.

[74] Al-Qummi, Tafsir.

[75] Qur'ān, 8, 15.

[76] Man Lā Yahdarahu al-Faqih.

[77] Qur'ān, 10, 98.

[78] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[79] Qur'ān, 11, 34.

[80] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[81] Qur'ān, 11, 46.

[82] Al-Mizān, vol. 11, 245.

[83] Qur'ān, 12, 24.

[84] Al-Mizān, vol. 11, p. 166.

[85] Qur'ān, 12, 47.

[86] Al-Burhān.

[87] Qur'ān, 12, 55.

[88] Al-Mizān, vol. 11, 207.

[89] Qur'ān, 12, 77.

[90] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[91] Qur'ān, 12, 106.

[92] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[93] Ibid., 12, 110.

[94] Al-Mizān, vol. 11, p. 282.

[95] Qur'ān, 13, 12.

[96] Al-Ma'āni.

[97] Qur'ān, 13, 11.

[98] Al-'Ayyāshi, Tafsir.

[99] Qur'ān, 15, 85.

[100] Al-Mizān, vol. 11, p. 297.

[101] Qur'ān, 18, 66.

[102] Al-Mizān.

[103] Qur'ān, 21, 19.

[104] Al-Mizān, vol. 14, 281.

[105] Qur'ān, 21, 72-73.

[106] Al-Mizān, vol. 14, p. 308.

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[107] Qur'ān, 22, 28.

[108] Al-Mizān, vol. 14, p. 377-378.

[109] Qur'ān, 22, 29.

[110] Man lā Yahdarahu al-Faqih.

[111] Qur'ān, 24, 35.

[112] Al-Mizān, vol. 15, p. 139.

[113] Ibid., 28, 15.

[114] Al-Mizān, vol. 16, p. 22-23.

[115] Qur'ān, 29, 57.

[116] Al-Mizān, vol. 16, p. 146.

[117] Qur'ān, 31, 10.

[118] Al-Qummi, Tafsir.

[119] Qur'ān, 35, 32.

[120] Al-Mizān, vol. 17, p. 49.

[121] Qur'ān, 36, 40.

[122] Al-Mizān, vol. 17, pp. 95-96.

[123] Qur'ān, 38, 21-22.

[124] Al-Mizān, vol. 17, 200.

[125] Qur'ān, 38, 75.

[126] Al-Mizān, vol. 17, 229.

[127] Qur'ān, 48, 10.

[128] Al-Mizān, vol. 18, 225-226.

[129] Qur'ān, 52, 49.

[130] Al-Qummi, Tafsir.

[131] Qur'ān, 65, 10-11.

[132] Al-Burhān.

[133] Qur'ān, 72, 26-27.

[134] Al-Kharā'ijj wa al-Jarā'ih.

[135] Qur'ān, 75, 22-23.

[136] Al-Mizān, vol. 20,116.

[137] Qur'ān, 76, 26.

[138] Majjma' al-Bayān.

[139] Qur'ān, 89, 22.

[140]Al-Mizān, vol. 20, p. 278.

[141] Qur'ān, 90, 11.

[142] Al-Mizān, vol. 20, p. 295.

[143] Qur'ān, 93, 6-8.

[144] Al-Burhān.

[145] Qur'ān, 112, 1.

[146] Al-Mizān, vol. 20, p. 391.

CHAPTER IX

THE SCIENCE OF ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE

THE SCIENCE OF ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE

It is not an act of exaggeration or extremism when we say that the Islamic jurisprudence of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, is the best of that which has been codified in the world of legislation, for it complies with innate and reason, does not deviate from the laws of the cosmos; there is neither difficulty nor narrowness nor backwardness in its items. Rather it is balanced, progressive, and perfect. It has treated man’s affairs and given to them decisive solutions in the light of intellect and logic.

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Moreover this jurisprudence has another characteristic of great importance, and this characteristic is that it has been taken form the Imāms of guidance who are among the pillars of awareness and guidance in the world of Islam, for they announced that they did not give religious edicts regarding a certain matter according to their own opinions or their personal decisions; rather they announced that they took their religious decisions from their grandfather the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who supplied them with his knowledge, singled them out with his wisdom, regarded them as lifeboats and security for mankind, and made it obligatory on the community to follow their creed and their example; and this has been proved by many traditions which has been transmitted from them by the trustworthy narrators from among their companions.

It is worth mentioning that the Shi‘ites regard all the precepts which have been narrated on the authority of the Imāms of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, as part of the Sunna, which is one of the sources of Fatwā or religious edict and among the concepts of Islamic legislation according which man should act and worship, if the way of the chain of authorities to them (the Imāms) is authentic, and if the fatwā was issued by them to explain the real precept, not for precautionary dissimulation, and other conditions which have been mentioned by the jurists concerning authentic traditions.

Any how, Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was among the leading Imāms of guidance, peace be on them; therefore, his words and actions are part of the Sunna, for a group of legislative precepts have been transmitted from him. We will mention some examples of them in one of the researches of this book. Now, we will talk about his science of Islamic jurisprudence.

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Examples of his Jurisprudence

In the previous researches, we mentioned one of the treatises of Imām, peace be on him, in which he recorded excellent legislative precepts. Another group of juristic matters has been reported from him, and it is as follows:

1. The Purity of Well Water

Mohammed b. Ismā‘il wrote to a man who asked him to ask Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, about well water, and he, peace be on him, answered: “Well water is running; nothing spoils it except when its smell or taste changes, so (some water) should be bailed out of it until the smell terminates and its taste becomes good, for it has a source.[1]”

As for well water, it has the same rank of running water; it does not become unclean except when it changes. The Imāmi jurists have given a religious decision on well water according to this narration (of the Imām) and others.

2. Things that Invalidate wudū’

The Imām has mentioned the things that invalidate wudū’ as follows: discharge of urine, discharge of feces, discharge of flatus (through the anus), and sleep (to the extent that it makes a person unaware of his surroundings). He, peace be on him, said: “Wudū’ is obligatory on the things that discharge especially from the two parts, and sleep apart from other things, for the two parts are the way of uncleanness. Man has no way which brings about uncleanness to him except through them, so they (men) have been commanded to clean themselves from this uncleanness.[2]”

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The Imām, peace be on him, also declared that vomiting, nosebleed, and pus were not among things which invalidated wudū’.[3] However, some Imāms of the Islamic schools declared that these things invalidated wudū’.

3. The Limit of the Face in Wudū’

Ismā‘i`l b. Mahrān narrated, saying: “I wrote to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, to ask him about the limit of the face (i.e. the part which should be washed during wudū’), and he, peace be on him, wrote: from the beginning of the hair to the end of the face in addition to the two foreheads.[4]” As for the jurists, they say that one should wash the face from the point where the hair of the head normally grows down to the chin in length. Breadithwise, the span is that area which is covered by the thumb and the middle finger when they are spread out.

4. Wudū’ with a Bandage (jabira)

‘Abd al-Rahmān b. al-Hajjājj narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘How can one who has a bandage perform wudū’ or ghusl of janāba or ghusl for the Friday prayer?’

He, peace be on him, replied: ‘He should wash the uncovered part with no bandage to which water reaches, and leave apart from that; he should not remove the bandage and play with his surgery( i.e. wound, cut, burn, or broken limb).’[5]”

Al-jabā’ir are bandages (in the term of the time) or others which are put on fractures, wounds, cuts, and abscesses; and they are either on the area which should be washed during wudū’ or ghusl or on the area which should be rubbed. If it is possible for him to wash or rub the affected area without any harm, then it is obligatory on him to do that. If it is not possible for him to do that because of the harm of water or the like, then it is obligatory on him to wash the place where the bandage (jabira) is, and then he rubs over it. If the bandage (jabira) on the area which should be rubbed and he cannot remove it to rub on the skin, then he should rub over it. It is worth mentioning that the Imāmi jurists have mentioned important researches on these matters.

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5. The Wudū’ of Man and Woman

Mohammed b. Ismā‘il b. Buzaygh narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “In wudū’ for prayer, Allah has made it obligatory on women to start with the inward part of their hands and on men to start with the outward part of their hands.[6]”

Mohammed b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn narrated. He said: [Al-Ridā, peace be on him, said:] “Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made it obligatory on people in wudū’ that women should start with the inward part of their hands and men start with the outward part of their hands.[7]”

In wudū’ it is recommended for man to start with washing the outward part of his hands; and as for woman, it is recommended for her to start with washing the inward part of her hands. The meaning of the word farada in the two traditions is that He (Allah) has ordained and explained (performing wudū’ in this manner), and not that He has made (it) obligatory.[8]

6. Seeking of Help from others in Wudū’ is Reprehensible

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washshā’ narrated, saying: “I went in to al-Ridā, peace be on him, and there was a pitcher of water before him. When he wanted to perform wudū’ for prayer, I approached him to pour water on his hands, but he refused that and said: ‘No, O Hasan!’ he said. So I asked him: ‘Why are you preventing me from pouring water on your hands? Do you hate that I am rewarded?’ ‘You will be rewarded,’ he answered, ‘but I will commit a sin.’ ‘And how is that?’ I asked. He replied: ‘Have you not heard these words of Allah, the Great and Almighty: Therefore, whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord ?[9] Here I am! I am going to perform wudū’ for the prayer, which is an act of worship, and I hate that someone helps me in it.’[10]”

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In the light of this narration and others which have been transmitted from the Imāms of guidance, the Imāmi jurists have given a religious decision that it is reprehensible for someone to seek help from others in the prerequisites of wudū’ .[11]

7. How Tayammum is Performed

Ismā‘il b. Hammām al-Kindi reported on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “Tayammum is one stroke for the face, and one stroke for the back of the hands.[12]”

The famous jurists believe that when tayammum is performed instead of wudū’, then one stroke is sufficient for the face and the (back of) the hands, and that when it is performed instead of ghusl, then two strokes are obligatory.[13] The narration regards multiplicity as absolute; and perhaps it (the narration) has been interpreted as recommended.

