Author(s): Sayyid Ali Akbar Sadaaqat
Publisher(s): The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities
Category: Kids Corner Ethics
Topic Tags: Anecdotes Stories Reflection Companions
Person Tags: Prophet Muhammad Ahlul Bayt
Moral stories from the lives of the prophets, the Ahlul Bayt and their companions. Includes topics such as forgiveness, intellect, justice, and worship.
The concept of morality has existed since the creation of mankind. In the old days, there was a clear distinction betwin 'good' morals and 'bad' morals although people did not always follow the former. During modern times, the distinction betwin good and bad has become blurred and morality has been significantly diluted. As a result, there is a danger that immorality will prevail over morality throughout the world.
There is no excuse for a Muslim to get caught in this quagmire. There is clear guidance from Allah through Noble Qur`an and the Prophets and Masoomin. Prophet Muhammad (Prayers be upon him and his Family) himself said, “I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting morals.” One of the best ways of understanding morality is by studying practical examples from the lives of Prophets and Masoomin.
A few books have been written on moral stories emanating from the Islamic world, one of them being 'Pearls of Wisdom', published by the Islamic Education Board of World Federation in March 1993. Bearing in mind the importance of the subject of Akhlaqiyat, IEB-WF is publishing 'Anecdotes for Reflection' in 5 parts. The
source of this publication is the book 'Yaksad Mawzu' wa 500 Dastan' by Sayyid ‘Ali Akber Sadaqat. The translation from Farsi to English was carried out by Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi. IEB - WF would like to thank Sayyid ‘Ali Akber Sadaqat and Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi for their efforts and we pray to Allah (swt) to reward them amply.
May Allah (Fri from Imperfections and Exalted is he) accept this work as a further attempt by IEB - WF to propagate Islam.
Islamic Education Board
The World Federation of K S I Muslim Communities
Dhil Hijjah, 1426 / January 2006
There are numerous ways for man to achieve guidance and emerge from darkness and move towards light. Allah, for the prosperity of man and perfection of his morals, has created proofs, evidences and vestiges(1) so great in number that they are beyond reckoning and computation. For the guidance of mankind, He sent the Prophets with Clear Proofs(2), books, miracles and signs so that, perhaps, the people might perceive the right path and attain prosperity and success.
During the entire period of his prophethood, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), with regards to refinement of souls and perfection of morals, was an exemplar in speech and did, and had (even) said, “I have been sent (as a Prophet) for (the purpose of) perfecting the morals”(3)
Man's problem lies in his disregard for virtues, acquisition of vices, inclination towards lust and obedience to the Shaytan. Some men stoop so low that they even lead their lives akin to animals. For the purpose of refinement and treatment of human morals, abatement of rebelliousness and controlling the natural disposition, the Noble Prophet spared no effort and mentioned all that was necessary in this regard.
Attainment of prosperity in this world and the hereafter is only accomplished under the auspices of a teacher and, at the same time, not every person can completely identify the two extremes of moral behaviour in order to demonstrate the moderate and balanced path. Allah, Who is the Absolute Wise, introduced all the Prophets, especially the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), as the 'teacher and trainer' of morals, so that the people, by following in his footsteps, distance themselves from vices and acquire the honour of the two worlds.
In the Qur`an, there exists a chapter by the name of اَلقَصَص (The Narratives), which itself is proof that man is in nid of stories and narratives.
In many places in the Qur`an, stories of Prophets, kings and nations have been mentioned. In addition, Allah has presented issues pertaining to wars, peace, family, religion, society and other similar topics, in the form of stories and narratives. By reading these accounts, the people can comprehend and distinguish the paths of progress and regress, and ascent and descent in every field, especially morals.
The entire chapter Yusuf has been devoted to the story of Yusuf, Yaqub, Zulaikha and the brothers. In the beginning of the Chapter, Allah says: “We narrate to you (O' Prophet) the most excellent of the narratives by (means of) what We have revealed to you this Qur`an.”(4)
While, in the concluding verse of this very chapter, He says: Indid (there) in the history of theirs, is a lesson for men of understanding.(5)
Indid, one of the distinguished feats of the Qur`an is this very story of Yusuf (a.s), which it refers to as the 'best of the narratives', and at the end of which, it says: “In these stories there is a lesson for those, who desire to take a moral and adopt the path of the Perfect Men.”
In this regard, Amirul Mo`minin (a.s), in Nahjul Balagha, says to his son Imam Hasan (a.s) “Even though I have not reached the age, which those before me have, yet I have looked into their behaviour and reflected over the events of their lives. I walked amongst their ruins till I was as one of them. In fact, by virtue of those of their affairs that have become known to me, it is as though I have lived with them from the first to the last. I have therefore been able to discern the impure from the clean and the benefit from the harm. I have selected for you the choicest of those matters and collected for you their good points while kiping away from you the useless ones.”
Years ago, I had written a book on ethics (for the treatment of vices), by the name of Ihya al-Qulub. Ever since, I had been reflecting over the idea of compiling a book on moral stories. It so happened that, divinely, an opportunity came up before me and with it the motivation for undertaking this assignment. In spite of the lack of necessary books, I contented myself with those that were available and commenced the compilation of this book, recording four to five stories for every topic.
I have certainly not come across any book which has been compiled in this fashion. Books like Namunah-e-Maarif-e-Islam and Pand-e-Tarikh have been present for around 30 years and I have made use of them too (in the course of this collection), but in those books, Qur`anic verses, traditions, poems and analogies have all been accumulated together; whereas, I have sought to satisfy myself by mentioning only the stories, while abstaining from presenting considerations relating to Qur`anic verses, traditions, poems and analogies, which would not only have increased the size of the book but would also have made it difficult to understand for many of the readers.
This collection caters for the general public, young and old alike, who are acquainted with basic reading and writing. As far as possible, I have endeavoured to omit scientific issues and those aspects, pertaining to traditions, whose comprehension would be demanding and exacting for the general masses.
Although some of the stories may not possibly possess any aspect of reality and actuality, what I have focused on is the admonition and 'taking-a-lesson' aspect contained in them, which hopefully, the honourable readers would perceive and comprehend.
As far as the issue of associating a story to a particular topic is concerned, I do not claim that the stories allude to just one topic or that particular one which has been specified here; rather, there are stories which can be associated with several other topics too, in addition to the topic under which it has been mentioned here.
When narrating a text or presenting a translation, I have not restricted myself to the literal meaning but, for a better comprehension, have resorted to paraphrasing, allusion and conceptual explanation too.
To avoid interference of topics with one another and prolongation of discussion, I have refrained from bringing forth topics which are related to those already presented. For example, Ithar (altruism) has been presented as one of the topics but Infaq (spending in the path of Allah) has been excluded.
To prevent the reader from experiencing exhaustion and boredom, and for the sake of variety, I have desisted from presenting stories of a monotonous kind, like those of philosophers and poets, but have strived to make the collection varied. In this way, the readers will, hopefully, derive a greater pleasure from the narratives.
In view of the fact that trustworthiness ought to be adhered to, I have referred every narrative presented here, to the book from which it has been extracted, also mentioning the volume and page. It is only with the objective of achieving a greater fluency of work that I have endeavoured to correct, polish or alter some of the words or sentences of the original text.
It is hoped that the readers, after going through the stories and narratives, reflect upon and take lessons from them so that they are able to create within themselves, a new impetus towards perfection of morals; and Allah Willing, those who are endowed with laudable morals, should relate them to others, for rectification and remedy of the weaker souls.
Sayyid ‘Ali Akbar Sadaqat
And our final prayer (is):
All Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Mordad, 1378 [July 1999]
Allah, the Wise, has said:
أُدْعُونِی أَسْتَجِبْ لَکُمْ
“Call upon Me, I will answer you.”(6)
Imam ‘Ali (a.s) said:
إِِدْفَعُوا أََمْوَاجَ الْبَلاَءِ عَنْکُمْ بِالدُّعاَءِ قَبْلَ وُرُودِ الْبَلاَءِ.
“Ward away, by means of supplication, the waves of misfortunes before the arrival of misfortunes (themselves).”(7)7
The etiquette and conditions of supplication ought to be taken into regard and adhered to; the supplicant should carefully consider whom he is invoking and for whom or what purpose, he is supplicating.
The best of prayers is that man asks for obedience to Allah, drowning himself in His love and entrusting all his affairs to Him.
If Allah had not ordered us to supplicate and pray to him, but if we nevertheless had done so with sincerity, He, in His generosity, would have surely answered our prayers; accordingly, is it conceivable that the prayers of one, who adheres to the etiquette and conditions for supplication which Allah has prescribed, would not be answered?
When one invokes Allah, He either grants him his desire immediately, sets aside for him something better than what he had desired for, or wards away from him a great calamity.(8)
Imam Husain (a.s) narrates: “One dark night, my father and I were engaged in circumambulating the house of Allah when our attention was drawn towards a sound of weeping and lamentation. My father said to me: “O' Husain! Do you hear the wailings of a sinner, who has sought refuge in Allah? Locate him and bring him to me.”
In the darkness of the night I went in search of him; finding him betwin the Rukn and the Maqam, I brought him before my father.
He was a young man possessing an elegant stature and dressed in expensive clothes. My father said to him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am an Arab”. My father inquired: “Why the wailing and lamentation?” He said: “Disobedience, sins and my father's curse have shattered my life and affected my health.”
He (a.s) asked: “What is your story?” The youth said: “I had a father who had become old and had been very loving and considerate towards me; however I always used to indulge in inappropriate acts. Try as much as he would to guide me, I would not mend my ways and, at times, even troubled and inconvenienced him.
One day I intended to take his money, which he had kept in his trunk, but coming to know of my scheme, he tried to stop me. In the ensuing meli I flung him to the ground; he attempted to rise but failed. I took the money and set about my way, but on the way out I heard him say: “This year I shall go to the house of Allah and curse you.”
For the next few days he engaged himself in prayers and fasts, and then started out for the holy Kaabah. I followed him and observed that taking hold of the Kaabah's curtain, he cursed me. He had hardly finished cursing me when I suddenly found that one side of my body had become numb and paralysed.” Having said this, the youth lifted his gown and pointed out his affliction.
He then continued: “I repented and sought his forgiveness. Thri years passed by and in the third year, during the season of Hajj, he agrid to pray for me. Together, we set off for Mecca and it was night when we reached the valley of Arak.” In the darkness of the night a large bird suddenly took off in flight and startled my father's camel as a result of which my father was hurled to the ground and died. I buried him there but my affliction, due to my father's curse, still persists.”
The Imam (a.s) said: “The supplication recommended by the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), shall come to your aid. It contains the Greatest Name (of Allah) and every miserable, sick or poor person who recites it shall have his desire fulfilled.”
Giving him the supplication, he (a.s) said: “Recite this supplication on the eve of the 10th of Dhul Hijjah - the eve of Eidul Adha - and come to me the following morning.”
As instructed, the youth approached the Imam (a.s) having been completely cured of his affliction. The Imam (a.s) asked: “How were you cured?” He said: “I recited the supplication on the eve of the tenth of Dhul Hijjah - all the while shedding tears of repentance. Having completed the recitation, I was about to recite it for the second time when I heard a voice say: “O' Youth! Enough! You have invoked Allah by means of the Greatest Name.” I fell into a slumber and witnessed the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) in my dreams. He (s.a.w) placed his hand upon my body and said: “You have been cured.” I woke up to find myself cured completely.'”
The supplication which Imam ‘Ali (a.s) had taught the youth was the supplication of Mashlul, the initial sentences of which are as follows:(9)
أَللٌّهُمَّ إِنِّی أَسْئَلُکَ بِاسْمِکَ بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الرَّحْمٌنِ الرَّحِیمِ. یَا ذَا الْجَلاَلِ وَ الإِکْرَامِ…
“O' Allah, surely I ask you with Your name, In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, 'O' The Lord of Majesty and Bounty”.
Hafs Ibn Umar Bajalli relates: “Once, I complained to Imam Sadiq (a.s) about my abject financial condition and the dismal state of life whereupon he (a.s) advised: 'When you return to Kufah, take ten dirhams and prepare some food, even if it necessitates selling the pillow upon which you sleep, and invite some of your brethren-in-faith for a meal and request them to pray for you.'”
Hafs said: “I returned to Kufah and despite all my efforts I was unable to make arrangements for the money. So, in accordance with the instructions of the Imam (a.s), I sold my pillow, prepared some food, invited some Mu'minin for a meal and requested them to pray for the termination of my problems. After eating, they prayed for me. By God! Only a short period had passed since the incident when, one day, someone began to knock at my door. Opening the door I saw that the person knocking was one with whom I had previously engaged in trade and owed me some money. He had come looking for me and handed me a large amount - around ten thousand dirhams - thus, clearing off his debt to me. From that day onwards my work began to expand and my state began to improve till I was eventually drawn out of my poverty and relieved of my troubles.”(10)
The late Ayatullah Al-Hajj Sheikh Abdul Karim Haeri, the founder of the Hawzah Ilmiyyah of Qum recounts: “During the time when I was engaged in religious studies in the city of Samarra, an epidemic, in the form of plague, spread amongst the inhabitants of the city and everyday several people would die of the disease.
One day, some of the inhabitants of Samarra had gathered in the house of my teacher, the late Sayyid Muhammad Fisharki, when Ayatullah Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi (d. 1338 ah), who, in terms of knowledge, was at par with the late Sayyid Fisharki, suddenly arrived. In the course of the conversation, the talk drifted towards the issue of the plague that had threatened the lives of all the people.
The late Mirza said: “If I were to issue a hukm (ruling), would it not be mandatory for it to be executed?” All those present said: “Yes.” He said: “I rule that from today onwards, for a period of ten days, the entire Shiite community of Samarra should recite “Ziyarat Ashura” and gift the rewards of this recitation to Hadhrat Narjis Khatun - the mother of Imam Mahdi (a.s) - in order that this calamity is repelled from them.”
Those present in the gathering informed the other Shiites of this ruling and all of them engaged themselves in reciting the “Ziyarat Ashura.” The following days onward, it was observed that none of the Shiites would die due to the disease whereas the non-Shiites continued to suffer deaths - and this became plainly manifest for all the inhabitants of the city, such that some of the non-Shiites used to question their Shiite friends: “How is it that our people die due to the disease, whereas there are no deaths on your side?”
The Shiites would answer: “All of us recite “Ziyarat Ashura” of Imam Husain (a.s) in order to remain protected from the epidemic and Allah wards away the calamity from us!”
Dastanha-e-Shigeft, pg. 323
Once, during the time of Prophet Dawud (a.s), a famine struck. The people selected thri of their scholars, who procided outside the city to pray for rain.
The first of them pleaded: “O' Lord! You have ordered us to forgive one who has done injustice to us; we have done injustice to our own selves so forgive us.”
The second one implored: “O' Lord! You have instructed us to set fri the slaves; we are your slaves so set us fri.”
The third of them supplicated: “O' Lord! In your Torah you have commanded us not to drive away the poor and the unfortunate ones; we are the poor ones, who now stand at your door so do not kip us deprived (of your mercy).”
The supplications of these sincere and practicing scholars had hardly finished when Allah sent down rain over the people.(1)
When Bahiyah, a pious lady, was about to die, she raised her head towards the heaven and prayed: “O' The Lord, Who is my treasure! I place my trust in you; do not abandon me at the time of death and deliver me from the terror of the grave.”
After she died her son used to visit her grave every Thursday night and Friday morning; he would recite Qur`an and supplications, and seek forgiveness for his mother and the other inmates of the cemetery.
One night, witnessing his mother in his dreams, the youth grited her and asked: “How are you?” She said: “O' My son! The intensity of death is indescribable but praise be to Allah, for I have been granted a beautiful place in the Barzakh.”
The youth asked: “Mother, do you have any desire?” She said: “Yes, my son. Always continue to recite the Noble Qur`an, supplications and ziyarat for me. I am pleased when you visit me on Thursday nights and Friday mornings. When you come, the other deceased ones say to me, “Bahiyah, your son has come.” This good news makes me and the other inmates around my grave happy.”
The youth continued to recite the Noble Qur`an and supplications for his mother and the others when one night he witnessed in his dreams that a large group had approached him. He asked them: “Who are you?” They replied: “We are the inmates of the cemetery and have come to thank you for reciting the supplications and the Noble Qur`an for us. We request you not to abandon this practice of yours.”(2)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَکَ لِلدِّینِ حَنِیفاً
“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state.”(3)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
أََلْمُسْتَأْکَلُ بِدِینِهِ حَظُّهُ مِنْ دِینِهِ مَا یَأْکُلُهُ.
“One, who seeks to fill his stomach by means of religion, his share of religion is what he fills in his stomach.”(4)
Allah grants the worldly provisions to His friends as well His enemies. However, He only bestows His religion to His friends - just as he has placed monotheism within the fitrah and nature of every person, but grants His special religion to those whom He pleases.
One ought to sacrifice one's life and wealth for the religion of Allah and adorn oneself with the insignias of religion, such as truthfulness, steadfastness, faithfulness towards trusts, fulfilment of pledges and covenants, and goodness of behaviour.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s) was passing by a place where a group of children were engaged in play. However, there was one boy who was not playing with them but stood aloof and sad. Imam (a.s) approached him and asked: “What is your name?” He replied: “Mat al-Din (Religion died).”
The Imam (a.s) desired to know the reason for such a name and so inquired about the child's father. He was informed that his father had died, but his mother was alive. He (a.s) called for his mother and inquired about the reason for such a strange name, whereupon the mother said: “When this child was in my womb, his father had embarked upon a journey. After a period his companions approached me and said: “Your husband fell ill on the way and died, but before his death he requested us that if his child was born, he should be named Mat al-Din.”
Having heard this, the Imam (a.s) comprehended the reason for such a name and ordered all the people to gather in the mosque. When the people had gathered, he (a.s) said to them: “Whenever I recite Allahu Akbar, all of you should recite it in unison too.”
He then called for the dead person's companions - who were four in number - and subjected them to individual and separate interrogation.
Turning to the first person, he (a.s) sought to know how he had killed the boy's father. The man, who was stunned to hear the question, blurted out: “All I did was to present the cord.” The Imam (a.s) recited Allahu Akbar, and the people in the mosque chorused.
The second one, in answer to the Imam's (a.s) question, said: “My only crime was to tie the cord around his neck.” The third person said: “I had brought the knife”, while the fourth person, recounting the incident explicitly, said: “We collectively murdered him for the purpose of seizing and appropriating his wealth.” The Imam (a.s) recited Allahu Akbar and the people too recited in unison.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s) took possession of the wealth which they had stolen from the deceased and handed it to the boy's mother, and then subjected the killers to a severe punishment. Then turning to the boy's mother, he (a.s) said: “Change his name to Asha al-Din (religion is alive).”(5)
At the time of his death, Sheikh Murtadha Ansari - having become the highest-ranking religious authority, with notable popularity and profundity in the Methodology and Science of Islamic Jurisprudence - was not any different in the material point of life from the time when he had first set foot in Najaf as a poor student from Dizful.
When people looked at his house, they found that he led his life just as the most impoverished ones led theirs. A person once said to him: “This is an immense work on your part that despite the large sum of money that comes to you, you refuse to use it for yourself.” He said: “What great work have I done?” The man said: “What work could be greater than what you are doing presently?” The Sheikh said: “At the very best, my work is similar to the donkey-riders of Kashan, who go to Isfahan and then return from there.
The donkey-riders are given money to travel to Isfahan, purchase goods from there and bring them back to Kashan. Have you ever sin them exhibiting unfaithfulness and disloyalty with respect to the people's money? They are trustworthy individuals and do not possess any right (over the people's money). This work of mine is not as important as it appears to you.”(6)
During the caliphate of the second Caliph, Sad Ibn Waqqas in the company of a few others, started out for Iran. Yazdgard, the king of Persia who was in the city of Madain at that time, sent a herald to Sad inviting some of the people in his caravan to come to his court so that he could become aware of their destination.
They reached his court at a time when he had been busy consuming wine and so he ordered the drinks to be removed. When the group had entered the court, Mughairah Ibn Amir sat down alongside the king near the royal bed. Witnessing this, Yazdgard, in a state of protest, said: “You Arabs initially came to our lands for trading and begging, and after you had consumed the tasty food and the delicious water (of our land) you went and informed your friends. Now you return and claim to have brought a 'new religion.'
Your example is similar to that of the fox that had entered a garden with the intention of eating the grapes. The owner of the garden allowed him to eat and did not hurt him. The next day the fox brought other foxes along with him and, entering the garden, began eating the grapes. When the owner of the garden arrived and witnessed the scene, he bolted all the exits and killed them all.
