Our sins strike him like arrows .
When he examines the scrolls of our deeds ,
He weeps at our sins .
We dedicate the book
To this same Infallible Personality .


May Allah hasten his Reappearence .
��������� ���� ����� ���� � �� ��� ������ ���� �� ���������
All Praise is due to Allah Who guided us to this (path) and if He had not guided us we would not have been guided (aright) .
(Surah Aa�raaf 7 : 43)
All Praise if for Allah , the Beneficent , the Merciful may His choicest blessings be on His last Prophet - Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s . a . w . s . ) and his holy Progeny .
Islamic Study Circle has been involved in the translation of Allama Dastghaib Shirazi�s book Gunahane Kabira Vol . I and II in Gujarati and is soon to release the final volume , Vol . III .
The overwhelming response to the Gujarati translation has led to a demand for this English translation - Vol . I , which has been possible with the support and encouragement of various momineen - May Allah reward them all .
We thank Almighty Allah (a . j . ) for the Tawfeeq (inspiration) and Asbaab (resources) granted to us to undertake this task and seek the continuous support and indulgence of His final Hujjat (a . t . f . s . ) to guide us to the completion of this work .
Momineen are requested to bear in mind that although effort has been made to preserve the �spirit� of the orignal Persian book; this being a translation; discerning readers may find discrepancies . We humbly request you to communicate to us your comments and suggestions regarding anything found worthy of correction in the present volume .
Wassalaam .
Islamic Study Circle


In the Name of Allah , the Compassionate the Merciful
Praise be to Allah , the Lord of the worlds and benedictions upon the Messenger of Allah and his Purified Progeny (a . s . )
By the Grace of the Almighty , the first volume of �Greater Sins� has been completed in English .
The significance of Moral Science and Ethics is evident from the words of the Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) when he has described the aim of his advent . He said , �I have been sent for perfecting the morals . �
The learned Aalim , Ayatullah Dastghaib was one of the greatest Muallim-ul-akhlaq (Teacher of Moral Science) . Some of his important books are Gunahane Kabira , Qalbe Saleem , Maad , Barzakh etc . His books cover various moral and ethical issues .
The book Gunahane Kabira deals with Greater Sins . Ayatullah Dastghaib has exhaustively explained the phenomenon of sin , the classification of sins , and the necessity of avoiding sins . He has also described fifty different types of Greater Sins .
Although the English translation is based on the Urdu Edition , I have relied upon the original Arabic text while translating traditions and Quranic verses .
Since the English equivalents of Islamic terminology do not convey the exact meaning , I have used the Arabic terms . However those who are not conversant with Arabic words may refer to the Glossary of Islamic Terms .
Wassalaam .
Syed Athar Husain S . H . Rizvi


Martyr Ayatullah Dastghaib was a nobleman from a highly religious family that was known for its intellectual heritage going back to 800 years . Due to religious and spiritual atmosphere , resulting from such a sound Islamic background he had a natural and spontaneous tendency towards acquiring knowledge . After obtaining elmentary education in his hometown , he moved towards Najaf-e-Ashraf (Iraq) in pursuit of higher knowledge . In the town of the abode of the Chief of the believers , Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a . s . ) , he continued his studies associating with the various scholars and teachers . Soon his knowledge reached a stage such that , he was granted permission by the Maraja of that time to practise Ijtehad . He then returned to his native town of Shiraz . In Shiraz he spent lacs of tumans for the construction of the Jame Masjid Ateq which was in a highly dilapidated condition . There , he began to lecture on the exegesis of the Quran and ethics . His persistent efforts raised the standard of education of the Hauz-e-Ilmia of Shiraz in the various fields of Fiqh , Beliefs and Moral science . The irreligious and tyrannical Shah imposed restrictions upon him and he was arrested many times . He was also put under house arrest by the autocratic ruler . After the success of the Islamic revolution , he was elected a representative at the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) .
At the instance of the people of Shiraz he was designated as the representative of Imam Khomeini . The post of Imam of Jame Masjid of Shiraz was also bestowed upon him .
Martyr Dastghaib has left behind innumerable works . The most remarkable of these are : Gunahaane Kabeera (Greater Sins) , Qalb-e-Saleem , Salaatal Khashaeen , Ma�ad , Tauba , Zindagani-e-Hazrat Zahra and Zainab-e-Kubra . Apart from these he has penned dozens of books on the improvement of morals , Fiqh and the exegesis of Quran . Hence , he was an excellent model of spirituality with a lofty character and a loving nature .
On that fateful day (in the year 1984) as he was proceeding to lead the Friday congregation , he was brutally killed in a bomb explosion by the hypocrites (the Capitalist agents) .



The word �Taqwa� is derived from the root �waqaya� which means �to safeguard� or �to abstain� . In the Islamic terminology it is defined as the action of restraining oneself from disobeying the commands of Allah . When Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was asked to elaborate on the meaning of the word , �Taqwa� he replied , �Submit to the command (of Allah) and do not go near the prohibited . � It means that one should endeavor to fulfill all the commands of Allah and abstain from the prohibited things . On the basis of this , Taqwa is classified into two types :
The first type of Taqwa consists of compulsory obedience to Allah in fulfilling the compulsory duties (wajibaat) and not leaving even a single duty unperformed . The obligatory commands (wajibaat) are those which , if not carried out , invite the wrath of Allah . Also , as far as possible one should try not to forgo the recommended acts (Mustahabbaat) . The recommended acts are those , which if performed earn blessings but if not carried out do not make one liable for punishment .


Certain Greater Sins (Gunah-e-kabira) render the good deeds void , the details of which will follow in the coming discussions . In brief , it must be mentioned that to refrain from sins is more important than performing good deeds . The following narrations are quoted in support of this statement :


First Tradition
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�To refrain from eating a single morsel of Haraam is , near Allah , more valued than the performance of two thousand rakats of recommended prayer . � (Iddatud-Dai)
Second Tradition
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�To forgo a single dirham of prohibited money , is equal near Allah , to seventy accepted Hajjs . �
Third Tradition
He continued :
�Strive more to perform good deeds . However if you cannot perform a good act (at least) do not disobey (the commands of Allah) . Because if one lays the foundation of a building and does not spoil it , then , even if the progress is slow , the building will definitely rise . (Conversely) The person who lays the foundation and at the same time spoils it , then it is sure that the walls of this building will never be raised . �
(Iddatud-Dai , page 235)
Fourth Tradition
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�For the person who recites �Subhanallah� , Allah plants a tree in Paradise . �
On hearing this , a man from Quraish stood up and said , �If it is this way , then there must be many trees for us in the Paradise ? � The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�Yes , but you must beware that you don�t set fire from here to burn them all down . �
(Iddatud-Dai page 235)
Fifth Tradition
�Jealousy devours belief , like fire devours wood . �


Sixth Tradition
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�On the Day of Judgement there would be people whose good deeds will be as heavy as the mountains of Tahama . Inspite of this it would be ordered that they be tossed into the fire of Hell . �
Upon this someone said , �O ! the Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) , were these people performing salaat (prayers) ? � ,
�Yes , they used to pray , and fast , and also spend a part of the night in worship . But , whenever they chanced upon something which gave them pleasure , they used to rush to it without thinking whether it was right or wrong . �


Seventh Tradition
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�I have been commanded by Allah to warn my people and say , �Do not go from one mosque to another while someones rights are upon you . If such a person stands up for prayers in that condition , I send my curses upon him till he restores the rights to its owner . � (Iddatud-Dai page 236)
Eighth Tradition
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�There is an angel of Allah who raises the call every night from �Baitul Muqaddas� : �Whoever partakes of the prohibited things , Allah does not accept any of his deeds be they obligatory or recommended . �


Ninth Tradition
�Even if you stand for prayers like a tent peg planted on the ground and keep fasting till you resemble a dried stick and stoop like a bow , Allah will not accept any of your deeds till you have the piety to guard against the evil deeds . �


Tenth Tradition
Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) passed by a person from his followers who was in prostration . After completing his chore Musa (a . s . ) returned to find him still in prostration . He said , �If I had the power to grant your wish I would surely have granted it . � Allah revealed to Musa (a . s . ) that , �Even if this man prostrates for Me till his head gets detached from his neck , I will not accept his deeds , till he abstains from that which I dislike and does that which pleases Me . Otherwise sin hinders the supplications from acceptance . �
(pg . 125 ibid)


Eleventh Tradition
�Abstaining from sins is the basis of religion . Hence , refrain from sins in order to become the most pious worshipper . Adorn yourself with piety . Do not perform a single good deed without piety . Surely that deed is most acceptable by Allah which is accompanied by piety , even though it may be trifle . As Allah says , �Allah accepts the good deeds only from the pious people . �
Hence if you succeed in remaining aloof from sins , then even if your good deeds are paltry , they would be accepted by the Lord . And when the Lord of the Worlds accepts a deed it cannot be termed as trifle or paltry .


Considering the tradition quoted above one is compelled to conclude that it is necessary to dread sinful acts and to be ever cautious of the vices . Only then are the good actions of any consequences . The good deeds must also be performed in such a manner that we strive to emulate as closely as possible the examples set by the high ideals of our Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . It should not be that good actions are rendered null and void due to sins . It is necessary to be careful of such an impending loss and disaster for which we ourselves would be responsible .


Sulaiman bin Khalid says; � I asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) regarding the Quranic verse
And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds , so We shall render them as scattered floating dust .
(Surah Furqan 25 : 23)
He said ,
�By Allah , even if their deeds are as white as Egyptian cotton , but if they find sin and lewdness they do not abstain from it . �
In other words , their good deeds are scattered like dust due to the lack of piety , and hence are of no value at all . Allama Majlisi (r . a . ) writes in the explanation of this tradition , �Worship and obedience is rendered null due to sin . �


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�Allah revealed to Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) , �Verily , My slave cannot achieve nearness to Me without the three things which I like . � Musa (a . s . ) asked with reverance , �My Lord what are those three things ? � Allah replied , �O ! Musa those three things are : To practice piety in this world , to abstain from sins and to weep due to fear . � Musa (a . s . ) asked , �Does one who fulfills the three things gets compensation and reward ? � Allah replied , �One who practices piety in this world will get Paradise . One who weeps due to My fear will be accorded such a high position that no else would be able to reach it . The deeds of all the creatures shall be accounted . But one who abstains from that which I have forbidden , then accounting of his deeds will not be carried out; he would be admitted to Heaven directly . �



If one avoids the Greater Sins , the Lesser sins shall be overlooked . Allah , the Almighty , by His grace , excuses the Lesser sins . As it is mentioned in the following verse of the Holy Qur�an
�If you shun the Greater Sins which you are forbidden , We will do away with your smaller sins and cause you to enter an honourable place of entering . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 31)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have said ,
�I swear by Allah , in Whose power is my life , there is not a single person who prays five times a day , fasts during the month of Ramadhan and abstains from sins that the gates of Paradise will not be opened for him . �
After this he recited the Qur�anic verse quoted above .
(Tafseer Minhaajus Saadeqeen)


A person who commits a Greater Sin and does not repent for it , is a transgressor . Namaz is not allowed behind him (he cannot lead a prayer assembly) . His testimony is unacceptable . After death , he is liable for Divine punishment . By the Grace of Allah such a person may yet get salvation; and the Grace of Allah that can make this possible is the intercession of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) and his Progeny (a . s . ) .
As the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says in one of his traditions :
�My intercession has been kept for the sinful among my followers . �
(Behaarul Anwaar vol . 3) .
He (s . a . w . s . ) also said ,
�My intercession is specially for the sinful ones among my followers . But those who abstain from the Greater Sins , for them there is no accounting (of deeds) . �
That is , they would be admitted to Paradise right away .


There is hardly any doubt regarding the reality of Shafa�at (intercession) . Actually it is the right bestowed upon the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the purified Imams (a . s . ) , by Allah , to show their greatness and position . The other aim of intercession is to make their respect evident . The people who have committed Greater Sins shall be entrusted to them . By the grace of their intercession the sinful people will be able to ascend the heights like other groups of people . All this is evident from the Holy Qur�an and the authentic reports . It is also clear from Mutawatir (most frequently related) traditions . It would be needless to relate all such traditions for such a short discussion .
Only one point must be stressed at this stage . Intercession should not be taken as a license for committing sins nor should it make one heedless of repentance .


To sin and not to repent in the hope of intercession is akin to consuming poison or putting ones hand in the snake�s mouth with the hope that a doctor would arrive and cure you . It is against logic , because after consuming poison it cannot be taken for granted that medical assistance would be available . Even if a doctor and medicines arrive on time it is still difficult to say that life would be saved . Before the medicine could have any effect the poison may spread to the whole body and death may occur .
In the same way , one who performs lewd actions in the hope that he would be interceded after death; cannot be sure that intercession will come to the rescue immediately .


Imam Muhammad Taqi (a . s . ) has related from his forefathers that Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) was queried by someone about death . He replied ,
�You have come to the knowledgeable (personality) . � �Death occurs to a person in one of the three ways :
He is given the good news of everlasting bounties , or informed of the never-ending retribution or he remains in a perpetual state of terror and fear .
His affair remains undecided and unpredictable , and it is not known about the kind of future that awaits him . Then (you must know) that our devotee who is obedient of our command and does not sin , is given the good news of everlasting bounties . But our opponent shall forever be involved in Divine punishment . And the person who has been unjust to his soul and who has abused it will be found in an unsure condition . Unaware of what the future will hold . Such a person is a sinner whose death will be accompanied with terror and fear . But Allah will not consider him on the same level as our enemy . Rather he would be removed from Hell because of our intercession .
Then , act (rightly) and obey the commandments of Allah . Do not consider the Divine punishment to be trifle , and certainly there are such people who would not be able to receive our intercession till after 3 , 00 , 000 years . �
(Behaarul Anwaar vol . 3 quoted from Ma�aniul Akhbaar)


Umar ibne Yazid says that , �I asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �I have heard you saying that all our Shia�s will enter Heaven however sinful they may be ? � Imam replied ,
�By Allah I had truly said , they shall all belong to Heaven . �
Then I asked , �May my life be sacrificed upon you , even if their sins are great and in large number ? � Imam said ,
�All of you (Shias) shall enter Paradise by the intercession of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) or his successors on the Day of Judgement . But , by Allah I fear for you the Barzakh . �
I asked , �What is Barzakh ? �
He replied ,
�Barzakh is the grave . Its duration commences from the time of death until the Day of Judgement . �
(Al Kafi)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) called the attention of Ibne Masud and imparted some advice to him . He said in this regard .
�Never imagine a sin to be trifle and small and abstain from the Greater Sins , because , on the Day of Judgement , when the slave beholds his sins , tears of blood and puss shall flow from his eyes . At that moment Allah shall say , �This is the day when everyone shall see his good or bad deeds , and wish there be a great distance between them and their sins . �
(Behaarul Anwaar vol . 17)
It is also related from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said ,
�Verily , a person shall be kept imprisoned in Hell for a hundred years for each of the sins (that he commits) . �


Making light of Salaat is counted among the Greater Sins . It is mentioned in some reports that the one who considers the prayers unimportant is not eligible for intercession .
Thus Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�Our intercession is not for those who consider the Prayers unimportant . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�Our intercession is not for those who considered the Prayers lightly . �
(Behaarul Anwaar vol . 3)
It is related from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�One who considers prayers unimportant is not from me . By Allah , he is not from me . By Allah , he cannot reach near me at the Haudh-e-Kauthar . � (the cistern in Paradise)
(Beharul Anwaar)
The above discussion makes it evident that not avoiding sins , committing sins blatantly and then repenting in the hope of intercession is foolishness and a sign of arrogance and negligence .


Whatever has been mentioned in the discussion of intercession states that intercession comes to the rescue when the person concerned has died with correct belief . It happens , sometimes that , due to excessive involvement in sins and delay in repentance , faith in religion is erased from the heart . Subsequently he enters the limit of doubt and reaches the point of denial (Kufr) . At this time if he is taken away by death , such a person is similar to the one who had consumed poison in the false hope that the doctor would save his life . But when the doctor arrives , death had already preceded him . What can the doctor do to cure him . In the same way the request of the intercessors is ineffective for the one who has died as an unbeliever .
�So the intercession of intercessors shall not avail them . �
(Surah Muddassir 74 : 48)
In order to prove my statement I propose to quote one verse from the Holy Qur�an and two traditions :
�Then evil was the end of those who did evil , because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them . �
(Surah Rome 30 : 10)


The first tradition is reported from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : He said ,
�There is no man who does not have a white spot in his heart . When he commits a sin a black spot emerges from this spot . If he repents , the blackness goes away but if he sinks in sin and continues to sin the blackness keeps on increasing till it surrounds the whiteness of the heart completely . When the white spot is totally covered by the blackness , the owner of this heart will never revert towards goodness . This tradition is in consonance with the utterance of Allah :
�By no means ! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do . �
(Surah Mutaffefeen 83 : 14)
The people with the �blackened heart� are totally unaffected by any counsel because their sins have caused the darkness to spread all over their heart . The loss of the inner eye prevents them from perceiving truths nor can they recognise the truth when they see it . They cannot accept any exhortation and revert to the path of virtue . It is in this connection that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) explains :
�A man resolves to perform a sinful action but does not act upon it , but sometimes does commit it; Allah sees him and says : �By My Glory , after this I shall never forgive you . �
According to another report , the person (sinner) is kept away from the Mercy of Allah due to his sin . He also does not get the impetus to seek repentance , hence his sin is never forgiven . Allama Majlisi (r . a . ) writes in the explanatory note of the above tradition : �The purport of this tradition of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is that , the Imam has commanded us to fear all types of sins because every sin seems to be such that it may not qualify being overlooked .


The believing people should always be fearful of the sins committed in the past and should weep for them since we do not know which of our sins can bring about out destruction . The Imam (a . s . ) has not informed us of any sin that we can ignore and remain bereft of the Mercy of Allah . However , it is certain that the sin for which we have not repented would be sure to prevent our salvation . So we must enter the domain of Allah�s grace through the door of repentance . We should sincerely repent for those sins , which are forgotten by us and especially seek forgiveness of those sins that we remember . The method of repenting shall be explained later Inshallah .


The preceding discussion has shown that the element of intercession does not become the cause of arrogance and disobedience . Rather , intercession imparts strength to the sinner in a state of despair . It creates in him the habit of repenting with fervour . Consequently , he would be able to reach a high position and achieve nearness to the Lord of the Worlds .


It should not be so , that a person is hopeful of intercession and is negligent at the same time . Along with the hope of intercession the fear of Allah is also a must . Because fear is not contrary to intercession . The one who is hopeful of the grace and mercy of the Almighty Lord may also experience fear . Otherwise he may not be able to obtain intercession of his masters [The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . )] for a very long time . In other words , such a person would be able to receive intercession only after being afflicted with the punishment of the grave for a long period of time . In the meantime the fear , awe , agony , suffering and misery that he is experiencing , may become the cause for him to receive intercession of the purified Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . It may also spur him to be attached to them steadily .


One of the traditions concerning the position of the Shias and the lovers of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) states that the fire of Hell cannot scorch them . Thus , these types of traditions impart strength to our hope . Our love for the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) is certainly a surety for us but it should not tempt us to commit sins blatantly .


The traditions regarding this subject are based on two important points . The first is concerned with �Shia� and the second �Mohibs� (Admirers) of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . The position and status of those Shias who have achieved excellence in the field of knowledge and good deeds is definitely higher . Even so , such people did not consider themselves fit to be called the Shias of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . Take the example of Muhammad bin Muslim Thaqafi . He was the honourable companion (Sahaabi) of Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) and Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . Both the Holy Imams (a . s . ) have recommended him to the Shias for solving their religious problems . Muhammad bin Muslim Thaqafi has also been mentioned as the greatest Jurist of his time in the books of Rijal (Chain of narrators) .
On one occasion Muhammad bin Muslim along with Abu Karibatul Azdi went to see Qazi Shareek . Shareek glared at him in anger and said , �These two are Ja�fari and Fatimi ! � [Shias of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . )] . Upon hearing this , both of them began to cry bitterly . When the Qazi enquired the reason for their lamentation , they replied , �You have associated us with such a lofty personality [Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . )] ! . Are people like us who lack in piety and abstinence to be compared with such an exalted person ? What connection does the dust have with the Divine existence ? (A Persian saying) . We shall be highly obliged to you if you can accept our request (and give us not the title that we do not deserve) . �


Yes , we can give the title of �Shia� to that individual who follows the Imams (a . s . ) in all aspects of character and speech . Thus , Bab-ul-Hawaij Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) says :
�Our shias are only those who follow us (in every respect) , walk in our footsteps and imitate our actions . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


On a certain evening Ali (a . s . ) was departing from the mosque . The surroundings were bright due to the moonlight . He saw behind him a group of people walking towards him . He enquired as to who they were ? They said : �We are your Shias . � Ali (a . s . ) looked at their faces carefully and said .
�Why is it that your faces do not exhibit any sign of you being a Shia ? � .
�Master , what are the signs of a Shia ? �
�Their faces are pale due to excessive worship and the fear of Allah , their backs are bent due to prolonged prayers , too much fasting causes their abdomen to touch their backbones , their lips become dry be repeating endless invocations , and their hearts are filled with the fear of Allah . �
(Behaarul Anwaar , Al-Irshad) .
Now I shall quote three traditions for the benefit of the readers :
Mere Claim is not Sufficient
1) Jabir (a . r . ) relates from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�Is it sufficient for one to associate himself with Shiaism and say that , �I am a lover of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) ? By Allah , our Shia is not , but the one who fears Allah and obeys His Commands . �
2) Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) told Mufazzal bin Umar ,
�If you wish to see one of our devotees then look for that person who abstains from sins and fears more His Creator and remains hopeful of His reward . Whenever you find such an individual then take it for granted that he is one of my devotees . �
3) Isa bin Abdulla Qummi entered in the presence of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . The Imam said ,
�That person is not from us nor do we hold him in esteem , the one who , if he lives in a town of a population of hundred thousand and there is even one non-Shia who is more pious than him . �
(Al-Kafi) .
Thus the belief , actions and the piety of the Shias of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) should be such that they should be the best and none should excel them . Allah has defined such people �Khairul Bareeya� in the Holy Qur�an :
�(As For) those who believe and do good , surely they are the best of men . �
(Surah Bayyanah 98 : 7)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have explained that �Khairul Bareeya� connotes the Shias of Ali (a . s . ) :
�O Ali , �Khairul Bareeya� means you and your Shias . On the Day of Judgement , they would be satisfied with what Allah has bestowed upon them and they shall be liked by Allah .
(Tafseer Tabarsi , Manaqib Khwaarazmi , Ibne Hajar) .


There is not an iota of doubt that the one who possesses the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) would be deserving of salvation . In fact , he shall be with the Prophets (s . a . w . s . ) and the Pure Imams (a . s . ) . Imam Reza (a . s . ) said :
�Allah shall collect our Shias on the Day of Judgement in such a condition that their faces shall be aglow with (radiance) . His arguments would be lighted (manifest) and his proof shall be obvious before Allah . It is upon Allah to collect our Shias with the Prophets , the martyrs and the truthful ones on the Day of Judgement . These personalities are the best of the loyalists . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
It is written in the book Majmaul Bahraen regarding the meaning of the word �Wilayat� : �Wilayat is the love for Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , the natural consequence of which is to follow them in religious matters , to fulfil the obligations laid down on us and to abstain from the things prohibited . Wilayat is to walk in the footsteps of the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) following their ways in deeds , behaviour and manner of speech . �
Wilayat therefore means love and obedience . This idea is supported by a tradition from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) wherein the Holy Imam (a . s . ) has related love with obedience .
The tradition explaining this concept is to be found in the tradition of Silsilatuz Zahab . It is related by Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) from Imam Reza (a . s . ) . It is as follows :
�Allah says , �The Wilayat of Ali ibne Abi Talib is My fort . Then one who enters My Fort is safe from My wrath (Ghazab) . �
(Oyoon al Akhbaar ar Reza) .
There is no doubt that entering the Wilayat of the purified Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) implies taking refuge with the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , to abstain from all unlawful acts and to remain aloof from their enemies . The word �Tahassum� denotes �taking refuge in an established fort� and it also suggests that the refuge is not only physical in nature but of a moral form (in spirit) as well . It is therefore imperative to take refuge with these exalted personalities and to follow their superior examples in all aspects of speech and behaviour . In short one who follows them has actually taken refuge in their fort .


After describing the qualities of the Shias , Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) observed;
�O Jabir , is it enough for one , to say that �I love Ali (a . s . ) and I have achieved his Wilayat , � whereas he does not act upon it ? �
�If someone says , �Surely , I love the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) because he was superior to Ali (a . s . ) and I am Shia-e-Muhammad . � Inspite of this claim he does not follow the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) whom the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) had ordered to follow . It is surprising that even after claiming to love the Prophet they do not follow his Purified Progeny (Ahlul Bayt a . s . ) . Mere claim of love is not sufficient . �


The tradition continues ,
�O Jabir , the nearness of Allah is not achieved without His obedience . When our Shias do not have obedience and action (to their credit) we have no authority to free them from Hell . Merely a verbal claim , �I am a Shia� is not sufficient argument for Allah . (If Allah wills he can involve him in punishment; Allah has not promised to bestow salvation upon the claimants of Shiaism- the criteria are obedience and good actions) . Then , only one who obeys Allah is our Walee (lover) and the one who is a sinner is our enemy and our Wilayat cannot be achieved but by piety and good deeds . �


According to Allama Majlisi (r . a . ) there are four types of �Taqwa�
1 . �Wara-e-Ta�beeri- which means to abstain from the prohibited things .
2 . �Wara-e-Saleheen�- To abstain from doubtful things so that one may not commit a Haraam act .
3 . �Wara-e-Muttaqeen�- To abstain from permissible things so that one is absolutely protected from �Haraam� .
4 . �Wara-e-Sadeqeen�- To avoid everything that is not religious so that one may not waste precious time in useless acts , even though there may not be any risk of committing a sin .



According to traditions , both from the Shia and the Sunni sources , it is established that love protects one from being a slave of one�s desires and Shaitan . This is because the love of an exalted personality entails that we also love his friends and hate his enemies . The friendship of Shaitan and the following of one�s evil desires are two of the biggest hurdles in one�s love for Allah and the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) .
Insha Allah the followers of Ali (a . s . ) , by the blessing of his love will remain away from the path of Shaitan . Thus , love (for Ahlul Bayt) protects one from evil rather than make him susceptible to sins . In order to explain this idea a few traditions are mentioned below :


Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) has said ,
�Whoever has been bestowed the love of Ali (a . s . ) in his heart by Allah , is not prone to wavering (from his path) but he becomes steadfast on the path of Allah) and also towards other (matters) . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


Hazrat Jabir ibne Abdulla Ansari (r . a . ) says : If the first step of the lovers of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) is in the wrong direction due to excess sins the next step is guided aright by (the grace of) their love .
(Safinatul Behaar)


According to the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , it is an established fact that even the angels ask forgiveness (on behalf) of the followers of Ali (a . s . ) . A tradition is quoted in Behaarul Anwaar from the Sunni sources in this regard . Anas relates from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said ,
�Allah has created seventy thousand angels from the light of Ali ibne Abi Talib�s face . These angels will (continue to) ask forgiveness (on his behalf and on the behalf of his devotees) till the Day of Judgement . �


The love and devotion for Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) destroys one�s sins as is proved by the numerous reports . Behaarul Anwaar has the following tradition related from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) by Ibne Abbas (r . a . ) :
�Love of Ali (a . s . ) consumes the sins like fire consumes wood . �
There is a Persian �Qata� (four-line poem) which summarises this discussion as follows :
The love of Ali (a . s . ) removes the darkness of the heart like the moon and the stars illuminate the night . Salvation will be based on ones love for him and not ones worship deeds .
But those who are his devotees , must also rely upon the Merciful (God) . We should not be satisfied only with this devotion and forget Allah .


The Almighty Allah imposes difficulties and sends calamities to the sinful people among the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) This is because He wishes to cleanse them of their sins so that they are not liable to any punishment after death . If the sins are more , then he gets a difficult death and if the sins are still in excess then he is punished in Barzakh (grave) upto the Day of Judgement .
It is also stated in the traditions that if there is a sinner whose sins are so much that even after all the punishment they are not expiated; then that person will be interned in the Hell-fire till he has recompensed for the remaining sins . The devotee of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) shall not remain in the fire forever . The everlasting punishment is only for the unbelievers and the enemies of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . )


Another point to be remembered is that , the intensity of one�s devotion is the means for the early forgiveness of ones sins . If love is more , the intercession is swift . Even the painful moments of death are converted into comfort by the help of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . There was a poet by the name of Sayyid Himyari who died in 173 A . H . He was an ardent devotee of Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) and has composed a Qasida (panegyric) on each and every quality of this exalted personality . Whenever there was a Majlis (gathering) in the honour of Ahle Bayt (a . s . ) he always insisted upon reciting one of his poems . Various books of the Shias and Sunnis , like Al-Ghadeer (vol . 3) , Kitab Aghani , Manaqib Sarwari , Kashful Ghumma , Amaali of Shaikh Sadooq , Basharatul Mustafa and Rijaal Kashi mention about him . The following is the gist of the miraculous happenings at the time of his death .
Sayyid was very handsome and fair . At the time of his death he was surrounded by people . Among them were also those who were opposed to the Shias . The condition of the Sayyid deteriorated and all of a sudden a black spot appeared on his face . The stain spread on his face and his complete face turned charcoal black . The opponents were pleased to see his discomfort . The pain caused the Sayyid to lose his consciousness . When he regained his senses he turned towards Najaf-e-Ashraf and pleaded : �O Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) . O the centre of the hope for helpless people . Do you deal with your devotees in this way ? � He repeated this phrase twice more . No sooner did he complete his entreaty that a spot of whiteness became visible on his face . It spread upon his face and soon his face became radiant once again like a full moon . Sayyid was filled with joy , and recited the following couplets extemporaneously .
�They lied who said Ali (a . s . ) could not save his followers from difficulties . I swear upon my Creator that I have entered Paradise with my sins all forgiven . I give this good news to those who are devoted to Ali (a . s . ) till death . And after him revere his eleven descendants who are the Imams . �
After reciting these couplets he confessed to the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) . Then he closed his eyes and departed from this world .


Sometimes the desire of this world and its material comforts can cause the love of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) in ones heart to decrease . An excess of such desires may even make the heart bereft of the love of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . Such a person when he approaches his last moments will obviously not get any help from the material he had cherished in his life but he will be so unfortunate as to forfeit the intervention of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) to save him from a painful death . Several traditions to this effect are present in the books . It would be too lengthy to relate these here , as also it would be straying from our point . Only a casual mention of some traditions would suffice for our purpose .


There is a saying in Persian which means that , �Those who believe should try to develop as much as possible the love for the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) in their hearts . � It could be further explained that one should also remove all other objects of desire from the heart and especially refrain from the Greater Sins so that (InshaAllah) they are safe from a dreadful death and the horrors of the Hereafter .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) wrote a letter to certain friends of his :
If you wish that your life and the hereafter be accomplished with the best of the deeds and that your soul be captured (death occurs) in this condition , then acknowledge the supremacy of Allah . Do not misuse the bounties and gifts granted to you by Allah in committing acts that are forbidden by Him and become disobedient to Him . Respect all those who remember us , Ahle Bayt (a . s . ) , and claim to love us . It is immaterial (for you) whether he is truthful or not . For you will be rewarded according to your intention and they (the liars) will be punished for their sins .
(Behaarul Anwaar)


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was explaining the following verse of the Holy Qur�an :
�Allah is the guardian of those who believe . He brings them out of the darkness into the light . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 257)
He said ,
�It means Allah takes them away from the darkness of the sins to the light of repentance . Because they were having �Wilayat� of all the just Imams (all twelve of whom are appointed by Allah) . The next portion of the same verse is , �and (as to) those who disbelieve , their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness . �
The Imam further explained ,
�It only means those who followed the light of Islam initially but later started following each an every usurper (leader) not authorised by Allah . They left the light of Islam and entered into the darkness of disbelief (Kufr) . Thus Allah ordained upon the disbelievers the fire of Hell .


The foregoing discussion has made it clear that sins are of two types- The Greater and the Lesser . The characteristics of the Greater Sins and their evil effects have also been explained . Now we shall enumerate various Greater Sins . The traditions regarding the number of Greater Sins are sometimes in disagreement with each other . It is not possible to study all such traditions due to their voluminous nature . It is also beyond the scope of the present book . Those who wish a detailed study may refer to the Exegesis of Al-Kafi or �Arbaeen� of Shaikh Bahai (a . r . ) .
All the scholars and the jurists agree that the most authentic tradition is the one quoted by the eminent jurist of the school of Ahle Bayt , Sayyid Muhammad al-Kazim Tabatabai Yazdi . He mentions four ways of recognising a Greater sin : -



1) All those sins are Greater which have been specifically termed as Greater in the Holy Qur�an and the traditions . The number of such sins exceeds forty and they all have been explained in the traditions of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . The explanation of these traditions will follow later .
2) All those sins are Greater about which the Qur�an and Hadith explicitly state that those who commit these sins will enter Hell . Or if it is not explicit then it should purport to mean the same . For example the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) :
�Certainly the Almighty Allah and His messenger disown such a person who willfully neglects prayers . �
In this tradition the punishment of Hell is not named specifically but it amounts to the same thing . Another report corroborates this assertion . Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) and Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�All those sins are Greater (the doer of which) is promised the fire (Hell) . �
There is another tradition from Imam Zadeh Abdul Azeem Hasani , which shall be quoted later . Thus we understand that there is no difference whether the promise of the Divine punishment is given in the Qur�an or in a hadith .
3) Any sin , which is clearly Greater than a sin specified as a Greater one in the Qur�an and hadith; is also Greater . For example the killing of a person is a sin and it is clear from the Qur�an and hadith . Thus the tradition from Ibne Mahboob clearly states that the killing of a �soul� is a Greater sin . The Qur�an has promised Divine punishment for murder . Then if any other sin is proved to be more than the killing of a person , by the verses of Qur�an or authentic reports then this sin will also be considered as a Greater sin . For example the Holy Qur�an says that to spread corruption in the world is worse than murder :
�And the (spreading of) mischief is Greater than murder . �
Hence we can conclude that the spreading of disturbance must also be counted among the Greater Sins .
4) Any sin which has all along been regarded as a Greater one by the scholars and the jurists should also be considered as �Greater� . But it should be ascertained that such a sin has been regarded as Greater from the present time right upto the time of the Masoomeen (a . s . ) . Examples of these types of sins are to descerate the Holy Ka�ba , or a mosque or to throw away a copy of the Qur�an . All such acts have been regarded as the Greater Sins . Now we shall mention the traditions that explain the Greater Sins .

First Tradition

1) Sadooq (a . r . ) has recorded in Oyoone Akhbaar that Imam Zadeh Hazrat Abdul Azeem the son of Abdullah Hasani said , �I heard from Abu Ja�far the second , Imam Muhammad Taqi (a . s . ) who heard from his respected father Imam Reza (a . s . ) who quotes Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) that he said ,
�A person by the name of Umroo bin Abeed entered into the presence of Abu Abdillah Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . After taking his seat he recited the following verse of the Qur�an :
�And those who shun the great sins and indecencies . . . �
(Surah Shuara 42 : 37)
Then he (Umroo bin Abeed) paused .
�Why have you become silent ? � asked the Imam (a . s . ) ,
�I would like to derive the Greater Sins from the Holy Qur�an . � he replied .
The Imam said ,
�O Umroo , the Greatest of the Greater Sins is Shirk (to attribute partners) with Allah . The Almighty Allah says ,
�Certainly whoever associates (others) with Allah , then Allah has forbidden to him the Garden (Paradise) . . . �
(Surah Maaidah 5 : 72)
2) After this , is �to despair from the Mercy of Allah . � As the Almighty Allah says ,
�Surely none despairs of Allah�s mercy except the unbelieving people . . . �
(Surah Yusuf 12 : 87)
3) Then , �not fearing the retribution of Allah . � The High and the Mighty Allah remarks ,
�But none feels secure from Allah�s plan except the people who shall perish . �
(Surah Araaf 7 : 99)
4) One of the Greater Sins is to disobey ones parents because the Glorified Allah has said ,
�And dutiful to his parents , and he was not insolent , disobedient . �
(Surah Maryam 19 : 14) .
Here the disobedience of the parents is considered a form of insolence or transgression .
5) To kill a believer is prohibited by Allah . Because Allah (A . J . ) has informed ,
�And whoever kills a believer intentionally , his punishment is Hell; he shall abide in it , and Allah will send His Wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 93)
6) To slander a believing man or a woman of adultery (or sodomy) is a Greater sin as is proved by the statement of Allah .
�Surely those who accuse chaste believing woman , unaware (of the evil) , are cursed in this world and the hereafter , and they shall have a grievous chastisement . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 23)
7) The usurpation of an orphan�s property is a Greater sin , as is clear from the following verse :
�(As for) those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly , surely they only swallow fire into their bellies and they shall enter burning fire . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 10)
8) It is a Greater sin to retreat from Jihad (Holy war) as the Divine verse says :
�And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day- unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company- then he , indeed becomes deserving of Allah�s wrath , and his abode is Hell; and an evil destination shall it be . �
(Surah Anfal 8 : 16)
9) One of the Greater Sins is to take �interest . � Allah , the Almighty informs :
�One who swallows down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise . This is because they say , trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 275) .
[Explanation : Some people say that taking interest is same as any other business . But this verse clearly says that usury is different from trade . Secondly , usury is forbidden whereas trading is permitted . ]
10) And magic is a Greater sin . Thus Allah (A . J . ) says ,
�and certainly they know that he who bought it (the magic) should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls; had they but known this . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 102)
11) Among the Greater Sins is Adultery (fornication) . Allah says in the Holy Qur�an ,
�And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay a soul which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice , and (who) do not commit fornication . And he who does this shall find a requital of sin . The punishment shall be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection , and he shall abide therein in abasement .
(Surah Furqan 25 : 68-69)
12) One of the Greater Sins is taking a false oath . Allah says about it .
�(As for) those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths-Surely they shall have no portion in the hereafter , and Allah will not speak to them , nor will He look upon them on the day of resurrection nor will He purify them , and they shall have a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Aale Imran 3 : 76)
13) Among the sins which are specifically graded as Greater is a sin of �betrayal of trust , or to act unfaithfully . Allah the Greatest has informed thus :
�And it is not attributable that he should act unfaithfully; and he who acts unfaithfully shall bring that in respect of which he has acted unfaithfully on the day of resurrection; then shall every soul be paid back fully what it has earned , and they shall not be dealt unjustly . Is then he who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who has made himself deserving of displeasure from Allah , and his abode is Hell; and it is an evil destination . �
(Surah Aale Imran 3 : 161-162)
14) Failure to pay the Zakat is a Greater sin . Allah says regarding it :
�and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah�s ways , announce to them a painful chastisement .
(Surah Tauba 9 : 34)
15) To bear a false witness is also a Greater sin . Allah says
� . . . and avoid false words . �
(Surah Hajj 22 : 30)
16) Do not conceal evidence as it is a Greater sin . Allah says :
� . . . and do not conceal testimony and whoever conceals it , his heart is surely sinful; and Allah knows what you do . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 283)
17) Drinking of wine is a Greater sin . As it is prohibited by Allah in the following verse of the Holy Qur�an :
�They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance . Say : In both of them there is great sin and means of profit for men , and their sin is greater than their profit . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 219)
18) To wilfully avoid the prayers is a Greater sin .
19) The failure to perform any obligatory religious act is a Greater sin . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who wilfully avoids the prayers is away from the protection of Allah and His Messenger . �
20) Breaking an oath is also a Greater sin . Allah has stated :
�Who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut as under what Allah has ordered to be joined , (that is mutual relationships) and make mischief in the land; these it is that are the losers . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 27)
21) To break ties with the relatives is one of the Greater Sins . In the Qur�anic verse quoted below , Allah says ,
�and cut asunder what Allah has ordained . . . . . . �
(Surah Raad 13 : 25)
When Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) concluded his hadith the narrator , Umroo bin Abeed rose up and while going out stopped and said : �Certainly , one who does not follow the guidance of the Imams (a . s . ) and gives his own opinion is doomed . � It means that those who refuse to follow the Imams (a . s . ) are on the wrong path .

Second Tradition

Ibne Mehboob has mentioned in his �Sahih� that he and his companions had written a letter to Imam Reza (a . s . ) enquiring about the number of the Greater Sins . Also the method of determining their �greatness� . The respected Imam (a . s . ) replied thus :
�The Greater Sins are those , the performers of which have been promised (Hell) fire . If any believer abstains from these or repents for the same Allah will forgive these sins . There are seven such sins , which have been promised (Divine) punishment .
1 . To kill one whose murder is prohibited .
2 . To disobey parents .
3 . To accept usury .
4 . To return to ignorance after migration (Hijrat) .
5 . To accuse a chaste woman of adultery .
6 . To consume wrongfully the property of orphans .
7 . To flee from the battlefield .
(Wasaaelush Shia) .

Third Tradition

Abu Samit has narrated from Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said :
The Greater Sins are;
1 . To associate others (attribute partners) to Allah .
2 . Killing anyone whose killing is prohibited by Shariat .
3 . Wrongfully acquiring the property of orphans .
4 . To disobey parents .
5 . To accuse falsely a chaste woman of adultery .
6 . To flee (cowardly) from the battlefield .
7 . To deny any of the obligations of religion promulgated by Allah .
Abdur Rehman Ibne Katheer has narrated from the same Masoom (a . s . ) that he said :
�Not acknowledging the rights of us (Ahle Bayt) is a Greater sin . �
Abi Khadija has quoted a tradition that :
�To attribute falsehood to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Holy Imams (a . s . ) is counted among the Greater Sins . �
Sadooq (r . a . ) has quoted that : �To deprive anyone of his rights (What he rightfully deserves) by not mentioning him in one�s will is a Greater sin . �
The book Kanzul Ummal has mentioned in a tradition :
�Shedding blood in the precincts of the Holy Ka�ba is a Greater sin . �
This is because Allah has ordained it to be a protected sanctuary .

Fourth Tradition

In the Oyoon-e-Akhbaare Reza (a . s . ) there is a tradition quoted by Fazl ibne Shazaan . He quotes from reliable authorities that Imam Reza (a . s . ) wrote to Mamun a letter prohibiting the following sinful acts , as they were Greater Sins :
1) To kill those whose murder is prohibited by Allah .
2) Adultery .
3) Stealing .
4) Drinking of Wine .
5) To disobey the parents .
6) Fleeing from the battlefield (in Jihad) .
7) Usurping property of the orphans .
8) Eating dead animals (animals not slaughtered in the Islamic way) blood and pigs without any compulsion .
9) Accepting usury when it is obvious .
10) Consuming prohibited (Haraam) wealth .
11) Gambling .
12) Cheating in business by under-weighing .
13) To accuse chaste women of adultery .
14) Homosexuality .
15) To despair of the Mercy of Allah .
16) Not fearing the Divine retribution .
17) Not acknowledging the bounties of Allah .
18) Cooperating with oppressors .
19) To associate with the oppressors .
20) Taking a false oath .
21) To obstruct the rights (of someone) without (any valid reason or compulsion) .
22) Lying .
23) Pride (arrogance) .
24) Squandering wealth .
25) Expenditure in ways not permitted by Allah .
26) To betray trust .
27) To consider Hajj of the Holy Kabaa unimportant .
28) To fight the friends (devotees) of Allah .
29) To enjoy vain preoccupations (like music) .
30) To persist in sins .
Insha-Allah these traditions shall be explained at the appropriate places .



Some people raise the following objections regarding the subject of Greater Sins : -
1 . Why does the Quran not explain in detail such an important subject as the Greater Sins ?
2 . Why are there conflicting reports from Masomeen (a . s . ) with regard to the Greater Sins ? Some traditions mention that the Greater Sins are five , some give the figure as seven , nine , twenty one and thirty one . One of the traditions reported from Ibne Abbas says that the total number of Greater Sins are seven hundred and seven . Let us now consider these objections so that appropriate replies can be provided .


It is Allah�s grace that He has not mentioned the total number of Greater Sins in the Holy Quran . There is hidden wisdom in this . Let us suppose that the fixed number of Greater Sins had been given in the Quran . Then the people would have abstained only from these sins . They would have freely committed other sins thinking that they are not doing anything against the Holy Book . In this way they would , be emboldened to perform all other types of misdeeds . Thus Allah has prohibited his creatures to avoid even the lesser sins . This is because if one becomes unmindful of the lesser sins , he will slowly be attracted to the Greater Sins too .


It is an established fact that if one repeatedly commits a lesser sin he eventually becomes liable for a Greater punishment . Insha-Allah we shall explain in detail the lesser sins in the chapter of �Persistence in Lesser Sins . �
By not specifying the number of Greater Sins the Almighty Allah has bestowed a favour upon the people . Had such a number been fixed , the people would have the tendency to abstain mainly from these sins . They would be inclined to regard other sins lightly and indulge in them , underestimating their seriousness . Such indulgence over a period of time makes an individual bold enough to perform other types of misdeeds . It is for this reason that Allah has commanded His creatures to avoid all types of sins , because , being unmindful of minor sins will gradually attract them towards Greater ones . It is indeed Allah�s Grace that by encouraging us to abstain from all types of sins , He keeps us safe from the most dreadful ones .
Another important and subtle point that should be stressed is the fact that considering a minor sin to be minor is itself a Greater sin . No sin is to be considered insignificant and trivial . This point shall also be explained in the future .


He who commits a minor sin is deprived of the Sawaab , he would have deserved , had he abstained from it . Also every sinful act has some evil repercussion or the other; so it happens that one who repeatedly commits minor sins slowly becomes susceptible to the Greater ones . On the other hand , he who refrains from such acts becomes the recipient of Allah�s blessings . Besides he who avoids Greater Sins has his minor sins spontaneously forgiven . Thus one who persists in minor sins will be doubly unfortunate . He will not derive the Sawaab that is reserved for avoiding these sins -and secondly he will be disqualified from Allah�s forgiveness for these sins .
This idea has been presented in the following tradition from the Masoom (a . s . ) :
�May Allah forgive the sins of the sinners . These people have surely been deprived of the sawab of good deeds . �


It may be mentioned here that another subject also dealt with briefly in the Quran but elaborated by the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) concerns the absolute authority of the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) as the representatives of Allah upon the Earth , to teach and demonstrate to mankind the laws of Allah about the right and the wrong .
Allah the Almighty Himself says :
�And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them , and that haply they may reflect . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 44)
Allah makes it obligatory for the people to refer to the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . He orders in the Holy Quran :
�So ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 43)


Numerous traditions have reached us which explicitly state that the �Ahle Zikr� mentioned in the Quran are the Holy Ahle Bayt (a . s . ) . One such tradition is the statement of Imam Reza (a . s . ) in the court of Mamun :
�We are Ahle Zikr . �
Sunni scholars present at the meeting objected to this statement and maintained that Ahle Zikr in the Quran means the Christain and the Jews; and Zikr refers to the Injeel (Bible) and Taurat (Torah) . Imam Reza (a . s . ) replied :
�Glory be to Allah ! How is it possible ? How could Allah command the Muslims to refer to the Christians and the Jewish Scholars ? If we refer to them they will consider their religion to be the true one and better than Islam , and will invite us to their point of view . Will you accept this invitation ? �
(Oyoon-e-Akhbaare Reza) .
Mamun interjected , �Can you support your claim with the Quranic proof ? � The Imam said ,
�Yes , Zikr means the Holy Prophet and we are his people (Ahl) . To prove my point I quote the following ayat :
�O (those) who believe ! Allah has indeed revealed to you a reminder (zikr) , an apostle who recites to you the clear communications of Allah . �
(Surah Talaq 65 : 10-11) .
Shahristani a Sunni scholar has reported that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) said :
�We are the People of remembrance (Ahle Zikr)� .
Another argument is that since Allah has mentioned only in brief many of the important subjects in Quran , He must have appointed a point of reference for the guidance of the people , which would provide a detailed explanation to the subject . And this reference point is undoubtedly the Progeny of Muhammad (Aale Muhammad) in whom Allah has reposed His Knowledge and His secrets , not known to any of His other creatures . Those who desire knowledge and truth will forever be dependent on Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and remain attached to them with love and devotion . And this devotion for the Ahlul Bayt itself is a blessing , which fetches Allah�s rewards and Mercy .


From the traditions of the Pure Imams (a . s . ) it is clear that they are not in favour of mentioning the exact number of Greater Sins , nor do they describe in detail the Greater Sins . Although time and again they do indicate the method of determining whether an act is a Greater Sin or not is exemplified by the already quoted tradition from Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�The Greater Sins are those (sins) the doer of (those who commit them) are promised the fire of Hell by Allah . �
The reason for the Imam (a . s . ) not to be specific is the same as stated above in the reply to the First objection .


The Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) did not specify some of the sins because they come under a broad classification of a sin they have stated to be a Greater one . Hence they are not mentioned separately . Abeed bin Zorara relates from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said :
�The Greater Sins as mentioned in the book of Ali (a . s . ) are seven :
1) To disbelieve in the existence of Allah .
2) To kill a believer wrongfully .
3) To disobey parents
4) Accepting usury when it is clear (obvious) .
5) To wrongfully acquire any property belonging to orphans .
6) To flee from the battlefield in Jihad .
7) Reverting to disbelief after accepting Islam .
The narrator asked , �Are all these the Greater types of sins ? �Yes� , The Imam (a . s . ) replied . Then asked the narrator , �Which is the Greater sin , acquiring of a single Dirham (silver coin) from an orphan forcefully or neglecting prayers ? � Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Neglecting prayers is comparatively a Greater sin . �
�Why did you not include the neglecting of prayers among the Greater Sins ? � In reply Imam (a . s . ) asked ,
�What was the first Greater sin that I mentioned ? � Disbelief in Allah . �
He said ,
�The leaving of the prayers unattended is the same as disbelief . �
Hence he had not mentioned the neglecting of prayers as a separate Greater sin .
(Wasaaelush Shia) .
It is clear from the foregoing discussion that there is no tradition from the Masoomeen (a . s . ) which limits the number of Greater Sins . Hence we can say that none of the traditions are fully comprehensive in listing the total number of Greater Sins .
However if we study the Sahifa of Abdul Azeem Hasani carefully we can conclude that in the tradition related by Umroo bin Abeed , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has told about twenty one Greater Sins from the Holy Qur�an . Umroo ibn Abeed left the Imam�s assembly suddenly . Had he listened more patiently the Imam might have proceeded on the subject and enlightened him further .
I would like to inform the readers that I have explained in detail only those sins , which are the confirmed Greater ones . However it does not mean that all those sins which are not mentioned in this book are not Greater . Rather those sins , which are not established as the Greater ones are mentioned briefly . It is not even confirmed that these are among the lesser sins . Hence pious people should exercise precaution and abstain even from these sins . There is always a possibility that the sin which we think to be small maybe a Greater one . We would be deceived only because its seriousness is not proved to us . We will now proceed towards the detailed explanation of the various sins that are confirmed as Greater Sins .



The first of the Greater Sins is to associate anyone or anything with Allah . That is to attribute partners to Allah . Regarding Shirk we have received clear traditions from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as well as Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam al-Kazim (a . s . ) , Imam Reza (a . s . ) and Imam Jawad (a . s . ) .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�The greatest of the Greater Sins is to attribute partners to Allah . �
(Wasaaelush Shia)
The following verse of the Holy Quran asserts :
�Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with him , and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases , and whoever associates anything with Allah , he devises indeed a great sin . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 48)
It means that whoever dies as a polytheist , there is no chance of his salvation . Although Allah may forgive any of those who have committed any other sin . Allah says :
�Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah , then Allah has forbidden to him the garden , and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 72)
Also the Holy Quran states :
�Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity . � (Surah Luqman 31 : 13) .
�And whoever associates anything with Allah , he devises indeed a great sin . � (Surah Nisa 4 : 48)
Every Muslim knows fully well that Shirk is a Greater Sin . So it does not seem necessary to quote the Quranic ayats and the traditions of Masoomeen (a . s . ) in this regard . However , since it is important to understand the true meaning of Shirk we shall quote the relevant statements in order that people may keep aloof from this infamy . The Holy Quran says ,
�And worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 36)
Mushrik (Polythiest) is the opposite of Muwahhid (Monotheist) . Tawheed is the primary pillar of faith . It has various aspects . In the same way Shirk also consists of different types :
1) Tawheed and Shirk with regard to the Essence of Allah
2) Tawheed and Shirk with regard to the Attributes of Allah
3) Tawheed and Shirk in actions
4) Tawheed and Shirk in Obedience
5) Tawheed and Shirk in worship
May Allah provide us the Tawfeeq to discuss these different aspects in detail .


Tawheed with regard to the Essence of Allah denotes confessing that the Essence of the Lord of the worlds is one , and that He is Eternal . He is the Orignator of every action and phenomenon , whether perceptible through senses or not . There is no other cause except Him . Belief in multiple causes is Shirk . The Zoroastrians believe in the existence of two powerful forces in the Universe , both being equal and eternal . One is good , the other , evil . The god of good is Yazdan and the god of evil is Ahriman . The following ayat of the Holy Quran is a clear refutation of this false hypothesis .
�Say (O Muhammad) : All is from Allah . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 78)
The claim of the Dualists can be refuted with a simple statement that there is no one except Allah , who has been in existence since eternity . Whatever was in past , present or future is nothing but good . Or , at least we can say that good exceeds evil and that evil does not hold sway over good .
However if we go on to explain all this in detail it would lead us away from the topic of our discussion .
The Christians believe in the trinity of the Godhead . The Father (God) , The Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost (Jibraeel) . They believe that each of them have a special quality and that together they constitute the Godhead . The Quran flays their assertion thus :
�Certainly they disbelieve who say , �Surely Allah is the third (person) of three�; and there is no god but One God . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 73)
The Holy Quran clearly states that Allah is not one-third of a god . He is the One and only One God .
The belief in Trinity is not exclusive to the Christians . Hindus and Buddhists also ascribe to it .
Some people allege that there are separate gods for every phenomenon . That is , god of wind , god of sea , etc . This is another form of Polytheism . These people consider different creations to be the handiwork of different gods . These idolaters and polytheists worship multiple deities . Their polytheistic belief has also been denounced in the Holy Quran :
�Are sundry lords better or Allah , the One , the Supreme ? �
(Surah Yusuf 12 : 39)



Tawheed with regards to the attributes of Allah means the realisation that the positive attributes of Allah and His Essence have only one and the same sense , and not any multiple and diverse sense . Divine attributes like Divine Eternity , Divine Knowledge and Divine Power , are the same as his Essence without any duality between His Essence and His attributes .
This concept must be clearly distinguished from the fact that Allah , the Almighty and the Exalted has applied some of His names to His creatures , and although the names are common to both the Creator and the created , the connotation is quite different; For example Zaid(1) has knowledge , so the name �one who knows� is common to both the creator and the created . But in Zaid�s case , it is implicit that this quality in a limited measure was acquired by him (by Allah�s Grace) at a certain stage prior to which he did not have it; and it is also possible that he may also lose this quality at a later stage , but for Allah this attribute signifies that He is the knower of all things , past , present and future . He knows what is in the Heavens and the Earth and not an atom weight , or less than that or greater escapes Him . His knowledge is all encompassing . If we consider the Attributes of Allah as being qualities independent of Allah as we know them to be with His creatures , then we have committed Shirk . Accordingly the belief of the Ashairas is absolutely false .


To consider all the good qualities of the created to be from Allah , the creator , is true Tawheed . It is our belief that all the qualities possessed by the Prophets and the Imams (a . s . ) were given to them by Allah�s Grace . They did not come to acquire any of these qualities on their own . Rather Allah bestowed upon them superior knowledge , character , power and perfect morals and exalted their position .
Consequently all that exists has not come into existence on its own . But everything is dependent upon the Creator of the Universe . All the good qualities have also been given to them by Allah . If Allah so desires , He increases their good qualities and gives them sustenance .


A discerning person realises that our qualities are not our own and that we are not capable of acquiring such qualities without Divine assistance . Yet at times we mistakenly introduce our qualifications as , �my knowledge , my strength , my intention , my wealth etc . Rather one should say , my knowledge , which is bestowed upon me by Allah , my strength which is imparted to me by Allah , my intention that is assisted by Allah , my wealth which is from Allah . � This constant realisation that all which we have is because of Allah�s Grace; is true Tawheed .
One can be a true believer in the Oneness of Allah if his words and actions both are in consonance with each other . Such a person is more humble and lowly when he addresses his Creator and is in constant dread of the sin of thanklessness . Another distinguishing characteristic of such a person is that he is never pleased when others praise him .


The Chief of the Believers , Ali (a . s . ) while describing the qualities of the pious says , in one of his sermons :
�When any one of them is spoken of highly , he says : �I know myself better than others , and my Lord knows me better than I know myself . O Allah do not deal with me according to what they say , and make me better than what they think of me and forgive me (those shortcomings) which they do not know . �
(Nahjul Balagha Sermon 192)


A true believer in tawheed does not attribute any partners to Allah , nor does he praise anyone in the manner that Allah is praised . Everyday he repeats , �SubhanAllah� [Glory be (only) to Allah] . This implies that he does not deem it fit to praise anyone or anything except Allah . When he says �Alhamdo Lillah� (Praise is only for Allah) , he implies that all praise is exclusive to Allah only . No one is more deserving of praise and glorification but the one and only Allah .


When a person becomes a true Muwahhid (a believer in the Oneness of Allah) he does not consider anyone the true possessor of perfect qualities . All of these are dependent upon Allah who is only one , absolutely independent . The Holy Quran says :
�O men ! you are they who stand in need of Allah . And Allah is He who is self-sufficient , the praised one . �
(Surah Fatir 35 : 15)
That is the reason why pious people refrain from praising themselves and also fear the praise of others for them . Ali (a . s . ) has mentioned this in the sermon quoted above . We must also refrain from words , which imply the independence of man from Allah and instead attribute uniqueness to him . For example one should not say , �I possess such and such quality . �


Once a man approached the door of the exalted Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (s . a . w . s . ) and knocked . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) enquired who he was . The person replied , �I� The Prophet came out and said , �Who was the one to say �I� ? Let it be known that except Allah no one is qualified to use this word . Allah says about Himself , I am the Powerful , I am the Punisher . �


Qaroon became a polytheist because he dared to say that all he had come to possess was due to his knowledge of alchemy . Thus , when Qaroon made himself an accomplice of the One and only God in possessing the Divine attributes , Allah replied ,
�Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him the generations who were mightier in strength than he , and Greater in assemblage ? �
(Surah Qasas 28 : 78)
Later , we see that Qaroon was not able to save himself from destruction even though he claimed to possess strength and power . Thus we must understand that any qualities of the creatures are not of their own but given to them by the Most Powerful Almighty Allah .



Tawheed in deeds construe that we have conviction that the Lord and Master of every form of life whether material or spiritual is Allah . He alone controls and regulates life . We must also have the conviction that Allah does not have anyone to share in His Lordship and control . His authority extends over the entire earth and the skies . No one is an accomplice of Him in this regard .
As the Quran says :
�Allah is He who created seven Heavens , and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them , that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge . �
(Surah Talaq 65 : 12)
We must acknowledge that Allah is the creator of the Heavens . We must have a firm belief that He has created the countless stars . Their number has not been ascertained till today . Modern science has computed that there are approximately ten million stars , each of them capable of having a habitation similar to the earth . Each one of them possess a different light and they revolve in their own orbits without clashing with the other Heavenly bodies .
�And the stars are made subservient by His commands . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 12)
One of such stars is the Sun , the volume of which is 1 . 3 million times more than our Earth . It has been bestowed with such a powerful light that within seconds it traverses the distance between the Sun and the Earth . The Earth is illuminated by solar light and the life on Earth is sustained by the nourishment received from this light . �Glory be only to Allah the Mighty Creator . �


It is the Unique Allah who has caused the growth of plants and trees from the bosom of the earth . These plants bear flowers with color and fragrance . The green leaves of the trees and the colourful vegetation is but by the uncomparable power of Creator . The Creator has also given to the human beings the ability to see and appreciate the colourful herbage and the floral outgrowths .
Hence man must contemplate upon the Creator who has caused all this to come into existence . He must also acknowledge the One who has created him .


The Master of the Universe is one who causes the seed to split . A part of it grows towards the depths of the earth and becomes the root . The root absorbs nourishment from the earth and supplies it to the main body . The plumule develops into stem and bears leaves . These leaves help in processing of the food which is supplied by the roots . Gradually the plant puts forth colourful and fragrant flowers and tasty fruits . All this is made to come in existence by the combination of the earth , air and water , all three of which combine to provide different kinds of tastes , smells and colours . The human beings are made capable of discerning the myriad tastes and colours so that they can appreciate the bounties of Allah and know their Creator .


Allah is that uncomparable Being who has caused the creation of every animal from the unclean sperm . The human being is conceived in the triple covering of the womb . Later , he is bestowed with the discriminating intellect which enables him to ponder upon the qualities and the signs of Allah and also so that he may compare his ownself with other creatures by the help of his inward eye .


Allah is the One who created milk from the dirty red blood and caused it to flow from the mammary glands of the animals and humans so that it may reach the gullets of infants .
�And most surely there is a lesson for you in cattle; We give to drink of what is in their bellies from betwixt the faeces and the blood -pure milk , easy and agreeable to swallow for those who drink . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 66)
When the young ones are not yet capable of digesting solid food it is only milk which nourishes them . And the provider of this milk is Allah . He is the bestower of every benefit .
�Say : All is from Allah . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 78)


Allah is the sustainer of all living creatures . He distributes His bounties freely to one and all . He gives sustenance to whom He chooses without measure . His unlimited Mercy spreads over His entire creation . He accepts the invocation of all those who plead to Him and removes the difficulties of whomsoever He wishes .
The absolute belief in Tawheed implies that one should understand fully , the meaning of the phrase , �There is no Power or Might except By Allah . � In other words it is the essence of the Kalima �La ilahaa illallah . � (There is no god except Allah) .


Allah is the origin of every life . He is the origin of the characteristics of life imparted to each and every creature . The characteristics of all creation are manifested by the Will of Allah . Therefore it is no wonder if the established quality of a particular thing may undergo a sudden change if Allah so wishes; as it happened in the case of fire lighted by Namrood , which became cool by the Will of Allah . The details of such phenomena shall be explained in the following pages .


Allah , the Almighty is the One who brings assistance to the needy beseechers , provides relief to the afflicted who cry out for help and in His hands is all the good . �He is Allah the Creator , the Maker , the Fashioner , the Sustainer , the Giver of life and death the Bestower of benefits , the Punisher , the Acceptor of prayers , the Obeyed One and the Praised . � The names and attributes of Allah manifest His greatness . The phrase �Rabbul Aalameen� (Lord of the worlds) is central to the Divine names . But intellect and reason is bewildered in understanding His attributes , and speech and expression is dumbfounded by His greatness .
(Almanac page 149)
The Holy Quran says :
�Say , if the sea were ink for the words of my Lord , the sea would surely be consumed before the words of my Lord are exhausted , though we were to bring the like of that (sea) to add thereto . �
(Surah Kahf 18 : 109)


Whatever a human being is able to achieve , is by the strength , the capacity , intellect and will power bestowed on him by Allah . By thought and perseverance , he can make use of these favours to distinguish between good and evil and perform his deeds . Anyone who does not ponder upon the designs which embellish the doors and walls of this world is himself lifeless like the walls . The observation of the creations around him offer enlightenment to the intelligent mind . But one who does not deliberate (ponder) , cannot know Allah through His creations and thus he rejects the existence of Allah .
Is there anyone who could produce sweet fruits from woods (of trees) ? Does anyone possess the miraculous capability of growing colourful flowers from (among) the thorns ? He is that Pure and Flawless God who by His Divine plan and order created the day and the night and gave the light to the sun and the moon .
He is an incomparable king who neither requires a constitution nor a treasure . He is that designer who does not need paints or the tools of designing .
He causes the water springs to erupt from the stones and makes the rain to descend from the clouds . He creates honey from the bee and silk from the silkworm .
If all the creatures come together to discuss the bounties of Allah and continue upto the Day of Qiyamat , they will not have accomplished even a thousandth fraction of their task .
�And if you count Allah�s favours , you will not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 18)


The strength and the capacity of all the human beings is surrounded by the Divine decree and Allah�s will . As we see that a person makes an intention to do something but at the last moment his plans are foiled .
He is unable to complete the task that he had initiated due to the loss of capacity . Actually , what he intended to do was against the Divine will and thus he is hindered from the task . A person inquired from Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) , �My Master ! How did you recognise (realise) Allah ? � He replied , �I recognised Him by witnessing the abrogation of intention and the failures of strengths . � Allah , undoubtedly is the initiator of all that moves in the Universe and He is the original cause of the various effects in the created world . To acknowledge Allah as the base of everything and to have a firm belief in this is the pinnacle of Tawheed (Belief in the Oneness of Allah) .
However very few people are able to achieve this stage of Tawheed . But if one develops a firm conviction that the cause of every effect , whether material or spiritual is Allah , alone , he develops some peculiar characteristics . One of such characteristics is the Fear of Allah .


A believer who has reached the highest stage of belief fears nothing but the Might of Allah and his own sins . It is because he has realised that all the creatures from Adam (a . s . ) to the angels and all the animals , birds and insects are the obedient soldiers of Allah . None of them move a step without His command . Hence they could not cause any harm or benefit without Allah�s permission . When a person develops this belief he is not fearful of anything . Even if all the swords of the world come to attack . If Allah wills , not a single nerve could be cut by them .
The opposition of both the friend and the foe is from Allah . Because the hearts of both are in the control of Allah . However evil the claimant may intend , only that which Allah permits comes to pass . There is a tradition that ,
�The extreme kind of belief consists of not fearing anything except Allah . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) used to recite this in prostration .
�O Allah if Your anger is not upon me then there is nothing I care for . �


When a believer has developed a firm and complete conviction that apart from Allah no one is the Lord of the creation and none is the cause of all the causes except Him , He does not repose hope in anyone except Allah . Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) states :
�You must not rely upon anyone except the Lord . �
(Nahjul Balagha) .
As we have mentioned before , the origin of everything is Allah and the centre of all creation is He alone . In the same way every goodness of man for his fellowbeings also originates from Allah . As it is mentioned in the Holy Quran ,
�Good actions are only from His (Allah�s) hands . �
At the end of Surah Yunus Allah says ,
�And if Allah should afflict you with harm , then there is none to remove it but He , and if He intends good to you there is none to repel His grace; He brings it to whom He pleases of His servants; and He is the Forgiving , the Merciful . �
(Surah Yunus 10 : 107)
At another place the Quran says , �And whatever favour is (bestowed) on you , it is from Allah . . . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 53)
Thus , it is clear from the above discussion that all that is present in the material and the ethereal spheres is subservient to Allah .
�There is no one in the heavens and the earth but will come to the Beneficient God as a servant . �
(Surah Maryam 19 : 93)
If someone reposes hope in anyone except Allah his hopes are extinguished so that he can realise his true master , i . e . Allah .
�I will severe the ties of hope of those who repose hope in others . �


The master of the Universe is Allah and He bestows all the bounties , hence He must be thanked for these . Because all the good deeds are only through His hands . He gives whatever goodness He likes to anyone of His choice . That is why we say with a firm belief , �Al-hamdo lillah� (The praise is only for Allah) .
If we are receiving sustenance or help from some means , we must be thankful for these too . However we should not consider these means or intermediaries to be independent of Allah . We must accept them only as the agents through whom Allah is causing His Mercy to reach us . These agents only act as a medium of passing the bounties of Allah and hence they must also be acknowledged; as ordered by the Masoom (a . s . ) .
�One who does not thank his apparent giver (the agent or the means) , it is as if he has not thanked his real giver (Allah) . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
�The most thankful amongst you towards Allah is the one who is most thankful to the people (who have helped you) . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
There is no doubt that if one considers his helper to be the original doer of good (independent from Allah) , he has surely committed shirk .


�And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him) . �
(Surah Yusuf 12 : 106)
While explaining this verse , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) informed that one form of shirk is ,
�Like the saying of someone that if so and so had not been there I would have been destroyed . If so and so had not been there I would have got that thing . In the same way is to say that if so and so had not been there my children would have perished . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Such utterances signify the type of belief the speaker possesses . If he really has such a belief then he is surely a polytheists (mushrik) . After this Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�If one says , �If Allah had not helped me through such and such person I would have perished , � there is no harm in it . � In fact this is the essence of Tawheed .


Masma bin Abdul Malik relates that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was at Mina (in Makkah) when a beggar approached him . Imam (a . s . ) ordered that a bunch of grapes be given to him . The beggar said , �I do not need these , if possible give me money . � Imam (a . s . ) did not give him anything but said , �May Allah make you self-sufficient . � After this another beggar approached . Imam (a . s . ) picked up three grapes from the bunch and offered them to him . The beggar picked them up and said , �All Praise is for Allah (only) who has given me sustenance . � Imam (a . s . ) said , �Wait� , and he placed as many grapes as his hands could hold . Twice again he gave him the same quantity . The beggar thanked Allah again . Imam (a . s . ) again stopped him and asked his slave how much money he had . The slave replied , �Twenty dirhams . � Imam (a . s . ) ordered him to give these to the beggar . The beggar took the money and said , �All praise is for Allah alone . O Allah You are the sustainer , You are One , there is no partner for You . Imam (a . s . ) again stopped him . Then the Imam (a . s . ) removed his shirt and gave it to the beggar and said , �Wear it . � The beggar put the shirt on and thanked Allah who had bestowed him with the dress and made him happy . At this stage the beggar turned towards Imam (a . s . ) and said , �O slave of Allah may Allah reward you for this . � After this he went his way . The narrator says that if the beggar had not addressed the Imam (a . s . ) as such , Imam (a . s . ) would have continued to give him gifts for his thankfulness to Allah .
(Al Kafi)


It must be remembered that all the causes are in the hands of the One who is the final cause . Those who believe in the Oneness of Allah should rely only upon the Almighty Allah for all their affairs . They must realise that all the effects owe their cause to Allah . Even if all the venues for his success are open he will not achieve success if Allah�s will is contrary to it . On the other hand if all the ways of success are closed he will definitely succeed if Allah wills . Even if all the means of causing him injury come together no harm shall come if Allah intends to protect him .


One who believes in Tawheed should accept all the Divine decrees with humility . He should believe that various factors like honour and dishonour , health and ailments , richness and poverty , death and life are all according to the Divine decree . He should not oppose any of these either by speech or by actions . He should not even express his opinion in such affairs . For example , �Why has this happened ? It should have been like this . � Or to say , �Why did it not rain ? Why is it so hot ? � One should not say , �Why has Allah not given me wealth or children ? � �Why did such and such person die in his youth and why did the other attained old age ? � �Why has Allah prohibited this and made obligatory that ? �
One who utters such things makes himself a partner in the absolute authority of the Almighty Allah .
There maybe people who worship the One and only God , establish prayers , pay the Zakat , perform Hajj and also fast during the month of Ramazan . But if they have any objection against those obligations prescribed by Allah or His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and say , �Why was it not this way ? � or even if they have such thoughts and do not express them in words , still they are polytheists (mushrikoon) .
�But no ! by your Lord ! they do not believe until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them , and then do not find any straitness in their hearts as to what you have decided and submit with entire submission . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 65)
Allama Majlisi comments , � . . . any objection against the Divine decree and the utterances of the Pure Imams (a . s . ) is tantamount to Shirk . �
Thus it is obligatory for the believers of Tawheed that when they fall into misfortune and calamities they should restrain their tongues and hearts from objecting against the Divine decree . However the weeping and expression of grief at the death of friends and relative is allowed and rather recommended . What is not permitted is to say , �Why has this happened ? It should not have happened . �


The worshippers of the unique God should accept that Allah is the provider of him and all the existing things . Whatever he gets is due to the beneficence of the Almighty . The apparent causes and the effects are also in control of Allah . Then it is Him only who deserves unlimited love and attachment . If someone else deserves to be loved it is only due to his being the beloved of Allah . This is because such a love is itself commanded by Allah . Divine personalities like the Holy Prophets (a . s . ) , Imams (a . s . ) , the angels and the true believers are those whose love is commanded by Allah .
In the same way , to show attachment to the gifts of Allah is allowed if such an attachment would exhibit our thankfulness for the bounties . To love our family , possessions and the worldly life is also worship in this way . However , to love all such things without considering the divine aspect renders one to be a mushrik (polytheist) . If one loves something more than he loves Allah , then it is a kind of shirk . If he prefers something above the love of Allah it is totally Haraam . Consequently he becomes liable for punishment . For example if someone loves monetary wealth more than Allah then it would be difficult for him to fulfill the religious obligation of Zakat etc . Various ayats of the Quran and traditions mention this fact .
1) Someone inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) the meaning of the following verse :
�The day on which property will not avail , nor sons . Except him who comes to Allah with a heart , free (from evil) . �
(Surah Shuara 26 : 88-89)
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�The heart free (from evil) is the one when it meets Allah it does not have the love of anyone but Allah . Every heart which has shirk and doubt is condemned to be destroyed . (Al Kafi)
2) Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) states ,
�By Allah the Imaan (faith) of a person cannot be pure till he loves Allah more than his near ones; his mother , his father , children , wife , other people and wealth . �
(Safinatun Behaar)
3) During the rule of Prophet Sulaiman (a . s . ) a male sparrow told its mate ,
�Why do you stop me from mating ? I possess such might that if I want I could pick up the dome of (the palace) of Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) and drop it in the river . � When Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) came to know of this , he summoned both the birds and asked the male bird if he could substantiate his claim by putting it into practice . The bird replied that he had only tried to impress his mate by the false claim . He said that he loved his companion hence could not afford to lose her . When Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) asked the female bird for her opinion she said that her suitor did not love her and his affections were for someone else . Upon hearing her grievance Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) became remorseful . He retired into his prayer niche and did not come out for forty days . He prayed , �O Allah purify the heart of this male bird from the love of everything except his own mate . �
(Safinatul Behaar)



A believer knows that the creator of all is the one and only Allah and He also is the only sustainer of all His creatures . He does not have any partner in his Lordship and authority . Such a believer does not regard anyone else fit for obedience , except Allah . This believer knows that apart from Allah none of the existing things could command obedience . They are all helpless before the Might of Allah . All the creatures are incapable of benefitting themselves , nor can they protect themselves from harm . They do not have any power upon their death and life and neither upon the Day of Judgement and the reckoning
� . . . they control not for themselves any harm or profit , and they control not death , nor life , nor raising (the dead) to life . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 3)
Thus total obedience and Wilayat is reserved for Allah only . However if Allah Himself designates someone to be the center of authority then His obedience is also obligatory due to the Divine command .


The chain of the Divine Wilayat extends from the noble Prophets (a . s . ) , the Imams (a . s . ) and also consist of the Nawwaab ul Khassa1(2) during the period of Minor occultation . Discussing this the Quran says ,
�Whoever obeys the Apostle , he indeed obeys Allah . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 80) .
And also ,
�and whatever the Apostle gives you , accept it and from whatever he forbids you , keep back , and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in retributing (evil) . �
(Surah Hashr 59 : 7)
Further Allah says ,
�O ye who believe ! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those who have authority among you . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 59)


Concerning the �Ulil Amr� the opinion of the Ahle Sunnat is unsupported by proofs . They claim that Ulil Amr means the ruler ! What if the ruler is unjust ? What if he is not an expert in religious affairs ? What if he is a slave of material desires ? Is obedience obligatory towards him even if he himself disobeys his Lord ? Such a situation creates contradictions . However , all these things are beyond the scope of our discussion .
As Umar ibn al-Khattab said , �Two mutas (Muta of Hajj and Muta of women) were permitted in the time of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , I prohibit both . � Hence those who consider Allah and the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as Ulil Amr would regard Muta as Halaal . But if they also wish to obey Umar ibn al-Khattab , it will create a contradiction .
Muawiya considered it obligatory to fight Ali (a . s . ) whereas the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) had made it Haraam . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said , �War against Ali (a . s . ) is war against me . � Muawiya used to order people to hate Ali (a . s . ) while the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) made Ali�s love obligatory and Allah made the love of Ali (a . s . ) the compensation of the Prophetic message . The Holy Quran says ,
�Say : I do not ask of you any reward for it but the love of my near relatives . �
(Surah Shura 42 : 23)
On the basis of this , the result of the obedience of Allah and His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) would be love for Ali (a . s . ) . To consider Muawiya as Ulil Amr would necessitate hatred for Ali (a . s . ) , and in this case too a contradictory situation would arise .
To consider the command of obedience of Ulil Amr to be restricted to a particular group is against the import of the Quranic ayat . This is because Allah has not ordered the obedience of Ulil Amr separately . He has included the obedience of Ulil Amr alongwith that of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . Thus the obedience of Ulil Amr is the obedience of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . There is no difference between the obedience of the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the obedience of Ulil Amr . The obedience of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Ulil Amr is compulsory upon everyone . It is not restricted to a few people . If we consider Ulil Amr to include all types of rulers it would not be correct . Ulil Amr are those who are purified from every kind of mistakes and sins . So that they could be obeyed without any reservations .
Some scholars claim that by Ulil Amr is meant the religious leaders (Aalims) . But , the Aalims are not infallible (Masoom) . All the Aalims are prone to commit mistakes . That is the reason why there are differences in the religious rulings . Secondly infallibility is an inward quality which cannot be perceived by the people . That is the reason why the Ulil Amr could only be designated by Allah and appointed by the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) .
Numerous books of the Sunnis as well as Shia record traditions that the Ulil Amr are the Twelve Imams . The following tradition is regarded as authentic by the Sunnis as well as the Shias .


Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari (a . r . ) reports , �I asked the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that I know Allah and His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , but I do not know the Ulil Amr . � The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�They are my Caliphs , O ! Jabir , and Imams of the Muslims after me . The first of them is Ali ibn Abi Talib (a . s . ) , then Hasan , then Husain , then Ali ibn Husain , then Muhammad bin Ali known in the Tawrat as Al-Baqir , thou wilt shortly meet him O Jabir; so when you meet him , convey to him my Salaam; then Ja�far ibn Muhammad , then Musa bin Ja�far , then Ali bin Musa , then Muhammad bin Ali , then Ali ibn Muhammad , then Hasan bin Ali , then my name sake and one having my kunniyat . They are the decisive argument of Allah on this earth and the mainstay of His religion among mankind . The last of them is the one whom Allah will give victory over the east of the earth and the west; and it is he who will disappear from his Shias and friends . A long concealment , during which no one will remain firm in the belief of his Imamat except those whose hearts Allah has tested for faith . � Jabir (a . r . ) asked , �Will his Shias derive benefit from him during his concealment ? � �Yes� , said the Apostle of Allah , �By him Who raised me up with Prophethood , verily they will obtain light from his �Noor� and will benefit by his Wilayat during his concealment , like people derive benefit from the sun when it is covered with clouds . �
(Yanabiul Mawaddah)
So , it could be concluded from this tradition that the obedience of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) is equivalent to the obedience of Allah . Those interested in more details can refer to the book �Ghayatul Maraam� . In the fifty-ninth chapter of this book , four traditions from the Sunni sources and fourteen from the Shia sources are mentioned . In the same book , in the 121st chapter , four traditions from the Sunni books and twenty-eight from the Shia sources are recorded .


Now we can say that during the Major occultation the obedience of a qualified Mujtahid is also compulsory . His obedience is actually the obedience of Imam-e-Zamana (a . s . ) . Imam (a . s . ) says ,
�Look carefully at those people who relate our traditions with deliberation upon our permitted and prohibited things , and know our precepts and commandments . Select one of them for adjudication , since I have appointed such a person for the said task . If his verdict is rejected then it is as if the command of Allah is deemed light and our ordinance refuted . Certainly the one who refutes our ordinance has refuted the ordinance of Allah . Verily such a person has stepped into the boundary of Shirk (Polytheism) . �
(Al Kafi)


One of the conditions of a Faqih is that he should be free from worldly desires . He should not be in pursuit of material benefits and worldly honour . The Faqih who is free from such weaknesses is fit to be followed even if there are people more pious (in performing good deeds) than him . In this regard the great scholar Shaykh Ansari quotes a tradition from Imam Hasan Askari (a . s . ) in his book �Ihtejaaj� .
�And among jurists (Fuqaha) those who protect themselves (from sins) , guard their religion , defy their carnal desires and are obedient to their Master , it is incumbent upon the people to follow them . Such characteristics are found only in a few of them and not all . �


Obedience to parents is obedience to Allah . To obey parents and not to cause them any kind of distress or discomfort is of extreme importance . This importance can be judged by the fact that in the Holy Quran , Allah�s command to serve Him is immediately followed by His command to treat parents with gentleness and humility .
�And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him; and goodness to your parents . If either or both of them reach old age with you , say not to them (so much as) �Uff� nor chide them , and speak to them a generous word . And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion , and say : O my Lord ! have compassion on them , as they brought me up (when I was) little . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 23-24)
It should be known that the parents are not the absolute authority upon all the affairs of Haraam and Halaal . Their authority is restricted by the dual dictum , that they must not prohibit a Wajib thing and nor should order something Haraam . If a situation demands the parents have to be disobeyed in absolute obedience to the commands of Allah and His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) .
�And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents , and if they contend with you that you should associate (others) with Me , of which you have no knowledge , do not obey them; to Me is your return , so I will inform you of what you did . �
(Surah Ankaboot 29 : 8)
Obedience to parents is highly stressed so that they may not be caused even the slightest discomfort by the disobedience of their children . It is totally prohibited by the Quran . Thus if the disobedience of the parents would incur their wrath then it is compulsory for the children to obey them .
Sometimes the parents may disallow something or order their children to do something . But if the child does not obey they are not angry . In such cases it is permitted for the child to follow his choice . For example the parents refrain their son to proceed on a journey that would cause hardship . But they do not mind if he insists on it . In this case it is Mubah for the son to go on this journey . However if this journey would cause the anger of one�s parents , it is a journey of sin and during this journey one has to pray namaz as complete (not Qasr) and also observe the obligatory fasts .


The Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) have commanded the wife to obey her husband . The Holy Quran informs ,
�Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient , guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 34)
Allah , the Almighty has given men superiority over women and appointed them as the protectors of women . This is due to the fact that men have been provided by Allah with many qualities in great measure as compared to women , like strength , bravery etc . Further they spend their wealth upon their women . So the best women are those who are loyal to their husbands and obedient to their commands . They protect his property and their own chastity in the absence of their husbands . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
�Prostration of a human for another human being is not permitted . (If it had been) I would have ordered the wife to prostrate before her husband . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Numerous traditions emphasise that women should be obedient to their husbands . Apart from this , women should know that it is highly recommended that they please their husbands in all matters . It is the best worship of a woman . However to satisfy the sexual desires of the husband is absolutely wajib according to the consensus of the scholars . Similarly the husbands permission is required by the wife if she intends to go out . Even if she goes to visit her relatives or parents it is obligatory for her to seek the husbands permission . If she leaves the husband�s house without his permission , the angels curse her till she returns .
Apart from the necessary expenses , the wife should obtain the husband�s permission for other things even if she wants to spend from her personal wealth . But in case of obligatory expenses she does not need the husband�s permission . For example , Hajj , Zakat , Khums and even for spending upon her parents . Even if the husband restrains her she must carry out these obligations . If a woman obeys her husband to please Allah , she has undoubtedly obeyed the Divine commands and the instructions of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . It is certainly the best worship for a woman .


So far , we have seen that obedience to Allah is obligatory and so is the obedience to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and his Twelve Successors (Imams a . s) . and whoever else Allah has ordered to obey . Their obedience is also a must i . e . of the Fuqaha , in case of religious matters . It is absolutely �Haraam� to appeal for justice in the courts of the unjust rulers . Referring to them is the same as seeking the help of Satan . Whatever benefit is derived through such cases is also Haraam even if one is the rightful claimant . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�If one files a suit of law in the court of a ruler , even if the plaintiff is on the right , his claim would tantamount to his making Satan (false deity) his judge . And whatever he gets through this Judgement is Haraam even though it was from his rights . �
� . . . then if you quarrel about anything , refer it to Allah and the Apostle . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 59)


Like it is prohibited to seek the counsel of the unjust ruler even if one is on the right; in the same way it is not allowed to seek religious advice from the scholars who pursue material wealth and worldly honour . The qualifications of a Faqih have been mentioned in the foregoing pages . Anyone who does not fulfill these qualities is not to be followed . It is Haraam to refer to them . A couple of traditions are quoted below in this regard .


It is narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : �When you see a religious scholar in love of this world , do not consider him religious . Certainly one who loves an object , his condition and disposition is like that of his beloved . (It means that one who loves this world will not care for the Hereafter) . Allah revealed upon Hazrat Dawood (a . s . )
�O Dawood do not make an Aalim an intermediary between you and Me , who is involved in the love of this world . He will hinder you from My path (i . e . he will make you too a worshipper of the world like himself) . Certainly such Aalims are bandits who waylay the people approaching My abode . The least that I would do to them is that I shall remove from their hearts the love of conversation with Me and sweetness too . �
(Al Kafi)


Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) states ,
�If one obtains knowledge in order to become conceited or to argue with the foolish people or to obtain wealth or to attract people towards himself then he has certainly made the Fire his abode . Verily , acquisition of wealth is not permitted but for ones own family (needs) . �
(Al Kafi)


People who leave aside the scholars of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and refer to others in order to satisfy their selfish desires , are termed as �deficient� (which means those who willfully neglect the Divine commands) . They are mentioned in the following verse of the Holy Quran :
�Have you then considered him who takes his low desire for his god . �
(Surah Jasiyah 45 : 23)



The Almighty Allah has invited all the creatures to pay obeisance to Him in order that His Majesty may become manifest . The people can obtain numerous blessings and unlimited mercy and achieve such a position which even imagination cannot visualise . �So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did . �
(Surah Sajdah 32 : 17)


The human being is a lowly creature . So lowly that he cannot even seek nearness to the Almighty , let alone achieve it . That is why Allah , by his unsurpassed Wisdom and infinite Mercy appointed the Last Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as an intermediary to form a firm link between the lowly man and the Almighty Allah .
Due to the presence of this Wasilah (intermediary) the soul of man is affected to such a degree that it undergoes a transformation . Just as alchemy changes the base metal into pure gold , the heart of the worshipper become pure and is filled by the light of the Creator , repelling the darkness of Ignorance . Gradually he rises in status as his worship enables him to rise up towards the Divine . He thus achieves the best of both the worlds .


There are some conditions for acceptance of the acts of worship . The most important condition is purity of intention (Niyyat) . Purity of intention with respect to a deed has the same significance that the soul has for the body . Absence of the purity of intention during worship takes man further away from Allah .
The Holy Quran contains numerous verses in this regard . A few of them are quoted below :
1) �And they were not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah , being sincere to Him in obedience . �
(Surah Bayyanah 98 : 5)
2) �Say : I am commanded that I should serve Allah , being sincere to Him in obedience . �
(Surah Zumar 39 : 11)
3) �Say : My Lord has enjoined justice , and set upright your faces at every time of prayer and call on Him , being sincere to Him in obedience . �
(Surah Araf 7 : 29)
4) �Say : I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your god is One God , therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord , he should do good deeds , and not join anyone in the service of His Lord . �
(Surah Kahf 18 : 110)


It is concluded from the authentic traditions that one who tries to show-off in religious matters is a mushrik and a hypocrite . He is inevitably condemned to Divine punishment . It is one and the same whether his show-off concerns the obligatory acts or the recommended acts .
Similarly he may simply exhibit outward piety or his aim may be to acquire honour and respect among the people . Even if he has a dual aim (of showing off and fulfilling his obligation) his act is classified as shirk . A few Quranic verses are quoted for the benefit of the readers :
1) �Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah , and He shall requite their deceit to them , and when they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little . Wavering between that (and this) , (belonging) neither to these nor to those . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 142)
2) �So woe to the praying ones , who are unmindful of their prayers , who do (good) to be seen . �
(Surah Maoon 107 : 4-6)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�Certainly what I fear for you most is the lesser shirk . �
Someone enquired , �O Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , what is meant by lesser shirk ? � He replied ,
�It is Riyah when Allah would reward His creatures for their deeds on the Day of Judgement He would address those who committed Riyah thus , �you approach those , to please whom you had performed all the deeds in the world . And obtain your rewards for your deeds from them . �
(Behaarul Anwaar) .
Is it possible to receive rewards from them ? Absolutely not !


Someone enquired from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as to how could salvation be attained on the Day of Judgement ? He replied ,
�It could only be possible if one does not deceive Allah . Certainly if anyone tries to deceive Allah he is himself deceived by Allah (i . e . he is repaid for his deceit) and Allah takes away belief from him . If he possesses reason he should know that in trying to deceive Allah , he is only deceiving himself . �
�How can Allah be deceived and defrauded ? � a person asked . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) continued ,
�The person fulfills all his religious obligations but his aim is to please someone other than Allah . Fear Allah and restrain from �Riyah� . On the Day of Judgement the deceiver (Riyakaar) will be addressed by four titles , �O Kafir , O Sinful , O Crafty one , O Loser , your deeds are nullified and the reward of your deeds is lost . Today you have no worth whatsoever . Go and seek the reward of your deeds from those , to please whom you performed your acts . �
(Muhajjatul Baidha , Behaarul Anwaar)


It is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) and Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�If a person performs a good deed to achieve Allah�s pleasure and the reward in the hereafter; but also intends to please other people , then he will be termed as a Mushrik . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w) has informed ,
�Certainly the fire of Hell and the people of Hell would cry for help due to the deceitful ones . �
Someone asked , �O Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) . How would the fire cry ? � He replied ,
�The fire would scream and cry for help due to the intensity of the heat of that fire in which the Riyakaar people would be burning . �
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�Certainly , Allah sent His messenger , so that He may extricate the humankind from the worship of people and direct them to the worship of Allah . �


Abu Basir has narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�On the Day of Judgement a person would be brought forward . He had performed namaz in his life . He would be told that you have prayed but your intention had been to show-off , so that people may appreciate your worship . This person would be cast into the fire . Then a reciter of the Quran would be brought . He would be told , �at the time of reciting the Quran , your intention had been to exhibit your sweet voice so that people may appreciate your tone . � This one shall also be tossed into the fire . The third person to be presented shall be one who had died a martyr in Jihad . He would be told that , �Your intention while fighting was to make a show-off your strength and valour . � He shall also be led towards the fire . The fourth person had been a charitable man . He would be told , �your intention in giving charity was that people may call you generous . � Then he would also be led towards Hell .
(Layali Akhbaar) .
Numerous traditions confirm that the Riyakaar person is a Mushrik . This is sufficient for the believing and the thoughtful people .