8. Tayammum with Mud

‘Ali b. Matar narrated on the authority of one of our companions, who said: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him: Shall one perform tayammum with mud when he finds neither water nor earth? He said: ‘Yes, pure earth and pure water.’”

The narration is clear in making it permissible (for someone) to perform tayammum with mud when neither water nor earth is available.

9. Incapability of Performing the Ghusl of Janāba

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him: “Shall one practice (tayammum) when he is impure and has wound or cut or fear for himself of cold? ‘He should not perform ghusl; he should practice tayammum[14]’, he answered.”

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The narration is clear in making it permissible (for someone) to practice tayammum when he is incapable of performing ghusl which brings about harm which is negated (according to these words of Him, the Most High:) “And has not laid upon you any hardship in religion.”

10. The Skins of Dead Animals

Qāsim al-Saqi`l narrated, saying: “I wrote to al-Ridā, peace be on him: I make sheaths from the skins of dead asses for swords, and they touch my own clothes, and I pray while wearing them. So he, peace be on him, wrote me: ‘Use a garment for your prayer.’[15]”

As for the skins of dead animals, they are impure. When a wet garment touches them, it becomes impure. Hence prayer is not permissible except in pure clothes.

11. Gold and Silver Containers

Mohammed b. Ismā‘il reported, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about gold and siliver containers, and he regarded them as reprehensible. So I said: One of our companions narrated that Abū al-Hasan (Imām al-Kāzim), peace be on him, had a mirror clothed in silver, and he, peace be on him, said: ‘No, praise belongs to Allah, it had a silver ring and the ring is with me.’ Then he said: ‘When al-‘Abbās was excused, an (iron) bar clothed in silver was made for him; the bar was like that made for boys, and (its weight) was about ten (silver) dirhams, but Abū al-Hasan ordered it to be broken.’[16]”

Most jurists believe that it is prohibited to use gold and silver containers. As for the reprehensibility in the narration, it is interpreted as either prohibition or precautionary dissimulation, for a group of the non-Shi‘ites (‘āmma) regards them as not prohibited.

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12. Ghusl On Friday

‘Abd Allah b. al-Mughira reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: “I asked him about ghusl on Friday, and he answered: ‘It is obligatory on everyone, male or female, slave or free.’[17]”

As for ghusl on Friday, it is one of the strongly recommended things. The obligation in the narration is interpreted as a certain recommendation.

13. Touching the Corpse of other than Man

One should not perform ghusl when he touches the corpse of other than man, for al-Fadl b. Shādhān transmitted from Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “It is not obligatory for one to perform ghusl when he touches the dead bodies of those other than man such as birds, animals, beasts of prey, and others, for all these things are clothed in feathers or hair; and all these things are alive and do not die; the only thing which is touched is the alive from among the living and the dead (animals).”

Shaykh al-Hur al-‘Āmili said: “The justification is untrue and the examples of it are many. It is likely that it is a justification especially for the most dominant individual.[18]”

14. The Prayer for the Dead without Wudū’

Al-Fadl b. Shādhān narrated from Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “We have made it permissible to perform the prayer for the dead without wudū’, for it has neither bow (rukū‘) nor adoration (sujūd); rather it is a supplication and request; and it is permissible for you to supplicate Allah and ask Him in any state in which you are; wudū’ (is practiced) only for the prayer which has bow (rukū‘) and adoration (sujūd).[19]”

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Most Imāmi jurists believe that the prayer for the dead is a mere supplication, and not a real prayer; for this reason neither purity nor permissible clothes are conditions therein.

15. Raising the Hands during the Takbir for the Prayer for the Dead

Yunus said: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: May I be your ransom, the people raise their hands during the takbir (exclaiming: Allah is Great!) for the dead in the first takbir, and they do not raise (their hands) after that. Shall I confine myself to the first takbir just as they do or raise my hands in each takbir? ‘Raise your hands in each takbir,’ he said.[20]”

16. Prayer is the best Act of Worship

Yahyā b. Habib reported, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the best prayer through which the servants seek nearness to Allah. He answered: ‘Forty-six obligatory and supererogatory rak‘as.’ I said: ‘This is the narration of Zarāra.’ ‘Do you think that there is a person better than him in declaring the truth?’ he asked.[21]”

17. Prayer is the Sacrifice of the Allah-fearing

Mohammed b. al-Fadl reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “Prayer is the sacrifice of the Allah-fearing.[22]”

18. Prayer should be performed in its Timing

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d narrated on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, who said: “When it is time for you to pray, then perform the prayer, for you do not know what will happen.[23]”

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Many traditions have mentioned that it is recommended to perform prayer in its timing, and that it is reprehensible to delay it. In another tradition Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, said: “It is good to perform prayer in its timing.[24]”

19. Timing of the Evening Prayer

Ismā‘il b. Mahrān narrated, saying: “I wrote to al-Ridā, peace be on him, to ask him about the timings of the prayers, especially as it concerns the evening prayer, and he, peace be on him, wrote me: ‘The time of the evening (prayer) is little, and its last timing is the disappearance of the red sky and the appearance of the white sky on the western horizon.[25]”

The Imām reflected on the best timing of prayer, not on the obligatory time, for its timing and that of the night prayer last up to midnight.[26]

20. Timings of the Noon and Afternoon Prayers

Ismā‘il b. Mahrān narrated, saying: “I wrote to al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘Our companions have mentioned that when the sun comes near to descending (from its midday zenith), then it is time to start the noon and afternoon prayers; and when it sets, it is time to start the evening and night prayers, but this (the evening prayer) is before this (the night prayer) during travel and residence.’ So he wrote: ‘Such is the time, but the time of the evening (prayer) is narrow (little).’[27]”

21. The Compensatory Supererogatory Prayers

Mohammed b. Yahyā reported, saying: “I wrote to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘When will I compensate supererogatory prayers?’ ‘Any hour, you like, of night or day,’ he replied.[28]”

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In the light of this narration and other narrations which have been reported from the Imāms of guidance, the Imāmi jurists have given a religious decision that it is recommended to recompensate supererogatory prayers, and that when one is incapable of compensating them, it is recommended for him to pay mudd (measure) as alms instead of each two rak‘aks.[29]

22. The Late-night Supererogatory Prayers for those who have Excuses

It is permissible for those who have excuses to perform the late-night supererogatory prayers (salāt al-layl) at the beginning of night, for al-Fadl b. Shādhān transmitted from Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: ‘It is permissible for the travelers and the sick to perform the late-night supererogatory prayers (salāt al-layl) at the beginning of night because of their business and weakness; and that they may gain their prayers. Accordingly, the sick may rest at the time of their rest, and the travelers may prepare themselves for travel.[30]”

23. It is not Permissible to perform Prayer while wearing the Skins of Beasts of Prey

It is not permissible for the worshipper to perform prayer while wearing the skins of beasts of prey, for Ismā‘il b. Sa‘d al-Ahwas narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about (him who performs) prayer (while wearing) the skins of beasts of prey, and he replied: ‘Do not pray while (wearing) them.’[31]”

24. Prayer when Wearing Silk Clothing

The Imām, peace be on him, made it permissible for the worshipper to pray wearing silk clothing, for Mu‘ammar b. Khallād reported, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the prayer when wearing a silk garment, and he answered: ‘Pray wearing it.’[32]”

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Sa‘d b. Sa‘d narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: “I asked him about silk skins, and he said: ‘This is silk (pointing to his garment). We wear silk (clothing).’ So I said to him: ‘May I be your ransom, that is hair.’ ‘If its (the animal’s) hair is lawful, then its skin is lawful,’ he retorted.[33]”

25. Performing Prayer on Roads is Reprehensible

The Imāmi jurists have given a religious decision that performing prayer on roads is reprehensible. One of their proofs of that is what al-Hasan b. al-Jahm has narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “Do not pray on every road on which (men) walk.” I (i.e. al-Hasan b. al-Jahm) said to him: “It has been narrated on the authority of your grandfather that there is no harm in praying on high valleys and lands.” “Perhaps, the man agrees with me on that,” he retorted. He (i.e. al-Hasan b. al-Jahm) said: “I said: “If the man fears for his provisions?” “If he fears (for his provisions), then let him pray,” he declared.[34]

26. Prayer by the Grave of the Prophet

It is permissible to perform prayer behind the grave of the infallible or on one of its sides, for al-Hasan b. ‘Ali b. Faddāl narrated, saying: “I saw Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā when he wanted to go out to perform ‘Umra (lesser pilgrimage). He came to the grave from the place of the head of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He clung to the grave, and then he walked until he came to the grave, so he stood and began praying. He stuck his left shoulder to the pillar at the head of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and performed six or eight rak‘as.[35]”

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27. Prayer in al-Masjid al-Harām

The Imām urged (men) to pray in al-Masjid al-Harām (the holy mosque in Mecca). In this connection, Mūsā b. Salām reported, saying: “Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, made the ‘Umra (lesser pilgrimage). When he said farewell to the House and arrived at Bāb al-Hannātin in order to go out of it, he stood at the yard of al-Mesjid at the back of the Ka‘ba. Then he raised his hands and supplicated (Allah). Then he turned to us and said: ‘It it the best thing through which the need is requested from Him. The prayer wherein is sixty years and months better than the prayer in other than it.’ When he reached the gate, he said: ‘O Allah, I have gone out, but there is no god but you!’[36]”