If I wished, I too could behave just like that but I know that you have drawn up your army because of your poverty and straitened livelihood. I shall give you abundant bounties and place over you a commander such that you would lead a life of ease and comfort.”
Mughairah IbnAamir said: “Your statement regarding a difficult livelihood is correct and we too agree that there was a time when we used to eat mice and lizards, could not differentiate the lawful from the unlawful, kill our cousins for the sake of one turnip and even go on to brag about it. But then Allah, by means of His Prophet, sent for us a religion, stopped us from idolatry, guided us towards monotheism, and very soon we shall be targeting your country too.
O' Yazdgard! I give you the option to choose one out of three things: Become a Muslim so that you can continue to rule, pay the poll-tax or prepare for war.”
Hearing this, Yazdgard was overcome with rage and said: “Nothing, save a sword, can exist between you and me.” Having said this, he then drove them out of his court. Later, a war ensued betwin the two forces in which the Muslims emerged victorious.(7)
Abu Ja’far Muhammad Husaini(8) - whose lineage reached Imam Husain (a.s) through four generations - was a jurist and a pious and ascetic person, who had revolted against Mutasam - the Abbasid Caliph - due to his oppression and injustices. Mutasam sought to crush his revolt and so he fled to Iran and into the cities of Khorasan, Sarakhs, Taliqan, Nisa and Merv, and a great number of Iranians pledged allegiance to him.
In Merv, forty thousand Iranians pledged allegiance to him. One night, when his army had gathered, he heard the sound of weeping. Investigating, he came to know that one of his soldiers had forcefully taken felt from a weaver and it was this weaver who had been weeping.
Abu Ja’far called for the soldier and sought to know the reason for the evil act whereupon the soldier replied: We have pledged allegiance to you so that we can loot the people and do as we like.
Abu Ja’far returned the felt to its owner and then disbanded his army, saying: “Assistance for the religion of Allah cannot be sought from such people.” Then, accompanied by his close companions, he left for Taliqan.(9)
Samurah Ibn Jundab was of the inhabitants of Basrah. After his father's death, he accompanied his mother to Madinah, where she married Mary Ibn Shaiban - a companion of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) - and Samurah grew up under his care. Despite his young age, he was an expert archer and the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) permitted him to participate in the battle of Uhud; later, he participated in the other battles as well.
During the reign of Muawiyah, Samurah, like some of the corrupt and lying companions of the Noble Prophet(s.a.w), began fabricating traditions in praise of Muawiyah and in criticism of Amirul Mo`minin (a.s).
Muawiyah said to him: “I shall give you one hundred thousand dirhams if you ascribe the following verse (which was revealed in criticism of the hypocrites) to ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib:
وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ یُعْجِبُکَ قَوْلُهُ فِی الْحَیَاهِ الدُّنْیَا وَ یُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلی مَا فِی قَلْبِهِ وَ هُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ وَ إِذَا تَوَلَّی سَعی فِی الأََرْضِ لِیُفْسِدَ فِیهَا وَ یُهْلِکَ الْحَرْثَ وَ النَّسْلَ وَ اللَّهُ لاَ یُحِبُّ الْفَسادَ
“And among men is he, whose speech about the life of this world causes you to wonder, and he calls on Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries. 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, and Allah does not love mischief-making.”(10)
…and ascribe this verse (which was revealed in praise of Imam ‘Ali (a.s) after he had slept on the bed of the Noble Prophet during the migration of the Noble Prophet to Medina) to Ibn Muljim:
وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ یَشْرِی نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغاءَ مَرْضاتِ اللَّهِ وَ اللَّهُ رَؤُفٌ بِالْعِبادِ
“And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants.”(11)
Initially Samurah refused the offer, howver Muawiyah raised the stakes saying: “I shall give you two hundred thousand dirhams”, but once again Samurah refused. But when Muawiyah offered him four hundred thousand dirhams he agreed and then forged traditions ascribeeng the first verse, which was about the hypocrites, to Amirul Mominin (a.s) and attributing the second verse, which was for Amirul Mominin (a.s), to Ibn Muljim, and in this manner proved that he had indeed sold his religion.(12)
Allah, the Wise, says:
أَلاَ بِذِکْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.”(13)
Allah said to Musa (a.s):
لاَ تَدَعْ ذِکرِی عَلیَ کُلِّ حاَلٍ.
“Under no circumstance (should you) abandon My remembrance.”(14)
Remembering Allah - with concentration and presence of heart - is the ultimate objective of all acts of worship. If a dhakir (one who recites dhikr and is engaged in the remembrance of Allah) is focussed towards Allah in heart and deeds, he shall come to possess a rank such that the Satan would be unable to overcome him and gain dominance over him!
If the tongue were to recite, but the heart were to be heedless, the effects and the benefits would be reduced. At the same time if he were to regard his recitations as something very important and significant, he would be overcome by pride and vanity.
Accordingly, it is vital that in addition to remembering Allah, a person should regard himself as trivial and insignificant - rather, he should look upon himself as a non-entity before His bounties; he should beseech Him to never ever make him heedless and negligent of His remembrance but instead bestow an increase in it.
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had started out for a battle and on the way ordered his army to halt.
In order to relieve himself, he distanced himself from his forces and headed towards a secluded location. In the meantime, it began to rain and it rained so hard that water began to flood as a result of which, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) was cut off from his army.
Having witnessed the change in weather, he (s.a.w) sat beneath a tree when Huwairith Ibn al-Harith happened to see him. Speaking to his companions, he said: “This man is Muhammad and he has become isolated from his forces. May Allah kill me if I do not kill him!”
He unsheathed his sword and rushed at him (s.a.w) saying: “Who is it that can deliver you from me?” The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Allah” and then prayed softly: “O' Lord! Deliver me from the evils of Huwairith in any manner as you please.”
Just as Huwairith was about to inflict his blow an angel struck him on his shoulder as a result of which he collapsed onto the ground and the sword fell from his grasp. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) picked it up and said to him: “Who is it that can save you from me?” He said: “No one.” The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) advised: “Accept Islam and I shall hand your sword back to you!” He said: “I shall not accept Islam but I shall pledge that neither shall I fight you and your followers, nor help anyone against you.”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) returned his sword to him whereupon, Huwairith said: “I swear that you are better than me.”(15)
Sadi states: “Once it so happened that I had been travelling throughout the night in the company of a group of people. Accompanying us on this journey was a person, who was obsessed with Allah and drowned in His love. It was not yet dawn when we reached a jungle where we decided to rest, however as soon as we arrived, the person uttered a cry and rushing into the woods immediately engaged himself in supplicating and communicating with his Lord.
When it was morning, I asked him: What was that state which overcame you last night? He replied: Looking into the jungle, I witnessed the nightingales on the trees, the partridges on the mountains, the frogs in the water and the various animals in the jungle weeping and lamenting (out of love for Allah), and so thought to myself that it would be contrary to courtesy and civility that while all the other creations were engaged in His glorification, I slept, heedless and unmindful of Him.”(16)
Some of the poor persons of Madinah approached the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and said to him: “The affluent ones perform acts of goodness like freeing slaves, giving charity, performing the Hajj etc., which are beyond our means (as a result, they shall be in possession of greater rewards than us).”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “One, who recites Allahu Akbar a hundred times, shall be granted rewards which shall exceed the rewards of freeing one hundred slaves. One, who recites Subhan Allah a hundred times, shall come to possess rewards better than the rewards associated with the performance of Hajj. Reciting Alhamdulillah a hundred times is better than giving one hundred fully laden horses as charity in the way of Allah. One, who recites La Ilaha Illallah a hundred times, shall be of the best of the people on the Day of Judgment.”
When the affluent ones of Madinah came to know of this they too began to act upon these recommendations and so the poor ones again approached the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and complained: “The affluent ones too have started to act upon your recommendations!” Hearing their complaint, he (s.a.w) remarked: “This is Allah”s grace and favour; He grants it to whomsoever He pleases.”(17)
Allah had granted immense bounties to Prophet Ayyub (a.s) such that it has been reported that he possessed five hundred pairs of bulls for ploughing his fields and hundreds of slaves, who used to cultivate his farms. His cargo-carrying camels were three thousand in number while his ship totalled seven thousand.
In addition to this, Allah had also granted him good health and numerous children. On his part, Ayyub (a.s) perpetually praised and thanked his Lord, and when faced with two acts of obedience, he would always choose the more difficult of the two.
But then, he became the object of Divine trials - not for having committed any sin but rather for raising his rank and status - such that Allah took back all the bounties that He had given him and afflicted his body with an incurable disease.
However, despite the severity of the adversity, when Ayyub (a.s) never abandoned thanking, praising and remembering Allah, the Satan got into the act. He began whispering into his (a.s) wife's mind as a result of which she started to complain of the hard times that had befallen them and would moan: “Everyone has deserted us and we do not possess anything.” Ayyub (a.s) said: “For eighty years we had been receiving the bounties of Allah and so we should not complain for seven years of hardships but instead continue to remember Him in all circumstances!”
But his wife continued to complain and protest, and persistently placed before him irrational ideas till eventually, enraged, he hollered: “Go away from me such that I do not set my eyes upon you ever again.”
When his wife had left him, Ayyub found himself alone and without a caretaker; going into prostration, he began praying to his Lord and communicating with Him. On this occasion Allah answered the prayers of His servant, who had continued to praise and thank Him, and once again granted him all the bounties!
Meanwhile his wife thought to herself: “Though he has driven me away, it is inappropriate for me to leave him alone. He has none to look after him and he may perish out of hunger.” With this in mind she returned to the place where she had left him but found him missing, while in his place, sat a youth. As she began to weep, the youth asked her: “Why do you weep?” She replied: I had left my old husband here but I do not see him anymore. The youth said: “If you were to see him, would you recognize him?” She said: “Yes.” Having answered him, she then looked at him hard and realised that he possessed a great resemblance to her husband. The youth then said to her: “I am the same Ayyub.”(18)
Sayyidah Nafisah, the daughter of Hasan Ibn Zaid Ibn Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s)) married Ishaq Mutamin, the pious and virtuous son of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s). She was of the rare and distinguished ladies of her time and stood apart from the rest with regards to worship and remembrance of Allah.
Zainab, her niece, states: “I had been in the services of my aunt for forty years and throughout this period neither did I ever observe her sleep at night (for she would be engaged in worship) nor eat in the day (for she would be engaged in fasting). Once I said to her: “Would it not be better if you were to ease things upon yourself?” She replied: “How can I place myself in ease when I have before me the bottlenecks of the Purgatory and the Day of Judgment which none can cross save the delivered ones!”
She possessed great wealth, which she used to spend on the sick, the bed-ridden and the impoverished ones for the pleasure of Allah.
She had the honour of performing the Hajj on thirty occasions - most of her journeys to the House of Allah being accomplished on foot. Once, in the company of her husband, she started out from Madinah for Palestine in order to visit the grave of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) after which she proceeded towards Egypt.
The inhabitants of Egypt requested her to settle down there and she agreed. She dug a grave in her house and perpetually engaged herself in worship and remembrance of Allah - reportedly completing thousands of recitations of the Noble Qur`an in the grave.
According to Hadith-e-Qudsi, when Allah observes that a servant of His continually engages himself in His remembrance, He manifests the person's worth amongst the people and makes him respected and revered.
In the neighbourhood of Nafisah there lived a Jew, who had a daughter who was blind. By means of the water of Nafisah's Wudhhu, the Jew's daughter regained her sight and this prompted numerous Jews of Egypt to accept Islam.
One day, in a state of fast, as she recited the chapter al-Anam of the Noble Qur`an, upon reciting the verse:
لَهُمْ دَارُ السَّلاَمِ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ
“They shall have the abode of peace with their Lord”
her soul departed from her body. The people wanted her to be buried in Egypt but her husband, desiring to take her to Madinah, refused. At night the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) appeared to him in his dream and said: “Do not oppose the people of Egypt in connection with Nafisah's burial since Allah shall descend His mercy upon them as a result of her blessed presence there.”
Allah, the Wise, has said:
وَ مَا مِنْ دَآبَّهٍ فِی الأََرْضِ إِلاَّ عَلَی اللهِ رِزْقُها
“And there is no creature on the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it.”(1)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
أََلرِّزْقُ یَطلُبُ الْعَبْدَ أَشَدُّ طَلَباً مِنْ أَجَلِهِ
“Sustenance seeks a person more intensely than his death does.”(2)
There exists no creature except that Allah has apportioned a livelihood for it, and no soul departs from the world before it has consumed the last morsel that had been ordained for it. One should strive to procure lawful sustenance and, in the event of delay and stoppages in this path, desist from attempting to obtain it by unlawful means - the best approach being that of patience and self-control.
Every person has his sustenance placed in a particular thing - one has his sustenance placed in trade, while another has it in leadership while yet another in farming, etc. Absence of satisfaction with respect to the share allotted, and lack of contentment strengthens the vices of greed and covetousness within man leading him towards sins in order to procure an increased sustenance - a state that only stems from a lack of Tawakkul(3)) in Allah.
Prophet Musa (a.s) came across a poor person who, due to his abject poverty, lay bare-bodied on the desert sand. When he (a.s) came nearer, the person requested: “O' Musa! Pray to Allah that he grants me a little sustenance for I am on the verge of dying.”
Musa (a.s) prayed for him and then proceeded from there to Mount Sinai to converse with Allah.
A few days later Musa (a.s), on his return, happened to pass by that very place when he witnessed that the same poor man had been arrested and a large crowd had gathered around him.
He (a.s) inquired: “What has happened?” The people present there said: “Until recently he was penniless but off late he had managed to acquire some money; having consumed wine, he got involved in a brawl and killed a person. He has now been arrested so that he can be subjected to 'qisas'(4)) and put to death!”
Allah says in the Noble Qur`an:
وَ لَوْ بَسَطَ اللٌّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِی الأَرْضِ
“And if Allah should amplify the provision for His servants they would certainly revolt in the earth.”(5)
Musa (a.s) acknowledged the divine Wisdom and, expressing repentance over his request, sought Allah's forgiveness.(6)
Umar Ibn Muslim was one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (a.s) and used to visit him (a.s) frequently.
Once, when he did not visit the Imam (a.s) for a long time, he (a.s) inquired about him from ‘Ali Ibn Abdul Aziz, who said: “May I be made your ransom! He has stopped working for his livelihood, and has engaged himself in worship and asceticism instead. Hearing this, Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “Woe unto him! But does he not know that the prayers of one, who stops working, go unanswered!”
During the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), when the verse:
وَ مَنْ یَتَّقِ اللٌّهَ یَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجاً وَ یَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَیْثُ لا یَحْتَسِبُ
“And whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not”(7) was revealed, a group from amongst the Muslims abandoned their professions, adopted seclusion and engaged themselves in worship, saying: “Allah Himself provides the sustenance and shall never permit the religious ones to become distressed and destitute; hence why do we need to toil in order to procure our sustenance.”
When the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) was informed of this, he (s.a.w) summoned them and objecting at this attitude of theirs, asked: “Why have you abandoned your professions?” They replied: “Allah has undertaken to provide us our sustenance.” When he (s.a.w) heard this, he explained: “It is not as you think. Allah does not answer the prayers of a person who, despite possessing the ability to work and exert himself, fails to do so. You must continue to engage yourselves in your respective professions.”(8)
Once, passing through a desert, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and his companions happened to come across a person tending camels and requested him to provide them with some milk. The man excused himself saying: “The milk that is in the breasts of these camels is for the breakfast of the people of the tribe and that, which lies in the container, is for their evening meals.”
When he heard this, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) prayed for him, saying: “O' Lord! Increase this person in wealth and children” - and the group continued on its way. A little later they came across another person, who too was engaged in feeding the camels. When they requested him to provide them with some milk, he immediately milked the she-camels and poured all of the milk in the vessels of the Noble Prophet's (s.a.w). In addition to the milk he even presented them with a sheep and said: At the moment this is all I can offer but if you desire I shall arrange for more.
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) raised his holy hands and prayed: “O' Lord! Grant him sustenance in a measure that is sufficient for him.”
Astonished, his (s.a.w) companions said: “O' Prophet of Allah! For the person who rejected your request you sought something which all of us long for, whereas for the one who fulfilled your desire, you prayed for something, which none of us prefer (sustenance in a measure that is just sufficient and not excess)!”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
إِنَّ مَا قَلَّ وَ کَفَی خَیْرٌ مِمَّا کَثُرَ وَ أَلْهَی
“A livelihood that is less but sufficient for (fulfilling the needs of) one's life is better than great riches that engrosses man in itself.” He (s.a.w) then supplicated:
اللَّهُمَّ ارْزُقْ مُحَمَّداً وَ آلَ مُحَمَّدٍ الْکَفَافَ
“O' Lord! Grant Muhammad and his Progeny a sustenance in the measure that is just sufficient (for them).(9)
Imam Sadiq (a.s) had many sons, one of whom was named Muhammad. Occasionally it would so happen that his income would exceed his expenses. Once, Imam Sadiq (a.s) inquired: “How much have you managed to save?” He replied: “Forty dinars.” The Imam (a.s) said: “Give it as charity in the way of Allah. He said: This is all that I have with me and if I were to give this in charity there would be nothing left for me.”
The Imam (a.s) insisted: “Go and give it in charity and Allah shall compensate it for you. Do you not know that for everything there is a key and the key to sustenance is charity?”
Muhammad, heeding his father's advice, gave the forty dinars in charity. Hardly ten days had passed by since this episode when a sum of four thousand dinars was presented to the Imam (a.s). Turning to Muhammad, he (a.s) said: “My Son! We gave forty dinars in the path of Allah and He gave us four thousand dinars (a hundred times) in return.”(10)
The Buyids, whose sultanate had commenced in the year 322 ah, ruled for a period of 126 years. The greatest of the Buyid rulers and the most compassionate of them all with respect to the Shiite faith and his subjects was Imad al-Daulah - (Abul Hasan, ‘Ali Ibn Babwaih) - who ruled for nine years (d. 338 ah). During his lifetime, several strange incidents occurred with him in connection with riches and treasures:
1. When Imad al-Daulah arrived in Shiraz, Yaqut, whom Al-Muqtadir Billah Abbasi had placed there as the governor, took to flight. In the circumstances, Imad al-Daulah did not possess anything to pay for the expenditure of his army. Distressed and lost in thought he set out for hunting. On the way the foot of his horse plunged into a hole. As Imad al-Daulah extracted the animal's foot, the hole widened revealing a treasure which Yaqut had concealed there. He extracted the treasure and used it to pay for his army's expenses.
2. Once, as he lay down and reflected about his army and subjects, his eyes suddenly fell upon a snake that had emerged from one corner of the roof and disappeared into another. As a precautionary measure, he ordered the roof to be taken apart and the snake killed so that it did not sting anyone.
When a portion of the roof was broken, a second roof became manifest and the intervening region betwin the two roofs was found to house chests containing a total of five hundred thousand dinars. The chests were brought down and Imad al-Daulah distributed the money amongst his subjects.
3. Once, having decided to have some clothes stitched for the elders of his army, his soldiers and himself, he called for a tailor. The special tailor of Yaqut, the erstwhile governor of the city, was recommended to him. Incidentally this tailor happened to be deaf but Imad al-Daulah said: “The faculty of sight is what a tailor ought to necessarily possess; as for hearing, it is not a necessity.”
When the tailor was brought before him, he ordered: “I want you to stitch clothes for my servants, soldiers, officers, generals and myself.”
The tailor - deaf that he was - imagined that someone had spoken ill of him and, complaining that he had money in his possession, said: “There are only four chests of the governor Yaqut in my custody and I am unaware of what is contained within them!”
Imad al-Daulah ordered the chests to be brought before him; when they were opened, they were found to contain great riches, beautiful clothes and valuable stones.(11)
Allah, the Wise, says:
رَضِیَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ وَ رَضُوا عَنهُ
“Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him.”(12)
Imam Sajjad (a.s) has said:
أََلصَّبْرُ وَ الرِّضاَ رَأْسُ طاَعِهِ اللهِ
“Patience and pleasure (over Divine acts) constitute the pinnacle of Allah's obedience.”(13)
The attribute of Ridha is that a person remains pleased with occurrences - irrespective of whether they are to his liking or otherwise. This characteristic is a ray from the light of (Divine) cognizance such that a person possessing this attribute turns away from his own desires and seeks that which Allah has decreed for him instead. This is because attachment of the heart to worldly and material things is shirk, and therefore inconsistent with the attribute of Ridha.