Apart from the punishment in the Hereafter and cancellation of good deeds the Riyakaar person will also fail to achieve his aim in this world . In the world it had been his intention to achieve honour among the people but instead he would have to face humiliation and shame . The noble Quran tells us ,
� . . . he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss . �
(Surah Hajj 22 : 11)
On the contrary , one who performs good deeds for the Hereafter will achieve honour in this world too . The following verse of Surah Kahf says :
� . . . therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord , he should do good deeds , and not join anyone in the service of his Lord . �
(Surah Kahf 18 : 110)
The tafsir of this ayat is as follows : �Someone performs a good deed not for seeking Allah�s pleasure , but to obtain praise and admiration from people , so that people may see and hear him and he may become famous . He is like the one who has an associate with Allah in his worship . One who conceals his worship acts from the people (and reserve them solely for Allah would finally be given an honourable position among the people , by Allah . While one who exhibits his worship; his weaknesses are exposed by Allah and consequently he is degraded . �
(Al Kafi)


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�If one intends to do a small act with the sole intention of pleasing Allah , Allah causes this small deed of his to be manifested on a greater scale upon the people . (On the contrary) if someone performs the greatest of deeds which causes him physical tiredness and exhaustion due to wakeful nights , while his intention had been to acquire the praise of people , his deed would be reduced to a trifle by Allah and manifested on the people . � (till the people begin to dislike him . )
(Al Kafi)


If someone has committed shirk with regard to the acts of worship , he must repent sincerely and have a firm determination not to repeat his mistake . He should intend to perform all his deeds in the future for the sole purpose of achieving Allah�s pleasure . First of all it is wajib upon him to seek forgiveness of his past sins . Secondly he must repeat all the worship acts in which he had committed Riyah , even if a part of that worship had been contaminated with the intention of showing off . Suppose he had begun his act with pure intention but later he was involved in Riyah , even so his deed is nullified . Like the person who gives Zakat to a needy man but later tries to obtain some benefit in return . In this case he has to first repent for his sin and then again give Zakat with the sole intention of achieving Allah�s pleasure .
Similarly in the case of Namaz the person may exhibit a part of it (Be it a Mustahab part) e . g . Qunoot or he may perform Namaz in congregation or sit in the front row to show-off . In all such cases he has to perform this Namaz again .


There is no firm proof that Riyah is Haraam in the pure worldly acts , which are not considered acts of worship . Consequently the Fuqaha have not given any verdict concerning this . But the true believers refrain from all types of Riyah; even with the worldly acts and the mubah actions . The root of Riyakaari is the love of this world . Hence if one falls into this habit , he may even begin to make it a part of his worship .
The respected scholar , Faiz-e-Kashani writes in his book , �Muhajjatul Baidha� , �People resort to Riyakaari in five types of actions .
(1) Bodily Riyah
(2) Riyah of beauty and dress
(3) Riyah of speech
(4) Riyah of actions
(5) Riyah of the outward kind . �
The above types of Riyah are explained below :
1) Bodily Riyah
Bodily Riyah with regard to the actions pertaining to the hereafter is that someone tries to show that his body has become weak due to excessive fasting and night worship . Or he may keep his lips dry so that people think that he is fasting . Or he may show himself to be pious so that people praise him , and day and night he remains busy in religious acts . Bodily Riyah with regard to worldly matters is that he displays his body and tries to create a position in the eyes of the people .
2) Riyah of Beauty and Dress
This type of Riyah with regard to the hereafter consists of shaving ones moustache so that people think that he is following the recommended acts or walking slowly with head turned downwards or wearing dirty clothes to show that one has disregard for the world .
The riya of beauty and dress with regard to this world is to show off ones dress and handsome appearance so that people are attracted towards the person .
3) Riyah of Speech
Riyah of speech with regard to the hereafter is for example uttering Zikr (i . e . Alhamdo Lillah) to show-off to the people . To exhibit one�s knowledge and greatness by preaching to the people in assemblies . To forbid evil and enjoin good to the audience by making people fearful of Divine wrath without having any pure intention .
In the worldly connection this Riyah could take the form of boasting of ones achievements and capabilities so that the people adore him . To be extremely social and greet beyond limit , even strangers , to achieve popularity , etc .
4) Riyah of Actions
In connection with actions of the hereafter Riyah consists of praying namaz to show-off . For example reciting lengthy chapters or remaining for a long time in Ruku or Sajdah . To pray namaz extremely slowly . Performing the wajib and the mustahab fast , Hajj and Ziarat , giving charity and feeding people so that one is regarded as pious .
With regard to the worldly actions , it is to behave with people in consonance with their way of thinking and to spend in similar ways . That is , to strive to become honourable in the eyes of these people . To spend lavishly upon people by inviting them in large numbers for dinner etc .
5) Riyah of the External Kind
All the four types of Riyah explained above are concerned with the person himself . The fifth type of Riyah is that which is connected with the external affairs . This type of Riyah also is with regard to the Hereafter as well as this world . With regard to the Hereafter it consists of a person sitting in the assembly of the learned people without any pure intention; just to exhibit his interest in religion etc . Or to go out to meet pious people or invite the learned scholars to his home for dinner so that people consider him to be religious . In the same way Riyah is prohibited with regard to the worldly actions . For example visiting frequently the courts of Kings and rulers so that people realise his influence and reputation and the gullible people are deceived by his outward show .


It must be understood that Riyah of a person depends upon his intention . In other words all such actions which a person performs to show off are Riyah whether those actions are related to the hereafter or this world . In all types of actions related above , riyah is not committed till one has the intention to show-off . But if one performs an action solely for the pleasure of Allah it is worship . For example if one dresses up nicely or decorates his house with the intention of fully expressing the bounties of Allah; this action is worship . However if his intention is to show-off to people it is Riyah .
Anyone who wishes to study this topic in detail should refer to the book Qalbe Saleem by the same author .



The second Greater Sin is to despair of the Mercy of Allah . �Al-yaa-so Min Roohallah� (To despair of the Rooh of Allah) Rooh : according to the dictionary means a breeze that pleases and comforts . Those who do not believe in the Power , the Mercy and Bounty of Allah , develop a kind of despair . The Holy Quran has termed such people as Unbelievers (Kafir) .
� . . . and despair not of Allah�s Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah�s Mercy except the unbelieving people . �
(Surah Yusuf 12 : 87)
The Holy Imams , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Musa Kazim (a . s . ) , Imam Muhammad Taqi (a . s . ) have classified �despairing of the Mercy of Allah� , to be a Greater Sin; as we have mentioned at the beginning .


After �shirk� no sin could be greater than to despair of Allah�s mercy and benevolence . This attitude reduces a person to a state of utter hopelessness . He imagines himself to be destined for Hell , and therefore he sees no benefit in doing good and avoiding evil . Consequently he tries to achieve as much worldly pleasure as possible and thus gets further involved in all kinds of sinful acts . Any other type of sinner could be pardoned if he repents . But the one who despairs does not deserve to be pardoned because the mental condition of such a person does not lead him towards repentance , but instead , induces him to continue to commit further acts of transgression against Allah�s commands .
Hence it means that despair is the greatest of the sins . It is appropriate therefore that all the different kinds of despair may be explained and also their cures , so that the believers can keep themselves away from them .
The Almighty Allah has created a cause of all the phenomena of this world by His unlimited power and absolute strength . For example , in the physical affairs food is needed for satiation of hunger , water for quenching thirst , doctor and medicine for curing diseases and work for removing poverty .
In the same way the spiritual phenomena also depend upon various causes . The salvation of a sinner depends upon his repentance , the achievement of absolute belief needs the guidance of an infallible guide (Imam) , and the attainment of grades in piety and the high stages of the hereafter depend upon the purity of intention in the deeds performed . The aim of creating man was to make him think and recognise Allah in the proper way . But the complete recognition or belief is not possible till man realises that the Creator of causes as well as effects is Allah . The causes by themselves cannot bring out an effect till the One who has created these causes gives the capability to the cause to bring out such effect . Therefore one should not be pleased at the apparent causes or be aggrieved due to their absence .


When causes that would fulfill needs or desires appear , man becomes happy and he believes in the Might of Allah . But when these causes fail to have any effect he becomes sorrowful . In order to avoid such a situation Allah has laid down a procedure . Firstly he renders the causes ineffective so that the believer may not consider these to be originally having the effective properties . On the other hand he creates the factors which were hereto non-existent , so that the believing people may not fall into despair . A few examples are mentioned to explain this fact .
The fire ignited by the order of Namrood to burn Ibrahim (a . s . ) was made bereft of its burning property , by Allah . It is said , that the fire was so intense that birds flying at a height of three miles used to be scorched by the heat and drop dead .
So they threw Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) into the fire with the help of a catapult from far away . In the Holy Quran Allah says :
�We said : O fire ! be coolness and peace to Ibrahim . �
(Surah Anbiya 21 : 69)
The fire immediately lost its essential property of burning , and cooled down; and if Allah had not ordered it to be peaceful (safe) for Ibrahim (a . s . ) it would have become colder and may have frozen Ibrahim (a . s . ) to death .
In the same way when Ibrahim (a . s . ) proceeded to slaughter his son Ismail (a . s . ) the knife was blunted by Allah�s command . Ibrahim (a . s . ) threw the knife away and a voice emerged from it . �The Khalil (friend) of Allah commands me to cut and the Lord of the Khalil restrains me from it . �
History records that the tyrant rulers have always oppressed Allah�s representative on earth , the Prophets and the Imams . These rulers have made relentless use of all the might and power at their command to pursue the Prophets and terminate their lives . But the Almighty Allah used to render their efforts null and void . The life of Musa (a . s . ) during the reign of Firon is full of such instances from the beginning to end .
A powerful king like Firon wanted to kill Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) while he was still in his mother�s womb , but he did not succeed and Musa (a . s . ) was born . Firon continued in his efforts to murder him but all his plans were foiled by Allah . Physical and spiritual causes are of no significance in comparison to the Divine decree . Thus Musa (a . s . ) was not only born safely but grew up in Firon�s own palace and in his own lap .
�And Firon�s wife said : A refreshment of the eye to me and to you; do not slay him; maybe he will be useful to us , or we may take him for a son; and they did not perceive . �
(Surah Qasas 28 : 9)
In the year of the birth of Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) the army of Najjashi came to attack the Holy Ka�ba . It was led by the commander Abraha . The army consisted of elephants and possessed all the armaments of war . Abraha , proud of his large army and weapons was confident of success . But the creator of all causes weakened their efforts . When Allah willed all the human and animals in the army came to a standstill . However much they tried , the elephants refused to move towards the sacred house .
On the other hand �Ababeel� appeared on the horizon . Each of these birds carried three pebbles; one in the beak and one each in their claws . They surrounded the complete army and began to pelt them with pebbles . Each pebble fell on the head of the soldiers and pierced through their body to reach the ground and sank into it . Consequently the entire army perished , except one soldier . This soldier retreated to king Najjashi and related the episode in detail . This incident gained so much importance that the year began to be referred to as �Aamul Feel� , or the year of the Elephant . Thus the history of Arabs record the birth of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) to be in the year 1st Aamul Feel and the year of his Be�sat (declaration of Prophethood) to be 40th Aamul Feel .
The protection of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) from the blood thirsty people of Makkah and later his being shielded from death in the various battles is considered to be a sign of Allah . All the polytheists had united to martyr the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) right from the day he declared his Prophethood . They had all the means to achieve their purpose but as a Persian couplet says : �Who can extinguish the lamp lighted by Allah . �
He Creates Without an Apparent Cause
Even if the apparent causes , both material and non-material ones , are absent , Allah creates them by His unsurpassed power . There are numerous examples of such a phenomenon . The foremost example is that of the father of man , Hazrat Adam (a . s . ) whom Allah created without the union of a male and a female . Adam (a . s . ) came into existence from non-existence . Similarly Prophet Isa (a . s . ) was born to the chaste maid , Janabe Maryam (a . s . ) even though a man had not touched her .
Hazrat Yahya (a . s . ) was born to Hazrat Zakaria (a . s . ) when he had reached an extremely old age and when his wife had lost all hopes of conceiving . Hazrat Ishaq (a . s . ) was born to Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) when Hazrat Ibrahim was aged and inspite of his wife Janabe Sarah being barren previously .


The Seal of the Prophets , Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) did not attend any school nor did he learn from any teacher . He was not trained to read and write by any mortal . Yet , he was the teacher of humanity and was having command upon the Quranic sciences . In fact his personality was a conglomeration of the qualities of all the previous prophets . The presence of such outstanding qualities in one person without any apparent causes , can only be understood to be the Divine will .


The Beneficial God listens to the invocations of His creatures and fulfills their desires . Many a times we see that people who have no means whatsoever are able to get rid of their afflictions and distress . Due to the grace of Sadaqah , incurable diseases are cured and destitutes become rich . People surrounded by calamities are saved in ways they could not have even imagined .
The traditional reports are replete with such instances . The unlimited beneficence and grace of the Almighty Allah has been described by Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) in the following couplets :
�Only the wise could estimate , the unlimited Grace of the Almighty Allah who releases us from calamities , and removes grief from the defeated hearts . On numerous occasions , man is sorrowful in the morning . But by evening his disposition changes into happiness . So when you are surrounded by difficulties , repose absolute hope in the Unique God . �

LOVE OF ALI (A . S . )

Imam Yafai writes in his book , �Rawzatul Rehayeen� the explanation of Diwan-e-Mubeedi and says , �A certain king gave a pearl to his jeweller . The jeweller�s child somehow got hold of this pearl and broke it into two pieces . The jeweller was in agony . He was asked by some person to recite the above mentioned couplets of Imam Ali (a . s . ) with sincerity . Hardly had he begun to recite that a messenger from the king arrived . He told him that physicians have suggested that if his pearl is powered and given to the sick princess she would be cured of her malady . The King has sent orders to the jeweller to powder that pearl at once and take it to the palace .


The spiritual factors which are connected with the hereafter have some causes , the affect of which is kept in abeyance by the Will of Allah . For example those who perform Jehad against their ownselves achieve for themselves a high position in the Hereafter . Those who do not believe in the prophets , the deeds of such people are nullified .


Balam Baoor had achieved a high stage of perfection . But in order to please the ruler he started opposing the prophet of his time . Consequently he became involved in a life of sin from which it was not possible to extricate himself . He was doomed to Hell , to the seventh stage of the fire that is the worst of the stages of Hell . He is compared to a dog in the holy Quran ,
�And if We had pleased , We would certainly have exalted him thereby; but he clung to the earth and followed his low desire , so his parable is as the parable of the dog; if you attack him he lolls out his tongue; this is the parable of the people who reject our communications; therefore relate the narrative that they may reflect . �
(Surah Araf 7 : 176)


Believing people are those who have realised Allah . The believing people should be particularly careful not to confuse the apparent causes as the basis of all phenomena . Inspite of realising the supreme authority of Allah and His creations , a public misconception in this regard can damn them to perdition . They should know that they could be damned to perdition if they depend upon the apparent causes and consider them to be the basis of all phenomena because the centre of all phenomena is Allah . He is capable of making all the causes ineffective .


When all the means of salvation are annihilated , the Almighty Allah creates a cause due to his unlimited Mercy . Numerous traditions report incidents where people who had been involved in calamities and damned for destruction were , in the last moments , saved by Allah . They had been completely lost in the darkness of sins but were summoned towards their Lord by His limitless Mercy . The desolate deserts of their life were once again green and fertile . The bounties of Allah bestowed upon them surprised all the intelligent witnesses of these incidents .


Magic is a Great Sin and the worst of the professions . A magician is destined to Divine punishment , and Hell will be his abode . The magicians of Firon , were ordered to challenge Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) and belittle him . But their wicked craft was of no avail , and they failed miserably . At that moment Divine Grace descended . The magicians intuitively sensed the power of Allah that gave Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) superiority over them . Neither the lure of wealth nor the warning of torture and death by Firon could shake their belief . They were redeemed .
�Certainly I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides , and certainly I will crucify you all . They said : No Harm; surely to our Lord we go back . �
(Surah Shura 26 : 49-50)


Upon whomsoever He wishes , Allah bestows a respectable position in this world , as well as the hereafter . Asiya , Firon�s wife was leading a life of affluence and material comforts , when her heart became illuminated by the light of belief . Even though she had to go through untold hardships because of her husband Firon , she did not flinch . She declared her belief in Allah and His Prophet , Musa (a . s . ) , without any fear . At the time of her death , when she was being martyred , she prayed to her Lord .
� . . . she said : My Lord ! build for me a house with Thee in the Garden and deliver me from Firon and his doings , and deliver me from the unjust people . �
(Surah Tahrim 66 : 11)


The people of the cave whose number is said to be seven were living during the reign of the tyrant king Daqiyanoos . Daqiyanoos had claimed divinity and people used to follow him . But suddenly the hearts of these seven people became illuminated with true belief .
They set aside the false claims of Daqiyanoos and in order to tread the path of true beliefs , renounced the worldly power and headed for the mountains and hid themselves in a cave .
This incident is described in detail in Surah Kahf . Their example is preserved in history till the Day of the Judgement .


It is known that there have been people so much involved in sins that their salvation appeared impossible . But in their last moments , realisation dawned on them and they prayed for pardon . Due to their sincere repentance all their sins were pardoned and the Mercy of the Merciful Allah came to their rescue . Thus , they were able to achieve salvation and happiness in the hereafter . They shall be among the successful ones on the Day of the Judgement .


One such fortunate person was a Jew at the battle of Uhud . His name was �Makhreeq� . He addressed his tribesmen as follows : �You are not aware that Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) is the truthful and the promised Prophet . � They replied , �How do you know we are not aware ? � �Then why don�t you come for his help ? � he asked . The tribe said . �Today is Saturday (sabbath) . � He said , �But that was at the time of Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) , it is abrogated by the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and is not acceptable to him . � When he did not receive any response from the people of his tribe he went to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and became a Muslim . He was extremely wealthy . He entrusted all his wealth to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and himself entered the battlefield to face the unbelievers . He was soon martyred . It is said that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) often gave charity from the property of Makhreeq , the martyr .


Hur ibn Yazid Riyaahi was the commander of Ibn Ziyad . He had obstructed the way of Imam Husain (a . s . ) and forced him to halt at Karbala . This despicable act would have condemned him to eternal damnation . But when he heard the sermon of Imam Husain (a . s . ) on the day of Ashura and also his Isteghasa , (call for help) his heart underwent a transformation . The Mercy and the Grace of Allah came to his rescue . He repented sincerely and aligned himself with the martyrs of Karbala . In this way he was able to achieve eternal bliss . In the last moments of his life Imam Husain (a . s . ) gave him the good news , �You are �Hur� (Free) as your mother has named you . �


One should never lose hope of achieving high moral traits and perfection in one�s faith . In fact one should not even doubt the possibility of achieving it . Even though this type of deficiency in hope is not totally Haraam , yet the true believer should refrain from it . On the other hand he should not consider his apparent capabilities; like youth , strength , wisdom , capacity to think , ability to work , enthusiasm , love etc . to be sufficient for success in the hereafter
Many a people had lacked the above qualities but when the Mercy and Grace of Allah came to their aid , they were raised to a high position . For example people like Fuzail ibn Ayaz , Imran Sabi , Barham Nasrani and Sahib Riyaz who received the Tawfeeq from Allah when had become weak due to old age and were incapable of hardwork and active life , yet they achieved an exalted position .


Hopelessness is a Greater Sin because it implies negation of the Absolute Sovereignty of the Almighty . A heart illumined with the knowledge that Allah the Creator of all existing things is the best Planner , the best Executor and the best Protector; a person who has the knowledge that it is Allah who bestows a super-abundance of sustenance , security and welfare on His creatures because of His boundless Mercy , limitless Generosity and unsurpassed Knowledge , will be comforted and reassured . The heart of such a person will be calm and peaceful and the question of feeling sorrowful and aggrieved will just not arise . The creator is not unmindful of the needs of a child in its mother�s womb . Nourishment is supplied to him through the umbilical cord . When the child is born , Allah provides him through his mother , wholesome and easily digestible milk . Gradually Allah develops in him various capabilities needed for the different stages of his growth .
To ensure the security and happiness of the child Allah creates deep and abiding affection in the heart of the mother for the child; and she is prepared to sacrifice all her comforts and pleasures for the child�s sake .
After having the awareness , discussed above , is it possible for one to lose hope in his Lord ? No ! In fact it makes it easy to repose faith in the Creator and go through all the ups and downs of life with resignation and fortitude .


Despair is a form of hidden disbelief . It is the result of ignorance about the greatness of one�s Lord (Allah) . Giving in to despair is equivalent to disbelieving in one�s Lord (Allah) , which is a Greater Sin . One should therefore be extremely cautious and guard against putting oneself in such a woeful state . The noble Quran explains this in the verse ,
� . . . Surely none despairs of Allah�s Mercy except the unbelieving people . �
(Surah Yusuf 12 : 87)


The Almighty in His infinite Mercy , has embedded hope in human psychology . Even in the worst of circumstances , there is a faint glimmer of hope in the human heart , and this helps him to overcome his feeling of hopelessness . He therefore turns to his Lord and supplicates for Mercy , forgiveness and redress , and Allah never turns away a supplicant .


1 . Power of Allah
Praise be to Allah for His supreme and absolute authority over the vast universe; the earth and the seven skies . He sets the course of the stars and the planets; and not a leaf falls without His permission . He is able to do what He wills . Intellect and reason get bewildered in trying to understand His Might and Greatness . Can such an Almighty be unable to fulfill the meagre needs of his creatures . Certainly not ! So how can hopelessness be justified .
2 . Personal Experiences
One must ponder upon the various blessings Allah bestowed on us in the past and which we had taken for granted . The Almighty has brought us safely out of the darkness of the womb . He is thoughtful of our needs and He knows them better than our ownselves , and fulfills them without our asking . He has rescued us from many a dangerous situations , disease and calamities . He has bestowed numerous blessings , physical , material , mental , social and spiritual upon us yet we become confident of our standing as individuals . Then why should there be hopelessness ? Is He unaware of our condition ? I seek forgiveness from the Almighty Allah ! Allah is far too exalted .
3 . Outward Examples
Let us study the situation of those who were in extremely difficult times but were hopeful of the Lord�s Benevolence and Mercy . They continued to entreat Allah till He accepted their prayers and redressed them .


Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) was one hundred and twelve years and according to another report one hundred and twenty years . His respected wife Hazrat Sarah was ninety-seven years . They did not have any children . Allah sent to them an Angel to inform them that they would be gifted with a son .
�And his wife was standing (by) , so she laughed , then We gave her the good news of Ishaq and after Ishaq of (a son�s son) Yaqub . �
�She said : O wonder ! Shall I bear a son when I am an extremely old woman and this my husband an extremely old man ? Most surely this is a wonderful thing . �
�They said : Do you wonder at Allah�s bidding ? The Mercy of Allah and His blessings are on you , O People of the house , surely He is Praised , Glorious . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 71-73)
In brief , the Mercy of Allah blessed Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) and Janabe Sarah with a son , Ishaq , at an age when it could never have been expected .


The age of Hazrat Zakaria (a . s . ) was ninety-nine years and that of his wife eighty nine . Yet , he was hopeful of the Grace of Allah and he prayed with sincerity , �He said My Lord ! Surely my bones are weakened and my head flares with hoariness , and my Lord ! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee : And surely I fear my cousins after me , and my wife is barren , therefore grant me from Thyself an heir , who would inherit me and inherit from the children of Yaqub , and make him , my Lord , one in whom Thou art well pleased . �
O Zakaria ! Surely We give you good news of a boy whose name shall be Yahya : We have not made before anyone his equal . He said ,
�O my Lord ! When shall I have a son , and my wife is barren , and I myself have reached the extreme degree of old age ? He said : �So shall It be , your Lord says : It is easy to Me , and indeed I created you before , when you were nothing . � (Surah Maryam 19 : 4-9)
Thus Allah accepted the invocation of Hazrat Zakaria (a . s . ) and Hazrat Yahya (a . s . ) was born to him .
If one is suffering from some disease for a long time and there seems to be no hope of curing it , one must consider this disease to be a penalty for his sins (kaffara) .
On the other hand if due to his prayers and Sadaqah the disease is cured it becomes a mean of salvation .


If one intends to achieve humility and insight , he must study the life of Hazrat Ayyub (a . s . ) . After being inflicted with a horrible disease for seven years and according to other reports for eighteen years , he prayed to Allah .
�And Ayyub , when he cried to his Lord , (saying) : Harm has afflicted me , and Thou art the most Merciful of the Mercifuls . �
(Surah Anbiya 21 : 83)
Allah responded to his entreaty by curing his malady and also gave him wealth as before .


If one is afflicted with poverty for a long time and is unable to see a way out , then this situation can be viewed in two ways : First , it is possible that there may be a hidden wisdom in his poverty , and if he had access to this knowledge he may himself choose this state for himself and be happy in the bargain .
Secondly , those who spend the earlier part of life in poverty usually become enriched at a later stage and therefore have a comfortable time in their old age .


As an example an incident is quoted from the book �Faraz Baadashshuda� : A rich businessman says , �I was travelling for Hajj and had 3000 dinars and gold and silver ornaments with me . I had tied them up in a bag attached to my cummerbund . But I dropped this bag when I went to answer the call of nature . I had proceeded many miles further , when I realized my bag was missing . I had a lot of wealth so I did not find it imperative to go back and look for my money nor was it possible to return . When I came back to my native place one calamity upon another befell me . Gradually all my wealth disappeared . My public respect began to change into shame . Due to embarrassment before friends , gossip of the enemies and further destitution I was compelled to leave my native village . During this journey I spent a night in a hamlet . At this time , all the money I had was one-sixth of a silver coin . It was a dark , rainy night . I took my wife to a cheap hostel for the night . All of a sudden my wife began to have labour pains and a child was born . My wife said that she needed something to eat , otherwise she may starve to death . I took the small silver coin and knocked at the door of a vegetable seller . After repeated requests he opened the door . I explained to him my circumstances and gave him the coin . He brought some curd and ghee in an earthen bowl . As I turned back and walked a few paces , I slipped and the earthen bowl dropped from my hands and broke . I was struck with grief and could not control myself . I began to slap my face and yelled loudly . The window of a nearby house opened and someone enquired as to who I was and why was I creating a din and disturbing the neighbourhood . I explained my circumstances in brief and added that I , my wife and the child were starving of hunger , and this misfortune has befallen me . The man asked , �Is your hue and cry only for a piece of silver . � �No� , I said , �I had never been so miserly . � Then I told him about the year when I had lost my bag of 3000 dinars and ornaments . He asked me if there were any distinguishing marks on my moneybag . I thought he was trying to fool me , so I protested . But he insisted and I told him . Then he called me in his house and sent his slave to get my wife and child . The slave returned with my wife and child , and our host put us up for the night . In the morning he gave some dinars and said that till my wife recovers , we must stay in his house . Ten days passed in this manner . Everyday he used to give us some dinars . Then one day he asked me about my profession . When I told him that I was an expert trader , he gave me some money and told me to start a business . After conducting the business for some months , I offered him his share of the profits . He went into the other room and returned with the moneybag that I had lost years ago . I was overjoyed to see it and became unconscious due to the excitement . I thanked Allah and returned to my native village . Gradually my economic conditions began to change and once more I was a rich man .
�It may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you , maybe that you love a thing while it is evil for you . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 216) .
�Allah brings about ease after difficulty . �
(Surah Talaq 65 : 7)


If a person is involved in worldly problems he should turn towards two realities . Firstly , this world is a place of test and trial for everyone . There is no one who could escape its clutches . Secondly , one must look at the conditions of people who are worse off than us . In this way one can get peace and solace by comparing ones condition with that of others . Even in the greatest calamities , we should continue to rely upon the Mercy of Allah . Many a people of the past had been afflicted with tribulations with no relief in sight . But the Merciful Allah gave them success . In the book �Faraj Baad as Shiddah� the respected author , Husain bin Saeed Dabistani has recorded more than 500 incidents where people , surrounded by troubles from all sides were given relief by Allah after all hopes were shattered . Further we ourselves witness many cases where the invocations and Sadaqah of the religious personalities help the people out of difficult situations . In the same book there is an incident where a resident of Madinah says , �I was rich and had all the good things in life . Eventually I became poor and destitute . So I went to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and told him of my problems . He expressed pity upon my condition and recited the following couplets for my sake , �If you fall into difficult times do not be impatient . Because for a long time you have experienced comfort .
Then after every discomfort is comfort and consolation . And the saying of Allah is the most truthful . �So do not despair , certainly despair is disbelief . � Allah may enrich you in a short while . After that do not forget your Lord . Certainly Allah fulfills His promise . If the intellect had the capacity to produce food the wealth of the world would be only with the intellectuals . Beware , do not lose hope when you face calamities . Behind the curtains are concealed astounding candles (of hope) . �
The narrator says , �When I heard these lines my grief changed into happiness and hopelessness turned into optimism . Very soon the doors of Mercy opened upon me and my bad times changed for the good . �


This book relates from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that to ward off calamities this Quranic verse should be recited .
�There is no God but Thou , glory be to Thee , surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss . � (Surah Anbiya 21 : 87) �Allah is my Lord , and I do not associate him with anything . �
We should remember that despair is the worst of the sins , because it implies that the connection between Allah and his creature has been severed . It signifies turning away from the Divine nature . Because even if an iota of belief remains in a person�s heart , he could not severe relations with his Nourisher and Cherisher . It may be that sometimes a sort of hopelessness pervades his imagination but he soon recovers and repents of his sin .


According to the verse of the Holy Quran and Mutawatir (widely related) traditions all the sins which man commits are pardonable if he repents sincerely . It is wrong to say that such a sin can never be pardoned . The Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Quran ,
�And He it is who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds and He knows what you do . �
(Surah Shura 42 : 25)
Allah has mentioned His names as :
1) Tawwabun (one who accepts Tawbah)
2) Gaffarun (one who pardons)
3) Ghafoorun (one who forgives totally)
4) Ghaaferuz Zanbe (Pardoner of sins)
5) Qaabelut Tawbah (one who accepts repentance)
Allah has given a general invitation to all the people to turn towards Him and seek forgiveness for their sins . If we study the meaning of the 54th verse of Surah Zumar we find that sinners have no cause to lose hope . This Ayat is also known as Ayat-e-Rehmat (The verse of Mercy) .
�Say : O my servants ! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls , do not despair of the Mercy of Allah ; Surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving , the Merciful . �
(Surah Zumar 39 : 53) .


A few points must be noted from the above verse .
Firstly , Allah says , �O my servant� and not �O sinners ! � Even though he is addressing the sinners he addresses them as �my servants� . So that the hopelessness of the servants may be transformed into hope in His Mercy .
Secondly , he says , �Who have acted extravagantly . � This denotes a soft approach . Allah does not say �O you who have acted blatantly , � So that the sinners may not lose hope of obtaining pardon .


The third point to be noted is that the Almighty Allah has told the sinners , �Do not despair of the Divine Mercy . � The use of a negative term signifies the prohibition of hopelessness . Also it means that to lose hope regarding salvation is Haraam .
The fourth point is that Allah did not stop at this , He further adds , �Surely Allah forgives the faults altogether , � signifying that the statement covers all the sins .
Fifth Point : The addition of the word �altogether� at the end signifies that the statement includes all sins without any exception .
Sixth Point : The last point is that at the end of the verse , Allah repeats , �Surely He is the forgiving , the merciful , � to stress upon the fact that Allah desires and wishes to forgive those who repent .


Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari (r . a . ) relates that a woman came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and asked , �If a woman kills her child can she seek pardon ? � The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�By Allah in whose control is the life of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) even if this woman has killed seventy Prophets and then feels remorse and repents and Allah is convinced of her sincerity and the truth of her statement , upon the condition that she does not repeat the sin , her repentance shall be accepted . And her sins would be pardoned . Surely Allah is oft forgiving and forgives , ever so beyond measure . Verily one who repents (sincerely) is; as if he has never committed that sin . �
(Liyali Akhbaar)


If we pray to Allah for some worldly benefits or the Hereafter and our prayer is not answered it raises two noteworthy points . Firstly , we must know that Allah has promised to accept all prayers and Allah never goes back on His word .
As it is mentioned in the Holy book ,
�And when My servants ask you concerning Me , then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 186)
At another place Allah says ,
�And your Lord says : Call upon Me , I will answer you . �
(Surah Momin 40 : 60)
The second point is that due to His unlimited wisdom He may delay the acceptance of some prayer . So if we do not get immediate gratification we should not lose hope of having our prayers accepted .


Sometimes the sins of a person come in the way of the acceptance of his prayers . At other times Allah may delay the acceptance due to some hidden wisdom . This would compel the person to repeat his prayers and thus he would be entitled for additional sawaab . The opportunity to invocate is itself a blessing of Allah .
Another possibility is that Allah wishes to hear the entreaties of His creature many a times before He fulfills his wishes .


Sometimes there is a delay in the acceptance of prayers because , to supplicate Allah continuously is the best of worship . It is the Mercy of Allah that he may want us to continue to pray to Him . It is a means of seeking nearness to Him . For whomsoever He wishes good , He gives him the Tawfeeq of supplicating Him by delaying the acceptance of his prayers .
Allama Majlisi (r . a . ) writes in the book �Hayatul Qulub� that Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) says in a reliable tradition , �Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) used to visit the populated cities and the desolate forests so that he could derive lessons from the creatures of Allah . One day he saw a worshipper busy in prayers . His dress was made of fur and the surroundings filled with his intonation . Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) was astonished at his appearance . He went towards him , sat down and waited for him to conclude his prayers . When he finished his prayers , Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) said , �I appreciate your way and want to befriend you . Tell me where do you stay so that I could come to meet you whenever I want . � He said , �You will not be able to travel on my path . �
�Why ? �
�I walk on the surface of the water . �
Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) said , �The Almighty Allah who has given you the capacity to walk on water , can also enable me to do so . Come , arise , today I shall spend the night with you at your residence .
When they reached the bank of the river the man uttered �Bismillah� and stepped in the river and was soon on the other side of it . Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) also recited Bismillah and crossed the river . This man was astounded . Then both of them entered his house .
Ibrahim (a . s . ) asked him , �Which is the most difficult day ? � He replied , �The day Allah will reward and punish all His creatures according to their deeds . � Ibrahim (a . s . ) said , �Let us together pray that Allah may protect us from the hardships of this day . �
According to another report Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) said , �Let us pray together for the sinful believers . � The worshipper said , �I will not participate in this prayer because I have been praying for something for the past thirty years and till date it has not been fulfilled , so there is no scope in praying for something else . �
Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) said , �O worshipper ! when Allah holds a creature dear He delays the acceptance of his prayers so that he may continue to plead and supplicate Him . On the other hand when He dislikes a person He answers his prayers immediately or creates hopelessness in his heart so that he would stop praying . �
Then he asked the worshipper about his prayer which has not been accepted till then . He said , �One day I was busy in my prayers when I saw a handsome boy grazing a herd of sheep and goats . I asked him whose animals were those . He said they belonged to him . Then I asked him who he was . He said that he was the son of Khalilullah (Friend of Allah) Ibrahim (a . s . ) and that his name was Ismail . At that moment I prayed to Allah to let me see my �Khalil� Ibrahim (a . s . ) . � Ibrahim (a . s . ) said , �Now your prayer has been answered . I am that Ibrahim (a . s . ) . � The worshipper became extremely overjoyed and embraced Ibrahim (a . s . ) . He kissed his head , eyes and hands and thanked the Almighty Allah with sincerity . After this both of them together prayed for the believing men and women .


In the tradition from Imam Reza (a . s . ) where he has listed the Greater Sins , despondence is mentioned after despair (Yaas) . Qunut (despondence) is described as the condition where one�s heart loses hope of Allah�s Mercy and that person does not even dislike the hopelessness . According to the religious scholars the difference between Yaas and Qunut is that the term �Yaas� is used in general cases and �Qunut� in special cases . It means that �Yaas� describes the internal condition of one�s heart . When this internal hopelessness intensifies to a degree whereby its effect becomes manifest outwardly and seem obvious to the common people , it is called �Qunut� .
In short whoever expresses hopelessness by his speech or actions is actually a victim of �Qunut� .
Many scholars believe that to discontinue invocation is a sign of despair . The hopeless person believes that he will not reach his destination through dua .
�Qunut� means that one accuses Allah of not being merciful and for not accepting his repentance . He thinks that whatever difficulties he suffers , are the retribution of his sins . Thus Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) says in the 39th Dua of Sahifa-e-Sajjadiyah , �I neither despair of Your Mercy nor am I in despondence regarding you . But I am aggrieved because my good deeds are less in number and bad deeds numerous . Otherwise Your position is so high that not a single creature turns away dejected from you . �
There is no doubt that despondence with regard to Allah is a Greater Sin . It is one of the characteristics of the polytheists and hypocrites as mentioned by Allah in Surah Fath .
�And (that) He may punish the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women , and the polytheistic men and the polytheistic women , the entertainers of evil thoughts about Allah . . . �
(Surah Fath 48 : 6)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) announced from the pulpit
�By Allah who has no partner , He does not deprive any of the people from the blessings of this world and the hereafter . But he should not harbour doubts (about Him) . He should have hope in Him and possess good morals . He should refrain from backbiting about the believers . I swear by Allah Who is the One and without partners , He does not punish a believer after he had repented and asked for forgiveness . Except those who are skeptical about Allah and lack in hope , have evil behaviour and indulge in backbiting about the believers . I swear by Allah except Whom no one is fit to be worshipped . When someone expresses reliance and trust in Allah; Allah who is extremely graceful , will not deem it fit to order anything contrary to the faith that the believer has reposed in him . Then you must have good thoughts regarding Allah and must always depend upon Him . �
(Al Kafi)
Having good thoughts about Allah means that one should have the conviction that if he repents for a sin , Allah would forgive him . If he invocates , his prayer would be answered . If he does a good action , it is certain that Allah would accept it and reward him for the same . To hope in salvation is beneficial , and it is obligatory . However to hope for rewards without performing good actions is ignorance and conceit .
Some scholars of religion explain that the distinguishing feature of �Qunut� and �Yaas� is that �Qunut� denotes hopelessness with regard to the worldly blessings .
The Holy Quran says concerning this ,
�And He it is who sends down rain after they have despaired , and He unfolds His Mercy; and He is the Guardian , the Praised One . �
(Surah Shura 42 : 28)
Concerning �Yaas� the scholars maintain that it is with regard to the affairs of the Hereafter , as mentioned in the verse :
� . . . indeed they despair of the Hereafter . . . �
(Surah Mumtahena 60 : 13)
To be despondent of Allah�s Mercy results in the person being deprived of eternal blessings , because �Qunut� causes the severance of the relation between the creature and Allah . The cause for this despondence is the extinguishing of the original flame of creation that had been alive in his heart . Even if a little of the light had remained , he would not have lost hope completely . It is possible that he may be involved in vain pursuits . If that is so then he has receded into the age of ignorance from the Mercy of Allah . But �Yaas� denotes that the connection between the creature and Allah still remains even though separated by the curtain of sins . But behind the curtain the light of the original nature endures . He still believes in some connection with Allah . In such a case the dividing curtain could be removed .
�Yaas� can be forgiven but �Qunut� does not deserve forgiveness . Thus �Qunut� is included in the title of Shirk and becomes the greatest danger for man . (Quoted from Tafsir Ruhul Bayan)



One of the Greater Sins is a total disregard for Divine punishment . The person is fearless of the unseen retribution and scoffs at the idea of being punished for his actions . He lives blissfully in a world of material comforts and does not realise that he is fettered down by his sins . This is a Greater Sin . The Holy Imams , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Musa Kazim (a . s . ) and Imam Reza (a . s . ) have classified the fearlessness of Allah�s punishment among the Greater Sins . The Qur�an announces :
�What ! do the people of the towns then feel secure from Our punishment coming to them by night while they are asleep ? �
(Surah Araf 7 : 97)
�What ! do the people of the towns feel secure from Our punishment coming to them in the morning while they play ? �
(Surah Araf 7 : 98)
�What ! do they feel secure from Allah�s plan ? But none feels secure from Allah�s plan except the people who shall perish . �
(Surah Araf 7 : 99)
These three verses clearly prohibit the fearlessness of the punishment of Allah . The last verse mentions that those who do not fear Allah�s punishment would be losers in the hereafter . Divine retribution will be their lot on the Day of Judgement , as will be the fate of the unbelievers and the non-repentant sinners .
It is clear from the Quran that to remain heedless of Allah�s plan is a Greater Sin . Hence carelessness about the punishment and warnings of Allah is equivalent to disregard of His orders and prohibitions and an abject ignorance of His Supremacy . How can a lowly and insignificant being , now dare to oppose the Lord of the two worlds . This heedlessness and disregard is a Greater Sin that does not merit pardon , except that the sinner feels remorse and asks for forgiveness . It would appear from the above discussion that whether a sin is pardonable or not depends more on the attitude of the sinner , rather than the sin itself . If in the innermost recesses of his heart , the transgressor is fearful of Allah , he is deserving of forgiveness , but if he is brazenly fearless of Allah�s punishment , he is most unfit for pardon and mercy .
The plan of Allah means a sudden punishment that descends upon the sinners , as mentioned in the Divine book ,
�Does man think that he is to be left to wander without an aim ? �
(Surah Qiyamat 75 : 36)


�Allah�s plan� includes �Imla� . From the time Allah created man it has been a Divine practice that the thankless ones and the sinners should not be punished for their sins immediately . Rather they are given a long respite . Since everyone is prone to sin except the Infallibles , if each one were to be punished for their misdeeds immediately , not a single person would remain on the face of the earth . Allah has stated in the Holy Qur�an ,
�And if Allah had destroyed men for their inequity , He would not leave on the earth a single creature , but He respites them till an appointed time . . . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 61)
Besides , Imla proves to be the Grace of Allah for the pious . It gives them time to reflect upon their behaviour , realise their mistakes , repent , and make a firm intention not to repeat their sins . Allah�s indulgence thus helps them to achieve the good in this world and the hereafter . On the other hand indulgence shown to unrepentant sinners only makes them heedless of the fact that eventually they will be accountable for their deeds . They continue to commit one sin upon another and when their corruption reaches a limit , a sudden punishment descends upon them .
�And I grant them respite; surely My scheme is effective . �
(Surah Araf 7 : 183)
Disbelievers and sinners leading successful and comfortable lives may conceitedly feel that their capabilities have brought them success but in reality all that they have is a form of punishment from Allah and a sort of retribution which is referred to as �the Plan of Allah . �


The Glorious Quran quotes thus ,
�And let not those who disbelieve think that Our granting them respite is better for their souls; We grant them respite only that they may add to their sins; and they shall have a disgraceful chastisement . �
(Surah Aale Imran 3 : 178)
Imam Reza (a . s . ) said ,
�By Allah , they have not been punished with anything more severe than Imla (respite) . � (Safinatun Behaar)
Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) has mentioned in Dua-e-Makarimul Akhlaq :
�(O Allah) . Give me such a life that my (long) life is spent in obedience to you . And when my life becomes a field of Satan take away my soul towards you (before I become eligible for Divine retribution) . �


Istedraaj is also included in Allah�s plan . At times the respite granted by Allah also includes a new blessing . Allah bestows His bounties upon a person who has sinned so that he may feel ashamed of himself and make amends . Instead , the person often develops confidence and blatantly commits more sins . Such unfortunate people are mentioned in the following verse of Quran :
�And (as to) those who reject Our communications , We draw them near (to destruction) by degrees from whence they know not . �
(Surah Araf 7 : 182)
It is recorded in Safinatul Behaar , �When Allah wishes good for a person and he commits a sin , Allah involves him in difficulties so that he may become aware that the cause of his problems is his own sin . He can then repent for it (immediately) . When Allah wishes to punish a person who commits a sin , He gives him a new form of blessing so that he may be dazzled by the blessing and ignore repentance . This is what Allah means in the Ayat (quoted above) . �


When Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was asked the meaning of �Istedraaj� he replied :
�When a person commits a sin he is given respite and a new blessing , then when he fails to repent he is slowly led towards destruction; about which he is heedless . This is known as Istedraj and �Allah�s Plan . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It is related from Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) that he said :
�Certainly , those who are given an increase in wealth and property by Allah , should not think anything but that it is Istedraaj . They should not be fearless (of Allah�s plan) . Because calm precedes storm . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


Allah possesses two kinds of qualities , the Jamali (good) and Jalali (severe) . Example of Jamali qualities are His being Rahman (Beneficent) , Raheem (Merciful) , Kareem (Generous) , Haleem (Magnanimous) , Shakoor (Thankful) , Ghafoor (one who forgives) .
The Jalali qualities are His being Jabbar (Mighty) , Qahhar (One who punishes) , Muntaqim (One who retributes) , Muzallil (One who degrades) , Mutakabbir (Proud) and Shadeedul Iqab (Severe in punishing) . Hence Allah informs of His good qualities and then warns of His Severity :
�Inform My servants that I am the Forgiving , The Merciful , and that My punishment - that is the painful punishment . �
(Surah Hujarat 49 : 50)
Elsewhere Allah says ,
�The Forgiver of faults and the Acceptor of repentance , severe to punish , Lord of bounty . �
(Surah Momin 40 : 3)
Thus Allah is the most Merciful of the mercifuls in the matter of forgiveness and also the most severe in retribution .


One who recognizes the boundless expanse of Allah�s Mercy is bound to have great hopes; if he has repented , his sins will be forgiven , if he has worshipped Allah , his invocation will be accepted and Allah in His generosity will let him have the maximum benefits . Allah is known to be the �Forgiver of sins� and �Acceptor of prayers� . In the same way the knowledge of the severity of Allah�s chastisement for every sin will make one tremble with fear . The fear of Allah inspires a person with Tawfeeq that insulates him from transgressing the bounds of prohibitions , and compels him towards sincere repentance . When we are in the throes of temptation to commit an aggression , we have to be extremely cautious not to give in . It may so happen that the particular sin we are about to commit will seal our fate and deprive us forever , of Allah�s Mercy and forgiveness . It is narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�One who intends to commit a sin (should control his selfish desires and) must not put it to practice . Certainly when (sometimes) a person commits a sin , Allah dislikes him and says : �By My Honour and Greatness I will not forgive you after this . �
(Al Kafi)
Since there is a possibility that a sin may not be eligible for pardon , it is extremely important that we keep ourselves protected from every sin; be it big or small . In fact the sins which do not deserve to be pardoned are regarded as insignificant by the one who commits them .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) states :
�You must fear the small sins , for they are not pardoned . �
The narrator asked , �What is meant by �small� ? � Imam replied;
�A person commits a sin which he considers to be insignificant and says , �I deserve admiration for I have not committed a sin as serious as that of the other person . �
(Al Kafi)


Even if the sinner repents for his sins , he should continue to be fearful . It may be that his repentance has not fulfilled the necessary conditions . For example , he have made an intention of not repeating a sin , but later he does not remain firm upon it . We should therefore continue to live between fear and hope till the end of our lives , hoping for Allah�s rewards for our good deeds and dreading the accountability of our sins committed knowingly or unintentionally .


If a prayer is not accepted it should be feared that (maybe) it is because of our sins . And if it is granted , it may be that one is so disliked by Allah that He could not stand his invocation again and again and has thus accepted his prayers immediately .


If we are able to achieve success , be it material , intellectual or even spiritual , at all times we should be aware that our achievements are a Grace and Mercy from Allah , and not the result of our own capabilities . Thankfulness to Allah , alone earns Allah�s approval . Pride and ingratitude will forever separate us from our Creator and this is the worst of the punishments .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says in Dua-e-Kumail :
Suppose , My Lord ! My Master ! My Cherisher ! I am able to endure your punishment , how can I endure separation from Thee . Suppose I am able to endure the heat of Thy fire , how can I endure not gazing upon Thy generosity .


We should be very apprehensive and anxious about our end . We have seen good and pious people who , in the final stages of their lives , turned to evil . Let us implore the Merciful Lord to protect our faith , and let us die as believers .
�Therefore take a lesson , O you who have eyes ! �
(Surah Hashr : 2)


We must also be fearful of the difficult test that we have to undergo . All the believers who have attained a high position have been in constant dread of failure when put to test . The respected Book of Allah has said :
�Do men think that they will be left alone on saying , �We believe� and not be tried ? �
(Surah Ankaboot : 2)


When Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) was tied to a catapult to be thrown into the blazing fire he said , �Allah is sufficient for me . � When Ibrahim (a . s . ) claimed that Allah�s help was sufficient for him , and he did not need help from anyone else , Allah decided to test him and sent Jibraeel , who asked Ibrahim (a . s . ) if he had any kind of wish so that it may be fulfilled . Ibrahim (a . s . ) replied , �I do have a wish but not from you . � Jibraeel said : �It is correct but express your wish to the one in whom you repose hope . � Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) replied : �He is aware of my condition hence there is no need for me to say it verbally . �


Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) deserves admiration . In the most difficult circumstances he refrained from showing his want , even to the trustworthy angel of revelation Jibraeel (a . s . ) . Thus he emerged successful from the most severe test . Hence the Divine verse says :
�And (of) Ibrahim who fulfilled (the commandments) . �
(Surah Najm 53 : 37)
We must also not be heedless of the Divine test nor should we be fearless of Divine retribution . Even the most near ones to Allah , the angels , the prophets and the messengers were not careless in this regard . Especially in times of difficulties and calamities we have to be extra careful; constantly imploring Allah to prevent us from overstepping the boundaries prohibited by Him . Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) says in the beginning of Dua-e-Abu Hamza Thumali :
�Do not punish my sins by letting me to be heedless of your retribution . �


Let it be very clear to us that whatever good we are able to do , is only due to Tawfeeq from Allah and we have to be most humbly grateful to Allah for this tawfeeq . Thanklessness in the matter may result not only in the loss of such opportunities in the future but may even nullify the good already done , and bring us disgrace .


Those who realise the Greatness and the Majesty of Allah in comparison to their own worthlessness are more fearful of Allah . Only those who realise how utterly miserable and worthless they themselves are and how exalted and Supreme is their Creator , are fearful of Allah .
The Holy Quran says :
�Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah . �
(Surah Fatir : 28)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have said : �The fountain-head of wisdom is the fear of Allah . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Janabe Umme Salma says that she saw the Holy Prophet of Allah in a middle of the night standing in a corner of the house and entreating Allah : �O Allah ! Whatever You have given me , do not take those blessings away . Never let me become the butt of criticism and jealousy of the enemies . O Allah ! Never let me return to the vices from where You have extricated me . O Allah ! Do not leave me (free) to myself even for a blink of the eye (for a moment) . �
Umme Salma says : When I heard these words I began to weep uncontrollably . The Prophet asked the reason for my lamentation . I replied , �Why shouldn�t I weep when you , who have attained such a high position , are invocating Allah in such a (humble) way ? �
Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Why should not I fear thus . When Allah left Hazrat Yunus (a . s . ) on his own for a moment , what did happen . � (That is , he remained in the belly of a whale) .
(Behaarul Anwaar)


The Holy Quran praises the prophets in the following words :
�Surely they used to hasten , one with another , in deeds of goodness and to call upon Us , hoping and fearing; and they were humble before Us . �
(Anbiya 21 : 90)
Regarding the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) the Divine words are :
�They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide . �
(Surah Insan 76 : 7)
The fear of the Prophets and the Holy Imams , specially that of Ali (a . s . ) is well-known . He used to lose consciousness due to the fear of Allah . Imam Zainul Abedeen (a . s . ) expresses this fear most eloquently in the Duas of Sahifa-e-Sajjadiyah . If we are to record all such examples we shall be straying away from our aim . We hope that the examples given so far will be sufficient for the intelligent .


A believer lives in a state of anxiety and optimism , (as prescribed by the traditions) He is fearful of Divine punishment and yet hopeful of Divine Mercy . The Holy Quran says :
�It is only the Shaitan that causes you to fear from his friends , but do not fear them , and fear Me if you are believers . �
(Aale Imran 3 : 175)
This type of fear is obligatory for every Muslim . The fear which refrains him from even approaching sins . Allah , the Almighty addresses his Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in the Quranic Ayat ,
�Say : Surely I fear , if I disobey my Lord , the chastisement of a grievous day . �
(Surah Anam 6 : 15) .


The trust and hope we repose in Allah�s Mercy and generosity will certainly bring us additional bounties . But this trust should not assume proportions that make us feel confident and arrogant that we think , we shall not be punished . As is mentioned in Quran ,
�Let not the arch-deceiver (Satan) deceive you respecting Allah . �
(Surah Fatir 35 : 5)
Allah tells the polytheists in Surah Hadid ,
� . . . the arch-deceiver (Satan) deceived you about Allah . �
(Surah Hadid 57 : 14)
The exegesis of this ayat as recorded in �Minhajus Sadeqeen� is that Satan says , �Have complete faith in the magnanimity and the Mercy of Allah . He does not punish any one . �
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) said ,
�There is no believer who does not possess two lights in his heart . One is the light of fear and the other , the light of hope . None of these is heavier than the other . Both are equal . �
(Al Kafi)


It is related from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said , �A believer cannot have belief till both fear and hope are present in him . Nor can he be called as fearful and hopeful till he makes it evident in his actions . �
(Al Kafi)
Man�s psyche should contain a perfect balance of fear and hope . It is related from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�Hakim Luqman (r . a) advised his son in his will . �If your deeds equal the good deeds of all men and Jinns , together , you must expect that you may yet be punished by Him . And you must hope in Allah so much that even if you carry the burden of the total sins of men and jinns , and approach Allah for forgiveness , He will pardon you . �
(Al Kafi)


Now I invite the readers to contemplate on this . Do we have true hope and real fear of Allah ?
If we truly dread Allah�s punishment then why are we not fearful of our sins ?
Why is there a sluggishness in following the commands of the Masoomeen (a . s . ) ? If we truly regard ourselves to be desiring of Divine Mercy , why do we not strive for the goal ? Why are our actions not directed towards absolute obedience and worship ?
Yes , we do have genuine fear and hope with regard to the worldly affairs . This is evident in the excessive care , concern and caution we exercise to preserve our physical safety and material assets . Any sign of losing them , and we get restless till the danger is averted . If a worldly object is our goal we strive for it tirelessly and are not negligent for a moment .
By Allah ! Let us look at the amount of efforts we put in our worldly affairsand honestly admit to ourselves whether we work even a fraction of it for the Hereafter . We most certainly do not . So let us resolve to divert some of our energies towards the fear and hope of the hereafter . If a sin has been committed , let us continuously feel remorse and weep for forgiveness , forgetting luxury and comforts , repenting till our last moment when we hear the good news .
�(As for) those who say : Our Lord is Allah , then continue in the right way , the angels descend upon them , saying : Fear not , nor be grieved , and receive good news of the Garden which you were promised . �
(Surah Ha Mim 41 : 30)
Let us realise that it is obligatory for the believers to remain in fear of Allah till the end of their lives .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�A believer is always between two fears . One is the fear of his past sins , (so) he does not know as to how Allah would deal with him . Secondly he fears until the end of his life and does not know the sins that might be committed by him , causing his destruction . The believer does not forgo his fear for his whole life , and his affairs do not improve without fear . �
(Al Kafi)


We must understand that Allah has guaranteed sustenance for us in this world . The Quran says ,
�And there is no animal in the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it . . . � (Surah Hud 11 : 6)
(Surah Hud 11 : 6)
However the success of the hereafter depends upon the efforts of man . As Allah says ,
�And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for; And that his striving shall soon be seen . �
(Surah Najm 53 : 39-40)


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says in Nahjul Balagha :
�One who claims (verbally) and says that I am hopeful of the Mercy of Allah , is a liar . By Allah if his claim is genuine then why is his sincerity not reflected in his actions . �
It is true that hope and fear are inner feelings , but they are manifested in one�s actions . Hence , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�The Proof of fear is flight and the proof of hope is the effort to come near . �
So , those who do not resort to flight from the sins prove that they do not have fear . Similarly , those who do not strive for the hereafter , make it evident that they do not have any hope in the bounties of Allah . Such people claim only verbally that Allah is Most Merciful . Actually , Satan has deceived them , and speaks through their tongue . Why is it that they do not just claim Allah to be generous for worldly benefits . Rather , they strive hard to procure these but are content to claim that Allah is Merciful for the Hereafter , and feel very secure in that thought without making any effort to strive for the Hereafter .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has stated ,
�Allah has to be feared as if you see Him with your own eyes . Because even if you can�t see Him , He is surely watching you . If you think that He is not watching you , you are a Kafir . However if you know that He is watching you and still commit sins , it means that you have regarded Him as an insignificant viewer . �
(Al Kafi)
If any mortal were to see us committing a sin we would feel ashamed and refrain from such a behaviour . But its a pity that we disregard the All-seeing Almighty and indulge in sins , unabashed .


One look at the life of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) will make the best of us hang our heads in shame . We would appear to be the most despicable and wretched creatures , when judged in the light of his excellence .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�A stroke of Ali (a . s . ) on the day of Khandaq (battle of Ahzaab) is superior to the total worship of men and jinns . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Ali (a . s . ) , inspite of his exalted position , is all humility when he addresses his Lord . Not an iota of significance does he attach to his outstanding achievements . They are all a Mercy from his Creator . In himself , he sees only shortcomings , faults and weaknesses for which he weeps and prays till he becomes unconscious . Abu Darda relates that I heard Ali (a . s . ) reciting in a disconsolate voice : �O my Lord , there is no doubt that I have spent a good part of my life in Your disobedience . (3) Still I do not hope for forgiveness from anyone but You . Nor do I intend to please anyone except You . O my real Master when I think of Your Mercy , the weight of my sins begins to feel light . But when I remember Your severity , the load of the difficulties crush me . �
Abu Darda says , �When there was a silence after this , I moved forward and saw that Ali (a . s . ) had fallen unconscious . When I shook his arm , it seemed lifeless . I thought that my master Ali (a . s . ) has passed away . �
Similarly Zorara says , �Once I saw Ali (a . s . ) in the last part of a dark night . He was holding his beard and pleading in a sorrowful voice : �O ! The provisions for the journey are less and the distance vast . The way is horrifying and the path dangerous . �
Ali (a . s . ) says in Dua-e-Kumail :
�O Allah the trials have increased and my condition has deteriorated and my good deeds are very few . �


Like his fear , the hope of Ali (a . s . ) is also well known . Since his birth upto the last moments of his life he remained engrossed in worship and obedience . He did not forgo worship even for a single moment . Sometimes he used to pray a thousand rakats of prayers in a day . Throughout his life , he fasted the whole of the month of Shabaan . He never missed the midnight prayers . Even in the night of the battle of Siffin , which is known as the coldest of the nights he offered his midnight prayers . For three continuous days he broke his fast with water . He gave his share of bread to the poor , the needy and the orphans . He gave in charity the proceeds of the sale of the garden that he had planted with his own hands . A detailed chapter of Behaarul Anwaar deals with the endowments of Ali (a . s . ) and his charity . A few examples are quoted below :
The will of Ali (a . s . ) is phrased in the following manner :
�This writing is that in which we have willed regarding one�s belongings . The slave of Allah , Ali hopes that Allah shall reward him for this by Heaven and shall protect him from the fire of the Hell on the day when the faces of some people would be white and the others black . Whatever property I own in �Yambao� and its suburbs , I leave all of it as an endowment to achieve the happiness of Allah . �
Inspite of excelling in good deeds and worship , while returning from a battle , he was seen exclaiming ,
�Certainly , the best deed of a man is to die a martyr . I fear I may not get a chance to achieve martyrdom . �
At last the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) informed him :
�O Ali ! Your end shall be martyrdom . �
We may think that it is not possible for sinners like us to come up to the level of a lofty personality like Ali (a . s . ) in terms of piety and spiritual realisation .
In reply to this we can say that , though it is not possible for us to reach that stage we can at least try to follow his commands as much as possible . For example , if a child sees a shining cobra , it is possible that he may try to catch it and risk being bitten to death ?
Let us suppose the child is accompanied by his father . In such a situation the father who is aware of the poisonous qualities of the cobra will shout warnings and move forward to rescue the child .
O the heedless one ! Is not Ali (a . s . ) your spiritual father and the virtual guide ? Are you not the claimant of his love and Wilayat . If your reply is positive then you must strive to follow and imitate your master as much as possible . The hardships and the punishments of the Day of Judgement make one shudder with horror and one cannot be complacent about the preparations of this last journey . If you are a true Shia of Ali (a . s . ) then he is the best model for you . Ali (a . s . ) has himself said ,
�You cannot imitate me entirely , but you can imitate (to some extent) and follow us . �
�Our Shias are only those who follow us . �


The leader of the caravan issues warning regarding the dangers of the journey and advises his followers to make all the necessary provisions for the perils and the wild animals they would encounter . Every person will be responsible for himself . Saying this he himself busies himself in preparations . The fear of the impending journey makes him terror-stricken .
Seeing their leader in this condition the followers respond by feeling a similar concern for the journey and its preparations .
Let us not be complacent and heedless , and waste precious moments . Let us follow our Imam (a . s . ) faithfully , so that we do not have to face remorse on the Day of Judgement .


O ! the caravans of piety and belief . The leader of your caravan , Ali ibn Abi Talib (a . s . ) is extremely afraid of the pitfalls of the last journey . He has issued clear warnings regarding the dangers . Every night he announced at the Masjid-e-Kufa ,
�Travellers ! may Allah have Mercy upon you . Pack up the provisions for your journey and be prepared . Certainly you have in your path deep ravines and terrible dangers . There is no alternative but to traverse this path . �
After this he used to say ,
�It is a pity ! The provisions are meagre and the journey extremely long and the destination , great . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
It is truly deplorable that our involvement in worldly affairs has created a wide unsurmountable gap between us and our Imam (a . s . ) . We have been completely cut off from his virtuous life and perfect morals . May Allah protect us from departing His influence to follow the misguidance of Satan . Certain sins cause us to be deprived of the Wilayat of Allah and love of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and lead us to the wilayat of Satan . After this we come under the control of Satan who rules us totally . Let us take refuge with Allah from such a doom .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�If a person slanders a believer to expose his faults to the public , or to insult him , Allah expels him from His Wilayat and leaves him to the Wilayat of Satan . �
(Al Kafi)
�Like the Satan when he says to man : Disbelieve , but when he disbelieves , he says : I am surely clear of you; surely I fear Allah , the Lord of the worlds . � (Surah Hashr 59 : 16)



The fifth Greater Sin is the murder of that person whose execution has not been ordered by Allah and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . Traditions which confirm that murder is a Greater Sin have already been mentioned at the beginning . Moreover the verses of the Holy Quran mention clearly the Divine punishment for the murderers .
�And whoever kills a believer intentionally , his punishment is Hell; he shall abide in it , and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 93)
Five types of punishments have been ordained for those who kill the believers . First , Hell; Second , Eternal abode in Hell; Third , involvement in the Divine wrath; Fourth , being the accursed by Allah; Fifth , the Great Chastisement .


One of the beliefs of the Shia Ithna Ashari school of thought is that eternal punishment is only for the Kuffar (Unbelievers) . In other words , if a person dies in belief , he will not remain under punishment forever , even if he has killed a believer (or someone else whose killing has been prohibited according to the Divine command) , or even though he has committed other greater sins . Hence the verse mentioned above has been explained in various ways . One possible explanation is that : one becomes eligible for eternal punishment only if he murders the believer because of his Imaan (belief) . If such is the case , then , the killer is indeed liable for everlasting chastisement , for he considered the murder of a Momin as Halaal , whereas it is Haraam . To consider a murder of a believer Haraam is an article of faith . Consequently one who does not have this belief is a Kafir .


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) announced on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hajjatul Wida) :
�O People ! It is not permitted to kill the Muslims . Similarly to appropriate their property is not allowed . So do not be unjust upon yourselves and do not revert to disbelief after my death . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Another explanation of the afore-mentioned hadith is that �abide in Hell� denotes being under punishment for a very long period . It does not mean that the sinner will be involved in eternal chastisement .


�Whoever slays a soul , unless it be for a manslaughter or for mischief in the land , it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive , it is as though he kept alive all men . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 32)
All the believers are sons of Adam (a . s . ) and brothers to one another . One who kills another person perpetrates a great evil and instigates a feeling of malice , revenge and hatred among people .


The Almighty Allah says :
� . . . and do not kill ourselves; surely Allah is Merciful to you . And whoever does this aggressively and unjustly , We will soon cast him into Fire; and this is easy for Allah . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 29-30)
Allah prohibits the believers from suicide even in times of turmoil .


� . . . . . and whoever keeps it alive , it is as though he kept alive all men . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 32)
If one saves the life of a �protected soul� whose killing has been prohibited by religion , be it forgiving , or not avenging , or protecting him , it is as if he has given life to the whole humanity . By saving one person he has; in a sense; saved humanity .
Murder is the worst sin in the eyes of Allah and severe punishment has been prescribed for a killer . The opposite of this , that is , saving the life of a person is accordingly regarded as the greatest form of worship .


The following tradition is indicative of the fact that murder is a Greater Sin :
Regarding the killing of a believer , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
At the time of his death the killer is told . �Die as you wish , die as a Jew or a Christian or as a Magian . �
(Al Kafi)
Another tradition :
�A believer is free in the vast expanse of his belief till he colours his hands with the blood of a Momin . �
Imam (a . s . ) further says :
�One who kills a believer intentionally is deprived of the �Tawfeeq� of repenting (for his sins) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


The third tradition , also from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was told that a Muslim has been killed and his corpse is lying on the street . When the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and his companions reached the site of the murder , he enquired as to who the killer was . �
The people said , �We do not know . � The Prophet was surprised ,
�A person has been killed among the Muslims , and no one knows of his killer ? �
�By the Almighty who appointed me with Prophethood , If all the creatures of the heavens and the earth participate in the murder of a Muslim and be pleased upon that , then Allah would surely involve them in punishment and send them all to Hell . �
The lesson derived from this hadith is that there is no difference between the killer and those who support or co-operate with him .
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said ,
�On the day of Qiyamat a person would be presented before Allah . He will be having a streak of blood (like one gets a cut while shaving) . He will say ,
�By Allah , I have not killed anyone . Not have I co-operated with anyone�s murder . � Allah will say , �Yes , but one day you spoke about a believer and your words caused him to be killed . Hence you are responsible for his murder . ��
Hazrat Imam Reza (a . s . ) said ,
�If someone is killed in the east and one who lives in the west is pleased upon this , then he is a partner in this murder . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


It is Haraam to abort an unborn child . Like in the case of a murder , diyah (prescribed fine) has to be paid here too . There is no difference between a foetus and a full-grown man . Even if the killers are its own parents . If a woman takes medicine that causes abortion , she would be liable for the punishment of a murderer .
The penalty (diyah) for killing a �protected soul� (Nafse Mohtaram) is one thousand misqal of gold .
If the killers are the parents themselves they do not inherit any part of diyah but the other relatives who are eligible for the inheritance are qualified for it .
It is evident from the foregoing discussion that human life is considered sacred by the Islamic Shariat . Nothing has been given so much importance like the one reserved for the �protected soul� (Nafs-e-Mohtaram) . So much so that the beginning point of the human life , that is , the fertilised ovum is also not to be wasted . Once conception has taken place , no abortion is allowed . The �diyah� (penalty) for abortion is as follows :
If the fertilised ovum is aborted the �diyah� is sixty misqal .
If bones have formed it is eighty misqal .
If an incomplete child is aborted whose features have become distinct but the soul not entered the body , the penalty is one hundred misqal .
If soul had entered it and it was a male child , diyah is one thousand misqal , and if female , it is five hundred misqal .
If a pregnant woman dies , it is necessary to remove the unborn child by operation . Any carelessness in this regard is �Haraam� .
If due to carelessness the child dies , diyah is wajib upon the one who was responsible for the lapse .


By way of repentance , a person who has committed a willful murder should surrender himself to the heir of the murdered person . The successors of the murdered person have a choice of either avenging the death or accepting the �diyah� . That is , they can forgive him or kill him in retribution .
If the murderer is forgiven , three things become obligatory on him :
1) Freeing a slave
2) Feeding sixty poor people
3) Keeping sixty fasts
If freeing a slave is not allowed by the law , the other two penalties should be fulfilled .


Even in the case of an accidental murder the heirs of the victim are to be paid the �diyah� . But they should forgive the killer .
Apart from this the three penalties should be imposed , that is , freeing a slave , feeding sixty people and fasting for sixty days .
Similarly cutting off a part of someone�s body is a Greater Sin . Those who intend to study this subject in detail are requested to refer to the books of Jurisprudence .



The sixth Greater Sin is to be disobedient to one�s parents as expressly mentioned in the traditions from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Pure Imams (a . s . ) . These have already been quoted in the first chapter . A tradition of the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says that the greatest sins are shirk and to be disobedient to one�s parents . The seriousness of disobedience to parents as a Greater sin can be gauged from the fact that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has mentioned it along with shirk which is the greatest of all Greater sins , and unforgiveable . �Aaq� is a sin , the punishment of which is promised in the Quran and the traditions .
The words of Hazrat Isa (a . s . ) as quoted by the Quran are :
�And dutiful to my mother , and He has not made me insolent , unblessed . �
(Surah Mariyam 19 : 32)
As Isa (a . s . ) did not have a father , his mother is alone mentioned . In the same Surah , both the father and mother of Hazrat Yahya (a . s . ) are mentioned .
Both the verses mention three characteristics of the disobedient child (Aaq-e-Waledain) .
1) �Jabbar� (insolent)
2) �Shaqee� (unblessed)
3) �Aasi� (disobedient)
Each of these negative qualities render one liable for severe punishment . Regarding �Jabbar� (insolent) the Quran says :
�And they asked for judgement and every insolent opposer was disappointed . Hell is before him and he shall be given to drink of festering water : He will drink it little by little and will not be able to swallow it agreeably , and death will come to him from every quarter , but he shall not die; and there shall be vehement chastisement before him . �
(Surah Ibrahim 14 : 15-17)
The one who is Shaqee will be punished as follows :
�So as to those who are �Shaqee� , they shall be in fire; for them shall be sighing and groaning in it; Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure , except as your Lord pleases . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 106-107)
Those with the third characteristic , that is , those who are �Aasi� will be dealt with severely by Allah .
�And whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle and goes beyond His limits , He will cause him to enter fire , to abide in it , and he shall have an abasing chastisement . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 14)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Beware ! Abstain from angering the parents . The fragrance of Paradise is perceived even at a distance of a thousand years , but those who are disobedient to parents and those who cut off ties with relatives will not be able to smell it . �
(Wasaelush Shia) .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) also said .
�One who displeases the parents , (it is as if) he has displeased Allah . One who angers both his parents (it is as if) he has angered Allah . �
Elsewhere , it is mentioned ,
�One who hurts his parents , hurts me and one who hurts me has hurt Allah . And the one who hurts Allah is accursed . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also stated :
�Allah will not speak to three kinds of people on the Day of Qiyamat . Neither will He have mercy upon them , nor will He purify their sins . There is for them a horrible chastisement . The three types of people are the believers in destiny , the drunkards and those who disobeyed their parents . �
(Al Kafi)


The wretchedness of the Aaq-e-Waledain is sufficiently evident from the fact that the trustworthy Jibraeel (a . s . ) has cursed him and said ,
�One who is blessed with parents but does not fulfill their (his parent�s) rights will not be forgiven (his sins) by Allah . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
When Jibraeel (a . s . ) said this , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) uttered , �Amen� ! Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�Accursed , Accursed is the one who beats his parents . Accursed is the one who distresses his parents .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�Allah will not accept the Namaz of the person who stares angrily at his parents . Even though they (parents) may be unjust . �


A young man was on his deathbed when the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) came , sat near him , and told him to recite two kalimas (Shahadatain) . But the youth could not speak . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) enquired if his mother was present ? A woman sitting near his head said , �Yes , I am his mother . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) asked , �Are your displeased with him ? �
�Yes , O Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , we have not spoken to each other since the last six years . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) asked this woman to forgive her son . Thus at the Prophet�s instance she forgave his mistakes and was reconciled . At once the young man was able to recite the Kalima-e-Shahadat .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) asked him ,
�What do you see , at this moment . � � O Prophet of Allah a dark and smelly man has got hold of me and is not leaving me . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him to recite the following dua ,
�Ya man Yaqbalul yaseera wa y�afo �Anil Katheera Iqbal minnil Yaseera Wa �Aafo �Annil Katheera . �
Then asked , �Now what do you see ? � He replied , �A fair complexioned man , handsome and fragrant , is moving towards me . �
The Holy Prophet said , �Keep repeating this dua . � When the youth repeated this dua he said �O Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) both of them have disappeared from my sight . � After this the face of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was illuminated with joy . He said , �O Allah forgive the sins of this young man . � Then the youth passed away .
(Behaarul Anwaar)
This tradition shows how difficult are the last moments of the Aaq-e-Waledain . He leaves this world in disbelief and remains , forever , in Divine punishment . The tutor of Kalima for this young man was the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . In spite of this his tongue did not move till his mother forgive him . The blessings of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the forgiveness of his mother brought salvation for this youth .


Allama Majlisi (r . a . ) writes in his commentary on Al Kafi :
Aaq-e-Waledain means that the son or the daughter cause disrespect to parents by speech or actions . Or they do not obey them in matters which are within reason and matters which are not in any way against religion .
Aaq-e-Waledain is absolutely Haraam . The books of traditions of both the Shias as well as the Sunnis validate this fact .
To look at the parents with anger is Aaq : To cause unhappiness to the parents results in Aaq . It is Haraam to take any step , which one is sure , will displease the parents .


The verses of the Quran as well as the traditions of the infallible Imams (a . s . ) not only prohibit displeasing and angering the parents , but also stress that benevolence towards them is Wajib .
A few examples of the Quranic Ayats are presented for the readers :
1) �And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents . �
(Surah Ankaboot 29 : 8)
2) �Be grateful to Me and both your parents . . . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 14)
The above verse is specially worth noting for the fact that Allah has mentioned together gratefulness towards Himself and to the parents . Certainly thankfulness to Allah is Wajib , and in the same way it is Wajib for the children to be thankful to their parents .
3) �And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him , and goodness to your parents . If either or both of them reach old age with you , say not to them (so much as) �Uff� nor chide them , and speak to them a generous word . And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion , and say : O my Lord ! Have compassion on them , as they brought me up (when I was) little .
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 23-24)
In this Ayat Allah has mentioned goodness to parents . In the same sentence He exhorts about service to Him . As service to Allah is Wajib , benevolence to parent is Wajib too .
When the Imam (a . s . ) was asked to explain the meaning of the term �Bil Waledaine Ehsana� (and goodness to your parents) , he said ,
�Be good to your parents and if they are in need of something , procure it for them before they ask for it . �
Then the meaning of the words , �Taqullahuma Qualan Kareema� (speak to them a generous word) was explained by the Imam (a . s . )
�If the parents beat you , say �May Allah forgive you� . The phrase �Wakhfiz Lahuma� (and make yourself submissively gentle to them) is elaborated by the Imam (a . s . ) :
�Do not look at them with distaste . Do not raise your voice above theirs . When you walk with them do not precede them . When you go to a gathering , do not sit before they do . Never keep your hand above theirs (while giving them something) . �


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) narrates that a young man presented himself to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and said that he wanted to participate in Jehad . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him :
�Certainly , go for Jehad in the way of Allah . If your are killed you will be alive near Allah and be provided sustenance from Him . The recompense for your sacrifice would be with Allah . If you return alive your sins would be washed off as if your were a newborn child . �
This man said : �O Prophet of Allah , my parents are alive and they are aged and have great expectations from me . They do not like me to be away from them . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�If that is so , then stay behind to serve your parents . By Allah in whose hands is my life , to serve parents for a day and night is equal to a year of Jehad . �
Another tradition from Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Acquire your place in Heaven by serving your parents . If you are guilty of �Aaq� then make Hell your abode . �


Goodness towards the parents is the expiation of various sins . It is related in a report that a man came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and said , �O , Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) there is not a single misdeed , that I have not committed . Is there repentance for me ? � The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him ,
�Go and do goodness to your father in order that your sins may be expiated . �
When the man left the assembly the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�If his mother had been alive , it would have been more meritorious to do good to her . �


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has stated ,
�In the happiness of parents lies the happiness of Allah and in their dissatisfaction is Allah�s dissatisfaction . �
(Behaarul Anwaar) .
He (s . a . w . s . ) further said ,
�A person who is good to his parents will be just a grade below the prophets in Heaven . And the Aaq-e-Waledain will be only a grade higher than the Firons in Hell . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�Benevolence to parents is the greatest of the religious obligations . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says that Allah has two Angels one of whom says , �O Allah ! Protect those who do good to the parents . � The other Angel prays , �O Allah ! Destroy those people by retribution , with whom their parents are angry . � Needless to say , the prayers of the Angels are always accepted by Allah .


The previous traditions mention the ill effects of �Aaq-e-Waledain� in the hereafter . The following traditions describe the evil repercussions of Aaq-e-Waledain in this life .
The last of the Prophets (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�There are three kinds of sins which are punished in this world , rather than being given respite till Qiyamat . The first is Aaq-e-Waledain . The second , injustice upon men and third , thanklessness for favour . �
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) stated ,
�Secret charity cools down Divine anger while goodness to parents and benevolence to relatives , prolongs life . �
(Behaarul Anwaar) .
Another tradition says ,
�Benevolence to parents and secret charity , ward off poverty , and both (these deeds) prolong life . Seventy types of death are kept away . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
�Those who assure me that they will be benevolent to parents and do good to the relatives , I will give them excess of wealth and a long life and assure them of being close among our group . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Hazrat Imam Naqi (a . s . ) said ,
�The displeasing of parents causes decrease in sustenance and degradation (also follows) . �


There was a young man from Madinah . His parents were very old . He never did any good towards them . He neglected them and did not expend any of his wealth for their well-being . After sometime he became a destitute and fell sick . His wretchedness and misery reached such extreme , that he became a pitiable character . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�Those who cause hurt to their parents should derive lessons from the life of this man . See how his wealth and property has been taken away . His affluence and independence has changed to poverty and his health has turned into disease . Whatever position he was to get in Heaven , he has been deprived of due to his sins; in its place the fire of Hell has been prepared for him . �
(Safinatul Bihar)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) narrates :
�When Hazrat Yaqoob (a . s . ) went to Egypt to meet his son Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) , he (Yusuf a . s . ) did not alight from his horse to pay respect to his father . Hazrat Jibraeel (a . s . ) descended , and told Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) to open his fist . As he did so , a light shot out from his palm and rose towards the sky . Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) enquired , �What was this light which came out of my hand and shot to the sky ? . � Jibraeel (a . s . ) replied , �The light of Prophethood has departed from your loins . You did not pay due respect to your father hence none of your descendants will get Prophethood . � It is true that Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) did not descend from his horse to pay respect to his father . However , this was not due to any feelings of pride and vanity . The Prophets are sinless and could never harbour such emotions . His intentions were merely to maintain his dignity as a King among his subjects . �


Aaq-e-Waledain brings disgrace in the Hereafter , and goodness to parents brings honour and glory . As Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has said ,
�Those who wish an easy death should do good to the relatives and be kind to parents . When one does this , Allah will make easy the agony of death . In this world he will not face difficulties and poverty . �
(Safinatun Bihar)


The supplication of parents for the welfare of the child are quickly answered by Allah and in the same way their ill wish (curse) due to displeasing them also takes quick effect . Numerous traditions have been recorded in this connection . One such tradition is connected with the merits of Dua-e-Mashlool . It is said that a young man had lost the use of his right hand which was paralysed due to the curse of his father . After his father�s death , the man prayed the entire night , continuously for a period of three years in Masjidul Haram . One day Hadhrat Ali (a . s . ) saw him and took pity upon him . He taught him Dua-e-Mashlool . By the virtue of this Dua the young man was cured .


Goodness towards the mother is more rewarding . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) emphasized that benevolence shown to the mother should be three times the magnitude of that shown towards the father . When he was asked as to which of the parents had more rights , he replied ,
�Was it not your mother who suffered the birth pangs to give birth to you and provided you with your natural diet from her breasts ? Indeed the rights of a mother far outweigh those of the father . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


Someone asked the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) about the rights of the father . He (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�He should be obeyed always , as long as he lives . �
Then he was asked , �What is the right of the mother ? � . He answered ,
�If the service to a mother equals the quantity of the particles of sand in the desert and the drops of rain on earth , it (this service) will not repay for a single day that she kept you in her womb . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


It is reported that a young man approached the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and asked ,
�O Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) , I have a mother who is an invalid . She cannot even move by herself . I carry her on my back and feed her with my hands . I also clean her excreta . Have I fulfilled her rights ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�No . Because you have remained in the womb for a long period during which you derived your nourishment from her body . She was every busy in caring and protecting you at all costs . Inspite of such hardships she always wished a long life for you . But you are waiting for her to die so that you may relieved of the responsibility of taking care of her . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) described the eminence of a mother�s position in the following statement :
1) �If you are praying a mustahab prayer and your father calls you , do not break your prayer but if your mother calls , break the prayer . �
Truly , this assigns a remarkably high status to a mother . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) states ,
�Paradise is at the feet of your mother . �
Hence one need not go far in search of Paradise .


Whether the parents are believers and pious or Kafirs and sinful , goodness towards them is wajib . And �Aaq-e-Waledain� is Haraam .
The verse of Surah Luqman says thus ,
�And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of , do not obey them , and keep company with them in this world kindly . . . � .
(Surah Luqman 31 : 15)


Moammar Ibne Khallad asked Imam Reza (a . s . ) whether one is allowed to pray for one�s parents if they had not followed the truth and had not been Shia .
Imam Reza (a . s . ) replied ,
�If they are dead , pray for them and give Sadaqah on their behalf . If they are alive keep them happy . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says;
�Allah the Most High has sent me as the Mercy for the worlds , except to the �Aaq� (of parents) . �
Jabir Ibne Abdullah (r . a . ) reports that someone asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �My parents are against the truth , i . e . they are not the Shia of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . )� . Imam replied :
�Be good towards them like you would be towards out Shias . �
(Al Kafi)


Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) said;
�Allah has not given superiority to a Momin in three circumstances .
First , to return what has been entrusted to you for safe keeping whether it belongs to a Momin or a Kafir .
Second , fulfilling an oath , whether given to a Momin or a Kafir . Third , doing good to the parents , whether they be Momin or Kafir . �
(Al Kafi)
A letter on various aspects of Islamic Shariat , written by Hazrat Imam Reza (a . s . ) to Mamun , include the following :
�Benevolence to parents is wajib even if both of them are �Mushrik� . However obedience to parents is not wajib if their order is against the orders of the Creator . �
(Oyun-e-Akhbare Reza)


Zakaria , the son of Ibrahim , was a Christian . Later he converted to Islam and had the honour of meeting Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . He told Imam (a . s . ) �My mother is a Christian and she is old and blind . � The Imam advised him ,
�Serve your mother and behave kindly towards her . Upon her death , do not leave her dead body to others . Perform her funeral rites yourself . �
Thus this statement of the Imam (a . s . ) is pregnant with two prophecies . Her death , and her conversion to Islam .
When Zakaria returned to Kufa he began to behave very kindly with his mother . He fed her with his own hands . Changed her clothes , washed and bathed her too . In short , he served his mother in every possible way . His mother asked , �My son you were not so dutiful when you were a Christian . Why is it that now you serve me day and night ? �
Zakaria replied , �O my mother . I have a master who is the son of the Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) . He advised me to serve you in this way . � The mother asked , �Is he a prophet ? � �No . But he is a son of the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . � �Such a person must be a Prophet because only prophets teach such manners . � The mother remarked .
Zakaria explained to his mother , �The chain of the Prophets came to an end with the Prophet of Islam (s . a . w . s . ) . He was the seal of the Prophets . The one who has guided me is the son of the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . � The mother said , �My son , the religion of Islam that you have embraced is better than all the religions . Teach me , so that I too may become a Muslim . �
So , Zakaria made her recite the �Kalima� and taught her the true beliefs . Later , this lady performed the Zohrain and the Maghrebain prayers . The same night death approached her . She told her son : �Dear son , repeat to me again whatever you have taught me . � Zakaria began to recite while she listened carefully and in this way she passed away .
Displeasing the parents is Haraam and goodness towards them is Wajib , whether they are alive or dead . In other words parents have rights upon their children even after they (the parents) are dead .
If the son or the daughter forgets the parents after their death and does not perform good deeds on their behalf , it is �Aaq-e-Waledain� irrespective of the fact that the child had fulfilled all his or her rights and served them till the time of their death .


First : To carry out the Wajib acts which they did not perform during their life time , like Namaz , Roza , Hajj and repayment of debts .
Second : To Act on their will and testament .
Third : To perform various good deeds for their salvation , i . e . , to give Sadaqah , to perform charitable acts , and to carry out recommended acts on their behalf . In short , one should strive to the utmost in doing good deeds on their behalf so that Allah may shower His blessing and mercy on them .


It is narrated from Hazrat Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) :
�Certainly , if a person is good to his parents when they are alive but forsakes them after they die and does not repay their debts or pray for their forgiveness , Allah will record �Aaq-e-Waledain� in the account of his deeds . On the other hand , if a person is �Aaq-e-Waledain� when they are alive but after their death repays their debts and prays for their forgiveness and salvation , Allah will include him among the righteous people� .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�What prevents you from serving your parents in their life and death ? The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) remarks about the goodness to parents after death . �Perform their �namaz� (if some wajib prayers have been omitted by them , the eldest son should perform them himself , or have them fulfilled by someone else on payment . However , if no wajib prayer is remaining upon them , then he could pray Nawafil Namaz for them or have them performed on payment . ) Pay Sadaqah on their behalf . Complete their Qaza fasts and fulfill the obligation of their Hajj . Whatever you do , both of you will be rewarded (i . e . you and your parents) .
Apart from this , goodness to parents carries double rewards . One for the action itself , and second for the benevolence towards the parents .


It is narrated from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that a man approached him and asked whether his parents have any rights upon him after their death ? The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�Yes , pray Namaz for them , seek forgiveness on their behalf , respect their tradition , and be good to their relatives . �
(Al Kafi)


The orders and restraints of the parents are of no significance with respect to the wajib acts and the Divine prohibitions . For example if the parents order the child to drink wine or restrain him from the obligatory prayers and fasts , they should not be obeyed . It is expressly mentioned in this Verse of Surah Luqman :
�And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of , do not obey them . . . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 15)
The traditions also support this Ayat :
�No Obedience of a creature in contravention to the Divine command . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Apart from these circumstances , obedience to parents is obligatory with regards to the Makruh and Mubah acts . The same applies to the Wajib-e-Kifai .
If by performing these actions , the parents are displeased or hurt , it is �Haraam� , a Greater Sin and causes one to be �Aaq-e-Waledain� . Suppose the son wishes to proceed on a non-obligatory journey and the parents restrain him as they fear some harm for him , or because they cannot bear to be separated from him; and the son disobeys them and goes ahead with the journey , such a journey is Haraam . It is a journey of sin . Salaat and Fasting is not Qasr for this journey . In short , anything that causes displeasure and hurts the parents , is absolutely Haraam .
Obedience to parents is not obligatory in the following cases :
When it causes unbearable hardships or harm . For instance , if they restrain the son from marriage when he feels the need for it . Or they order the son to divorce his wife without a sound reason . If such an action will result in harm to both the spouses , it is not obligatory to obey the parents .
As far as I know , it is not obligatory to obey parents even in cases where they do not get angry or hurt if their commands are disobeyed .
As far as possible one should obey their orders and restrain from opposing them . Especially when the parents advise their children for their own benefit and without any selfish motive .


If a situation arises when there is a disagreement between the parents on any subject , as far as possible , one should try to pacify and satisfy both of them . However , if it is not possible then the wish of the mother should be given precedence .
We have already seen the reasons why her rights far exceed those of the father . She is also more deserving of obedience because being a woman she is more sensitive in comparison to men . The mother is easily disturbed by the slightest hurt caused by her child . She becomes restless and uncontrollable due to her motherly feelings . In contrast , the father exercises reason and intelligence and being less emotional , is much less affected . He would realise that the son is obeying the mother because of the very special status granted to her by Allah and not because he intends to disobey his father due to disregard for him .


The Islamic Shariat has prescribed certain matters wherein it is necessary to obtain the permission of both the parents . Or at least of one of them . For example , the Wajib-e-Kifai acts like Jehad , or the Mustahab acts like the recommended fasts , or matters like taking an oath , vow and promises . In all such cases it is Wajib to obtain the parents� permission . The First Martyr(4) had mentioned ten topics on the rights of parents in his book �Qawaid� . It will be appropriate to mention them .


1) Mubah and Mustahab journey without the permission of parents is Haraam . However a business journey and the journey undertaken for acquiring knowledge is allowed according to some Mujtahids .
2) Some Jurists are of the opinion that , obedience to parents is Wajib upon the child in every condition where there exists a doubt . Hence if the parents order their son or daughter to eat with them , and if there is doubt regarding the food , it is incumbent to obey the parents . Because , obedience to parents is Wajib while avoiding food in case of doubt , is Mustahab .
3) If it is time for prayers and the parents would like to get some work done , it is necessary to carry out the orders before offering Namaz . Here again the offering of Namaz at the earliest is Mustahab whereas the obedience to parents is Wajib .
4) Parents cannot prevent their child from performing Namaz in congregation unless it causes some problem to them . For example , the absence of the son , while he goes for Fajr or Isha prayers , may cause them anxiety regarding their own safety or the safety of their property . Or , it may make them apprehensive about the son�s safety .
5) If it is not absolutely obligatory (Wajib-e-Aini) the parents can stop their son from going on Jehad .
6) Regarding the commands , which are Wajib-e-Kifai , the parents can prevent their son or daughter only if there is a certainty or a chance of the Wajib being fulfilled by other people .
7) Some jurists are of the opinion that if one is praying a recommended prayer , he can interrupt it if his parents call him .
8) One must forgo recommended fasts if the father disallows them .
9) In the matter regarding vows and promises , if the parents are against it , then one must not disobey them .
10) It is the duty of the son to ensure that he causes no harm to his parents . And if someone else intends to harm them , the son must do everything in his capacity to ward off the harm .