28. Prayer at al-Hatim

Al-Hasan b. al-Jahm narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā about the best place of prayer, and he replied: ‘Al-Hatim, which is between the (Black) Stone and the Gate of the House.’ I asked: ‘And what follows that in excellence?’ ‘The standing place of Ibrāhim,’ he replied. ‘Then what follows that in excellence?’ I asked. ‘The (Black) Stone,’ he answered. ‘Then what follows that (in excellence)?’ I asked. ‘All that which is nearby the House,’ he replied.[37]”

29. Prayer in the two Mosques

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washshā’ narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him: Is the prayer in the Holy Mosque (in Mecca) and the Mosque of the Prophet the same? ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘and the prayer between them is equal to one thousand prayers.’[38]”

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30. Supplication during leaving the House is Recommended

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, urged (the Muslims) to cling to supplication during leaving their houses, saying: “When my father left his own house, he said: ‘In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. I have gone out with Allah’s help and through His power! I have neither help nor power! Rather through Your help and power, O Lord, I seek daily bread from You, so bring it to me in well-being!’[39]”

31. Sitting between al-Adhān and al-Iqāma

Mohammed b. Abū Nasr al-Bizanti reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him about the sitting between al-Adhān (the call to prayer) and al-Iqāma (the declaration of standing for prayer), and he replied: ‘There is sitting between them when there is no supererogatory prayer.’[40]”

32. Al-Adhān

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “One may perform al-Adhān (the call to prayer) in sitting position, and he may perform it in riding position.[41]”

33. Al-Iqāma

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “You may perform al-Adhān (the call to prayer) and you are in sitting position, and you may not perform al-Iqāma (the declaration of standing for prayer) except when you are on the ground and in standing position.[42]”

34. Raising and Lowering Voice during Prayer

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, aloud recited (the suras) in the evening prayer, the night prayer, the late-night prayer, the even prayer, the odd prayer, and the morning prayer; and he quietly recited (the suras) in the noon and afternoon prayers.[43]

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Men must recite the two suras in the two-rak‘a prayer of the morning aloud. Similarly, the suras in the first two rak‘as of the evening and night prayers must be recited aloud. The suras of the noon and afternoon prayers, apart from the Friday prayer, must be recited

quietly. If he intentionally recites the suras aloud, his prayer is invalid; and if he recites them aloud out of forgetfulness or ignorance, his prayer is valid. It is recommended to recite the suras of the Friday prayer aloud.[44]

35. Postponing some of the Recitation of the Supererogatory Prayer

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr al-Bizanti, the companion of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, reported, saying: “I asked him: A man wants to recite one hundred verses or more in a supererogatory prayer, but he fears that he may become weak or lazy. Is it correct for him to recite them in sitting position? He replied: ‘Let him pray two rak‘as with whatever (verses) he likes, and then let him go; and then let him recite the rest of the (verses) which he had wanted to recite, for that is sufficient to replace his recitation in standing position. If it seems to him that he wants to recite after the taslim [45] of the two rak‘as, then let him recite; there is no harm (on him).[46]’”

If one wants to recite one hundred rak‘as in a supererogatory prayer and he is not forced to do that out of vow and the like, he has to choose between praying two rak‘as in sitting position and recites whatever verses he likes, and praying two rak‘as (in standing position) and recite the taslim; and then he recites whatever verses he likes after the prayer.

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36. Turning the Face during Prayer

Al-Bizanti narrated, saying: “I asked him (i.e. al-Ridā) about the person who turns (his face) during prayer: Does such a person turn aside from his prayer? He answered: ‘If the prayer is obligatory and he (or she) turns his (or her) face, then he (or she) must turn aside from his (or her) prayer, repeat it, and do not regard it (as prayer).’[47]”

Certainly, turning the face changes the form of prayer, and all things which change the form of prayer invalidate it.

37. Zakāt al-Fitra

Mohammed b. al-Qāsim b. al-Fadl reported, saying: “I wrote to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, to ask him: Does the guardian pay Zakāt al-Fitra [48] on behalf of the orphans who have wealth? So he wrote: ‘There is no zakāt (imposed) on the orphan.’[49]”

As for Zakāt al-Fitra, it is not obligatory on the orphan nor on his guardian, who has no right to take it out of the orphan’s wealth, as it is indicated by the narration through which the jurists have given a religious edict, for there is no religious duty on the orphan until he or she reaches ritual puberty (15 years in the case of boys and 9 years in the case of girls).

38. Zakāt due on Deposit and Loan

Ibrāhim b. Abū Mahmūd narrated, saying: “I said to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: The person has a deposit or a debt, but he does not reach them, and then he takes them, when zakāt is payable on him? He replied: ‘If he takes them and a year has passed, he must pay zakāt.’[50]” On of the conditions of zakāt is that one has the authority to dispose of wealth, for it is not obligatory on the wealth over which its owner has no authority because of his absence from it.

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For example if the owner is able to regain his deposit (and one year) has passed, then it is due on him to pay zakāt. Similarly, he must pay the zakāt due on his loan after he has received it and one year has passed.

39. Zakāt on Crops

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d al-Ash‘ari narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him: ‘When zakāt is due on wheat, barley, dates, and raisins?’ He answered: ‘When they are reaped and assessed.’[51]”

The famous jurists think that zakāt is due on wheat and barley when they become ripe; on dates when they become yellow or red; on grapes when they are unripe; and other than that is said.[52]

40. ‘Alawide’s zakāt is for the ‘Alawides

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported from al-Ridā, saying: “I asked him about alms (zakāt): Is it lawful for the Hashimites to take alms (zakāt)? ‘No,’ he replied, ‘but it is lawful for them to take alms from each other.’[53]”

41. Zakāt must be paid when due

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d al-Ash‘ari narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him about the person on whom zakāt is obligatory three times a year, shall he delay them to pay them at one time? ‘No,’ he answered, ‘pay it (zakāt) when it becomes due.’[54]” If the person has numerous items on which zakāt is payable such as the crops, the livestock, gold, and silver, he must pay the zakāt of each kind when it becomes due.

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42. The Fitra on behalf of him who does not belong to the Family

‘Abd al-Rahmān b. al-Hajjājj narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the man who spends on a man who does not belong to his own family, but he finds difficulty in spending on him and his clothing, is his fitra obligatory on him? ‘No,’ he answered, ‘the fitra of his family is obligatory as alms on him apart from him (i.e. the man who does not belong to the family.’ Then he said: ‘The family are: the child, the slave, and the wife who is the mother of the child.’[55]”

Zakāt al-fitra is obligatory on the responsible and his family when the night of (‘Īd) al-Fitr comes. There is no difference between those whose expenditure is obligatory on him and other than them, between the young and the old. It is not obligatory on him to pay fitra on behalf of those who do not belong to his own family, and in whose clothing and expenditure he finds difficulty. Generally speaking, fitra is paid on behalf of the person when actually belongs to the family, as the jurists have mentioned.

43. The One-Fifth Tax (Khums)

‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Faddāl reported on the authority of his father, on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said (in a tradition): “‘Abd al-Muttalib had five practices (sunan), which Allah, for him, put into effect in Islam: He (‘Abd al-Muttalib) made it prohibited for sons to marry their fathers’ women, specified one hundred camels as blood money, circumambulated the House (the Ka‘ba) seven times, found a treasure and took out the one-fifth of it, and called (the well) Zamzam when he dug it as a watering place for pilgrims.[56]”

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44. Khums on Treasure

Shaykh al-Mufid narrated through his chain of authorities, saying: “Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was asked about the amount of treasure on which khums is obligatory, and he replied: ‘Khums is obligatory on the thing on which zakāt is obligatory; khums is not obligatory on the thing which does not reach the minimum amount of property liable to payment of zakāt.[57]”

Treasure is the property stored in the earth; whether it is of the coined and uncoined gold and silver or of other than them. One of its conditions is that it must reach the minimum amount which is twenty dinars. If it does not reach this amount, then there is no khums on it.

45. Khums must be given to the Imām

Mohammed b. Zayd al-Tabari reported, saying: “A Persian merchant, who was a follower of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, asked him to exempt him from khums, and he wrote to him: ‘In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Surely Allah is All-embracing, generous. He has guaranteed reward according to work. No property is lawful except through the way which Allah has made lawful. Surely khums helps us (serve) our religion, our family, our followers, spend freely, and protect our honor from him whose power we fear. So do not cut us off from khums, and as far as possible do not deprive yourselves of our supplication. Surely giving khums is a key to your daily bread, forgiving your sins, and what you pave for yourselves for the day of your neediness. The Muslim is he who fulfills what Allah has entrusted to him; the Muslim is not he who responds through his tongue and opposes through his heart. Greetings.’[58]”

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46. Khums should be paid to the Imām

Mohammed b. Zayd narrated, saying: “A group of people from Khurasān came to Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, and asked him to exempt them from khums, and he said: ‘I do not exempt (anyone from) this. You show sincere affection toward us through your tongues, while you deprive us of the right which Allah has apportioned to us and appointed us for it, which is khums. We will not exempt anyone of you from it.’[59]”

This tradition and the one before it indicate that khums should be paid to the present Imām, and in the period of his occultation (ghayba) it should be given to his deputy, who is the general authority of Islamic world.