It is amazing to observe those, who vociferously claim to be the servants and worshippers of Allah, complaining and grumbling over Divine decrees and acts. However, those who are truly cognizant, are in total submission and subservience to Allah - pleased and satisfied with Divine destinies, uncomplaining in the face of adversities, shortages and severity of trials, and contented and happy over things bestowed to them as well as those not granted to them.(14)
Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, who had been of the companions of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), had remained alive till the time of Imam Baqir (a.s) but had become old and blind by then.
Once, when he had arrived in the presence of the Imam (a.s), the Imam (a.s) inquired after his health, whereupon he said: “I find myself in a state such that I give preference to old age over youth, to sickness over soundness of health and to death over life!”
The Imam (a.s) responded by saying: ”(On the contrary) if Allah makes me old, I prefer old age; if He desires to give me youth, I prefer youth; if He afflicts me with sickness, I desire sickness, and if He desires to favour me with sound health, I prefer soundness of health. If Allah wishes to give me death, I prefer death and if He wills to keep me alive, I desire to live.”
As soon as Jabir heard the Imam's (a.s) speech he kissed his (a.s) face and said: “The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had spoken the truth.” He had said: “O' Jabir! You shall continue to live till you meet one of my children whose name shall be Baqir. He shall split open knowledge just as a cow splits open the earth.”(15)
Hadhrat Isa [Jesus] (a.s) happened to come upon a blind, paralytic leper, whose disease had caused his very flesh to fall out of his body, and overheard him say: “Thanks to Allah, Who has cured me from the affliction that has seized numerous persons in its grasp!”
Isa (a.s) said to him: “O' Man! What is that affliction from which He has protected you?” The man replied: “O' Spirit of Allah! I am better off than one whose heart does not possess the cognizance of Allah - that cognizance which He has placed in mine.”
Hearing this, Isa (a.s) said to him: “You have spoken correctly. Now give me your hand.” Then taking hold of his hand, Isa (a.s) moved his holy hand over the leper's body, whereupon, the leper was immediately cured of his afflictions and was transformed into a man of charming appearance and good physique. Since he had remained pleased (and uncomplaining) over the tribulations that had afflicted him, Allah cured him of his ailments. Later on he went on to become one of the companions of Isa (a.s) and engaged in worship along with him (a.s).(16)
Imam Sadiq (a.s) relates: “Once, Allah revealed to Hadhrat Dawud (a.s) to give glad tidings to Khalladah, the daughter of Aus, that she was of the inmates of Paradise and would be one of his (a.s) companions in it.” Hadhrat Dawud (a.s) went to her house and knocked at her door, and it was Khalladah herself who opened it. She recognized him the moment she set her eyes upon him and so inquired: “Has something been revealed about me that you have come here?” When he (a.s) had replied in the affirmative, she said: “The revelation is probably for someone else, who resembles me in name!”
He (a.s) said: “No. The revelation has been for you. Tell me something about yourself.”
She replied: “Whenever any pain, injury or misfortune would come to afflict me, I would exhibit patience and submit myself to Allah's pleasure. Neither would I desire any of the adversities to be warded away from me nor would I aspire for anything in exchange; I was always thankful to Him and His pleasure was the only thing that I coveted!”
When he heard this, Hadhrat Dawud (a.s) said: “It is because of this that you have reached such a rank that Allah has sent down this revelation about you.”
Having related this incident, Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “This is that very religion, which Allah has chosen for His righteous servants.”(17)
Ammar Yasir was one of the special companions of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) possessed such a high degree of faith that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had stated: Ammar is replete with faith from head to toe, and faith has blended with (and become part of) his flesh and blood.”(18)
After the death of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) he continued to be of those who fiercely supported Imam ‘Ali (a.s), and when the battle of Siffin commenced, he fought on the side of the Imam (a.s). One day, coming out of the ranks of the Imam's (a.s) army, he stationed himself before the enemy forces and said: “O' Lord! You are aware that if I were to realize that Your happiness lies in my hurling myself into the seas, I would surely do so; and if I were to know that Your happiness lies in that I fling myself upon the point of a sword so that it enters into my stomach and emerges from the back of my neck, I would certainly do so. I know that today, Your happiness lies in waging a battle with these sinning and corrupt people, and had I known of an act that would have pleased You more, I would have surely opted for it.”
Then, raising his voice, he said: “Whoever desires Allah's pleasure and does not desire to return to his wealth and children should come to me.”
He was eventually martyred after displaying great valor and courage in the battlefield. Reaching his dead body, the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s) sat down, placed his head upon his thighs and, as he wept, said: “O' Death! It appears that you are totally familiar with those, whom I love; you come and take them away from me.”(19)
Prophet Musa (a.s) requested to Allah: “O' Lord! Show to me who, from amongst all Your creations, is the best person who worships You.” Allah revealed to him: “Proceed towards the village situated near the sea-shore and you shall find the person there.”
Reaching there Musa (a.s) found a leper, who was engaged in praising and glorifying Allah. He (a.s) asked Jibra`il: “Where is the person whom I had sought from Allah?” Jibra`il pointed to the sick person and said: “This is the person! I am under instructions to take away his eyes; pay careful attention to what he shall say.”
Having said this, he pointed towards the leper's eyes and they suddenly popped out of their sockets. As soon as this happened, the leper said: “O' Allah! Till You desired you let me benefit from my eyes and now You have desired to take them away from me. O' The One! Who does good to me and provides me with goodness.”
Approaching him, Musa (a.s) said: “O' Servant of Allah! I am a person whose prayers are always accepted; if you desire, I shall pray to Allah so that He returns your eyes to you.”
The man said: “No, I do not desire it. Allah has desired this state for me and I am pleased with all that pleases Him.”
Musa (a.s) said: “I heard you say: “O' The One! Who does good to me and provides me with goodness. What did you mean by these words?”
He said: “In this village I am the only one who is cognizant of Allah and worships Him (what goodness could be greater than this that He has made me aware and cognizant of Himself.)”
Musa (a.s) was overcome by astonishment and amazement, and as he turned back, he said to himself: “He is the greatest worshipper of Allah in the world.”
pg. 373; Shaytan, vol. 1, pg. 524
Allah, the Wise, has said:
وَ لاَ تَکُونُوا کَالَّذِینَ خَرَجُوا مِنْ دِیاَرِکُم بَطَراً وَ رِئاَءَ النَّاسِ
“And be not like those who came forth from their homes in great exultation and to be sin of men.”(1)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
لاَ یَقْبَلُ اللهُ تَعاَلیَ عَمَلاً فِیهِ مِثقاَلُ ذَرَّهٍ مِنْ رِیاَءٍ
“Allah shall not accept a deed, which has an atom's weight of showing off in it.”(2)
Showing off is a tree that comes into existence as a result of hypocrisy and whose fruit is nothing but concealed polytheism. It is exhibited before entities that neither have the ability to grant life and death, nor the authority to fulfil the needs of any person.
On the Day of Judgment, at the time of reckoning, it will be said to a person who showed off: “Collect the rewards of your deeds from those, whom you had made partners to Me and for whom you had performed your deeds!!”
Showing off usually occurs in gatherings and with respect to clothes and acts of worship. Thus, it is essential to remain attentive towards and heedful of Allah in order to purge our interiors of this satanic vice.(3)
Ibrahim Adham narrated: “I acquired wisdom and enlightenment from a monk by the name of Samaan. One day I entered his monastery and asked him: “O' Samaan! How long have you been in this monastery?” He replied: “Seventy years.” I inquired: “What has been your food during this period?” He asked: “Why do you ask such a question?” I said: “I am curious to know.” He said: “Every night I eat just one hazel-nut!” I inquired: “What is it that keeps your mind so engrossed so as to make one hazel-nut sufficient for you?”
He replied: “Every year on an appointed day, a group of my followers come here, revere me, decorate the monastery, circumembulate it and then depart. Whenever I get exhausted of worship and experience hunger and loneliness, I overcome it by bringing to mind that day, and the honour and esteem that I come to acquire in it. Thus, my entire year's exertion and efforts are motivated by the grandeur of that one day!'(4)
One of the distinguished scholars, who had journeyed the path of spiritual cleansing and possessed sublime ethics, was Mulla Abdullah Shushtari. He was the tutor of Muhammad Taqi Majlisi and has numerous books to his name, one of them being Majame' al-Fawaid, which runs into seven volumes.(5)
He was a contemporary of Sheikh Baha`i and one day, proceeded to pay him a visit. They sat in conversation until the sound of adhan was heard whereupon Sheikh Baha`i said to him: “Offer your prayers here so that we can follow you and acquire the rewards of the congregational prayers.”
Mulla reflected for a few moments after which, excusing himself, he got up and left for his house. He was (later) asked: “Why did you turn down the Sheikh's offer when you yourself attach great importance to offering the prayers as soon as its time sets in?”
He replied: “I reflected within myself and perceived that I was not of the kind that if a person like Sheikh were to pray behind me, I would not experience a change of state. I realized that some form of showing off might creep into me and so turned down his request.”(6)
Sufiyan Thauri happened to pass by Masjid al-Haram and there he witnessed Imam Sadiq (a.s) wearing costly and expensive clothes. He said to himself: “By Allah! I shall go to him and reprimand him.”
Approaching the Imam (a.s), he said: “O' Son of the Prophet of Allah! By Allah! You have attired yourself in a clothing, the like of which had neither been worn by the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) nor by ‘Ali (a.s) or any of your fore-fathers!”
Hearing this, the Imam (a.s) said: “During the era of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), the people were troubled with poverty and paucity, but later the circumstances improved and things changed for the better. (Do know!) Of the inhabitants of the world those, who most deserve to taste the benefits of Abundance, ease and comfort, are the righteous ones.”
Having said this he (a.s) recited the following verse, “Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions?”(7)
And then said: “Thus, we are the ones, who most deserve to utilize that which Allah has provided. O' Sufiyan! The apparel that you presently observe me wearing is for the people and for preserving my reputation and esteem.”
Then, taking hold of Sufiyan's hand, the Imam drew back his dress, revealing his inner clothing which was coarse and rough. He then said: 'This, I have worn for myself while the other I have worn for the people.'
Then, taking hold of Sufiyan's clothing, he (a.s) pulled it up to reveal a soft inner clothing and said: 'You have worn this (simple) exterior clothing for the people and the concealed soft inner clothing for your ease and comfort!'(8)
There once lived a worshipper who could never get himself to perform any of his deeds sincerely, and free from showing off.
Once, attempting to redress his problem, he said to himself: 'In the corner of the city there lies an abandoned mosque which is never frequented by anyone. It would be better if I go there in the night so that there is none to see me, and engage myself in worshipping Allah, in total sincerity.'
At midnight, in the darkness of the night, he stealthily set out for the mosque. The night was a rainy one with severe lightening and thunder.
Once inside, he engaged himself in worship. A short while later he suddenly happened to hear a sound and ecstatically said to himself: 'Surely, a person has entered the mosque.' With this in mind he increased the quality and quantity of his prayers and continued his acts of worship till daybreak. In the morning, as he was about to go out of the mosque, he looked behind with the corner of his eyes only to realize that there was no one there save a black dog that had sought shelter in the mosque from the rains, lightning and thunder.
This distressed him immensely, and repentant and shameful for having worshipped for hours for a dog, he rebuked himself: 'Woe unto me! I fled and came to this abandoned mosque so that I could worship Allah with sincerity, but I have ended up performing my acts of worship for a black dog, instead.'(9)
In the tribe of Bani Isra`il, there lived a worshipper who after years of worship, requested Allah to manifest to him his rank and status, and prayed: 'O' Lord! If my deeds are to Your liking, I would strive further in performing good deeds, but if not, then I would want to make amends for it before death overtakes me, and engage myself (more) in acts of worship.'
In his dreams he was informed: 'In the eyes of Allah, you do not possess any good deed.' Perturbed, he exclaimed: 'O' Allah! Where then have my deeds gone?' It was said to him: 'You do not possess any deed, for whenever you performed a good did, you informed the people of it. Therefore, the pleasure that you derived out of informing them of your acts is your reward for those acts.' This disturbed him immensely and left him greatly saddened.
For the second time, he was informed in his dreams: 'Now purchase your life from Us. Give charity equivalent to the number of veins in your body, every day!'
He pleaded: 'O' Lord! How can I give such a large amount in charity when I do not possess anything?'
He heard: 'We do not impose any duty on a soul except in the measure of its ability. Recite the following three hundred and sixty times daily; every word of it is charity for a vein of your body:
سُبْحَانَ اللٌّهِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلٌّهِ وَ لاٌ إِلٌهَ إِلاَّ اللٌّهُ وَ اللٌّهُ أَکْبَرُ وَ لاٌ حَوْلَ وَ لاٌ قُوَّهَ إِلاَّ بِاللٌّهِ
Subhan Allahi, Wal Hamdu Lillahi, Wa La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar, Wa La Haul Wa La Quwwata Illa Billah.'
The worshipper, who was overjoyed to hear these words, said: 'Grant me more than this', whereupon it was said to him: 'The more you recite the more reward you shall earn.'(10))
Allah, the Wise, has said:
اَلزَّانِیَّهُ وَ الزَّانِی فَاجْلِدُوا کُلُّ واَحِدٍ مِنْهُماَ مِائَهَ جَلدَهٍ
”The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication - flog each of them with a hundred stripes.”(11)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) has said:
إِذاَ ظَهَرَ الزِّناَ مِنْ بَعْدِی کَثُرَ مَوْتُ الْفُجْأَهِ
“After my death, when fornication increases, sudden deaths shall (also) increase.”(12)
Fornication is considered to be one of the Great Sins. A person, as a result of being overcome by lust and due to lack of faith, audaciously transgresses the womenfolk of other people.
In this world, fornication reduces sustenance and shortens the life-span, while on the Day of Judgment, a fornicator shall suffer the wrath of Allah and an evil reckoning.
The murderers of prophets, such as Prophet Yahya (a.s), and the auliya of Allah, such as Imam Husain (a.s), were mostly illegitimate children - a consequence of the Satan's invitation to a male and female to commit this sin.
Prophet Isa (a.s) said to his disciples: “Prophet Musa (a.s) had advised his people: “Do not commit fornication”, (but) I advise you: “Do not even think of committing fornication””(13)
Five persons, who had committed fornication, were brought before Umar, who ordered them to be subjected to the legal punishment for the crime. At that moment the Commander of the Faithfuls (a.s) arrived and said: “O' Umar! Allah's ruling in their case is not as you have ruled!” Umar requested: “You issue the ruling for them and implement the legal punishment.”
The Imam (a.s) beheaded the first person, stoned the second, subjected the third to the full punishment of eighty lashes, the fourth to half the punishment and ordered the discretionary punishment for the fifth!
Umar was amazed and the people astounded over the Imam's (a.s) ruling. Umar asked him: “O' Abul Hasan! Five persons were involved in one crime and you have issued different rulings for all of them?”
the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s) explained: “The first person was a dhimmi,(14)) who had transgressed (the honour of) a Muslim woman and so had fallen out of the dhimmah(15)) - as such, his punishment could only be death.
The second person who had committed fornication possessed a spouse and so I had him stoned. The third one to have been involved in the crime did not have a wife and so I punished him with eighty lashes.
The fourth was a slave and therefore I subjected him to half the legal punishment (of eighty lashes), while the fifth one was poor of intellect due to which I subjected him to the discretionary punishment (some lashes).”
Hearing the explanation Umar exclaimed: “O' Abul Hasan! May it never happen that I have to live with the people when you are not around (to help me)!”(16)
Ibn Sirin was an extremely good-looking and elegant youth, and a cloth-merchant by profession. Once it so happened that a woman became enchanted with his looks; she expressed her desire to purchase cloth from him upon the condition that he should deliver it to her house, whereupon she would hand him the money.
As he reached her house and entered it, she immediately bolted the door and invited him to commit fornication. Aghast, the youth said: “I seek refuge in Allah”, and then proceeded to lecture her about the reproach associated with the obscene act.
However when he observed that his words failed to have any effect upon the woman, he decided to resort to deception in order to extricate himself from his quandary.
He sought her permission to use the lavatory. Procuring her permission he entered the lavatory, dirtied himself with excrement and then approached her.
The woman, seeing him in that odious state, felt revolted and promptly turned him out of her house.
Due to this abstinence on his part with respect to fornication, Allah graced him with the science of interpretation of dreams. (17)
During the time of Prophet Yahya (a.s), there lived a king by the name of Hirodis, who was fond of him (a.s) and considered the Prophet to be a just and righteous person.
There was an adulteress with whom this king had been having an illicit relationship; as she became old, she began to ornament her daughter and present her before the king, who eventually fell in love with her and desired to marry her.
He questioned Prophet Yahya (a.s) about the issue who, on the basis of the religion of Prophet Isa (a.s), declared it to be unlawful. Consequently the adulteress harboured resentment and malice towards Prophet Yahya (a.s). One day, observing the king to be in a state of intoxication, she adorned her daughter and sent her before him. Seeing her, the king sought to gratify himself but the daughter said: “I shall submit myself to you only upon the condition that you sever Yahya's head from his body.” The king, in his state of inebriation, agreed and upon his instance, Prophet Yahya (a.s) was beheaded.
According to another tradition, the king desired to enter into marriage with his niece, by the name of Hirodiya, but Prophet Yahya (a.s) prohibited such a marriage as a result of which the lady coveted the Prophet's death.
Imam Baqir (a.s) said: “Yahya's (a.s) killer was an illegitimate child, as were the killers of ‘Ali and Husain Ibn ‘Ali (a.s)).”
When Prophet Yahya (a.s) was murdered Allah made Nebuchadnezzar (or Kardus), one of the Babylonian kings, dominant over Bait al-Maqdas, who initiated a massacre in the city. It was only when he had killed seventy thousand of the inhabitants of the city that Prophet Yahya's blood stopped bubbling and calmed down.(18)
Once, a wealthy person, who was unmindful of Allah and always engaged in pleasure and enjoyment, happened to be sitting near the door of his house. A woman wanting to go to a bath, popularly known by the name of Minjab, had lost her way to it. Exhausted, she looked around if she could find someone who could guide her to the place when her eyes fell upon that man. Approaching him, she inquired: “Where is the Minjab bath?” Pointing to his house, he said: “This is the Minjab bath.” Taking it to be the bath, she entered the house and the man quickly entered into it behind her. Once inside, he bolted the door and approaching the lady, sought to commit adultery.
The woman, perceiving that she had walked into the clutches of a immoral person and realizing that deception was the only means of escape, said to him: “I am ardently desirous too; however I am hungry and covered with dirt. Bring some perfume and some food; we can have food together after which I shall place myself at your disposal.”
The man agreed and went out of the house. Having procured some food and perfume he returned home only to find the lady missing. Her escape upset him immensely and the craving for committing adultery with the lady remained so deeply embedded in his heart that he would always recite the following verses:
یاَ رُبَّ قاَئِلَهٍ یَوماً وَ قَد تعبتْ أَینَ الطَّرِیقُ إِلی حَمَّامِ مَنْجَابِ
“What happened to the lady, who had become exhausted? And had asked: Where is the way to the Minjab bath?”
The time passed until it so happened that one day he lay on his death-bed. His acquaintances approached him and asked him to recite La Ilaha Illallah, Muhammadun Rasulullah, but instead, he would only recite the above verses - and eventually passed away in that very state.(19)
One day a youth approached the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and with utmost disrespect and discourtesy, said: “O' Prophet of Allah! Do you permit me to commit fornication?”
These words created a great uproar amongst the people and objections could be heard from every nook and corner. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w), exhibiting sublime ethics and speaking with absolute gentleness, said: “Come near.” The youth stepped forward and sat down beside him (s.a.w), whereupon the Prophet asked: “Would you like someone to commit the act with your mother?” The youth replied: “May I be made your ransom! Never.” The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Similarly the (other) people too do not approve of this with respect to their daughters.”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) continued: “Tell me: Would you approve of this act for your sister?” Once again the youth denied (and repented having asked the question).
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) placed his hands upon the youth's chest and prayed for him, saying: “O' Lord! Purify his heart, forgive his sins and protect him from the pollution of depravity.” From then onwards fornication became the worst of the deeds in the eyes of the youth.(20)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطی وَ اتَّقی وَ صَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنی فَسَنُیَسِّرُهُ لِلْیُسْری
“Then as for him who gives away and guards (against evil), and accepts the best, We will facilitate for him the easy end.”(21)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
لاَ یَصلُحُ دِینَکُم إِلاَّ السَّخاَءُ وَ حُسنُ الْخَلقِ .