As it is Wajib to fulfill the rights of the parents , it is also necessary to give them due respect and honour . Numerous traditions have been recorded from the Ahlul-bayt (a . s . )
1) One must not address the parents by their names . However , they can be addressed by their title or kunniyat .
2) One must not precede them while walking , nor should one sit down before them .
3) While having meals one should not begin before the parents . Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedeen (a . s . ) did not have meals with his mother for the fear that he may pick a morsel which she intended to .
4) One must never sit with one�s back to our parents in a gathering .
5) While speaking , one�s voice should not rise above the voice of one�s parents .
6) One should not do anything that would cause the parents to become a butt of criticism . We must not insult the parents of others , or they would insult our parents in retaliation .
7) Hazrat Sajjad (a . s . ) saw a young man walking on the street with the support of his father�s hand . He was much displeased and did not even speak to the boy again .
(Al Kafi)
It is the unanimous opinion of the jurists that �Ahsan� of parents means refraining from everything that displeases them .
The following actions are considered disrespectful :
1) Not providing them with the necessities , thus compelling them to beg for them .
2) Not inviting them to a function where others have been invited .
3) Not getting presents for them from a place where one had been to , on a journey .
All the above acts are Haraam . In addition , the jurists also consider the following actions Haraam : -
1) To turn away from the parents with disdain .
2) To sit with one�s back towards the parents .
3) To speak in a voice louder than the parents .
4) Walking ahead of the parents .
If any of them do not cause disrespect or displeasure , they are allowed . However , to refrain from them is �mustahab� .


Just as it is Wajib for the children to respect , honour and fulfill the rights of their parents , it is incumbent upon the mother and the father to fulfill the rights , which the children have upon them . If the parents do not fulfill these rights , it would amount to Qate Rahmi (cutting off the relationships) . Since children are the closest to parents it is a must to refrain from Qate Rahmi with them , and Qate Rahmi is a great sin , as would be described later .
Just as the children become �Aaq-e-Waledain� by not complying with their duties , the parents also become �Aaq� if they fail to perform their duties towards their children . Further , the parents should not impose unbearable commands upon the children such that the children are forced to find excuses for not obeying them and thus become �Aaq� .
The parents should not ridicule their children for their actions . Rather the children must be corrected by constructive criticism . Ridicule makes the children stubborn and creates enmity between them and the parents . When the parents fail to fulfill the rights of the children , it induces the children to forsake the rights of the parents in retaliation . As a consequence , both the parents and the children are involved in a Greater Sin .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�The parents are liable to be �Aaq� in the same way as the children who do not fulfill the rights of the parents become involved in the sin of �Uqooq� (plural of Aaq) . �
It is therefore a solemn duty of the parents to behave kindly with their children and give them a good training and education . They should keep them under gentle control and must not do anything that would cause them to be �Aaq� .
For example , the parents should overlook the minor faults of the children . They should appreciate insignificant favours and show happiness and gratitude for these favours which would encourage the child to further good actions . They should make the children aware that they wish them the best and pray for their happiness in the world and the Hereafter .
We will now put forward the rights of children upon their parents , as enunciated by educated jurists and propounded in the books of Islamic Law .
It is Wajib upon the parents to bear the expenses of the children right from the time of their birth till they become independent , and in case of a daughter , till she gets married .
One of the most important duties of the father is to arrange for the marriage of the son when he attains maturity . In case of the daughter too the father must strive to find a good match for her . The parents cannot restrain their daughter from matrimony . The Holy Quran states clearly :
� . . . then do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree among themselves in a lawful manner . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 232)
Another important duty for the parents is to give a good education to their children . The parents must strive to instruct the children with regard to the fundamentals of Islamic faith . The seriousness and significance of observing the laws of Shariat should be inculcated in the children , and no leniency must be shown if the religious laws are not strictly followed . However , the aspect of Amr bil Maroof and Nahy Anil Munkar must be kept in mind . The details regarding the same shall be explained in the chapter of Amr bil Maroof (enjoining good) and Nahy Anil Munkar (forbidding evil) .
Various traditions stress upon the duty of the parents to shower their love and affection upon the children . A few of these are quoted below .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Be affectionate to your children and have mercy upon them . When you promise them something , fulfill your promise because the children repose hope only in the parents . When a promise is not fulfilled , it causes dissatisfaction and strains relationships . Certainly Allah is most wrathful when the women and children are disheartened . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has told that when a person kisses his child , a good deed is recorded in his Nama-e-Aamal (Scroll of deeds) .
The parents have been ordered to be more kind towards the daughters . It is mustahab that when a father brings something for the children he must first offer it to the daughter; especially the one who is named Fatima .
If the children oppose the parents , they must never be abused or reviled . The curses of the parents cause an increase in the misery of the children .


Whatever has been mentioned till now concerns the biological parents; however the spiritual fathers or the guides of humanity are Hazrat Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) and his Purified Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . All of us are spiritually related to them . In every circumstance their followers can be enriched by virtues and get protection from calamities . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has informed , �I and Ali (both) are the fathers of this Ummat . � The spiritual fathers are superior to the biological parents in a manner that the soul is superior to the physical body . Similarly the punishment of the �Aaq� of the spiritual fathers is much more severe than that of the �Aaq� of ordinary parents .


The rewards for kindness to the spiritual father is a thousand times more than kindness to the real parents . In the same way the �Aaq� of a spiritual father is far more severely punishable , i . e . , Heaven is prohibited for the person who disobeys the spiritual father , and none of his deeds are accepted even if he prays in the nights and fasts during the day . The punishment for those who do not acknowledge the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) is more severe because the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) are the real spiritual fathers . It would be wrong to consider all the Quranic verses and traditions in connection with Uqooq-e-Waledain to be restricted to biological parents . The Holy Quran and hadith are unanimous in declaring that the commands for Uqooq-e-Waledain apply equally and more stringently to the spiritual as well as biological parents . The ultimate argument in this connection is the Quranic verse wherein Allah has ordered obedience towards the parents along with His own worship .
�Be grateful to Me and both your parents . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 14)
�And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him , and goodness to your parents . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 23)
A similar reference to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) is to be found in the chapter of Sileh Rahem . Two traditions are reported from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . )
The first tradition is when Umroo bin Yazid enquired about the meaning of the following Ayat of Surah Raad :
�And those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning . �
(Surah Raad 13 : 21)
The next tradition is concerned with the tafsir of the same �Ayat� . It says that the above Ayat has been revealed about the Sileh Rahem to Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) and the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , the close relatives of the Momin being included in it . The tradition further says ,
�And do not be of those who restrict the Ayat to some particular personalities . But whenever you hear of a verse regarding a kind of people you must consider it to be applicable to the other people of the same kind . �


The Uqooq of the spiritual fathers means to disobey their commands and to be heedless of their orders . To sever relationships with them in this world by not acknowledging their leadership . Imam Reza (a . s . ) asked ,
�Won�t you feel bad if your parents are displeased and say that you are not their child ? �
Those who were present answered , �Yes� . Imam (a . s . ) continued ,
�The spiritual parents are superior to your biological parents . Do not give them an opportunity to say this . Rather consider yourself lucky be to their son or daughter . �



The seventh Greater Sin is the breaking up of relations with one�s kith and kin . This is clearly verified by Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as well as Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) , Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) and Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (a . s . ) . The Quran has also decreed Hell-fire and the curse of Allah upon those who cut off ties with their relatives .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Beware of those who cut off relations because I have found them cursed thrice in the Quran . �
1) Surah Baqarah , Ayat No . 27
Whoever break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined , and make mischief in the land , these it is that are the losers .
In the Quranic terminology when the word Khaasir (loser) is used it denotes the one who is to be in loss , or rather the one who is cursed .
2) Surah Raad , Ayat No . 25
And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those , upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode .
3) Surah Muhammad , Ayat No . 22-23
But if you held command , you were sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship . Those it is whom Allah has cursed , so He has made them deaf and blinded their eyes .


Numerous traditions have reached us in this regard . A few of these reports are quoted here :
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) states :
There is destruction in enmity , especially with the relatives . I do not mean the destruction of the law but rather the destruction of the religion . (Enmity among people not only harms the hair and the body , but it also destroys one�s religion) .
(Al Kafi , Chapter of Qate-Rahem)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Protect yourself from �Haliqa� for it destroys the people . � The narrator asked �What is �Haliqa�� , Imam replied , �To sever relations . �


A man approached the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and enquired , �What is the worst deed in the eyes of Allah ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�To attribute partners to Allah . �
The man then asked , �After this which is the worst sin ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�To sever relations� .
After this the same person asked , �After this which is the worst sin ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied :
�To enjoin the evil and to forbid the good (deeds) . �
(Al Kafi)


A man complained to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) about his relatives . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Swallow your anger and behave nicely with your relatives . �
The man said , �My relatives give me all sorts of troubles and there is hardly any cruelty they have not committed upon me . � The Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�Do you also want to cut off relation with them ? If you also become like them , then Allah will never have mercy for you . �
Allama Majlisi (r . a . ) says , �If one behaves kindly to the relatives who are bad , they would at one time or the other regret their behaviour . Then the Mercy of Allah will be upon both of them . If the ill-behaved relatives do not rectify their ways then at least the Mercy of Allah will be upon the one who continues kindness to them (the relatives) .
It is very clear to us that we must not sever relations even with those relatives who are unkind to us and who want to cut off the relationships .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Do not sever relation with your kindered even if they cut off relations with you . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) states :
�There are three sins whose punishment has to be borne in this world itself : -
The first is injustice , the second is breaking of relationships and the third is false oath . �
(Al Kafi)
Life is Shortened
Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) says in one of his sermons : -
�I seek refuge from the sins which cause the hastening of death . �
Someone asked him , �Maula , Is there any sin by which the death is hastened ? � He replied ,
�Yes , the breaking up of the family ties . �
Families who live with co-operation and care for each other are given increase in sustenance by Allah and those who remain divided and are aloof from each other , Allah removes the bounty from their sustenance and their lifespan shortens even if they are all pious (in other respects) .


A companion of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) complained about the ill-treatment given to him by his relatives ,
�My own brother as well as my paternal cousins are harassing me . They have snatched the house that rightfully belonged to me and have given me only a room to live in . If I complain to the government , I shall be able to recover all my property .
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Be patient , everything will be alright . �
The man returned satisfied . In the year 131 A . H . there was a terrible plague . All the relatives of the man perished . Thereafter when he arrived before Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , he (Imam a . s . ) asked ,
�How are your relatives ? �
The man said , �By Allah all of them are dead . � The Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Their deaths have been due to their ill-treatment and Qat-e-Rahmi of relatives like you , not recognizing your right and cutting off relationships . �


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) relates from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�When people claim to possess knowledge but do not act upon it , when they claim to profess love but harbour malice in their hearts and sever relations , in such a condition Allah removes mercy from them and makes them undiscerning to logic .
(Behaarul Anwaar)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Among the various sins , injustice and cutting off relationships are such that one who commits these is punished in this world itself . Apart from this the punishment for these sinners has already been prepared in the Hereafter . �
At another occasion the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has informed :
�One who severs relationships will not enter Heaven . �
Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari (r . a . ) has related from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) that he quotes the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as follows :
�Jibraeel (a . s . ) has informed me that even at a distance of a thousand years man will be able to smell the fragrance of Heaven , but one who disobeys his parents , the one who breaks ties with the kith and kin , or the aged adulterer will not be able to smell it . In fact , the fragrance of Paradise will be felt even at a distance of two thousand years , but not by those who disobey their parents and those who break ties with the relatives . �
The exalted Prophet of Islam (s . a . w . s . ) has also informed that the invocation of the person who breaks family ties shall not be answered . �In the chapter on the merits of Shab-e-Qadr the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has stated that in the night of Qadr Allah forgives the sins of all the people except of those who drink wine , who disobey their parents , and those who break ties with the relatives or harbour enmity towards the believers . �


The Almighty Allah says in the Quran :
� . . . and be careful of (your duty to) Allah , by Whom you demand one of another (your rights) , and (to) the ties of relationship;�
(Surah Nisa 4 : 1)
According to Imam al-Baqir (a . s . ) , the notable point in this verse is that the fear of Allah is mentioned alongwith the fear one should have about breaking relations with kith and kin .
In the book Al Kafi there is a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . He says :
�The relatives in this Ayat , include all , and not only the nearest ones . Certainly Allah has ordered kindness towards all the relatives . Allah has given so much importance to this deed that he mentions it with his exalted name . �
It is related from Imam Ali-ar-Reza (a . s . ) :
�Allah has ordered three things along with three others , in the glorious Quran :
1) Namaz is ordered along with Zakat . If one offers Namaz but does not pay Zakat (when it is due upon him) then his Namaz will not be accepted .
2) Allah has ordered thankfulness to Himself along with the thankfulness to one�s parents . If one is not grateful to one�s parents it is as if he has not been grateful to Allah .
3) Allah has ordered piety along with kindness to ones kith and kin . Then one who is not kind towards the relatives is not pious . �


The Creator of the Universe , Almighty Allah remarks in the Holy Quran :
�Certainly Allah orders equity , kindness (to people) and the giving (of what they need) to the relatives . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 90)
In Surah Raad is the following verse :
�And those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning . �
(Surah Raad 13 : 21)
The expression �reckoning� in this Ayat denotes the accounting of one�s deeds with regard to his duty of kindness towards relatives . This Ayat shows that kindness towards the kith and kin shall be an important factor to ease the difficulty of the accounting for one�s deeds .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) explains as follows :
�Kindness to relatives makes the reckoning (of the Hereafter) easy . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) made a will in his last moments :
�Pay seventy Dinars to my paternal cousin Hasan Aftas . �
He was asked , �Master you are making a gift to someone who has attacked you with a sword ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Do you think I should not be included among those concerning whom the Quran says :
�And those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning�� (Surah Raad : 13 : 21)
Allah has created Paradise , purified it and made it fragrant . Its fragrance is felt at a distance of two thousand years (of travel) . But the one who disobeys his parents or breaks ties with the kin will be so far away from Paradise , that he will not even experience its fragrance .
(Behaarul Anwaar)


There are numerous traditions to the fact that Sileh Rahmi is obligatory . In one of such traditions Imam Baqir (a . s . ) relates from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�I will (command) all the people of my Ummat , whether present or not , and those generations which are to come till the Qiyamat , who are still in the loins of their father and wombs of their mothers , that they should be kind to their relatives (and visit them) even if they live at a distance of a year�s journey . Because kindness to relatives is one of the commands which is made an integral part of the faith (Imaan) . �
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) relates from Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (r . a . ) who quotes the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) to have remarked :
�Siraat (the bridge passing over Hell that everyone has to cross) will have on each side (of it) �Sileh Rahmi� and �Amanat� (keeping a trust) one who performs the act of Sileh Rahmi and maintains trusts (Amanat) shall be able to cross the �Siraat� easily and will reach Paradise .
None of the good deeds will benefit those who have broken ties with relatives or committed breach of trust . They will slip from the bridge of �Siraat� and drop into Hell-fire .
(Al Kafi)
Numerous reports (Rawayaat) testify that Sileh Rahmi (kindness to one�s relatives) also has worldly benefits . Like , increase in the life-span , postponement of death , increase in the number of descendants etc . , Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) related three traditions from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in the court of Mansur Dawaniqi (l . a . ) .
1) �A man who has only three years of life remaining , performs an act of kindness to his relatives and Allah increases his life by thirty years . In the same way a man has thirty years of life but due to his breaking off the ties of relationship , his (remaining) life is decreased to three years . Then the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said : Whatever Allah wills He erases and whatever He wills He writes .
It means that if Allah wills He can alter (certain destinies) due to one�s actions and deeds . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
2) �Fulfilling the rights of kith and kin increases the life-span even if the relative is a sinner . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
3) Sileh Rahmi (kindness to relatives) is a cause for the easy accounting of one�s deeds on the day of Qiyamat and it (Sileh Rahmi) protects one from sudden death . �
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has told Maysar :
(O� Maysar) the time of your death has arrived many times but Allah has postponed (your death) due to your kindness to the relatives and good behaviour towards them .


It is reported from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said to Maysar ,
�O Maysar , truly your lifespan has increased , what good actions have you been performing ? �
Maysar replied , �In my youth I used to earn from my labours an amount of five Dinars a day and I used to give these to my maternal uncle . �
Yaqoob Magribi was once in the presence of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�You and your brother had an argument over the ownership of a house . So much so that you abused each other and broke up the ties of relationsip . Such a thing is not from my religion , neither is it from the religion of my ancestors . Then fear Allah , the One Who is without any partner . Fear the Divine Punishment . Due to this sin , death shall soon separate you (two) . Your brother will die in this journey and you shall regret you actions . �
The man asked , �May my life be sacrificed upon you , when will I die ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Your death had also arrived but you did an act of kindness to your father�s sister (your aunt) and thus your lifespan increased by twenty years (or months) . �
As Imam (a . s . ) has predicted , Yaqoob�s brother died before he could reach home and was buried on the way .
(Safinatul Behaar)


The practice of Sileh Rahmi (kindness to kith and kin) accrues worldly advantages , spiritual benefits and bounties of the Hereafter .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq says :
�Sileh Rahmi perfects the morals and encourages charity . When one performs Sileh Rahmi he has to be benevolent towards his relatives . The continuous practice of Sileh Rahmi brings refinement in his morals . In the same way repeated acts of kindness inculcate a benign and compassionate feeling in the person , and the soul is purified (from the sin of jealousy and enmity) . (Safinatun Behaar)


Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) states :
Sileh Rahmi (kindness to relatives) purifies deeds . Purification of deeds means , that the shortcomings in all the good deeds of a person practicing Sileh Rahmi are naturally compensated and all his good deeds are accepted by Allah .
It increases wealth , wards off difficulties and calamities . The accounting of your actions on the day of Qiyamat is made easy . Even the ordained time of death is postponed .


Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) says :
There are two actions , towards which , a step taken is liked by Allah more than anything else . One is the step taken to join a row formed in the name of Allah (for Jehad or Namaz); the second is the one taken to extend a hand of friendship towards kith and kin who want to break relations .
(Behaarul Anwaar)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Certainly there is a section in Paradise which can not be attained except by three kinds of people . First the just Imam , second , the one who does Sileh Rahmi , and third the one who has family (and children) but remains patient (in poverty and diffi�culties) .
(Behaarul Anwaar)


The reward for Sileh Rahmi has been described by the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in one of his traditions . He says :
�When a person goes towards his relatives so that he can fulfill his rights with his life and his wealth , Allah bestows upon him the reward of a martyr at every step he takes . He (Allah) writes down forty thousand Hasana (the unit of Divine rewards) and He erases forty thousand of his sins and He elevates him by forty thousand grades . The person achieves the position of one who has worshipped Allah for a hundred years . � (Behaarul Anwaar)
At another place the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says , regarding the rewards for Sileh Rahmi :
�The reward for Sadaqah in the way of Allah is ten times , whereas the reward for giving a loan is twelve times (because in giving a loan the dignity of the Loanee is maintained) . The reward for the good behaviour to the believing brothers is twelve times and the reward for Sileh Rahmi is twenty four times . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


The Shariat of Islam has not provided any fixed definition for these two terms . In this case the meaning as judged by common sense and reason must be accepted . We must consider all the relatives from the father�s side and mother�s side , irrespective of whether they are close or distant , to be our kith and kin who have a right on us . In the same way the children of the daughters and their descendant also come in this category as the Quran says :
�Those who join together (do Sileh Rahmi) those things which Allah has commanded to be joined . �
(Surah Raad 13 : 21)
Urwah Ibne-Yazeed asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) the meaning of this Ayat (Surah Raad 13 : 21) , the Imam (a . s . ) replied;
�You have been commanded to do Sileh Rahmi towards all your relatives . Whether they are Mehram (in the prohibited category of marriage) or Namehram , (not in the prohibited category) whether they are distant relatives or closely related , whether they are immediate relatives or separated by several generations . �
(Al Kafi)


It is generally observed that people tend to behave graciously towards their wealthy relatives and avoid the poor ones . The faith of Islam does not differentiate or discriminate between the rich and the poor relatives . What is important is the closeness of relationship . The more closely a person is related to you , the more important and necessary it is to fulfill his rights .


Any behaviour which is generally regarded by people as good , kind , gracious or obligatory , when directed towards your relatives is Sileh Rahmi .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�The kindness towards relative and goodness towards the believing brother makes easy your reckoning on the Day of Judgement and protects you from sins . So you should be kind to your relatives and be good to your believing brothers even if it is as little as a sincere �salaam� (salutation) or a hearty reply to a salaam . �
(Al Kafi)
At another place the Sixth Imam (a . s . ) remarks :
�Do Sileh Rahmi towards your relatives and the near ones even if it is just by offering a glass of water to them . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Shaheed-e-Thani(5) (r . a . ) describes the grades of Sileh Rahmi in the following words :
It is deduced from the traditions that the highest stage of Sileh Rahmi is to consider the relatives as our own selves . That is , we should wish for our relations whatever we wish for ourselves .
The next stage of Sileh Rahmi is to help relatives overcome the difficulties and hardships they may be facing . Next , we must earnestly try to benefit our kith and kin as much as possible , in areas where they need help and of course in a manner permitted by religion . This benefit can be either economic or by way of making a person independent , by securing for him a job or initiating him into a trade . It can also be in the form of a sound advice , spiritual guidance and religious teachings .
The fourth stage of Sileh Rahmi is towards those people who are dependents of our relatives . For example , the brother�s wife or the step-mother .
The simplest kind of Sileh Rahmi consists of salutations , a lesser kind is the conveying of Salaam (through someone) . The smallest kind of Sileh Rahmi is to pray for relatives in their presence and to encourage them .


Qat-e-Rahmi and Sileh Rahmi with respect to the close kith and kin could be different from that with the distant relatives . It is possible that a certain action or attitude towards close relative would amount to Qat-e-Rahmi but the same towards a distant relative may not be regarded as such . Also a certain behaviour with a knowledgeable and a pious relative may be termed as Qat-e-Rahmi but with respect to other relatives it may not be so . It is best to refrain from every act that could possibly amount to Qat-e-Rahmi . We must observe extreme precaution in this matter lest we bring upon ourselves the severe punishment of a Greater Sin .


The ones most guilty of Qat-e-Rahmi are the rich and affluent who do not acknowledge their connections with their poor relatives and deal with them with pride and arrogance , while they are polite and kind to their wealthy relatives . To neglect one�s duty and give importance to material possessions , contradicts the laws of Islam both in the letter and spirit .


Every kind of Sileh Rahmi , the failure of which is viewed as a sort of Qat-e-Rahmi , is obligatory for us . For example , if a person is unable to fulfill his needs due to poverty or is unable to get medical aid for any reason , or is in debt; and he approaches a rich relative for help; it is obligatory on the rich person to help him . Even if the rich person is not approached directly but comes to know the predicament of his poor relative , it is obligatory on him to help this less fortunate relative . The wealthy man who fails to carry out these obligations will be guilty of Qat-e-Rahmi .
It is however not obligatory for a person to help his poor relative if he himself is not in a sound position to do so and fears that his finances will be constrained or that he himself may become a destitute . Also , Sileh Rahmi is not obligatory , if by doing so he will violate the laws of Islam . For example one need not pay a visit to a relative , if by doing so one would be in the midst of Na-mehram or may be compelled to hear music .
Sometimes we may be in doubt whether a particular action could be considered as Sileh Rahmi or Qat-e-Rahmi . In this case the reference point is to see how the people in general view it . The criteria for deciding that a particular behaviour is Sileh Rahmi or Qat-e-Rahmi therefore depends on the general feeling for it . If a small lapse like not saluting or non-compliance with a small request is Qat-e-Rahmi according to those around us , then it is so . By the same token if observing small niceties are considered as Sileh Rahmi , then it is so .


At times some obligations towards distant relatives are not considered Sileh Rahmi and accordingly are not Wajib (obligatory) for us . But these obligations are bound to be Mustahab . In any event , it is best to conduct ourselves in a manner that we totally eliminate the risk of committing a Greater Sin .


Although one would not be at fault from a worldly point of view , according to Shariat , breaking ties even with those who want to do so is Haraam .
It is natural for a person who , finding that his relative does not acknowledge him nor fulfills his rights , reacts by remaining aloof and allowing the bonds of kinship to be broken .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Do not break ties with your relatives even if they break them with you . �


Abdullah Ibne Sinan says that I pleaded to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �I have a cousin , I do Sileh Rahmi (kindness) towards him and do not wish to break ties with him . But he wants to break ties with me . (Master ! ) I want to maintain relations but he wishes to sever them . Due to this behaviour of his I am also inclined to cut off ties with him . Can you permit me to do so ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�(Remember) If you behave kindly with this relative of yours inspite of his Qat-e-Rahmi (then it is possible that one day this will affect him and he too will begin to fulfill his obligations) . In this way the Mercy of Allah shall be upon both of you . But if you break ties with this cousin of yours then neither of you shall be eligible for the Mercy of Allah . �
(Al Kafi)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�If any one betrays trust with you , do not betray trust with him or you will also become like him . Similarly , do not break ties with your relatives even if they do so . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
It means that if we reciprocate the malice of a relative we shall also be like him (i . e . sinful) . In the same way the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has invited us to perform kindness in lieu of misdemeanor . He remarks , �Do you wish me to tell you (about those qualities) which shall benefit you in this world as well as Hereafter ? �
The people said , �O Prophet of Allah ! Please do so . �
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�The three such qualities are , firstly , to do Sileh Rahmi with one who does Qat-e-Rahmi with you . Secondly , fulfill the needs of one who has deprived you . Thirdly , forgive those who have oppressed you . �
(Al Kafi)


The traditions of the Masumeen (a . s . ) leave no doubt whatsoever that the fulfilling of the rights of one�s relatives is obligatory . Whether the relatives are Shia or Sunni , pious and religious or sinful and transgressors or whether they are Muslims or Kafirs . It is compulsory to perform Sileh Rahmi with them . Even if a Muslim relative apostises and becomes a kafir , his rights are not invalidated .
Ibne-e-Hamid enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : �My relatives are not of my religion . Are any of their rights upon me ? � Imam (a . s . ) gave the following reply :
�Why not ? The rights of the relatives do not become invalid for any reason (even if the relatives are unbelievers) but if the relatives are Muslim then their rights are twice as much . One is due to their being relatives and second because of their being Muslim . �
(Al Kafi)


Dawood Raqqi says : �I was sitting in the company of Imam (a . s . ) when Imam (a . s . ) himself started speaking and said :
�Dawood , on Thursday the report of your deeds was presented to me and I saw among your deeds the Sileh Rahmi which you have performed with your cousin (brother) , I was very pleased . However , I know that this Sileh Rahmi of yours will (because of his Qat-e-Rahmi towards you) be the cause of his early death . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Dawood , the companion of Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) says : �My cousin used to bear enmity towards me . He was an evil person . When I came to know about his destitution , I went to Makkah and gave him some money so that he could manage himself for some time . It was this action of mine about which Imam (a . s . ) was informed and he told of it on my return to Madinah . �


Certain relatives of the Holy Imam (a . s . ) not only failed to acknowledge his rights but even bore enmity against him in their hearts . Although the enmity against Imam (a . s . ) makes him a disbeliever . Yet Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) willed that seventy Dinars be given to Hasan Aftas . Hasan Aftas was an evil person and had such deep malice against Imam (a . s . ) that he had once tried to attack Imam (a . s . ) with a sword . The goodly behaviour of Imam (a . s . ) towards his enemy was due entirely to his relationship .


Once Abdullah Hasani , a relative of Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) met him on the streets of Madinah . He had a meaningless argument with Imam (a . s . ) and spoke ill of him . Imam (a . s . ) replied to this misbehavior in the best way . He went to the house of this person the very next day and said , �Yesterday I recited the following Ayat of the Quran ,
�And those who joined that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning .
(Surah Raad 13 : 21)
I became very fearful because of it . � Abdullah understood that Imam (a . s . ) was intending to correct him . He began to weep and said , �I have willfully forgotten this verse . After this , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and Abdullah embraced each other .
(Al Kafi)


When Mansoor Dawaniqi arrested and imprisoned Abdullah Mahej and other Hasani Sadaats , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was grief-stricken . Although the Hasanis were opposed to Imam (a . s . ) , the Imam�s (a . s . ) distress was such that he was confined to bed for twenty days . He wrote a lengthy letter to them to express his sorrow and to offer comfort and consolation . He sent this letter to the prison of Kufa and was in regular contact with them to know their well-being . Often he wept on their imprisonment .


It is simply clear by now that for Sileh-Rahem and Qate-Rahem , the Shariat does not distinguish between a Muslim and a Kafir or between a pious and a sinful person . At the same time we also know that Islam exhorts us to shun infidels and to dissociate with them . These contradicting views will cause some confusion in our minds and a word of explanation is in order .
Undoubtedly Islam orders us to detest kafirs , hence it is improper to behave well with them . Good behaviour towards a Kafir is an outward act and at a social level . While hating him for being an Kafir is how you feel and think about him at a spiritual level . Since Sileh-Rahem is obligatory , we must behave well with our Kafir relatives , but at no stage should we be oblivious of the fact that they are non-believers and deserve to be hated for being Kafirs .


If Sileh Rahmi towards a Kafir relative , in some way , strengthens his conviction towards his own religious views; or if Sileh-Rahem towards a sinful relative provides him with opportunity and encouragement in his unlawful ways , then this kind of Sileh Rahmi is forbidden . In fact , if Qat-e-Rahem induces a disbeliever to introspect and reconsider his disbelief , then , Qat-e-Rahmi is obligatory on us . In the same way Qat-e-Rahem is obligatory if it discourages or dissuades a relative in his sinful ways .


There is another situation where Qat-e-Rahem is Wajib (obligatory) . That is when the kafir or sinful relative harbors malice towards the religion of Islam . Allah says in Surah Mujadila :
�You shall not find people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His apostle , even though they were their (own) fathers , or their sons or their brothers or their kinsfolk . . . �
(Surah Mujadila 58 : 22)
This verse clearly indicates that one must abstain from Sileh Rahem towards even the closest of relatives if they are inimical towards Allah or the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) or the Islamic faith .


A Quranic verse from the chapter Mumtehana says :
�Allah does not forbid you from respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion , and have not driven you forth from your homes , that you show them kindness and deal with them justly , surely Allah loves the doers of justice . Allah only forbids you from respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion , and drove you forth from your homes and backed up others in your expulsion , that you make friendship with them and whoever makes friends with them , these are the unjust . �
(Surah Mumtehana 60 : 8-9)
Thus it could be concluded from the above two verses that if a relative does not openly oppress us or exhibit enmity , then Sileh Rahmi is Wajib towards him .


It is highly recommended to fulfill the duty of Sileh Rahmi even if one has to travel a long distance to do so . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told Ali (a . s . ) :
�O Ali ! Even if you have to travel for two years to do good to your parents , do it , even if you have to travel for one year to perform Sileh Rahmi to your kinsfolk , do so . Even if you have to journey a mile to see a sick person , do it . Even if you have to walk two miles to attend a funeral , do it . Even if you have to travel four miles to meet a believing brother , do it . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Traditions have stated , as mentioned earlier , that for every step a person takes to visit his relatives , he gets forty thousand rewards , forty thousand of his sins are forgiven and his status is raised by forty thousand grades .
Maintain Cordial Relations But Do Not Reside Close to Each Other
Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) writes a letter to one of his officers ,
�Order the relatives to visit each other but ask them not to reside in the same neighborhood . �
The late Scholar , Naraqi , explains in his book , �Meraj us Sadaat� : �Staying next to each other breeds malice and jealousy and results in Qat-e-Rahem . �
It is much easier for relatives to maintain harmony and goodwill by staying apart from each other . Proximity often results in friction and enmity .
There is a Persian proverb that says that distance and friendship are proportionate to each other .


We are indeed indebted to our parents for our physical , mental and spiritual development . But mankind could not have been guided right , without a spiritual father . The essence of spiritual guidance which consists of rules of conduct as approved by Allah have come to us only through the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and it was the sustained and unsparing effort of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) which guided mankind to the path of salvation and eternal happiness . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was the spiritual father of the Muslims in his time and later Ali (a . s . ) took his place . It is only through love and obedience to them that one can hope to achieve spiritual eminence .
This is corroborated by the statement of Allah to the effect that whoever enters the �fort� (protection) of these exalted personalities , his spiritualism becomes evident in his behaviour . The doors of knowledge and awareness are open . The fountain of sagacity flows in his heart and the reality becomes manifest for him .


It is not possible for a man to achieve spiritual excellence without the love and obedience of a spiritual father .
�Certainly Allah conferred a benefit upon the believers when he raised among them an apostle from among themselves , reciting to them His communications and purifying them , and teaching them the book and the wisdom , although before that they were surely in manifest error . �
(Surah Aale Imran 3 : 164)
This verse signifies the importance of the advent of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) by Allah for the guidance of mankind . We must acknowledge it as the greatest blessing of Allah and a favour that He bestowed upon His creatures .


Yunus Ibne Abdul Rehman told Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�The love and Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) has been prescribed as your right upon us by Allah . I consider this blessing to be much superior to the worldly blessings . �
Imam (a . s . ) was distraught and he replied :
�You have made an inappropriate comparison . What are the worldly blessings ? What is it more than eating , drinking and dressing ? And you compare all these transient things with our love which is an everlasting reality ? �
We have seen in the discussion on the rights of parents , that we can be �Aaq� of our spiritual fathers if we fail to fulfill their rights . Not all of us may be capable of fulfilling this duty to the fullest extent . But we should sincerely try our utmost to obey their commands . At the same time we should be fully aware of our deficiencies and failings and continually implore our infallible guides to pardon us .


Sileh Rahmi is Wajib and Qat-e-Rahmi is Haraam towards our spiritual relatives also . Our Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and our Imams (a . s . ) are our spiritual fathers . So , the descendants of our Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) , that is the Sadaat , are our spiritual relatives . Also , since the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) are the spiritual fathers of all believers and Shias , we all are related to each other , and are like brothers of each other .
�Certainly the Believers Are Brothers of Each Other . �
(Surah Hujarat 49 : 10)
The verse clearly indicates that everyone is somehow related to a common spiritual father .


Allama Hilli in his book �Qawaidul Ahkam� counsels his son Fakhrul Muhaqqiqain in the following words :
�You should practise Sileh Rahmi with the pure descendants of the Sadaat also . The Almighty Allah has emphasized upon this duty so much that he has made the love of relatives of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as a compensation of the prophetic mission . �
� . . . Say : I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives . . . . �
(Surah Shuara 42 : 23)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�I shall intercede for four types of people even if they carry the sins of all humanity . �
1) A person who has helped my descendants and progeny .
2) A person who has spent his wealth upon my descendants when they were in need .
3) A person who has loved my Progeny with his tongue and his heart .
4) A person who has considered the wants of my descendants when they were surrounded by enemies and were homeless . �


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�On the day of Qiyamat a caller will announce , �O people , keep silent , because Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) is to say something to you . � Then the Messenger will arise and say , �O people ! If anyone of you has any right or favour upon me , or if there is any obligation upon my neck then he should stand up . I will see that he is compensated . � The people will reply , �May our parents be sacrificed upon you . What right ? What favour ? And what obligation ? Rather the rights and favours are of Allah and His Prophet upon all the creatures . �


Then the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) shall say :
�No , they do have a right . Whoever has provided shelter and help to anyone from my Ahlul-Bayt (a . s . ) or did good to them or gave them clothes in their need or fed them when they were in need , should stand up so that I can recompense him . �
Some people who had performed such deeds will arise . Then the voice of the Almighty shall be heard . �O Muhammad , my loved one ! With due regards to your position I have fixed the reward for their deeds . They shall be given whatever position you intend for them in Paradise . � Then Allah shall give them a place near the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a . s . ) and there would be nothing to obstruct their view . �


There are numerous traditions in connection with the rights of the believers and brothers-in-faith . A few of such traditions are quoted below :
Mualla Bin-Khanees asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : �What are the rights of the believing brother ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Seven rights of the believers are Wajib - If one fails to fulfill even one of these rights , he is externed from Allah�s obedience . He shall not receive any reward from the Almighty . �
�What are those seven rights ? � , enquired Mualla .
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
� I fear that you may fail to act upon them . �
Mualla said , �La Quwwata Illa Billah . � There is no power except of Allah . (He meant , It wouldn�t be so) .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�The foremost right is that you wish for the believing brothers whatever you wish for yourself . �
Imam (a . s . ) then related the other six rights ,
�The second right is that you must refrain from angering him and try to seek his pleasure and obey him . The third right is that you help him with you life , your wealth , your tongue , and your hands . The fourth right is that you guide him and teach him that which is beneficial for him . The fifth , is that do not eat till satiation when your believing brother is hungry , and do not drink to satiation if he is thirsty , and do not dress nicely if he is deprived of good clothes . The sixth right is that if you have a servant you should send him to do his work . The seventh right is that if the believing brother says something on oath you should believe him , if he invites , you accept his invitation , if he is sick , visit him , if he dies , accompany his bier , if you come to know any of his needs , fulfill them it before he asks . �
(Al Kafi)


Imam Reza (a . s . ) has informed ,
�Those who cannot come for our Ziarat must visit our virtuous followers . They shall get the reward of performing our Ziarat . And those who wish to do Sileh Rahmi towards us but are unable to do so must do Sileh Rahmi towards our pious devotees . They shall be given the reward of our Sileh Rahmi . �
Respect and honour for the believing brother is the same as respect and honour for the spiritual father (Imam [a . s . ]) . In the same way , insult and disrespect of the believing brother is equivalent to insult and disrespect to the spiritual father , (the infallible Imam [a . s . ]) . It is for very reason that insulting a believer brings the wrath of Allah upon us and makes us deserving of severe punishment .
We shall conclude with the prayer that Allah may give Tawfeeq to all of us for doing Sileh Rahmi and fulfilling the rights of others .



The eighth among the Greater Sins is to usurp the property of an orphan who has not attained maturity .
This is categorized as a Greater sin by the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , Imam Ali (a . s . ) , Imam Reza (a . s . ) , Imam Kazim (a . s . ) and Imam Taqi (a . s . ) . It is a sin , the punishment of which is fixed by Allah to be the fire of Hell .
The Quran says ,
�(As for) those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly , surely they only swallow fire into their bellies and they shall enter burning fire . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 10)
It is mentioned in Tafsir-e-Kabir that one who cheats an orphan of his property will be raised on the Day of Judgement in such a condition that the flames of fire will be protruding from his mouth , nose and ears . By looking at him people will recognize that he is the one who in his lifetime had usurped the property of the orphans . The last phrase , �They shall enter burning fire� indicates that one who deprives an orphan of his rightful property will be liable to be burnt in Hell-fire , even if he has not committed any other sin .
The Almighty Allah says ,
�And give to the orphans their property , and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones) and do not devour their property (as an addition) to your own property; this is surely a great sin . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 2)
The above verse gives clearcut instructions to those who are guardians and caretakers of the orphans , on how to fulfill their responsibility . They should spend the property in their trust in a correct manner for the benefit of the orphan and without stinginess . A caretaker should be very careful not to spend any of the orphan�s money on himself . This is a very serious offence that will cause his entire Halaal wealth to become Haraam . Under no circumstances should an orphan�s valuable possessions be substituted with anything inferior . Finally , when the child reaches maturity , all his property should be returned to him with complete honesty .
In the same chapter of Surah Nisa , Allah says in verse number nine :
�And let them fear who , should they leave behind them weakly offsprings , would fear on their account , so let them be careful of (their duty to) Allah , and let them speak right words . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 9)
It is mentioned in Tafsir-al-Mizan that whoever betrays the trust of orphans and oppresses them , their children will suffer a similar fate . This is an amazing reality that is revealed by the Holy Quran . Similarly in other numerous verses , the Quran informs us that the returns of our deeds are evident in this world itself . We will witness the results of our own actions . Every action has an effect on one who performs it , and we should be fully conscious of the fact that our sinful acts are not restricted to the sinner , but they come to bear on our children as well .
It is our confirmed duty to wish for others as we wish for ourselves . A good or bad action directed towards others therefore implies that we wish the same for ourselves . So , by carrying out these actions , we , in effect have prayed for it for ourselves . This prayer will not be rejected and we will be recompensed as we deserve .
The marvellous functioning of our body is the result of the co-ordination between the various composite parts and organs . We as individuals are also composite members of a large body , which is our community . Just as the malfunction of one organ in the body , causes distress in the other organs , so also whatever hurt or misery that we may inflict on another is bound to take us also in its grip . So it is , that the injustice we do to another�s child will cause our own children to suffer the repercussions of our actions . It is of course another matter that the Almighty in his Infinite Mercy allows some of our good deeds to compensate for the bad actions .
�And whatever affliction befalls you , it is on account of what your hands have wrought , and (yet) He pardons most (of your faults)�
(Surah Shuara 42 : 30)
Undoubtedly , we must dread Allah�s punishment and refrain from oppressing the orphans . We have to have kind and tender feelings for them as we have for our own children . If we trample upon the rights of an orphan or do any injustice to him or her , we can rest assured that the same fate will befall our own children after our death . The verse of Surah Nisa unequivocally states that oppressing an orphan is a Greater Sin . The horrible consequences of this sin are also mentioned clearly .


It is recorded from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that Allah has ordained two penalties for appropriating the wealth or property of an orphan :
�The first punishment is in the Hereafter , and that is the fire of Hell . The second one is in this world itself . As indicated by the following verse of Quran :
�And let those fear who , should they leave behind them the weakly offspring , would fear on their account , so let them be careful of (their duty to) Allah , and let them speak right words . � (Surah Nisa 4 : 9)
Whatever has been mentioned in the Holy Quran , the same has been emphasized by Imam Ali (a . s . ) , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) . Other Tafsirs of Quran also give the same explanation . Imam Ali (a . s . ) states : �Certainly one who usurps the orphan�s property , his own children shall be similarly dealt with in this world in the near future and he will suffer for it in the Hereafter . �(Behaarul Anwaar)
Ali (a . s . ) has also mentioned :
�Do good to the children of others so that good may be done to yours (after you are dead) . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has informed :
�If one oppresses someone , Allah will appoint an oppressor upon him or upon his children . �
(Al Kafi)


We may wonder as to why the innocent children who are not at fault and in no way responsible for the misdeeds of their parents should be the target of oppression and injustice meant for their parents . Is this not against Divine Justice ?
The answer to this objection is simple . Allah does not appoint any oppressor but when someone oppresses the children , Allah does not restrain him . Allah witholds His Mercy and favour .
Bad behaviour towards the children implies that the father wishes the same for his children and also that he has not wished Allah�s Mercy and favour upon his children .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has stated :
�If the father is virtuous the Almighty Allah protects the children . �
As mentioned in the Quranic verses of Surah Kahf :
�And as for the wall , it belonged to two orphan boys in the city , and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them , and their father was a righteous man , so your Lord desired that they should attain their maturity and take out their treasures , a mercy from your Lord . . . �
(Surah Kahf 18 : 82)
Thus it is clear that the Mercy and favour of Allah upon the orphans is due to the righteousness of their father . On the other hand if their father had oppressed others than this would have caused them to be deprived of Divine Mercy and favour .


Umar bin Zurarah says that he enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) regarding the Greater Sins . He said :
�One of the Greater Sins is illegal appropriation of the orphan�s property . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) narrates from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�On the day of Qiyamat some people would arise from their graves in such a condition that flames of fire would be protruding from their mouths . �
The people asked , �O ! Messenger of Allah who are these people ? �
The Prophet replied :
�Those who have illegally appropriated the property of the orphans . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Imam Reza (a . s . ) was asked , �What is the smallest quantity of the orphan�s property the appropriation of which causes one to enter the fire (of Hell) ? �
He replied :
�When one consumes something belonging to the orphan without the intention of returning it to him . There is no question of less or more . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�On the night of ascension (Meraj) when I was taken to the skies I decried a group of people whose bellies were being stuffed with fire . And the fire was spilling from their anal openings . I asked Jibraeel , who they are ? Jibraeel replied , �They are those who used to usurp the property of the orphans unjustly� . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


A person who has minor children and had given loans to others , and dies without making any arrangement for their recovery , will be counted as one who has misappropriated the wealth of orphans . Because after the death of the father the children become the owners of his property . However , the dead father would only be accountable for that portion of the loan which is the share of the children .


Once Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) had sore eyes . The pain was so severe that he was groaning loudly . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) came to visit him and said :
�Is this sighing and groaning due to the restlessness or due to severe pain ? �
Ali (a . s . ) replied :
�I have never had such severe pain . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) related to him a tradition which was so frightening that Ali (a . s . ) forgot his pain . The tradition is as follows :
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�O ! Ali , When the Angel of Death (Israel) comes to a disbeliever he will come wme wa mace of fire . He will extract his life painfully . Seeing this , Hell will scream loudly (so that it may take this disbeliever to itself soon) . �
Hearing this Ali (a . s . ) sat up abruptly and said :
�O Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) , repeat to me this tradition . I have forgotten my pain after listening to it . � Then he enquired , �Will anyone�s soul from your Ummat be also extracted in this way and will anyone be subjected to such a severe punishment ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Yes ! There are three types of people among the muslims whose souls shall be taken out this way . First group is of the unjust rulers . The second is of those who unjustly appropriate the wealth of orphans and the third is of those who give false witness . �


Injustice and oppression to the orphans brings severe punishment in this world as well as Hereafter . In the same way kind and gentle behaviour towards them earns countless rewards in this world , as well as the Hereafter . Especially blessed by Allah are those who protect the orphans and take the responsibility of being guardians to them . Numerous traditions have been recorded concerning this . A few of these are quoted below .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who maintains the orphans , Allah makes Paradise Wajib upon him , in the same way as he makes Hell Wajib upon those who usurp the property of the orphans . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�I and one who maintains an orphan would be together in Paradise in the presence of Allah , in the same way as these two fingers are together . �
And he pointed out to his index and the middle finger joined together .
According to a tradition , The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and one who maintains an orphan , will not be separated nor would there be any barrier between them in Paradise .
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also stated :
�If anyone from you becomes the guardian of an orphan and deals kindly with them , and he fulfills these actions satisfactorily , and he strokes the head of the orphan with sympathy , then Allah necessarily writes good deeds equivalent to the hair covered by his hand and forgives sins equal to the number of hair , and raises his position in grades equal to the hair of the orphan�s head . �
Elsewhere the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has been reported to have said :
�When an orphan cries the Heaven shudders , then Almighty Allah says , �O Angels , Is this the same orphan whose father has been buried in the earth ? � The Angels reply , �(O Allah) you are the all-knowing . �
Then Allah would say , �O My Angel be a witness . Whoever consoles this orphan and makes him happy , I will make him happy on the day of Qiyamat . ��
The caressing of an orphan�s head removes callousness from the heart . There are many tradition which indicate this . However , only a few shall suffice for our discussion .


The boy who has not reached the fifteenth year cannot spend from his wealth . In the same way the girl who is not yet nine years of age cannot spend from her property . A minor boy or a girl cannot spend from their wealth in any way . Only their guardian has the right to spend from their wealth for their upkeep . The foremost guardians , according to Shariat are the father , grandfather , mother and grandmother . The next in order is the one who is appointed a guardian after the death of the father and grandfather . He has the right of maintaining the orphans .
If the father and the grandfather die without appointing a trustee for the children , the legal guardian is the ruling Mujtahid or someone appointed by the Mujtahid . In a situation where a ruling Mujtahid is also not present , the Momineen shall maintain the orphans . (This is called Udool-al-Momineen in religious terminology) . It would be explained at an appropriate place .


The guardian of an orphan shoulders a very serious responsibility . He should judiciously spend for all the needs of the orphan , neither being miserly nor extravagant .
The guardian should strictly maintain the account of the orphan�s expenditure separately and club it with his own family expenses . Since it would be more convenient and economical to cook the orphan�s food along with the food for the rest of the family . But the expenses incurred for the orphan must be accurately calculated . It would be highly commendable if the guardian took a little less as the orphan�s share than the calculated amount . He would indeed gain Allah�s immense pleasure .
At times , however , due to the dietary requirements of the orphan , it may be necessary to cook his food separately . This would certainly pose some problems . But the main thing the guardian has to keep in mind is the wellbeing of the orphan and an honest assessment of his expenses .
This has been permitted because it is easier and much more economical then having food cooked separately for the orphan . However , if there is a great difference between the dietary requirement of the orphan child and other family members , it would be very difficult to adhere to this arrangement . For example , if a child does not eat meat and rice , then it would be difficult to have his food cooked together with the main dish . The thing to be taken care of , is that the well-being and property of the orphan is maintained .
A verse of Surah Baqarah says :
�And they ask you concerning the orphan�s; say : To set right for them (their affairs) is good , and if you become co-partners with them , they are your brethren; and Allah knows the mischief-maker and the peace-maker . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 220)
The above verse was revealed at a time the people were confused as to how they should handle the money of their orphan wards . The verse revealing the severe punishment for those who misappropriate an orphan�s property had struck such fear into the hearts of guardians that they started cooking the orphan�s food separately . They would not even touch the leftovers and allowed them to rot . They then approached the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in a confused state of mind and the above verse was revealed .
It is evident that we must live together with the believing brother . The Omniscient Allah knows what is in our heart , and is aware of our intentions . He knows who intends to misappropriate the property of the orphans and who wants to put right their affairs .


It is recommended that a wealthy guardian should maintain an orphan . He will enjoy boundless blessings of the Hereafter fixed by Allah for this gracious act .
As the Holy Quran states :
� . . . And whoever (of the orphan�s guardian) is rich , let him abstain altogether (from spending of the orphan�s wealth) . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 6)


If the caretaker of the orphan is poor , he can charge for his services . Concerning the remuneration of these services there are three legal opinions . Some scholars are of the opinion that he can charge an amount generally believed to be appropriate . The second opinion is that he must take only as much as is necessary for his own upkeep , and no more . The third view point is that he must find out the generally accepted remuneration and the expenses of his own upkeep; and charge the amount which is less . This is a precautionary measure and the most recommended one .


It is not permissible to hand over an orphan�s money to him before he reaches maturity . The guardian will be held liable , if he is careless in this matter and the orphan suffers a loss as a result . On the other hand an orphan�s property should be restored to him immediately , once he reaches maturity .


Maturity is recognized by any one of these three signs :
1) The completion of fifteen lunar years for the boy and nine lunar years for the girl .
2) Growth of pubic hair .
3) Discharge of semen in boys .


The Quranic verse says ,
�And test the orphans until they attain puberty; then if you find in them maturity of intellect (Rasheed) , make over to them their property . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 6)
The maturity of intellect (Rasheed) in this connection means maturity in the financial affairs . This maturity is reflected in the child�s capacity to handle his day to day needs without there being any risk of loss and wasteful expenditure . At this stage it is Wajib to hand over to the orphan his wealth and property .
In other words it is Wajib to restore the wealth and property of an orphan when he attains puberty and maturity of intellect .



The ninth Greater sin is usury . That it is classified as a Greater Sin is clear in traditions recorded from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , Imam Ali (a . s . ) , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) , and Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (a . s . ) .
According to the glorious Quran , taking interest is a sin that incurs severe Divine punishment . The punishment for usury as mentioned in the Quran is far more severe than the punishment for other sins . It is announced in Surah Aale Imran :
�O you who believe ! Do not devour usury , making it double and redouble and be careful of (your duty to) Allah , that you may be successful . And guard yourself against the fire that has been prepared for the unbelievers .
(Surah Aale Imran 3 : 130-131)
It means that the fury of the fire that is prepared for those who take interest will be just as intense as the fire prepared for the unbelievers .
The verse of Surah Baqarah says ,
�Those who swallow down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise . That is because they say , trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury . To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord , then he desists , he shall have what has already passed , and his affair is in the hands of Allah; and whoever returns (to it) - These are the inmates of the fire; they shall abide in it . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 275)
The above verse confirms that the usurer will remain in Hell eternally and there is no salvation for him . Allama Muhammad Husain Tabatabai , in his Tafsir , �al-Mizan� says that the punishment ordered by Allah for usury is so severe , that such severity is not mentioned even for disobedience to any of the Furu-e-Deen . Another equally serious offence is to nurture friendship with the enemies of Islam . The direct ill-effects of usury are clear and evident . Hoarding of wealth increases the disparity between the rich and the poor . Poverty is a malady that can degrade and humiliate its victims , erode his values and destroy his morals . This in turn leads to corruption , theft and murder . Those directly responsible for destroying the social equilibrium , are the hoarders , who amassed wealth and thus it was unavailable to those who needed it . The total disintegration of the social fabric can precipitate a civil war and further a world war which brings with it only death and destruction . In the world of today with the advances of the nuclear and chemical weapons , war does not only bring death to the humans , but leaves them a caricature , sick and maimed and deformed for generations to come .
The direct ill effects on the Muslim society as a result of friendship with those opposed to Islam , are also clear and evident .
History has recorded that friendship with the enemies of Islam can only be bought at a price . The price in this case is to compromise . Compromise on the tenets , the culture and the spirit of Islam , till a time comes when the country loses its identity as an Islamic society .


The verse of Surah Baqarah which is quoted above , says that those who take usury (interest on loan) shall be counted among mad people (whom Shaitan has touched) . On the Day of Judgement people will recognize them from their madness that they had been taking usury . Their sanity would be destroyed , because in this world they have acted against intellect and Shariat . They have been oblivious of humanity and the needs of humanity . They did not deal equitably with others and disobeyed the law of co-operation . Actually these people had been insane in the world , because they have followed the direction of Shaitan and performed such insane acts .


This argument is obviously foolish . There is nothing comparable between interest and trade . There is equity in business transactions because there is a mutual agreement between the two parties and both stand to gain or lose . In trading , a seller sells an article to the buyer at a price mutually acceptable to both , and the matter ends there . But taking interest is a clearcut case of exploitation . A person with surplus money , which he does not need , lends it to someone who is in dire need . The needy person agrees to pay interest which he can ill afford; not because it is acceptable to him but because of his compelling situation .


Undoubtedly , usury is an unjust and oppressive evil . It is against human nature and human dignity . It increases the riches of the wealthy and drives the impoverished to further depravation .
Understandably , the exploited poor begin to hate the rich . The pent-up hatred then finds an outlet in the form of violence and bloody revolutions .
In the book �Islam and World Peace� it is written , �Islam says that earning should be only in return of efforts and work . because capital itself cannot do any work and make any effort . Hence the wealth of the rich man should not be increased by taking usury . �
Increasing wealth by usury is the easiest form of making money but Islam forbids it . Wealth cannot be accumulated by forcing the helpless poor into further destitution; and usury does just that , causing economic imbalance and trampling upon human rights , equity and justice . Maulana Sayed Abul Ala Maududi of Pakistan has written a comprehensive and interesting book on usury that describes its evil effects and the arguments are supported by statistics .
The needy person ends up returning not only the amount loaned to him but far in excess of it . The excess can even amount to more than the principal amount if the repayment is delayed . Taking interest imposes an excruciating financial burden on one who is already needy and it is nothing short of blackmail . Needy people should be given loans without interest . This promotes a feeling of friendship , co-operation and charity .


To give a loan on interest not only destroys the economic balance in the society , it also inflames the feelings of hatred , enmity and selfishness .


There are too many disadvantages of taking interest . The earnings of one who takes interest , loses �Barakat� (abundance and prosperity) . Whereas the earnings of hard labour have much �Barakat� .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says in one of his traditions :
�Worship consists of seventy parts . The most important is lawful earnings . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) also says :
�The truthful trader shall be counted among the prophets on the Day of Judgement . His face would glow like a full moon . �
(Muhajjatul Baidha)


Another misfortune of the usurer is that he loses trust in Allah . He does not pray to Allah to give him �Barakat� . All his hopes are pinned upon the interest that he collects from his debtors and this is polytheism as discussed in the section on �Shirk� .
Another point to be noted is that in normal business there is a possibility of both gain and loss . So the businessman not only puts in sincere efforts but prays to Allah for success and profit in his endeavour . An usurer has no fear of loss and feels no intuitive need to pray to Allah for his �Rizq� . He is thus deprived of an important facet of religion .


One who takes interest is deprived of the rewards that are prescribed for giving a goodly loan . If there are ten merits in giving Sadaqah , the interest-free loan has eighteen merits . An interest-free loan is therefore more rewarding than Sadaqah in the way of Allah . A person who gives respite to his debtors and does not take interest is given a reward that is equivalent to charity of the said amount every day for the number of days that he extends . It is evident that the usurer does not qualify for such rewards . In fact he is afflicted with miserliness and greed , which only increase day by day . Surely the result of miserliness and greed is Hell .


We have already seen from the verses of the Holy Quran , the sayings of our Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and of our Imams (a . s . ) that the punishment for usury in more severe than that of other sins . We have also discussed the reasons for this . Islam classifies usury as the greatest of the Greater Sins and its punishment is the severest of all punishments . If the usurer does not repent for his acts , his end will be with the disbelievers and those whose eternal abode is Hell . The usurer shall never be released from Hell .
�To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord , than he desists , he shall have what has already passed , and his affair is in the hands of Allah , and whoever returns (to it) these are the inmates of the fire , they shall abide in it . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 275)
However there are certain ways to compensate for this sin and pray for forgiveness . Certain sinful acts are forgiven by just repenting sincerely . If a Polytheist repents for his sins and becomes a Muslim , a great sin like �Shirk� is forgiven . He does not have to do anything more than that . But there are some sins that require compensation in addition to sincere repentance i . e . like the one who has Qaza prayers and fasts . Along with repentance he must perform all the prayers and observe all the fasts due on him . Similarly in the case of interest , the penitent should give back the amount that he has taken as interest from his debtors .


The above Quranic Ayat continues :
�Allah does not bless usury , and he causes charitable deeds to prosper , and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 276)
Charity spreads peace , promotes beneficence and love in society , whereas usury destroys peace and hardens the hearts of the people .
When usury spreads its roots in society , people have no hesitation in usurping each other�s rights . They are only driven by a feeling of enmity , hatred and a passion of revenge . A society devoid of harmony and co-operation cannot progress , it destroys itself with its own corruption . Charity and Sadaqah on the other hand promote feelings of friendship , love and brotherhood . An atmosphere of peace and prosperity prevails which inspires people to further good deeds .


The Noble Quran says ,
�O You who believe ! Be careful of (your duty) to Allah and relinquish what remains (due) from usury , if you are believers . But if you do (it) not , then be appraised of war from Allah and His Apostle . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 278-279)
The proof of one�s belief is in obedience of Divine orders . The same verse continues ,
� . . . And if you repent , then you shall have your capital , neither shall you make (the debtors) suffer loss , nor shall you be made to suffer loss . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 279)
One who does not obey this command must be prepared for war with Allah and His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) .
Tafsir Minhajus Sadeqeen gives an explanation of this verse . It could mean that the severity of the sin of usury is such that if in this world a usurer were to come face to face with the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , the Prophet�s (s . a . w . s . ) sword would be against him and the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) would be prepared to fight him . In the Hereafter the fire of Hell shall keep him in torment by the order of Allah . The usurer must be fought till he submits to the Divine orders and refrains from taking usury . Traditional reports state that after the revelation of this verse , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) informed the Commissioner of Makkah that if the tribe of Bani Mughaira does not desist from taking usury , they must be fought against .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) also said inter alia in a sermon at Makkah : �Know that the usury which has been accumulated in the period of ignorance is now condoned completely . First of all I condone the interest (that is upon your neck) of (my uncle) Abbas Ibne Abdul Muttalib . �


It is reported from Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�Taking a Dirham as interest is worse in the eyes of Allah than doing illegal intercourse with Mehram women . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Ali (a . s . ) says :
�The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has cursed one who accepts interest , one who pays interest , one who buys interest , one who sells interest , one who writes the contract of interest and one who is the witness of this transaction . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Ibne Baqeer relates that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was informed about the person who took interest and considered it as permissible as mother�s milk . Imam (a . s . ) said :
�If Allah gives me power over this man , I would strike off his head . �
(Al Kafi)
It is clear that to consider interest Haraam is an article of faith . One who disregards this and says that interest is not Haraam becomes an apostate . The Imam (a . s . ) can also have him killed .


Samaa says that he asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as to why Allah has mentioned the illegality of usury at various places . Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�So that people may not forgo acts of charity (like giving interest-free loans) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Baqir (a . s . ) said :
�The worst transaction is that which involves interest . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Zurarah says that I asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) concerning the Quranic verse :
�Allah does not bless usury , and he causes charitable deeds to prosper . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 276)
And added :
�But I see that wealth of usurers goes on increasing ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�What could be a greater loss ? That in return of a Dirham of interest he loses his faith . And if he repents of his deeds in the world all his wrongfully earned wealth comes to an end and he becomes a destitute . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�One who takes interest , his belly shall be filled with an equal quantity of fire by Allah . If he has earned more from the interest money , Allah will not accept any of his deeds . And till even a grain of interest remains with him , Allah and his angels will continue to curse this man . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also stated :
�On the night of ascension (Meraj) I saw some people trying to stand up but did not succeed because of their huge bellies , I asked , O Jibraeel , who are these people ? �
Jibraeel replied , �They are those who have taken usury . Now they can only stand up like those who have been possessed by the Devils . �
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) continues ,
�Then I saw them herded upon the path of the followers of Firon . Seeing the extreme heat of the fire they exclaimed . O God ! Then when will be Qiyamat ? � (It is clear that the fire mentioned in the tradition is of the punishment of Barzakh) .


In another tradition it is said that when these people saw the followers of Firon they tried to get up and run away . But due to overlarge bellies they could not rise up and consequently the followers of Firon trampled them under their feet and moved on .
It is narrated from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�When adultery and interest becomes common in a town the angels are given permission to destroy its inhabitants . �
Another Prophetic tradition in the same vein says :
�When the people of my Ummat start taking interest , tremors and earthquakes will be frequent . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


The Noble Messenger of Allah says :
�If a man commits adultery with his mother in the Holy Kaaba this act shall be seventy times lighter than the act of usury . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�In the eyes of Allah , taking one Dirham of interest is worse than thirty incestuous acts . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
A previous tradition describes this sin to be seventy times more than adultery . There is one more report where taking a Dirham is equated with twenty such acts .
(Wasaelush Shia)
Even in today�s world , the scourge of interest has spread to such a magnitude that economies are on the verge of collapse . Some economists say that interest is necessary for development . If this had been true then Islam would not have prohibited it . At the present time there are two schools of economics whose ideology is not based on interest . One is Communism and the other Islam . Whereas the foundation of imperialist economy is based upon interest . Even the Communist and the Islamic schools of economies differ greatly .
Unlike the Communists , Islamic government has never felt the compulsion to accept interest as inevitable , in order to fit the logistics of economy . And yet , Islamic economy is not known to have weakened because it does away with interest .
Yes , it is a necessity for the few selfish and greedy people who wish to add to their already enormous wealth , by increasing the miseries of the poor and the destitute . Their aim is to enslave the deprived people . We are well aware of the logic of these hoarders .


A loan on interest is one whereby a person lends something with the precondition that it would be returned with fixed increment at a fixed time . The loan given may be money or any other article , say , one loans five Mounds of rice and expects to get back six Mounds . The increment demanded may be in the form of cash or kind , labour or even a favour .
For example , one may lend money with the condition that the borrower will return the money and also carry out some household chores for him . Or a lender may lend a sum of money for a year and in return stay in the house of the borrower for a year without paying any rent . Or a person may give gold as a loan and expect the borrower to make some jewellery free of cost . Whatever is taken in excess of what was given , irrespective of its form , is interest and is Haraam . Also it does not matter whether such conditions for giving loan were stated in the beginning or decided later . It is Haraam in any case .


1) A transaction involving interest is Haraam . Charging interest is Haraam and paying interest is Haraam too . So if the borrower takes money on interest and uses it and earns some profit , the actual owner of the profit is the lender . For example , if he borrows some wheat and plants a crop , the crop that grows from this , rightfully belongs to the lender . However , if the lender has agreed that his loan can be utilised in such a manner , then the profit from it is the right of the borrower .
2) If one gives an amount to a trader with the understanding that he can return a lesser amount , it is permitted . For example , he gives a thousand Tumans to a trader in Shiraz and agrees to take nine hundred and ninety Tumans in Tehran , he is allowed to do so . This type of transaction is knows as �Sarf-e-Baraat� , since there is no involvement of interest .
3) If at the time of disbursement of the loan there had been no mention of interest and the loanee wishes to return the loan amount with an increase out of his own wish , it is not Haraam . In fact it is Mustahab . It is also Mustahab to repay the loan , if possible , before its due-date or before the lender demands it . It is also Mustahab for the debtor that when repaying the loan he should add something to it with the intention of giving it as a gift to the creditor . But the intention must be of �gift� . It must not even remotely be thought of as interest . Similarly , it is Mustahab for the creditor to accept whatever extra is given to him as a gift , not think of it as an interest , and accept it as a goodwill .


If any of the following conditions are present in a transaction , it becomes a transaction of interest , and is Haraam :
1) Whatever is taken and whatever is given back are of the same material but the quantities are unequal . Or if the quantities are equal , there is disparity in quality etc .
2) When only one standard of measure and weight is employed , the amount taken and given back is of unequal measure or weight . However , at the time of borrowing if the measure of weight is kilogram but while returning it , it is Seer or Pound it is allowed . In the same way whatever was taken by the unit of measurement as metre and returned by the units of measurement as foot or yard , is valid too .
In the same way it is Haraam for a person to lend one Mound of wheat for a month and in return borrow one mound of wheat for two months from the same person . Even though the quantity is the same , the transaction is Haraam because time is also a significant factor .


1) In the matter of interest , wheat and barley are considered equivalent . Then if one gives a Mound of wheat and takes one and-a-half Mound of barley , it is interest , and thus Haraam .
Similarly , whatever constitutes the same basic material is regarded as equivalent . As an analogy one may think of the roots , branches and leaves of a tree as equivalent . For example , milk and curd are equivalent , grape-vinegar and grapes are equivalent , sugar and sugarcane are equivalent too . All these have to be loaned and given back in equal quantity or it will constitute interest and will be Haraam .
2) If a person gives one Mound of wheat and a handkerchief and takes back one and-a-half Mound of wheat , it does not constitute interest and is not Haraam . In this transaction one Mound of wheat shall be considered in lieu one Mound of wheat that is returned . And the remaining half a mound of wheat shall be in the lieu of the handkerchief . It is also possible that a person may give one Mound of wheat and a handkerchief and take back one Mound of wheat and some other article , for example , soap . In this way too he has not committed usury .
3) If a person first sells one Mound of his wheat for two Tumans and later purchases one and a half Mound of wheat for two Tumans , it is permitted . Since both these transactions are separate . It does not constitute usury .
It may be possible that Zaid sells a Mound of wheat to Khalid , and Khalid gives half a Mound of his wheat to Zaid as a gift . This is also permitted .


There are three types of people between whom the taking and giving of interest is allowed :
(1) Father and son : The father and son can enter into a transaction of interest . But a transaction of interest between mother and son is Haraam .
(2) Husband and wife : The husband and wife can charge interest from each other . For example one of them gives a hundred rupees and demand one hundred and fifty rupees in return . It is permitted .
(3) The Kafir who is not staying in an Islamic country : A Muslim can take back more but he cannot give him more . As far as the Zimmi Kafir (one who is staying in an Islamic country) is concerned it is Haraam to enter into a transaction of interest with him . Taking and giving of interest both are Haraam in this case .



The tenth Greater sin is adultery (zina) according to the traditions of Masoomen (a . s . ) . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) , Imam Ali Reza (a . s . ) and Imam Muhammad Taqi (a . s . ) have all described it as a Greater Sin .
In the following ayat the Almighty says :
�And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice , and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin . The punishment shall be doubled to him on the day of resurrection , and he shall abide therein in abasement . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 68-69)


The book Minhaaj us-Sadeqeen states that aasaam (sin) in this ayat denotes a valley of Hell . Fornicators shall be punished in this valley . It is also said that asaam means the secretions of blood and puss from the private parts of the people of Hell . It is a black puss .
Another ayat says :
�But there came after them an evil generation , who neglected prayers and followed the sexual desires , so they will meet perdition . �
(Surah Maryam 19 : 59)
Some traditions record that the asaam of the previous verse and ghayyi (sexual desire) of this verse are two wells in Hell . These two wells are so terrible and deep that if a stone is dropped into one of them , it will take seventy years to reach the bottom .
It is mentioned in Surah Bani Israel :
�And go not nigh to Fornication , surely it is an indecency and an evil way . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 32)
It is an evil due to which paternity is not established . It leads to corruption and mischief . The child that is born is bereft of inheritance . The child that is born and its father do not have rights upon each other like the legal father and son .


In the book , Balahae-e-Ijtemai the above ayat is explained as follows :
�One must not even go near fornication for it is a lowly act . It is a very dirty action and leads one astray . �
The seriousness of this sin as mentioned in the Quran is evident from this ayat;
� . . . It is an indecency and an evil way . � These words clarify the Islamic point of view , which opposes all types of indecencies and carnal desires . It shows that adultery is an indecent act and an evil way of satisfying the sexual urge . The Almighty Allah has created the sexual urge for continuation of the human race . He has also created a feeling of love and physical attraction between man and woman . If this sexual urge is satisfied in a disciplined manner , the human race is assured of peace and prosperity . It must be remembered that fornication contaminates the progeny .
But when this evil becomes prevalent in a society just to satisfy the basic instincts , it leads to destruction and despair .
Also , as a result of an immoral life countless people and their children suffer from debilating , deforming and incurable diseases . Huge sums of money are drained from the budget to take care of victims and to find a cure for such diseases . Innumerable illegitimate children are born ill and undernourished; destitutes without a home and with no one to care or be concerned for them .
Page number 131 of the same book describes the evil that has spread due to sexual crimes and illicit relationships . Such destruction and evil does not have an equivalent in the 20th century .
In the highly competitive world of today , man strives to use all his assets to optimal capacity . His efforts are fully concentrated in deriving the maximum efficiency from all his inputs so that he can achieve unprecedented progress in minimum time . So it is pity to see him make a wasteland of his most precious possessions , his natural instincts and desires gifted to him by Allah for his happiness and prosperity .
Like all branches of science , nuclear and medical science has also made a progress . Vast sums of money are poured into research for discovering new drugs that may save mankind from the scourge of these diseases . Yet , the number of people suffering from debilitating maladies resulting from immoral conduct are ever on the increase . In every country , countless such people have to be hospitalised over extended period of time . They wreck their own lives and are also a burden to society .
Every country makes ambitious plans to achieve progress and prosperity . But all these development plans come to naught as millions of illicit children are born , posing a challenge to the economy of even the most affluent countries . For the poor undeveloped countries the results are disastrous . Not only are the uncared children a drain on the country�s economy , they even pose a law and order problem as they grow up uneducated in a condition of abject poverty and crime . A shocking survey of statistics reveals the enormity with which sexual crime has gripped the world .
According to Encyclopedia Britannica a majority of Americans contract venereal diseases . America has hundreds of special hospitals for patients with venereal diseases .
The book �Qawaaneene Jinsi� says that every year thirty-four thousand new born children die of hereditary diseases . The deaths caused by these diseases are more than the deaths due to any other cause (except tuberculosis) .
The �Kahyan Daily� (no . 5356) has mentioned ,
�Dr . Maulin Norjoe who practices in North London , writes in his article that every year 50000 abortions of illicit children are carried out in London . One child out of every twenty newborns is illegitimate . �
The daily �Ittelat�(no . 1414) writes that in 1957 America had illegitimate children numbering 201700 . There has been a five fold increase in the next twenty years . This year , unmarried pregnant women numbered 24000 . It is astonishing and pathetic that a majority of them are less than eighteen years of age . In Paris , of the total of 43515 new born children , 4145 are illegitimate . In the Soviet Union , every year 17000 illegitimate children are born .


Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Fornication has six types of effects . Three are for this world and three for the Hereafter . The three evils which become evident in this world are :
1) The face of the adulterer loses countenance .
2) He falls into depravity and destitution .
3) His death draws near .
And the three punishments for Hereafter are :
(1) He is liable for Divine anger .
(2) His reckoning is severe .
(3) He abides forever in Hell . �


The fifth Imam (a . s . ) has also said ,
�Whoever commits Fornication with a Muslim , Jew , Christian or Magian woman , whether she is a slave or a free woman; and dies without repenting of his sin , then the Almighty Allah opens three hundred doors of punishment in his grave . From each door many snakes , scorpions and pythons emerge from the fire and burn and torment him till the Day of Qiyamat . �


Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) describes the fornicator in detail and says that when he would be raised from his grave on the day of judgement he shall be in a horrible state .
The Imam says ,
�When a fornicator will rise from his grave the stink of his body shall hurt the people . The people will know what deeds he had committed in the world . Till the Almighty Allah would order him to be thrown into the fire . �
Then Imam Baqir (a . s . ) continues ,
�Know that Allah has prohibited Himself the Haraam things . He has also prescribed the rules and regulations of life . No one is more modest than Allah . It is His modesty that He has prohibited Fornication . �


Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) says :
�On the day of Qiyamat a bad smell shall be released by the order of Allah . And all the people will become restless because of it . So much so that it would be difficult to breathe . Then a caller will proclaim loudly , �O people of Mahshar ! Do you know what this stench is ? �
They would reply , �We do not know ! However this stink is causing great discomfort� , then Imam (a . s . ) continued ,
�It is the bad smell from the sexual organs of the fornicators who died without repenting for their sins . O people , Allah curses these people , you too invoke curse upon them . � Then there will be not a single person who would not say , �O Allah send your curse (anger) upon these fornicators�
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�After me when Fornication will increase , sudden deaths will also increase . �
He also said :
�Fornication causes depravity and destitution , and because of it , populated places become deserted . �


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Allah has made adultery Haraam because it causes many evil things . Murder of innocent , lack of lineage and paternity , lack of training of children and lack of proof of inheritance . �


The punishment for illegal sexual act with a woman is hundred lashes . The penalty of illicit sexual intercourse between a married woman and married man is stoning to death .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�There are three types of people with whom Allah will not even speak on the day of Qiyamat . There is a terrible punishment for them . One of these three group will be of the women who inspite of having husbands commit adultery with others . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Whoever commits Fornication with a married woman , both of their sexual organs will give out such a stink that it would be felt even at the distance of five hundred years . This stench will hurt the people of Hell . And such fornicators will be subjected to the most severe punishment . �


part 1

The book �Burhan-e-Quran� examines the punishment for adultery as prescribed in Islam keeping in mind the factors of human desires and sexual feeling , Islam has also enunciated the easiest ways of satisfying sexual desires and fulfilling sensual feelings . It has ordered its followers to marry at the beginning of puberty . It is the most recommended way .
The book also describes the punishment prescribed in Islam for adultery . It also discusses the way of life recommended by Islam which; if followed strictly; would minimise or even eradicate the practice of illicit relationships .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Marriage is my practice . One who forsakes this practice of mine is not from me . �
The rules and regulations of marriage in Islam are simple so that there are no encumbrances in finalising a marriage . An Islamic government is bound to provide financial support to the unmarried people who are unable to marry because of poverty . In this way , youthful passions and desires are contained and illicit relationships are minimised . In order to eradicate this evil , Islam directs us to fulfill a social as well as a spiritual code of conduct . At the social level it is obligatory for those more fortunate amongst us to fulfill the needs of the less privileged . The wealthy amongst us are duty bound to take care of the financial needs of the poor . It is likewise obligatory to make a sustained and dedicated effort to educate the people for both social welfare and spiritual upliftment . Islam expects every individual to help the members of the community in whichever manner he can . The philosophy of Islam , if adhered to , can ensure the removal of poverty and ignorance which in turn ensures the removal of envies , perversion and illicit and illegal affairs associated with these . With an early marriage , the basic material needs of man are taken care of and an individual is well equipped to resist getting involved in degrading acts like adultery .
Self-control is further strenthened by practicing the laws of Islam which are encoded at the spiritual level . Islam has defined some acts of worship as obligatory . Our Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and our Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) have taught us and guided us to innumerable recommended acts of worship like mustahab fasts , Mustahab prayers and Etekaf . Every prayer essentially refines a person�s character and raises him to greater heights of nobility . By earnestly keeping up prayers and fasts , an individual can strengthen his inner resources and develop his spiritualism . Such an individual will have the power to exercise control over his passions and natural instincts and will not stoop to commit adultery which is declared as a Greater sin by his religion .
Islam prescribes very strict and severe laws of punishment for the wrong doers . This is necessary . It is only the severity of a law that compels average individuals to abide by it . But , however severe the punishments prescribed in Islam may be , they are always tempered by Allah�s Mercy and Compassion . Hadd (punishment) for adultery can only be executed if there are four just witnesses who have seen the sin being committed with their own eyes . Obviously the worldly punishment can be given only to those who publicly and shamelessly behave like beasts . It is truly amazing that even for such loathsome behaviour , Islam orders leniency in punishment . For example , only a married person who commits adultery is to be stoned to death . The punishment for an unmarried person is a hundred lashes .
The present day youth is caught in the mire of economic and moral decline . They are mentally disturbed and unstable . They believe it is advantageous to avoid the bonds and responsibilities of marriage and satisfy their natural needs with illicit relationships .
Undoubtedly , these problems have arisen because we do not implicitly practice the code of conduct as laid down by Shariat and we do not fully implement the rules and regulations as defined in Islam . Had there been an Islamic government , it would have endeavored to eradicate this immorality from the society by providing the basic needs to the poor and facilities for an early marriage .
An Islamic government would strictly ban pornography , bars , night clubs etc . , all of which arouse sexual desires in people and lure them to indecencies and indiscriminations . Islam prohibits all activities that excite passions and promote shameful and degrading behaviour .
The strict laws of punishment in Islam should not lead us to think that Islam only wishes to punish the wrong doers . Its laws are designed to rid the society of all evil . In fact , Islam takes a very compassionate view of sinners . On the one hand , the stern orders of punishment are strictly regulated so no injustice is done in carrying them out . On the other hand , Islam outlines a code of social obligation that creates an atmosphere of joy and dignity for all . No one in an Islamic society would be compelled by helplessness and desperation into bad conduct . It is a pity and our misfortune that we fail to implement fully our social obligations .
Islam has not ignored the punishment for the wrong-doers . Punishment is prescribed for sins in order that law and order are maintained in the society . Hadd (punishment) for adultery is prescribed only when a person performs this act shamelessly and openly , in the presence of four just witnesses . He defiles the chastity of some women and satisfies his beastly desires in the worst manner . Islam orders the punishment only when four just witnesses state that they have witnessed the actual act with their own eyes . Islam punishes the fornicator when he plays with the honour of the society . It is surprising that even in this case , Islam has been lenient with the wrong doers to a great extent . If the adulterer is unmarried a hundred lashes is his punishment . Stoning to death is only for that sinner who has a legal wife and indulges in this serious crime only to give vent to his lewdness .
It is necessary to mention this remarkable fact . In today�s world , the youth is having such a state of mind that due to the economics and morals of the society they try to escape from the bonds of marriage and are attracted towards sexual perversions .
It is true that our youth is involved in economic difficulties and moral problems . But what is the root of this problems ? A simple answer to this is that Islamic rules and regulations are not being followed and are not being put into practice . If the Islamic laws are fully implemented we would remain safe from immorality . If there had been an Islamic government it would have endeavoured to eradicate the lewdness and immorality from society . It would have provided the means of an early marriage . It would have also endeavoured to provide the basic necessities to the common people . It would save its youth , who are its future , from falling into the abyss of destruction .

part 2

If the Islamic government is in power , such things like shameful films , pornographic magazines , bars and night clubs would not have any existence because these things arouse the sexual desires . The Islamic law prohibits all such activities that promote sins and evils . In Islamic society , the youth is not compelled to remain celibate due to such created problems . Rather , such an atmosphere and society is created wherein all the people spend their life with chastity and dignity . Islam is not only for punishing the people . Its laws are designed to rid the society of all evils .
For this very reason , Islamic law first takes into consideration the condition and helplessness of the fornicator , and only then does it prescribe the punishment . The fornicators are divided into seven groups and different penalties are fixed for them .
1) Stoning to death .
2) Stoning and lashes - both .
3) A hundred lashes and exile from the city after shaving the head .
4) Fifty lashes .
5) Seventy five lashes .
6) �Zighas�- it means picking up the lash many times to hit once .
7) The penalty of Fornication and fine - both .
Here , we shall describe the legal rulings , according to jurisprudence and traditions , for the information of our respected readers .
1) In order to establish the crime of adultery , four just male witnesses are required or three just male and two just female witnesses or two just male and four just female witnesses . If two just male witnesses and four just female witnesses state that they have witnessed the act , and if the sinner or the fornicator does not have a legal wife , or the fornicator woman does not have a legal husband , than they are not stoned to death . They are only given a hundred lashes each .
2) All the witnesses must testify that the crime had occurred at one and the same place .
3) All the witnesses must testify that the crime had occurred at the same time .
4) All the witnesses must testify in the same sitting .
5) If four just people quote the testimony of four just witnesses it is not sufficient .
6) If four just witnesses testify that a certain woman has committed fornication , their testimony shall not be accepted if they are not familiar with this woman since they do not know her and it could be that she is the legal wife of that man .
7) If three of the four witnesses testify and the fourth one refrains from testifying , or if his testimony differs from the previous three witnesses , the three witnesses who have testified shall be punished for �qazf� (defaming a chaste man or woman of adultery) .
8) If the fornicator confesses his crime thrice , but refrains from the fourth confession , he cannot be punished . For a penalty to be lawful , it is necessary to confess four times .
9) He must make four confessions in four different sittings . He cannot be penalised if he makes four confessions in one sitting .
10) It is not permitted for the Judge to goad the accused to confess . He must also not be prompted to complete sentences (that is , words must not be put into his mouth) . The Judge must try to maintain purity , chastity and dignity among the common people and must try his utmost that the crime of adultery is not proved . The Judge must try to give such suggestions to the accused that he may be able to save himself from the penalty by falling into doubts and uncertainties . It is also the duty of the Judge to encourage the accused to plead innocence .
11) When a married man confesses of adultery four times but later pleads innocence , the penalty of stoning will not be imposed upon him . His punishment shall be reduced .
12) A new convert to Islam who is unaware of the punishment shall not be punished .
13) If the adulterer is unmarried and he is suffering from some illness , the jurist is authorised to beat him with a broom of twigs or a branch of the date palm . He should consider these as lashes . He could also beat him with a branch or broom and consider each of its twig equivalent to one lash .
14) The lashing should be so controlled that the flesh of the body is not affected . The accused can only be punished when he has committed the crime willingly . (If someone is forced to commit fornication , penalty cannot be imposed upon them ) .
15) If a man mistakes a woman to be his legal wife and has sexual intercourse with her , then he cannot not be punished .
This is thus the detailed analysis of the laws prescribed by the all Beneficent and the all Merciful Allah , who knows His creatures very well . He has prescribed such regulated punishments for a serious sin like fornication . Now we shall quote a tradition that proves the extent to which the saints of Allah strived to protect the dignity of the people . How much precaution they took in passing a decree of fornication .
In the time of the rule of Umar a woman came to him and confessed of adultery . She also said , �Please impose the penalty of fornication upon me . �
When Umar heard this , he ordered that the penalty of fornication be executed upon this woman . Ali (a . s . ) happened to be there and was surprised at this . He said , �Umar , inquire from this woman the conditions when she had committed fornication . �
The woman explained , �I was extremely thirsty in the desert . When I went far in search of water , I sighted a black tent which belonged to an Arab . I approached him and asked for water . But he refused to give me any water without my having adultery with him . I did not agree to his devilish desires and ran away into the desert . My eyes became sunken and I felt as if each of my bones were breaking . I returned to this man and in exchange of a drink of water I gave my body to him . �
Ali (a . s . ) said ,
�It is this compulsion which is mentioned in the ayat ,
� . . . But whoever is compelled by hunger , in inclining willfully to sin , then surely Allah is Forgiving Merciful , �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 3) .
This woman is not at all guilty of the crime . �
Then Imam (a . s . ) ordered for her release and she was released . (Burhan - e - Quran)


Adultery is the root of degradation of society in the world and eternal punishment in the hereafter . Islam has therefore prescribed some obligatory rules for our protection . Allah , in His unsurpassed wisdom made these rules incumbent upon us . If these rules are obeyed , the Muslims can protect themselves from such a serious sin .
1 . The Order for Hijab in the Quran
The Holy Quran has ordered women to cover themselves in some situations .
�And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appear thereof . And let them wear their head coverings over their bosoms , and not display their ornaments . . . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 31)
It is also mentioned in Surah Ahzab ,
�O Prophet ! Say to your wives and daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over garments , this will be more proper , that they may be known and thus they will not give trouble . And Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Ahzab 49 : 59)
In the same chapter , Allah says :
�O wives of the Prophet ! You are not like any other of the women , if you will be on your guard , then be not soft in (your) speech , lest he whose heart has a disease yearn and speak a good word . �
(Surah Ahzab 49 : 32)
Another verse states ,
�And when you ask them (the wives of the Prophet) any goods , ask of them from behind a curtain , this is purer for your hearts and (for) their hearts . � (Surah Ahzab 49 : 53)
In the above verses , the Muslim woman is ordered to veil herself . She must not come before namehram without Hijab . She should dress in such a manner that strange men do not get an opportunity to glance at those parts of her body which arouse passion; and thus make her an object of desire . It is the responsibility of a woman to assume such poise and behaviour that she does not excite a man�s passions . Even a glance of lust can infatuate a man and a seemingly harmless encounter eventually lead to mischief and corruption in society , destroying entire families . In Iran , during the rule of the Shah when the law of Hijab had been revoked , the cases of fornication increased sharply . Every day many cases related to sexual crimes were heard in the courts of law . Every month many married mothers used to forsake their homes to enter into a perverse life of illicit sex . Five thousand such parents established a new township outside the city of Tehran . The condition steadily deteriorated and came to a stage that every day approximately seven infants were found abandoned in the streets of Tehran , as reported by the commissioner . It is obvious that illicit children born as a result of fornication , whose parentage is not established , cannot create a position for themselves and are a burden to society . Due to the absence of Hijab , adultery and fornication became common and thousands of chaste women become immoral . One of the highly effective ways of protecting the society from the sin of adultery is that women wear hijab and ward off the evil glances of sensuous men .
2 . Looking at the Namehram
The women are also ordered not to look at namehram men , and the men are similarly warned .
It is ordered in Surah Nur ,
�Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is aware of what they do . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 30)


It is narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�An evil glance is one of the poisonous arrows of Satan . Many of such glances becomes a cause of prolonged jealousy . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Both Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) and Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) have informed ,
�There is no man who is not to some extent guilty of fornication . The fornication of the eyes is the evil glance , the kiss is the fornication of lips and touching a namehram woman is the fornication of hands . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It is also recorded that ,
�Those who look at a namehram woman with an evil intention and fill their eyes with this sight (that is they look for a long time) Allah will , on the day of Qiyamat fill (pierce) their eyes with burning rods . They will continue in this way till Allah completes the hearing of the cases of all the people . Only after that will He order them to be thrown into Hell . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


That person who embraces a namehram woman will be tied with chains , together with Iblees on the day of Qiyamat . These chains shall be of fire and both of them shall be tossed into Hell together . The following are also the words of the tradition :
�One who glances at a woman , but instantly looks away at the sky or turns his gaze down; before he could remove his gaze fully , Allah marries him to a black-eyed houri and he creates such a freshness of belief in his heart that he is extremely delighted . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It is reported from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said;
�The wrath of Allah is very severe upon the married woman who apart from her husband sees another namehram man with a prolonged glance . When this woman does this , Allah the mighty invalidates all her good deeds and does not give her any rewards . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
A few traditions mention that looking at a woman in hijab is also not allowed . Although it is a generally considered a makrooh act . Although there are numerous traditions that denounce glancing at namehrams these shall suffice for our purpose .


It is Haraam for a stranger or namehram man to remain alone in company of a namehram woman when there is a risk of committing a sin , even though they may be busy in worship . In the same way women are ordered not to stay in company of namehram men when there is a chance of sinful act .
The Holy Prophet ( s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement does not remain in a place where (even) the sound of breathing of the namehram women is perceived . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�When the Prophet (a . s . ) took allegiance from the women he told them to take an oath that they shall not sit alone in company of namehram men . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
A lonely place means the one where there is no chance of anyone else entering or coming . Like a room , the door of which is locked from inside . Or a place not frequented by people .
Islam has prescribed severe penalty for a serious offence like adultery . Some of the aspects are given in the points mentioned below .
1) If a person commits an incestuous fornication he is to be killed according to Islamic laws .
2) If one sees that a stranger is fornicating with his wife , then he can kill both of them if he considers himself safe in doing so . But if he does not feel safe or if he does not wish to kill them , then apparently his wife is not prohibited for him .
3) If a Kafir commits adultery with a Muslim woman , he is to be killed according to shariat . Similarly , if a Muslim is punished thrice for fornication and is again proved guilty for the fourth time , he is to be executed .
4) If the person is sane , major , and legally married , and has a wife with whom he could establish sexual relation whenever he wants , and inspite of this he commits fornication with another sane , mature woman , he has to be stoned to death according to the Islamic law . And according to some Mujtahids , he must first be given a hundred lashes .
5) If a man does not fulfill the conditions listed in the above point , and if he commits fornication with a woman then his penalty according to Islamic law is a hundred lashes . Similarly , the married woman who willingly commits fornication should be stoned to death . If she is unmarried , then the penalty for her is a hundred lashes .
�As for the fornicatress and the fornicators , flog each other of them , (giving) a hundred lashes , and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah , if you believe in Allah and the Last Day , and let a party of believers witness this chastisement . � (Surah Nur 24 : 2)
After quoting the above ayat , the Journal of Anjuman-e-Tablighat-e-Islam writes :
Two points are derived from this . The first is that the punishment of the adulterer is carried out in the presence of other people . This will be a warning and a lesson to them . They will be terrified of committing the same sin after witnessing the horror of the punishment .
Another point , although its truth is not established , is that the punishment acts as a cure for the diseases of the sinner . It could be that due to the hundred lashes , the bodies of the sinners are so much heated that the germs that have entered their bodies are annihilated before they could multiply and spread .
One more point to be noted is that the germs of disease like syphilis etc . are not confined only to those who commit fornication . The spouse of the fornicator may also contract these diseases . Marriage with an adulterer is therefore detestable and is discouraged . If an adulterer man marries an adulteress woman , an innocent person is not victimised , but their deeds will definitely affect their progeny adversely . Their future generations will be contaminated with the evil of their sin and there will be some deformity or the other in their progeny . It is for this very fact that the religion of Islam says;
�The fornicator shall not marry any but a fornicatress or idolatress , and (as for) the fornicatress , none shall marry her but a fornicator or an idolater; and it is forbidden to the believer . � (Surah Nur 24 : 3)


It must be clarified that the penalty for adultery could be imposed when the sin is proved from the viewpoint of Shariat . As it has been stated earlier , adultery is only proved if the conditions necessary for it are fulfilled . One of the conditions is that all the four just witnesses should testify unanimously as to the time and place of the crime . They must also know the woman by sight . Otherwise , there arises the possibility that the person who performed the sexual act with the woman may have been her husband .