47. Religious Expiation on breaking the fast through the Lawful and Unlawful

‘Abd al-Salām b. Sālih al-Harawi reported, saying: “I said to al-Ridā, peace be on him: O son of Allah’s Apostle, it has been reported from your fathers that there are three religious expiations on him who has a sexual intercourse in the month of Ramadān or breaks the fast during it; it has also been narrated from them that there is one religious expiation, then which of the two traditions should we follow? ‘Both of them,’ he replied, ‘When the man has a sexual intercourse with a prohibited woman or breaks the fast through the unlawful, then three are three religious expiations due on him: releasing a slave, fasting two successive months, feeding sixty needy ones, and compensating that day; and if he indulges in lawful intercourse or breaks the fast through the lawful, then there is one expiation obligatory on him; and if he is forgetful, then there is nothing due on him.’[60]”

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In the light of this narration and other narrations transmitted from the Imāms of guidance, the Imāmi jurists have given a religious decision that if one breaks the fast through the unlawful during the day such as drinking wine or eating a usurped thing or the like, he is subjected to all the religious expiations, which are: releasing a slave, fasting two successive months, feeding sixty needy ones, and compensating that day; and if he breaks the fast through a lawful thing such as drinking water, then he has to choose between these three religious expiations.

48. Liquid Enemas

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr al-Bizanti narrated that he asked Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, about one who had a liquid enema in the month of Ramadān, and he, peace be on him, answered: “It is not permissible for him to have a liquid enema.[61]”

The Imāmi jurists have depended on this narration and other narrations reported from the Imāms of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, hence they have given a religious decision that a liquid enema is one of the things which invalidate the fast.

49. Brushing Teeth in the Month of Ramadān

Mūsā b. Abū al-Hasan al-Rāzi reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: “One of those who were sitting in his presence asked him about cleaning teeth with the stick (al-Siwāk) in the month of Ramadān, and he replied: ‘It is permissible.’ So one of them declared: ‘The wetness of the stick goes down, what do you say about the wetness of the stick which goes down?’ He (the Imām) replied: ‘The water of gargle moistens (the mouth) more than the wet stick does. If someone says that water is necessary for gargle according to the Sunna, then the stick is also necessary according to the Sunna which Gabriel brought to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.’[62]”

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50. Intention for Travel at Night

In a tradition Safwān narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “If one wants to go to al-Nahrwān and returns from it, then he should make an intention for travel and breaking the fast at night. If he enters upon morning and has not make the intention for the travel (at night) and it seems to him (that he has not made the intention) after he has started the travel, then he should shorten (his prayers) and should not break (the fast) of that day of his.[63]”

In the light of this narration, Imām al-Khū’i has given a religious decision that the traveler should make an intention for travel at night. If he does not make the intention and travels before the declination (of the sun), then it is obligatory on him to complete the fast and to compensate for (it).

51. Recommended Fast is not compensated

Al-Marzbān b. ‘Umrān reported, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him: I want to travel, then shall I fast the month of mine in which I shall travel? ‘No,’ he answered. Then I asked: Shall I compensate for it when I return?’ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you do not compensate for it just as you do not fast it.’[64]” Similar to this narration is what has been reported by Sa‘d b. Sa‘d al-Ash‘ari on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: “I asked him about the three-day fast in (each) month: Is it obligatory on the traveler to compensate for it? ‘No,’ he answered.[65]”

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52. Fast on the Day of Doubt

Mohammed b. Sinān reported, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the day of doubt, and he answered: ‘Surely my father would fast on it, so fast on it.’[66]”

If one doubts whether the new moon of the month of Ramadān has appeared or not: The Imām (al-Ridā), peace be on him, ordered (the Muslims) to fast on it; and the intention for the fast is according to what the jurists have mentioned that one makes intention as (a day) of Sha‘bān as recommendation or compensation. If it appears that it (the day) is of Ramadān, then it is sufficient for him, but if one fasts on it through the intention of Ramadān, then his fast is invalid.[67]”

53. If a Fast of Ramadān is Missed

In a tradition al-Fadl b. Shādhān narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “If someone says: If one becomes sick or travels in the month of Ramadān, and he does not end his travel or does not recover from his illness until another month of Ramadān comes, then why should he pay redemption and should not compensate for (it)? If he recovers or resides (in his homeland), then why should he compensate (the fast) and should not pay redemption? It is said: Because that fast was obligatory on him in this month in that year. As for him who does not recover, he, as the whole year has passed and Allah has overcome him and not helped him to perform the fast, then he must not fast. Likewise, all those whom Allah overcomes such as one who faints for a day and a night, then it is not obligatory on him to compensate the prayers, just as al-Sādiq, peace be on him, said: ‘If Allah overcomes him, then he has an excuse.’ For the month has come, and he is still ill, so it is not incumbent on him in the month of him and the year of him because of the illness in which he is; but it is obligatory on him to pay redemption just as Allah, the Exalted, says: Let him fast for two successive months; then as for him who is not able let him feed sixty needy ones, and just as He says: So a compensation by fasting or alms or sacrificing. So He has put alms in the place of fasting when it is difficult for him to fast. If it is said that one was not able then and now he is able, it is said: As another month of Ramadān has come to him, it is obligatory on him to pay redemption for the past (Ramadān); if he is in the rank of him upon whom it is incumbent to fast as a religious expiation, but he is not able, then redemption is due on him; and if redemption is obligatory on him, then he should not fast; the fast drops but redemption is a must. If he recovers between them (i.e. between the past and the present months of Ramadān) and he has not fasted the past month of Ramadān, then redemption is obligatory on him because he has neglected it, and (also) the fast because he has been able.[68]”

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If one misses the month of Ramadān or some of it because of an illness and the excuse continues to the next Ramadān, he should not fast it but he should pay a mudd (750 gms) of food as alms for each day. However, if he misses it because of an excuse other than illness, then both compensation and redemption are obligatory.[69]

54. Recommended Fasts

Ismā‘il b. Dāwud narrated, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the fast (i.e. recommended fasts), and he answered: ‘Three days in a month: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.’[70]”

55. The fast on the Day of ‘Īd al-Ghadir

Al-Fārid b. Mohammed b. ‘Amr al-Tūsi narrated that he saw Abū al-Hasan ‘Ali b. Mūsā al-Ridā, peace be on him, on the Day of al-Ghadir along with a group of his special companions whom he had invited to break the fast. He sent to their houses food, wheat, gifts, clothing, rings, sandals, and the like. He changed their conditions and those of his retinues. He changed the rites familiar before that day, and then he mentioned the excellence and precedence of that day. They following are some of his words:

“My father al-Hādi related to me on the authority of his father, on the authority of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, that al-Ghadir occurred on Friday in his time, so he went up on the pulpit for five hours at the daytime of that day, and then he, peace be on him, mentioned his long sermon until he said: ‘Then Allah, the Most High, has brought together for you, O group of the believers, on this day two great ‘Īds; none of them stands except through its companion, that His beautiful favor toward you may be perfect.’ Then he mentioned a great deal of the excellence of al-Ghadir until he said:

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“‘So the dirham on it (al-Ghadir) equals one hundred dirhams, and the increase is from Allah, the Exalted; and the fast on this day is one of those fasts which Allah, the Most High, has made recommended, and placed great reward from Him for it, to the extant that if one of the servants worships during youth from the beginning of the world to its end, fasting by its daytime performing prayer by its day, if the faithful is sincere to his fast, the days of the world will fall short of being equal to it. He who aids his brother of his own accord and does good to him willingly wins the reward of him who fasts on this day and performs prayer on its night; and he who breaks a believer’s fast on its night, it is as if that he broke the fast of one hundred thousand prophets, very truthful ones, and martyrs. Just imagine how much more is (the reward) of him who maintains a number of the believers, male and female; and I, on behalf of Allah the Exalted, guarantee him safety from unbelief and poverty. He who dies by its night or daytime or after it, then his reward is from Allah. He who borrows a loan for his brothers and helps them; then I guarantee him before Allah; if He keeps him alive, then he pays it (the loan); and if He makes him die, He undertakes it. When you meet each other, then shake hands through greetings, grant the blessing to each other on this day, let the present inform the absent (of it), let the rich visit the poor, and the strong (visit) the weak. Allah’s Messenger had ordered me (to do) that.’ Then he, peace be on him, continued his sermon, regarded his Friday prayer as ‘Īd prayer, then he took his sons and his followers (Shi‘ites) and went to the house of al-Hasan b. ‘Ali, peace be on him, where food had been prepared; the poor and the rich took their gifts and went to their families.[71]”

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Surely al-Ghadir ‘Īd is one of the most important Islamic ‘Īds, for, on this immortal day, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, installed Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, as his successor after him, and an authority for his community. Many traditions have been transmitted from the Imāms of guidance concerning the recommended fast and celebrating a festival on it. The Imāmi Sect has been successful in commemorating it, holding literary festivals in which wonderful poems and marvelous words are read in praising the excellence of Abū al-Husayn (i.e. Imām ‘Ali), peace be on him. Likewise, thousands of people visit his Holy Shrine in order to commemorate this day.

56. Summoning the Believers to make a Pilgrim is Recommended

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Daylami, the retainer of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, reported, saying: “I heard al-Ridā say: ‘He who summons the believers to make a pilgrim certainly buys his own soul from Allah, the Great and Almighty, for the money.’[72]”

This tradition is a proof of that summoning the believers to perform the hajj and spending on them is the best act which brings man nearer to Allah.

57. Hajj on behalf of the Dead

Mohammed b. ‘Abd Allah narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the person who died and asked someone else to perform the hajj on his behalf, from where the hajj is perform on his behalf? He replied: ‘According to his money; if his money is plentiful, then (the hajj) is performed from his house; if his money is not plentiful, then from Kufa; and if his money is not enough (to perform the hajj) from Kufa, then from Medina.’[73]”

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58. Hiring Someone to perform the Hajj

Mohammed b. ‘Īsā al-Yaqtin narrated, saying: “Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, sent a parcel of clothing, and servants to me, my brother Mūsā b. ‘Ubayd, and Yunus b. ‘Abd al-Rahmān; he ordered us to perform the hajj on his behalf; there was one hundred dinars and we (divided it) among us.[74]”

The jurists have depended on this narration and the like regarding that it is permissible for living one to hire someone else to perform the recommended hajj on his behalf; likewise, they have given a religious decision that it is permissible for living one to hire someone else to perform on his behalf the obligatory hajj such as the hajj of Islam (hujjat al-Islām); that is when one is unable to perform the hajj.