“Nothing shall ensure the welfare (and interests) of your religion except generosity and good disposition.”(22)
Generosity is one of the ethics of the Prophets, a pillar of faith and a ray of the light of firm faith. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) has said: “The 'auliya' of Allah are, essentially and inherently, generous.” Hence, in order to acquire this attribute, a Mu'min should endeavour hard to be munificent and generous towards relatives, deserving ones and the like, for the pleasure of Allah.
It is better that a person's generosity is associated with a thing that is dear to him - eatables, clothes, money etc. - and that no obligation is placed upon the person towards whom generosity has been exhibited; man should only view himself as a trustworthy person, whose responsibility is to pass on Allah's things to deserving and needy individuals. As such, he should stay away from frugality and refrain from withholding the Divine trusts; this is because it is not known whether or not they would yield any benefit, if given after his death, and whether or not his inheritors would expend them in a correct and appropriate manner?
Sheikh ZainulAbidin Mazandarani, a student of the author of (the book) Jawahir and (also of) Sheikh Ansari, lived in the city of Kerbala. In connection with his generosity and alms-giving, it has been recorded that he would borrow as much money as he could and then distribute it amongst the needy, and his debts would then be repaid by those coming to Kerbala from India.
One day a destitute arrived at his door and asked for alms. Not having any money with him, the Sheikh picked up his copper jar, handed it to him and said: “Take this and sell it.”
A couple of days later when his family members realized that the jar was missing, they created an uproar, shouting: “A thief has taken away our jar.” When the Sheikh, who was in his library, heard the outcry, he said to them: “Do not accuse the thieves for I am the one who has taken the jar.”
Once, on one of his trips to Samarrah, he fell seriously ill. Mirza Shirazi paid him a visit and began comforting him, whereupon the Sheikh said to him: “I am not at all fearful of death; my uneasiness is due to the fact that according to our beliefs, when we die, our souls are taken in the presence of the Imam-e-Asr (peace be upon him). If, at that time, the Imam were to question me: “O' Zainul 'abidin! With the credibility and esteem that we had bestowed upon you, you could have borrowed a greater amount of money for helping the needy than what you used to; why then did you not do so? … What shall I answer him (a.s)?'”
It is reported that Mirza Shirazi was greatly affected by these words; returning home, he brought out all the religious taxes that lay in his house and distributed them amongst the needy.(23)
Hatim Tai was questioned: “Have you come across any one more generous than yourself?” He replied: “Yes, I have.” He was asked: “Where?” He said: “I had been travelling in the desert when I came across a tent. Inside it there was an old lady while behind the tent a goat lay tied. When the old lady saw me she approached me and held the reins of my horse so that I could dismount. A little later, her son arrived and was immensely pleased to have me as their guest. The old lady said to him: “Commence the preparations to entertain our guest. Go and slaughter the goat and prepare some food.”'
The son said: “First I shall go and collect some firewood,” but the old lady said: “Going to the desert and bringing the firewood shall consume a lot of time due to which our guest would have to remain hungry for long, and this would be contrary to social etiquette.”
So the son, breaking the only two lances that he possessed, slaughtered the goat, prepared the food and presented it before me.
When I investigated about their condition, I realized that the goat had been their only possession and despite this, they had slaughtered it for me.
I said to the old lady: “Do you recognize me?” When she replied in the negative, I said: “I am Hatim Tai. You must come with me to my tribe so that I can entertain you and shower you with gifts and presents!”
The old lady said:
اِنَّا لاَ نَطلُبُ عَلیَ الضَّیفِ جَزاَءً
“Neither do we seek any reward from our guests nor do we sell bread for money, and she refused to accept anything from me.”
Witnessing this generosity, I realized that they were far more generous and munificent than me.
al-Hikayat, pg. 214
Once, a group of people from Yemen arrived in the presence of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). Amongst them was a person who, despite being eloquent in speech, spoke with the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) more harshly and discourteously than the rest, such that eventually the Prophet became enraged - the vein of his forehead swelling up and the colour of his face transforming.
(At that moment) Jibra`il descended and said: “Your Lord sends His greetings and Says:
هَذَا رَجُلٌ سَخِیٌّ یُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ
'This man is generous by nature and feeds the people.'”
As soon as he heard this, his (s.a.w) anger subsided and he said: “Had it not been for the fact that Jibra`il had informed me on behalf of Allah - the Mighty, the Glorious - that you are a person, who is generous and feeds the people, I would have expelled you from my presence such that your instance would have served as an example for the others!”
The man from Yemen said: “Does your Allah love generosity?” When the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) replied in the affirmative, the Yemeni declared:
أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاٌ إِلٌهَ إِلاَّ اللٌّهُ وَ أَنَّکَ رُسُولُ اللٌّهِ
“I bear witness that there is no creature or entity worthy of worship except for Allah and that you are His Messenger.”
Then continuing, he said: “By the Allah, Who has sent you in Truth, I have never turned away anyone from my wealth.”
Ibn Abbas narrates: “Once, three hundred gold coins were gifted to the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) which he in turn gifted to the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s). As the Imam (a.s) took them, he declared: “By Allah! I shall surely give this amount in charity in a manner such that it shall be accepted by Allah.”
Later, Imam ‘Ali (a.s) narrates: “That night, after having offered the 'Isha prayer, I picked up one hundred gold coins and came out of the mosque. As I did so, I happened to encounter a woman and so handed over the money to her. In the morning the people were found to be talking amongst themselves, saying: “Last night ‘Ali (a.s) gave a hundred gold coins in charity to an adulteress.” I was greatly distressed to hear this.
The following night, after the 'Isha prayer, I picked up another hundred gold coins and came out of the mosque saying to myself: “By Allah! Tonight I shall give this in charity such that Allah shall accept this act from me.
As I emerged from the mosque, I found myself face to face with a man and handed over the money to him.”
At daybreak the talk amongst the inhabitants of Madinah was: “‘Ali (a.s) has given a hundred gold coins to a thief, and I became immensely despondent.”
The third night I picked up another hundred gold coins and said to myself: “By Allah! I shall surely give these hundred gold coins in charity to such a person, that Allah shall accept my charity.
After the 'Isha prayer, coming out of the mosque, I ran into a man and handed him the money. In the morning, the people of Madinah were found saying: “Last night ‘Ali (a.s) gave a hundred gold coins to a rich and wealthy person.”
I was extremely pained to hear this and so, approaching the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), I informed him of the incidents that had taken place.
Having heard me, he (s.a.w) said: “O' ‘Ali! Jibrail says: “Allah, the Exalted, has accepted your charities and considers them to be pure. (As for) the hundred gold coins that you had given to the immoral lady on the first night - returning home she turned to Allah in repentance over her past misdeeds and mended her ways. She has set aside the gold coins as her capital and is on the lookout for a husband.
The hundred gold coins of the second night had reached a thief who, upon reaching home, repented over his wrong-doings and utilized the amount for engaging in trade.
The hundred gold coins of the third night had reached the hands of a wealthy person, who had not been paying his zakat for years. Reaching home he began to censure himself saying: “How lowly and base can you be? While you have been violating Allah's ruling and not been paying the obligatory zakat for several years, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, despite not possessing anything, has given you a hundred gold coins.” Having rebuked himself, he then calculated his unpaid zakat of several years and disbursed it.”
It was due to this act on the part of Imam ‘Ali (a.s) that Allah revealed the following verse in his (a.s) excellence:
رِجالٌ لا تُلْهِیهِمْ تِجارَهٌ وَ لا بَیْعٌ عَنْ ذِکْرِ اللَّهِ وَ إِقامِ الصَّلاهِ وَ إِیتاءِ الزَّکاهِ یَخافُونَ یَوْماً تَتَقَلَّبُ فِیهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَ الْأَبْصارُ
“Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about.”(1)
Qais was the son of Sad Ibn Ubadah, the chief of the tribe of Khazraj and one of the companions of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). He never reneged his pledge of allegiance to the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s) and supported him through thick and thin - transferring his loyalties to Imam Hasan (a.s) after the martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s).
Qais, his father Sad and his grandfather Ubadah had possessed a public rest-house. In one of the battles during the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), he was part of the army in which Abu Bakr and Umar were also present. Sad would borrow money from his friends and spend it over his fellow-companions. Abu Bakr and Umar discussed amongst themselves: “If we allow him act in this fashion he shall soon squander away his father's property”, and so they announced in public: “No one should lend money to Qais.”
When his father came to know of this he, after having recited the congregational prayers behind the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), stood up and said: “I complain before the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and the people that Abu Bakr and Umar shall turn my son into a miser!”
In one of the battles he was appointed commander of the army. In that expedition which lasted for a few days he sacrificed nine camels for his fellow-companions, who were very few in number. When the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) was informed of this, he said: “Generosity is the conduct of this family!”
When he fell ill very few people came to visit him. This surprised him and he sought to know the reason for this, whereupon he was informed: “The reason for this is that a lot of your wealth lies with the people. Being indebted to you, they are ashamed to present themselves before you!”
Hearing this Qais said: “May destruction strike the wealth that brings about separation amongst the brethren-in-faith!” Then, upon his instructions, it was announced in Madinah: “Whoever possesses any money belonging to Qais is henceforth the owner of that money for Qais has gifted the money to him.”
After this announcement the crowd that had flocked to his house was so great that the stairs leading up to Qais” room broke down and collapsed.(2)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
لاَ تُشْرِکْ بِاللٌّهِ إِِنَّ الشِّرْکَ لَظُلمٌ عَظِیمٌ
”Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous iniquity.”(3)
Imam Baqir (a.s) said:
أََلْمَعاَصِیَ الَّتِی یَرتَکِبُونَ فَهِیَ شِرْکُ طاَعَهٍ أََطاَعُوا فِیهاَ الشَّیطاَنَ
“The commitment of sins on the part of people is (in reality) polytheism with respect to obedience (of Allah) - in which they obey the Satan.”(4)
One of the vices of the soul is polytheism in which a person, as a result of ignorance, poverty, scepticism and the like, attributes “Allah-ship” to certain things that do not possess the merit and the ability to be Allah; or regards someone, other than Allah, to be inherently and independently efficacious (in affairs); invokes someone, other than Allah, during worship; or intermingles some other (non-divine) intention and objective with his acts of worship.
A polytheist's act of resorting to someone other than Allah is a sin; increase in polytheistic beliefs is brought about by the deceptions of the Satan and persistence of such views lead to hypocrisy and the nullification of deeds, which in turn bring about damnation in this world and the hereafter.(5)
Sahl Ibn ZiyadAdmi relates: “Some of our friends wrote a letter to Imam Askari (a.s) saying: “‘Ali Ibn Hasakah claims to be one of your friends and followers, but is of the belief that you are Allah and he is the 'door' that leads to you and the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). He is of the opinion that prayers, fasts, zakat and Hajj are nothing but your marifat and according to him, whoever holds this belief is a true and perfect Mu'min and is then relieved of the responsibility of performing the other acts like prayers and fasts.”
In reply, the Imam (a.s) wrote: “‘Ali Ibn Hasakah lies. May the curse of Allah be upon him! I do not consider him to be of my friends. By Allah! Muhammad (s.a.w) and the prophets before him had been sent to preach monotheism and invite the people towards prayers, fasts, zakat, Hajj and wilayah. Never did Muhammad (s.a.w) ever invite anyone towards polytheism, and all of us are the successors of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and the servants of Allah, and never do we ascribe partners to Him. If you happen to see one of them, smash his head by means of a stone (due to his polytheistic views).””
‘Ali Ibn Hasakah was of the Ghulat (The Extreme Shiites), who possessed deviated beliefs and had nurtured students such as Qasim Sharani, Yaqtini, Ibn Baba and Muhammad Ibn Musa Sharifi. The Imam (a.s) his rejection of their polytheistic beliefs when he announced: “I absolve myself from them; May Allah curse them!”(6)
Shabih Ibn Uthman was a polytheist whose father and brother had been killed by the Muslims in the battle of Uhud. He awaited an opportunity to kill the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and thus avenge the death of his father and brother.
Years passed and in the year 8 ah the battle of Hunain loomed. During that crisis, Shabih said to himself: “This is an excellent opportunity,” and readied himself for battle. In the battle he advanced forward and positioned himself behind the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) in order to execute his sinister intention.
Allah informed the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) of his evil designs whereupon the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) immediately turned around and striking Shabih's chest with his fist, said: “O' Shabih! I seek shelter in Allah from your evils.”
Shabih relates: “A shiver ran through my body. I looked at the face of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and at that very moment I felt as if he was the most beloved of all persons to me, to the extent that I even perceived him to be dearer to me than my very own eyes and ears. At that very moment I bore witness to the Unity of Allah and the Prophethood of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and became a Muslim, after which, I said to him (s.a.w): “I bear witness that Allah informed you of my concealed intentions.”'(7)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w), placing his hand upon my chest, prayed: “O' Lord! Ward the Satan away from him.”
After the battle had concluded, he (s.a.w) said to me: “What Allah had desired for you is better than what you had desired for yourself.””(8)
Abu Said al-Khudri narrates: “We were a few individuals, who, in a difficult and dangerous period, had shouldered the responsibility of guarding the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) in turn and according to a pre-determined schedule. After a period, some of us had become accustomed to speaking to each other softly and in whispers, including myself.
One night the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) approached us and, noticing some of us talking secretly and in whispers, said to us: “What is this secret conversation? Have you not been prohibited from this act? (when you confer together in private, do not give to each other counsel of sin and revolt and disobedience to the Messenger).””(9)
We pleaded: “We seek the forgiveness of Allah and His Prophet, (however), we were discussing about Dajjal.”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Should I inform you of one, whom I regard to be more dangerous than Dajjal?” He then said: “Concealed polytheism - that is, a person becomes a cause for the sins and evils of others. Danger from such a person is greater than that from Dajjal.”(10)
After the death of Hisham Ibn Abdul Malik - the Umayyad Caliph, Walid Ibn Yazid took over the reins of the Caliphate in the year 125 ah. He was of those, about whom the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had prophesized:
هُوَ اَشَدُّ هَذِهِ الاُمَّهِ مِن فِرعَون لِقَومِه.
“From this Ummah there shall ascend to the caliphate a person, who shall be worse than what Firawn had been with respect to his people.”
Walid, who was perpetually in a state of intoxication, used to say: “Who has ever said that Prophethood has been for the Hashemites? Essentially, there has neither been any Revelation nor any Book from Allah.”
Once, the muezzin's recitation of the Adhan for the morning prayers aroused the inebriated Walid, who had been sleeping with his slave-girl, who too was in a state of intoxication. Waking up, he had sexual intercourse with her and then swore that he would make her
lead the congregational prayers that morning. Attiring her in his clothes he sent her to the mosque in that state of ceremonial uncleanness where she led the congregation and the people offered their prayers behind her!
One day, seeking an augury (Istikhara) from the Noble Qur`an, the following verse came up before Walid: “But they sought victory and decision (there and then), and frustration was the lot of every powerful obstinate transgressor.”(1)
Closing the Qur`an he suspended it as a target and then began shooting arrows at it - striking it with so many arrows that it eventually tore down into pieces. Having done this he shouted: “O' Qur`an! Do you threaten me and refer to me as an “obstinate transgressor”? When the Day of Judgment comes to pass, tell Allah that Walid tore me into pieces.”
The consequence of his disbelief and rebelliousness was that he could only rule for one year - killed in an extremely horrendous fashion, his head was suspended from atop the palace and his impure body buried outside the city.(2)
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s), in explaining and propagating the concept of monotheism, found himself in persistent conflict with the idolaters - who possessed idols and statues, and the star-worshippers - who claimed Allah-ship for the sun, moon and the stars, and ascribed them as partners to Allah. In Babylon and Carrhae, Ibrahim's second place of migration, they had even constructed temples and figures in the names of stars, and used to worship them!
In connection with his debate with the
star-worshippers it has been narrated that once, when the darkness of the night had spread itself over the horizon and Venus had manifested itself, he (a.s) said: “This is my Lord!” When it had set he (a.s) started out in search of it but when he failed to find it, he said to the star-worshippers: “I do not love the Allahs that set.”
Then he saw the moon rise whereupon he (a.s) said to the people: “This is my Lord,” but when it disappeared from sight, he (a.s) said: “If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the deviated ones.”
When the sun rose he (a.s) said: “This is my Lord,” but when it set (too) he distanced himself from the beliefs of the disbelievers and polytheists and declared: “I turn my heart and direct my worship towards He, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists. Do you dispute me with respect to the One Allah, who has guided me aright? I fear not those, whom you regard as partners to Him.”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
إَنَّ الشَّیْطاَنَ لِلإِنْسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِینٌ
“Surely the Shaitan is an open enemy to man.”(2)
Imam Sadiq (a.s) had said:
لَیسَ لِإِبلِیسَ أََشَدُّ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَ الْغَضَبَ.
“Iblis does not possess weapons more dangerous than woman and anger.”(3)
In opposition to Divine guidance, there exists satanic deviation. Within the human, there is a continuous and persistent combat between the divine forces, meaning intellect, and the satanic forces, meaning ignorance.
is only when the human gains a cognizance of the weapons of the Satan and his forces, and protects himself from their whisperings that he can escape from their snares. And if, at times, the Satan happens to overcome him, he should turn to Allah in repentance and plead for His forgiveness lest his heart gets imprinted with a black blemish, and seek refuge in Him from his evils.
After Prophet Nuh (a.s) had disembarked from his ark, the Satan approached him and said: “You have greatly obliged me and so I wish to thank you for your obligation and give you something in exchange!”
Nuh (a.s) said: “I am indisposed to the fact that I oblige you and you recompense me for it. Anyway, go on and tell me the truth.”
Satan said: “Indeed I have to strive hard and exert myself before I can lead one person astray, but you cursed the people and all of them were destroyed and so, at least at present, I am at ease till another community is born and reaches the age of responsibility before I invite them towards disobedience (of Allah)!!
Now, in reciprocation of your good deed, I shall give you a word of advice. Stay away from three attributes: Firstly - never exhibit arrogance, for it was because of this vice that I did not prostrate before your father, Adam and was expelled from the presence of Allah. Secondly - stay away from greed, for it was this due to this that Adam
consumed the wheat and was deprived of Paradise. Thirdly - distance yourself from envy, for it was because of this vice that Qabil killed his brother Habil and eventually perished as a result of Divine punishment.”(1)
Once, Satan approached Prophet Musa (a.s) and said to him: “You are the Prophet of Allah while I am one of His sinning and disobedient creations. It is my desire that I repent before Him, so request Him to accept my repentance.”
Musa (a.s) agreed and prayed for him, whereupon Allah said: “O' Musa! I shall accept your intercession for him. Tell him to prostrate upon Adam's grave in order that I accept his repentance.”
Musa (a.s) met Satan and said: “Prostrating upon Adam's grave shall cause your repentance to be accepted.”
Hearing this, Satan said: “I did not prostrate before Adam when he was alive, how can I prostrate upon his grave now that he is dead? I shall never do such a thing!” Then continuing, he said: “O' Musa! Since you interceded for me before Allah you have obliged me. I shall advise you to be wary of me in three places in order that you do not face damnation and ruin. First: During anger; for in that state my soul is in your heart and my eyes into yours. Second: During a battle (jihad); for in that state I cause the soldiers to bring their wives, children and relatives to mind in order that they turn back from the battle and flee away. Third: Never
sit with a non-mahram woman in one place for I shall whisper temptations into both of you.”(1)
Once, an inhabitant of Egypt brought a bunch of grapes before Firawn and asked him to transform them into pearls.
Firawn took the grapes inside his chamber and sat down pondering as to how he could transform them into pearls. In the meantime Satan arrived and knocked at his door. Firawn asked: “Who is it?” Satan replied: “Woe unto that Allah, who knows not who stands behind the door.” Having said this he stepped into the chamber, took the grapes from Firawn and recited one of the Holy Names of Allah upon them whereupon they were immediately transformed into pearls.
Then, turning to Firawn, he said: “O' Firawn! Judge with fairness and justice! Despite possessing such virtues and powers I am not worthy of being worshipped, but you, with the ignorance that you possess, claim Allah-ship for yourself and say: 'I am the great Allah of the people?'”
Firawn inquired: “Why did you not prostrate beforeAdam so as not to be expelled from the presence of Allah?”
Satan retorted in disgust: “Because I knew that a dirty entity like you would come into existence from his loins.”(2)
It has been reported that Muawiyah had been asleep in his palace when he was suddenly awakened by someone. When Muawiyah looked towards him, the person immediately concealed himself behind the curtains.
Muawiyah shouted: “Who are you that have entered the palace without my permission and exhibited such impertinence?”
The man said: “I am
Muawiyah asked: “Why did you wake me up?”
He replied: “It is time for prayers and I have aroused you so that you can proceed to the mosque in time for the prayers!”