1) If a person commits adultery with an unmarried woman or the woman who is not in the iddah-e-rajai (the waiting period after divorce in which the husband can resume relation with her without another nikah) , he can later marry her . But if she is married or in iddah-e-rajai , and he has had a sexual intercourse with her , he can never ever marry her legally . She is Haraam for this man forever . Even if the husband dies or divorces , she cannot legally marry the person who has committed adultery with her when she was married with another man .
2) If a man commits fornication with a woman , then her mother and daughter become Haraam for this man . That is , he can never ever marry them but they are not counted among his mehram women . Similarly , the father of the man with whom a woman has committed adultery becomes Haraam for her . There are minor differences of opinion among the Mujtahids in these problems . Any one who wishes to study further should refer to the knowledgeable jurists .
The opponents of Islam take objection to the law of Islam and support the sexual ethics of the West . They praise the sexual freedom of these countries and say that the Europeans and Americans are not hypocrites and express whatever feelings they have , freely and openly . They say that sexual desire is the legitimate desire of all human beings . If this desire is suppressed , it shall have a damaging effect upon man . These desires should therefore be satisfied so that man can rid himself of various limitations and inhibitions . He can then perform his day to day activities efficiently to achieve progress and development .
These words express the misguided thoughts of the enemies of Islam . They have forgotten the Second World War when France had surrendered to Germany in the very first attack . The German forces freely indulged in the satisfaction of their carnal passions . Even the French people began to pray for peace .
Freedom must also have a limit and must be disciplined . If the sexual drive is uncontrolled , man behaves worse than an animal . The defeat of France was also to an extent due to the promiscuous way of life prevalent in France . It is written in the book �Chun France Shikast Khund� (When France was defeated) :
�When the German planes started to bomb the French cities , the Prime Minister �Patrino� tried to contact the Central Headquarter of the air force so that additional bombers could be summoned for defence . He continously tried to phone the Central Headquarters , and each time he dialed the number of the Major on duty , each time the phone was attended by the beloved of the Major , Madam Dolly . Madam Dolly answered the phone and spoke foolishly to the Prime Minister in a demure way whereas there was bloodshed all around , and France was being converted into a sort of Hell .
As far as America is concerned , 38 % of the middle school female students become pregnant . As these girls reach high school , colleges and universities , the incidence of unwanted pregnancies reduce . These girls use their past experiences to avoid getting pregnant . American society is plagued with this evil , but its laws are unable to cope with the situation .
There is no doubt that the sexual urge is a natural instinct , but it must be controlled and disciplined . Islam does not expect the sexual urge to be suppressed , nor does it order anyone to forsake productive activities . On the contrary , Islam is against celibacy . However , Islam , as any other decent society , cannot allow for absolute freedom as seen in the animal kingdom . What Islam does is to lay down the golden rules for the satisfaction and fulfillment of natural desires and instincts such that neither the personal freedom of man is endangered nor is the peace of society disrupted .
There is no doubt that the West is far ahead in the field of science and technology and has progressed and prospered as a result of it . But their success is hollow . The excessive affluence has eroded human values and deluded them to search for happiness in immorality and perversity . Their culture deprives them of true happiness and comfort that comes with peace and stability of mind .
The women of these countries have also taken great strides . They work shoulder to shoulder with men in practically all walks of life . But many of them fail in what is their primary duty , as loyal wives and caring mothers . It is quite common to come across women having extra marital relations and neglecting their home and children . These children deprived of parental love and care in turn search for happiness by following the degraded examples set by their misguided parents and the vicious circle continues . The result is that couples just live together without being married and go their own way when they choose to . If there are marriages , they often end in divorce . The divorce rate in America today is 40 % and is on the increase . Women have come to occupy high positions in governmental and commercial organisations , but this does not solve the human problems facing these societies . It is a pity that these societies have no guidelines that will help them to realise that their well being lies in maintaining well-knit families where husband and wife care for each other , are loyal to each other and the children are secure and happy . This is what Islam aims to achieve for its followers . By upholding the laws of Islam our lives are automatically channelised into maintaining a healthy family life which provides for physical satisfaction , mental peace and spiritual upliftment , where the family members are a source of strength , solace and comfort to each other .
(Adapted from Burhan-e-Quran)



The eleventh sin that is classified as a Greater sin is sodomy or homosexuality . This is verified from the sayings of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and Imam ar-Reza (a . s . ) . In fact it is a sin greater than adultery . Its retribution and punishment are more severe than for adultery . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has stated :
�Penetrating the anal opening is a greater sin than penetrating the vagina . Certainly Allah destroyed a complete ummat (ummat of Hazrat Lut (a . s . ) because they indulged in sodomy . Allah has not destroyed even one man for adultery� .
(Al Kafi)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�A person who commits sodomy with a boy will acquire such a Janabat (impurity) that even all the water of this world cannot remove it . Allah will be wrathful at him and curse him . (That is He will take away His Mercy from him and will award Hell for him . ) What a dreadful place it is ! Then the Heavens shudder of it . And the person who allows another to mount him from behind to commit sodomy , then Allah puts him on the fringe of Hell (in extreme heat) and keeps him there till He completes the reckoning of all the people . Then He orders him to be put into Hell . One by one he is made to suffer all the punishments of Hell till he reaches the lowest stage . Then he never comes out from there . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) has said :
�Sodomy is a Greater Sin and carries punishment when a man mounts upon another man but does not penetrate . If he penetrates , it is kufr� . (Al Kafi)
It means that one who considers sodomy legal is a Kafir , because to consider sodomy illegal is one of the requirements of faith . And one who disbelieves in any of the requirements of faith becomes a Kafir . However if anyone commits this act knowing that it is Haraam is deserving of punishment which is similar to the one meted out to kuffar , and it is eternal .
Huzaifa ibn Mansur says :
�I enquired regarding sodomy which is a Greater Sin from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . )� . The Imam replied :
�To press the sexual organ between the thighs in an illegal way�
I asked , �Who is the person who commits sodomy� .
Imam (a . s . ) replied;
�One who has disbelieved in what Allah has revealed to his Messenger (the Holy Quran) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was queried by Abu Basir regarding the verse :
�So when our decree came to pass , we turned them upside down and rained down upon them stones , of what has been decreed , one after another . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 82)
Imam (a . s . ) explained :
�There is no one who leaves this world while considering sodomy halaal , but that Allah hits him with one of the stones that had fallen on the people of Hazrat Lut (a . s . ) . �
It is reported in Wasaelush Shia that a person who believes sodomy to be Halaal and commits it several times and does not repent; at the time of his death Allah hits him with one of the stones that had rained upon the people of Lut (a . s . ) . His death is brought about by the impact of this stone , but people do not see it (the stone) .


The Holy Quran has described three kinds of punishments that were meted out to the people of Lut (a . s . ) , one was a terrible scream and shriek , the second was the shower of stones that rained upon them , and the third was that the earth turned upside down . After mentioning the last calamity , it is said in Surah Hud :
�Marked (for punishment) with your Lord and it is not far off from the unjust . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 83)
This verse is an indication that such type of punishments may even be inflicted upon those who commit similar acts (acts of homosexuality) .


In the time of Umar a slave killed his master . When this slave confessed to the crime Umar ordered him to be put to death . Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) questioned this slave ,
�Why did you kill your owner ? �
�He had forcibly committed sodomy with me , � replied the slave .
Ali (a . s . ) asked the heirs of the deceased , �Have you buried him ? �
�Yes we have just come after burying him� , they replied .
Ali (a . s . ) advised Umar to have the slave held in custody for three days and told the heirs of the deceased to come back after three days .


Three days passed , then Ali (a . s . ) , Umar and some of the heirs of the murdered man went to the grave . Upon reaching there Ali (a . s . ) asked , �Is this the grave of your man ? � �Yes� they answered .
Ali (a . s . ) ordered the grave to be dug out . Amazingly the dead body had disappeared from it . Ali (a . s . ) said ,
�Allaho Akbar ! I have heard the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) saying that , �Whosoever from my ummat commits the act of the ummat of Lut and dies before repenting for it shall not remain in the grave for more than three days . The earth will suck him inside and he shall reach the place of the dead of Lut . Where destiny annihilated them . Then that person will also be counted among them� . �
(Kitab Mualim-uz-zalfa)


Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) has said;
�Refrain from adultery and sodomy , and this sodomy is worse than adultery . These two sins are the causes of seventy two ills of this life and the Hereafter . �
The Quran has used the word �indecency� for adultery in the way it has also used it for sodomy . It is said in Surah Araf :
�And (we sent) Lut when he said to his people : What ! Do you commit an indecency which anyone in the world has not done before you ? �
�Most surely you come to males in lust besides females . Nay you are a prodigal people� .
(Surah Araf 7 : 80-81)
What could be more indecent than the act where man squanders away his sperms in a way prohibited by Allah instead of allowing them to reach the wombs of women to ensure the continuation of the human race .
Sodomy and homosexuality are denounced in Surah Hud , Surah Ankaboot , Surah Qamar , Surah Najm in addition to Surah Araf; so that the people are fully warned . Allah has strictly forbidden such a loathsome act .


To look upon a young boy with lust is Haraam , especially a boy who has not yet developed facial hair . The evil effects and the severe punishments for a lustful glance have already been described in the section on adultery . It is also related from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said;
�Refrain from looking lustfully at the children of rich people and slaves , especially those who have yet no beard . Because the mischief that is possible by such glances is greater than mischief of glancing at young girls , who are in veil . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It is obligatory for a Muslim to control his glances and safeguard against such indecencies .


It is Haraam to kiss a young man with passion . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) quotes the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he (s . a . w . s . ) said;
�If a person kisses a young man with passion , on the Day of the Judgement Allah shall tie a rein of fire on his mouth . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam ar-Reza (a . s . ) has remarked ,
�When a person kisses a young man sensually , the angels of the sky , the angels of the earth , the angels of mercy , and the angels of wrath curse him . And Allah decrees for him a place in Hell . O , what a dreadful place it is ! �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said ,
�Allah shall punish for a thousand years in Hell , the man who kisses a boy with passion . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
If two just witnesses testify to have seen a man kissing a young man in a sensual way , the wrongdoer could be punished with thirty to ninety lashes as decided by the Qazi . This is the punishment according to Islamic law .
The traditions imply that those who perform such an act should also be punished like the adulterers , that is , a hundred lashes for each of them . However , if two women are involved the Qazi prescribes less than a hundred lashes for them .


Some scholars remark that since the sleeping of two men under a single blanket without clothes is a punishable offence according to Shariat , it is also a Greater Sin .
It is therefore mustahab not to sleep together even with clothes on . Except for husband and wife , Islam prohibits any two persons who are able to distinguish right from wrong , to sleep close to each other or under a common blanket . The same prohibition applies to brothers and sisters .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has stated :
�Make separate bed for your children above ten years . Two brothers and two sisters and a brother and a sister should not be made to sleep on the same bed . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet has thus advised us that brothers and sisters should not sleep very close to each other . If they cover themselves , they should have a separate blanket or sheet .


Since sodomy is a greater crime than adultery and its evils are worse , the punishment for sodomy is also more severe than that of adultery according to the Islamic law . Islam prescribes capital punishment for the active as well as the passive partner in the crime . If both are major and sane , both of them have to be killed . The active partner is beheaded with the sword or killed by stoning or burnt alive or thrown from a height with the hands and the legs tied . These are the ways prescribed for punishing the criminal , but it is at the discretion of the Judge to determine the method . Similarly , the method adopted for the death of the passive partner is also determined by the Qazi .
According to Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) , a person who has committed this sin must also be burnt after being killed .
As in the case of adultery , the guilt of sodomy is also proved in one of two ways . The first is that both the participants , or one of them confesses four times before a Judge . If he confesses less than four times the legal penalty cannot be issued . He is only warned and severely rebuked so that he may never repeat it . Some Mujtahids believe that the four confessions should be on four different occasions . It is also required that the accused be major , sane , free and independent . Even if he confesses four times , a minor person can only be reprimanded for the act so that he never does it again . The same applies for the slave and the insane person . Apart from this , if someone is forced into such a crime and is unable to avoid it , there is no penalty for him .
The second method of proving the crime of sodomy is that four just witnesses see it being committed with their own eyes and testify in consonance . If the witnesses are less than four , the testimony is not accepted and the penalty for sodomy is withheld . If less than four people have seen this act , they should not testify . If they do so , they shall themselves become liable for the penalty of �qazf� . This clause shall be elaborated later . If the guilty repents before the four witnesses testify , the penalty is not imposed and he is not killed . The confession or the testimony should be with regard to the penetration of the anus with the penis , only then the capital punishment is carried out . But if the two men cause ejaculation without penetrating the anus (by pressing the sexual organ between the thighs of another man or by rubbing with the buttocks) , then the punishment is a hundred lashes for them .


People , who have abandoned shame and decency so as to commit such a revolting and loathsome act of sexual perversion in the presence of other people , are like cancer for the society . If they are left alive , they will spread their shamelessness till it engulfs the entire society . This was the fate of the people of Lut (a . s . ) . First , Satan led one person to commit this indecency and later he invited others to the same evil . Finally , the crime reached such a gigantic proportion that among the people of Lut (a . s . ) , it was common to see a man mount upon another and perform sodomy right before the eyes of the onlookers . Women also had sexual relations among themselves . Allah cursed these people and destroyed them .
Homosexuality is such a hideous crime that if one does not repent and pray for forgiveness , he becomes like the one who has disbelieved in Allah . He becomes liable for eternal punishment like the Kafirs . Hence , there is no better way than to kill this person and burn the corpse .
We have already noted in the chapter on adultery that punishment in Islam for acts of indecency are severe but tempered with Allah�s Mercy and Compassion . We have also discussed that Islam has formulated strict laws not just to punish the wrong doers but rather to act as a detriment for the negligent . Although capital punishment is prescribed for sodomy , it can only be administered after four just witnesses have testified to the sin being committed in their presence . The extreme degree of leniency in Islamic laws is apparent here . If an individual shows just enough decency as not to commit a filthy act in public and that too for fear of being put to death , Islam does not allow his fellow-beings to punish him . Further , if the sinner repents before the four witnesses have testified , he cannot be put to death . But if the testimony is complete , penalty cannot be reduced and the guilty has to be killed .
As far as confession of the crime is concerned , the same regulations hold as in the case of adultery . The guilty must confess four times . He must confess in clear unambiguous words and must not speak in an elusive way . The Judge must make sure that the person is sane . Also , that he is not joking and confessing to something he has not really done . All these stipulations and concessions are given to the guilty by the Almighty so that the sinner has an opportunity to save himself . If , finally the guilty is found deserving a death sentence , his death will be a lesson for others . The aim of Islam in designing these laws is not merely to punish the offenders but to reform society . Islam aims at creating a sound environment for us where we can get the best of the world and the hereafter .
A person who is guilty , he confesses and undergoes the penalty for it in this world , and thus he will have atoned for his sins and will not be subjected to the torture of the hereafter . Even so , it is better if he refrains from revealing his secrets and submits his case only before the Almighty . He should repent , weep and beg for forgiveness from Allah . Insha Allah , Allah will forgive him . However , a person should not be complacent after seeking forgiveness . While he is hopeful of Allah�s Mercy , he should be in dread of Allah�s retribution and must continue to implore Allah to forgive him . In this way , he will attain a degree of piety and emerge a far better human being than he ever was .
In the end we quote a tradition from Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) : �If anybody deserves to be stoned to death twice , it is the homosexual . �
All the revealed religions are unanimous that sodomy must be dealt with strictly . Not only is the human race inflicted with spiritual degradation and physical illness and disabilities , it also runs the risk of extinction . The boy who is sexually assaulted , loses his manliness . Sodomy takes the society to the depths of depravity . It is therefore incumbent on men and women to marry and satisfy their sexual urge in a healthy manner , the way Nature has designed . This will ensure the continuity and the well-being of the human race .


There is a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) in the book Al Kafi (Section on Penal Code) , that :
One day Ali (a . s . ) was sitting with his companions when a man approached and said �O Chief of the Believers , I have committed sodomy with a boy , please purify me (impose legal penalty upon me) Ali (a . s . ) told him , �Go home , you may have had some misunderstanding . �
The next day the man returned and repeated his confession and requested for penalty . Ali (a . s . ) said ,
�Go home , you may not be in your sense right now . �
He went away only to return the third time and repeat his confession and again asked for punishment .
At last when he came for the fourth time , Ali (a . s . ) said ,
�The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has prescribed three methods of dealing with the situation , you may choose any one of the three deaths - by having the arms and feet tied and thrown from the cliff , being beheaded or being burnt alive . �
He said , �O , Ali (a . s . ) which is the worst of these methods ? � Imam replied , �Burning alive . � �Then I choose this death . � said the man . By permission of Ali (a . s . ) , he stood and prayed two rakaat prayer and then said , �O Allah ! A sin was committed by me of which You are well aware . Then I had the fear of this sin , I came to the Successor of your Prophet and requested him to purify me . He gave me a choice of three deaths . I chose the most dreadful death . I pray to you to consider this penalty as the expiation of my sin and do not burn me in the fire of Hell which is ignited by you . �
Then he got up weeping and jumped into the pit into which the fire had been lit . He sat in the fire and the fire engulfed him from all the sides . Ali (a . s . ) began to weep , upon seeing this condition and the other companions were also in tears .
Ali (a . s . ) said , �Arise , the one who has caused the angels of the earth and the sky to weep . Allah has certainly accepted your repentance . Get up but never approach the sin that you have committed . �
It so happened that the man came out of the fire unscathed . The fire could not burn the one who repented .


It is commonly agreed by the Mujtahids that if a person confesses four times but repents before the execution of sentence , the Judge has the authority either to impose penalty or cancel it . The above report also indicates that the Imam (a . s . ) did not pursue the sentence . However , the sentence cannot be cancelled after the testimony of four just witnesses .


It must be known that if a man commits sodomy with a boy (that he penetrates his anus) , the mother , sister and daughter of the boy becomes Haraam for this man forever . That is , this man could never lawfully marry the mother , sister or daughter of this boy .

12 . QAZF


The twelfth Greater Sin is Qazf . Qazf means to wrongfully accuse a chaste Muslim man or chaste Muslim woman of adultery or homosexuality . We have the authority of our Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Musa al-Kazim , Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) and Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (a . s . ) that qazf is a Greater sin . The Holy Quran also speaks of the punishment for this sin .
�Surely those who accuse chaste believing women , unaware (of the evils) , are cursed in the world and the hereafter and they shall have a grievous chastisement . On the day when their tongue and their hands and their feet shall bear witness against them as to what they did . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 23-24)
The above verses clarify that those who falsely accuse chaste men or women of adultery are cursed by Allah as long as they are alive , and in the hereafter they shall be deprived of His Divine Mercy . We should maintain our distance from such people on whom the wrath of Allah has descended and be very careful not to believe their false accusations . False accusers have to be penalised in this world according to the Islamic law . Once their testimony is proved false , they can never ever testify in a court of Islamic law .


Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said ,
�The organs and the parts of the body of a true believer shall not testify against him . But they will testify against the one who , after all , has to burn in Hell . �
(Al Kafi)
The person who accuses anyone falsely of adultery and sodomy belongs to this category . Because his punishment is Hell-fire , his organs , according to the Holy Quran shall testify against him .


It is also mentioned in Surah Nur :
�And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses , flog them , (giving eighty lashes) , and do not admit any evidence from them ever , and these it is that are the transgressors . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 4)
Three commands are issued in this ayat regarding one who commits qazf . The first is that he has to be punished with the Islamic penalty imposed upon him . The second is that his evidence is never ever to be accepted and the third is that such a person must always be considered as unreliable and a transgressor .
Islamic society which is geared to promote the dignity and welfare of its members cannot allow a false accuser to go unpunished . This falsehood dishonours an upright person , and a society which cannot uphold the honour of its members , cannot possibly give them peace and security .
(Condensed from Burhan-e-Quran)
The book �Islam and World Peace� mentions that in order to curb frivolous propaganda , a slanderer who cannot furnish four witnesses , is given lashes . If three witnesses testify and the fourth witness is not available then the former three are also punished with eighty lashes each . However , if a husband accuses his wife of adultery but cannot support his accusation with witnesses , he cannot be lashed . This is to avoid domestic upheavals . In this case the husband is made to repeat four times by calling Allah as a witness that his wife has committed adultery . And the fifth time he has to say that if he is lying , the curse of Allah be upon him . His wife is also given a similar right that she can say four times , calling Allah as a witness that her husband is lying . And the fifth time she has to say that if her husband is telling the truth , then the curse and the wrath of Allah may be upon her . She can escape punishment in this way . This law is derived from the sixth and the seventh ayat of Surah Nur .
Whether it is true or false it must be known that it is Haraam to accuse anyone of adultery or homosexuality till he sees with his own eyes the penetration of the sexual organ . Even after being the eye witness of this he must not testify before a Qazi till three other just witnesses testify (he must himself be just (adil) too) . As stated earlier , if the witnesses are less than four , their testimony is rejected . In this case , the witnesses are considered as transgressors instead of the alleged sodomist and the fornicator , and penalised with eighty lashes each .


Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has informed;
�One who commits qazf is removed from the ranks of the believers of Allah and considered as a transgressor . Transgressor is also the opposite of believer as Allah himself says ,
�Is he then who is the believer like him who is the transgressor ? ��
(Surah Sajdah 32 : 18)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has been reported to have said ,
�The person who accuses falsely a chaste man or a chaste woman of indecency , Allah invalidates all his good deeds (and does not give him any reward) and on the Day of Judgement seventy thousand angels lash him from the front and behind and continue to do so till the order is passed for him to be put in Hell . �


�And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses , flog them , (giving) eighty lashes , and do not admit evidence from them ever . � (Surah Nur 24 : 4)
The above verse , numerous traditions and the rules promulgated by the Mujtahids indicate that every one of the false accusers of sodomy and fornication must be lashed eighty times (provided four just witnesses are not available simultaneously) . However , the following conditions should be noted .
1) The sinner must be major and sane . A minor child or an insane person cannot be punished for false accusations . Also , the major and the sane person should have made the allegation after careful consideration and not under compulsion . No penalty can be imposed on an accuser if he has made a genuine mistake or if he has made the accusation in jest .
2) One who has been accused of adultery or sodomy must possess five characteristics . First of all , he must be a major . Secondly , he must be sane and not a madman . Thirdly , he must be free and not a slave . Fourthly , he must be a Muslim and not a Kafir . Lastly , he must apparently be chaste . A person who strongly objects to being blamed of adultery and fornication or is shocked and dismayed by such an accusation is taken to be a chaste person . So if the accused does not fulfill the above conditions or is notorious for being corrupt and indecent , the accuser is not penalised for qazf .
3) The accusation should clearly mention adultery or sodomy . If an accuser is vague in his allegations and merely hints at adultery or sodomy or addresses the accused as �adulterer� or �sodomist� , then he can be exempted from punishment . But in this case , the accused has a right to demand action against the accuser .
Sometimes , the allegation is against someone other than the one who is addressed . For example , One says , �Your father was an adulterer ! Your father was a sodomist ! � In such a situation , it is the right of the father , of the one who is addressed to insist upon the penalty . The son is not directly accused but insulted in the process . Consequently , he cannot demand the sentence of qazf against the accuser but must insist upon a lighter penalty like reprimanding or beating so that the sin is not repeated .
In the same way , if someone says �bastard� or �adulterously born ! � etc . , the right of having the punishment decreed rests upon the one who is actually accused . The person who is addressed can only claim a reduced penalty .


A woman presented herself before the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and said , �O , Messenger of Allah , I called my maid adulteress . �
The Prophet (s . a . ) said ,
�Have you ever seen her committing adultery ? �
�No , � she replied .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told her ,
�Know that ! On the day of Qiyamat , some of your good deeds will be transferred to this maid and it would be the expiation .
This woman returned and handed a whip to her maid and said , �lash me� but the maid refused , so she freed her . Again , she returned to the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and related the incident . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) remarked ,
�May be this action of yours will act as the expiation of your utterance and you may not suffer it�s consequences in the hereafter . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


One who accuses a Muslim of adultery or sodomy should know that qazf or false accusation is a sin that trespasses upon the right of man as well as the right of Allah . As far as the human rights are concerned , the one who is falsely accused can take the accuser to the Qazi . If qazf is proved by the confession of the accuser or by the testimony of two just witnesses who testify having heard the accuser making the false allegation , the legal sentence is executed . It is wajib for the person who has committed qazf to submit himself to the accused for trial . However , he can request the one he has falsely accused to forgive him and must try his best to do so . If he is condoned , he escapes punishment . But if he is not forgiven and nor is the sentence carried out , and the falsely accused dies , the right of having the penalty executed is transferred to the legal heirs of the falsely accused . Now it is wajib upon the one guilty of qazf either to surrender himself to the heirs so that he may be taken to a Qazi or he could ask for their forgiveness . If the heirs of the deceased forgive , he is saved from punishment .
Samaa says that I asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) regarding the person who commits qazf but is forgiven by the one whom he accused falsely . �If later , this person regrets having forgiven and wishes that the accuser be punished , can the punishment for qazf be executed now ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied;
�No penalty can be imposed upon him after being respited . �
Samaa says that I further enquired ,
�What if the man says , �O son of a fornicatress . � And the one who is falsely accused condones him but leaves the matter to Allah ? � Imam (a . s . ) replied;
�If his mother is alive , the son does not have the right of forgiving the accuser . His mother has the right to forgive . She can exercise her right whenever she wants . If his mother has died , only then does he have the right to forgive . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It is wajib upon the accuser , that after he has received the penalty or after he has been condoned by the one whom he falsely accused that he must publicly announce that whatever he has uttered is absolutely false . For example , he should say , �I had accused this person of fornication . It was a false accusation . � His announcement should be to the extent that those who have heard the false accusation must hear his confession too .
In an authentic report Ibne Sinan asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �If a person makes a false allegation and undergoes the Islamic punishment and also repents . Can his evidence be accepted in future ? � Imam replied ,
�If he repents and his repentance consist of taking back the words he has uttered and confesses before the Imam (a . s . ) and the Muslims to have uttered a lie . . . Then it is incumbent upon the Imam to accept his evidence and consider him just . �
The book Al Kafi and Al-Tahzeeb contain other reports concerning the same issue . If the accuser has made a false accusation , it is obvious that to falsify his accusation is a must . But there may be a situation where the accuser has really witnessed the act of adultery and sodomy but the crime is not proved due to lack of four witnesses and as a result he becomes liable for penalty . In this case too , he has to falsify his statement .
Since adultery or sodomy could not be established according to the stipulation laid down by Islam , from the point of view of Shariat , his accusation is false . So although he had witnessed the crime , it is appropriate on his part to falsify his statement . This he should do with the clear intention that he is submitting to the laws of Islam .
This is in consonance with the following verse :
�Why did they not bring the four witnesses of it ? But as they have not brought they are liars before Allah . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 13)
The Shaykh writes in the book �Nihaya� that a person who is guilty of qazf should repent by publicly announcing that the accusation he had made is untrue , and that he had uttered a lie . He should do this at the same place where he had made the accusation . In this way all those who had heard a Muslim being denounced will now be aware of its falsehood and there will be no misunderstanding in their minds about his good character .
A person guilty of qazf transgresses Allah�s right by disobeying a Divine command . Allah has strictly prohibited qazf and a person guilty of it is deserving of the punishment of the hereafter . But if the offender repents sincerely and reforms himself , Allah is most Forgiving and most Merciful .
�Except those who repent after this and act aright , for surely Allah is Forgiving and Merciful . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 5)
Sincere repentance reforms a person . He will either make peace with the person whom he had earlier maligned , or he will confess his guilt and falsify his accusation before a Qazi . After this he is no longer a transgressor or a liar according to Shariat . He is now an adil (just man) whose evidence is acceptable . Beyond this , the experience of being guilty of qazf and repenting sincerely by going through the humiliation of acknowledging it in public , brings about a deep-rooted transformation in the person�s character . He is now inclined toward virtue and piety and strives for spiritual upliftment .
The Shaykh says in the book �Mabsut� : �After repentance , only good deeds should be seen in that man . �
One who hears the accuser is obliged to advise him to refrain from slandering and even to reprimand him .


According to the philosophy of Islam , if a Muslim hears of another Muslim being accused of adultery or sodomy he should not pay heed to it . It is Haraam for him to believe it . It is also Haraam to repeat this slander to others . Till four just witnesses testify before the qazi and the qazi issues his decree , it is Haraam to associate any one with these sins . Even if one has witnessed the crime with his own eyes or believes the accuser , one should not spread the slander . Such an action would cause the accused person to lose his honour and dignity in people�s estimation . This is totally unacceptable in Islam .
Till four just witnesses have not testified , the accuser should be regarded as a liar and a transgressor , and it is wajib upon the person who hears him to consider him so , even if what he says is true . It should be said to the accuser , �This is a great allegation . We do not accept that the statement is correct according to Shariat . �
�Surely they who concocted the lie are the party from among you . Do not regard it as an evil to you , nay , it is good for you . Every man of them shall have what he has earned of sin and (as for) him who took upon him the main part thereof he shall have a grievous chastisement .
Why did not the believing men and the believing women , when they heard it , think well of their own people and say : this is an evident falsehood ?
Why did they not bring four witnesses of it ? But as they have not brought witnesses they are liars before Allah .
And were it not for Allah�s Grace upon you and His Mercy in this world and the hereafter , a grievous chastisement would certainly have touched you on account of the discourse which you entered into .
When you received it with your tongues and spoke with your mouths what you had no knowledge of , you deemed it an easy matter while with Allah it was grievous .
And why did you not , when you heard it say : �It does not beseem us that we should talk off it , glory be to thee ! This is a great calumny ? �
Allah admonishes you that you should not return to the like of it ever again if you are believers .
And Allah makes clear to you the communications , and Allah is knowing and wise .
Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe , they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter and Allah knows while you do not know .
(Surah Nur 24 : 11-19)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) explains ,
�One who speaks wrongly about the believer and says something which he has neither seen nor heard himself is from those who have been mentioned in the verse :
�Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe they shall have the grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter and Allah knows while you do not know . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 19)
In conclusion , it is Haraam to accuse anyone of fornication and sodomy without having seen the act with one�s own eyes . Even after seeing it , it is Haraam to speak of it till four just witnesses testify having seen it .
But , if a husband accuses his wife wrongly of adultery , four witnesses are not required . It is sufficient for the husband to say before the qazi in the prescribed manner , �I am the liar , may the curse of Allah be upon me . � And his accusation is admitted . This order is known as �laee� in Islamic terminology . And the accuser must fulfill the conditions as mentioned earlier in which case two just witnesses could testify that he has committed a calumny . As a result of this he is liable for penalty (eighty lashes) . But these lashes would be lighter than those which are prescribed for the adulterer and the alcoholic . Also , the slanderer will not be lashed on a naked back like an adulterer and the alcoholic . He would be allowed to wear his shirt during lashing .


Even if the necessary conditions are not present in the accused it is still Haraam to associate him with adultery or sodomy . In this case the slanderer is reprimanded . However if some one calls a Muslim �bastard� it does not imply that he is born of adultery . It could also imply that he was conceived when his mother was having a menstrual discharge . In such a condition it is Haraam for his father to perform the sexual act and the child conceived during this time is also a child of sin . In the same way if someone calls another , indecent or �evil doer� , the accusation of adultery and sodomy is not proved . However he could be punished lightly or reprimanded for insulting a person .
Similarly if a Muslim accuses falsely a Kafir of adultery or sodomy , the penalty of qazf does not apply . Yet it is Haraam to associate even a Kafir with adultery and sodomy . It is not permissible to make such a statement in unequivocal words or to allude to it . But if it is established that he has committed adultery even from the point of view of his own faith , then it is allowed to associate him with it .


Umroo bin Noman Juhfi says that there was a friend of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . He always remained with the Imam (a . s . ) wherever he went . He had a slave who was from Sind . One day , the person was passing through the market of shoe-makers with Imam (a . s . ) while his slave walked behind . The master wanted to send the slave on an errand , but when he looked back the slave had disappeared . He looked back three times but could not see the slave . After some time , when he looked for the fourth time , he saw the slave . He was angry with him and said , �O� son of the adulteress ! Where were you ? �
The narrator says that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) slapped his forehead and said ,
�Glory be to Allah ! You are accusing his mother of adultery . And I was seeing some piety in you , but now I find that there is no sign of piety or religiousness left . �
The companion protested , �May I be sacrificed upon you , his mother is an inhabitant of Sind (India) and she is a Mushrik (polytheist) . � Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Don�t you know that all people have their own type of marriage ? Be away from me ! �
The narrator says , �In the Imam�s life-time , I never saw him walking with Imam (a . s . ) , again . �
Another tradition states ,
�All the people have their kind of marriage due to which they protect themselves from adultery . �
(Al Kafi)
Abul Hasan al Hazzae says that he was in the company of Imam (a . s . ) when a person came and asked him , �What did your debtors do ? � I responded , �Are you asking about the son of that adulteress woman ? � Upon hearing this Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) glared at me in anger . I said , �May I be sacrificed upon you . He is a Majoos (fire worshipper) and his mother is also his sister (means that his father had married his daughter) . Imam (a . s . ) asked ,
�Is not this type of marriage permitted in their religion ? �


Apart from grave accusations like adultery or sodomy it is also Haraam to use abusive language for a Muslim who does not openly indulge in evil acts . It is not allowed to abuse him with words like Transgressor ! Dog ! Drunkard ! Pig ! Even calling out to someone with such words is Haraam . Similarly , it is Haraam to address someone by associating him with some disease or handicap like Blind ! Lame ! Deaf ! According to Shariat a person who uses abusive language should be given a light punishment or reprimanded .
The book Mustadrakul Wasael has a tradition from Imam Ali (a . s . ) wherein he said ,
�If a person calls another Sinner , Indecent , Kafir , Munafiq or Donkey , he must be given thirty nine lashes . �
There is no difference if such words are used for relatives or strangers , against a student or a servant . Any bad words which mention the private parts or the indecent act are Haraam whether addressed to one who is an open sinner or not or whether he gets offended or not .


Numerous traditions have been recorded which censure bad words and abusive language .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�Abusive language is an atrocity and atrocity earns Hell . �
(Al Kafi)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said ,
�There are four people , the intensity of whose chastisement will also annoy the other people of Hell . �
�There would be a man who had blissfully used abusive and foul language in the world . In Hell , puss and blood shall flow from his mouth . �
Other reports on this subject have already been mentioned in our discussion .


It must be understood that as it is Haraam to initiate abusive language it is also Haraam to abuse in reply to it . This strictly applies to words that denote , qazf (accuse of adultery or sodomy) . But for abuses like �ignorant� , idiot tyrant , it is permissible to reciprocate with the same words .
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
The Holy Quran also allows this , in the following ayat
� . . . Whoever then acts aggressively against you , inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 194)
�And whoever defends himself after his being oppressed these it is against whom there is no way (to blame) . �
(Surah Shuara 42 : 41)
�And if you take your turn , then retaliate with the like of that with which you are afflicted . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 126)


Imam Musa al-Kazim says regarding two people who have abused each other ,
�From the two of them , the one who initiated it , is more unjust , his sin includes the sin of abusing as well as the sin of the one who had cursed him in reply . But the oppressed one should not exceed the limit . �
It means that a person who is abused should retaliate only with words that equal the abuses . He should not use a more abusive language otherwise his sin will be equal to the sin of the one who initiated .
For example if one calls another �you donkey� and he replies with �you dog� then this would be exceeding the limits . Or if one says �you donkey� only once and the other person responds by repeating the same word twice or more , it would constitute an excess . If a person who has uttered a bad word , seeks forgiveness immediately before he is replied to , he must be condoned . In this case it is not allowed to reply even with the same words .


It must be emphasized that although it is permitted to retaliate in equal measure , it is best to remain silent .
The Holy Quran says;
�And the recompense to evil is punishment like it , but whoever forgives and amends , he shall have his reward from Allah , surely He does not love the unjust . �
(Surah Shura 42 : 40)
Allah says in another place;
�And it is nearer to righteousness that you should relinquish . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 237)


Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari relates that Ali (a . s . ) saw that a man was abusing Hazrat Qambar and Qambar was about to reply to him . Ali (a . s . ) called him :
�Qambar , stop ! Humiliate the one who curses you by remaining silent . In this way the Beneficent will be satisfied with you and the shaitan angry . And you will be able to hurt your foe . You will please that Allah who splits the seed and cause pleasant winds to blow . No one can please Allah more with his forbearance , similarly nothing makes Shaitan more angry than silence in return of abuse . The revenge taken from an idiot (ignorant) person in this way is not possible in any other way . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
If a person who is abused responds with kind and gentle words like , �Do not abuse your brother� , he occupies a very high position with Allah .
The Holy Quran says;
�And not alike are the good and the evil . Repel (evil) with what is best . When lo ! he between whom and you is enmity would be as if he were a warm friend . And none are made to receive it but those who are patient , and none are made to receive it but those who have mighty good fortune . �
(Surah Hamim 41 : 34-35)
The following incident is quoted in the book �Kashful Ghumma� :
A Syrian came to Madinah . He saw a handsome man astride a good camel . Upon enquiry he learnt that it was Imam Hasan ibn Ali (a . s . ) .
This man from Syria stepped forward in anger and said;�Are you the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib ? �
�Yes , I am the son of Ali . �
He said , �You are the son of a person who was a mushrik (polytheist)� . And he continued his foul utterances till he got tired of it . Imam Hasan (a . s . ) remained silent . At last the man felt ashamed . The Imam (a . s . ) seeing his remorse said;
�You look like a traveller , are you from Syria ? �
�Yes sir� , he replied .
Imam Hasan (a . s . ) said ,
�If you need a place to stay , we shall provide it . If you need money we would give it you . If you have any other problem , we shall help you . �
Not only was the Syrian ashamed but was also rendered speechless by such excellent behaviour .
The following are his words :
�After I had the good fortune of enjoying the hospitality of Imam Hasan Ibne Ali (a . s . ) , I found his personality more likeable than that of any other person in the world . �
Imam Hasan (a . s . ) had offered the same type of hospitality to Asam bin Mutlaq the Syrian , and he too became his devotee .


drinking liquor

The thirteenth among the Greater Sins is drinking liquor . Its seriousness is proved from the traditions that have been related from Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) , Imam Reza (a . s . ) and Imam Muhammad al Taqi (a . s . ) .
The Holy Quran also states in unequivocal words that it is a Greater Sin .
�They ask you about intoxicants and the games of chance . Says : in both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men , and their sin is greater than their profit . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 219)
It is explained in �Tafsir al-Mizan� that �zanb� and �ithm� are synonyms that denote a condition wherein the person involved is deprived of reason . He has no inclination for deeds of virtue nor can he maintain an amiable disposition . �Ithm� is a type of sin , the evil effects of which become apparent in the person and he is absolutely doomed . The evils of drinking are known to all . The health of the alcoholic is affected in various ways . His digestion deteriorates . His intestines do not function well . His liver , lungs and all the five senses , are likewise affected . Ancient and modern doctors have penned quite a few books on this topic . They have revealed astonishing statistics to show the far greater susceptibility of alcoholics to diseases as compared to others . The various ailments which are caused by alcoholism are also enumerated . They have termed wine as deadly poison .
The different kind of diseases that inflict the body of a liquor-drinkers are described in brief :


Liquor affects the central nervous system . It may cause a brain hemorrhage leading to paralysis or prolonged coma and eventual death .
Ailments of the limbs are also caused by alcohol . The limbs become weak and the person loses control upon them . The body becomes absolutely broken-down . The five senses become despaired . Sleeplessness increases and even when the person gets to sleep he is haunted by nightmares .
Liquor affects the tongue and the taste buds which lose their ability to discern flavours . Secretion of saliva is impaired . Liquor ruins the digestive system . The stomach cannot produce the digestive juices or maintain the required acidity for digestion . There is frequent vomiting and nausea . Along with phelgm , there is blood discharge in the vomit . Numerous other diseases of the stomach are also caused by alcoholism . The belly begins to protrude . The intestines swell and are ulcerated . The large intestines malfunction , causing alternate constipation and loose motions .
Wine and alcohol cause swelling and weakening of liver and slow down its function . The swelling increases and this gives rise to acute pain of the liver . The part of the liver that is nearer to the stomach is first affected . The kidneys become yellow and the effect becomes apparent in the eyes of that person .
Alcohol does not have any benefit for the human body . It is for this reason that none of its constituent parts could be absorbed into the human body . As soon as it reaches the stomach , alcohol enters the blood stream , and as it enters the blood , it goes on destroying the white blood corpuscles . Due to this , blood pressure decreases . It may also cause fainting .
The worst effects of alcohol are to be seen in the respiratory system . As it enters the lungs through the blood stream , it causes breathlessness . The tissues are inflamed and functioning of the lungs becomes sluggish . Calcium is continually depleted from the body . The damaged lungs are now highly susceptible to tuberculosis that is the most prevalent disease among the poorer class of people .
Statistics show that ninety percent of the ailments of the kidneys are due to alcoholism . Alcohol is expelled through urine and causes numerous diseases involving the entire urinary system . It may also cause loss of bladder control .
Since alcohol circulates through the blood stream it has a detrimental effect on the heart as well . Gradually , layers of fat get deposited on the heart and it increases in size and weight . The heartbeats of an alcoholic are faint or irregular .


The most destructive effect that alcohol can produce is on the overall psychology of the alcoholic . According to statistics available from mental hospitals the majority of the patients are those who have been long-time alcoholics .
The book �Balahaee-e-Ijtemai� has quoted the magazine �Health� which says :
According to medical research there are 2 , 00 , 000 lunatics in France who have become mad due to alcoholism . Also 80% of all mental patients have been drunkards . Further 40% of all the ailments that afflict the people are due to alcohol . According to British scientists , 90% of the lunatics are so , due to the effect of alcohol .
The book also mentions that wine affects the sperm cells . A West German doctor has conducted research that indicates that the effect of alcohol lasts for at least three future generations of the alcoholic; even though these future generations may abstain from intoxicants .


According to an American doctor Dr . Nelson , if a teetotaler can father eleven healthy children the alcoholic is at the most capable of having three normal children . Moreover these children may be plagued with fainting , migraine , hot temper , lunacy , mental disability or anemia . Such children are the victims of various mental and physical problems .
The effects of liquor are also mirrored in the character of the drunkard . The alcoholic is usually a person of low character and has a foul tongue . Being in a state of intoxication most of the time , his behaviour is not normal or rational . Not being in control of his senses due to the influence of intoxicants , he has no hesitation in committing evil acts like murder , plunder , adultery , sodomy , exposing other peoples secrets etc . In fact he will unhesitatingly break every law , be it of land or religion .
The Islamic code of life requires that a person should use whatever power of reasoning Allah has granted him to conduct himself with deliberation and discretion . In fact Islam expects every individual to try and improve his reasoning power by increasing his knowledge with study and by associating with those more knowledgeable than himself . Even good actions , without thought and intent are of no avail .
Islam therefore prohibits all such actions that affect the reasoning capacity of man . The acts that top this list are alcoholism , gambling , deceit and lying . All of which deprive man of his capacity to reason . Carnal desires and falsehood are two things that are instrumental in the demotion of man from the high position of humanity to the lowliness of the beasts . Such a person is not capable of carrying any important responsibility . It is very difficult for an alcoholic to excel in any field . Even if he resolves to do something , his resolution is soon defeated . The more difficult , the more important a task is , the more difficult it would be for an alcoholic to accomplish it . Even if the wisdom behind every Islamic act had been unknown , it would have sufficed to accept it , as the same is advocated by intellect .
The Holy Quran has termed as �ithm� (sins) such acts as murder , slander , and withholding testimony before a qualified Judge . Murder has not been termed as �ithm-e-kabir� (the greatest sin) whereas sins like alcoholism and gambling have been specified as the �ithm-e-kabir� (the greatest sin) . The quote (�and in alcohol and gambling there is even some profit for men�) imply the profit which arises from the manufacture and sale of alcohol etc . But this profit is not even a pittance when compared to the losses that accrue with the consumption of alcohol . The loss of character , the loss of mental & physical health and over and above all this , the loss of Allah�s Mercy and blessing in the hereafter .
The Quran says in Surah Maidah :
�O you who believe ! Surely intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (divining by) arrows are only an uncleanness , the Shaitan�s works , shun it therefore that you may be successful . �
(Surah Maaidah 5 : 90)
The prohibition regarding wine is of special significance in those two ayats for the following reasons :
1) The word �innama� in the first ayat denotes emphasis .
2) Drinking of liquor is mentioned along with idolatry . Therefore drinking liquor is as serious a sin as idolatry .
3) Drinking of liquor has been classified as a satanic act along with gambling .
4) The verse emphatically orders one to avoid alcohol .
5) Avoidance of alcohol has been clearly shown to be a way of salvation .
6) The consequences of drinking liquor have also been listed namely; enmity , hatred and loss of belief in Allah .
7) Then it is asked whether you would now avoid this evil or not .
8) After the prohibition , Allah orders to obey Him and obey the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . To beware of disobeying Allah and to know that the duty of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is to convey the message and complete the proof .
Tafsir al-Mizan quotes the dictionary meaning of wine as any liquid intoxicant . In the beginning the Arabs used to prepare it from grapes , barley and dates . But gradually new types of wines began to be produced . Nowadays there are many chemically manufactured alcoholic drinks . All these can produce varying degrees of intoxication . But however slight the intoxication a drink may produce , it is considered haram . The word �rijs� (indecency) implies everything that is evil . The Quranic verses equate liquor with indecency . Human nature of its own accord is not inclined towards liquor . It is the insinuation of Shaitan that persuades man to consume such filth . Shaitan creates the illusion in the human mind that by consuming liquor one can obtain bliss and a feeling of exhilaration . The Quranic verses declare that it is the Shaitan�s plan to entice people towards wine , gambling and idol-worship so he can create enmity , hatred and avarice amongst them and succeed in diverting their thoughts away from Allah and their duty towards the Almighty . Due to loss of reason and self control they stoop to the lowest depths of inhuman behaviour . Under the influence of an intoxicant every thing vile and vicious appeals to their fancy . They get pleasure in destroying other people�s wealth , honour and dignity ignoring all norms of civil behaviour . They may even speak insolently about their own religion and beliefs . They sink to the lowest depths of degradation when their own sisters and daughters appear to them as objects of gratification . When intoxicated a person will easily divulge the most confidential information in his possession .
The 33rd ayat of Surah Araf is as follows :
�Say , my Lord has only prohibited indecencies , those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed , and sin and rebellion without justice and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority , and that you say against Allah what do you not know . �
�Fawahish� (indecencies) is the plural of �fahsha� (indecency) . In Arabic it implies an extremely evil act . The other sins that are described by this word in Quran are adultery , sodomy and falsely associating someone with adultery and sodomy . �Ithm� implies �sin� , and the Holy Quran clearly indicates that drinking and gambling are �ithm� .
There is a tradition narrated by Ali ibn Yaqteen in the book Al Kafi , wherein the Abbasid despot Mahdi asked Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) regarding wine , �Is wine Haraam according to the Quran ? � (Because) people know that it is prohibited but not aware that it is Haraam . � Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) replied :
�Wine is Haraam according to the Divine book . �
�At what place in the Quran is wine shown to be Haraam ? �
Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) said ,
�In the following statement of Allah ,
�Say , my Lord has only prohibited indecencies , those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed . ��
(Surah Araf 7 : 33)
Imam (a . s . ) further said ,
�As far as the apparent indecencies are concerned , they imply open adultery and ensigns that were hung outside the houses of prostitutes in the days of ignorance . �The concealed sin� implies the sin of marrying the step mother after the death of the father as the people of the days of ignorance used to do . Allah has also ordered this act to be Haraam . As far as sin is concerned , it is but �wine drinking� . At another point , Allah says ,
�They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance . Say : in both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men , and their sin is greater than their profits . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 219)
In the above tradition Imam (a . s . ) first quotes the ayat where �sin� is labelled as Haraam . Then he mentions that verse where wine is ordained to be a �sin� . Hence when it is shown that �sin� is Haraam and wine is sin , then wine (and all alcoholic drinks) must necessarily be Haraam .


Traditions that denounce alcohol are numerous . Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�On the day of Qiyamat the drunkard would come with a black face , a protruding tongue and the saliva dripping upon his chest . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
In another narration Imam (a . s . ) informed :
�He will scream , �Thirst ! Thirst ! � And Allah would have the right to make him drink from the well that contains the pollutants of the adulterers . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
In a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . a . ) , he says :
�One who is careless of namaz will be deprived of my intercession , and will not be able to reach me at the pool of Kausar(6) . And by Allah , my intercession will also not reach the one who consumes intoxicants , and he would not be able to reach me at the pool of Kausar . �
One more tradition says , that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . a . ) cursed ten types of people in connection with wine :
1) One who plants a sapling with the intention of producing wine .
2) One who cultivates this sapling so that wine may be manufactured .
3) One who crushes the grapes .
4) One who drinks wine .
5) One who serves the wine .
6) One who transports wine .
7) One who takes delivery from the supplier .
8) One who sells wine .
9) One who buys it .
10) One who uses the income that is earned by (making or selling) wine .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�One who is addicted to wine (liquor) will meet the Lord (on the appointed day) like an idol worshipper . �
Another tradition says that ,
�On the day of meeting of the Lord , the drunkard will be counted among the disbelievers . �
(Wasaelush Shia , chapter of prohibited drinks )


Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said ,
�Disobedience to the order of Allah is mostly due to alcoholism . The alcoholic abandons namaz . He even commits incest under the influence of alcohol . He loses his senses . �
(Wasaelush Shia : chapter of prohibited drinks)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�Certainly even if a person swallows only a mouthful of wine , at that very moment , the angels , the Prophets and the righteous believers send their curses upon him . �
�And when he drinks enough to make him intoxicated , the spirit of belief leaves his body , it is replaced by the dirty , accursed , devilish spirit . When the person neglects prayers , he spreads corruption in society . �
It is related from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�One who drinks wine considering it halaal will remain forever in Hell . One who drinks wine , knowing it is Haraam will still taste the punishment of Hell . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) has informed ,
�Allah knows better that every Prophet who has been sent by Him did not have his religion completed till wine was prohibited . Wine has always been Haraam . �
(Furu al-Kafi)
In the present Old and New testaments , even after so many interpolations and alterations , there is considerable criticism of alcoholism .
�Don�t associate with people who drink too much wine . . . �
(Proverbs 23 : 30)
Also :
�Show me someone who drinks too much , who has to try out some new drink , and I will show you someone miserable and sorry for himself , always causing trouble and always complaining . His eyes are bloodshot , and he has bruises that could have been avoided . �
�Don�t let wine tempt you , even though it is rich red , though it sparkles in the cup , and it goes down smoothly . The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake . Weird sights will appear before your eyes and you will not be able to think or speak clearly . �
(Proverbs 23 : 29-33)
The punishment for drinking wine is mentioned in the following words :
�Inform the elders of the town , this son of ours is a rebel and a sinner . He does not obey us , he is a glutton and drinks too much wine ? Then all the people of the town will stone him till he dies . �
(Proverb : 21)
Also we find :
�Do not get drunk with wine , which will only ruin you . . . �
(Ephesians 5 : 18)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�Alcoholism is the mother of all sins . Liquor invites the drunkard to all sorts of indecencies . It destroys his intellect . So much so that under its influence he even fails to recognize his Lord . Whatever sin he encounters , he commits it . The alcoholics do not refrain from any such acts , which are against morality . �
Thus drinking liquor is Haraam not merely in the light of the Quran and traditions , but it is a Greater Sin . One of the necessities of religion is to consider liquor Haraam and if a Muslim considers it to be Halaal he becomes a Kafir .


It makes no difference if the quantity consumed is less or more; liquor is absolutely Haraam; whether pure or mixed . Thus even if a person licks a single drop it is Haraam whether he gets intoxicated or not . In the same way if liquor is consumed by mixing it with other things , it is still Haraam .
Allama Hilli (r . a . ) has quoted an authentic tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , that he said :
�If more of it intoxicates , then to consume even a bit of it is Haraam . �
A person enquired from Imam (a . s . ) , �but I dilute it with water ? �
Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�A Haraam thing does not become halaal by mixing it with water . Fear Allah , refrain from partaking of it . �
(Mustanad ush Shia)
Umar Ibne Hanzala says that he enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�Does it matter if as much water is mixed in wine so that it is no more intoxicating ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�No ! By Allah it is not . Even if a drop of wine falls into a well full of water it does not become halaal . Rather the whole well has to be emptied . �
Ibne Wahab has narrated this tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�Every intoxicant is Haraam . Something that intoxicates only when consumed in large quantities , is also not allowed to be taken even in a lesser quantity . �
The narrator says , �I asked , �Then if a Haraam thing is mixed in a huge quantity of water , does it become permissible ? ��
Imam (a . s . ) flailed his arms twice , indicating emphatically that it does not .
(Furu Al Kafi)
Liquor is harmful irrespective of the quantity consumed . Even if a drop of the poison enters the body it has harmful effects on it , whether apparent immediately or not . If you mix a few buckets of red dye in a pond of water , the whole pond water turns red . But on the other hand if you throw a glassful of ink in a pond of clear water it would not bring about any appreciable change in its appearance , yet , could you say that the ink has not affected the water at all ? Certainly not ! If the water is subjected to the process of distillation the glassful of ink could be recovered . If it enters the body it will cause harm . A person who tastes liquor , one drop at a time , soon gets addicted to it till he needs to drink more and more of it . Consequently a stage is reached when he is unable to rid himself of this habit howsoever hard he may try . A stone is eroded when water drips upon it over a period of time . Similarly alcohol erodes the liver and other cells of the body . Grapes , raisins and dates , when unfermented have medicinal properties and are wholesome and beneficial to the body . But as soon as fermentation sets in these fruits and wine is produced they turn harmful and prohibited .


If an intoxicant is a liquid in its natural state , in addition to its being Haraam , it is also najis (impure) . But if an intoxicating substance is solid in its natural form and it is available as a solution , like opium or hemp for consumption , it is not najis , but its consumption is Haraam like that of wine .


Offering liquor to others is also Haraam even if it is to a young , naive child . The book , �Mustanad ush Shia� contains three traditions regarding this topic . The gist of these traditions is that one who is responsible for serving liquor to young children will have to drink an equal quantity of the boiling water of Hell , on the day of Qiyamat , by Allah�s command .


If liquor is served on a table , it is Haraam to sit there and eat even if one does not touch the wine . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) informs that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Accursed , accursed is the one who sits at a table where wine is being served . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) also says :
�One who believes in Allah and the last day , must not even sit at the table where wine is kept . �
(Masaalik of Shaheed Thani)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Do not sit with drunkards because when the curse descends it engulfs all the people in the company of the drunkards . �
(Wasaelush Shia , Chapter 33)
Some scholars have stated that it is not permitted to be in the company of people where anything Haraam is being done . For example , backbiting about a Muslim . It is then obligatory on a person to leave immediately if possible and be free of the sin of just being in this company . Also , if by his leaving , the others will discontinue their sinful action , it is obligatory on him to do so .


According to the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) to take wine as medicine is also Haraam . Rather , the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) have prohibited the consumption of any intoxicant as medicine . The jurists unanimously agree that one should refrain from consuming any intoxicant to cure a disease or to ward off pain . Allah has not reposed any curative effect in any intoxicant .


Certain Mujtahids have stated that there are three exceptions where an intoxicant could be taken as medicine .
First of all the person should know that his malady is curable .
Secondly it must be that if this treatment is not taken it would result in death or extreme pain . Thirdly , there should be no other cure for this ailment .
If these conditions are fulfilled , the patient can be given an intoxicant as medicine but only just enough to cure his disease .
But as we have stated , Allah has not bestowed any cure in a Haraam thing . Hence the above conditions are mentioned just for the sake of an obligation . Such a situation can hardly arise .


Ibne abi Yazoor told Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : I am suffering from a disease . When the pain intensifies I drink some wine of grapes and the pain subsides . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said , �Do not drink . It is Haraam; it is nothing but Shaitan who is preying upon you to involve you in sins . When he loses all hope of making you drink he will leave you . �
Ibne abi Yazoor returned to his native place , Kufa . He was in intense pain and his people brought for him wine of grapes and persuaded him to drink it . Ibne abi Yazoor said , �By Allah ! I will not taste a drop of it . �
He bore the pain for some days . At last his pain receded and he never suffered from it for the rest of his life .
Drunkard on the Death-bed
Abu Basir says that Umme Khalid Abadiya presented herself before Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) when Abu Basir was also present . Umme Khalid said ,
�May I be sacrificed for you , on the day of Qiyamat I will tell Allah that I have done as commanded by Ja�far ibn Muhammad (a . s . ) . Physicians have told me to knead the flour with grape wine and eat the bread . This will cure the terrible pain of my heart . I ask you , shall I do this ? �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) replied to Umme Khalid ,
�No ! By Allah I will not permit you even a drop of wine . Don�t taste even a drop of it . Otherwise when your soul reaches here (Imam pointed towards his throat) you will only regret . � Then Imam (a . s . ) asked Umme Khalid thrice .
�Have you understood ? �
�Yes� , replied Umme Khalid .
A student of Fuzail Ibne Ayaz was on his deathbed . Fuzail came to him and sitting near his head began to recite Surah Yasin (al-Quran , chapter 36) . The disciple told his teacher , �Do not recite the Quran ! � Fuzail became silent . Then he began to urge his disciple to repeat �La ilaha illallah� . The student said :
�I will not repeat this formula because I am disgusted with it ! � and he died in the same condition .
Fuzail Ibne Ayaz was extremely perturbed . He returned home after completing his duties and went to sleep . He saw his student undergoing punishment . He asked him , �What is the reason of your being deprived of faith (Imaan) at the time of your death ? You were one of my best students . �
The student replied : �There are three reasons , firstly , I used to backbite too much , secondly , I used to be jealous , thirdly , a physician had prescribed for my malady a cup of wine every year . He told me that if I do not drink , the disease would never be cured . Every year I drank one cup of wine . �
(Safinatun Behaar Vol . I Pg . 428)
Numerous traditional reports mention that �Haraam� things do not contain any cure . In the same way one must refrain from taking any medicine that contains even a drop of najis alcohol .
It is stated on page no 380 of the Journal of Anjuman Tablighate Islami :
�There is not a single doctor today who considers liquor to have any cure . No doctor permits even a small quantity of the same . If a physician prescribes liquor as a medicine for some cure , it must be understood that his medical knowledge is deficient . �
A hundred years ago some of the doctors and physicians believed that wine had some curative effects . But recent researches show that wine not only lacks any beneficial value but is in fact harmful . The molecules of alcohol on entering the blood stream affect the white blood corpuscles . These corpuscles perform the function of protecting the human body against infectious disease .
The white blood cells engulf the disease causing germs and exterminate them . Anything that impairs the functioning of these blood cells exposes a person to numerous diseases because his body is unable to protect itself . Some people think that wine helps in digestion . This is just a false notion . The reality is just the opposite . Actually wine causes indigestion . The food hardens in the stomach and becomes indigestible . You can experiment by pouring wine upon a piece of cooked soft meat . It will become tough like leather , and absolutely unchewable . Wine also destroys the digestive juices secreted by the stomach and leads to flatulence and indigestion . Wine destroys appetite . Besides , alcohol causes addiction and wine taken for medicinal purpose soon becomes an addiction that is difficult to get rid of . We may observe that some alcoholics appear perfectly healthy even after years of addiction . But what is apparent may be different from reality . If a medical check up is carried out , it will reveal the deteriorating condition of the internal organs and the digestive system of these addicts . Besides , often the maladies are not associated with alcohol and are attributed to other factors . It should be also noted that alcohol affects some people more than others . Some have a hereditary capacity to withstand the rouging effects of alcohol . They should thank Providence for it and refrain from drinking so that they can protect their future generation from developing a weakness for it .


If a sane adult person , knowing that liquor is Haraam , consumes even a drop of it of his own accord and later confesses to it or is seen in the act of drinking by two just witnesses who testify , the Judge is obliged to award punishment to him .
However punishment cannot be awarded under the following conditions : If the individual who drinks it is a child , or an insane person , or one who is unaware of its prohibition , or one drinks it by mistake being under the impression that it is not liquor and realizes the truth afterwards , or one who drinks it under coercion and force , or one who is compelled to drink due to extreme thirst there being no other way of quenching it .
The Islamic penalty for drinking is eighty lashes . Eighty lashes are given when the person drinks it for the first time . If he repeats the act after receiving 80 lashes he is lashed 160 times . If he repeats the sin again and confesses , or two just witnesses testify before a Qazi (religious Judge) the punishment is tripled; i . e . 240 lashes . The fourth instance of the crime entails capital punishment . Some Mujtahids are of the opinion that capital punishment should be given when the sin is repeated the third time .
If a person confesses and repents before the testimony of two just witnesses , he is condoned . However after the testimony he cannot escape punishment . The drunkard cannot be punished while still intoxicated . He is punished only when he gets sober . If it is a man he is stripped above the waist and lashed from the shoulders and below . It is not allowed to hit the face or the private parts of the accused . If the accused is a woman she is lashed with her clothes on . If her dress is loose , it is made to stick to the body by tying it up . She is lashed in a sitting position .
If a person drinks wine at a sacred place , for example the Holy Kaaba or in a sacred period , like the month of Ramazan , he is lashed and also given a preventive punishment that is , he is beaten so much that he may not dare to repeat the crime .
Ibn Abil Hadid records the following incident in Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha :
�Najashi was a famous poet of Kufa . He was originally from Yemen . He was among the army of Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) at the Battle of Siffin . It was the first day of Ramazan when his friend , Abu Sammak instigated him to drink wine at the tavern . Under its intoxication he created such a bedlam that his neighbour was compelled to complain to Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) . Hazrat summoned both of them . Abu Sammak fled but Najashi was arrested and brought by the people . By the order of the Imam (a . s . ) he was detained for the night . The next day , before the congregation of Muslims he was stripped to the waist and lashed eighty times for drinking wine . After this he was given twenty more lashes . Najashi said , �Eighty lashes were for drinking wine , but why twenty more ? � Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�This is because you dared to drink during the month of Ramazan and did not respect its sanctity . �
(Furu Al Kafi , Chapter on Penal Code)
The relatives of Najashi were present in large numbers in the camp of Ali (a . s . ) . They were perturbed at the extra punishment . One of them , Tarikh Ibne Abdullah said :
�We Yemenis are among your loyal friends and Shias . We expected you to consider us differently from your enemies . Najashi is our respected kinsman . By lashing him publicly you have degraded us in the eyes of our friends and enemies . We have began to doubt if the path that we tread leads to Heaven . � Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) said ,
�Strict adherence to justice and commands of Allah hurts the sinners . What have I done ? Najashi dared to disobey the Divine command . I have only punished him according to the laws . Allah says :
� . . . And let not hatred of a people invite you not to act equitably; act equitably , that is nearer to piety , be careful of (your duty to) Allah . . . ��
(Surah Maidah 5 : 8)
Ibn Abil Hadid writes , �Najashi and Tarikh were unable to assert their opinion . They left Kufa and went to Syria to join the group of Muawiya . � Their meeting with Muawiya is not described here . Its details can be studied in Ibn Abil Hadid�s Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha , Vol . I part iv page no . 366 .


In order to discourage the evil habit of drinking , Allah and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has commanded that people should not associate with a drunkard and remain totally aloof from him . It is a method by which the drunkard will feel self-conscious about the lack of respect with which his community members view him . Being strictly excluded from company , he will not be able to influence tender or immature minds to develop this obnoxious habit . We can thus restrict the evils of alcoholism that destroy the foundation of individual and social life .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) quotes the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) ,
�Allah has made me to pronounce wine as Haraam , after this pronouncement if someone still drinks wine , he is not fit to have his proposal for marriage accepted , when he proposes . If he seeks recommendation , he should not be recommended . If he says something he must not be believed . His testimony must not be accepted . Nothing should be kept in his trust . Allah is not responsible for something kept with a drunkard , with the knowledge (of his vice) . He will not receive any compensation . If the thing is lost , nothing could be taken in exchange and neither its cost . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who marries his well-behaved daughter to a drunkard does Qat-e-Rahmi . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam (a . s . ) has also said ,
�One who marries his well-behaved daughter to a drunkard; it is as if he has given her to adultery . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Imam (a . s . ) has also stated in a tradition ,
�If a drunkard falls ill do not go to visit him . If he dies , do not attend his funeral . �


By adopting this attitude we fulfill our duty of Nahy Anil Munkar . No one should trust or believe a drunkard , and no one should have any dealings with him whatsoever . As clearly ordered by our Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and our Imam (a . s . ) no one should give his daughter in marriage to a drunkard . When the drunkard finds himself so totally cut off from the society in which he lives , he will be compelled to give up his sinful habit .


The book Burhan-e-Quran writes against intoxicants :
�The evil of intoxicants can be easily proved by the fact that in a country like France a woman legislator urged the parliament to abolish intoxicants completely . She was so disgusted by the ill-effects of alcohol that she protested against it vehemently . Obviously , until the powerful governments put an end to such evils they cannot be eradicated . Mere crusades of individuals , or social boycott will not have much effect . �
It is true that life can be very difficult for some individuals . They face hardships and frustrations till they are driven to despair . Even so , drinking liquor to forget their troubles is not a solution . The physical , economic and social repercussions of this evil will only magnify their problems and engulf them in a vicious circle from which it will be almost impossible to extricate themselves . It is an evil that must be fought by individuals , by society and by the governments . Individual effort and social boycott will certainly help to a great extent . But the authority that the government can exercise in enforcing strict measures will go a long way in eradicating this evil . The American government in the year 1930 had made a serious effort to discourage the use of intoxicants . The propaganda was carried out through newspapers , magazines , radio , television , films and all modes of communication . The total expenses incurred by the government were eight million dollars . Ten billion pages of books and magazines were printed . Within a span of 14 years 250 million dollars were spent . 300 people were hanged , 532000 people were sent to prison , penalties were collected from 1 , 60 , 00 , 000 people and property worth $ 41 , 50 , 00 , 000 was confiscated . All this did not yield the desired result and the number of alcoholics , in fact , increased . In 1933 all these restrictions were withdrawn and complete freedom was given to the public to consume liquor .
(From Tankihat of Abul Ala Maududi)
This only goes to show that government restriction alone will not cure this malady . What is needed are the co-ordinated efforts of strict government rules and the boycott of the alcoholics by society .
When Islam prohibited liquor , it considered all these aspects . Islam first strived to remove the causes of alcoholism . After this , it promulgated that liquor is Haraam . One of the causes that promotes this habit are the people who themselves give a free rein to this vice . They do not adopt strict methods of prevention . Our society does not view the drunkards unfavourably and does not boycott them so that they may be compelled to give up their habits . According to Islam , dangerous diseases and ailments that befall the soul must be eradicated by all means . The drunkards and alcoholics must also be boycotted economically . People should not transact any business with them and they must also be socially boycotted . Proposals for their marriage must be rejected and none should keep company with them . An ideological war must be carried out against them . They must also be a spiritually cured . Along with heavy penal punishment they must be informed of the ill effects of liquor and other intoxicants .



Gambling is the fourteenth Greater Sin . The following statements support this view . The Holy Quran states in Surah Baqarah :
�They ask you about intoxicants and games of chances . Say : in both of them there is a great sin . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 219)
�Ithme kabir� means a very great sin . The Holy Quran has used this phrase only for drinking and gambling . �
The tradition related by Fazl Ibne Shazaan from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) also included gambling among the Greater sins . Similarly , gambling is clearly mentioned as a Greater Sin in the tradition related by Amash from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , is reported to have told Abu Basir :
�It is Haraam to sell chess . It is Haraam to spend the income of this sale . To keep chess (board and pieces) in ones possession is tantamount to kufr (disbelief) . To play chess is equal to ascribing partners to Allah . It is a sin even to salute one who plays chess . One who touches it in order to play it , it is , as if he has contaminated his hands by touching pork . �
(Wasaelush Shia . Chapter on Business Transactions)
The same tradition is recorded in the book Man La Yahzarul Faqih with the addition inter alia that :
�To teach chess to others is also a kind of destructive sin . �
It is related from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�Allah pardons all the sinners in the month of Ramazan except three kinds of people; those who drink wine , those who gamble and those who harbour enmity and avarice towards a Muslim . �
Another proof is the following verse of Quran , which shows that gambling , is a Greater Sin :
�O you who believe ! Intoxicants and (maeser) games of chance and divining (azlam) by arrows are only an uncleanness , the Shaitan�s work; shun it therefore that you may be successful . �
(Surah Maaidah 5 : 90)


Games of chances that are mentioned in this Quranic verse include all types of gambling . The Arabic equivalent to this is �Maeser� which is derived from the root word �yusur� which means �ease� . Since a gambler does not perform a laborious work and is able to easily grab the money belonging to others , gambling is called �Maeser� .
�Azlam� is a game of chance that is played with dice . Actually , there used to be special pieces of wood which were used in gambling . Azlam is also known as �aqlaam� . The gamblers used to purchase a camel and divide the meat of the slaughtered camel into twenty-eight parts . Ten pieces of arrow-shaped wood were kept at the venue of gambling . Each piece had a specific name . The names of seven of those pieces were faz , tawaam , raqeeb , halas , nafis , masbal and mualla . Specific portion of meat was allotted to each of the arrows . For example faz was equal to one portion and mualla had seven portions . The meat that had been divided into twenty-eight pieces was distributed only to these ten pieces of wood . Some of the arrows were such that no meat was allotted to them and in fact those who got them had to reimburse the cost of camel in full . The total of participants in this game was ten , and the three unlucky ones were expelled . The three unlucky arrows were named �manaj , safih and raghad� .
�Azlaam� is a kind of a wager whereas �maeser� includes all forms of gambling . Azlaam is mentioned specifically because it was popular before the advent of Islam . Other methods of azlaam are also recorded but irrespective of the method , all types of wagers are Haraam . Wine , gambling , idol worship and azlaam are all satanic works . Involving oneself in these would deprive the person of salvation and success in the hereafter . It is therefore commanded not to even go near wine and gambling .


�The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance . . . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 91)
It is common knowledge that a man loses his senses under the influence of alcohol and in this condition behaves in a most indiscreet manner . He is therefore bound to create enemies due to his shoddy behaviour . Drunkards are also known to murder their own family members and friends . As far as gambling is concerned , enmity between the participants is the most natural outcome in a game of chance . The person who loses his money to his opponent is bound to resent him and have a feeling of vengeance and there is bound to be a winner and a loser . The dominating influence on the gamblers is that of hatred and enmity .


A person who wins in gambling makes a lot of easy money . Obviously , he looks for ways and means for self-indulgence to splurge his ill-gotten wealth . In fact , profit from Haraam means paves the way towards further unlawful evils . Avarice is the characteristic of all gamblers . The gambler who wins is so obsessed that he wagers more around larger profits . The loser is equally obsessed to win back what he has lost . Such compulsive obsessions have disastrous consequences . The book �Balahaee-e-ijtemai� Pg . 231 contains an incident where an inhabitant of an Iranian town stabbed his opponent thrice and killed him . The accused gave the following statement : �The victim has grabbed a lot of my money through gambling . He was not prepared to lay another bet despite my persuasion and ran away . I followed and killed him . �
On page 325 of the same book , the following is quoted from the magazine �Roshan Fikr� . �In the town of Monte Carlo , Argentina , a gambler lost around forty hundred thousand tumans in a game that lasted for sixteen hours . When the casino closed , he drove his car to the forest and shot himself in the head . �
Incidents of suicide are common in the woods surrounding Monte Carlo . Most often , those who arrive in this city to gamble lose all their money . Sometimes , they cannot even pay for their return journey . Such people go into the woods and commit suicide . One of the casinos has decided to loan the return fare to those who lose all their money .
The weekly magazine of �Ittelat Daily� No . 1060 contains the following item .
�Suicides due to gambling are on the increase according to the available statistics . More suicides were committed in this year (1361 solar) compared to the number in previous years . The casino owners have , as a result named this as the �unlucky year� . In the previous year , 120 people committed suicide after losing in Paris . The statisticians of America state that the cause of thirty percent of all crimes is gambling . �
(Balahae-e- Ijtemai Pg . 329)
It is noticed that most of the criminals like robbers , pickpockets and murderers commit crimes after leaving their gambling dens .


Alcohol and gambling are vices leading to spiritual bankruptcy . These offenders are oblivious of Allah and of their duties towards their Creator . Living in a state of forgetfulness of Allah is the worst tragedy that befalls the unfortunate victims of these vices .
� . . . And to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer . . . . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 91)
An alcoholic in a state of intoxication is in no condition to remember Allah and he abandons even an obligation like namaz . In the same way , the craze of a gambler to obtain wealth or make up for his losses is all consuming and he loses awareness of all obligatory acts including prayers . In order to stress this point , Allah continues in the same verse :
�Will you then desist ? �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 91)
It means that even after being informed of the demerits of these vices , will you still not reform ?
The next verse continues the emphasis :
�And obey Allah and obey the apostle and be cautious . But if you turn back , then know that only a clear deliverance of the message is (incumbent) on your apostle . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 92)
In this way , the argument is completed . Now , you cannot say that you have not been warned .
Now , we shall describe some forms of gambling .


There is a universal agreement among the Mujtahids that articles normally used in gambling should not be played with , even if one is not gambling . The tradition mentioned previously which states that one who touches chess is like one who smears his hand in pork; continues ,
�The prayers of chess-players are not valid till they wash their hands after the game . And to watch a game of chess is like looking at the genitals of ones own mother . �
(Wasaelush Shia . Chapter of Business Transactions)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) on being inquired concerning chess replied :
�Leave the preoccupations of the fire-worshippers to them . �
That is , Muslims should not even go near chess .
In another tradition , Imam (a . s . ) says :
�Do not even approach chess . �
The tradition from the book , Tohafful Uqool distinctly states that the articles employed in gambling cannot be used for any purpose whatsoever and it is Haraam to do so .
�All the tools and actions of gambling are Haraam . �
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said :
�All kinds of games of betting are gambling and the sale , the purchase and the use of all the tools of gambling are Haraam . It is only an act that Shaitan instigates you to do . �
Chess and cards should not be indulged in even when played only for intellectual stimulation games with no intent to gamble . These games have an inherent power to obsess the player till he becomes oblivious of his responsibilities towards his family and even his livelihood . Such all-consuming activities lead to the disruption of an otherwise happy family life . Shaitan also will not lose the opportunity to incite the players to play for stakes . Very soon , the game started as an intellectual exercise will slip into a game for making money . The only effective way to eradicate gambling from society is to stay clear of such games as commanded by our Imam (a . s . ) . Hence , Islam has declared that to manufacture the tools of gambling is Haraam; to buy or sell them is Haraam and to spend from the profits of these transactions is Haraam . It is Haraam even to have the tools of gambling in ones possession . It is obligatory to destroy them .
Ishaq Ibne Ammar asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that children play with eggs and cashew nuts in the same way as gambling ? Imam (a . s . ) told him :
�Do not even eat these things ! �
The following verse of the Divine Book ordains the income of gambling to be Haraam and makes it obligatory upon the person who wins to restore the amount back to the person who lost it .
�O you who believe ! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely . . . ? �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 29)


We know from the above discussion that to play with articles used in gambling even without betting is Haraam .
To sit and watch the game is also Haraam . The practice of Nahy anil Munkar makes it obligatory on us to leave the place where people are gambling . It is recommended (mustahab) that if perchance our eyes fall upon an article of gambling , we should remember Imam Husain (a . s . ) and curse Yazid (l . a . ) .
Fazl Ibne Shazaan reports from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) , �At the time the blessed head of Husain Ibne Ali (a . s . ) was carried into Shaam , Yazid (l . a . ) started to dine and drink barley wine (similar to modern day �beer�) with his associates . After the meal , Yazid (l . a . ) ordered the blessed head to be kept in a salver and placed at the foot of his throne . A chessboard was spread out and the accursed Yazid sat down to play chess . During the game , he ridiculed Imam Husain (a . s . ) , his father (a . s . ) and grandfather (s . a . w . s . ) . Whenever he won a game , he used to take hold of the barley wine and drink three goblets . Then he used to pour the remaining wine in the salver upon the head of Imam Husain (a . s . ) . �
Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) then continues , �Whoever is our Shia must abstain from barley wine and chess . One who sees barley wine or chess must remember Imam Husain (a . s . ) and invoke curse upon Yazid and the progeny of Yazid . If a Shia does this , Allah the Almighty will forgive all his sins even if they are more numerous than the stars . �
(Uyoon Akhbare Reza)


To lay bets with articles not usually employed in gambling is also Haraam . Archery and horse racing are exceptions to the extent that it is permissible only for those who participate in the sports to bet amongst themselves . Apart from these two games it is Haraam to bet in any other competition . For example , yatching , weightlifting , lancing etc . The income of the participant who wins is Haraam . He must return it to his opponent .


It is undoubtedly permissible for participants (and not for spectators) in horse racing and archery to bet among themselves . The winner can rightfully own the amount he wins . Islam has permitted these two competitions because such sports contribute to the overall capabilities of a warrior , and a Muslim well versed in these is better equipped to challenge his adversaries . The details could be pursued in the books of legal rulings .
Shaheed Thani in his book �Masalik� quotes the unanimous verdict of the Mujtahids . Three traditions are recorded in the book �Al-Wafi� from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) which state that except for horse racing and archery whenever a game is played for stakes , the angels are infuriated and curse the people who lay the bet .
It is recorded that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Angles are present when a competition of horse and camel racing or archery is held . Except for these three , every competition is gambling and (also) Haraam . �
In another tradition , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has prohibited all types of competitions except these three .
�Except for horse racing , camel racing and archery , no contest is proper . �
An authentic tradition by Muhammad Ibne Qays related from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) issued a verdict against a man who had wagered with his friends on the maximum consumption of sheep�s meat . Issuing the judgement Imam (a . s . ) said , �If you have already eaten the sheep , it is yours . But if you have only laid a bet and have not commenced eating , then you have to pay a penalty . This penalty is equal for all the participants and has no connection with who ate more or less . However , he refrained the loser to bear any loss (of money etc . ) . The one who ate the least and lost the bet will not incur any loss because the bet is invalid . ��
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) concludes that Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) has decreed such a deal to be Haraam .
(Makasib , quoted from Al Kafi and Tehzeeb)
Hazrat Jabir (r . a . ) narrates from the report of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) who has quoted from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) :
�Every competition is gambling where the loser has to pay a certain amount . Even if it consist of a cashew-nut or wager dung . �
To employ any article for the purpose of taking a bet is gambling even if such an article is not generally associated with gambling .


There is some difference of opinion among the Mujtahids regarding the games of competition that neither use tools of gambling nor are played with stakes . Most of the jurists consider such competitions to be Haraam .
Allama Hilli (r . a . ) in his book �Tazkerah� writes , �Yatching competition is not permitted even if the loser may not have to pay anything . This is the unanimous verdict of the scholars . �
Allama Hilli (r . a . ) also states , �Competition of throwing stones with ones bare hands is not allowed . In the same way , racing any beast except horse and camel , yatching or racing of birds is not permitted even if a monetary bet is not involved . Cockfights and goat fights are also prohibited . In short , all those contests are prohibited that do not contribute usefully in the field of Jehad . For example , standing on foot for a long time , guessing games or number games , staying under water for a long time . In conclusion , except for horse racing and archery , no competition is permitted . Whether it involves a bet or not . �
Certain Jurists like Shaheed Thani do not consider such games Haraam where the tools of gambling are not used and where a bet is not involved . He is inclined to permit such competitions . This opinion appears to be valid especially for a contest where the Haraam aspects of our religion are not compromised in any way or for a contest which has a specific aim like competition of calligraphy , reading , sewing , building , farming , etc . Athletics and boating can also be in the same category . But since most of the Mujtahids have prohibited all competitions except horse racing and archery , it is better to refrain from contests as a precautionary measure .
However even contests that can be considered permissible are prohibited if they involve a risk . For example , hazardous car-racing competition or gluttony and the dangerous methods of yatching are all Haraam for they involve risks .
Purchase of lottery tickets in the name of charity , where the money is not refundable and only a few people win money without any effort , is Haraam . It is gambling and a very great sin .

15 . MUSIC


Playing instruments of music is a Greater Sin . It is Haraam to play instruments like guitar , piano , tambourine , drums etc . Listening to music is also a Greater Sin . Music as a Greater sin is reported by Fazl ibn Shazaan from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) :
�And to be engrossed in musical instruments is also a Greater Sin . �
All the Mujtahids are unanimous in their opinion that the manufacture , sale and purchase of musical instruments is Haraam and the income derived from musical activity is also Haraam . The transactions involving these (instruments) are invalid . It is Haraam even to keep instruments of music in one�s possession . It is obligatory to destroy them . This is revealed in a lengthy tradition of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as recorded in the book �Tohafful Uqool� . Similarly , Shaykh Hurr al-Aamili records the following tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�The Almighty Allah has prohibited the manufacture of all such things that are exclusively used in Haraam ways; and things that only create evil like pipe , flute , chess and all types of instruments of gambling , images , statues . The manufacture of all such articles is Haraam . �
Imam (a . s . ) concluded , �Then even learning to sing or play music and teaching it , to sing and play music , to be paid for these things or to be in any way engrossed in these vices is Haraam . �


Some more traditions prohibiting music are given below .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) reports from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�I prohibit for you dancing and playing flute , drums and tabla . �
(Al Kafi)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
�The Almighty Allah has sent me as a mercy to the worlds , to guide the people . And He ordered me to eradicate the playing of flute and other instruments of music , all games of vice , idol (worship) and all practices of the days of ignorance . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael , Chapter 79)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�A person who has received blessings from Allah and while having these blessings , he plays flute . It is as if he has been thankless of the blessings . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Every moment of our lives , we are enjoying Allah�s unlimited benevolence .


The Sixth Imam (a . s . ) has also stated ,
�The playing of violin promotes the growth of hypocrisy in the heart like water assists the growth of vegetation (algae) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam (a . s . ) also says ,
�If drums and cymbals are played at one�s house for forty days , Allah will impose a satan by the name of �faqandir� . The satans will infiltrate into every cell of the person�s body . With the spread of this evil , the person loses all sense of dignity and self-esteem . He will then not care as to what he says or what is said about him . Then , this satan blows into this person . As a result , he becomes utterly shameless . So mush so that he is not concerned or affected even if his women are dishonoured . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It is usually observed that the people in whose homes music is played with regularity either using musical instruments or by radio or cassettes are absolutely shameless and wanton .


Muadda Ibne Ziyad says , �I was in the company of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) when a person said , �When I go to the toilet , I can hear the singing girls of my neighbour . Sometimes , I remain (in toilet) longer so that I may listen to more of it . �
Imam (a . s . ) said :
�Desist from listening to music and songs attentively . �
Then this man further said , �Master , I do not go to music gatherings ! I only hear the sounds ! �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�Have you not read this Quranic verse . . .
�Surely , the hearing and the sight and the heart , all of these shall be questioned about that ? �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 36)
The man replied , �I was not aware of this ayat . I regret my actions . I shall not do so in the future . I repent for my past sins and I seek forgiveness from my Lord . �
Seeing his condition , Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Get up ! Go and perform ghusl and offer namaz and pray for forgiveness . You have certainly been involved in a deadly sin and a terrible situation . You have repented for it and I thank Allah for that; and I seek forgiveness of Allah for all those things that He dislikes . Certainly , Allah only dislikes the evil things . Leave the evil things to the evil people because there are different people suitable for different things . �
(Al Kafi Chapter of Music)


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�Angels do not even enter a house that has wine , drum , tambourine or a flute . Even the prayers of the inhabitants of this house are unacceptable . They are deprived of barakat . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) has said ,
�To listen to a musical instrument is one of the Greater Sins . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has stated ,
�A person who possesses a sitar , on the day of Qiyamat will be raised with a black face . His hands will be holding a sitar of fire . Seventy thousand angels with maces of fire will be hitting him on the face and the head . The singer will arise from his grave , blind , deaf and dumb . The adulterer will be similarly raised . The player of flute will also be made to rise in this way as will be the drum player . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
It means that all such people will appear on the field of �Mahshar� (on the day of reckoning) as blind , deaf and dumb .


Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a . s . ) remarks ,
�A person invites Divine wrath when in his house instruments like flute , drum and chess are played for forty days . If this man dies within these forty days , his death would be of a sinner and a transgressor . His place shall be in Hell . And what a dreadful place it is ! �
(Mustanad al Taraqi)


The traditions concerning the signs of the last stage before the Zuhoor of our Imam (a . s . ) mention music :
�And you shall see that music will be so prevalent that no one will dissuade others nor will he find in himself the need to do so . And you shall see that music would be openly played even in the two sanctuaries (the city of Makkah and Madinah) . �
(Mustanade Naraqi)
This is what we see in the present age where obscene music is openly played in the markets , on the streets , in shops and houses and even cars and no one bothers to prevent it !
So far we have mentioned the punishment of the hereafter for the sin of playing or listening to music . Now , we shall discuss the evils of music that affect life on earth . These evils too are numerous . Scholars have compiled complete books on this subject . For example we have the following books in Persian , �Munazrah Doctor-o-Peer� , �Balahaee Ijtemai� , �Mauseeqi-o-Islam� , etc .


Expert Doctors , Scientists and biologists have defined two types of nerves , the principal nerves and the arterial nerves . The principal nerves stretch from the neck to all vital organs . The arterial nerves spread from the main nerves to all parts of the body . The secondary nerves are connected to outward parts of the body and convey the messages to the brain . When the veins enlarge the blood pressure decreases . Due to the shrivelling of blood vessels , the blood pressure increases . When the blood pressure varies at different parts of the body it affects the health .
When the secondary nerves work they produce heat whereas the functioning of the central nerves produces the opposite effect . It is due to these nerves that feelings of sloth , sleep , thoughtlessness , forgetfulness , grief , sorrow , fainting , unconsciousness and even death occur . Obviously , when music can affect various nerves , it can give rise to various maladies . Mental diseases as well as physical ailments can occur . These mental effects can destroy man�s reasoning capacity . It is for this reason that one who listens to music is unable to perform work that can be accomplished by a sane person .
Music creates vibrations in the body and these are conveyed to all the parts of the body through the nervous system . As a result of this , indigestion occurs . Music affects the heart in such a way that the heartbeats become irregular . The blood pressure goes awry . All such ailments make a person permanently ill . Consequently , even modern medical science , in spite of its astonishing progress , fails in such a situation . Sometimes , the music is so intense that the listeners lose their sanity . They become dumb and various kinds of mental diseases occur . In places where music is more prevalent , we find that there are more neurotic illnesses . It is for this reason that more mental hospitals are to be found in Europe and America .
Dr . Adlen writes against music , �Even though it seems pleasant , the effect of music is profound upon the nervous system . Especially , when the temperature is high , the ill effect of music is more . This is the reason that ill effects of music are more in the hot areas of Iran and Saudi Arabia . The American people are so disgusted with the bane of music that they have united to demand from the senate a permanent ban on music . It is a pity that the whole world clearly perceives the evils of music and yet adopts music as entertainment . �
(Refer to the booklet; �Tasir Mausiqi bar Asaab� Pg . 3 , 6 , 10)



The sixteenth Greater sin is singing songs . Traditions have graded it amongst the mortal sins . This fact is clear from the narration of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as quoted by Amash . Muhammad Ibne Muslim relates that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) said ,
�Singing is that sin which has been promised a penalty of fire (Hell) by Allah . �
It is evident from numerous reports , that whichever sin incurs Hell as its punishment , is a Greater Sin . Singing too falls in that category .


Sayyed Murtuza , in his book , Waseela writes ,
�Singing is haraam . It is also haraam to listen to a song or to sing for money . However every melodious sound is not a �song� . Singing denotes a special way of prolonging the voice and rotating it in the throat . These features are common in sensuous parties . Such type of singing is usually accompanied by music . �
Most of the Shia Mujtahids and the experts of Arabic language opine that �singing� means the turning and rotating of one�s voice in the throat . These types of strains are invariably found in classical music and Qawwalis . A prolonged tune of a-a-a is produced . In the dictionary , �Sihah� it is mentioned that singing is a sound which produces a strange type of sorrow or pleasure in the listener . The other dictionaries almost agree to this definition . In brief , singing or song is a sound that makes a man unusually sad or joyful .
The book Zakheeratul Ebad says : �Every sound that is produced for entertainment and is capable of exciting passion is known as �singing . � It could be produced by making it emanate from the throat like in classical music or by any other means . In brief whatever is understood by common sense as a song is haraam . Consequently it is sinful even to recite the Holy Quran , Nauha or Marsiya in the tune of songs . In fact this is more sinful than singing songs for it tantamounts to insulting and degrading the Quran and Nauha or Marsiya . It is for this reason that this type of sin deserves double the punishment .