59. Al-Ihrām before the appointed Time and Place

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, said: “Al-Ihrām (the ceremonies of ‘umra and hajj) is not permissible before al-miqāt (the appointed time and place).[75]”

60. Passing through al-Miqāt

Safwān b. Yahyā reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: “I wrote to him (al-Ridā) that some of your followers perform al-ihrām from Batn al-‘Aqiq, that there was neither water nor a house in that place, that there was a hard provisions against them, and that their companions and their camels hasten them; fifteen miles from beyond Batn al-‘Aqiq, there was a station wherein water, and which was there station at which they stopped; so do you think that (it is permissible for them) to perform al-ihram from the place of the water as a sign of mercy to them and lightness toward them? Hence he wrote: ‘Surely Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, has appointed the times and places for its people and those other than its people who pass through them; he who has an illness is permitted (to do so); so none should break the appointed time and place (al-miqāt) except him who has an illness.’[76]”

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All those who pass through the appointed time and place (al-miqāt) and intend to go to Holy Mecca should perform al-ihram, just as it has been indicated by this narration and others.

61. How ‘Umrat al-Tamattu‘ is Performed

Ahmed b. Mohammed narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: How shall I perform ‘umrat al-tamattu‘ ? He answered: ‘Exclaim: Here I am at Your service! Make a solemn intention for ‘umrat al-Tamattu‘. When you enter Mecca, circumambulate the House; perform two rak‘as behind the Standing place (al-Maqām); run seven times between al-Safā and al-Marwā; and then shorten and regard it as ‘umrat al-Tamattu‘.’[77]”

This narration is a proof of that it is permissible for one to make a solemn intention for the hajj and al-talbiya (exclaiming: Here I am at Your service!) through which al-ihrām is valid; and then he performs the rest of the ceremonies such as circumambulating the Holy House, praying behind the Standing place of Ibrāhim, running seven times between al-Safā and al-Marwā; shortening and regarding it as ‘umrat al-Tamattu.

62. Ceasing al-Talbiya

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, that he was asked: “When will one who performs ‘umrat al-Tamattu cease al-talbiya (exclaiming: Here I am at Your service!) ?” He (al-Ridā) replied: “When he looks at the bowers of Mecca, ‘Aqabat Dhi Tiwā.” “The Houses of Mecca?” I (Ahmed) asked. “Yes,” he replied.[78]

When the hajji performs al-ihram from one of the appointed places, it is recommended for to continue al-talbiya throughout the time until he arrives in Mecca. When he sees its houses, he ceases al-talbiya.

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63. Al-Muhrim can buy female Salves

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d al-Ash‘ari al-Qummi narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him (al-Ridā) about al-muhrim (one who has entered the state of ritual consecration): Can al-muhrim buy and sell female slaves? ‘Yes,’ he replied.[79]”

It is prohibited for al-muhrim to marry a woman; likewise, it is prohibited for him to make the contract of marriage for those other than him. As for buying and selling female slaves, it is not forbidden, as it is indicated by this narration.

64. It is Permissible for al-Muhrim to wear a Ring

Mohammed b. Ismā‘il b. Buzaygh reported, saying: “I saw Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, wearing a ring while he was in the state of ritual consecration (muhrim).[80]”

65. Al-Muhrim can walk in Shade

Mohammed b. Ismā‘il b. Buzaygh narrated, saying: “I wrote to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘Is it permissible for al-muhrim to walk in the shade of the double camel-litter (al-Mahmal)? ‘Yes,’ he, peace be on him, wrote.’[81]”

One of the things from which al-muhrim should refrain is casting a shadow over him. As for walking in shade, it is not forbidden. This matter has raised many questions, for al-Tabrasi narrated, saying: “Mohammed b. al-Hasan questioned Abū al-Hasan Mūsā b. Ja‘far, peace be on him, in the presence of (Hārūn) al-Rashid when they were in Mecca. He asked him: ‘Is it permissible for al-muhrim to walk in the shade of the double camel-litter (al-Mahmal)?’ ‘It is not permissible for him (to do) that willingly,’ the Imām answered him. ‘Is it permissible for him to walk in shade willingly?’ asked Mohammed b. al-Hasan. ‘Yes,’ he replied him. Mohammed b. al-Hasan laughed at that, hence the Imām asked: ‘Do you wonder at the Sunna (practices) of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and ridicule it? Surely Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, removed his shade during his ihrām and walked in the shade while he was muhrim. Surely Allah’s laws, O Mohammed, are not compared. So he who compares them to each other deviates from the straight path.’[82]”

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66. Religious Expiation for killing a Bird in the Holy Shrine

Safwān b. Yahyā narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “He who kills a bird in the Holy Shrine (of the Prophet) while he is in the ritual state of consecration (muhrim) should pay the value, which is one dirham, and buy food for the pigeons of the Holy Shrine.[83]”

67. Redemption for casting Shadow

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d al-Ash‘ari reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him (al-Ridā) about al-muhrim (one who has entered the state of ritual consecration) who cast a shadow over himself, and he asked me: ‘Is there an excuse?’ ‘The heat of the sun hurts him when he is in the state of ritual consecration (muhrim),’ I answered. ‘It is an excuse,’ he explained, ‘he can cast a shadow over himself and should pay a redemption.’[84]”

Ibrāhim b. Abū Mahmūd narrated, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘Is it permissible for al-muhrim to cast over himself a shadow from his double camel-litter (al-Mahmil) and pay a redemption when the sun and rain hurt him?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘How much is the redemption?’ I asked him. ‘A ewe,’ he answered.[85]”

68. Supplication by al-Rukn al-Yamāni

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d al-Ash‘ari reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I was with him (al-Ridā) during circumambulating (the Ka‘ba). When we approached al-Rukn al-Yamāni, he raised his hands towards the heaven, and then he said: ‘O Allah! O Keeper of well-being! O Creator of well-being! O Provider with well-being! O Benefactor through well-being! O Munificent with well-being! O You who have obliged me and all Your creatures

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through well-being! O Most Gracious in this world and the next and Most Merciful in both of them! Bless Mohammed and the family of Mohammed, provide us with well-being, completing well-being, giving thanks for well-being in here and the hereafter, O Most Merciful of the merciful![86]”

69. Obligatory Circumambulation

He (al-Ridā), peace be on him, said: “One should say nothing during obligatory circumambulation except supplication, invocation of Allah, and reciting the Qur’ān. As for the supererogatory (i.e. recommended circumambulation), there is no harm in it (when) one meet his brother and talks with him about one of the affairs of the world.[87]” This precept is not obligatory; rather it is recommended; and it is recommended for al-muhrim to say nothing during his circumambulation except the invocation of Allah, the Most High.

70. Stone-Throwing

Ismā‘il b. Hammām reported, saying: “I heard Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, say: ‘Do not throw stones on the Day of Great Sacrifice (i.e. the Day of ‘Īd) until the sun rises.[88]” The surface meaning of this order is the prevention from throwing stones before the sunrise.

71. Animal for Immolation is sufficient for a Group of People

Sawāda and ‘Ali b. Asbāt narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him. They said: “We asked him (al-Ridā): ‘May we be your ransom, the sacrifices in Mecca have become expensive; is it sufficient for two persons to take part in a sheep?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied ‘and (it is sufficient) for seventy (persons).’[86]”

This narration concerns the recommended hajj. As for the obligatory hajj, one sacrifice is not sufficient except for one person, nor is it sufficient for two persons.

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72. Clothes should not be sold for buying an Animal for Immolation

‘Ali b. Asbāt reported on the authority of one of our companions, on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: “I said to him (al-Ridā): ‘A man has performed hajj al-tamattu‘, and there are some clothes in his bag, shall he sell some of them in order to buy a sacrifice?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘the believer should adorn himself with them. He should fast and not sell any of his clothes.’[90]” When the pilgrim is unable to buy a sacrifice, he should fast for three days during the hajj and seven days when he comes back to his homeland.

73. Visiting the Prophet is Recommended

Al-Hasan b. al-Jahm narrated, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘Which is better ¾the man who comes to Mecca and does not go to Medina or the man who comes to the Prophet and does not go to Mecca?’ ‘In which thing do you believe?’ he asked me. ‘We believe in al-Husayn, peace be on him,’ I replied, ‘then what about the Prophet?’ ‘Since you said that,’ he retorted, ‘Abū ‘Abd Allah (al-Husayn), peace be on him, witnessed ‘Īd in Medina, came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and greeted him, and then he said to those present: ‘We are better than the people of all the cities, Mecca and other than it, for we have greeted Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.’[91]”

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74. Running away from Fighting in the Way of Allah is Prohibited

“Allah has prohibited escaping from fighting in His path, for it leads to undermining the religion; disdaining the just prophets and Imāms; leaving helping them against the enemies who should be punished for their leaving professing the Lord to whom they are summoned, (and who are summoned to) establishing justice, leaving oppression, and deadening corruption. Moreover it encourages the enemies to (attack) the Muslims, and (this attack) results in murdering (them), taking them as prisoners, and abolishing the religion of Allah, the Great and Almighty, and (this attack leads to) other corrupt things.[92]”

Islam has prohibited running away from fighting in the way of Allah, for it brings about dangerous harms to the Muslims, of which is that the unbelieving forces dominate Islam, destroy the Muslims, and severely punish the believers.