Muawiyah said: “You are Satan, and Satan is an entity who never desires any good for the people. Is it correct to accept a thief's claim that he had come to the house for the purpose of guarding it?”
Satan said: “I woke you up lest you continue to sleep and your prayers become lapsed thereby causing you to sigh in regret and your heart to grieve that the time for prayers had passed away and you did not go to the mosque for offering your prayers! This sigh is more significant and important than hundreds of prayers and I did not want you to engage yourself in such sighing and lamentations, for then you would have been graced by Allah's mercy.”
Having heard this Muawiyah attested the veracity of his words.(1)
Once, the accursed Satan manifested himself before the Prophet Yahya Ibn Zakariya (a.s). Observing that he had in his possession numerous ropes, Yahya (a.s) inquired: “O' Iblis! What are these ropes that you hold in your hand?”
Satan replied: “These ropes are the various attachments, inclinations and lusts that I have found in the children of Adam.”
Yahya (a.s) asked: 'Does there exist a rope for me too?'
Satan said: 'Yes. When you satiate yourself with food, you experience weightiness and it is for this reason you become disinclined with respect to your
prayers, dhikr and supplications.'
Hearing this, Yahya (a.s) vowed: 'By Allah! Never shall I eat to my fill, ever again.'
Iblis responded by pledging: “By Allah! Never shall I advise anyone, ever again.”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
فَاصْبِرْ کَماَ صَبَرَ أُُولُوا الْعَزمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ
“Therefore bear up patiently as did the messengers endowed with faithfulness bear up with patience.”(2)
Imam ‘Ali (a.s) said:
حَلاَوَهُ الظَّفَرِ تَمْحُوا مَراَرَهَ الصَّبْرِ.
“The sweetness of success erases the bitterness of patience.”(3)
For some, the initial phase of patience is bitter while its final phase is sweet, while for others, its initial as well as its final phase is bitter, while for yet others, patience, in all phases, is sweet.
One who exhibits patience willingly, refrains from complaining before the others and does not fret and fume, is of the Patient Ones, while one, who is not forbearing in the face of misfortunes and does not beseech and supplicate to Allah, is regarded as being of the Impatient Ones.
It is in the face of misfortune and calamity that a truly patient person is differentiated from a false claimant. A patient person is submissive in the face of adversities while one who claims falsely is overcome with perturbation, anguish and sorrow.(4)
One day the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), accompanied by the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s), had been heading towards the mosque of Quba when they happened to come across a lush-green garden. Witnessing it Imam ‘Ali (a.s) commented: “O Prophet of Allah! It is a nice garden.” The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) responded: “Your garden in
Paradise is nicer!”
They passed by the garden and continued on their way; in the course of their walk they passed by seven gardens and on each occasion the same conversation ensued between the two. Then, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) took ‘Ali (a.s) into his arms and began weeping intensely, causing the Imam (a.s) to weep too. When he (a.s) sought to know the reason for the Noble Prophet's (s.a.w) weeping, he (s.a.w) said: “I suddenly recollected the malice that has taken root in the breasts of the people towards you and which they shall make manifest after my death.”
The Imam (a.s) inquired: “O Prophet of Allah! What should I do?” He (s.a.w) advised: “Patience and fortitude. If you fail to exhibit patience you shall fall into far greater difficulties.”
He (a.s) said: “Do you fear the destruction of my faith and religion?” He (s.a.w) replied: “Your (faith and religion's) existence lies in patience.”(1)
The only son of an indigent woman had gone on a journey which had transformed into a protracted one. Extremely worried, she approached Imam Sadiq (a.s) and complained: “My son has been away on a journey, which has turned into a very long one and I am terribly distressed.”
The Imam (a.s) said: “O' Lady! Be patient and control yourself.”
The lady left, but after having waited for a few more days and with no sign of her son's arrival she was not able to take it any more and so, approaching the Imam (a.s) again, she said: “My son has
still not returned. What should I do?”
The Imam (a.s) said to her: “But did I not advise you to be patient and exhibit fortitude.” She lamented: “By Allah! I have reached the limit of my patience and do not possess the strength to bear this separation any more!”
Hearing this, the Imam (a.s) said: “Return home for your son has arrived.”
Confounded, she returned to her house only to find her son back from his journey. Even as she was overjoyed at seeing him, she thought to herself: “How did the Imam (a.s) know that he had returned? Does Revelation descend upon him? Let me go and ask him about this issue.”
Approaching the Imam (a.s) she asked: “Just as you had informed, my son has returned from his journey. But tell me, do you receive revelation that you were able to inform me of the unseen?”
He (a.s) said: “I deduced this from one of the traditions of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). He (s.a.w) had said:
عِندَ فَناَءِ الصَّبرِ یاِتیِ الْفَرَجُ
“When man's patience reaches its end, ease and relief sets in upon him.” When I observed that your patience had reached its termination, I realized that relief had arrived and so informed you that your son had arrived and my deduction proved to be correct.'”(1)
Bilal was originally from Abyssinia and in Madinah, was one of the slaves of the tribe of Bani Jama.' After he had embraced Islam he had to suffer intense hardships at the hands of his owners.
During the onset of Islam
those in Mecca who had embraced the faith had to face great adversities - especially those, who did not possess any familial or tribal support, or were slaves and servants. Some, due to the intensity of sufferings, even backtracked from their (new) religion but Bilal exhibiting great patience, increased in steadfastness as thus, his owners increased their torture upon him.
Abu Jahl would force him to lie on his stomach on the hot sands of Hijaz, pin him down by means of a millstone till his brains would almost come to a boil due to the intensity of the heat and then say to him: “Deny the Allah of Muhammad!” However, all that Bilal would say was: “Ahad Ahad” - meaning Allah is One.
One of those, who greatly persecuted him, was Umayyah Ibn Khalaf, who used to torture him repeatedly. However, as Divine decree would have it, he was killed in the battle of Badr at the hands of Bilal.
During one of those occasions when Bilal was being tortured, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) happened to pass by. Witnessing him, he (s.a.w) said to Abu Bakr: “Had I possessed money, I would have purchased Bilal.” Later he (s.a.w) approached his uncle Abbas and said: “Purchase Bilal for me.” Even as Abbas went in search of the woman who owned him, Bilal was being subjected to torture and persecution - pinioned under the weight of heavy stones and almost on the verge of death.
Abbas approached the woman and expressed his desire to purchase
Bilal whereupon she began to criticize and speak ill of him, but eventually sold him. Thus, Bilal, as a result of his patience in the face of torture and persecution, became free and entering into the services of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) he became his muezzin.(1)
When the battle of Uhud had concluded, the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) dispatched Harith Ibn Samt to search for the body of his uncle, Hamzah, amongst the dead. When Harith witnessed that Hamzah's liver had been taken out and his body mutilated by cutting off the ears, nose and other parts of the body, he could not bring himself to inform the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) of this unpleasant occurrence.
As a result, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) himself arrived amongst the dead, but when his eyes fell upon the mutilated body of his uncle, he was immensely disturbed. As he wept, he said: “By Allah! Nothing has disturbed me more than this. If Allah grants me dominance over the Quraish, I shall mutilate seventy of their individuals.”
At that moment, Jibrail descended with the following verse: “And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted; but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient,” whereupon the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “I shall exhibit patience over this calamity.”
The person who killed Hamzah was Wahshi - the slave of Jubair - who, upon the orders of Hind (Muawiyah's mother. Her
father, 'Atabah, had been killed in the battle of Badr) had torn open Hamzah's stomach, pulled out his liver and presented it to her. Taking the liver she bit into it, but by Divine decree was unable eat it. Arriving at Hamzah's body, she went on to mutilate it and then rewarded Wahshi by gifting him her necklace, bracelet and ear-rings.(1)
Sibt al-Sheikh has narrated: “One of the elders of Arabia - the chief of a tribe that dwelled in the environs of Baghdad, decided to marry his son to a maiden from amongst his relatives. As per the custom prevalent there, the marriage and its consummation was supposed to take place on the same night. On the appointed night preparations were made for feast and entertainment, and the supreme religious authority of the Arab world - Sheikh Mahdi Khalisi, was invited to recite the marriage formula.
Some of the youths proceeded towards the bridegroom in order bring him to the marriage gathering in a special ceremony and with special formalities. As was their custom, they began firing bullets into the air and in the process a bullet from the gun of one of the youths - a Sayyid (descendant of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w)) - accidentally struck the bridegroom in the chest and killed him.
Witnessing this, the Sayyid youth ran away and the episode was brought to the attention of the bridegroom's father. The late Sheikh Mahdi Khalisi, coming to know of the incident, instructed the father to exhibit patience and
advised: “Do you know that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) has a great obligation upon us and all of us are in need of his intercession; this youth did not do this intentionally but it was by providence that the bullet happened to strike your son killing him. Forgive this youth for the sake of his grandfather (s.a.w) and exhibit patience over this misfortune so that Allah grants you the rewards of the Patient Ones!”
Upon hearing the Sheikh's counsel the father of the bridegroom became silent and after little reflection said: “We have numerous guests now and the occasion of joy has been transformed into an occasion of grief. For completing the right of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), call the Sayyid youth and instead of my son, marry him to the maiden and lead them to the bridal chamber!”
The Sheikh praised and commended him (for this gesture of his). When the people went after the Sayyid youth and informed him that he was to get married in place of the chief's son he initially refused to believe it, thinking it to be a ploy to seize him and kill him.
However, ultimately the Sheikh married the maiden to the Sayyid youth on that night itself, while the dead son was buried the next day.”(1)
kinds: The first being the “concealed charity” - one that had been the conduct of the Imams and which wards away poverty, lengthens the life, does away with seventy kinds of evil deaths and smothers the Divine wrath. The second being the “manifest charity” - one, that increases the sustenance and breaks Satan's back.
An important point in connection with charity is that quantity (with respect to money, clothes or food) is not the criterion for perfection; rather, it is the purity and sincerity of intention, which is the requisite for perfection.
At times when the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) did not possess any money, he would give his clothes in charity and would recommend: “Commence your day with charity, for it serves to insure you.”
Once, Imam Sadiq (a.s) related: “There was a piece of land that I owned in partnership with an astrologer and it was mutually decided that it should be divided between us. He made preparations so that his arrival should be in an auspicious hour while I should arrive in an inauspicious hour so that the better portion of the land fell in his hands. The land was divided but it so happened that the better portion came as my share of the land! The man slapped his right hand over his left in regret and said ruefully: “Oh! Had I never lived to see such a day!”
I said to him: “Why are you so upset today?” He said: “I am an astrologer and I brought you out of
your house in an inauspicious hour while I myself came out in an auspicious hour. However, now that the land has been divided, you have come to acquire the better portion of it.”
I (the Imam) said: “I shall inform you of a tradition of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) wherein he said: 'If one desires that Allah wards away from him the inauspiciousness of a day, he should start his day by giving charity, and if one desires to ward away the inauspiciousness of the night, he should commence his night by giving charity.'”
The Imam (a.s) then said (to the astrologer): “I gave charity while coming out (of my house) today; charity is better for you than astrology.”(1)
'Atbah Beente 'Afif, the mother of Hatim Tai, was an open-hearted and generous lady, who used to distribute all her wealth amongst the needy ones.
When her brothers saw her giving her wealth in charity, they prevented her from accessing it and said: “You are indulging in extravagance and ruining your property.”
For a period of one year they did not provide her with any money. When the year had passed they spoke amongst themselves and said: “She has suffered much in this year as a result of scarcity and perhaps now, after this prohibition, she would spend her wealth moderately and not exhibit extravagance.” And so, they gave her a herd of camels so that she could make use of them.
At that juncture a woman from the tribe of Hawazan approached her and, as in
the past, sought food and assistance from her.
Hatim's mother gifted the entire herd of camels to her saying: “In this period (of one year), I have tasted the sufferings of poverty and have promised to myself that whatever I come to possess, I shall give in charity to the needy and the deprived ones!”(1)
Mu'alla Ibn Khunais narrates: “One rainy night Imam Sadiq (a.s) started out from his house with the intention of proceeding towards the tent of the tribe of Bani Sai'dah (under which they used to gather in the heat of the day, while it would be utilized as a sleeping place by the travelers and the indigent ones, during the night).
I followed the Imam (a.s) when I noticed that something had suddenly fallen out of his hands. He (a.s) supplicated: “O' Allah! Return to me that which has fallen.” I advanced nearer and saluted him at which he questioned: “Mu'alla?” I said: “Yes. May I be made your ransom!” The Imam (a.s) said to me: “Move your hand over the ground and hand over to me whatever you happen to find.”
As I moved my hand over the ground I found some pieces of bread scattered around; gathering them all, which eventually became a sack-full, I handed them to him (a.s) and said: “May I be made your ransom. Allow me to carry the sack upon my back.” He (a.s) said: “No. I am more deserving of carrying the sack, but yes, I do permit you to accompany me.”
together with the Imam (a.s), I reached the tent of Bani Sai'dah, where a group of poor people lay asleep. The Imam (a.s) began placing one or two pieces of bread below their garments till all the pieces of bread were used up.
As we turned back, I said to him: “May I be made your ransom! Are they Shiites?” The Imam (a.s) replied:
لَو عَرَفُوه لَوَاسَینَاهُم بِالدُّقًّهِ
“Had they been Shiites, I would have provided them with all that they needed - even their salt.”(1)
Sayyid Ne'matullah Jazairi narrates in his book: “One year, a famine struck. During that period a preacher, from atop the pulpit in the mosque, preached: “When one desires to give charity, seventy Satans cling onto his hands to prevent him from giving it.”
Hearing this, a person said to his friends in amazement: “Giving charity has no such thing associated with it. I have some wheat present in my house which I shall immediately bring to the mosque and distribute amongst the poor.”
With this in mind, he set off for his house. When he reached home and informed his wife of his intention, she began to reprimand him saying: “In this period of drought do you not have consideration for your wife and child? Maybe the drought will extend for a long time, in which case we shall die of hunger and …”
In short, she rebuked him to such an extent that eventually the man returned to the mosque empty-handed.
His friends asked him: “What happened? Did you see how
seventy Satans clung to your hand and prevented you?”(1)
The man said: “Honestly speaking, I did not see the Satans, but I certainly saw their mother, who prevented me from performing this good deed.””(2)
Perhaps, the only Shiite minister to have been widely popular amongst the people of all classes was Sahib Ibn Ubbad (326 ah to 385 ah). Initially he had been the minister of Muayyad al-Daulah Dailami (d. 373 ah), after whose death, he became the minister of Muayyad's brother, Fakhr al-Daulah.
Sheikh Saduq compiled the book 'Uyoon Akhbar al-Ridha for him while Husain Ibn Muhammad Qummi authored the book Tarikh Qum upon his orders.
During the period when he was the minister, it was not possible for one who came to him in the afternoon of the month of Ramadhan, to leave except after consuming iftar - at times the people breaking their fast at his place totaled one thousand in number. His charity in this holy month would equal that of all the other months combined as it was from his infancy that his mother had trained him to act in such a manner.
During his childhood, when he would start out for his classes, his mother would give him a dinar and a dirham everyday and advise him: “Give (these in) charity to the first needy you come across!” This act transformed itself into a habit for him.
From his childhood to youth and then on until he became a minister, he never disregarded the recommendation and training of his mother.
Fearful of forgetting this recommendation, he instructed the slave, who was in-charge of his quarters, to place one dinar and one dirham under his mattress every night. Upon waking up in the morning, he would give them in charity to the first needy he encountered.
It so happened that one night the servant forgot to place the money. The next morning Sahib Ibn Ubbad, upon waking, thrust his hand under the mattress to collect the money only to realize that the servant had forgotten to place the money there. He took this to augur ill for himself and thought: “Surely, my end has drawn nigh that the servant forgot to place the charity.”
He ordered the blanket, mattress and pillows that lay in his bedroom to be given in charity to the first destitute that came his way as an expiation for the forgetfulness. Having collected all the items - all of which were costly and expensive - he set out of his house, only to encounter an old blind Sayyid (descendant of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w)), who was shedding tears as his wife led him by the hand.
Sahib's servant went forward and asked him: “Will you accept these items?” The man asked: “What are the items?” The servant replied: “A blanket, mattress and some brocaded pillows.” As soon as he heard this the destitute fell down unconscious.
When Sahib Ibn 'Ubbad was informed of this scenario he approached the man and ordered water to be sprinkled over his face. When the man
had regained his consciousness, Sahib asked him: “What caused you to lose consciousness?”
He answered: “I am a respectable person. It is of late that I have fallen into bad times. I have a daughter from this wife who had reached the age of marriage; a person sought her hand in marriage and they were married. It has been two years now that we have been collecting items for her Dowry. Last night my wife said to me: “We must make arrangements for a blanket and brocaded pillows for my daughter.” Try as much as I could, I could not get her to change her mind till there ensued a dispute between us over this issue. Finally I said to her: “Tomorrow morning, hold my hand and take me out of the house”, so that I could pass in front of you. Then, when your servant spoke those words to me, it was but natural that I should fall down unconscious.”
Sahib was greatly affected by this speech. Summoning the daughter's husband, he gave him sufficient wealth so that he could engage himself in a respectable profession, after which, he gave the entire dowry of the daughter in a measure befitting a minister's daughter.(1)
Silah Rahim (2)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
فَهَلْ عَسَیْتُمْ إِنْ تَوَلَّیْتُمْ أَنْ تُفْسِدُوا فِی الأَرْضِ وَ تَقَطَّعُوا أََرْحَامَکُمْ
”But if you held command, you were sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship.”(3)
Imam Baqir (a.s) said:
صِلَهُ الأََرْحَامِ تَطِیبُ النَّفْسَ وَ تَزِیدُ فِی الرِّزقِ.
the bonds of kinship freshens the soul and increases the sustenance.”(1)
The term “rahim” is used to denote those, who are one's relatives by birth, and it is forbidden to severe one's relationship with them.
Those, who associate with their relatives in a goodly manner and seek to help them, Allah shall lengthen their lives, grant them an increase in their livelihood and subject them to an easy reckoning on the Day of Judgment.
On the other hand those, who distance themselves from their relatives and seek to trouble them shall have to face detrimental consequences for such acts of theirs - destruction of their faith, ruining of their hereafter, lessening of their life-span, diminution in sustenance and, the worst of all, the termination in the bestowal of Divine grace and favour upon them. Allah has mentioned in the 'Hadith-e-Qudsi': “I am the Rahman. One, who severs his relation with his relatives, I shall sever My relation with him.”(2)
Once, one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (a.s) said to him (a.s): “My brothers and cousins have made life very difficult for me in my house, to the extent that I lead my life in only one room. If I were to even attempt to complain to them or the governor, they shall take away all the wealth and property that I possess.”
The Imam (a.s) said: “Be patient for after adversity you shall be in ease and comfort.”
Later, narrating the incident, the man said: ”(Paying heed to the Imam's counsel) I decided against initiating
legal proceedings against them. Before long plague struck the region in the year 131 ah and all those relatives, who used to trouble him died as a result of it.”
After a period he presented himself before the Imam (a.s), who inquired: “How are your relatives?”
The man replied: “All of them are dead!”
The Imam (a.s) said: “They died as a result of the inconveniences that they had subjected you to; a punishment for their deeds (for severing the bonds of relationship) with respect to you - their relative.”
The Imam (a.s) then asked: “Did you want them to stay alive and inconvenience you?” Whereupon the man replied: “By Allah! No.””(1)
Hasan Ibn ‘Ali, a cousin of Imam Sadiq (a.s), was a courageous, robust and physically powerful person such that he was referred to as the lance of the family of Abu Talib. Possessing a wide nose, he was popularly known as Hasan Aftas.
He was the standard-bearer in the uprising initiated by 'Abdullah Mahdh (the grandson of Imam Hasan (a.s)) against Mansur Dawaniqi. His relations with Imam Sadiq (a.s) turned sour over the issue and he even went to the extent of attacking him (a.s) with a large knife with the intention of killing him (a.s).
Salimah, one of Imam's (a.s) slave-girls, relates: “The Imam (a.s) was on his death-bed and I was at his bedside, nursing him, when he suddenly dropped into unconsciousness. As soon as he had regained his consciousness, he instructed me: 'Give seventy dinars to Hasan Aftas and such and such
sums to such and such individuals.'”
I said to him: “Should we give seventy dinars to the person, who had lunged at you with a knife and desired to kill you?”