1 . Singing is a Greater Sin
When Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) said ,
�Singing is that Sin which has been promised the penalty of fire (Hell) by Allah� he (a . s . ) had also recited the following verse of the Holy Quran :
�And of men is he who takes instead frivolous discourse to lead astray from Allah�s path without knowledge and to take it for a mockery; these shall have an abasing chastisement . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 6)
2 . �Frivolous discourse� implies Singing
Bringing together the above verse and the tradition of Imam Baqir (a . s . ) , singing is understood to be one of the �frivolous�and �evil� acts . Other worthless acts are aimless talk or action , or poetry which is of no good to the people; all these deprive man of benefit .
In other words , anything that restrains one from following the truth and the Holy Quran is a �frivolous discourse . � Anything that leads one astray is �frivolous discourse . � All those things that create passion and sensuality , sin and transgression are �frivolous discourse . � It is a sin whether one sings or listens to a song . The Quranic verse quoted above is followed by :
�And when our communications are recited to him , he turns back proudly , as if he had not heard them , as though in his ears were a heaviness , therefore announce to him a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 7)
3 . The exegesis (Tafseer) of the term �False Words�
In addition to the phrase �frivolous discourse , � the Holy Quran also refers to singing by the term , �False words . � Abu Basir inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , the exegesis of the following ayat :
� . . . and avoid false words . �
(Surah Hajj 22 : 30)
The Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
� (It means) singing . �
In explanation to the ayat ,
�And they who do not bear witness to what is false , and when they pass by what is vain , they pass by nobly . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 72)
Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (a . s . ) remarked ,
� (Vain means) singing . �
(Refer Amali of Shaykh Tusi and also the book Al Kafi . )
In yet another tradition , when Muhammad Ibne Uthman inquired about the meaning of this ayat , Imam Muhammad Taqi (a . s . ) answered ,
�It includes the evil words of one who is singing . �
4 . �False words� denote singing
The later portion of the same verse says ,
� . . . and when they pass by what is vain , they pass by nobly . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 72)
Thus , according to the holy Quran when the righteous people pass by , where songs are being played , they pass in a dignified manner , uninfluenced and unimpressed by them .
A similar kind of verse appears in Surah Mominoon , as well :
�And who keep aloof from what is vain . �
(Surah Mominoon 23 : 3)
Both the above verses describe the qualities of a believer . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and later Imam Reza (a . s . ) , have both explained the term �vain words� as follows :
�Vain words imply music and singing and the true worshipers of Allah refrain from these . � (Al Kafi)
5 . Singing and hypocrisy
The sixth Holy Imam , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�Listening to music , songs and useless words cultivate hypocrisy in the heart , in the same way as algae grows in water . �
(Al Kafi)
The same book , Al Kafi mentions a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that ,
�Singing and music is a nest for the bird called hypocrisy . �
6 . Singing programme
The venue of a singing programme is a place where descends divine retribution . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Do not even enter houses , the inhabitants of which are deprived of divine mercy . �
He (a . s . ) is reported to have also said ,
�The house where music is played is not safe from sudden disasters . Supplications at such a place are not answered . Angels do not enter this place . �
(Al Kafi and Mustadrakul Wasael)
It has been established in the preceding chapter that when the divine punishment descends , it does not discriminate . The excuse , �Though we go to places where there is music and song , but we dislike it in our hearts� , seems unlikely to be acceptable . Dislike needs to be expressed by ones action , also . Songs and music should be discouraged .
7 . Singing causes poverty
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�Singing creates hypocrisy and causes poverty . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael , chapter 78)
8 : Punishment for Singing
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has explicitly stated ,
�When the singer shall rise from his grave on the Day of Judgement , he will be blind , deaf and dumb . �
The traditions also state that the singer will be recognised by these very signs , i . e . , blindness , deafness etc .
In another tradition Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is quoted to have said :
�Molten lead shall be poured into the ears of one who listens to songs , intently . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


Qutub al-Rawandi has recorded from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) ,
�The singer is from that group of people , who would not be looked upon with mercy by Allah on the Day of judgement . �


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who respects a speaker , becomes his slave . If the speaker calls towards Allah the listener worships Allah , but if he calls towards shaitan , the listener has worshipped shaitan . �
(Furu Al Kafi)
It is also narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�Whenever a person begins singing , two satans mount on his shoulders and continue to hit their heels upon his chest , till the time he sings the song . �
Is the one kicked by the satans to be loved and admired ?


Hazrat Imam Ali Ibn Musa ar-Reza (a . s . ) said ,
�One who avoids songs shall be provided by Allah , a tree , which will produce such a melodious sound as has never been heard by anyone . But the one who has not kept himself aloof from songs will not be able to hear this sound . �
(Al Kafi)


The following tradition of Allah�s Messenger (s . a . w . s . ) is recorded in the book Tafseer Majmaul Bayan ,
�One who has listened to too many songs will not be able to hear the Ruhaanis on the Day of Qiyamat . �
�Who are the Ruhaanis , O Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) ? � someone asked .
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�They are the melodious singers of Heaven . �
A similar tradition from Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) is found in Nahjul Balagha ,
�Hazrat Dawood (a . s . ) will be the chief of the singers of Paradise . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
The people will listen to such melodious songs from Hazrat Dawood (a . s . ) in Heaven , the like of which have never been heard by anyone . However only those who have refrained from listening to songs in this world would be able to hear them .


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Calamities will befall my Ummat as sinking of the earth and rain of stones . �
The people asked , �When would it happen ? �
�When the instruments of music become common , singing girls are in great number and the use of intoxicants is widespread . By Allah , many people of my Ummat will be such that they shall spend the night in merry-making and sensuality and in the daytime become like monkeys and pigs . It will be the consequence of considering the prohibited things permissible , they will be occupied with singing girls , frequently take intoxicants , devour interest and shall dress in clothes made of silk . �


Singing instigates one to commit fornication . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Singing is the stepping stone to fornication . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Songs are responsible for awakening the latent sensual desires of man , which are soon manifested . It is the same whether one sings a song or merely listens to it . He forgets Allah and is prepared to commit any kind of indecency .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�And all those wasteful pastimes are haraam which make one forgetful of Allah; like songs and playing musical instruments . �
Yes ! Music makes one shameless and lacking in self-respect . It also destroys the feeling of love , compassion and mercy , reducing society to a nightmare .


There is no difference of opinion among the Shia jurists about the illegality of singing . It can be said that there is �ijma� (unanimity) upon this point . The writer of the book , titled Mustanad says , �To consider singing and music �haraam� is one of the necessities of faith . That is , if a Muslim says that singing is not haraam then he becomes a kafir . � According to the author of Izah , �the traditions that state that music and singing is haraam , are mutawatir (very numerous) . �
However a slight difference of opinion exists , as to the meaning and connotation of the word �song� . The majority of the Mujtahids believe that any kind of sound , capable of creating a desire for joyful mirth and sensual feelings is a song; and it is haraam .


As we have stated earlier , it is haraam to recite Quran in the characteristics of songs . Similarly it is also haraam to recite Nauhas , Marsiya or Azaan in this way; it is immaterial whether it is poetry or prose that is being recited . Rather , rendering of the sacred compositions into songs carries double punishments . One for the sin of singing songs and the other for causing disrespect to a sacred text .


Every melodious sound is not a song . If Quran or Nauha is recited in a pleasant voice without unduly turning it in the throat , it is not haraam , rather it is desirable to do so . The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have said ,
�Recite the Quran in a pleasant voice , in the style of Arabs . You are ordered to avoid the transgressors and doers of greater sins . Certainly , such people will appear in the world who will recite the Quran in a singing manner to make the listeners emotional . It is not allowed to go near these people or to call them near you . The hearts of these people have deviated and those who are influenced by them shall also have their hearts deviated . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


While describing the signs of the arrival of the Day of Judgement , the Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Such kind of people will appear in the world that they would learn the Quran for worldly benefits and will recite it in a singing tune . �
However there are many traditions to the effect that reciting the Quran in a pleasant voice is Mustahab (recommended) . However we must ensure that its tone is not that of singing .


Subject to the following three conditions some of the Mujtahids have allowed women to sing on the occasion of marriages .
1 . The first condition is that no grown-up men should be able to hear the singing . Not even those who are mehram (under the prohibited degree) .
2 . Secondly , the songs must not be loud and also must not be based on false statements .
3 . And lastly , the singing must not be accompanied with any kind of music .
A few scholars have permitted playing of the small tambourine (tambourine is a drum with skin on only one of its sides) . Shaheed-e-Sani and Muhaqqiq-e-Sani say that tambourine could be played in a wedding if it does not have tinkles around it .
However , precaution is desirable and hence on the occasion of weddings also women should avoid singing; the playing of tambourine should also be avoided . Shaykh Ansari (r . a . ) quotes Shaheed-e-Sani in the book , Makasib and Sayyid Murtuza says in his book Waseela that , �Precaution is the way to salvation . �

17 . LYING


Lying is another sin which is classified among the Greater sins . The famous scholar , Shaykh Ansari (r . a . ) writes in his book , Makasib-e-Muharrama :
�Common sense suggests lying is haraam , all the revealed religions also say so; particularly Islam . The Quran is explicit in this regard . The corpus of hadith (opinion of the majority of the jurists) verifies this tenet and reason also sustains this assertion . �
Lying is listed with the greater sins in the narration of Fazl Ibne Shazaan from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) .


A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) declares ,
�Beware I inform you regarding the greatest of the mortal sins : Associating anything with Allah , disobeying parents and lying ! �
(Wasaelush Shia)
A similar tradition has been quoted from Imam Hasan al-Askari (a . s . ) also ,
�All the evils have been locked in a room and its key is lying . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


The Prophet of Islam in another tradition is quoted to have said ,
�When a believer utters a lie without a valid excuse , he is cursed by seventy thousand angels . Such a stench emanates from his heart that it reaches the sky and because of this single lie Allah writes for him a sin equivalent to that of committing seventy fornications . Such fornications that the least of which is fornication with ones mother . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Undoubtedly , lying is the worst of sins . It is obvious that the evils of lying are more dreadful than those of adultery . Some false words lead to war between two tribes or two sections of the society . Some lies blight the honour of thousands of people or endanger their lives , or lead to economic disasters .
One kind of falsehood is that which is attributed to Allah , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) or the Holy Imams (a . s . ) . Understandably this is the worst kind of falsehood . Often due to lying , innocent people are sent to the gallows and their families destroyed . It is for this very reason that the traditions state :
�Lying is an evil , greater than drinking wine . �



Allah the Almighty says in Surah Nahl , verse 105 :
�Only they forge the lie who do not believe in Allah�s communications , and these are the liars . �
And in Surah Zumar it is mentioned :
�Surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar , ungrateful . �
(Surah Zumar 39 : 3)
It can be understood from the verses of the Quran that a liar calls for divine curse and invites the anger of Allah .
For example :
� . . . and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars . �
(Surah Aale Imraan 3 : 61)
And also :
� . . . the curse of Allah be on him if he is one of the liars . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 8)
A large number of Quranic verses and traditions condemn the sin of lying and describe its evil consequences . The late Haji Noori has collected these verses and traditions and classified them into forty points for easy recalling and reference . We shall quote them for the benefit of our readers .

1 . Lying is transgression

Allah says in Surah Baqarah :
� . . . there shall be no intercourse nor transgression nor quarreling amongst one another (during Hajj) . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 197)
The word �transgression� in this ayat refers to falsehood or lying .
Again in Surah Hujarat it is mentioned :
�O you who believe ! If an evil-doer comes to you with a report , look carefully into it , lest you harm a people in ignorance , then be sorry for what you have done . �
(Surah Hujarat 49 : 6)
This ayat was revealed for Walid , who is mentioned as an �evil-doer�; i . e . a liar .

2 . Meaning of the term false words

Along with the prohibition of worshipping idols it is ordered by Allah to abstain from falsehood .
� . . . therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words . �
(Surah Hajj 22 : 30)
In this verse �false words� mean lying .

3 . The liar is not a believer

One of the verses quoted above (Surah Nahl 16 : l05) demonstrates that a liar is not a believer and one who is a believer never speaks a lie . The verse pronounces :
�Only they forge the lie who do not believe in the signs of Allah . �
For it is clear that one who disbelieves in the divine communications cannot be a Momin (believer) .

4 . Lying is an evil and a sin

Traditions have mentioned lying as a sin and an evil . For example , Hazrat Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Falsehood is absolutely an evil and a sin . �

5 . The Liar is accursed

The liar is eligible for divine curse and Allah causes His retribution to descend upon him . �
For example :
� . . . the curse of Allah be on him if he is one of the liars . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 8)

6 . The blackened face of the liar

The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Beware of falsehood ! Because falsehood blackens the face . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
An interesting incident is found in the book , Habibus Sayr :
Sultan Husain Mirza , the king of Khorasan and Zaablistan , sent one of his envoys to Sultan Yaqoob Mirza , the king of Azerbaijaan and Iraq . The envoy carried with him books and other gifts . The Sultan had ordered the inclusion of the book Kulliyat-e-Jami in the set of books . It was a very popular book in those days . Ameer Husain Abeeravi , the envoy , in his haste packed the book Futoohat-e-Makki instead of Kulliyat-e-Jami . On reaching Iraq , he found a hospitable host in the ruler of Iraq . He was asked , �You must have been bored during this long journey ? �
The envoy replied , �Not at all ! The Sultan has sent for you Kulliyat-e-Jami . So whenever we halted , I read some portions of it and passed my time . �
Sultan Yaqoob was eager to see the book . But , when he ordered for it , it was not found to the embarrassment of the envoy .
The king demanded , �Aren�t you ashamed to utter such a lie ? �
The envoy says , �I left the court ashamed and returned home without a reply to my Sultan�s letter . I did not even halt or rest during the journey to Khorasan . I felt death would have been better for me , rather than uttering such a lie . �

7 . Sin of lying is worse than drinking wine

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Certainly Allah has created the lock for every evil and the key to all these locks is drinking wine . But lying is worse than drinking . �
(Usoole Kafi)
Wine disables reason and sense , but lying kills the reason . It makes one so insensate that he becomes ready to commit any kind of satanic act . An alcoholic when under the influence of alcohol is not in his proper senses , and thus it is not possible for him to act with cunningness and treachery . But a liar can cause untold mischief in the society through his cunningness; much more than a drunkard can .
8 . The foul-smelling mouth of the liar
It is recorded in a tradition that on the Day of Judgement the mouth of a liar will give an awful smell .

9 . The Angels abhor the liars

The smell of a liar�s mouth would be so disgusting that even the Angels will not go near him . They will keep away from the liars . This is not only for the Day of Judgement . Even in this world , the Angels can smell the foul odour from the mouths of the liars . In a prophetic tradition it is said ,
�When a believer utters a lie , such a bad smell emanates from his mouth that even the Angels move away . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

10 . Lying is disbelief (kufr)

The Almighty Allah curses the liars , as is evident from the verse of Mubahela (3 : 61) and the verse of �Laam� (24 : 8) .
A mention about this has been made earlier .

11 . The stench from the liar�s mouth reaches the skies

12 . It is also recorded that the Angels of the sky curse the liars

13 . Falsehood spoils faith

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Lying destroys Faith�
(Al Kafi)

14 . Falsehood deprives the liar from the taste of faith

Imam Ali (a . s . ) says :
�Every believer is deprived from the taste of faith till he gives up lying seriously and also in jest . �
(Al Kafi)

15 . According to traditional reports , lying causes animosity and hatred between people

16 . The vice of lying questions the character of the liar

A tradition of the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�The least forbearing is the one who is a liar . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

17 . The traditions from Masoomeen (a . s . ) inform us that�

The traditions from Masoomeen (a . s . ) inform us that all the evils are locked in a room and the key to that room is lying .

18 . Lying is a sin and a transgression

The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have said .
�Avoid speaking falsehood , because it is a kind of evil and transgression . And both of them belong to Hell . � (They make one eligible for Hell) .
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

19 . According to other reports , seventy thousand Angels curse the liar

20 . Lying is a sign of a hypocrite

The following tradition of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is present in the book of Mustadrakul Wasael :
�The three signs of a hypocrite are :
Lying , betraying trust and going back on his word (Not fulfilling a promise) . �

21 . The Islamic Shariat does not pay heed to a liar�s advice

In this regard the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) remarked :
�The advice of a liar has no value . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

22 . Falsehood is the worst of the psychological ailments

Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�The disease of lying is the most dreadful of the (psychological) diseases . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

23 . Lying is an embellishment of the Satan�s hands

A narration of the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is as follows :
�Certainly , Iblees applies antimony (surma) , wears a ring and uses snuff . His antimony is laziness and dozing , the ring of his finger is lying and his snuff is pride and arrogance . �

24 . The worst earning of a man is falsehood

The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
� The worst of the profit is from the trade called �lying� . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Yes ! It is a fact that by lying , a person is liable for punishment more than for any other sin .

25 . Lying makes the highest number of people the inmates of Hell

A man came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and asked , �Which action makes the highest number of people the inmates of Hell ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�Lying . When a believer speaks a lie , he becomes prone to commit every other sin; and when this happens , he commits kufr (disbelief) which then makes him enter Hell . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


26 . Allah makes the liar afflicted with forgetfulness
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is reported to have said ,
�One of the divine punishments for too much lying is that Allah makes the liar afflicted with forgetfulness . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Thus a man speaks a lie and then forgets his lie . Consequently people come to know that he has spoken a lie and his falsity is exposed to the people .
Now to save his skin he speaks more lies and is insulted further because his forgetfulness does not enable him to hide his false statements .
27 . Falsehood is one of the doors of hypocrisy .


28 . A liar is inflicted with several kinds of punishments .
Aqa Rawandi has quoted a lengthy tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in his book Dawaat . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) while describing the spectacle of Meraj (Ascension) said
�I saw a man , who lay flat on his back while an angel mounted his head . The angel who was standing upon the head had a pointed iron rod . He repeatedly injured the sleeping person . The face of the victim was shattered upto the neck . But when the rod was lifted the head returned to its original form . Again the rod was hit on the face and the man suffered the same retribution . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says that he inquired ,
�Why is this man punished ? �
He was told , �This is a man who left his home in the morning and uttered a lie that caused harm to the people . So he shall be punished in this manner (after death) till the Day of Qiyamat . �
30 . The liar is deprived of Namaz-e-Shab .
The liar is deprived of Namaz-e-Shab and in this way he is also deprived of the benefits that accrue from Namaz-e-Shab and one of these benefits is the increase in sustenance . Sharifi narrates from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�Doubtlessly , when a man speaks a lie , he is not able to get the opportunity of (performing) Namaz-e-Shab . And when he doesn�t get this opportunity (to perform Namaz-e-Shab) he does not get an increase in his sustenance .
31 . Falsehood deprives the liar from true guidance and causes him to deviate .
The Quran says :
�And Allah does not guide the unjust people . �
(Surah Juma� 62 : 5)
32 . Politeness and civility are removed from the one who lies .
Hazrat Isa Ibne Maryam is reported to have said ,
�Civility abandons the one who is a frequent liar . �
(Al Kafi)
Then no one is attracted towards him and no one finds any emotional attachment with him .
33 . Falsehood is the most outrageous kind of evil and an abomination .
34 . We have proved Falsehood to be a Greater sin .
35 . Lying is poles apart from belief .
In fact a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Falsehood is inversely proportional to belief . �
That is; when falsehood increases , belief decreases .
36 . The greatest sinner is the one who has lied .
The Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�The greatest of the sins is talkativeness and falsehood . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
37 . The liar is doomed because of the lies that he utters .
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Avoid falsehood . For it may appear to be a way of salvation , whereas in reality it leads to destruction . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
38 . The liar does not deserve friendship and brotherhood .
The Chief of the believers , Ali (a . s . ) says :
�Every Muslim is supposed to avoid friendship and brotherhood with a compulsive liar . Because one who befriends a liar is himself considered a liar . Even if he speaks the truth , he is not trusted . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
39 . The liar is kept away from truth and reality .
� . . . Surely Allah does not guide him who is extravagant , a liar : �
40 . Inhuman form of the liar in Barzakh
The liar has a human form only in this world . In Barzakh he does not retain the human form . While describing the scenes of Meraj , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told Janabe Fatemah Zahra (s . a . ) :
�On the night of Meraj I saw a woman whose head resembled a pig and her body was like that of a donkey . It was because she spread discord and told lies . �
(Oyoon Akhbare-Reza)


Although , Shaheed-e-Sani and many other Mujtahids consider every kind of falsehood to be absolutely haraam and a great sin , yet we find in traditions that falsehood is of different grades . Among these different kinds of lies , are some that are certainly greatest of the sins and some are among the greater sins . There are also some types of lying about whom there exists a doubt whether they are �greater� or not . Let us examine each kind of falsehood .


The worst kind of falsehood is what one utters against Allah the Almighty , His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) . The divine book , Quran says :
�And , for what your tongues describe , do not utter the lie , (saying) this is lawful and this is unlawful , in order to forge a lie against Allah; surely those who forge a lie against Allah shall not prosper . A little enjoyment and they shall have a painful punishment . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 116-117)
The sixth holy Imam , Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�To attribute falsehood to Allah and this Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is the greatest sin . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) also told Abu Noman :
�Do not attribute falsehood to us . Such a lie will expel you from the upright faith (Islam) . �
(Al Kafi)
This means that even if a single falsehood is attributed to the Imams (a . s . ) the light of faith is extinguished from the heart . It is such a serious sin that if one intentionally commits it during the fast of Ramzan , his fast is invalidated .


Every kind of lie and every method of speaking an untruth is haraam . Just as it is haraam to speak a lie with the tongue it is similarly haraam to write something false . Even to point a finger in expressing a lie is �haraam . � For example if a person who does not pray is asked by another , �Have you performed Namaz ? � and he nods his head . This tantamounts to lying and is a sin . Similarly propagating the words of a liar while being aware that they are untrue is haraam , and so is supporting a liar .


Attributing falsehood to Allah (a . j . ) , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and Imams (a . s . ) means that one fabricates a saying and attributes it to them . For example , saying that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said such and such thing , while knowing that it is an absolute lie , or to say that such and such is a Quranic verse , when it is certain that it is not a part of the Holy Quran . Similarly , it is haraam to distort the apparent and the true meanings of the Quranic verses and traditions to suit ones desire or to prove ones point . Incorrect translation of the Holy verses and traditions is also a falsehood .


It is for this very reason that most people are not eligible to speak from the pulpit . It is not an easy task to translate the ayats and traditions and explain their meanings in the speech . There is a need to exercise utmost caution in such risky situations . One who has not studied the rules of Arabic grammar properly will inadvertently misunderstand the saying of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Holy Imams (a . s . ) He is bound to err even while explaining the apparent meaning . Therefore the speakers must make it a point to say only the apparent meaning of the ayats and the traditions . They must especially abstain from the exegesis of the ambiguous verses .


An example of this kind of lie is when a lying person , in order , to prove his statement says :
�Allah is a witness that I am speaking the truth . � Or ,
�Allah knows that I am saying the truth . �
There is a saying of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�One who says , �Allah knows , �where as Allah does not (i . e He knows the opposite of it) , the heaven shudder at the Might (and the anger) of Allah (a . j . )�
(Al Kafi)
In another tradition , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�When a man says , �Allah knows� while what he says is a lie , Allah tells him , �Didn�t you find anyone else to attribute a falsehood to ? ��
(Wasaelush Shia)
In some traditions it is mentioned that when a person makes Allah a witness for a falsehood Allah says , �Didn�t you find anyone weaker than Me to be a witness for your falsehood ? �


It implies fabricating a tradition and then attributing it to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) or the Imams (a . s . ) . In the same way it is haraam to knowingly propagate a weak tradition . However if one is sure of the proper references then he can quote the tradition and attribute it to the Masoomeen (a . s . ) .


Numerous traditions are found in the books and one is not sure whether they are authentic or not . In this case one can give the name of the narrator and also provide the title of the book as reference . However one must be certain that the tradition is not against the Zururiyat-e-deen , (the necessities of Faith) . If there is anything against the basics of the principles of religion it is most certainly a fabricated tradition . Similarly there must not be any sort of disrespect to the Masoomeen (a . s . ) , nor should the tradition be against reason . Lastly as a precautionary measure one must quote only from the reliable books .
The fifth Holy Imam , Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said :
�And do not quote (a tradition) except from a reliable authority , otherwise you will fabricate a great falsehood . And falsehood debases you (in the sight of Allah and His creatures) . �
(Kashful Muhajja)
The Sermon of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) to Harith-e-Hamadani also contains the following advice :
�Do not quote everything circulating among the common people . It suffices to be a falsehood . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
Hence whenever quoting a tradition it is necessary to mention its source . Not a single word must be deleted or added , and not even a single word must be replaced , because in all such cases it would amount to attributing falsehood to the Masoomeen (a . s . ) .
The honourable Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have said :
�One who attributes something to me , which I have not said , shall sit in the Fire . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Aqa Noori writes in his book Daarus Salaam :
�A person came to Aga Muhammad Ali a pious scholar and author of the book Magame , and said :
�I dreamt that I am tearing at the flesh of Imam Husain (a . s . ) with my teeth . What is the interpretation of this dream ? �
Aga Muhammad Ali pondered a while and then said :
�You must be a preacher , relating the tragedies (Masaeb) . �
The man replied in the positive .
Aga Muhammad Ali told him , �Either you give up this profession or quote only from reliable books . �
Another similar anecdote is recorded in the book , Shifaus-sudoor . A preacher was reciting a majlis in the presence of Ayatullah Al-Haj Muhammad Ibrahim Kalbasi . He was saying that Hazrat Imam Husain (a . s . ) said , �Zainab , O ! Zainab . �
Upon hearing this Ayatullah Kalbasi loudly exclaimed , �May Allah break your mouth ! Imam (a . s . ) did not say �Zainab� twice , he had said it only once .


However it is permitted to render the import of traditions in ones own words but it is a must that the speaker should be well versed with the Arabic language and also be capable of understanding the usage . Thus , it is allowed to relate the contents of the tradition in ones own words .
When it is not disrespectful to the Masoomeen (a . s . ) , poetry could be rendered into prose and vice-versa . In the same way the past event could be quoted in the present tense . For example if one intends to say that , �a person came to Imam (a . s . ) and said . . . . � He could say , �a person comes to Imam (a . s . ) and Imam (a . s . ) tells him . . . . � However , the audience should be aware that what is being related in the present tense has actually passed . In the same way if the traditions say that Imam (a . s . ) has prohibited something , the speaker could say , �Imam (a . s . ) said , �Do not do it ! ��
Another grade of falsehood is a false oath , false evidence and escaping from testifying in an Islamic court . This type of falsehood is also confirmed as a greater sin . Each one of these shall be described in detail in the following pages .
To lie is surely a great sin , with obvious evil effects , due to the harm it can cause others . The more harmful a lie , the more serious is the sin associated with it . For example , a lie causing monetary loss is definitely less serious than the one that causes loss of a human life .
Lying in jest is another kind of falsehood . For instance , telling a simpleton that , �A certain lady wants to marry you , � or �that person has invited you for dinner tonight , � when actually there is no truth in it . This type of falsehood is also haraam as proved conclusively from the traditions .
Certain Mujtahids opine that if something untrue is said in jest , and it is clearly understood to be a joke , then it is permitted . However , other Mujtahids regard even a falsehood in jest to be absolutely haraam , whether it is an apparent joke or not , as a precautionary measure . The traditions also confirm that lying even in jest is not permitted .


Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedin (a . s . ) says ,
�Avoid falsehood , whether it is small or big , in solemnity or jest . �
(Al Kafi)
Hazrat Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) said ,
�No man can taste faith , till the time he completely forgoes lying , in solemnity and in jest . �
(Al Kafi)
It is also related from Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) that he said :
�There is no merit in falsehood , whether in seriousness or in jest . Do not even promise your child something if you do not intend to fulfill it . Certainly , falsehood leads man to sin (fearlessly) and (this) leads to the Fire . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in his advice to Abu Zar Ghaffari (r . a . ) says :
�O Abu Zar one who protects his private parts and his tongue shall enter Paradise . One who utters a small falsehood in company of people to make them laugh , that same lie shall take him towards Hell . �
�O Abu Zar , woe be upon the one who speaks falsehood to make people laugh . Woe be upon him woe be upon him O Abu Zar . One who remains silent will obtain salvation . Then silence is a must for you (in place of falsehood) . Not even the smallest lie should be uttered by you . �
Abu Zar (r . a . ) says that he asked ,
�O Messenger of Allah , what is the repentance of the one who has intentionally spoken a lie ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied :
�The sin shall be erased by Isteghfar (seeking forgiveness) and by the five-times prayers . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) is quoted to have also said :
�Curse be upon the liar if he has lied in jest . �
It is also narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) that he remarked ,
�I guarantee a house in the best part of Paradise for one who refrains from a dispute even when he is on the right , and a house in the medium-grade area of Heaven for one who refrains from falsehood even in jest , and a house in the garden of Paradise for a person with the best morals . �
Lying in jest is a sin but it is not a greater sin . However if this joke hurts the feelings of a believer or causes him physical harm or is an insult to him , it will be a greater sin .


Common hyperboles in a conversation are not falsehood . For example after relating a certain thing one says :
�I have told you a hundred times ! � Obviously , he has not repeated his statement a hundred times and it is also clear that by �hundred� he does not imply the figure �100�; but rather it means that he has said it a number of times .
Similarly other figures of speech are also permitted , especially in poetry .


It is commonly seen that when the host asks his guests to stay on for dinner or lunch , the guests say , �we are not hungry;� although in reality it is not so . Consequently it is a lie . People tend to ignore such lies and consider them insignificant . The traditions denounce them in unequivocal words , and their prohibition is clearly established in the Islamic law .
Asma Binte Umais says :
�On the first night of Ayesha�s wedding , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) gave me a bowl of milk and told me to give it to the ladies . The women said , �we are not hungry . � When the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) heard this , He said :
�Do not bring together hunger and falsehood . �
Asma asked the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) ,
�O Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) , if we desire something but verbally refuse it , is it a lie ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�Yes ! Certainly every kind of falsehood is recorded , (in the scroll of deeds) even the smallest of the small lies is written . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
If a person , just for the sake of formality , invites others , �Please come , and visit us sometimes , � when he actually does not desire so , it is not a lie . Because the word �come� is conditional and uncertain . It is neither a truth nor a falsehood . But it is better to refrain from such a show of politeness , because to say something which you do not mean is a sign of hypocrisy .
One day , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was seated with his son Ismail when one of his followers arrived , saluted him and sat down . When the Imam (a . s . ) stood up and walked towards the ladies portion , the man also followed till the door . Imam (a . s . ) bid farewell to him from there . Later , Ismail asked his father , �Why didn�t you invite him inside just for the politeness sake ? �
Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�It was not proper to invite him inside . I did not wish him to come inside . Neither did I wish that Allah should include me among those who say one thing and wish another . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


One type of falsehood is that a person says :
�I dreamt such and such . � Or attributes falsely a dream to someone else when it is not so . This is also falsehood .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says that the worst types of falsehood are three :
1 . To call someone as the son of someone other than his (real) father .
2 . To relate a dream that one has not seen .
3 . To say something which is not said by me .
One kind of falsehood is to relate folk tales , which are not based on reality but are considered true . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�The worst of the narrations is to narrate false history . �


Examples are used to explain , understand and remember some intellectual concepts . Sometimes , animals are shown as conversing among themselves . (For example , there is a poem by Allamah Iqbal where a squirrel advises the mountain to give up pride) . Now everyone knows that such things are not possible so there is no risk of anyone having a misunderstanding . On the other hand they serve a useful purpose . Hence such examples are permitted . We find such types of examples in the narrations of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) .
Moreover there are also narrations that prove the permissibility of explaining facts and truthful concepts through the media of stories and anecdotes .


Hazrat Imam Hasan (a . s . ) was in the court of Muawiya when a man said something uncivil about Imam (a . s . ) . Imam Hasan (a . s . ) replied :
�O Umar Ibne Uthman ! How stupid is your nature that you cannot understand . Your simile is like the mosquito that considered itself great . It perched on a date palm and when it took off in the air it said to date palm ,
�Be careful ! I am about to land on you once more . �
The tree replied , �I don�t even know since when you had perched upon me , so how can your flying away affect me ? �


It must be known that just as it is haraam to speak falsehood , it is also haraam to listen to it while knowing that it is a lie . And just as it is haraam to read or write falsehood , it is also haraam to quote a lie . The Quran has denounced the Jews and the polytheists for spreading untrue things . It is said regarding them ,
�(They are) listeners of a lie . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 42)
Shaykh Sadooq (r . a . ) has recorded that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was asked ,
�Is it allowed to listen intently to a liar ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�One who listens intently to a speaker , worships him . If the speaker is (speaking) from Allah the listener has worshipped Allah . But if the speaker is (speaking) from Satan the listener has worshipped Satan . �
A similar kind of tradition is recorded from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) in the book Al Kafi .
The Quran says ,
� . . . and avoid false words . �
(Surah Hajj 22 : 30)
And also ,
�And they who do not bear witness to what is false . . . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 72)
These types of verses confirm the impermissibility of listening to falsehood . When a liar is speaking a lie which is a great sin , the place where he commits this sin becomes a place of divine wrath and the listener shall also be included in it .
From the aspect of Nahy Anil Munkar (Forbidding Evil) also , it is wajib to restrain the liar from speaking falsehood .


Toriya means to say something , which could be interpreted in more that one way . One of the meanings should be the truth and the other against reality . It is said that one who speaks a �Toriya� intends the true interpretation whereas the listeners take it to mean the opposite . For example if a tyrant comes to your place and wants to call you outside but you want to remain in the safety of your home , a person from your family can go to the door and say , �He is not here�; with the intention the �He� is not at the door . The tyrant may think that you are not at home . This is permitted .
Or if an oppressor is asking you the whereabouts of a person whom he intends to oppress . In this case you can say , �I do not know his whereabouts�; signifying by the pronoun �his� someone else whose whereabouts you really do not know . In the same way if one has committed a greater sin and someone asks him , �Have you committed this sin ? � The person could save his honour by saying , �I shall seek forgiveness from Allah if I ever committed it . �
Similarly he may use uncertain terms or rhetorical sentences .
For example he may say , �Do you expect me to commit such a grave sin ? �
Or he can also say the following prayer ,
�O Allah protect me from such a sin . �
Also if you have pointed out somebody�s fault and he feels bad about it , there is no need to utter a lie and say , �You do not have this fault . � What can be said to pacify instead is , �Your personality is such that it is wrong to say such things about you . �
Toriya is of three kinds :
First type
The first type is when some purpose has to be achieved or there is a risk of some harm . These types of examples are quoted above . It is apparent that such a kind of �Toriya� is permitted .
Second type
The next type of �Toriya� is when a person intends to harm or insult someone else . There is no doubt that such a kind of �Toriya� is �haraam� .
Third type
The third type of �Toriya� is when there is neither a purpose behind it nor one intends to cause harm to others . According to some Mujtahids this type �Toriya� is haraam . This is because �Toriya� is a kind of a falsehood and whatever proofs exist for the prohibition of lying could also apply for this type of �Toriya� . Secondly there is nothing to prove the legality of this third type of �Toriya� . However , some of the Mujtahids are of the opinion that this kind of �Toriya� is not Haraam . For according to them all those proofs that permit �Toriya� are also applicable to this type and hence it is not a lie .
However , the precautionary method is to resort to �Toriya� only when it is certain that it permissible .


Whenever there is a danger to life , honour and property and if the danger can be avoided by lying , one is allowed to lie . The danger could be to ones own life , honour and property or to that of someone else . So much so that it is also permitted to take a false oath in this situation and in some cases it even becomes wajib (obligatory) to speak a lie . E . g . when there is risk to ones life . In this case , it is wajib to save oneself by lying and taking a false oath . For example , if an oppressor intends to kill a Muslim or to beat him up , dishonour him , seize his property or imprison him and if he enquires from you of his whereabouts , it is obligatory not to tell the truth even if one has to take a false oath and say that one does not know of his whereabouts .
In the same way if someone entrusts a thing in your possession and another intends to seize it; it is your duty to protect the entrusted thing even if you have to resort to falsehood or take a false oath .


There are many traditions that support the taking of a false oath in order to save the Muslims . For example , Shaykh Ansari in his book , Makasib quotes from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and Imam Ali (a . s . ) that they have narrated the following tradition of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Swear falsely by Allah , but save your Muslim brothers from unjust murder . �
Ismael Ibne Saad records a confirmed tradition , wherein he says that he asked Imam Ali Reza (a . s . ) concerning the person who takes a false oath to save his property from an unjust ruler .
Imam Reza (a . s . ) replied ,
�There is no harm (in it) . �
He was again asked , �If a man takes a false oath to save the property of his believing brother , just as he had sworn falsely to save his own property . Is it allowed ? �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Yes ! It is allowed . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Also Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�If one is compelled to take a false oath to save the life of a Muslim or to save his property from an oppressor or a thief , not only is the expiation of this false oath not payable but he would rather be eligible for (divine) rewards . �


Two points must be remembered at this juncture . One is that even though it is permitted to lie to save oneself from every type of monetary loss , yet it is Mustahab (recommended) not to lie if one is capable of bearing the loss . Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�The sign of belief is that one speaks the truth even if it causes loss and refrains from a lie even if it is beneficial (to lie) . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
Another important point is that in situations where the Mujtahids have permitted Toriya it is best not to use falsehood , but limit oneself to Toriya only .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�Speech is of three types , truth , falsehood and reconciling people . �
Someone asked , �May my life be sacrificed for you . What is , �reconciling people� ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�You hear someone speaking ill about somebody but you tell the other person that the former was saying good things about you . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Infact one is ordered to resort to lies if by doing so , one can bring about reconcillation between two people . One who brings about such reconciliation shall not be termed a liar . Because if the message of ill will is communicated from one to other , it will only increase enmity between the two .
In the same way if a husband and wife have separated and divorce is about to take place , one is allowed to speak a lie if it can bring about a reunion . For example the husband could be told , �Your wife is very much troubled by the separation . She has such intense feelings for you that she may fall ill . � Or the wife may be told similar things so that they may reunite .


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said ,
�After the fulfillment of wajib acts , the best action is to bring about peace and reconciliation among people . This is such an act that spreads goodness in the world . �
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) said that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said at the time of recording his will and testament .
�O Ali , Allah even likes a falsehood for the sake of peace and dislikes truth that spreads corruption . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
�To make peace among people and to think about reconciling people , and removing discord is better than prayers and fasting . �
Abu Hanifa Saeq Al Haj says , �There was an inheritance dispute between my son-in-law and me . Our dispute was in process when the agent of Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Mufazzal happened to pass by . He stopped to listen for a while then returned to his house . He then gave us four hundred dirhams and solved the dispute .
Then he said , �The money that I gave you was not mine . It belonged to my master Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . He had ordered me to solve the disputes among his followers through this money . ��
This shows the importance of peace and reconciliation . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also stated that it was better than prayers and fasting , even though this action is Mustahab (recommended) whereas the former are Wajib (Obligatory) . The reason for this could be that due to prayers and fasting an individual is reformed . Whereas the peacemaker reforms the whole society and consequently prayers and fasting also become popular among the people . Unity among the Muslims is not only beneficial for the Hereafter , it is very much needed from the worldly point of view also . When the hearts of the believers unite for the sake of Allah , such a power is achieved that not only the apparent enemies can be faced but even the hidden enemies , i . e . �the self� and �shaitan� , can be easily deflected .


The unity and understanding among the people could be compared to Kur (7) water . If water is divided by putting it in different vessels and each of them is less then a kur , then whenever impurity (Najasat) falls into one of them , it makes that water Najis (impure) . But if all the water is collected in one place and it becomes more than a kur and if an impurity falls into it , it does not make the kur water Najis . On the contrary the kur water is capable of purifying the impurity of a Najis object . Exactly , in the same way when the people unite
together , the divine mercy descends upon them and each one benefits by it . Secondly due to the unity among the Muslims they will be held in high esteem by people of different faiths .
Another example is the merits of congregational prayers and its great rewards . It is very much recommended to behave kindly towards the believing brother , to help him and support him . Similarly it is highly meritorious to visit the believers , to shake hands with them and to hug them . These actions carry great benefits . To make peace between two believers qualifies one to untold rewards . Similarly it is mentioned that to befriend a believer for the sake of Allah carries tremendous rewards . After examining the rewards for all of the above actions one concludes that all such actions have been promulgated for maintaining the unity among believers .


It is known from some traditions that during a war with unbelievers , it is permissible to use falsehood , if by doing so , victory can be gained over them .


A man can give a promise to his wife even if he does not intend to fulfill it , a man can give a false promise to fulfill his wife�s desire , if he thinks that his refusal will cause dispute and discord in the family , or make his wife extremely unhappy . Obviously such falsehood is also permissible under compelling conditions when a man fears that refusing to promise may lead to an extreme situation like divorce .
However , whether such a promise is permitted or not is difficult to confirm . Some weak traditions do state that such a false promise is allowed . For example if a wife asks for something , her husband can give her a false promise .


Hazrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a . s . ) says :
�Avoid lying ! For when one desires something he strives for it and when one fears something he strives to keep it away from himself . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Ali (a . s . ) explains the above tradition as follows : If one sincerely desires the pleasure of Allah one must strive for it and one of the ways of doing so is by refraining from lies . Falsehood is a forbidden act causing extreme displeasure of Allah . In the same way if one really fears divine retribution , one must keep aloof from sins , for sins incur punishment . If a person merely claims that he hopes for divine rewards and fears divine punishment , but does not perform good deeds nor refrain from sins , he is a liar .
The following saying of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) is recorded in Nahjul Balagha :
�One who thinks that he hopes (in divine rewards) but his actions do not express it , then by Allah , he is a liar . For when he hopes for something it becomes apparent from his actions .
But if he hopes in Allah and his actions do not show it ? In the same way when one is afraid of something his actions express this (fear) and he flees from that thing . Then after claiming to be fearful of divine punishment why does he not flee from sins ? �
Thus if a person who claims to be fearful of Allah and hopeful of divine rewards , but whose actions do not confirm his claim , is considered a liar . In the same way a person who claims to have the traits of patience , thankfulness , contentment and resignation etc . which are not shown in his behaviour is also a liar .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�Whenever you say �Allaho-Akbar� (Allah is the greatest) you must consider everything between the earth and the sky to be lesser than Allah . Because when Allah sees that a person say Allaho-Akbar only superficially , He says , �O liar ! You try to be smart with Me ? By My Might and Honour I shall deprive you of My remembrance . ��
It is regretful that people verbally say , �Allaho Akbar� but their actions belie their words . For if they are told to do something for the sake of Allah or to refrain from something for the sake of Allah they do not pay any heed , but if a monetary fine is due for any disobedience , they are sure to respond . Thus money has importance for them than Allah�s pleasure or displeasure . There are people who perform particular actions or restrain from them only due to fear of harm by fellow humans . If they are told to do so only due to the fear of Allah , they will not be impressed .


A person who says to Allah , �Thee only do we worship and Thee only we ask for help� , but his actions are such that day and night he is involved in the acquisition of wealth and is preoccupied in the satisfaction of carnal desires . Can we consider this man to be truthful ? Does this man really worship Allah ?
In the same way many a man puts his trust and faith in the apparent agencies through which he gets his profit and gain . He regards these as the deciding authorities and seeks their help , overlooks the fact that these means themselves are through Allah�s grace . Can such a person be truthful when he says �Thee only do we worship and Thee only we ask for help ? �


Oftentime people supplicate with the following words , �I am pleased with my Lord and Cherisher , He the sole cherisher of all the creatures . I am satisfied with Him . �
But if the situation changes and these people are faced with distressing circumtances , they do not hesitate to complain about what Allah has decreed for them . In such a case the above-mentioned supplication amounts to lying .


The supplication , �I am pleased that Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) is my Prophet; and Quran is my Book and Ali is my Imam; and all of them are for my guidance , � will also be a lie when uttered by a person who does not practice the tenets of Islam as explained by our Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and behaves according to his own whims and fancy .


A man prays , �(O Allah) when I look at my sins , I weep and when I see Your mercy and forgiveness I become hopeful and happy in anticipation that You will forgive me , � but when faced with temptations , he makes no serious effort to restrain himself and commits sinful acts without any qualms . The falsehood of such a person is clear .
In the same way if a person says , �I weep due to (the fear of) the agony of death , due to the fear of questioning of the grave , due to the fear of Qiyamat , � while in reality he is not fearful of any of these , his falsehood is obvious . It could be this very kind of falsehood that is referred to in Dua Abu Hamza Thumali of Imam Zainul Abedin (a . s . ) :
�O Allah ! May be You have found me in the position of a liar and for this (You have taken away your mercy from me) left me on my own condition . �


An example of lying to the Imams (a . s . ) is that of a person who recites the Ziarat and says , �(O Imams) I accept your sayings and act upon your commands and obey you , � but who does not do so in reality . In fact he obeys his own desires . Such a person is a hypocrite ! He is lying to the Imams (a . s . ) .
Another example of such a falsehood is when he says in Ziarat , �We make peace with those who are at peace with you and we make war with those who are at war with you . � Even though he verbally claims this , in actual practice he is friendly with the enemies of Islam . Also , he is inimical to the believers . He also claims , �I keep aloof from your opponents , � but does not act upon it . Isn�t such a person lying to the Imams (a . s . ) ?


A question arises here that if by reciting a dua or Ziarat , if one is bound to utter lies , then how should one pray ?
Although a detailed reply to this is beyond the scope of this book , we can say in brief that the manner of praying denounced by us is when the supplicant invokes Allah , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imam (a . s . ) , but he takes his supplication lightly and makes no sincere effort to better himself .
However , a believer should not feel that since it is not possible to avoid falsehood in prayers it is better not to pray . This is despair of Allah�s mercy and a satanic instigation to keep the believer away from the divine rewards . What one should do is to pray sincerely and to achieve perfection in a gradual manner and Allah will surely help such a person in achieving this ultimate aim .
A person either understands the meanings of duas and Quranic verses (as those quoted above) or not . Even if one recites them without following the actual meaning , the duas and Quranic verses will illuminate his heart by their light . He will also be eligible for the divine rewards .


With respect to knowledge and piety our Masoomeen (a . s . ) occupy the highest position . Amongst the believers there is a wide spectrum of people capable of different levels of understanding and piety , but none can reach the stage of Masoomeen (a . s . ) . All believers succumb to their desires and selfish motives to a greater or lesser extent . Consequently they fall prey to sins and disobey Allah . This is inevitable . This situation is aptly described in the following words of Dua Abu Hamza Thumali .
�O Allah ! I did not sin due to disbelief in You , nor did I sin considering Your command insignificant or thinking that your punishment is light . But I sinned due to the instigation of my selfish desires and due to pride . . . �
The believers can comfort themselves that they are not really lying when they do not rise up to the level expected in the supplication they utter . They can also comfort themselves that they are believers because they fear Allah and repose their hope in Allah , as the Holy Quran says :
�And fear (only) Me if you are believers . �
(Surah Aale Imraan 3 : 175)


Even though the belief in Allah and the fear of His retribution is present in man , he is still prone to sins . It is not that one who believes in Allah cannot sin . For example , who does not know that a dead body cannot cause any harm ? Everyone firmly believes in it . Yet how many people can stay alone with a corpse at night ? Here a firm belief is unable to rid the man of his fear of the dead . Even a firm belief cannot guarantee one�s actions . It is for this reason that we recite in Dua , �Bestow upon me such a firm conviction that I can worship you with sincerity . � There is no doubt that if one prays to Allah out of intense fear; which would restrains him from committing sins , Allah will surely create such a fear in his heart .
Also the magnitude of his fear increases along with the increase in grades of piety and obedience which he achieves due to constant efforts .
It has been mentioned in the traditions :
�Whoever desires something and strives for it , finds it . �
Truly ! Being absolutely truthful seems possible only for the Masoomeen (a . s . ) . As the Holy Quran states ,
�And be with the Truthful Ones ! �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 119)
The �Truthful Ones� referred to in this ayat are the Ahul Bayt (a . s . ) .


false oath

According to the traditions �false oath� belongs to the category of greater sins . False swearing is a greater sin as mentioned in the authentic tradition recorded by Abdul Azeem and also in the tradition of Imam Reza (a . s . ) as quoted by Fazl Ibne Shazaan . There is a report from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) in the book Tuhafful Uqool :
�False swearing causes destruction of the faith . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
According to traditions a person who conveys a false report or oath will be sunk in depravity and will be surrounded by hell fire . The traditions state that false oath destroys a person�s faith just as a sharp blade removes hair from the body . To swear by Allah , to convey a falsehood is a particularly detestable sin .


�(As for) those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths-surely-they shall have no portion in the hereafter , and Allah will not speak to them , nor will He look upon them on the Day of Resurrection nor will He purify them , and they shall have a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Aale Imraan 3 : 77)
This same verse was quoted by Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) to prove that taking a false oath is one of the greater sins .


An interesting incident is quoted in Tafseer al-Mizan from the book Amali . Imrul Qays and another man had a dispute regarding some property . Both of them came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . He (s . a . w . s . ) asked Imrul Qays ,
�Can you provide two just witnesses to substantiate your claim ? �
He replied , �No ! �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�Then your opponent should take an oath . �
Imrul Qays said , �But what if he swears falsely and acquires my property ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�If he swears falsely he shall be included among people who will not be eligible for Divine Mercy on the Day of Judgment and Allah shall not purify him of sins . There would be a dreadful punishment for such a man ! �
When the litigant heard these statements he was filled with horror and gave up his false claim to the property of Imrul Qays .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is reported to have said :
�One who knowingly takes a false oath had made war upon Allah . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�Refrain from false oath , because it destroys inhabitations and makes the sinner helpless . �
(Al Kafi)
According to other traditions , false oath and severing relations are two such sins that cause the destruction of towns and cities . The inhabitants are eliminated and the progeny terminated .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�One who swears falsely becomes poor within forty nights� (means forty days) .
(Al Kafi)
Many traditions of similar connotations are available . The same Imam (a . s . ) has also said :
�The false oath that takes one to the fire is the one which is taken to usurp the right of a Muslim or to usurp his property . �
And Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) also remarks ,
�When a person says , �Allah knows ! � when in fact he is speaking a lie; then Allah tells him , �Didn�t you find anyone other than Me to ascribe the falsehood to ? �
(Al Kafi)
The Holy Imam (a . s . ) also says :
�When a person says �Allah knows� and the fact is that Allah knows contrary (to what he alludes) , the heavens shudder due to the Might and Divine anger . �



An oath is taken to prove some fact or report , or to relate the same with emphasis . There are four kinds of oaths :
1 . Wajib (Obligatory) .
2 . Mustahab (Recommended) .
3 . Makrooh (Detestable) .
4 . Haraam (Prohibited) .


It is wajib to take an oath in a situation where one�s life or honour , or that of another Muslim , is in danger , and taking the oath can ward off the danger . When it is wajib to protect ones property it is also wajib to take an oath for its protection . In fact in all the above situations it is wajib even to take a false oath , although as a precautionary measure one should first try ones best to employ Toriya .


There are situations where it is Mustahab to take an oath or to refrain from doing so . In case of very insignificant property belonging to oneself or to another Muslim it is not wajib to swear . In this case it will be Mustahab to do so . Property that is usually considered insignificant is worth thirty Dirhams or less .
Zurara asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) : �The oppressive rulers forcefully collect taxes from us . Can we swear falsely that we have nothing to give tax on when it is not possible to save our money without swearing falsely ? �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Take such oaths ! Such oaths are more sweet than dates and butter . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
However if the property is not worth much , especially if its value is less than thirty Dirhams , then it is Mustahab not to swear falsely , even if it may be necessary to save oneself from the oppressor .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has quoted the following tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) :
�Respecting the Greatness of Allah if one refrains from swearing , Allah shall give him much better than whatever he has lost . �
(Furu Al Kafi)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�If there is claim against you regarding some property and the claimant does not have any right upon you , and desires to make you take an oath , then if the claim is for something worth less than thirty Dirhams , hand it over to him and do not take an oath . But if it is worth more than thirty Dirhams , take the oath and do not give him anything . �
(Furu Al Kafi)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�If a person takes his debtor (or one who owes him something) to the court of the ruler; and the king asks him to swear; and knowing that he is on the right he respects the Greatness of Allah and refrains from swearing , then on the Day of Qiyamat Allah shall not desire for him a position less than that of Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) . �
In the book Al Kafi there is a tradition , which says that a wife of Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) had some connection with the tribe of Bani Hanifa . A Shia of Imam (a . s . ) informed him that this wife of his bore enmity to Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) . After investigating the matter Imam (a . s . ) divorced her . She had already received the Meher amount (Dower) , but she filed a claim for it against Imam (a . s . ) in the court of the ruler of Madinah . She demanded four hundred Dirhams as Meher from him . The ruler of Madinah told Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) , �Either you swear that you have already paid her or you pay the amount of Meher (now) . � Hazrat Syed-e-Sajjad (a . s . ) did not swear , but ordered his son Hazrat Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) to pay four hundred Dirhams to the
woman . Hazrat Baqir (a . s . ) said , �May I be sacrificed for you ! Are you not on the right ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Why not ? But I consider Allah to be much more honourable than this matter , that I swear by His name for some petty worldly property . �
Not only it is permitted but it is mustahab to swear in order to emphasize on a true fact , or to prove some fact , or to show its importance . For example the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) speaks after taking the oath :
�By Allah ! Allah does not delay in forgiving , Though you may be lazy in seeking it . �
Another example of an oath is the following saying of Amirul Momineen (a . s . ) :
�By Allah ! If people knew what I know then very few would have laughed and many more would have wept . �
There are numerous Quranic verses and the traditions of Masoomeen (a . s . ) where oath is taken . All of them are of this same type . They are for emphasis and for proving particular facts .
A person wrote a letter to Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) and asked about something which was being wrongly attributed to him (Imam a . s) .
Imam Baqir (a . s . ) wrote the following reply ,
�By Allah ! What is being attributed is not correct . But under no circumstance do I like to say �By Allah� to disprove it . Yet I regret that such a thing is being said when it really isn�t so . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


We have already described the wajib and Mustahab oaths . Apart from these , in all other situations , it is Makrooh (detestable) to swear . It is irrelevant whether the oath is for something past , present or future . In ordinary situations , for ordinary matters , taking an oath is Makrooh . Swearing for a false thing is certainly Haraam . It is the command of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�Do not swear by the name of Allah , whether you are speaking the truth or lying . �
(Furu Al Kafi)
�Because Allah says in the Holy Quran ,
�And make not Allah because of your swearing (by Him) an obstacle to your doing good . . . ��
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 224)
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) also says ,
�One who swears falsely by Allah for a lie has disbelieved , and one who swear by Allah for truth has sinned , because Allah says : �Do not use Allah for (taking of) your oaths . �
(Furu Al Kafi)
The above quoted traditions could be simply explained thus :
To swear falsely in the name of Allah is definitely a greater sin and one who indulges in a greater sin , falls down from the highest position of Faith . Due to this some amount of disbelief comes to his heart . Imam (a . s . ) has also called a true oath a sin and he has used the word �Ithm� (sin) . Since it is well known among the Mujtahids that a true oath is Makrooh the word �Ithm� would imply something which is very very undesirable .


The book Furu Al Kafi also contains the following report from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�The apostles of Hazrat Isa (a . s . ) came to him and said , �O the teacher of good , give us some advice . �
He (a . s . ) said , �Certainly , Musa , the Prophet of Allah commanded you not to swear falsely by Allah . And I order you not to swear falsely and (nor) truly . �
(Furu Al Kafi)


Wherever it is permitted to swear by Allah , it is also permitted to swear by other honourable personalities or respectable objects . In such situations it is allowed to take an oath by the Quran , the Ka�ba , the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) or the Imam (a . s . ) . In the same way oath upon any other respectable object is also permissible . For example a person may swear by his father or son etc .
Those traditions that prohibit swearing by Allah�s name prohibit it for proving ones right . They do not prohibit the proving of a true fact by oath . However when a situation arises where it becomes obligatory to take an oath , then one must swear only by Allah . Oath by any other object or personality will not be absolutely correct and from the Shariat point of view the matter will not end conclusively . Similarly if one has to take an oath for performing a particular action in the future , in this case too , one must swear only by Allah . Any other vow does not have any legal standing .


The oath which is Haraam under all circmstances and which one can never take is that of dissociating with Allah and His religion . For example a man says;
�If I do not perform this particular action , I shall be dissociated with Allah and His religion . � Such an oath is certainly Haraam .
In the same way if one says :
�If I do not do this , I would have disbelieved in the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , or I would have rejected the Mastership of Ali (a . s . ) , or I would become a disbeliever . � Such a vow is also Haraam . It is Haraam whether one wishes to prove the truth or to lay emphasis upon a fact .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) heard a person taking such an oath . He (s . a . w . s . ) said , �Woe be unto you , if you leave the religion of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) then which religion would you follow ? �
The narrator says that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) did not speak to this man till the end of his life . (Al Kafi)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) informed Yunus Ibne Zabyan :
�O Yunus ! Do not speak about dissociating from us in an oath . One who takes oath from it , whether for a true thing or a falsehood , he really becomes dissociated from us . �
(Al Kafi)


The expiation for an oath which is haraam , (the oath which states dissociation with divine personalities) , according to a group of Mujtahids is equal to expiation of Zihar (when one vows to abstain from one�s wife , sexually) . Another group of Mujtahids has prescribed its expiation to be equal to that of breaking a vow and it is the same as the penalty of breaking or not keeping a Wajib fast of Ramazan .
(Refer Shariyatul Islam)
However , Shaykh Mufeed (r . a . ) says that expiation of vow of dissociation is to feed to satiation , ten poor people and also to repent . The same decree is proved from a letter of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a . s . ) , which is quoted in the book Masaalik .
Imam (a . s . ) says ,
�He shall feed ten poor people with a �Madd� (approximately � of a kilo) of food and seek forgiveness from Allah . �
In this penalty , the following edibles can be given : wheat , wheat flour , barley , rice or any other cooked food .
Since the chain of narrators for this tradition is authentic , one must act upon it as a precautionary measure .


A man came to the Abbaside king Mansur Dawaniqi and began to instigate him against Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . He said , �He desires to launch an attack upon you . He has sent money to different places for this and continues to do so . He has always supported the sons of Abdullah Ibne Hasan , Muhammad and Ibrahim , and these two have confronted you . �
Mansur summoned Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) from Madinah . When Imam (a . s . ) reached the court of Mansur , he quoted the false allegations and severely criticised the Imam (a . s . ) .
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�I seek the refuge of Allah from such things . All these are false allegations . �
Mansur called the man who had laid these false allegations against Imam (a . s . ) . The accused man came and repeated his accusations . Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) asked him ,
�Can you swear for the truth of your statements ? �
This accused person began to say , �By Allah ! The one besides whom there is no god , He is the . . . �
Imam (a . s . ) interrupted him ,
�Do not make haste in taking the oath , say as I command you . �
Mansur asked , �Is there any defect in the oath which he has taken ? �
Imam replied ,
�When a man swears by Allah , praising the Divine qualities , Allah refrains from sending an immediate retribution . So he should say like this , �I swear by Allah ignoring His Might and Power and seek the refuge on my own might and power that whatever I have said is the truth . ��
Mansur ordered that man to swear in this manner . The man began to take the oath and had not even completed it when his tongue rolled out like a dog and he fell down dead .


Someone may think that this narration mentions the prohibited form of oath . It is not so . Muhaqqiqe-Qummi says that in the first place the chain of narrators of this tradition is weak . Secondly it may be that ordering such an oath may be the sole prerogative of an Imam . The Imam (a . s . ) knew that the one taking such an oath is not a believer . He was an enemy of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and it was necessary to resort to such means in order to clear himself of the false allegations .
(Jame ush-shataat)
From the explanation of this tradition by Muhaqqiq it is clear that Imam (a . s . ) considered that accursed man deserving of death and his death only depended upon the oath of dissociation . It was also necessary that Imam (a . s . ) was not disrespected and that the Imam (a . s . ) could save himself from being unjustly persecuted at the hands of Mansur . Another benefit that accrued was that , Mansur for the time being , refrained from oppressing the other Sadaat (descendants of Holy Prophet) and believers .


The method of repenting for a false oath is that one must feel extremely remorseful for it . He should know that he has considered the Divine name of Allah to be a plaything , and that he has committed a grave sin . The more remorse one feels and the more serious he considers his sin , the closer he shall be to Allah�s Divine Mercy and Forgiveness . If due to this false oath some monetary loss has occurred to a believer or a believer has been insulted , then the one who had taken the false oath must compensate for the monetary loss and apologise to the believer , and as far as possible try to make up for the harm that has been caused due to his false swearing .


There are some requirements for the correctness of a vow that a person takes for performing or avoiding particular actions in the future . If all the requirements are fulfilled then it is haraam to break this vow . If it is broken , expiation becomes wajib .
The following are the conditions for such vows :
1 . The vow should be with regard to a wajib or a Mustahab act . For example , he can vow that he shall not intentionally avoid the Morning Prayer , he will make it a point to say Namaz-e-Shab . In the same way if one vows to abstain from a particular act , this act has to be either haraam or Makrooh in nature . For example he can vow that he shall not speak a lie in future or he can vow to refrain from spitting in the mosque . A vow to refrain from a Mubah (permitted) act or thing should only be taken when there is some benefit in it . For example it is Mubah to smoke . So one can take a vow in order to give up this habit .
2 . Vows with regard to all the five types of actions , i . e . Wajib , Mustahab , Haraam , Makrooh and Mubah are valid only when the name of Allah is uttered with a firm intention to do or to refrain from a particular thing . One must not swear by Allah in jest . If one is in a habit of saying , �By Allah I shall do this . � or �By Allah I shall not do it� then unless he seriously means it , such a vow is not considered valid .
The Quran says :
�Allah does not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths , but he calls you to account for the making of deliberate oaths; so its expiation is feeding of ten poor men out of the middling (food) you feed your families with , or their clothing , or the freeing of a neck; but whosoever cannot find (means) then fasting for three days; this is the expiation of your oaths when you swear; and guard your oaths . Thus does Allah make clear to you His communications , that you may be grateful .
(Surah Maidah 5 : 89)


From the foregoing discussion we can conclude that a vow is only valid when there is some inherrent good or evil in the concerned action . Therefore one can take a vow only for acts that one is inclined towards or those that are wajib or mustahab . Similarly if a person vows to refrain from a particular action he must feel an aversion to it or it should be something makrooh or haraam . Hence to vow to perform some lewd action is itself lewdness . Such a vow is invalid from Shariat point of view . We must never vow to perform evil acts whether it is evil according to reason or according to Shariat .
It is haraam for one to vow to omit wajib or mustahab prayers or vow not to speak to ones mother or any other relative . It is also not allowed to vow against performing Hajj if one is capable of doing so . To vow that one would never mediate between two believers is also haraam . All such vows are invalid . Hence if one has ever taken such vows one must repent for them .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�If one takes a vow to refrain from a beneficial act he must perform it (and disregard the vow) . There is no kaffarah for breaking such a vow . It is only a satanic instigation . �
(Al Kafi)
Although apparently the above tradition and other such reports imply that a vow for a mubah act which is beneficial is invalid , the mujtahids are of the opinion that one must exercise caution and in case such a vow is broken , kaffarah should be paid . According to the majority of the jurists a mubah thing becomes wajib if one takes a vow for it . Thus the best thing is to follow the path of precaution .
Saeed Aeraaj , a narrator of traditions says that he asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) about a person who had vowed to do a particular thing , whereas the avoidance of that was more beneficial , and now the person himself was worried to disregard his vow . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Have you not heard the Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) say that whenever you find that you have vowed against doing something that is better to be done , you must ignore your vow ? �


In the same book , Al Kafi we have a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
There are three types of Vows :
1 . A vow that makes hell incumbent .
2 . A vow that makes kaffarah wajib .
3 . A vow that neither earns hell nor entails kaffarah .
A vow that makes hell incumbent is a false one . It is a vow that proves harmful to the Muslims . It is called �Yaman Ghamoos� in the religious terminology .
A vow that entails Kaffarah is one that is taken to perform a charitable act or taken to refrain from an evil act . If a person breaks such a vow he is liable to pay kaffarah for the same . In addition he must feel remorse for it and repent .
Lastly , a vow that neither earns hell nor makes kaffarah wajib is the vow of doing Qat-e-Rehmi taken under duress before a tyrant ruler , parents or ones spouse . Other vows like the doing of some evil act or to refrain from a wajib are also included in this category . Those who wish to study in detail may refer to the comprehensive books of jurisprudence .



According to the corpus of traditions false testimony is a Greater sin . It is also mentioned in the narration of Abdul Azeem quoted from Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (a . s . ) . Similarly the tradition of Fazl Ibne Shazaan includes it in the list of Greater sins as mentioned by Imam Reza (a . s . ) . That it is a Greater sin is also proved by the hadith of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as quoted by Amash . We have already mentioned in the chapter on �lying� that falsehood is a Greater sin . False testimony obivously is also a branch of falsehood .
In the tradition narrated by Hazrat Abdul Azeem , Imam (a . s . ) has proved the �greatness� of not giving false testimony on the basis of the following verse of the Holy Quran :
�And they who do not bear witness to what is false . . . . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 72)
� . . . These shall be regarded with high places . . . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 75)
In this verse the word �false� signifies the action of proving a falsehood as though it were the truth .
Another verse says ,
� . . . therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words . �
(Surah Hajj 22 : 30)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�To testify falsely tantamounts to polytheism . �
It is mentioned in Tafseer Abdul Fath Razi that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) repeated this statement thrice and then quoted the above ayat (Surah Hajj 22 : 30)
A similar kind of tradition is recorded in Mustadrakul Wasael , from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) .
�In the Quran Allah has compared false testimony to polytheism . �
Allah mentions the avoidance of �uncleanness of the idols� and �false words� in a single verse , one after the other .


From the traditions quoted above it becomes clear that whenever the term �false words� etc . occurs in Quran it implies �lying . � Similar verses have been quoted in the chapter of music and songs . Hence some traditions state that �false words� refers to music or songs . Actually the word �false� stands for every evil , wrong and undesirable thing . Music , songs and lies head the list of these things .


Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says ,
�Whenever a person testifies falsely to usurp the property of a Muslim , Allah writes at that very moment a punishment of the blazing fire for this man . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�The false witness may not even have moved from his place but that the punishment of fire will have already become incumbent for him . �
(Al Kafi)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�False testimony before an oppressive ruler is not yet complete when a place in the fire (Hell) is already decided (for the false witness) . �
(Al Kafi)
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
�One who testifies falsely against someone will be hung by his tongue with the hypocrites in the lowest portion of Hell .
And if one usurps the property of his believing brother , Allah does not give an increase in his sustenance till he repents for it . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) narrates from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said ,
�One who hides testimony before a just Islamic judge , or gives a false testimony to shed the blood of Muslims or intends to usurp a Muslim�s property by it , he shall be raised on the Day of the Judgment in such a condition that there will be darkness before his eyes and his face will be scratched . The people shall recognise him by these signs (that he had testified falsely) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) asked ,
�Shall I inform you about the Greater of the Great sins ? �
The companions said , �Why not , O ! Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) . � The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�To make someone a partner of Allah , and disobedience to parents . . . � The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was resting his back against the wall . Now he sat up straight and continued in a more serious tone , �And beware ! (Every) Falsehood ! �
The narrators say that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has denounced falsehood so many times that we wished he had not done so .
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Since we have already explained that �falsehood� includes every type of lying it also includes false testimony . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also described �falsehood� to be a Greater sin . False testimony is a manifold sin . Firstly because it is a lie which is a greater sin , secondly because it amounts to falsely accusing a Muslim which is also a greater sin and thirdly because it is instrumental in oppressing an innocent person which is still another greater sin . Also , through false testimony a person tries to acquire something which does not rightfully belong to him , thus making unlawful thing lawful , which is prohibited by Allah . Lastly usurping somebody else�s property is also a greater sin . Thus we can say that many great sins constitute a single sin called , �false testimony� .


It does not make any difference whether one knowingly gives a false testimony or one testifies without being certain of the facts . Both of these are �Greater sins� . It is wajib upon the witness not to testify till he is sure of the facts .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Do not testify till you are as certain as you are about the palm (of your hand) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Someone inquired from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) as to when it was allowed to testify as a witness . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him :
�Can you see the sun ? �
�Yes , � he said .
�Testify like it or do not . � (Meaning you should testify only if you are absolutely certain , otherwise you must not do so) .
(Wasaelush Shia)
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says ,
�The witness should testify only for that about which he is certain . He must fear Allah . To testify without having certainty or to testify against something without being certain is also falsehood . Allah (a . j . ) says ,
Refrain from falsehood ! And remain upright for (the sake of) Allah and do not be among the polytheists .
So , Allah has equated false testimony to polytheism . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


If a person testifies in an Islamic court and later regrets for his testimony , then it is first determined whether he had knowingly and intentionally testified wrongly . If it was so , then that person is branded as a transgressor whose testimony is no more valid in the Shariat Court . But if he had been a victim of doubt and uncertainty he is not disqualified from testifying in the future . However , if due to the wrong testimony someone had to undergo undeserved punishment or suffer harm , it is wajib for this witness to make up the loss . The details of such laws could be obtained from the books of Jurisprudence .
One of the methods of disproving a testimony is that the witness himself confess it to be false . Another procedure for this is that two just witnesses may testify against him . This is known as �Bayyana� . Finally , the judges may on the basis of some firm evidence falsify the testimony of a witness who had tried to mislead the court . Hence the judge is empowered to reject a witness if he is himself certain . If someone has suffered a loss the judge shall impose on the witness some exemplary punishment of a few lashes so that he may not repeat such a crime in future .
The judge should also announce in the city and the surrounding areas that such and such person is a false witness so that people may not be misled by him and may not rely upon his evidence . In this way , one who testifies falsely becomes notorious for his falsehood in the society , and the wellbeing of society is maintained . Both these actions i . e . exemplary punishments and warning the people against a false witness , are put into effect whether the judge has already passed his judgment (based upon that false testimony) or not .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is reported to have said ,
�The false witness must be lashed , and the number of lashes is determined by the Imam (or the Islamic judge) and he should be paraded (in the city) till people know him (and may not rely on him in the future) . �
The Imam (a . s . ) recited the following verse of the Quran :
� . . . and do not admit any evidence from them ever; and these it is that are the transgressors , except those who repent after this and act aright , for surely Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 4-5)
(It means that after he repents and reforms , his evidence again becomes valid)
The narrator says that he asked Imam (a . s . ) , �How do we know that he has repented ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�At the place where he is lashed , he must confess in public that he had given a false testimony . And he must seek the forgiveness of Allah . In this way it could be known that he has repented . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


If , due to a false testimony a Muslim has had to suffer some monetary loss or loss to one�s life or property , the witness has to make good the loss . A narrator by the name of Jamil inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) regarding the one who has testified falsely . Imam (a . s . ) told him :
�If the disputed property is still intact it must be restored to the rightful owner . If it is not then the false witness is responsible to the extent of it�s loss . � (Masaalik)
This means that if it is not possible to return the property , the false witness will have to reimburse it by providing a thing similar to that property or pay a price for it . Detailed laws are discussed in the books of Islamic Jurisprudence .
Repentance for the sin
The method of repenting for the sin of giving false testimony has already been explained . The first important requirement is that the sinner must feel a deep remorse for the act committed by him . He must also seek the forgiveness of Allah for disobeying His command; and compensate the Musilm who suffered the loss . As Allah Himself says ,
��except those who repent after this and act aright , for surely Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Nur 24 : 4-5)



To refrain from testifying in an Islamic Court is clearly classified among the �Greater sins� according to the authentic tradition narrated by Hazrat Abdul Azeem . There are some situations when it is Wajib to prove right what is right and to prove wrong that is wrong . In the narration mentioned in the previous discussion , Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) states that to conceal evidence is a �Greater sin� . He presents the following verse as the proof :
� . . . and do not conceal testimony , and whoever conceals it , his heart is surely sinful; and Allah knows what you do . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 283)
This verse mentions the sinful heart (his heart is surely sinful) . There are two noteworthy points in this . One : That the concealing of testimony is a sin of the heart . The heart alone commits it , and other organs are not apparently involved in it . The person hides the reality in his heart and does not speak out . Secondly , just as the heart is superior to all the organs of the body the sin associated with the heart is also greater than the sin performed with other organs . It is just like the obedience of Allah through ones heart is much superior than obeying Him in actions . It is this same heart that involves one in a great sin like polytheism . These sins of the heart are definitely more than sins associated with other organs . One of the sins of heart according to the ayat of Quran is concealing evidence . In order to emphasise , Allah says in the later portion of this ayat , � . . . Allah knows what you do� , so that the sinner may realise that even though people may not be aware of Allah is aware of his sin and He will certainly punish him for it .
Allah the Almighty also says ,
� . . . and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 282)
Similarly in another verse , Allah says ,
�And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah ? �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 140)
Such a person is like the Jews and the Christians , who had seen the characteristics of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in the Torah and Injeel but deliberately concealed them .


In Surah Nisa , the Almighty Allah says ,
�O you who believe ! Be maintainers of justice , bearers of witness for Allah�s sake , though it may be against your own selves or (your) parents or near relations; if he be rich or poor , Allah is nearer to them both in compassion; therefore do not follow (your) low desires , lest you deviate; and if you swerve or turn aside , then surely Allah is aware of what you do . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 135)
Thus one must not conceal testimony due to the fear of the rich or mercy for the poor . One must not feel undue compassion for the accused who is poor . One should neither pay heed to ones own interest nor care for any other person while giving testimony . The Divine command should always be respected in entirety .


The following verse of Surah Maidah states :
�O you who believe ! Be upright for Allah , bearers of witness with justice , and let not hatred of a people invite you not to act equitably; act equitably , that is nearer to piety , and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is aware of what you do . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 8)
According to this ayat testimony should be given only to seek the pleasure of Allah . No feeling of enmity should be allowed to come in the way of stating the truth . Allah (a . j . ) says in another verse :
� . . . and give upright testimony for Allah . �
(Surah Talaq 65 : 2)


Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) remarks ,
�On the Day of Qiyamat , Allah shall cut off the flesh of one who conceals evidence; then order him to eat it before all the creatures . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) also says that those who conceal evidence are described in the Quran as those whose hearts have sinned . �Hearts have sinned� actually implied that �hearts have disbelieved� , � according to Imam (a . s . )
Another tradition recorded from Imam (a . s . ) is thus :
�One who goes back upon his testimony or conceals it wholly , Allah shall cut off his flesh and force him to eat it before everyone . And when he will enter Hell he would be chewing at his own tongue . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Hazrat Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) says ,
�When you are asked to give evidence , give it . For Allah (a . j . ) says :
�Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 58)
Evidence is itself a trust . Allah (a . j . ) also says ,
�And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah ? �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 140)
(Wasaelush Shia)
The following tradition of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) is recorded in Tafseer Ali Ibn Ibrahim Qummi :
�One who possesses some evidence , has to make it known . And when he is asked for it , he must give it . He should not fear anyone�s criticism . He must fulfill his obligation of Amr bil Maroof (enjoining good) and Nahi Anil Munkar (forbidding evil) . �


Is it wajib to become a witness if one is requested to do so by a believer brother , in order he may achieve some benefit from the case he is pursuing in an Islamic Court ? According to most of the Mujtahids it is wajib . Allah the Almighty Himself says :
� . , . and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men , then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses , so that if one of the two errs , the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 282)
Hisham says that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said ,
�And the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 282)
And in the succeeding ayat ,
� . . . and do not conceal testimony� , meaning concealing testimony from a Shariat judge . �
Numerous traditions state that to be a witness is wajib (obligatory) . For example , Muhammad Bin Fuzail asked Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) the meaning of the above ayat (Surah Baqarah 2 : 282)
�And the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned . �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�When someone calls you to give evidence in a matter of some debts or some right , then you do not have the choice to ignore it . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Of course the Quranic command in the verse 282 of Surah Baqarah asking the witness to testify before the Shariat judge implies that the person had in the first instance been a witness to the transaction etc .
The person who has witnessed the transaction etc . has to exercise extreme care and caution in this regard . He must memorise all the details or put them in writing , if necessary , so that there is no scope for doubt or misunderstanding in future . If this person is called upon to be a witness , it is wajib on him to comply , even if he has to travel some distance .


Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Dua of four types of people is not answered :
1 . A Person who sits idle at home and prays to Allah to provide him with sustenance is told , �Have We not ordered you to make effort for obtaining your sustenance ? �
2 . The person who prays for some misfortune for his wife . He is told , �Have We not given you the choice of giving her divorce if you do not want such a wife ? �
3 . One who had squandered the money and spent it in evil ways . Now if he prays for sustenance , he is told , �Did We not order you to spend in moderation ? �
4 . One who gives a loan to someone but does not make anyone witness it . Hence if the borrower refuses and the creditor prays , he is informed , �Had We not ordered you to have witnesses ? ��
(Iddatud Dai)


There may be occasion when a person has not directly witnessed a transaction but has some information for having heard or seen something related to the issue . If the information he has can save a Muslim from harm or enable him to secure his right , it is wajib on this person to testify if he is summoned . If he is not summoned , it is wajib for him to volunteer to testify by approaching the Shariat judge with the information he has . If by not disclosing what he knows , a Muslim is harmed or loses his right , it is haraam to remain silent .
In short if a person is capable of helping the oppressed or prevent the oppressor from oppressing , it is wajib on him to do so .
It is not wajib to give evidence in a situation where not testifying does not cause any harm to a Muslim , nor does it deprive him of his right . In this case a person can even refuse to testify even if he is ordered to do so , because neither is he a direct witness to the dispute nor is his silence harmful in anyway .
Muhammad Ibne Muslim says , quoting an authentic tradition from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) : �If one hears an evidence (i . e . he becomes a witness) but he had not been made a witness , then if he likes he can testify or he can prefer to remain silent . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


The witness is required to pay attention to all the aspects of the matter that he has witnessed and when he is testifying , he must only say that , about which he is certain . He must not mention those things , which he himself has not heard , or seen . It should be clear as the Sun , as mentioned in tradition .


It should be known that a testimony should not endanger the life , property or honour of a Muslim . It should also not pose a threat to the life , property and honour of the witness . It is wajib to give evidence and haraam to conceal it so that justice is established in the society and injustice is eradicated . The oppressor ought to be punished and the right may be restored to its owner but if the testimony itself becomes the cause of oppression it is not wajib to testify . Rather it is haraam to do so and it is wajib to conceal evidence . For example if a person knows that if he testifies against a particular oppressor , the oppressor will take revenge on him or on his relatives or plunder his wealth , then it is wajib to conceal evidence . Similarly , there may be a situation where a debtor deep in debts is unable to clear his dues because of his poverty . At the same time he cannot prove his helplesness and the creditor is not prepared to spare him . In this case also it is wajib to conceal evidence , if the evidence given by a witness will cause the poor debtor to be oppressed .
The following traditions of our Masoomeen (a . s . ) emphasise the justification of concealing evidence under special circumstances .
Hazrat Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) says :
�Give evidence for the sake of Allah even if you have to testify against yourself , your parents or your own relatives - But you must not cause harm to your believing brother by concealing evidence . However , if your believing brother is going to be oppressed , then do not testify . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Dawood Ibne Hasan says that he heard Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) saying :
�Give evidence for the sake of Allah , even if you have to testify against your parents or your own son . But do not give evidence to cause harm (Zaeer) to your believing brother . �
The narrator says that , �I asked , �What is Zaeer ? � He (a . s . ) said ,
�It is when someone who has a right , and in order to obtain it he resorts to oppression , contrary to the order of Allah and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . For example , a man is indebted to another , but the debtor is in straitened circumstances . In this situation , Allah has ordered that he must be given respite till he becomes self-sufficient . And (Allah) says ,
. . . then let there be postponement until (he is in) ease�
Now if in spite of this the creditor summons you to testify , and you know the poverty of the debtor , then it is not permitted for you to testify (that he has taken the loan) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Muhammad Ibne Qasim Ibne Fuzail narrates a tradition from Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) . He says , �I asked Imam (a . s . ) , �One of your devotees has taken a loan from an enemy of yours . The creditor wants to oppress him and have him imprisoned . Allah knows that he has no money to repay the debt , neither is he capable to do so at present . He does not even have Bayyanah (two just witnesses) to prove his bankruptcy . Then is it allowed for him to take an oath so that he can prove his bankruptcy and obtain respite till the return of favourable conditions ? And if from your Shias there are some witnesses who can testify against him , (that he has taken the loan) can they testify ? ��
Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) replied ,
�It is not permitted for them to testify . And it is not permitted for the creditor to oppress the debtor . �
(Al Kafi)


When we speak about haraam testimony that causes harm to a Muslim , we mean a wrongful harm or unjustified oppression but if the person deserves to be punished , it is wajib to give the evidence . For example a person commits a crime . The witness of this crime does not testify only because if he does so the one against whom he testifies will demand the debt which the witness owes him . This is not a valid excuse for withholding evidence . The criminal must be punished according to Shariat even if the witness has to suffer a monetary loss . However , if the hardship for the witness far outweighs the seriousness of the crime of the accused then the witness has a valid excuse to refrain from testifying .


It must be mentioned that to be harmed is different from being deprived of some benefit . In the examples already mentioned , if a witness refrains from testifying due to fear that the accused will deprive him of some money , or that some benefit may not accrue to him; this does not amount to him being �harmed� .
However if the accused is the employer of the witness and will fire him from his job thus causing untold hardship , then it is allowed for the witness to refrain from testifying as it could be regarded as �harm� in common parlance .
Hence we can conclude that false oath , false testimony and concealing evidence , each of these are Greater sins if there is no risk of any harm . If there is any chance of any harm to a Muslim or an innocent witness , then they do not remain sins - they are permitted . Rather in some circumstances these actions become wajib as we have seen from the traditions of Masoomeen (a . s . ) . However as far as possible one must give priority to the more important alternative .


non-fulfillent of a promise

The twenty-first of the Greater sins is �Breaking of a promise . � There are authentic traditions to this effect from Abdul Azeem where he quotes that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has proved it to be a Greater sin with the help of the following verse of Holy Quran :
�And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder that which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those , upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode . �
(Surah Ra�d 13 : 25)
The Holy Quran denounces the breaking of promise in the following ayat too :
�Yea , whoever fulfills his promise and guards (against evil) - then surely Allah loves those who guard (against evil) .
(As for) those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths - surely they shall have no portion in the hereafter , and Allah will not speak to them , nor will He look upon them on the Day of Resurrection nor will He purify them , and they shall have a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Ale-Imraan 3 : 76-77)
Similarly we find another verse of the same connotation :
�Surely the vilest of animals in Allah�s sight are those who disbelieve , then they would not believe .
Those with whom you make an agreement , then they break their agreement every time and they do not guard (against punishment) . �
(Surah Anfal 8 : 55-56)
This ayat is critical of the Jews of Bani Qurayza , who did not honour the pact , which they had formed with the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) regarding cooperation with the infidels . They supplied arms to the disbelievers of Mecca for the Battle of Badr and thus invalidated the pact . Later they justified their action saying they had forgotten the pact .
They once more entered into a pact with the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) only to violate it at the time of the Battle of Khandaq (trench) . They went against the pact and sided with Abu Sufyan .
In various places in the Holy Quran we find that fulfilling a promise has been made obligatory and highly emphasised .
For example ,
�and fulfill the promise , surely (every) promise shall be questioned about . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 34)
Also ,
�O you who believe ! Fulfill the obligations . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 1)
Similarly in Surah Baqarah the ayat says ,
� . . . and the performers of their promise when they make a promise . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 177)
We also find the following verse :
�O you who believe ! Why do you say that which you do not do ?
It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do . �
(Surah Saff 61 : 2-3)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has explained this ayat in the following manner :
�A believer�s promise to his believing brother is a vow that has no expiation (It cannot be broken) . But one who goes back on his word declares his opposition and enmity to Allah , and invokes the anger of Allah . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
After this the Imam (a . s . ) recited the above-mentioned ayat .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) advises Malik al-Ashtar regarding the honouring of promises :
�Breaking a promise causes the anger of Allah . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
Ali (a . s . ) also quotes the same verse after this .
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) said :
�There are four types of sinners who are punished very soon :
a) The person who violates the pact that he has made with you , even though you have respected it .
b) One who inflicts harm upon you even though you caused him no harm .
c) One who has promised you something and you are faithful upon your agreement but he is unfaithful .
d) One who wants to severe relations even though the relative wishes to continue the relationship . �
Abu Malik inquired from Imam Zainul Abedin (a . s . ) , �Inform me about all the rules of religion . � Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�To speak the truth , to judge with justice and to fulfill the promise . �
Although a vast number of traditions and ayats denounce the breaking of promises . We shall quote some selected ones .


There are three types of promises :
1 . Promise of Allah to His creatures .
2 . Promise of the creatures to Allah .
3 . Promises of the people among themselves .
The promise of Allah to His creatures is that of the Aalam-e-Zar (in the spiritual plane) . We come to know of this promise through the Quranic ayats as well as the traditions . According to this , Allah first created the souls of all human beings and made the following covenant : That they remain upon the right path , do not associate anyone or anything with Allah , obey the commands of their Prophet , and do not follow Shaitan , Allah shall recompense them by helping them , by keeping them forever in His mercy , and give them a place in Paradise but if they do not respect their covenant , Allah will also disregard His side of the promise . It is for this very fact , that Allah says .
� . . . and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me , I will fulfill (My) covenant with you . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 40)
Allah also says ,
�Did I not charge you , O children of Adam , that you should not serve the Shaitan ? �
(Surah Yaseen 36 : 60)
The covenant that Allah took from the people in the spiritual plane also includes the oath with regard to the Wilayat (Mastership) of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) . Numerous traditions mention this fact . It is even recorded in the various heavenly scriptures , and all the Prophets have conveyed the message of the Wilayat of the Fourteen Masoomeen (a . s . ) .
However , some scholars have rejected this concept of the Aalam-e-Arwah or Aalam-e-Zar . They give a different explanation to the traditions and ayats that deal with this subject . According to them Aalam-e-Arwah (the spiritual plane) is essentially the innate human nature , which is so designed by Allah (a . j . ) that it is desirous of obeying Allah�s command and does not desire to follow Shaitan . Of course the reasoning capacity of man directs him to follow his nature and accordingly obey Allahs orders . Hence if a man goes against Allah�s command he goes against his own nature . These thinkers consider the covenant , to be the same as the innate nature given to us by Allah (a . j . ) . This book is not concerned with the detail of these two theories .
Anyway whether a man breaks the promise given in Aalam-e-Zar , or goes against his innate nature , he commits a greater sin . This fact has been emphasised in most ayats and traditions , and it is confirmed that honoring the covenant is wajib and not respecting it is haraam . It is also confirmed that the breaking of this first covenant can bring severe chastisement . The people are also warned of dire consequences in case of default . The traditions also inform us that serious retribution incured just for violating the first covenant , which is the greatest of the sins . Hence it is incumbent upon the people to fulfill their covenant so that Allah may also fulfill His promise .


One of the promises of Allah to His creatures is that He will answer every prayer , but this is only on condition that the supplicant honors this covenant with Allah (a . j . ) .
Jamil narrates from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) who said ,
�When a man prays to Allah with a pure intention and a sincere heart , Allah answers (his prayer) after man has fulfilled his promise to Allah (a . j . ) . But if man prays to Allah without a pure intention and sincerity , Allah does not answer it . Has not Allah said , � . . . and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me , I will fulfill (My) covenant with you , � so the promise is kept only with one who keeps his own word . �
(Safinatul Behaar)


The second type of promise is one that the man himself gives to Allah , like a vow or an oath . For an oath to be binding , it is necessary that it be expressed verbally . For example , if someone wants to vow to Allah and state it in Arabic language he should say �Aahadto Allah� (I have vowed to Allah) or �Alayya Ahadollah� (The vow for Allah is upon me) . The statement of promise , oath or the vow can be in any language but expressed verbally . A vow for example may consist of saying , �if I return safe and sound from the journey , I shall give such and such amount as charity in the way of Allah . �
If an oath is intended mentally and not expressed verbally , it is not binding .


It must be remembered that a vow , oath or a promise should not be taken for a useless object . That is , the object must not be undesirable from the Islamic point of view . An oath taken to carry out some makrooh or haraam action , a vow to abstain from a wajib or a mustahab act is invalid . An oath taken for an action which is wajib and its avoidence haraam in a prevailing set of conditions , automatically becomes invalid if the conditions change . For example , a man vows to give a thousand rupees in charity if he gets well , but after he is well be becomes so poor that it is hardly possible for him to maintain his family . In these circumstances the vow is considered invalid and it is not wajib on him to fulfill it .


In conclusion it can be said that an oath should be taken if it is acceptable from the Shariat point of view . In any case an oath should be taken when common sense dictates that the oath serves some useful purpose , either by carrying out an action or by abstaining from it . For example to walk and exercise etc . which are beneficient and Mubah (permitted) actions , and to abstain from smoking which is harmful to health although Mubah .


Just as in the case of oath and vow , a covenant is also either conditional or absolute . An example of an absolute covenant is when a man says , �I make covenant with Allah that I shall perform such and such good action . � Then this shall become binding upon him . If he does not do so he would have committed a Greater sin . In addition he also has to pay the penalty . The conditional covenant is the one when the person attaches some conditions . For example , he may say , �If Allah gives me a son , I will perform such and such good deed . � Then that good deed becomes wajib upon him only when he gets a son . Once the condition is fulfilled it will also be haraam for him to leave the deed undone and he will have to pay the additional penalty also .


Actually a vow and an oath is also a covenant with Almighty Allah . Therefore a covenant is of three types . One is the covenant itself and of the other two one is a vow and the other an oath . It is only due to Divine Mercy that man is given a choice of three kinds of covenants in case he wishes to avoid the risk of being liable for keeping sixty fasts etc . Hence , he can make a vow or take an Islamic oath .


Breaking of a covenant , whether absolute or conditional , is haraam . The expiation becomes wajib in case of default . It is the same penalty as that of breaking or omitting , without any reason , a fast of the month of Ramazan , i . e . feeding sixty poor people , keeping sixty fasts or freeing a slave .
If a vow is broken its kaffarah (expiation) is same as that of breaking an oath . That is , feeding , or clothing ten poor people or freeing a slave; but if he cannot do any of these then it is wajib for him to keep three fasts .