75. Adopting the Bedouin Customs after the Emigration is Prohibited

Mohammed b. Sinān narrated that Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, wrote to him in response to his questions: “And Allah has prohibited adopting the Bedouin customs after the Emigration, for it brings about withdrawal from the religion, leaving supporting the prophets and the proofs (Imāms), peace be on him, corrupting and invalidating the rights of those who have rights, because of the residence of the Bedouins; likewise, if one fully knows the religion, it is not permissible for him to live with men of ignorance, for fear that he may leave knowledge and adopt the customs of men of ignorance and go too far in that.[93]”

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Islam has prohibited adopting the Bedouin customs after the Emigration, for it brings about withdrawal from the religion and acquiring the manners of the ignorant, for social life is the life of effect and being affected, so every person is affected by his surroundings, and he produces an effect on them; for this reason Islam has prohibited living with men of ignorance. This prohibition concerns those ignorant from among the Muslims. However, it does not concerns those who have knowledge and virtue, for they do not follow the manners of the ignorant.

76. Buying Infidel Captives is Permissible

Mohammed b. ‘Abd Allah reported, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, about a group of people who went out (in mutiny), killed a group of Muslims, and demolished the Mosques; and Hārūn, who was in charge (of the Muslims), sent for them, and they were taken and killed, the women and the boys were taken prisoners ¾is it permissible (for us) to buy some women of them and marry them? ‘There is no harm in buying their commodities and taking them prisoners,’ he replied.[94]”

Zakariyā b. Ādam narrated, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about a group of the enemies who made peace, and then they broke their promise; perhaps, they broke their promise because they were not treated with justice ¾is it permissible to buy some of their captives? He, peace be on him, answered: ‘If they were from among the enemies whose enmity is manifest, then buy from them; and if they are estranged and wronged, then do not buy their captives.’[95]”

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In the second tradition the Imām, peace be on him, talked about those who mutinied against the basic government: if they mutinied against it because they suffered from oppression or it did not accomplish its treaties and broke its promises, then there would be no way to buy some of their captives; and if their mutiny was as a sign of enmity toward Islām and malice toward the Muslims, then it was permissible for the Muslims to buy their captives.

77. The Precepts of al-Khrājj

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, detailed the precepts of land tax (al-kharājj) through his talk with Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr, who said: “I mentioned al-kharājj before Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, and how the members of his household behaved toward it,

and he said: ‘One-tenth and half a one-tenth is due on him who adopts Islam willingly; his land is left in his hand; and one-tenth and half a one-tenth is taken from him concerning what he has reformed from it. As for that which he has not reformed, it is taken by the governor who accepts it from him who reforms it, and it belongs to the Muslims. Nothing is due on that which less than five camel-loads (awsāq). As for the land which is taken by the sword, it is up to the Imām, who accepts it with what he sees; just as Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, did toward Khaybar; he accepted its land and its date-palms; and the people say: ‘The acceptance of the land and the date-palms is not good when whiteness (barren land) is more than blackness (fertile land); and certainly Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, accepted Khaybar and (specified) one-tenth and half a one-tenth as due on their portions.’[96]”

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78. Al-Amr bi al-Ma‘rūf and al-Nahy ‘an al-Munkar

He (al-Ridā), peace be on him, said: “You should direct others towards good and direct them away from evil; otherwise, He (Allah) will employ your evil ones over you, so your good ones supplicate (Him) but He does respond to them.[97]”

And he, peace be on him, said: Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, would say: “When (the members of) my community depend on each other concerning al-amr bi al-ma‘rūf and al-nahy ‘an al-munkar, then they will face a punishment from Allah.[98]”

Surely al-amr bi al-ma‘rūf and al-nahy ‘an al-munkar are two main Islamic bases on which the development of the community, its security, and its safety from discords and deviation (from the truth) are built.

And he, peace be on him, said: “Al-amr bi al-ma‘rūf and al-nahy ‘an al-munkar are two obligatory (things) when it is possible and there is no fear for the soul.[99]”

Surely al-amr bi al-ma‘rūf and al-nahy ‘an al-munkar require conditions of which is that there should be no fear for the soul, the family, and the wealth. When these conditions are not available, then this religious duty drops.

79. Making Use of the fat Tails which are cut off from Living Sheep

Al-Bizanti, the companion of Imām al-Rida, peace be on him, narrated, saying: “I asked him (al-Ridā) about the person who cuts off the fat tails of his living sheep ¾is it permissible for him to make use of them? ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘he should melt them, light (a lamp) through them, but he should not eat them; nor should he sell them.’[100]”

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This narration is a proof of that it is permissible for one to make use of the fat tails which are cut off from living sheep, but this use is confined to illumination only.

80. Wage for Writing the Qur’ān

Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, was asked about the wage for writing the Qur’ān, and he, peace be on him, replied: “There is no harm in it.[101]”

81. Al-Maysar is a Game of Hazard

Islam has prohibited al-maysar (game of hazard) and associated it with wine. As for Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, he explained al-maysar, saying: “Al-maysar is a game of hazard.[102]” And he, peace be on him, said: “Surely, chess, game at dice (nard), fourteen (arba‘at ‘ashar), and all things used as gamble are maysar.[103]”

82. Work for Tyrannical Ruler

Sulaymān al-Ja‘fari reported, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘What do say about work for the tyrannical ruler (Sultan)?’ He answered: ‘O Sulaymān, work for tyrannical rulers, helping them, and striving for accomplishing their needs are equal to unbelief; likewise, looking at them deliberately is one of the great sins because of which one deserves the Fire.’[104]” Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, made it permissible for a tyrannical ruler to undertake authority, provided that he should benefit the believers and drive harm away from them. He, peace be on him, said: “Surely Allah has friends along with the (tyrannical) ruler, through whom He drives (harm) away from His friends.[105]”

Al-Hasan b. al-Husayn al-Anbāri narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I wrote to him (al-Ridā) for fourteen years and asked him to permit me in order to work for the ruler (Sultan); in the last letter I wrote him and mentioned that my neck would be struck off, that the ruler said to me that I was a Rafidite (apostate), and that I refused to work for the ruler because of my being a Rafidite.

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“So Abū al-Hasan (al-Ridā), peace be on him, wrote me: ‘I have understood your letter and what you have mentioned concerning the fear for your soul. If you become a governor, work according to the orders of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, your helpers and scribes follow your creed, and you help the poor believers to the extent that you become one of them, then it is okay; otherwise, no.’[106]”

83. Option of Animals

‘Ali b. Asbāt reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I heard him (al-Ridā) say: ‘The buyer has the right of option of an animals for three days; as for (the things) other than animals, (the right of option terminates) when they leave each other.’[107]”

In the light of this narration and others, the jurists have given a religious decision that the buyer has the right of option of an animals for three days; and as for the things other than animals, the right of option terminates when they leave each other; and that is called ‘option of meeting place.’

84. Changing Coins

Yunus narrated, saying: “I wrote to al-Ridā: ‘I owed a man three thousands dirhams; the people used those dirhams in those days; they do not use them nowadays ¾shall I take the same dirhams or the dirhams which the people use nowadays?’ So he wrote me: ‘You have the right to take from him the dirhams which the people use just as you gave him the dirhams which the people used.’[108]”

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85. Selling unripe Fruit

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washshā’ reported, saying: “I asked Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: ‘Is it permissible to sell unripe dates?’ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘it is not permissible to sell them until they grow.’ ‘May I be your ransom, what is the growth (zahw)?’ I asked him. ‘When they become red or yellow or the like,’ he answered.[109]”

86. Buying the Children of the protected People is Prohibited

Zakariya b. Ādam narrated, saying: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about one of the protected people (ahl al-dhimma) who faced famine and brought me his boy, saying: ‘This (boy) belongs to you; feed him and take him as a slave for you.’ So he (al-Ridā) declared: ‘Do not buy a free man; nor do buy one of the protected people, for it is not permissible for you (to do that).’[110]”

The protected people (ahl al-dhimma) are free, and it is not permissible to buy them.

87. The Imām pays the Debts of the Debtors

Mohammed b. Sulaymān reported on the authority of a man called Abū Mohammed from al-Jazira. He (the man) said: “A man asked al-Ridā, peace be on him. The man said and I could hear him: ‘May I be your ransom, Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: And if (the debtor) is in straitness, then let there be postponement until (he is in) ease. Tell me about this postponement which Allah, the Great and Almighty, has mentioned in His Book: Is there any fixed period for it, that the creditor may wait for this impoverished one, who has taken the creditor’s money and spent it on his family, and who has neither a crop nor a debt nor an absent wealth?’

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“He (al-Ridā), peace be on him, replied: ‘Yes, he (the creditor) must wait until the Imām hears of his news; and he pays his (the debtor’s) debt from the share of the debtors. That is when he (the debtor) had spent it (debt) on the acts of obedience to Allah, the Great and Almighty. If he had spent it on the acts of disobedience to Allah, then he would have nothing against the Imām.’ I (i.e. the man) asked: ‘What about this man who entrusted (his money) to him while he did not know whether he spent it on the acts of obedience to Allah or on acts of disobedience to Him? He (al-Ridā) answered: ‘He (debtor) should strive for him concerning his money and humbly return it to him.’[1111]”

88. Buying Debt

Mohammed b. al-Fudayl narrated, saying: “I said to al-Ridā, peace be on him: A man bought a debt against a man, and then he went to the owner of the debt (the debtor) and said to him: ‘Pay to me what so-and-so has against you, for I have bought it (the doubt) from him.’ He (al-Ridā) said: ‘He (debtor) should pay to him what he has paid to the owner of the debt (the creditor); he against whom the money is is free from all what has remained against him.’[112]”

89. The Debtor should not be oppressed

‘Ali b. Ismā‘il reported on the authority of a man from Syria (al-Shām) that he (the man) asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about a man against whom there was a heavy debt, who associated with the people, whom was entrusted (with money), and who bought surplus food and drink ¾is it lawful for him (to do that) or not? ‘There is no harm in what he eats,’ the Imām, peace be on him, answered.[113]”

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The surface meaning of the tradition is that the creditor should not straiten the debtor even if he is able to buy his food requirements.