He (a.s) said: “Do you not desire that I should be one of those about whom Allah says:
وَ الَّذِینَ یَصِلُونَ ما أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ یُوصَلَ وَ یَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ وَ یَخافُونَ سُوءَ الْحِسابِ وَ الَّذِینَ صَبَرُوا ابْتِغاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِمْ وَ أَقامُوا الصَّلاهَ وَ أَنْفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْناهُمْ سِرًّا وَ عَلانِیَهً وَ یَدْرَؤُنَ بِالْحَسَنَهِ السَّیِّئَهَ أُولئِکَ لَهُمْ عُقْبَی الدَّار
“And those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning. And those who are constant, seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and keep up prayer and spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them secretly and openly, and repel evil with good; as for those, they shall have the (happy) issue of the abode.”(1)
He (a.s) then continued: “Yes, O' Salimah! Allah has created the Paradise and made it pure and fragrant such that its fragrance can be perceived at a distance of two thousand years - but this fragrance shall not reach the person, who has severed ties with his relatives, and one, who has been disowned by his parents.”(2)
'Abbas, the uncle of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), was a person who exhibited great kindness towards his relatives and thus found himself to be an object of praise and commendation of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), who lauded him by saying:
هَذاَ عَبَّاس بنُ
عَبدِ الْمُطَّلِب اَجوَدُ قُرَیش کفًّا وَ اَوصَلُها رَحماً
“Abbas Ibn 'Abdul Muttalib is the most generous and benevolent towards his relatives from amongst all the Quraish.”
During one of the battles, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) ordered: “Whoever happens to encounter anyone from the Bani Hashim (during the battle) should not kill him, for the Bani Hashim have been made to participate in the battle under compulsion.”
During the battle of Badr a person by the name of Abu Yasir captured Abbas, who, not intending to resist the capture stood firm and unmoving like a staff. When the battle had concluded the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), for the sake of equity, did not exhibit any discrimination between Abbas and the other captives.
At night all the captives were tied by means of ropes and Abbas was seated near the tent of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). The moans and groans of Abbas kept reaching his (s.a.w) ears as a result of which, he could not sleep till midnight and kept turning from one side to another.
One of the Muslims, who was near him (s.a.w), inquired: “O' Prophet of Allah! Why do you not sleep?”
He (s.a.w) replied: “The moans of my uncle Abbas distress me and prevent me from sleeping.” A little later the moans subsided and could not be heard anymore. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) inquired: “What has happened that I do not hear the moans of my uncle Abbas anymore.” The man said: “I have loosened the ropes that bound him.” Hearing this, he (s.a.w) instructed:
”(In that case) loosen the ropes of all the other captives too.”(1)
Shoa'ib Aqarquqi narrates: “Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s) said to me: “Tomorrow, a person by the name of Yaqub - an inhabitant of Maghreb - shall meet you and inquire about me; guide him to my house.”
I found the person performing the circumambulation (of the Kabah), and as I inquired about his health, I realized that he appeared to know me and so asked him: “How do you know me?” He said: “A person appeared to me in my dreams and said: “Meet Shoa'ib and ask him whatever you desire to know!” Upon waking up I inquired about you and the people pointed you to me.”
I found him to be an intelligent person and upon his request took him to the Imam's (a.s) house. Reaching there, I sought permission to enter the house and the Imam (peace be upon granted) obliged.
As soon as the Imam's (a.s) eyes fell upon him, he (a.s) said: 'O' Yaqub! You arrived here (Mecca) yesterday but on the way, at such and such a place, there ensued a quarrel between you and your brother - to the extent that both of you hurled Abuses and insults at each other. This is neither our conduct nor that of the religion of our forefathers. We do not approve of such a conduct from anybody; fear Allah, Who is One and has no partners. Very soon death shall cause a separation between both of you - a
consequence of having broken the bond of kinship!'
He said: 'May I be made your ransom! When am I going to die?'
The Imam (a.s) replied: 'Verily, your end had neared too, but since you resolved your differences with your aunt and re-established your bonds of kinship at such and such place, your life has been increased by twenty years.'
A year later I met Yaqub during the season of Hajj and inquired after his health, whereupon he said: 'On the return journey my brother died before he could reach home and was buried on the way.'”(1)
The intense slandering with respect to Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s) that reached the ears of Haroon al-Rashid, the Abbasid caliph, provoked him to say: 'Present before me someone from the descendants of Abu Talib so that I can become aware of his (a.s) activities.'
Haroon's minister, Yahya Barmaki, and some others suggested the name of ‘Ali Ibn Ismail - the Imam's (a.s) nephew.
Upon Haroon's orders, a letter was dispatched to him asking him to present himself before the Caliph in Baghdad. When the Imam (a.s) came to know of this, he called for him and questioned: “Where do you intend to go?”
‘Ali Ibn Ismail answered: “Baghdad.”
The Imam (a.s) inquired: “For what purpose?”
He replied: “I am burdened by great debts.”
The Imam (a.s) said: “I shall repay your debts and arrange for your expenses”, however ‘Ali Ibn Ismail refused the offer and instead, said: “Advise me!”
The Imam (a.s) said: “I advise you that you do not associate yourself in
shedding my blood and do not make my children fatherless.” Repeating this three times, he (a.s) presented him with three hundred dinars and four thousand dirhams.
Later, when Ismail had left, he (a.s) said to those around him: “His slandering and vilification shall contribute to my murder.”(1)
Arriving in Baghdad ‘Ali Ibn Ismail went to Yahya Ibn Khalid Barmaki. That night Yahya said to him: “Tomorrow, in the presence of the Caliph, when you are questioned about Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s), you must say: 'I have never witnessed two caliphs exercising authority at one time - you, in Baghdad and Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s), in Madinah. He is about to incite the people into rebelling against you!!'”
The next morning, arriving in the presence of the caliph, ‘Ali Ibn Ismail maligned and slandered the Imam (a.s) as much as he could. In the course of his talks he even said that people from distant places brought money for him and armed him with weapons, and that he was taking the pledge of allegiance from the people and intended to establish a separate state and government.
Hearing this, Haroon appeared to have been jolted out of sleep; he dismissed him from his presence and sent a sum of four thousand dirhams (or twenty thousand dirhams according to another report) for him to the place where he had been staying.
When the money was brought before him, an intense pain rose up inside his throat and he died then and there - a consequence of having severed
the bond of kinship with his uncle - Musa Ibn Ja’far (a.s).
The bags of money were carried back to Haroon's coffers while sorrow and regret was the only thing that Ismail carried to his grave.”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
وَ سَیَعْلَمُونَ الَّذِینَ ظَلَمُوا أَیَّ مُنقَلَبٍ یَتقَلِبُونَ
“And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.”(2)
Imam Baqir (a.s) said:
مَا مِنْ أََحَدٍ یَظْلِمُ بِمَظلِمَهٍ إِلاَّ أََخَذَهُ اللهُ تَعاَلی بِهَا فِی نَفْسِهِ أََوْ مَالِهِ.
“There is none who commits oppression by means of an (act of) injustice, except that Allah afflicts him or his wealth because of it.”(3)
Oppression and injustice are, in reality, insubordination to the orders of Allah, acts of transgression and a consequence of transcending the limits of the Shari'ah and the intellect.
All throughout history that which has befallen the weak and the oppressed has been due to the oppression of the oppressors. Power and craving for dominance serve as a prelude for a disobedient soul to oppress the vulnerable and weak individuals.
One who transgresses the Divine limits and is uninhibited with respect to every kind of oppression and injustice such as murder, Abuse, vilification, fornication, rape, usurpation of the property of others, etc… has, in effect, gone out of the bounds of Allah's obedience, drowned himself in carnal desires and become afflicted with the disease of rebelliousness. Such a person, sooner or later, shall be seized by punishment and retribution, since the lamentations of the weak, oppressed and the orphaned ones possess negative
overtones, which manifest themselves in this world and the hereafter.(1)
In Syria. there lived a king by the name of Dadhanah, who was an idol worshipper. Allah sent Prophet Jorjis (a.s) to Dadhanah to advise him and invite him to monotheism, but instead, Dadhanah responded by asking him: “Which city do you come from?” He (a.s) replied: “I am of Roman origin and have come from Palestine.”
Upon Dadhanah's orders, Prophet Jorjis (a.s) was imprisoned, his holy body subjected to injuries by means of iron spikes till his flesh fell apart and vinegar poured over the wounds. After this, his thighs, knees, soles of his feet and head were pounded by means of red-hot iron skewers to such an extent that he was on the verge of death.
Allah sent an angel to him (a.s), who said: “Allah says: 'Be patient and happy, and fear not for I am with you and shall deliver you from them. They shall attempt to kill you four times, but I shall ward away the pain and agony of the sufferings from you.'”
The second time Dadhanah ordered that this Prophet's back and stomach should be lashed after which he should be hurled into prison. He then summoned every sorcerer and magician before him and ordered them to use their magic to his benefit against Prophet Jorjis (a.s), but despite their best efforts, their magic failed to have any effect upon him. Having failed in this, they tried to poison him, but Prophet Jorjis (a.s) recited Allah's name
and the poison caused him no harm.
One of the magicians said: “Had I fed this poison to all of the inhabitants of the earth, they would have turned blind, their appearances would have changed and all of them would have perished!” Then, repenting over his past misdeeds, he declared his faith in Prophet Jorjis (a.s), whereupon Dadhanah had him killed.
For the umptinth time Dadhanah hurled Prophet Jorjis (a.s) into prison and on this occasion ordered his body to be cut into pieces and thrown into a well.
With the objective of admonishing him, Allah sent down lightening and earthquake, but he refused to heed the warning. Allah sent the angel Mikail, who brought Prophet Jorjis (a.s) out of the well and said to him: “Be Patient,” and then conveyed to him glad tidings of the divine rewards.
(Once again), Prophet Jorjis (a.s) approached the king and invited him towards monotheism, but once again he refused. However, on this occasion, the commander of his army together with four thousand people brought faith. Witnessing this, Dadhanah ordered all of them to be put to death.
This time he prepared a tablet out of molten copper and forced Prophet Jorjis (a.s) to lie upon it. He then poured molten lead down his throat and then, lighting up an inferno, hurled him into it in order that he be burnt to death.
This time too, Allah sent Mikail to grant him soundness of health. Having regained his health, Prophet Jorjis (a.s) approaching the king yet again advised him
to abandon idolatry and invited him towards monotheism.
On this occasion, Dadhanah hurled him into a cauldron containing molten lead and sulphur, and ignited a fire under him in order to melt his body with the molten lead and sulphur. Allah sent down the angel Israfil, who issued a shriek causing the cauldron to topple over and leaving Prophet Jorjis (a.s) safe and unharmed.
Having regained his health by the power of Allah, he (a.s) again approached Dadhanah and invited him towards Allah-worship. Frustrated and desperate, Dadhanah ordered all the people to gather together in the desert and kill him in unison, whereupon Prophet Jorjis (a.s) supplicated to Allah and pleaded for patience and fortitude.
The people beheaded him (a.s) and were on their way back when all of them were seized by an onslaught of Divine chastisement.(1)
A person, by the name of Muhajir, narrates as follows: “I had gone to Imam Sadiq (a.s) and said to him: “Such and such persons have sent you their salutations.” The Imam (a.s) responded in kind, whereupon I said: “They have also requested you to pray for them.” He (a.s) inquired: “What is their problem?” I said: “Mansur Dawaniqi has flung them into prison.”
He (a.s) asked: “What did they have to do with Mansur (that he hurled them into prison)?”
I replied: “They used to work for him and one day, in a fit of anger, he hurled them behind bars.”
The Imam (a.s) said: “But had I not prohibited them from working for him (an oppressive and
unjust regime)? Such work entails great danger.” Having said this, the Imam (a.s) then prayed: “O' Allah! Repel from them the evils and grant them deliverance.”
Muhajir says: “I returned from Mecca and inquired about my friends whereupon I was informed that they had been set free”” - (according to the dates, they had been released three days after the Imam (a.s) had prayed for them).(1)
Once, Hadhrat Musa (a.s) was passing by a region when he came across a spring which flowed alongside a mountain. Performing ablution with the water, he proceeded to the top of the mountain to offer prayers. Meanwhile a person on horseback reached the spring and came down from the horse with the intention of quenching his thirst. When he had satiated himself he mounted his mount and galloped away, dropping his money-pouch in the process.
A short while later a shepherd arrived there; noticing the money-pouch, he picked it up and left.
After the shepherd had left, an old man - a bundle of fire-wood on his head and possessing an appearance that manifested his destitution and poverty - reached there. Placing his load on the ground he stretched himself out near the spring and went to sleep.
Before long the rider returned to the spring and began searching for his lost money-pouch. Failing to locate it, he questioned the old man, who pleaded ignorance about it. There ensued an altercation betwin the two and very soon they began trading blows. In the resulting brawl, the rider beat the
old man so severely that he died.
Witnessing this, Prophet Musa (a.s) said: “O' Lord! What kind of incident was this and what kind of justice exists in this episode; the money was taken by the shepherd but it was the old man who had to face oppression and injustice?”
He (a.s) was told: “O' Musa! This old man had killed the rider's father and so retaliation was achieved between them. (In addition) the rider's father had owed to the shepherd's father, the same amount that was contained in the money-pouch and in this way, the shepherd acquired his right. O' Musa! (Do know) I pass My judgment on the basis of justice and fairness.”(1)
Having ruled Iran for years, Jamshed slowly came to be filled by pride, ultimately claiming Allah-ship for himself and inviting the people to worship him. The people, out of fear of his sword, submitted to his demand; this continued till Dhahhak initiated a military expedition against him and eventually killed him.
Placing himself at the helm of affairs of the sultanate, Dhahhak adopted a policy of oppression and persecution - killing his father and subjecting his people to various forms of brutality and tribulation.
One day he happened to experience discomfort in his head and shoulders. One evil cook suggested a remedy saying: “The thing that can cure you is the brains of the youths.”
Upon Dhahhak's orders two youths from the prison were killed; eating their brains, he felt slight comfort in his state and so went to sleep. Next
day onwards two youths would be killed everyday and their brains utilized for his treatment.
He committed great brutalities, never gave ear to any petition and never meted out justice to any oppressed and so, when he murdered two sons of Kaveh, the ironsmith, it turned out to be the final straw and provoked a rebellion against him.
He was ultimately killed in an extremely gruesome manner - his head bludgeoned by a mace (or hurled into the depths of a well, according to another report), and it was Faridoon, who later took over the reins of the sultanate.(1)
After the incident of 'ashura and two and a half months before his death, Yazid initiated yet another horrendous act on the twenty eighth of Dhul Hijjah of the year 63 ah - the looting and killing of the people of Madinah and sacrilege with respect to the shrine of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) at the hands of an old, sick, brash and impudent man by the name of Muslim Ibn 'Aqabah, notoriously known as Musrif.
When the news of Yazid's oppression and depravity reached the ears of the people of Madinah, a group from amongst them proceeded to Syria to obtain first-hand information regarding the situation.
Witnessing his sacrilegious behaviour, they returned to Madinah and drove his governor, 'Uthman Ibn Muhammad, together with Marwan Ibn Hakam and the other Umayyads, out of the city. The people then flocked to 'Abdullah Ibn Handhalah - the 'Ghasil al-Malaikah,(2)) and pledged allegiance to him. Coming to know of
this, Yazid dispatched a force under the command of Musrif towards Madinah.
In order to defend themselves, the people of Madinah came out of the city and took up positions in a region known as Sangistan, where a fierce battle ensued betwin the two forces. Some of the inhabitants of Madinah were killed while others fled and sought shelter in the holy shrine of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w).
Musrif's soldiers advanced into Madinah, entered the holy shrine on horseback and began their carnage - killing so many people that the mosque and the holy tomb were covered with blood; the number of people that were killed have been reported to be around eleven thousand!
We state one example of the numerous brutalities committed by the forces of Musrif: One of the soldiers of the army of Yazid, an inhabitant of Egypt, entering the house of a lady from the Ansar (The Helpers), who had recently given birth to a child and which was in her arms, said to her: “Bring me all your wealth.”
The lady said: “By Allah! They have not left behind anything that I can give you.” (Hearing this) he said: “I shall kill you and your child.” The lady pleaded: “Fear Allah, for this infant is the child of Ibn Abi Kabshah Ansari, the companion of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w).” The name seemed to have no effect upon the merciless man, who, picking up the innocent child by its legs - even as it was being suckled, flung him against
the wall scattering his brains upon the floor.(1)
In the face of such atrocities(2), all the people of Madinah were forced to pledge allegiance to Yazid, with the exception of two persons - Imam Zainul 'Abidin (a.s) and ‘Ali Ibn 'Abdullah Ibn Abbas.
The Imam (a.s) arrived before Musrif after reciting a supplication as a result of which he was so was overcome with dread and awe that he could not get himself to kill the Imam (a.s). As for ‘Ali Ibn 'Abdullah, some of his maternal relatives were present in Musrif's army and they prevented him from being killed.(3)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
وَ مَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الإِنْسَ إِلاَّ لِیَعبُدُونَ
“And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me.”(4)
Imam Sajjad (a.s) said:
مَنْ عَمِلَ بِمَا افْتَرَضَ اللهُ فَهُوَ مِنْ أَعْبَدِ النَّاسِ.
“One, who performs (all) that Allah has made obligatory upon him, is the most worshipping of all people.”(5)
A Mu'min performs the obligatory and the recommended acts for these are the basis for Allah's obedience and subservience. If one performs these, it is as if he has exhibited his devotion and subservience in entirety.
The best worship is that which is protected from external influences and shielded from internal catastrophes.
Should the deeds of a person be continual and flawless, the person shall be successful in his worship, however meagre they might be.
Those who seek plain knowledge and mere external excellences but remain heedless of the soul and the reality of worship, do not achieve anything except
a mould, as far as the worship of the Beneficent Allah is concerned.(1)
The Kharijites were individuals who as a result of their fanaticism and extremism, had gone greatly astray. Their leader was a person by the name of Hurqus Ibn Zuhair, who, during the time of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), had drowned himself in prayers, fasts and other acts of worship causing many of the Muslims to become fascinated with him.
When the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had been distributing the spoils of war after the battle of Hunain, this person, who was just an arid and ceremonial worshipper, said to him with great impudence: “O' Muhammad! Conduct yourself with fairness and equality,” and repeated the sentence three times.
When he had repeated it for the third time the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) became greatly disturbed and said: “If I do not behave with fairness and equality, then who shall behave so?”
This 'dry' worshipper eventually set out for battle against Imam ‘Ali (a.s) in the battle of Nahrawan and was killed. When the Imam's (a.s) eyes fell upon his inauspicious corpse lying amongst the dead, he (a.s) offered a prostration of thanksgiving and said (to his companions): “You have killed the worst of the men.” (2)
Sadi recounts: “During one of my travels to Mecca, I found myself in the company of a group of pure-hearted and sincere youths, who used to chant supplications and recite poems befitting men of letters and engage themselves in acts of worship with an extraordinary presence of heart.
way we were joined by a 'dry' and 'soulless' worshipper, who did not approve of this mystical state of theirs and, being unaware of the inner fervour of the devoted youths, persistently criticized their behaviour.
We continued on our way till we reached a place known as Bani Hilal where, a black-faced Arab child approached us and began chanting for us in such a manner so melodious that even enraptured the birds and caused them to descend from their flight.
The enchanting melody instilled such fervour in the worshipper's camel that it flung the worshipper to the ground and frantically rushed out into the desert.
Turning to the worshipper, I said: “O' Old worshipper! You observe how a pleasant melody tends to affect even the animals whereas you are apathetic and indifferent (remaining unaffected by the spiritual melodies, not submitting your heart to Allah and not acquiring purity, unlike the pious and the pure-hearted ones).””(1)
Owais Qarani was of those individuals, who had become completely enraptured with worship such that, at times, he would pass the entire night in the state of ruku while at other times he would say: “Tonight is the night for prostration,” and would remain in prostration till dawn.
He was told: “What is this inconvenience that you impose upon yourself?” He replied: “O' how I wish that the entire eternity were one night, which I could pass in one prostration.”
Rabi' Ibn Khathim (buried in Mashhad and popularly known as Khwajah Rabi') relates: “I was in Kufah and my prime objective
was to meet Owais Qarani. When I eventually found him, he was engaged in his afternoon prayers near the river Euphrates. I said to myself: “I shall wait till he completes his prayers.”
Completing his afternoon prayers, he began reciting supplications and continued to do so till it became time for the Maghreb and Isha prayers. Having offered them, he engaged himself in offering the recommended prayers - at times in ruku' while at other times in sajdah, and this continued till the night reached its termination.