Breaking of a promise is a very serious sin . It is a sin that sows the seed of hypocrisy in the heart of the person who commits it . The person dies in a state of disbelief and is raised with the hypocrites on the Day of Judgment . The Holy Quran says :
�And there are those of them who made a covenant with Allah : If He gives us out of His grace we will certainly give alms and we will certainly be of the good . But when He gave them out of His grace , they become niggardly of it and they turned back and they withdrew . So He made hypocrisy to follow as a consequence into their hearts till the day when they shall meet Him because they failed to perform towards Allah what they had promised Him and because they told lies . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 75-77)
The Shaan-e-Nuzool (circumstances of Revelation) of this ayat , according to Tafseer Minhaj us-sadeqeen is as follows : �Thulbe Ibne Khatib was a very staunch and a well known Christian . One day he came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . He began to complain of his poverty , and requested the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) to pray for him . The Holy prophet (s . a . w . s . ) advised him ,
�Do not emphasise upon this prayer of yours but be patient in your circumstances . Too much of wealth is dangerous for you . If you are grateful for this favour it is better than too much of wealth that makes you unthankful . By Allah if I pray that mountains become gold and silver and move with me , Allah shall cause it to be so but I know that an honourable hereafter is better , and those who are well provided in this world have a difficult hereafter . So , follow the Prophet of Allah (a . j . ) and accept his advice . �
But Thulbe the Christian did not follow the advice of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and again he came back to him with his entreaty and said : �O Prophet of Allah ! I make a covenant to Allah that if He gives me abundant wealth I shall spend it upon the deserving ones and do good through it . �
When he persisted in his request , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) prayed for the removal of his property .
Allah gave abundant increase in his livestock; and he became a Muslim . His animals multiplied and he became so busy in supervising them that he stopped praying behind the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in the congregational prayers . He prayed only the morning and the evening prayers . Then his herd became so large that the surrounding area of Madinah was not sufficient any more . He took his animals to the outskirts of the town and settled there . Now he was deprived of praying the daily prayers behind the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . Still he continued to come to Madinah for the Friday prayers . Then his business expanded beyond the valleys surrounding Madinah . Finally he could not even attend the Friday prayers .
One day the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) asked his companions , �Why is Thulbe not attending the congregation ? � The people replied , �He has so many goats and sheep that a single valley is unable to accommodate them . Now he has moved to such and such valley and settled there . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) upon hearing this said ,
�Woe be upon Thulbe , Woe be upon Thulbe , Woe be upon Thulbe ! �
Later when it was wajib to pay zakat due to the revelation of the verse of Zakat , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) summoned one of his followers and gave him this verse in writing and sent with him a tribesman of Bani Salim . The Prophet ordered , �After you have collected Zakat from Thulbe go to such and such good man and collect it from him too . � Both of them went to Thulbe . They showed him the Quranic verse and also gave him the letter of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) containing the rules of Zakat . Thulbe had become so much attached to his wealth that he said , �Muhammad is collecting Jiziya from us ! Go somewhere else ! Meanwhile I shall think upon it . �
The two men went to this righteous person (of the tribe of Bani Salim) . When he saw the ayat and the letter of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , he said , �I hear and I obey the command of Allah and the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . �
He went among his camels and selected the best ones for Zakat and said , �Please take these for the Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) . � The agents told him that it was not wajib to give the best of the camels . He said , �How can I not offer the best for Allah and His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) ? �
Then these two men came back to Thulbe . The wretched fellow repeated his previous objection and refused to pay Zakat .
When the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) heard of this incident he said just once , �Woe be upon Thulbe ! � Then the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) prayed for the well being of the one who had paid the Zakat willingly .
The companions used to wonder why Thulbe had not accepted the advice of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and saved himself from apostasy ! (Zakat is one of the Dhururiyaat-e-Deen and one who says that Zakat is not wajib has apositisised and is no more a Muslim ! ) The ayats quoted before this discussion were revealed for Thulbe .


The third type of promise is when people form actual covenants and agreements . The ayats and the traditions state that it is wajib to fulfill this type of promise and it is haraam to go against them .
For example in Surah Bani Israel :
� . . . and fulfill the promise; Surely (every) promise shall be questioned about . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 34)
Similarly the Quran describes truthful and the pious people thus ,
� . . . and those who fulfill their promise when they make a promise . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 177)
Also when describing those who shall be saved from Hell and earn Paradise , Allah says ,
�And those who are keepers of their trusts and their covenant . �
(Surah Momin 23 : 8)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�To keep your word to your believing brother is wajib like a vow , even though there is no expiation for going against it . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�One who has belief in Allah and in last day (Qiyamat) must keep his word when he promises . �
Thus keeping a promise is a fulfillment for the belief in Allah and the Day of Qiyamat . Similarly , the beginning verses of Surah Saff have also denounced the breaking of promise and clearly prove that non-fulfillment of a promise (of every type) is haraam .


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is reported to have said :
�Three traits make man a hypocrite even if he prays and fasts :
Betrayal of trust , lying and non-fulfillment of promise . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�Those who are just in their dealing , those who do not lie and those who fulfill their promises are from those who have perfect morals . And it is haraam to criticise them behind their back . Their being just (Aadil) is obvious . To maintain brotherly relations with them is wajib . �
It follows from this tradition , that a person who is unjust , a liar and one who does not keep his word , does not possess morals . He is not a just person (Aadil) but a transgressor (Fasiq) and it is not wajib to fulfill the rights of brotherhood towards him .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has also remarked :
�There are three obligations in fulfillment of which Allah does not give concession to any : To behave well with the parents , whether they are righteous or sinners; to fulfill ones promise; whether to a righteous person or a sinner; and to deliver a trust (to its owner) whether he is righteous or a sinner . � (Shaykh Sadooq : Khisaal)
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�One must also fulfill that promise that he has made to his wife . For a Muslim is always careful of his promise except when it is for making a prohibited thing legal or prohibiting that which is permitted . �


It is an established fact that there are numerous Quranic verses and traditions which prohibit the breaking of a promise , and makes obligatory the fulfillment of promise . The following verses are sufficient to prove this point :
�Surely the vilest of animals in Allah�s sight are those who disbelieve , then they would not believe . Those with whom you make an agreement , then they break their agreement every time and they do not guard (against punishment) . �
(Surah Anfal 8 : 55-56)
Thus those who do not fulfill their promises are the worst of creatures ! They are worse than animals . It is also important to know that Allah has ordered us to honour and fulfill even the treaties and promises made with the disbelievers and polytheists . These promises cannot be disregarded .


When the power and glory of Islam was at its zenith a verse of Surah Baraat was revealed; ordering Jehad (holy war) against the polytheists . The Almighty Allah commanded the Prophet to purify the Holy Mecca from the filth of polytheism and idol worship but it was also ordered not to break the treaty with the polytheists if they did not break it . The ayat is as follows :
�Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement , they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up anyone against you , so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty) . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 4)
Abu Rafe says : �The Quraish sent me to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . When I met him , my heart became illuminated with his countenance . I said to him , �O Prophet of Allah ! I do not wish to go back to the Quraish . � He said , I would not act against the terms of treaty , and retain their messenger . Abu Rafe , go back to your people now and after this if you wish , you may accept Islam and join us . �


Huzaifa Yamani says that there was one thing that discouraged me from participating in the Battle of Badr . Abu Husael and I were going out when we came face to face with some men from the Quraish . They asked , �Do you love Muhammad ? �
�We love Madinah , � we replied .
They made us promise that after reaching Madinah we shall not accompany the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in the battle . When we met the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and told him of this promise he said ,
�Do not think of joining in the battle due to this oath of yours . We shall seek the Divine assistance ! �
The above two traditions are recorded in the book , �Islam and World Peace� by Syed Qutb , Pg . 264 .


During the treaty of Hudiabiya , Sohail Ibne Umer was representing the disbelievers in negotiating with the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . When it was time for drawing up the treaty and the signatures were yet to be affixed , Jundal the son of Sohail left the pack of disbelievers and went to the Muslims . Seeing that he was attracted to the Muslims , the Quraish chained his legs but he escaped with the chains intact . He went away with the Muslims and began to behave like one . When his father saw this , he came to his son and gave him a resounding slap . Then he told the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , �O Muhammad ! This (treaty) is the first step of reconciliation between you and us and as per its terms you have to surrender my son to me . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) agreed to it and surrendered Jundal to his Kafir father , but upon the condition that he would be protected and not harmed . Sohail Ibne Umar agreed to this condition . When it was time to hand over Jundal to the disbelievers , Jundal protested , �O Muslims ! I have become a Muslim ! How will I return amongst the polytheists ? �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him ,
�Go ! But have patience . Allah will provide ease to you in this way only . We cannot go against the terms of the treaty . �
Sohail caught his son�s hand and led him away . He did not remain true to his promise and tortured his son very much .
This incident proves the importance of the fulfillment of a promise . The same incident is mentioned in the exegesis of Surah Fath in Tafseer Minhajus Sadeqeen .


The following narration is recorded in Behaarul Anwaar :
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) promised a man that he would wait for him at an appointed place near a stone . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) waited there but the man did not turn up . Morning turned into afternoon while the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) stood in the blazing sun . Some of his followers saw him and said , �Please stand in some other place . �
He (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�I cannot move away from here till that man returns . �
The man arrived at last . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�If that man had not come , I would have continued to stand till death ! �
The Holy Quran refers to Prophet Ismail as the �Truthful in Promise , � in the following verse :
�And mention Ismail in the Book , surely he was truthful in (his) promise , and he was an apostle , a prophet . �
(Surah Marium 19 : 54)
Hazrat Ismail (a . s . ) had promised to wait for a person , who did not turn up . Three nights passed but he still kept waiting . However , according to most of the scholars and well-known tradition the period of his wait was a whole year . During this time he also had to bear untold difficulties and sometimes survived on leaves .


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) has mentioned that it is disbelief that causes one to go back on his word and break a vow . He says :
�By Allah , Muawiya is not more cunning than I am but he deceives and commits evil deeds . Had I not been hateful of deceit I would have been the most cunning of all men . But (the fact is that) every deceit is a sin and every sin is disobedience (of Allah) , and every deceitful person will have a banner by which he will be recognised on the Day of Judgment . �
(Nahjul Balagha Sermon 200)
Allamah Majlisi says that the one who commits greater sins is also referred to as a disbeliever in traditions . Hence every type of a deceitful person has been called a Kafir in this sermon . It is that disbelief which has its root in the heart and which takes the form of disobedience to Allah�s commands .


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) has said :
�Surely fulfillment of pledge is the twin of truth . I do not know a better shield (against the assaults of sin) than it . One who realises the reality of return (to the next world) never betrays . We are in a period when most of the people regard betrayal as wisdom . In these days the ignorant call it excellence of cunning . What is the matter with them ? Allah may destroy them . One who has been through thick and thin of life finds the excuses preventing him from orders and prohibitions of Allah , but he ignores them despite capability (to succumb to them and follows the command of Allah) , while one who has no restraints of religion seizes the opportunity (and accepts the excuses for not following the commands of Allah) . �
(Nahjul Balagha Sermon 42)


Some of the Mujtahids consider violation of a promise to be a kind of falsehood . Especially when at the time of promising , one has no intention of fulfilling it . Thus all the verses and tradition denouncing and prohibiting falsehood also apply here .


According to the Fatawa (religious decrees) of the leading Mujtahids , it is wajib to honour the terms and conditions of a transaction and it is obligatory to fulfill them . For example the buyer can put a condition that if the goods are defective he can return them within two months . Or the seller may put a condition that the buyer must not spoil the goods if he wishes to return them . In such situations it is wajib to honour the terms of agreement . Similarly if the landlord has restricted the use of his premises to any one except the tenant , the tenant has to observe the terms faithfully . Both the parties to a transaction have a right to lay down their terms and conditions .
Other Mujtahids state that not only is it wajib to honour the terms and conditions of a transaction but the one who has put them may enforce his rights and insist on the condition being fulfilled . For example if an employee has laid a condition that he shall be paid his salary on the first day of every month , then not only is it necessary to pay him as agreed but the employee has a right to demand it on that day , and he can even take it without the knowledge of his employer .
At times it may happen that the conditions agreed upon are quite irrelevant to the actual transaction and not directly related to it . Even in these cases it is necessary to fulfill the obligations .
In cases where the terms and conditions are such that the parties consider it better to observe them , these conditions do not contribute a right and it is not wajib to follow them to the letter .


In all respects , fulfillment of a promise is so much emphasised in the Quranic Verses and the traditions , that one should be extremely careful in honouring every type of agreement and pledge . If a person has to give a promise under compulsion and he does not wish to become a sinner , he can use words like , �May be� , �If� , or �Insha-Allah� etc . For example he can say , �Insha-Allah (If Allah wills) I will do this . �


It is the opinion of Allamah Hilli , and other Mujtahids agree , that every vow or pledge after uttering Insha-Allah (or its translation in any other language) makes the pledge conditional to the Divine will . Hence it is not strictly wajib to fulfill it . But if it is with regard to some promise or condition (of an agreement) , that concerns a wajib act or it is for the avoidance of a haraam act , it has to be observed faithfully , even after uttering Insha-Allah .
It must however be understood that the promise which is made conditional by saying �Insha-Allah� is not binding , only when the person intends the actual meaning of the term Insha-Allah . That is , he must really mean to subject the matter to Allah�s will . If he utters Insha-Allah only for the sake of seeking divine blessings then it is binding upon him to remain firm upon his vows .
It should also be clear that it is not only permitted , to disregard a promise of abstaining from a wajib act or to perform a haraam act but it is infact haraam to fulfill it . For example if one vows to punish his wife or son if they did such and such thing , it is better to disregard such vows and forgive them instead .
The Quran says :
�And let not those of you who possess grace and abundance swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have fled in Allah�s way , and they should pardon and turn away . Do you not love that Allah should forgive you ? �
(Surah Nur 24 : 22)
It means that Allah forgives the sins of those who forgive the wrongdoings of others .


In a situation where , one has taken an oath in utmost seriousness to inflict punishment , and one does not wish to go against it , it is better to carry out the oath in a manner that a token punishment is given and the oath is also not violated . For example , Prophet Ayyub (a . s . ) saw his wife doing something against his will . He took a vow to hit her a hundred strokes after he recovered from the illness . When he recovered , Allah ordered him ,
�And take in your hand a green branch (with a hundred twigs) and beat her (your wife) with it (once) and do not break your oath . �
(Surah Saad 38 : 44)



The twenty-second greater sin , is defalcation or misappropriation of property . Misappropriation of property as a greater sin is stated in the Quran and the authentic tradition related by Abdul Azeem from Imam Muhammad Taqi (a . s . ) and also from the traditions of Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) , Imam Kazim (a . s . ) and Imam Reza (a . s . ) .
Khiyanat is itself an Arabic word . In the tradition of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as related by Amash the word �Khiyanat� is used in the list of the greater sins . Another Arabic word used for misappropriation is �ghulul . � �Ghulul� is used in the narration of Fazl Ibne Shazaan where he quotes Imam Reza (a . s . ) . According to some lexicographers �ghul� denotes misappropriation of a property obtained as spoils of war against the disbelievers which is not yet been distributed among the Muslims . However other scholars maintain that �ghulul� applies to every kind of embezzlement .


The Almighty Allah says ,
� . . . and he who eats unfaithfully shall bring that in respect of which he has acted unfaithfully on the Day of Resurrection; then every soul be paid fully what it has earned , and they shall not be dealt with unjustly . Is then he who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who has made himself deserving of displeasure from Allah , and his abode is hell; and it is an evil destination . �
(Surah Aale Imraan 3 : 161-162)
In Surah Tahrim we find the verse :
�Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve , the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut : they were both under two of Our righteous servants , but they acted treacherously towards them so they availed them naught against Allah , and it was said : Enter both the fire with those who enter . �
(Surah Tahrim 66 : 10)
Also Allah (a . j . ) says :
�� Surely Allah does not love the treacherous . �
(Surah Anfal 8 : 58)
�O you who believe ! Be not unfaithful to Allah and the Apostle , nor be unfaithful to your trusts while you know . �
(Surah Anfal 8 : 27)
Similarly the Quran says ,
��but if one of you trusts another , then he who is trusted should deliver his trusts , and let him be careful (of his duty to) Allah , his Lord . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 283)
At another place the Divine Book states ,
�Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 58)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who embezzles a property in his charge and does not deliver it to its owner and dies in such a condition , then he does not die in my community (he does not die a Muslim) . When such a person meets Allah , He shall be infuriated with him . And one who purchases an embezzled property knowing that it is embezzled is just like the (actual) embezzler . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Another tradition states ,
�And it will be ordered to throw him in the fire; he will remain in the deep pit of Hell forever . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is also reported to have remarked ,
�If one is Muslim , he must not practice deceit and defalcation . For I have heard from Jibraeel that deceit and cheating belong to hell . �
Then he (s . a . w . s . ) continued ,
�One who cheats a Muslim is not from us , and one who embezzles the believers is (also) not from us . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The following tradition is recorded in the book Al Kafi :
�There are three qualities that are the sign of a hypocrite even if he prays and fasts and calls himself a Muslim : lying , violating promises and defalcation . �
This tradition had already been mentioned in the previous discussion .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says;
�There are four things and even if one of them enters a house it causes economic catastrophe and it never remains blessed : defalcation , thievery , wine and adultery .
(Wasaelush Shia)
Thus if one or more members of a household indulge in one of these sins , such a household is deprived from divine blessings . It brings about an economic ruin . It must also be clarified , however , that the house of the thief is deprived of �barakat� (divine blessings) and not the place where robbery occurs .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) remarks ,
�Trustworthiness causes one to be self sufficient (financially) and misappropriation causes poverty . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The narrator says that I said to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) ,
�There is a lady in Madinah , with whom people leave their daughters for training (and education) . We have observed that she could maintain herself with so less , but we have never known her to have any financial problem . �
Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) remarked ,
�It is because she is truthful and trustworthy . These two qualities increase sustenance . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Another tradition from the same Imam (a . s . ) is as follows :
�Do not be deceived by the prolonged sajda and rukoo of a man , they may be a part of his habits (that he could not avoid) . See his truth and trustworthiness . �
Thus it is these qualities that prove righteousness and piety .


We have numerous traditions dealing with this subject . They emphatically state that it is wajib to guard the trust and haraam to misappropriate it , whether the one who entrusts it , is a Muslim or a Kafir . It is even wajib to protect the goods entrusted by a Nasibi (those are openly inimical to Ahlul Bayt a . s . ) in spite of the fact that the Nasibi are the worst kind of people .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Fear Allah ! And return the entrusted thing to the owner . Even if the murderer of Ali (a . s . ) entrusts me with something , I shall deliver it to him (when he desires) . �
Imam (a . s . ) also says ,
�Then fear Allah ! And guard the trusts (placed by) the white as well as the black (people) . Even if the one who entrusts is from the Khwarij or a Syrian (those who hate Ali [a . s . ]) . � That is , even if he is a confirmed enemy of the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) .
A man inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) ,
�Is it allowed to misappropriate the property of a Nasibi ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Honour the trust of every person who entrusts you with it , or seeks your advice . Even if it is the killer of Imam Husain (a . s . ) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Another similar narration is as follows :
Husain Shabani says that he asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �One of your followers considers the property and blood of Bani Umayya permissible for himself . He is also in possession of some property entrusted to him by the Bani Umayya ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Restore the entrusted property to its owner even if they are Majoos (fireworshippers) . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is also reported to have said ,
�Allah has not sent any messenger but with (the order to propagate) truth and restoring of trust , whether of a righteous man or a sinner . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Muhammad Bin Qasim says that he mentioned to Abul Hasan , Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) regarding the person who had entrusted someone with something valuable . �The trustee is an Arab and he is competent enough not to return the trust . Whereas the one who entrusts is a wretched Khariji (enemy of Ahlul Bayt) ? �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Tell him to return the trust; because it is a divine trust that he is entrusted with . � (Meaning that it is a trust , which is to be restored according to divine command) .
Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedin (a . s . ) advises his Shias :
�You must return the trusts when required . By the One who has sent Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) as a messenger with trust , even if the killer of my father Husain (a . s . ) had entrusted me with the sword with which he had slain him , I would have delivered it back to him . �


The greater the importance of a duty in Islamic law , the greater is the effect put in by Shaitan to deviate a person from fulfilling it .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�If a person makes good the trust in his possession , he unties a thousand knots that had tied him to Hell . So , do not be sluggish in delivering trusts . When one becomes a trustee , Iblees orders a hundred of his assistants to follow him so that they may deviate him and suggest him to defalcate . They continue to pursue him till he is doomed . Except the one who is saved by Allah (a . j . ) . �


Every historian has recorded that even prior to the declaration of his prophethood , the disbelievers of Quraish addressed the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) by the title of �Ameen� . The disbelievers trusted him to the extent that even though they did not heed his call and did not profess Islam , they deposited their valuables with him . The trust in the Prophet�s trustworthiness was not restricted to the Quraish tribe , but was shared by the people of other tribes and areas as well . When these people came to Mecca during the Hajj season they used to put their belongings in the safe custody of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . This continued after the declaration of prophethood . When the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) migrated to Madinah he gave all the things that were in his custody to Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) and said :
�Proclaim loudly , every morning and evening in Mecca that whoever had kept anything with Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) may collect it . �


Defalcation the opposite of safekeeping is of three types : Breach of trust with Allah , with the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and with people .
1 . The trust of Allah
�Surely We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains , but they refused to be unfaithful to it and feared from it , and man has turned unfaithful to it; surely he is unjust , ignorant . �
(Surah Ahzaab 33 : 72)
What is meant by Divine trust ? The scholars have a variety of opinions in this regard . Some opine that it denotes the grace of intellect given by Allah (a . j . ) . The safeguarding of this trust (intellect) means that man should employ it to recognise and obey his Creator . According to other scholars this trust consists of the laws of Islam that Allah has sent through His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . These laws are a Divine trust . To guard these laws means to obey them faithfully . It is obvious that the heaven , the earth and the mountains did not possess the ability to protect these trusts and hence they refrained from accepting them . Man was competent to obey the command of his creator and therefore he accepted the trust . But he allows his emotions to subvert his intellect and permits his desires to override reason . He therefore ignores the laws he had agreed to obey oblivious of divine retribution . This is breach of trust with Allah (a . j . ) .


Intellect or the faculty of reasoning is one of the greatest trusts that Allah has bestowed upon man and this trust demands that man continually honours it . We must not say or do anything that is against reason . If we allow our desire to conquer reason we would have committed a breach of trust with Allah (a . j . ) .
As regards the safekeeping of trust with reference to the rules of Shariat ,
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Misappropriating the trust of Allah and His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) is their disobedience . As far as the breach of trust is concerned , every person is the trustee of the laws revealed by Allah . �
(Tafseer Safi)
It is clear from this tradition that the Divine laws promulgated for men are Allah�s trust . The safekeeping of these trusts means the acceptance of these laws and implicit obedience to them . Every individual is expected to study these rules of Shariat and not to remain ignorant of these . Every individual has to make a point to learn and understand the obligations and be fully conversant with all the laws governing every aspect of his or her life . After learning these laws the individual is further obliged to accept them and follow them in all sincerity .
It is said that when it was the time for prayers , Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) became fearful and restless and his face became pale . People were shocked to see him thus , and asked him the reason for it . He replied ,
�It is the time for prayers ! It is the time of delivering the trust that Allah had offered to the heavens , the earth and the mountains , which they had refused . This is what I fear ! �
However , this is not restricted to prayers . All the laws of Shariat are the trust of Allah and prayers occupy a lofty position among them .


It is pathetic that most of the people of our time are committing breach of Divine trust . People are so engrossed in the materialistic world that they have no time to learn the basic laws of religion , or to act upon them . Day by day religion is given less and less importance although more than before , the need of the day is that people should learn about religion and propagate it to others . We must ourselves act upon the laws of Shariat faithfully and also exhort others to do the same .
2 . Trust of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . )
Both Shias as well as Sunnis agree that before his passing away the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) had said ,
�I leave among you two weighty things , the Book of Allah and my Progeny . �
The Prophet�s words after this , according to history are ,
�On the Day of Qiyamat I will question you concerning them (as to how you have safeguarded them)�
According to Tafseer Majmaul Bayan : The Quran and the Progeny have been referred to as �two weighty things� because to follow them is a very difficult task indeed . A true Muslim is one who is able to carry the weight of this responsibility . A Muslim must obey the Quranic orders and follow the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . Alas ! The followers of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) did not safeguard the important trusts .
�And the Apostle cried out : O my Lord ! Surely my people have treated this Quran as a forsaken thing . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 30)
May Allah not include us in that majority of people about whom the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) shall complain to Allah .


Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) are themselves a trust that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has left with us . To honour this trust is to love them (Ahlul Bayt) , and believe in their truth with sincerity . We must obey their commands because their orders are the commands of Allah (a . j . ) and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . They are the Hujjat (proof) of Allah . By sending them to us Allah has completed His proof , so we cannot say that there was no one to lead us after the death of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . The Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) are the link between Allah and us . We must also respect the Sadaat (the sayyeds) as they are from the Progeny of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , and fulfill their needs , for in this way we would be safeguarding the trust of their ancestors . On one hand the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) are the trustees of Divine laws from the time of the Prophet�s death till the Day of Judgement , on the other hand they themselves (a . s . ) are a valuable trust of the Prophet with us , like the Holy Quran . One of their rights upon us is that we consider their grief and sorrow as our own , rejoice in their happiness and joy and honour them by going for Ziarat to their holy shrines .
3 . Trust of the people
Trust of the people is divided into two categories :
(1) Trust of Property and
(2) Trust of the Shariat .
The first one denotes any goods or property that a person keeps with someone for safe custody . This can be in various forms . Sometimes one keeps a valuable with another person solely for its safekeeping . Sometimes a thing is given for use but it must be returned after the use is over . This is also known as Ariya or Musta�ar . Another form of trust is when a particular thing is given on hire and its rent is collected , for example a house .
A loan is also a trust . Sometimes a valuable is pledged as the surety for some loan . If the loan taken against this surety is not repaid this item is sold to recover the dues . In the same way in transactions of Mudarabba (partnership) the property given out for trading is also a trust .


By trust of Shariat we mean property which is in possession of a person who is not its actual owner . This property may not have been handed over to him by the owner , but he may come to acquire it through circumstances . For example , a strong wind blows a cloth from a house to the neighbours , or someone�s lost domestic animal may stray into somebody�s house , or one may buy something and find later that the seller has given an extra item by mistake , or the buyer may pay the seller more than the prescribed rate , or one may find some money on the way , or one may come to acquire some stolen goods or those belonging to someone else . All these things are considered as trusts according to Shariat . It is wajib to restore them to the rightful owners , those who have them in their possession should not use such items . Another example of such a trust is a letter addressed to another person . It is wajib upon the person to send it to its rightful addressee . It is haraam to open or read a letter addressed to someone else .


If one is in possession of a person�s property through circumstances , it is haraam to embezzle it . As we have already stated , misappropriation is a greater sin .
Misappropriation is a compound of three sins :
(1) Injustice
(2) Disregard of an obligatory act and
(3) Illegally using someone�s property


It is a sort of injustice to use the property or a thing belonging to someone else without his permission . It is haraam even to borrow something without the permission of the owner . It is haraam to use the thing even for a moment . In fact , even displacing a thing without permission is haraam when there is no valid excuse .
A person using an article without the owner�s permission has to give it back immediately or ask permission for its use . If any damage has occurred to the property the user has to make good the loss .
If one expects that the owner will permit the use of his property , then its use without permission is allowed . But the user will have to compensate in case there is any damage to the property .
A user is not accountable if a property is damaged despite his best efforts to safeguard it , but he will be responsible if the damage is the result of his carelessness .
The 91st verse of Surah Tauba says ,
��there is no way (to blame) against the doers of good . . . �
According to this ayat the trustee who has done a good deed by guarding a property will not be liable for any loss or damage . The one who entrusts has no lawful recourse against the trustee .


A trustee shall be made to pay for any loss or damage that occurs to the good entrusted to him , if he has not taken reasonable care of the goods or has kept them in an unsafe place . It is also not allowed to hand over the property in ones trust to someone else for safekeeping without the owner�s permission . If the trust is transferred to another person and a loss occurs , then the first trustee shall be held responsible . It will amount to a sort of carelessness on his part . Even if he considers someone else to be a better trustee he cannot move the goods to him without the permission of the owner . In the same way the trustee cannot carry the trust with him when he goes on a journey . The owner�s permission has to be sought in this case also . If the trustee intends to travel , he can keep the property in a safe place , or he can hand it over to another person only with the permission of the owner . However if there is a risk of loss or damage in his absence he must return the trust to its owner or his representatives . If the owner or his representatives are not available , he can surrender the trust property to the Mujtahid or the religious judge or he may avoid travel altogether . But if the journey is more important than the safe-keeping of this trust , and the owner nor representative nor a Mujtahid is available then he can , to ensure its safety keep it with someone reliable . He may even carry it with himself on the journey in such circumstances .
If one is sure that he will not be able to take care of the trust , it is wajib for him to refuse to accept it . If such a person has already taken it , it is wajib for him to return it but if in spite of his inability to safeguard the trust property , the owner insists on handing it to him he is allowed to accept it . In this case the trustee cannot be held responsible , and the owner would bear the loss in the event of the goods being lost or damaged . Even if one is compelled to be a trustee against one wishes , it is better to take care of the goods entrusted , as a moral obligation .
It is apparent that this transaction (of one who entrusts and the trustee) is a legal transaction . Either party may terminate the agreement whenever he or she desires . That is , the owner may ask for his property whenever he likes . In the same way the trustee can return the goods in his trust to the owner whenever he wishes . However , it is wajib for the trustee to return the trust when the owner demands it and the one who entrusts cannot insist upon the trustee to continue to safeguard his goods when he (the trustee) wishes to relieve himself of the responsibility .


Under special circumstances it is permitted to appropriate the property of a Kafir , not living under the protection of Islamic government . But if such a person gives his property as a trust , it is not permitted to misappropriate this property . If the property to be entrusted is stolen or acquired by illegal means , it is wajib to accept it and restore it to its rightful owner .
As we have already mentioned , anything that is maintained as trust must be restored to the owner or his representative; like some responsible member of his family , if they are not available , the trust could be given in charge of a Mujtahid or his representative . If even these are not available the trust must be handed over to a reliable person . Especially when one perceives the approach of death one should immediately arrange to return the trusts . If none of the above persons are available then it is wajib upon the dying person to make a will and provide the address of the owner so that the property may be restored to him .
In the same way if the owner learns that the trustee is dead , it is wajib for him to go and collect the things that he had deposited as trust . If the heirs of the deceased do not recognise him he can describe the distinguishing features of the trust property and obtain it from them . Similarly if the owner dies , the trustee is under obligation to return the trust to the heirs of the deceased .


As we have already mentioned , all the goods that are the basis of the above transactions constitute a trust . Whenever the owner demands the property , it has to be restored immediately . However , if a period has been agreed upon , the owner cannot demand his property before the end of the stipulated period . For example , the landlord cannot expel his tenant before the expiry of the agreement of tenancy . Similarly the pledged article cannot be taken back without the repayment of loan . The same is the case with a loaned article .
At the end of the stipulated period the trustees are obliged to return the property that had been in their possession even if the owner has not demanded it back , but if the owner extends the period the trustees can continue to retain the property .
However , �Ariya� is a transaction where the owner is at liberty to demand back his property whenever he likes . For example , someone has borrowed a book for a week but the owner demands it the same day . The borrower , in this case , is obliged to return the book immediately . �Ariya� is just like the keeping of some trust . The owner can ask for it whenever he wants . Even though he may have given it for sometime , he can demand it whenever he likes .


The above discussion was regarding the property trusts . If someone is in possession of a Sharaii trust and the owner is not known , the finder of a property has to search for him for one whole year . He must publicise it from masjids etc . If the owner is still unlocated he must give all of the found property in charity on behalf of the owner .


A transaction of trust is valid only when both the parties are sane and adult . So a child or an insane person cannot entrust their property nor can they act as trustees . However , if the guardian of a child or an insane person permits , the property can be held in trust . Whether the guardian permits or not , if the property of a minor or an insane person held in trust suffer some loss or damage , the trustee has to make good the loss . He has to return it to the guardian and not directly to the minor or insane person . If one finds a minor child or an insane person in possession of something and there is a risk of it being lost or damaged , he can take it from him and deliver it to his guardian .
These are thus some laws regarding trusts . For detailed laws one can refer to the books of jurisprudence . The important thing is to understand the significance of trusts and to avoid the pitfalls of a sin like misappropriation . We shall present one more ayat and a few traditions before closing this chapter .


It is mentioned in Surah Aale Imraan :
�And among the followers of the Book there are some such that if you entrust one (of them) with a heap of wealth , he shall pay it back to you; and among them there are some such that if you entrust one (of them) with a dinaar he shall not pay it back to you except so long as you remain firm in demanding it; this is because they say : There is not upon us in the matter of the unlearned people any way (reproach); and they tell a lie against Allah while they know . �
(Surah Aale Imraan 3 : 75)
This verse praises those Christians who do not embezzle when non-Christians entrust something to them and it denounces the Jews who consider it permissible to misappropriate the property of anyone who is not a Jew . They falsely claim that they have been given a licence by Allah to do so .
When the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) recited this ayat , he said :
�The enemies of Allah lie ! I have corrected every custom and belief of the age of Jahilya (ignorance) but (the matter of) trust is as it was . Whether the trust belongs to a righteous person or an evil one , it has to be returned . �
(Tafseer Majmaul Bayan) .
According to the ayat the embezzlers are like those Jews who defalcated and if a Muslim considers embezzlement to be permissible , he is included among the enemies of Allah .


The Quran and Hadith clearly state that under no circumstances is it allowed to pilfer a property held in trust . Shaykh Tusi in his book , Nihaya and other Mujtahids have also mentioned this fact .
Narrators of traditions have mentioned the following from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�One person sends another with money to purchase a cloth . When the latter goes to the market he sees that he already has the same type of cloth at home . So can he come back and without saying anything give him the cloth that he was already having and retain the money ? �
Imam (a . s . ) continued , �He should not even think of doing this and make himself contaminated with such a sin . � Then Imam (a . s . ) recited the 72nd ayat of Surah Ahzaab :
�Surely We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains , but they refused to be unfaithful to it and feared from it , and man has turned unfaithful to it; Surely he is unjust , ignorant . �
Then the Imam (a . s . ) further said :
�Even if this man has something better than what is available in the market , he must not give it to the buyer without informing him of the fact . �
(Tafseer Safi)
This is because the actual transaction consisted of taking the person�s money to the market and purchasing a cloth . Anything contrary to this is �Khiyanat� .
Sulayman Bin Khalid says ,
I inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : �A man had borrowed some money from me . Not only did he not repay the loan but he also took an oath that he did not owe me anything . Later he kept some of his money with me as a trust . Can I recover my debt from this money ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied , �Certainly that person has betrayed you but you should not betray trust . You must not commit the same sin . �
(Nihaya of Shaykh Tusi)
As we have already mentioned , Shaykh Tusi and the other great Mujtahids have given a clear verdict in the light of the Quranic verses and clear ahadith , that Khiyanat is totally prohibited .
But in the book Milhiqat Urwatul Wuthqa , the late Kazim Tabatabai says , �It is commonly believed by the Mujtahids that to recover one�s legal dues from a property held in trust is permitted . �
The fatwa of Late Kazim Tabatabai was also to this effect , but precaution dictates that one must refrain from such a course of action .
If a person is given money on the undertaking that he should give it to a poor Sadaat , he cannot keep this money , even if he himself happens to be a poor Sadaat , without informing the owner . But if it is certain that the owner will agree to his keeping it for himself then doing so is not breach of trust .


The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has said ,
�Beware ! One should not commit Khiyanat of even one camel ! Otherwise , he will be summoned on the Day of Qiyamat riding the same camel and bleating like a camel .
Beware ! One should not commit Khiyanat of even one horse ! Otherwise he will be summoned on the Day of Qiyamat riding the same horse and neighing like a horse .
He will be calling me for help , �O Muhammad ! O Muhammad ! � I will tell him that I had already warned him . Now I have no responsibility concerning him against Allah . �
(Al Kafi)
Allamah Majlisi has recorded a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) :
�You must return even a needle and thread . For Khiyanat will cause untold degradation and exposure of defects on the Day of Qiyamat . �
A man came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) with a needle that he had taken without permission . He said , �I had taken this needle to sew a pack saddle for my camel . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him ,
�If this needle belongs to me I have forgiven you . However , if it belongs to the other Muslims you must pay for it so that it could be included in the public treasury for equal distribution . �
�I was not aware that it was such a serious matter , � the Arab remarked , �If it is so , I will not keep the needle with me . � He handed over the needle to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and went away .


According to Allamah Majlisi , on the Day of Qiyamat the sinner shall carry the pilfered property on his shoulders . Every type of sinner will have specific distinguishing marks , by which everyone will know what sin the sinner had committed . One who commits a greater sin and dies without repenting for it , the Almighty Allah will deal with him with justice on the Day of Qiyamat . So much so that the mark of the sin that he committed most will be attached to him . For example , the drunkard will be holding a wine bottle , the terrible stench of which will cause discomfort to the people . Similarly , the musician will have the instrument stuck to his hands . The gamblers will be having the instrument of gambling with them . The same thing is alluded to in the verse :
�The guilty shall be recognised by their marks . �
(Surah Rahman 55 : 41)


One day a poor man came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and told him of his poverty . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�Sit down ! Allah is most Powerful . �
Another beggar came and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him to sit down too . Then a third destitute arrived and the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him also to sit down . After some time a person came and presented four saa (approximately 12 kilos) of wheat as Zakat to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) distributed one saa (3kilos) of wheat to each of the poor men . One saa of it remained . After the Maghrib and Isha prayers the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) announced that a saa of wheat is remaining with him . Any needy person can come and collect it from him; but no one came forward . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was compelled to take this trust home . Ayesha says that , that night the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was very restless . When she inquired the reason of his restlessness he replied ,
�I am fearful of the consequences in case I die today and this trust is not delivered to a deserving person . �
It is also mentioned that when the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was on his deathbed , he had an amount of six or seven dinars for the poor and the needy , remaining with him . He sent for the money and after counting it , said ,
�It is possible that Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) may reach the presence of his Lord while these dinars are still in his custody ! �
Then he (s . a . w . s . ) summoned Amirul Momineen Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) , and gave him the dinars for the poor and the destitutes and then said ,
�Now I can rest in peace . �
(Naaseekhut Tawarikh Vol . 3 , Pg544)


Sometimes a person is told a secret and asked not to divulge it to others . This secret is also a kind of trust . It may also be that one learns of a secret regarding another person and is sure that that person would prefer that it is not made known to others . This secret is a trust according to Shariat . To divulge a secret that one has come to know is Khiyanat . The following saying of Ali (a . s . ) is present in Ghurarul Hikam :
�To divulge a secret that you are supposed to guard is Khiyanat and betrayal . �
It is absolutely haraam to betray a secret which is a trust , whether of a friend or an enemy , of a righteous person or an evil one .


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) mentions that :
�People who sit together must be careful of safe-guarding the trust . It is not permitted for a believer to expose a secret of his believing brother . �
(Behaarul Anwaar Vol . 16)
Abu Zar has related from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said :
�O Abu Zar , one who sits in company must be cautious of safeguarding trust . For if you expose a secret of your believing brother , you would have committed Khiyanat . So , keep away from such things . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Whatever is discussed in a meeting is also a trust with the participants . Anything that is to be kept confidential must not be divulged . It is recorded in the traditions :
�One who sits in company must be careful of maintaining the trust but it is not haraam to expose the secret of three kinds of meetings : One , where an unlawful murder is planned; two , where fornication is planned; three , where it is planned to loot someone�s property . The facts of such meetings could be presented in the court for proving someone�s right . In some cases it assumes such importance that it becomes necessary to expose a secret . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
In Surah Tahrim the Almighty Allah flays some of the Prophet�s wives (Ayesha and Hafasa) for betraying a secret of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . Allah has advised them to repent .
�If you both turn to Allah , then indeed your hearts are already inclined (to this) . �
(Surah Tahrim 66 : 4)
The same chapter also mentions the wives of Hazrat Lut (a . s . ) and Hazrat Nuh (a . s . ) in the following words :
�Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut; they were both under two of Our righteous servants , but they acted treacherously towards them so they availed them naught against Allah , and it was said : Enter both the Fire with those who enter . �
(Surah Tahrim 66 : 10)


Abdullah Ibne Sinan says that he inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �Is it haraam for a believer to expose some things of another believer that deserve to be kept secret ? �
�Yes , � the Imam (a . s . ) replied .
The narrator further asked , �Do you mean by this the �private parts� ? �
Imam (a . s . ) explained , �It is not what you think , (Though it is also haraam to view the private parts) , what I meant were the confidential matters . �
(Al Kafi)
Imam (a . s . ) has also said :
�One who washes a dead body of a believer and observes caution with regard to the trust is absolved of all his sins . �
Someone asked , �How can one maintain secrecy with regard to the washing of a believer�s corpse ? �
The Imam (a . s . ) answered ,
�He must not tell anyone of the deformities that he might see in the dead body . �
From this discussion we can be certain that exposing a secret amounts to committing Khiyanat . Under all circumstances a secret is a trust , whether the person concerned himself takes you in confidence or you come to know of the secrets by yourself , it is haraam to betray it . If the one whom the secret concerns does not wish his secret to be divulged , then it is haraam and a kind of Khiyanat to expose it . Such types of trusts that involve secrets have various grades and are of different types . Certain types of Khiyanat are termed as tale telling and others are called backbiting . Each of these shall be elaborated ahead .


Khiyanat can be with Allah (a . j . ) , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and Muslims . One can also commit Khiyanat with ones own self . When a person reveals the political secrets or the military stategies of the Muslims to the disbelieving opponents , he commits Khiyanat which includes all the above . He is the cause of strengthening the enemy and responsible for the defeat of the Muslims . Perhaps it is this type of Khiyanat that is alluded too in the following ayat :
�O you who believe ! Be not unfaithful to Allah and the Apostle , nor be unfaithful to your trusts while you know . �
(Surah Anfal 8 : 27)
In the Shaane Nuzool (circumstances of revelation) of this verse Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari says : One day Jibraeel (a . s . ) informed the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) of the fact that Abu Sufyan was camping at a particular place with an army of polytheists . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) made preparation to fight with him and kept this secret so that the enemies would be taken by surprise . However , one of the hypocrites wrote to Abu Sufyan and informed him of the Muslim plan . The explanation of the verse (8 : 27) mentions the Khiyanat of Abu Lababa and his subsequent repenting .


Maintaining a secret is however , a formidable task . Only those with a high sense of honour are unflinching , and succeed in strictly maintaining secrets . It is a virtue with which very few good actions can compare and is deserving of high rewards and Divine blessings . The person is protected from fear on the Day of Qiyamat . On the day when all the people will be gathered for accounting , the trustworthy people shall be placed at the safest and the best place under the shade of Divine mercy .
Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) says ,
�Three types of people will be under the shade of Divine mercy when there will be no other shade :
(One) , the person who arranges the marriage of his believing brother . (Two) , the person who procures a servant for his believing brother . (Three) , the person who has maintained a secret of his believing brother . �


According to the traditions we must not inform anyone of our own secrets . Even if those people are our closest relatives or friends . It is possible that their friendship may not last forever . They might become our enemies in the future . It is very rare for an enemy not to expose the secrets of his opponent .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has advised one of his followers :
�Do not tell your secrets even to your friend . But only tell him those things that will not cause any harm even if your enemy comes to know of it . Because even a friend could become your enemy one day . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
A reliable and pious person has related that when he intended to divorce his wife , he was asked about her defect; that had made him take such a decision . He replied , �An intelligent person never exposes his wife and never reveals her secrets . �
Subsequently the divorce was completed and even the Iddah came to an end . Again some people asked him , �Now she is no more your wife . What was the actual defect in her , that you had to divorce ? � He said , �I am not concerned with other women . � It means that it is the right of a wife upon her husband that he maintains her secrets even after separation and divorce .
Revealing a secret is a kind of Khiyanat and all types of people consider it to be evil . It is mentioned in the book Uqudul Farid that even a filthy man like Ziyad (May Allah�s curse be upon him) had criticised Umar Ibne Saad (May Allah�s curse be upon him too) for revealing the last wishes and the secret of Hazrat Muslim Ibne Aqeel . Ibne Ziyad (l . a . ) had written to Umar Ibne Saad . �O Umar Ibne Saad ! Because you yourself have revealed the secret of Husain�s coming towards Kufa , you would have to go and fight against him . �
The detail of this incident are from the book Nafasul Mahmoom and other books of Islamic history , and are as follows .
When Ibne Ziyad had Muslim Ibne Aqeel arrested , Muslim asked , �Would you murder me ? �
�Yes , � replied Ibne Ziyad .
�Give me some time so that I can express my last wishes to a relative of mine . �
The accursed Ibne Ziyad permitted him to do so . Muslim searched among the people present in the court and saw Umar Ibne Saad . He told Umar Ibne Saad , �O Umar ! We are related to each other . I wish something from you . It is obligatory for you to fulfill it and it is a secret that I cannot reveal to everyone . �
Umar Ibne Saad tried to shirk the responsibility but Ibne Ziyad told him , �Do not try to avoid this . Listen to what your cousin wishes . � So Umar Ibne Saad and Muslim Ibne Aqeel went into a corner .
Muslim said , �There is debt upon my neck . When I had reached Kufa , I had borrowed seven hundred Dirhams . Please sell my armour and repay the loan . When I am killed take my last remains from Ibne Ziyad and perform a proper funeral and bury me . You must also send someone to Imam Husain (a . s . ) so that he can stop him from coming to Kufa . I had myself invited him to Kufa and written that the people of Kufa are on his side . So he must have started his journey towards Kufa . Inform him of my arrest and execution so that he may turn back . �
Umar Ibne Saad immediately told Ibne Ziyad all the three things (the debt of Muslim , the burying of his corpse and the warning for Imam Husain (a . s . ) . Ibne Ziyad (l . a . ) said to Muslim Ibne Aqeel , �A trustworthy person can never betray you but the thing is that you have considered a betrayer to be your confidant . �


It is appropriate to mention an exemplary trustworthiness at this point . When Hazrat Imam Husain (a . s . ) reached a spot called , �Haajiz� he wrote a letter to Muslim Ibne Aqeel and the Shias of Kufa . He wrote :
�From Husain Ibne Ali (a . s . ) to his Muslim and momin brothers . Peace be upon you all . Praise be to Allah besides Him there is no deity . I have received Muslim�s letter . He has informed me of the glad news that you all are united to support me and prepared to fight for my right . I pray to Allah for your favourable consequences . May He reward you for this stand of yours . I have left Mecca on Tuesday the eighth of Zilhajj and started moving towards you . When my messenger reaches you , you must become serious and concerned in your mission . I shall come to you within a few days , InshaAllah . Peace be upon you and the Divine Mercy . �
Imam Husain (a . s . ) gave this letter to Qays Ibne Musher Saidawi who set out immediately and soon reached the outskirts of Kufa . An officer of Ibne Ziyad , by the name of Haseen Ibne Tamim tried to arrest him there . He at once tore up the letter of Imam Husain (a . s . ) . He was then taken to Ibne Ziyad . When Ibne Ziyad told him to surrender the letter he said , �I have torn it into pieces . �
�Why ? � asked Ibne Ziyad .
�So that you may not come to know what was written in it . �
�To whom was it addressed ? �
�To some people I am not familiar with . �
Ibne Ziyad ordered , �If you do not reveal the name , you shall have to mount the pulpit and invoke curse upon the liars . � [Ibne Ziyad was actually referring to Imam Husain (a . s . ) . ]
Qays Ibne Musher went to the pulpit and announced , �O people ! Husain Ibne Ali is the best creature of Allah , and the son of Fatemah (s . a . ) the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . I am his messenger . I have left him at a place called �Haajiz� . I have come to you so that you may respond to his call and support him wholeheartedly . �
Then Qays invoked curse upon Ibne Ziyad and his father . He then showered praises upon Amirul Momineen Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) .
Ibne Ziyad ordered that Qays be taken to the wall of the palace and then thrown down . When Qays was thrown from such a height , his bones shattered but he was alive when Abdul Malik Ibne Amir beheaded him .
When Imam Husain (a . s . ) learnt of Qays� murder , his eyes were filled with tears . He recited the following ayat of the Quran :
�Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah : so of them is he who accomplished his vow , and of them is he who yet waits , and they have not changed in the least . �
(Surah Ahzaab 33 : 23)
An interesting incident of trustworthiness is also recorded in the book , Riyazul Hikayaat :
A man had one thousand Tumans in a bag . He was going to the public bath , early in the morning . On the way he met a friend who was also heading towards the public bath . When they came to a junction this person separated without informing his companion . Perchance a robber was pursuing them with the intention of stealing the moneybag . When this man reached the bath the robber followed suit . The man deposited the moneybag with the bath keeper and went inside to take a bath . The bath-keeper himself thought of taking a bath . He thought that the robber who had followed the man was the latter�s friend . So he handed him the money bag and said ,
�Keep this in your custody till I return after taking a bath . �
The thief remained sitting till the bath-keeper returned . Then he gave back the moneybag to him . When the bath-keeper learnt that he was not a friend of the first person he asked , �Then who are you ? �
He replied , �I am a thief . �
�Then why did you not steal the money bag ? �
The thief answered , �I may be a thief , but betraying trust is against manliness . While safeguarding this trust I have also remained aloof from robbery . �
This nobility impressed the owner of the moneybag , and he opened the bag and gave some money to the robber as a reward .
However , stealing is also haraam and it shall be discussed in the forthcoming chapter . An object may be expensive or worthless , but stealing it is absolutely haraam .



The twenty-third sin which is certainly a Greater one is stealing or thievery . Imam Reza (a . s . ) has included stealing among the Greater sins according to the tradition reported by Fazl Ibne Shazaan . Amash says that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has related from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) that he said ,
�A believer cannot commit fornication and a believer cannot steal . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Thus one who fornicates or steals is not a believer . Such a person is devoid of faith . Such a person lacks belief in Allah and the Day of Judgement . If such a person dies without repenting for his sins , he does not die a believer . Some of the ayats and traditions that are critical of Khiyanat also include stealing . Stealing is absolutely haraam even if it is for a worthless object . To steal even a needle is haraam . However , the hands of a thief are cut only , if in addition to all the necessary conditions the value of the stolen goods exceeds a quarter misqal of gold .
Muhammad Ibne Muslim says that he inquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�What is the minimum amount , stealing of which can make one liable to have his hands amputed ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied , �A quarter of a dinar . �
�And on stealing two dirhams ? �
�Even if it is a dirham more than a quarter of a Dinar . In all cases the hands are severed . �
Muhammad Ibne Muslim further asked , �Then if one steals less than a quarter of a dinar , is he called a thief ? �
Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�Every such person is a thief in the eyes of Allah who steals the property of the Muslims and keeps it for himself . � (That is , Allah will punish him with the punishment that is reserved for all those who steal . )
�But (in this world) his hands are not cut off . However if he steals a quarter dinar or more his hands are severed . If the hands of those who steal less than a quarter dinar were also to be cut then we would find most of the people with their hands severed . �


The Almighty Allah says in Surah Maidah :
�And (as for) the man who steals and the woman who steals , cut off their hands as a punishment for what they have earned , an exemplary punishment from Allah , and Allah is Mighty . Wise .
But whoever repents after his inequity and reforms (himself) , then surely Allah will turn to him (mercifully) , surely Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 38-39)
The book Burhanul Quran mentions on page 170 :
�The opponents of Islam have raised objection against the penal code of Islam . They label such penalties to be primitive and inhuman and not acceptable in the twentieth century . The criticism is especially severe with regard to the punishment of theft and fornication . They trump up their arguments saying that such crimes are a result of psychological disorders and moral and psychological counselling can reform criminals . We admit that moral advice is one of the ways of reforming individuals . Certainly , moral lessons have a profound effect in guiding a society in the right direction . We also do not reject the fact that most of the crimes are due to psychological and moral ills .
Islam has not overlooked moral training as a factor in the development of character but Islam also believes that inspite of such training if the individual is inclined towards crime he should be punished adequately . A breakdown in discipline and order begins if you ignore crime , eventually leading to a corrupt society .
In non-Muslim countries also the criminals are not let off with a sermon on moral values . Criminals are imprisoned and accorded various punishments . We do not deny the fact that poverty causes many a crime to be commited . We agree that destitution sometimes makes a man lose his sense of moral values and he is more inclined to Khiyanat and stealing when he is in difficult economic conditions . But we cannot accept that poverty and destitution are the sole causes of crime . We see quite a few people who inspite of their straitened circumstances are not at all inclined towards injustice and crime and prove their integrity by fulfilling their obligations with sincerity . On the other hand crimes and perversity are prevalent in affluent countries and also in communist countries which claim to have eradicated inequality .
Those who are critical of Islam to be primitive and inhuman are unable to assess their own selves . Those who proclaim independence and human rights overlook their own crimes . Forty thousand people were butchered in North Africa just because they were protesting for their basic rights . Is this nor barbaric ?
The newspaper Kahyan of 14th April 1960 reports : The valiant people of Algeria have struggled for six years against the tyrannical rule of France over their country . To date , around one million people from the total population of ten million have laid down their lives in this struggle .
Coming back to our discussion we would like to point out that Islam has taken in to consideration all aspects of crimes and punishment . Islam does lays down heavy penalties for crimes committed but Islamic law takes into account , the circumstances under which the crime is committed . A person who steals due to hunger and poverty is not liable to have his hands cut off , nor is a person who has been coerced into stealing , punished . Also Islamic laws are not applicable in non-Muslim countries . So the objections raised are baseless .
As far as barbarism (of which Islam is accused) is concerned , the progressive countries in the Second World War alone killed and maimed a million people . The dropping of the atom bomb caused untold miseries of devastation , death and diseases plagued millions of people and the horrible effect of these continue to this day . It has come to light in recent times that the dropping of the atom bomb was entirely unneccessary . It was for an experiment . An experiment conducted at the cost of human life and human masses . Compared to this shocking perversity and savageness the fact that corporeal punishment in Islam is given in only limited cases .
Besides Islam prescribes rules and regulations which if followed faithfully not only improve morals , but eliminate poverty and enhance economic development of the society as a whole , thus eliminates the very cause of these crimes .
It is the duty of the Islamic government to provide every citizen with suitable employment . If some people still remain unemployed they are to be paid a stipend from the public treasury till they can secure a job . Under these conditions there is no need for anyone to steal . Inspite of this if someone steals , then surely he deserves to be punished .
It is a fallacy to think that these prescribed punishments are only meant for old times when people were savage and incapable of being controlled by any other means and that in the modern age people are receptive and suggestive and can be reformed without punishment . It is a foolish argument . If this argument had any substance we would not be witnessing such an awsome crime rate in the �cultured� atmosphere of the developed countries .
It is obvious that the Quranic ayat quoted earlier does not give any details regarding the robbery or the punishment . These details have been elaborated in numerous traditions that have come down to us from our Ahlul Bayt (a . s . )


It should be mentioned here that as far as Shia faith is concerned amputing of hand implies cutting four fingers of the right hand . The palm and the thumb are left untouched .
Before amputing the hands of the thief the following conditions must be fulfilled . Even if one of them is absent , the punishment is not carried out :
1 . The thief must be an adult . The signs of adulthood according to Shariat are the completion of fifteen lunar years for a boy and nine lunar years for a girl . Another sign of maturity is the growth of pubic hair . The third sign is the ejaculation of semen in boys and the beginning of the menstrual cycle in the girl . Even if one of these signs are present the concerned person is an adult . So if the thief is not an adult his hands cannot be amputed . At the most the judge releases him after issuing a stern warning so that he may not dare to repeat this act .
Abdullah Ibne Sinan relates the following tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�When a minor child steals for the first and the second time he is forgiven . If he does it for the third time he is issued a strict warning and beating . If he persists in his crime , the tips of his fingers are slightly cut and if he repeats the act , some more of his fingers are cut away . �
2 . The thief must be sane . So if an insane person robs , his hand is not amputed . He may be suitably warned and scolded .
3 . The thief must not have resorted to stealing under duress , if he had been compelled to do so , the penal code is not applied .
4 . The stolen thing must be something that is worth owning . Hence , if ones freedom is restricted it cannot be called a theft .
5 . The value of the stolen object must not be less than one-fourth misqal of pure gold . One misqal is equal to eighteen grams . One-fourth misqal is four-and-a-half gram .
6 . The son or the slave of the thief must not own the thing that is stolen . So if a father steals from his son , he is not punished . On the contrary if a son or a daughter steals from the father or mother their hands are amputed . The same rule applies to the master and the slave . If the master robs his slave he is not punished . On the other hand , there exists a difference of opinion on the matter of whether the slave who steals from his master is to be accorded the punishment of theft or not . Some Mujtahids are of the opinion that if a servant steals from his office or employer , he should not be given the full penalty . Other Mujtahids have issued a decree that there is no difference between a servant , a workman and other people . They shall be deserving of the penalty . There is also a difference of opinion with regard to the theft committed by a guest from his host . The most prevalent verdict is that the guest must be punished .
7 . Eatables stolen during the times of famine do not make the thief liable for having his hands cut . It is narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said :
�In the time of famine and draught the hands of a thief are not cut off for stealing edible items like bread and meat etc . �
8 . If a soldier participates in a raid and steals from the plundered goods obtained in war before they are distributed , he is exempted from the punishment .
9 . If one of the parties to a transaction steals a property and claims that it rightfully belongs to him , he is not liable to be punished .
10 . If a person is accused of theft , but before his theft is proved to the judge , he pays the owner the value of the goods , he is not penalised . Similarly , if a son steals from his father but before the verdict is issued the father dies , the son is not punished , as stolen goods now comprise his inheritance .
11 . If the use of the stolen things is haraam (e . g . wine or pork) , there is no penal action against the robber .
12 . If the thief claims that he had not taken a particular thing with the intention of stealing it , and the judge considers otherwise , there shall be no punishment for it .
13 . The object should have been stolen from a place where the owner�s permission is required to enter . If a theft takes place in a public mosque or public bath , the thief does not have his hand amputed .
14 . The thing should have been stolen from a secure place . If something is not kept in a safe place and left open , the theft of it does not incur punishment . Hence valuables should be kept under lock and key . The fruits should not have been stolen from the trees . They should have been already picked and stored in the orchard . The four-footed animals have to be stolen from the stables . Wares have to be stolen from inside the shop . The pocket that is picked must be an inside one and not the one that hangs outward . Money should be stolen from a safe etc . The shroud should have been stolen from the grave .
15 . The thief must himself take away the stolen goods from their proper place . If one takes out the thing from its safe place and another one takes it away , neither of the two can be punished for theft . Because , the one who has taken out the thing from its safe place has not stolen it and the one who has stolen it has not done so from its place of safety . We have already mentioned that one who steals something from other than its proper place is not given the punishment of theft . Only that thief is punished who removes the thing from its proper place and also takes it away . If more than one person are involved in stealing something from its proper place and taking it away , then the value of the stolen property is divided by the number of people involved . If the share of each person is more than one-fourth misqal all their hands are amputed but if their individual shares are less than this then none of them are punished in this manner .
If a thief removes the stolen object and loads it on his animal , or gives it to an insane man or a minor child for taking it away , he is penalised . This is because the animal , the insane person and the child are mere carriers of the goods .
16 . Severing of the hand is a punishment for theft . Theft implies that someone takes away something without the knowledge of others who later realise that the thing is missing . Hence if a person forcibly loots some goods from its owner , he is not punished for theft . He is beaten up and issued a warning , so that he may not repeat the act . However if the goods are looted using a weapon , the punishment is equal to that of being at war against the Muslims . (This punishment is described in the thirty-third ayat of Surah Maidah . Either the criminal is killed or crucified , the left and the right foot is amputed , or he is to be exiled; the judge can award one of these punishments . )
17 . If before a theft can be proved , the thief goes to the judge and repents and promises not to steal in future he is saved from the punishment . Once the theft has been proved , repentance is of no consequence and punishment will be implemented .
18 . For a theft to be proved , two just witnesses should have seen the thief stealing . It may also be that there is just one witness but the owner also testifies that robbery has taken place . The thief may himself confess twice of his theft and deserve to be penalised . If he confesses only once , the stolen goods are taken away from him and restored to the owner . He is not punished for theft .
19 . If the owner takes back his goods or allows the thief to keep them before the matter is reported to the Qazi and does not press for a penalty , the thief is not punished . However if the crime is proved before the judge even the owner cannot save the thief from punishment .
Some Mujtahids believe that if two just people have not witnessed the theft and it is only proved by two confessions of the thief , the judge has the prerogative to condone him . It is mentioned in the book Tahzeeb that a person came to Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) and confessed of having stolen something . Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) asked him ,
�Can you recite some portions of the Quran ? �
He said , �Yes , Surah Baqarah . �
Ali (a . s . ) said ,
�I have respited your hand in exchange of Surah Baqarah . �
Ashath said , �O Ali (a . s . ) ! Have you overlooked the Divine penalty ? �
Ali (a . s . ) replied ,
�What do you know ? Awarding the penalty is only necessary when two just witnesses have testified . But if the crime is confessed by the thief himself , the Imam can condone him . �
If the crime satisfies the above conditions , the amputing of the hands could only be carried out by the just ruler or judge . No other person is qualified to award the penalty or carry out the punishment . The Qazi is responsible for recovering the stolen goods and restoring them to the owner . If the goods are used up or lost , the thief has to make good the loss . The order for the returning of stolen goods is the same , whether the theft is proved according to Shariat or not . If a thing belonging to someone else is taken , it has to be returned .
In some cases the theft is not proved but the Qazi issues a warning for taking the property belonging to someone else . The Qazi may scold or beat the person so that he may not repeat the act . The extent of scolding and beating is also left to the discretion of the judge . In cases where the goods are stolen from an unsafe place , or a bandit has looted the goods , or a forgerer has forged a signature and wrongfully acquired someone�s money , the property is restored to the owner and the accused is scolded and beaten . In the same way if someone digs up the grave containing a corpse , but does not steal the shroud , he is also scolded and beaten up . Even if he steals the shroud but its value is less than one-fourth misqal of gold he is similarly beaten up and scolded .


If the thief is seen stealing , he becomes a bandit . The owner can , with the intention of protecting his property fight with him . If the thief dies , his killing is condoned and no blood money is payable . Similarly the attacker can be killed in defence of ones life and honour . But the real aim has to be for defence , and if defence is possible without killing , then killing is haraam . Only the least aggressive measures necessary for defence are permitted .
The Islamic laws with regard to theft are numerous and there is a difference of opinion among the Mujtahids upon many of the points . Keeping in mind the scope of this book , we feel the discussion we have had should suffice .


After the crime is proved the judge cuts off the four fingers of the right hand . He leaves the thumb and the palm untouched . The penalty is the same if the thief is convicted of multiple thefts and has not been punished before . If a thief has already had his four fingers cut and he steals again and the theft is proved , his left foot is cut from the front . The heel is left so that he can walk . If he steals for a third time and again the theft is proved the robber is imprisoned for life . If he steals in the prison too , he is put to death .
The hand which is supposed to be lifted up for prayers , the hand which expresses the submission to Allah , the hand which must be used to solve the difficulties of people , to help the oppressed and the orphans , to attack the enemies of faith , if the same hand is used to steal the property of the Muslim brothers and it is proved with all its necessary conditions , then there is no way except to dismember it . Society is rendered safe due to this measure .


If someone�s hand is amputed without any fault of his , the one who cuts the hand is made to pay five hundred misqal of gold to the victim . Whereas if someone robs one fourth of a misqal of gold his hand is amputed . It appears that one who steals a fourth of a misqal of gold is worse than the one who cuts off the hand of an innocent person . Such is the value of trust in Islam .


short � weighting and cheating

The twenty-fourth Greater Sin is short weighing or cheating in business . This is recorded in the Holy Quran and the tradition of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as related by Amash and the tradition of Imam Reza (a . s . ) as reported by Fazl Ibne Shazaan . Imam (a . s . ) says : "Decreasing (fraudulently) in measure and weight . � (is also a Greater Sin) . It is haraam for a seller to give less than the specified quantity or for the debtor to repay less than what is specified .
A terrible punishment awaits the doer of this grievous sin , according to the book of Allah . A complete chapter of the Holy Quran deals with this topic . It says :
�Woe to the defrauders . Who , when they take the measure (of their dues) from men , take it fully , but when they measure out to others or weigh out for them , they are deficient . Do not think that they shall be raised again , for a mighty day , The day on which men shall stand before the Lord of the worlds ? �
(Surah Mutaffefeen 83 : 1-6)


�Nay ! Most surely the record of the wicked is in the sijjin . And what will make you know what the sijjin is ? It is a written book . �
(Surah Mutaffefeen 83 : 7-9)
Sijjin is either the name of that register which contains the account of deeds of disbelievers and transgressors . Or it is a special corner of Hell where the disbelievers and sinners will be consigned . Hence the translation of the ayats will be as follows :
�They should be fearful for it is written down that the transgressors will go to sijjin . And what can explain to you what sijjin is ? It has already been written about it (And a decision has been taken which cannot be changed) . �
Hazrat Shoeb (a . s . ) was preaching to his people :
�O my people ! Serve Allah , you have no god other than He , and do not give short measure and weight . Surely I see you in prosperity and surely I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing day . And O my people ! Give full measure and weight fairly , and defraud not men their things , and do not act corruptly in the land , making mischief . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 84-85)


According to the Quranic ayats , one who resorts to short weighing and defrauding does not believe in the Day of Judgement and the Hereafter . If the person had any belief in the Hereafter , he would know that , even if he succeedes in fooling people , he would never be able to hide his fraud from the Lord of the worlds; he would realise that on the Day of Judgement he would have to account for whatever he has earned by defrauding and make good the loss .
A butcher who was an idol-worshipper used to give more than the prescribed weight . When people asked him the reason for this he pointed up towards the top of the wall and said , �I give more because of him . � When people looked up they saw an idol installed there . Another idol-worshipping shopkeeper was well known for his habit of casting a glance at the idol before he proceeded to weigh some goods .
When Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) and Zulekha were alone in the room , Zulekha covered the idol with a cloth . Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) asked her ,
�Why have you covered the idol ? �
She said , �I feel ashamed before it ! � Hazrat Yusuf (a . s . ) said ,
�You feel ashamed before a lifeless idol created by men , when it has no power of understanding . How can I not feel ashamed before the Almighty Lord Who is ever present and all-seeing ? �
Saying this he fled from that place and saved himself from fornication .
It is a great pity that idol worshippers are ashamed to commit sins in view of their idols , which are lifeless objects , whereas Muslims have no qualms in commiting sins before Allah (a . j . ) for Whom nothing is hidden in the heaven and the earth .


The following tradition has been recorded from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in the book Tafseer Minhajus Saadeqeen According to this tradition there are five types of sins which bring about five types of calamities .
�When the people of a community break promises and oaths , Allah makes their enemies to reign upon them .
When people order against the revealed Divine commands , poverty (certainly) is widespread .
When immorality is practised openly deadly diseases certainly increase .
When people short-weigh and short-measure then there is a decrease in agricultural output . (Decrease in livelihood) and there is less rainfall . �


Whatever Ali (a . s . ) found himself free from the administrative work , he used to go to the market place and announce ,
�O people ! Fear Allah ! Weigh and measure with justice . Do not cheat people (by giving less) and do not spread corruption in the earth . �
One day Ali (a . s . ) saw a saffron seller short-weighing . He had applied oil to his hand and very cunningly he applied it to the pan of the balance which held the saffron . Ali (a . s . ) picked up the saffron from the balance and said ,
�First rectify your balance , then if you like you can give more than that . �


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who does Khiyanat in weighing and measuring is thrown into the lowest section of Hell . There he shall be placed between two mountains of fire . He will be told to weigh those mountains . He will be busy in this forever . �
The following incident is recorded in the book Tafseer Minhajus Saadeqaen :
A person by the name of Malik went to visit a friend who was sick . Malik says , �I saw him in a deplorable condition . He was screaming , �Two Mountains of fire are going to crash upon me . � I told him , �It is only an illusion ! � He said , �No , it is true ! Because I have two different balances . With one of them I used to short-weigh while selling and with the other I weighed more while buying . I am punished for this so soon ! ��


As it is haraam to short-weigh it is also haraam to short-measure like measurement of cloth or land which are sold by measure , must not be short measured . It is absolutely haraam . In the same way those items which are sold by number , like eggs or fruits; if someone sells them to a person and gives less than the specified quantity , he is counted among those who short-weigh and short-measure . Shaykh Ansari has mentioned it in his book Makasibul Muharrama .


The amount of goods given less by the seller is owed to the buyer . It is obligatory to give the balance amount to the buyer . If the buyer is dead he must give it to his heirs . If he does not know the buyer he must with the permission of the Jurist pay a similar amount as sadqa on behalf of the buyer .
If the seller does not know how much less he has given , he must give him some amount that will satisfy the buyer . If the buyer is dead he must satisfy his heir . If the buyer is unknown the Mujtahid must be satisfied .


It is short weighing and short measuring when the seller gives less without the knowledge of the buyer . The buyer does not realise that he is being given less than the stipulated quantity but it is defrauding when the seller sells some goods of an inferior quality and makes it out to be of a good quality . In this case too the buyer is unaware of being cheated .
The seller may also adulterate the goods . In this case there is no short weighing but it is haraam all the same , because it is a kind of fraud . For example a grainseller adulterates 95 kg of wheat with 5 Kg of mud and sells it as a hundred Kg of wheat; or a milkman adulterates milk by adding water . Similarly a shopkeeper sells a kilo of ghee but surreptitiously puts a quarter kilo of stone beneath the layer of ghee . A butcher commits a fraud if he adds more than a reasonable amount of bones while selling meat . Vegetable sellers increase the weight of vegetables more by pouring water over them than required . All these types of frauds are included among the sin of underweighing , even if the seller is weighing the adulterated goods accurately .


To mix an inferior quality of wheat with one of a good quality or to adulterate pure ghee is also haraam . Shaykh Ansari says in his book Makasibul Muharrama , �The tradition prohibiting adulteration is Mutawatir . �
Shaykh Sadooq has recorded the prophetic tradition :
�One who sells adulterated goods to Muslims is not from us . He will be raised with the Jews on the Day of Qiyamat , because an adulterater is not a Muslim . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�One who gives us adulterated goods is not from us . �
He repeated this sentence thrice then said ,
�And Allah will remove barakat from the livelihood of the Muslim brothers . (Allah) will destroy his economy and leave him upon his own condition . �
(Iqaabul Aamaal)
An edifying incident is mentioned on page 309 of the book Daarus Salaam by Aqae Iraqui : The respected Aqae Abdul Husain Khawansari has related to me the following incident : �An honest perfume seller of Karbala had fallen sick . He tried the treatment of every doctor in the town but it was of no use . He spent all his property for his treatment but he was not cured . One day I went to pay him a visit . I saw him perturbed . He was instructing his son to sell off the household items . He was saying , �Sell off everything ! I do not want anything . Either I will die or be cured ! � I asked him , �What do you mean ? � He sighed and answered , �At the beginning of my career I was not so rich . During that time an epidemic fever broke out in Karbala . The doctors prescribed lime juice as its cure . Since the disease was widespread there was a great demand for limejuice . I began to adulterate limejuice by mixing yoghurt in it . I sold it at a very high rate . Gradually the stocks of limejuice with the other shopkeeper were finished . They began to direct their customers to me . Soon the stock of limejuice in my shop was also sold out . Now I began to sell only yoghurt by adding colour and a sour material to it . I sold this concoction as limejuice . My coffers became full and I continued to amass wealth . Today I find that all this property is of no use to me . My disease is incurable . So I wish to get rid of all the things that I obtained in this haraam manner , in the hope that after doing this , I may be cured . � Not much time had elapsed after this incident when the perfume seller departed from this world . He was definitely indebted to those whom he had sold the adulterated limejuice . �
Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�One day the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) was passing through the bazaar of Madinah . He (s . a . w . s . ) told a wheat seller , �Your wheat is of a good quality . � Then he put his hands inside the pile and found inferior quality of wheat below He said , �I see that you have gathered the provisions of Khiyanat and adulteration . ��
(Iqaabul Aamaal)
Allamah Hilli says that a man asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �If a person has two types of goods one is of a superior and expensive quality and the other is of inferior and cheap quality , can he mix these two and sell at a special rate ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�It is not correct for him to sell the adulterated goods to Muslims . However (there is no harm) if he informs them (of the adulteration) . �
(Iqaabul Aamaal)
Dawood Ibne Sujaan asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : �I had two varieties of musk . One was wet , the other dry . I sold the wet and fresh musk but no one was prepared to buy the dry one at the same rate . Is it permitted for me to make it wet so that it is sold out ? � Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�It is not allowed . However if you inform the buyer that you have made it wet , it is another matter . �


People have been ordered not only to refrain from defrauding each other , but they must also not cheat and defraud while fulfilling their obligations towards Allah , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , the Holy Imams (a . s . ) and all the creatures .
Allah is not deficient while fulfilling the rights of people . He has taken upon himself to give sustenance to one and all . He bestows man with unlimited favours . He listens to his entreaties and fulfills his wishes in keeping with his well being . So it is incumbent upon man to be faithful in fulfilling his duties towards Allah . Man can do this by being thankful to Allah for His blessings , by obeying His commands by carrying out all his obligations . Thus one who succumbs to Satan and his own selfish desires , has disobeyed Allah and he has not fulfilled Allah�s right . His prayers are not answered immediately , he becomes impatient and does not realise that he himself is deficient in fulfilling Allah�s rights . Allah (a . j . ) says in the Holy Quran .
� . . . and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me , I will fulfill (My) covenant with you . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 40)
It is nothing but His Beneficence that inspite of our failings Allah listens to our prayer .
Hazrat Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a . s . ) says in Dua Abu Hamza Thumali :
�All praise be to Allah Who responds to my call . Whereas when He calls me , I am lazy in my response . All praise be to Allah Who gives me whatever I ask Him . Though when He asks me for a loan I am stingy . (All the good deeds are a loan to Allah . He shall repay men on the Day of Qiyamat) .
And all praise for that Allah who sees my infamies but acts magnanimously (He does not send immediate punishment) . He is so forgiving as if I have not committed a single sin . �


Saadi Shirazi says in a couplet ,
�You usurp the property of Muslims but when someone usurps yours you protest and claim that no one is a Muslim anymore . �
If one desires not to be cheated by others one must be honest in ones dealings with others . Justice demands this . The traditions also state that one must wish for others what one desires for oneself .


Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Three actions are the best . People should receive complete justice from you so much so that you desire for them what you desire for yourself . You must co-operate monetarily with your brothers in faith . You must remember Allah in every condition . That remembrance is not merely Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah) or Alhamdo Lillah (Praise be to Allah) , (it is remembering Allah , always) . When some duty comes upon you which Allah has ordered , you must fulfill it , and when some prohibited act comes before you; leave it . �
(Al Kafi)


Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) advises his son Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a . s . ) in his will :
�O my child , make yourself the measure (for dealings) between you and others . Thus , you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself . Do not oppress , as you do not like to be oppressed . Do well to others , as you would like good to be done to you . Regard bad for yourself whatever you regard bad for others . Accept that (treatment) from others which you would like others to accept from you . �
(Nahjul Balagha)


In Surah Hadid , Allah , the Almighty says :
�Certainly We sent Our apostles with clear arguments , and sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity . �
(Surah Hadid 57 : 25)
By the word �balance� , Allah means justice and Allah has appointed a �balance� for everything . The belief of men and the truth and falsehood is also tested on this basis . The good and bad morals and qualities are also evaluated on the scales of justice . If men conform to justice in their speech and actions and belief and deeds they will be able to establish true justice in the world .


In one of the Ziarat of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) we read :
�Peace be upon the balance and the scales . �
Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) is the measure for distinguishing truth and falsehood . He is the touchstone for differentiating between good and evil . He is the scale for evaluating morals and deeds . After the demise of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , the Holy Quran and Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , especially Ali (a . s . ) , is the channel for and the criterion of faith . By comparing the deeds and faith with the speech and actions of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) we distinguish good from evil . If our belief and actions conform to the standards of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) they are correct and if not then they are of no use .
Justice demands that we must not go to the extremes . We should neither exceed the limits nor remain deficient . The scales of justice are very accurate and can detect even the weight of a single strand of hair . After recognising the path of justice it is a formidable task to remain firm upon it . One who is successful in recognising the true path and wishes to follow it , is bestowed Divine help . It is this person who is proved correct by the scales of justice on the Day of Judgement . He crosses the difficult bridge of Sirat with ease and swiftness . One who is not just in this world is proved wrong in the Hereafter . He will stumble from the bridge of sirat and drop into hell . The noble Quran says :
�And there is not one of you but shall come to it , this is an unavoidable decree of your Lord . And We will deliver those who guarded (against evil) and We will leave the unjust therein on their knees . �
(Surah Marium 19 : 71-72)
May Allah guide us upon the way of justice and equity . May Allah include us among the pious and enable us to be saved from falling into Hell .


consumption of Haram

The twenty-fifth Greater Sin is Consumption of Haraam . In the Quranic ayat �Akal-e-soht� is translated as eating of what is unlawfully acquired . Hence the word �eat� is not restricted to consumption of edibles but includes the use of any and every article , which has been acquired unlawfully or by illegal means .
Consumption of haraam is listed as greater sin in the Holy Quran and the tradition of Imam Reza (a . s . ) from the book Oyoon-e-Akhbare Reza and the tradition of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as related by Amash . In the following ayat of Surah Maidah :
�And you will see many of them striving with one another to hasten in sin and exceeding the limits , and their eating of what is unlawfully acquired; certainly evil is that which they do . Why do not the learned men and doctors of law prohibit them from their speaking of what is sinful and their eating of what is unlawfully acquired ? Certainly evil is that which they work . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 62-63)
In this ayat Soht refers to the acquirement as well as use of anything acquired unlawfully . The dictionary meaning of �Soht� is �to be finished� or �to be lost� . The thing that becomes �Soht� is that which is finished off or used up . The use of this word signifies that unlawfully acquired things do not have any �barakat� and will not benefit the possessor in any way . It should be evident that this unlawful practice would include usurping another�s property , taking interest and all activities that are undertaken using the money obtained by illegal means . The use of article brought with such money is also unlawful .
Sayyid Abu A�laa Maududi writes in his book Islam and the Economic Problems : �Islam permits the people to obtain their livelihood in any way they choose . They have their freedom to choose their occupation and obtain the necessities of life , but Islam does not allow them to earn in a manner that is harmful for society . It should also not endanger the social equilibrium . Islamic laws not only prohibit the consumption of wine and intoxicants and gambling , but also prohibit any action that causes these sinful things to come into being . For example to undertake cultivation of grapes for wine making , to manufacture wine , to transport , to buy or sell wine , to give it and to use it; all these are haraam too . Islam does not consider free-sex to be a human activity . Islam has prohibited dancing . It does not consider singing and playing musical instruments lawful professions . Any activity that is beneficial to one person but harmful to someone else or to society is considered haraam in Islam . All such types of actions carry a heavy punishment in this world and a dreadful retribution in the hereafter e . g . bribes , stealing , interest-taking , adulteration and frauds , unlawful hoarding of edible items to hike their rates making life difficult for the poor . In the same way all such actions that instigate wars and those occupations that do not require effort , making the person rich by luck , such as lottery . All these occupations are haraam . �
Shaykh Sadooq (r . a . ) has narrated a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�Any action of Khiyanat with the Imam is �Soht� . �
There are many types of �Soht� . �Soht� includes that which is received from the tyrant rulers , bribe to Qazis , payment for prostitution , wine , alcoholic nabid (a kind of wine) , and interest .
�To bribe a Qazi (for giving a favourable judgement) is to disbelieve in Allah the Almighty . �
(Khisaal of Sadooq)
A similar kind of tradition is to be found in the book Al Kafi , Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
��Soht� means the payment for corpse , for dogs and wine . It also denotes the fee paid to a prostitute , the bribe given to a judge and the payment to a Kahin . � (8 )
Although consumption of every type of haraam is �Soht� , some of them are denounced more emphatically and their punishment is more severe . The worst of these is taking bribe . One who accepts bribe is just like a disbeliever and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has cursed him . The one who takes interest is equated to the one who has made war against Allah (a . j . ) and the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) .


There are three types of bribes : (1) Bribe paid to a judge for a favourable judgement . (2) Bribe for �haraam� work . (3) Bribe for permitted things .
The first kind of bribe comprises of money etc . paid to a judge so that he may give a favourable judgement . The judge may also be bribed for pointing out the loopholes whereby one could weaken the position of the opposite party . It is absolutely haraam even if the one who is paying the bribe is right and the judge delivers the correct judgement . The paying and receiving of this type of bribe or whatever may comprise this bribe is also haraam and a Greater sin . A person who pays or accepts such a bribe deserves the curse of Allah .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�May Allah curse one who gives a bribe , one who accepts it and one who acts as an agent between them . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
Elsewhere , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Beware of bribe ! It is nothing but disbelief . The one who is involved in bribe will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
Bribe is not only a sin for the guilty but it constitutes assisting in sin , the one who accepts . However if one is compelled to bribe and without it he cannot obtain his rights , it is another matter , but it is still haraam for one who accepts it . Similarly it is also haraam to reach someone by bribing . The one who acts as an arbitrator or agent and takes an active part in negotiating bribe is also a sinner .
This type of bribe is absolutely haraam whether paid in cash or kind . Bribe may also comprise of offering some services to the judge like stitching his clothes free of cost or constructing his house etc . Bribe can even be paid in words . One may praise a judge unduly to please him and thus influence him to give a favourable ruling .


Even if a bribe is paid in the name of khums and gift , it is haraam . For example to give someone a gift or a present with the intention of bribing him i . e . with the intention that by giving a gift the beneficiary will act to benefit the giver in some way . Similarly khums and zakat given with the intention of bribing is also haraam . It will not be considered as Khums or Zakat and it will be obligatory for one who has paid Khums or Zakat with such intentions , to pay it once more . Khums and Zakat are to be given with the purest of intentions , that of achieving nearness to Allah (a . j . ) . There can be no other motive . One of the signs of Qiyamat is mentioned in traditions in the following words :
�Bribes will be accepted as gifts . �
The second kind of bribe is the bribe paid to someone , a tyrant or an oppressor for inflicting harm on a third person . The Holy Quran says :
�And do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means , neither seek to gain access thereby to the judges , so that you may swallow up a part of the property of men wrongfully while you know . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 188)
In this ayat believers are warned not to use anything obtained illegally and not to use their wealth to bribe those in power in order to obtain anything unlawfully .


The third type of bribe is one that is paid for something lawful . Like paying someone in order that he may help in obtaining ones rightful property or to escape from a tyrant . Bribing for lawful things is allowed .
In a tradition Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) was asked about the person who bribes the occupant of a house to vacate it so that the owner may himself use it as his residence . Imam (a . s . ) said that there was no harm in it . However the house mentioned in this hadith does not belong to the person who pays the bribe . It is a trust property or a public place like , the mosque , madrasa , lane , by-lane , and bazaar etc . Thus if someone is occupying a place in the mosque or a student is living in a room in the public hostel , he can be bribed to vacate it .
Hafsul Amr enquired from Imam Ali an-Naqi (a . s . ) : �The ruler has appointed agents to purchase our agricultural produce . Is it allowed for us to bribe those agents so that we may remain safe from the ruler�s tyranny ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�There is no harm in it . You may pay whatever you think fit . �
Then Imam (a . s . ) asked :
�Do you have to supply lesser quantity of grain to the ruler after you have paid the bribe to these agents ? �
�Yes , � said the questioner .
�You have invalidated your bribe (i . e . you have made the bribe haraam) , � Imam told him .
Thus it is clear that bribing to cause someone to be oppressed is haraam but it is permitted in order to save oneself from oppression .


It must however be made clear that though it is permitted to gift something for lawful acts or to save oneself from oppression , it is detestable to accept such gifts . Because these gifts bear a close resemblance to bribe . Also , the habit of bribing for lawful things may make a man habitual and he may be inclined to pay bribes for unlawful purposes too . One is prone to error . If a pious person refrains for Makrooh (detestable) bribe he will never be prone to the haraam bribe . The following tradition supports this fact .
�Those are they for whom Allah does not desire that He should purify their hearts; they shall have disgrace in this world , and they shall have a grievous chastisement in the hereafter . (They are) listeners of a lie , devourers of what is forbidden . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 41-42)
Explaining this ayat , Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�It is that person who fulfills the wish of his believing brother and accepts a gift in return . �
Shaykh Ansari says in the book , Makasibul Aamaal : �There are many explanations of this tradition . One of it is that we must absolutely refrain from accepting gifts in return for favours done that we may never fall into the trap of accepting bribe . �


A characteristic feature of earnings by haraam means the money and wealth so acquired . It is narrated from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�The madness of (acquiring or constructing) buildings . Mud and water occupies the head of one who earns by unlawful means . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
It means that a person with unlawful earnings is constantly worried about his wealth and strives to convert it into fixed property so that it is not lost . The buildings of mud and water neither benefit the owner in the Hereafter nor do they provide peace in this world . Such a person spends every bit of his wealth for pieces of land . Finally , Allah orders the land to swallow all his wealth .
Unlawful gains are harmful both from the worldly point of view as there is no barakat in such gain and also from the spiritual point of view as these form obstacles in the acceptance of acts of worship .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�When a single morsel of haraam enters the stomach of a person and becomes a part of his body , the angels of the sky and the earth curse him . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
The Messenger of Allah has also said :
�Acts of worship accompanied by the acquiring of haraam are like buildings that rest on (crumbling) sand . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
They lack a firm foundation and hence are of no use . Such buildings can never remain intact and are soon destroyed .


The noble Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has remarked ,
�Prayers of the one who eats a single morsel of haraam are not accepted for forty nights nor are his invocations accepted for forty days . Every piece of flesh that grows by consuming haraam is most deserving of being burnt in hell-fire and even a single morsel consumed causes some growth of flesh . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has also stated ,
�One who wishes to have his invocations accepted must keep aloof from haraam food and unlawful earnings . �
(Al Kafi)
A man asked the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) :
�I wish for the acceptance of my deeds . � The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) told him ,
�Keep your food purified from haraam and do not let any unlawful thing enter your stomach . �
(Al Kafi)
The Almighty Allah revealed to Janabe Isa Ibne Maryam (a . s . ) :
�Inform the oppressors of Bani Israel that they must not call Me and invoke Me as long as they are involved in unlawful earnings . And if they call Me and invoke Me in this condition , I will curse them . �
(Al Kafi)


Whatever man eats is like a seed sown in the earth . If the seed is good it will bear sweet fruits . If the seed is bitter and poisonous , so is the fruit that grows from it . If the food is good and lawful it has beneficial effects on the heart . It is purified from every blemish and impurity . The organs of this person perform good deeds , but if one consumes food obtained through unlawful means it causes the heart to harden . The symptoms are soon obvious . A hard hearted person is unaffected by any kind of preaching and remains absolutely impenitent . Such a man is not moved even when he sees clear injustice . No good can be expected from him . Not a trace of goodness is visible in his dark heart . He refuses to accept what is right and is immune to every kind of moral advice . The tragedy of Karbala is the perfect example of this phenomenon . These are the characteristics clearly pointed out by Imam Husain (a . s . ) in his address to the troops of Ibne Saad :
�You bellies are filled with unlawful (wealth) . Now you will not accept the truth . Why don�t you deal with justice ? Why don�t you listen to me ? �
(Nafasul Mahmoom)
In other words , when a person�s heart becomes hard and darkness occupies it .
During the rule of the Abbasid King Mahdi , there was a Qazi named Shareek bin Abdullah . He was an honest and upright Judge , till the time he was summoned by the king . The Abbaside King forced him to choose one from three things (1) Either he should accept the post of the Royal Qazi (2) He should become the teacher of the King�s son (3) or he should dine with the king , at least once .
The Qazi thought that easiest of the three was to eat with the king once , so he agreed to dine with King Mahdi . The ruler ordered the royal chef to prepare the best of the dishes . When the Qazi had eaten the food , the cook remarked to his companions , �Now , Qazi Shareek will never achieve salvation . �
The prediction came to be true . The haraam food affected the Qazi to the extent that he also accepted the other two conditions . He became the special Qazi of the King and the tutor of his children . It is said that Qazi Shareek used to be very strict and unflinching with the treasurers while obtaining his share from the royal treasury .
One day the treasurer protested , �You have not sold me grain that you act so ruthless in recovering its price . � Qazi Shareek replied , �Yes , I have sold something more valuable ! I have sold my religion . �
One day a tray filled with delicious dishes was sent by Haroon al-Rasheed for Bahlool . Bahlool did not accept it . The servants of the king said , �It is not possible to reject the present of the Caliph . � Bahlool , the wise , pointed towards the stray dogs and said , �Give it to the dogs . �
The servants became angry and said , �You have insulted the royal gifts . � Bahlool became silent then said , �Be quiet , if the dogs learn that this food is sent by the king , they will not touch it . �


Eating haraam gives rise to every type of infamy . Whereas , the halaal morsel is the cause of every kind of goodness and charity . Numerous traditions praise the acquisition of livelihood through lawful means . For example the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�Worship consists of seventy parts and the best part is earnings by lawful means . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
The Messenger of Allah has also said ,
�When a man eats halaal food an angel stands over his head and prays for his forgiveness till he finishes eating . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
The Prophet has remarked in a similar vein ,
�One who strives to earn his livelihood in a lawful manner from morning till night , achieves salvation . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) states that Allah has said :
�I will not care on the Day of Qiyamat from which door he enters Hell , the person who does not care from which door he earns money in this world . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
The Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has also mentioned the following tradition :
�One who does nor care from which way he earns wealth in this world will be sent to Hell in Qiyamat and I shall not care from which way he is made to enter it . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


Maybe , those who do not refrain from unlawful earnings are afraid that if they give up this chance they may suffer poverty and deprivation . This is just a false notion . It is merely a satanic thought because it goes against the Divine promise of lawful sustenance repeatedly mentioned in the Quran . It is unreasonable , as it is contrary to the numerous traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . The Almighty Allah has promised to provide sustenance to each and every creature . The Divine promise is never unfulfilled . Allah only tests the believers to see if they strive patiently to acquire lawful livelihood or act impatiently and deviate . Whatever sustenance is decreed is surely received . It is only the impatience of the people and the weakness of their faith that makes them leave the path of lawful earnings and stray towards illegal occupations . When a person does this he fails the test . Allah deprives this person of the lawful sustenance that was in his destiny . Allah has not decreed for anyone unlawful sustenance .