90. Employing Worker before Specifying his Wage is Reprehensible

Sulaymān b. Ja‘far al-Ja‘fari narrated, saying: “I was with al-Ridā, peace be on him, for a certain need. When I wanted to go home, he said to me: ‘Go and spend the night with me.’ So I went with him. When he entered his house, he saw his retainers carrying mud. There was a black man among them. ‘Who is that man among you?’ he asked them. ‘He is helping us, and we will give him something,’ they replied. ‘Did you specify his wage?’ he asked. ‘No,’ they answered, ‘he is satisfied with what you will give to him.’ He became so angry that I said to him: ‘May I be your ransom, why have you become angry?’ ‘I ordered them several times that if one wanted to work with them, they should specify his wage,’ he replied, ‘know that if one works for you without fixing his wage and you give him three folds of it, I think that you have decreased it. If you define his wage and give it to him, he will thank you for honesty. If you increase him something, he will thank you for it and know that you have increased him.’[114]”

One of the good acts of Islamic legislation is that you should specify the worker’s wage before you let him work. If you do not specify it, he will not be satisfied with whatever you give to him, and this brings about quarrel and dispute.

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91. Rent does not invalidate Selling Property

Yunus reported, saying: “I wrote to al-Ridā, peace be on him, to ask him about a man who accepted a land or other than that from a man for some known years. Then the owner of the land wanted to sell his land before the termination of the fixed years ¾does the tenant have the right to prevent him from that? ‘He (the land owner) has the right to sell it if he had made it a condition on him,’ he, peace be on him, answered.[115]”

The owner is not objected when he wants to sell his rented property, but he should inform the tenant of that. He can sell it to him without an interest until the rent terminates. If he does not inform him of that, he (the tenant) has the stipulated right of cancellation.

92. Revoking Grant before Receiving it

Safwān b. Yahyā narrated, saying: “I asked al-Rida, peace be on him, about a man who had property and he granted it to his eldest son. The man mentioned to him the property which he had against him, so he said: There is nothing of it against you in this world and the next (namely, he granted it to him) ¾is it permissible for him to do that while he had granted it (the property) to his son? ‘Yes,’ he answered ‘it is permissible to him to grant it to him, and then he revokes (it) and gives it to another son.’[116]”

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Surely it is permissible to revoke grant before it is received; and it is one of the permissible contracts which one can revoke. As for grant given to womb relatives, it is obligatory after receiving not before it.

3. A Magian orders his Wealth to be given to the Poor

Abū Tālib ‘Abd Allah b. al-Salt reported, saying: “Al-Khalil b. Hāshim wrote to Dhū al-Ri’āsatayn[117], the governor of Nisābūr, that a Magian ordered some of his wealth to be given to the poor. When he died, the judge of Nisābūr took it and divided it among the poor Muslims. So al-Khalil wrote to Dhū al-Ri’āsatayn about that, and he asked al-Ma’mūn about that, and he said: ‘I have nothing concerning that.’ So he asked Abū al-Hasan, and he said: ‘The Magian did not order his wealth to be given to the poor Muslims, so he (the judge of Nishābūr) should take an amount of money from the alms equal to that amount and distribute it among the poor Magians.’[118]”

A narration similar to this has been reported by ‘Ali b. Ibrāhim on the authority of Yāsir al-Khādim, who said: “From Nisābūr he wrote to al-Ma’mūn that a Magian was about to die and ordered his great wealth to be divided among the miserable and the poor, but the judge of Nishābūr distributed it among the poor Muslims, so al-Ma’mūn asked al-Ridā: ‘What do you say about that?’ ‘The Magian did not give (his wealth) as alms to the poor Muslims,’ answered al-Ridā, peace be on him, ‘so write to him to specify an amount from the alms of the Muslims equal to that amount and give it as alms to the poor Magians.’[119]”

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94. A Muslim Woman orders two Beds to be given to the Christians

Al-Rayyān b. Shabib (b. al-Salt) reported, saying: “Marida ordered two beds to be given to a group of the Christians, so our companions said: ‘Divide them among your believing companions.’ So I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, and said to him: My sister ordered (two beds) to be given to a group of the Christians, and I wanted to divide them among a group of our Muslim companions, so he, peace be on him, replied: ‘Carry out the will as you had been ordered, for Allah, the Exalted, says: Whoever then alters it after he has heard it, the sin of it then is only upon those who alters it.’[120]”

95. The Orphan should take his Wealth when he becomes Adult

Sa‘d b. Ismā‘il narrated on the authority of his father, who said: “I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about the guardian of the orphans: He orders his orphans to take their properties when they become adult, but they refuse to accept them, what shall he do? ‘He should return their properties to them and force them to take them,’ he answered.[121]”

When the orphan becomes adult, then the guardian has no power over him. He should take his wealth; and if he refuses to take it, then the legal judge should force him to accept it.

96. A Man orders a Share of his wealth to be given to the Imām

Safwān and Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported, saying: “We asked al-Ridā, peace be on him, about a man who ordered a share of his wealth to be given to him, and we did not know what the share was, and he, peace be on him, said: ‘Have you anything of what you heard from Ja‘far and Abū Ja‘far?’ ‘We have not heard our companions say anything about this (matter) on the authority of your fathers,’ we replied. So he retorted: ‘The share is one per eight (shares, i.e. one-eighth), until he mentioned these words of Him the Exalted: Alms are only for the poor and the needy, and the officials (appointed) over them, and those whose hearts are made to incline (to truth) and the (ransoming of) the captives and those in debts and in the way of Allah and the wayfarer.’ Then he knitted the eight fingers of his hand and said: ‘Likewise, Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, divided it into eight shares; therefore, it is one-eighth.’[122]”

p: 452

97. A Man orders a Sword to be given to a Man

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr narrated on the authority of Abū Jamila, on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: “I asked him (al-Ridā) about a man who ordered a man to be given a sword in a sheath inlaid with jewels, but the inheritors said to him: ‘Only the blade belongs to you, and the sword does not belong to you.’ So he, peace be on him, said: ‘No, rather the sword and what it includes (belongs to him).’[123]”

98. The Precept of Will concerning Disowning a Child

Sa‘d b. Sa‘d reported, saying: “I asked him (al-Ridā), peace be on him: ‘A man claimed that he had a boy. The man disowned the boy and excluded him from the inheritance, and I am his executor, then how shall I do?’ He, peace be on him, answered: ‘The boy belongs to him because of his confession in the presence of the people; the executor does not turn him away from anything which he has known.’[124]”

Surely when the man confesses that the child belongs to him, then it is incumbent on him to take care of him; and he has no right to disown him.

99. Good Wife

Safwān b. Yahyā narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: “The servant gains nothing more useful than a good wife; when he sees her, she pleases him; and when he is absent from her; she keeps him regarding herself and his property.[125]”

p: 453

Footnote

[1] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 1, p. 127.

[2] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 5.

[3] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, Chapter on Wudū'.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 11.

[6] Ibid., p. 10.

[7] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 16.

[8] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 1, p. 328.

[9] Qur'ān, 18, 110.

[10] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 21.

[11] Al-'Urwat al-Withqā, Hateful Things in Wudū'.

[12] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 978. Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 59.

[13] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 59. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 973.

[14] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 55. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 968.

[15] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 113. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 1070.

[16] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 156. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 1083.

[17] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 946. Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 14.

[18] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 936.

[19] Ibid., p. 799.

[20] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 50. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 2, p. 786.

[21] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 135. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 43.

[22] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 73. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 30.

[23] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 213.

[24] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 90.

[25] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 77.

[26] Minhājj al-Sālihin.

[27] Wasā'il al-Shi'a.

[28] Ibid., vol. 3, p. 68.

[29] Minhājj al-Sālihin.

[30] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 147.

[31] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 111. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 257.

[32] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 96. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 261.

p: 454

[33] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 242. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 266.

[34] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 445.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid., p. 53.

[37] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 308. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 3, p. 538.

[38] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 324. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 3, p. 550.

[39] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 3, p. 579.

[40] Ibid., p. 633.

[41] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 91.

[42] Qurb al-Isnād, p. 159. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 4, p. 630.

[43] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 4, p. 765.

[44] Ibid.

[45] The taslim is recited after the final rak'a of every prayer. The worshipper remains kneeling after the tashahud, and says:

السلام علیک أیها النبی ورحمه الله وبرکاته السلام علینا وعلی عباد الله الصالحین السلام علیکم ورحمه الله وبرکاته

As-salāmu 'alay-ka ayyuha'n-nabiyū wa-rahmatu'llāhi wa-barakātu-h. As-salāmu 'alay-nā wa-'alā 'ibādi'llāhi's-sālihin.As-salāmu 'alay-kum wa-rahmatu'llāhi wa-barakātu-h.

Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and Allah's mercy and blessing. Peace be upon us, and upon the righteous servants of Allah. Peace be upon you (all), and Allah's mercy and blessing.

[46] Al-Sarā'ir, p. 469

[47] Ibid.

[48] Zakāt al-fitra: the amount (in cash or kind) paid to the need at the end of the month of Ramadān; see text for more details.