He offered his morning prayers and once again engaged himself in reciting supplications till the sun rose above the horizon whereupon he permitted himself some rest. Waking up, he performed his ablution and was about to start his worship when I approached him and said: “How greatly you trouble yourself!” He said: “It is for achieving comfort that I endure such effort.” I said to him: “I did not see you eat anything. How do you manage to arrange for your expenses?” He said: “Allah has taken upon Himself to provide sustenance to His servants. Now do not indulge in any more of such talks. Having spoken thus, he left.””(1)
The Commander of the Faithfuls (a.s) said: “Take lesson from Allah's action with respect to Iblis, for He annulled all his acts of worship (because of his arrogance); he had worshipped Allah for six thousand years, and you know not if they were of the years of the world or those of the hereafter (every day
of which is equivalent to fifty thousand years of this world). And this was a consequence of a moment's disobedience (in that he considered himself to be superior to Adam and refused to prostrate before him). So, after the Satan, is there anyone who can remain safe from Allah's punishment by being disobedient to Him?”(1)
Imam Sadiq (a.s) was asked: “For what reason did Allah respite Iblis till the 'appointed time'?”
The Imam (a.s) replied: “Because of his praise and thanksgiving to Allah.”
He (a.s) was asked again: “What was his praise and thanksgiving?”
He (a.s) replied: “His six thousand years of worship in the heavens.” (On another occasion he (a.s) said: “He offered, in the seven heavens, a two-rak'at prayer which extended for a period of six thousand years).”(2)
The reason for Imam Sajjad (a.s) being given the title of Zainul 'abidin was that one night, as he stood for prayers in his place of worship, Satan manifested himself in the form of a huge serpent with the intention of distracting him (a.s) from his prayers. But when the Imam (a.s) took no notice of him, the Satan approached him (a.s) and bit his big toe causing pain to run through him, but despite this act of his, the Imam (a.s) continued to remain oblivious of him and carried on with his prayers.
When, after the completion of his (a.s) prayers, he realized that it was Satan, he cursed him saying: “O' Accursed! Go away,” and once again engaged himself in worship. It was at
this moment that he (a.s) heard an angel call out three times: “You are the embellishment of the worshippers.”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
أَوْفُوا بِعَهدِ اللهِ إِذاَ عَاهَدْتُمْ
”And fulfil the covenant of Allah when you have made a covenant.”(2)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
لاَ دِینَ لِمَنْ لاَ عَهِدَ لَهُ.
“One, who does not adhere to his covenants (and promises), has no religion.”(3)
In the Noble Qur`an, Allah has made many promises and has ordered that covenants and promises should be fulfilled.
One who enters into a covenant must adhere to it and not violate it irrespective of whether the covenant is with Allah and the Prophet, or with the creations of Allah. Non-adherence to one's covenant and promise shall cause one to become ostracized, its burden shall remain upon his neck like a necklace till the Day of Judgment and Allah shall cause the person's enemies to gain ascendancy over him.
Even if the opposite party happens to be a disbeliever or an immoral person, one must not break one's covenant with him and cause his life to fall into disarray.
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had promised one of his companions, Abu Haitham Ibn Tayyahan, that he (s.a.w) would present him with a slave. Incidentally it so happened that three captives were brought before him - two of whom he (s.a.w) gifted away while one remained with him.
Meanwhile Hadhrat Zahra (s.a) approached him (s.a.w) and requested: “O' Prophet of Allah! Can you grant me a slave or an assistant? Do you not see the effects
of the hand-mill upon my hands?”
At that moment the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) suddenly recollected his promise to Abu Haitham and said to himself: “Since I had previously promised Abu Haitham, how can I grant my daughter precedence over him, even though my daughter turns the hand-mill with her weak and delicate hands?”(1)
The Sasanid period saw the rule of seven kings with Khusroe being regarded as the greatest of them and referred to as Malik al-Muluk (the king of kings). One of the seven kings was Harmazan, who ruled in Ahwaz. When the Muslims conquered Ahwaz, Harmazan was taken captive and brought before Umar, who said to him: “If you truly desire to remain safe, accept Islam or else I shall surely kill you.”
Harmazan said: “Now that you shall eventually kill me, order for some water to be given to me for I am intensely thirsty.”
Upon Umar's order some water was brought for him in a wooden bowl, but Harmazan said: “I shall not drink from this bowl for I am used to drinking water in bowls studded with jewels.”
At this point the Commander of the Faithfuls (a.s) said: “This is not an extravagant request. Bring for him a crystalline bowl.”
Water was poured into a crystalline bowl and presented to him but, instead of drinking it, he kept holding the bowl in his hands.
Umar said: “I have taken a covenant with Allah that I shall not kill you till you have drunk the water.”
Having heard this, Harmazan smashed the bowl on
the ground and spilled all the water in the process.
Umar stood aghast over this deception and, turning to the Commander of the Faithfuls (a.s), asked: “What should be done now?”
He (a.s) replied: “Since you had made his death contingent to his drinking the water and had entered into a covenant (with Allah) in this regard you cannot put him to death now; impose upon him the jizyah (tribute), instead.”
Harmazan said: “I refuse to pay the tribute; however, now with serenity of mind and without any fear, I shall turn into a Muslim.”
Saying this, he testified to the Unity of Allah and the Prophethood of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and became a Muslim.
Umar was delighted and seating Harmazan beside himself, he granted him a house in Madinah and allotted for him an annual sum of ten thousand dinars (from the public treasury).(1)
Twenty years before the Noble Prophet's (s.a.w) proclamation of Prophethood and at a time when he (s.a.w) was exactly twenty years of age, an incident transpired as follows: One day, a person from the tribe of Bani Zubaid sold some goods to 'as Ibn Wail. 'as took possession of the goods but refused to pay him the money for it. In desperation, the man climbed atop the mountain of Abu Qubais and shouted: “O' People! Rush to the help of an oppressed one, who happens to be far from his tribe and relatives. Surely, reverence befits one, who possesses integrity, whereas there is no esteem for a cheat.”
The people, who
were around the Kabah, were inspired and motivated by this speech and so a group, consisting of some individuals from various tribes, gathered in the house of 'Abdullah Ibn Juda'an and made a pact amongst themselves to provide assistance to the oppressed ones and prevent anyone from being oppressed in Mecca. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) too was a party to this agreement. Later, all of them set out and handed the person his money.
Years later, after the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had proclaimed his Prophethood, he (s.a.w) said: “In the house of 'Abdullah Ibn Juda'an I had participated in a covenant such that had I been invited to the like of it in Islam, I would have surely accepted.”(1)
Anas Ibn Nadhr was the uncle of Anas Ibn Malik - the slave of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w). As he had not participated in the battle of Badr, he said to the Noble Prophet (s.a.w): “O' Prophet of Allah! I could not participate in the battle that had loomed up before you nonetheless, I promise that should there ensue another battle, I shall surely participate in it.”
When the battle of Uhud came to pass, he presented himself and fought in it. In the course of the battle when rumours were making round amongst the Muslim forces that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had been killed, some said: “O' How we wish we had a representative, whom we could send to 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy, (the leader of the hypocrites), so that he could procure a
pardon for us from Abu Sufiyan.”
Some sat at a distance, hand upon hand, and worried and anxious, wondering about what would happen in the future.
Some others said: “Now that Muhammad has been killed, revert back to your original faith.”
Hearing these words, Anas Ibn Nadhr announced: “I absolve myself from what these people recommend.” He then asserted: “If Muhammad has been killed, the Allah of Muhammad is still alive. What is the purpose of life now that Noble Prophet has died? Continue fighting for the very purpose that the Noble Prophet fought!”
Then, unsheathing his sword and in accordance with his covenant, he battled with the enemies till he tasted martyrdom, suffering around eighty injuries of arrows and lances. His wounds were so numerous that when his sister Rabi' arrived, she managed to identify him only by means of his fingertips.(1)
Fudhail Ibn Zaid Raqqashi, one of the Muslim officials, along with his soldiers laid siege to a fort, by the name of Shahriyaj, with the objective of conquering it. After some hours of battle, he returned to his camp for some rest.
In those days, slaves who came into the captivity of the Muslims, were put up for sale in the market. If they happened to be Muslims, they would battle against the enemies alongside their Muslim brethren.
In Fudhail's army too there was a slave soldier, who happened to lag behind the main contingent. Observing him to be alone, the enemy forces spoke to him in the local dialect from atop the fort
and sought pardon and safety from him; the soldier acceded to their demand and granted them the letter of pardon.
When the forces of Islam advanced upon the fort, the enemy forces opened its door before them leaving the Muslim soldiers bewildered. The enemy forces carried the letter of pardon of the slave soldier and presented it to the Muslim army. Acknowledging a pardon granted by a slave soldier was very unusual in those days and so, the issue was referred to the second Caliph, who wrote back stating: “The Muslim slave is also from the Muslims and his covenants deserve the same respect as yours. Honour his letter of pardon and ensure that it is implemented.”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
إِعْدِلُوا هُوَ أََقرَبُ لِلتَّقوَی
“Act equitably, that is nearer to piety.”(2)
Imam ‘Ali (a.s) has said:
أََلعَدلُ یَضَعُ الأُُمُورَ مَوَاضِعَهَا.
“By means of justice, every issue is placed in its appropriate position.”(3)
Justice means to act with equality and fairness to the maximum extent possible for a person. Fulfilment of mutual rights, payment of that which is due to a person - whatever be its measure, fairness and even-handedness with respect to the partners … are all examples of justice. A person's esteem is reliant upon his justice and fairness. If a king is just, his subjects shall be the beneficiaries of divine grace and blessings.
Allah sent the Prophets with manifest proofs in order to establish justice within the society and to prevent it from being led towards decadence.
Dependence of people with respect to
one another necessitates that moderateness and fairness is taken into regard with respect to discipline, morals, covenants and even children.
Deviating from moderation and going towards the extremes weaken the foundations of justice and serve to inflame discords amongst the people.
After the death of 'ad, his two sons - Shaddad and Shadeed became kings. But since the latter died earlier, Shaddad became the absolute monarch during the time of Hadhrat Hud (a.s).
Although a polytheist, Shadeed exhibited justice to such an extent that it became well-known that during his reign neither would a wolf attack a sheep nor would an eagle attack a pigeon.
With the objective of resolving the disputes of his subjects, Shadeed nominated a judge in his kingdom and provided him with a monthly allowance. However, despite sitting in the court for a period of one year, no one came with a dispute for him to resolve!!
Therefore he said to Shadeed: “It is unbecoming for me to take my monthly allowance for I have not resolved any dispute!” However Shadeed ordered: “You must take your allowance and continue to fulfil the responsibilities entrusted unto you.”
After a period two persons approached the judge and one of them said to him: “I had purchased a piece of land from this person and have stumbled across a treasure in it. Despite my repeated requests, this seller is unwilling to accept it.”
On his part, the seller said: ”(I cannot do so for) I had sold the land to the purchaser together with everything that
existed within it.”
Conducting his investigations, the judge came to realize that the seller had a son while the purchaser had a daughter and so he ruled: “The purchaser's daughter should be married to the seller's son and the treasure should be given to them, and in this manner, put an end to their dispute.”(1)
Once, a lady entered the house of Aishah, the wife of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), with her two children. 'aishah presented three dates to the lady, who gave one date to each of her two children and taking the third date she halved it and once again distributed it evenly amongst them.
When the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) returned, 'aishah narrated the episode to him whereupon he (s.a.w) said: “Did the lady's act leave you astonished? Due to her fairness and even-handedness, Allah shall place her in Paradise.”
It has also been reported that once, a father arrived in the presence of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) accompanied by his two children. In his (s.a.w) presence he kissed one child and ignored the other. Noticing this incorrect act the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) commented: “Why do you not treat your children equally?”(2)
Once, a pious and abstemious person came to Mansur Dawaniqi, the second Abbasid Caliph, and began preaching and advising him. In the course of his dialogue, he said: “In the course of my travels I had gone to China, which was ruled by a just ruler. One day he was afflicted by sickness which weakened his faculty of hearing.
He called his
ministers and said: “I have fallen sick and have lost my hearing, and then began weeping profusely.”
They consoled him saying: “Although your hearing has weakened, Allah shall grant you a long life due to your justice and equity.”
The king said: “You are in error and you reflect on something which is away from reality. I do not weep for my hearing, for a learned one knows that all the limbs and organs shall eventually perish. I weep because if an oppressed one were to seek justice and clamour for help, I would not hear him and thus would not be able to strive towards providing him with justice.”
He then issued instructions that it should be announced in all cities that whoever happens to suffer oppression should wear a red apparel so that the king's soldiers recognize him from afar and endeavour to provide justice to him.”(1)
When the battle of Hunain concluded and the spoils of war were about to be distributed, some of the Bedouins, who had participated in the war approached the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) and said: “O' Prophet of Allah! Grant us a share too.”
They created such a commotion that he (s.a.w) had to retreat towards a tree and in the tumult, his cloak was pulled off his shoulders. He (s.a.w) said: “Hand me back my cloak. By the Allah, in whose power lies my soul! Had there been camels, cows and sheep equivalent to the number of trees on the face of the earth, I would have
surely distributed them amongst you.”
As he said this, he (s.a.w) plucked out a hair from the hump of a camel and said: “By Allah! From the spoils of war, I shall not take anything more than the khums, even in the measure of this hair, and that too, I shall gift to you. You too, with respect to the spoils of war, should not be unfaithful - not even in the measure of a needle or a yarn, for theft with regards to it only merits ignominy and the fire of Hell.”
A person from amongst the Ansar (The Helpers) stood up, brought out a woven yarn and said: “I had taken this to weave a saddle for my camel!”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “I gift to you my share that exists in this yarn.” Hearing this, the man said: “If the accounting and distribution has to be so accurate and severe, then I do not need this yarn.” Saying this, he dropped the yarn onto the ground.(1)
On one of the occasions when Muawiyah had gone for Hajj, he made inquires about a woman, by the name of Darmiyah Hajuniyah, who was well-known for her long standing support for ‘Ali (a.s) and her enmity towards Muawiyah. Having been informed that she was alive, he ordered her to be brought before him. When she had arrived, he asked her: “Do you have any idea as to why I have summoned you before me? I have brought you here to know why you
love ‘Ali (a.s) and harbour animosity towards me.”
The woman said: “It is better if you refrain from such talks.”
Muawiyah insisted: “You must answer me.”
She said: “or the simple reason that ‘Ali (a.s) was a just person and supported equality whereas you needlessly fought him. I approve of ‘Ali (a.s) because he loved the poor whereas I detest you because you shed unwarranted blood, spread dissensions and discords amongst the Muslims, adjudicate oppressively and unfairly, and act in accordance to your carnal desires!!”
Muawiyah was infuriated and an impolite dialogue ensued between the two, but eventually Muawiyah stifled his anger and as per his habit, exhibiting gentleness, he asked: “Did you see ‘Ali (a.s) with your own eyes?” She replied: “Yes.” He then asked: “How?” She said: “By Allah! I had seen him in a state such that this kingdom and sultanate, which has deceived you and made you heedless had neither deceived him nor made him heedless.”
Muawiyah said: “Have you heard his voice?” She replied: “Yes. A voice that would burnish the heart and clear the turbidity from it just as olive oil clears away the rust.”
Muawiyah said: “Do you desire anything?” She said: “Shall you give me whatever I ask for?” When he had replied in the affirmative, she said: “Give me one hundred red-haired camels.”
Muawiyah said: “If I give them to you, would you look upon me as you look upon ‘Ali (a.s)?” Defiantly, she said: “Never.”
However, Muawiyah ordered one hundred red-haired camels to be given to her and
then commented: “Had ‘Ali (a.s) been alive, he would not have given you even one of these.”
Hearing this, the woman retorted: “By Allah! He would not have given me even one single hair of these camels, for he considered them to be the property of all the Muslims.”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّکَ لَوَاقِعٌ
“Most surely the punishment of your Lord will come to pass.”(2)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
لاَ یُعَذِّبُ اللهُ قَلباً وُعِیَ بِالْقُرآنِ.
“Allah shall not chastise the heart in which is contained the Noble Qur`an.”(3)
In order to prevent the people from committing crimes and offences an excess of which would result in the disintegration and destruction of the society, Allah ordered all the Prophets to warn their people: “Chastisement awaits you.”
The kind of chastisement depends upon the kind of offence and the type of vice. The Arabs would be punished because of fanaticism, the rulers due to oppression, scholars because of envy, the traders due to unfaithfulness and the villagers as a result of ignorance.
Since the levels of hell vary, consequently the intensity and severity of the chastisement also vary. Some shall remain eternally within it while others, as a result of intercession or upon completion of their term, shall attain deliverance and then go on to enter Paradise. The worst of the chastisements is that a person suffers from hard-heartedness in the world and finds himself in the lowest rank of hell in the hereafter.
When Prophet Hud (a.s) was forty years of his age, Allah revealed
to him: “Go to your nation and invite your people towards monotheism and My worship.”
The nation of Prophet Hud (a.s) was 'ad, which consisted of thirteen tribes. The people possessed a tall physique and a long life-span. They engaged themselves in farming and possessed excellent date palms, and their cities were the most prosperous of the Arab cities.
For years on end Prophet Hud (a.s) strived to guide his nation, but when it yielded no result, he said to them: “I shall curse you.” His people said: “O' Hud! The people of Nuh possessed a frail and weak physique but our Allahs are strong and so are our bodies. We do not fear the punishment.”
Allah sent down upon them a devastating wind (about which the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s) said: “I seek refuge in Allah from the devastating wind.”)
When the chastisement came upon them it plucked their castles, forts, cities and all the other structures, tossed them into the air as if pebbles and then grounded them into fine powder. For seven nights and eight days it blew over them - picking up the men and the women, and annihilating them.
The people of Propet Hud were referred to as dhat al-I'mad (the possessors of pillars) for they would carve out gigantic pillars from the mountains and then construct their palaces atop these pillars. In the wake of the chastisement, all of them were ground into dust. According to the Noble Qur`an(1), their chastisement was رِیحاً صَرصَراً - a furiously raging cold
wind, which plucked them up from the ground, tossed them into the air like a locust and then dashed them against the mountains till their bones crumbled into powder. (1)
Ibn Raqa narrates: “I was near Masjid al-Haram in Mecca when I noticed that a group of people had gathered near the Station of Ibrahim (a.s) whereupon I inquired: “What is the matter?” I was told: “A Christian monk has accepted Islam.” I pushed myself into the crowd and witnessed a tall old man, dressed in woolen clothes and wearing a woolen cap, seated opposite the Station of Ibrahim and delivering a speech.
I heard him say: “One day I was seated in the monastery and was looking out of it when, as a result of mystical intuition, I suddenly witnessed a gigantic bird resembling a hunting-hawk descend upon a slab of stone near the sea and vomit out something. I observed that one-fourth of a human body had come out of its mouth.
The bird then flew off and disappeared from view. A little later it returned and vomiting out something, it once again flew out of sight. I saw that once again one-fourth of a human body had come out of its mouth. It returned for the third time and threw out another fourth of a human body and yet again for the fourth time till an entire human figure was formed.
After some time it returned and striking its beak, took away one fourth of the body. It repeated this act
three more times till it had taken away the person completely.
I was stunned and exclaimed: “O' Allah! Who is this person, who is being subjected to this chastisement? I was greatly upset with myself as to why I did not go and question him but it was not long before the hunting bird returned and vomited out one fourth of the human body and repeated the act three more times till the entire human body was formed again.
I hastened towards the person and enquired: “Who are you and what have you done?”
He replied: “I am Ibn Muljam and I am the person who has killed ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s). Allah has commanded this bird to kill, eat and chastise me in this manner every day.”
I asked him: “Who is ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s)?” He replied: “The cousin of the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w).”
Thus, it was this strange incident (and the mystical intuition of the purgatory) that prompted me to become a Muslim.””(1)
When the forces of Chenghiz, the Mongol, had barbarically attacked Iran, there was a bloodbath everywhere. Every city that he would enter, Chenghiz would question the people: “Who kills you - Allah or I?” If they answered: “You kill us,” he would kill them all, and if they answered: “Allah kills us,” he would still kill them all.
Once, upon entering the city of Hamadan, he sent some persons to the elders of the city asking them to present themselves before him for he desired to speak to
All were perplexed as to what could be done, when a brave and intelligent youth said: “I shall go to him.” The others said: “We fear for your life.” He replied: “I too am like the others, and prepared to go.”
Taking along with him a camel, a rooster and a goat, he approached Chenghiz's camp and, presenting himself before him, said: “If you want someone big, here is a camel; if you are looking for a long-bearded one, then here is a goat for you; and if you desire someone talkative, there is a rooster for you here - however if you need to converse with someone, I stand here before you.”
Chenghiz said: “Tell me, who shall kill these people, Allah or I?”