On the occasion of the last Hajj , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) addressed the Muslims in the precincts of the Masjidul Haraam :
�Know that , the trustworthy Spirit (Jibraeel) has informed that no creature dies till he has received his destined sustenance .
Then fear Allah and do not vie among yourself in earning your livelihood . If there is some delay in receiving your sustenance , it must not be that you pursue it in disobedience to Allah . Verily , Allah has distributed only halaal sustenance to every creature . He has not destined haraam sustenance to anyone .
Hence one who fears Allah and acts with patience , Allah shall bestow upon him His sustenance through lawful means . But one who abandons purity and takes up haraam methods , a similar amount shall be decreased from his lawful sustenance . He shall be made to account for his haraam earnings on the Day of Qiyamat . Allah the Almighty has prohibited it in the following words : � . . . and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones) . . . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 2)
It should not be that in a hurry to obtain livelihood you obtain it through illegal ways , before Allah provides you with the halaal sustenance that He had decreed for you . �
(Al Kafi)


One day , Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) reached the mosque and alighted from his mule . He entrusted his animal to a person and entered the mosque . The man pulled out the saddle and ran away leaving the mule unattended .
When Ali (a . s . ) returned , he was holding two dirhams . He intended to give them to the man who had looked after the mule . He found the mule without the saddle . After reaching home he gave the same two dirhams to his slave for the purchase of another saddle . The slave went to the bazaar found the same rein . It came to be known that the thief had sold the stolen rein for two dirhams . It was the same amount that he could have earned in a lawful way . When the slave related the whole incident to Ali (a . s . ) , he said ,
�By abandoning patience man converts his halaal sustenance into haraam . Though he does not receive more than what is in his destiny . �



Non-fulfillment of another�s right , without a valid excuse is the twenty-sixth greater sin . If a person who has some right upon someone and demands his right but the one on whom the obligation rests does not fulfill the right , even though he is capable of it , then this person has committed a greater sin . Non-fulfillment of rights as a greater sin is according to Nass (Holy Quran and hadith) . The frequently quoted tradition of Amash from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and the hadith of Imam Reza (a . s . ) as narrated by Fazl ibn Shazaan also include it in he list of greater sins .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who does not fulfill the rights of a believer (and does not repay what he owes to him) , on the Day of Judgement , Allah will make him stand for five hundred years and blood or sweat will ooze through his body . An announcer from Allah will announce , �This is the oppressor who had not fulfilled the right of Allah . � Then after being admonished for another forty days it will be ordered for him to be thrown into the fire (those who admonish him will be either believers or prophets) .
An explanation of this hadith by Allamah Majlisi states that if the sinner�s oppression is not of a very serious nature , sweat will flow from his body and if his oppression is of a serious nature , blood will seep out of him .
(Miratul Oqool page 361)
Allamah Majlisi further says , �This tradition proves that the right of a believer is the right of Allah . Allah has ordered to restore a believer�s right . Disobeying this command is just like usurping the right of Allah . The tradition further states :
�On the Day of Qiyamat a caller will announce , �Where are those who oppressed and tortured the friends of Allah ? � Some people will stand up . They will not be having any flesh on their faces . It will be said , �These are the ones who tortured the believers , bore enmity towards them , dealt harshly with them due to their belief . ��
It will be ordered that they may be thrown into Hell . Further , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) swears by Allah the Almighty and says that these people had the same belief as the believers , but they did not respect their rights and also exposed the secrets of the believers .
(Wasaelush Shia)
And Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has remarked :
�A believer who has something and another believer is in need of it; if the former does not fulfill the need of the needy momin he will not ever taste the food of Paradise nor drink the Raheeq-al-Makhtoom (A drink of Paradise) . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)


Hazrat Sajjad (a . s . ) says :
�On the Day of Qiyamat a person will be caught by his hand and the people of Mahshar (Gathering) will be told that anyone who has any claim upon him may secure his right . �
(Layali Al Akhbaar)
On the Day of Qiyamat , this would be the most difficult ordeal to face . Every person will avoid meeting his relatives and friends and will be in constant dread of the demands they may make of him . Perhaps this is the predicament alluded to in the following Quranic ayat :
�The day on which a man shall fly from his brother , And his mother and his father , And his spouse and his son . . . �
(Surah Abasa 80 : 34-36)


The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) asked his followers ,
�Do you know who is the actual destitute ? �
�One who has no money , property or treasure , � they replied . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�There is no destitute in my Ummat except the one who has performed the prayers , kept fasts , paid the Zakat , performed Hajj but on the Day of Judgement a person will come whose property he has usurped , and a person whose blood he had shed and another one whom he had beaten . Then the good deeds of this man will be transferred to those who have rights upon him . If his good deeds are exhausted before all the rights are fulfilled then the sins of those who have rights upon him will be added to his sins . Then he shall be thrown into Hell . �


Anything owed by a person is a debt incurred by him which should be repaid . The full amount of the money loaned has to be paid as per the agreed payment schedule . The same applies to an item that is sold but not delivered . The seller is obliged to deliver the goods to the buyer on time . Similarly the one who has taken something on hire is responsible for it . A husband is indebted to his wife till he pays the dower amount . The husband is also responsible for the maintenance of his permanent wife . The laws of guarantee are numerous and available in the books of jurisprudence . We shall only discuss the topics that are relevant for our purpose .


Loans are of two types . One that is not bound by a time limit or when the date of payment has already expired . The other type of loan has a fixed time for repayment . The creditor cannot demand the loaned property before the due date . If the loanee dies all debts owed by him become due immediately . For example if a person has borrowed something for a year , but dies before the end of the year , his heirs must pay his loan immediately . It is no excuse that the time of payment has not come . But if the creditor dies his heirs do not have the right of demanding the loan before time .


If the time of payment is due or if the creditor demands back his loan the debtor is obliged to repay immediately . The loan must be repaid even if the debtor has to sell his excess belongings or even if he has to sell his things at less than the market value . However if he is compelled to sell at a throwaway price then it is not obligatory for the debtor to sell those things . If the debtor does not have anything like a carpet , clothes , household items , shop etc . that he can sell and repay the loan , then he must take up a job that is suitable for his position . In any case he is under an obligation to clear his due .
Carelessness and sloth with regard to the repayment of loan are absolutely haraam; and a greater sin . If the debtor possesses only those things that are necessary for his life; like a modest house , carpets and clothes etc , then it is not necessary for him to sell them to repay his loan . The creditor cannot compel the debtor to sell off these things . However , if the debtor wishes to sell them of his own accord , he can do so , and the creditor is allowed to accept the loan . But it is desirable that the creditor respites the debtor till the time Allah makes him capable of repaying his debts .
It is related by Uthman bin Ziyad : �I informed Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that a person owed money to me and wished to dispose off his residence to repay me . Upon hearing this Imam (a . s . ) said thrice :
�I seek Allah�s refuge for you . � (That you cause this poor man to sacrifice his dwelling place to pay) .
Many similar traditions have been recorded in books of hadith . It is narrated that a famous companion of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) and Imam Reza (a . s . ) , by the name of Muhammad bin Abi Umair traded in cloth . It so happened that mounting losses pushed him to the brink of poverty . One of his debtors owed him 10 , 000 dirhams . When he learnt of the companion�s misfortune , he sold his house and brought the money to repay the amount that he owed . Muhammad bin Umair inquired if he had received the amount of 10 , 000 dirhams as inheritance . When he replied in the negative , he asked if he had received it as a gift from someone . Again he replied , �No , but I have sold the house where I lived , so that I can repay my debt to you . �
Muhammad bin Umair related a saying of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , prohibiting a creditor to force his debtor to sell his house and said , �By Allah , at present I am in need of each and every dirham but I cannot take a single dirham from this . �
Actually Muhammad bin Abi Umair was a rich man having assets worth over 500 , 000 dirhams . His present state of poverty was because of his closeness to Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) . Due to this he was imprisoned for four years and lashed mercilessly . The tyrant Caliph confiscated whatever he had . May Allah have mercy upon such oppressed people . It is an established fact that if someone deprives a person of his rights then each day that passes makes him liable to a sin which is equal to collecting Ethesher (a 10% tax collected on orders of tyrant ruler) .
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�The martyr in Allah�s way is absolved of every sin except for the unpaid debt; which has no substitute . Repaying the debt is a must; or the creditor may forgo it . (otherwise even the martyr will be interrogated regarding his debts) . �
(Wasaelush Shia Chap 4 , vol . 13 , page 83)
Moreover , he (a . s . ) has remarked :
�As soon as the first drop of a martyr�s blood is spilled all his sins are forgiven . Except for the unpaid debt , which is not excused . Its forgiveness can be achieved only by repaying (the debt) . �
(Wasaelush Shia chap . 4 , Vol . 13 , page 85)
The gravity of all this can be ascertained from the incident when a person from the Ansars departed from this world . He had left behind an unpaid debt of two dinars . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) refused to pray the namaz-e-Janaza till some of the relatives undertook the responsibility to repay the deceased�s debt .
When Muawiya bin Wahab questioned Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) regarding this tradition , he (a . s . ) replied :
�This is an authentic tradition and the Prophet�s saying conveys the same meaning that people should derive lesson from it and understand the seriousness of debt . They should not regard it insignificant and must make it a point to repay their debts . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) , Imam Hasan (a . s . ) and Imam Husain (a . s . ) were all having some debts when they departed from this world but they appointed their legatees who repaid their debts after their passing away . This hadith signifies that it is not prohibited to be in debt but to ignore or to delay the repayment of debt is haraam . It is not even advisable to travel (for pilgrimage) to Mecca and Madinah without first clearing one�s debts .
Abu Samaniya asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) regarding this , �I wish to go and settle down in Mecca or Madinah but I am in debt to some of the people here . � Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�Go home ! First repay your debts . It must not be that you die in this condition and meet your Lord while you are in debt . For a believer never does Khiyanat (misappropriation of trust) . �
(Al Kafi vol . 5 page 94)


The above hadith makes it amply clear that not fulfilling someone�s right or delaying the repayment of debt is equal to Khiyanat . Consequently , all the traditions that are recorded in the chapter on Khiyanat are equally applicable here and the Prophetic traditions have described Khiyanat as a kind of oppression .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has announced :
�A Muslim who inspite of being capable delays the repayment of debt has committed oppression upon all the Muslims . �
(Wasaelush Shia Vol . 13 page 97)
Not repaying a debt is a kind of oppression upon the creditor . In fact such an act is an oppression upon the Muslims in general . This is so because , upon seeing , that this person inspite of being capable is not repaying the debt , others who are capable of lending money will be disinclined to do so , for fear of meeting with a similar fate . Lending is a meritorious act and anyone who is responsible for discouraging it , has indeed oppressed all Muslims .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has said :
�May Allah curse the one who closed the door of good actions . And it is the one who is not thankful to the one who has done some good towards him . Consequently the doer of good refrains from doing the same favour towards someone else in the future . �
(Behaarul Anwaar , Wasaelush Shia)
Certainly , lending is an act of goodness . Not repaying or causing undue delay in the repayment is disregarding this favour . Also it can result in the creditor avoiding lending his money to anyone else in future .


Authentic traditions have greatly emphasised the rewards that are promised for the one who lends . On the other hand , those who avoid this good deed have severe punishment in store . Sometimes it is obligatory to lend and not prohibited to lend . And sometimes it is Mustahab (recommended) to lend and Makrooh (detestable) not to lend .
Generally it is detestable to borrow but if the need to do so is genuine the detestibility is scaled down . The magnitude of detestibility is directly proportional to the actual gravity of the situation . In fact under some circumstances it is obligatory to borrow . For example it becomes obligatory to borrow to save one�s life or honour . If a person knows that he will not be able to repay the loan , then precaution demands that he should refrain from borrowing unless he is in dire need .


The blessed Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�One who lends to his believing brother and gives him respite till he is capable of repaying it , the amount that he has lent is considered as Zakat and the Angels pray for him and seek Divine mercy for him till this (amount) is returned . �
(Wasaelush Shia Chap . 6 Vol . 13 page 86)
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has also remarked :
�If one lends to his Muslim brother , it is for his own (good) . Every Dirham that he lends will qualify him for a reward equivalent to Mount Ohud (which is in Mecca) and Mount Sinai . And if he is lenient in collecting his debt he shall cross the bridge of Sirat like a stroke of lightning . And if a Muslim brother relates his woes before a person and this person does not lend him any money , the Heaven shall be denied to him on the Day of recompensing good doers . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


The person who is not in a position to repay his debt must necessarily have the intention to repay it as soon as he is capable of doing so . This intention should have the first priority with him . In fact the intention to repay should be there right at the outset . A person who takes a loan without having the intention to repay it is considered a thief . The following are the traditions of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) regarding the intention of a person who takes a loan :
�One who takes a loan but does not care to repay it , is a thief . �
(Wasaelush Shia chapter of Tejaarat)
He (a . s . ) has also said :
�There are three kinds of thieves , one who does not pay Zakat , secondly one who does not consider the amount of Meher (dower) payable to the wife as an obligatory debt and one who takes a loan but does not intend to repay it . �
The respected Imam (a . s . ) further said ,
�If the debtor intends to repay the loan , the Almighty Allah appoints two angels to help him till the loan is repaid . But if he becomes careless of this intention he becomes deprived of Allah�s blessings . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


Although it is allowed for a debtor to sell off his unnecessary belongings to repay his debts , the creditor is under divine obligation not to cause undue trouble . The creditor should give respite so that the loanee can easily repay the dues . Under these conditions if he condones his loan altogether , it will be considered a Sadaqah which will remain with Allah as his trust and he will continue to benefit from it forever .
The Almighty says in the Holy Quran :
�And if (the debtor) is in straitness , then let there be postponement until (he is in) ease , and that you remit (it) as alms is better for you , if you knew . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 280)
Two important points can be derived from the Quranic verse quoted above . One , it is obligatory to give respite to a debtor who is incapable of repaying the loan . Secondly , it is more meritorious for the creditor to condone the loan completely .
Numerous traditions have mentioned these two points .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said :
�Your debtor is not permitted to delay in repaying the loan if he is capable to pay it . In the same way you are not permitted to pressurise him unduly when you know that he is not in a position to repay you immediately . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The honourable Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has been recorded to have said :
�Do not harass your Muslim brother with a demand to the repayment of debt when you know that he is not able to repay it . Because our exalted grandfather the Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has said that it is not permitted for a Muslim to harass his Muslim brother . And if a creditor gives respite to a loanee he shall become qualified to receive the shade (and protection) of the Almighty on the day when there will be no other shade . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It means that on the Day of Judgement such a person will receive special favours from the Almighty . The Masoom (a . s . ) has also remarked :
�If one wishes that he be given refuge under Divine shade on the day when there will be no other shade , he should grant respite to his debtor and must not demand it (immediately) , or should condone his loan completely . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said :
�There would be some people under the shade of the Arsh on the Day of Qiyamat such that their faces will be bright , their dresses and their chairs shall be glittering . Then an announcer will call : These are the people who did good towards the believers and gave respite to the incapable debtor till the time he could repay the debt . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


The trustworthy scholar of the Shias , Shaykh Kulayni (r . a . ) has recorded that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is reported to have said :
�One day the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) mounted the pulpit and after glorifying Allah and praising the prophets (a . s . ) said : �Those who are present are under the obligation to convey (what I say now) to those who are not present (in the assembly) . �
Then He (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�If one gives respite to his helpless debtor then till the time he receives his loan it is upon Allah to record the reward of Sadaqah in his scroll of deeds . ��
(Wasaelush Shia)
For each day of respite that a person gives his debtor he receives divine reward equivalent to the spending of the loan amount as Sadaqah . Several traditions on this subject could be quoted but the ones mentioned should suffice . It must be remembered that avoiding or delaying the payment of Khums and Zakat is also considered a failure to restore rights . Not paying Zakat is also a Greater sin according to the rulings of the Quran and hadith . We shall deal with it in a separate chapter .


If a person dies before he has repaid his debt and the creditor has not been compensated for it from the belongings left by him; the creditor has not forgiven him his debt and provided the debtor has not been negligient about repaying , nor was the loan taken for an illegal purpose and also the person had every intention of repaying but was unable to do so . Under these circumstances according to traditions Allah (a . j . ) by His Grace will compensate the creditor on the Day of Judgement .
Muhammad Bin Bashir came to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and told him that he owed a thousand Dinars to Shahab . He requested the Imam to persuade Shahab to respite him till the days of Hajj . So Imam (a . s . ) summoned Shahab and said :
�You know that Muhammad Bin Bashir is among our followers . He owes you a thousand Dinars . This amount was not spent by him on himself . Rather it remained as a debt upon some people and he had to bear the loss . I wish that you will forgo your thousand Dinars . �
Then he (a . s . ) said ,
�Maybe you are under the impression that his good deeds will be given to you in return of your loan ? �
Shahab said , �Yes , I am under this impression . � Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�The Almighty Allah is Merciful and Just . If someone , in order to achieve Allah�s nearness , worships Him on cold winter nights and fasts on hot summer days , circles the Holy Ka�ba . Then do you think after all this Allah will take away his good deeds and give them to you ? It is not so , His mercy is much more . By His munificence He recompenses the good deeds of a believer . �
After listening to these words Shahab said that he has condoned his loan forever .


If the debtor is guilty of being lazy in repaying , or if he had taken the loan for an illegal purpose , or if he has delayed the repayment inspite of being capable of doing so , and if after his death his debt has not been paid nor has the creditor condoned him . Then on the Day of Qiyamat his good deeds equivalent to the loan amount shall be given to the creditor and if his good deeds are exhausted or insufficient to cover the amount , sins from the scroll of deeds of the creditor will be transferred to the scroll of the guilty debtor .
Some narrations have described this phenomena in clear words .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has been recorded to have said :
�The most difficult time on the Day of Qiyamat will be when those eligible to receive Khums and Zakat will rise up and besiege the one who has not paid it . They will complain to Allah that this person has not paid the amount due to them from Khums and Zakat . Then Allah will transfer the good deeds of that person and give them to those who were eligible (for Zakat and Khums) . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has also said that on the Day of Qiyamat the creditor will complain against his debtor . Then if the debtor would have good deeds to his credit , they will be taken away for the creditor and if there are no good deeds for this purpose , the sins of the creditor will be added in the scroll of deeds of the debtor .
It is amply evident from the various traditions that if a person dies before fulfilling the rights of others upon him he will not achieve salvation till the rights are restored to the owner or the owner condones him . Or till his good deeds are given to the one who had the right upon him or if there are no good deeds for this purpose the sins of the latter are transferred to the scroll of deeds of the former . Or lastly , until the Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) intercede on his behalf .


Exactly how many of the good deeds will be required to compensate for an unpaid debt is a matter known by Allah and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . Neither we have any knowledge of it nor is it necessary for us to know . However , some traditions do mention some equivalents . For example in a tradition the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said that in lieu of each dirham 600 prayers of the debtor will be paid to the creditor .
(Layali Akhbaar)
And if 1/6 Dirham is of silver , then seven hundred accepted prayers of the debtor will be transferred to the rightful owner . (Each silver dirham is equal to the weight of 18 grains of gram) . Thus , one who departs from this world while yet in debt will be under very difficult circumstances . Everyone must be very particular to repay one�s debt as soon as possible . If a person is unable to repay his debts he must establish contact with Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and seek their intercession to obtain the forgiveness of the creditor .
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�Nothing is more serious after the Greater sins than the fact that a person dies while he is in debt to people and there is nothing to (sell to) repay his debt . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Moreover , the Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) told his companions after prayers one day :
�Such and such person who was martyred is still waiting outside Paradise . He cannot enter it because he still owes three dirhams to a Jew . �


It has been made amply clear that not repaying debt , or returning the rights is haraam and a Greater sin . Depending upon the demand of the creditor and the ability of the debtor it becomes obligatory to repay the debt as soon as possible . Too much divine reward is promised for this .
Allamah Noori has quoted in his book Daarus Salaam an incident from the book Nurul Uyoon . He writes that Sayed Hashmi , the pious and well known scholar said that he had taken a hundred dinars as loan from a Jew and promised to return them within a period of twenty days . �I returned half the amount to him and then did not see him for some days . People told me that he had gone to Baghdad . One night I dreamt that it was the Day of Qiyamat . I was summoned with the other people to account for my deeds . And Allah , in His Infinite Mercy allowed me to enter Paradise . So I decided to cross the bridge of Sirat as soon as possible . However , the scream of Hell made me fearful . While I was crossing the bridge , all of a sudden my Jew creditor leapt up from below the Hell , engulfed in flames of fire and blocked my way and said , �Give me 50 Dinar and I�ll let you go . � I pleaded to him that I had always been on the look out for him to repay the amount but was unable to find him . He said , �You are right , but till you repay me you will not be able to traverse this bridge of Sirat . � I said , �I don�t have anything to give . � So in return for his debt he asked me to allow him to put a finger on my body . I gave him the permission and he put his finger on my chest . Just as his finger touched my chest I screamed due to the burning pain and awoke from the dream . The place where the Jew had touched my chest was burnt too . � After this he opened his chest to the audience and they saw that there was a terrible wound on it . He said that he was still having it treated , but it did not seem to be cured . When the audience heard all this , they began to wail loudly .
It is also narrated in the 17th volume of Behaarul Anwaar that the First Martyr (Shaheed-e-Awwal) quoted Ahmad bin Abil Jawzi that he said : �It was my wish to see Abu Sulaiman Durrani , who was considered to be a pious and a God-fearing person . Thus , I saw him in a dream after a year of his death . I asked as to how Allah had dealt with him ? � He said , �O Ahmed ! When I was passing through Baabe Sagheer one day , I saw a camel laden with hay and grass , I plucked a twig from this and do not remember whether I picked teeth with it or threw it away just like that . But a year has passed and I am still occupied in accounting for that twig . �
The below Quranic verse also supports this fact :
�O my son ! Surely if it is the very weight of the grain of a mustard seed , even though it is in (the heart of) rock , or (high above) in the heaven or (deep down) in the earth , Allah will bring it (to light) . . . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 16)
Thus one who has done an iota of good will see it and one who does an iota of evil will see it on the Day of Qiyamat . In the letter to Muhammad bin Abi Bakr , Ali (a . s . ) says , �O creatures of Allah ! Know that Allah the Gracious shall question you about your every small and big deed . � The following verse is a sufficient proof for this :
�Then one who does an iota of good shall see it and one who does an iota of evil shall see . �
(Surah Zilzaal 99 : 7-8)
It is mentioned in Behaarul Anwaar that Sayyed Hasan bin Sayyed Ali Isfahani said : �At the time of my father�s demise I was studying in Najaf-e-Ashraf . The responsibilities of my father fell upon some of my brothers . I was unaware of this fact . Seven months after the death of my father , my mother also passed away at Isfahan . Her last remains were brought to Najaf-e-Ashraf . On one of those nights I saw my father in dream . I asked him that he had died in Isfahan so how did he reach Najaf ? He said , �Yes ! Though I died in Isfahan , I was given a place in Najaf . � I asked if mother was also with him ? �She is in Najaf , but in a different house , � he replied . So , I surmised that she was not given a position equal to my father . Then I asked him as to how he was . He said that though previously he was in severe pain now by the grace of Almighty he is comfortable . I was surprised that how a pious and religious person like him could suffer pain . He said that it was due to the fact that he was in debt to Haaj Raza the son of Babajoo alias Naalband . �Though he had demanded the payment I was unable to repay it . I was suffering torture for this default . � I awoke with a start . I wrote to my brother , the legatee of my father and told him about my dream so that he will make enquiries if my father owed some money to such a person . My brother wrote back that he had gone through all the books of account but could not locate a creditor by that name . Again I wrote to my brother to find this person and ask him directly if he was having a debt upon my deceased father . My brother replied after sometime and said that he had found that person and questioned him about my father�s debt . He was told that my father did owe him 18 tomaans but except Allah no one knew about it . He said that after the death of father he had approached my brother and asked him if his name appeared in the list of my father�s creditors . When my brother told him that it was not so , he was perturbed as to how my father failed to note down his name among the creditors . Since he did not have any proof he did not see any way to acquire his money . Upon hearing this my brother offered him the amount of outstanding debt . But he refused to accept it . He said that he had already condoned the amount to my late father .
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) has said :
�Oppression is of three types . One that Allah will not forgive , second which is He will forgive and lastly one which he will �take away� .
1 . The oppression Allah will never forgive is Shirk .
2 . The oppression that Allah forgives is one that a person does upon himself and it is a sin between that person and Allah .
3 . The oppression that Allah �takes away� is that one that a person does by not repaying his debts .
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has remarked ,
�One who is able to satisfy (please) his creditors will certainly enter Paradise without any delay in accounting . He will be in the Garden , in the company of Ismail (a . s . ) the son of Ibrahim (a . s . ) . �
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
The debt which is returned by the debtor is more superior to the worship of a thousand years and the emancipation of a thousand slaves and performing Hajj and Umrah a thousand times . �
Prophet Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
�If someone restores a single dirham to its rightful owner , the Almighty Allah will save him from the fire of Hell and for each Daniq (1/6 of a DIrham) he will get rewards of a prophet and for each Dirham he will get a palace of Red Pearls (in Paradise) . �
He (s . a . w . s . ) has also said ,
�Returning a right to its owner is better than fasting during the day and the prayers of the night . If a person returns a debt an angel cries out from below the Arsh : O servant (of Allah) from the time you began this good deed , Allah has forgiven all your past sins .


When a person has something in his possession it can be one of two cases . The first case is the person knows that whatever he has is not fully his own , but a part of it belongs to someone else . The second case is that a person owes another person , but this person has no share in the actual goods or property in possession of the former . For example the thing he had borrowed is already used up but he is in debt to the one who had lent it . In the same way there are various types of sureties and compulsory maintenance that a person is responsible , for these should be disbursed with great care .
The first case includes the following four categories .
a) To know the quantity and the owner .
When it is known that a particular quantity of a thing rightfully belongs to such and such person , it is obligatory to return that same amount to whom it belongs and in case he is dead , to his successors .
b) When the quantity is known but not the owner .
If the exact quantity owed is known but there is a doubt regarding to whom it is owed to the extent that one feels the concerned quantity rightfully belongs to one of three or five people . Then on the basis of precaution it is necessary to satisfy all of these people . If it is not possible to satisfy all of them , then there are three rulings : 1 . Lots should be drawn between them and one of them to be given that thing . 2 . The goods should be equally distributed among all the possible owners . 3 . If the doubt is with reference to a hundred and more people or if the owner is completely unknown then as a precautionary measure , by the permission of Marja-e-Taqleed the holder of these goods should give it away as charity . (Everyone has to follow his own Marja-e-Taqleed in this matter) .
c) When the quantity is not known but the owner is .
Under the circumstances that a person knows that he owes some of the goods in his possession to a particular person , but does not know the exact quantity owed , it is incumbent upon him to give at least a third of the goods to the owner . As a precautionary measure he should give something more and satisfy the owner .
d) When both the owner and the exact quantity are unknown .
A person knows that he owes some of the goods he has to someone . It is haraam for him to use these goods , but he does not know the exact quantity of the goods prohibited for him nor its rightful owner . He may consider a few persons as probable owners but he is unaware as to how much of it belongs to whom . In these circumstances it is incumbent on him to give Khums (1/5) on the total goods . After this the rest of the goods or property becomes totally permissible . (For details refer to the section on Khums in the books of Practical Laws) .
In the second condition something is owed by a person but it is not in the form of a tangible good or property . There are four circumstances of this type :
1) If the exact quantity and the rightful owner , are known , then without any doubt that quantity has to be returned to the owner .
2) If the exact quantity is known but not a particular owner , and there is doubt between some selected people that it could belong to anyone of them . In this case it is incumbent to satisfy each of them in the way described in the rules regarding tangible goods . But if the doubt is between a large number of people the value of the goods must be given to the Qazi or given as charity by his permission on behalf of the rightful owner .
3) If the value is not known but the person to whom it is owed is known; the duty of the one who owes it is to restore the minimum quantity supposed and also to persuade the owner to forgo the rest of it .
4) When neither the exact quantity nor the owner is known the law states that an estimate has to be made and the average of the minimum and the maximum amount paid as charity after the permission of the Qazi .


According to the Quran and hadith , to flee from Jehad is a Greater Sin . It is the twenty-seventh sin . The following verse of Surah Anfaal is clear . It concerns running away from a confrontation with unbelievers when they are less than twice the number of Muslims .
�O you who believe ! When you meet those who disbelieve marching for war , then turn not your backs to them . And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day- unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company then he , indeed , becomes deserving of Allah�s wrath and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be . �
(Surah Anfaal 8 : 15-16)
Hazrat Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�Those who flee from the battlefield should know that they have angered their Lord and have damned themselves to destruction because fleeing from the battle causes Allah�s anger . And one who flees from the Holy war will be certain to face calamities and eternal degradation and his fleeing will not prevent death , and his life cannot be prolonged . That is , if the time of his death has arrived , his fleeing will not delay it . He will die due to some other reason . On the other hand , if the time of his death has not yet arrived and he participates in Jehad he will not die . Thus it is better for one to pledge his life to Allah rather than live in Allah�s anger , degradation and dishonour . �
Jehad is of two types :
(1) Initiated Jehad (2) Jehad in defence
The first kind is that when the Muslims undertake a war against the unbelievers to invite them to Islam or for establishing justice . However , the permission of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) , the Holy Imams (a . s . ) or their special representatives is a necessary prerequisite of this type of Jehad . Since the present period is of Major occultation this type of Jehad is forbidden .
Jehad in defence , as the name implies , pertains to circumstances when unbelievers attack Muslim territories or areas for obliterating Islamic heritage or for plundering the wealth and honour of Muslims . Under such conditions it is wajib-e-Kifai(9 ) to undertake Jehad and repel their attack . For this type of Jehad the express permission of the Imam (a . s . ) or his special deputy is not necessary .
There is a difference of opinion regarding flight from the battlefield . Some scholars are of the opinion that it pertains only to those wars that have been waged against the unbelievers under the order of the Holy Imam (a . s . ) or his special deputy . (For example , exemption from Ghusl and Shroud to the martyr also pertains to this Jehad) . Other doctors of religion maintain that the decree applies to both the kinds of Jehad . Those who wish to study this problem in detail can refer to the books of Jehad or the books of jurisprudence .
While discussing the prohibition of flight it would be most appropriate to discuss the steadfastness of Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) on the battlefield . Such incidents have been included in discussions extolling the merits of Ali (a . s . ) . Neither the Shia nor the Sunni historical books mention even a single instance when Ali (a . s . ) turned his back to a battle . Even in the battle of Ohud he was the only one who did not flee . In the ninth volume of Behaarul Anwaar , under the chapter of �Bravery� a narration has been recorded from Ibne Masud , concerning Ali (a . s . ) . Four of those who had run away from the battle of Ohud returned and again came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . They were Abu Dajana , Miqdad , Talha and Musayb . After this the rest of the Ansar came back . Thus it were these people who had deserted the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . All the companions had left the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) alone on the battlefield except Ali (a . s . ) . Ali (a . s . ) was fighting in the midst of the polytheists to defend Islam and the Prophet of Islam (s . a . w . s . ) .
During the battle of Ahzaab , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) bestowed Ali (a . s . ) with the titles of �The vicious attacker� and �the non-receeder . � That is , the one who attacks the enemies with vengeance and does not recede an inch . There is no doubt that Ali (a . s . ) was imbued with all these qualities . Whereas , history is a witness that other companions like Abu Bakr , Umar and Uthman had fled from numerous battlefields like Ohud , Khaibar , Hunain and Dhat-Salaasil . Ibne Abil Hadid the Mutazalite has penned the following couplet in his famous book :
�It is not surprising that Abu Bakr fled from Hunain .
He had also deserted the battle in Khaibar and Ohud . �


becoming A'araab after Hijrat

The twenty-eighth sin , which is labelled as a Greater Sin , is to become A�araab (Bedouin , gypsy etc) after Hijrat (migration) .
It is recorded in Usool-e-Kafi under the chapter of Greater Sins that according to the Sahih of Ibne Mahboob when he wrote a letter to Imam Musa Ibne Ja�far (a . s . ) he (a . s . ) replied and this sin was included among the Greater Sins . Moreover , Muhammad bin Muslim has quoted Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and stated that he (a . s . ) has included this sin among the greater ones . The book of Ali (a . s . ) also includes this sin in the list of Greater Sins .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Becoming A�araab after Hijrat and polytheism is one and the same (sin) . �
(Usool-e-Kafi chapter of Greater sins)


A�araab refers to the nomadic Arabs or Bedouins who are absolutely ignorant of religion and rituals connected with faith . Hijrat signifies the migration of these desert Arabs to the Muslim centre , their acceptance of Islam at the hands of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) or his rightful successor , and their consequent adherence to faith , and adherence to religious rules and regulations .
Becoming A�araab after Hijrat is the condition when a desert Bedouin before acquiring the necessary knowledge of religion turns back to his ignorant ways .
In the early period of Islam it was incumbent upon them to migrate towards the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in order to learn whatever was necessary for being a Muslim . Similarly it was prohibited for Muslims to stay in an area populated mostly with unbelievers; where it was not possible for them to pray and fast and perform other religious duties .


It is recorded in Tafseer Minhajus Saadeqeen that there were some people among the Muslims like Qays bin Waleed , who were outwardly Muslims and had recited the confession of La ilaaha illallah but inspite of this and their ability to do so , they did not accompany the Muslims in their Hijrat from Mecca to Madinah , and when the Quraish of Mecca marched to attack the Muslims in the battle of Badr these people joined them and were ultimately killed at the hands of the Muslims . A Quranic verse was revealed on this occasion :
�Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls , they shall say : In what state were you ? They shall say : We were weak in the earth . They shall say : Was not Allah�s earth spacious , so that you could have migrated therein ? So these it is whose abode is Hell , and it is an evil resort . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 97)
The above verse makes clear the fact that it is the duty of a Muslim to leave the place where he cannot adhere to his faith and rituals . In a tradition , the Prophet Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who migrates from a place to another for the sake of religion , even if it is only as far as the distance of a span (of hand) , Allah makes Paradise incumbent upon him . (Wherein) his companions will be Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . ) and Prophet Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) . �
(Minhajus Saadeqeen)
�Except the weak from among the men and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape); so these , it may be , Allah will pardon them , and Allah is Pardoning , Forgiving . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 98-99)
It is narrated from Akrama that many of the Meccans who had embraced Islam were not capable of migrating to Madinah , but when the Quranic verse deploring such people was revealed and they became aware of it; one of them Junda bin Zumra told his sons :
�Even though I have become extremely old and sick , I am not among those helpless people who have been deprived of migration by Allah . I have yet some strength left and I also know the way to Madinah . I fear that if I were to die suddenly , my failure to migrate would be a blemish on my perfect faith . So , you all lift up the bed on which I lie and carry me outside towards Madinah . �
Thus , his sons lifted the bed and carried him outside , but they had reached only a short distance when the signs of his death became apparent . Junda bin Zumro kept his right hand on his left hand and said : �O Allah ! This hand is for You and this for Your Messenger . I pledge allegiance to You for those things that Your Messenger had pledged . �
After this his soul escaped from his body . When the news of his death reached Madinah , some companions remarked , �It would have been better if Junda bin Zumro had reached Madinah . In this way he would have derived the sawaab of Hijrat . �
The Almighty Allah revealed the following ayat on this occasion :
�And whoever flies in Allah�s way , he will find in the earth many a place of refuge and abundant resources; and whoever goes forth from his house flying to Allah and His Apostle , and then death overtakes him , his reward is indeed with Allah and Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 100)


During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) it was incumbent upon every person to migrate towards him (s . a . w . s . ) to obtain instruction in religion and faith . In case he lived in the midst of unbelievers where he could not perform the obligatory acts of prayers and fasting , it was all the more necessary to migrate .
Failure to migrate and returning to nomadism is decreed to be a Greater Sin and the Almighty has promised Hell fire for such people .
After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) it became wajib to turn towards the Holy Imams (a . s . ) and to obtain the compulsory knowledge of faith and articles of Islamic acts . Also , it was most essential to attain the Ma�refat of Imam (a . s . ) i . e . it was incumbent to have knowledge of one�s Imam and also to learn the matters of belief and acts . It was also prohibited to turn back to paganism after the acceptance of Islamic faith . To remain aloof from the Holy Imam (a . s . ) even after recognising their position is haraam . Thus , Shaykh Sadooq narrates from Huzaifa bin Mansoor that he has reported from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) who said :
�To become A�araab after Hijrat is to recognise Imam (a . s . ) and then be aloof from him . �
(Maani al-Akhbaar)
Since the present age is the age of occultation of Imam-e-Zamana (a . s . ) the same rules apply to us .


Hijrat is incumbent on two types of people . The first type are those who are absolutely ignorant of the rules of religion . If there is no religious scholar in the area of their residence , whom they can refer to for their religious problems , then , it is compulsory for them to shift to a place where they have access to religious scholars for the solution of their problems .
The second types are those Muslims who live in the midst of unbelievers , and due to the oppression of these infidels , they are unable to perform their religious duties . It is incumbent on these Muslims to migrate to an area where there is freedom to practice their religion . The Shia jurists have explained this matter clearly .


The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has told us :
�Hijrat is wajib till the doors of repentance close . The doors of repentance will not close till the sun rises from the west . � (i . e . the order for migration will be in force till Qiyamat) .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�The order for Hijrat will be in force till Allah demands obedience from the inhabitants of the earth in the same way as the order was first promulgated in the time of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . �
It means that Hijrat will remain a compulsory duty till the time other religious duties remain obligatory on the people .


In the book of �Masalik� , the second martyr(10) writes that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has explained the meaning of the tradition of migration saying that it is specifically concerned with the migration from Mecca . Hence when Mecca was liberated from the domination of the unbelievers there was no need for the Muslims to migrate elsewhere . The order applies to only those Muslims who are unable to perform their religious duties . According to some scholars after the conquest Mecca there was no merit in migration from Mecca; just as there was a greater merit in Jehad and struggle for Islam before the conquest .
� . . . not alike among you are those who spent before the victory (of Mecca) and fought (and those who did not) : they are more exalted in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards . . . �
(Surah Hadeed 57 : 10)
In order to understand the purport of this ayat let us study the following points :


The respected scholar Allamah Hilli writes in his book Mumtahi that there are three kinds of Hijrat (Migration) , wajib (obligatory) , Mustahab (recommended) and Mubah (permitted) .
Hijrat is wajib on a Muslim (not restrained by old age or disease) who lives in the midst of infidels where he can neither reveal that he is a Muslim , nor can he perform his religious duties .
For those Muslims who live among infidels but who have complete freedom to practice their faith , it is recommended (Mustahab) to migrate to another area , if they are capable of doing so . However , if they have some legal excuse , migration is Mubah (Permitted) for them; it is not even Mustahab .


According to Sharhe Lumah and Jameal Maqasid , the first Martyr(11 ) is believed to have said : �It is incumbent for a Muslim to migrate if he is living in the midst of infidels and is unable to follow Islam or perform his religious duties . In the same way a Shia who is living among the Ahle-Sunnat and is not able to perform the ritual acts of Shias is similarly required to migrate to areas populated with Shia people . � However this view which is attributed to Muhammad Ibne Makki (the first martyr) is not compatible with the general Islamic principle . Because if a Shia is living among Sunnis he does not need to forgo his religious obligations . He can follow taqayya (dissimulation) and fulfill his ritual acts . He can perform the Islamic acts in the same manner as the Sunnis if he fears for his life or property . We do not have any tradition exhorting such people to migrate to another area . On the other hand the Holy Imams (a . s . ) have time and again emphasised upon the adherence to dissimulation under such circumstances .


Some scholars have supported the view of Muhammad Ibne Makki who stated the following tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) as quoted by Muhammad Ibne Muslim requested to explain the Islamic order for a person who during travel reaches a place where there aren�t any stones or sand; all the area is covered with snow and the person becomes �mujnib� (semen has been discharged from him and he has to perform the wajib Ghusl for prayers) . How can he do tayammum (substitute of Ghusl) in absence of mud or stone ? Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Let him do tayammum with this very snow and pray . I do not consider it proper for him to again go to such a place where he might lose his faith . �
According to those who support the view , since Imam (a . s . ) has prohibited his followers to go to a place where it is impossible to perform ghusl and wuzu , the prohibition also applies to a place where it is not possible to perform wuzu and ghusl according to Shia procedures .
However , this is not a sufficient argument because the tradition prohibits going to a place where one is sure to be unable to perform some obligatory acts . On the other hand it is only a possibility that in areas of Ahle-Sunnat a Shia will be compelled to practise taqayya . Besides , even if a Shia practices taqayya and performs the obligatory acts like the Ahle-Sunnat , his acts are considered correct . Moreover , if there is no constraint it may be recommended for him to migrate from the area of Ahle-Sunnat . However , if he is unable to express his love for Ahlul Bayt ( . a . s . ) it will certainly be Mustahab for him to migrate .


Samaad says that he told Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , that he was travelling to an area populated by polytheists and that he would have to stay there for some time . Some of the Momineen had told him that it was not advisable to travel there because if he were to die in that place he would be counted among the polytheists . Imam (a . s . ) asked him if he would be able to propagate the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt and invite people towards truth in that place ? Samaad said , �Yes , master , there is total freedom of expression and religion . The people there , are receptive of truth . � Then Imam (a . s . ) asked whether such a freedom was possible in an Islamic area . Samaad said , �No ! On the contrary we have to practise extreme taqayya , and none of us can even dare to utter the names of one of you (Imams) . � Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�If death overcomes you in such a place you would be counted as a monotheist community . � [i . e . he will be equal to a whole community of monotheists; like Hazrat Ibrahim (a . s . )] . The light of belief will emanate from your face . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Allamah Majlisi (r . a . ) writes in the Sharh of Al-Kafi that it is possible that A�araab means to become a nomad again or to forgo Hijrat after the order of Hijrat has been revealed . Like the prohibition of interest , which came into force only after the Divine command was revealed . Nevertheless , since the early period , failure to migrate without a valid reason or to migrate and then revert to nomadism , both of these are Greater Sin and promised the fire of Hell by the Almighty Allah .


We have already mentioned at the beginning of our discussion that nomad specifically applies to the desert Arabs who were away from the centre of Islam and could not learn the Islamic rules and regulations , nor could they remember and follow the articles of faith . In this connection the following verse was revealed in the Quran :
�The dwellers of the desert are very hard in unbelief and hypocrisy , and more disposed not to know the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Apostles; and Allah is Knowing , Wise . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 97)
The Almighty also says :
�And of the dwellers of the desert are those who take what they spend to be a fine , and they wait (the befalling of) calamities to you; on them (will be) the evil calamity; and Allah is Hearing , Knowing . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 98)
Also :
�And of the dwellers of the desert are those who believe in Allah and the latter day and take what they spend to be (means of) the nearness of Allah and the Apostle�s prayers; surely it shall be means of nearness for them; Allah will make them enter into His mercy; surely Allah is Forgiving , Merciful . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 99)


The above two verses which flay the infidel Bedouins are clear regarding the fact that the nomads were deserving of criticism not because of their being dwellers of desert . It was because of their ignorance of articles of Islamic acts and belief . For those Bedouins who followed the Islamic religion , the Holy book has praised them in the third verse . They have been promised Divine Mercy .
On the basis of this , people who avoid learning Islamic rules and regulations and those who keep away from the centres of religious knowledge are in fact , nomads , and the verse denouncing the desert Arabs also applies to them even though they are living in cities .
The respected Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) remarked :
�Learn the rules of religion . Those of you who do not learn about religion are nomads . As the Almighty Allah says in His book , �Why does not a company from you goes to learn about religion so that when they come back they can warn their people in order they may become fearful (of disobeying Allah) . ��
(Behaarul Anwaar , Book of Aql)
Thus one who does not try to learn about religion and articles of faith is a desert dweller . The Imam (a . s . ) also told his followers :
�Knowledge of the Divine religion is incumbent on you . And do not become a nomad . Because if you fail to understand a religious act , Allah will not look upon it with Mercy on the Day of Qiyamat and He will not purify that deed . �


Muhaddith Faiz writes in Waafi that it is possible that the above pronouncement may also apply to those who learn about the Islamic rituals and practices but fail to act upon them . He also quotes a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) to prove this point . Allamah Majlisi (r . a . ) states in the Sharh of Al-Kafi that some scholars are of the opinion that being a nomad in the present time applies to those who after acquiring religious instructions , do not act upon them and remain aloof from Islamic knowledge .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�A man says that he has migrated , though in fact he has not . Because a migrant is the one who abandons sins and does not even go near them . And a person says that he has fought in the way of Allah but in reality he has not , because Jehad is the leaving of sinful acts and a war against enemy inside our own self . Whereas many people go out to fight not for the obedience and satisfaction of the Lord . Their motive is only to gain fame so that people may praise their bravery and fearlessness . �
(Behaarul Anwaar vol . 15)


From the Quranic verses , the traditions and writings of the Islamic scholars we can conclude that nomadism implies the condition of a person who is ignorant and unaware of Allah Almighty�s Nobility of which human beings are capable and the eternal bliss which one can achieve , and instead he is totally immersed in the desires of this transient world . He is oblivious to righteousness and does not refrain from committing any sin or evil . He does not care to acquire knowledge (Ma�refat) , nor does he pay attention to good deeds , that would fetch him eternal rewards in the Hereafter . It would surely deprive a person of salvation and eternal bliss .
Hijrat (migration) is the exact opposite of Nomadism . Nomadism after Hijrat (migration) implies that a person migrates to Islam and obtains knowledge of religion and then reverts to his former ways . It can be said that performing some good actions for some time and then leaving them is also a kind of reverting to nomadism . The denouncement is valid only if the person does this due to laziness and sloth and not due to some real hindrance or helplessness . It is necessary to continue to perform good actions once we have begun them . As far as possible we should not discontinue them .
Jabir Johfi quotes Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) to have said :
�I like to continue good actions so that I become habitual in them . If I could not perform a particular deed in the day I make up for it during the night and if I do not perform an action during the night I make up the following day . Certainly the best of the deeds near Allah are those which one continues . Hence all the deeds of the week are presented to Imam (a . s . ) every Thursday and the deeds of the month at the end of the month and all the deeds of the year at the middle of Shabaan . So if you begin a good ritual , keep at it for the whole year . � (i . e . continue it for at least a year) .
(Behaarul Anwaar)


If a person begins to acquire religious knowledge but later discontinues the same it is considered reverting to nomandism by some . However , it is Haraam only if his religious education is obligatory (i . e . if he leaves it , he will go astray) . However , it is incumbent to continue acquiring knowledge till the end of one�s life so that one can continue to perform good deeds with sincerity and purity of intention . In this way a person becomes righteous and deserving of the rewards of his good deeds , both in this world and the hereafter .
As the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said :
�Acquire knowledge from the cradle to the grave . �


helpimg the oppressors

The twenty-ninth sin , that is classified as a Greater Sin is �Helping the oppressors� . Fazl Ibne Shazaan has narrated from Imam Reza (a . s . ) that he said concerning the Greater Sins :
�And helping the oppressors and bending (leaning) towards them . �
In the narration of Amash from Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) the following is mentioned , �Not helping the oppressed people is a Greater Sin . � In other words helping the oppressors is also a Greater Sin .
Imam Musa Ibne Ja�far (a . s . ) says :
�To participate in the activities of the oppressors and to endeavour to achieve their evil objectives and to help them is equal to infidelity and to knowingly lean towards them is a Greater Sin and deserves Hell . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) similarly says :
�On the night of ascension (Meraj) , I saw the following inscription on the doors of Hell , �DO NOT BE A HELPER OF THE OPPRESSORS . ��
(Wasaelush Shia)
It means that if one does not wish to enter Hell he must refrain from co-operating with the oppressors . Moreover , this is a sin that is promised Divine punishment by the Almighty in the Holy Quran .
�And do not incline to those who are unjust , lest the fire touch you , and you have no guardians besides Allah , then you shall not be helped . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 113)
According to Tafseer Minhajus Sadeqeen �do not incline� means we must not have the slightest inclination towards the oppressors . Hence we must not treat them honourably nor mix with them freely nor express our affections for them . We must not be greedy of their gifts , nor should we praise them and obey their orders . When such are the prohibitions against the oppressors , it is obvious that then it cannot be lawful to help them and co-operate with them in oppression .
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) remarks ,
�One who prays for the long life of an oppressor is as if he likes the opposition of Allah on the Earth . �
(Minhajus Sadeqeen)
There is an interesting incident in the book Rawzaatul Jannat concerning the author of Maqasikul Ahkam , Sayyed Muhammad . Once the Sayyed and another respected teacher , Shaykh , planned a pilgrimage to the Holy tomb of Imam Reza (a . s . ) at Mashad , but when they learned that Shah Abbas Safavi was staying at Mashad they decided to cancel their visit .
Similarly under the biography of Sayyed Bahrul Uloom it is mentioned that when the Governor of Shustaran Province behaved with utmost respect with him , he says , �Before I could develop some liking for him and come under the denouncement of the Quranic Verse , I fled from that place . � Thus he shifted from Dezful and settled down in Iraq for the rest of his life .
When we study the biographies of some scholars we realise how strictly they refrained from meeting , mixing with or communicating with the oppressors , so that there would not be even a remote chance for them to befriend them and help them in their activities .
Muhaddith Jazaeri writes in the book Fawaidur Rizvia that there was a person who committed some blunder in the presence of Shah Abbas Safavi and in order to escape his wrath took refuge in Mashad . Then he approached the late Mulla Ahmed (Muqaddase Ardebeli) and requested him to write to the Shah that he may forgive his mistake . Muqaddase Ardebeli wrote as follows :
�Founder of a kingdom obtained through asking , Abbas ! Know that even though this man was initially an oppressor , but he is now an oppressed one . So , overlook his mistake . I hope Allah will forgive some of your mistakes . �
Signed : From the slave of the king of Wilayat , Ahmed Ardebeli .
The Shah replied to his letter :
�You have been grateful upon me for ordering those things which you did (in your letter) . Do not neglect me in your invocations . �
Signed : Dog of the House of Ali , Abbas .
It is quoted from Tarikh Bahire that Khwaja Nizamul Mulk the Prime Minister of Malik Shah Seljuq , was very much thoughtful of the Hereafter and the Day of Judgement and he used to be fearful in this regard . During the tenure of his ministry he was a supporter of the helpless , a patron of intellectuals , and steadfast in following the religious obligations . He thought of obtaining a certificate from the scholars and intellectuals , certifying his good morals , so that the document could be kept inside his shroud during burial . He hoped to achieve salvation by this . He drafted a certificate and sent it to various scholars and intellectuals for their signatures . When it reached Baghdad and was presented before the respected teacher of Nizamiya Madrassa , Shaykh Abu Ishaq , he wrote , �I witness that Shaykh Nizamul Mulk is slightly better (oppressor) from among the oppressors . �
When Khwaja saw the remark of Abu Ishaq , he wept and said : �Whatever Abu Ishaq has written is true . � There is no doubt that helping the oppressors in any way is Haraam and a Greater Sin . There is an Islamic law for every kind of oppressor and the ways of helping the oppressors , and it is incumbent to learn these rules and commands .


�Zulm� the Arabic word for oppression and injustice implies disregard for Divine commandments and also to oppose whatever is compatible with reason and logic . There are two types of such oppression :
(1) Crossing the limits of religious law is equal to polytheism . As the Almighty says ,
� . . . most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity . �
(Surah Luqman 31 : 13)
(2) Belying the Divine signs is also oppression as stated in the Holy Book ,
. . . and the unbelievers- they are the unjust . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 254)
In short , we can say that all the religious laws that we are supposed to follow according to reason or religious commands must be obeyed in totality . Not accepting them or not believing them is a kind of injustice . Apart from this , non-acceptance of the Divine commands or not acting upon them or disregarding the limits specified by the Almighty , like neglecting a Wajib act or doing a Haraam one , all of these constitute injustice .
Thus the Almighty Lord says ,
� . . . and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah these it is that are the unjust . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 229)
This also applies to injustice upon ones own self . As Allah (a . j . ) mentions :
�Therefore whoever disbelieves , his unbelief is against himself . �
(Surah Fatir 35 : 39)
Various kinds of oppressions include insulting , abusing , degrading or imprisoning a person; also backbiting or accusing a person falsely or hurting a person physically . Another form of oppression is to usurp someone�s property or to obtain it without the owner�s permission , or not to return the rights to its owner etc . Another way of usurping a right is to forcefully occupy a position reserved for someone else . The supreme example of such injustice was comitted by the tyrant rulers of Bani Umayya and Bani Abbas when they usurped the position of Wilayat which clearly belonged to the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) . Another example is that of the unjust jurist who assumes the seat of Qazi .
Oppression belongs to two categories . In one category are the tyrant rulers and vicious kings , for whom committing oppression is a normal practice . In the second category are the individuals who may do injustice to someone else once in a while . We shall study all these types of injustices in four sub-topics .


Helping an oppressor in any way whatsoever is haraam . For example to hand over a cane to someone so that he can beat an innocent person , or to help in any way to imprison him or kill him .
The renowned Shaykh Ansari writes in Makasib that the prohibiting of co-operation with the oppressors is confirmed by all four proofs required to prove the Islamic laws . i . e . Quran , reason , Sunnat and Ijma .
Logic : Reason dictates that there is no difference between the actual oppressor and the one who helps him . Both are equally responsible for the act of injusice . It is possible that if there is no one to help the oppressor he may not be able to oppress . Hence logically it is haraam help an oppressor .
Ijma : Refering to books on jurisprudence , confirms that all the jurists are unanimous in their opinion that helping the oppressor is haraam .
Quran : The Quranic verse
�And do not incline to those who do injustice , �
is sufficient to prove the illegality of helping the unjust . Because if even a slight inclination towards unjust people is prohibited , then how can helping them be permitted . As helping them would be the greatest form of inclining towards them .
Moreover , the Almighty says :
� . . . and do not help one another in sin and oppression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting evil . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 2)


Numerous traditions have reached us in this connection . Shaykh Ansari has also recorded the following tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) in his book Waraam :
�If one knowingly goes to help an oppressor , he has apostasized from Islam . �
(Majmua Waraam)
Naturally an act that makes a person bereft of the Islamic faith must be a sin that results in his destruction .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�When Qiyamat occurs an announcer will call : Where are the unjust , the helpers of Unjust and those like the Unjust ? So much so that even if one has procured merely pen and ink for the oppressor to write the order of oppression; all these people would be bundled up in a cage of iron and thrown into Hell . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Messenger of Islam (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�If a person even hangs up a cane for the tyrant king so that he can beat the oppressed one , Allah will change that cane into a snake , seventy thousand yards long and place it in the Hell fire (to torment him) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
�Those who take the affairs of oppressors in their hands and help him in oppression will , at the time of death , be conveyed the Divine curse and news of Hell fire by the angel of death . And Hell is an evil resort . One who guides the oppressor will be considered at par with Hamaan (the minister of Firon) . And the punishment of those who help the unjust and the oppressors themselves will be more grievous than other punishments of the inmates of Hell . And if a person backbites about his believing brother to the ruler , and even though the Muslim may not have to suffer any injury from it , the backbiter will have all his good deeds nullified . However , if the Muslim had to suffer oppression at the hands of the ruler , the back-biter will be kept by Allah in that section of Hell where Hamaan will be confined . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


To praise an oppressor so that his power and authority may increase , or he may be enouraged to become more daring , is also Haraam . This is confirmed by arguments that have been mentioned , and also the proofs concerning the forbidding of evil (Nahy Anil Munkar) .
Shaykh Ansari has specifically related a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) :
�One who shows respect to a rich man and in the greed of his wealth considers him good; the Almighty Allah becomes angry on him and puts him in a cage of fire at the lowest part of Hell where Qarun is confined . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
This tradition applies to all types of people , but if the praised one is unjust , the one who praises will be eligible to severe retribution . The Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has said ,
�If one praises a tyrant king or shows humility due to greed (of his rewards) then he will be in Hell with him (the King) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Another prophetic tradition states ,
�Whenever a transgressor is praised , the heavens shudder and the Divine Anger envelopes the one who has praised . �
(Safinatul Behaar)


The most common way of helping the oppressors is to accept some post or position from them , especially if that post is a cause for any type of oppression . For example the post of maintaining law and order . If a person assumes such an assignment from the oppressors and as a result unleashes oppression on innocent people , such an appointment and such an acceptance of the post is a Greater Sin . If as a result of it , innocent people are subjected to hardships , the doer of such actions is sure to have a severe punishment from the Almighty .
There is one very well known tradition of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and it is quoted here from Tohful Oqool . Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�The Haraam post is the post of an oppressive ruler and the posts of those who are busy in the assignments entrusted by the tyrants . Hence it is Haraam to fulfill the duty of this post . One who takes up this post will become involved in Divine punishment . Whether the job is significant or paltry , any attempt to help the oppressor is a Greater Sin . Because accepting a post from an oppressor will result in the trampling of rights , the manifestation of injustice , the spread of corruption and disturbance , the destruction of heavenly books , the murder of Prophets , the demolishing of mosques and the interpolation of religious laws . Therefore it is Haraam to work with them . Except when there is a condition of utter helplessness , like when it becomes permissible to drink blood and eat the flesh of dead . � (Tohful Oqool)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has also said :
�Those who accept some assignment from the oppressors; the minimum punishment for them on the Day of Judgement would be that Allah would make them stand near fire till He does the accounting of the rest of the people . After that He will decide about them . �
In the last portion of the book Daarus Salaam there is an incident concerning Sayyed Muhammad Ali Iraqi . He was one of those who had the honour of seeing Imam-e-Zamana (a . s . ) . He says . . . �during the time of my youth I was staying in my native village in Iraq . The name of that place was Karharood . In those days a person whom I knew by his name and lineage passed away and was buried in the graveyard opposite to our house . For forty days , at the time of sunset a fire arose from his grave , and wails and screams were heard . On one of those nights the wailing of that dead man became more intense and I was very much troubled . I became so much frightened that I was trembling uncontrollably as if the punishment was on myself; so much so that I eventually began to lose consciousness . When my friends came to know of my condition they came and carried me to their house and I remained there till I was well again . Afterwards I came to know that the dead man was working in the local court . One day he had demanded some tax from a Sayyed who was unable to pay . This man arrested the Sayyed and locked him up in one of his rooms . He hung him from the ceiling of his house for quite some time . It was due to these deeds that he was punished after death . �
Another similar incident is related by a reliable person that , some time ago there was a person by the name of Aaqa Muhammad Ali . He was a dealer in perfumes and was also in some way connected with the law courts . He had promulgated an order banning all the people from any kind of trade in perfumes . During that period a Sayyed had some perfume and he sold it to some other trader . When this tyrant came to know of this he met the Sayyed in the market and abused him excessively and even slapped him . In reply to this the Sayyed said , �My ancestors will repay you for this . � When the tyrant heard this he turned back and ordered his slave to catch hold of the Sayyed . Then he beat the Sayyed with a cane saying , �Go and tell your ancestor to cut off my arms . � The very next day this oppressor contracted high fever and his arms began to pain severely during the night . On the third day his arms had swollen terribly and puss began to ooze from them . On the fourth day the surgeons amputed his arms in a way that only the stubs remained . He died on the seventh day .
Therefore , it is important to know that acceptance of an assignment or a post from an oppressor or a tyrant is a great help to that unjust man . And it is impossible for the person who accepts such assignments to remain just and non-violent .
It is mentioned in the Sahih of Dawood bin Zarbi that one of the followers of Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) had requested Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) to recommend him to the ruler of Madinah , Dawood bin Ali for an appointment in the governmental post . Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) replied : �I will never do such a thing . �
On hearing this he thought that Imam (a . s . ) was unwilling to recommend him because he might be worried that some injustice would be caused by him . So he approached Imam (a . s . ) and began to promise and take oaths that he would never do any kind of unjust act and said that he would not do anything except help the people . Imam (a . s . ) looked at the sky and began to weep . Then he said that going to the sky was easier . It was apparent that Imam (a . s . ) meant to say that once a person accepts employment of an oppressor it is impossible for him not to oppress .


There are two situations where it is allowed to accept appointment in the service of oppressors and rather in some cases it becomes Wajib to do so . It is permissible when a person is forced to accept it or if he is practising Taqayya . That is , if he refuses , his life property or honour will be in danger . Permissibility of accepting employment under tyrants is proved in many ways .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has said ,
�My people will not be questioned for what they are forced to do . �
And Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) has mentioned :
�There is nothing that Allah has not made permissible for one who is helpless . �
Imam Reza (a . s . ) has been reported in Wasaelush Shia to say that he accepted to be heir-apparent of Mamun under duress and taqayya . When Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) was asked about working for a tyrant king , he replied ,
�It is not allowed , except when a person is not able to obtain his livelihood from any other means or if his life is in danger and his life depends on accepting some work from the tyrant . In that case it is allowed . But if he receives any remuneration from the tyrant he must pay Khums from it . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Such appointments are permissible when the job involves only peacekeeping and maintaining of law and order . Like posts in armies where the aim is to defend the borders of Muslim countries , to see to the welfare of believers and the downtrodden people , and to restore the rights to those who were deprived of it . Accepting service under tyrants is allowed in these circumstances provided one has a firm intention of dealing in a just manner . If the intention is to help the Shias specifically , it is more meritorious . Ziyad ibn Abi Salma says that he went to meet Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) . Imam (a . s . ) asked him if he was employed with the government ? �Yes , � he replied . Imam (a . s . ) asked , �Why ? �
He replied , �I am benevolent and helpful to the needy so I cannot leave this job . Apart from this I have a family and children and I have no other means of livelihood . � Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�O Ziyad if I am taken to the top of a high mountain and thrown from it and my body is shattered to pieces . I would prefer that to doing some job for these people or even to step inside their threshold . Except for one condition . Do you know what that is ? �
Ziyad said , �May my life be sacrificed for you; I don�t know . �
Imam (a . s . ) continued ,
�Except that I rescue the believers from grief and hardships or liberate an imprisoned believer , or repay the debts of a believer . � After this Imam (a . s . ) went on to say , �O Ziyad ! If you are employed under a tyrant , work for the welfare of your believing brothers so that it will recompense for the sins that you may happen to commit during your service period . �
Fazl Ibne Abdul Rehman says that I wrote a letter to Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) asking , �Please permit me to work on a governmental post . � Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�You are permitted , provided you do not change my religious commands or cross the limits laid down by Allah . The compensation of your action will be your fulfilling the needs of your believing brother . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Ali Ibn Yaqteen , who was the Prime Minister of Caliph Haroon , wrote to Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) : �Please give me permission to resign from this post . � Imam (a . s . ) replied to him ,
�I do not consider it permissible for you to leave this governmental post because in the courts of tyrants there are people through whom Allah removes the difficulties of His loved ones . And they are the ones whom Allah has made immune from the fire of Hell . Hence fear Allah with respect to your brothers . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Muhammad bin Ismail Bazee was also a minister in the court of Haroon . He had the honour of meeting three Imams , Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) , Imam Ali Reza (a . s . ) and Imam Jawad (a . s . ) who provided his own garment to serve as his shroud . He relates from Imam Reza (a . s . ) that he said ,
�There are people in the courts of tyrants through whom Allah manifests His proof and they are appointed in specific cities . Allah removes the difficulties of His loved ones through them and by them He brings about the welfare of Muslims . The believers take refuge with them in calamities . The needs of our needy Shias are fulfilled through these very people . And the Almighty Allah through their means imposes the fear and dread of the believers upon the houses of oppressors . These are the true believers who are the trust bearers of Allah on this earth . Congratulations to them for their position and post ! �
Then Imam (a . s . ) asked ,
�Wouldn�t it be better that at least one of you reaches that position ? �
Muhammad asked , �May my life be sacrificed for you . How can a person reach such a position ? � Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Being with the tyrants , he makes the heart of our Shias happy; that makes us happy . O Muhammad ! After you do this you will be considered among those people who have lofty positions . �
(Behaarul Anwaar vol . 15)


At times it is Wajib to accept rulership or a post in government . A person should do so only when he is sure that if he assumes the post he will be able to uproot a great evil or will be able to prevent at least one sinful ritual or system . But such a situation is rare because it depends on personal confidence , that after one assumes authority , one will never commit any sort of injustice or sinful act nor go against justice and Divine commands . It is obvious that such a proposition is very difficult because there are numerous dangers that lurk behind the facade of governance . It is most difficult to save oneself from them .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) replied to the letter of Abdullah Najjashi the ruler of Ahwaz :
�It has come to my knowledge that you assumed the rulership of Ahwaz . I am happy by this news and aggrieved too . Happy because I hope Allah will remove the difficulties and the problems of the Progeny of Muhammad and help them through you and through you the fire of opposition will cool down on them . I am aggrieved on account of the fears , the least of which is that you may become a cause of injury or difficulty to our followers and thus be deprived of even the fragrance of Paradise . �
(Makasib Muharrama)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who assumes the leadership of a community will be raised on the Day of Qiyamat in a way that both his hands will be tied to his neck . Then if he had dealt with the people according to Shariah; Allah will free him . But if he has been unjust he will be thrown into Hell . And what an evil resort it is . If a leader of a community does not deal with justice and goodness with the people , for each day that he ruled , he will be made to stand at the boundary of Hell for a thousand years with both his hands tied behind his neck . Thus if he has dealt with equity he will be freed and if not , he will be thrown into Hell , into a depth of seventy thousand years . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�If a person has authority in a particular affair of the people and he deals with justice with them and the doors of his house are open for those who refer to him and seek his help and he does not remain aloof from the people . Then the Almighty Allah will keep him safe from dread and fear on the Day of Qiyamat and make him enter Paradise . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It must be remembered , however , that this is a vast subject and it is not possible to discuss all its facets . Hence those who wish to study in detail may refer to books of jurisprudence .


Helping the oppressors or tyrants in matters other than oppression; like to work as their personal assistant , to stitch clothes for them , or build their house or guard their property . All these types of jobs can be classified into three categories :
(1) In some cases these jobs indirectly help in oppression; for example , if the tyrant had usurped a piece of land and orders a mason to build a house on it , or a cloth which has been obtained forcefully is given to a tailor to stitch a dress , or a person may be ordered to guard the money exhorted from innocent people .
There is no doubt that all such kinds of jobs are Haraam . Because the use of things acquired by illegal means is Haraam for the one who has acquired them or for anyone else who is aware of their contraband nature .
(2) The second category is of those jobs which are not direct acts of oppressions or which do not help in oppressing , but since the one who is involved in them is associated with the tyrants and the common people consider him to be a part of that oppression; it is Haraam . His presence may encourage the tyrants , consequently his name is also included in the list of oppressors . He is also counted among those who usurp the rights of people . All these are Haraam according to numerous traditions . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who has his name registered in the office of Bani Abbas will be raised on the Day of Qiyamat in the form of a pig . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
In another tradition he says that such a person will be brought in the form of a black pig . Imam (a . s . ) has also said ,
�Do not help the oppressors in the construction of mosques . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Ibn Abi Yaafur says that I was in the company of Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) when one of the Shias came and spoke to Imam (a . s . ) . He said , �May our lives be sacrificed for you ! Some of our people have problems in obtaining livelihood whereas there are vacancies in the establishments of Bani Abbas for construction of buildings and digging of canals . So what is your opinion regarding this ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�I don�t like to tie even a knot , or the mouth of a water bag or the strap of a purse for them . Even if they were to pay me with Madinah and whatever is in it . I do not like that I help them even as little as the ink at the tip of a pen . Without any doubt , the oppressors will remain standing at the verge of Hell-fire till the time Allah decides about all others . �
Muhammad bin Azaafar says that Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) told his father ,
�I have come to know that you deal freely with Abu Ayyub and Abu Rabie . Then what would be your condition when your name will appear in the list of the helpers of tyrants ? �
Hearing this command the father became aggrieved . When Imam (a . s . ) saw his restlessness he said ,
�I have only warned you of that about which the Almighty has warned me . �
The narrator says , �My father remained sorrowful for the rest of his life . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says , �It is incumbent upon Allah to raise you on the Day of Qiyamat with the same group from which you derived benefits in this world . �
The Imam (a . s . ) has also mentioned the incidents when some of the followers of Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) decided to support Firon for worldly benefits and secretly planned to change sides . When Musa (a . s . ) was about to win , they enrolled as his supporters , but it so happened that when Firon and his soldiers were about to be drowned and these people made a bid to cross to Hazrat Musa�s side , the Almighty Allah caused their horses to perish and they also drowned with Firon and his army .
(Wasaelush Shia)
Our beloved Imam (a . s . ) has the following advice for us :
�Fear Allah , strengthen your faith with an uncomparable taqayya and avoid presenting your needs to the ruler . And if a person is respectful to an irreligious man , Allah will degrade him and will consider him His enemy and leave him on his own . And if he receives any monetary benefit from this man , Allah will remove barakat from it . And if he uses this money to perform Hajj or emancipate slaves , or for any other benevolent deed , he will not get any reward for it . �
(Al Kafi)
Ali bin Abi Hamza says , �One of my friends was a scribe in the employ of Bani Umayya . One day he requested me to take him to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . I took him to Imam (a . s . ) . He saluted and said , �May my life be sacrificed upon you , I had been in the employ of Bani Umayya as a scribe and have earned a huge amount of wealth without giving any thought to right or wrong . � Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�If people like this had not been in the service of Bani Umayya to write letters for them , collect their wealth for them , fight their enemies and attend their assemblies , they (Bani Ummaya) would not have usurped our rights . And if they had been left alone they would not have been able to accumulate any wealth more than what they had . �
The man said , �May I be sacrificed for you , can I attain salvation after what I have done ? � Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Separate whatever wealth you have earned from them and try to return it to the rightful owners if you know them . Whatever you cannot deliver should be given as charity (Sadaqah) on their behalf so that I can guarantee that Allah will send you to Paradise . �
Upon hearing this , the young man bowed his head thoughtfully for sometime . Then he raised his head and said , �May I be sacrificed on you , I will do as you have ordered . � After this he accompanied me to Kufa and returned all his wealth to the rightful owners as much as it was possible; the rest he gave away as Sadaqah . He even gave up the dress he was wearing . I procured some money for him and bought him a dress and gave him some amount for his expenses . After some months he fell ill and I paid him a visit . I found that he was in a very serious condition . He opened his eyes and told me , �Ali ibn Abi Hamza , by Allah , your Imam (a . s . ) has fulfilled his promise . � He died soon after . I supervised his final rites and returned to Madinah to meet Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�O Ali ! I have fulfilled my promise to your friend . �
I said , �May I be sacrificed upon you ! You speak the truth , because my companion testified to it at the time of his death . ��
(Wasaelush Shia)


(3) The third type of help is that which is not objectionable in any way an encouragement to the oppressor , nor can it be considered as help to the oppressor in general sense . For example , to hire vehicles or carry the load of permissible goods and eatables etc . All these types of actions are not totally Haraam but some elders have mentioned that on the basis of precaution it is necessary to avoid even these actions . As we have stated earlier , by involving oneself in such matters one is prone to incline towards the oppressors .


Safwan bin Mehram Kufi was a very pious companion of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) . He used to earn his livelihood by hiring out camels . He owned a large number of camels . He says that one day Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) said to him ,
�Safwan every action of yours is meritorious except one . �
�May I be sacrificed for you , what action is that ? � He said ,
�You hire your camels to Harun al-Rashid (l . a . )�
He said , �I don�t give my camels for hunting or games but he takes them when he goes for Hajj and I do not serve him myself , I order my servants to accompany them on the journey . �
Imam (a . s . ) asked ,
�Do they pay you in advance or after their return ? �
�After they return� , he replied ,
�Don�t you carry the hope that they return safe and sound from their journey so that you receive your payment ? �
�Yes . �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�One who wishes them to remain alive is like them and one who is connected with them will go to Hell . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Safwan says that when he heard this he sold away all his camels . When Harun heard of this he summoned him and asked the reason for it . He said , �I have become old and weak and am unable to take care of the camels , even my slaves are not capable of maintaining them properly . �
Haroon said , �It is not so ! I know who has persuaded you to do this . You have done this on the direction Musa Ibne Ja�far (a . s . ) . �
�What do I have to do with Musa Ibne Ja�far ? � said Safwan but Haroon was not satisfied and said that if he had not had good relations with Safwan he would have got him killed .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who likes the oppressors to continue (to live) likes the disobedience to Allah (to continue) on this earth . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
While explaining the Quranic verse ,
� . . . and do not incline to those who are unjust , lest the fire may touch you . �
(Surah Hud 11 : 113)
Imam (a . s . ) says ,
�If a person comes to a ruler and wishes for him to live if only for as long as it would take for him to put his hand inside his money bag and give some amount . �
Wishing for the life of an oppressor even for a moment is the same as being inclined towards him .


To help a person , who is not always oppressive , but occasionally happens to commit oppression , is also absolutely Haraam . If one knowingly helps a person in a situation where he oppressing another , one commits a Haraam action and a Greater Sin and will be punished as promised in Quran :
�Surely We have prepared for the iniquitous a fire , the curtains of which shall encompass them about; and if they cry for water , they shall be given water like molten brass which will scald their faces , evil the drink and ill the resting place . �
(Surah Kahf 18 : 29)
Oppressing and helping someone in oppression is one and the same .
Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) has remarked :
�The oppressor , the one who helps an oppressor and the one who is satisfied with it , are all partners in oppression . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
It means all three of them are equally responsible . A similar tradition has been narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) who says that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said :
�One who breaks allegiance to the Imam , or raises a standard of misguidance or conceals a piece of knowledge which is obligatory to be imparted or usurps some property or helps an oppressor knowingly; then he has deserted the religion of Islam . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
On the night of ascension (Meraj) the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) saw the following inscription on the door of Hell :
�Allah degrades the one who insults Islam , the one who insults the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) and the one who helps an oppressor in oppression . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
In this way the Quranic verses and traditions prove the seriousness of oppression and helping an oppressor as a Greater sin . Moreover , one who helps an oppressor has also acted against the Divine commandments of forbidding evil . He is actually a hypocrite because he has in fact encouraged an evil and this is one of the characteristics of a hypocrite . As the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran :
�The hypocritical men and the hypocritical women are all alike; they enjoin evil and forbid good . . . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 67)


If a Muslim sees an oppressor trying to oppress someone and if he is in a position to prevent him it is obligatory on him to do so . The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Help your Muslim brother whether he is an oppressor or the oppressed one . �
People asked , �O Messenger of Allah ! We shall help the oppressed ones but how is it possible to help the oppressor ? � He replied ,
�Hold both the hands of the oppressor so that he cannot oppress . If you do it , it is as if you have helped him and such an action is a help to your brother (in faith) . �
(Anwaarun Nomaniya)


It is permitted to help an oppressor (in acts other than his acts of oppression) if rendering this help can discourage him from his oppression .
If however , helping him has no effect on his oppressive activities then from the point of view of Nahy anil Munkar (forbidding evil) it is Haraam to help him .


It is also Haraam to help an oppressor whose oppression is not directed to others; but he is unjust to himself . For example to omit prayers and avoid fasting , to drink wine , commit adultery , gambling etc . Every type of sinner is being unjust to himself . Hence helping him in being unjust to himself is also prohibited . One who helps him is his partner in sin . The Almighty Allah has mentioned :
�Help one another in goodness and piety , and do not help one another in sin and oppression , and be careful of (your duty to) Allah , surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil) . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 2)
Sin (ithm) is limited to the one who commits it and aggression (udwaan) affects others too .
All the proofs and arguments that are applicable to the obligation of forbidding evil also apply here .


To help in any condition required in a sinful act is Haraam .
1 . For example to sell grapes with the specific purpose of making wine .
2 . A person may help in some way without the intention of helping towards a sinful act , for example , he may sell grapes to a wine-maker without the intention of this being used for making wine , but if there is no other source available for the wine maker to procure grapes , then the selling of grapes by this person is haraam , because it would directly contribute to the manufacture of wine .


Is it allowed to help a sinful person , by way of giving loan or solving his difficulties to one who does not pray or is an alcoholic ? Sometimes it is very difficult to decide as to what is the proper course of action in such circumstances , because we are commanded to maintain a distance from sinners . Thus Ali (a . s . ) says :
�The Messenger of Allah has ordered us to be unfriendly with the sinful people . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Hazrat Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) rebuked his followers :
�It may happen that in your social circle one of your Shias does evil , and you do not prevent him nor dissociate with him nor hurt him , till he gives up his evil deeds . �
There are several traditions regarding certain specific sins . For example :
�One who helps a person who does not pray , with a morsel of food or a piece of cloth , is as if he has murdered seventy Prophets , the first of whom being Adam (a . s . ) and the last , Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) . �
(Layali Akhbaar)
In another tradition the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who smiles at a person who does not pray , is as if he had demolished the Holy Ka�ba seventy times . �
(Layali Akhbaar)
The Prophet of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) also says :
�One who helps a person who does not pray , with a drink of water , is as if he has made war upon me . �
(Layali Akhbaar)
Other traditions of this kind are against associating with alcoholics , with those who cut off relationships with their kith and kin and with liars . On the other hand we have traditions that emphasise the respecting of a believer�s rights , helping and socialising with the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , the Sayyads , the neighbours etc .
The latter kinds of traditions are not conditional . For example it is obligatory to do Sileh Rahem with one�s kindered and it is not a necessary condition that the relatives should be pious . We have discussed this matter in the chapter of Sileh Rahem and the rights of parents . Even if they are unbelievers we have to fulfill our duties towards them . In the same way the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says regarding Sayyads :
�Respect my descendants , be kind towards the righteous from among them for the sake of Allah and towards the non-righteous ones for my sake . �
Imam Reza (a . s . ) says the following with regard to the devotees of the Progeny of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) :
�Be a friend of the Progeny of Muhammad even if you are a trangressor and befriend their friends even if they are transgressors . �
As far as the rights of neighbours are concerned we are told that if your neighbour is a Muslim he has double rights upon you (One of neighbourhood and another of being a fellow Muslim) . If he is an infidel he still has the right of neighbourhood on you .
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
On the basis of the above it is incumbent to befriend the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) , help them and fulfill their needs even if they are not pious . We must respect the Sayyads and fulfill our rights towards the kindered even if they are sinners .
Secondly when one is faced with more than one obligation at a time , one should try to fulfill all if it is easy to do , if this is difficult , one should fulfill the one which is more important .
For example when one is faced with a situation when one is keeping an obligatory fast and a child is drowning in a pond . If he jumps into the pool his head will submerge and the fast will become invalid , but since it is more important to save a human life it becomes Wajib for him to jump into the pool . According to Shariat breaking a fast is a lesser evil than allowing the death of a human . By doing this he would not be liable for the punishment of breaking a Wajib fast . On the other hand he will be deserving of Divine reward for saving a human life .


Enjoining good and forbidding evil are the Divine commands , which are obligatory to be followed . They are so important that in case of their clashing with other duties , priority has to be given to these comands . If mother , father , son or some relative do not obey the divine obligatory commands like praying etc . And if by withholding kindness and help from them , it is possible to reform them and induce them to give up their sinful ways , then it is wajib to withhold kindness and help from them . The same reasoning applies to Sayyeds , neighbours and the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) who have a right on us . But if withholding help is not going to make any difference in their behaviour , then it is meaningless to adopt such measures . For these were witheld only that they may force the sinners to reform . Otherwise there is no point in employing these retaliatory tactics . If one�s parents and relatives are not in the habit of ritual prayers and dissociating with them will not change their attitude; then it is Haraam to dissociate with them or disobey them .


We must remember that Nahy Anil Munkar (Forbidding evil) is more important than the rights of relatives , Sayyads and neighbours . Hence we should first try to fulfill the duty of forbidding evil even if it necessitates the non-fulfillment of latter duties , provided there is scope of improvement among the sinners . If it is not so , then it is not required to dissociate with them or withhold kindness etc . from them .
And as far as possible we should try an adopt a charitable option . If it is possible to reform a sinner through love and help we must try it , before we resort to harsher ways of withholding kindness and help . For example , a father has better chances of influencing a son , who is not steadfast in his prayers , if he tries to influence him gently . A gentle option must be tried before taking strict measures against him .
In other words , when withholding kindness does not achieve the desired results (giving up of sinful ways) there is no prohibition in being kind . In fact it is an obligatory act and its omission is Haraam .


not helping the oppressor

The thirtieth sin , which is mentioned as a Greater sin , is �not helping the oppressed people� and �not warding off oppression from them� . In the tradition of Amash , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
��and not helping the oppressed (is a greater sin) . �
To defend the oppressed is to help them ward off evil; not performing such a task is shirking a great duty which Allah has made incumbent upon us .
Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) says :
�If a person due to some difficulty takes refuge with his Muslim brother but inspite of being capable of helping him does not do so then he has for his own self cut off the Divine help . �
(Al Kafi)
Allah does not help a believer who does not help his brother in faith and leaves him on his own .
Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has mentioned that ,
�A believer who inspite of being financially capable does not help another believer will be degraded by Allah in this world as well as the Hereafter . �
Similarly Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�None of you should go to a place where a tyrant ruler is oppressing , and killing innocent people , if you are not capable of helping the oppressed . Because in event of a believer being present in such a place it would be his religious duty to help his believing brothers . But if he is not present at that place the obligation will not exist . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
Umroo bin Qays says , �My cousin and I went to meet Imam Husain (a . s . ) when he was surrounded by the army of Yazid (l . a . ) . Imam (a . s . ) conversed with us briefly and then asked ,
�Would you like to help me ? �
I replied , �I have a family to look after , besides I also have some trusts of some people with me . I don�t know what my end would be and I don�t want that the property of those people , which I have as trust should be destroyed . � My cousin also offered the same explanation . �
Imam Husain (a . s . ) said ,
�If you cannot offer your assistance to me you must go far away from this desert so that you may not be able to hear my plaintive cry for help . Because if anyone is to hear our cry for help and does not respond , it would be incumbent upon Allah to throw him in the fire (Hell) . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�A Jewish scholar was punished with fire maces in his grave with such severity that the flames leapt out from inside . This was because he had prayed without Wuzu and once he was passing by an oppressed person who called for help but he did not respond . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�It is necessary to help a believer whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed one . If he is an oppressor he should be restrained from oppression and if he is oppressed he should be helped in obtaining his rights . He should not be deserted and left on his own . �
(Daarus Salaam)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�He is not a believer who inspite of being capable avoids helping his brother in need; Allah also leaves him on his own and does not help him in this world nor the Hereafter . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�A person before whom the defects of his Muslim brother are mentioned; and he does not try to remove those defects inspite of being able to do also; then Allah will expose (his defects) in this world as well as the Hereafter . �
From the above tradition and other similar narrations it seems that oppression is not confined to physical harm or monetary difficulty . It is also with regard to the injury to one�s honour and respect . For , the honour of a believer is as precious as his life and wealth . Defiling the honour of a believer is also Haraam , like usurping his wealth or taking his life . The traditions are emphatic that just as it is necessary to defend the life and property of a believer , it is also incumbent to protect his honour and respect . It is Wajib to assist him in defending his honour .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�If a person tells something (misleading) to a believer by which he intends to make him an evil man and due to this his respect and honour will be destroyed and he will be degraded in the eyes of common people and people will not trust him anymore nor respect him . Then such a person is deprived from the Guardianship of Allah and left for the Shaitan who also does not accept him . �
(Al Kafi)
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�If a person hears of the defects of his believing brother in an assembly and tries to defend him , Allah closes a thousand doors of evil from him in the world and the Hereafter . But if inspite of being capable he does not refrain the one who is speaking about the defects of a believer; his sin will be equal to that of seventy backbiters . �
Shaykh Ansari says that this sin is equated to that of seventy backbiters probably for the reason that if the one who is mentioning the defects is not restrained he may repeat this act on several other occassions . The Shaykh further says that preventing the backbiter is not sufficient but one should also endeavour to defend the believer from all such accusations and defects . For example if the defects pertain to some worldly matter one should say , �After all he has not committed a sin . � If the defects are with regard to some religious obligation he should try to somehow prove that the accusation is false . As an example , if a believer is said to have omitted prayers one can defend him by suggesting , that may be he had forgotten to offer them . If a believer is accused of being an alcoholic , one can suggest that he must have seen him drinking something else , or as a last resort one can say , �He is after all not a masoom (infallible) . A man is prone to sin sometimes , so instead of back-biting about him you should try to reform him and help him in his difficulties . �
Thus one should make every effort to defend his believing brother from such dishonour . The details of this shall be discussed in the chapter of backbiting .


We should know that helping an oppressed does not become Wajib only when they request for help . Every person who is capable of removing difficulties of a believer must do so and if the needy person has entreated for assistance it becomes all the more important . As the Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�One who hears the entreaty of a man , �O Muslims ! Come for my help , � and does not assist him , is not a Muslim . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�If a person requests his Muslim brother to help him and the latter does not do so inspite of being capable enough; the Almighty Allah installs a huge snake from (the snakes of) Hell on his grave so that it can continuously bite him . �
In another tradition it is reported that such a person will continue to receive this punishment till Qiyamat even if he had been pardoned (for other sins) . Moreover , Imam (a . s . ) also said ,
�No person refrains from helping and pleasing his Muslim brother unless there is some benefit in it . � (i . e . his helping would have been sinful instead of rewarding) . �
There are many traditions of this type from the Holy Imams (a . s . ) . Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) says :
�The sin which results in the descending of calamities is when one does not respond to the call for help of the helpless people . �
(Maani al Akhbaar)
Then the Imam (a . s . ) invocated Allah saying ,
�O Allah ! I plead for forgiveness for the time when someone is oppressed in my presence and I do not help him . I seek refuge in You for not helping an oppressed and a needy person . �
Traditions on this subject are numerous and widespread . Let us be content with the ones we have discussed .