[49] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 6, p. 455. Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 153.

[50] Al-Tahdhib, 358.

[51] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 147.

[52] Al-'Urwat al-Withqā.

[53] Qurb al-Isnād, p. 163. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 6, p. 190.

[54] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 147. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 6, p. 213.

[55] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 64.

p: 455

[56] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 6, p. 345.

[57] Al-Maqna'a, p. 46.

[58] Ibid. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 6, p. 375.

[59] Al-Maqna'a, p. 46. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 6, p. 375.

[60] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 4111. Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 2, p. 121.

[61] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 8, p. 39.

[62] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 416. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 8, p. 133.

[63] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 416. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 8, p. 133.

[64] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 168. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 7, p. 133.

[65] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 198.

[66] Al-Maqna'a, p. 48.

[67] Minhājj al-Sālihin, Chapter on Fasting.

[68] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 7, pp. 246-247.

[69] Al-Imām al-Khū'i, Minhājj al-Sālihin. As for Imām al-Hakim, he gave a religious decision that compensation is obligatory apart from redemption, and he said: "If it is possible to add travel to illness, then it is a strong precaution to perform both compensation and redemption."

[70] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 438.

[71] Musbāh al-Mutahajjidin, p. 524. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 7, p. 326.

[72] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 77. Wasā'il al-Shi'a.

[73] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 250. Al-Wasā'il vol. 8, p. 117.

[74] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 261. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 8, p. 147.

[75] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 8, p. 232.

[76] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 324.

[77] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 471. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 1, p. 31.

[78] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 9, p. 57.

[79] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 267. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 9, p. 92.

[80] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 9, p. 127.

[81] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 262.

p: 456

[82] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 9, p. 51.

[83] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 536.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 9, p. 287.

[86] Ibid., p. 417.

[87] Ibid., p. 465.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Ibid., vol. 10, p. 114.

[90] Ibid., p. 114. Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 348.

[91] Kāmil al-Ziyārāt, p. 331. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 10, p. 273.

[92] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 65.

[93] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 2, p. 188. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 75.

[94] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 1, p. 99.

[95] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 53.

[96] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 383.

[97] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 343.

[98] Ibid., p. 344. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 364.

[99] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 402.

[100] Qurb al-Isnād, p. 115. Al-Sarā'ir, p. 469.

[101] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 117.

[102] Tafsir al-'Ayyāshi, vol. 1, p. 336.

[103] Ibid., p. 339.

[104] Ibid., p. 238. Al-Wasā'il, vol. 12, 138.

[105] Al-Maqna'a, p. 31.

[106] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 359. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 12, p. 145.

[107] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 390.

[108] Ibid., p. 401. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 12, p. 481.

[109] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 387.

[110] Ibid. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 28.

[111] Tafsir al-'Ayyāshi, vol. 1, p. 155. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 91.

[112] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 355.

[113] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 61. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 115.

[114] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 1, p. 414. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 245.

[115] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 267.

p: 457

[116] Al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 378.

[117] Al-Fadl b. Sahl, nicknamed Dhū al-Ri'āsatayn (the man with two offices) because he was in the charge of the military and civil administration under the Caliph al-Ma'mūn.

[118] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 238. Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 415.

[119] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 415.

[120] Furū' al-Kāfi, vol. 2, p. 238.

[121] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 436.

[122] Ibid., p. 438.

[123] Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 2, p. 282.

[124] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 13, p. 476. Man lā Yahdarahū al-Faqih, vol. 2, p. 282.

[125] Wasā'il al-Shi'a, vol. 14, p. 22.

Other Justic Matters

Other Justic Matters

100. It is Permissible to marry a Woman along with the Slave-wife of her Father

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked him about a man who married a woman and married the slave-wife of her father, and he, peace be on him, answered: 'There is no harm in that.' Then I said: We have been informed on the authority of your father that 'Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, married the daughter of al-Hasan b. 'Ali, peace be on him, and the slave-wife (umm walad) of al-Hasan, so he said: 'It is not as you say; 'Ali b. al-Husayn married the daughter of al-Hasan and the slave-wife of 'Ali b. al-Husayn, the one who was killed in your country.'[1]"

101. It is Reprehensible for a Woman to marry an Ill-natured Man

p: 458

Al-Husayn b. Bashshār al-Wāsiti narrated, saying: "I wrote to Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him: An ill-natured man from among my relatives has proposed (to marry my daughter), and he replied: 'Do not marry (her to) him if he is an ill-natured man.'[2]" This prohibition is explained as reprehensible not as unlawful.

102. Marriage at Night

Al-Hasan b. 'Ali al-Washshā' reported on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I heard him (al-Ridā) say concerning marriage: 'It is an act of the Sunna is that marriage should be at night, for Allah has made night for rest; and women have been (made) for rest.'[3]"

103. Giving Food at Marriage

Al-Hasan b. 'Ali al-Washshā' narrated on the authority of Abū al-Hasan al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I heard him (al-Ridā) say: 'When Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, proposed to marry Āmina, daughter of Abū Sufyān, and married her, he called for food, and then he said: 'Surely, one of the practices (sunan) of the messengers is giving food at marriage.'[4]"

104. Looking at the Hair of unrelated Woman is Prohibited

He (al-Ridā), peace be on him, said in what he wrote to Mohammed b. Sinān, as answer to his question: "Looking at the hair of married and single women is forbidden, for it excites men, and this excitement leads to corruption and committing the unlawful; likewise, (it is forbidden to look at those things) like hair except what Allah, the Most High, has said: And (as for) women advanced in years who do not hope for marriage, it is no sin for them if they put off their clothes without displaying their ornaments, namely other than the garment; there is no harm in looking at the hair of the like of them.'[5]"

p: 459

105. Looking at the Hair of Sister-in-law is not Permissible

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked him (al-Ridā): is it permissible for a man to look at the hair of his sister-in-law? 'No,' he replied, 'except when she is one of the women advanced in years.' Then I asked him: Are his sister-in-law and unrelated woman the same? 'Yes,' he answered.[6]"

106. A Person claims that he has married a Woman

'Abd al-'Aziz b. al-Muhtadi narrated, saying: "I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him: May I be your ransom, my brother died and I married his wife, but my uncle came and claimed that he had married her secretly; so I asked her about that and she strongly denied it, and then she said: 'There was nothing between me and him.' Hence he, peace be on him, replied: 'Her confession binds you (to believe her), and her denial obligates him (to say the truth).'[7]" This means that the truth was what the woman said, and her denying the right of the uncle was valid.

107. Marriage Contract with the Intention of Joke is invalid

Ibn Abū Nasr reported on the authority of al-Mashriqi, on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him. He said: "I asked him (al-Ridā): What do you say about a man who claimed that he proposed to marry a woman with (the intention of) joke, and that he asked her about that and she replied, 'Yes,'? So he answered: 'It is nothing.' I asked: 'It is lawful for the man to marry her?' 'Yes,' he replied.[8]"

p: 460

108. It is Permissible for Son to marry the Daughter of his Father's Slave-wife

'Ali b. Idris narrated, saying: "I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him: I had a slave-wife; I had a sexual intercourse with her. Then I emancipated her and she gave birth to a slave-girl. Is it lawful for my son to marry her? 'Yes,' he answered, 'before and after the sexual intercourse.'[9]"

109. It is unlawful to marry two Sisters at the same Time

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked him (al-Ridā): 'A husband has a wife, is it lawful for him to marry her sister as a fixed term marriage (mutt'a)?' 'No,' he answered.[10]"

It is not permissible to marry two sisters at the same time, whether the marriage contract is temporary or permanent, but if his first wife dies or he divorces her irrevocably and the 'idda [11] terminates, then it is permissible for him to marry her sister.

110. It is Lawful to marry Midwife

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr narrated on the authority of Imām al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked him (al-Ridā): 'A midwife helped a woman with childbirth, and the woman gave birth to a boy, is it lawful for the boy to marry the midwife of his mother?' 'Glory belongs to Allah,' he replied, 'What of that is unlawful for him?'[12]"

111. Contracting a Fixed-term Marriage with a dhimmi [13]Woman

Al-Hasan al-Taflisi reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked him (al-Ridā): 'Is it permissible for a Muslim to marry a Jewish or a Christian woman for a fixed term marriage?' 'He can marry the believing, free woman for a fixed term marriage, while she is more sacred than her,' he answered.[14]

p: 461

112. If Wife becomes a Muslim

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr narrated on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked al-Ridā: 'A man has a Christian wife and she has become a Muslim, is it lawful for her to reside with him?' 'If she becomes a Muslim, it is not lawful for her to reside with him,' he replied.[15]"

113. Choosing Trustworthy Woman

In a tradition Mohammed b. Ismā'il reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, who said: "You should marry no woman except a trustworthy one, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: The fornicator shall not marry any but a fornicatress or idolatress, and (as for) the fornicatress, none shall marry her but a fornicator or an idolater; and that is forbidden to the believers.[16]"

114. Man should believe Woman when she denies Husband

Mohammed b. 'Abd Allah al-Ash'ari narrated, saying: "I asked al-Ridā, peace be on him: 'A man married a woman and imagined that she had a husband, how is he sure of that?' 'If he asks her about a proof (of that),' he replied, 'she will witness that she has no husband.'[17]"

115. Contracting a Fixed-term Marriage with Bond maid

Ahmed b. Mohammed b. Abū Nasr reported on the authority of al-Ridā, peace be on him, saying: "I asked him (al-Ridā): 'Is it permissible for a Muslim to marry a bond maid for a fixed-term marriage with the permission of her family? 'Yes,' he answered, 'for Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: So marry them with the