The youth said: “It is neither Allah, Who shall kill them, nor you.”
Hearing this, Chengiz asked: “Then who is it that shall kill them.”
The youth replied: “The retribution of their deeds.”(1)
The first person to devise a balance for measurement for the people was Prophet Shuaib (a.s). However, as time passed by, his people began to indulge in weighing less than the weights - this sin being an addition to their other sins of not believing Allah and rejecting the Prophets.
When weighing for themselves they would weigh correctly, but when they would sell their products, they would sell less than the weights and indulge in fraud.
They were leading a life of ease, comfort and Abundance till their king ordered them to hoard goods and commit cheating in weights. Prophet
Shuaib (a.s) advised the king and the people to refrain from these evils but to no avail; on the contrary, upon the king's orders, Prophet Shuaib (a.s) and his followers were thrown out of the city. When this took place, Divine chastisement descended upon them.(1)
A wave of intense heat overtook them - so severe that neither shade nor water could provide any relief. Subsequent to this intense heat wave, a cloud appeared over their heads and a cool breeze began to blow prompting all the people to gather under the cloud to escape from the severe heat. When all the people had gathered under it, sparks of fire began to rain down upon from it while simultaneously the ground beneath them began to shake vigourously leaving all of them crumpled and burnt. The duration of this sequence of chastisement has been reported to be nine days and consisted of a scorching wind, hot water and a severe earthquake.(2)
Jabir Ibn 'Abdullah Ansari relates: “Imam ‘Ali (a.s) had been delivering a sermon for us and after he had praised and glorified Allah, (a.s) said: 'In the forefront of this gathering, there are some companions of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w): Anas Ibn Malik, Barra Ibn 'azib Ansari, Ash'ath Ibn Qais and Khalid Ibn Yazid Bajalli.'
Then turning towards them, he first said to Anas Ibn Malik: “O' Anas! If you had heard the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) say about me:
مَن کُنتُ مَولاَهُ فَهَذاَ عَلِیٌّ مَولاَهُ
“Of whomsoever I am the master, this ‘Ali is his master
too” and refuse to testify to my leadership today, Allah shall afflict you with leprosy such that white spots shall become manifest upon your head and face and even your turban would fail to conceal them.”
Then addressing Ash'ath, he said: “As for you, O' Ash'ath! If you had heard the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) say it about me and refrain from bearing witness to it, you shall become blind in both eyes towards the end of your life.
And you, O' Khalid Ibn Yazid! If you had heard it about me and now conceal it and refrain from testifying in my favour, Allah shall afflict you with a Pagan death.
And you, O' Barra Ibn 'azib, if you have heard the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) say this and refuse to bear witness for my wilayah, you shall die in the same place from which you had migrated (towards Madinah).”
Of course, all four of them had been present on the day of Ghadir-e-Khum and had heard this well-known sentence from the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), but later concealed it and denied the event!
Jabir Ibn 'Abdullah Ansari states: “By Allah! After a period, I witnessed Anas Ibn Malik such that he had been afflicted with leprosy to the extent that he could not conceal the white spots of the disease which had erupted on his face and head, even by means of his turban.
I saw Asha'th such that he had become blind in both eyes and used to say: “Thank Allah that ‘Ali (a.s) cursed me about
being blinded in my eyes in this world and did not curse me with chastisement in the hereafter for had he done so, I would have suffered eternal chastisement in the hereafter.
I witnessed Khalid Ibn Yazid, who died in his house; his family members desired to bury him in the house but the tribe of Kindah came to know of their intention and attacked them and buried him, according to the Pagan rites, near the door of the house and he died a death of the pre-Islamic era.
As for Barra, Muawiyah appointed him the ruler of Yemen and he died there itself, the very place from where he had previously migrated to Madinah.'”(1)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
وَ أَنْ تَعْفُوا أََقرَبُ لِلتَّقوَی
“And it is nearer to righteousness that you should relinquish.”(2)
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said:
أََلعَفوُ لاَ یَزِیدُ الْعَبدَ إلاَّ عِزّاً.
“Forgiveness increases a person in esteem.”(3)
Forgiving, despite possessing the strength (to retaliate) is of the conduct of the Prophets; pardon is when a person commits an offence or sin with respect to another, who in return not only forgives him, from within his heart, but also manifests his beneficence and kindness, externally.
How can one, who does not forgive others, expect to be forgiven by the Almighty Lord?
Allah cloaks every servant of his with forgiveness in this world and in the hereafter, and hence it becomes imperative for them to forgive and pardon one another. And if it so happens that someone - intentionally or unintentionally - does commit a malevolent
deed, one should magnanimously and graciously disregard it in order that Allah too, by His favour, disregards one's own malevolence.(1)
Once, a companion of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) began hitting his slave. The slave kept pleading: “By Allah! Do not beat me. For Allah's sake forgive me.” The master, however, refused to pardon him and continued to shower beatings upon him.
Some people informed the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) of the slave's predicament whereupon he (s.a.w) got up and started out towards the scene of this incident. As soon as the companion's eyes fell upon the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) he stopped his beatings whereupon the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said to him: “He placed you under the oath of Allah, but you refused to pardon him and now that you have set your eyes upon me, you have restrained yourself?”
The man, in order to make amends for his deplorable behaviour, said: “I now free him for the sake (and pleasure) of Allah!”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Had you not freed him, you would have dropped face-down into the fire of Hell.”(2)
During the period of the leadership of the late Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyid Abu Al-Hasan Isfahani, one night, as he led the congregation for the Maghreb prayers in Najaf-e-Ashraf, a person with a knife stabbed his son - an extremely admirable and exemplary person - to death.
When Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Isfahani was informed of his son's martyrdom, exhibiting great patience and forbearance he said: “There is no power or strength save with Allah” and then,
standing up, he led the 'Isha prayers.
Later, when the people approached him and sought to know of the action he desired to initiate against his son's murderer, he simply said: “I have forgiven him.”(1)
One day, some people had come to the house of Imam Sajjad (a.s) as guests. Preparing the meals, one of Imam's (a.s) servants hastily pulled out the kebabs from the oven; as he did so, the skewers of the kebabs slipped from his grasp, fell upon the head of Imam Sajjad's (a.s) child, who had been standing below the ladder, and caused his death. The servant stood aghast and terribly perturbed, but the Imam (a.s) said: “You have not done it on purpose. Go away, for I have freed you in the way of Allah.” He then ordered that the child be given ablution, shrouded and buried.(2)
Sufiyan Thauri relates: “One day, arriving in the presence of Imam Sadiq (a.s) I found him to be disturbed and unsettled. I sought to know the reason for it whereupon he (a.s) said: “I had prohibited everyone from climbing atop the roof of the house, however when I entered the house, I observed one of the slave-girls, who had been entrusted the responsibility of educating one of my children, standing atop the ladder with my infant in her arms. But as soon as she saw me, she was left dumbfounded and began to tremble as a result of which my son dropped out of her hands onto the ground and died.
I am disturbed and uneasy over the fear that overtook the slave-girl because of me. Nevertheless, I told her: “There is no sin upon you and I have set you free for the pleasure of Allah.””(1)
When the caliphate fell into the hands of the Abbasids, the Ummayad elders took to flight and concealed themselves - one of them being Ibrahim Ibn Sulaiman Ibn 'Abdul Malik, an old but wise and erudite person, who was eventually pardoned and granted protection by Abu al-Abbas Saffah - the first Abbasid Caliph.
One day Saffah said to him: “I would like to know what transpired with you during your period of concealment.”
Ibrahim said: “I had concealed myself in Herah, in a place close to the desert. One day, from the roof-top I witnessed black flags advancing from the direction of Kufah. I assumed that they were coming for me and so fled from my hideaway and arrived in Kufah.
There, perplexed and distressed, I wandered through the streets till I reached a large house. As I stood there I witnessed a person, seated on his horse and accompanied by a few servants, enter the house. The servants asked me: 'What is it that you desire?' I said: 'I am a person, who is fearful and alarmed, and have come to you for shelter.' They took me into the house, accommodated me in one of the rooms and entertained me in the most excellent of manners. Neither did they question me about myself nor did I ask
them about the owner of the house, however, I observed that everyday the owner of the house would go out in the company of his slaves and return home after a period and so, one day, I inquired: 'Are you in search of someone that you go out everyday?'”
He said: “We are on the lookout for Ibrahim Ibn Sulaiman, who has killed my father, so that I can extract revenge for my father's murder.” I realized that he spoke the truth for I had indeed killed his father. I said to him: “Since you have accommodated and entertained me, I shall guide you to your father's killer.” With great urgency and impatience he asked: “Where is he?”
I said: “I am Ibrahim Ibn Sulaiman!”
Hearing this, he said: “You lie!”
I said: “By Allah! No, I do not. I killed your father on such and such day!”
Realizing that I spoke the truth his complexion changed and his eyes began to spew blood. He lowered his head towards the ground and then raising it after some time, said: “Since I had granted you shelter I shall not kill you, however, in the presence of the just Allah, I shall surely seek revenge for my father's murder. Hasten away from here for I fear lest you may suffer harm from me.”
He offered me a thousand dinars but I declined and departed from there. O' Caliph! I declare with complete candidness that excepting you, I have not witnessed a person more beneficent than him.(1)
When the Noble
Prophet (s.a.w) conquered Mecca, he announced a general amnesty for all the people - except a few individuals, who were to be killed whenever found; amongst these were 'Abdullah Ibn Zab'ari, who used to satirize him (s.a.w), Wahshi, who had killed his uncle Hamzah in the battle of Uhud(1), 'Ikramah Ibn Abi Jahl, Safwan Ibn Umayyah and Habbar Ibn al-Aswad - all of whom he eventually pardoned after they were brought before him (s.a.w).
As for Habbar Ibn al-Aswad, he was the person who frightened Zainab - the Noble Prophet's (s.a.w) daughter, who had been sent towards Madinah by her husband, Abu al-Abbas Ibn Rabi' - on the way to Madinah as a result of which she suffered a miscarriage. Subsequent to this act of his, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) had declared it permissible to shed his blood.
After the conquest of Mecca he approached the Noble Prophet (s.a.w), expressed regret over his misdeed and, seeking forgiveness, said: “O' Prophet of Allah! We were of the polytheists, however Allah, by means of you, guided us aright and delivered us from perdition, so disregard my ignorance and that which you have heard about me, and pardon me!”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “I pardon you. Allah has exhibited kindness towards you in that He has guided you into Islam; with the acceptance of Islam, bygones become bygones.”(2)
Allah, the Wise, has said:
وَ مَا عِنْدَ اللهِ خَیْرٌ وَ أََبْقیَ أَ فَلاَ تَعقِلُونَ
“And whatever is with Allah is better and more lasting; do you not
Imam Sadiq (a.s) said:
لاَ بَلَغَ جَمِیعُ الْعَابِدِینَ فِی فَضْلِ عِبَادَتِهِمْ ماَ بَلَغَ الْعَاقِلُ.
“All the worshippers, despite the excellence of their worship, do not achieve what a person with intellect achieves.”(2)
O' Lord! What have you not granted those, to whom You have granted intellect, and what have you granted those, to whom You have not granted intellect!(3)
The personality of a person is founded upon his intellect and one who does not seek the assistance of this faculty in his affairs shall suffer loss and harm.
Intellect is one of the Divine soldiers, and an internal argument and proof. Intellect, irrespective of whether it is inherently possessed or empirically achieved, brings about progress and advancement of man.
The Prophets used to guide the people by speaking to them in accordance with their intellectual capabilities, and on the Day of Judgment, Allah shall reckon the deeds of his servants according to the measure of their understanding and intellect. Blind-following brings about eternal damnation in the hereafter - as was the case with Bani Israel who, in a fit of fanaticism and foolishness, killed 70 Divine Prophets in one day!
After Muawiyah had embarked upon his policy of opposition towards the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s), he once resolved to test the measure of obedience of the people of Syria towards him and so consulted 'Amr 'as in this regard.
Amr As said: “Command the people to slaughter the gourd before eating it just as they slaughter a sheep. If they act in accordance with your order then
they are your allies, but if not, then they are not yet fully obedient to you.”
Muawiyah ordered that henceforth the people should slaughter the gourds just as they slaughtered the ship; the people too, without the slightest of objections, acted in compliance and subsequently this innovation became a customary practice throughout Syria.
It was not long before the news of this innovation reached the ears of the people of Iraq prompting some of them to question the Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s) about it whereupon the Imam (a.s) replied:
اَلقَرعُ لَیسَ یُذَکَّی فَکُلُوه
“It is not required to slaughter a gourd in order to eat it. Be wary, lest the Satan takes away your intellect and satanic ideas leave you confused and lead you astray.”(1)
With the intention of suppressing a group of rebellious enemies existing around Mecca and Madinah, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) readied a rapid-strike commando unit for the purpose of advancing secretly upon the enemies in the darkness of the night and overcoming them and appointed a youth from the tribe of Hudhail as the commander of this unit(2). A shallow-minded person remonstrated saying: “Why have you appointed a youth as our chief? We refuse to obey his orders. You ought to have appointed an elderly person as the chief and commander (of the army).”
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) said: “O' Shallow-minded person! Although he is a youth, nevertheless he possesses a strong heart and a sound intellect, whereas the elders that you talk about, although they possess white beards and apparently should
be given the leadership, however, their hearts are dark as pitch.
On numerous occasions I have put this youth to test and found him to be mature in intellect. Elderly in age (but) lacking in intellect yields no benefit. Strive, to the maximum extent possible, to be elderly in intellect and religion, for leadership is determined not by age but by intelligence, reflection and a pure luminous heart.”(1)
In the biography of Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf Thaqafi - the bloodthirsty Umayyad, it has been reported that his mother, Fari'ah, had initially been the wife of Harith Ibn Kaldah - a well-known doctor, who divorced her when she picked her teeth at an inopportune time; it was later that she entered into the wedlock of Yusuf Ibn 'Aqil Thaqafi.
Hajjaj, at the time of his birth, did not possess an excretory opening; left with no other option, his parents were forced to create an opening in his rear.
In addition to this, he would also not drink the milk from the breast of his mother and this left the parents worried and wondering as to what should be done.
One day, an evil person approached them and instructed them that in order to remedy this problem they should kill a black goat and make Hajjaj drink its blood. When the goat was killed and the blood put into his mouth, Hajjaj began sucking and licking it. The following day the person directed them to kill a goat and pour its blood into his mouth. On the third
day he ordered them to kill a black snake, pour its blood into his mouth and rub it upon his face as well whereupon from the fourth day onwards Hajjaj began feeding himself with the milk of his mother.
As a result of this ignorant act, he grew up into such a savage and bloodthirsty individual that he would say: “I derive maximum pleasure by shedding blood - especially the blood of the descendents of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w).”
He was appointed governor and the commander of the army by 'Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan and ruled for twenty years till he died in the year 95 ah (during the rule of Walid Ibn 'Abdul Malik) at the age of fifty four.
In the course of this period he killed a hundred and twenty thousand people, and at the time of his death, his roofless prison contained fifty thousand male and thirty thousand female prisoners - majority of them bare and unclothed.
Amongst those killed by this cruel tyrant were Kumail Ibn Ziyad Nakha'i - the companion of ‘Ali (a.s), Qambar - the slave of ‘Ali (a.s), Yahya Ibn Umm al-Tawil - a companion of Imam Sajjad (a.s), Sa'id Ibn Jubair, who has been greatly praised and commended by Imam Sajjad (a.s) and numerous other celebrated personalities.(1)
There are some who are heedless with respect to reflection, reasoning and tawakkul, and instead, turn to soothsayers and astrologers, who have cleverly started their business in order to swindle the people of their money.(2) As an example, we
shall present an incident that transpired during the time of Imam ‘Ali (a.s).
The Commander of the Faithfuls(a.s) and his army had started out for the battle of Nahrawan against the Kharjites, and having reached the city of Madain, they pitched their tents. The next morning, as they were about to commence their journey, an astrologer approached them and said: “My astrological calculations reveal that it is not in your interest to advance in this hour. Commence your journey after three hours and you shall be victorious.”
Hearing this, the Imam (a.s) said: “Whoever upholds your words has rejected the Qur`an of Allah.”(1)
He (a.s) then asked: “Do you possess knowledge as to which family has taken over the reins of leadership in China?”
The astrologer replied: “I have no knowledge.”
The Imam (a.s) questioned: “What is that star, which when rises, stirs up lust within the camels?”
The astrologer confessed: “I have no idea.”
The Imam (a.s) asked: “The rise of which star stirs up passion within the cats?”
He said: “I do not know!”
He (a.s) asked: “Inform me of the thing that is concealed beneath the hoofs of my horse.”
When the astrologer had once again pleaded ignorance, the Imam (a.s) said to him: “Within the earth, below the feet of my horse, lies a jar filled with gold coins and beneath which a serpent lies asleep.”
When the place was dug up, the people witnessed that the scenario was exactly as it had been described by the Imam (a.s).
Observing this, the astrologer was totally bewildered; the Imam
(a.s) took possession of his books, ordered them to be destroyed and then said to him: “The next time you try to attract the people towards yourself by means of astrology, I shall put you behind bars.”(1)
Every thing is recognized by means of its attributes and effects; sagaciousness and intelligence of a person become manifest by means of his words and deeds.
Bahlool (d. 190 ah), despite the fact that his father was the uncle of Haroon al-Rashid, exhibited himself as a lunatic in order to abstain himself from accepting the post of judge and issuing the death sentence for the seventh Imam (a.s).
One of the most evident examples of his ration and intellect was the incident of his entry into the class of Abu Hanifah - one of the Sunnite leaders.
Once, as he happened to pass by the class Abu Hanifah, he heard him say: “Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (a.s) has said to his students three things, which I do not approve of.
He (a.s) has said: “Satan shall be chastised in the fire of Hell.” But how can he be punished by means of fire when he has himself been created out of fire?
He (a.s) also says: “Allah cannot be seen”, whereas every entity can be perceived by means of vision.
He (a.s) also says: “Man, in performing his actions, is free and has a choice”, whereas, in reality, Allah is the Creator and His servants have no discretion and freedom.
Having heard this from Abu Hanifah, Bahlool picked up a clod of
earth and hit him on the head, injuring him and prompting lamentations from him.
His students rushed towards Bahlool and seizing him, presented him before the caliph.
Abu Hanifah said to the caliph: “Bahlool has struck me with a clod of earth and injured me.”
Bahlool retorted: “If he speaks the truth ask him to show the pain.”
Then turning to Abu Hanifah, he said: “Have you not been created from earth? How then can earth harm and injure you? (Besides) What wrong have I done? Are you yourself not of the opinion that it is Allah, who performs all the acts and deeds, and man has no discretion and freedom? Thus, you should register a complaint against Allah and not against me.”
Abu Hanifah, having received the answers to his objections, withdrew his complaint and went his way.”(1)
In the name of Allah
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.
Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
Our Goals are:
-propagating the culture and teachings of Thaqalayn (Quran and Ahlulbayt p.b.u.t)
-encouraging the populace particularly the youth in investigating the religious issues
-replacing useful contents with useless ones in the cellphones, tablets and computers
-providing services for seminary and university researchers
-spreading culture study in the publich
-paving the way for the publications and authors to digitize their works
-acting according to the legal licenses
-relationship with similar centers
-avoiding parallel working
-merely presenting scientific contents
-mentioning the sources
It’s obvious that all the responsibilities are due to the author.
Other activities of the institute:
-Publication of books, booklets and other editions
-Holding book reading competitions
-Producing virtual, three dimensional exhibitions, panoramas of religious and tourism places
-Producing animations, computer games and etc.
-Launching the website with this address: www.ghaemiyeh.com
-Fabricatingdramatic and speech works
-Launching the system of answering religious, ethical and doctrinal questions
-Designing systems of accounting, media and mobile, automatic and handy systems, web kiosks
-Holding virtual educational courses for the public
-Holding virtual teacher-training courses
-Producing thousands of research software in three languages (Persian, Arabic and English) which can be performed in computers, tablets and cellphones and available and downloadable with eight international formats: JAVA, ANDROID, EPUB, CHM, PDF, HTML, CHM, GHB on the website
-Also producing four markets named “Ghaemiyeh Book Market” with Android, IOS, WINDOWS PHONE and WINDOWS editions
We would appreciate the centers, institutes, publications, authors and all honorable friends who contributed their help and data to us to reach the holy goal we follow.
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Isfahan, Abdorazaq St, Haj Mohammad JafarAbadei Alley, Shahid Mohammad HasanTavakkoly Alley, Number plate 129, first floor
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Introduction of the Center – Ghaemiyeh Digital Library