Helping the oppressed is Wajib . This does not mean that it is Wajib only to help the oppressed believers . The commands of helping the oppressed in the light of Quran and traditions are only conditional as far as the capability of the helper is concerned . Even if the oppressed people are not Shias and they belong to other sects of Muslims , it is still Wajib to help them . Even if a non-offensive infidel is being oppressed , the command of enjoining good and forbidding evil dictates that he should be helped and the evil must be eradicated . There is an incident in Muntahiul Aamaal that Mansur Dawaniqi was in Mecca when an expensive diamond was brought to him . It was for sale . When Mansur saw the diamond he recognised that it had belonged to Hisham bin Abdul Malik and should have been surrendered to him (Mansur) . Since Muhammad a son of Hisham was still alive he must have brought it for sale . So he ordered his guards to close all the doors of the Holy Mosque after morning prayers the next day , and allow the people to leave only from a single door after careful scrutiny . When Muhammad bin Hisham was found he should be arrested and brought to him .
When on the next day after morning congregational prayers all the doors were shut and it was announced that people should leave from one particular exit , Muhammad bin Hisham realised that it was a plot to arrest him . He became fearful and looked here and there in confusion and worry . He did not know what to do . Just then Muhammad bin Zaid bin Ali bin al-Husain (a . s . ) came towards him and asked , �Who are you ? And why are you so frightened . �
�If I reveal my identity , would my life be safe ? �
�Yes ! � he replied , �I take an oath to remove this danger from you . �
�I am Muhammad , the son of Hisham Ibne Abdul Malik , Now tell who you are ? �
�I am Muhammad Ibne Zaid bin Ali bin al-Husain (a . s . ) and certainly your great grandfather Marwan had killed my father unjustly , but do not worry , you are safe . Taking your life will not avenge the innocent blood of my father and you had not killed my father yourself . Now I will try my best to save you from this danger . I have thought of a way out of this . I want you to co-operate with me and promise me that you will be absolutely fearless and repose your trust in me . �
Thus , Muhammad bin Zaid covered the head and face of Muhammad ibn Hisham with his own robe and pulled him towards the exit beating him at every step . When they reached the exit he told the guard loudly , �This wretched man is a camel driver from Kufa . He had hired a camel from me but he ran away and he gave it to someone else . I also have two just witnesses to support my claim . You send your deputies with me and I will take him to the Qazi for judgement . Rabi , the chief guard ordered two of his deputies to accompany them and they came out of the Holy Mosque together . When they had walked for some distance Muhammad ibn Zayd told Muhammad bin Hisham , �There is still time for you to repent and promise to return my money , I will not trouble these guards and the Qazi if you assure me . �
Muhammad bin Hisham picked up the cue and said , �O son of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . I promise to do as you say . �
Muhammad bin Zayd told the guards that since the fellow has repented there was no need for them to take more trouble . The guards left them . Muhammad bin Hisham took off the robe from his face and kissed the face and head of Muhammad bin Zayd and said , �Allah the Almighty knew well where to put His message that He appointed the Prophet from your family . �
Then he took out an expensive diamond from his pocket and requested Muhammad bin Zayd to accept it as a reward for saving his life but Muhammad bin Zayd declined saying , �I belong to a family that does not accept anything in return of a good deed . When I had condoned the murder of my father what value can this diamond have for me ? I cannot take it . �


Shaykh Tusi has related from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �There was an old man of Bani Israel . He was praying when he saw that two children had caught a fowl and were pulling its feather . The fowl was shrieking in pain but he remained engrossed in prayers and did not help the poor bird by having it released from the clutches of the naughty children . So the Almighty ordered the earth to swallow this man and sucked him to the lowest depths . �


A large number of traditions have reached us which emphasise the necessity of helping and assisting the believer and the rewards that are earned by those who do so . Let us study some of these traditions :
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) said :
�One who responds to the entreaties of his believing brother in difficulties and makes him glad and helps him and fulfills his needs; then seventy two bounties become incumbent for him from Allah . One of these bounties is given to him in this world so that it can solve his worldly problems and the other seventy one are stored for him to remove the dread and difficulties of the Hereafter . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
He (a . s . ) has also said :
�If a person tries to fulfill the need of a believer and he completes it , the Almighty Allah writes in the scroll of deeds the rewards of a Hajj and Umra and Ihtikaaf of two months in Masjidul Haraam and fasts of two months . But if the need is not completely fulfilled the reward of one Hajj and Umra is written . �
(Al Amr bil Ma�roof)
Imam (a . s . ) has also mentioned that it was revealed upon Hazrat Dawood (a . s . ) that ,
�When one good deed of one of My servants reaches Me I shall grant him Paradise . �
Dawood (a . s . ) asked , �O my Lord what deed is that ? �
�Removing sorrow and difficulties of a believer , even if it is as little as giving him a date (fruit) ! �
Dawood (a . s . ) said , �It is only You O Allah ! Who is of such greatness that once a person recognises You , he must never despair of Your Mercy . �
It is quoted from Maimoon bin Mehram in the book Faqih , �I was sitting in the assembly of Imam Hasan (a . s . ) when a person entered and said , �O son of the Messenger of Allah . I am indebted to such and such person and now he wants to imprison me . �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�I do not have any money to repay your debt . �
He said , �Maybe you can speak to him so that he will not put me in prison . �
Imam (a . s . ) arose and put on his shoes . I said , �O son of the Messenger (s . a . w . s . ) did you forget that you are in Ihtikaaf and cannot go out of the mosque ? �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�I have not forgotten , but I have heard my father say that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) had said , �One who tries to fulfill the needs of his believing brother is as if he has for 9000 years fasted during the days and prayed during the nights . ��


When Najjashi assumed the rulership of Ahwaz there was a person in his service who requested Imam (a . s . ) that , �I owe a certain amount to the ruler and he is a Shia , if you feel proper , please write to him regarding this matter . �
Imam (a . s . ) wrote :
�In the Name of Allah , The Beneficent , The Merciful . Please your brother so that Allah may please you . �
(Usool al-Kafi)
The narrator says that when the person went to Najjashi , he was busy in some official matter . When he was free he handed Najjashi the letter saying that it was from Imam (a . s . ) . He kissed the letter and touched it to his eyes and asked , �What is the matter ? � He told him that he owed some taxes . �How much ? � Najjashi asked , �Ten thousand Dirhams , � he replied . Najjashi called his accountant and told him to note down his debt as paid and close his account in the register . Then he went further and said that for the following year too this amount of taxes should be marked as paid . Then he turned towards him and asked , �Have I made you happy ? �
�Yes ! � replied the man .
Then he called for a horse , and a slave brought it . He ordered for a dress and gave to the man . At each step he kept asking , �Have I made you happy ? Have I made you happy ? The man kept replying �Yes ! Yes ! May I be sacrificed for you , Yes ! � At last he told him to take even the carpet on which he was sitting . Because , he said , �It was on this carpet that you handed me this letter of my Master (a . s . ) , and if you have any other need , tell me . � The man thanked him profusely , returned to Imam (a . s . ) and related the details . The Imam (a . s . ) was extremely pleased at the behaviour of Najjashi . The man asked , �O my Master are you pleased with Najjashi�s response ? �
Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�By Allah ! Najjashi has also pleased Allah , His Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and his Progeny . �
Yaqteen the father of Ali relates that one of the accountants of Yahya bin Khalid was appointed to collect tax from their area . Yaqteen says , �At that time I was owing a considerable amount of tax and if all the tax had to be cleared I would have had to sell off all my property . Some people suggested that he was a Shia , but I was too fearful to approach him in case he turned out to be a non-Shia and would force me to part with all my wealth , as I was a follower of Ali (a . s . ) . So I decided to run away from that place and headed for Mecca . After completing pilgrimage I decided to visit Madinah and presented myself before Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and told him , �Such and such person has been appointed as a tax collector but I was too scared to approach him for the fear that he may not be one of your adherents . � Imam (a . s . ) told me that there was no cause for me to worry and he wrote a brief note;
�In the name of Allah the Beneficent , the Merciful , there are many people in His shade whose guardians are only those who remove the grief and difficulties of their brothers or give them opportunity or do some good to them even if it is as little as half a dried date and this person is your brother . �
Imam (a . s . ) put his seal at the end and handed me the note saying , �Give this to him . � When I returned to my native town and went to his door , I said , �I have been sent by Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . � He came running to the door barefooted . When he saw me , he saluted me and kissed my forehead and asked if his master has sent me . I replied in the affirmative and he said , �If this is so , even my life is at your disposal . � He held my hands and implored me to tell him in what condition Imam (a . s . ) was when I had departed . I told him that Imam (a . s . ) was well . �By Allah ? Yes , By Allah ? � he asked this three times and after that I handed him the hand-written note of Imam (a . s . ) . He kissed it and touched it to his eyes . Then he asked me what I wanted from him . I told him that I owed several thousand dirhams in taxes and I would spend my whole life in paying them . He called for my file and condoned the taxes payable by me and gave me a receipt . After this he called for his money chest and gave half of the money to me . Then he called for his horses and distributed them equally between us . After this he sent for his clothes and distributed them in the same way . When he had divided all his belongings and given me half he said �O Brother ! Have I pleased you ? � Yes , I replied , �By Allah ! �
When it was the time for Hajj I said to myself that I could never repay his kindness except for that which is most liked by Allah and His Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . So I decided to go for Hajj in order that I may pray for him and after Hajj meet Imam (a . s . ) and inform him of the kindness and request him also to pray for this noble soul . When I met Imam (a . s . ) after Hajj he seemed very pleased and asked ,
�O Yaqteen how did that person behave with you ? �
When I described his goodness the face of Imam (a . s . ) beamed with happiness . I asked whether Imam (a . s . ) was pleased with his actions ? (so that Allah may please the noble man) . Imam (a . s . ) replied :
�By Allah he has pleased my ancestors ! By Allah he has pleased Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and he has pleased the Almighty Allah at the High Heaven . �


Ibrahim Jamaal wanted to meet Ali Ibne Yaqteen , the Prime Minister of Haroon the Caliph , but he was not granted an audience . The same year Ali Ibne Yaqteen was honoured by Hajj and later went to Madinah and decided to meet Imam Musa al-Kazim (a . s . ) but Imam (a . s . ) did not permit him to enter . Again the next day he presented himself and upon the refusal of Imam (a . s . ) asked as to what sin he had committed that Imam (a . s . ) did not want to meet him . Imam (a . s . ) said that since he had refused to meet his brother , the Almighty Allah would not allow his efforts to succeed , till the time Ibrahim Jamaal does not forgive him . Ali ibn Yaqteen said that since he was in Madinah and Ibrahim Jamaal in Kufa how was it possible to obtain his forgiveness at that moment ?
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�When it is dark , go alone to Baqee , and do not let anyone know it . You will find a thoroughbred horse there . Mount that horse . �
Ali Ibne Yaqteen did as instructed and in a short time found himself at the door of Ibrahim Jamaal . He knocked at the door and announced �I am Ali Ibne Yaqteen . � Ibrahim Jamaal said from inside , �What do I have to do with Ali Ibne Yaqteen ? �
Ali Ibne Yaqteen said that he had some urgent work with him and begged for the permission to enter . When he was allowed inside he said , �My Master has refused to see me till you forgive me . �
Ibrahim said , �May Allah forgive you . �
Ali Ibne Yaqteen fell down and implored him to put his foot on his (Ali�s) face . Ibrahim did not agree . Ali Ibne Yaqteen again implored him in the Name of Allah . Ibrahim complied with his request . Then Ali Ibne Yaqteen said , �O Allah be a witness , � and mounted the horse again . Within a few minutes he found himself at the door of Imam (a . s . ) . He knocked and Imam (a . s . ) permitted him to enter .
By these traditions we can judge the importance of helping our believing brothers . Ali Ibne Yaqteen was one of the closest companions of Imam (a . s . ) and has assumed the ministership by the order of Imam (a . s . ) . He was also held in such high esteem that on the day of Eid-uz-Zuha Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�I did not recall anyone else�s name . I just prayed for Ali Ibne Yaqteen ! �
Inspite of such an honourable position he was not able to satisfy Imam (a . s . ) till he had satisfied his believing brother . We must exercise utmost caution in our daily lives that we may not cause any believer�s rights to be trespassed; which may bring down the anger of Allah and the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) upon us .


It must be known that one who strives to fulfill the needs of a believing brother or wards off oppression from an oppressed soul , apart from the rewards of the Hereafter he is also bestowed honour in this world and his own needs are fulfilled . We have many traditions to prove this , however we shall mention only one such incident .
The esteemed scholar , Ahmed bin Muhammad bin Khalid Al Barqi who was present in the life time of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a . s . ) and also during the Minor Occultation , says in his book Mahasin :
I was under the patronage of the tax collector of the city of Pahencha Kootkeen . His name was Abul Hasan Madarani . He had given me a yearly endowment , which I used to collect as tax from an area at Kashaan , but he was so busy that he became inattentive towards me and my own taxes were demanded from me . I was much worried , when one day a noble and pious man came to me . He was very weak and it seemed as if he had no blood in his body . He was like a walking corpse . He told me , �O Abu Abdillah ! There is a relation of common faith and purity between you and me and the relation of devotion to the Pure Imams (a . s . ) . Please do something for me for the sake of pleasing Allah and for the sake of the love of Saadaat . � I asked him as to what he wished ? He said , �People have falsely spread the rumour that I have given some secret information against Kootani to the Sultan . Hence , they have confiscated all my property . �
I promised to help him out and he went away . I thought to myself that if I approached the collector with two requests at the same time I would not be able to achieve them both . On the other hand if I presented the problem of only the old man then what of my own difficulty ? I went inside my library and was in deep thought when a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) came to my mind . It was to the effect that if a person strives , sincerely , to solve the difficulty of a believer , his own difficulty is solved by Allah . � I got up at once and went to Abul Hasan Madarani . When I entered I saw that he was sitting on his chair with a pillow to rest his back and he held a stick in his hand . He told me to sit . At that very moment a Quranic verse came to my mind and I recited it loudly :
�And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode , and do not neglect your portion of this world , and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you , and do not seek to make mischief in the land , surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers . �
(Surah Qasas 28 : 77)
Abul Hasan said that since I have recited this verse I must be in some need ? He told me to mention it clearly . I said that people have spread false rumours against such and such person . He asked me if he was a Shia and if he was acquainted with him . I said , �Yes� ! He called for the register and I saw that a large property had been seized from the old man . Abul Hasan ordered all the seized property to be restored to its owner . He also told his servants to give him a mule and a new dress and accompany him to his family with respect . After this he said , �O Abu Abdillah you have corrected my mistake . � Then he picked up a slip of paper and wrote an order transferring the rights of the particular piece of land in my name . Again he waited for sometime then ordered the old man to be paid 10 , 000 dirhams extra , saying , �Because he had guided us to the correct way ! �
I requested him to let me kiss his hands but he said that if I kissed his hands he would kiss my feet and said that he did not wish to waste away his good deed . It was nothing much for him as he was holding the rope of the Progeny of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) .



The thirty-first sin that is clearly stated to be a Greater Sin is sorcery . A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has been recorded in Wasaelush Shia in which the Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) has mentioned that Magic is a Greater Sin . The tradition of Abdul Azeem (r . a . ) has also mentioned from Imam Jawad (a . s . ) who has related through his fore-fathers from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said to the effect , �Sorcery is a Greater Sin because the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran :
�And they followed what the shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman , and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever , but the shaitans disbelieved , they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel , Harut and Marut , Yet these two taught no man until they had said , �Surely we are only a trial , therefore do not be a disbeliever . � Even then men learned from these two , magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah�s permission , and they learnt what harmed them and did not profit them , and certainly they know that he who brought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls; had they but known this . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 102)
According to Tafseer al-Mizan this ayat shows that sorcery was prevalent among the Jews for a long time; and they used to ascribe it to Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) . They believed that Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) had mastered the techniques of controlling the angels , jinns and wild animals through magic , and some of these alleged methods had reached them . They also implicated the two angels Harut and Marut for other magical rites . Therefore , the Holy Quran has denounced their belief regarding Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) because sorcery is the method of misusing the power of human spirit in order to perform extraordinary acts . It is against the Divine law because it negates the supremacy of Allah . Since Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) was a Prophet and undoubtedly infallible , he cannot be blamed for such a violation of Divine Command . Therefore to ascribe sorcery to Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) was absolutely wrong . As the Almighty says ,
� . . . and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever , but the shaitans disbelieved , they taught men sorcery . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 102)
Regarding Harut and Marut the Holy Quran says :
� . . . and that was sent down to the angels at Babel , Harut and Marut , yet these two taught no man until they had said , �Surely we are only a trial , therefore do not be a disbeliever . � Even then men learnt from these two , magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah�s permission , and they learnt what harmed them and did not profit them . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 102)
We should however know that some of the commentaries of the Holy Quran by Ahle-Sunnat have recorded some lewd traditions on this subject; and their lewdness itself proves their forged nature . For example they say that the Jinns stole the ring of Hazrat Sulaiman (a . s . ) and with the help of its power ruled for forty days from his throne and during this period the satans spread the practice of sorcery among the masses . They have also written that Harut and Marut were two angels and when they became seized with sensuality , they drank wine and murdered a man; later they committed adultery with a woman . The woman then ascended to the heavens; and the star Zahra on the sky is that same woman .
This is a false allegation because during his conversation on this subject with Mamoon , as mentioned in Oyoon-e-Akhbaare Reza , Imam Reza (a . s . ) says that Harut and Marut were two angels who had taught people the method of nullifying the magic of the sorcerers so as to enable them to prevent the effect of magical rites practiced by the magicians . They did not teach any magical spell before warning them that this was a Divine test and they must not fall prey to infidelity but some people became disbelievers by misusing the spells to cause discord between husband and wife , though the proper utility of the spell was obstructing black magic .
Even the Shia scholars differ in the explanation of this verse . Tafseer Majmaul Bayan has also recorded different views . Some thinkers have opined that this is one of the Divine secrets and they further offer the exegesis that Harut and Marut signify the intellect and soul of man . These two entities changed their abstract form and assumed a physical body . Therefore , they were examined in their material life . They became engrossed in satisfying their carnal desires . Consequently they attached themselves solely to the material world and continued to worship their desires . In this way they committed gross injustice upon themselves and deprived themselves from eternal bounties . They also made themselves liable for a terrible punishment . Such traditions are unacceptable according to their wordings and if they are reported to have been uttered by the infallibles they should be understood in the light of their sayings only .
The honourable scholar Shaykh Sadooq says that Zahra and Suhail are two types of marine animals who are referred to in traditions by the name of Harut and Marut . They are not two stars as the Ahle-Sunnat believe . Moreover , the Quranic ayat mentioned above is clear that magic is equivalent to disbelief and the sorcerer will not receive any benefit on the Day of Qiyamat .
As the Holy Quran says ,
�And if they had believed and guarded themselves (against evil) , reward from Allah would certainly have been better; had they but known (this) . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 103)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�Three kinds of people will not enter Paradise , habitual alcoholics , habitual sorcerers and those who severe relationships . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�The magician will enter hell like the disbeliever . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam (a . s . ) also says ,
�If one learns magic , whether a little bit or more , he has become an infidel . And his end result is that he does not receive Divine Mercy . His punishment is that he be killed except if he repents . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says that a woman came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and said ,
�My husband is very severe and misbehaves with me , so I have prepared something for him that he may become kind to me . � (i . e . I have prepared a magical potion to change his attitude) .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) said ,
�Curse be upon you ! You have darkened the realms of the seas and the lands , the angels of the earth and the heavens curse you . �
After going from there the woman began to fast during the days and pray during the night and she trimmed her hair and started wearing a leather garment . When the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) learnt of this he remarked that her fasting and prayers would not be accepted .
(Kitab Faqih)
Muhaddith Faid mentions this hadith and comment that these actions will not save her from death penalty . Sorcery is such a severe crime that her repentance and worship will not bring her near Allah . She has done an injustice to her husband and unless he forgives her , she cannot be forgiven .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�If a person goes to a magician , a diviner or a liar and testifies to the truth of whatever he says , he becomes an infidel according to all the books revealed by Allah . �
(Safinatul Behaar)


A Muslim who indulges in magic and does not repent is punished by death . An infidel guilty of sorcery must not be killed . He should be punished according to the decree of a just jurist (Qazi) and his penalty is at the discretion of the Qazi .
According to a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�The sorcerer must be given a single blow of the sword on his head . �
(Al Kafi)
�If two just witnesses testify , it is permissible to kill him . �
Imam (a . s . ) also said , that the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) ordered ,
�The Muslim sorcerer must be killed and the infidel magician must not be killed . �
Someone asked , �O Messenger of Allah , why shouldn�t the disbelieving sorcerer be killed too ? �
The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) replied ,
�Because disbelief is a more serious sin than magic; and sorcery and polytheism are the same . �
It means that when a zimmi infidel is not sentenced to death for his infidelity he cannot be killed for the sin of practising magic because infidelity is greater than sorcery . Whereas the Muslim magician is killed because he has committed polytheism .


The late Sayyad writes in Wasila an Najaat that magic means the writing and reciting of some special spells and charms and the burning of particular objects so that its smoke can be used for some extraordinary effects . Making a picture and blowing , or tying up knots , or buying special objects in particular places so that the person for whom the magic is intended may be affected physically or mentally . That is if he is reported lost he can be located by it or he can be put to sleep or made unconscious . It can also be used for creating love or discord between two people; like husband and wife etc .
In the exegesis Tafseer al-Mizan very interesting points are mentioned under the explanation of the 104th verse of Surah Baqarah . We shall present them for our readers .


It is common knowledge that many unusual events do take place which are beyond the established natural system . It is difficult to find someone who has not seen , or heard about some abnormal or seemingly supernatural event . But on close scrutiny it turns out that most of them are not enigmatic and mysterious at all . They are the results of normal and natural causes , like intensive practice and training , for example , eating poison , lifting heavy loads , walking or dancing on a tight rope etc . Some are based on natural causes that are not known to the general public , for example , a man walks into flaming fire without coming to any harm , (he applies some chemicals like talc to his body); or sends a sheet of blank paper and the addressee understands the message it contains . (He writes with an invisible ink that becomes visible if heated by fire or treated with some chemicals) . A third set depends on the sleight of hand like juggling . All these seemingly abnormal feats actually emanate from normal causes , although the causes are unknown to the common man; they may even be beyond his ability .
Yet there are other strange happenings that cannot be attributed to any normal physical cause . For example , giving information of the unseen , and particularly foretelling future events; the charms for love and hate , the harmful or beneficial spells affecting man�s virility , hypnotism , mesmerism , spiritualism , telekinesis and so on . It is known that such events do take place from time to time . We have seen some demonstrations ourselves , and similar reports were brought to us by reliable sources . At present there are many people in India , Iran and the western countries , who demonstrate such extraordinary feats and their authenticity is beyond doubt .
It appears from close investigation of their methods and regimen that these feats spring from the will power of the doer , and from his unshakable self-confidence . The will power arises from the special knowledge which they have mastered . Sometimes the will acts independently and sometimes it needs some boosting; for example , writing a certain charm with a certain ink in a certain place at a certain time (for the amulets of love or hate); or fixing a mirror before a certain child (in the seances of spiritualism); or chanting a certain incantation a certain number of times , and so on and so forth . When the conditions are fulfilled the will is strengthened to bring the desired effect into being . When the knowledge becomes one with the knower , it influences his senses to such an extent that he sees the end product , that is , the desired effect , with his eyes . You may verify this statement yourself . Just tell yourself that a certain person is present before you and that you are looking at him; then put your imagination to work to bring his form before your eyes; this should be raised to such a high level of certainty that you become oblivious of all other thoughts and ideas and then you will actually see him standing before you-as you had imagined . Many ancient doctors , acting on this principle , restored to health their incurable patients-simply by creating in them the confidence that they would soon regain their health .
Taking this principle a step further , if someone�s will power is extraordinarily strong , it might influence the psyche of another individual and create the desired impression on him also . That impression might , or might not depend on fulfillment of certain conditions , as indicated earlier .
From the above discourse , we may deduce the following three principles :
FIRST : The appearance of such extraordinary events depends on the firm �knowledge� and strong conviction of the doer but it is irrelevant whether that �knowledge� is true to the fact or not . That explains why the conjurations of the priests of the sun god and the moon-goddess etc . seemed to work although they believed that the heavenly bodies had souls , which they claimed to bring under by their magic . Probably the same applies to the angels and satans whose names are �discovered� and invoked by many practitioners of the magic art . The same is true for spiritualism and its seance and spirit communication- and the spiritualist belief that the spirits attend their sittings . Utmost that may be claimed regarding those sessions , is that the spirit appears in their imagination or , let us say , before their senses- and this �perception� emanates from their firm belief in their art but it can never be said that the spirit actually presents itself at the sittings- otherwise all the participants in the sitting should have perceived its presence , because everyone of them has the same senses as the medium has .
But accepting this principle , we may solve many problems related to the seance and spirit communication . For example :
1 . Sometimes the spirit of a living man is called to present itself at a seance , and supposedly it comes there but at that very moment , that man is busy attending to his affairs and he never feels his spirit leaving him even for an instant . The question is : As a man has only one spirit , how was it possible that his spirit presented itself to that seance without his being aware of it ?
2 . The spirit is an immaterial essence which has no relation whatsoever with space and time . How can it present itself at a certain place at a certain time ?
3 . Why is it that often a single spirit appears before different mediums in different forms ?
4 . Why is it that sometimes when the spirits are called to a seance , they tell lies and give wrong answers ? And why do the various spirits sometimes contradict each other ?
All these problems will be solved if the principle is accepted that it is not any spirit that presents itself to the seance; it is only the firm belief and conviction of the spiritualists and his medium that is at work , making the medium see , hear and feel the spirit . It is all a play of his imagination and will; and nothing more .
SECOND : Some of the people , holding the strong and effective will-power , rely on their own power and their own being , in bringing about the desired effect , the intended supernatural events . Such events are bound to be limited in strength , confined in their scope- in their own imagination as well as in reality .
On the other side , there are some persons , like the Prophets and the friends of Allah who , in spite of their most effective will power , totally rely on their Lord . They truly worship Him and have full trust in Him . They do not wish anything but from their Lord , and by His permission . Theirs is a pure and clear will , untainted by any personal feeling . It does not depend except on Allah . This is a Divine Will- not limited in anyway , nor restricted in any manner .
The supernatural events that are brought into being by the first group may be of many kinds; If they are based on enquiry of , or help from , a jinn or a spirit etc . then it is called �al-Kihanah� (divination , sooth-saying , fortune-telling); and if it comes about by means of a charm , amulet , talisman or other such instruments or potions , then it is called magic .
The supernatural events shown by the prophets and saints are also of various kinds . If it is produced as a challenge , in order to prove the truth of the claim of prophethood , then it is called miracle , if it is not offered as a challenge , then it is named �al-Karamah� which literally means nobility , mark of honour; and in Islamic terminology is used for a miraculous event shown without a challenge; and if it happens as a result of the prayer to Allah , then it is called , �answer to the prayer . �
THIRD : As the whole thing depends on the will power of the doer , its strength varies according to the strength (or weakness) of the will . That is why some of them may nullify the others , as , for example , the miracle annihilates sorcery . Also , a weak agent fails to impose his will on a stronger psyche , as is often seen at the sessions of mesmerism , hypnotism and seances .


There are many fields of study dealing with various awe-striking feats and extraordinary deeds; and it is very difficult to classify them so as not to leave anything out . However , we give here a list of the more commonly used branches of this art .
a) as-Simiya : It deals with the ways of combining the will-power with particular physical and material forces for manipulating the natural order and , thus , producing extraordinary effects . Under this head comes the manipulation of thought , also known as the eye-enchantment .
It is the most deserving candidate for the title of magic
b) al-Limiya : It teaches how one may establish a connection between his psyche and the higher and stronger spirits , in order that one may bring them under one�s control , for example , the spirits of the stars , or the jinn , etc .
It is also called the knowledge of subjugation of the spirits .
c) al-Himiya : It explains how the powers of the higher spiritual world may be combined with the base elements of this world to produce awe-inspiring effects . It is also called talisman . The stars and their configuration have some relation to the material happenings of this world , in the same way as the elements and compounds and their physical qualities affect those phenomena . Supposedly if the heavenly forms , pertaining to a certain event , for example , A�s life or B�s death , could be combined with the relevant material forms , the desired effect would take place without fail .
d) ar-Rimiya : It trains one how to control and manipulate the qualities of various things , to produce seemingly super-natural effects . It is also called �ash-Sha�badhah� (sleight of hand , jugglery , magic) .
These four fields of knowledge , together with the fifth , called �al-Kimiya� (alchemy , the forerunner of chemistry , primarily the attempt to transmute base metals into gold or silver) formed what the ancients called the five secrets , mysterious branches of knowledge .
Ash-Shaykh al-Bahai has said : �The best book written on these subjects was the one I saw in Herat , �Kulah-e-sar� (the head�s cap) by name . Its name was an acronym , made of the first letters of the five subjects , that is , al-Kimiya , al-Limiya , al-Himiya , al-Simiya and ar-Rimiya . �
The standard books of these subjects are the epitome of the books of Balinas , Rasa�il , al-Khusraw Shahi , adh-Dhakhirah , al-Iskandariyya , as-Sirru�l makhtum (by ar-Razi) , at-Taskhirat (by as-Sakkaki) and A�malu�l-kawakib as-Sab�ah (by al-Hakim Tamtam al-Hindi) .
Supplementary of the above are the following subjects :
e) The knowledge of numbers (numerology) : It shows the relation of numbers and letters with the desired effect . The relevant letters or numbers are filled in a magic square or triangle etc . in a particular sequence .
f) al-Khafiyah (the hidden knowledge) : It breaks down the name of the desired effect or other relevant names , and finds out the names of the angels or the satans managing the said effect; and then composes the invocations made of those names .


To predict future events is known as divining and when the prediction is made on the knowledge obtained through some groups of Jinns it is known as Kahanat . (However we shall use the word soothsaying as an equivalent of Kahanat) . Kahanat pertains to the prediction of future with the help of special knowledge . For example , the soothsayer may be adept at guessing the words of the enquirer or his private affairs etc . According to the author of Nihaya this kind of soothsayer is known as �Aaraaf� but according to the majority of scholars a soothsayer is the one who predicts with the help of Jinns . The Jinns inform him of hidden matters . For example , he might be able to find where a stolen thing is hidden or who is the thief , or who is the murderer of a particular person . All the jurists are unanimous in their opinion that �Kahanat� or soothsaying is Haraam . Just as it is Haraam to learn , teach , perform magic , in the same way it is Haraam to learn soothsaying , to act upon the advice of a soothsayer and even to go for advice from a soothsayer . Some scholars maintain that soothsaying is a kind of magic .
Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�One who divines or the one who goes to a soothsayer for divination , (both) have renounced the religion of Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) . �
Janabe Haitham enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �There is a person we know who informs about stolen property etc . Is it permitted for us to seek his advice ? �
The Holy Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) has mentioned that one who goes to a sorcerer , a soothsayer or a liar and testifies to what he says has become an infidel in the light of all the divine books revealed on Allah�s Messengers . �
(Makasib Muharrama of Shaykh Ansari)
The Shaykh comments that according to this tradition , informing about the hidden matters is Haraam; whether through divination or otherwise . However , if someone guesses and conjectures or doubts; it is allowed . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) considers soothsaying a prohibited profession and also considers it earnings Haraam . Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) is also recorded to have mentioned a similar tradition .


We must understand that prohibition of soothsaying is beneficial to us . Allah the Almighty does not wish people to have knowledge of the future . It is possible that a person may come to know of something of tremendous importance which will take place is according to his wishes . But their happening may be dependant on his giving Sadaqah or invoking Allah . Having this knowledge beforehand may prevent the person from giving Sadaqah and invoking Allah with the result he will be deprived of his wishes . Similaly he may come to know of some calamity is to befall and this will cause him great anxiety when in reality this happening may not occur at all because of change in Allah�s ordinance (Badaa) . It is well known that many calamities are warded off by invoking Allah or giving Sadaqah or due to some good actions of the person or repentance . We can recall the people of Prophet Yunus (a . s . ) , who were to be subjected to a great disaster . But their dua and repentance at the eleventh hour changed the course of their destiny . The Quran has also mentioned this fact .
A tradition is quoted in the Ihtejaj of Tabarsi from the sixth Imam (a . s . ) . The gist of the same is as follows :
After the birth of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) the shaitans and the Jinns were denied access to the heavens , hence they were unable to give information about the heavenly affairs . Now they could only inform about the evil magical matters . This information is unreliable because among the jinns too there are liars as well as truthful jinns . Therefore the fortune telling of a diviner is unreliable .


To understand the evil of magic and soothsaying it is enough to know the numerous frauds , crimes , thefts and cheating committed through them . The sorcerer discontinues all the good actions and concentrates only on performing satanic rituals . He commits adultery with a married woman , sometimes he kills a person or drinks human blood . He shows disrespect to the things that Allah has made respectful . For example , he desecrates the verses of the Holy Quran . He performs actions that bring him closer to shaitans and eventually enters their company . Rather he debases himself lower than the shaitans so that they may help him in soothsaying and sorcery .
It is certainly a great pity that a human being who is capable of utmost good and worthy of rising to a position equal to angels or even higher , should so debase himself by his evil deeds that his position is degraded below that of the Shaitan .


Fast movements of an object can create an optical illusion for the beholder . For example if a ball of fire is moved in circles it seems to be a circle of fire . In the same way a person who is travelling in a car or train feels himself stationary and feels that his surroundings are moving in the opposite direction . Some people are adept at creating illusions of this type which audience perceives as real . To create such an illusion is Shobada . All the fuqaha are unanimous that Shobada is Haraam; and that it is a type of magic . A tradition of Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) in Ihtejaj also mentions that creating illusions is a kind of sorcery . Another form of this magic consists of the perceived effect being a reality and not an illusion . The magicians of Firon used both the methods with Hazrat Musa (a . s . ) . First they created an illusion , then they switched over to actual sorcery . Apart from these there are many other kinds of magics and tricks; but we need not go into details .
It has been narrated about Abu Hafs Hadaad that when he was a young man he had fallen in love with a lady . He was so enchanted by her that he was prepared to do anything to acquire her . Someone told him that there was a magician Jew in Nishapur and he would be able to fulfill his wishes . He went to the Jew and told him about his desires . The magician told him to abstain from prayers and other good deeds for forty days so that he can make his magic work for him . Abu Hafs returned from there and acted upon the instigation of the sorcerer .
After the forty days had elapsed Abu Hafs went to the Jew again and told him that so far the magic had not worked . The magician was also surprised and he told Abu Hafs that he must have done at least one good deed in those forty days that has nullified the magic . Abu Hafs pondered , and said that as far as he remembered he had not done a single good action except that he had picked up a stone from the path so that it may not hurt a traveller . �That was it ! � The magician exclaimed , �Though you disobeyed God these forty days and did not fulfill any obligation , yet He is such a Merciful God that He accepted even such a small deed from you and prevented the magic to work for you . So , it is not appropriate for you to disobey such a generous God . �
The words of the magician had such effect on Abu Hafs that he repented for his misdeeds and became absorbed in worship and sought forgiveness from Allah . He became so pious that eventually he was bestowed miraculous power by the Almighty .


When Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) had described the different varieties of magic to the one who had posed a question , the person asked Imam (a . s . ) if it was possible for a magician to transform a human being into a dog or a pig etc . ? Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�The magician cannot do this , because if he can transform the creations of Allah he will become a partner of Allah in His creation whereas no one can be a partner to Allah . �
If the magician had such powers he would have got rid of his own senility , difficulties and maladies and would not have allowed his hair to gray and would have removed his own poverty .
Actually the most dangerous kind of magic is that which causes differences between two friends . It creates hatred and malice between those who love each other . Such discord and dissension can also be created by instigating people against each other . The two are closely inter-related .


Taskheraat can be defined as the method of controlling Angels , Jinns , souls or various wild animals . This is also Haraam and considered a form of sorcery . The Shaykh has also mentioned in Makasib that all the characteristics of magic and sorcery are present in Taskheraat . Although Shahid-e-Awwal and Shahid-e-Thani consider magic haraam because it does harm to others , they may have also considered that the fact the process of controlling angels and jinns causes them much sufferings .


Qayafa is the art of determining the lineage of an individual . A person practicing Qayafa can decide whether a particular individual is the son or brother of another . But this practice is against the doctrine of Islam for establishing lineage and it is a kind of magic , therefore it is haraam in view of all the jurists . On the other hand it is possible for a knowledgeable and wise person to ascertain certain facts regarding an individual on the basis of his physical characteristics . This practice is not haraam . Many unusual episodes have been narrated on the basis of such knowledge .
An interesting incident is mentioned in Al Kafi as well as the eleventh volume of Behaar . During the time of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , Ali bin Huraira was a governor of the Abbasid Caliph . He had a slave named Rafeed . One day he was so angry with Rafeed that he decided to kill him . Rafeed ran away and took refuge with Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) . Imam (a . s . ) told him to go back to his master and say that Imam (a . s . ) has ordered him to spare his life , as he has taken refuge with Imam (a . s . ) . Rafeed was horrified but Imam (a . s . ) insisted that he go back . So Rafeed obeyed and when he was on his way he met an Arab , who said , �Where are you going ? Your face is that of a dead man . � Then he told Rafeed to show his hand . Again he remarked that the hands were of a person who has been killed . He looked at the legs and passed the same judgement . He said that his complete body was that of a person who has been murdered . Then he asked him to show his tongue . Upon seeing the tongue he remarked , �No harm will come to you because your tongue is that of an envoy and it carries such a message that if you were to go to huge mountains they would become soft , and become obedient to you . �
Rafeed says that when he came to his master Ali bin Huraira , he at once gave the orders for his execution . His hands were tied and an executioner moved towards him with a naked sword . Then he told his master that it was not he who had got him arrested , but that he himself had returned to him . He also requested him to listen to what he had to say in privacy . He agreed to the request and Rafeed told him , �Ja�far bin Muhammad (a . s . ) the master of both of us has sent you salaam and requested you to spare my life . � When he heard this he could not believe it . Rafeed repeated it to him under oath . He at once freed him and asked his forgiveness . He insisted that his hands be tied in the same way by Rafeed . Rafeed could not make himself do this; but upon insistence he tied his hands and untied them quickly . Then he gave his seal ring to Rafeed and set him free .
Similarly , Shaykh Sadooq has related from Hisham that he went with Imam Musa bin Ja�far (a . s . ) to a slave trader who had come from the west . Imam (a . s . ) selected a slave girl but the trader refused to sell her . The next day Hisham went alone and bought the slave girl at a higher price according to Imam�s instructions . The slave trader asked him who was that man who had accompanied him the other day . Hisham acted under Taqayya and said he didn�t know much , but that he was from the Bani Hashim . The slave trader said , �When I had purchased this slave-girl from a far away place in the west and was carrying her with me , a woman stopped me and asked where I was taking her . I said I had purchased her for myself . She said the girl was not made for me . She was destined for a man who was the best of the people in the world and in the near future she will give birth to a son to whom the west and east will be subservient . �
In keeping with the prediction , the slave girl gave birth to Imam Reza (a . s . ) .


Predictions regarding future events; i . e . price fluctuations of grain , its shortage and abundance , the scarcity and intensity of rain and all other types of good and bad happenings; based on the knowledge of the effect of heavenly bodies on earth is known as meteorology . It is permitted if the one who is predicting only considers them a possibility but not a certainty because the final authority for all cause and effect lies with Allah . Thus there is no harm in predicting the solar and lunar eclipses and the position of stars etc . because such predictions are based on complicated calculations and such predictions are usually true unless there is a mistake in calculation . The movement of the heavenly bodies follows well-defined laws and principles , hence there is hardly any chance of a wrong prediction .
On the other hand to predict future events with a belief that only the stars and heavenly bodies (without any Divine will) govern them is Haraam and a kind of magic .
The Shaykh has concluded his discussion in Makasib by stating that predictions are of four types :
1 . It is not Haraam to predict the future position of heavenly bodies and other phenomena like the solar and the lunar eclipse etc .
2 . It is also permitted to predict an occurrence if it is caused by the influence of the movement of stars or by the heavenly bodies coming near the earth but it must not be considered a phenomenon independent of the Divine will . It should be looked upon as the will of Allah . In other words one should say that �when the comet etc . passes near Earth such a thing will happen by the permission of Allah . � The stars must not be considered the sole cause of the phenomena . Even if one makes such predictions by experience and without any scientific knowledge; it is allowed . One who has previous experience can predict that it will rain at night when his pet dog comes down from the terrace and comes inside the house , because this had happened before . Hence the past experience enables some to predict a future event .
3 . To attribute the future events solely to the influence of heavenly bodies is considered Haraam by all the jurists . Numerous traditions denounce these kinds of predictions .
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�One who believes an astrologer and soothsayer has disbelieved in whatever was revealed upon Muhammad (s . a . w . s . ) . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Accursed is the astrologer and accursed is the soothsayer and accursed is the magician . �
When Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) was proceeding for the battle of Nahrawan one of his men who was an expert in astrology restrained him saying , �If you go at this time , I fear that you will not succeed in your aim . �
Ali (a . s . ) told him that if he thought he could predict the auspicious and the inauspicious times of departure with accuracy , he was in error and said ,
�Whoever believes your prediction has denied the Quran . � (Because according to Quran success and defeat all are subservient to Divine will) . If a person has faith in the astrologer he will not seek Divine help and assistance when the prediction is favourable for him . In this way he will not give Sadqa nor pray for success and will eventually conclude that Allah controls nothing; thus he would become a disbeliever .
If an astronomer predicts with the belief that his predictions are subject to the final will of Allah then there is no harm for one to pray to the Almighty for success when the prediction is good; and in case of an unfavourable prediction invoke Allah for safety .
1) Khwaja Nasiruddin Tusi during one of his journeys stayed for the night at a water mill . The water mill was situated outside the town . Since it was a hot evening the Khwaja decided to sleep in the open . The mill-owner told him that it would rain that night . The Khwaja looked at the sky but could not make out any sign of rain . The mill-owner said , �I have a pet dog who comes down to the house when it is to rain at night . � Khwaja did not heed his advice and spent the rainy night in open but he was much amused by the incident .


1 . To believe that stars are the supreme controllers of the world is Haraam . A person who has such a belief is a Kafir whether he denies the creator or not . All the jurists are unanimous in this regard .
2 . To believe that the heavenly bodies have been bestowed by Allah the power to control the world is not Kufr but it is a foolish notion because we have no proof that the inanimate stars have any intelligence or will to influence the world .
3 . The third type of belief is when a person admits that the stars have no intelligence and will power but says that Allah has decreed that when the position of the stars will be such , the following event will take place . It is the law of causation like when fire is brought near something it burns it . Though such a belief is proved correct most of the time , reason does not accept it to be unchangeable .
4 . To predict future events on the basis of heavenly occurrences is not Haraam according to most of the scholars . For example if the moon and Saturn come in a line there would be a good rainfall . To interpret such heavenly phenomena is not Haraam but such interpretations can be accurately given only by the Infallibles (a . s . ) . What the meteorologists predict is based on an incomplete part of this knowledge . Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) remarks :
�The complete knowledge of stars cannot be acquired and incomplete knowledge is of no benefit . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
After enumerating the different types of astrological sciences , Shaykh Ansari says , �All these traditions imply that whatever the astrologers predict is based on deficient knowledge . They only conjecture and guess on the basis of a little knowhow . People who consult them are rarely satisfied by their predictions but it is possible that he may have experience regarding a particular event and may make an accurate prediction . Hence it is better to refrain from consulting such people and if they make a prediction , one should say , �It is only a possibility . ��


The deficiency and inaccuracy of astrological predictions can be gauged from the doubts and wrong predictions of the astrologers . The books of history are replete with such examples . In the second volume of Tatmatal Muntahi it is mentioned that in 582 A . H . seven stars came together in one constellation . Abul Fazl Khwarizmi and other astronomers gave the prediction that the whole world will be destroyed in a cyclone . The people took shelter in the caves and protective spots and also stored their rations to escape the fury of the cyclone . At last the predicted date of 9th of Jamadi ul Aakhar arrived but there was no sign of any cyclone . Not even a soft wind blew . People lit candles and they burnt without even being blown out by a breeze . The poets jumped to the amusing occasion and composed couplets on this incident .
A few years ago there was a similar threat that had the people of the whole world worried . It was predicted that the whole earth would be shaken due to the impact of the collision of a meteor . Some people dived underwater to escape the shock but nothing happened at the appointed time . (The meteor missed the earth by thousands of miles) .


If a person is able to perform extraordinary acts due to his extreme piety and abstinence it is known as Karamat but if the said person is a Prophet or an Imam , he is bestowed with this high station by the Almighty and subject to three conditions his act will be construed as a miracle (Mojiza) .
1 . His claim should be acceptable to reason but if his claim is illogical , whatever action he performs is magic whether one can perceive the mechanics of this act or not . For example it is an accepted fact by every Muslim that prophethood came to an end with Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s . a . w . s . ) and that his shariah will be in force till Qiyamat; there will be no prophet after him . Hence if someone claims that he is a prophet; his extraordinary acts to prove his claim will not be believed . He would be a cunning magician . Or a person claims Imamat , when according to the proven belief of Shias there are only twelve Imams . The first being Hazrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a . s . ) , and the last Hazrat Hujjat ibnil Hasan (a . s . ) , who will remain in occultation till the time of his reappearance . Hence the claimant will be an imposter even if he exhibits some mysterious act . Similarly is the position regarding the special representatives of Imam (a . s . ) who were four , the last being Ali ibn Muhammad Saymori . If someone comes and says that he is a special representative (Naib-e-Khaas) he cannot be believed and whatever �miracles� he shows will be considered magical tricks .
2 . The person should possess the necessary qualification for being a prophet or an Imam . For example one of the necessary quality of a Prophet or Imam is infallibility (Ismat) . That is , he must not commit either a greater or a lesser sin before his declaration or after it . He must be the most righteous and knowledgeable person of his time . One of the signs of such a character is his indifference to material wealth . Thus if there is a claimant who commits sins and lacks knowledge and covets material wealth , then if he exhibits special acts , they are merely magic .
3 . It is necessary that the extraordinary act performed by the incumbent should be through the might and power of the Almighty . If he uses some tools and instruments or if he undertakes training for performing the said acts it is obvious that they are not miracles . Miracles are performed by the power of Allah and do not require prior practice and training . This aspect has been analysed in great detail in scholastic theology .


Many jurists are of the opinion that countering one magic spell by another is permitted . If an imposter claims prophethood by performing magical tricks; magic can be used to expose his falsehood . Or if a sorcerer casts a spell on someone or binds him , it is permitted to break this spell and unbind the victim with the help of magic .
It is related that Isa bin Saqafi came to Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and said , �May my life be sacrificed for you , I am a magician and magic is my occupation . With the earnings of magic I have even performed the Hajj and now the Almighty has honoured me by your meeting but now I am regretful of my deeds; is there any way I can achieve salvation ? Imam (a . s . ) said , �Untie and do not tie . � The apparent meaning of Imam�s remark is that he can use his powers to counteract the magical spells of others magicians but he must not himself initiate sorcery . Some jurists are of the opinion that magic can be used only under special circumstances when there is no other alternative . Initially invocations and amulets must be tried to nullify magical spells .
Let us look at a couple of such incidents in the book Behaarul Anwaar .
A person came to Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) and complained that a spell has been cast on him . Ali (a . s . ) told him to write the following dua on the skin of deer and keep it with him so that the spell may not affect him :
������ ����� ���������� ������ ����� ����� ����� ������ ������ ������ �� ������ ����� ������� ���� �������� ����� ������ ��� �������� ���� �������� ���� ����� ������������ ���� ����� ��� �������� ������ ������������� �������� �������� ������� ��� ������� ����������� ���������� ��������� ������������� ���������� .
In the Name of Allah and by Allah . In the Name of Allah and as Allah willed . In the Name of Allah . There is no power or might except by Allah . Musa (a . s . ) said Allah shall soon falsify the magic of those who have come with magic . Indeed Allah does not improve the affairs of transgressors . Then the truth became manifested and falsified what they had done . The truth triumphed and they were disgraced .
Moreover he advised reciting the following dua seven times to safeguard against magic and the tyranny of the ruler . The same dua can be recited seven times after Namaz-e-Shab and before the morning prayers . It will protect one from the evils of magic :
������ ����� ���������� ����� ��������� �������� ��������� ���������� ������� ���������� ����� ��������� ����������� ����������� ��������� ������ ������������� ������������� .
In the Name of Allah and by the help of Allah . Soon We shall strengthen your hand by your brother . And appoint for you a force . By which their mischief would not harm you . Move ahead with our signs . You and your followers shall triumph .
In the book Qasasul Ulama there is an anecdote of the period of Abbas the Safawid . A Christian king sent a messenger to Abbas with the message that he may be given a chance to debate with Muslim scholars and if he defeats the Muslim scholars they must all accept Christianity . Now the person sent by the Christian king had some powers by which he was able to guess accurately what others held in their fists . The scholars were invited to debate with him and they included Mulla Mohsin Faiz . When the debate began Mulla Mohsin remarked that the Christian king has sent an ordinary man instead of a religious scholar for debate . The envoy brushed the remark aside and told him to hide something in his fist so that he can prove his miraculous powers .
Mulla Mohsin kept the tasbih made of dust from Imam Husain (a . s . )�s grave in his fist and challenged him to guess . The man thought for sometime but kept quiet . When Mulla urged him to speak up he said , �According to my knowledge there is a piece of Paradise soil in your hand but I am astonished as to where it was and how it came into your hands . �
Mulla Mohsin said , �You are correct ! It is the dust from the grave of Imam Husain (a . s . ) who was the grandson of our Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . Your statement itself proves that the Imam of Muslims was on the right . Hence , you must accept Islam . �
The Christian followed his conscience and became a Muslim . A very suitable method was employed by the late Mulla Faiz to guide the Christian towards salvation . But it must be kept in mind that even under circumstances like the one described , where the person proved superior to the Christians who had extraordinary powers , it is necessary that the person has the three necessary qualifications described earlier , otherwise he is nothing but a sorcerer .



The thirty-second sin , which has been mentioned in the Quran and traditions as a Greater sin , is Israaf or wasteful expenditure . It is enumerated among the Greater Sins in the tradition of Fazl Ibne Shazaan from Imam Reza (a . s . ) and also in the tradition of Amash from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . The Quranic verses and traditions , both , confirm that wasteful expenditure is a Greater sin . First we shall quote these ayats and traditions and then delve into the various aspects of this sin . The Holy Quran says ,
��and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant . �
(Surah Araaf 7 : 31)
The above ayat suffices to show the dislike of Almighty Allah for the extravagant people . According to some exegesists of the Quran one who is not loved by Allah is doomed to perdition because the love of Allah implies Divine rewards .
According to Tafseer Majmaul Bayan , Bakhti Shoa was the personal physician of Haroon al-Rashid . He was a Christian . One day he asked Waqidi , �Does your Holy book contain any medical knowledge ? � Waqidi replied , �The Almighty Allah has condensed the complete medical knowledge in a single verse ,
� . . . And eat and drink and be not extravagant . �
�Did your Prophet mention anything about this branch of knowledge ? � asked the physician .
�Yes , � said Waqidi , �he has described the medical sciences in a brief sentence .
�The stomach is the house of pain and abstinence is the most important medicine . Everyone should be given the amount (of food) he needs . ��
Upon hearing this , the Christian remarked , �Your Book and your Prophet have not omitted anything from medical science and Galen (the Greek physician) had nothing more to say . �
The Almighty Allah says in the Quran ,
� . . . eat of its fruit when it bears fruit , and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping , and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant . �
(Surah Anaam 6 : 141)
A verse in Surah Momin states ,
�Thus does Allah cause him to err who is extravagant , a doubter . �
(Surah Momin 40 : 34)
Similarly ,
� . . . the extravagant are the inmates of the fire . �
(Surah Momin 40 : 43)
Also ,
�And thus do We recompense him who is extravagant and does not believe in the communication of his Lord; and certainly the chastisement of the Hereafter is severer and more lasting . �
(Surah Taha 20 : 127)
Allah the Almighty again says ,
� . . . and do not squander wastefully , surely the squanderers are the followers of the shaitans and the Shaitan is ever ungrateful to his Lord . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 26-27)
Tafseer Minhaj cites the extravagance and prodigality of the pre-Islamic Arabs . When the rich among them invited someone for dinner , they slaughtered several camels to show off their wealth . The Almighty Allah has denounced their extravagance and has said that they squander their wealth like the insane .
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�Certainly , moderation is liked by Allah and He dislikes extravagance; even in the throwing away of a date-seed , because that too can be used (Arabs feed date-seeds to camels) . And the same is with the throwing away of water left after drinking . � (Because even this can be put to some use) .
(Wasaelush Shia)
The Imam (a . s . ) has also said :
�Fear Allah and be not extravagant nor miserly . Be moderate . Verily , extravagance is waste . The Almighty Allah says , �And do not waste ! � Certainly Allah has never punished the people who practise moderation . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
It means that the Divine punishment is reserved for both the squanderer as well as the miser . Bushr Ibne Umar says , �I went to Imam Sadiq (a . s . ) and he placed some dates before us . We began to eat the dates and some of us were throwing away the seeds . He stopped them and said ,
�This is waste , Allah does not like corruption . ��
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
In a tradition , from the book Faqih , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) describes the various prohibited acts and states that the house one builds extravagantly and for show-off will be raised to seven floors by the Almighty Allah on the Day of Qiyamat . Allah will kindle that building and make it into a necklace and place it on the neck of that person . Then He will toss him into the fire . The people requested the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) to explain how a person can build a house for show-off . The Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) explained that it denotes a house , which is more than needed , and one that is constructed to show the superiority of the owner over other Muslim brothers .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�Whenever Allah intends goodness from His servants , He reveals to him to live moderately and spend his life in the best way and keeps him away from extravagance and prodigality . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�Do you think if Allah has bestowed someone with wealth , it is because he is His beloved ? And if He has given less to someone it is because he is low ? No ! It is not so . Whatever wealth is there , it all belongs to Allah . Allah gives it to whomsoever He wishes as a trust and He has permitted the trustee to eat , drink , wear clothes , marry , and ride from it , (but) in moderation . If he has excess he must distribute it among the poor and fulfill their needs . Then whoever follows the Divine commands , whatever he has eaten , drunk , worn , married and riden in moderation; all this is lawful for him and if he does not act upon it , everything is Haraam . �
Then Imam (a . s . ) recited the ayat ,
�And do not be extravagant , Allah does not love the squanderers . �
Then he continued ,
�Do you think it proper that a person purchases from the wealth which Allah has entrusted him , a horse costing 10 , 000 dirhams when he could have bought an animal worth 20 dirhams ? ; and it would have sufficed for him . Or if he purchase a slave-girl at a cost of a thousand dirhams when he could have got one in twenty dinars and quite sufficient for him ? When the Almighty says ,
�Do not spend wastefully . �
(One who wastes and squanders money has done Khiyanat in the trust of Allah) .
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Abbasi says that he asked Imam Reza (a . s . ) as to how much he should spend on his family ? Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�Between the two which are disliked . �
I said , �I don�t know what those two are ? �
�Certainly Allah hates extravagance and He hates miserliness . �
Imam (a . s . ) then recited the ayat ,
�And (the people are) those who are neither extravagant nor miserly . They are the moderate (people) . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has said that if a person is extravagant and later becomes poor due to it , his invocations will not be accepted . Then if he says �O Allah grant me health , � Allah (a . j . ) says , �Had I not ordered you moderation ? �


Extravagance means crossing the limits or spending wastefully . It depends upon circumstances . For example , spending on something useless is Haraam , even if it is only a single dirham . Spending unduly even for a proper ocassion is extravagance . If a dress of one hundred rupees is good enough one should not purchase a dress costing five hundred . According to certain scholars spending at the wrong place is squandering and spending more than necessary is extravagance .
Hazrat Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�The extravagant have three qualities; he eats more than required , he wears more than is suitable for him and buys things needlessly . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�If you wear a formal dress where it is not required , it is extravagance . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)


It is necessary to know that extravagance depend upon the honour and respect of different people , their health and sickness , youth and old age , poverty and affluence , income levels etc . It is possible that an expensive dress may not constitute extravagance for a person who can afford the same and who holds a respectable position in society . Whereas for one who is not having the same position and income , wearing the same dress will constitute extravagance .
Kulayni (r . a . ) has recorded a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) that he said ,
�There are some poor people who squander more than the rich . Because the rich squander from the wealth Allah has given whereas the poor squander what they have not . �
(Furu Al Kafi)
Thus such poor people are always involved in economic problems and debts . They do not consider their circumstances and spend beyond their means . This is extravagance . It is a result of competing with those who are more affluent . In trying to keep up with them one indulges in extravagance and spends ones life in misery , sorrow and grief . If instead people look at those who are less privileged than them , as ordered by Islam , they would never fall prey to wasteful expenditure . Thus , bankruptcy is often caused by extravagance . If people obey the rules of Islam and act with common sense and reason , they will always practice moderation and keep aloof from this sin; they will be satisfied with whatever they have and live within their means . Consequently , they will enjoy the goodness of this world and the Hereafter .
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says :
�No one can taste true belief till he cultivates three qualities
1 . Love of the knowledge of religious rules and regulations .
2 . Patience in calamities and
3 . Realistic estimation of his expenses . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�When a person practices moderation I guarantee that he will never become destitute . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Three things facilitate salvation : Fearing Allah , practising moderation in poverty and affluence , to say only the rightful thing even when angry or displeased . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) explains the ayat
�We will certainly make him live a happy life . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 97)
and says that ,
��A happy life� is contentment . �


Uthman gave two hundred gold coins to his servants and told them to take them to Abu Zar and say , �Uthman has sent you his salaam with a request to accept these coins . You can use them for your needs . �
When the servants brought the gold coins to Abu Zar and conveyed Uthman�s message he asked , �Has Uthman given a similar amount to every Muslim ? �
��No� , they replied
�Then am I superior to all the Muslims to be given these ? �
The servants told him , Uthman has said that , �these gold coins are from his personal property and by Allah they are Halaal . �
�I do not need them because I am needless , � said Abu Zar .
�But we don�t see anything in your house , that shows you are needless ? �
Abu Zar pointed towards a utensil and said , �There are two pieces of barley bread in it and hence I am needless . �
(Safinatul Behaar)
In another narration of the same type , Muawiya sent two of his slaves with some money for Abu Zar and when Abu Zar refused to accept them , the slaves said , �O Abu Zar ! Muawiya had promised to free us if you accept the money . Please accept it for our sake . �
Abu Zar said , �If I take them you would be free from Muawiya�s slavery but I will become his slave , because then I will be forced to obey him . � (It would be the same as selling my religion for material wealth) .
Sayyad Abu A�laa Maududi writes in his book , Islam and the Economic Problems that all the evils in the world are due to the wasteful expenditure of rich people and their vain pastimes . These people consider extra-marital sex a necessity . Due to this thousands of women become morally corrupt; thousands of men shamelessly commit debauchery . These people consider singing , dancing , music , acting etc . as necessary entertainments . Hence they have bought over the various professionals of these vices and the entertainment industry has bloomed . More and more people being attracted to these vices . Thus , the number of dancers , actors and prostitutes increase by the day .
This has resulted in the development of entertainments , which are not at all necessary for respectable people . On the contrary such vices are destroying morals and basic human values . Even sports and excursions have been commercialised into wealth ammassing business . Misguided people have instigated a section of society to indulge in producing wines , drugs and other intoxicants . The devastating effect of which on society are only too well known . They spend their money in building posh apartments , giving lavish parties . They spend exhorbitantly on jewellery , dresses , paintings etc . The height of their wasteful expenditure is reflected in the special rooms for their dogs and the golden collars and lashes with which they adorn their pets .
In the face of such wasteful expenditure are the destiutes and deprived masses who cannot have even their basic needs fulfilled . The Qaroons (profligates) have acted blatantly against humanity and against the principles of Islam by their wasteful expenditure . If only they had used their excess wealth for alleviating poverty and fufilling the needs of the poor , they would have done a service to humanity .
As pointed out earlier extravagance depends on the capacity of a person and what is extravagance for a poor man may not be considered lavishness for a rich man . However , it does not mean that the affluent people are free to spend their wealth in any way they like . Most certainly they cannot spend on anything which is haraam . In fact the rules that apply to the rich are very strict indeed .
When they have been bestowed with wealth and affluences they have to live in a manner suitable to their status . Whatever amount remains is not for hoarding . Any excess wealth has to be utilised in the manner stated by religion . It is obligatory to deduct Khums (1/5) of the extra wealth and distribute it to those who are qualified for it . One must also pay Zakat when it is obligatory .
If a person has some close relatives who are poor he has to give them some amount otherwise he will be guilty of Qat-e-Rahem . If some of his surplus money is needed by his destitute and poor relations , he must help them . If they are in debt he must help them repay the debts . If they are sick he should provide medicines for them and provide the other necessities of life . In fact , if he is aware of any Muslim who needs monetary help and he does not help him , he will be like the one described in the following words of Quran ,
� . . . and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah�s way , announce to them a painful chastisement . On the day when it shall be heated in the fire of Hell , then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it; this is what you hoarded up for yourselves , therefore taste what you hoarded . �
(Surah Tauba 9 : 34-35)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) explains ,
�If a person hoards wealth and does not fulfill the rights (if he sees a poor and needy person and he does not spend it in the way of Allah); then on the Day of Qiyamat he will be branded with it and it will be told to him , �This is your wealth which you collected with miserliness . ��
(Tafseer al-Mizan)
Numerous ayats and traditions have emphasised spending in the way of Allah and prohibited against hoarding of wealth . The former is considered most deserving of Divine rewards and the latter earns degrading punishment . However , if we quote these verses and narrations we would be straying from our topic .
It would not be out of place to mention a few facts of the modern world . Some rich people , who feel they are Muslims , hoard up all their surplus wealth in foreign banks , in secret accounts . Only when they exit from the world do we learn of their legacies . Allah knows how they shall justify their actions . If they offer the excuse of ignorance of the matter they will be confronted with the question as to why did they not try to learn about religion , attend majlis , lectures etc ?
If they had known everything why did they not act upon it . It is a pity that these wealthy people do not realise that spending in the way of Allah is the most appropriate utility of their wealth . It is the only beneficial way to spend it . The money spent in the way of Allah has been called as the �righteous wealth� by the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) . The person who spends in the way of Allah will deserve praises in this world and also earn the eternal rewards of the Hereafter . Those who do not , will be fraught with regret and bitterness , forever .


Extravagance differs from person to person , it also depends on the prevailing conditions . It is possible that spending a certain quantity may not be extravagance in times of prosperity but if a similar amount is spent in times of famine when people are starving to death , it will be counted as lavishness and squandering . It would be obligatory for those people to avoid spending like in normal times and instead distribute that wealth among those who are in need .
Moatab , a servant of Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says , �There was an acute shortage of food when Imam (a . s . ) asked me , �What is the position of our stocked grains ? �
�We have sufficient to last us months , � I replied . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Take it out and sell it . �
I said , �There is a shortage of wheat and barley in Madinah . � But Imam (a . s . ) insisted I sell it .
When I had sold it all , Imam (a . s . ) told me that I should buy the daily requirements from the market like the common people and said ,
�Fix a diet of half wheat and half barley for my family , Allah knows that I am capable of feeding them all pure wheat bread but I like it that Allah sees me fulfilling duties of my life faithfully . ��
The same order applies to the matter of dressing . Some stupid people have accused Imam Sajjad (a . s . ) , Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) and Imam Reza (a . s . ) for wearing fine clothes whereas their fathers , grandfathers , the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) all wore humble clothes . The Holy Imams (a . s . ) have always refuted this accusation by saying that those times were different . In those days the majority of the people dressed in very ordinary clothes but now there was prosperity and affluence in society .
�If we were to wear the same types of clothes today , people would insult us . �
(Wasaelush Shia)
In an incident connected with the same subject we find Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) asking his critic to come near . When he came near , Imam (a . s . ) opened his outward garment and the man saw an old tattered shirt inside . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�This is the dress I wear to show humility to Allah and the other (outward) dress is for you and people like you to see . �
(Wasaelush Shia)


We must know that three types of extravagance are Haraam at all times and in all circumstances . Its prohibition is not conditional . The first kind of extravagance is when a person spends something wastefully; even if the thing wasted is of not much significance; like throwing the date seed away when it could be put to some use . Or throwing away water left over after drinking when there is a shortage of water and someone else could have used the same . Tearing up and throwing away old clothes is also a waste; because they can be given to people who are less privileged . Having a light on when there is enough sunlight . Handing over something valuable to a child or a foolish person who does not understand its value; and who will spoil the same . All these are a kind of wasteful expenditure or extravagance .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) saw some half-eaten fruits that had been thrown out of a house . He said ,
�What have you done ? If your bellies are full there are many people as yet unsatiated . So you should give it to those needy people . �
(Mustadrakul Wasael)
Whatever is left after eating must never be thrown away . Very many traditions have emphasised on the giving away of leftovers to animals , especially leftover bread .
During the time of Prophet Daniyal wastage of bread was rampant . The people used to throw away the leftover bread and it could be seen lying everywhere on the streets . Prophet Daniyal invoked Divine punishment for these people and hence they were inflicted with such a severe famine , that they were prepared to eat each other .
The book Wasaelush Shia has mentioned that once Imam Baqir (a . s . ) entered the toilet and saw a piece of bread lying on the floor . He picked it up and handed it over to his slave . When he had finished , he called the slave to produce that piece of bread . The slave said that he had cleaned it properly and then ate it . Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�I emancipate you in the way of Allah . �
The Imam (a . s . ) was told , �The slave had not performed any such deed that he deserved to be freed ? �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�It was because he had respected a great bounty , like bread and ate it; hence Paradise became incumbent upon him . I do not like to enslave a person for whom Allah has ordained Paradise . �
A similar type of tradition has been narrated from the Chief of the Martyrs , Imam Husain (a . s . ) .
As regards the wastage of clothes we have already quoted a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) where he has remarked about the wearing of fine clothes in common place situations . He (a . s . ) himself wore the fine clothes to suit his eminent position .


The second type of extravagance is spending on eatables and drinks that cause harm to the body , like eating when one is already full . It is harmful to eat on a full stomach and it is a waste . However , spending upon those things , which are good for the body , is not Israaf .
Al Kafi has a tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) . One of his followers approached him and said , �When we head for Mecca (for Hajj) we have to halt at a point to wear the Ehraam and we also feel the need to anoint our bodies with a pack made from flour husk . Since we do not have flour husk we use flour instead , but it makes me feel very guilty; though our Lord knows better . �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�Whatever is necessary for the body is not Israaf . Quite often we mix sieved flour with olive oil and apply it to our body . �
The narrator then asked Imam (a . s . ) to distinguish extravagance from stinginess . Imam (a . s . ) told him ,
�Bread , meat , milk , vinegar and ghee; whatever you wish you can eat . But do not eat all of them at one time . �


The third type of extravagance or wastage is spending on things and vices that are haraam according of Shariah . Like purchasing wine or purchasing items used in gambling; paying to singers or prostitutes , bribing government officials , spending money to obtain unlawful gains or usurping someone else�s property by force , paying for oppressing a Muslim . All these ways of spending are Israaf . One who indulges in these activities commits two wrongs; one is the action itself and secondly he is also guilty of Israaf .
Tafseer of Ayyashi records a tradition through Abdul Rahman bin Hajjaj who asked Imam (a . s . ) the meaning of ayat ,
�And do not squander wastefully . �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�If one spends in any other way than what Allah has ordered , it is squandering and if one spends in the way of Allah , it is moderation . �


Some of the ayats that deal with the subject of charity emphasise it to such an extent that if one gives away all his belongings while he himself is in need of them , he has not been extravagant . On the contrary it is one of the recommended actions and is liked by Allah . As the following ayat of Quran states :
� . . . and prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them , and whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul , these it is that are the successful ones . �
(Surah Hashr 59 : 9)
Preferring others to ourselves means that even though we are in need of something that we have , we give it to someone else who also needs it . We prefer to fulfill the other person�s needs rather than our own . This is the spirit of sacrifice mentioned in the Holy Quran . In another place we have ,
�And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive . . . �
(Surah Insan 76 : 8)
Majority of the Mufassireen (commentator of Quran) agree that the above verse was revealed in praise of Ali (a . s . ) , Fatemah Zahra (s . a . ) , Imam Hasan (a . s . ) , Imam Husain (a . s . ) and their maid , Fizza when they had fasted for three days consecutively and every day at the time of breaking the fast they gave the bread in the way of Allah and contended themselves by ending the fast with plain water .
A person enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) , �What is the best charity ? � Imam (a . s . ) replied ,
�One who himself does not possess anything but toils and earns and gives it in the way of Allah . Have you not seen the ayat of Quran :
�And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive . . . ? �
(Al Kafi)
A report from a Sunni narrator Asim bin Kaleeb is mentioned in Tafseer Minhajus Sadeqeen . He reports that a beggar came to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and requested him for something . The Messenger of Allah (s . a . w . s . ) sent someone to his residence to get something for the beggar but he was informed that there was nothing at home . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) announced among the companions as to who will render help to this poor man . Ali (a . s . ) volunteered , saying ,
�This destitute shall be my guest tonight . �
He (a . s . ) took him home and informed Hazrat Zahra (s . a . ) about his condition . Janabe Fatemah Zahra (s . a . ) said ,
�O Ali ! We have food enough for only one person and I had kept it for my daughter Zainab but you may do as you wish . �
Imam (a . s . ) said , �It would be better to put the children to sleep and put out the lamp because such a less quantity of food will be insulting before the guest . �
Janabe Fatemah (s . a . ) did as instructed and the food was placed before the guest . He began to eat and the food was not yet finished when he said , �I am full and the Almighty Allah has given barakat in your food . � Thus he departed happily .
In another narration it is mentioned that afterwards Ali (a . s . ) , Janabe Fatemah (s . a . ) , Imam Hasan (a . s . ) , Imam Husain (a . s . ) , Janabe Fizza and Janabe Zainab satiated themselves with the remaining food and the happenings were reported to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) the next day , and the following verse was revealed :
� . . . and prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them , and whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul , these it is that are the successful ones . �
(Surah Hashr 59 : 9)
It is recorded in Al Kafi that Samaa enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) : �If a person has just enough food to sustain him for a day , is it incumbent upon him to give from it to a needy person ? Or if one has provisions for a month , only enough for him; is he required to give to those who are destitute ? Similarly the one who has stocks for a year or any appointed period . Is it in any way incumbent for him to curtail his own needs and give a part of it to the needy ? Would he be implicated if he doesn�t ?
Imam (a . s . ) explained ,
�There are two aspects of this matter , one is that the best of you are those who do good and prefers others over oneself . They are inclined towards sacrifice and charity . Regarding them Allah says ,
� . . . and prefer (them) over themselves . �
The second point is that though one who keeps only the necessary quantity for himself is not blamed , yet the hand of one who gives is better than the hand of one who takes . You must take precedence in helping those who depend upon you . �
Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) says ,
�Selflessness is one of the highest degrees of belief . �
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�There is no goodness in Israaf and there is no Israaf in goodness . �
(Safinatul Behaar)


In addition to these verses we also have ayats that emphasise moderation in spending . For example :
�And do not make your hand to be shackled to your neck nor stretch it forth to the utmost (limit) of its stretching forth , lest you should (afterwards) sit down blamed , stripped off . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 29)
The above ayat is commanding the believers not to exceed limits in spending , so as to avoid its ramifications . The Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran :
�And they who when they spend , are neither extravagant nor parsimonious , and (keep) between these the just mean . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 67)
Ibn Abi Umair has related that a person asked Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) the meaning of the ayat ,
� . . . and pay the due of it on the Day of its reaping , and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant . �
(Surah Anam 6 : 141)
Imam (a . s . ) explained ,
�There was a man from the helpers (ansaar) who was a cultivator . When he received his income he spent it all on the helpless and distributed it among the poor . As a result nothing remained for his family . So the Holy Quran has termed it as extravagance and said that he should pay the fixed taxes from farming but he must not be extravagant because Allah did not like extravagant people . �
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says ,
�One who spends all his wealth in charity has certainly done Israaf . �


In order to reconcile the differing verses , the scholars have mentioned some clauses . In the Sharh of Al Kafi we find that according to Tabarsi it is possible that the arguments in favour of selflessness pertain to the times of poverty , for example the initial period of Islam and the recommendation emphasising moderation in charity pertain to prosperous times . Or they may differ according to the economic condition of the one who seeks help , i . e . some people deserve to be helped even by sacrificing ones own needs and there are some people who need not be helped at the cost of ones own needs . It also depends upon the person who is being charitable . If he possesses complete and perfect faith , there is no harm if he exceeds the limits of generosity to fulfill the needs of people , but if an ordinary person donates everything and is himself impoverished , he will not be able to bear it . In this case it is advisable for him to stay within limits in charity . Thus except for the divine personalities and extremely pious people the masses can be said to belong to the latter category . Therefore the ayat ,
�And do not make your hand . . . �
(Surah Bani Israel 17 : 29)
is addressed to the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) but it is meant for the guidance of the common Muslims . Muhammad Ibne Makki was of the opinion that the rules of charity vary with person to person . The traditions , which imply extreme selflessness , are only for those who give their personal belongings to the needy and the traditions that hint a moderation even in charity are meant for those who have wife , children and family etc . Such a person cannot prefer others to his own children . He cannot give away whatever is necessary for his family to other needy people . Sacrifice of our own needs is allowed but it is not permitted to give away the requirements of our family and children . The honourable scholar has also stated that it is makrooh (detestable) for a man to donate his total wealth in charity unless he is sure he will be able to bear the consequences . Also it is necessary that he does not have the responsibility of a family or children .
(Daarus Salaam of Noori)
Sayyed Muhammad Kazim Yazdi also remarks that according to the Holy Quran , sunnat of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the unanimous opinion of the scholars , Israaf is Haraam , there is no objection against this verdict . Israaf is the expenditure on useless things which is considered as wasteful by common sense; whether the amount spent is appropriate to the occasion or not .
Is Israaf possible in charitable deeds ? Some of the scholars including Sayyed Muhammad Kazim Yazdi believe that it is possible . Some well-known jurists have stated the contrary . According to the traditions , �There is no goodness in Israaf and no Israaf in goodness . � But we should know that the former opinion is more precautionary on the basis of other traditions on this subject .
After quoting the traditions of Ibn Abi Umair and Sahih of Bazanti and other sources , the late Sayyed says , �The ayats and narrations denouncing wasteful expenditure revoke (mansookh) the ayat of selfless sacrifice . � Therefore it apears that it is not proper to sacrifice and to give gifts extravagantly which are not appropriate to the status of the donor , or which common sense perceives such generosity to be excessive . There is no logic in giving and taking of such gifts and donations . As mentioned earlier wasteful spending in necessary matters is also prohibited . The only exception being the expenses of Hajj and Umra which are not subject to any limits . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�No spending is more likeable to Allah than one which is moderate and except for over-spending in Hajj , He dislikes all types of extravagance . �
(Safinatul Behaar)


The author of the present work is very strongly of the opinion that there is no extravagance in charity . Even if a person gives his total wealth with the intention pleasing Allah and of achieving Divine blessings he does not do anything unacceptable . He justifies his opinion on the basis of a few of the many ayats .
The ayat , �And do not move your hand . . . � is a lenient prohibition and does not mention the act as Haraam or Makrooh . Also the ayat , �And they who when they spend , are neither extravagant nor parsimonious , and (keep) between these the just mean . � may pertain to househld expenditure and not to that which is spent in the way of Allah . It may also mean that those who are not stingy and also not extravagant are the obedient creatures of the Beneficent Lord . As regards the ayat , �eat of its fruit when it bears fruit , . . . and do not act extravagantly� and �surely He does not love the extravagant . . . � we can say that both these sentences form a single statement . The tradition , which explains the ayat also shows that the two are interrelated . Though it is true that a person who donates the entire crop in charity and does not keep anything for his family and children certainly commits Israaf . Charity and selflessness is permitted , but feeding and clothing his dependents is Wajib upon him . One who deprives his dependents of the basic needs and gives everything in charity has acted against Divine commands . But if he feels assured that he will be able to fulfill the needs of his family from other sources or that his dependents will not claim their rights from him , it is permitted for him to give everything away for the sake of Allah . This can be supported by the examples from the lives of the Holy Imams (a . s . ) . For example , Hazrat Amirul Momineen Ali (a . s . ) had time and again performed such sacrifice of his total belongings . Once he sold his orchard for twelve thousand Dirhams and distributed the complete amount among the poor and needy . He did not save anything for his family , but Ali (a . s . ) and other great personalities never deprived their own dependents . Whenever they performed such charitable deeds they had faith in themselves that they would be able to provide their families from some other means . Whatever has been stated with regard to the ayats prohibiting over-spending can also be supported with the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) wherein he denounced the person who spends all his wealth and dies leaving his minor children destitute and helpless . It is prohibited for a person to spend his complete wealth in charity when he knows that after him his children will be in need of it . If he leaves a legacy for his children who have no other source of income; the legacy shall also be in the way of Allah .
It is for this reason that drawing a will for more that a third of one�s total property is prohibited . It is also commanded for those who have young children to will for less than a third of their wealth .
The traditions of selflessness apply to only special circumstances . Extreme generosity is not prohibited and whatever has been said about the meaning of the ayats explains the tradition of Ibn Abi Umair . The narration of Sahih of Bazanti may imply that , it is not proper to over-spend where Imam (a . s . ) has prohibited extravagance . The tradition of Faqih may concern those people who spend in recommended ways , where it is incumbent for them not to spend . The tradition of Imam (a . s . ) may also be a refutation of the Sufis� assertion that extreme selflessness is incumbent and the Imams (a . s . ) have also pointed out that spending for ones family�s needs is also like spending in the way of Allah . The words of tradition also imply that moderation in ways of charity is emphasised with a gentle command . In other words over-spending in charity is only a recommended prohibition whereas we are aware of the incomparable charitable acts of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) , and verses that were revealed in the praise of these deeds (The ayat of �Hal ataa� and the verse of �Najva�) . Moreover , we see that Imam Hasan (a . s . ) in his life gave half his wealth in charity to the poor and needy , on three occasions . The charitable deeds of Imam Husain (a . s . ) and other Imam (a . s . ) are also well known . Imam Reza (a . s . ) donated his total wealth in charity at Khurasan on the day of Arafat . When Fazl ibn Sahl pointed out that Imam (a . s . ) has suffered a great loss , Imam (a . s . ) replied that ,
�Whatever I received as my share is sufficient . �
Again on the day of Navroz when he assumed the seat of heir apparent of Mamoon under duress , he gave away all the presents and gifts to a single poet who had recited in praise of Ahlul Bayt (a . s . ) .
Hazrat Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) has been reported to have said ,
�If all the world becomes my property and becomes a single morsel and I place it in the mouth of a single believer; I will not consider myself extravagant . �
Imam Hasan al-Askari (a . s . ) says :
�If all the world becomes a morsel and I give to a true worshipper of Allah I will feel I have not fulfilled his rights completely and if I give even a gulp of water to a starving disbeliever; I consider myself extravagant . �
These two narrations expound the fact that even if the whole world is gifted to a sincere and a pious believer it will not be extravagance , because he deserves it .
Numerous instances of selflessness of pious scholars have been recorded . Some of these righteous people have seen the rewards of their charity in their worldly life . Rawzaatul Jannat contains an incident regarding Muhaqqiq Ardebeli that during the times of famine he used to give away to the poor whatever he had . He used to live in poverty himself . One day when he had donated all his possessions his wife became angry with him that he had deprived his children in such times when food was scarce . He left his home and went to the mosque and sat there in Ehtekaaf . An unknown person arrived at the door of his house and handed sacks of wheat and flour saying that master Ardebeli sent it and that he was in Ehtekaaf at the mosque of Kufa . When Muhaqqiq Ardebeli returned home from Ehtekaaf his wife told him that he had sent very fine wheat and flour . When he learnt of the details he realised that it was a Divine favour upon him and fell down in prostration to thank the Almighty . Many times it was seen that the Muhaqqiq left home with an expensive turban but if he encountered a beggar he tore a piece from it and gave it in alms . On numerous occasions he returned home bare-head .


Until now we have discussed extravagance in monetary terms but since the dictionary meaning of Israaf is �exceeding limits� and �extremism� the same laws apply to beliefs and actions . Israaf in belief implies believing about oneself or others something that is untrue and inappropriate . For example the belief of Firon that he was God . As he told the people , �I do not know any of the gods except myself . � The Almighty Allah has mentioned him as �one who crossed the limits . �
� . . . surely Firon was lofty in the land; and most surely he was of the extravagant . �
(Surah Yunus 10 : 83)
Regarding those who do not believe in Allah , Prophethood , Imams , Qiyamat etc .
The Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran ,
�And thus do We recompense him who is extravagant and does not believe in the communications of his Lord; and certainly the chastisement of the Hereafter is severer and more lasting . �
(Surah Taha 20 : 127)
Performing detestable acts and avoiding advisable deeds is Israaf in action . For example the homosexual inclinations of the people of Prophet Lut (a . s . ) have been termed as extravagance :
�Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay , you are an extravagant people . �
(Surah Araaf 7 : 81)
In fact all the sins of actions and speech are a kind of extremism and every sinner is said to have crossed the limits . The Almighty says :
�Say : O my servants ! Who have acted extravagantly against their own souls , do not despair of the Mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving , the Merciful . � (Surah Zumar 39 : 53)
But we must not despair of our deficiencies . If we turn to Allah He shall certainly forgive . We on our part should make a sincere effort not to be wasteful in our daily lives and not to exceed the limits in whatever we are engaged in . Moderation has to be practiced by us even in routine acts like eating , sleeping and talking . As the tradition says ,
�Verily Allah hates the one who eats excessively and the one who sleeps excessively . �
For those who wish to study the subject in more detail we recommend the book Me�rajus Sa�adat . This book discusses the method of living in accordance with Islamic principles .


pride or arrogance

The thirty-third greater sin is Pride; as mentioned in the tradition of Imam Reza (a . s . ) narrated by Fazl ibn Shazaan . Shaykh Ansari has also verified the authenticity of this tradition in Makasib . A similar tradition from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) is quoted by Amash to have said ,
�Arrogance and tyranny is a greater sin . �
According to the Holy Quran , pride is a sin that will most certainly be severely punished .
The Almighty Allah says in Surah Zumar (Verse 60)
�Is there not in Hell an abode for the proud ? �
He also says :
�It shall be said : Enter the gates of hell to abide therein; so evil is the abode of the proud . �
(Surah Zumar 39 : 72)
In Surah Mo-min (Verse 35) Almighty remarks ,
�Thus does Allah set a seal over the heart of every proud , haughty one . �
The one who considers himself to be the best wants others to know that he is the best . There are numerous Quranic verses against pride and haughtiness but we shall mention only the one that talks of the haughtiness of Shaitan; as the result of which he became the accursed one :
�He refused and he was proud , and he was one of the Unbelievers . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 34)
Amirul Mo-mineen Ali (a . s . ) says in one of his sermons :
�You should take a lesson from what Allah did with Shaitan; namely He nullified his great acts and extensive efforts on account of the vanity of one moment , although Shaitan had worshipped Allah for six thousand years - whether by the reckoning of this world or of the next world is not known . Who now can remain safe from Allah after Shaitan by committing a similar disobedience ? None at all . Allah , the Glorified , cannot let a human being enter Paradise if he does the same thing for which Allah turned out from it an angel . His command for the inhabitants in the sky and of the earth is the same . There is no friendship between Allah and any individual out of His creation so as to give him licence for an undesirable thing which He has held unlawful for all the worlds . � (That is pride and arrogance) .
(Sermon No . 192 Nahjul Balagha)
After a few sentences Ali (a . s . ) says about Qabeel :
�Do not be like him who feigned superiority over the son of his mother without any distinction given to him by Allah . It was only the feeling of enmity which created a feeling of greatness in him and the fire of anger that vanity kindled in his heart . Satan blew into him his own vanity , after which Allah made him responsible for the sins of all killers upto the Day of Judgement since he had initiated the crime of killing . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
Thus Qabeel was doomed to eternal perdition due to pride that caused him to murder his righteous brother .
Ali (a . s . ) continues :
Take instruction from how the (Shaitan) brought Allah�s wrath , calamities , chastisement and punishment on those who were vain among the past people . Take admonition from their lying on their cheeks and falling on their sides , and seek Allah�s protection from the dangers of vanity , as you seek His protection from calamities . �
(Nahjul Balagha)
The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says :
�Allah will not speak to three kinds of people on the Day of Qiyamat; and they will not be looked upon kindly by Him; and there is a severe punishment for them : An aged adulterer , a tyrant ruler and a proud beggar . �
From the above hadith we can conclude that the punishment for a youthful adulterer , a ruler who does not oppress and a proud person who is not a beggar will be less severe . An old man committing adultery is far more despicable because unlike a young man he is not fired by an intense sexual urge , and in spite of this he disobeys the Divine command and brings upon himself added punishment . The same applies to a ruler whom Almighty has bestowed a kingdom , wealth and power; and the ruler instead of being thankful and grateful to Allah for His bounties misuses them to oppress Allah�s creatures . Not only is such a ruler accountable for his oppressive deeds but he incurs the intense wrath of Allah because of his ingratitude and denial of Allah�s blessings . A proud beggar is miserable creature; he incurs the intense displeasure of Allah because he is vain in spite of the fact that he has nothing that can be the cause of his vanity .
A man enquired from Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) :
�What is the lower level of disbelief ? �
Imam (a . s . ) said ,
�It is pride . �
Imam Baqir (a . s . ) says :
�Stateliness and superiority , and the expression of a pride are like two exclusive garments of Allah . (No one can share it with Him) . Hence if anyone dares to acquire these qualities he will be thrown headlong into hell by Allah . �
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a . s . ) is also recorded to have remarked :
�Pride and superiority are like two exclusive garments of Allah . So one who acts proud has made war on Allah . �
A proud person is mentioned as having made war on Allah because such a person loses all awareness of the reality that he is an insignificant creature whose very existence and all that he possesses is only because of Allah�s favour on him . He regards himself as someone very special , in full control of his life , which no other power can influence . His arrogance can reach a stage where he can even claim divinity in open defiance of the Almighty , as it happened with Firon . While a man can develop qualities like mercy , kindness etc . which are also divine qualities , and developing these qualities will in fact help a person to gain nearness to Allah , but man , a creature of Allah has no right whatsoever to associate pride and superiority with himself . These are exclusive for Allah . The Almighty says in the Quran :
�And to Him belongs greatness in the heavens and the earth , and He is the Mighty , the Wise . �
(Surah Jathiyah 45 : 37)
Imam Ja�far as-Sadiq (a . s . ) says :
�There is a special section for the arrogant people in the hell . It is called Saqr . Saqr complained to Allah for the intensity of its heat and sought permission to breathe . It breathed and scorched hell . �
Imam (a . s . ) also remarked ,
�Certainly the haughty people will be raised as peanuts (on the Day of Qiyamat) and till the accounting of the people is complete they would be trampled upon . � (by others) .
Allamah Majlisi explains the above tradition : �This hadith proves that it is possible that some people may be raised in diminutive form , possessing some or all of the physical characteristics . (It is also possible) that other additional characteristics may be added to their bodies and hence be the cause of additional pain . It can also be said that the arrogant sinner will be raised in such a disgraceful condition that it would be as if he is utterly small in size . Whatever may be the form , it is certain that they will be trampled under the feet of other people .


Arrogance is the practical expression of pride which develops in a person who thinks himself to be better than others . Arrogance can be categorized as : (1) Arrogance against Allah (2) Arrogance against the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and the Imams (a . s . ) (3) Arrogance towards people .
Arrogance towards the Almighty is expressed in different ways . There are arrogant people seized by the feeling of being all powerful . They attribute all their achievements and acquisitions to their own capabilities and are oblivious of the supremacy and might of the Almighty . The feeling of self importance is expressed by them in their actions and speech with words like �I have done this , � and �I will do that� .
On the basis of his strength and property he refuses to recognise the supremacy and might of Allah , with the result that the darkness of disbelief shrouds his heart . The Holy Quran says :
� . . . there is naught in their breasts but (a desire) to become great which they shall never attain to . . . �
(Surah Mo-min 40 : 56)
These are people who will not achieve greatness either in this world nor the Hereafter . The Almighty Allah says at another place ,
� . . . so (as for) those who do not believe in the hereafter , their hearts are ignorant and they are proud . �
(Surah Nahl 16 : 22)
As mentioned earlier , sometimes , the haughtiness assumes such high proportions that the man apart from crediting his own self for everything also dares to declare his Godhood and supremacy over other people . He claims that he has absolute control over a section of people and that they are subservient to him . Like the foolish Firon who alleged :
�Then he said : I am your lord , the most high . �
(Surah Naziyat 79 : 24)
He tries to prove his claim by saying :
� . . . is not the Kingdom of Egypt mine ? And these rivers flow beneath me; . . �
(Surah Zukhruf 43 : 51)
And ,
� . . . I do not know of any god for you besides myself . �
(Surah Qasas 28 : 38)
In the same way Namrood also considered himself the controller of life and death :
�he said : I give life and cause death . . . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 258)
Namrood ordered that two of his prisoners may be presented before him . And in order to prove that he had control over life and death , ordered one prisoner to be killed and released the other one !
Then there are individuals who do not deny the existence of Allah but they show their arrogance against Allah by not worshipping Allah and by disobeying Allah�s orders regarding obligatory and prohibited acts . Allah the Almighty says :
�The Messiah does by no means disdains that he should be a servant of Allah , nor do the angels who are near to Him , and whoever disdains His service and is proud , He will gather them all together to Himself .
Then as for those who believe and do good , He will pay them fully their rewards and give them more out of His grace , and as for those who disdain and are proud , He will chastise them with a painful chastisement . �
(Surah Nisa 4 : 172-173)
Wilful disobedience to Allah�s command is insolence and defiance against Allah and sins so committed are unforgivable . Such a person considers himself so superior that he feels there is no need to obey Allah . This attitude amounts to disbelief in Allah . The sins committed by a person who believes in the supremacy of the Almighty are not of the above category . These sins are committed due to evil desires and foolishness and not due to Kufr . Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a . s . ) says in Dua of Abu Hamza Thumali :
�O my Allah ! When I committed a sin I was not a disbeliever in You (at that time) and neither did I consider Your commands unimportant . And I did not take lightly Your threats of chastisement . Neither I had any objection against Your punishment . Actually the sin that I had committed was due to the instigation of my own self which defrauded me and my carnal desire overcame me . �
(Dua of Abu Hamza Thumali)
The disbelief of Iblees was proved in the same way when he refused to prostrate before Hazrat Adam (a . s . ) .
�He said : I am not such that I should make obeisance to a mortal who Thou has created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape . �
(Surah Hijr 15 : 33)
The Almighty Allah replied ,
� . . . then get forth from this (state) , for it does not befit you to behave proudly therein . Go forth , therefore , surely you are of the abject ones . �
(Surah Aaraf 7 : 13)
The High and Almighty Allah has also said ,
� . . . and he was proud , and he was one of the unbelievers . �
(Surah Baqarah 2 : 34)
�Arrogance overcame Izazeel (Satan) , made him liable to be cursed . �
(A Persian Couplet)


�And your Lord says , Call upon Me , I will answer you , surely those who are too proud for My service shall soon enter hell abased . �
(Surah Mo-min 40 : 60)
In the above ayat Allah has assured that whoever seeks His help will receive immediate response . According to Tafseer Kashaf Dua means to ask , that is to seek something . Thus the actual purpose of Dua is to beg the Almighty with utmost humility and sincerity . This is true obedience and worship of one God . So whoever does not supplicate is arrogant . He considers himself self sufficient and independent of Allah and does not consider Allah deserving of obeisance; such a person has committed Kufr and will remain forever in Hell .
Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a . s . ) says :
�(O Allah) you have named Dua towards You to be Your worship and its omission to be arrogance which earns Hell . �
(Saheefa Sajjadiyah)
�The best of Your servants are those who are not arrogant , and who do not repeat sins insolently , and make repentance their habit and I avoid to be the one who becomes arrogant and does not call You . �
(Saheefa Sajjadiyah)


One of the types of arrogance with regard to the Almighty is to behave arrogantly towards whatever is associated with Allah�s name . For example the orders and prohibitions of Allah , specially the sacred month of Ramadhan , the Holy Ka�ba , the Holy tombs; and even an ordinary mosque because Allah has said ,
�And (all) the mosques are for Allah . �
(Surah Jinn 72 : 18)
So if one acts arrogantly with relation to any of the above it means that he is arrogant towards Allah . For Allah (A . J . ) says ,
�O You who believe ! Do not violate the signs appointed by Allah . . . �
(Surah Maidah 5 : 2)
It means that one should not insult or disregard anything that is related to the Almighty .


Arrogance with relation to the Almighty or otherwise brings degradation and insults in this life as also in the life after death . On the other hand humility and the expression of lowliness before Allah earns the respect of this world as well as success in the hereafter . The stations of such a person are raised . The Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) says ,
�One who humbles before Allah is raised by Him in status; and the one who is arrogant will be degraded by Allah . �
(Behaarul Anwaar)
Umar ibn Shaiba says in the Sharh of Saheefa that , �I was at the sacred Mecca , between Safa and Marwah when I saw a stranger on a camel . His slaves were preventing the people from coming near him . After sometime I happened to be in Baghdad . There I saw a man in a dishevelled condition with his hair awry . I stared at him in surprise . He asked as to why I was staring at him . I said that I find a great resemblance between him and an arrogant person whom I had seen at Mecca between Safa and Marwah . At that time he behaved very arrogantly . The man said , �I am the same person ! I had behaved arrogantly at a place where people exhibit humility , that�s why the Almighty has made me lowly in Baghdad where people achieve great honours . And thus these people behave arrogantly towards me . �


To consider oneself as equal to or better than divine personalities is an act of arrogance . Also to refuse to obey their commands amounts to being arrogant towards them . This is like the behaviour of the supporters of Firon who considered themselves superior to Hazrat Moosa (a . s . ) and Haroon (a . s . ) . They used to say :
�What ! shall we believe in two mortals like ourselves . . . ?
(Surah Mo-minoon 23 : 47)
Similarly some of the disbelievers used to tell the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) : �Why have not angels been sent down upon us , or (why) do we not see our Lord ? � These people considered their status to be on par with that of the Holy Prophet (s . a . w . s . ) and wondered why the revelation had not descended on them .
The Holy Quran remarks :
�Now certainly they are too proud of themselves and have revolted in great revolt . �
(Surah Furqan 25 : 21)
The following words of Hazrat Nuh (a . s . ) are recorded in the Holy Quran :
�But my call has only made them flee the more :